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Dubai Department of Finance has launched a blockchain-powered payment system geared towards government entities in collaboration with Smart Dubai Office.
The new platform, called “Payment Reconciliation and Settlement,” was officially launched Sunday, September 23. It is reportedly geared towards government entities, such as the Dubai Police, Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and others.
According to Zawya, the Dubai DoF and SDO intend for the system to provide for a more accurate and transparent governance process, as well as to enable real-time payments within and between government structures.
As Zawya reports, the currently existing process for transactions in Dubai government is time-consuming, requiring up to 45 days to complete any given operation.
The new system is reportedly already in use by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) and the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), with a total number of test transactions amounting to more than five million.
Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General at the SDO, commented that blockchain is “one of the most promising of [emerging] technologies.”
In 2017, the SDO group was granted the top honors at the Smart Cities Expo and World Congress in Barcelona, acquiring the City Project Award from among 308 other teams for their Dubai blockchain Strategy.
The Smart City project was reportedly introduced by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of the Dubai Emirate Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in 2013. Supported by the government, private sector, and institutional partners, the organization’s goal is to provide a smart ecosystem for cooperation between government entities and residents and visitors.
Smart Dubai is not the only government-backed initiative that intends to employ major emerging technologies such as blockchain in the country.
In April of this year, the UAE Vice President and Prime Minister launched the “UAE Blockchain Strategy 2021” initiative, with a goal to achieve the position of a global leader in adopting the technology.
In July, the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) announced its partnership with Smart Dubai to develop a “Court of the Blockchain.” The organizations aim to explore the potential of the technology in addressing the shortcomings of the UAE’s legal system, for example by introducing blockchain-based verification of court judgements.
The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) has released a set of guidelines intended to bolster the availability of financial services to cryptocurrency companies. They are in response to the stubbornness of many banks to provide financial services to crypto-related businesses.
Swiss Bankers Association Publishes Guidelines Intended to Stem Crypto Exodus
The Swiss Bankers Association has published guidelines aimed at financial institutions who are willing to partner to cryptocurrency and DLT businesses.
The guidelines are a response to growing concerns that an unwillingness on the part of many banks to provide financial services to cryptocurrency companies may drive an exodus of crypto start-ups from Switzerland.
Adrian Schatzmann, strategic adviser of the SBA, stated: “We believe that with these guidelines, we’ll be able to establish a basis for discussion between banks and innovative startups, making the dialogue simpler and facilitating the opening of accounts.”
Guidelines Recommend Different Procedures for Crypto Companies Conducting ICOs
The guidelines outline a number of operational recommendations for banks partnering with cryptocurrency firms.
The SBA makes specific recommendations for firms that are conducting initial coin offerings (ICOs), also suggesting separate know-your-customer and anti-money laundering (AML) procedures for firms that raise funds through ICOs in the form fiat currencies and ICOs generating funds in the form of cryptocurrencies.
“This provides more clarity not only to banks, but also to startups,” Oliver Bussmann, head of the Crypto Valley Association said.
Swiss Banks Restrict Services to Crypto Companies Amid ICO AML concerns
The guidelines have been issued in response to increased trepidation among Swiss financial institutions with regard to partnering with crypto firms, with Reuters citing sources as asserting that “banks are worried because some of the companies that carried out ICOs did not do AML checks on their contributors, meaning the banks themselves could fall foul of AML rules.”
With Mr. Bussmann estimating that 530 crypto and DLT companies have established operations in Zurich and Zug, it is imperative for the survival of the local industry that firms are able to access basic financial services.
Deputy chief executive officer of the SBA, August Benz, indicated that while the initial discussion between the SBA and local financial institutions has been positive thus far, it will take time to assess the impact of the new guidelines.
Do you think that the Switzerland will can retain its position as a leading crypto hub despite trepidation on the part of local banks in partnering with virtual currency firms? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Swissbanking.org
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A study examining the widely suspected correlation between Tether issuance and BTC price movement, undertaken by Wang Chun Wei and published by the University of Queensland, has found that USDT grants do not have a “statistically significant” effect on price fluctuations. Despite refuting the correlation between price fluctuations and Tether grants, the study notes a “positive relationship” between USDT issuance and “increased crypto-trading the following day.”
Study Finds No Statistical Correlation Between Tether Issuance and BTC Price Movements
Wang Chun Wei’s latest study, titled “The impact of Tether grants on Bitcoin,” has found the issuance of USDT does not have a “statistically significant” effect on BTC price movements.
Among the key assertions concluded by the study are that “It is unlikely that Tether manipulation caused the 2017 Bitcoin rally,” and that “Tether grants did not Granger-cause Bitcoin returns.”
The study employs an autoregressive distributed lag (ADL) model, testing “if Tether grants Granger-cause Bitcoin returns,” finding “no evidence suggesting Tether grants Granger cause Bitcoin returns.”
Strong Correlation Between USDT Grants and Increased Trading Activity Identified
Despite arguing against USDT grants exhibiting a causal relationship with price swings, the study identifies a relationship between Tether issuance and trading volume, noting a “Positive relationship between Tether grants and increased crypto-trading the following day,” and “Evidence suggest[ing] that Tether trading increased following periods of negative Bitcoin returns.”
Elsewhere in the report, Wang Chun Wei cites the work of Griffin and Shams (2018), stating that “After tracking transactions between individual wallets…using over 200 BG worth of blockchain data…[Griffin and Shams (2018) found] that purchases with Tether are timed following Bitcoin downturns, suggesting Tether was used to support and manipulate Bitcoin prices.”
Mr. Wei notes that his “findings show that Tether grants were potentially timed to follow Bitcoin downturns and subsequent Bitcoin/Tether trading volumes increased, confirming Griffin and Shams (2018) narrative,” however, seeks to refute Griffin and Shams’ assertions, concluding that “the impact of Tether grants on Bitcoin returns were not statistically significant, and therefore Tether issuances cannot be an effective tool for moving Bitcoin prices.”
What is your response to Wang Chun Wei’s findings? Do you agree with Griffin and Shams’ argument that the increased trade activity surrounding the issuance of USDT could be indicative of price manipulation, or are you swayed by Wang Chun Wei’s assertion that there isn’t a “statistically significant” correlation between USDT issuance and price movements? Join the discussion in the comments section below!
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even lookup the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.
The post Study Finds “No Evidence” of USDT Price Manipulation appeared first on Bitcoin News.
? Had Knots version, did go back to vanilla 16.3... but still something seems to be wrong - do not have full copy of the chain, but wiping directory not a biggie... but is there an ongoing attack or my files did just get fucked up?
In the Genesis Block of Bitcoin, Satoshi Nakamoto wrote a headline from the Times that day:
The Times 03 Jan 2009, Chancellor on Brink of Second Bailout for Banks.
Jeffrey Tucker and Gene Epstein talk about the financial events that led to the creation of Bitcoin: 2008 and the financial crisis
A few days ago digital asset markets saw some good gains pushing the entire crypto-economy up past $229 billion. Both bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC) had nice percentage spikes with BCH up 13 percent, and BTC up 3.5 percent over the last week. However, the biggest gainer this week was ripple (XRP) jumping over 103 percent over the course of the past seven days.
Cryptocurrency Markets Rebound and Consolidate
It was a weird week in cryptocurrency land, to say the least. During the last seven days, digital asset enthusiasts heard about the Securities Exchange Commission’s (SEC) deciding to hold off on the Vaneck/Cboe ETF decision until they get further commentary. Then a critical exploit that could have caused massive inflation was found in the Core reference client (and many other implementations) by a BCH developer. Lastly, the Japanese exchange Zaif revealed this week it lost close to 6000 BTC in a hack. Now one would think all of these things would affect cryptocurrency markets in a negative way. On the contrary, digital currency markets spiked in value as a great majority of coins saw seven-day gains.
The Top Crypto-Markets
Bitcoin core (BTC) markets over the last week are up 3.4 percent (US$6,723) and the cryptocurrency’s market valuation is around $116.2 billion today. Ethereum (ETH) markets shot up pretty good this week as one ETH ($244) has gained 12 percent. Of course, the cryptocurrency crowd witnessed the 103 percent increase ripple (XRP) markets experienced this week. One XRP is valued at $0.56 this Sunday and the coin’s market capitalization is about $22.5 billion. Bitcoin cash (BCH) markets are up 13 percent per BCH ($492) over the last seven days and the currency’s market valuation is about $8.5 billion this weekend. Lastly, EOS is priced at $5.45 and the EOS market performance over the last weeks is up 12.2 percent.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Market Action
Bitcoin cash market action today is showing the spot price hovering at $492 per coin but this Sunday BCH is up 3.12 percent over the past 24 hours. Over the last week, BCH dropped to a low of $411 on September 17 and went back to a high of $501 on the 21st. The top bitcoin cash swapping exchanges today are EXX, Lbank, Hitbtc, Okex, and Huobi. The top currency pairs traded for bitcoin cash this weekend include BTC (51.8%), USDT (30.8%), ETH (6.9%), USD (5.1%), and KRW (2.3%). Bitcoin cash markets hold the sixth highest trade volumes today below eos (EOS) and above litecoin (LTC) volumes.
BCH/USD Technical Indicators
The BCH/USD daily and 4-hour charts on Bitfinex and Binance indicate bulls are showing some signs of tiring out. We saw a big spike by the BCH bulls but it hit large resistance as markets gathered near 200 MA and corrected. Today, looking at the BCH/USD 4-hour chart, the 200 Simple Moving Average is above the 100 SMA trendline showing the path towards the least resistance is towards the downside. The 4-H RSI (61.6) shows the bulls may be exhausted and we could see some more sell off before another attempted upper leg jump. Order books show there’s some heavy resistance from here until $570 and another pitstop around the $590-630 range. Looking behind us we can see some foundational support between now until the $425 range and bears will be stopped there for a good period of time.
The Verdict: Despite Some Setbacks, Market Confidence Seems to Be on the Rise
Overall market confidence seems to be on the rise despite the recent BTC inflation bug and the SEC’s recent announcement to push off the decision to approve or deny the Vaneck/Cboe ETF. BTC/USD shorts, however, are very high still with over 30,000 short positions but ETH/USD short contracts have dropped significantly lower after touching their ATH. ETH/USD shorts have been cut from 26,000 on September 17 to just over 12,000 today.
Charles Hayter, the co-founder and CEO of the cryptocurrency data website Cryptocompare, believes last week’s ETH drop shook up market sentiment. “The fall in ethereum has spooked the market,” Hayter details. However, on a more positive note, Hayter emphasizes “there are multiple incumbent financial institutions looking closely at the space.”
Digital asset trade volumes have increased as this weekend has seen trade volume between $13-15 billion USD over the last 48 hours. This weekend’s verdict is far more optimistic than last weekend but it’s likely we will see some heavy consolidation and some corrections before the next level up, unless bears regain their strength.
Where do you see the price of BTC, BCH, and other coins headed from here? Let us know in the comment section below.
Disclaimer: Price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”
Images via Shutterstock, Trading View, and Satoshi Pulse.
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The post Markets Update: Despite Negative Headlines – Crypto-Prices Continue to Rise appeared first on Bitcoin News.
You can check the "Coffee with milk index made by Bloomberg" https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2016-venezuela-cafe-con-leche-index/
Government "set" the prices of some goods and what happens is that they set the price is under the production cost.
One example is meat, there is not meat anywhere, price is set at 90 BsS. per kilo (which is around 90 usd cents) none wants to sell at that price.
Another problem (which I "think" could help to "fix" economy) is that some prices (in USD) are the same of more expensive than the international price. For example one soda can (Coke) is around 1 USD. One Mcflurry ice cream is 4-5 USD and so on. (I use these examples, so you can compare easily). But remember minimum wage is 19 USD per MONTH. So it's really had for people to live here, even if you have family abroad and they used to send 50$ per month and people used that to live here now more USD are needed....
You can check the 24h volume here http://dolarbeta.com/
Sadly Coindance has updated anymore since 5 zeroes where knocked off from the Bolivar.
I have a with debt with u/AliResurrector ( u/rodown ) he sent me a donation of 10 AUD using BTC (by the way it was HIS first real use of bitcoin!!) (the price he pays here for a coffee) and I will post what I was able of buying here (including the coffee itself) will post soon that update :)
Any question let me know.
Crypto markets are seeing another wave of growth, with Bitcoin trading above $6,700 and 19 out of the top 20 coins firmly in the green.
Sunday, September 23: crypto markets are seeing another wave of green. All but one of the top 20 cryptocurrencies by market cap have made gains over the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap.
Market visualization from Coin360
Bitcoin is also up 3.3 percent over the past 7 days, and up 5 percent up on the month. Despite that, Bitcoin’s dominance has dropped slightly, down from 55.6 percent a week ago to 51.2 percent at press time, according to CoinMarketCap.
Bitcoin price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index
The coin is up 2.6 percent in 24 hours to press time, currently trading at $245. Ethereum is up a significant 10.4 percent on the week, but it has not yet managed to recuperate its monthly losses, still down around 9 percent over the past 30 days.
Ethereum price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index
The third largest cryptocurrency by market cap Ripple (XRP) is the only one to see some losses among the top 20 coins, according to CoinMarketCap. Following a period of immense growth earlier this week, Ripple is down 0.23 percent over the past 24 hours, to trade at $0.568.
Ripple price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ripple Price Index
Crypto markets are holding their gains firmly, with total market cap slightly up over the past 24 hours, currently at $227 billion. Following a significant sell-off that started on September 5, the market has only recently climbed back above the $220 billion point.
Total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap
The sixth largest coin by market cap Stellar (XLM) is seeing the most gains among the top 20. Stellar’s price has surged more than 20 percent in 24 hours to press time, currently at $0.289. The altcoin experienced considerable growth this week, up around 40 percent over the past 7 days, according to CoinMarketCap.
CNBC's Ran Neuner has noted in a tweet that cryptocurrencies are gaining significant momentum, pointing out that the daily trade volume of the entire market is approaching $14 billion, which is “the most volume we have seen in a while.”
XRP is the talk of the crypto world — becoming the world’s second biggest cryptocurrency by market cap following a week of positive news for Ripple.
In another major milestone for cryptocurrency adoption, United States bank PNC will begin using RippleNet to process international payments for its clients.
Ripple made the announcement on Sept. 19, stating that PNC’s Treasury Management unit will be using its xCurrent software solution to expedite cross-border transactions for the bank’s U.S. commercial clients.
According to initial reports, xCurrent will allow PNC clients to receive payments instantly, which will change the way companies approach cash flow and account management. The software allows banks to communicate instantly, to confirm payment both before and after a transaction is initiated.
As a result, the price of Ripple soared over the next few days, seeing as much as 15 percent gains in overall market capitalization.
On Friday, Sept. 21, XRP moved past Ethereum to become the second biggest cryptocurrency by market cap, at around $23 billion.
According to initial reports, Ripple considers the move as a necessary first step in order to get banks and financial institutions to eventually use xRapid — its liquidity product that uses Ripple’s digital token, XRP.
Ripple’s product management senior vice president, Asheesh Birla, says xCurrent is “a way to get their toe into the water.”
These sentiments follow comments from Ripple’s chief cryptographer David Schwartz, who said in June that banks were unlikely to adopt blockchain systems to process international payments in the near future.
Schwartz cited concerns around privacy and scalability as a big worry for banks. Until there is a solution that completely meets these needs, big banks are unlikely to go all-in on distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Ripple’s xCurrent protocol is essentially an immutable interledger which allows instant settlement, which is an upgrade to current payment networks. But as Schwartz pointed out, it is not a distributed ledger.
With that being said, PNC has joined a number of major financial institutions that have partnered up with Ripple in various ways.
In August, Ripple expressed interest in breaking into the Chinese market in an effort to speed up international payments.
Ripple is hoping to launch a commercial version of xRapid as early as October. The company had previously partnered with Bittrex, Mexican Bitso and Philippine Coins.Ph in order to facilitate xRapid to move between XRP, U.S. dollars, Mexican and Philippine Pesos.
Ripple’s pilot of the xRapid system in May 2018 reportedly produced savings on transactions of up to 70 percent, in addition to the increase in transaction speeds.
Justin Sun, founder of TRON, told Cointelegraph that he foresees other banking institutions following in the footsteps of PNC by adopting blockchain systems like RippleNet:
“XRP’s surge shows PNC Bank’s recognition of the Ripple protocol. With Bill Clinton keynoting Swell 2018, blockchain is going mainstream. As Ripple’s Greater China Chief Rep from 2014-16 and a Ripple shareholder, I’m confident financial institutions will adopt blockchain.”
Cointelegraph also spoke to Kieran Kelly, a long-term investor of Ripple, who believes the move is a massive step toward the adoption of Ripple:
“Ripple is adding a bank per week to the network and RippleNet is live in 40 countries and six continents. PNC being the most recently announced bank shows that Ripple is making huge progress globally toward mainstream adoption, providing cheaper, faster and more transparent payments.”
As Kelly points out, the speed of RippleNet is an attractive proponent of the technology, which could speed up international money transfers:
“The traditional finance sector is already implementing blockchain as part of RippleNet and the considerable benefits will drive further adoption globally. Ripple provides banks the ability to make frictionless remittances in three seconds at little cost versus the current format — i.e., SWIFT — which takes three to four days. Banks save 60-70 percent with Ripple.”
Others weren’t as confident about Ripple massive surge in value this week. A quick glance at Twitter made for some interesting reading, as some users offered more skeptical views on the cryptocurrency’s pump in value.
Nicholas Merten, founder of Youtube channel Datadash, suggested that the spike in value was mainly due to traders — not big money investors — climbing into the market:
Congrats to the traders on $XRP, gotta hand it to the bulls. But don’t be mislead, the volume we’re seeing is NOT banks buying the XRP token for xRapid. It’s purely whales and retail traders ATM.— Nicholas Merten (@Nicholas_Merten) September 21, 2018
Ripples tech - Impressive
Ripples token - Slight value for use in transactions
Matthew Newton, an analyst at eToro, told The Independent that XRP was the flavor of the week after the announcement of the PNC partnership:
“Despite being one the most polarizing cryptos of them all, eToro customers can’t get enough of XRP at the moment; it has more exposure than any other asset on our platform. As we’ve seen in the past, the price tends to move in short, sharp bursts, picking up a lot of momentum when the hype builds. It remains to be seen how much further it could go."
As we have seen in the past, perceived good news often drives investors sentiment, and this is clearly the case when it comes to XRP.
The next few days will determine whether the cryptocurrency’s newfound gains will hold strong. Following that, the crypto community will be eagerly awaiting the touted launch of xRapid next month.
Chairman of an Icelandic data center provider claims that the local crypto industry is going to shift from crypto mining to “pure blockchain business.”
Iceland’s crypto industry is expected to move away from crypto mining and shift to “pure blockchain businesses.” This is according to forecasts made by a number of local industry insiders who talked to the news site Red Herring September 23.
Halldór Jörgensson, chairman of Reykjavik-based Borealis Data Center, told Red Herring that demand from local crypto and blockchain facilities is “shifting more towards the pure blockchain business,” rather than focusing on Bitcoin mining.
According to Jörgensson, the frenzy around Bitcoin (BTC) mining has declined to a level that is “not as crazy as it was a year ago,” when the cryptocurrency has hit its all-time price high. Despite that, the chairman has suggested that the Bitcoin mining “wave” has contributed to the faster growth of local energy and data industries, whose well-developed infrastructures are now expected to provide a boost to blockchain-related businesses.
Iceland has become one of the leaders in crypto mining due to its naturally cold climate, as well as the abundance of cost-efficient renewable energy sources – mainly geothermal and hydroelectric. The country is home to one of the world’s 5 largest crypto mining farms, whose operator Genesis Mining is reportedly the single largest consumer of electricity in Iceland.
In February, Johann Snorri Sigurbergsson, the business development manager of a local energy supplier HS Orka, predicted that the volume of crypto mining in Iceland will likely double in 2018.
HS Orka’s CEO Asgeir Margeirsson claimed in July that the industry of crypto mining has pushed “the fourth revolution,” while the director of the Icelandic Institute for Intelligent Machines stated that Bitcoin miners are “central to the industrial revolution that is still under way.”
However, HS Orka’s Sigurbergsson also argued that Bitcoin “probably won’t be here far into the future,” claiming that the data centers that are currently used by miners will eventually become new technology incubators.
Earlier this week, blockchain technology group Bitfury announced the launch of its new-generation BTC mining hardware, with plans to use the new machines in its mining centers in Canada, Norway, Iceland and Georgia.
Forking cryptocurrencies, usually Bitcoin or one of its offshoots, was all the rage 12 months ago. Today, the spate of new forks has dwindled to a trickle. With the benefit of hindsight, and armed with over a year’s worth of data, it’s possible to determine which forks succeeded and why.
Fork-o-mania Is Over
Forking mania has come and gone. Nine months ago, all manner of dead and dying coins were being artificially revived and their prices pumped under the guise of forking them into something better. At least that was the promise. Who can forget Zclassic, this year’s worst performing altcoin, which would now require a 70x for ATH buyers to break even? That wouldn’t be a problem if the forked coin ZCL holders were receiving had performed relatively well, but Bitcoin Private has also proven disastrous. It’s currently trading shy of $3, from a peak of $77, making it 2018’s second worst performing coin. Even the McAfee “magic” couldn’t save BTCP.
It is no coincidence that three of the 10 worst performing coins this year are all Bitcoin forks: Bitcoin Gold, Bitcoin Diamond, and Bitcoin Private are all down by over 90%. Not all forks have resulted in failure however: Bitcoin Cash remains a top four coin by market cap, and top three by adjusted 24-hour transaction volume according to Onchainfx. In many respects, it was the success of BCH that fueled the glut of forks that followed, their developers eyeing the potential rewards of launching a new cryptocurrency under the Bitcoin banner.
While Bitcoin Cash forked fairly with no pre-mine, the same could not be said of Bitcoin Gold. Then there was Bitcoin Private, whose developers, led by Rhett Creighton, made their money by loading up on Zclassic before announcing the fork. The failure of high profile forks such as BTCP and the disaster-prone BTG, both of which created far more losers than winners, have played a major role in dampening public enthusiasm for forks.
There’s More Than One Way to Fork a Coin
Forkdrop.io is a leading resource for tracking cryptocurrency forks. It’s produced a guide detailing the number of Bitcoin forks and their fate to date. It explains: “There are 96 Bitcoin fork projects in total. Of those, 69 are considered active projects relevant to holders of Bitcoin (BTC). The remaining 27 are considered historic and are no longer relevant. Additionally, there are 21 altcoin fork projects which have some similarity to Bitcoin fork projects, but have their heritage from a major altcoin.”
42 of these projects have active blockchains that can be used for transacting, while another 27 are allegedly under development. It remains to be seen, however, what sort of traction is gained by such coins as Bitcoin Pizza or Bitcoin Holocaust. 41 of the coins Forkdrop.io has data on were created as a straight fork, in which the newly birthed coin shares the same history as its BTC parent. 22 were issued as passive or active airdrops and another six used a combination of these methods to distribute coins. After Bitcoin, the most commonly forked cryptocurrencies are Ethereum (7 forks), Monero (5), and Litecoin (4).
A Brief Study Of Cryptonetwork Forks
In a report published this week, Placeholder VC has taken a deep dive into forked coins and reached similar conclusions to Forkdrop.io, noting that “The vast majority of child networks resulting from chain forks are in disuse and have lost significant value relative to their parent networks…Users and developers tend to remain loyal to the original network, while most miners are loyal to economics only, directing hashpower to the most profitable network of the moment.”
Placeholder VC does find, however, that “Despite lower use metrics, child networks trade at higher user and transaction value multiples (e.g., NVT ratio) than their parent networks.” It concludes: “Contrary to the narrative of frictionless forking sucking value away from large networks, child chains to date have struggled to attract demand and developer talent from their parent communities.”
Just as the craze for tokenizing everything diminished once the ICO market took a tumble, the same has happened with forked coins. The last time anyone checked in on ZLC/BTCP forker Rhett Creighton, he’d quietly abandoned his plans to do the same with Primecoin to create Bitcoin Prime. The developers of new altcoins, forked coins, and blockchains all vying to create a better Bitcoin have learned that Bitcoin isn’t easily bested. As The Wire’s Omar Little put it, “Come at the king, you best not miss.”
Do you think there are valid arguments in favor of forking coins and why do you think so many forks have failed? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Onchainfx, and Forkdrop.io.
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A Japanese cryptocurrency exchange is hacked of almost 6,000 bitcoins, and Elon Musk turns to Dogecoin creator to get rid of Twitter crypto scammers
Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange Zaif Hacked Of Reported 5,966 Bitcoins
As a result of a security breach on September 14, hackers have managed to steal 4.5 billion yen from Japan’s Zaif cryptocurrency exchange, as well as 2.2 billion yen from the assets of the company, with total losses amounting to 6.7 billion yen or around $59.7 million. Tech Bureau Inc, which operated Zaif, stated this week that the exchange detected a server error on September 17, after which Zaif suspended deposits and withdrawals. On September 18, the exchange realized that the error was a hack, and reported the incident to Japan’s financial regulator, reporting losses of 5,966 bitcoins (BTC) in addition to some Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA).
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Turns To Dogecoin Creator To Stop Crypto Scammers
Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla Elon Musk asked Jackson Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin (DOGE), to help him combat "annoying" cryptocurrency scammers on Twitter this week. Musk, directing his tweet at Palmer, asked for help getting rid of scam spammers, to which Palmer replied by sending Musk a short script in direct messages to try to fix the problem.
US SEC Postpones VanEck Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund, Asks For Further Comments
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has requested further comments regarding its decision on the listing and trading of VanEck and SolidX’s Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund (ETF), which is expected to list on the CBOE BZX Equities Exchange (BZX). In a notice, the SEC asks for additional comments from interested parties addressing the sufficiency of the BZX’s statement in support of the proposal. In particular, the SEC is seeking comments on eighteen key issues, among which are commenters’ views on BZX’s assertions that BTC “is arguably less susceptible to manipulation than other commodities that underlie exchange-traded products (ETPs).”
New York Attorney General Report: Crypto Exchanges Vulnerable To Manipulation
A new report published by the New York Attorney General’s office states that cryptocurrency exchanges are vulnerable to manipulation, conflicts of interest, and other consumer risks. The findings, part of the “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative” that consisted in surveying 13 cryptocurrency exchanges, found that an absence of standard methods for auditing virtual assets results in the lack of a consistent and transparent approach to independently auditing digital currency traded on exchanges.
Researchers Explain How Gemini Dollar Transactions Can Be Changed Or Paused
The implementation of the recently launched Gemini dollar (GUSD) stablecoin can be completely changed by a Gemini custodian every 48 hours, according to a study authored by blockchain researcher Alex Lebed and crypto consultant Alexey Akhunov. In the study, the authors review the code of the GUSD’s smart contract in order to demonstrate that the implementation of the Gemini USD can become non-transferrable or frozen at any moment, which is noted in the Gemini dollar’s white paper.
Most Memorable Quotations
“The data age is major opportunity for manufacturers to reform the industry. But blockchain and IoT will be meaningless tech unless they can promote the transformation of the manufacturing industry, and the evolution of the society towards a greener and more inclusive direction,” — Jack Ma, founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba
“Cryptocurrencies are perfect, but are used for bad purposes today, so [one has to be] careful. Blockchain and distributed ledger technologies are also perfect, they are big, big tools,” — Francisco Gonzalez Rodriguez, executive chairman of multinational Spanish banking group Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA)
"As the government and regulators decide whether the current Wild West situation is allowed to continue, or whether they are going to introduce regulation, consumers remain unprotected,” — UK Treasury Committee on cryptocurrency regulation
Laws And Taxes
Ukrainian Parliament Seeks To Tax Cryptocurrency Assets With New Bill
Ukraine’s parliament has proposed a bill that would tax operations with crypto assets with a five percent tax on individuals and legal entities operating with virtual currency assets, such as cryptocurrencies and tokens. Starting Jan. 1, 2024 crypto-related profits by businesses would be taxed at 18 percent, which is a basic rate for corporate and personal income tax in Ukraine. According to the lawmakers, the introduction of this tax would make it possible to “draw 1.27 billion hryvnia ($43 million) to the budget annually from 2019-2024.”
US Lawmakers Send Open Letter To IRS Asking For Crypto Taxation Clarity
U.S. lawmakers have called on the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to issue clarified and “comprehensive” crypto taxation guidance in an open letter this week. The representatives deem that the IRS has had “more than adequate time” to work through complexities after its preliminary rules were issued four years ago, arguing that while the IRS has proactively continued to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance with its guidance, its failure to introduce a more robust taxation framework “severely hinders taxpayers' ability” to meet their obligations.
Financial Task Force Says International AML Standards For Crypto Coming Soon
The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) said it is getting closer to the establishment of a global set of anti-money laundering (AML) standards for cryptocurrencies. The agency’s president Marshall Billingslea reportedly said that he expects the coordination of a series of standards that will close “gaps” in global AML standards at an FATF plenary in October. At that time, the FATF will purportedly discuss which existing standards should be adapted to digital currencies, as well as revise the assessment methods of how countries implement those standards.
Binance To Soon Begin Private Beta Testing Of Crypto-Fiat Singapore Exchange
Binance, the largest global crypto exchange, will soon start private beta testing a crypto-fiat exchange in Singapore, as Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) tweeted this week. According to CZ, the testing will be launched on September 18, and while no further details have been specified, the crypto-fiat Singapore-based exchange will presumably support the local Singapore dollar.
US PNC Bank To Use RippleNet For Customers’ International Payments
PNC, which is ranked among the top ten U.S. banks with 8 million customers and retail branches in 19 states, will use RippleNet to process international payments for its customers. A particular PNC unit — Treasury Management — will use Ripple’s blockchain solution xCurrent to speed up overseas transactions held by U.S. commercial clients. Ripple emphasises that xCurrent will allow PNC business clients to receive payments against their invoices instantly, changing their approach to managing both accounts and their working capital.
Ripple Executive Hints Of xRapid Launch Coming Soon
Head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple Sagar Sarbhai told CNBC this week that Ripple has been making strides toward the launch of its product xRapid, noting that a commercial version of its payment platform could launch "in the next month or so.” The xRapid product is a real-time settlement platform designed to speed up international payments that addresses the issues of minimizing liquidity costs and making cross-border payment transactions faster.
Canadian Coinsquare’s Investment Subsidiary Launches Two Tech-Based ETFs
Coinsquare’s subsidiary — Coin Capital Investment Management — has reportedly become the 30th ETF operator in Canada, with the launch of the Coincapital STOXX Blockchain Patents Innovation Index Fund (LDGR) and the Coincapital STOXX B.R.AI.N. Index Fund (THNK) on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX). LDGR is a research-focused ETF that intends to provide investors with global equity securities of firms that invest in the development of blockchain technologies, while THNK, aims to provide investments in global equity securities concentrated around four “megatrends” in technology — biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and nanotechnology.
Brazil’s Largest Brokerage To Launch Bitcoin, Ethereum Exchange
The largest brokerage in Brazil, Grupo XP, will enter the crypto space by launching an exchange for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in the near future called XDEX with around forty employees. Grupo XP is the biggest financial group in Brazil, comprising companies with various business models. XP has reportedly set a goal to have $1 trillion reais ($245 billion) under custody by 2020, which is four times what the company expects to raise by the end of this year. In addition, XP will launch a bank in the next few months.
Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships
Crypto Exchange Huobi Joins Russian Bank Innovation Fund
Cryptocurrency exchange Huobi has joined Russia’s VEB Innovation Fund to share notes on crypto regulation. Russia’s cryptocurrency regulation draft law, which passed in a first reading in May, are tentatively set to be passed in October. One of the main goals of the partnership with Huobi and the VEB Innovation Fund is to draw on the crypto regulation experience gained by Huobi and to apply it in Russia, especially for adjusting the legal framework on digital assets.
Switzerland And Israel Agree To Share Blockchain Regulation Experience
Switzerland and Israel have agreed to share their experience on regulating the blockchain industry.Switzerland’s Minister of Finance Ueli Maurer and State Secretary for International Financial Matters Joerg Gasser have recently visited Israel to officially request access to the local markets for Swiss banks.As Gasser told Reuters, by the end of 2018 he plans to prepare a report on blockchain regulation for the Israeli officials that would outline general recommendations.
R3, Dutch Digital Security Company Partner For Blockchain-Based IDs
Blockchain consortium R3 has deployed a digital ID application developed by Dutch digital security company Gemalto on the latest version of the Corda Platform. The parties now expect to conduct several pilots of the application — called the Trust ID Network — that will reportedly be launched later this year. The application enables digital service providers to operate “fully verified and secured” user personal data by creating a Digital ID, allowing consumers to register within various banking, e-commerce, and e-government services while avoiding repeated due diligence procedures.
Poland’s Largest Bank Partners With Coinfirm To Launch Blockchain Solution
Poland’s largest bank , PKO Bank Polski, will launch a blockchain solution for its customer documents via a partnership with UK-based Coinfirm “in the coming days,” the parties confirmed this week. As part of a drive to enhance security of customer data, PKO Bank Polski will use Coinfirm’s Trudatum to provide blockchain-issued paperwork to its some five million account holders.
Chinese Blockchain Fund To Raise Almost $13 Million For Japanese Stablecoin
Yao Yongjie, whose $1.5 billion Grandshores Blockchain Fund has the backing of well-known Chinese Bitcoin investor Li Xiaolai and the local government of the city of Hangzhou, is seeking to create up to three new stable cryptocurrencies (stablecoins) pegged to various fiat currencies. The first reported stablecoin project would involve the Japanese yen, and a second company Yao chairs, Hong Kong-based Grandshores Technology, aims to raise HK$100 million ($12.7 million) in financing for the cryptocurrency.
Winners And Losers
The crypto markets have experienced a comeback this week, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,756 and Ethereum at $245. Total market cap is now around $228 billion.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Carebit, Bob’s Repair, and the Ultimate Secure Cash. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Protean, Abulaba, and Bitmark.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
FUD Of The Week
Bitcoin Core Updates Fixes Vulnerability That Could “Take Down The Network”
Bitcoin Core has released an update following the recent detection of a vulnerability in the software: Bitcoin Core 0.16.3 was released with a fix for a denial-of-service (DoS) vulnerability.The vulnerability could reportedly cause a crash of older versions of Bitcoin Core if they attempted processing a block transaction that tries to spend the same amount twice. According to Casaba Security co-founder Jason Glassberg, the recent vulnerability found on Bitcoin Core software could “take down the network.” He explained that the network crash “does not appear” to target users’ wallets, but would rather “affect transactions in the sense that they cannot be completed.”
China’s Central Bank Warns Public Of Risks With ICOs, Crypto Trading
The People’s Bank of China has issued a new public notice this week “reminding” investors of the risks associated with Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and crypto trading. Today’s notice ,released from the bank’s headquarters in Shanghai, censures the “unauthorized” and “illegal” ICO financing model for posing a “serious disruption” to the “economic, financial and social order.”
German Finance Minister Doubts Whether Crypto Could Ever Replace Fiat
Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz doubted publicly this week that cryptocurrencies can currently replace traditional fiat currencies. Scholz compared cryptocurrencies to the tulip fever bubble in the Netherlands in the 17th century saying, "and the danger is great that there will be such a tulip inflation,” noting that cryptocurrencies should also be closely observed by regulators, as they could be used for terrorist financing, money laundering or other criminal activities.
Reuters: Brazilians Antitrust Regulator To Inspect Six Major Banks Over Crypto Trade
Brazil’s antitrust regulator, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE), is reportedly inspecting six major national banks for alleged monopolistic practices in the crypto space, according to Reuters. The probe, which was initiated n the request of the Brazilian Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association (ABCB) following several complaints, will determine whether the country’s largest banks closed the accounts of brokerages trading in Bitcoin.
Malware Reportedly Stolen From NSA Contributes To Skyrocketing Cryptojacking
Leaked code targeting Microsoft Systems which hackers allegedly stole from the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) sparked a fivefold increase in cryptocurrency mining malware infections, according to a report from the Cyber Threat Alliance. Eternal Blue, which was reportedly stolen and then used for the infamous cyberattacks WannaCry and NotPetya, has been used by hackers to gain access to computers in order to covertly mine for cryptocurrency, with detections up 459 percent this year.
Prediction Of The Week
Bitcoin To See 30 Percent Rally By End Of 2018, Says Mike Novogratz
Billionaire investor Mike Novogratz predicted this week on Twitter that Bitcoin will see a 30 percent rally by the end of 2018. Stating that the $8,800 to $10,000 threshold would be the the defining moment for institutional investors to enter the space, Novogratz claimed that it is impossible for BTC to not reach the $8,800 to $10,000 price points by the end of the year.
The New York Times visits Massena — a region formerly filled with American corporations offering unions jobs — that now has one of the state’s highest unemployment rates. However, as the Time notes, the “abundant, cheap electricity flowing from a dam in the St. Lawrence River,” has brought in the cryptocurrency mining companies, bringing mixed reactions from the area’s residents.
After Ripple (XRP) saw an unprecedented amount of growth this week, the question arose: what is it really called — Ripple or XRP? While Ripple Labs Inc. notes that the tokens are different than its open-source network, the token did used to be referred to as “ripples (XRP).”
This was December 2017. I had around 30 btc plus 20 ETH and was managing funds from three other friends which were around 30,000€ at that time.
I had most funds in a ledger nano, and a few erc20 tokens and eth in metamask and mew.
I had caught the huge wave of Tron and had held btc since 600€, put myself in debt for it.
I remember importing my ledger to electrum and entering the seed. Few days later, everything was gone. Someone was probably monitoring me for long and my antivirus software never found any keylogger. I looked to the other accounts, also gone.
This was around 18 December I think. I entered a spiral of depression and shame. I couldn't believe it. I wanted to die.
Fast forward to today, after painfully telling my friends their funds were stolen and getting back on track financially, even barely, I feel like I can do this again and have picked one currency to invest and safely store.
Moral of the story, even if you are computer and crypto literate, huge shit can happen. Stay safe. I learned a lesson.
From Washington to Moscow, cryptocurrencies have entered the agenda of those who share a vocation to rule and regulate. Following the congressional summer vacation, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will enable the Treasury to investigate crypto transactions, while a Congressman plans to introduce three drafts supporting the crypto industry. Also in The Daily on Sunday, UK lawmakers push for fintech rules, Russian bankers admit strong demand for crypto services, and the Financial Action Task Force is preparing to present global crypto standards in October.
Congressman to Propose Three Bills Supporting the Crypto Sector
The past two weeks saw a flurry of crypto-related activity in the corridors of power in Washington. A Republican member of the House of Representatives announced his intent to introduce three bills designed to support the crypto industry and the development of distributed ledger technologies in the United States. Congressman Tom Emmer (MN), currently co-chairing the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, says the US should create an environment that enables the American private sector to lead on innovation and growth. Quoted in a press release published on his page, he stated:
Legislators should be embracing emerging technologies and providing a clear regulatory system that allows them to flourish in the United States.
Emmer plans to propose a “Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology” backing the industry and its development in the US, a “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act” affirming that entities which never take control of consumer funds, such as miners and multisig providers, don’t need to register as money transmitters, and a “Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act” restricting fines against individuals attempting to report these assets until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides guidance on the matter.
Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers has urged the IRS to clarify the rules that apply to the taxation of crypto incomes and profits. In an open letter released this past Wednesday, the House Committee on Ways and Means called upon the Service to stop expanding its authority until an official notice to US taxpayers is issued, pointing out that the current regulations, published four years ago, are unclear and outdated. And last week, the House of Representatives passed a bill aimed at enabling the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen) to investigate cryptocurrency transactions. The agency which operates under the Treasury Department is charged with combating money laundering and illicit financial activities.
British MPs Push for Comprehensive Cryptofinance Rules
US congressmen are not the only lawmakers worried about the lack of clear regulations in the crypto space. Their colleagues in the United Kingdom recently published a report calling for creating a proper business environment for the fintech sector. They recommend that the country’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) be granted authority to regulate initial coin offerings (ICOs). The authors of the document, members of the Treasury Committee, expressed their opinion that the introduction of a comprehensive regulatory framework would lead to positive outcomes for the crypto-asset market in the UK, allowing it to progress to “a more mature business model” and sustainable growth.
Major Russian Banks Admit High Demand for Cryptocurrencies
Leading Russian banks and institutions have expressed readiness to work with digital assets during a round table devoted to the future of financial markets and crypto regulations in the country, local media reported. The meeting which took place in the capital gathered representatives from major players in the financial industry including Sberbank, Alfa-Bank, Moscow Exchange, Addcapital, Althaus Group, Group IB, and the National Settlement Depository. During a closed session, the bankers discussed cryptocurrency regulations adopted in Luxembourg, Singapore and Japan, RBC reported, quoting a source familiar with the conversation. The Russian financiers revealed they were encountering high demand for cryptocurrencies but noted their inability to offer related services due to the lack of legal regulation in the field.
Three bills were introduced and voted on first reading in the lower house of Russia’s parliament this spring. Their final adoption was delayed, with lawmakers struggling to synchronize the legal texts and produce a unified legislation. A revamped draft law “On digital financial assets” will be presented for public discussions in October. It’s been reported that the updated bill does not mention the term ‘cryptocurrency’. Meanwhile, an association of leading Russian enterprises proposed an alternative bill which grants digital currencies special status. And according to some reports, the banking industry intends to make its own proposals. Russian officials have indicated they are also awaiting for the new global standards for cryptocurrencies from the Financial Action Task Force before taking the final decision.
FATF to Present AML Crypto Standards in October
FATF, The Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (AML), has announced it’s now closer to establishing an international set of rules applicable to cryptocurrencies. Its president, Marshall Billingslea, said recently he expects that the FATF will agree a series of standards that will close the anti-money laundering gaps during its plenary meeting in October, the Financial Times reported. The task force advanced towards reaching a global consensus after a request from the G20 members. Next month the body is expected to discuss which of its existing standards needs to be updated to address digital assets. The methodology used to assess their implementation by different countries will also be revised.
What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.
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From Satoshi's response in this thread
"It is a global distributed database, with additions to the database by consent of the majority, based on a set of rules they follow:
- Whenever someone finds proof-of-work to generate a block, they get some new coins
- The proof-of-work difficulty is adjusted every two weeks to target an average of 6 blocks per hour (for the whole network)
- The coins given per block is cut in half every 4 years
You could say coins are issued by the majority. They are issued in a limited, predetermined amount.
As an example, if there are 1000 nodes, and 6 get coins each hour, it would likely take a week before you get anything.
To Sepp's question, indeed there is nobody to act as central bank or federal reserve to adjust the money supply as the population of users grows. That would have required a trusted party to determine the value, because I don't know a way for software to know the real world value of things. If there was some clever way, or if we wanted to trust someone to actively manage the money supply to peg it to something, the rules could have been programmed for that.
In this sense, it's more typical of a precious metal. Instead of the supply changing to keep the value the same, the supply is predetermined and the value changes. As the number of users grows, the value per coin increases. It has the potential for a positive feedback loop; as users increase, the value goes up, which could attract more users to take advantage of the increasing value."
- S. Nakamoto, February 18, 2009
I just watched The Big Short, its about multiple group of people who saw the 2008 economy collapse and shorted their positions. After watching I am more than convinced that big financial instituions do not care about us. They neither cared about the people who shorted, and only 1 went to jail. Immigrants were blamed for the financial crisis. I can understand what led Satoshi to create Bitcoin.
We need bitcoins. period. We need a way to store our money in a decentralized value, without worrying whether it will fall or no. I think Bitcoin ETFs will be a bad idea. Traditional bankers will get into the ecosystem, and f*** it up. They always have, and always will do.
What do you think?
Close to being yet another annoyingly false media piece on how ‘hard’ it is to live on cryptocurrency, the Netflix of China, Iqiyi, followed a woman attempting just that for 21 days. Bitcoiners have been doing so for years through various service providers, exchanges, and, yes, even peer-to-peer, yet the clearly untrue ‘hard’ narrative is often repeated. Thankfully, the new Chinese documentary Bitcoin Girl is somewhat different; instead of focusing upon tech hurdles exclusively, it also highlights how bitcoin lives on during a severe Communist Party crackdown.
Netflix of China Airs 21 Day Bitcoin Challenge
Rifle through Youtube, and it’s easy to find a zillion vignettes and documentaries about using bitcoin, cryptocurrencies in general, as either part of a lifestyle or as a principal medium of exchange. The mainstream conception is always about hurdles and difficulties, and they usually devolve into dark web ghettos or tales of criminal gangs nefariously employing the tech.
And so it’s somewhat refreshing to learn a documentary series running in China on its version of Netflix, Bitcoin Girl 21 Days Digital Survival Challenge, offers a glimpse behind the wall, as it were, of the Communist state and how crypto enthusiasts are attempting to cope.
An introduction blurb to the series, translated by google, reads, “There is such a girl, she is a blockchain believer. She said she wanted to rush into a city alone one day and be an experiment that only survived by bitcoin. Challenge rules: 1. With 0.21 bitcoins, one person lives in Beijing for 21 days. 2, only payable in bitcoin, can not accept any charity.”
For those lost in translation, the series (now up to 17 episodes as of this writing) is based upon He Youbing, an aka for a young-ish woman setting out to survive on about $1,300, give or take, on bitcoin without help or assistance – just peer-to-peer transactions, phone to phone.
Alone with Nothing but Bitcoin
Ms. Youbing was unable to take anything with her. No basic necessities are allowed. She must make do with what she has in China’s most populous cities, beginning in Beijing. Presumably, the show gave her the aka, which means having something of an obsession – in this case cryptocurrency.
The documentary’s main difference is its setting. And though it for sure could be viewed as propaganda to make crypto seem futile to the average person, it’s also a strange admittance. China, of course, has become notorious for its cryptocurrency bans. Recently, it has gotten so bad even events related to crypto are banned. Just prior to venues being formally prohibited, the government stepped up censorship campaigns against popular smartphone applications such as Wechat. Over 100 foreign crypto exchange websites were also banned. The Chinese government even put pressure on Alipay to stop all OTC crypto trading on their platform.
And all of these no doubt contribute to the first episode’s showing her desperate and frustrated. Most of her day is spent trying to inform vendors just what bitcoin is, much less getting them to accept it. From fun parks to restaurants, she was unsuccessful the entire day and evening. Though she manages to find an unlocked public bike, helping to make her case to more potential businesses and ordinary people, she finishes her night exhausted and defeated, sleeping at a McDonald’s.
Sustenance came wherever she could find it, as the already slight woman dined on free condiment packets while eating leftover burgers yet to be thrown away, and even literally low hanging fruit. It was actually two days of this, and by the second she was vomiting, sick from the experience. The manufactured drama helped the local media bring attention to her case. Well-wishers brought her food, exchanged for bitcoin, while she was checked at a nearby hospital. An art gallery volunteered to put her up for the third night.
No Publicity is Bad Publicity
Strange and wonderful happens next. Chinese city dwellers find her on Wechat as a result of media coverage, and begin to exchange services and goods for bitcoin with her. In fact, a great many seemed to have no problem trading fiat, causing the show’s producers to adjust the rules to include no online transactions – real people, real life only.
The publicity compounded, and reports detailed how many Wechat groups were following her, filled to capacity. The upward limit is 500 people per group. Something like six such groups popped up, and from every sector of Chinese society.
Clearly, cryptocurrency fever remains behind the great Red wall. If the documentary does anything positive, it shows the power of crypto and social media. Even through massive crackdowns, smartphone and related tech brought fellow Chinese to her once word got out. Soon, outside of Beijing, she finds a restaurant to accept bitcoin. She is able to negotiate crypto for clothes, and even had a hotel booked for her.
The rest of the series appears to be much in this fashion, and for some reason the government has not censored it, yet. In fact, Ms. Youbing only seems to be gaining traction. The documentary’s makers do film how a significant portion of those familiar with bitcoin (BTC) are still stinging from giant transaction fees and slow confirmation times that characterized the final leg of its bull run in late 2017.
Their distrust of BTC is also heightened by crypto’s association with scams, and Ms. Youbing spends her time trying to convince potential trade counterparts she is legit. Without trying, Bitcoin Girl stumbles into the medium of exchange versus store of value debate. If 17 episodes are any guide, the Chinese clearly are ready for something closer to bitcoin cash (BCH) and its qualities over a seemingly tainted BTC.
Do you think crypto will continue to grow in China despite all the bans? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you seen our Tools page? You can even look up the exchange rate for a transaction in the past. Or calculate the value of your current holdings. Or create a paper wallet. And much more.
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The French office of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has started accepting donations in 9 of the most popular cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin cash (BCH) and bitcoin core (BTC). The announcement comes after earlier this year the UN agency launched several other crypto-related initiatives.
UNICEF Accepts Crypto Donations in France
UNICEF France has announced it’s now accepting donations in 9 cryptocurrencies, according to a press release published by French media. The local office of the organization collects contributions in some of the most widely known digital coins, including bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin core (BTC), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC), ripple (XRP), eos (EOS), monero (XMR), dash (DASH), and stellar (XLM).
Donations in all supported cryptos are currently accepted directly through the website of the French branch, the Cryptonaute outlet reported. Commenting on the announcement, the director of UNICEF France, Sébastien Lyon stated:
Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology used for charitable purposes offer a new opportunity to appeal to the generosity of the public and continue to develop our operations with children in the countries of intervention.
The UNICEF official pointed out that cryptocurrencies and crypto technologies represent an innovation in fundraising for solidarity but are still employed by few organizations in the field. At the same time, he noted the positive trend in regards to the spread of cryptocurrency donations.
Announcement Follows Two Successful Crypto Campaigns
This isn’t the first crypto-related initiative of the United Nations Children’s Fund. In February, UNICEF launched a fundraising program to collect funds needed for the protection of the children suffering from the civil war in Syria.
The campaign called “Game Chaingers” was targeting computer gamers. Participants had to download and install a special mining software application from the organization’s website. Their PCs were then used to mine ethereum for the program.
Later, in May UNICEF Australia started a similar campaign through a dedicated website called “The Hopepage”. Visitors are asked to share some of their computing power to mine and donate cryptocurrency by simply opening the page and consenting to their devices being used to process crypto transactions while surfing the internet.
As of the time of writing, more than 22,000 people are currently mining and donating cryptocurrency via the platform set up by the Australian office of the UN agency.
Do you agree that cryptocurrency provides a great alternative for charities and humanitarian organizations to collect funds? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, UNICEF France, Smartmockups.
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Chechnya will create a Eurasian crypto mining pool, the press secretary of the head of the Chechen Republic has reportedly confirmed. The project aims to combine the resources of crypto miners from the Eurasian Economic Union countries.
Chechen Mining Pool
Alvi Karimov, the press secretary for the head of Chechnya, confirmed to RBC news outlet on Sept. 21 that a Eurasian crypto mining pool will be established in the Chechen Republic.
“The head of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, and Yuri Pripachkin agreed to establish a Eurasian mining pool in Chechnya,” a representative of the Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain (Racib) told the publication. Pripachkin is the president of Racib.
Noting that “The project should unite the resources of the miners from the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU): Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan,” the publication detailed:
The pool will be the first step in the implementation of the ‘Crypto Chechnya’ program, which is aimed at developing the region’s economy with the use of blockchain technologies.
Dmitry Marinichev, Russia’s Internet Ombudsman appointed by President Vladimir Putin in 2014, believes that “mining pools in Russia have great potential due to the cold climate in many regions and inexpensive electricity,” the publication conveyed.
RBC reported that Racib and the Chechen Republic will submit an application to the Bank of Russia in the next few days to operate the mining pool within the framework of the country’s regulatory sandbox.
Pripachkin explained that the mining pool can only be launched “after the adoption of the laws regulating the operation of cryptocurrency in the territory of Russia,” adding that “It is assumed that the relevant bill will be considered by the State Duma in the autumn session,” the publication noted.
According to the association’s estimates:
The potential effect of launching a site in Chechnya with the appropriate authority may increase the tax revenues of the republic by more than 10% per year.
Racib also believes that the mining pool and other development in the sector “will help Russia significantly increase the share of world production of cryptocurrency,” the news outlet described. The association added that “Today in Russia, there are more than 350,000 private miners and up to several thousand mining farms,” RBC conveyed. In August, news.Bitcoin.com reported on Pripachkin saying that, in the first half of this year, “the number of mining enterprises in Russia has increased by 15% to 75,000,” noting that “Russia accounts for about 6% of the world’s mining market.”
Russia is currently developing a regulatory framework for cryptocurrency. Three bills were submitted to the State Duma in May. However, after the first reading in the spring, the regulators postponed the second reading and the final voting to the fall session, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.
What do you think of Chechnya creating a mining pool? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Racib.
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Blockchain explorers and cryptocurrency analysis sites just keep getting better. While Coinmarketcap (CMC) still dominates, these days it’s got stiff competition to contend with. Moreover, many of these platforms aren’t simply aspiring to be CMC knock-offs: they’re providing fresh tools for grasping the complexities of the ever-evolving cryptoconomy.
Also read: 8 Alternatives to Coinmarketcap
Cryptocurrency Tracker Sites Are Proliferating
It’s not just cryptocurrencies that are multiplying: so is the number of sites striving to keep track of them. We’ve previously profiled analytical sites that offer an alternative to Coinmarketcap, the runaway market leader. It is the bitcoin of price analysis platforms. Since then, several new contenders have emerged, each aiming to impact upon CMC’s market dominance and make a name for themselves. A number of alternative blockchain explorers and crypto monitoring sites have also upped their game, adding a string of new features, as the following roundup shows.
Blockchair was already an excellent BCH, BTC, ETH, and LTC explorer which we bigged up back in July. It’s since expanded, adding an Omni layer protocol for keeping tabs on Tether transactions, and a Wormhole layer for monitoring activity on the new Bitcoin Cash token and smart contract protocol. As if that wasn’t enough, Blockchair has added the ability to generate printable receipts for BCH, BTC, and LTC transactions. Simply navigate to your transaction using the blockchain explorer and click “PDF receipt”.
Onchainfx needs no introduction, but its latest tool does. A few weeks back, it added a Breakeven Multiple column, showing how many times your altbag needs to double to reach its previous all-time high. In the case of Zclassic, 70x is what it takes for bagholders who bought at the ATH to break even. Its latest addition is more elaborate however, and infinitely more useful. It’s now possible to mark fundamental events on charts using Onchainfx, allowing observers to correlate market movements with actions. If you’re angling to understand why an asset mooned or dumped, from mining reward halvings to chain splits, Onchainfx’ new feature aims to capture it all.
Nftmarketcap.co is a Coinmarketcap for non-fungible tokens. Having only launched this week, it’s still rudimentary, but has the potential to evolve into something greater. Meanwhile, anyone interested in checking up on the status of their favorite ERC721 marketplace should head to Nonfungible.com, which enables tracking and trading of everything from Decentraland to Cryptokitties. Statistics detail the amount of tokens traded over the past 24 hours, their average value, and the number of active users.
Blockmodo and Coinratecap
For anyone seeking a Coinmarketcap with added features, Blockmodo and Coinratecap both have their merits. Blockmodo adds in social, video, and community data, providing a more holistic picture of how the markets are performing and why. Coinratecap, meanwhile, provides real-time price updates and also adds a handy list of the top 100 crypto exchanges.
Finally, Bitcoin.com’s very own cryptocurrency tracker service, Satoshi Pulse, is a prettier Coinmarketcap with a Bitcoin Cash slant. Its charts are particularly nice for anyone seeking a crisp and clean means of viewing current or historical market data.
What’s your favorite cryptocurrency tracker site and why? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Satoshi Pulse, Onchainfx, and Blockchair.
Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.
The post Six New and Improved Cryptocurrency Analysis Tools appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Apple recently introduced a new lineup of iPhones and its new operating system iOS 12. Moreover, four days ago the company also updated its Siri extension called the ‘Shortcuts’ application with two new Bitcoin glyphs available.
Two New Bitcoin Glyphs
Slowly but surely Bitcoin is finding its way into the mainstream in various ways. Apple users will now find that the Shortcuts application contains two unique glyphs showcasing the Bitcoin symbol. Shortcuts is a separate app that works with Siri and the device’s OS in order to create shortcuts that perform multiple steps in a far quicker method. Glyphs are an elemental symbol intended to represent a computational readable character and some system languages require the use of particular symbols. So essentially a Bitcoin glyph would be considered to be the symbol that represents the entire spelling of the word ‘Bitcoin.’
In Apple’s Shortcuts platform (not to be confused with the shortcut settings) users can choose from two Bitcoin glyphs and change the background colors as well. The Shortcuts app must be tethered to Siri and the user can deploy the Glyph within a specific shortcut such as asking Siri what the spot price of bitcoin is at the moment. The glyphs can be used with the keyboard but they do not operate as emojis do within a conversation. Across social media and Reddit forums, bitcoiners are excited because they think the Bitcoin glyphs will perhaps gain some attention from mainstream audiences.
Unicode Characters and Apple Glyphs Help Bolster Mainstream Acceptance
The news also follows the recent Bitcoin symbol added to the Unicode standard. Back in June of 2017, the Unicode Consortium unveiled the computer character standards version 10, which contains the Bitcoin character. The cryptocurrency enthusiast Ken Shirriff requested the Unicode Consortium add the character for years, and finally it was added alongside 8,518 characters and 56 new emojis. The push for the Bitcoin symbol being added to the Unicode character system took about six years to accomplish.
The word ‘bitcoin’ was also added to Oxford dictionaries in 2013, followed by the word ‘cryptocurrency’ in 2014. The recently added Bitcoin glyphs within Apple’s Shortcuts app confirms to many proponents that cryptocurrency-related symbols and the underlying concepts are here to stay.
What do you think about the Bitcoin glyphs added to the Apple Shortcuts application? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.
Images via Shutterstock, and Apple’s Shortcuts.
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Some possible explanations
Over the past week, altcoin Ripple’s (XRP) price has gone through the roof. It has seen an unprecedented 140 percent growth over the past seven days, up almost 63 percent in the past 24 hours alone, trading at around $0.61 at press time.
XRP has gone as far as to beat Ethereum (ETH) to be ranked number two by total market capitalization on CoinMarketCap (returned to the third spot by the press time). What could possibly drive the price so high? While there’s no definite answer to that question, here’s some background and theories.
Background: What does Ripple bring to the table?
Ripple is a California-based payment network and protocol company that was established in 2012. Essentially, it focuses on facilitating transfers between major financial corporations.
Ripple is not quite your average cryptocurrency — in fact, some might argue it’s not a cryptocurrency at all. It champions a less conventional ideology for the industry: Ripple doesn’t want to overthrow the government along with the banking system. Conversely, it chose to work with mainstream financial players from the very start. As Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, told Cointelegraph in March:
“We were, from the beginning, really looking at how we work with governments, how we work with banks. And I think some in the crypto community have been very much, ‘How do we destroy the government. How do we circumvent banks?’”
Garlinghouse believes that governments aren’t going anywhere, saying, “In my lifetime, I don’t think that’s happening” — which is why he finds it logical to cooperate with them and work within the existing regulatory framework. That attitude helped Ripple land crucial partnerships with important players, including China-based payment services provider Lian-Lian, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority and Western Union, among others.
Ripple’s native token is XRP. However, the company draws a line between the two: Ripple presents itself as a technology company, while XRP is an “independent digital asset” built on open-source blockchain technology called XRP Ledger. As per its website, Ripple uses both XRP and XRP Ledger in its products, such as xRapid, and owns 60 billion XPR — however, it allegedly does not control either the token nor the technology.
Theory #1: xRapid’s launch
xRapid is a blockchain-backed tool designed by Ripple for easing cross-border fiat transfers between financial institutions.
Ripple hopes to use it to pioneer the mainstream financial system: After testing the platform to run payments between the United States and Mexico in May, it proved to save transaction costs by 40-70 percent. Bypassing conventional foreign exchange providers, xRapid also increased transaction speed to “just over two minutes.” In comparison, according to McKinsey research, typical international payments take between three and five working days to complete.
The recent boost could be explained by the company’s recent announcement that xRapid could be launched commercially "in the next month or so," which was made by head of regulatory relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East at Ripple Sagar Sarbhai in an interview with CNBC on Sept. 17:
"I am very confident that in the next one month or so, you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production."
In August, Ripple partnered with three international crypto exchanges — U.S.-based Bittrex, Mexican Bitso and Philippine Coins.Ph — as part of an xRapid solution to build a “healthy” ecosystem of digital asset exchanges. The new partnership will enable xRapid to move between XRP, U.S. dollars, Mexican pesos and Philippine pesos. Additionally, Ripple is considering entering the Chinese market to apply its distributed ledger technology (DLT) to cross-border payments, as Jeremy Light, vice president of European Union strategic accounts at Ripple, told CNBC on Aug. 15.
To explain XRP’s recent breakthrough, some Reddit users suggest that xRapid has been quietly launched, while Ripple is going to announce it at a later stage. “I think they are letting banks in one by one so the XRP markets would not go totally ballistic if everyone jumps in the same time,” wrote u/tradernoob76.
“Because of the volume and books [are] being eaten alive, leaving no corpses behind (except fudders), I wouldn't be surprised if xRapid is in use. People try to sell, but it comes back up and this volume is off the charts and is increasing. If it's just investors, then [a] new market opened somewhere with lots of people trading suddenly, which is less likely,” another user agreed. Either way, an official xRapid launch would be big, positive news for XRP.
Theory #2: PNC joining RippleNet
More concrete Ripple-related news this week came from PNC, one of top ten largest U.S. banks with 8 million customers and retail branches in 19 states. On Wednesday, Sept. 19, Ripple announced that PNC had joined RippleNet to process international payments for its customers. “It’s one of the first major U.S. banks to use blockchain tech to streamline payments into and out of the country,” Ripple tweeted.
RippleNet is a decentralized network of banks and payment providers that connect through Ripple's solutions, such as xCurrent. Specifically, a particular PNC unit — Treasury Management — will use xCurrent to speed up overseas transactions held by U.S. commercial clients.
Ripple emphasises that the solution will allow PNC business clients to receive payments against their invoices instantly. Senior vice president for product management of Ripple, Asheesh Birla, thinks that using xCurrent in banking is the first step toward the adoption of other Ripple products, such as xRapid. "It's a way [for the banks] to get their toe into the water,” Birla told Reuters.
Notably, xCurrent — unlike xRapid — doesn’t cut out the corresponding bank from the entire process, thus not quite changing the conventional system but rather modifying it. The latter uses immutable “interledger” protocol, which “is not a distributed ledger,” as confirmed by David Schwartz, Ripple’s chief cryptographer, who was sceptical about banks using xCurrent in cross-border payments. As Cointelegraph reported in June, David Schwartz declared banks were unlikely to deploy the technology because of low scalability and privacy problems.
Nevertheless, the news proved to be bullish. Interestingly, BlackRock Inc., a major American global investment management, used to be a subsidiary of PNC during the period of 1995-1999. Currently, PNC is BlackRock’s largest shareholder, owning a 21.45 percent stake of the company.
Theory #3: Ripple dodging the ‘security’ label
To defend the company’s native token, he pointed to the open-source protocol of the XRP ledger and its independence from the corporation itself, emphasizing that Ripple controls only seven percent of the validator nodes operating on the network. He further argued that XRP investors do not secure a stake or shareholder-like position when they purchase the asset and emphasized that countries such as Australia, the Philippines and Thailand have all classified XRP as a commodity.
Thus, similarly to Bitcoin and Ethereum, XRP might potentially become recognized as a “non-security” by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has proven to be bullish for those cryptocurrencies in the past.
Theory #4: FOMO
The massive surge in price could also be explained by good old ‘fear of missing out,’ or FOMO — a particularly powerful force on the crypto market. This seems to be one of the main sentiments on Reddit. According to this theory, as soon as Ripple experienced the first pump on Sept. 18, other investors started to pile in, and the situation snowballed from there.
Cointelegraph investigates the murky web of incidents connected with the Bitconnect heist, from Texas to Gujarat.
An American musical prelude
Bitconnect, the now-defunct crypto lending and exchange platform that has been ousted as a ruinous Ponzi scheme, has memorably been compared by the Silver Miller law firm to the fleeting 2011 Broadway musical “Wonderland,” based on the dizzying impossibilities of Alice’s adventures in Lewis Carroll’s celebrated novel.
Silver Miller’s first class action complaint was filed on behalf of six defrauded Bitconnect investors in late January, just weeks after the Texas Securities Commissioner issued an emergency cease-and-desist order against Bitconnect for the selling of unlicensed securities.
The complaint unconventionally opened with the following lyrics:
“Welcome to Wonderland / Where everything you see / I mean from ‘A’ to ‘Z’ / Ain’t what it seems to be. / Welcome to Wonderland / Set phasers up to stun / Turn off the lights when done / Good luck and thanks a ton / Ciao, baby, gotta run!”
In the ensuing months, the federal court for the Southern District of Florida has appointed two lead co-plaintiffs for the class action’s third amended complaint, who will represent all potential plaintiffs in the case. One of the lead plaintiffs, said to be domiciled in Dubai, alleges his out-of-pocket investment loss at Bitconnect totaled 150.28 Bitcoin (BTC), valued at the time at over $1.6 million.
If the musical allusions have sadly disappeared from the most recent court documents, the number of potential plaintiffs looks set to burgeon. David Silver told Cointelegraph in an interview that the law firm “anticipate[s] thousands of people filing claims if and when this case gets certified and we hopefully recover assets to disperse.”
According to Silver, plaintiffs were duped into taking the Wonderland-like impossibilities of the Bitconnect looking glass for “improbable possibles” and clung to the “sliver of a chance” that the high-yield investment scheme was legit. As cited in Silver Miller court documents, Bitconnect described itself as an “all-in-one” Bitcoin and crypto platform, where:
“It is entirely possible to find the independence we all desire, in a community of like-minded, freedom-loving individuals who, like you, are seeking the possibility of income stability in a very unstable world.”
This purported “income stability” amounted to the promise — regardless of the amount of the initial investment — of a one percent daily return, which Bitconnect alleged would be “generated by its own proprietary trading bot and volatility software.” According to this Wonderland algorithm, a $1,000 investment stood to return $50 million within three years of daily compounded interest, as the first Silver Miller complaint noted.
Bitconnect is alleged to have run a global Ponzi investment scheme as of late 2016 that enlisted multi-level affiliate marketers through a referral program that rewarded them for luring investors to purchase Bitconnect native tokens (BCC) on the Bitconnect BCC exchange, using either Bitcoin or fiat currency.
These investors were solicited to participate in the so-called Bitconnect lending program, pitched as an “opportunity” for them to lend their BCCs back to Bitconnect, which the firm would then use its “trading bot” to generate “guaranteed” profits on their behalf, of the aforementioned astronomical proportions. Those who successfully solicited further investors were promised even higher returns.
It further marketed a Bitconnect staking program, in which investors were given the offer to hold their BCCs in the platform’s Bitconnect-QT wallet as yet another means of pocketing hefty profits.
While Silver Miller’s action represents the ongoing U.S. private litigation against the scheme — parallel to which federal muscle has also been working — recent developments in India have exposed a murky web of incidents that taint the highest echelons of the country’s political class.
The case’s corporate defendant, Bitconnect, while hiding behind a shadowy U.K. address, has wreaked havoc through its army of recruiters that range from viral American Youtubers — resulting in Youtube’s own implication as a defendant in the Silver Miller class action — to shrewd promoters in the moneyed state of Gujarat, the home turf of India’s current prime minister.
At the fulcrum of the Indian chapter is the city of Surat, known for its diamond moguls and textile export tycoons. Cointelegraph spoke to Kashif Raza of the Indian crypto litigation duo ‘Crypto Kanoon’ to investigate the scandal; an ever-thickening plot of alleged kidnappings and extortions, which has led to the arrest of a former lawmaker from India’s ruling party just this week.
“Curiouser and Curiouser!” Cried Alice
If Wonderland is known for the Queen of Heart’s imperious command to paint white roses red, in Modi’s post-demonetization of India, Google trends showed a startling spike in one particular search query that hoped for an equally dubious chromatic transformation: “how to convert black money into white money.”
As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attempts to clamp down on tax evasion, in November 2016, he announced the government would be invalidating 500 and 1,000 rupee bills — which accounted for 86 percent of the currency in circulation at the time.
“Black money” is a term used to describe undeclared income that escapes taxes, and Modi gave Indians until Dec. 30, 2016 to deposit their soon-to-be-defunct high-denomination notes, whose sum total was worth a staggering 15 trillion Indian rupee ($208 billion).
The subsequent panic reportedly saw some 45 billion rupee ($650 million) flow in to Gujarat’s wealthy port city of Surat, to be hidden away in assets including cryptocurrencies, according to an accountant interviewed by Bloomberg last month, who asked to remain anonymous.
This was the fertile soil in which Bitconnect’s India chapter took root. And over the course of the next year, as Bitcoin soared to all-time industry highs, so did the BCC token. But in January 2018, after receiving its first warnings from U.S. regulators, Bitconnect shuttered up shop, triggering a crash in the token, which plummeted from its Dec. 29, 2017 high of $437 to almost zero.
The subsequent crimes and misdemeanours of livid Bitconnect investors are alleged to have taken place in February, although they first came to the public’s eye only in April.
Malice in Surat
On Feb. 23, a Surat-based builder by the name of Shailesh Bhatt charged into the office of Gujarat state home minister Pradipsinh Jadeja and claimed that 10 Amreli-district cops had kidnapped and extorted him for 176 BTC, worth 9.45 crore* rupee (around $1.31 million).
* A crore rupee denotes 10 million rupee and is equal to 100 lakh rupee in the Indian numbering system (1 lakh denotes 100,000 rupee)
The band of 10 was alleged to have comprised not only rank-and-file constables, but to have included Superintendent (SP) Jagdish Patel, as well as local Crime Branch Inspector, Anant Patel.
As a builder and “businessman” reportedly known to have a penchant for Bitcoin trading and other “business verticals,” Bhatt is said to have been among those who declared their hidden incomes under the Modi government’s Income Declaration Scheme (IDS) after demonetization.
On Feb. 9, he alleged that state Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) officer Sunil Nair threatened him over the phone and summoned him to the Gandhinagar CBI office, where he was allegedly beaten in a ‘torture room’ and asked to pay 10 crore rupee ($1.38 million).
Bhatt claimed he had been primed for the call by one of his business aides, Kirit Paladiya, who is alleged to have warned him that local authorities — supposedly both the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the CBI — had him under close watch for his dealings in crypto.
After his initial confinement by officer Nair, Bhatt is said to have argued his ransom down to 5 crore rupee ($693,450), which is said to have been paid via a so-called ‘hawala’ broker.
Then, on Feb. 11, Bhatt claimed that Paladiya called him for a meeting in Gandhinagar, where they were both abducted by a band of cops in official government vehicles near a fuel station and whisked off to Keshav Farm House at Chiloda.
There, Bhatt alleged, "they beat me up inside a room and threatened to kill me in a fake encounter if I did not hand over my Bitcoins":
"Amreli SP Jagdish Patel and Amreli inspector Anant Patel were involved. I was forced to transfer 13 crore rupee [$1.8 million] in Bitcoins to Paladiya's account."
The plot thickened. For not only were the crème-de-la-crème of state police implicated, but Bhatt accused Paladiya himself of double-crossing him in cahoots with his influential uncle, a former Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nalin Kotadiya:
"I contacted Paladiya post-demonetization in 2016 to invest my money. He advised me to invest in Bitcoins and knew about my investment."
He further claimed that Kotadiya himself pressured him into paying the ransom. More on Kotadiya later.
By April 9, the Gujarat’s elite Criminal Investigation Department (CID) had filed a First Information Report (FIR) against the 10 implicated cops, even though Director General of Police (DGP) CID Ashish Bhatia stated at the time that:
“The FIR has been filed on the basis of evidence found by the team so far. In his application, Shailesh Bhatt had mentioned the transfer of 200 Bitcoins worth 12 crore rupee [$1.66 million] from the digital wallet of his business partner, Kirit Paladiya. Another 32 crore rupee [$4.4 million] were allegedly paid for their release from a farmhouse. Later, 78.5 lakh rupee [$108,872] were allegedly paid to get the Bitcoins back. All these transactions mentioned in the application could not be proven.”
On July 20, the Indian Express covered a chargesheet which the Gujarat CID is said to have filed before a sessions court in Ahmedabad the previous day. The chargesheet outlined how the now-jailed and suspended SP Jagdish Patel had allegedly been in “constant” communication with his junior, Inspector Anant Patel, with the band of cops alleged to have received 1.32 crore rupee ($1.83 million) in booty from Paladiya following Bhatt’s abduction.
As per the chargesheet, on Feb. 16, Anant is alleged to have given 9,087,575 rupee ($125,797) to SP Jagdish, who sent this money to his relative, one Bhavesh Jagdish Patel, a resident of Thaltej, Ahmedabad. The money is said to have been delivered by Anant and two local crime branch (LCB) cops in government vehicles. At Bhavesh’s house, the money was allegedly counted, with 1 lakh rupee ($1,387) deemed to be “missing”:
“The money was counted again and 10,000 rupee [$139] was found to be missing. Bhavesh then called Jagdish and told him about it, to which Jagdish said, ‘No problem. You keep the bag that has 90 lakh rupee [$124,821].’”
Then, when word broke of Bhatt’s Feb. 23 complaint at the Home Ministry, Jagdish is accused of contacting Anant and organizing for the booty to be moved from Bhavesh’s house to a friend, one Hardrik Mahida.
“On March 6, Jagdish Patel was in Ahmedabad. At that time, accused Anant Patel was trying to cover up his crime and also demanding money for legal expenses for himself and other accused policemen. The then Amreli district Superintendent of Police gave 40 lakh rupee ($55,476) to Anant Patel to cover up his role and also policemen of his department […] [Jagdish handed over] 40 lakh rupee to Anant Patel and his staff Vijay Vadher, Sanjay Padmani and Pratap Der on April 6 at Pakwan cross roads, Ahmedabad. Jagdish’s presence has been captured in the CCTV footage.”
The chargesheet, citing further CCTV footage as evidence, then accused the suspended SP of approaching Bhatt’s friend Dharmendrasinh Gohil’s house at Pachchai village in Bhavnagar to — euphemistically — “reach a compromise.”
After this ploy allegedly failed, Jagish is said to have thrown “mobile instruments and SIM cards into the Sabarmati river” — the very devices that would have incriminated his scheming with the co-accused Anant and Ketan Patel.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing?
In parallel to emerging details of this quagmire of police corruption, the now-infamous extortion case made an about-turn when Bhatt himself was accused of an earlier — and even more explosive — extortion of a staggering 1.55 billion rupee ($215 million) worth of crypto and cash at gunpoint — including around 2,400 BTC — from two colleagues of a local Bitconnect promoter, Satish Kumbhani.
As CID’s Bhatia has reportedly stated, Kumbhani of Surat “floated” a company called Bitconnect and “lured people like Bhatt to invest for huge returns. Bhatt ended up investing 2 crore rupee ($277,380) in BitConnect [token]. However, its promoters shut shop in January 2018 and went underground.”
In a press note, the CID is reported to have stated that Bhatt’s misdemeanours were uncovered when its sleuths went on the trail of how he had himself acquired the hefty sum of Bitcoin of which he claimed to have been robbed.
The sleuths uncovered two earlier kidnappings — this time allegedly masterminded by Bhatt himself — involving nine accomplices, which included the builder’s nephew Nikunj Bhatt.
In apparent vengeance against those responsible for the Bitconnect heist, Bhatt and nine others are said to have posed as local tax officers and kidnapped a small-time Bitconnect employee named Piyush Savaliya on Jan. 30. Savaliya is said to have been held hostage at gunpoint, also at a shadowy farmhouse — so apparently beloved by Gujarat’s criminal underworld — but this time one located in Surat.
When Savaliya claimed he was unable to avail the men of their desired crypto, according to Bhatia:
“[The next day, Feb. 1], Bhatt’s men kidnapped Dhaval Mavani at gunpoint [...] [who was] also attached with the bankrupt firm BitConnect. Bhatt’s accomplices forced Mavani to transfer 2,256 Bitcoins, worth 131 crore rupee [$18.2 million] into their account. The builder and his accomplices also transferred another 166 Bitcoins, worth 9.64 crore rupee [$1.34 million] into their account.”
The CID’s press release reportedly added that Bhatt and his cohorts extorted a further 14.50 crore rupee ($2.01 million) in cash, which was secured through a local ‘angadia’ — an informal network of Gujarati couriers.
Bhatt is reported to have distributed the spoils among his nine accomplices, keeping around 700 BTC for himself and allegedly asking his tech-savvy nephew, Nikunj, to make the transactions.
When the sleuths tracked the beleaguered Savaliya down, he claimed Bhatt had paid him 34.50 lakh rupee ($47,848) to keep silent and to release a “false” statement denying the kidnappings. Mavani, for his part, was reportedly warned never to be sighted in Gujarat again: Police sources claim he has left the country.
As the allegations against Bhatt’s shady past surfaced, the builder himself absconded. Speaking to local media outlet The Quint, the builder’s lawyer said:
“The charges levied against him are false and part of a larger conspiracy. There is no Savaliya or Mavani; in fact, Mavani was not even in India when the alleged offence transpired. The police [are] fabricating the whole story about Savaliya getting 34 lakh rupee ($47,066) for staying mum.”
Nonetheless, both Nikunj Bhatt and a further alleged accomplice, Dilip Kanani, were arrested in May on charges of kidnapping and extortion, with CID reportedly recovering 152 Bitcoins worth 8.5 crore rupee ($1.18 million) from the duo.
Conspiracy, take two — this time, a failed one
Another chargesheet floating around, which was also filed by the Gujarat CID in July, alleges that when the accused policeman themselves got wind of Bhatt’s earlier crimes, they themselves met on Feb. 15 at a hotel in Ankleshwar in Surat to conspire to silence him and prevent him from lodging his complaint at the Home Ministry.
They are then said to have redoubled their efforts Feb. 21, when Inspector Patel, lawyer Ketan Patel, his brother Jatin Patel, Kirit Paladiya and an “independent witness” Vishal Sakadsariya are said to have met at yet another hotel to further scheme about ways in which to prevent Bhatt from coming forward.
The chargesheet alleges that Ketan and Anant Patel attempted to trace the vanished Mavani — even sending four fellow cops to pursue him all the way to Mumbai — in what emerged as being a false trail.
Mavani’s whereabouts are still unknown.
At this point, you’d be forgiven for losing track of the countless names and double-crossed co-conspirators allegedly embroiled in the case. As Times of India jocularly reported, the CID detectives faced a similar headache and have reportedly created monikers for the different “protagonists” of the many-tentacled incident based on the “unique passwords of their Bitcoin e-wallets or phones”:
“We identify Ketan Patel as “Loq,” and Shailesh Bhatt as “Choco,” a CID official is reported to have confessed.
“Icing on the cake”
In Cointelegraph’s correspondence with Raza Kashif, he sketched out the political backdrop of the unfolding crypto scandal, with its tarnished cops, victims-alleged-perpetrators and even former BJP lawmakers accused of being behind-the-scenes puppeteers:
“As we know, General elections are due to be held in India in April or May 2019 to constitute the 17th Lok Sabha. The opposition parties in India are leaving no stone unturned to corner BJP.
“The Indian National Congress (INC, often called Congress party) has been trying to prove that ‘Demonetization’ was a tactical blunder and [the] Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) took this step to make their own black money into white money.
“The Bitconnect scam proved to be the icing on the cake for the opposition parties, as the name of the main protagonists is a former BJP MLA and he has been arrested by the Ahemdabad crime branch recently.”
Kashif referred to the arrest of the aforementioned ex-Member for the Legislative Assembly for the BJP, Nalin Kotadiya, the uncle of Bhatt’s allegedly duplicitous former aide, Kirit Paladiya.
Kotadiya was remanded in police custody just on Sept. 10.
Let’s backtrack to the immediate aftermath, when Kotadiya was first tainted by Bhatt’s brush.
In late April, after the allegations of extortion and conspiracy, with the disgraced band of rogue Amreli cops against him had surfaced, Kotadiya at first attempted to hit back, dismissing the claims as misinformation, with the bizarre defense that:
“I am a man of public life. I meet people and talk to them on the phone. It does not mean I am involved in criminal acts with the people I meet or talk to on the phone.”
Kotadiya more pointedly drew attention to the fact that the alleged BTC transfers remained to be proven, quipping that “if the Bitcoins were not transferred, the question that arises is where the money came from.” He claimed that SP Jagdish Patel was being “pressured” to implicate him in the case and even more explosively that:
“Bhatt accepted that he was investing money from people affiliated with political parties. To protect them, attempts are being made to fix me in the case.”
He then circulated a WhatsApp video, reposted on Youtube in late April, in which, attired in pink, he claimed he had duly informed authorities about the Bitcoin heist and attributed the full blame for the extortion scandal and conspiracy to Bhatt.
As one alleged conspiratorial mastermind accused another of the selfsame, Kotadiya moreover threatened to leak evidence that would implicate even more local politicians in the scandal.
By mid-May, despite Kotadiya’s protestations, his failure to turn himself in led a local Ahmedabad court to issue an arrest warrant against him. The CID’s plea reportedly alleged that the accused former-BJP figure had evaded the unit’s clutches:
“There is material evidence substantiating the allegation of [crimes] against Kotadiya. It has also emerged from the record that though summons were issued twice, Kotadiya, despite promising cooperation, did not present himself before the investigating agency.”
The CID plea alleged that in early May, Kotadiya had sent the agency a fax saying he would appear before them on May 12, but then failed to do so. On May 7, he was also reported to have released a press statement claiming he was being “framed by the conspirators.” But CID’s plea is said to have pressed on, stating that:
“We have concrete evidence against Kotadiya. He is a politically influential person. His evading arrest could be could be an attempt to delay the investigation and create hindrances to it.”
Meanwhile, May 4 saw the arrest of Kirit Paldiya, Bhatt’s accused former aide and Kotadiya’s nephew. His interrogation is reported to have revealed that Paladiya — in complicity with Kotadiya, the Amreli police SP and inspector, and lawyer Ketan Patel and his brother — had plotted to apportion the extorted Bitcoin spoils between them, allegedly reserving 15 percent to be split between Kotadiya, the lawyer, and his brother, and 15 percent to be split between the police officers.
Kotadiya himself is alleged to have received 66 lakh rupee ($91,535) — of which Paladiya is said to have given 35 lakh rupee ($48,540) in total to two family members through a Surat-based angadia firm. 25 lakh rupee ($34,672) of this was said to have been recovered by CID officials at the time.
As Kotadiya himself remained underground, by mid-June, an Ahmedabad sessions judge declared Kotadiya a "proclaimed offender" (absconder) under section 82 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC ) in response to an application by the CID and asked him to appear before the court within 30 days.
Scathing news reports at the time pointed to Kotadiya’s political background, as well as characterizing him as a “leader” of the Patidar caste, a socio-economically prominent lineage within Gujarati society.
Nabbed “fast asleep” on a construction site
Just last week, Kotadiya’s time was finally up.
On Sept. 10, the Times of India reported that the ex-MLA for the BJP had been nabbed after four months in hiding. He was reportedly found “fast asleep” on the second floor of the under-construction railway quarters in Amalner, in Dhule, Maharashtra.
He is alleged to have been hiding out there with laborers for the past two months, according to Deepan Bhadran, deputy commissioner of police for the Ahmedabad crime branch. The Times further claims that Kotadiya had eschewed using mobile phones to make sure he was off-grid, using relatives’ and other borrowed cars to travel between locations. A crime branch source is quoted as saying:
“When we [eventually] found him, he was sleeping on a mattress and there was just an earthen pot of water in the room.”
An Amreli-born contractor at the Amalner railway quarters is said to have first noticed him, giving the golden tip-off.
As Raza Kashif noted, the BJP’s embroilment has been a political gold mine for the opposition party, the Indian National Congress (INC).
In early July, senior congressional leader Shaktisinh Gohil alleged that the “mega Bitcoin scam” was being used to cover-up shifty conversions of black into white money by the members of the majority BJP party.
As Kashif wrote in his correspondence with Cointelegraph, Gohil claimed that the Gujarat scam had emerged as involving “more than $726 million (5,000 crore rupee) [...] with some reports pegging the figure at $12.7 billion (88,000 crore rupee).”
Gohil used the case for all the political mileage he could muster, demanding a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the matter:
“The finger of suspicion of this massive scam of illegal cryptocurrency directly points to several top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders and a mastermind — an absconding BJP leader and former MLA Nalin Kotadiya.”
As the Deccan Herald bitingly put it, Gohil alleged that “extortion of crypto using government authorities at the behest of top BJP leaders in Gujarat has become a norm,” claiming that “political pressure” had muscled in on the local CID to hush the case up and launch the subsequent complaint against the Surat builder:
“Instead of [Bhatt] being the complainant in the first case, the CID at the behest of MoS Home made the police the complainant […] Who are the top BJP leaders against whom Kotadiya has damning evidence? We demand an impartial Supreme Court-monitored judicial investigation.”
Gohil’s allegations further claimed the Bitcoin had been widely used to carry out “illegal hawala transactions” post-demonetization, something he implied would not have surfaced were it not for the scandal first unearthed by Mr. Bhatt.
As Kashif outlined in his correspondence, Gohil drew upon the full extent of the alleged Bitconnect scandal — which extends well beyond the web of alleged extortions and kidnappings we have mostly been tracing so far:
“[News of the Bitconnect scam] transmitted a shockwave in the country at a time when the nation was already trying to recover from India’s biggest bank fraud case of $2 billion (over 13,000 crore rupee), a fraud [that had been] planned and executed by [diamantaire] Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi. The Bitconnect fraud is six times bigger than the [aforementioned] bank fraud, which took all the headlines in the Indian media.”
As the Times of India has reported, tracing the full extent of Bitconnect’s tentacles in India — by which we mean pointing to a figure less wildly obscure than Gohil’s benchmark bracket of anywhere between $726 million and $12.7 billion — brings a unique hurdle, in that many of its investors are accused of laundering their “black” cash into the scam post-demonetization.
Even after Bitconnect scrammed late January — leaving its defrauded investors wallowing in now-worthless tokens — the CID’s Bhatia told the Times that the bureau has received few complaints, allegedly because so much black money is thought to have been siphoned into the the scheme.
While the Times itself considers that the Bitconnect swindle may indeed have “siphoned off more money than Nirav [Modi‘s banking fraud],” Bhatia stressed:
“So far, we have received complaints for cheating worth 1.14 crore rupee ($158,106).”
Ciao baby, gotta run!
So what of the Bitconnect promoters themselves? Has the protective cloak of black cash and the newsworthy distractions of lurid kidnappings and extortions really allowed them to get away scot-free?
Last month, police finally arrested a suspect, Divyesh Darji, who is said to have held “held seminars [and] events in India and other countries” promoting the Wonderland promises of Bitconnect. Darji, a resident of Surat, had reportedly already been issued with a look-out circular and was arrested on Aug. 18 in the Delhi airport, after a tip-off from local immigration services.
In his interview with Cointelegraph, Raza Kashif described Darji as a local and respected “influencer,” who enjoyed a number of high-profile and esteemed local connections, which he presumably made excellent use of to propagate the Bitconnect affair.
Darji’s still-active LinkedIn profile claims — in somewhat shrill ALL CAPS — that:
“I AM HAVING DEGREE OF M.COM. LL.B., B.ED., N.D. & HAD EXPERIENCE OF TEACHING +2 STUDENT & COLLEGE FOR 25 YEARS. I AM GOOD NET WORKER AND HAVING GOOD LEADERSHIP QUALITIES. RIGHT NOW I AM HAVING ENOUGH KNOWLEDGE ABOUT CRYPTO CURRENCY AND BITCOIN AND MAKING WEALTH THROUGH THAT [sic].”
A recent Times article cites CID crime officials as alleging that Darji enjoyed “10 percent commission” on investments he brought in:
“He was fluent in English and ran several social welfare programs. He had a big following and Khumbani hence roped him in […] Darji had brought investments of 4,100 crore rupee [around $567.6 million], while the total amount invested in Bitconnect could be around 41,000 crore rupee [around $5.6 billion].”
As for Satish Kumbhani, he is reported to still be absconding. A senior CID crime officer is quoted by the Times as saying that the unit has “begun the process of getting a warrant issued against [him] and will then press for a red-corner notice (RCN)” to trace him:
“Kumbhani was tracked down to South Korea some time ago, but by the time we could react, he had flown back to Dubai. He supposedly handled the worldwide operations of the company and may have possession of a large amount of money in Bitcoins, which belongs to investors.”
As Raza shrewdly noted, the INC has to date called four press conferences in response to the Bitconnect-related scandals, capitalizing on its potential to tarnish the BJP ahead of the forthcoming elections. In the wake of multiple high-profile scandals, he added that:
“Back-to-back in the last five months, the magnitude of [a string of] frauds has come to 1 lakh crores rupee [around $13.87 billion]. For a developing country like India to face scams of this magnitude, [it] has shaken people’s confidence in the system.”
Raza noted that news of the Bitconnect-related extortions broke after the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) notorious circular directing all banks to extract themselves from relationships with crypto exchanges and traders had already been issued on April 5.
But Raza nonetheless stressed:
“News like this makes life tougher for the average crypto trader in India […] the opposition party [INC] is opposing cryptocurrency now, because they have said that the ruling party used crypto to make their black money white. Now, if they come into power, they will not positively regulate crypto, because if the current party [BJP] goes into opposition, they will turn around and say that ‘once upon a time, you used to trash us for our involvement in crypto, and now you yourselves are regulating it!’ So this is not a good sign actually.”
In his correspondence, he added that as they bide their time until the next date of hearings devoted to the RBI restrictions, India’s crypto exchanges and traders have found their “messiah” in the “form of the p2p model”:
“Timely regulation will help curb these scams to mushroom in India. The main protagonists, in this case, took the advantage of ‘fear’ and ‘negativity’ surrounding this industry in India. Possession of ‘Bitcoin’ is not illegal in India and most of the exchanges in India are self-regulated and follow stricter norms on KYC than banks.
“There is a huge challenge in India when you approach a police station to file a complaint against a Bitcoin fraud, as there is a high probability that you might be sent back without [them] even listening to your complaint. The fraudsters know this fact and they take maximum advantage of looting the general public in the name of high-return promises.”
As of press time, Shailesh’s Bhatt’s whereabouts remain unknown. With Kotadiya still remanded in custody, the case is poised to send further shockwaves through the crypto community and to provide further grist to the mill of India’s opposition politicians.
As the final scores in Bitconnect’s Gujarat chapter remain to be settled, globally, the scandal has meanwhile bequeathed to us one of the most jarring memes in industry history. Here is a viral video of one Carlos Matos, a Bitconnect recruiter born in the Bronx who “serenaded” the audience at the platform’s first annual ceremony in back in 2017, in Pattay, Thailand. Click ‘play’ at your peril.
Crypto markets hold their recent gains, ETH takes back the second position on the market over XRP by market cap.
Saturday, September 22: crypto markets have seen a mix of red and green, with Ethereum (ETH) having passed Ripple (XRP) to come back to be ranked the second top cryptocurrency by market cap, according to CoinMarketCap.
Market visualization from Coin360
After surging up to $6,809 earlier today, Bitcoin (BTC) is slightly down over the past 24 hours, having traded below $6,700 over the past few hours. The leading cryptocurrency is down around 0.5 percent and trading at $6,667 at press time, seeing around 3 percent gains over the week.
Bitcoin weekly price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index
Ethereum (ETH) has regained its position as the top second cryptocurrency by market cap, having overtaken Ripple by some $2 billion, with a market cap of $24.4 billion at press time. The altcoin has surged 4 percent over a 24 hour period, and is trading at $238 as of press time. Ethereum is still down around about 15 percent over the past 30 days, while seeing similar gains of around 15 percent over the week.
Ethereum weekly price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index
In contrast, Ripple has seen a notable decline over the day, down almost 8 percent over the past 24 hours. The cryptocurrency is trading at $0.55 at press time, which is a growth of around 102 percent over the past 7 days, following significant gains yesterday.
Ripple weekly price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ripple Price Index
Total market cap has been hovering slightly above the $222 billion point over the day, with an intraday high of $227 billion and low of $219 billion. Over the past 48 hours, the crypto markets have gained at least $20 billion.
Weekly total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap
Bitcoin’s dominance on the market is seeing a significant decline this week, down from 55 percent a week ago to 51.9 percent at press time.
Weekly percentage of total market capitalization (dominance). Source: CoinMarketCap
The majority of the top 20 coins by market cap have seen small fluctuations in the interval between 5 percent down and 4 percent up over the past 24 hours, with Stellar (XLM), Cardano (ADA), Tezos (XTZ) seeing losses today, according to CoinMarketCap.
Stellar is down about 6.5 percent and is trading at about $0.24 at press time, while Cardano and Tezos are down around 3.2 and 3.1 percent over a 24 hour period, trading at $0.08 and $1.64, respectively.
The seventh top cryptocurrency by market cap, Litecoin (LTC), is up almost 4 percent, trading at around $60 at press time.
Crypto markets have seen a notable recovery over the past 48 hours, with Bitcoin having tested $6,700 support level after dropping to as low as $6,229 earlier this week. The cryptocurrency rebound has taken place amidst the recent announcement by the largest Brazilian brokerage Grupo XP of the launch of a Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange in the near future.
Also on September 21, billionaire investor Mike Novogratz predicted that Bitcoin will see a 30 percent rally by the end of 2018. Stating that the $8,800 to $10,000 threshold would be the the defining moment for institutional investors to enter the space, Novogratz claimed that it is impossible for BTC to not reach the $8,800 to $10,000 price points by the end of the year.
Coinsquare’s subsidiary Coin Capital has become the 30th ETF provider in Canada with the launch of two ETFs focused on tech and blockchain.
A portfolio-management subsidiary of crypto exchange Coinsquare has launched two exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), local news agency The Globe And Mail reports September 20.
Coinsquare’s subsidiary — Coin Capital Investment Management — has reportedly become the 30th ETF operator in Canada, with the launch of the Coincapital STOXX Blockchain Patents Innovation Index Fund (LDGR) and the Coincapital STOXX B.R.AI.N. Index Fund (THNK).
The ETFs trading started on Thursday, September 20, with a management fee of 0.64 per cent on the TSX, which is reportedly the 12th largest global stock exchange by market capitalization.
LDGR is a research-focused ETF that intends to provide investors with global equity securities of firms that invest in the development of blockchain technologies. The ETF is based on the recently launched iSTOXX Yewno Developed Markets Blockchain Index — an index that reflects a large volume of data to discover companies that focus on researching distributed ledger technology (DLT).
The second new ETF, THNK, aims to provide investments in global equity securities concentrated around four “megatrends” in technology — biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and nanotechnology — based on the iSTOXX Developed Markets B.R.AI.N Index.
Lewis Bateman, chief executive of Coin Capital — which launched in July — claimed that the newly launched ETFs will allow investors to access “high-quality investments” in the industries of AI and blockchain “without deep domain expertise.”
Earlier this year, Harvest Portfolios investment solutions provider became the first Canadian blockchain-based ETF (HBLK), enabling customers to invest in securities focused on large and small-scale blockchain corporations, based on its own Harvest Blockchain Technologies Index.
On August 23, Coinsquare announced its plans to expand its business into the European market in Q4 2018, aiming to provide a “regulated, fully-compliant trading platform” to trade cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Dogecoin (DOGE), and Dash (DASH).
The Celsius Network has become a founding member of the SDG Impact Fund within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals initiative.
Decentralized lending and borrowing platform Celsius Network will manage the Sustainable Development Goals Impact Fund (SDG Impact Fund) within the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals initiative, according to a press release published September 21.
The Sustainable Development Goals is an international program focused on bringing a “better and more sustainable future for all.” It addresses global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. The initiative aims to achieve a series of targets by 2030.
Per the announcement, the SDG Impact Fund will be launched by financial services firm Fifth Element with the aim to raise several hundred million dollars and deploy them in both fiat and digital format using a public blockchain. The fund will purportedly be the first to accept and operate all forms of crypto and digital assets in compliance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Within the partnership with Fifth Element, Celsius Network is reportedly looking to “bring power back to the people” by providing banking services typically reserved for top tier asset owners. Celsius CEO Alex Mashinsky said that "by offering earned interest rates up to 7.1 percent, we allow individuals to make the same passive income Wall Street has been making for years." Scott Stornetta, adviser to Celsius, commented:
“We see a great opportunity to use this technology to deliver the value collected by different U.N. organizations in a more precise and effective way to the people and organizations that need it most."
In February the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) embraced cryptocurrency by starting a charity drive for Syrian children, asking PC gamers to use their computers to mine Ethereum (ETH) and donate their earnings. Later in April, UNICEF Australia also announced an initiative that allows users to give their computer’s processing power to mine cryptocurrency for charity.
The South Korean government has pledged support for blockchain companies to speed up the growth of the industry in the country.
The Korean Ministry of Science and Information Communications Technology (MSICT) has pledged further support to facilitate the growth of the domestic blockchain industry, Business Korea reported September 21.
Second Minister of Science and ICT Min Won-ki held a meeting with blockchain startups as part of the government’s effort to establish contact with organizations in what it has dubbed the 10 key ICT sectors of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
The agenda for the meeting was devoted to blockchain pilot projects initiated by the government in order to bolster the blockchain market and improve public services with the investment of 4.2 billion won ($3.7 million). Participants reviewed the deployment of blockchain technology in customs clearance, livestock provenance, and property transactions. Min said:
“Considering the fact that there is no significant blockchain technology gap between South Korea and the other countries, it is a good opportunity for South Korea to lead the industry. The government will actively back domestic companies to help them lead the global blockchain market.”
Blockchain startups highlighted the necessity to form a cloud-based blockchain environment, provide support for research and development in the private sector, and create a healthy competitive environment between domestic and foreign blockchain developers.
Though the South Korean government has prohibited all types of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and has not developed a related policy since, the country is known for its proactive approach to blockchain adoption.
In the beginning of September, a partnership initiated by the MSICT began a six-month training course to turn forty-two applicants into “blockchain specialists,” aiming to increase the availability of skilled professionals in South Korea’s burgeoning blockchain economy.
Earlier this month, Cointelegraph also reported that the Korea Customs Service has signed an agreement with Samsung SDS to deploy blockchain technology for its customs clearance system. The customs services hopes to streamline and secure document sharing at each stage, from customs declarations of exported goods to delivery.
The biggest brokerage firm in Brazil, Grupo XP, is planning to launch a crypto exchange in the coming months.
Chief Executive Officer of Grupo XP Guilherme Benchimol told Bloomberg that the company will launch an exchange called XDEX in the coming months, with around forty employees. Grupo XP is the biggest financial group in Brazil, comprising companies with various business models.
XP has reportedly set a goal to have $1 trillion reais ($245 billion) under custody by 2020, which is four times what the company expects to raise by the end of this year. In addition, XP will launch a bank in the next few months.
Benchimol said that he “must confess, this is a theme I’d rather didn’t exist, but it does," adding that “we felt obligated to start advancing in this market." He noted that the company is being pushed into the crypto business by the popularity of cryptocurrencies among investors. 3 million Brazilians “have exposure” to Bitcoin, compared to only 600,000 that invest in the stock market.
Initially, Grupo XP announced its plans to launch an over-encounter (OTC) BTC exchange in April. The move was reportedly the first for XP, which first registered an outfit called XP COIN INTERMEDIACAO in August 2017. Later that year, following a 5 million reals (about $1.5 million) capital injection, the company rebranded to become XDEX.
Earlier this week, Brazil’s Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) launched a probe into six major national banks regarding alleged monopolistic practices in the crypto space. Per a CADE report, “the main banks are imposing restrictions or even prohibiting ... access to the financial system by cryptocurrency brokerages.” The banks reportedly claim that the brokers’ accounts were closed due to the absence or lack of client data.
U.S. Congressman Tom Emmer will introduce three bills to support blockchain and digital assets in the country.
The three upcoming bills are entitled the “Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology,” the “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act,” and the “Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act.”
The legislation is focused on the support and development of blockchain technology, as well as the establishment of a safe harbor for taxpayers with “forked” digital assets.
The bills would prompt the federal government to provide a “simple legal environment,” and restrict fines against individuals who report “forked” digital assets until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) presents formal guidance on the appropriate means of reporting. According to Emmer, “taxpayers can only comply with the law when the law is clear.” The representative further commented on the initiative:
“The United States should prioritize accelerating the development of blockchain technology and create an environment that enables the American private sector to lead on innovation and further growth, which is why I am introducing these bills.”
Moreover, Emmer has taken up the position of co-chairman of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a platform for the industry and government collaboration to examine the implications of blockchain and digital currencies. According to the announcement, “the Caucus believes in a hands-off regulatory approach to allow this technology to evolve the same way the Internet did; on its own.”
Earlier this week, U.S. lawmakers called on the IRS to issue clarified and “comprehensive” crypto taxation guidance. The lawmakers argue that while the IRS has proactively continued to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance with its guidance, its failure to introduce a more robust taxation framework “severely hinders taxpayers' ability” to meet their obligations.
Also this week, Cointelegraph reported that the American National Standards Institute is going to discuss blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) issues at its next Legal Issues and Joint Member Forum. The attendees will reportedly focus on legal and ethical concerns and explore concrete applications of blockchain technology and AI.
Insider sources have suggested that Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) is eyeing takeovers in the blockchain and other tech sectors in a bid to boost it’s revenue sources.
Bloomberg cites “people with knowledge of the matter” as saying that the exchange is considering a change in strategy due to stalling trading links with exchanges in China, citing worsening U.S.-China trade relations as a further cause for concern.
The sources reportedly told Bloomberg that HKEX CEO Charles Li has met with “at least three investment banks” to discuss diversifying the exchange’s model, including a possible set of takeovers in the “data, analytics and blockchain sectors.” Due to the sensitivity of the matter, Bloomberg’s sources asked to remain anonymous.
They reportedly suggest that Li has been looking to the venture capital arms of U.S.-based stalwart exchanges CME Group Inc. and Nasdaq Inc. “as possible models,” with Bloomberg noting that Nasdaq saw 19 percent of its 2017 revenue from data products and 13 percent from market technology.
By contrast, Bloomberg’s data indicates that HKEX generated almost 100 percent of its 2017 revenue from clearing and trading fees.
Bloomberg’s sources further allege that potential technology acquisitions were “the focus” of two recent key HKEX meetings — a strategy discussion with senior managers on September 10, and a board member meeting on September 12. They report that the exchange is due to launch a three-year strategy plan starting in 2019, of which the details are currently under discussion.
Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment Corp., told Bloomberg in an email that:
“The strategy is in the right direction but it is not easy to achieve the targets. HKEX needs to maintain a momentum of growth by exploring new businesses.”
According to Bloomberg, HKEX has “struggled to integrate” its 2012 acquisition of London Metal Exchange, and the article cites an unnamed HKEX advisor as saying that there are “industry concerns” surrounding the success of future deals.
As previously reported, within China itself, blockchain has been making inroads into the very infrastructure of major stock exchanges. Earlier this summer, the world’s fourth-largest stock exchange, the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) released plans to adopt the technology for use in securities transactions.
Travis Kling has left Point72 Asset Management to start his own digital assets fund in the beginning of October.
Former equities portfolio manager Travis Kling has left billionaire Steven Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management to launch his own digital assets fund, Bloomberg reported September 21.
Point72 is an asset management firm founded in 2014 as the successor of investment company SAC Capital Advisors. The latter pleaded guilty to federal insider trading charges and paid a $1.8 billion fine. Point 72 has offices in New York City, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, London, Paris, and Palo Alto, while its staff is marked with former IBM executive Timothy Shaughnessy as chief operating officer.
The new Los Angeles-based fund called Ikigai will reportedly start on October 1 with partners’ capital, with plans to raise $15 million of outside capital on November 1. By mid-2019, Kling plans to increase Ikigai’s tokens portfolio to $100 million and its venture fund to $33 million.
At the time of launch, most of the funds will be in cash. The fund has a fee of two percent in addition to custody costs, while a minimum investment for accredited investors is $250,000.
Kling expressed confidence in cryptocurrencies, despite the current slump in markets, as interest in the space continues to grow. Kling said that “[cryptocurrency] will be a multi-trillion-dollar asset class,” adding:
“It will be part of our everyday lives. It’s still very early, but the development and growth of this technology will be exponential.”
In July, Cohen backed Arianna Simpson’s crypto and blockchain-focused hedge fund Autonomous Partners through his private equity firm Cohen Private Ventures. Simpson then said that her fund has held off from investing in Ripple (XRP) pending clarification from U.S. regulators as to whether XRP would be classified as a security.
In April, it was reported that 10 percent of crypto hedge funds could face closure in the subsequent eight months due to both market health and regulatory uncertainty. Kyle Samani, co-founder of U.S.-based fund Multicoin Capital, said that “new capital has slowed, even for a higher-profile fund like ours.”
Ever wondered what you can spend your cryptocurrency on? Cointelegraph unpacks some of the most outrageous things you can buy with crypto.
With Bitcoin’s 10th birthday just around the corner, it's worth taking a look at some of the most outrageous and expensive things people have been able to purchase with BTC.
We have certainly come a long way since the infamous Bitcoin pizza incident, where Laszlo Hanyecz ordered two pizzas from Papa John’s for 10,000 BTC back in 2010. It goes to show how much progress has been made in eight years — especially when you take a look at how much you’d pay for those same two pizzas with Bitcoin today.
Given the gradual rise in value of Bitcoin over the years, early adopters who got their hands on substantial sums of the cryptocurrency found themselves with an incredible amount of wealth in the last two years.
Some may have sold their Bitcoin, while others have adopted the ‘hodl’ mantra. Nevertheless, as the popularity of cryptocurrencies has increased, people have been open to selling real-world assets — from cars to islands — for a slice of the proverbial crypto pie.
Let's explore the wide variety of worldly possessions people can buy with their hoards of cryptocurrency.
Any crypto enthusiast is familiar with the phrase ‘When Lambo,’ as the luxury vehicle has become somewhat of a cult icon for crypto-made billionaires, who have bought the sports cars with their crypto-wealth.
While a Lamborghini may be the goal, people have been able to purchase a wide variety of vehicles, from affordable hatchbacks to luxury sports cars, with cryptocurrency for some time now.
A luxury car dealership in Japan now accepts Bitcoin as a payment method through renowned cryptocurrency exchange BitFlyer. According to the company, customers can easily pay for their next prospective vehicle in a matter of minutes — which certainly beats conventional means of buying vehicles, like obtaining finance through a bank.
While this dealership is driving forward a new payment model, it’s not the first time people have been able to buy cars with crypto. In December last year, a Manchester car owner listed a gold-colored Rolls Royce on Autotrader, which could only be purchased with Bitcoin. BlockShow Asia 2017 also provided the stage for BitCar to promote their platform, which allows people to buy and sell exotic cars like Lambos using cryptocurrency.
The latest company to begin accepting payment in crypto is American dealership Post Oak Motor Cars. The Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Bugatti dealership now accepts Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash from clients. Owned by billionaire Tilman Fertitta, the company offers customers this facility around the world.
Brick and mortar
Astonishingly, some people are even willing to accept cryptocurrency for property, an asset class that has historically considered a good store of wealth and investment.
In this particular section, there is big divide between what you can buy with cryptocurrency, from a modest home to an entire tropical island.
Starting off with that piece of Caribbean paradise, a plot of on Union Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines went up for sale in Bitcoin late last year. The £5.3 million, 13-acres plot was only up for sale in Bitcoin, with the owners asking for 570 BTC at the time.
Investors looking for property in the Middle East had the chance to buy a number of apartments in Dubai. A couple of British entrepreneurs listed 50 luxury flats for sale in Bitcoin in February this year, and amazingly all of those properties were sold. Incredibly one of the investors has bought 10 of the properties with Bitcoin.
We’ve also seen a number of mansions up for sale across the world, including a luxury mansion in Notting Hill in London, with the investment firm selling the property only taking payment in Bitcoin.
Across the Atlantic Ocean, an early Bitcoin investor listed his Miami mansion for sale, making payment in Bitcoin an option for prospective buyers.
It’s not all about million dollar mansions though, as a home in Grimsby on the North Coast of England was put on sale for 18 BTC in October 2017.
For the lovers of the finer things in life, it is possible to buy expensive jewelry with cryptocurrency.
Diamond retailer Samer Halimeh New York has been accepting crypto payments for jewelry since September 2017.
The move is an interesting one, as it was sparked by an increase demand from customers looking to buy jewelry worth more than $1 million.
Reeds is another American jewelry retailer that has begun accepting payment in Bitcoin. Their offerings go further than just conventional jewelry, as customers are able to buy gold ingots and loose diamonds with the cryptocurrency.
This essentially allows cryptocurrency holders to diversify their investments, should they choose to take an easier way by obtaining traditional stores of value like gold and diamonds.
Booking your seat
Bitcoin has also been used by some to purchase a wide variety of tickets, from big events to good old plane tickets.
Earlier this year, an American NFL fanatic was able to buy front row tickets for the Super Bowl through an online platform. The transaction cost $19,000, which was 2.2 BTC at the time, and the website that facilitated the purchase made a special effort to accept the cryptocurrency for the first time.
Those that have been bitten by the travel bug and have a substantial amount of Bitcoin in their possession can also travel the world using their cryptocurrency.
While we’re on the topic of travel, some of the world’s richest have been lucky enough to attend world-renowned entrepreneur Richard Branson’s annual blockchain summit on his very own Necker Island.
The Necker Blockchain Summit is an invite-only event which brings together some of the greatest minds to innovate and foster the growth of blockchain technology around the world.
If you want to check out where the richest in the world — including crypto-made millionaires — hang out, check out Cointelegraph’s prestigious list.
Knowledge is power
Perhaps one of the most intriguing ways you can spend cryptocurrency is by enrolling at a university and then paying for your tuition fees with Bitcoin.
Cumbria University in England has been allowing students to pay for their education with Bitcoin since 2014. Cointelegraph has confirmed that this payment option is still available, although the popularity of the option has waned in recent years.
The University of Nicosia in Cyprus was the first in the world to offer students the option of paying fees with Bitcoin.
You can also do the same at the European School of Management and Technology, which began accepting payment in BTC in 2017.
More of the same to come?
A common theme in the arguments against cryptocurrency adoption has been the obvious barrier to entry when it comes to day-to-day use of digital currencies.
Many argue that it is difficult to actually use cryptocurrency for everyday items like grocery shopping or other menial expenses.
While this may be the case, there have been moves in the right direction in all sorts of places. For one, the ever-growing number of cryptocurrency ATMs, which allow people to draw cash in exchange for crypto, makes it possible to use your crypto to pay for goods in a fairly quick manner.
What is more, the crypto ATM market is expected to grow exponentially in the next five years, according to reports published in September.
While the crypto markets have endured a testing year so far, these type of developments show that there is a steadily growing market of consumers that are looking to actively use cryptocurrency to settle payments.
Whether it’s cars, property, flights or a ticket to the Super Bowl, cryptocurrencies can and have been the answer for some. The only question is when this will snowball into an everyday phenomenon.
Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, just made a bold statement regarding his oil-backed cryptocurrency, the Petro Coin.The Petro Coin
Maduro appeared on the national VTV channel today and delivered a speech about his country’s latest economic issues. According to VTV’s official website, Maduro said:
“The Petro enters the street, as a currency of exchange, purchase and convertible currencies for the world.”
However, the Venezuelan president didn’t specify the areas where the Petro will be used. Maduro also didn’t name any countries willing to accept the Petro Coin.
This oil-backed cryptocurrency ...
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The Japanese FSA has launched an investigation following a $60 million hack of crypto exchange Zaif.
The Financial Services Agency (FSA) of Japan has launched an investigation after $60 million worth of cryptocurrencies were allegedly stolen from local crypto exchange Zaif, Cointelegraph Japan reports Friday, September 21.
According to the report, the FSA has sent its staff to Tech Bureau — Zaif's parent company based in Osaka — to verify whether the company will be able to cover customer losses.
As Cointelegraph Japan has learnеd, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) has urged all local crypto exchanges to conduct an immediate inspection of their security protocols. Following the notice, exchanges BitFlyer and Quoine reported they had not detected any data breach during the check.
As Cointelegraph has previously reported, Zaif experienced a security breach on September 14, but the server error was only detected on September 17. Hackers reportedly stole cryptocurrencies amounting to 4.5 billion yen from users' wallets along with 2.2 billion yen from the assets of the company itself, with total losses totalling $59.7 million.
According to Cointelegraph Japan, Zaif previously received two administrative warnings from the FSA in March and June. The first mentioned instances of “system failure” and “fraudulent withdrawals.” Despite Zaif failing the check, the exchanged was not closed.
The Japanese National Police Agency recently published a report stating that crypto thefts have tripled in 2018. During the first six months of this year 60.503 billion yen ($540 million) worth of crypto was stolen from different wallets. The biggest hack of this year took place in January 2018, when 58 billion yen ($520 million) worth of NEM coin were stolen from Coincheck crypto exchange.
Ripple (XRP) just passed Ethereum (ETH) this morning to take the second-largest cryptocurrency spot. Except, a few hours later Ethereum enthusiasts shot back and Ethereum re-gained its #2 spot.Ripple (XRP) Comeback
XRP is among the group of worst performing cryptocurrencies this year, but it seems to be making a comeback. In the summer, it was down more than 90 percent from its high in January.
XRP and Ripple are often confused, and people intertwine them. Ripple Labs is a fintech company that focuses specifically on global payments and hold the majority of XRP. ...
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Bitcoin mining behemoth Bitmain has unveiled its next-generation ASIC chip soon to be used in the firm’s new “Antminer” crypto mining machines.
An Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chip is a piece of tailored mining hardware geared to mine cryptocurrency based on a specific hashing algorithm.
Bitmain CEO and co-founder Jihan Wu reportedly announced the new crypto-mining-specific ASIC chip BM1391 during his keynote lecture at the World Digital Mining Summit in Georgia.
According to Wu, Bitmain has now started to mass produce the chip and plans to integrate it into its next-generation Antminer machines.
The new “acceleration” ASIC chip is said to use an SHA256 algorithm and is based on a highly-advanced semiconductor manufacturing technology, 7nm (nanometer) Finfet. It reportedly integrates “more than a billion transistors,” using a special circuit structure and low power-intensive technology to optimize efficiency. According to CEO Wu, tests have shown the chip “can achieve a ratio of energy consumption to the mining capacity that is as low as 42J/T.”
Wu emphasized that as the industry matures, “exponential growth” in blockchain user traffic means that ever-greater processing power will be required to keep pace. He predicted that bleeding-edge computing technology development will also need to be integrated with blockchain to address the challenges facing the burgeoning industry.
Just yesterday, Bitcoin mining software manufacturer Bitfury Group unveiled its own ASIC chip dubbed Bitfury Clarke, which the firm plans to integrate into a range of hardware, including its mining servers.
In July, Cointelegraph reported that bearish crypto markets had negatively impacted the sale of ASIC chips, with a predicted price drop of 20 percent that month. The affected graphics card suppliers including the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), as well as its integrated circuit (IC) design service partners like Global Unichip.
The Swiss Bankers Association has divided blockchain startups in two categories, providing guidelines to prevent a crypto exodus.
The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) has issued basic guidelines for banks working with blockchain startups on Friday, September 21. As Reuters reports, the measure was taken to prevent a mass crypto exodus out of Switzerland.
The document states that banks see blockchain as an opportunity for Switzerland to house financial and technology startups despite "risks," especially money laundering. Due to a significant increase of crypto-related companies based in the country, the SBA has decided to provide a road map for banks to open their corporate accounts.
The guidelines divides blockchain companies into two large groups: those with and those without Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). Blockchain companies without ICOs should be treated like other small- and medium-sized companies, and will be obliged to accept relevant Swiss regulations and apply them to their business models.
The second group includes blockchain startups with ICOs who issue tokens either in fiat or in crypto. Companies whose ICOs are funded via digital coins will have to comply with stricter rules and fall under the Swiss AML and KYC laws.
The SBA guidelines will treat the acceptance of cryptocurrencies under ICOs as a “spot transaction.” As per the scheme provided by SBA, ICOs funded with fiat are placed under the same rules as blockchain companies with no ICOs.
According to Reuters, the move comes amid a recent exodus of crypto-related startups who have failed to get access to the Swiss banking sector. As the news agency has learned, only a few of almost 250 local banks have allowed to assets raised via crypto to be stored.
Moreover, two of them have withdrawn their services for blockchain-related companies. For instance, Zuercher Kantonalbank, the fourth largest Swiss bank, has closed more than 20 blockchain-related accounts, Reuters reported in July.
Under these unstable conditions, the new guidelines might help to create a dialogue between banks and crypto startups more simple, according to SBA strategic adviser Adrian Schatzmann:
“We believe [...] we’ll be able to establish a basis for discussion between banks and innovative startups [...] facilitating the opening of accounts.”
Switzerland is home to dozens of crypto-related startups, situated mainly in the canton of Zug known as Crypto Valley. Based on Reuters data, the total number has now climbed up to 530 firms.
As Cointelegraph reported earlier in June, Hypothekarbank Lenzburg has become the first bank in Switzerland to provide business accounts to blockchain and cryptocurrency companies.
On Sept. 17, CloudFlare introduced its decentralized content gateway.
On Sept. 17, a vital United States-based content delivery network (CDN) CloudFlare introduced a new decentralized content gateway via InterPlanetary File System (IPFS), a peer-to-peer (p2p) network run by thousands of computers bypassing the conventional HTTP system. Here’s how it supposed to work and why CloudFlare decided to support such a project.
What is CloudFlare?
CloudFlare is a company that provides content delivery network (CDN) services and DDoS protection. Basically, CloudFlare plays the role of an intermediary between the website and the visitor. It defends the website by filtering out suspicious requests and speeds up its overall performance via its CDN, powered by 152 data centers located in different parts of the world. As CloudFlare’s CEO Matthew Prince explained to the Wire:
“At that data center, we’ll make a series of determinations: Are you a good guy or a bad guy? Are you trying to harm the site? Or are you actually a legitimate customer? If we determine that you’re a bad guy, we stop you there. We act essentially as this force shield that covers and protects our customers.”
The company was created in 2009, when Prince and Lee Holloway, who had been jointly working on a system that tracked how spammers harvested email addresses (dubbed ‘Project Honey Pot’), met Michelle Zatlyn at the Harvard Business School, where Prince went to get his MBA. Together, they expanded the concept, came up with a new name and won the Harvard Business School Business Plan competition.
The service itself quietly launched its beta in June 2010. On Sept. 27 of the same year, CloudFlare was officially launched at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco. As per data stated on their website, the company serves around 8 million internet properties and “powers nearly 10 percent of all internet requests.” According to the Wire, Cloudflare customers vary “from individual bloggers who pay nothing for basic security services to Fortune 50 companies that pay up to a million dollars a year for guaranteed 24-hour support.”
CloudFlare’s politics: Path to decentralized internet
CloudFlare has been publicly championing net neutrality — the idea that networks should not discriminate against content that passes through them.
On June 2, 2011, the controversial hacker collective Lulzsec tweeted “we love Cloudflare” after the service assisted in handling a DDoS attack on their website. That event seemed to accurately describe the position that Cloudflare had found itself in — while it had received widespread acknowledgment for its efficiency, the service — albeit somewhat indirectly — has protected people who could be deemed radicals.
The situation escalated further in 2013, when Cloudflare was called “terrorists’ little helper” by a Kernel journalist for refusing to drop a Chechen news site Kavkaz Center. Prince then explained why the service chose to stand its ground in a blog post:
"One of the greatest strengths of the United States is a belief that speech, particularly political speech, is sacred. A website, of course, is nothing but speech [...] A website is speech. It is not a bomb. There is no imminent danger it creates and no provider has an affirmative obligation to monitor and make determinations about the theoretically harmful nature of speech a site may contain."
In March 2017, the Southern Poverty Law Center published an article claiming that Cloudflare had been optimizing content delivery for “at least 48 hate sites across Europe.” A similar article was published by ProRepublica in May 2017. In response to the latter piece, Cloudflare reportedly updated its abuse reporting system to allow people to more safely file complaints about the material on its sites.
In August 2017, Cloudflare decided to go against its net neutrality principles for the first time: After a neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer wrote a hate-filled column dedicated to a white-supremacist rally in Charlottesville and went as far as to suggest that Cloudlflare’s top management shared their ideology by covering them, Prince decided to deny them service, setting a precedent.
New product: What is IPFS?
The policies mentioned above explain why creating a new decentralized content gateway seems like a logical step for Cloudflare. Called Cloudflare’s InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) Gateway, it serves as a simplified way to access the IPFS, which is a blockchain-based, peer-to-peer file system composed of thousands of computers that store files, acting as nodes within a global network.
IPFS alters the conventional HTTP system the internet is largely based on. Instead of using the location-addressed system that HTTP entails — to access, say, Google, the client sends a request to the Google server’s IP, and the server returns a response message — it introduces a content-addressed system. Thus, the IPFS uses a cryptographic hash on a file as the address. CloudFlare explains this system with the following example:
“So rather than asking the network ‘get me the content stored at 126.96.36.199,’ you ask ‘get me the content that has a hash value of QmXnnyufdzAWL5CqZ2RnSNgPbvCc1ALT73s6epPrRnZ1Xy’ […] The content with [that] hash could be stored on dozens of nodes, so if one node that was caching that content goes down, the network will just look for the content on another node.”
The IPFS project was founded in 2014 by Juan Benet of Protocol Labs. It has since become an open-source project developed with help from the community.
As Cointelegraph previously reported, the IPFS launched its distributed file storage network in 2016 on Ethereum instead of Bitcoin, explaining the move because of “the Ethereum Network’s supportive development community and various innovative features.”
How Cloudflare’s new product could help to expand the IPFS?
The company is being considerably ambitious about their new product. The press release boastfully states:
“Just like when Cloudflare launched back in 2010 and changed the game for web properties by providing the security, performance and availability that was previously only available to the internet giants, we think the IPFS gateway will provide the same boost to content on the distributed web.”
Indeed, at least theoretically, the new gateway simplifies the process of interacting with the decentralized network, allowing to access it with a casual browser:
“At the most basic level, you can access any of the billions of files stored on IPFS from your browser. But that’s not the only cool thing you can do. Using Cloudflare’s gateway, you can also build a website that’s hosted entirely on IPFS, but still available to your users at a custom domain name.”
To lure in new clients, CloudFlare is promoting their gateway by granting a free SSL certificate to any website connected via their new service, offering to secure it from “snooping and manipulation.”
Further, perhaps in an attempt to prevent new net neutrality-related scandals, the company claims that “Cloudflare’s IPFS gateway is simply a cache in front of IPFS” and that they do not “have the ability to modify or remove content from the IPFS network,” reminding that there is the possibility of users sharing abusive content. For such cases, the company urges to use their “standard abuse reporting mechanism.”
Bitcoin price is on a bull-run right now. In fact, the entire crypto market seems to be making a bullish turn as sharp gains can also be seen across a number of altcoins.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is up 4.6% on the 24-hour basis and is currently trading at $6,733 according to coinmarketcap.com
Earlier in the day, Bitcoin price hit its 16-day high of $6,745, but it could easily hit that high again by the looks of things.Bitcoin Price Recovery
Bitcoin is recovering from a five-week low of $6,100 ...
Get latest cryptocurrency news on bitcoin, ethereum, initial coin offerings, ICOs, ethereum and all other cryptocurrencies. Learn How to trade on cryptocurrency exchanges.
Lately, crypto prices have not been falling on bad news and have been rising on minor positive ones – investors are looking for reasons to buy.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.
The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.
Michael Novogratz, founder of the digital asset management firm Galaxy Digital, has recently reiterated his view that cryptocurrencies have hit a bottom and a rebound is due. He believes several institutional players might invest in the market, boosting prices.
It, however, will be a slow grind higher. We have also been maintaining that the rally this year will be a gradual upward move, unlike the vertical increase seen in 2017.
Another billionaire investor, Tim Draper is unperturbed by the continuous decline in crypto, viewing it as a buying opportunity and sticking to his target of $250,000 by 2022. In regards to the news, the hack of a Japanese crypto exchange Zaif has not resulted in any panic selling, which shows that the bears are currently unable to capitalize on adverse headlines.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has said it had not “reached any conclusions with respect to any of the issues involved,” with the Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) proposal backed by investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX.
The Commission has requested further comments on the matter. This keeps the hope alive that an ETF might become a reality sooner than most expect.
When an asset class doesn’t fall on adverse news but rises on minor positives, it indicates that the investors are looking for reasons to buy. So, which are the cryptocurrencies that are showing a bottom formation? Let’s find out.
Bitcoin has broken out of both moving averages. It should now move up to the downtrend line of the descending triangle, which will act as a stiff resistance. The cryptocurrency has turned down four times from this line, making a lower high on each occasion.
This sequence will be broken if the bulls can push price above the previous lower high of $7413.46. Such a move will invalidate the descending triangle, which is a bullish sign. The positive divergence on the RSI is another indication of accumulation at the support.
The zone of $5,900–$6,075.04 has held five times since February of this year, making it a formidable support. The traders can wait for today’s close (UTC) to be above $6,600 and buy 50 percent of the desired allocation in the range of $6,600–$6,750.
We don’t want to buy the complete allocation at the current level because the downtrend line of the descending triangle can invite selling by the bears. However, as the prices have bounced off the lows, we want to initiate partial position because the stops are close by. The initial SL can be kept at $5,900.
If the BTC/USD pair struggles to break out of the downtrend line of the triangle, the traders can trail the stops higher. We shall add the remaining 50 percent of the position when the price sustains above the downtrend line. The targets are $7413.46 and $8566.4. Our bullish view will be invalidated if the bears break the critical support zone.
Ethereum has not participated in the pullback. It continues to languish below the 50-day SMA and inside the descending channel.
The 20-day EMA has flattened out and the RSI is also trying to move up into the positive territory, which shows that the selling pressure has abated.
If the bulls can break out of the downtrend line of the descending channel and the 50-day SMA, a change in trend is likely. We suggest traders wait for the breakout before initiating any long positions.
If the ETH/USD pair fails to sustain above the 50-day SMA, it might remain range bound and enter a bottoming formation.
Ripple has rallied over 184 percent in just four days. With this move, it has broken out of the downtrend line with force. The downtrend is over and a new trend has started.
The moving averages have completed a bullish crossover and the RSI has risen into the overbought territory for the first time since April of this year. While all these are positive signs, we shall not attempt to chase the rally higher.
The traders should wait for the rally to stall for a day or two and then build new positions because if a long position is initiated at the current levels, the stop loss will have to be way lower. Therefore, although we are bullish on the XRP/USD pair, we shall not suggest any long positions at the current levels.
The important level to watch out on the upside is $0.70, which is acting as a stiff resistance. On any correction, the downtrend line, which had been acting as a resistance until now, will act as a strong support.
Bitcoin Cash has also pulled back along with the other cryptocurrencies. It has broken out of the 20-day EMA and can now move up to the 50-day SMA, which is just below the resistance line of the descending channel.
A break out of the descending channel will indicate a probable change in trend. The levels to watch out for on the upside are $660, and above that $880.
If the bulls fail to break out of the channel, the BCH/USD pair might remain stuck between $400 and the resistance line of the channel. Traders should establish a new position only on a confirmed break out of the channel because until then, the trend remains down.
EOS has risen above both moving averages and the overhead resistance at $5.65. It can now move up to $6.8299.
The moving averages are close to completing a bullish crossover and the RSI has entered the positive territory. This increases the probability of a change in trend.
The bulls might face selling in the zone of $6.8299–$7.324. If this zone is crossed, the rally can extend to $8. Therefore, the traders can hold their remaining long positions with a stop at $4.4. The stop loss can be trailed higher as the EOS/USD pair moves northwards.
Stellar rallied sharply for the past two days and has broken out of the range for the first time since September 11. This breakout has a pattern target of $0.3157505 with a minor resistance at the downtrend line.
During the previous two occasions, the XLM/USD pair had risen vertically after breaking out of the 50-day SMA. Currently, both moving averages are on the verge of a bullish crossover and the RSI is also in the positive territory.
A break out of the downtrend line of the descending triangle will invalidate the bearish pattern, which is a bullish sign. Therefore, traders can enter long positions on a close above $0.255, with the stop loss at $0.18. The targets are $0.3157505 and $0.36. If the pair struggles to break out of the downtrend line once again, traders can tighten their stops.
Litecoin has broken out of the downtrend line and the 20-day EMA. It is currently facing resistance at the 50-day SMA. The bulls haven’t been able to sustain above the 50-day SMA since May 16 of this year. Hence, any break out of this level will suggest a likely change in trend.
The important level to watch on the upside is $69.279. If the LTC/USD pair breaks out of this resistance, it will complete a double bottom formation, which has a pattern target of $89.
Therefore, we suggest a long position on a breakout and close (UTC time frame) above $69.279. The initial stop loss can be placed at $49 and raised later.
Cardano has broken out of the 20-day EMA and is close to the 50-day SMA. If the bulls push prices above the 50-day SMA, the pullback can extend to $0.111843.
The moving averages are flattening and the RSI is trying to rise into the positive territory. This increases the probability of a continued move higher.
On the downside, the ADA/USD pair will find support at the 20-day EMA and $0.071355. We don’t find any reliable buy setups on the cryptocurrency; hence, we shall wait for a few days before suggesting any long positions in it.
The bulls successfully defended the 50-day SMA on Monero from September 17–19 and have broken out of the downtrend line. There is a minor resistance at $122.6, above which a rally to $140 is probable.
The 20-day EMA has turned up while the 50-day SMA has flattened out. The RSI has entered into the positive territory. These signs indicate that the path of least resistance is to the upside. Therefore, traders can trail their stops on the long positions to $100. Let’s reduce the risk on the trade.
On the downside, the XMR/USD pair has support at the 20-day EMA, the 50-day SMA and the trendline of the triangle.
IOTA has pulled back close to the upper end of the range of $0.5–$0.6170, where it is facing resistance from the 50-day SMA and the downtrend line.
The 20-day EMA has flattened out and the RSI is moving closer to the neutral territory, which shows that the near-term selling pressure has reduced. If the bulls break out of the overhead resistances, a rally to $0.7448 and further to $0.8152 is likely.
How hackers stole $59 million from Zaif.
This week, yet another major hack occurred in Japan: Hackers stole around $59 million worth of cryptocurrencies from local cryptocurrency exchange Zaif. It took several days for the platform to notice the breach, and now it has fallen under the tight scrutiny of the country’s regulator. The company that owns Zaif has already agreed to sell its majority stake to cover the losses.
Zaif was already under the FSA’s scope
Zaif was founded in May 2014 by Osaka-based startup Tech Bureau Inc. It is one of the 16 crypto exchanges in Japan which have received approval from Financial Services Agency (FSA) — since the amendment of Payment Services Act in April 2017, all crypto exchanges in the country are required to register with the regulator.
Zaif has received “punishment notices” — or business improvement orders — from the FSA at least twice this year: the first one on March 8 and the second on June 22. Specifically, in March, Zaif was one of the seven exchanges criticized for a lack of “the proper and required internal control systems” by the watchdog. The FSA has been keeping a tight grip on local exchanges, firmly reacting to security breaches after two high-profile scandals: January’s unprecedented $532 million Coincheck hack (the exchange was not registered with the FSA at the time) and the infamous collapse of Tokyo-based Mt. Gox.
Now, according to government sources cited by Japan Times, the exchange is in danger of getting a third warning from the FSA, which also inspected all the other exchanges in the country for similar breaches.
Almost $60 million was stolen, but the amount might be even higher
According to Cointelegraph Japan, the security breach occurred on Sept. 14 and lasted for two hours — between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. local time. As a result of the attack, the hackers managed to steal 4.5 billion yen (roughly $40.1 million) from users’ hot wallets as well as 2.2 billion yen (around $19.6 million) from the assets of the company, with total losses amounting to 6.7 billion yen, or around $59.7 million. Specifically, the fraudsters stole 5,966 Bitcoin (BTC). Two other stolen assets include Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and MonaCoin (MONA), however it is unclear how much of those were drained from the exchange, as the actual amount will be confirmed once the servers are back online.
Tech Bureau hasn’t disclosed any more details about the hack, citing a criminal investigation that has been launched by the FSA.
It took several days for the exchange to detect the security breach
According to Tech Bureau’s press release, the exchange spotted a server error on Sept. 17, after which Zaif suspended deposits and withdrawals. On Sept. 18, the exchange realized that the error was a hack and reported the incident to the police and the FSA.
It wasn’t the first time
In February 2018, Zaif admitted to a “system glitch” that allowed users to temporarily acquire trillions of dollars worth of Bitcoin (BTC) for free.
Similar to this time, Zaif reported the breach after several days — on Feb. 20, they made a post on their site explaining that for 18 minutes on Feb. 16, users accidentally found themselves able to ‘trade’ yen for virtual currency — at an exchange rate of zero yen per coin.
According to reports, seven users were able to obtain crypto for “free,” but the exchange managed to cancel all illicitly-gained transactions. Specifically, one “buyer” made an attempt to sell 2,200 trillion yen (about $20 trillion) in Bitcoin before the problem was resolved.
Users took to social media to complain about the exchange’s poor back-end performance and lack of support.
The exchange has already taken its toll
According to Fortune sources, the FSA has asked Tech Bureau to submit a report on the breach. Additionally, it plans to conduct an on-site inspection of the company’s offices after receiving the document.
Meanwhile, Tech Bureau has promised to refund clients who lost assets due to the attack, and “immediately” signed a deal with a Fisco Ltd., a Tokyo-based financial markets research firm which also has a cryptocurrency exchange in their operation. The Osaka-based startup will reportedly receive 5 billion yen (roughly $44.5 million) in exchange for selling a large stake of the company, making Fisco the majority shareholder. Moreover, as per the agreement, the startup will reportedly have to dismiss more than half of its directors and corporate auditors.
Currently, Zaif is the 37th largest cryptocurrency exchange by reported turnover, and its daily change volume is down 17 percent, according to CoinMarketCap.
Albert Heijn, Holland’s largest supermarket chain, has revealed it is using blockchain for its own-brand “sustainable” orange juice’s supply chain.
Albert Heijn, Holland’s largest supermarket chain, has revealed it is using blockchain to make the production chain of its orange juice transparent, International Supermarket News reports September 21.
Albert Heijn will reportedly launch the new blockchain system in partnership with its supplier, Refresco. To give customers’ maximum information about the source of Albert Heijn’s own-brand “sustainable” product, they will be able to scan a QR code on the orange juice carton that will trace the end-to-end route of its production, from Brazil to the Netherlands.
The system will reportedly store data that reveals the quality and sustainability ratings held by various produce growers, as well as information about the fruits themselves — including their harvesting period and sweetness intensity. The system will further enable customers to tip, using a “Like2Farmer” option.
Albert Heijn’s Commercial Director Marit van Egmond is quoted as saying that:
“We want to make an active contribution on issues that are important to our customers — by making our products healthier, reducing food waste and limiting our impact on the environment. Transparency in the chain is becoming increasingly important.”
As previously reported, blockchain technology has been gaining traction in the global food industry.
In June, the South Indian state of Kerala’s government announced it would be using the technology for food supply and distribution, considering a blockchain system could make the state’s supply network for dairy products, vegetables, and fish more efficient. That same month, Microsoft revealed a new partnership to develop its own blockchain-based product tracking platform to secure traceability and visibility across the supply chain.
In April, U.S. retail giant Walmart announced it was ready to use blockchain in its live food business. Together with IBM, the company has developed a system that it says will reduce food waste, as well as improve contamination management and transparency.
Nicolas Maduro has stated the Petro will “com[e] into play” as a currency for global exchange in October.
The Venezuelan president appeared on the national VTV channel to deliver his speech on the latest economic issues. As cited by the VTV website, he then announced the upcoming use of Petro on an international level, stating:
"Petro comes into play as a currency for exchange, purchase and convertible currencies for the world."
However, the Venezuelan leader did not specify the areas where the Petro will be used, nor did he name any of countries ready to accept the oil-backed cryptocurrency as payment.
According to the news agency’s investigation, the Petro does not currently trade on any of the major global crypto exchanges, nor it is backed yet with Venezuelan oil, as the Atapirire area that Maduro claimed was the actual petroleum center for backing the coin shows no signs of recent activity.
Furthermore, the Reuter’s article cited former Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez who wrote that "the petro [...] only exists in the government’s imagination.”
As experts told media outlet Wired in August, the state-owned currency was reportedly backed by national oil company PDVSA, which in fact had $45 billion in debt and showed no signs of any trading activity. Some experts, according to Wired, tended to think the Petro was a "smoke curtain" to conceal Maduro's recent failure to reanimate the national fiat currency, the sovereign bolivar.
Despite all claims about the Petro’s insolvency, Maduro has tied the national coin to economic reforms. According to a recent statement, the Petro reportedly became Venezuela's second government currency along with the bolivar, having started its circulation on August 20.
As Cointelegraph reported later in September, Venezuela announced that the currency would be used as a unit of account within the country, making salaries and pricing systems be tied to Petro. According to Maduro, the Petro has also been used in local social programs for funding the construction of houses for homeless.
Altcoin Ripple has seen daily growth of around 140 percent to overtake Ethereum in market cap rankings on CoinMarketCap.
As of press time, Ripple has a listed market cap of around $26 billion, while Ethereum — now in third on CoinMarketCap — has around $23 billion in market cap. Bitcoin (BTC) is still ranked number one, with a market cap of around $115 billion.
Ripple has seen unprecedented 140 percent growth on the week, up almost 80 percent on the day alone, to trade at around $0.65 by press time.
Ripple weekly price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ripple Price Index
At the beginning of this week, Ripple executives hinted that its xRapid payment platform solution could soon be launched. Also this week, PNC, a top ten U.S. bank, announced that it would use RippleNet to process international payments for its customers.
Over a 24 hour period, total market capitalization of the crypto markets has gained around $26 billion dollars, with total market cap currently around $228 billion by press time.
Daily total market capitalization. Source: CoinMarketCap
Blockchain educator and entrepreneur Jeremy Gardner speaks with Cointelegraph about the necessary conditions for mass adoption and why he never trades.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
As a serial blockchain entrepreneur, educator and investor, Gardner has founded the global educational nonprofit the Blockchain Education Network and co-founded the blockchain-based prediction platform Augur. Most recently, he launched his own impact investing fund called Ausum Ventures.
Breaking down mass adoption
Olivia Capozzalo: Can you walk me through what mass adoption is — not from the tech or building side of things, but from the side of regular people? What does it look like? What does it mean?
Jeremy Gardner: So, my point during the panel discussion was that mass adoption has nothing to do with education. Mass adoption has to do with building products that people want. Mass adoption happens no other way.
You don’t suddenly educate hundreds of millions or billions of people on the virtues of decentralization and libertarian values and then expect that it is going to make them want to use Bitcoin or use blockchain-based applications.
No. What you’re going to do is create tools that people want in their lives that they don’t have today.
The reason why Bitcoin was initially adopted — the reason why Bitcoin and blockchain technology exists today — is that it exists for primarily one reason and one reason only. People don’t like to say this, but it’s because of the dark markets.
If there was no Silk Road, if there was no reason for people to actually buy and use Bitcoin to buy drugs online, I’m not sure it would exist today. I think otherwise it’s just a libertarian, cypherpunk thought experiment.
It was only once individuals in the developed world actually had a purpose for acquiring these crypto tokens to exchange in commerce that Bitcoin achieved meaningful value — once people understood that Bitcoin allowed people to do something they could not do before.
There are other examples in Cyprus, Venezuela, and Zimbabwe — places that have had really awful hyperinflation — places like India with demonetization, China with capital control, South Korea with capital controls.
The use cases have emerged, but initially, you know, initially the use case of Bitcoin was buying drugs on the internet, and that was great. But it didn’t actually have to do with the underlying ideological ethos that its earlier adherents had been attracted to.
And that’s going to be true with all blockchain technology. We’re simply going to build tools that people want in order to get adoption. No ideology, no education about the virtues.
We could try to act like missionaries and spread the word like a religion, but it’s not the best way to do things. As long as we build tech that people want, they will come, and they will adopt it.
Watch the full interview with Jeremy Gardner here:
Crypto vs. fiat in crime
OC: It’s just funny because I spoke with Jason Bloomberg recently who also says Bitcoin first became popular for buying drugs on the darknet. But he says that’s a problem, and we need to do something about it — we need to outlaw or ban permissionless cryptocurrencies.
JG: Well, that is beyond idiotic. First of all, the DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Agency) recently said that use cases of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies — or crypto assets, in particular — have dropped from 90 percent [80 percent] being black market to 10 percent today. And it’s only going to get lower because, guess what? blockchains are publicly transparent ledgers.
The whole value of public blockchains are these transparent, immutable, censorship-resistant ledgers that allow for an open world of finance — compared to the closed world of finance that we have today.
I mean, look at what Credit Suisse did in Mexico. They literally made deposit boxes so cartels could fit massive boxes of cash into them. It’s not like the current financial system is protecting us from organized crime and criminal activity.
I mean, who is paying more in fines for fraud than anyone in history? I mean, it’s JPMorgan. These banks are not a better system than today. The financial system today is much more culpable for things like terrorism and crime than blockchain technology perhaps ever will be.
You know what can be used for illegal activity and is actually is used for illegal activity more than anything else in the world?
JG: $100 bills. Benjamins. More than 80 percent of black market activity is used with American $100 bills. Should we go and ban the dollar? I don’t think anybody in their right mind would argue that — I would, because Bitcoin would go up. Come on, I mean, that is just an absurd statement!
I mean, look, Bitcoin is digital cash, digital gold — whatever you want to call it. It is an online form of value. It is no different than the money systems that we have today, besides the fact that it may be better.
Technology is morally agnostic. It can be used for good, it can be used for evil.
I think collectively — as a community — whether you have that impact thesis or not, you should aim to invest in technology that makes the world better, because blockchains are all about network effects. And so, to suggest that we should ban it, to me, is just mind-boggling. I could never get behind such an option.
OC: I fully agree with you.
Porn and radical innovation
OC: I’m wondering about something like Pornhub using crypto — in terms of what that does for adoption. Is that something that you think is important or impactful?
JG: So, I’m very biased here. I know the MindGeek [Pornhub’s parent company] guys. I’m not a huge fan of the porn industry, but they got in touch with me and told me that they want to get involved in this space. I was nothing short of thrilled.
If you think about what the porn industry has done over the past two decades when it comes to technology adoption, it’s mind-boggling.
I mean, they are the reasons why we used VHS. They are the reasons why we used DVD over Betamax. They have increased streaming capacity and the capacity of content delivery networks more so than any other technology company on the planet.
Porn companies are technology companies. They have been radical innovators in the world of tech.
If they show this technology works — I mean, they are one of the largest content delivery networks on the planet — if they show this tech works, other content delivery networks that may not be in not such a sketchy industry may adopt as well, and they will see a massive upside and increase of their holdings.
So, look, I feel very ambiguous about porn — I’m not a huge fan of it — but their ability to be, kind of, thought leaders and trailblazers in the space is remarkable. And they have historically been in the world of tech, and internet technology and even cinematography.
A lot of other industries are very nervous about adopting blockchain tech because it’s so new, it’s so cutting-edge, and they don’t want to piss off shareholders — they are the largest tech companies in the world. But guess what? MindGeek is privately owned and they have more of a capacity to innovate and adopt new technology than a lot of the big, publicly traded companies that are out there. So, I’m hopeful.
Who needs blockchain?
OC: So, to get a little bit of a bigger picture than the entertainment industry — who needs blockchain adoption? What does it mean that they need it?
JG: Who needs to learn about blockchain technology and who needs it are different. It’s the disenfranchised who need blockchain technology.
And when I say disenfranchised or disadvantaged, I mean a massive subset of the world’s population. I mean, pretty much everyone except for me — like, a white, middle-class, heterosexual man who lives in the United States, who lives in San Francisco. Unless I want to buy drugs off of the internet, I literally have no really strong use cases. Maybe decentralized prediction markets are an exception.
But for the two billion people in the world who have no access to financial services and the four billion that have limited access — that includes that initial two billion — that’s what blockchain technology is made for. That’s where we will see the real adoption.
The ability to have a bank account in your pocket, to have something that is secure and safe in your pocket, cryptographically, in a way that money under your bed or behind your wallet is now — that is revolutionary.
It affects the people that are dealing with predatory institutions — whether they are governments, whether they are financial services, businesses or, you know, governments that exploit their positions of power as middlemen to disenfranchise their consumers and their users.
Because what blockchain technology affords is radical disintermediation.
Blockchain technology is the most radically disintermediated technology that’s ever existed. In that, if you want to transfer value — whether it’s money, the title to your house, the rights to your land — you can now do it in a way that only requires a single counterparty: the person who’s buying it from you.
And that is a massive upgrade from the world that we live in today, in which all sorts of clearing houses and third-party institutions that are necessitated due to a lack of trust in transactions. But with blockchain technology, you can actually have trustless financial or value exchange.
Now, how do we get there? It’s not entirely clear. You know, with remittance solutions today, trials today, about giving directly to folks such as this, but we’ve historically primarily been building the blockchain technology for the people that need it least: you and me, people in the United States, people in the West.
And that’s not where the blockchain technology is going to have its biggest impact.
But first, we need to be bringing in entrepreneurs from these places where they are disenfranchised. Bringing the disenfranchised and having them build products out of their own experiences.
That way it can be paired with technology companies in the West that are probably most well-equipped to build this software and tech.
But, we need to include the people who have the most benefit from this technology, and we haven’t done a great job doing that, yet.
Blockchain and government
OC: And do you see that happening really on the private scale? How is regulation going to affect this process?
JG: We’ve convinced regulators that blockchain technology is the Holy Grail of everything. I don’t find regulators to be any sort of hinderance on getting this tech adopted.
Whether it’s in the EU or U.S., even in Africa or East Asia, governments are getting behind trials of this technology to improve the lives of their people — sometimes for more authoritarian purposes, such as distributed ledger-based money in China and Russia — but overwhelmingly, governments have actually been a massive catalyst for the adoption of trials with this technology.
What I do think about is how we do reach the people that need this most and actually understand how this technology can help them. And that’s just kind of a long-term undertaking that will require the help of many governments and NGOs to really understand.
Because entrepreneurs often have this problem, especially in this industry, where they create solutions for problems that don’t exist. What we have to do is be identifying problems and then seeing if a blockchain can help mitigate that problem.
The general answer is ‘no,’ but you have to take a problem-first approach. Trying to build solutions without problems is probably the greatest fallacy of Silicon Valley and beyond.
Path to mass adoption
OC: What’s your opinion on government-backed cryptocurrencies?
JG: They’re going to do them, but they’re not cryptocurrencies in the traditional sense. They are distributed ledger-based, centrally banked money that is issued and monitored and controlled and validated by central banks.
I think there’s a lot of good evidence that suggests that central bank-issued cryptocurrency — crypto assets or e-money, if you want to call it that — actually would be better than the digital cash that we have today.
But it is the antithesis of what we’ve been building in the blockchain space/cryptocurrency space so far, because this is going to be incredibly Orwellian.
They’re going to see every transaction that’s ever been made, there’s going to be KYC (Know Your Customer) and they’re going to know who’s making those transactions.
And that, in fact, in my view, will be the greatest catalyst for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies as we know them today, whether it’s Bitcoin or something else.
When there’s government-backed cryptocurrencies and we move to a cashless society in which there is no financial privacy in our daily financial transactions, that is when something like Bitcoin or a stablecoin — something that is not bank- or government-issued — will become popular. That’s when we’ll see mass adoption, not before.
You know, if Bitcoin were going to be mass-adopted this decade, it would have happened five years ago, three years ago. But it’s too volatile, it’s too hard to use, it’s too hard to understand.
But when people are forced to use it — because there’s no longer cash, which is kind of a grey economy and a massive part of the global economy overall — once that economy disappears in its current form without cash, which will happen over the next 50-70 years, that’s when we’ll see mass adoption of cryptocurrencies — decentralized cryptocurrencies — as we know them today.
Because people want to use cash. People want to make financial transactions that the government doesn’t know about — whether it’s paying your babysitter or your illegal immigrant.
OC: You think a lot of people care about that? I just feel like most people don’t care about their privacy.
JG: Literally, almost every family in America pays their nanny in cash and that nanny is not reporting it to the IRS and they are not reporting that to IRS. It is not uncommon that people want to do business in a way that is not being traced by the government or just want some privacy in their financial transactions — virtually almost every person on the planet.
The grey economy is absolutely massive, and the second you take away cash, it becomes much harder to engage in — especially if we’ve moved to a distributed ledger-based financial system, where not only is every transaction traceable, but it’s also tied to your identity, which is way worse than what we have today.
So, you really have to think about the ramifications of a world in which there is no cash, no ability to take place in an informal economy. That, for sure, will lead to the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
JG: We need, kind of, an open sandbox for innovation before we’re really ready for a lot of regulations. But there are certain areas, like securities laws, where it would be great if we could, kind of amend them for the reality of these tokenized securities, which are a very new concept.
OC: How exactly?
JG: So, if you think about the securities today, the reason why they are so heavily regulated is that they are not transparent — you don’t have any insight into the cash flow except for quarterly reports.
But, in theory, a lot of use cases for tokenized securities could be securities that pay automatically based off of the revenue of a software project — like, I should be able to sell tokens from my software project that every user, every transaction goes back to investors, like a portion of revenue. It’s transparent, it’s immutable, it’s on blockchain.
And thus, I shouldn’t have file an S1 and take a company public to offer that to your everyday consumer. People should be able to buy that in an ICO [Initial Coin Offering] and gain access to upside of this new software company that I’m building, because it’s so straightforward how they get paid out — where the revenue or the dividends are coming from.
OC: Right, yeah. And there are just a lot more hoops to jump through. And the law is from the 1930s...
JG: Right. You generally have to assume that a law that was written in the 1930s with regard to financial regulations is going to be at least partly outdated by 2018.
Crypto markets and the media
OC: I still want to talk a little bit more about your personal opinions on crypto, not about regulation. You’ve definitely publicly stated that you own crypto.
JG: Yes. Most of my money is in crypto.
OC: Right. So there is the fact that governments, consumers — people on a mass scale — pay attention to crypto and blockchain in relation to its price.
The price of Bitcoin going up a lot in December got a lot of press, mainstream media started reporting on it, etc. Since you’ve been in it a long time, what do you say to that kind of reaction?
JG: You know, I was somewhere in the world — I was either in India or Greece — when the markets last dropped and I actually didn’t learn about the drop in market price for, like, several days.
I don’t pay attention to the price. I kind of knew from following crypto Twitter that there had been a price drop, but people, kind of, speak about it ambiguously.
I don’t care about the price at all. If there were any underlying investment fundamentals driving the price of the crypto assets, I’d be concerned.
In crypto, price fluctuations are just hocus pocus — it’s just totally sentiment-driven. Nothing really drives the price increases or decreases besides just, like, FOMO [fear of missing out] sentiment and irrationality in the market. I’ve got a hedge fund side of my venture fund and it’s performing pretty abysmally right now because we don’t trade. I don’t try to time the market.
What I do is I invest in crypto assets. I believe we’re going to change the world and I just stopped caring. I don’t pay attention.
OC: You personally never trade?
JG: No, look, I’ve been in the industry since 2014. I wasn’t in that early, I didn’t make my money in Bitcoin, I made my money in other crypto assets — a little bit in Bitcoin.
You know, I’m often lauded or labeled as a Bitcoin millionaire — not really how I made my money. I invested in technology that I really believed in — whether it was Ether or, back then, XRP at a much different price — and I just held them. I never thought about it, I never traded them, I never watched the volatility.
I mean, this whole trader ethos that permeates the industry is just flabbergasting to me. These are illiquid markets. A single individual, a single factor in the trade can totally move the market against the way your Elliot-wave analysis predicted it was going to go.
These are not like traditional financial markets, which are deeply liquid, which are based off of companies with really strong fundamentals, cash flow, P-to-E ratios — you don’t have any of that here.
What you have are very speculative commodities that are potentially going to change the world, but none of them are yet. You know, Bitcoin maybe being the exception. So, if you’re not investing based on the long-term value proposition of a crypto asset or some really fantastic insider information about what that announcement about the crypto asset is, you’re never going to make money trading.
You know, I’ve met a lot of smart traders back in the fall of 2017. I don’t know any of those guys today. These guys were not actually that smart.
Everyone is smart in a bull market. But the guys that are smart in a bear market — or a downward market — are the guys that actually have conviction in their investment.
Now, I may go double-down on some of my investments, but I’m surely not selling right now like many people are. But most people who bought crypto assets in the past year, they just bought it because, “Oh, I have a feeling that this one is going to go up,” but now it’s going down and they’re selling, and there’s panic in the market, and there’s blood in the streets, and I love it.
I just get such masochistic joy, like, “Oh, my net worth is down 80 percent,” but I’m not concerned because I know it’s going to go up another 10,000 or 100,000 percent because the investments I made are valuable.
It’s a massive failure on the part of our industry not to be cynical about these price rises. If you look at my interviews back in mid-late 2017, I was calling these ICOs insanity, I was calling the market insanity, It was irrational, it didn’t make sense.
OC: What do you think about the mainstream media’s involvement in all that?
JG: I mean, can you blame them? You have the fastest appreciating asset class in history just roaring and turning 26-year-olds like me into multi-millionaires. It’s a compelling narrative! You can’t ignore it.
There’s never been an asset class like this that has enriched so many normal people. It’s something that the news is of course going to latch onto. Because what does everybody want? Everyone wants to be rich overnight. Who wants to be a millionaire?
Like, everybody wants to make money and they want to make it easily. And so, there’s this incredible new investment class that’s turning average Joes into very wealthy people. They’re going to report it! You just can’t blame them.
Now, do I wish they educated themselves more? Yes, but it is not their job.
I mean, if you want to be educated on blockchain technology and crypto assets, you’re going to have to immerse yourself for 90 percent of your life for the next six to 12 months of your life before you even have a baseline understanding of how this tech works and what its real purposes are and how it’s used.
And so, to expect the mainstream media to be able to report this accurately is not particularly reasonable. Now, I wish they did a little bit better due diligence, but at the end of a day, you really cannot expect the media to do a very good job.
OC: Okay, but I more mean the effects of this media attention.
JG: I mean, they are awful because they bring average Joes, who have no idea what they are investing in, into this new asset class. I mean, god, I just do not want consumer investors investing in this.
I’d love larger institutions, I’d love people who want to go and educate themselves. Your average consumer is buying Tesla because they think Teslas are cool cars or buying Amazon because they use Amazon every day — hey, maybe they could be good investments, maybe bad investments.
But they are sure as hell not using Bitcoin in their daily lives, so it’s not something they should be investing in. You know, unless you understand what you’re investing in, you shouldn’t be investing in it.
Unless you have a very balanced portfolio — like, look I think everybody should put five to 10 percent of their investment portfolio into Bitcoin and Ether, maybe a couple of other crypto assets — but that’s because when you do that, when you put five percent of your investment portfolio into a highly speculative, uncorrelated asset class, you actually mitigate the overall risk of your investment portfolio simply because it is uncorrelated.
And thus, even a grandma should put a tiny bit of her investment portfolio in Bitcoin, but she shouldn’t be mortgaging her house to do it, and it shouldn’t be a huge amount of money. It should only be a very small, yet respectable amount of portfolio — just due to the historical performance of this asset class. But the media narrative has definitely driven people to put way too much of their money into crypto.
OC: I ask because people do argue that the mainstream media’s attention helps with awareness, or it’s something important for, again, mass adoption. But that’s why we have to clarify what mass adoption means.
JG: Yeah, like, what is mass adoption?
Mass adoption of Bitcoin as a payment system? Yeah right, not going to happen. Not any time soon.
Well I’m saying, when we go to a cashless society, people will really have a use case, but using cash is almost always going to be better than using Bitcoin today.
And so, mass adoption is not going to happen until we create tools that actually catalyze that adoption. But that’s certainly not where we are right now.
OC: Okay, cool. Thank you so much!
Cointelegraph’s editorial team thanks Jeremy Gardner and BlockShow for the interview.
IBM has applied to patent a system that would use blockchain tech to tackle privacy and security concerns for drones.
IBM has applied to patent a system that would use blockchain tech to tackle privacy and security concerns for drones, according to a filing published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) September 20.
The computing giant first filed the patent in March 2017, detailing how blockchain could be used to securely store data associated with unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — more commonly known as drones. The patent notes that a blockchain system can provide “effective techniques for managing data related to a UAV [...] particularly when a security risk level is considered to be relatively high.”
According to the filing, such data may include the drone’s location, its manufacturer and/or model, its flying behaviour (“e.g. erratic”), the model’s capabilities such as camera resolution, contextual information such as weather conditions, and the vehicle's proximity to restricted or forbidden flight zones.
The patent filing suggests that transaction data could be added “more frequently” as a block to the chain if and when a risk level is considered to be high. In terms of managing privacy concerns, if a drone is equipped with a high-resolution sensor, for example, the filing proposes that this could be recorded on the blockchain, with additional data transactions added whenever the sensor is detected to be activated.
As such, according to the filing, a shared and immutable ledger can enable multiple parties — which could include other drones, airspace controllers, regulatory bodies, and so forth — to participate as peers in managing risk. Validator nodes within the network could moreover grant special permissions, using the transparently stored data to verify that a drone has the authorization to fly in a particular zone.
The patent further proposes that smart contracts could be used to interface the blockchain system with extra information generated by machine learning models or other algorithms that compute historical data, both on- and off-chain. Such off-chain data could comprise, for example, raw video streaming data that has been capture during the drone’s flight.
IBM has been steadily expanding its involvement in blockchain across diverse fields, this summer signing a seminal five-year $740 million deal with the Australian government to use blockchain to improve data security and automation across federal departments.
Fresh data published late August revealed that IBM is vying with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba for the top spot on a new list ranking entities by the number of blockchain-related patents they have filed to date. Having filed 89 blockchain patents, IBM was only just outflanked by its rival — which filed 90.
Ant Financial, the financial affiliate of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is launching a blockchain BaaS (Backend-as-a-Service) platform.
The announcement was reportedly made by Ant Financial vice president Jiang Guoefei at the Ant Technology Exploration Conference (ATEC) in Hangzhou yesterday. The new BaaS platform is being launched in tandem with an enterprise-focused “ant blockchain partner program” that will reportedly enable small- and medium-scale businesses to implement and innovate new blockchain solutions.
The announcement aligns with what Gueofei characterized as a move to “open up” Ant’s in-house technologies to the wider commercial sector:
"In the past two years, Ant Financial has been working on two aspects about blockchain. One is to improve the technology, and the other is to open it up and accelerate the commercialization of blockchain applications."
As part of its impetus to commercialize the technology, Ant Financial trialed its very first blockchain remittances earlier this summer, using its newly-developed blockchain-based electronic wallet cross border remittance service. The trial demonstrated a transfer of funds between Ant Financial’s AliPayHK — the Hong Kong version of Ant’s popular mobile payment app Alipay — and Filipino payment app GCash.
Alibaba founder Jack Ma has signalled increasing involvement of AliPay in blockchain for several years, with Ant Financial most recently securing $14 billion in funding for the technology’s development this June.
Fresh data published late August revealed that Alibaba had sealed first place globally on a new list that ranked entities by the number of blockchain-related patents filed to date; the e-commerce conglomerate has filed a staggering 90 such patents, outflanking even IBM.
Nonetheless, Ma delivered a keynote lecture earlier this month in which he noted that blockchain is one of a host of advanced technologies that still need to prove they can help evolve society in a “greener and more inclusive” direction.
Bitcoin users running the Bitcoin Core client should upgrade to the newly-released version to avoid exposure to a vulnerability, developer urge.
Bitcoin Core developers published a “full disclosure” of the vulnerability affecting several implementations of the Bitcoin (BTC) client Friday, September 21, repeating calls for all nodes to upgrade to the latest version as a priority.
In addition to technical details about the bug, known as CVE-2018-17144, the disclosure explains how developers dealt with the threat to the Bitcoin network, along with a timeline of its discovery and patching in Bitcoin Core version 0.16.3.
“In order to encourage rapid upgrades, the decision was made to immediately patch and disclose the less serious Denial of Service vulnerability, concurrently with reaching out to miners, businesses, and other affected systems while delaying publication of the full issue to give times for systems to upgrade,” the notice reads.
“At this time we believe over half of the Bitcoin hashrate has upgraded to patched nodes. We are unaware of any attempts to exploit this vulnerability,” the disclosure continues, adding:
“However, it still remains critical that affected users upgrade and apply the latest patches to ensure no possibility of large reorganizations, mining of invalid blocks, or acceptance of invalid transactions occurs.”
The impetus to upgrade at the current time appears not to be shared unanimously, with Bitcoin Core developer Luke-jr subsequently claiming the update publication was “premature.”
“[In my opinion] this is being disclosed way too prematurely (only 2% of the network has upgraded), but the cat's out of the bag,” he wrote on Twitter, nonetheless urging followers to upgrade “ASAP!”
Despite federal U.S. regulations, California has banned Bitcoin from political donations due to transparency issues.
In August, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) had considered allowing donations in cryptocurrencies. The watchdog planned to discuss the use of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for political contributions and discuss their adoption.
The FPPC then held a vote on donations of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin on Thursday, September 20. According to the AP, the members voted 3-1 for the ban, noting that the origin of cryptocurrencies is hard to track and raises questions about transparency.
The U.S. Federal Elections Commission generally allows Bitcoin donations to federal candidates. However, several states have banned or restricted such type of contributions — South Carolina has completely banned Bitcoin donations, while Colorado and Montana allow them with restrictions, the AP writes.
Cointelegraph previously listed several U.S. politicians who succeeded in raising funds for their political campaigns via crypto. However, some of the campaigns raised questions on transparency and legality of such contributions.
For instance, in May 2018, Obama’s former aide on crypto and digital technologies, Brian Forde, was criticized for accepting Bitcoin donations during his campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives. In an ad by Forde’s opponent, Forde’s donors were pictured as “Bitcoin speculators that oppose cracking down on drug deals and human trafficking.” Forde himself considered the comments “wildly inaccurate”.
0.16.3 was announced a few days ago, but if you're running a node and haven't already updated, then you really must do so as soon as possible. The bug fixed in 0.16.3 is more severe than was previously made public. You can download 0.16.3 from bitcoin.org or bitcoincore.org or via BitTorrent, and as always, make sure that you verify the download.
If you only occasionally run Bitcoin Core, then it's not necessary to run out and upgrade it right this second. However, you should upgrade it before you next run it.
Stored funds are not at risk, and never were at risk. Even if the bug had been exploited to its full extent, the theoretical damage to stored funds would have been rolled back, exactly as it was in the value overflow incident. However, there is currently a small risk of a chainsplit. In a chainsplit, transactions could be reversed long after they are fully confirmed. Therefore, for the next week or so you should consider there to be a small possibility of any transaction with less than 200 confirmations being reversed.
Summary of action items:
- You should not run any version of Bitcoin Core other than 0.16.3*. Older versions should not exist on the network. If you know anyone who is running an older version, tell them to upgrade it ASAP.
- That said, it's not necessary to immediately upgrade older versions if they are currently shut down. Cold-storage wallets are safe.
- For the next ~week, consider transactions with fewer than 200 confirmations to have a low probability of being reversed (whereas usually there would be essentially zero probability of eg. 6-conf transactions being reversed).
- Watch for further news. If a chainsplit happens, action may be required.
(*Almost everyone will use 0.16.3, but source-only backports have also been released as 0.14.3 and 0.15.2, it's also OK to use Knots 0.16.3, etc.)
In today’s edition of Crypto Daily News, we’ll cover the details of the crypto market rebound and Coinbase’s official statement regarding the proprietary trading allegations.Crypto Daily News: September 20th, 2018 Crypto Market Rebounds
The crypto market is rebounding this morning, after taking a sharp fall last week after rumors spread that Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) wasn’t focusing on a cryptocurrency trading desk. Later, GS confirmed that the news was “fake” and that the desk is, in fact, ready, but waiting for demand.
Currently, the crypto market is trading just above $200 billion. In the ...
Plans for LINE’s token-powered ecosystem have been unveiled. The messaging app giant from Japan announced its new venture at CoinDesk’s Consensus: Singapore event this morning.
LINE’s plans are ambitious; it wants to launch its new system by the end of 2018. Will it do it?LINE’s Token-Powered Ecosystem
It can have such ambition because LINE already has more than 164 million monthly active users across four key countries. It is this user-base that the app giant will capitalize on to launch its token-powered ecosystem.
LINE’s token-powered ecosystem centers around its previously announced ...
It’s been nine months since World of Ether sold half a million dollars of presale assets in just under 48 hours. Now, the crypto game is finally ready to show what’s been built.
This is declared by the founders to be one of the most sophisticated dApps on the market, pushing the boundaries of what’s capable on the Ethereum network. In World of Ether’s Telegram Community recently, fans have even echoed that this game will “Save Ethereum.”$10,000 to Try Beta
On September 22nd, 2018, World of Ether will deploy their free Beta on ...
Are we becoming so used to hacks in the cryptocurrency sphere, that we no longer panic when they happen? It might seem so, considering Bitcoin’s price remains pretty-much unchanged despite a Zaif exchange hack last night.Japan’s Zaif Exchange Hack
The cryptocurrency market took another hit last night when the Zaif exchange hack was announced. The heist resulted in the loss of close to 6,000 Bitcoin (BTC). MONA coin and Bitcoin Cash were also stolen. The entire stolen loot has an estimated worth of $60 million USD.Cryptocurrency Prices aren’t Affected
Now you would ...
Bitcoin remains the primary and first use case for blockchain technology, though there remain doubts as to its efficacy as not just a currency, but also as a payment rail that can reliably facilitate global transfers.
This has led to three alternative proposals, none without their issues but all envisioning a better solution which is scalable—a key concern to be addressed if widespread adoption is ever going to be plausible.The First Alternative: A Faster and Cheaper New Cryptocurrency
A more efficient new currency which also bases itself on blockchain technology is a popular ...
The Ripple price has taken multiple hits over the past six months. Most people agree with that. At the end of June, the XRP price was roughly $0.54. In two months, it dropped to $0.29.
But now that’s over; we’re in the midst of a Ripple rally. Or, so it appears.
After bullish news for XRP surfaced this week, the price has skyrocketed, with the altcoin currently up more than 10%. And what was that news? Well, let’s just say it involves the launch of xRapid.Possible xRapid Launch Sends XRP Price Higher ...
Blockchain works hard behind the scenes to protect crypto users from scams, frauds and false advertising. Indeed, every year there are hundreds that target just our users alone. Our teams work closely with search engines, social media platforms, and law enforcement to call them out and shut them down.
Today we filed a complaint in U.S. federal court against a company calling themselves blockchain.io. As we allege in that complaint, blockchain.io is run by a defunct Bitcoin company called “Paymium”.
The old guard of crypto will remember Paymium best as “Instawallet", which in 2013 lost its users’ funds in a widely-publicized hack. Soon after the hack, the company officially closed its claims process, leaving many of its users with substantial financial losses. Their behavior also fueled concerns that the company had run away with people's money. In an attempt to hide this from its users, Paymium just rebranded to “blockchain.io.” with Pierre Noizat, the Founder & CEO of Paymium, back in charge.
Paymium is about to launch an ICO using the Blockchain.io name and we have strong concerns about how they are representing their offer.
They claim to raise money to offer some technologies that don’t actually exist. They also claim the ICO is registered with the SEC but there’s no registration statement in place for the offering. This means users won’t be able to trade the token publicly as Paymium led them to believe. The SEC just announced last week an enforcement action against an ICO project that made this same misrepresentation. Similarly, blockchain.io claim that their ICO is registered with the French regulator the ACPR, but we can find no evidence of this.
What’s more, we are particularly concerned that they are confusing consumers into thinking they are Blockchain. Their name and branding reflect a worrying number of similarities including:
- similar domain name to our website (blockchain.io)
- similar colors to our website (shades of dark blue)
- similar logo (a cube instead of a square) made up of similar geometric shapes (circles instead of rounded boxes).
- Repurposed our tagline “connecting the world to crypto” through a thesaurus to come up with “your gateway to the internet of value.”
We’ve received questions from people who have come across blockchain.io and asked whether we were doing an ICO. Blockchain is not doing an ICO. When we inspected blockchain.io’s social media and Telegram channels, we discovered that many more people had assumed that blockchain.io was Blockchain.
To protect our users and maintain the trust we’ve worked so hard to build, we’ve had to take action. Today we filed a complaint in US federal court. We’ll file more complaints in other courts if we need to and we will continue to fight false and misleading statements that endanger the crypto community.
Reddit and BitcoinTalk are flooded with the announcements of new and upcoming ICOs. The market keeps growing, but investors are becoming wary. With approximately 46% of ICOs ending in failure, how do you make sure that you’re investing in one of the 54% destined for success?
An ongoing and upcoming ICO list should be your first stop for finding information about ICO projects. Choose a site that has a robust rating system in addition to an up-to-date list, and you’ll find it easy to narrow your search down to promising projects while leaving the half-baked ideas ...
According to a crypto jacking report published by the Cyber Threat Alliance (CTA), crypto mining malware infections are up nearly 500% in 2018.Crypto Mining Malware Report
The threat of illicit cryptocurrency mining represents an increasingly common cybersecurity risk of enterprises and individuals. According to the report, the CTA found that malware detections were up 459% between 2017 and 2018.
“Combined threat intelligence from CTA members show that this rapid growth shows no signs of slowing down, even with recent decreases in cryptocurrency value,” the company writes in a preface.
The threat ...
The Binance crypto exchange has the highest 24-hour trade volume and is currently looking to expand into every continent in the world.Binance Crypto Exchange Looks Global
Zhao Changpeng, Binance’s Founder and current CEO, closed out the first day of CoinDesk’s Consensus Singapore event with a fireside chat. Changpeng discussed a number of topics at the chat but focused a lot on how he grew the crypto exchange from its $15 million initial coin offering (ICO) to one of the world’s largest exchanges.
The Binance founder also discussed his next steps and future plans ...
Ah! Cryptocurrency. Will you ever cease to amaze investors with your volatility? When it’s bad, it can be very, very bad. But when it’s good… well, it’s confusing! Sometimes there is no real reason to see cryptos in green.
Across the top ten today most coins are in the green. But why? There has been no major news or catalyst to spur on such bullish behavior.
In the top five, Ripple (XRP) and Cardano (ADA) are leading cryptos in green, currently sporting a 4.38% and 3.78% gain respectively. So let’s see why investors are ...
The growing popularity of crypto investments has aroused a keen interest in blockchain technologies and their possibilities. Today, blockchain is used as a generic term, and most people associate it with Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency created using the distributed ledger technology for the first time.
However, the potential and scope of the application of decentralized ledgers have already become so much broader. Blockchains can be used independently from a cryptocurrency and can easily be modified. Anyone who knows the basics of programming is capable of creating his/her own blockchain.When Does the Need for Blockchain Arise? ...
Japan just received some crypto-positive news, as a Chinese blockchain company just unveiled it’s working on a yen-backed cryptocurrency. Crypto in Japan has always been widely accepted, but it is quite the opposite in China—the country went as far as to create its own cryptocurrency firewall.
The South China Morning Post reported this morning that Grandshores Technology Group is planning on raising $100 million HK in an initial coin offering to finance a yen-backed digital token.Crypto in Japan
“Blockchain will become the mainstream technology in the next three to five years,” Yongjie Yao, ...
Two EOS gambling platforms have been hacked in the last week. An amount totaling $250,000 USD. In the same week, another platform, EOSBet, paid out $600,000 to one user in a claimed ‘jack-pot,’ though some aren’t so sure. What’s going on? What’s with the EOS hacks?EOS Hacks
The EOS smart contracts appear to be rather fallible. The first of the EOS hacks happened on DEOSGames. A user named Runningsnail kept winning $1,000 payments over and over again. Over a dozen times actually. Runningsnail would deposit 10 EOS and then win the jackpot 30 seconds later. ...
Ripple (XRP) received a serious boost this morning after news broke that Ripple Labs’ xRapid project could debut in the next month, or so.Ripple (XRP) and xRapid
Sagar Sarbhai, head of regulatory affairs at Ripple, spoke to CNBC yesterday and confirmed positive movement on its xRapid platform.
“I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production,” Sarbhai told CNBC.
Ripple is currently working with a few financial institutions to test its xRapid ...
In today’s edition of Crypto Daily News, we’ll cover the details of the SpaceX engineer’s new crypto exchange and what Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister said about crypto lately.Crypto Daily News: September 17th, 2018 Former SpaceX Engineer Starts a Crypto Exchange
Joshua Greenwald, former SpaceX engineer, is currently the CEO of LXDX and the company just announced that it is launching its own public digital currency exchange.
LXDX currently holds its own proprietary software that’s focused on levels of performance not currently seen in the current crypto market. LXDX offers a low latency solution for ...
Jack Ma, Alibaba’s Executive Chairman, has never been shy about his thoughts on the newest and latest technology. The Chinese businessman, investor, and philanthropist has been a long-proponent of blockchain technology but recently made a firm statement on its future. Let’s take a closer look at Jack Ma on blockchain.Jack Ma on Blockchain
Ma believes that blockchain and other advanced technologies still need to prove they can help society evolve in a “greener and more inclusive” direction, local news outlet cnBeta reported.
Ma told those present at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference held ...
Nasdaq announced Friday that it is in the midst of acquiring Swedish trading solutions provider Cinnober. So why is it important for crypto-enthusiasts that Nasdaq acquiring Cinnober might happen? Well, Nasdaq is Nasdaq—the second-largest stock exchange in the world, but Cinnober is known for its acceptance of digital assets and its involvement in helping institutions to invest in them.
So you can see the potential excitement here if Nasdaq is taking over this company. Is Nasdaq preparing for crypto-trading on its exchange?Is Nasdaq Acquiring Cinnober?
The anticipation across the industry for a Bitcoin ...
We’re excited to welcome the latest addition to our institutional team, Jamie Selway as our Global Head of Institutional Markets. Jamie is a widely respected expert on electronic trading and market structure and the former Head of Electronic Brokerage and Head of Execution Services at the global agency broker-dealer and trading technology firm Investment Technology Group (ITG).
Over the course of his 20 year career, Jamie has held a series of leadership roles at top financial institutions. For the past seven years he has been with Investment Technology Group, the multinational agency brokerage and financial markets technology firm that works with 75% of the worlds largest asset managers. During his tenure at ITG, he was responsible for global electronic products, the US electronic, single-stock, and portfolio execution businesses and managed hundreds of million in revenue for the firm. Prior to joining ITG, Jamie was Managing Director of White Cap Trading, an institutional agency brokerage that he co-founded in 2003. Also, he previously served as Chief Economist at Archipelago, which was later acquired by the NYSE.
As regulators continue to develop frameworks and guidance on the securitization of digital assets, actively engaging with policymakers will be crucial. Jamie has significant experience engaging globally policymakers including the US Security and Exchange Commission. He also served as a Director of the BATS Exchange and as a member of SIFMA’s Equity Markets and Trading Committee, the Nasdaq Quality of Markets Committee, and the NYSE Euronext Market Structure Advisory Committee.
“Many institutional investors are still waiting for the mature critical infrastructure they need to trade, secure, and analyse digital assets,” said Peter Smith, CEO and Co-Founder at Blockchain. “Jamie has spent decades building world leading market infrastructure, and I’m proud to welcome him to Blockchain where he will drive the development of products to serve our institutional customers."
The crypto market has traditionally been driven by retail investors, with many institutional investors choosing to wait until trading, security and custody systems mature before engaging substantially in the sector. Jamie will bring his extensive expertise in trading solutions and financial infrastructure to build out Blockchain’s product suite for institutional clients. This will involve continuing to develop the foundational infrastructure for institutional digital asset markets, including critical tools to support trading execution, asset custody, and regulatory compliance.
“My entire career I’ve focused on improving markets and I’m thrilled to join Blockchain, which is one of the most established companies in the crypto industry, to do just that for digital assets,” said Jamie Selway, Global Head of Institutional Markets. “I look forward to building new products and services for institutional clients that offer lower costs, greater transparency, and increased efficiency.”
We’re thrilled to announce that George Sax, a former Deputy Assistant Director of the United States Secret Service within the Department of Homeland Security, has joined Blockchain as our Global Head of Security. George has decades of experience managing complex security operations across the nation and around the world.
Over the course of his 25-year career in security, George has held a variety of leadership roles and has dedicated himself to keeping the nation’s most precious infrastructure and individuals safe. Most recently, he oversaw investigations where he led a global team of over 2,000 people across 161 offices. George was responsible for combating cyber-related financial crimes and developing comprehensive programs to protect the United States’ financial infrastructure. In his new role, George will draw on his experience to further develop our security philosophy, focusing on operations, infrastructure, and product security.
Also, George will be applying decades of physical and personal security insights to Blockchain. For years, he was responsible for the executive protection of multiple U.S. Presidents and their families as well visiting foreign heads of state. This included managing security at a number of high-risk events, including the 2016 U.S. Presidential Campaign and the 2017 U.S. Presidential Inauguration.
“George is a recognized security leader with decades of valuable experience protecting the most important people, infrastructure and systems in the United States,” said Peter Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Blockchain. “We are proud to welcome him to Blockchain and for him to lead our security efforts as we continue to make crypto safe and easy to use for everyone.”
As the oldest and most trusted software provider for digital assets, our innovative non-custodial Blockchain Wallet gives users complete autonomy and control over their crypto. We recently surpassed 26 million wallets and have more customers than Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade combined. We also introduced a comprehensive institutional grade platform, Blockchain Principal Strategies, to enable institutional customers the ability to secure, manage and evaluate their digital assets with the same peace of mind and security that has become synonymous with the Blockchain name. As we continue to rapidly grow and launch new products and services, George will be key in developing security programs that enhance our unmatched track record.
“Blockchain is helping to build a fairer financial future by democratizing access to digital assets,” said George Sax, Global Head of Security at Blockchain. “I look forward to applying my experience at the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Department Treasury, and the US Department of Homeland Security to the company’s already robust security program and enable millions across the globe access to this new financial system with confidence.”
With summer’s arrival, banks now have their fair share of holidays, but (lucky for us) the crypto space is open and active 365 days a year. Before heading off on your summer vacation, catch up on this short-but-sweet collection of product updates from the last quarter, plus we revisit milestones and exciting steps forward.
What’s new in Q2 2018?
- Bitcoin cash joins bitcoin and ether on iOS
- On web, total spendable balance no longer includes watch-only balances
- European users can once again set up recurring bitcoin orders
- Our 25 million wallet milestone
- Announcing blockchain.info migration to blockchain.com
Bitcoin Cash Comes to iOS
As part of our mission to make digital currency more easily accessible, the same bitcoin cash functionality released to web and Android users is now also available on iOS. iOS users can now send, request, and exchange bitcoin cash, safely manage their balance, and monitor the bitcoin cash market price from one central place.
Watch-Only Balances vs Your Total Spendable Balance
As a way to more easily differentiate between your wallet’s spendable and non-spendable balance, we released an update for our web users so watch-only balances will no longer show in your total balance. To view them you can go to Settings -> Addresses. Mobile users should see this feature rolled out in the near future.
In case you’re unfamiliar with what “watch-only” means, it refers to the bitcoin or bitcoin cash address import feature in our wallet designed for monitoring purposes only. Conveniently, users are able to keep an eye on the balance and activity of virtually any bitcoin or bitcoin cash address from within their wallet. It’s important to remember, however, that watch-only balances are not imported with their corresponding private key and therefore aren’t spendable on their own.
Recurring Buy Returns
Mentioned in our Support Team’s latest monthly update, our recurring buy feature made its anticipated return this quarter. The re-launch incorporated user feedback to help make it easier to avoid unknowingly setting up a recurring order when intending to place a one-time order. Available to our European users, the feature makes it easier to acquire bitcoin little-by-little with automatic regularly occurring orders.
Reaching 25 Million Wallets and Beyond
It wouldn’t be a proper product update if we didn’t recap our 25 million wallet milestone, which we celebrated this quarter. When Blockchain initially launched, our vision was to make it easier for anyone to learn about and study the Bitcoin ecosystem. Since then we’re proud to have built a strong and safe growing community of cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Thanks to your trust and support, we get to continue driving innovation forward.
Blockchain.info’s Moving Domains
As you may have heard, we recently announced our decision to consolidate blockchain.info into blockchain.com. The site migration took place late last week, and our support team @AskBlockchain kept users in the loop throughout the process. Going forward, users will only need to visit one destination, instead of two, for all their crypto needs. Have questions about the move? Here’s what you need to know.
If you’d like to help us build the future of finance, check out our open positions here. For our earlier product updates, click here.
Today, we’re excited to announce the debut of our comprehensive institutional platform known as Blockchain Principal Strategies (BPS). BPS provides institutions, family offices, and individual investors unparalleled and tailored access to markets, research, and services on the most trusted digital asset platform worldwide.
With the launch of BPS, we’ll harness our unmatched track record in securing, managing, and evaluating digital assets to offer investors an opportunity to gain exposure to the growing digital asset ecosystem.
“We are thrilled to debut Blockchain Principal Strategies, an institutional grade platform customized for institutions, family offices, and individual investors,” said Peter Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Blockchain. “BPS provides clients the opportunity to invest in digital assets with the same peace of mind and security that has become synonymous with the Blockchain name.”
Through BPS, investors have access to an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk which offers a white-glove trading service led by a world-class team hailing from Cooley, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and UBS. The OTC desk also operates as a best-in-class matchmaker and direct counterparty to clients, executing trades and managing associated risk. Our long standing position in the market and technical expertise allows for trading across major currencies and digital asset pairs, powered by a sophisticated smart Order Management System (OMS) that combines liquidity from across the market to ensure best execution.
In addition to trading, BPS provides clients a customized portfolio view, as well as exclusive insights into market fundamentals, risk metrics, and access to a research team that includes the leading cryptocurrency economist, Garrick Hileman. Clients will be able to explore a variety of managed investment offerings including the opportunity to make direct equity investments into promising companies in the larger digital asset ecosystem, as well as gain access to early stage token offerings - all sourced and vetted through Blockchain’s global network.
“I joined Blockchain to help modernize the financial system, and launching BPS is the first step in our longer term strategy to execute on that vision,” said Breanne Madigan, Head of Institutional Sales and Strategy. “In addition to the BPS platform itself, we will also offer educational and networking opportunities with hopes of creating a broader, well-informed community around digital currencies moving forward.”
Blockchain Principal Strategies can now be accessed at bps.blockchain.com and we’ll be rolling out additional institutional products throughout the summer.
Earlier this week we announced that we’ll be consolidating blockchain.info into blockchain.com to create a unified experience for our users. As a reminder, this means you’ll soon be accessing all of your .info favorites from blockchain.com. Before anything changes for you, we want to make sure to address any questions or concerns you may have.
Why are you consolidating blockchain.info into blockchain.com?
For you! We know that your needs as users are ever-changing and we want to be prepared to offer you the end-to-end experience you’ve been waiting for. Before we can get to releasing the new and improved products we’re working on, we want to simplify how you interact with us so you only have one place to look for all of your crypto needs.
When will this domain move happen?
We want to make sure everything works perfectly when we release this update so we’re tying up any loose ends as we speak. We don’t have an exact date for you yet, but you can expect to see the move over to blockchain.com later this month.
Where will I log in to my wallet and how do I know I’m not on a phishing site?
You’ll soon be logging into your wallet at login.blockchain.com. You can bookmark this new URL to make sure you’re always logging in at the right place.
You may be used to seeing our SSL certificate on blockchain.info as a way to make sure you’re not on a phishing site.
This will now be shown across all of our sites and products, so you can rest assured that you’re always in the right place.
How will this affect my wallet and transactions?
The only thing that will change for your wallet is where you log in, which will soon be at login.blockchain.com. You’ll continue using the same wallet ID and password that you’ve always used. Once you’re logged in, your balances, transaction history, and imported addresses will all be ready and waiting for you.
Will this change how I use your block explorer?
Our block explorer will be getting a new look and feel in the coming months as we prepare to expand on the currencies we support. Until then, the only change you should expect is how you access the explorer. Once we consolidate domains, blockchain.info will be found at blockchain.com/explorer.
What if I have a problem once the domains move?
We’re hoping you won’t run into any issues, but we know things happen. If anything comes up, please reach out to our support team and we’ll help to figure out a solution as quickly as possible.
How will this impact the use of Blockchain’s APIs?
Our APIs will continue to work as normal following this migration.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be consolidating blockchain.info into blockchain.com, making it seamless for our users to access all of our products through a single web experience.
Like with all big moves, we’ve been feeling a bit nostalgic. Way back in August 2011, blockchain.info was created with the simple idea to make bitcoin transactions and its ecosystem more accessible. It was one of the first platforms of its kind and quickly became the most popular and trusted resource for diving into the Bitcoin block chain in real time.
Seven years later, we’re now one of the oldest, most established company in the industry and so much more than a bitcoin explorer. We’re the world’s leading crypto wallet where 25 million users invest in and store Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). We also allow users to analyze the top cryptocurrencies via our markets page and are continually expanding our widely used API services to make it even easier for developers to build on top of the block chain.
We’ve done a lot over the years, but have a lot more to do in building the future of finance. As we move forward through 2018, we know that your needs are ever-changing, and we need to be prepared to offer you the end-to-end experience you’ve been waiting for. Before we can get to releasing new and improved products for you, we want to simplify how you interact with us.
Later this month, we’ll be consolidating all pages on blockchain.info under our one and only blockchain.com domain. We’ve been looking forward to this merger for quite some time, because it means you’ll only have one place to go for all of your crypto needs, instead of two. In the coming weeks, you’ll be able to access all of your .info favorites from blockchain.com. Along with creating one destination at blockchain.com, we’re excited to roll out a fresh new look!
In the meantime, we’ll be preparing for this move so that when it happens, you don’t have to worry about a thing. All you need to know now is that when this migration happens, the URL that you use to access your wallet, the explorer, and all other .info pages will be located on blockchain.com.
Thanks for joining us for our monthly support team update! In this series, we shed light on trending user concerns, questions, and feedback. May’s big topics include a resolved bug follow-up, questions about buying and selling, and the 1-800 number phishing scam. Let’s get started!
Error De-Serializing Token
Earlier this month, a portion of users were unable to log into their wallets because authorization links in our emails were being double encoded by certain web-based email providers. Instead of being able to proceed with the wallet login process, users would be prompted with a message saying “error de-serializing token”. Thankfully, we were able to make adjustments on our end to allow the link’s data to be decoded by email providers multiple times, if needed. A big thank you to all users who sent us screenshots and details needed to help us diagnose and resolve this issue.
Buying and Selling
Our exchange integration for users in India was disabled, as of May 6th, to undergo necessary maintenance. Understandably so, this change prompted some questions and confusion so we wanted to give you an update. As of now, the functionality remains in maintenance mode but we are working to restore it as soon as possible. We’ll bring you a fresh update as soon as it’s available.
European users can once again place recurring orders. This feature was removed back in January so we could provide updates based on user feedback reporting that a recurring order was unknowingly set up when they intended to place a one-time order. We’ve made improvements to avoid unintentionally setting up recurring orders; be sure “Make this a recurring order” is not checked when placing a buy order. If you accidentally set up a recurring order, you can cancel it by navigating to Buy Bitcoin -> Order History, choosing the order listed under Recurring Orders, and clicking Cancel Recurring Order.
The Latest in Phishing Scams
A claim has been making the rounds that Blockchain has a 1-800 number for support, or that a third party company is handling telephone support on our behalf. We want to clarify that these claims are false. We have never provided any telephone support in-house or through a third party.
If we decide to offer telephone support, we’ll be sure to let you know on our social media channels and through our Support Center. It’s always important to cross-reference any claim like this with our official support page, or by asking us directly.
Don’t miss April’s update where we uncover the wave of watch-only scams and take you on a test drive exploring how watch-only addresses work.
Today, we are making history together.
We’re thrilled to share that we are celebrating 25 million wallets today, a huge milestone not only for us at Blockchain, but for our broader community. We’re thrilled and humbled to have earned your trust over the last five years as we strive to create a more open, accessible, and fair financial future for the world.
With 25 million wallets, we’re building a strong, safe community of digital currency enthusiasts. This global community did not materialize overnight, and we truly appreciate your growing with us these past few years as we make our way to the moon.
At 25 million wallets, we now have a larger community than that of TD Ameritrade, Charles Schwab, and Ally Bank combined. You’ve made us the world’s most popular cryptocurrency wallet, and for that, we are eternally grateful.
Blockchain began with a simple idea: to make Bitcoin transactions and the Bitcoin economy easier to understand and use. We’ve experienced exponential growth ever since we first launched in 2013 -- in the first 18 months of our existence alone, we expanded by a whopping 2100% from 100,000 to 3 million wallets.
We will never stop innovating in order to create a brighter financial future for folks like you around the world. And with your trust and support, we’re excited for the next 25 million.
We’re honored to share that Garrick Hileman, one of the top 35 most influential economists in the U.K. and Ireland, has joined the team at Head of Research. Known best for his work on cryptocurrencies and block chain technology, Garrick was recently named as one of the 100 most influential economists in the U.K. and Ireland, and has paved the way for a broader understanding of distributed ledger technology. At Blockchain, he will help lead a new research arm aimed elevating block chain technology to its full potential.
As one of the foremost thinkers within the industry, Garrick has become an authority figure whose work has shaped the cryptocurrency field. He is the author of multiple industry standard publications, including the 2017 Global Cryptocurrency Benchmarking Study, as well as the 2017 Global Blockchain Benchmarking Study. He was also the responsible for the creation of the State of Bitcoin and State of Blockchain reports published by CoinDesk between 2013 and 2016. Garrick developed the first university class on blockchain technology at the University of Cambridge, and has shared his wealth of knowledge with a new generation of students as a lecturer at the prestigious Judge Business School.
“There is no one in the cryptoasset space as widely-respected and cited as Garrick, and I am thrilled that he will be bringing his expertise to Blockchain,” said Peter Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Blockchain. “Garrick will not only help to advance our company, but the industry at large with his work.”
Garrick holds a PhD in economic history from the London School of Economics, and before returning to the academic world, worked for well over a decade in the private sector with well-known brands including Bank of America, The Home Depot, IDG, and Allianz. He joins our team at a time of tremendous growth and innovation for the company. Recently, we introduced Goldman Sachs alumna Breanne Madigan to lead Institutional Sales and Strategy and former Google and Facebook executive Peter Wilson to serve as the VP of Engineering. At the beginning of the year, we also welcomed Marco Santori, formerly of Cooley, as President and Chief Legal Officer.
“After years of conducting research on distributed ledger technology, I am honored to be joining a company that is at the forefront of this new wave of innovation,” said Garrick Hileman. “It is very exciting to have the opportunity to continue to research block chain technology and help create value for millions of businesses and individuals around the world.”
Welcome to the inaugural edition of our support team’s monthly update! Each month we’ll tackle trending user concerns and shed light on them in an insightful and educational way. If you missed it (and in this case, we hope you did!) watch-only scams have been making waves throughout the last month. We started debunking this scam by explaining watch-only addresses and making some changes to our web wallet. Now let's dive further into the details of this scam, private keys, and importing watch-only addresses with your Blockchain wallet!
April showers bring.. Watch-only scams?
A new type of scam made the rounds last month involving the misuse of watch-only addresses. All versions of this scam used the watch-only feature to make it seem as if a wallet had a particular balance when, in fact, it did not. In reality, a user can import any bitcoin address in existence into their wallet as watch-only. They can monitor its transaction activity and balance, but without having the corresponding private key, the one thing they can never do is spend that address’ balance.
A recent update to our web wallet has made it easier to see your total spendable balance. Watch-only balances will no longer show in your total wallet balance but can still be viewed in Settings -> Addresses. This update will be rolled out to mobile users in the near future.
We know there’s nothing more satisfying than throwing a wrench in a scammer’s plans or outsmarting them from the get-go. To help you call their bluff from right out of the gate, we’ll start by shedding a little light on private keys.
The (not so) elusive private key
This scam lead to users asking questions like, “where is my private key?” or “what is my private key?” Well, we’re glad you asked.
Bitcoin and other digital assets use a method known as public key cryptography to help prevent fraud and manipulation of transactions. This method involves the use of a public key and a private key. The public key is the bitcoin address you can share with a third party to receive incoming transactions. The private key, on the other hand, is the corresponding tidbit that tells the Bitcoin network you are authorized to spend those funds. You never want to share an address’ private key; anyone possessing it can spend those funds.
If you’re confused by how the concept of private keys relate to your Blockchain wallet, it’s helpful to understand the difference between addresses that you manually import vs. those which are generated when you click on Request. Each time you click on Request and see a new bitcoin address displayed, the private key, although not visible, is generated along with it. All of these addresses and corresponding private keys are tied to your 12-word backup phrase, which should be written down and stored safely as a wallet backup.
Any address that is not generated within your Blockchain wallet will be found under Imported Addresses. These addresses are manually imported and are not stored by your backup phrase, which is why their private keys must also be imported to spend from them.
Like we've touched on earlier, users can also manually import addresses as watch-only addresses. These could be addresses from another digital currency wallet that you want to keep track of. By importing an address, you are able to monitor it from within your Blockchain wallet, without needing to import that private key.
It’s time for a test drive
Now that we’ve explained private keys, there’s no better way to demystify watch-only addresses further than to take you along on a test drive of this wallet feature. Seat belts are optional.
- Head to Blockchain.info
- Click on a block height under Latest Blocks
- Scroll down to see all the bitcoin transactions mined in that block
- Click on any address to view its current balance & transaction details
- Copy the address of choice to your clipboard
When you’re ready, log in to your wallet and navigate to Settings -> Addresses, then scroll down until you see Imported Addresses. This is where you can find any watch-only addresses you’ve imported.
Next, you’ll want to click Import Bitcoin Address, paste that address in the text field, and click Import. Give the warning a read, which explains a bit about how watch-only addresses work, then click OK.
And there you have it - that address and its balance will display under Imported Addresses with a Watch Only indicator to the right.
Any incoming or outgoing transaction activity for watch-only addresses will show up in your bitcoin transaction feed. You can monitor this address to your heart’s delight, but if you click Send and choose the watch-only address from the dropdown, a field will display right below asking for that address’ private key.
And in case someone told you otherwise, there is no magical formula that will help you acquire that private key if you didn’t already have it from the get-go.
Once you’ve given the watch-only process a test run, you can delete that address from your wallet by heading back to Imported Addresses, click More Options -> Archive, then show your Archived Bitcoin Addresses -> More Options -> Delete.
To ensure smooth sailing for all our users, we recommend clicking Request to get a new bitcoin address each time you transact. Never attempt to receive via a watch-only address, especially not at the request of a third party.
We hope this exercise helped you understand a bit more about how watch-only addresses work. If you have a specific topic you’d like us to cover, send us your feedback here, or get in touch with us @AskBlockchain.
Today, we are thrilled to announce that Blockchain has gone bicoastal with the opening of our newest office in San Francisco, California. This marks the fourth office across the globe for Blockchain and the second in the United States for the quickly growing company, and follows Blockchain’s recent acquisition of the talented team at Tsukemen.
The new office will be headed by Thianh Lu, formerly the CEO and co-founder of Tsukemen, and Blockchain’s new Head of Design. Thianh previously founded file-sharing product Cloudup, which was ultimately sold to Automattic.
Our new West Coast engineering lead is Fred Cheng, the founder of Simperium and creator of Simplenote, recognized by Apple as a Best App of 2013. Fred will help Blockchain build the software necessary to create a more open, accessible, and fair financial future, and will be assisted in these efforts by Chris Arriola, whose expertise in both Android and iOS development will help advance Blockchain’s mobile applications. Both Fred and Chris join Blockchain as a result of the Tsukemen acquisition.
Also the team from Tsukemen is Min Wei, who holds an MBA from MIT Sloan, and has previously worked at companies including the Wall Street Journal, AOL, and Automattic. At Blockchain, she will serve as part of the Strategy & Partnerships team, and will be crucial in identifying new opportunities for the company to explore.
“It is rare to find such diverse and remarkable talent within a single team, and I feel lucky to have added the creative individuals behind Tsukemen to Blockchain,” said Peter Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Blockchain. “With such a capable group at its helm, I know that our West Coast office will be instrumental in helping us scale operations and continue building best-in-class products to serve our customers.”
2017 marked a record year of growth for our team, and the company has seen more than 24 million wallets created on its platform. In the last eight months, Blockchain has doubled its headcount, and plans to do so again by the end of 2018.
The opening of a new office is just the latest development we’re proud to share -- we’ve also recently brought aboard top tier talent including Marco Santori, formerly of Cooley, as the company’s President; Peter Wilson, formerly of Google and Facebook, as the Vice President of Engineering; and most recently, Breanne Madigan, formerly of Goldman Sachs, as the Head of Institutional Sales and Strategy. With the addition of a San Francisco office, our team is committed to serving our ever-growing user base, and develop new and innovative software that will transform the future of the financial landscape.
At Blockchain, we don’t want you getting left in the dust. Our goal is to provide you with resources that explain all the inner and outer workings of your wallet, while also delivering a seamless virtual experience. To bring us closer to that goal, we want to share some “best practices” to submitting a new support ticket in hopes of optimizing the troubleshooting process. In sharing these tips, we hope to reduce the amount of time you spend frustrated or skeptical— so you can spend more time planning your trip to the moon.
1. Read through our Support Center articles
The learning curve in this industry is real, folks. We try to keep our Support Center content thorough and up-to-date in order to diminish the time you have to spend searching for answers. A lot of our posts come straight from your fingertips to ours, as we often take questions and concerns straight from the tickets that you are submitting. That being said, if there is something you find to not be sufficiently described or represented, feel free to bring that to our attention or by submitting a support ticket.
2. The devil is in the details
Make sure you include all potentially relevant information in your first ticket so we can decrease our back-and-forth and get you closer to an ideal wallet experience even faster. Depending on the issue, helpful information to send us can include:
- Transaction hash (found in your transaction details and on Blockchain.info, etherscan.io, or blockchair)
- Any addresses involved in the transaction
- Time of the transaction
- Order ID (if it’s a buy, sell, or exchange trade, found in your Order History)
- Screenshots of the error or inconsistency you’re seeing (by holding command+shift+3 on mac, or ctrl + prnt scrn on PC)
- A photo of the cutest kitten you can find
Okay, we’re joking (kind of) on that last one. But including the rest of this information when relevant gives us a swift head start on addressing your issue, whether it means clarifying how an aspect of our wallet works, or fixing a bug on our platform.
3. Send Screenshots in the proper format
JPEG and PNG are the only types of files we are permitted to open. Remembering to send in these formats is just one other way we can keep the gap between question + answer as small as possible.
4. Keep in mind, Blockchain does not have the ability to:
- Access your wallet
- Change or provide your private key
- Change or provide your password
- Reverse, cancel, or refund transactions
- Freeze or suspend wallets
This is, in part, why we stress the importance of storing your backup phrase in a safe place offline and remind you to never give out any of your wallet information.
A refresher: Giving someone your 12 word backup phrase is like giving someone the key to your house. All the contents of your wallet will be exposed and potentially compromised by the person with access. Make sure to keep this string of words in a secure place offline. Please practice safe browsing, regularly update your operating system, and do not access your wallet on public WiFi. To learn more about how the Blockchain wallet works, spend some time here.
5. One ticket is all it takes
We know how frustrating an issue with your funds can be, and we want to help you alleviate that issue as soon as possible. Submitting multiple tickets on the same issue can delay our response because we need to search for and compile those tickets first. Additionally, this may cause your inquiry to be filtered as spam. Your inquiry is important to us and we will work diligently to tackle any outstanding problems as soon as possible.
6. Follow us on social media
We update our social media with relevant news, outages, and known issues our users are experiencing. To stay up to date, follow our main social media channels on Twitter and Facebook, and follow @AskBlockchain for support-related updates and information.
When it comes to opening a support ticket, the only official way to reach us is by submitting a ticket here. Any phone number, WhatsApp group, Facebook or Twitter user asking for information most likely does not have your best interest in mind.
Don’t have a Blockchain wallet? Sign up for one today.
We’re thrilled to welcome Breanne Madigan to the Blockchain team as our Head of Institutional Sales and Strategy. Breanne most recently served as the Head of Institutional Wealth Services at Goldman Sachs, where she played an integral role in a division whose total assets under management reached a record $1.49 trillion in 2017.
Breanne has a remarkable history of success in leadership roles, having served as the Chief Operating Officer for the G10 Global Foreign Exchange Business, as well as Goldman Sachs’ EMEA Emerging Markets Business. In this capacity, she was responsible for a business of more than 300 individuals across a wide range of teams, as well as $2 billion in annual net revenue. She was also entrusted with managing 30 of the leading investment bank’s highest priority hedge fund clients. Her extensive background in investment strategy makes her an invaluable asset to the Blockchain team.
“Breanne has a proven track record of adding value to her teams and her clients, and as Blockchain continues to grow its institutional presence, I can think of no one better to help scale our business,” said Peter Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Blockchain.
We experienced a record year of growth in 2017 and are planning to triple our headcount in 2018. Breanne’s hire marks the third executive hire we've made in as many months -- she joins Marco Santori, who was recently named President and Chief Legal Officer, and Peter Wilson, who is Blockchain’s new Vice President of Engineering. Alongside the entirety of the Blockchain team, Breanne will help the company better serve its growing and diverse customer base, scale operations, and support product development.
“It is an honor to join Blockchain, the leading provider for digital asset software,” said Breanne Madigan. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to create a more modern and inclusive financial system for businesses and individuals around the world, and look forward to leveraging what I have learned from the traditional financial industry in this exciting new venture.”
Goodbye winter; hello spring! As we shift from the cold, snowy season to warmer, vibrant days, it’s time for our first quarterly product update post of 2018. We’ve got a fresh collection of updates, so let’s jump right in!
What’s new in Q1 2018?
- US users can now sell bitcoin
- Bitcoin Cash addresses get a new look
- Importing ether from MyEtherWallet and Mist is live
- Bitcoin Cash is fully supported on Android
- iOS users can now exchange ETH BTC->
Selling bitcoin available in the US
Thanks to our partnership with SFOX, users in 22 states can now conveniently sell bitcoin within their wallet without compromising security or control. Stay tuned as we expand on this US integration to include buying bitcoin, as well as buying and selling other assets like ether and Bitcoin Cash.
Bitcoin Cash address format change
Prior to this update, Bitcoin Cash and bitcoin addresses shared the same format. This inevitably led to confusion for users, especially those who transacted with both currencies. Thankfully, Bitcoin Cash developers released an updated address format to give Bitcoin Cash addresses a new look without having any effect on underlying public and private keys. Going forward, we encourage users to use the new address format when sending and receiving.
Importing existing ether from Mist and MyEtherWallet
Building upon our ether functionality, users can now import existing ether from Mist and MyEtherWallet. When logged in to your Blockchain wallet, visit Settings > General > Import Funds from MyEtherWallet. All you’ll need is your Mist or MyEtherWallet passphrase and Keystore file. ERC 20 tokens are not currently supported, but can still be accessed via other services.
Exchange BTC <-> ETH on iOS
A second key update on mobile for Q1, iOS users can now easily exchange between BTC and ETH. Previously released to web and Android users, iOS users are now able to access the same user-friendly exchange experience.
Bitcoin Cash joins our Android family of currencies
Bitcoin Cash has joined our lineup of digital currencies available to Android users. From the central dashboard, users can easily toggle between currencies to seamlessly transact and safely manage balances, all while keeping an eye on market prices.