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Swift v. Ripple: How The Looming Fight Over Financial Services, Will Define The Future Of Blockchain

In recent months Ripple Labs has made significant progress toward its goal of creating a system for efficient, cross-border fiat currency transfers. Although the company is certainly not without its critics, there is no doubt that if successful, its products could revolutionize much of the financial sector. Now, the team behind SWIFT, Ripple’s primary competitor, is responding with an improved system of its own. The looming fight between these two organizations for dominance in this field represents how blockchain technology threatens to disrupt large, established institutions. In some ways the outcome of this competition will shape the future of mainstream blockchain adoption.

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) began in 1973 as a computerized system for banks to securely transmit global transaction data. Today it is by-far the largest network of its kind, managing more than fifteen million messages per day among its eleven thousand member institutions. Although it has been periodically upgraded, it retains a centralized architecture, and is frequently criticized for delays, errors, and inefficiency. SWIFT-based financial transfers often take days to complete, with a failure rate sometimes reaching ten percent.

Ripple Labs’ products are specifically designed to perform the functions of SWIFT with vastly more efficiency and security. Using the XRB cryptocurrency as an intermediary, the company has demonstrated the ability to send fiat currency in minutes instead of days, and for a tiny fraction of the cost. Banks have taken notice, with more than one hundred partnering with Ripple Labs for future use. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has made no secret of his company’s intention to replace SWIFT, and has brushed off rumors of partnership or cooperation with the legacy institution.

SWIFT’s response has been the creation of a new service, entitled Global Payments Innovation (GPI), which is designed to be faster, and result in far fewer errors. Although still in its pilot phase, more than $100 Billion is presently sent by GPI per day. GPI is centralized, but SWIFT is exploring blockchain solutions for future upgrades.

By challenging SWIFT’s hegemony in this space, Ripple has turned what until now has been a relatively mundane banking practice into a competitive market. More than five trillion dollars worth of fiat currency crosses borders every day, and now the privilege of providing that service is up for grabs. The reward for the winners will no doubt be very lucrative. In addition to Ripple, IBM is creating its own cross-border service entitled Blockchain World Wire, and intends to utilize Stellar. JP Morgan is also entering the space with its Interbank Information Network (IIN). More players are all but certain to soon emerge.

These competing systems have very different architectures, some utilizing open, permissionless blockchains and others using closed, privately managed networks. In this sense, this issue is a microcosm for many questions that will need to be resolved as blockchain goes mainstream. The types of blockchain systems used, the role of corporate management in the process, and the regulatory issues involved are still unknown, and extremely important. In other words, there is little doubt that blockchain technology will soon be used to move fiat currency across borders. However, the means by which it will be used is still very much undecided. The same holds true for almost every other sector that distributed ledgers will impact.

Partner banks are expected to begin using Ripple for cross border transfers by early 2019, and many institutions, companies, and governments will certainly be watching. The extent to which Ripple, or some other enterprise, can successfully challenge SWIFT in this space remains unknown. However, there is no doubt that in some capacity blockchain will play a future role in how money is moved around the globe.



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Market Cap of Crypto Tokens Fall Under $100M, Struggling to be Relevant


Cryptocurrency

The market valuation of ERC20 tokens and low volume crypto have started to fall below the $100 million mark amidst an intense market sell-off and increasing regulatory pressure from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

VeChain, Bytecoin, Bitcoin Diamond, ICON, and Qtum have fallen the most against the U.S. dollar in the past 12 months, dropping by 99 percent within a year.

The abovementioned tokens dropped substantially more than other tokens on paper because they achieved multi-billion dollar valuations at their peak.

ICON (ICX), for instance, South Korea’s largest crypto project, was worth $4.3 billion at its peak on January 11. Since then, the market cap of ICX has fallen to $98 million, below the $100 million mark.

Carnage

Most tokens and ERC20 projects have not been able to deliver on their overly vague and unrealistic objectives and business models.

Even projects like ICX, which continued to work with the government of Seoul in an attempt to increase the adoption of blockchain technology in South Korea with active developer and investor communities, could not avoid a substantial drop in valuation as capital started to dry out in the crypto sector.

Many projects have been able to secure partnerships and lead initiatives but the output and the results that came out of the partnerships were overwhelming. It is difficult to say that more individuals and businesses are using blockchain technology than a year ago.

DApp developers could argue that Ethereum, Cardano, TRON, ICON, AION, and other base smart contract protocols may have not done enough to create an efficient ecosystem for decentralized applications (dApps) and systems.

But, dApps could not bring enough people to utilize the blockchain to test the capacity of the base smart contract protocols to begin with, possibly due to user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) limitations.

As Vitalik Buterin, the co-creator of Ethereum, explained, there still exists many non-financial applications of the blockchain that are yet to be tested. He said:

“Another category of use cases is verifying integrity of processes. For example, in an auction, you might want to verify that everyone’s bid that was submitted on time was included, and no late bids were included. If bids are published to chain, even encrypted, you can do this. There are also many categories of use cases where different applications need to be on a common database, and it’s just more convenient (or less risk of capture) if it’s a credibly neutral platform. Supply chain tracing stuff theoretically falls here.”

Crypto Bear Market Shake Out

In a bear market, investors tend to realize that the market has been over-valued, pulling the prices of cryptocurrencies further down, substantially. Then, as the market recovers, developers continue to build more products to support the next wave of users and investors.

Technologies that fueled the 2017 rally were certainly better than the projects that were around in 2014 as they showed the capability of the blockchain to demonstrate flexible use cases outside of finance.

But, without actively used products, it was not enough to justify multi-billion dollar valuations for tokens and as a consequence, the market suffered a large crash with many tokens losing 99 percent of its value.

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Ethereum Upgrade to Happen in January, Platform At A Crossroads

Ethereum Constantinople

The Ethereum development team has announced that the Constantinople update, which is the next step in the platform’s roadmap, is ready for release. The update will involve a hard fork that will take place at block 7,080,000, and is expected on January 16th. Ethereum prices have surged on the news, moving up more than ten percent.

The Constantinople update is the second phase of Metropolis, the third step on the Ethereum roadmap. Among its components is an upgrade to simplify off-chain transactions, which will better enable scaling. Constantinople will also delay the so-called “difficulty bomb,” which is a previously added algorithm modification designed to force miners to adopt the future proof-of-stake consensus method planned for later next year. There are a number of other additions as well, which will pave the way for the final phase of Ethereum’s roadmap, named Serenity.

The Ethereum development team intended to implement Constantinople in October, but was delayed due to a glitch in the consensus mechanism. The team has made it clear that the matter is now resolved.

The Constantinople update is good news for Ethereum, which more than ever is struggling to maintain its status as the dominant dApp platform. The dApp field is becoming crowded with platforms that are as advanced, if not more so, than Ethereum. These include Cardano, Tron, Stellar, EOS, and NEM, just to name a few. Many of these competitors not only challenge Ethereum in the technical realm, but they are gaining support in corporate, financial, and political spheres. Thus, for Ethereum to hold its position as leader of the pack, it will have to prove that it can outperform these newer rivals.

To its credit, Ethereum still has the largest development team of any blockchain system. It also has the overwhelming majority of developed applications and tokens. Its founder, Vitalik Buterin, is the best known figure in the crypto space, and is universally hailed as a visionary talent. Perhaps most significantly, Ethereum enjoys the benefit of “first mover” status among all altcoins. 

It is not surprising that investors and traders are concerned about Ethereum’s long-term hegemony among other altcoins. Like most cryptocurrencies, it has declined in value dramatically this year, from a high of $1,400 in late January to under $100 today. A rebound is likely, yet other platforms could very well pass Ethereum in adoption, and market value, when the turnaround begins. Already Ripple has passed it as the second most valuable coin by market cap, and Ethereum’s value of the total crypto space has fallen to below ten percent for the first time in two years.

It is thus easy to see why Ethereum’s future is tied to Constantinople’s success. There is presently little discord among the Ethereum community, and the hard fork is likely to proceed without issue. Also, despite the growing competition, Ethereum is in a very strong position to gain widespread adoption. Nevertheless, its challenges represent the dynamic, and rapidly evolving status of the blockchain revolution.



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KFC Venezuela Accepts Dash Cryptocurrency, Joining Subway and Papa John’s


kfc venezeula dash cryptocurrency

KFC in Venezuela is accepting payments using the cryptocurrency Dash starting this week, joining a growing list of fast-food chains that accept crypto in Venezuela, including Subway and the Papa John’s pizza chain.

KFC will initially roll out the program at its store in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas before expanding to 24 other locations across the nation, Forbes reported.

Alejandro Echeverría, the co-founder of Dash Merchant Venezuela and Dash Text, has been working with KFC for the past three months to promote more widespread adoption of Dash in the socialist South American country.

Echeverria said there are already 2,445 merchants in Venezuela that accept Dash.

‘Dash Movement Is Growing Fast’

“The Dash movement is spreading and growing fast in Venezuela,” Echeverría said. “First it was food trucks and small family businesses that started to adopt Dash for payments. Now we’re attracting more established businesses.”

In November 2018, Echeverria launched Dash Text, an SMS-based cryptocurrency transaction service that doesn’t require a smartphone or the internet, as CCN reported.

This is particularly useful in poverty-stricken Venezuela, where 60% of the population don’t own a smartphone and have limited internet connectivity.

The organization Dash Merchant Venezuela is making a major push to advance cryptocurrency adoption in Venezuela because hyperinflation has devastated the near-worthless bolivar.

The International Monetary Fund projects that Venezuela’s annual inflation rate will soon rocket to a staggering 1,000,000%, as the country’s oil production continues to plunge.

Dash Aims For 10,000 Merchants In 2019

Dash Merchant’s Alejandro Echeverria hopes the cryptocurrency will emerge as a common means of payment and a store of value. Echeverría has huge ambitions for 2019, during which he hopes to have 10,000 merchants accept Dash payments.

In August 2018, the price of Dash spiked 20% amid news of growing adoption across Venezuela, as CCN reported. Venezuelans reportedly favor Dash over Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies because of its relatively faster transaction confirmation times.

While Bitcoin transactions take an average of 10 minutes, it can take up to an hour during peak periods. In contrast, Dash transactions average two-and-a-half minutes, thanks to a masternode network which allows it to offer an Instant Send service.

KFC’s ‘Bitcoin Bucket’ Sold Out in One Hour

Bitcoiners who love fried chicken shouldn’t feel left out. KFC has been on the cryptocurrency bandwagon for some time.

In January 2018, KFC Canada launched the Bitcoin Bucket, which allowed customers to buy a bucket of chicken with bitcoin.

The Bitcoin Bucket, which included 10 chicken tenders, waffle fries, gravy, and two dips, sold out within an hour after it was made available.

KFC joked about the marketing stunt on Twitter: “KFC Canada presents the Bitcoin Bucket. Sure, we don’t know exactly what Bitcoins are, or how they work, but that shouldn’t come between you and some finger lickin’ good chicken.”

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South Korea Announces Plans To Tax Crypto, Enforcement Will Be Difficult

South Korea is one of the world’s most active nations for cryptocurrency investment and adoption. Although the nation accounts for only one percent of the world’s population, it accounts for approximately thirty percent of trading. This activity has prompted understandable concern from the government, which has placed significant restrictions on crypto activity. Now, South Korean authorities have announced plans for crypto taxation.

Incoming finance minister Hong Nam-ki announced the plans as part of a tax reform package that redefines the status of ICOs and other blockchain-based innovations. For some time such ventures have been classified as “start ups,” which under Korean law carries significant tax exemptions. Now, this classification will end.

Whereas details are unknown, it is likely that taxes will be levied at the exchange level, with individuals taxed on trades. Such a move would work in concert with recent regulations on South Korean exchanges that require confirmed user identification and prohibit foreign accounts. The exchanges themselves could also be subject to business taxes.

South Korea may be the first nation to announce a crypto tax, but many others are exploring the idea. India, for example, is considering an eighteen percent tax on trading. Britain is also exploring the idea, which could be part of larger regulatory legislation expected next year.

The concept of taxing cryptocurrencies is understandable, yet attempts to do so will present tremendous challenges. One of which is certain to be a backlash by much of the public. Already most nations have income taxes that require profits to be claimed after crypto is exchanged for fiat. Also, many nations require profitable crypto trades to be taxed, even if fiat was not part of the transaction. Adding another layer of taxation onto crypto use would thus be unpopular.

More fundamentally, enforcing taxes on cryptocurrencies will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, on a technical level. Crypto is a supranational currency that, by design, cannot be regulated by a government authority. Likewise, its decentralized nature enables anonymity, or near-anonymity, for most transactions. Without the ability to know the names behind the actions, it is folly to assume that governments can successfully force tax payments.

South Korea’s present solution to the anonymity issue, which requires cooperation from exchanges, highlights the core problems behind attempting to put any government regulations on crypto use. Simply put, Koreans that wish to avoid prying eyes can easily use exchanges based in other countries. No doubt many will should their government attempts to tax their trading.

The exchanges themselves could also push back against unwanted regulation by merely relocating outside of the country. Such moves have already taken place elsewhere. Notably, Binance relocated from Hong Kong to Malta after the Chinese government began to interfere with its operations. In fact, using decentralized exchanges, which are growing in popularity, renders any attempt to regulate crypto on the exchange level impossible.

Thus, the only possible means to effectively tax crypto use is to seek to collect revenue when users exchange cryptocurrency for fiat. However, mainstream use is expected to involve people using crypto to purchase goods and services, avoiding fiat altogether. In fact, governments, and their tax authorities, are not presently equipped to regulate the complex scenarios envisioned for blockchain assets. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) is expected to involve billions of microtransactions between autonomous devices, smart contracts will automate complex activities that cannot be audited, and atomic swaps could seamlessly transfer value across various blockchains. Attempting to tax such actions would be an exercise in futility. In fact, given the incredible benefits of this advancing technological sector, governments would be foolish to even make such an attempt.

The South Korean government is expected to unveil more details on its upcoming tax policies in a few months. This information will reveal how serious the authorities are at regulating crypto use. More importantly, it will reveal the extent to which these leaders understand the true possibilities of blockchain technology.

 

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EOS, BCH among Worst Crypto Assets as Top Coins Correct Lower


bitcoin price dominoes ethereum etherdelta crypto

EOS continues to face more rapid capitulation than its peer blockchain projects after falling another 11% in a day.

The EOS/USD rate on Tuesday established an intraday low at 2.41-fiat, down 28.27% from its weekly high at 3.36-fiat. Meanwhile, the maximum drop noted in the EOS market capitalization this week touched $861 million, according to the data available at CoinMarketCap.com.

EOS/USD 7D MARKET CAP AND PRICE | SOURCE: COINMARKETCAP.COM

The downside action in the EOS market stems from uncertainties related to the blockchain that powers the token. Investors and traders are worried about EOS longevity as a “decentralized” blockchain project, with new reports proving how highly centralized the project has become lately. For a project that raised $4 billion in an initial coin offering round, the EOS as an asset must appear overvalued to many owing to its latest hype-bust.

EOS was among the investors’ favorites mainly because it was the only coin to have surged better than the rest of the crypto market in April. The coin jumped circa 400%, rising from $4 to $20, mainly because its year-long ICO at the time was not completed. In reality, the EOS rate could have much been much lower than $20.

Bitcoin Cash Strongly Bearish

At the time of this writing, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has also dropped by 8% on a 24-hour timeline, now trading at $154.38 with a total market capitalization of $2.70 billion.

BCH/USD 7D MARKET CAP AND PRICE | SOURCE: COINMARKETCAP.COM

The BCH/USD this week established a high at 196.80-fiat after its hash war with the fellow Bitcoin SV group came to a conclusion. The fundamental nevertheless couldn’t fix the amount of sentimental and financial damage incurred by investors during the said hash war. The upside corrections were mostly traders executing their short positions, forming a bearish flag to indicate a continuance of its downward trend.

The hash rate of the bitcoin cash network has also dropped after the hard fork. It reflects the falling security standards of the network which might have led investors to short their BCH position in the near or medium term.

Elsewhere in Crypto Market

Bitcoin, the top digital currency, had a less severe 24-hour period at the market than EOS and Bitcoin Cash. The coin noted a marginal drop of 0.55% to $4000. Ethereum and XRP also dropped 1.84% and 1.34%, respectively, holding their support levels intact like bitcoin to promise a potential bounce-back scenario.

The ETH/USD rate at press time is 111.61-fiat. And the XRP/USD is trading 0.3564-fiat.

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Blockchain Utilities To Be More “Purely Digital”


ethereum creator vitalik buterin



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Vitalik Buterin was at Devcon4 recently and gave an interview to Quartz in which he said a few things about Ethereum in general.

For one, he feels that a “world computer” is still a valid way to describe the Ethereum project – “a shared computing environment that anybody can build and run stuff on is still a totally legitimate and valuable thing to emphasize.”

He spoke of a phenomena in which he believes people who get excited about the blockchain then inadvertently find ways to integrate it with their businesses, which he described  “a lot of wasted time.” Then he somewhat went on the offensive, when asked what in particular was a waste of time:

“A lot of the big corporate blockchain stuff. I read this CoinDesk article about some IBM blockchain thing. I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is they’re saying ‘Hey, we own all the IP and this is basically our platform and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s[…]totally not the point[…]”

He was speaking, of course, of IBM’s several blockchain initatives, including those related to food, as CCN reported. Buterin appears to bristle at the idea of corporations owning blockchain intellectual property, which is unsurprising given the open nature of the Ethereum protocol and the open source of almost all code relating to cryptocurrency. He went on to say that there is value in the initiatives, but he believes the companies doing it are probably not doing it right.

“There’s definitely something there, but whether or not any of the actors there are doing it remotely correctly, I’m much less sure.”

When asked what the most valid applications of blockchain technology are, Buterin had much more to say. For one, he feels that cryptocurrencies and payment systems are the primary and most valid application of blockchains. He also said that in his view, things which are best suited for the blockchain are mostly going to be “purely digital” things.

“I feel like actual utilities in the space are going to start getting closer to things that are more purely digital.”

This echoes a statement by NEO co-founder Da Feng recently in which he said that gaming was likely the next big frontier for blockchain, a statement that is being proven in action by more than one firm. Of course, there are digital properties that can be secured by blockchain outside of in-game items, such as account information and access, some of which can benefit from the censorship-resistance of blockchains.

Buterin also said his favorite blockchain application at present is “this thing in Singapore” which aims to validate university degrees, which sounds similar to an NEM project in Malaysia, but could be referring to this project from Rice University students.

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Privacy-focused Cryptocurrency Zcash Begins Trading on Coinbase Pro




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In an announcement on Thursday, Coinbase Pro has officially added support for Zcash (ZEC), a prominent privacy-centric cryptocurrency.

According to the release, Coinbase Pro started receiving inbound transfers of ZEC tokens from 10 am PST on Thursday, which was reportedly allowed for a minimum 12-hour period, after which trading of the ZEC token went live on the platform.

Coinbase users will be able to trade the ZEC/USDC trading pairs, once the exchange has achieved sufficient liquidity in deposits. As with most of its products, accessing ZEC on the platform will be determined by location. ZCash trading on Coinbase is accessible to users in the U.S (excluding New York residents), UK, Canada, Singapore, Australia, and the European Union. The platform promises to add more regions to the list at a later date.

The ZEC/USDC trading pair, just as it is with other recent listings on Coinbase Pro, such as 0x (ZRX), Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Basic Attention Token (BAT), will be launched with the  use of a process that spans four stages; post-only, transfer-only, limit-only and full trading.

The launch of the privacy coin on Coinbase would be in stages. The first stage is called ‘Transfer-only’ which involves users transferring their ZEC tokens into their Coinbase Pro account. The second stage is called ‘Post-only,’ where customers can post limit orders but it won’t be completed. Order books are expected to be in this position for a minimum one-minute period.

The third stage is called ‘Limit-only.’ This stage involves matching limit orders but they won’t be submitted just yet. Coinbase estimates a minimum of ten minutes to be spent here. The last stage is ‘Full trading’ where everything the trader needs to trade would be made available.

ZCash is a privacy cryptocurrency known for its unique technology, known as zk-SNARKS, makes it possible for users to make fund transfers without disclosing their identities or the amounts being transferred.

“The distinction between Zcash’s “transparent” and “shielded” transactions is analogous to the distinction between unencrypted HTTP and encrypted HTTPS,” the press release reads. Following the announcement from Coinbase, the value of ZEC climbed from $79 to $87 in the last 24 hours. This figure represented an increase of 8%, as opposed to the general market dip of 2%.

In a separate development, Coinbase has just launched its OTC trading desk for its institutional clients. Also, it would seem that the exchange is making plans to expand its service to allow for delayed settlement as well.

Christine Sandler, Head of Sales at Coinbase said, “We launched our OTC business as a complement to our exchange business because we found a lot of institutions were using OTC as an on-ramp for crypto trading.”

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Market Crash Likely Result of Several Factors, Recovery Could Come Quickly

November has seen the largest declines in market values this year, with major drops beginning mid-month. Bitcoin’s fall to $4,000 puts it down more than forty percent in two weeks. Altcoins have fared worse, with many losing more than half of their value during the same period. In traditional commodity markets such substantial declines are usually caused by a notable event, yet in the crypto space no single factor can be identified as the cause of the present price crash. To get a better understanding of the current situation a number of issues should be examined.

There is no doubt that the well-publicized BitcoinCash hard-fork on November 15th was a triggering event for the sharp market decline. Shortly after the fork, many traders rushed to buy into the new platforms, which resulted in a sell-off of many coins, including Bitcoin. The two new versions of Bitcoin Cash have remained extremely volatile, causing continued concern for the overall stability of cryptocurrency markets.

Although significant, the split of BitcoinCash alone should not have been disruptive enough to cause the sustained drops in prices over the past two weeks. However, on November 14th, a set of Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Bitcoin futures contracts expired. The expiration date of these contracts has been linked to drops in Bitcoin values since their inception last December. In fact, some analysts consider the introduction of futures trading as the primary cause of Bitcoin’s decline throughout this year.

A third notable influence on the price drops is the rampant trading and speculation that has come to define crypto adoption. More specifically, this year has seen a sharp increase in margin trading, offered on exchanges such as Bitmex and Huobi. This type of speculation contributes significantly to price volatility, as small price moves can trigger large scale buying or selling. The price decline on the 15th activated stop losses for these traders, which began a cascade of more selling, thus further driving down prices, triggering even more of them. Additionally, quite a few large Bitcoin sales occurred on Bitfinex which further depressed prices.

There has also been no shortage of discouraging news, such as the continued delay by institutional investors, rumors of market manipulation, and government hostility. In this environment it is not surprising that many have come to believe that digital currencies will not live up to their bold potential. Other would-be adopters are also likely to be waiting until the market stabilizes, and many cryptocurrency owners have sold to prevent further loss.

Altogether, an important takeaway from the present state of the market is that a substantial amount of fiat sits on exchanges, with traders and investors prepared to buy when confidence is restored. The large-scale drop of the past few weeks is thus not reflective of any fundamental flaw in blockchain technology. On the contrary, blockchain development and implementation is stronger than ever.

Many analysts continue to predict an upcoming bull market across the cryptocurrency space, and given the general nature of the sector, a price recovery could happen very quickly. Long term, the value of cryptocurrencies will not be determined by speculation or manipulation. Rather, blockchains will be underpinned by their utility, and by the ability of their distributed ledger architecture to increase productivity, security, and efficiency. There is thus no doubt that for those who trust in the future of blockchain, the current decline in fiat value is not a cause for serious concern.

 

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Hollywood Blockbuster Wreck-it-Ralph 2 Features Crypto Cameo




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The relentless incursion of cryptocurrency into popular culture has recorded another first with the SAFE Network being featured in the newly-released animation movie ‘Wreck-it-Ralph 2 – Ralph Breaks The Internet’.

First pointed out by posters on internet forums, the feature was then confirmed by a shot of a cinema screen showing the SAFE logo clearly displayed during a scene in the movie.

Source: safenetforum.org

Hollywood Loves Crypto?

Prior to this, cryptocurrency has featured regularly on the smaller screen with televisions shows like ‘The Good Wife’, ‘The Simpsons’, ‘House of Cards’, ‘NCIS LA’ and ‘Supernatural’ dipping their toesi nto the subject as far back as 2012. Recently however, the recognition of crypto as a bona fide part of popular culture has made its way to the silver screen, with the Coen Brothers reportedly working on a new movie about former Silk Road admin Ross Ulbricht.

In June 2018, Hollywood Reporter revealed that a movie about money laundering titled ‘Crypto’ is currently in production with a superstar cast including Alexis Bledel, Kurt Russell, Beau Knapp. Luke Hemsworth, Jeremie Harris, Vincent Kartheiser and director John Stalberg Jr.

Reacting to the news of the feature through its official account on the SAFE Forum, Maidsafe said:

“Hey all, we’ve been watching this one with interest – thanks to everyone who’s pinged us over the weekend to give us the heads up! We’re trying to do a bit of digging to find out more – but, most excitingly, this isn’t something that we’ve worked on directly within the team. It may have organically come out of our connections with the Silicon Valley HBO series 5. But whatever the reason, knowing just how much time is allocated to designing and checking every single frame of a major animation film from a company like Disney to ensure it’s perfect at the end of a multi-month production cycle, I think it’s safe to say that the SAFE Network’s been chosen for a good reason. We’ll let you all know if we find out the connection over the next few days.”

It will be recalled that prior to this, Marvel comics featured cryptocurrency in a comic strip titled Hunt for Wolverine – Adamantium Agenda #1. More recently, in October 2018, late noughties Hip hop sensation Soulja Boy released a single titled “Bitcoin” from his latest mixtape ‘Young Draco’.

Also in October, CCN reported that Johnny Depp penned a deal with Tatatu, a tokenized social entertainment platform that reportedly raised $575 million in what became the third largest ICO ever.

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Three Months after Exchange Listing, Coinbase Wallet Supports Ethereum Classic


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Users of Coinbase Wallet will now be able to send as well as receive Ethereum Classic.

In a blog post, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase indicated that support has now been extended to not just Ethereum Classic but also to the more than 100,000 ERC20 tokens which exist in the Ethereum blockchain. Users of the wallet will, however, have to wait a couple of days before they can conduct transactions.

“Your Wallet app should update in the next few days, after which you can view, send, and receive ETC on your Wallet,” Coinbase wrote in an online announcement.

This comes three months after the cryptocurrency exchange listed the altcoin on its trading platform.

At the time, Coinbase said the listing was a fulfilment of a promise to add more assets to its trading platform for its global customer base. Since the listing of Ethereum Classic, other cryptocurrencies that have been added to Coinbase’s trading platform include Basic Attention Token (BAT), which was listed at the beginning of this month.

BAT and 0x

As CCN reported after the listing, Coinbase allowed trading in BAT in most jurisdictions with the exception of New York.

“Once sufficient liquidity is established, trading on the BAT/USDC order book will start. […] BAT trading will be accessible for users in most jurisdictions, but will not initially be available for residents of the state of New York,” Coinbase announced at the time.

At the time the U.S. cryptocurrency exchange also disclosed that BAT would be unavailable on the mobile apps and on Coinbase.com.

Another cryptocurrency that Coinbase recently listed is 0x and unlike in the case of BAT, the coin was immediately available on iOS and Android apps as well as on Coinbase.com. But just like in the case of BAT, the state of New York was excluded from the list of allowed jurisdictions. In the U.K., where Coinbase enabled deposits and withdrawals in sterling pounds in August, residents also missed out on the immediate availability of 0x.

“Starting today, Coinbase supports ZRX at Coinbase.com and in the Coinbase Android and iOS apps. Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, send, receive, or store ZRX…” Coinbase vice president and the general manager of Coinbase Consumer, Dan Romero, announced as CCN reported. “ZRX will be available for customers in most jurisdictions, but will not initially be available for residents of the United Kingdom or the state of New York.”

Highly Regulated

Being based in the United States, Coinbase is highly regulated and the listing of a token on the exchange is taken as an indication that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission does not consider such an asset a security. Other crypto assets that could soon be listed on Coinbase, speculatively speaking, include Cardano, Stellar and Zcash.

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Major Retailers Remain Wary of Cryptocurrency, Relationship With Blockchain is Complex

Now that the holiday season has begun, consumer spending will be at its peak, and once again many crypto advocates will debate when major retailers will begin accepting Bitcoin or other blockchain assets. Although blockchain development remains robust, and investment interest is strong, large consumer outlets have developed a complex relationship with the technology.

There is little doubt that, despite most not accepting cryptocurrency for payment, major retailers have a strong interest in blockchain technology. Walmart, for example, will soon use a blockchain-based system to manage food safety, and will require the same of its suppliers. The Arkansas-based retail giant has also been awarded a number of blockchain-based patents, including one that manages medical records and another that would manage home-based product delivery.

Amazon is also moving into blockchain, albeit in a manner that does not directly touch consumers. It is developing a number of distributed ledger products as part of its Amazon Web Services (AWS) offerings, and is clearly seeking to create a presence in the rapidly growing blockchain-as-a-service (BAAS) sector. To this end, it is developing offerings that include smart contracts, database management, and storage. It has also partnered with Singapore-based Qtum for expansion into China.

Other similar chain retailers are exploring blockchain for a wide range of operations. Thus, there is no doubt that these companies understand and appreciate what the technology has to offer. To that end it is interesting that they have been so slow to accept cryptocurrency as payment. Although there is likely no single reason for this reticence, reasons could include market volatility, lack of a developed point-of-sale infrastructure, or potential tax and regulatory complications. However, the most likely reason is that there is very little demand from consumers, as most crypto owners prefer to hold their coins as a store of value.

Nevertheless, the interest that big retailers have in blockchain is a clear indication that their management is paying very close attention to development of the sector. The few retailers that do accept crypto have generally been successful. Notable among these is Overstock.com, which has been accepting cryptocurrencies since 2014.

It is reasonable to assume that major consumer chains will eventually accept cryptocurrency, yet for this move to happen the process will need to be smooth enough to ensure security and convenience. Simply put, these businesses will take this important step when they see it as necessary, and profitable. This present scenario represents the complexity of the blockchain revolution, and how it affects many different sectors of the global economy.

 

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How to Get Started with Cryptocurrency

CN_three_pieces_of_advice_for_cryptocurrency_beginners

Short article containing advice for cryptocurrency beginners, giving them advice on how to choose a wallet, protect their accounts, and purchase their first cryptocurrency.

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrencies are a risky investment due to their high volatility. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Recently, a stockbroker reached out to me after reading one of my articles about a cryptocurrency exchange. The older gentleman, whose name I choose to keep anonymous, but for our purposes, we can call him Jack. See, Jack is not somebody who takes action without first analyzing how things work.

He knows the stock market and trades there daily, but when it comes down to cryptocurrency, he does not know a lot. Even after a year of following various channels and outlets, the fundamentals of the technology have missed him completely. At the time when we talked, he didn’t even own a wallet.

He was interested in learning more about cryptocurrency and how to enter this market, and in this article, I will share with you some of the advice that I gave this gentleman in our conversations. We mostly talked about Bitcoin, so this article will reflect that. If you are an advanced user of cryptocurrency, you will not get a lot of value from this article.

Before anything, get yourself a wallet

Ten years into Bitcoin’s existence, the difficulty of ownership and usage of a cryptocurrency wallet has been reduced to the point where 5-year-old children can easily make transactions. Of course, just owning the wallet is not the end goal, but this is where you start.

Before making a wallet, it would be useful to understand how they work. Across the entire blockchain ecosystem, every project implements a slightly different approach to the wallet creation process. However, all of them use encryption methods to protect you as the user. Some of them even give you complete ownership, which means that you are the only one that has access to your private key.

What is a private key?

That’s an excellent question!

The private key is your way of getting transaction-level access to your wallet. You should keep it safe and secure, unlike its counterpart, the public key. They are the product of encryption algorithms that are used across all blockchain systems to track who owns cryptocurrency.

The private key is yours alone, and you should not share it with anybody, together with what is called the “backup phrase,” a 12-word sequence that can restore access to your wallet in the case of losing your private key or password.

The public key is used to facilitate and receive cryptocurrency transactions. This is what people are talking about when they request an address. You should be able to find it easily within the standard “receive” tab in your cryptocurrency wallet.

How to choose a cryptocurrency wallet?

There are a couple of different wallets available, and both of them come with pros and cons. This article talks mostly about Bitcoin, but there are cryptocurrency wallets that are capable of storing any token or coin available on the market. For now, we are focusing on Bitcoin, because it is the perfect starting point, and there is a ton of information available about the entire experience.

The main three types are:

  • Local wallets
  • Owned wallets
  • Exchange wallets

Local Wallets

These wallets are created locally, on a computer that is running the software necessary for maintaining the network. In the case of Bitcoin, this would be the “Bitcoin Core” software. This approach is not recommended for beginners, due to the impressive disk space requirements for running the software. The idea of downloading +100Gb to create a wallet is daunting.

You can try this out once you’ve gained some experience with cryptocurrency in general.

Owned Wallets

These are wallets that have a different blockchain access point (meaning the core software is running on a server), but you still have full ownership of the private keys. Another term associated with this type of wallet is “lightweight.” Whenever you encounter this term, you know that you are going through somebody else’s server to facilitate your transactions. Lightweight wallets are the easiest to begin with, and provide the highest level of security while removing the need for running the core system.

Blockchain (the company) provides one of the easiest and user-friendly wallets out there. The second best is the BTC/BCH wallet by BTC.com.

Hardware wallets are the most secure type of wallet, but you don’t really need one when you are starting out.

Exchange Wallets

Cryptocurrency exchanges are one of the top reasons why people get into the market. They want to trade, and they want to buy and sell all kinds of coins. Trading is great, but it comes with its risks. Carefully selecting an exchange is paramount because there are many risks to consider.

Exchanges do not typically share private keys with their customers, drawing similarities to banks that do not give out vault keys. It’s only natural for them to protect the information. This means that you are not the primary owner of the cryptocurrency, but somebody else is keeping it for you, just like money in the bank.

Selecting the top-tier exchanges will provide you with the safest and most reliable experience. Analyze what is happening and research before getting involved with a random exchange. Exchanges are a topic for another day, but for now, keep in mind that making a good decision on which exchange to use is paramount.

Getting your first cryptocurrency

Lightweight wallets typically enable you to purchase cryptocurrency with any debit or credit card directly in the application. Another method would be to go through a cryptocurrency exchange that supports fiat (traditional currency) deposits and exchange that for cryptocurrency.

All in all, it should be a pretty straightforward experience. If for whatever reason you are unable to use debit or credit cards for this reason, then you can access the OTC (over-the-counter) crypto market. Websites such as www.localbitcoins.com enable users to trade in many different ways.

Reaching out to your tech-savvy friends can also provide you with an easy way to get cryptocurrency, as most technologically inclined people already own, and maybe you can buy directly from them.

Activate Two-Factor Authentication

Very important. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a widely used security feature for many different types of accounts. Starting from email, all the way to the cryptocurrency exchange accounts, almost everything you have online should be protected using this technology.

It pairs your smartphone to your account by creating a unique password that resets every 60 seconds. Upon login, the online service will require this code protecting your account in the case your password gets discovered. 2FA increases account security 100-fold, and it is highly recommended that you begin using it, especially for cryptocurrency ownership.

What Jack did is 100% correct

Many people do not understand the fundamentals of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, yet they have taken serious action toward acquiring these assets. Many of them have fallen victim to scams or have lost their crypto through negligence.

Remember Jack from the initial paragraphs of this article?

He did one thing, and he did it very well.

He was patient, and strived to learn and discover more, before diving into cryptocurrency. If you are a beginner, it is highly recommended that you do exactly the same, and learn before you burn away your investments.

Struggling with cryptocurrency? We can help you!

Simply go to the comment section, and share your crypto-troubles with us. Many of our writers are highly experienced with cryptocurrency and they would be more than happy to share their knowledge with you. But first, we need to know what are the questions running through your mind.

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blockchain set to revolutionize marine transport industry

With crypto prices spiraling downward, it is easy to assume that the blockchain space is struggling. However, market caps notwithstanding, development and adoption is stronger than ever. Perhaps no sector is embracing blockchain faster than logistics and commercial shipping, specifically maritime transport. It is now commonly accepted that this segment of the global economy will soon see full-scale adoption of blockchain systems, and with it substantial improvements in efficiency and security.

The port of Rotterdam, which is Europe’s largest, recently announced a month-long trial of a blockchain-based container management system. This move is in cooperation with Samsung and ABM Amro, a Dutch bank. The port administration has stated that the system will be “a complete, paperless integration of physical, administrative, and financial streams within international distribution chains.” Designers of the project assert that it could save millions of Euros over the long-term, and serve as a model for future blockchain integration.

Several other ports are also moving into the blockchain space. Antwerp, for example, has been piloting a program known as “Smart Port” for over a year, and Britain’s largest port operator, Associated British Ports, is also exploring the technology. In fact, virtually every player in the space is embracing blockchain, with expectations that it will be a standard element of the industry within a few years. Perhaps the largest blockchain system under development is TradeLens, which is a joint venture between IBM and Maersk which will involve 234 global ports and 94 shipping organizations.

There is no doubt that maritime shipping is an industry that could benefit greatly from distributed ledger systems. Despite tremendous growth in volume during the past 50 years, the means by which products are handled remains woefully outdated. Most records are kept on paper, with little oversight or standardization. As many as thirty different parties can be involved in product handling, none of which effectively communicate with each other. In fact, so inefficient is the present state of global shipping that up to fifty percent of costs can be attributed to paperwork and logistics.

Whereas there is little doubt that blockchain will be a significant improvement for maritime transport, there will be challenges, and a full transition to the technology will take time. One significant issue will be standardization. Many different blockchain platforms could potentially be adopted. Some are even specifically designed for the sector. Unless one, or a select few, become universally accepted many of the benefits will be lost. Additionally, even the most advanced blockchain projects are still far from fully developed, which opens the door for a variety of issues down the road.

Although the marine shipping industry involves trillions of dollars in global trade each year, it is still represents only a small fragment of blockchain’s potential. It is this fact that makes examining its adoption of the technology a good case study for blockchain development. There is little doubt at this point that blockchain will be used to make the transport of goods across the world’s oceans vastly more efficient and secure, yet much more work is needed before this vision becomes a reality.

 

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NBA Legend Kobe Bryant to Speak at Tron’s Crypto Conference


Kobe Bryant Crypto Tron



NBA legend Kobe Bryant has been confirmed for a high profile speaking slot at niTROn 2019, the inaugural international crypto conference organised by Tron.

Marketing boon for Tron?

In October, CCN reported that former US president Bill Clinton delivered an address at Ripple’s Swell conference in San Francisco where he stated that blockchain technology has “staggering” possibilities. Bryant’s upcoming appearance at the Tron summit is yet another indication of the burgeoning profile of the cryptocurrency industry, which — armed with ICO capital — now has real pulling power compared to a few years ago.

Bryant is an all-time-great slated to be inducted into the NBA hall of fame in 2021 following a wildly successful 21-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, in which time he also won two Olympic gold medals with the US Men’s Basketball team. Since his retirement, he has been at work on a number of media projects, but this is his first public foray into the world of cryptocurrency.

To some, his involvement is a genuine coup for the cryptocurrency ecosystem, as it potentially provides an avenue for one of the world’s most respected sports figures to introduce crypto to some of his over 14 million Twitter followers. To others, however, Sun’s announcement may likely go down with a pinch of salt as the recent saga surrounding the crypto project’s allegedly-misleading characterization of a partnership between Tron and Baidu — which turned out to be a cloud computing agreement — has yet to fully die down.

The niTROn summit specifically aims to appeal to uninitiated industries to give blockchain technology a try, so the use of a popular face is perhaps understandable for marketing purposes, but it will also be interesting to get Bryant’s original thoughts on cryptocurrency.

Speaking to Forbes about adding Bryant’s participation to the summit, Sun said:

“Kobe Bryant is a basketball genius. I have been a huge fan of Kobe and deeply inspired by his journey. It’s my great honor to have Kobe as our special guest for the niTROn Summit. It’s worth mentioning that Kobe Bryant is not only a basketball genius, but also an investment genius. We look forward to hearing his great speeches at the summit.”

According to information from Tron, Justin Sun will share useful data about Tron’s future plans in the course of the summit. There will also be a special session for blockchain development leaders to discuss technical issues such as DEX development and public chain research.

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mining profits sink as crypto values decline, many platforms on shaky ground

The recent drop in values has created anxiety among many players in the crypto space, perhaps none more so than miners, many of whom have begun to experience losses for the first time. Mining is the underlying foundation for proof-of-work (PoW) cryptos, as it ensures decentralization and maintains consensus. Thus, the lack of profitability over time could spell disaster for many platforms.

Over the course of this year profit margins for miners have shrunk substantially, as crypto values have declined, hash difficulties have increased, and mining equipment has become more expensive. In fact, Bitcoin and several other PoW platforms are now largely dominated by industrial level mining farms, as small-scale miners are unable to mine profitably. This latest drop in coin values, which has seen Bitcoin fall below $6,000, has now even put many industrial miners into the red, and may lead to a major transformation of the entire crypto space.

One serious consequence of the present phenomenon is that it is leading to fewer miners, and a greater concentration of mining among the largest operations. This scenario threatens to undermine decentralization, and make platforms more vulnerable to 51% attacks. Notably, Bitcoin mining is already concentrated in a handful of very large pools (notably Bitmain’s Antpool), which many advocates consider a serious concern. The current situation only makes this problem worse.

Mining issues could also lead to a greater adoption of proof-of-stake (PoS) cryptos, or other platforms that use alternate consensus mechanisms. The long-term sustainability of proof-of-work is already heavily debated, and no significant PoW cryptocurrency has been created in almost three years. Given the fact that miners are among the most active participants in the crypto space, and have a substantial impact on development and publicity, they have the ability to shift public opinion on the best coin architecture.

It is worth noting that mining difficulty has decreased along with profitability, which will help miners make up for the decline in values as their rigs will generate more coins. Notably, Bitcoin difficulty has declined for almost six weeks, which is a first for the flagship cryptocurrency. Much of this drop is no doubt due to inefficient, unprofitable miners turning off their equipment, and is also reflected by the fact that there are nine hundred fewer nodes operating than at this time last year.

Ironically, the decrease in mining profitability could contribute to a rebound in crypto prices. Former miners are likely to begin buying crypto on exchanges, which will could increase demand. Additionally, remaining miners will need to sell less to cover their fiat expenses, such as electricity, which will reduce supply.

Blockchain technology is designed to automatically adjust to changing circumstances, and self-correct problems in a decentralized manner. There is little doubt that Bitcoin and other PoW platforms will return to profitability as difficulties decrease. However, public trust, and demand must also be secured, which can be challenging in periods of volatility. The current scenario thus represents the fact that the crypto space remains in a period of development, and the final picture for mainstream use of blockchain platforms is far from complete.

 

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Crypto faces a loss of $6B in 48 hours

November’s second week happened to be quite a lucrative one for an array of tokens including Stellar, Ethereum, Cardano and Ripple as they surged by up to 30 percent, which is quite an unusual thing, given the recent trends. Well, the primary credit for this short-term exponential growth goes to BCH as it managed to climb up the ladder with an increase of about 40% in merely 2 days.

However, there was a dark side to the market as well. While some of the most popular currencies boosted in value, within 48 hours (starting from 7th November), the industry got devalued and lost about $6 billion. During this shaky time, when the niche came down to approximately $214 billion, the BTC maintained its monetary dignity. Well, for a short time (we’ll explore in the last section).

There were a lot of rumors in the market recently as some of the key speculators had rolled out statements, predicting such an incident. But it is still unusual for many.

Monthly trends were somewhat okay at first

Of course, the recent incident was geared due to the fluctuation in BCH’s value and the entire crypto industry faced a loss of more than 2.5 percent in just 2 days.

However, until that time, the monthly performance of the crypto industry seemed satisfactory. As the market boomed by an addition of $20 billion in merely a month or so. If we just consider BTC as an example, the trading volume was hitting at least $3 billion per day, which was massive!

BTC dives

As of yet, two of BCH’s greatest stakeholders are indirectly bombarding the community with their civil fight. Hence, the entire crypto canvas, Bitcoin in particular, is suffering.

Everybody knows that BCH has conducted a hard fork and when such a big thing happens under normal circumstances, all involved parties are on the same page and everyone agrees to it.

But that’s not the case with this hard fork, which seems to be the main cause for BTC’s value wandering in the mid $5000s. Basically, Bitcoin SV and Bitmain are competing with one another to secure the chain of code which governs consensus. What’s worse is that Bitcoin SV has threatened to launch a 51% attack on the main network which has created a frenzy among different operators. (Let’s hope they do not hit that path to cause block manipulations across the network.)

It is a serious threat for Bitmain and in order to prevent that from happening, speculators also predict that the company might just shift all of its resources from BTC to BCH. If that is to happen, then we must brace ourselves for observing a big impact on the BTC network in terms of mining feasibility and efficiency of transactions, at least in the short term.

 

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Analysts Continue To Predict A Nearing Crypto Bull Run, But Data Is Mixed

Earlier this week, Changpeng Zhao, CEO of Binance, expressed optimism about Bitcoin experiencing a bull run, moving up substantially in value and reversing its months long decline. Other notable figures in the crypto space have expressed similar opinions, such as hedge fund manager Mike Novogratz, who operates Galaxy Digital, the largest crypto fund on Wall Street. These opinions reflect a general belief among crypto advocates that, despite the seemingly endless slide in market caps across almost all crypto platforms, a recovery is just around the corner. When this recovery will happen, and what form it will take, remains elusive.

For investors and traders, this year has certainly been disappointing. Bitcoin is down seventy percent from its all-time high in January, and some major platforms have declined by as much as ninety percent. The number of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) has substantially slowed, and governments remain reluctant to take action recognizing crypto’s legitimacy. There has also been no shortage of high-profile hacks and thefts that have sewn mistrust among much of the public.

For any other asset sector, this level of bad news would be a catastrophe. However, there are factors that indicate that cryptocurrencies are, in fact, growing much stronger and could realistically soon see prices rally. One key indicator is that many platforms are experiencing growing transaction volume. For example, Bitcoin just had over 300,000 transactions per day for the first time since January. The growth for other platforms is also evident, albeit more modest, such as Ethereum’s, which has been moving up steadily since early October and now averages over 550,000 transactions per day.

There is also no lack of confidence in the inevitable mainstream adoption of blockchain technology, and interest in investment remains high. A number of surveys indicate that at least five percent of the developed world owns cryptocurrency, and in the developing world the percentage may be even higher. South Africa, for example, has a remarkable twenty-nine percent ownership rate. There has also been robust growth in crypto development, as most major coins have made substantial progress on their roadmaps.   

Moving forward, two key indicators are likely to cause values to move up. One is the adoption of blockchain technology by companies. Presently most major corporations have plans to implement blockchain, but few have done so. There should be little doubt that once these platforms enter real-world use, investors will quickly move in. Which platforms will see the most success, however, has yet to be determined.

The second indicator will be the entry of institutional investment. Presently most investment is individual, with major players, such as hedge funds and sovereign wealth funds, waiting for a more stable environment. Nevertheless, institutional interest is very strong, and is generally regarded as inevitable. When this move happens, there is little doubt that values will skyrocket.

It is worth noting that once the bull run begins, it may have a different character than is presently believed. For example, currently market caps are measured in fiat, usually in relation to U.S. Dollars. However, mainstream crypto adoption is likely to involve a new standard of valuation, and if cryptocurrencies are used as ultimately intended, their fiat value will not be relevant. In other words, because crypto will be used as money, its value will be based on its purchasing power alone.

Also, the next price rally may not lift all platforms, as the last one did. This next time around, investors could very well be more selective with their choices, leading many cryptocurrencies to stagnate. There is little debate among crypto advocates that many present platforms will inevitably fail.  The means by which these failures will happen is unknown, but almost certainly lack of investor confidence will play a role.

The price volatility of the past few days remains a common phenomenon in the crypto space, and it is likely to continue until more fundamental steps are taken toward mainstream adoption. At this point, all cryptocurrencies are speculative, and in developmental stages, and thus determining a stable value is impossible. Nevertheless, blockchain technology is certain to become common in the coming years, which guarantees that some crypto platforms will see their prices rise, likely significantly. Exactly when that increase will begin to take place remains a mystery.

 

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Tokens Continue to Drop, is SEC Preparing to go After Crypto Projects?


SEC ICO Cryptocurrency



The price of Bitcoin has dropped by 10 percent over the last 24 hours following a severe sell-off. Yet, several low market cap crypto and tokens have plunged by twice that amount, posting losses in the range of 20 percent.

ERC20 tokens launched on top of the Ethereum blockchain network have performed especially poorly against both Bitcoin and the US dollar over the past several days.

Waltonchain, Lisk, ICON, Ontology, Golem, VeChain, WanChain, and many other tokens backed by active developer and investor communities declined substantially in the last week. Even Basic Attention Token (BAT) and 0x (ZRX), which experienced strong short-term upward movements prior to the Coinbase listing, dropped by more than 36 percent.

Is the US Going After ICO Projects?

The listing of BAT and ZRX by Coinbase confirmed that the two tokens are not considered securities under existing regulations set forth by local financial authorities in the US. Coinbase was cautious in listing tokens on its platform because in an event wherein the tokens listed by the exchange are identified as securities, Coinbase could be targeted by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the distribution of unregistered securities.

It is possible, as government enforcement defense and securities litigation attorney at Kobre & Kim, Jake Chervinsky, said, the SEC is preparing to take down many cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offering (ICO) projects, with many pending cases in the hands of the commission.

“Most enforcement actions are kept confidential until they’re resolved to protect both the defendant (from bad press) & the government (from losses & inconsistencies). That’s why this case was settled before it was announced. On that point, remember all those subpoenas the SEC sent out earlier this year? Just because you haven’t heard about them recently doesn’t mean there aren’t dozens of investigations going on behind the scenes. Sooner or later, the floodgates will open,” Chervinsky said.

In an official announcement, the SEC disclosed that EtherDelta co-founder Zachary Coburn agreed to pay $300,000 in disgorgement plus $13,000 in prejudgment interest and a $75,000 penalty, showing that the case was settled between Coburn and the SEC prior to the release of the statement.

At the Investment Adviser Association conference in Washington, D.C., Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, confirmed that dozens of investigations into ICOs are underway and expects to see more in the future.

“We are very active, and I would just expect to see more and more,” she said, according to Bloomberg.

ICO Projects on Thin Ice

In the upcoming months, the cryptocurrency space is expected to see several pending cases against cryptocurrency exchanges and ICOs brought up by the SEC. The regulatory uncertainty in the ICO market surrounding tokens could lead to a decline in confidence from investors towards small market cap cryptocurrencies.

EtherDelta co-founder Zachary Coburn and the exchange were charged with the distribution of unregistered securities, which suggests that the SEC has cooperated with Coburn to understand the nature of several, if not dozens, of tokens considered securities under US regulations.

The drop in confidence from investors and the market could lead to a bleed out for tokens until the SEC provides a clear guideline to provide clarity in the space.

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Countdown to BitcoinCash’s November 15th Hardfork





The BitcoinCash network is undergoing regular updates through forks, the next of which was scheduled for November 15th. With different, incompatible directions suggested by the teams around Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV, a network split is likely to happen at this date.

  • The proposed hardfork from Bitcoin ABC (“BCHABC”) includes a change to canonical transaction ordering, newly added OpCodes, and a minimum transaction size requirement.
  • The main aspects of the hardfork proposed by Bitcoin SV (“BCHSV”) are a maximum blocksize increase to 128MB, the biggest increase so far, and the reactivation of some old OpCodes initially added by Satoshi himself.

 

  • A more detailed explanation of the current situation can be found on this blog and in this article previously published on CN.
  • An up-to-date statistical overview of the current hashrate deployment and node count, a list of services signaling to support either implementation, and the current status of the network seen from different clients can be found on coin.dance.

Time before the forking threshold:

(updated once per minute)

 

 






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This is Lutpin, and I edit, review and publish articles for CryptoNews.
Sometimes, I also write them myself.

I started being interested in bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as far back as late 2012/early 2013. A year later I dropped out of the scene due to losing interest. Since 2015 I’m back in and involved deeper than ever. Besides writing articles, I’m a huge fan of gambling, preferrably combined with cryptocurrencies. Another big interest of mine are physical bitcoins, I know everything about them. Besides Crypto-News and Crypto-Games, you can find me mainly on bitcointalk.org




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XRP Posts 6% Gains as Japan and Brazil Adopt Ripple Tech for Payments




Ripple’s XRP token has a posted a 6 percent profit to establish a fresh weekly high towards $0.534. The bullish behavior also got the coin close to replacing Etherum as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap.

SOURCE: TRADINGVIEW.COM

The XPR/USD value appreciated from 0.506-fiat to 0.535-fiat on Monday. The price action underwent a weak downside correction later. It found support at 0.516-fiat and is since hinting a further upside bias. The pair is now trading at 0.532-fiat, looking to reclaim the weekly high, followed by a breakout towards 0.556-fiat, the November 6 high. The level also poses as a potential upside target for the intraday long position albeit the long-term bearish bias.

To the downside, a push below 0.516-fiat could enable the market to locate the next likely support at 0.506-fiat. The level also marks a downside target for day traders, looking to enter short positions towards the levels and generate maximum intraday profits.

Ripple-based Interbanking Corridor

Japan’s MUFG Bank on November 9 announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Banco Bradesco S.A., a Brazil-based banking service. The MoU discussed a partnership between the two organization to create a cross-border payment corridor that would be powered by the Ripple technology.

However, the press release about the MUFG-Bradesco partnership never elaborated which of the Ripple solution they would utilize. The San Francisco company currently offers xCurrent and xRapid solutions in its line of products. Many a time, the adoption of the xCurrent solution has been wrongly attributed to the rise in XRP value. Though, the product does not make it mandatory for participants to purchase XRP to complete a cross-border transaction. The xRapid solution, on the other hand, exclusively uses XRP tokens.

The XRP price action remained relatively calmer on the day of the announcement. Around that time, the US Dollar was posting fresher highs, as discussed in this analysis, weakening all the quoted assets, including Bitcoin and Ripple.  The XRP upsides developed only after the comments of Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse about the coin’s long-term bullish sentiments surfaced.

Ripple Better than Bitcoin and SWIFT

Amidst the rumors that Ripple was looking to partner with SWIFT, Garlinghouse cleared that the interbank messaging network was, in fact, a rival. He went on by saying that Ripple would likely replace SWIFT as the world’s leading interbank financial network.

“The technologies that banks use today that Swift developed decades ago hasn’t evolved or kept up with the market,” he said. “Swift said not that long ago they didn’t see blockchain as a solution to correspondent banking. We’ve got well over 100 of their customers saying they disagree.”

The CEO also projected XRP as a better currency than Bitcoin. He said that their money is 1,000 times cheaper and faster than the world’s leading crypto-asset. The comments came after the rumors about White House looking to pit XRP against Bitcoin surfaced last month.

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NEM Price Rebounds to Two-Month High Following Coincheck Relisting


nem price bounce



The price of NEM tokens (XEM) has risen some since Japanese exchange Coincheck announced that it would once again allow trading of the token, which was suspended after a hack at the exchange led to a more than half-billion dollars in tokens being stolen and systematically laundered through other exchanges.

The XEM price started picking up momentum just before the announcement. It presently sits at almost 12 cents per token with a market capitalization of nearly $1 billion, a far cry from its January high (which had built up from momentous trading throughout last December) of nearly $1.50.

nem price
Source: CoinMarketCap

NEM is 17th on the current list of tokens by market capitalization. It hit a high of $0.114 overnight, but currently sits about .007 less than that, at time of writing being worth $0.107375, marking a 16 percent gain. It beats out notable contenders like zcash by hundreds of millions of dollars.

It is always pertinent to mention in these things that liquidity may or may not exist for the total market capitalization of a given token. Only those actively and widely traded against fiat currencies can accurately be reported as having this or that market capitalization. In terms of tokens which are largely traded against larger cryptos, the reality of their market capitalization is in fact hard to gauge — prices tend to drop astronomically when sales begin to cascade. Nevertheless, that it retains a moving token a price over 10 cents despite its past problems and in the face of a massive supply (1 shy of 9 billion units) is important.

New Economy Movement

The New Economy Movement is an entirely original blockchain codebase which introduced the concept of Proof of Importance, or a system that “not only rewards those with a large account balance, but also takes into account how much they transact to others and who they transact with.”

Regardless of the token price, the business end of NEM has kept up operations and entered into several strategic partnerships, including with OATH Protocol and Portal network. They have also created a product called PUBLISH, which is supposed to be some kind of decentralized news gathering/publishing service.

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States Continue to Explore issuing National Cryptocurrencies With Mixed Results

As cryptocurrency adoption and blockchain development grows, states across the globe continue to explore the idea of issuing ‘national cryptocurrencies’. This concept is fiercly debated, with various nations taking different approaches to the subject. The results are an emerging patchwork of various policies and projects, which serves to demonstrate the tremendous challenge central banks are having in their attempt to address the emerging crypto movement while still retaining control over their national currencies.

Last week, Israel’s central bank issued a report recommending against the issuance of a national digital currency, making the country the latest to weigh in on the topic. The report cites a number of reasons, notably the fact that the Bank of Israel does not consider cryptocurrencies to represent a current threat to the established financial system. The lack of uniform specifications for digital currencies is also given as a reason to avoid action. Israel’s position is far from unique, as many other countries, such as South Korea and Finland, have announced that they will not be entering the cryptocurrency space.

A number of states are moving in the other direction. Sweden is expected to launch a blockchain-based e-Krona in the near future, and Iran has already announced the release of a virtual version of the Rial. Estonia and Spain are also known to be looking at digital currencies. Venezuela has already issued the Petro, which the ruling Maduro government continues to promote despite its near universal mistrust around the globe.

These opposing moves reflect the conflict that central banks are having in addressing the crypto revolution. Global leaders now recognize that blockchain assets are a permanent part of the financial landscape, and they no doubt have come to understand that cryptocurrencies are difficult, if not impossible, to regulate. It is thus not surprising that many different approaches to digital currencies can be seen from these banking institutions.

Understanding this fact is key when examining the features of present, or intended, state-backed cryptocurrencies. All of them lack the key characteristics of permissionless blockchain assets, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Notably, they are not open source, they are managed directly by central banks (and thus centralized themselves), and they are intended to be used primarily by state citizens or institutions. Thus, they are not true cryptocurrencies. It is perhaps appropriate that they are presently referred to as “stablecoins,” as their goal is to merely be a digital version of fiat.

It is too early to know the final outcome of the cryptocurrency revolution, but perhaps the movement toward fiat-based stablecoins can be seen as an expected next step in how states will seek to address it. Rather than embrace decentralized blockchain assets, central banks will create pseudo cryptocurrencies as a means to undermine them. In this context, it is folly to assume that these centrally managed coins will succeed long-term. In fact, given the decentralized architecture of permissionless blockchains, true cryptocurrencies cannot be managed by any central bank, or be confined to the borders of a single nation. Real cryptocurrency is borderless, and supranational.

Most crypto advocates argue that at some point governments and central banks will be forced to recognize the legitimacy of decentralized cryptocurrencies. The path to this reality is not yet known, but as blockchain moves into mainstream use, there is little other possible outcome. If state-backed cryptos succeed, it is all but certain that they will merely complement true cryptos rather than replace them.

 

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Bitcoin ABC Has 600% More Nodes than Bitcoin SV


bitcoin cash



Editor’s note: The article’s headline has been amended to clarity.

According to Coin.Dance, a reputable Bitcoin network data provider, there are about 600% more Bitcoin Cash ABC nodes than Bitcoin SV (“Satoshi Vision”) nodes. Bitcoin Cash ABC enjoys the support of three major exchanges: Bitpay, Binance, and Coinbase, while Bitcion Cash SV has the backing and blessing of the largest Bitcoin Cash mining pool, Coingeek.

The keyword in the last sentence there is “pool.” Individual miners are free to mine whatever their hardware will allow them to, and membership in a given pool is voluntary and sometimes fleeting. At time of writing, BCHABC was trading noticeably higher on the only reputable exchange listing it along with BCHSV and BCH, Poloniex.

An “ABC Coin” was worth $414 while an “SV Coin” was worth $113. Having one of each would be about $2 less than simply having a Bitcoin Cash coin, at this point, but this can be attributed to the fact that actual trading still hasn’t really opened up – trades at this point can be called cautious at best.

Node Count Isn’t Everything

It is relatively cheap to launch a Bitcoin node. While it would be theoretically more expensive to run a Bitcoin Cash node of any sort long-term, due to allegedly larger hard drive requirements, the overwhelming majority of blocks in the Bitcoin Cash chain have been far less than their limit of 32MB.

It should be noted here that the Bitcoin Cash SV fork will immediately increase blocksize ot 128MB. In any case, a single user with an account somewhere like Digital Ocean or Linnode could conceivably launch dozens of nodes for a few hundred dollars. This is to say that node count isn’t everything – in proof-of-work economies, hash is what counts, and we will not know where the hash is actually pointing until the hard fork actually takes place.

Importantly, Coingeek and SVPool were collectively mining most of the blocks at time of writing.

Hash isn’t everything, either. All the hash in the world could point at a token that wasn’t widely accepted by exchanges or merchants, and it would essentially be wasted hash. This is to say that the market situation for Bitcoin SV is very relevant to the mining situation. If Bitcoin Cash miners mining through CoinGecko find themselves mining coins that are effectively worth 1/3rd or less the value of Bitcoin ABC tokens, well, they can only do that for so long before it stops making sense, barring the overarching market value of all BCH skyrocketing by 100s of percent.

The Mining Hardware Factor

One factor that is occasionally overlooked with SHA256 Bitcoin forks is the fact that a massive amount of old Bitcoin mining hardware exists in the world, hardware that is essentially unprofitable on the modern Bitcoin chain, which has an astronomical hashrate of many petahashes. To compete on this network, especially when new hardware is released, miners must offload their old hardware. This presents an opportunity for chains with lower hashrates, like the upcoming forked chains and Bitcoin Cash in general.

One thing we didn’t note previously in this article is that Bitcoin Unlimited, which allows for the rules of both forks to go through it and also overwhelmingly supports the status quo of Bitcoin Cash, has almost 800 nodes running.

All of which is to say it is entirely conceivable that Bitcoin Cash could be running as many as three chains in after November 15th.

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Businesses Are Rapidly Embracing Blockchain To Fight Counterfeiting

The move into real world applications is the next step for blockchain systems, and hundreds of companies across the globe are making plans to adopt the technology. Product manufacturers are expected to be among the earliest adopters because of the protection blockchain can provide against counterfeiting. In fact, the first steps have begun in the process, with promising results.

Earlier this week Seagate announced a partnership with IBM to fight the proliferation of counterfeit hard drives. The system will employ IBM’s Hyperledger, and will provide an immutable ledger to track all aspects of a Seagate product from its manufacture through its life cycle. This partnership is one of many that Big Blue is pursuing as it seeks to become a leader in the blockchain space.

Many other companies are planning to address counterfeiting with permissionless platforms, of which there are several designed for this very purpose. VeChain and Waltonchain, for example, both target supply chain and product management and have teams that are developing a wide range of tags, upc stickers, and other disposable tracking devices that will better enable goods to be followed across the blockchain network. VeChain’s team is even developing a temperature sensitive tag that will enable records to be kept of items that require constant refrigeration.

There is no doubt that these blockchain platforms address a serious issue for the modern global economy. Although precise numbers are unknown, counterfeiting is responsible for an estimated $600 billion dollars in lost revenue for manufacturers each year. This problem has persisted for decades, and the inability to solve it is a clear reflection of the limitations of centralized databases that do not cross communicate.

Perhaps one of the key reasons blockchain will soon be used to combat counterfeiting is that this step is relatively simple when compared to other more advanced distributed ledger applications, such as smart contracts or Internet of things (IoT). Also, implementing blockchain in supply chain management does not require government regulation, nor does it involve significant capital investment. In fact, by just about any measure adopting blockchain systems will result in significant savings. For example, Korean tech giant Samsung is developing a blockchain based shipment system that it estimates will reduce shipping costs by twenty percent.

Fighting counterfeiting will result in far more than cost savings for consumers and corporations. There are also notable safety and humanitarian benefits. The ability to securely track products from source to sale will enable consumers to avoid products made via unethical labor practices. Consumers and retailers will also have knowledge of a product’s environmental footprint as well as information such as a product’s place of origin, age, and shipping conditions. In many industries, such as pharmaceuticals and perishable goods, this data promises to save lives as well as money.

The first large-scale blockchain uses in supply chain and anti-counterfeit management are expected to begin by mid-2019. Although no doubt much development will take place over the next few years, there is little doubt that the use of the technology will become standard practice. In a larger sense, its embrace by this sector should play a much larger role in moving blockchain into the mainstream.

 

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Curated blockchain and cryptocurrency news – Week 44

CN_cryptocurrency_curated_news_week_44

Welcome back to our weekly series where we cover the most important news that happened in the blockchain world. This article goes from October 30th all the way to November 7th, so a couple of days longer than usual. A lot of important events happened this past week, so let’s get right to the point.

October 30th

Reuters celebrates Bitcoin’s 10th birthday

One decade after publishing the whitepaper, Satoshi Nakamoto (whoever s/he might be) is most likely the happiest person in the world. What parent wouldn’t be satisfied with their child drastically changing the world? Reuters is celebrating the release of the whitepaper by providing us with a short list of the most important Bitcoin milestones.

Other news:

IBM launches blockchain platform in UAE
Microsoft to cooperate with NASDAQ to improve interoperability

 

October 31st

Bank of America registers a patent for private key safeguarding

In the onslaught of the patent race, BoA is making sure that they are in the lead, by claiming a stake in the technological advances with every step they make. First issued on September 16th, 2016, and made public on the 30th of October, this latest discovered patent showcases the bank’s interest in safeguarding private keys and enabling remote authentication.

This strongly suggests that the bank is moving in the direction that is betting on a mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies and will most likely be a part of the cornerstone services they would offer to future customers. Private keys are notoriously difficult to keep safe, as they are required to make transactions, so having a service like this one, can provide the bank’s crypto customers to access and transact freely, without a worry in their mind.

Other news:
New blockchain system transforms banking in Hong Kong
China – E-commerce giant JD launches blockchain research lab

 

November 1st

CryptoKitties raises an additional $15 million in investments

According to technology publisher Inverse, CryptoKitties the most popular blockchain-based collectible game has attracted a couple of different big players in the startup world. Indeed, Venrock, Samsung Next, and GV together invested $15 million in the company, showcasing a strong belief in the future of blockchain and gaming.

Other news:
Malta is developing an AI strategy

 

November 2nd

ConsenSys purchases asteroid mining company

According to Space.com, Planetary Resources Inc. got acquired by ConsenSys in an asset-backed transaction. The full details of the transactions are not available to the public. The whole idea of a blockchain company acquiring a space mining enterprise is very interesting and could be a source of information in regards to the future plans of ConsenSys. Pretty soon we will have real cryptonauts.

Other news:
Google searches for “blockchain” surpass “crypto”
OKex Crypto Exchange of the Year – Malta
Millionaire announces a smart city in Nevada

 

November 3rd

Medici Venture to collaborate with Rwanda on blockchain property ownership records

According to CCN, Overstock’s venture capital arm, Medici Venture has signed a second agreement with the government of Rwanda. This agreement moves forward their collaboration to transfer the country’s land registers on a blockchain. While western countries are taking it slow with blockchain adoption, African governments are spearheading forward with leveraging the latest technologies of the 21st century.

Other news:
Morpheus Labs joins VeChain in technical collaboration to create blockchain service stack

 

November 4th

IBM patents blockchain system to protect AR users from arriving at undesirable locations

According to CoinTelegraph, after analyzing the company’s patent registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, IBM is working on a solution that would protect users of Augmented Reality applications from arriving at unwanted, and possibly dangerous locations. Furthermore, their solution will enable a trustworthy AR world to coexist with reality. According to TheNextWeb, the system is flawed and dangerous.

Other news:
ConsenSys-created Ethereum tools hit new milestones
Dubai Customs receive blockchain education

 

November 5th

Reliance Industries performs a “live” trade with Tricon Energy

According to CoinDesk, through the help of banking giants HSBC India and ING Brussels, Reliance Industries performed the first finance trade deal using the enterprise blockchain platform Corda. Incorporated in the arrangement was the usual letter of credit associated with trade deals such as this one, except this time it was recorded on a blockchain lowering the time requirements from 7 days down to just one day.

Other News:
Deloitte works on government level identity system
Bitcoin loses ranking on the Global Public Blockchain Technology Assessment Index in China

 

November 6th

Blockchain.com holds $125M XLM airdrop

Starting November 6th, according to TechCrunch, Blockchain.com will holdthe largest consumer-level airdrop of a total of $125M worth of XLM. The company is doing this airdrop to promote cryptocurrency adoption and to get people personally acquainted with the ecosystem. To take advantage, you will need a blockchain.com wallet, and inside the wallet’s “Stellar” section you can register for the airdrop.

November 7th

Salesforce to track email spam using blockchain

The software giant Salesforce has won a patent race for claiming this solution. According to CoinDesk, the solution promises to provide a better experience for users when compared to existing technologies. The blockchain solution will track the email using hash sequences across its entire path, and track any changes made along the way, identifying malicious email servers that could in theory abuse the communication.

Whether this system becomes mainstream, time will show, but for now, we have to do with what we got. Checking your spam folder for important emails is a nuisance that we would all love to leave behind.


This wraps up our list of news surfacing in week 44. As always, share your opinions about the most interesting ones or link those stories we might have missed in our collections, which you found interesting and noteworthy over the week. You can also send us suggestions of stories to include in the next list if you find something interesting over the next days.

 



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Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Set For November 15th, Platform’s Fate Uncertain

A long standing dispute within the Bitcoin Cash community has failed to reach a compromise, setting the fourth most valuable cryptocurrency up for a contested hard fork, which is due to take place on the 15th of this month. This latest development is a setback for Bitcoin Cash, as it reflects the difficulties the crypto has had in establishing itself as a viable alternative to Bitcoin. The confirmation of the alternative SV fork, and the pledge by Binance to support a resulting split chain, has led to a significant increase in value over the past few days.

The months-long debate within the Bitcoin Cash community concerns upgrades to the platform to enable scaling and make the cryptocurrency competitive with those that offer decentralized applications, such as Ethereum and NEO. One faction, around he Bitcoin ABC client, supports the implementation of the Wormhole Protocol, which developers claim will enable Bitcoin Cash to have tokens and smart contracts. The other around nChain, publicly advertised by prominent developer Craig Wright, asserts that such changes will lead Bitcoin Cash away from the original vision for Bitcoin as outlined in the whitepaper (which recently celebrated its 10 year anniversary) by founder Satoshi Nakamoto, and instead seeks to increase the block size to 128MB. The fork is expected to create a new (split) minority chain, supported by Wright, to be named Bitcoin SV after its reference implementation.

The debate between the two sides has been contentious, and both have notable supporters. For example, Bitmain supports the fork proposed by Bitcoin ABC, and Roger Ver, one of the most vocal figures in the crypto space, has decided to back the group around Wright. Anticipating the split, Wright opened SVPool, a mining pool running on top of the Bitcoin SV client, last month.

Regardless of the final outcome, this schism within the Bitcoin Cash community does not bode well for the platform. Even with upgrades, adopters will likely be less inclined to embrace a cryptocurrency with a divisive development community. Ironically, at present the most successful cryptocurrencies are those with relatively centralized teams that serve as de facto managers, thus surpressing significant internal drama. This fact is likely to continue as cryptocurrencies move into the mainstream, where hierarchies like this are common.

Also, even without this current issue, Bitcoin Cash has a mixed record of success. In its fourteen months since inception it has rarely reached more than ten percent of BTC’s value, with which it competes about being “the true” Bitcoin. More importantly, the network usually has less than twenty thousand transactions per day, and most of its blocks are created significantly under capacity, with many of them close to empty. These numbers are disappointing for a platform that its creators claimed would quickly surpass Bitcoin as the flagship cryptocurrency. Nevertheless, Bitcoin Cash supporters can boast that it remains far more valuable than most other alt coins, and its merchant base constantly expands.

The Bitcoin Cash price will likely remain volatile as the hard fork approaches, and will perhaps remain so for some time after, until there is clarity about surviving split chains and the hashrate ratio between all those splits. The upgrades to the platform could certainly improve its adoption rates and market cap. However, as this hard fork demonstrates, greater cooperation among its key developers is needed if Bitcoin Cash is to achieve its true potential.

 

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Twitter Crypto Scammers Steal $150K by Posing as Elon Musk

Scammers plaguing a popular social media platform have successfully stolen over $150,000 in cryptocurrency.

They used the verified accounts of two prominent British businesses by posing as Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk.

Two British Brands Targeted in Twitter Scam to Steal Crypto

British fashion and home goods retailer Matalan and the United Kingdom arm of French film production company Pathé each had their verified Twitter accounts reports the BBC. Combined the two accounts have over 100,000 followers, who became the targets of a scam aimed at stealing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Hackers gained access to the two highly-valuable, verified Twitter accounts, and promptly changed the account photos and names to appear as if the accounts were owned by Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur Elon Musk.

The accounts join in on an increasingly growing trend across Twitter, where scammers pose as cryptocurrency industry icons, celebrities, or tech entrepreneurs – even posing as the United States President – and offer a “giveaway” where users receive free cryptocurrency in exchange for sending a smaller denomination or the same cryptocurrency.

To further sell the scheme as legitimate, additional Twitter accounts owned by the hackers are then used to respond to the giveaway tweet, thanking the accounts for their generosity. Over 300 of the 100,000 followers between the two accounts fell victim to the scam, and were duped of their crypto assets. The total stolen according to wallet data amounts to over $150,000 in Bitcoin.

This particular instance used Musk’s likeness, suggesting the Tesla CEO was stepping down from his post as “director,” and used a fake web domain with Musk’s other company Space X mentioned in the URL. What’s worse, is that the tweets in question were approved by Twitter to be run as paid advertising, even though they were fake, from a hacked account, and were riddled with spelling errors.

Why Elon Musk? Twitter Scams Surrounding Entrepreneur Are Relentless

Cryptocurrency scammers impersonating Elon Musk refuse to give up, despite the entrepreneur recently enlisting help from Dogecoin creator Jackson Palmer and receiving a “script” that was meant to reduce the frequency of such instances. Musk had initially been impressed with the scammers, saying they had “mad skills.” However, that quickly turned into frustration.

But why Elon Musk?

While other crypto influencers and celebrities have been impersonated as part of this recurring scam, none have been the focal point as prominently or as often as Mr. Musk. The answer is simple: The eccentric and outspoken Tesla CEO uses Twitter as his personal soapbox, and the public figure seemingly has no filter, and says some of the wildest things, sometimes landing him in hot water as a result.

Back in August, Musk made a public statement on Twitter talking about a Tesla IPO that resulted in Musk being forced to step down from his post at Telsa, and had to settle with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in court for $40 million.

Musk’s tweets now have to be reviewed by a lawyer, which should cause investors to be extra skeptical over any cryptocurrency giveaways coming from Musk. It’s the outlandish comments Musk makes that makes him an easy target for scammers to impersonate.

Musk also commonly tweets about cryptocurrencies. Last month, Musk tweeted a bizarre photo accompanied by the question “Wanna buy some Bitcoin?”

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What is Initiative Q Really All About? Does it Beat Bitcoin? Don’t Bet on It

By now, you’ve probably heard of the pseudo-cryptocurrency Initiative Q.

Many people with little understanding of either economics or technology have been sharing social media marketing relating to the scheme, which promises to change the future of finance, but appears little more than a successful data mining scam.

Initiative Q: Not Decentralised, Not Limited in Supply, Not Crypto

Even if you have no interest in the digital currency space whatsoever, there is a good chance you will have heard of Bitcoin, Ethereum, perhaps Litecoin, and if you have browsed social media recently, Initiative Q.

The revolutionary new monetary system that poses more questions than it answers has blown up all over Twitter and Facebook with people sharing posts inviting their friends to sign up.

A lot of Initiative Q’s marketing bares the hallmarks of a classic pyramid scheme.

You recruit your friends to signup. The more you recruit, the more Q tokens you will eventually receive. I do mean eventually too. The team behind the psuedo-cryptocurrency state that they will only be building the payment network itself in mid-2019. The eventual roadmap is much longer than this too.

Despite this slow-roll out and sparse detail-less future plans, there is an emphasis on speed for users to signup.

This too is something of a red flag. Each day the total number of Initiative Q tokens awarded for completing all the tasks given to each member of the scheme reduces. The current number of tokens given to each full member is close to 30,000. At their $2 trillion network valuation (more on that later) tokens are supposed to be worth a dollar each.

$2 Trillion?!

Then comes the scheme’s economics…

The total market capitalisation of all the Q tokens in existence is one day expected to be a massive $2 trillion.

There is no indication based on solid economic theory as to where this value has come from. The “ex-PayPal guys” behind Initiative Q clearly have no idea of the concept of value since they are saying they will create two trillion tokens out of thin air and give 80% of them away for nothing, whilst hanging on to 20% of them for themselves.

That’s a payday of $400 billion for the founders if this works – which it won’t because there will be zero buying pressure and a hell of a lot of selling pressure.

The Worst Part of All…

What follows is perhaps the feature of Initiative Q that makes it standout most as either an incredibly poorly conceived idea at best, or a straight up data mining scam at worst.

To combat what those behind Initiative Q believe to be a negative quality of Bitcoin and other cryptos – volatility – the company themselves state that they have the power to create new tokens to stabilise the price of the currency.

Essentially, Initiative Q’s only published grand plan is to replace the central banking system with one of their own. In comparison to the headless, independent, incorruptible base asset of Bitcoin to form a future financial system around, Initiative Q offers a centralised, unaccountable, barely known firm to play central banker for you. Revolutionary.

Clearly, none of this is going to work. Initiative Q will simply be shut down if it threatens national currencies in anyway.

That said, Initiative Q must be praised for its marketing department.

As a viral campaign it has been ruthlessly efficient. On my own social media channels I have seen people I would expect to have zero interest in disrupting national currencies sharing the links. What will become of Initiative Q seems an obvious “fail” based on the information it provides about itself. However, what becomes of the enormous cache of emails gathered from those wanting to cash in is much more interesting.

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eToro Launches Cryptocurrency Management Mobile App

Multi-asset brokerage eToro has launched an application for their users to store their Bitcoin and other cryptos on their mobile phones.

The software sounds a lot like a cryptocurrency wallet – only its entirely permissioned, isn’t open-source, and doesn’t allow users to access their private key or seed phrases.

eToro “Wallet” Entirely Misses Point of Crypto

According to a press release, the social trading platform has today launched a cryptocurrency wallet.

However, the software misses some key features that make its labelling as a wallet problematic. It more closely resembles a mobile eToro account management suite. Absent, amongst other things, is private key generation that only the user can see.

Once fully live, eToro customers can use the software to receive one of the four supported cryptocurrencies. This selection of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin will be expanded in the future.

Eventually, there are plans to allow the transfer of cryptocurrencies to and from the platform, as well as allowing fiat deposits, and a host of other features. The eToro wallet is available now for both Google Play and Apple devices.

Yoni Assia, the CEO at eToro, spoke about how the launch of the application fit in with the wider societal transformation underway thanks to cryptocurrency:

“Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise finance and we believe that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain… Just as eToro has opened up traditional markets for investors, we want to do the same in a tokenised world. The eToro wallet is a key part of this.”

The launch of eToro’s latest software is being staggered to “ensure the best customer experience for clients.” This will be done on a country-by-country and functionality basis. Initially, for example, only Platinum Club (high depositing) members will be able to use the function to transfer their eToro balances to the wallet.

Unfortunately, eToro’s digital asset storage suite software seems to largely miss the point of cryptocurrency. Firstly, the firm is touting the fact that users do not need to be responsible for their own private keys as a strength:

“No need to write and save keys or phrases. No need to be worried about losing them. eToro secures the private key. It just works.”

This is of course problematic since one of the most liberating aspects of permissionless blockchains is the fact that there needs be no trust in any central entity. Evidently, eToro are appealing to a class of users who are more interested in percentage gains than they are redressing the imbalances of society through democratisation of money itself.

In the press release, the term “multi-signature” is also used. This also feels like a coy way of presenting the software as entirely permissioned. Multi-signature is, of course, a way of increasing wallet security.

However, if the two parties signing are yourself and a massive honey-pot for hackers, the eToro wallet presents a far greater attack surface than even traditional single signature desktop applications.

Large centralised institutions have been hacked many times before and they will be again. Those wanting to store any amount of cryptocurrency should research hot and cold open-source wallets and use whichever suits their purposes rather than the services provided by the likes of eToro.

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Altcoins Surge as Bitcoin Finds Stability, Market Led by XRP, XLM, BCH

Following a long period of unprecedented sideways trading, Bitcoin has solidified its position in the middle of its long-established range, and altcoins are beginning to surge amidst Bitcoin’s stability. At the time of writing, the markets are being led by XRP, BCH, and XLM, respectively.

At the time of writing, Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at $6,445, which is right in the middle of its trading range of $6,200-$6,700. Last week, Bitcoin’s price fell into the $6,200 region, leading many investors to believe that it would break below this region and fall to lower lows.

Despite the negativity, Bitcoin’s bulls defended this region, and have since pushed its price back up to its price levels that preceded the relatively minor drop last week. Following BTC’s push back into the middle of its range, investors clearly took a sigh of relief and began investing in multiple altcoins.

Altcoins Surge Amidst Bitcoin Stability, XRP the Biggest Gainer

At the time of writing, the market surge is being led by XRP, who is quickly closing in on the coveted number two spot in the cryptocurrency markets. XRP is currently trading up 8.45% at $0.525, and up significantly from its weekly lows of just under $0.44.

XRP was one of the worst performing cryptocurrencies in the month of October, but this was mainly due to the timing of its massive pump in late September, where the altcoin skyrocketed from lows of $0.25 to highs of well over $0.60, before drifting lower throughout October to lows of $0.38 before recovering towards the end of the month.

XRP’s latest pump is bringing it much closer to passing Ethereum’s (ETH) market cap, which is currently less than $1 billion higher than that of XRP. ETH is currently trading up 2.3%, and it is unclear if it will catch up to XRP as the day goes on.

Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is another altcoin that is having a great day, currently trading up nearly 8% at its current price of nearly $600. One prominent factor behind BCH’s price rise is the imminent hard fork that is scheduled to occur later this month on November 15.

Stellar Lumens (XLM) is the third best performing major altcoin at the time of writing, trading up approximately 5% at its current price of $0.256. XLM’s price rise is likely based on the announcement that the Stellar team will be airdropping up to 500 million XLM units to Blockchain Wallet users in an effort to bring new users into the Stellar ecosystem.

Bitcoin Stability and Altcoin Surges Leads One Analyst to Believe a Rally is Around the Corner

Due to Bitcoin’s increasing stability and the gradual price rises occurring amongst multiple altcoins, one prominent analyst believes that an end-of-year crypto rally could be possible.

While speaking to MarketWatch, Mati Greenspan, a senior market analyst at eToro, said that in traditional markets, end-of-year rallies are very common, but he noted that the current fiscal climate and poor stock market performance could hinder this for the retail stock markets.

Despite this, Greenspan believes that it could be a different situation for the cryptocurrency markets, noting that:

“In traditional markets, it’s very common to see a stock rally leading up to the end of the year due to the increased activity in the private sector during the holidays. However, after a volatile October, combined with uncertainty surrounding Trump’s trade war and the Fed’s monetary policy, price action has been less than positive in the last few weeks. It may be too early to say this, after all we’ve only seen very moderate crypto gains this week, but it is very possible that we might see a Santa Claus rally in the crypto markets.”

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Substratum Announces New Type of Crypto Exchange, beats China’s Great Firewall

Exchanges can currently be divided into two distinct categories, centralized such as Coinbase or decentralized such as IDEX. A hybrid may be on the horizon, however, from the founder of Substratum.

A Distributed and DEX Combo

According to PR Newswire Substratum has announced the development of Amplify Exchange, its new-fangled combination of distributed and decentralized exchange. It aims to provide crypto/fiat gateways for the top one hundred digital currencies when launched.

The exchange is being touted as an easy to use platform enabling traders to buy and sell directly from their bank or credit accounts. Additionally it will be a payment platform for users to buy and sell from merchants accepting crypto.

Founder and CEO of Substratum, Justin Tabb, stated;

“I am thrilled to announce the introduction of AMPLIFY EXCHANGE. It had been my vision from the day I started Substratum to build an ecosystem of products that work great independently, but are truly exceptional when used all together. With our Amplify Exchange we wanted to give everyone, regardless of his/her location or crypto expertise, the ability to easily get into and out of crypto tokens and coins. This has never been done before.”

The new exchange is the third product in the Substratum ecosystem with SubstratumNode and CryptoPay preceding it. The nodes will verify the transactions on Amplify enabling earnings in AMPX and SUB tokens for those running them.

Cracking China’s Censorship Machine

Substratum has been designed to decentralize the web by eliminating censorship imposed by repressive regimes, China being the prime example. Substratum nodes are designed to serve content to those where internet access is restricted, similar to a VPN. This technology, along with a whole raft of other internet and crypto related things, has been banned in China.

By using a global network of nodes running on user’s computers Substratum will be harder to block than regular VPN’s which have websites and centralized servers. The team already claims to have successfully routed network traffic through China’s great firewall and has posted videos on accessing blocked services such as Reddit.

A decentralized network powered by individuals with the goal of liberating internet access in heavily censored countries is coming closer to reality.

As with many altcoins though, SUB has suffered a major attack of the bears this year. The token has fallen over 95% from its January all-time high of $2.90. It is currently trading around $0.11, down 2.5% on the day but up almost 4% on the week.





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Could Bitcoin Cash Price Surge Any Further after Weekend Rally?

Ahead of its hard fork, Bitcoin Cash surged as high as 29 percent during the weekend trading session. All the eyes are now on whether the altcoin can swell any further, especially when it promises to offer holders free tokens after its blockchain splits.

Trading Sentiment around Coin Forks

Traders tend to behave bullishly whenever a forking event is nearby. To them, a fork signifies free coins on the top of what they already hold. For instance, when the main Bitcoin blockchain forked and conceived Bitcoin Cash, the same chain, Bitcoin holders received an equivalent amount of BCH tokens. Traders could claim the free BCH tokens by creating new Bitcoin Cash wallets. And when the crypto exchanges added BCH to their list of tradeable crypto assets, the free coins suddenly had a value of $555.

A fork is a reason to earn free rewards – at least for speculators.

Bitcoin SV vs Bitcoin ABC

In the case of the upcoming Bitcoin Cash fork, known as Bitcoin ABC, a blockchain split will result in the formation of Bitcoin SV. The new blockchain, though not well-supported by the community, is still led by people with big pockets. Many big mining pools have extended support to the forked chain, reportedly because of their owners’ close relationship with the chain’s mastermind Craig Wright. Also known as the fake Satoshi, Wright has support from Coingeek, BMG Pool, and his own SV Pool.

In addition to the above, Squire Mining, a crypto mining firm with a $49.5 million market cap, is also backing the Bitcoin SV chain. It means that Wright’s new version of Bitcoin could gain adequate hash support despite the lack of community support. There is this explicit institutional support which could be the reason why traders went on a BCH buying spree during the weekend and might continue to do so before November 15, 2018, the day of the BCH fork.

SOURCE: TRADINGVIEW.COM

There is historical evidence available to prove traders’ behavior around coin forks. In October 2017, the original Bitcoin had reached a new all-time high, hitting $6,200, five days before the Bitcoin Gold fork. It also happened when the main bitcoin blockchain split into two to create Bitcoin Cash. At that time, the Bitcoin price against the dollar increased as much as $1,200.

The Next BCH Price Action

In reality, the potential adoption rate of Bitcoin SV could attest to the price action of BCH/USD post the fork.

SOURCE: TRADINGVIEW.COM

The BCH/USD price could witness a surge towards its September 2 high at $660 – or less – if traders find potential in SV. According to the Fibonacci retracement swing from 661-high to 410-low, the price is now testing $565 as its range resistance. A clear breakout signal will bring $661 in view as the next potential upside target.

Meanwhile, a sharp pullback could take place around or after the BCH hard fork event (represented via a vertical line in the chart above). Again, $660 only represents a potential target – the price can reverse anytime before hitting the said level. The market nevertheless is bullish near-term, providing adequate upside opportunities to traders looking to go long on BCH/USD.

 

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Cryptocurrency Market Update: OKEx New Margin Trading Pair Propels XRP

Markets still climbing today; XRP leading the way, Polymath getting pounded.

Crypto markets are still moving upwards this Tuesday and momentum is positive. A number of altcoins are making strong gains today which has pushed total crypto market capitalization closer to $215 billion, its highest level for a couple of weeks.

Bitcoin has not been the catalyst this time and has remained at the same level overnight. BTC is currently trading at Just over $6,400, but poised for further gains. Ethereum has also remained static over the past 24 hours and is still around the $210 price level. It too could start to climb if market momentum continues.

XRP is today’s top gainer, not just in the top ten, but the entire top one hundred. XRP has added 13% on the day according to Coinmarketcap taking its price to $0.523. Trade volume has over doubled from $400 million to $850 million as XRP leads the markets during Asian trading today. There is a whole bunch of rejoicing on the XRP daily Reddit but little explaining the pump.  However, it could well be due to the new XRP/BTC margin trading pair being added to OKEx;

Japanese exchange Bitbank is leading the exchanges for XRP trade in JPY, with Binance and Upbit also up there. Over the past seven days XRP has made 17.5% percent and it is currently hunting down Ethereum for that second spot, just $600,000 in market cap away.

Elsewhere in the top ten Stellar and Cardano are making 4% gains but the rest are not moving much. Further down the list in the top twenty Tron and Zcash are both adding 2.5% to their values on the day but the other altcoins have not done much since yesterday.

Aside from XRP, WAX is also performing well with a 9% gain on the day, MaidSafeCoin is in third spot with a 6% climb. Suffering at the red end of things in the top one hundred is Polymath dropping almost 8%, closely followed by Ravencoin and Chainlink both falling over 6% on the day.

Total crypto market capitalization has reached $214 billion, adding nearly 1.5% since the same time yesterday. Over the past week $10 billion has entered the crypto markets resulting in a 5% climb and many are speculating that this could be the beginning of the recovery. Bitcoin’s dominance has fallen back to 52% largely at the expense of XRP which is having a grand day.

FOMO Moments is a section that takes a daily look at the top 20 altcoins during the current trading session and analyses the best performing ones, looking for trends and possible fundamentals.





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Another Report Says Crypto Mining Uses More Power than Traditional Mining

A report published today has stated that mining $1 worth of Bitcoin requires more electricity than mining almost any material traditionally dug from the earth.

The authors state that between three million and 15 million tons of carbon emissions have been caused by the sector over the last two years.

Another Report into the Environmental Impact of Bitcoin

According to research conducted for the Nature Sustainability, a British journal, it requires more energy to create a single dollar’s worth of BTC than it does to mine the same value of precious metals, rare earth metals, gold, or copper.

In fact, the only material mentioned in the report that Bitcoin was less energy efficient than was aluminium.

The report, titled “Quantification of energy and carbon costs for mining cryptocurrencies” was authored by Max Krause and Thabet Tolaymat. Both contributors work at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, they claim it was completed entirely independently and without funding from the organisation.

It was not just the most popular digital asset that the authors tested the green credentials of, however. During the document, the power required to create $1 worth of three other large market capitalisation cryptocurrencies were compared with one another. It was found that Bitcoin and Monero are the most power hungry networks. These required 17 and 14 megajoules (MJ) respectively. Meanwhile, at around half this figure are Litecoin and Ethereum.

The same data was then presented for different materials requiring “mining.” Rare earth metals – neodymium, cerium, etc -, precious metals, gold, and copper all required less energy to produce than either Bitcoin or Monero at nine, seven, five, and four MJ respectively.

All of these figures are averages for the two-and-a-half year period between January 2016 and June 2018. Krause and Tolaymat state that the four blockchains included in the report are responsible for between three million and 15 million tonnes of carbon emissions over the same time span.

However, the report neglects the fact that a lot has changed in cryptocurrency over the course of that period. Possibly most importantly is that mining is rapidly spreading outside of China. With mining rig operators seeking the cheapest energy possible, many have settled in Canada thanks to its abundant hydro-electric resources or Iceland with its geothermal energy.

A green mining operation running off surplus hydro-electricity barely has any impact on the environment whereas a warehouse full of rigs sucking fossil fuel-generated power direct from the Chinese grid is obviously orders of magnitude less sustainable.

Krause spoke to BuzzFeed.News about some of the report’s other shortcomings. He said that despite both being mined, digital currencies and physical metals are not “functional substitutes” meaning the comparisons were always going to be problematic. He said the aim of the self-funded report was to create awareness about the impact digital currencies could be having on the environment rather than make some profound comparison between the two “mined” assets.

The author also acknowledged that the environmental impact of a Bitcoin once created is far less than that of a physical metal that needs shaping, transporting, and storing in ways that are simply not required for the intangible asset Bitcoin.

The voices of protest against Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on strictly environmental grounds seem to be growing louder lately.

At the end of last month, a study was published by Nature Climate Change warning that energy-demanding Bitcoin transactions would easily sling the global temperature past the 2-degree threshold set under the Paris Climate Agreement.

However, all transformative technologies start off as hopelessly inefficient. If they prove their utility to society, it then becomes a race towards efficiency. We already see this occurring today as mining manufacturers strive to create less energy-hungry units and operators seek cheaper, renewable energy.

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Bitcoin to Revisit All-Time High in 2019, Fueled by Institutional FOMO

One of the most prominent names in cryptocurrency investing believes that Bitcoin’s downtrend woes are near an end, and that a revisit to Bitcoin’s all-time high is on the cards during 2019 due to increased interest from institutional investors.

Novogratz: Taking Out $10K Will Lead to New Highs

Mike Novogratz, founder and CEO of crypto-focused investment firm Galaxy Digital Capital Management, is rarely without comment on the state of the cryptocurrency market, and in particular, Bitcoin.

Bitcoin being the most well-known crypto asset and with a market cap that is 50% of the overall market’s total aggregate, tends to be the focal point of most investors when speaking about the influx of institutional investors waiting to enter the market.

That institutional influx, Novogratz says, will take Bitcoin to its previous all-time high and beyond in 2019.

“There’s going to be a case of institutional FOMO [fear of missing out], just like there was in retail,” Novogratz reports the Financial News.

Before that happens, Bitcoin needs to take out a couple key overhead price resistance points.

“Bitcoin has to take out $6,800, and after that we could end the year at $8,800-9,000,” he clarified. After that, though, it’s off to the races for Bitcoin.

Novogratz recently had a moment of bearish sentiment, suggesting that Bitcoin wouldn’t break $9,000 before the end of the year, and was targeting the second quarter of 2019 when Bitcoin could break $10,000.

However, the negative sentiment appears to have passed, and he’s now suggesting that break of important psychological resistance at $10,000 will occur during the first quarter of 2019 – a break he expects to start the next bull run, potentially beating previous highs.

“By the end of the first quarter we will take out $10,000 and after that we will go back to new highs — to $20,000 or more,” Novogratz speculated.

Novogratz had famously predicted Bitcoin reaching $40,000 before the end of 2018, double its previous all-time high of nearly $20,000 it reached back in December 2017. Novogratz later changed his tune due to the severity of the continued downtrend keeping cryptocurrency prices at bay.

Institutional FOMO Rally Foundation Being Built Already

The impending institutional rally investors like Novogratz have been pointing to since Bitcoin’s all-time high may be right around the corner.

In recent weeks, a number of traditional banking firms have shown increased interest in crypto, such as Fidelity, who recently became the first Wall Street incumbent to launch a dedicated cryptocurrency trading operation called Fidelity Digital Asset Services.

Now that the first stone has been thrown, a domino-effect is expected where many of Fidelity’s closest competitors join what is turning into an arms race.

Next month, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, Intercontinental Exchange, will be launching their Bakkt trading platform, which offers physically-settled Bitcoin Futures contracts, which many believe could help cause Bitcoin’s price to increase by eating into the cryptocurrency’s limited supply.

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BitMEX Publishes Analytics Website to Monitor BTC and BCH Hard Forks

The Bitcoin Mercantile Exchange, or BitMEX for short, has launched a website to monitor activity on both the original Bitcoin chain and the Bitcoin Cash hard fork.

The leadership of the cryptocurrency and derivatives trading platform believes the service called ForkMonitor.info will be useful in determining levels of support for different implementations of code, as well as spotting potentially dangerous consensus bugs.

BitMEX Node Monitoring Service Will Initially Focus on Bitcoin Cash

According to a blog post from BitMEX, the ForkMonitor.info service will take data from both the Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash blockchains. However, owing to the proximity of the upcoming Bitcoin Cash hard fork, it will begin by monitoring more BCH nodes than BTC ones. At present, the site runs eight Bitcoin Cash nodes and just five using the original chain’s code.

The BitMEX blog post states that there could be as many as three different versions of BCH following the split. Each would be backed by more than a trivial amount of hash rate too.

First, there is the Bitcoin ABC implementation. The authors believe this will be the most popular and that most actual users of BCH will follow this chain. A second implementation is being promoted by Craig “Fake Satoshi” Wright. This one is being referred to as Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision) and features yet another block size increase.

Whilst thought to be less popular than the Bitcoin ABC fork, Bitcoin SV and Wright have the support of some large mining industry names. These include Calvin Ayre’s Coingeek and BMG Pool. Based on these backers, the blog post summarises:

“Therefore we believe it is likely that despite the lack of community support for Bitcoin SV’s hardfork, the chain could have considerable hashrate, even if it’s only for a limited period.”

Finally, there could be a third implementation that simply follows the original consensus rules as they are today.

The creation of the ForkMonitor.info website seems to be largely driven by the current confusion amongst Bitcoin Cash supporters about how events will unfold come November 15. The post states:

“While it appears that the economic majority will support Bitcoin ABC’s hardfork, there is significant uncertainty over how each client will behave and which chains they will follow. Therefore, BitMEX Research has sponsored this new website which has launched before the hardfork is due to occur. This will hopefully provide useful information to some stakeholders, as the events get underway next week.”

After the November hard fork is completed, focus will shift more towards the original Bitcoin chain. BitMEX are hoping to run additional versions of Bitcoin Core, along with independent implementations such as Bcoin and BTCD. The team behind ForkMonitor.info believe that this could be useful in spotting consensus bugs such as that which was identified in September this year, thus strengthening Bitcoin further.

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Indian Teenager Threatens to Blow Up Miami Airport over Alleged Bitcoin Scam

An Indian teenager is in hot water after threatening to carry out a deadly attack on a U.S. international airport after he failed to receive support from the FBI in relation to an alleged Bitcoin scam.

Bitcoin Scam Leads to Volatile Situation at Miami Airport

Bitcoin’s price may be experiencing an extreme lack of volatility, however, a new report involving a Bitcoin scammer has led to some potentially explosive action.

According to a local report, an 18-year-old student from the Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh has been detained and charged by anti-terrorism authorities, after the teen made a number of deadly threats against Miami International Airport.

The teen claims that he had taken $1,000 from his father and invested in Bitcoin, turning a massive profit from his initial investment. The 18-year-old then took his earnings, and invested in what turned out to be a scam. The young man explained during his interrogation, that the “fraudster” had promised massive returns, but instead made off with all of the teen’s money.

Upset, and unsure how to go about getting his money back, the unnamed teen decided to call the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) – as many as 50 times – over the last month in an attempt to seek help and bring the scammer to justice. The FBI ignored his pleas for help, however, which caused the teen to escalate the situation.

“After not getting proper response from FBI, I made calls to Miami Airport authorities and threatened an attack. I told them that I would bring AK-47s, grenades and suicide belts and blow up the airport,” the 18-year-old said, according to interrogation reports.

The teen is said to have used a fake identity and fake email account to make the threats over the internet, but he was unable to hide his tracks. The FBI sought the help of India’s National Investigation Agency to help track down the individual, and the young male was eventually picked up by the Uttar Pradesh police department’s anti-terrorism squad and is facing a number of charges.

Crypto Makes for Explosive Emotional Moments

Irrational exuberance and complete despair are two ends of an emotional rollercoaster cryptocurrency investors have been riding for the past year.

It began in mid-November, when Bitcoin’s price went parabolic and exploded to its all-time high of $20,000. Investors struck it rich, and talk of Bitcoin’s price reaching $1 million per BTC was enough to keep hopes high. Except come January, the price of all leading cryptocurrencies began to crash, and a 11-month-long bear market ensued, leaving investors at the brink of capitulation and chaos.

Due to the amount of skin investors have in the “game” and the strong emotions tied to potential wealth, the bear market has led to some scary situations and investors taking risks in order to try and recoup a portion of their losses. In addition to the story above, back in March a Chinese investor threatened to commit suicide by drinking poison in response to his Bitcoin holdings being liquidated.

Video circulated around the internet of the crazed individual holding what appears to be poison in the lobby of cryptocurrency exchange OKEx, then threatening to drink the poison if his funds weren’t promptly returned. The example is yet another case of an investor risking too much, and being unable to cope with a substantial loss.

Word to the wise: Never invest more than you can afford to lose.

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Brave’s BAT Rallies 26% against USD after Coinbase Pro Listing


brave cryptocurrency BAT ICO



Basic Attention Token (BAT) on Monday has surged as much as 10.6 percent against the US Dollar from the previous day’s low.

The BAT/USD exchange rate today has marked fresh quarterly highs towards 0.322-fiat, totaling the bullish gains to as high as 26 percent since November 2. The pair is also experiencing a quadruple surge in its intraday trading volume, rising from near $8 million to circa $36 million. In long term, however, BAT/USD is still facing a strong pullback sentiment towards the falling trendline which could keep the overall bias neutral, if not bullish, unless broken to the upside.

A portion of the prevailing bullish sentiment is anyway coming from the Coinbase Pro news. The US exchange on November 2 launched BAT trading on its platform after months of speculation. Circle’s stablecoin USD Coin, or USDC, according to the announcement, is the first quoted currency for BAT’s instrument on Coinbase Pro.

The BAT/USD pair is now heading for a breakout action while testing 0.329-fiat as its range support. If the pair manages to break above the said wall, it could extend its bullish momentum further and attempt to test 0.429-fiat, July 23 high, as its primary upside target. A reversal upon testing the falling trendline could similarly push the price back towards the nearby support level at 0.284-fiat.

As of now, the price jump has arrived in sync of an overall crypto breakout action, which has seen top pairs, including BTC/USD, BCH/USD, and ETH/USD, breaking their respective resistance levels. The manipulation in the Tether market has moved the USDT capital towards the top coins. The BAT/USDT volume, nevertheless, has contributed less than a percent to the overall BAT trades from the past 24 hours.

No Full-Scale BAT/USDC Trading

Coinbase Pro has decided to launch the BAT/USDC in four successive stages, with a full-scale trading launch being the fourth and the final stage. The first part of the launch, which took place on November 2, allowed traders to only transfer BAT holdings to their Coinbase Pro wallets. In the second part, the exchange will accept only stop-limit orders but it will not match or complete them. In the third stage, the exchange will start matching the limit orders, while in the last one, it will enable a full-scale BAT/USDC trading.

That said, the interim price action in the BAT market would have less to do with Coinbase Pro trading platform and more with the growing speculation on other exchanges. Once more assets will join BAT as its quoted currencies, the market could see substantial long-term price action.

Fundamentally, the credibility of Brave, BAT’s platform, could assist the token value appreciation as more users download the internet browser. It has already crossed 10 million downloads on Google Play Store.

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Cryptocurrency Market Update: Monero and Dash Driving Monday Recovery

Markets recovering this Monday; Monero, Dash and BAT climbing, Eternal Token getting trounced.

As we start another week crypto markets have made some upward progress. Total market capitalization has passed $210 billion for the first time in seven days and green is the predominant colour at the moment.

Bitcoin is up marginally and has made it to $6,440 after a low just under $6,300 a few hours ago. Bullish momentum appears to have returned, in the short term at least. Ethereum is faring a little better and is posting a 4% gain since this time yesterday taking it to $208 at the moment.

Altcoins are all green right now and one or two are recovering well. In the top ten Bitcoin Cash has taken the lead with a 4.5% gain to $562. Monero is also trading strongly, knocking Tether down a spot and taking ninth place with a 4.8% rise on the day to $112. XMR market cap has reached $1.85 billion whereas USDT is at $1.77 billion, dropping it back to tenth place. The rest of the altcoins in this section are up a percent or two aside from Stellar which hasn’t really moved over the past 24 hours.

Dash is posting the best gain in the top twenty at the moment, up almost 6% to $167. Iota, Zcash and VeChain are all up between 2-3 percent on the day and the rest are trading around a percent higher than weekend levels.

BAT is still enjoying gains following its Coinbase listing and tops the top one hundred with a 9% rise to $0.321. Wax is also trading positively this Monday morning with an over 8% gain.

Getting bashed up at the bottom of things in the top one hundred altcoins is Eternal Token dumping over 17% at the time of writing. Ravencoin is also in the red with a 6% loss on the day and Bitcoin Diamond is not far behind with a drop of 5% since yesterday.

Total crypto market capitalization has gained almost 1.5% on the day to reach $211 billion, its highest level for almost two weeks. Things seem to have settled in this channel over the past few hours and, at least for the short term, the trend is bullish.

Bitcoin dominance has taken a hit as the altcoins start to show signs of recovery. It has dropped back below 53% as Ethereum has slowly crept back over 10% and Bitcoin Cash has made solid gains. Since last Monday’s market dump things have recovered by 4% over the past seven days.

FOMO Moments is a section that takes a daily look at the top 20 altcoins during the current trading session and analyses the best performing ones, looking for trends and possible fundamentals.



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Dash Launches Text-Based Crypto Payment Service in Venezuela


Dash venezuela crypto



Crypto project Dash has announced the launch of Dash Text, an SMS-based cryptocurrency transaction service for Venezuelan users, as it builds on its already strong presence in the crypto dependent country. In an announcement released this week, the company said that Dash Text eliminates the need for Venezuelan users to possess smartphones and internet access to carry out crypto transactions, which has historically been a significant barrier to adoption in the impoverished country suffering from hyperinflation.

Driven by several months of hyperinflation which have rendered the bolivar practically worthless, Venezuelans have increasingly turned to cryptocurrencies as a solution, as has been illustrated by a series of well-publicised incidents.

Dash is looking to build on the success it has recorded in cashing in on the trend by targeting millions of Venezuelans who are not able to partake in the crypto economy because they do not own smartphones or they cannot access the internet. The solution to this problem was built in partnership with BlockCypher, which specializes in blockchain solutions and blockchain agnostic products that enable users to engage with multiple cryptocurrencies through one platform.

dash price
DASH/USD | Bittrex

Currently in beta testing, Dash Text will enable users of Movistar and Digitel — Venezuela’s largest telecom providers — to access Dash services via a simple five-digit shortcode.

Speaking about the unique demand that gave rise to Dash Text, Bradley Zastrow, Global Head of Business Development at Dash Core, said:

“Venezuelans living abroad send an estimated $2 billion USD back home in remittances. This process often takes too long and costs too much, making it a huge pain point for many users. With Dash Text, we are providing real solutions that address real problems. People need easy and cheap ways to send money home, and we’ve done it in a way that expands the Dash ecosystem to those without smartphones! Dash Text offers the perfect solution to ensure that everyone can become part of the Dash family, regardless of what phone people own.”

According to the announcement, to get registered on Dash Text, users should send an SMS with the word “DASH” to 22625, followed by another SMS with the word “CREAR,” which will create their Dash wallet. Once this is done, users will be able to send and receive Dash seamlessly via SMS, which could potentially be huge for the sizable population of Venezuelans who use feature phones or lack reliable internet access.

It will be recalled that in August, CCN reported that Dash recorded a sharp price and volume increase as a result of its successful adoption push in Venezuela which saw it sign up several prominent retailers across the country. It also penned a deal with Kripto Mobile, a maker of mobile phones that are pre-equipped with Dash wallets in a deal that was predicted to make the cryptocurrency’s monthly user growth rise to 10,000.

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Legacy Financial Firms Hesitant to Enter Crypto Space, Consumer Demand Remains High

Interest in crypto investment among the mainstream public continues to grow, as cryptocurrency becomes better understood and blockchain development matures. Over the past several months the public has assumed that traditional financial institutions would soon integrate crypto into their services. Recently, however, these players have demonstrated hesitation about making such a move. Although no single reason explains such reticence, there is little doubt that the very architecture of crypto assets presents a tremendous challenge for legacy financial firms.

Last week Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock, stated that the asset management company would not be launching a cryptocurrency exchange traded fund (ETF) until such digital assets are “legitimate.” BlackRock is the world’s largest asset manager, with $6.4 trillion in holdings. Fink expressed concern over issues such as fraud and tax evasion, but more importantly he noted that the lack of government regulation as the key factor for his firm’s lack of present interest.

Other legacy financial institutions have shown similar unease with cryptocurrency, such as the NASDAQ, which although rumored to be developing a crypto trading platform, has repeatedly delayed concrete actions. Financial advisors are also failing to take significant steps in providing crypto guidance. A recent survey conducted by eToro revealed that sixty-two percent of advisors in the United Kingdom expressed total lack of competence in giving crypto advice, with only nine percent feeling highly confident on the subject. This statistic is remarkable given the substantial interest by the general public in purchasing blockchain assets.

The fact that traditional financial players would remain on the sidelines as crypto assets gain billions of dollars in market value seems absurdly far-fetched, especially given how important blockchain platforms will soon become. Such inaction cannot be explained by assuming that these institutions lack an understanding of the technology. No doubt they have studied it extensively. Also, it is folly to assume that these companies would permit lack of government regulation to stand in the way of the astronomical profits that cryptocurrency can create. Rather, the most likely explanation for their inaction lies with the fact that they are struggling to find a profitable place in the crypto sector.

Simply put, investing in cryptocurrencies does not require third-party asset management. Individuals and organizations can easily purchase blockchain assets, and hold them securely, without outside expertise. In fact, storing one’s cryptocurrency with a third party, such as a custodial service, is less secure as it will require relinquishing private keys. Additionally, many investors would no-doubt prefer the privacy, and anonymity, that comes with avoiding professional investment services. 

Although there will likely always be those that would prefer their assets to be managed by professionals, cryptocurrency represents a paradigm shift in the financial space that renders many traditional services obsolete. Organizations like BlackRock may eventually offer crypto management, but will almost certainly be forced to accept substantially smaller fees than are presently the norm. Likewise, exchanges such as NASDAQ will have a difficult time competing with atomic swaps and decentralized exchanges, which offer both anonymity and security guaranteed by smart contracts.

For several years blockchain advocates have emphasized the technology’s ability to enable personal wealth management, free of third-party institutions. This reality, which is grounded in the very architecture of blockchain, can be seen in the struggle of legacy financial firms to find a footing in offering crypto services. Although they certainly may end up playing a role in the sector, for now they remain more comfortable with inaction.

 

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Binance Announce Support of Upcoming Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork

Binance, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges on the planet, has announced full support of the upcoming Bitcoin Cash hard fork scheduled for November 15.

More Companies Announce Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Policies

Just days after Ledger, one of the largest hardware wallet providers globally, announced their own policy on the upcoming Bitcoin Cash hard fork, cryptocurrency exchange giant Binance has stated that it will be supporting both sides of the split. The news comes via a post on the firm’s designated blog. It reads:

“Binance would like to confirm support for the upcoming Bitcoin Cash hard fork. We will take a snapshot of all Bitcoin Cash balances at UNIX time 1542300000, 2018/11/15 4:40:00 PM (UTC).”

The post goes on to state that the exchange will suspend all deposits and withdrawals an hour before the proposed time of the hard fork. Binance also said that customers should make sure to leave sufficient time for the processing of deposits and that they will make a second announcement after the snapshot to inform users of the resumption of deposits and withdrawals.

Binance are the second major cryptocurrency firm in a week to announce their policy on the upcoming Bitcoin Cash hard fork. On Tuesday, hardware wallet provider Ledger stated via its Medium account that it would be temporarily stopping functionality of Bitcoin Cash services until after the fork had been successfully completed:

“Ledger will suspend the Bitcoin Cash service until it is clear which of these chains will be the stable one, both technically and economically. The reason for closing the service during this time is to prevent unwanted transactions (resulting from “replay attacks”), causing possible loss of funds and other potential issues interacting with Bitcoin Cash during this period of time.”

Ledger went on to state that those wishing to transact using the crypto should use a third-party wallet service but do so at their own risk. The hardware wallet manufacturer added that those simply wanting to store the altcoin could leave funds on Ledgers and would not be impacted.

Bitcoin Cash Price Jumps 10% on Binance Support

In a largely uneventful day for cryptocurrency markets, Bitcoin Cash prices seem to have responded positively to the news of Binance support. Over the last six hours, the price has surged from around $425 to $471. Such a sizeable move makes BCH the second best performer on CoinMarketCap in terms of a 24-hour percentage change.

Such large industry players announcing their policies on the upcoming hard fork may be acting as a signal to investors that the split between the Bitcoin ABC group and Craig Wright’s Satoshi’s Vision is definitely going ahead. Since those holding BCH at the time of the hard fork will receive an equal number of coins on both chains, the prospect of free coins seems the most likely driver for the current price movements.

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Cryptocurrency Market Update: BAT Pumped by Coinbase Pro Listing

Markets are creeping up as the weekend starts; BAT flying, Bitcoin Cash and Stellar rising.

As we enter the weekend crypto markets are slowly recovering. Trading in Asia has pushed total market capitalization back over $205 billion and things are generally heading upwards today, albeit leisurely.

Bitcoin has made no movements over the past 24 hours and is still holding the $6,400 support level. From a half month stay at $6,500 BTC dropped to $6,300 and has bounced back to its currently levels indicating that it is still consolidating at this price. Ethereum has dragged its way back to $200 over the past two days and that is where it is staying at the moment.

Altcoins are generally in the green right now with one or two performing well. In the top ten Bitcoin Cash has made the biggest move with a gain of 8% back taking it to $460. Stellar is also trading strongly at the moment adding almost 5% taking XLM to $0.234. The rest have made small gains around a percent aside from XRP which is static.

In the top twenty Nem has made over 2% but the rest are plus or minus one percent on the day. Tezos and VeChain are the only two falling back but only marginally.

Today’s fomo big pump is Basic Attention Token which has jumped nearly 15% at the time of writing. BAT is up to $0.292 on the news that it has joined 0x on Coinbase Pro;

Just as before, observers have noted that the altcoin appears to have pumped before the official announcement indicating possible abuse of insider knowledge at the exchange. Trade volume has surged from $10 to $50 million since the news. BAT is likely to trade higher today but could fall back again as the market in general is still in the grips of the bears.

The big dump of the day is coming from Digitex Futures which is shedding over 18% at the moment. It is closely followed by Eternal Token dropping 16% on the day.

Total crypto market capitalization has crept up just under a percent on the day taking it to $207 billion. There is no sign of a break from the sideways channel that has been intact for almost a month. Bitcoin dominance has fallen back to 53.5% as a few of the altcoins make solid gains.

FOMO Moments is a section that takes a daily look at the top 20 altcoins during the current trading session and analyses the best performing ones, looking for trends and possible fundamentals.





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Another Rapper Sued in Alleged Crypto Scam, Interest Grows Across Hip-Hop

The rapper known as T.I. has reportedly been sued for his involvement in a cryptocurrency token scam that left investors high and dry.

Rapper T.I. Accused of Defrauding Crypto Investors

According to celebrity gossip outlet TMZ, rapper T.I., whose real name is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr., is being sued to the tune of $5 million by a group of 25 individuals claiming that the hip-hop star peddled a cryptocurrency token that ultimately turned out to be a fraud.

The 25 individual investors claim that they invested over $1.3 million into a pump and dump scheme led by the rapper and his business colleague Ryan Felton.

T.I. and Felton are alleged to have used “social media, celebrity endorsements, and well-known industry experts to create the false impression that FLiK Tokens were a valuable liquid investment.”

The pair had incorrectly claimed that comedian Kevin Hart would join the project as the face of the company and as an “owner.” However, the claim turned out to be false, misleading those who considered investing in the FLiK token. Mark Cuban was another name thrown around, with Felton suggesting that the “Shark” and Dallas Maverick’s owner himself had invested in the project.

The suit claims that T.I. had used investors funds to drive up the price of the FLiK token, and then as soon as that happened, T.I. and Felton began selling their holdings, causing the price to plummet. Felton attempted to blame the devaluation on T.I. gifting the cryptocurrency tokens to family members, who had begun cashing out when the price increased. According to price data from CoinMarketCap, FLiK reached an all-time high of $0.21 on October 17, 2018. FLiK tokens are now priced at $0.0009 each – a significant fall.

The two join the likes of Floyd Mayweather, and another hip-hop producer, DJ Khaled, in being added to the growing list of celebrities being sued for endorsing fraudulent cryptocurrencies.

Rappers Are Becoming Infatuated with Crypto

From the gold chains adorned around the neck’s of Run DMC, to the “grillz” in Lil’ Wayne’s teeth, rappers have always loved their precious metals like platinum and gold – and now, that love is spilling into “digital gold” with a growing interest in cryptocurrencies.

It’s not just T.I. and DJ Khaled who have found themselves involved with cryptocurrency tokens. The son of the late Wu-Tang member Ol’ Dirty Bastard is set to launch ODB Coin, formerly known as Dirty Coin. Young Dirty, as he’s known, is working with AltMarket to launch ODB Coin as “merchandise, like a T-shirt, which makes it a commodity,” according to AltMarket CEO Bryce Weiner.

In addition to rappers enlisting in cryptocurrency projects and even launching their own cryptocurrencies, there’s a growing trend in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin being referenced in rap music.

Most recently, rapper Soulja Boy launched a track titled “Bitcoin,” and talked of the “stacks” he made by investing in cryptocurrencies. Before that, hip-hop icon Eminem featured a reference to Bitcoin on his recently released “Kamikaze” album, where fellow Detroit native Royce da 5’9″ delivered lyrics related to the number one cryptocurrency by market cap.

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Coinbase Pro Lists Ethereum Token BAT


etheruem token BAT coinbase



Coinbase has just announced that trading of the Basic Attention Token is soon to be enabled on the Coinbase Pro platform, and deposits of the token are now being accepted.  Trading in the token — which runs on Ethereum — will actually begin after a market begins to formulate.

From the announcement:

“Once sufficient liquidity is established, trading on the BAT/USDC order book will start. […] BAT trading will be accessible for users in most jurisdictions, but will not initially be available for residents of the state of New York.”

Trading is apparently not going to be allowed to residents of New York, likely due to regulatory concerns. Users will have to bring their own BAT, as purchase of the token is not currently available on the regular Coinbase.com.

The price of BAT was around 25 cents as of yesterday, but on today’s news, it has gone up by a nickel. It is not difficult to speculate that the increased exposure through the Coinbase Pro platform will continue this incline and that BAT could see new highs beyond its all-time-high of more than 60 cents per token.

bat ethereum coinbase
Source: CoinMarketCap

The Brave browser project is the primary effort behind  BAT, which is aimed at rewarding users for enabling ads. Brave browser has ads disabled by default. BAT tokens have a real-world value assigned by market traders and benefit both sides of the content world – the viewer and the content provider. Last year, Brave enabled them on YouTube videos and over the past few weeks, prior to the listing on Coinbase Pro, the token has seen a rally due to the program entering beta and increased awareness.

As CCN has previously reported, the Chrome-based browser itself has millions of active users and discourages tracking, malvertising, and inefficient website coding. Current market share reports on browsers do not sufficiently differentiate user agents enough to tell the difference between various forks of Chrome; thus, it is hard to estimate how many people are currently using the browser. Nevertheless, as market share of it grows, the native utility of the BAT will continue to grow, and thus so will demand for it.

CCN will check in with BAT as trading on Coinbase goes live to see whether the move by one of the oldest, largest, most compliant exchanges will have a positive impact. It’s important to note that BAT has long traded on Binance, which is an exchange with the most volume across several markets.

This is a developing story…Check back for updates.

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New York Licenses Bitcoin ATMs, Now Fully Regulated

New York’s chief financial regulator has approved a Bitcoin-based ATM company to receive a controversial Bitlicense, granting them the ability to offer their services in the state.

Coinsource Granted Bitlicense From New York Department of Financial Services

Coinsource Inc., the company behind a wide-number of Bitcoin automated-teller machines across the United States, can now offer their cryptocurrency buying and selling services across the state of New York. The New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) granted the company approval to receive a controversial Bitlicense – a license that governs cryptocurrency-related businesses operating in the state of New York.

Coinsource’s ATM operation stretch across 18 U.S. states, and the firm is planning on expanding to all 50 states in the future as it earns additional regulatory approval. The company says its the “world’s largest Bitcoin ATM Network” and boasts about having the lowest rates, fastest speeds, and live support.

The Department of Financial Services’ approval comes after a thorough review of Coinsource’s application. NYDFS superintendent Maria Vullo said the “approval is a further step in implementing strong regulatory safeguards and effective risk-based controls while encouraging the responsible growth of financial innovation.”

Does Bitlicense Really Encourage Growth and Innovation? Crypto Companies Say No

While NYDFS is confident that Bitlicense encourages “growth” and “innovation” in the cryptocurrency industry, plenty of businesses and their executives beg to differ. Only twelve of the controversial Bitlicenses have been awarded to cryptocurrency companies in the state. However, many more than that have been forced out, and others outright avoid the state of New York due to NYDFS overextending their control and influence. A total of fifteen companies fled the state after Bitlicense was put into effect, with only a handful of the most prominent companies remaining.

The New York financial regulator has caused much uproar in the industry, and has been compared to an abusive ex by Kraken CEO Jesse Powell.

“NY is that abusive, controlling ex you broke up with 3 years ago but they keep stalking you, throwing shade on your new relationships, unable to accept that you have happily moved on and are better off without them. #getoverit,” he said in a tweet.

Powell was riled up, responding to a report published by the New York attorney general’s office that alleged that Kraken and a pair of other exchanges were operating in the state unlawfully. Kraken later released an official statement on their website suggesting that NYDFS show some “basic respect” to the young, growing industry.



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blockchain set to disrupt major utilities and create entirely new use cases

The blockchain revolution promises to dramatically change how people live, yet much of the benefit will not be directly seen by the public. Institutions that provide products and services will soon become vastly more efficient as a result of distributed ledgers. Topping this list may be utility providers, most of which are developing plans to implement the technology into their systems.

Energy providers across the globe are presently taking a close look at how blockchain can impact their operations. Numerous pilot projects are in place, most of which involve electric companies and power plants using the technology to create better tracking systems and more efficient power grids. For example, blockchain can streamline the archaic system of energy trading. It can also play a role making power infrastructure more secure, and automate processes such as meter reading and plant production data.

In a larger sense, however, blockchain technology has the potential to overhaul the entire means by which electricity is produced and consumed. Notably, it can enable individuals to produce their own power via solar panels, and sell it to others across the grid infrastructure, independent of any utility. In fact, proof-of-concept microgrids have already been established across neighborhoods that demonstrate the ability to produce, store, and trade electricity securely and efficiently via blockchain.

Water utilities also are developing plans to implement blockchain. The fact that global water sources are under threat underscores the need to implement systems to better manage this limited resource. Distributed ledger systems are likely to play a key role in this regard. For example, they can far more effectively manage water rights and usage data. Blockchain has many uses in making agriculture more efficient, which will save water, and also reduce the use of fertilizers and pesticides. There are also use cases for municipal water systems that will reduce waste and improve wastewater treatment.

The continued movement toward urbanization presents a tremendous global challenge, and as with individual utility sectors, major cities are embracing blockchain to help with growing population challenges. Future cities are set to integrate the technology into a wide range of municipal services, creating so-called “smart cities” that will function far more efficiently. Taipei, for example, is working with the Iota Foundation to use the Iota Tangle for such projects as air quality monitoring, streamlined waste collection, and digital resident identification. Also, with the support of the European Union, dozens of European cities have smart city initiatives involving blockchain.

It is worth noting that many of these blockchain-based projects are well into the testing phase, and a number of them will be implemented by the end of next year. They are examples of how mainstream use of this revolutionary technology is very near. Also, they demonstrate the fact hat distributed ledger systems are far more significant than merely the adoption of cryptocurrency. They promise to revolutionize all aspects of modern life.

No doubt the implementation of blockchain platforms into utilities will be a trial and error process, and there will be both successes and failures. Nevertheless, blockchain technology is rapidly moving into the sector. It stands to change how critical services are delivered to billions across the globe. The process may presently be in its early stages, but the transition is clearly underway.

 

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More Details Emerge on Oyster Protocol Exit Scam


oyster protocol cryptocurrency crypto



Oyster Protocol issued $90,000,000 worth of PRL (pearl) near the end of last year. The crypto product is designed to enable website owners to earn money by participating in the storage and securing of files within the IOTA Tangle rather than advertising. Users contribute computing resources to the website instead of viewing advertisements. The PRL is the token of exchange, used by users of the file storage platform to store files and by the network to pay providers.

As earlier reported in CCN, the originator of this concept recently decided to exit scam with nearly half a million dollars in PRL through exploiting a loophole in the smart contract — a loophole he, “Bruno Block,” which is likely a nom de plume (Bruno Block was a baseball player) insisted on. Former Oyster CEO William Cordes was the first to deliver the news to the crypto world that Block had generated over 3 million fake pearls and subsequently cashed out as much as he could. The crypto company then appeared and still mostly appears to desire to continue without Block and in spite of this artificial inflation. They have demonstrated this by continuing operations as well as being wholly transparent about the events that have taken place.

A blog post published yesterday by William Cordes, who was fired by Oyster Protocol Inc’s 100 percent owner, Bruno Block, gives a lot more insight into the mindset of Bruno Block and the events that have taken place.

Bruno Block Cites r/Buttcoin in Bizarre Justification of Actions

The blog contains a few screenshots of a Telegram conversation in which Bruno Block never once apologizes for his actions. According to Block, he “dumped on [William Cordes]” instead of allowing Corde and his “VC friends” to “dump on [everyone else.]” In his bizarre justification, he sights as motivating factors the recent price drop of ethereum and, in the oddest part, the anti-bitcoin subreddit r/Buttcoin.

Block claims to have realized that “the entire crypto sphere is a giant ponzi [sic] scheme” and that ethereum is “headed back to $5.”

Perhaps the laughable part of the exchange is when he engages with Cordes, who points out that Block “had [himself] in mind” when he acted. At this point Block truly goes off the deep end, saying:

“yes I did, you and your credit card-swiping parents created a massive debt bubble prison I’m trying to escape from. I only wanted to protect my wife and children from the economic collapse that is coming anyday [sic] now.”

Block, of course, chooses an interesting time in history to say such a thing, when the economy is booming, unemployment is crazy low, and market confidence is extreme. The inevitable collapse of unsustainable systems is a dearly held and important belief of any cryptonaught, but generally, we view bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as safer shores. Not Block, though. He believes bitcoin is headed back to $20 and that for all of the above reasons, he is justified in his actions. He also believes that “none of the money is real,” as he said in response to Cordes’ asking “what about all the tokenholders.”

His final justification was that he had previously burned his own PRL tokens, so the creation of new ones using a weakness in the smart contract was wholly justified.

Cordes Addresses Allegations Made by Block

oyster protocol crypto exit scam
Source: Medium

Block repeatedly said that his beefs with fellow corporate staff were that he wanted to hire more people and that the trading of the coin was not above board, but Cordes points out that at least one thing Block said (they were going to be listed on Binance) is totally false and that “insider trading” never happened and never would have happened.

“Speaking hypothetically, if we were aware of a potential listing on a major exchange, our team would not trade on this information. We do allow our staff to take their pay in either ETH or PRL, so PRL can be accrued in that fashion, but we would never advocate front-running a major catalyst like this. Bruno can string various messages without context together to imply otherwise but this is patently false.”

Cordes says that those fired in Block’s tirade are filing law enforcement reports.

“We are in the process of filing law enforcement reports, working with our attorney and have hired a private investigator. While we are eager to prove further vindication of our team, we are being advised by these parties to not reveal any confidential details of this ongoing investigation, as this may complicate and extend the duration of that investigation. Bruno’s actions are being investigated by some of the best in the industry, whom have identified and brought to justice bad actors that executed their crimes in far more sophisticated methodologies. Investigations do take time, as do any efforts involving the legal system and government/law enforcement, so while a play-by-play of the investigation won’t be given, we’re confident in stating Bruno will be held accountable and that PRL2 will be pushing forward with fervor.”

This is likely not the last we will hear about Bruno Block. His actions certainly appear to have been fraudulent and could result in criminal penalties. As to “PRL2” and the future of the Oyster Protocol, it seems a matter of investor confidence as to whether the embattled crypto company has any future. The idea is not novel enough that they are the only firm which can execute and implement it, so more likely a fork of sorts will emerge which does the thing properly.

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Tether Opens $1.8 Billion Bank Account in the Bahamas


Tether bahamas


Tether Limited, the issuer of controversial USD-pegged cryptocurrency stablecoin tether (USDT), has confirmed that it has established a banking relationship with a small financial institution based out of the Bahamas.

The cryptocurrency firm, notorious for its opaque operations, broke from standard practice on Thursday, announcing publicly that it has formed a banking partnership with Deltec Bank, a 72-year-old financial institution located in Nassau.

Writing in the announcement, Tether said that Deltec had only opened the account after a several month review that included evaluating whether the company could maintain the USDT token’s $1.00 peg. That, peg, as CCN reported, has faltered in recent weeks, even as Tether has redeemed more than $1 billion worth of the token at full face value since the beginning of October.

“The acceptance of Tether Limited as a client of Deltec came after their due diligence review of our company. This included, notably, an analysis of our compliance processes, policies and procedures; a full background check of the shareholders, ultimate beneficiaries and officers of our company; and assessments of our ability to maintain the USD-peg at any moment and our treasury management policies. This process of due diligence, was conducted over a period of several months and garnered positive results, which led to the opening of our bank account with this institution. Deltec reviews our company on an ongoing basis.”

Tether further published a letter from Deltec apparently confirming that the firm — accused by some of operating a fractional reserve — is holding $1.83 billion at the bank, more than enough to cover the assets backing the 1.78 billion in outstanding USDT.

The letter, which was attributed to Deltec Bank & Trust Limited, stressed that this confirmation was made “without liability” to the bank:

“We hereby confirm that, as at the close of business on October 31, 2018, the portfolio cash value of your account with our bank was US$1,831,322,828.

“This letter is provided without any liability, however arising, on the part of Deltec Bank & Trust Limited, its officers, directors, employees and shareholders, and is solely based on the information that is currently in our possession.”

Prior to this public confirmation, Tether’s relationship with Deltec had first been reported by The Block. Previously, the firm was said to be banking at Puerto Rico-based Noble Bank, which is now reportedly up for sale following the departure of Tether and other large crypto industry clients.

In June, Tether published a report from US legal firm Freeh, Sporkin & Sullivan LLP that vetted the firm’s bank accounts, finding that they contained enough funds to cover the outstanding USDT as of June 1, the date on which the review was conducted.

Read Deltec’s full letter confirming Tether’s assets below:

Tether Letter by CCN on Scribd

Developing…Check back for updates

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