Global Investment Association CFA’s 2019 Exam Includes Crypto, Blockchain Topics

The world-renowned Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) examination has added cryptocurrency and blockchain to its list of topics for its Level I and II curricula.

The world-renowned Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) examination has added cryptocurrency and blockchain to its curriculum, Bloomberg reports today, July 16.

The exam, run by the CFA institute, has reportedly prepared over 150,000 financial sector professionals through its intensive 3-tiered program, which is now set to include crypto and blockchain as part of its Level I and II curricula.

According to Bloomberg, CFA said that a “surging interest” across surveys and focus groups was behind its decision. Stephen Horan, managing director for general education and curriculum at the CFA Institute in Virginia, USA, told Bloomberg:

“We saw the [crypto and blockchain] field advancing more quickly than other fields and we also saw it as more durable. This is not a passing fad.”

Crypto and blockchain have now been added as part of a new section called ‘Fintech in Investment Management,’ for which the materials will be released this August in preparation for CFA’s 2019 exams.

As Bloomberg notes, candidates for the exams are expected to clock a whopping 300 hours of study time.

Horan told Bloomberg that further topics, such as the intersection of cryptocurrencies and economics, could be introduced in future. At present, the new section will also cover topics such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, big data and automated trading.

An unprecedented 227,031 people in 91 countries and territories are said to have registered to take the CFA exams this June, the majority of whom reportedly came from Asia –– home to two major crypto markets, South Korea and Japan.

Just last week, Cointelegraph reported that the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) just revealed a new online course on cryptocurrency investing that will kick off in August 2018. The news came on the same day that the University of Malta –– an island nation known for its pro-Blockchain stance and regulations –– announced it would be launching a specialized blockchain degree as of October 2018.

In terms of the content of higher education, a wave of leading international universities are stepping in to offer blockchain, smart contract, and cryptocurrency-related courses. A group of University of Oxford academics has recently turned to the technology to rehaul the very structure of institutional learning, seeking full-degree granting powers in the EU for what they hope will become the world’s first “blockchain university.”

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What Is Zombie Battleground?

Many projects have tried to bridge the gap between blockchain technology and trading card games. Some firms have been a bit more successful at this than others. A new Kickstarter project named Zombie Battleground aims to be a winner.

Zombie Battleground Explained

The team claims Zombie Battleground will become a new digital trading card game which gives users full control over their cards. It will first be developed for mobile, with PC and Mac support to follow at a later date. Similar to most trading card games, users will be able to fight plenty of battles and collect numerous amounts of loot along the way.

How Does it Work?

Bridging the gap between trading card games and blockchain will be a very big challenge. By launching a digital TCG game, a lot of issues can be addressed, since there are seemingly no physical components involved at any given time. Even so, collectors and players can still maintain ownership of every card in their decks.

There will also be a dedicated marketplace to buy, trade, and sell cards associated with Zombie Battleground. This functionality will exist alongside built-in player-to-player trading and selling. Having both options at one’s disposal will be a big step forward for the TCG industry as a whole.

More importantly, the team will be transparent about which cards are in circulation and how many cards of each type exist. This means there will not necessarily be unique cards, although some will be rare. Considering that players will also earn loot by simply playing the game, there is no real pay-to-win model, by the look of things.

What Comes Next?

Although Zombie Battleground is not yet live, the project is scheduled to enter the beta stage in a few weeks. The full release will come to market in late 2018, with Kickstarter-specific features to be implemented by May 2019. Similar to other games, there will be more content added in the future. That includes new heroes, new cards, and more opponents to beat to death.

The Dangers of Perceived Anonymity: Russian Hackers’ Bitcoin Trail

The recent DOJ indictment reveals clandestine financial infrastructure behind the election interference.

The cryptocurrencies’ potential to facilitate money laundering and financing illicit activities has long informed Bitcoin-insecure politicians’ hawkish postures on crypto regulation. With the release by the Department of Justice (DoJ) of an indictment of twelve Russian intelligence officers last Friday, which includes a count of an alleged conspiracy to launder money ‘through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin,’ statesmen of this bent have procured a powerful supplement to their rhetorical toolkit – a formally recorded instance of a Bitcoin-backed interference into a vital sector of domestic affairs.

The only consideration that makes the news look somewhat less haunting for the future of cryptocurrency policies in the US is the power of partisanship in the current highly polarized political climate. While Democratic lawmakers now have all the latitude to exploit the Bitcoin menace in pushing the collusion agenda against the Trump administration, Republicans wishing to blast cryptocurrencies as a national security threat will have to be careful with the evidence produced by the investigation that the president and his allies have repeatedly challenged.

Context

The controversy around possible Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election became a constant in the US public discourse even before the campaign itself has concluded. The hacking of Democratic National Committee’s and Hillary Clinton campaign’s servers, as well as widely publicized leaks of sensitive information ostensibly designed to jeopardize the former First Lady’s bid that followed, stand at the very center of a convoluted web of events, actors, and waves of media frenzy over particular episodes of this ever-sprawling saga. The recent indictment presents a timeline of the hackings in granular detail.

The indictment is a product of a Special Counsel investigation – a probe started in May 2017 under a former Director of FBI Robert Mueller. The scope of its interest includes everything related to the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, including the Trump campaign’s possible cooperation and coordination with Russians. The probe resulted in a number of high-profile indictments of Trump’s former aids, avoiding so far allegations of the president’s personal involvement.  Unsurprisingly, many in the Trump camp refer to the investigation as a ‘witch hunt’ and a nefarious scheme of the ‘deep state.’

Substance

The indictment names twelve defendants (all are officers with GRU, a Russian military intelligence agency) and brings eleven federal crime counts against them. Those include a conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States for the purpose of interfering with the 2016 presidential election by the means of releasing hacked documents (Count One); aggravated identity theft against eight victims whose personal details were used as a part of the hacking scheme (Counts Two through Nine); a conspiracy to launder money (Count Ten); a conspiracy to commit an offense against the United States by hacking a number of state organizations and US companies.

The main body of the document details step-by-step the spearphishing attacks on DNC and Clinton campaign computers, theft of officials’ identities and subsequent stealing of electronic documents, followed by their strategic release through the website DCLeaks.com, which the defendants registered for this purpose. They also attempted to pose as a group of ‘American hacktivists,’ and later created a fictitious persona of Guccifer 2.0, a Romanian hacker, to further conceal their connections to the Russian government. Finally, the GRU officers hacked into the computers of several state election boards and software companies to get hold of voter data.

Yet to the greatest interest to crypto community is Count Ten, which specifies the financial infrastructure behind the whole operation. According to the investigators, Russian officials used a variety of sources and currencies, including US dollars, in order to support the scheme, but their primary instrument was Bitcoin due to its ‘perceived anonymity.’ The main use of digital money was to pay for servers that stored stolen documents and for domains used to publicize them. The hackers also bothered to diversify the sources from which they drew the money, from peer-to-peer deals to decentralized exchanges to running their own mining operation. As the indictment’s authors observed, ‘The use of Bitcoin allowed the Conspirators to avoid direct relationships with traditional financial institutions, allowing them to evade greater scrutiny of their identities and sources of funds.’

All the sophisticated efforts to double back proved insufficient, as the conspirators still left back some imprints. For one, they used the same computers to negotiate BTC transactions and to send spearphishing emails. The DOJ investigators were also able to track the Bitcoin that the GRU mining rig produced all the way to the Romanian company that registered the dcleaks.com domain.

Reaction

No bombshell statements by high-ranking officials outside of DOJ itself descended on the cryptocurrency realm over the weekend. However, it is too early to conclude that the threat of moral panic over Bitcoin can be dismissed. Given the contentious and explosive nature of the investigation’s subject matter, it would be reasonable to expect that someone might still be bracing themselves to score political points in an easy attack on what appears to have facilitated a grave threat to national security.

Meanwhile, one of the most heavily interviewed experts in the wake of the indictment news was Jonathan Levin, co-founder and COO of Chainalysis. His firm has built its reputation on exactly what the DOJ officers have done to come up with Count Ten – analyzing the blockchain to trace movement of money and link the nodes and wallets to their owners’ identities.

Levin declined to reveal whether Chainalysis have been involved in the investigation; the official statement only cites the FBI’s cyber teams in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and San Francisco, as well as the National Security Division as the entities that have contributed to the effort. But since it’s not uncommon for governments to enlist private firms like Chainalysis in blockchain-related probes, it’s not difficult to imagine one or even several private contractors working alongside federal agents on this case.

In crypto subreddits, users habitually call for the media to leave Bitcoin alone and instead ‘mention the Colombian drug lords getting paid billions in USD for selling drugs.’ The notion of cash being a far more pervasive vehicle for money laundering seems to be the most common trope.

Emin Gün Sirer, a Cornell computer scientist, noted that the coverage of the indictment ‘is meant to point out the danger that cryptocurrencies pose.’ But on the flipside, “That danger, and empowerment, is what makes them so exciting.”

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What To Watch For In Johnson & Johnson’s Q2?

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is set to report its Q2 2018 earnings on July 17, and we expect the company to post solid numbers, primarily led by continued growth in oncology drug sales, which saw growth of 45% (y-o-y) in the previous quarter. J&J’s Imbruvica, Darzalex, and Zytiga have…

Accenture, Thales to Debut Blockchain Tool for Aerospace Supply Chains

Global consultancy firm Accenture is planning to unveil its aerospace supply chain blockchain tool at next weekend’s Farmborough Airshow.

Dublin-based major consultancy firm Accenture has partnered with French multinational aerospace firm Thales Group to update aircraft supply chains using blockchain, according to a press release July 16.

Based on Hyperledger Fabric and set for its debut at the UK’s Farmborough Airshow July 21-22, the solution will use blockchain in tandem with Thales’ physically unclonable function (PUF) tool to “track, trace and authenticate aircraft parts and materials.”

“The aerospace and defense industry has one of the world’s most vast and complex supply chains,” John Schmidt, global managing director for Accenture’s Aerospace and Defense practice said, continuing:

“Blockchain technology offers a new, elegant and secure way for the industry to track and trace myriad components while deterring counterfeiting and improving maintenance capabilities.”

Schmidt added blockchain could soon be a “game changer” for aerospace, reiterating comments made in 2017 about the technology’s ability to guarantee authenticity.

Hyperledger Fabric has continued to see multiple implementations through 2018, many of which have come in the form of IBM Blockchain, a suite of services for that help enterprises implement so-called distributed ledger technology (DLT).

While some sectors of the global economy voice doubts about blockchain’s actual potential effectiveness for business, Accenture nonetheless remains buoyant. The firm released a report in June concluding that 86 percent of aerospace and defense companies will adoptt the technology within three years.

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Stock Photo Marketplace Connects Photographers With Customers Directly Via Blockchain

A blockchain-based stock photo marketplace is taking on the large agencies by helping photographers license their content without a middleman.

A blockchain-driven, curated stock photography marketplace is helping artists increase their earnings — by giving them the chance to connect with their buyers directly.

Wemark believes the current, centrally controlled nature of the industry disadvantages photographers. The company claims major agencies can take up to 85 percent of the revenue that’s generated when one of their images is sold — and, as a result, it can be hard for even professionals to make a living.

Shutterstock now has over 200 million images in their collection, and it became extremely difficult for photographers to stand out and earn a substantial income from their work.

The blockchain-based marketplace developed by Wemark aims to help photographers capitalize on the ever-growing levels of demand seen from the digital content industry — giving them a chance to establish new relationships, license photos to businesses directly and experience a much higher level of control and transparency..

Tai Kaish, Wemark’s CEO, told Cointelegraph: “More often than not, creators are left with only a small part of the revenue and very little transparency and control. Blockchain changes this. Digital content licensing is a perfect use case for smart contracts, which facilitate payments and licensing directly between creators and customers.”

More than a million curated images to choose from

Wemark launched the alpha version of its marketplace earlier this month, with over 130,000 images from the start. The company says more parts of its collection are being added to the site and will soon provide more than a million commercial photographs from which to choose. In part, this has been achieved through partnerships with organizations such as CAVAN, Monkey Business and Caia Image — with Wemark claiming that premium collections from these image providers regularly top the sales rankings of Getty Images and Shutterstock.

Keren Sachs, a former director of content development at Shutterstock who is now an advisor at Wemark, added: “This is a tremendous milestone for Wemark. The world’s leading content providers have entrusted us with their photos before we have even licensed an image. They believe in what we are building and the future of the content licensing on the blockchain.”

Wemark’s licensing protocol is able to accept the payment directly from the customer, issue the license and automatically compensate the photographer.

Blockchain as a new middleman

The protocol developed by Wemark is set to replace the major responsibilities of the agencies today. According to the company, the blockchain that is powering the protocol becomes the new middleman. This could make content distribution more efficient, transparent and fair by eliminating third parties and retaining control for content creators and consumers — not agencies.

In its white paper, the Israel-based company argues that customers have a lot to gain as well. They will benefit from a decluttered collection of modern, relevant images and see their costs per photo tumble by more than 50 percent. On the platform, images can be licensed and downloaded through Wemark tokens — and unlike existing stock photo platforms which operate using subscriptions and credits that expire, customers can choose to sell the tokens that they will not use.

Wemark tokens are going to become available once the company concludes its token generation event, which is due to commence on July 24.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Future Analysts Will Be Tested on Cryptocurrencies in New CFA Curriculum

CFA to Include Cryptocurrency Material in 2019 Course Offerings and Exams

As the crypto market continues to meld into the realm of traditional finance, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute is taking notice — so much so that the organization is adding cryptocurrency and blockchain sections to its 2019 certification exams.

The additions will be included in the institute’s Level I and II curricula, and the material will be a subsection in a seminal, wider-reaching subject area entitled Fintech in Investment Management. Within this new subject area, CFA students will be able to explore cryptocurrency finance alongside other burgenoing fintech industries, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. These new offerings will be included in the CFA’s lesson prep beginning in August 2019.

The newly included field will also find its way into the institute’s materials on professional ethics. This inclusion seems fitting for an industry that is under constant monitoring by world governments for money laundering, fraud, market manipulation and other unscrupulous practices.

The CFA decided to introduce the offerings after receiving positive feedback and rising interest from a number of focus groups and questionnaires. These crypto-curious responses reflect the same maturing institutional interest that has led the CBOE to file for a Bitcoin ETF on top of its future’s offerings and encouraged Andreessen Horowitz to launch a multi-hundred million dollar crypto fund.

“We saw the field advancing more quickly than other fields and we also saw it as more durable,” CFA Managing Director for General Education and Curriculum Stephen Horan told Bloomberg in an interview. “This is not a passing fad.”

In vetting the industry, the CFA is shining a ray of legitimacy onto cryptocurrency’s financial ramifications. The institute is one of the most proficient and prolific financial analyst training centers in the world, globally administering just over 270,000 financial analyst accreditation exams in 2017. With over 150,000 international members, it’s one of the largest global associations of financial professionals in the world.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

What Is the CoolWallet S?

Hardware wallets are an integral part of the cryptocurrency industry. They are an excellent way of keeping one’s cryptocurrency portfolio safe from harm. The CoolWallet S claims to be the ultimate Bitcoin wallet, even though it’s not just useful for BTC. A wide range of other currencies and tokens are supported.

The CoolWallet S Explained

More competition in the world of hardware wallets can only be considered a good thing. Although Ledger and Trezor make perfectly fine devices, there is always room for other companies to try and do better. The CoolWallet S is designed to support Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, and ERC20 tokens.

How Is It Different?

Unlike most traditional cryptocurrency hardware wallets, the CoolWallet S is designed for mobile devices. It supports both iOS and Android. All it takes to set up this device is to use it and pair it – that’s pretty much it. There is no user registration involved, which preserves user privacy and anonymity at all times. All private keys and funds are stored on the device itself, with no intermediaries involved.

The CoolWallet S prides itself on utilizing anti-theft pairing between the wallet and one’s mobile device. This allows users to take their cryptocurrency wallets with them at all times, which is also possible with most traditional devices. However, there is no USB connectivity involved, as the CoolWallet S is completely accessible through an encrypted Bluetooth connection.

On a more technical level, there is an EAL5+ certified Secure Element microchip embedded in the wallet itself. This ensures the wallet is tamper-proof at all times. Software-wise, a hybrid decentralized exchange is used to exchange the supported currencies, which will be of great interest to a lot of cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

Future Potential

One thing that may turn off a lot of people is that the CoolWallet S costs $189, excluding shipping fees. With its multi-cryptocurrency support from day one, it is evident the product has a lot of potential. The device is also designed to be flexible, sturdy, and unaffected by the elements. It’s always good to see more hardware wallets come to market, although the long-term success of the CoolWallet S remains to be determined at this stage.

Line’s Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitbox Begins Operations

Line Corporation, a Japanese Internet firm and the operator of the country’s most popular messaging app, have today launched their new cryptocurrency exchange platform, Bitbox. The crypto-to-crypto exchange platform, operated by Singapore-based subsidiary Line Tech Plus, allows for the trading of 28 cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin, for users around the globe […]

The post Line’s Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitbox Begins Operations appeared first on Coinjournal.

Dash Partners with CoinFlip, Adding 80+ ATMs, Offers Cash Prizes to New Users

Dash has been added to cryptocurrency ATM platform CoinFlip, adding over 80 new Dash-supporting ATMs, as well as a cash prize lottery for new Dash users.

The company announced the integration of Dash to its platform this week. According to CoinFlip CEO Daniel Polotsky, Dash’s addition was a natural step for the company:

“Since Dash is a commonly-used digital currency for payments and e-commerce and a top 15 coin by market capitalization, Dash was an obvious choice for us to integrate into our 80+ ATMs. At CoinFlip, we strive to provide the best cash to crypto experience possible, and we hope by partnering with an in-demand cryptocurrency such as Dash, we’ll be able to continue our global expansion to make buying and selling cryptocurrencies easy for anyone, anywhere.”

In addition to the integration, CoinFlip announced a cash giveaway to new Dash users as part of a monthly lottery. Users with CoinFlip accounts will enter the lottery by making a Dash transaction, and can submit additional entries with additional transactions. The top winner every month will receive a $1,000 cash prize, with 10 $100 prizes available as well.

A significant expansion for Dash’s ATM reach

The addition of the CoinFlip network significantly expands the number of available Dash-supporting ATMs around the world, particularly in the United States. According to Bradley Zastrow, Dash Core’s Global Head of Business Development, having CoinFlip on board will significantly facilitate mass adoption:

“Working with CoinFlip is a key milestone for Dash as this single partnership now means we’ve almost doubled our ATM network overnight within the United States. This is a significant step in working toward achieving mainstream adoption. CoinFlip offers an incredibly intuitive and simple user interface, making it easy for even non tech-savvy individuals to acquire Dash. One of our biggest objectives with Dash is making cryptocurrency accessible to the broader public, and CoinFlip is going to play a major role in advancing that cause.”

According to estimates, this would bring the global total of Dash-supporting ATMs to around 418 or beyond. A significant portion of these are in the US and Europe, and represent a fast, easy, and private way for new users to get started with Dash without having to deal with exchanges or brokerage services and lengthy verification processes, bank account linking, etc.

Global Dash adoption hitting a stride in the downturn

Dash adoption around the world has been on a rapid rise, with over 1,500 merchants listed on DiscoverDash now supporting the currency around the world, over 400 of those located in Venezuela alone. This is despite a fierce bear market, where the price of Dash dropped to the low $200s recently, down from an all-time December high of over $1,500. Merchant adoption continues to grow, leveraging incentive programs such as the DashBack offered by the Anypay point-of-sale system, giving merchants accepting Dash now a potentially significant upside if prices recover over the rest of the year.

The post Dash Partners with CoinFlip, Adding 80+ ATMs, Offers Cash Prizes to New Users appeared first on Dash Force News.

League of Legends PH Client Facilitated Cryptojacking Due to Modified Code

Popular online games have always been a prone target for criminals and hackers. Although these incidents are usually aimed at collecting users’ in-game items or payment information, a new trend has begun to emerge. Various sources claim the League of Legends PH client was briefly infected by cryptocurrency mining malware last week.

Cryptojacking Is a Very Big Problem

It has become apparent that criminals have grown quite fond of the concept of cryptojacking. Distributing malware to millions of consumers and hijacking their devices to mine cryptocurrencies is a rather profitable business. That’s especially true when the computers are mining Monero, as it is relatively easy to do so and the currency is still relatively valuable despite recent price declines.

It now seems these criminals are turning their attention to the gaming industry. That is not entirely surprising, as there have been attempts to infect game downloads with malicious cryptocurrency malware over the past few years. A large-scale attack has not been documented just yet, although it is only a matter of time until that situation changes. When it does, it will set a very interesting precedent, for many reasons.

According to some Reddit reports, the League of Legends servers may have fallen victim to cryptojacking malware. It seems the malware makes use of the Coinhive mining script, which will not come as a big surprise to most people. This has been the most popular cryptocurrency mining script to date, and it seems that situation will not be changing anytime soon.

For criminals, it would make a lot of sense to target League of Legends players. More specifically, the popular MOBA game has its own native gaming client, and it can be hijacked to mine cryptocurrency on behalf of criminals. Every gaming client uses a lot of CPU power from day one, and thus such activity would not necessarily be uncovered right away.

The Riot Games team, who actively develop and maintain League of Legends, have already taken the necessary steps to address these cryptojacking concerns.  The firm confirmed there had been an unauthorized modification of the League of Legends PH client lobby which allowed for the execution of cryptocurrency mining malware. The code has since been removed, although it took them two days to do so in a proper and secure manner.

For the time being, it remains unclear how much cryptocurrency has been mined through the modified League of Legends client. Rest assured this was just a trial by criminals to see whether or not the approach was viable and successful. With this success clearly noted, it remains to be seen if future attacks will surface. Such incidents may not even be unique to League of Legends clients, as any major game is at risk of cryptojacking.

Malta-based STASIS Launches New Euro-Backed Stablecoin

Malta-based STASIS Launches New Euro-Backed Stablecoin

Malta-based tokenization platform STASIS has launched EURS, a stablecoin backed by the Euro. EURS, aiming to be the biggest “fully verified and collateralized stablecoin” in the world, launched with a $100 million pre-launch order book which is expected to hit $500 million by year’s end.

Similar to Tether, EURS is fiat-collateralized. Each stablecoin unit is backed by a corresponding unit of Euro.

Created to satisfy the yearnings of European institutional investors, STASIS believes that the EURS token can provide protection during periods of extreme volatility in the market while improving the “risk and return metrics of crypto-investment portfolios.” Leveraging Ethereum’s network, EURS is an EIP-20 token.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, Gregory Klumov, STASIS CEO, believes EURS will be a game changer which could usher in more European institutional investors. He said, “STASIS created EURS token following the demand from institutional clients, high net-worth individuals, and funds that trade digital assets. Also, we think that there is a lack of price-stable cryptocurrency with the visible transparency of reserved assets. The advanced 3-level asset verification process of EURS makes it stand out from any of the stablecoin projects currently available on the market.”

This “advance 3-level asset verification process” comes in the form of daily and weekly account statements and quarterly audits “posted to the public by one of the Big Four accounting firms.” Exante Ltd., a Cyprus investment services company registered with the Cyprus SEC, processes daily and weekly account statements for the company, but there are currently no official audits available, with no clear information yet on which accounting firm would be responsible for these quarterly reports.

One major concern with stablecoins is whether the issuer can hold enough fiat to backup the digital coins in circulation. STASIS, which currently has a total supply of 291,000 EURS in circulation, says its collateral reserve is being managed by an unnamed “AAA-rated European institution” using a conservative, duration-distinguished bucket strategy, where reserves are broken down into several periods (buckets) and analyzed to determine those who subscribed and redeemed. Representatives from STASIS told Bitcoin Magazine that the name of the institution would be revealed at a later date.

“The weights of these buckets will depend on their statistical subscription to redemption ratio. We will have access to more data once the product is launched on more exchanges,” Klumov added.

EURS is currently being traded on London-based crypto exchange DSX, but there are plans to expand to other cryptocurrency exchanges in the future.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Promoted: The Future of Online Shopping Is Powered by Spl.yt — A Decentralized E-Commerce Protocol

Splyt Thumb

As a
rapidly growing business sector, e-commerce continues to open up new avenues
for exploring, comparing and purchasing products worldwide. Spl.yt, a smart
contract protocol, aims improve the e-commerce system for buyers and sellers by
automating functions currently performed by “middlemen” marketplaces like
Amazon, eBay and Alibaba.

Such popular online platforms have no doubt transformed the way in which we shop and
live. Access, convenience, low prices and the availability of a large selection
of products are among the many benefits these platforms deliver to consumers.
But such benefits provided by centralized corporations come at a cost — increased prices,
process inefficiencies and aggressive marketing using huge amounts of personal
data. 

Research from “The Enterprise Guide to
Global Ecommerce
” projects a 246.15 percent increase in
global e-commerce sales, from $1.3 trillion in 2014 to $4.5 trillion in 2021.
And while Amazon alone accounts for almost half of that revenue, there remains
a huge ocean of online opportunities for other businesses to share.

As
the e-commerce landscape faces domination by the likes of established industry
players, innovative approaches to buying and selling are experiencing
roadblocks to advancement. Consumers are often subjected to lengthy searches of
multiple product listings in order to assess availability and price
favorability. Moreover, vendors, in varying their marketplace options, must
keep their inventories current and prevent double selling to avoid taking a hit
to their reputation. 

Across
this space, middlemen often capture high fees on all transactions, adversely
impacting vendor revenues while leading to increased product costs for
consumers. There is also a lack of mechanisms in place to support smaller
e-commerce vendors in their product sales, particularly as it relates to fraud,
spam and consumer dispute resolution. 

The Promise of Blockchains

Blockchain
technology is a game-changing solution that shows promise in the rapidly
evolving e-commerce arena. At the heart of new advancements in this space is
the Spl.yt Core Foundation, a blockchain-backed nonprofit operating out of Santa
Monica, California. This startup aims to deliver a smart contract-based
protocol that supports a new era of efficient, transparent and secure
e-commerce systems.

Targeting
those who sell, buy or facilitate purchases of retail items online, Spl.yt will
help save time and money for this audience by removing middlemen functions and
services by way of its decentralized e-commerce model.

Spl.yt’s
capabilities include an automated global inventory system, fractional asset
ownership and management, inter-marketplace reputation tracking, fair dispute
resolution and automated affiliate marketing incentives. Driven by a global
blockchain inventory, one that features tokenized incentives to foster honest,
real transactions, those involved in buying and selling will experience
Spl.yt’s fair and efficient e-commerce process.

According to co-founders Cyrus Taghehchian and Jason
Civalleri, this forward-thinking approach from Spl.yt is meant to address a
growing dissatisfaction with centralized services and organizations, including
market manipulation and position exploitation, technical failure risks and high
costs.

They say that by addressing the oligopolistic nature of
the e-commerce world — one that robs smaller projects of opportunities — the
growth potential for decentralized governance into financing and product
development will be more fully realized.

“Any seller in
e-commerce knows the biggest problem facing online retail right now is that the
entire industry is controlled by a handful of corporate behemoths with
unchecked economic power to set prices and standards,” said Civalleri. “These tech giants are essentially
middlemen whose self-appointed role is to mediate transactions between buyers
and sellers, yet consistently do so in a way that hurts small business while
making everything more expensive for consumers. Not to mention the fact that
they track consumers’ every move so they can use ads to better target their
wallets.”  

Igniting a New E-Commerce Normal

Civalleri and Taghehchian believe
that today’s e-commerce ecosystem should be owned and operated by the actual
buyers and sellers who make e-commerce possible, not middlemen corporations who
make everything more difficult.

It’s here where the
Spl.yt Core Foundation is developing the protocol to automate these functions
in a decentralized way, with the ultimate goal of working themselves out of
existence so that community members can run a truly decentralized e-commerce
network while blocking the aforementioned behemoths from reemerging in the same
harmful way.

“The existing
e-commerce regime only benefits a few powerful middlemen at the top of the
‘food chain,’ so to speak,” said Taghehchian.
“Ten years ago it was difficult to build an e-commerce website but easier to
monetize. Today, it’s easy to build a website using templates but very hard to
make profit due to the couple of online storefronts that own nearly 60 percent
of the market share. We believe in a new e-commerce structure that is more
egalitarian, instead of top-down.”

He reiterated that
the goal is to empower all e-commerce players so that they can make a good
living and earn rewards for their contributions to foster the health and growth
of the entire e-commerce ecosystem.

The grand vision, said
Taghehchian, is to introduce an open and global
inventory system for product listings across marketplaces, saving buyers and
sellers time and resources. Seller listings will be automatically updated
across all Spl.yt connected marketplaces, with buyers only needing to search
one platform to access accurate product availability and pricing.

He added that the Spl.yt protocol will
also be used to incentivize affiliate marketers, such as social media
influencers or even would-be-competitor marketplaces, to assist in the sale of
a product. This will be achieved by issuing automated affiliate rewards to any
party contributing to the sale of the item.

“The potential use cases for improving
efficiency, transparency and security across the industry are as endless as our
own imaginations,” Taghehchian
said. “Our aim continues to
be to open doors for innovative businesses and entrepreneurial individuals to
achieve their potential using the capabilities enabled by the Spl.yt protocol.
Our long-term vision is to keep moving toward a more decentralized future
wherein the greater e-commerce ecosystem is owned and operated by people within
a fair and automated network of participating parties.” 

You can read the project “litepaper” here

This promoted article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

What Is CoinMarketAlert?

Tracking cryptocurrency prices can be done in many ways. Most enthusiasts rely on various mobile or desktop applications to do so. CoinMarketAlert will make this process a lot easier, as it is designed to offer alerts to users when particular price trends occur.

Keeping Tabs on Major Price Changes

In this day and age of social media, it is not always necessary to keep tabs on specific industries at all times. Every time something important happens, social media will make a fuss about it and trigger a shock wave of activity in the process. This is especially true when it comes to political events, although it has also become a very real trend in the cryptocurrency world.

Even so, a lot of professional traders want to watch every price tick as it happens in real time. Doing so, however, can cause traders to miss other major developments and price changes to take advantage of. CoinMarketAlert aims to make a positive impact in this regard, as the platform is designed to track cryptocurrency prices and trigger alerts when major price changes occur.

With all of the market volatility plaguing the cryptocurrency industry, price alerts become all the more important. Even so, there is still a lot of potential market manipulation to keep tabs on. CoinMarketAlert tracks over 1,400 cryptocurrencies, assets, and tokens across the industry at all times. It offers both email and push notifications to connected devices, which allows for a high degree of personalization.

For those users who are not actively trading but merely maintain a portfolio, CoinMarketAlert can also be rather functional. It sends notifications when the value of one’s portfolio changes in a certain way, either for better or for worse. All of the market data is pulled from the CoinMarketCap API, which has been the go-to source for most cryptocurrency price updates over the past few years.

The new platform is not just about price alerts, though. CoinMarketAlert will also help users protect their investments with some unique features. The advanced alerts feature, for example, lets users purchase cryptocurrency and receive notifications about volume changes, market cap dips, and so forth. There is even an option to be notified when new coins are added to CoinMarketCap, which is something a lot of users will be looking for.

  • One potential downside is that the advanced CMA functionality is only accessible through the project’s upcoming ICO token. Even so, the free alerts and features provide users with a lot of functionality. Cryptocurrency is one of the most active industries out there, as it doesn’t take days off and has no closing hours. Remaining on top of everything has become increasingly difficult as a result.

EOS Developer Block.One Secures Investments from PayPal’s Peter Thiel, Bitmain’s Jihan Wu

EOS developer Block.one has secured fresh investments from billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and crypto mining hardware billionaire Jihan Wu of Bitmain.

EOS developer Block.one has secured investments from billionaire PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and crypto mining hardware billionaire Jihan Wu of Bitmain, according to an official announcement today, July 16.

Block.one is the creator of the EOSIO software, a blockchain protocol that aims to support decentralized apps (dApps) on an industrial scale. The protocol’s native cryptocurrency EOS is currently ranked fifth in the world with a market capitalization of $7.1 bln.  

Other notable co-investors of Block.one’s latest funding round –– of which the exact total is yet to be revealed –– include two major hedge fund billionaires, Moore Capital’s Louis Bacon and Brevan Howard’s Alan Howard.

PayPal co-founder Thiel is rumored to have invested up to $20 million in Bitcoin (BTC) through his venture capital firm Founders Fund, and is known for being the first outside investor in Facebook. Founders, as Bloomberg notes today, was an early backer of SpaceX and Airbnb.

Thiel is a long-standing Bitcoin bull who has been steadily investing in the crypto space, most recently backing a U.S. stablecoin project dubbed Reserve.

For his part, Wu is the co-founder of China-headquartered crypto mining hardware giant Bitmain, which is said to occupy a 75 percent share of the BTC mining chip market. Wu’s holdings alongside co-founder Micree Zhan are said to be worth a combined $5.3 billion, according to Bloomberg. Last year, Bitmain posted skyrocketing revenues, which eclipsed even those of GPU giant Nvidia.

In connection with his new investment in Block.one, Wu is quoted as saying:

“The EOSIO protocol is a great example of blockchain innovation. Its performance and scalability can meet the needs of demanding consumer applications and will pave the way for mainstream blockchain adoption.”

Earlier this month, Block.one –– which raised a record-breaking $4 bln through its year-long token crowdsale –– announced the appointment of the former CEO of Jefferies Asia, Michael Alexander, as the head of its $1 billion venture capital funding program.

At the time of the appointment, the EOS creator said it planned invest over $1 billion in EOSIO ecosystem projects through its VC arm, and that it had already allocated approximately $700 million through international partnerships.

Block.one has also recently appointed the former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Australia’s Commonwealth Bank (CBA), Rob Jesudason, as its Group President and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

Notwithstanding this vigorous investment program, a series of controversies over technical issues, account freezings, arbitration matters and RAM speculation have clouded over the project since the EOS blockchain went live in mid-June, bringing up question of blockchain governance and prompting Block.one’s CTO Larimer to radically propose recasting the project’s entire constitution.

EOS is currently trading at $7.95 per coin, up almost 9 percent on the day to press time, evidently on the positive investment news.

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One Seemingly Useless Smart Contract Causes Major Ethereum Blockchain Bloat

Even though the Ethereum network is receiving some scaling upgrades, network issues still tend to pop up now and then. Over the past few weeks, the network has seen a rather hefty influx of transactions which seemingly don’t serve any purpose. A recent discovery by a Reddit user shows someone may be purposefully clogging up the Ethereum network.

The Ethereum Network Congestion

While Ethereum’s blockchain is very powerful and boasts numerous technical advantages, it is also held back in some ways. When it comes to processing large amounts of transactions, Ethereum doesn’t fare much better than Bitcoin or other public blockchains. Despite a higher transaction throughput, this blockchain tends to get clogged up on a somewhat regular basis.

These issues have been well-documented in the past. Both the CryptoKitties network as well as some of the bigger initial coin offerings of Ethereum-based tokens have caused the blockchain to slow down and transactions to become stuck. Most users have addressed this by paying higher gas prices, although that is not a viable long-term solution whatsoever.

It now seems a new attack against the Ethereum network is brewing. Rather than trying to hack an ICO project or steal Ether, one particular contract is creating large amounts of blockchain bloat. This information was outlined on Reddit, and it seems the contract in question serves no purpose and should not even be in use. For some reason, the token associated with this contract is generating a lot of transactions, which is heavily inflating the average gas price on the Ethereum network.

Most of the accounts related to this token’s transaction activity appear to be controlled by the same entity. It is difficult to say if that is the case for certain, but it seems these accounts are all actively spamming the Ethereum network. Since the tokens are not being used anywhere nor actively being traded, it seems safe to assume the initial contract’s creator is responsible for all of this activity.

The bigger question is what anyone would gain by spamming the Ethereum blockchain with useless token transactions. Raising the average gas price doesn’t benefit anyone other than Ethereum miners. It seems highly unlikely any of the miners or mining pools is involved in this scheme, although nothing is impossible at this point. It is a very worrisome development for Ethereum, as attacks like these can cripple the network if they are left unchecked for an extended period of time.

With Ethereum’s upcoming scaling solutions, incidents like these will ultimately become irrelevant. Exactly when sharding and Plasma will come to the network remains a bit unclear. One can only hope this alleged attack stops sooner rather than later, although it seems highly unlikely that will happen anytime soon.

JiojioMe Unleashes Social Network Revolution for Digital Ad Industry through Blockchain Technology

Mobile advertising marketplace, JiojioMe, is fueling a new, vibrant ecosystem for the digital ad industry through the platform’s pioneering currency, JCASH. JCASH is an innovative value exchange solution that enables users of JiojioMe’s social network app to seamlessly make in-app purchases, engage services, purchase goods from merchants, and access discounts and promotional offers while they do the things they love.

Disclosure: This is a Sponsored Article

JiojioMe is redefining how businesses and users interact with each other on social media platforms. The app makes it easy for users to curate ads based on their interest and earn from viewing these ads and referring other users to the products being offered by the ad. Advertisers can now directly leverage blockchain technology to deliver targeted ads based on the interest or hobbies of the viewers.

Jio (Invite) Me

‘’Jio’’ is a Chinese word for ‘’invite’’ and JiojioMe provides users with users with a myriad of opportunities to Jio each other based on interest, community, and hobbies.

Consumers behavioral patterns is crucial to the growth of any business. Distinguishing the needs of a targeted group, how to satisfy this need, and when best to do so is often the deciding factor between boom and bust. JiojioMe enables businesses and ad agencies to deliver solutions with unparalleled precision, helping them to identify the needs of consumers without compromising users privacy. Users who help advertisers promote their products are rewarded for their activities through the platform’s unique Proof-of-Activity (POA) verification protocol. The protocol promotes a trustless ecosystem designed for transparency.

The JiojioMe app is designed to simplify how advertisements are delivered to users. Thus benefiting both parties of consumers and Advertisers.  Utilizing the app offers exciting benefits for advertisers, helping them to reduce the cost of retaining customers by incentivizing their engagement. Merchants and retailers get to promote their ads to meet users’ specific interest, maximizing their resources and reach.

Consumers are enamored by JiojioMe’s unobstructed and non-invasive method of bridging the divide between advertisement and users, based on hobbies or interests. JiojioMe certainly earns its ‘’Jio’’ name by allowing users to earn  JCASH whenever they ‘’Jio’’ other users to engage in promotional activities from advertisers or enjoy discounts. JCASH will also be awarded to active users for logins and other activities in Jio marketplace.

Breaking New Grounds

The app launched publically in December 2017, with over 40000 users, JiojioMe has come leaps and bounds with more than 100,000 users download and 600 merchants and retailers in Singapore and other countries. Using the blockchain, the platform is now set to transition the centralized JCASH  currency into a decentralized, ERC20 token for the global community. The new JCASH tokens will be offered to the public through a Token Generation event that ends on 9 November 2018.

The JiojioMe App is downloadable on Google Play and Apple App Store. Users are invited to download the app and join in the World Cup event for a chance to win iPhone on JiojioMe App today!

Kodak-branded KashMiner Bitcoin mining rig for rent wasn’t — and won’t be

Write off another piece of crypto craziness: A Kodak-branded Bitcoin-mining rig that was on show at CES in January, where it generated much headshaking and skepticism that it could ever deliver the claimed returns, has evaporated into the ideas ether from whence it came.

The BBC reports that the plan to rent access to Kodak-branded KashMiner devices for the chance to earn Bitcoin returns has collapsed.

Spotlite USA, the company that had shown off the rig at CES, was also never officially licensed to use Kodak’s brand for the mining rig, according to the report (although the company does seemingly license Kodak’s brand for use on LED lighting products which nonetheless have nothing at all to do with Bitcoin mining so…).

Nor had it installed multiple KashMiner devices at Kodak’s offices, as it had claimed.

Speaking to the BBC, Spotlite CEO Halston Mikail said the US Securities and Exchange Commission prevented the scheme from going ahead.

Instead of renting Bitcoin mining capacity to consumers the company now plans to run a mining operation privately, with equipment installed in Iceland — apparently without pausing to examine the logic of joining the existing pool of professional Bitcoin miners all chasing diminishing returns.

Iceland has been a popular spot for setting up crypto mining ops for a while, owning to low average annual temperatures which help keep cooling costs down, plus the availability of (relatively) cheap electricity, including generated from clean geothermal energy, which can offset concerns about the environmental impact of crypto mining. Which is presumably why Spotlite has settled on Iceland for the next stage of its crypto adventure.

Meanwhile, Eastman Kodak, the 130-year-old camera company whose brand was not, as it turns out, licensed by Spotlite USA for Bitocin mining, did reveal a bona fide brand licensing plans to get involved with cryptocurrencies and blockchain (also) in January — announcing an imminent ICO for a photo-centric cryptocurrency (called KodakCoin), via a brand licensee (called Wenn Digital), with the mooted blockchain platform set to focus on image rights management.

So at least there’s a less than entirely tenuous connection in that crypto instance.

The ICO news instantly spiked Kodak’s stock price 44 per cent in January’s oh-so-bubbly crypto market. Albeit, weeks later the stock had deflated after delays to the ICO on account of regulatory uncertainty.

Months later Wenn Digital went on to launch a SAFT offering (aka Simple Agreements for Future Tokens), in May, which it’s still promoting on its KodakOne website — with the aim of raising $50M to build the touted image rights management blockchain platform.

It remains to be seen whether this officially Kodak-branded offering will be able to turn a crypto idea into a genuinely useful product either.

Bitcoin Reclaims $6,600, Altcoins Gain up to 9% Today as ETF Giant BlackRock Eyes Crypto

Bitcoin has reclaimed the $6,600 price point, amid a major market rally bolstered by news that the $6.3 trln asset management behemoth BlackRock is eyeing crypto.

Crypto markets are on an upswing today, July 16, as data from Coin360 shows, with Bitcoin (BTC) reclaiming the $6,600 price point.

Today’s notable market growth is likely bolstered by news that the $6.3 trillion asset management heavyweight BlackRock –– the world’s largest provider of exchange traded-funds (ETF) –– is beginning to assess potential involvement in Bitcoin, according to reports from Financial News.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

Today’s solid market gains are poised to turn around negative momentum that has thwarted price performance since market descent that began July 10. Yesterday saw the first signs of a budding positive trend, and as of today, virtually all of the top 100 coins by market cap are seeing significant growth on the day to press time.

Bitcoin is trading around $6,607, up a little over 4 percent over the 24-hour period to press time. The top cryptocurrency gained over $200 in the space of a few hours this morning, hitting a peak of $6,635 before falling slightly to its current position. Bitcoin is still down around one and a half percent on the week, yet to top its outstanding rally July 8 when the coin hit almost $6,800.

Bitcoin price chart July 16

Bitcoin price chart July 16. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Leading altcoin Ethereum (ETH) is trading around $474 to press time, up over 6 percent over the past 24 hours to press time. The coin’s strong ascent has not yet brought its mid-term price performance back into net positive territory, with its weekly and monthly losses still at 1.25 and 4.8 percent respectively.

Following Bitcoin’s spike, Ethereum also saw a sharp upward turn earlier today, growing about 4.6 percent in two and a half hours to peak at $475, before proceeding to trade sideways to press time, holding today’s gains so far.

Ethereum price chart July 16

Ethereum price chart July 16. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

On CoinMarketCap’s listings, all of the top 10 coins by market cap –– excluding stablecoin Tether (USDT) –– have seen impressive gains of between 4 and 9 percent over the past 24 hours to press time. Of the top 100 ranked crypto assets, just five are in the red, including Tether.

EOS is the strongest performer of the top ten cryptocurrencies over the 24-hour period, up a hefty 8.55 percent and trading at $7.75 to press time.

EOS 24-hour performance

EOS 24-hour performance. Source: CoinMarketCap

Other sweeping gains have been claimed by Stellar (XLM), Cardano (ADA) and IOTA (MIOTA) –– all of which have seen positive growth of 7-8 percent over the 24-hour period, according to CoinMarketCap.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is now at around $266.9 billion to press time, gaining over $12 billion on the day. The markets are nonetheless just shy of their intra-weekly high of $274.7 billion in the early hours of July 10.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

Weekly high in the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Today’s significant news from BlackRock is likely to invigorate the narrative that institutional investors have been biding their time to enter the cryptocurrency markets at an opportune moment. Over the weekend, CNBC trading advisor Ran Neuner went so far as to venture that once the institutional behemoths are in, 2017’s bull run for crypto would come to “look like a warm-up.”

Ran Neuer has today added today that the indications that BlackRock could now enter the crypto space potentially heralds an “exciting” and transformational moment for the markets –– a position that echoes the long-held view that crypto-based ETFs would be a ‘holy grail’ for the crypto industry.

In its own bid to provide infrastructure to facilitate institutional entry, major U.S. crypto wallet provider and exchange service Coinbase has said that it expects that such moves –– rapidly being mirrored across the crypto space –– will “unlock” the “$10 billion” of institutional capital that has until now been “sitting on the sideline.”

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Former Finance Minister of Malta Joins QuickX’s Advisory Board

Disruptive as it is, blockchain and its accompanying cryptocurrencies are seen as anti-establishment and a threat to the traditional financial workings by governments. However, QuickX is one project that has achieved to bring a former cabinet minister and ex-finance minister of an EU nation: Mr. John Dalli.

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One Crypto To Rule Them All

Even with their fast, secure and extremely cheap transactions, cryptocurrencies are marred by multiple issues. The fallacy of human, even the most thought of tokens and their ecosystems eventually encounter problems or hit walls. The quickx team has witnessed these issues and the platform has been designed to ensure that this does not happen to itself:

Quicker Confirmations: Normally, a blockchain confirmation requires around 3 to 6 nodes/miners to pass it. This is done to make sure that each transaction is independently verified and transparency exists. This, although a good factor, leads to slower transaction times. QuickX, with its revolutionary protocol, works like bitcoin’s lightning network, allowing transaction confirmation to be done offline, thus decreasing load off the network and increasing confirmation times.

Transaction Fee: With increased load on networks, miners look for higher fee offerings on transactions. This simple case of supply and demand means that as the network and its users grow, the fee normally increase- sometimes to a level that it makes it impossible to do a small transaction. The QuickX protocol makes sure that there is no major change in fee, regardless of network load. The fee itself will be so negligible that users might not even think about it while making transactions.

Scalability: An issue most older and established cryptos face (and indeed, the reason behind the bitcoin/bitcoin cash fork) is scalability. QuickX’s ability to become frictionless and allow for an increased number of transaction per second.

Swapping: With hundreds of cryptos running today, it is becoming extremely essential to have ease of changing of tokens. QuickX offers users the option to quickly swap different cryptocurrencies with ease. Users do not need to have knowledge on how to make atomic swap contracts.

About QuickX

Not an ordinary run of the mill company, QuickX’s team consists of the best professionals from a vast array of backgrounds. Spearheading the team are the Adhlaka brothers, who have experiences in running a professional cybersecurity firm that has worked with Vodafone and Comviva. Each team member has been specifically chosen and selected for their input in the platform, creating a balance of, digital security, the blockchain, business experts and finance professionals.

Ex-Finance Minister’s Backing

When talking about finance experts, there is nothing more striking about the authenticity of a project when a professional such as the former finance and cabinet minister of a country not only backs a blockchain project but also sits on the advisory board.

John Dalli, ex-Finance Minister of Malta is such a person. A person deeply enriched in the arts of money management, he was single-handedly responsible for the complete overhaul of the Maltese taxation system, bringing it at par with the rest of EU. With his addition on the advisory board, the QuickX has gained a formidable ally, who has a keen insight on the financial world- and a person who has worked in the traditional financial sector (which has a bit of hesitation accepting cryptocurrencies), this gives a huge boost to the platform’s integrity.

For more information on the QuickX platform, visit their website: https://www.quickx.io/

What Is Swixer?

There is a growing need on the part of cryptocurrency enthusiasts to convert between various currencies on the fly. Coin mixers have proven to be rather popular in this regard over the years. Swixer aims to achieve a similar goal, although the team is mainly interested in showing the world that this can be done in a completely anonymous manner.

The Idea Behind Swixer

Cryptocurrency coin mixers usually require a lot of trust and lack anonymity. Swixer is intent on solving at least one of these problems in the coming months by allowing the exchange of tokens anonymously. Built by the Sentinel team, it is the team’s first utility which allows for instant online anonymous cryptocurrency and token conversions.

How Does it Work?

On the surface, some people would compare Swixer to ShapeShift or Changelly. In reality, this new mixer works a bit differently. It uses cross-chain swaps between the Ethereum chain and other blockchains. However, this functionality is only extended to blockchains which offer a working anonymity protocol. At this stage, that list includes both BNB and PIVX. Other currencies and tokens may be added to this list as time progresses.

The currency conversion process looks and feels very similar to ShapeShift. Users will receive the best possible rate, although it will only be an estimate. There is also a 0.2% transaction fee, which is more than acceptable for such a conversion system. With no signup or login requirements, the servers maintains one’s anonymity at all times.

There are some caveats to using this service. Swixer is, on paper, not available to residents of the US, which is only to be expected at this point in time. Nor is this platform designed to be used by trusts or any of their fiduciaries. Nor are users allowed to use this service if the decision to do so was made inside the USA or prompted by anyone residing in the country. The team takes no responsibility for any illicit money laundering activity taking place through this platform or its service.

Final Thoughts

On paper, it is good to see a mixer come to market with a focus on anonymity currencies. Although the exchange of such currencies has always been possible, it usually requires an account with a centralized exchange, which erodes any privacy these coins bring to the table. As such, Swixer may prove to be a viable alternative, even though it is still limited to just a few blockchains at this time.

Big Business Promotes Blockchain at World Cup Event

You know it’s serious when companies are willing to spend significant cash on small blocks of advertising. That’s what happened during one of the World Cup quarterfinal matches, and it’s a big deal in terms of who sponsored the commercial.

HDAK, a well-known subsidiary of Hyundai, the South Korean car maker, spent a lot of money to put a commercial on television promoting blockchain and Bitcoin. Over 30 million viewers watched the commercial worldwide, and it looks like the automotive giant could be a more prominent player in blockchain technology than we may have realized.

Proclaiming the benefits of blockchain technology, Hyundai seems to want to pull cryptocurrency into the mainstream. That will be a big boon to those waiting to see if this thing is a fad that will soon go away, or if it is a technology that will move the world forward and bring about all kinds of changes throughout modern life.

HDAK was primarily supporting the Internet of Things (IoT) side of blockchain technology with their commercial and has made substantial investments in IoT, and they wish to produce secure ecosystems within that space using blockchains, both public and private.

As a whole, South Korea is investing heavily in the IoT and microtransactions. They want to see everyone’s house, and everything in it, connected to the internet so that one day your television, your refrigerator, your environmental systems, and even your window shades will be connected to systems that monitor and control these peripheral distractions and allow people to focus on the important things in life.

South Korean business is at the forefront of ensuring that consumers have access to these types of technologies and are investing heavily to make sure it happens. With the highest saturation of internet users on the planet, South Korea is both financially and culturally invested in seeing this through.

HDAK wants people to know about blockchain technology and that it could be used one day for things like making instant payments, managing home security, and connecting smart appliances which could automate meter readings and process payments for utilities. They also want people to know that the technology is trustworthy, unlike most mainstream media which treats blockchain as something that can’t be trusted because of its association with the internet.

Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency have long been regarded as nothing more than a high tech Ponzi scheme (or a way for criminals to buy illegal goods and services on the darknet) by most of the mainstream media. Finally, large organizations with vast amounts of money (Bank of America, IBM, etc.) are seeing blockchain for what it is: a world-changing system that will one day replace or affect every existing and future technology.

This commercial put blockchain into the realm of the family and made people aware that it will soon make a real difference in their daily lives. As the need for both the public and governments to change their perceptions of the technology is paramount in the rapid development of services that will be adopted by blockchain, this step taken by HDAK is a vital attempt to change people’s minds and bring this most important of new technologies into the mainstream.

UTRUST Announces Partnership With Cryptocurrency DigiByte

Cryptocurrency payments gateway UTRUST is proud to announce their new collaboration with DigiByte.

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Partnership Details

DigiByte was selected due to their security, low transaction fees, and a dedicated team of developers. DigiByte is a cryptocurrency that has been developed over the last four years and has also helped other cryptocurrencies with implementing blockchain technology into their own iterations.

Why DigiByte?

DigiByte also has fees substantially lower than other compatible UTXO chains, which is very important for a payment platform. At the height of traffic for coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, transaction fees can skyrocket, which discourages people from making purchases, payments, or using it as a payment platform.

DigiByte is also secure: no central server secures the system and is instead secured by a worldwide distributed node protocol. This ensures higher uptime and reliability, so users utilizing DigiByte don’t have to worry about network problems.

The partnership will allow the two to offer users a secure payments solution, that will safely accept multiple cryptocurrencies. This cryptocurrency payments platform will be a big step forward for mainstream adoption, bridging traditional markets with crypto.

One of cryptocurrencies biggest use cases is for online e-commerce, and having a safe, reliable payment platform that can accept numerous payment methods (crypto and fiat alike) is needed if crypto is to be adopted by the masses.

DigiByte’s Awareness Team Marketing Manager Rudy Bouwman is enthusiastic about the upcoming actions between the two companies:

“We are excited by the prospect of working with UTRUST and getting DigiByte to be your payment processing solution; this would allow us to grow organically and attract more interest as an open source solution. We hope not only to create a robust decentralized public blockchain, but to change the world for the better.”

UTRUST made a similar move last month with fellow payments solution company Pundi X. UTRUST will continue to make breakthroughs in integrating cryptocurrencies as it continues to work towards being a leading payments solution provider.

UTRUST Roadmap

As UTRUST continues forward, Q3 of this year will see the payment platform releasing their client API, as well as the web wallet and application. This should be followed quickly by the release of the platform in the last quarter of 2018, with over 200 merchants and live transactions.

From 2019 onward, UTRUST will continue on working to refine the platform, as well as expanding it to accommodate more merchants that wish to accept cryptocurrencies effortlessly and seamlessly.

In the meantime, partnerships with leading cryptocurrencies like DigiByte will further bring UTRUST to their end goal.

To learn more about UTRUST, visit their website. The whitepaper is also available here, for those that want a more in-depth look at UTRUST. For those interested in trading the native UTK token with BTC, make sure to visit KuCoin. To talk with the community and team members, hop onto UTRUST’s Telegram channel. For social media updates, make sure to check out their Twitter account. Social media posts are also made on their Facebook. Blog posts will be made on their Medium.

New Platform Provides Insurance for Blockchain Companies

A recently launched platform aims to enable blockchain companies to obtain business insurance quotes based on a risk assessment.

iXledger, a company founded in early 2017 in London, U.K., has launched Blockchain Insurance, a platform that enables blockchain companies to obtain business insurance quotes based on a risk assessment. The platform presents exposures in metrics relevant to the underwriters, insurers and reinsurers.

The company says that the team has launched the platform in partnership with experts in London’s insurance markets. It is specifically tailored to protect blockchain businesses from risks associated with legal threats, financial exposure, cyber risk and crime.

The iXledger platform provides a number of features that support brokers and underwriters through the insurance process. The risk assessment assists underwriters in their risk evaluation with a detailed model, which gives a score across seven key factors — including a company overview, finance, technology, security, people and management.

The system then presents the applications to the marketplace and, once the insurance is in place by using the platform, it publishes the record of the policy on the Ethereum blockchain. “This record can be used to show potential investors and other interested third parties that the insurance is in place, increasing the legitimacy of the business and mitigating risk,” the platform’s website states.

According to the company, the project is using blockchain technology to offer data transparency and data normalization to service the market, which is estimated to raise $7 billion in 2018. International Data Corp. suggests that the amount of funds that will be spent on blockchain adoption worldwide is around $2.1 billion in 2018, up from $945 million in 2017. The blockchain technology market is predicted to grow to $2.3 billion by 2021.

The platform’s IXT utility token gives users access to iXledger services. The company intends to make it available for use in other insurance ecosystems, including SelfInsuranceMarket, the InsChain insurance project and the fidentiaX marketplace, as well as to continue evolving their collaboration with other service providers within the insurance industry.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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FN: BlackRock Eyes Bitcoin Futures, Market Reacts to Increased Institutional Interest

Asset management giant BlackRock is reportedly examining Bitcoin futures and competitors’ moves in the cryptocurrency market, Financial News reports.

The world’s largest exchange-traded fund (ETF) provider BlackRock announced the formation of a working group to assess potential involvement in Bitcoin (BTC), Financial News (FN) reports today, July 16.

The move furthers a U-turn on BlackRock’s previously critical stance towards cryptocurrency.  Following in the footsteps of fellow giant Goldman Sachs, the cross-industry working group convened by BlackRock will among other things focus on whether the company should invest in Bitcoin futures, FN reports, citing “two people familiar with the matter.”

In general comments to FN, a spokeswoman from BlackRock said the company had been “looking at blockchain for several years” but did not mention cryptocurrency.

Experts will be examining competitor moves, the publication paraphrases sources as revealing, indicating Goldman’s U-turn on its previously bearish stance had not gone unnoticed.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein had repeatedly told the media that Bitcoin “is not for him,” before a sudden announcement that a dedicated research team was looking at how Goldman could provide a range of cryptocurrency-based products in the wake of customer demand.

BlackRock could well follow suit, despite its CEO Larry Fink describing Bitcoin just prior to last year’s all-time price highs as “an instrument people use for money laundering.”

In February of this year, the company had already stated cryptocurrency options were “under close review,” eyeing “wider” use in future.

BlackRock had just under $6.3 trln in assets under management as of 2017.

The broader narrative that institutional money is waiting its ideal entry point meanwhile continues to circulate among commentators. Over the weekend, CNBC’s trading advisor Ran Neuner even suggested a future influx would “make 2017” –– and its highs –– “look like a warm-up.” All that is needed, he said, is a modest price uptick.

Bitcoin jumped about 4 percent this morning in just over two hours, evidently on the bullish news from BlackRock, currently trading at $6,605 at press time.

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Bitcoin News Summary – July 16, 2018

The post Bitcoin News Summary – July 16, 2018 appeared first on 99 Bitcoins.

Español Русский Here’s what happened this week in Bitcoin in 99 seconds.   The Bancor platform was hacked for $23.5 million in Ethereum and other tokens. The Bancor Network was taken offline until Wednesday. Bancor’s ICO raised roughly $153 million in 2017. French hardware wallet manufacturer, Ledger, sold in excess of 1 million units during […]

Cryptocurrencies Provide Humanitarian Solutions

An op-ed piece about how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies can aid the humanitarian relief effort recently appeared in a top U.S. political website, The Hill, by Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core Group.

Mr. Taylor started off by mentioning how there are 134.1 million people around the world in direct need of humanitarian aid, but only 96.2 million people are set to receive aid in the coming year. Ryan then mentioned how the “decentralization and immutability” of blockchains will allow “philanthropic organizations to accurately assess the exact size and the scale of the current humanitarian effort”. Ryan emphasized how having a better understanding of the problem will allow the development of better solutions.

Ryan further mentioned how blockchains offer the chance to “store identity, financial, and reputational information on a decentralized ledger”, which is integral for the “estimated 1.1 billion people in the world without government-issued identification” and “estimated two billion labeled as ‘unbanked’”. Ryan elaborated on how storing identification information on the blockchain will allow individuals previously unable to build credit, receive federal funding, or get a loan to now do so. Finally, Mr. Taylor discussed how cryptocurrencies offer a chance to further revolutionize the humanitarian aid sector.

Cryptocurrencies offer independent stability

Ryan examined how many individuals that need humanitarian aid often live in countries with “rampant fluctuations in national, or fiat currency”. He cited Venezuela as an example since it has recently suffered from inflation up to 13,000% and has 82% of the population currently living below the poverty line. Ryan then discussed how cryptocurrencies operate independently from centralized fiat currencies and thus give humanitarian organizations the ability to “provide more substantive guarantees in the longevity of their aid”. He also added that cryptocurrencies offer the humanitarian process more transparency since transactions can be seen on the public ledger.

Mr. Taylor then reviewed how Dash is working “to educate those in developing countries about the benefits of cryptocurrency as a reliable economic alternative to transact and store value”.

“Dash has created a significant presence in Venezuela due to the country’s ballooning inflation and economic instability; we’re currently accepted by nearly 400 merchants in the country, ranging from grocery stores to restaurants and utility outlets.”

Mr. Taylor added that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies offer humanitarian institutions “an innovative solution that is not only scalable, but targeted to each individual in need, when they need it most.” His comments highlighted how Dash has leveraged its comparative advantages to further the innovation available to humanitarian organizations and people in need.

The structure of Dash enables greater education and adoption

The DAO and treasury of Dash allows for professionally funded developers and community outreach specialists to become the face of Dash, as voted on by the community. This structure enables organizations like The Hill to feature an op-ed article by Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core, to speak about the advantages and solutions that cryptocurrencies and Dash offers to the world. This feature is also demonstrated by Dash’s numerous other organizations such as Dash Embassy D-A-CH in German-speaking Europe, Dash Venezuela and Dash Caracas in Venezuela, Dash Help across Latin America, Dash Hub Africa and Dash Africa throughout countries in Africa, Dash Force News throughout the world, and many more.

Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the structures and organizations mentioned above enables Dash to have greater outreach to educate individuals about how Dash works, how Dash provides solutions to their problems, and how to use Dash. For individuals in need of humanitarian aid, Dash is able to accommodate their needs for a fast, inexpensive, reliable, and secure mode of currency so they can acquire the goods and services they need to build a better life. This is why a Venezuelan NGO recently started accepting Dash to help feed deprived Venezuelan children. These features propel Dash closer to its goal of becoming a global peer-to-peer payments system since Dash can provide the necessary solutions in a very user friendly format to overcome the switching costs from traditional fiat currencies.

The post Cryptocurrencies Provide Humanitarian Solutions appeared first on Dash Force News.

Hong Kong Monetary Authority to Launch Multi-Bank Blockchain Trade Finance Platform

Next month Hong Kong’s de facto central bank will see a concerted regulatory effort to improve trade finance processes using a bespoke blockchain platform.

Hong Kong’s de facto central bank will launch its own blockchain trade finance solution with 21 banks in August, Financial Times (FT) reported Sunday, July 15.

The joint venture between the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Chinese company Ping An Group’s fintech subsidiary OneConnect aims to substantially reduce paperwork, costs security risks for participants, FT reports.

A major aim of the 21-party scheme is to reduce the amount of time and bureaucracy involved in signing up new fledgling businesses to banking services by smoothing over transactions.  

Using blockchain, “some” transactions will process in just one day against up to fourteen days using current methods, as FT reports.

Originally announced in November 2017, the move marks the first example of a regulator “bringing banks together” to improve trade finance, as Ping An deputy chief executive Jessica Tan described it. As Cointelegraph reported in May, a previous trade finance deal from HSBC was a smaller-scale affair, involving an individual bank.

“Instead of individual banks trying to do this you have the regulator trying to bring the banks together,” Tan told FT.

Ping An has already developed blockchain-powered solutions for the Chinese domestic market, and hopes the same technology will see success over the border, according to FT. The company, China’s second-biggest insurer with assets worth 4.7 tln yuan ($704 bln), joined the distributed ledger technology-focussed R3 Consortium in 2016.

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Cardano Price: Bullish Momentum Highlights Short-term Gains Potential

More bullish momentum is forming across all cryptocurrency markets as of right now. All top coins are in the green, with some coins noting some very big gains in quick succession. The Cardano price has successfully surpassed $0.15 again thanks to a very positive trend over the past few hours.

Cardano Price Shows Healthy Gains

As one would usually come to expect from the cryptocurrency industry, gains and losses can materialize at any given time. Although the losses have been well-documented throughout the past six and a half months, it is possible the momentum will finally turn bullish again. It is still a bit too early to say for sure. If the Cardano price is any indication, this may prove to be a very interesting week for cryptocurrency.

Over the past 24 hours, there has been a massive Cardano price uptrend. A strong 7.04% gain is quite spectacular, especially because the markets have suffered from so much bearish momentum for six months. Spectacular gains like this one will ultimately meet a correction, though. When that happens, the Cardano price may dip below $0.135 again, although it remains to be seen how things play out in the coming days.

There is also an ongoing increase in the ADA/BTC ratio over the past few days. Another 3.86% increase has been noted over the past day, which is a positive sign for Cardano price speculators. Even so, there is still a strong reliance on the Bitcoin value, which has been a curse for all altcoins coming to market over the past nine years.

All cryptocurrencies are benefiting from an increase in overall trading volume. That in itself is a positive development, as an additional $4bn has flooded into all markets on top of the $9.5bn Sunday brought. Compared to the proper trading volume of $40bn a day, the current amounts are not looking all that promising. Even so, the current market situation can’t turn around overnight, and things will eventually improve as time progresses.

Cardano’s 24-hour trading volume of $68.446m isn’t that bad at all. Most of this volume originates from Binance, as its USDT and BTC pairs generate a high amount of volume. Upbit’s KRW pair is in second place to separate these two. Huobi adds another USDT pair in fourth place and Bittrex enables BTC trading for ADA. A good mix of different trading pairs, although things can always improve from here on out.

For the time being, there is plenty of positive momentum among cryptocurrency speculators and investors. There is still a lot of work to be done prior to achieving an actual uptrend, although things are looking very promising first and foremost. How long that situation will remain in place, will be primarily subject to profit taking and more fresh capital entering the markets.

Litecoin Price: The Push to $80 is Still in Play

It appears yesterday’s positive cryptocurrency momentum is spilling over to today. Although there aren’t any notable change in this regard, all top currencies remain in the green over the past 24 hours. This is especially good news for the Litecoin price, as the altcoin marches toward $80.

Litecoin Price Momentum Remains in Place

It is evident the current cryptocurrency momentum can swing the markets both ways. Assuming this situation remains in place for a few more days, there is a good chance there will be a major bull run later this month. However, the current Litecoin price gains are not necessarily sufficient to keep the current trend going for much longer.

Over the past 24 hours, the Litecoin price has increased by 1.81%. It is a very modest gain first and foremost, although there is no reason to despair just yet. Any positive trend is considered to be a good thing at this point in time. For the Litecoin price, it has allowed the value to increase to $78.82, which is a respectable value given the current market conditions. Most speculators would like to see things direly improve in this regard, though.

This current Litecoin price is partially facilitated by an increase in the LTC/BTC ratio. That improvement comes in the form of a 0.8% increase, which is pretty positive for this popular altcoin. Although it seems to be a matter of time until the momentum turns against all cryptocurrencies once again, there is still a fair chance this is only the beginning of a long-term uptrend for Litecoin and other coins.

With $265.388m worth of trading volume, the current Litecoin price momentum can be sustained for some time to come. It is evident there is still a long way to go prior to seeing any major price recovery for all cryptocurrencies. The Litecoin price is still a long way removed from the all-time high of nearly $350. Whether or not that price will ever be attained again, remains to be determined at this stage.

OKEx may have lost some trading momentum where other altcoins are concerned, but it is doing just fine when it comes to Litecoin trading. Its BTC and USDT pair are well ahead of the competition at this time. Coinsuper’s BTC and ETH pairs come in third and fifth place, separated by RightbTC’s BTC pair. No fiat currency pairs are to be found in the entire top eight, which is a bit worrisome for Litecoin price speculators.

If this current trend can remain in place, things will get very interesting for the Litecoin price moving forward.  Whether that will result in further gains, is a different matter altogether. It will largely depend on how the Bitcoin price evolves in the coming hours and days. So far, things still look good in that regard, although volatility is only a heartbeat away in the cryptocurrency world.

Exclusive: RSK Labs CEO Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar on Bitcoin Smart Contracts Sidechain and Crypto Industry Challenges

Formerly known as Rootstock, RSK Labs is an Argentinian startup building the first open-source smart contract platform with a 2-way peg to Bitcoin that also rewards the miners through merge-mining.

The company says its goal is to add value and functionality to the Bitcoin ecosystem by enabling Ethereum-like smart-contracts, near instant payments and higher-scalability, and this past January after almost two years of development its mainnet dubbed Bamboo was finally launched.

Even though at this point of time the 2-way peg security of the RSK blockchain is still relying on a group of third parties called ‘Federation’, in the future the developers promise to bring a “trustless” automatic peg. How fast this happens to some degree depends on the overall miners support.

Back in May at the Consensus 2018 conference in New York the company claimed it had 10 percent of the miners’ support coming from over 80 percent of the total Bitcoin network hash rate, and as RSK representatives told ForkLog in the end of June, by today this number grew to almost 18 percent.

At recent UNCHAIN Convention in Hamburg we had a chance to talk to the person behind this exciting new technology, RSK Labs CEO Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar. During the interview he spoke about the startup’s philosophy, what it has already achieved and its future goals, also we discussed the general state of the crypto industry and the challenges it faces these days.

ForkLog: Speaking of the latest release, why did you actually choose this name, Bamboo?

Diego: Initially our project was called Rootstock. If you look from the outside, rootstock looks like separate plants but their roots are all connected. The rootstocks spread from the root, and a new plant is born from that root. So Bamboo is another plant coming from that rootstock, and each RSK release has its own ‘plant’ name.

ForkLog: What’s happening today with RSK development and what are your next steps after the Bamboo launch?

Diego: Each year we promote the next step in RSK development, and the biggest step so far this year was launching Bamboo, our public network. Reaching this stage was definitely a new milestone for us, but we still say that out network is in beta, because we think we need to stay conservative in the way we do this.

So now the companies are onboarding with their projects, but we only have 18 percent of the Bitcoin hashrate securing the RSK network. Therefore everything that is happening within the RSK network is as secure as, say, Litecoin or Bitcoin Cash, and when we get to 25 percent we are almost equal to the security of the Ethereum network.

It is important to understand that security of the sidechain is different to the security of the [Bitcoin’s] main network, because the sidechain is controlled by a federation. So what we are doing is securing the federation, which includes improving and giving more diversity to hardware solutions and security modules. The idea is to harden the peg [to Bitcoin] and give it more tests. Since we are the first ones implementing sidechain to Bitcoin, we need to test security and to explore new areas.

Also we are working with others to set standards for drivechain that will be a complimentary element where miners are releasing the funds to the Bitcoin network. So, if we have the drivechain plus the federation we have something that is quite trust-minimized. The idea is to try to improve decentralization and minimize the levels of trust, but that requires implementation of a softfork in Bitcoin network.

ForkLog: How hard will it be to accomplish the task of getting the desired miner support and to guarantee that level of security you aim at?

Diego: That’s what we’ve been doing for the past two years and today we already have 85 percent of the mining pools in terms of hashing power who have implemented our software. It’s just not activated yet and that’s exactly what we put our efforts at.

ForkLog: What stops them from activating the software?

Diego: Well, I think it’s a mixture of things. There’s a bootstrap in a new network, and if there’s not enough economic incentives for them things get more difficult. Miners need to do some work to start merged mining and there’s some risk for them. We have been testing this in the testnet for the last year and technically they are ready. So what we are doing is working one on one with miners helping them to do the switch and it’s very likely that in the next few months we will have some positive news and surprises from really big pools.

But basically, as I’ve already said, all the big pools have implemented RSK merged mining and are ready to do this on the mainnet. I think all this will happen already this year.

ForkLog: What other incentives you could offer miners to convince them to activate the RSK software?

Diego: At the moment it’s only merged mining, but we also want to create our own infrastructure services with miners being owners of those projects. And the same goes with federation: we are working on creating these incentive models so it’s a self-sustained economy per se. There are many services you can provide within the federation and during the last two years we have been working with many companies and organizations to make smart contracts useful. A lot of times the information you need to make a decision on a smart contract is not living on blockchain so you need somebody to take that information reliably into blockchain.

ForkLog: There’s also Liquid, another sidechain solution for Bitcoin network developed by Blockstream. It’s still rather different from what your team is doing since initially it was designed for providing liquidity to cryptocurrency exchanges. Will it be correct to call Liquid a direct competitor to Bamboo?

Diego: I haven’t explored Liquid too deep, but yes, its objective is to create trust, or a network of trusted entities to have a certain method of bitcoin transactions settlement. They work exclusively with Bitcoin, they are based on a secure hardware and it’s a private sidechain. So conceptually it’s a big difference because in our case anybody can participate, while with Liquid you are improving the existing inefficiencies between exchanges.

ForkLog: What real life use cases can RSK technology be applied to?

Diego: Well, one example that we are working with is an Argentinian Bitcoin NGO, basically creating an inclusive financial ecosystem. To do this you need both the technology and collaboration of organizations.

Apart from that we are working with the government of the city of Buenos Aires who will issue land titles so that people who live on those lands will have usage rights for them. Also we are working with a cash-in/cash-out network for convenience stores, and they will be doing conversion between digital money and physical money.

This is an important thing because many people still fear new technologies feeling like it’s too early for them. In this way they can go to a convenience store, put the money into physical form and get its representation in digital form, like a digital peso. This allows them to buy goods with a sort of safety bolt, to protect their money and to have more incentives to make savings.

And finally, we consider creating an open marketplace where all organizations and institutions and even individuals in the future can provide financial services to each other. The idea is that we are not trying to create a bank but a rather a system with reputational identity. There’s information, and if you want to give someone a loan you can understand people’s behavior and you lend based on that without charging maximum fees like banks when they are being approached. By doing this you create fair conditions and that’s the key element to help people get out of the poverty and out of financial exclusion.

The important thing with all this is that we are putting the people in charge of their data. People themselves choose what information to share and with whom.

ForkLog: What about the cost of transactions within the RSK network?

Diego: One thing that RSK is bringing to the table is low transaction fees. To make a transaction today will cost you $0.04, it’s a fixed price so far, but we want to find equilibrium and the idea is to use the third layer that we are building on top of RSK blockchain similar to Lightning Network for Bitcoin. It’s called Lumino and it’s an offchain payment system that can take transaction costs 10 or 15 times lower, maybe down to one or cents, or maybe even fractions of cents per transaction. So basically you can have an account, and combining such things as no need to pay monthly fees, no credit scores and truly low fees we make financial inclusion possible.

Actually the reason why so many people around the world are financially excluded is because banking services are too expensive, and they have to pay monthly fees. So what we are trying to achieve is to solve all these problems at once.

ForkLog: More financial inclusion would probably mean more widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin specifically. What do you think are the biggest challenges Bitcoin faces today and what would help make it more popular on global scale?

Diego: One problem is scaling, then it’s also about simplifying access to these technologies, and when I talk about simplifying I mean the developers, not the end users. What I want to say that if you are a traditional developer it’s still very difficult, too complex for you to access all these things. The learning curve even for seasoned developers, like Java or Android developers, is too hard. To understand the technology they need to learn a lot before they can be proactive. So if we simplify things, if we create libraries so that any developer in the world can get access to them and start using decentralized infrastructure without having to learn all the underlying technology that would be a really great deal. What we need to make is to make it simple for the developers to incorporate these technologies in what they are already doing.

That’s the main challenge to reach mainstream and before we create disruption we need to have critical mass. Of course, we need to continue building disruptive technologies and keep the dream alive but at the same time you want to focus on how to bring these technologies to the companies and organizations that already have users. And once there’s a critical mass then we can create disruption.

ForkLog: Even though states and their governments talk pretty much in recent times about potential advantages of blockchain technologies, there are enough reasons to believe they have declared war on cryptocurrencies which they obviously see as threat to the existing financial system. Will there be a day when the wider crypto community makes the governments finally surrender?

Diego: Governments are made of politicians, and the politicians’ customers are the voters. And as long as we provide value to the people, people will start defending these new technologies and will start asking the politicians to protect them. Therefore our focus should be on creating value for the end users, and in the end the politicians will make decisions based on what their voters say. It’s as simple as that because no politician will commit career suicide by rejecting people’s demand.

Diego Gutiérrez Zaldívar was interviewed by Andrew Asmakov

Bitcoin Price Watch: Currency Up Despite Russia Probe

At press time, the number one cryptocurrency in the world by market cap is up approximately $100 from yesterday, and is now trading for around $6,350. A rise is always welcome news amongst crypto-enthusiasts, though it’s unclear if bitcoin is on a path towards recovery or not.

And yet, bitcoin is presently being viewed through a negative lens, as reports have emerged suggesting Russian spies may have used the currency to potentially interfere in the 2016 presidential election. The spies in question are being accused of using bitcoin to pay registration fees on the site dcleaks.com, which posted emails stolen from Hillary Clinton’s server. In addition, the platform used to host dcleaks.com was also supposedly paid for with bitcoin.

BTCUSD: Bulls are showing some sings of life, just lack of conviction

U.S. officials claim, “To facilitate the purchase of infrastructure used in their hacking activity – including hacking into the computers of U.S. persons and entities involved in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and releasing the stolen documents – the defendants conspired to launch the equivalent of more than $95,000 through a web of transactions structured to capitalize on the perceived anonymity of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.”

12 Russian operatives are now being accused of interfering in the election through what prosecutors are calling a “sophisticated hacking scheme.” Again, bitcoin and cryptocurrency are under fire for being the “currency of choice” in an alleged criminal underworld.

Jonathan Levin – co-founder of Chainalysis – explains, “This is the first clear example in court documents of cryptocurrency being used to purchase capabilities that could be leveraged in attacks on national security. The fact that cryptocurrencies are global and real-time means that you might only find out about these things after the fact. We need to think about the responsibilities that we all have in a world where payments move seamlessly across borders in the blink of an eye.”

Many institutions took an interest in bitcoin last year when the price reached $19,000. These establishments later sought to move the currency away from what The New York Times calls “unsavory associations,” though it appears there’s still room for improvement.

The indictment of the spies reads that while traditional currencies were also used in their activities, they “principally used bitcoin when purchasing servers, registering domains, and otherwise making payments in furtherance of hacking activity.” Also, bitcoin “allowed the conspirators to avoid direct relations with traditional financial institutions, allowing them to evade greater scrutiny of their identities and sources of funds.”

Several steps were allegedly taking to hide the bitcoin transactions, including purchasing the currency on supposed peer-to-peer exchanges. The spies are also being accused of mining the coins themselves.

Bitcoin Charts by TradingView

Betting On The Blockchain – Creating The Global Standard For The Future Of Betting

BX, a blockchain-based betting and prediction market ecosystem, officially announced today an Initial Token Sale (ITO), to raise funds for its betting and market prediction ecosystem, designed to change the way the world bets.  With the vision to create a new betting experience, BX allows any user to take over the role of the bookmaker, create their own markets, place and offer bets with self-determined odds, and even participate in the outcome determination of a market.

“Our decentralized, blockchain based approach will eliminate non-distributed processes and allow players to benefit from full transparency and total control over their betting experience.” explains Christian Heins, Co-Founder, Management and Execution Expert at BX.

Traditional online bookmakers face many problems, including lack of trust, lack of transparency, strict regulations, and high operational costs, resulting in high margin odds in favor of the bookmaker, stemming from their centralized structures.  These problems can be frustrating to users, making it impossible to ascertain whether the odds are fair or set too far in the bookmaker’s favour. Additionally, they even can get limited, restricted or banned – if they are too successful.

BX aims to neutralise these problems and weaknesses in the current betting industry by introducing the BX ecosystem, which allows the players to benefit from full transparency and total freedom in their betting experience. BX is a powerful and distributed betting and prediction market ecosystem that runs on self-executing smart contracts.

All BX betting transactions, as well as payouts, will run safely, autonomously and transparently on the Ethereum blockchain using smart contracts. BX cuts out the middleman and give its users full control over their funds and betting transactions.

Joschka Kupich, Co-Founder and Product Development Expert at BX says, “We are developing a decentralized betting exchange that will create a whole new user experience. In the BX ecosystem, everyone can create a new betting market and become a Market Owner. The odds solely depend on the supply and demand of the users which will result in higher and fairer odds than any traditional betting operator can offer.”

The BX project kicked off in 2017 and has already begun the development of its product. The BX pre-ITO aims to launch on the 3rd September until the 17th September, with the main ITO following soon after. Significant bonuses will be available to those who contribute early in the pre and main ITO.

“BX is the logical evolution of betting. With BX we are going to disrupt and redefine the traditional betting industry by offering its users a unique and enhanced betting experience and giving back the power into the hand of the players” says Christian Lenz, Co-Founder, Blockchain & Project Management Expert at BX

The company is committed to excellence and has ensured that this new ecosystem will be simple and accessible for all users.

To keep up to date with the latest news and announcements please visit: https://bx.bet/en/

This is a sponsored press release and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views held by any employees of NullTX. This is not investment, trading, or gambling advice. Always conduct your own independent research.

New Online Casino Reviews Website Launched – https://Casino.buzz

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“With the aim to provide latest information about online casinos, Casino.buzz is now launched to lead gamblers to the best online casino platform. Casino.buzz is an online casino review website with the most advanced casino listing system.”

Casino.buzz will update the casino lovers about:

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About Casino.buzz:

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Casino.buzz will encourage the gamers to choose the best place for them. They have the most authentic software to check the essentials of a good online casino site.

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What is more, the casino players get to know about a platform which will check the payment methods, payout speed, ratings, bonuses, licensing, customer service, security, trustworthiness and fair play of online casino sites.

Casino.buzz has a unique & authentic ranking platform

This online casino review website has adopted a very simple approach. They have no commercial purpose. So, they have created a very unique and authentic rating system. They have extracted few factors on which they will rate the quality of an online casino site:

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Best platform to find new online casinos

Casino games are very engaging and entertaining. Whenever a new casino platform will be launched, Casino.buzz will update the players about it through it’s news. They will update the players frequently so that they don’t miss a chance to entertain themselves and get huge amount of money. So, check out Casino.buzz for the newest slot machines and latest bonuses on your favorite online casino sites.

This is a sponsored press release and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views held by any employees of NullTX. This is not investment, trading, or gambling advice. Always conduct your own independent research.

Crypto Markets Keep Building Momentum, Bitcoin Inches Towards $6,400

Crypto markets keep growing, with nine out of top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap firmly in the green.

Sunday, July 15: crypto markets continue building momentum, with nine out of the top ten cryptocurrencies by market cap firmly in the green, according to Coinmarketcap.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) has gone above the $6,300 mark, up about 1.5 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at $6,354 at press time. The top cryptocurrency continues its growth after dipping to an intraweek low of $6,180 on Friday.

Bitcoin price chart

Bitcoin price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is up 3.4 percent on the day, trading at $448 at press time. The coin has gone as low as $424 during the week, and it is still down around 10 percent over the past 30 days.

Ethereum price chart

Ethereum price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

After plunging to $242 billion on July 13, total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is back to its average monthly levels, currently just below $256 billion.

Total market capitalization chart

Total market capitalization chart. Source: Coinmarketcap

Stellar (XLM) is currently the biggest winner among the top ten coins by market cap, up 6.1 percent and trading at around $0.218 at press time. XLM is also the only coin among the top ten that has seen gains over the week, amounting to about 3.3 percent.

In terms of losses over the past week, EOS has suffered the most among the top ten. Despite the fact that the coin has gained almost 6 percent in 24 hours to press time, it is still down 15.7 percent over the past 7 days, trading $7.40 at press time.

On July 12, Chile’s Court of Appeals ruled in favor of crypto exchange Orionx, ordering the state-owned bank Banco Estado to reopen the company’s previously closed deposit account. It also stated that the bank’s original decision to close the account was “arbitrary and illegal.”

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Crypto Wallets Security: Explained

How to use your crypto wallet safely and spot possible threats to protect your coins against hackers.

My wallet has been hacked. Help!

Since it’s already happened there is not much you can do.

Imagine that you’re entering your wallet and seeing no coins and several transactions to unfamiliar addresses. That likely means you’ve been hacked.

Due to the anonymous nature of cryptocurrency ‘ownership’ is determined by whoever holds the codes for it. So if it’s gone – in majority cases – it’s gone. You may track the address of the last wallet but it will give you nothing. Notify the company – it’s possible you are not the only one – and review your wallet and PC/smartphone security, if it has significant flaws.

Although if you kept your coins at a crypto exchange wallet and that exchange was hacked, there is a possibility that some kind of compensation will follow. The best thing you can do to protect your wallet is to make sure you’re aware of possible threats and you use your wallet correctly.

How could this ever happen? How can hackers steal cryptos?

Hackers use simple human weaknesses

The most popular type of fraud is phishing. Hackers may sent you a fake email from behalf of your wallet service, containing a fake URL, which may differ by one or several letters from the real URL of your wallet service. Or hackers even may redirect the right URL to fake URL when you’re entering the online wallet. The latest huge phishing scam occured on April 24 2018 to My Ether Wallet users, who lost in total $150,000 worth of Ethereum in a DNS hack.

Besides of phishing, hackers use simple human mistakes, such as keeping private keys in mail, exposing the keys at public, using public unprotected networks that allows hackers to sniff all the information and find the password. Big amounts of tokens and large transactions may attract hackers to hack exactly your wallet.

Where should I keep the keys, then?

The shortest answer here is that offline is better than online.

A popular mistake is to keep crypto wallet keys in email, Google Drive or Dropbox, or any notes app in your smartphone. These are the first places hackers usually try to get in. In order to save your coins, you can relocate keys to any less obvious storage. You may record it to an USB stick, or just write it down and keep it in your drawer – you obviously shouldn’t expose it to anyone else.

What if I lose my keys?

It depends on the type of wallet you use.

For most popular software wallets, it’s ok to know only your backup phrase, a mnemonic phrase, consisting of 12 words. In case you forget your pin, you should just delete the app, install it again using the backup phrase, and create a new pin.

There are wallets that provide access via Touch/Face ID instead of pin-codes. For example, in the Lumi app, you should just switch on Touch/Face ID in the app settings. The good thing about apps like Lumi is that the only thing you need to know is a backup phrase. The bad thing is that once you’ve lost the backup phrase, you’ve lost an access to your wallet. In this case, technology is helpless. The last hope for such luckless crypto owners is hypnosis.

I noticed that my wallet sets a new address every time I sign in – is it ok?

Yes, it’s for your wallet safety.

This method is called HD-safe, or “hierarchical deterministic”, and means that every time you send or receive funds, a new address will be generated for your wallet. That’s a useful option, because it makes your transactions harder to track, and impossible for hackers to calculate the actual amount of money you keep at your wallet. If you need to transfer a big amount of coins you better split it to several transactions.

Is there an ideal wallet type with the best security level?

No. All wallets differ by online and offline types, and the security mechanisms differ respectively.

The majority of existing online cloud wallets, or so called ‘hot’ wallets, use two-factor authentication, in case hackers try to enter your email. ‘Warm’ wallets, the ones that you install as a software to your computer, or as an app to you smartphone, use 12-word backup phrase and pin-codes. ‘Cold’ wallets are hardware ones, that are located at a USB stick or a special gadget — it seems like the most secure way so far, but, according to a recent report, even hardware wallets are not foolproof. Regular updates and careful key management are still vitally important. Whatever kind of wallet you use, you should make sure that your laptop or smartphone doesn’t contain malware.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Bank of Queensland Customers Can No Longer Buy Bitcoin With Home Equity Loans

Various banks around the world have shown a tendency to oppose cryptocurrency. Bank of Queensland is doing exactly that, even though its decision makes a lot of sense. Clients were tapping into home equity loans to buy cryptocurrency, which is ill-advised.

Bank of Queensland Bans Crypto Buying

When consumers spend their own money on cryptocurrency, there is usually no real problem for any bank. Even though some institutions oppose buying Bitcoin with a payment card, there are still a lot of options when it comes to obtaining cryptocurrencies. Using bank transfers works just fine, and peer-to-peer transactions involving cash remain popular.

Issues begin to arise when clients borrow money from a bank and use that money directly to buy Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. That’s especially true if it involves a home equity loan, as banks are fearful clients won’t repay the money if they invest it in cryptocurrency. That is certainly a very real risk to contend with. Cryptocurrency is a notoriously volatile asset, and there are no guarantees for profit whatsoever.

Bank of Queensland evidently noticed that a fair few of its customers were using their home equity loans to invest in cryptocurrency. It is evident that cannot be sustained much longer, as they should be buying houses with the money rather than cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin. As such, the bank has now officially banned such activity, which makes a lot of sense from a business perspective.

The bigger question is how the bank will enforce this ban. The purchase of cryptocurrency is only visible after one’s equity home loan has been issued. Since consumers can spend this money however they see fit, it will be quite difficult to enforce an official ban on this front. Other lenders are discouraging borrowers and mortgage brokers from getting involved in cryptocurrencies as well.

One way to ensure this activity comes to an end is by monitoring borrowers’ accounts for specific activity. When problematic trades are discovered, the bank could freeze the home equity loan or the account in question. Whether or not Bank of Queensland will take such action remains to be determined.

Although all of this shows there’s still a genuine interest in cryptocurrencies, the way people are going about it raises a lot of questions. Obtaining bank funding to buy cryptocurrency is asking for trouble in the long run. That’s especially because such loans have to be repaid on a monthly basis, and failing to do so will destroy one’s financial reputation.

Bitcoin News Summary – July 16, 2018

The post Bitcoin News Summary – July 16, 2018 appeared first on 99 Bitcoins.

Español Русский Here’s what happened this week in Bitcoin in 99 seconds.   The Bancor platform was hacked for $23.5 million in Ethereum and other tokens. The Bancor Network was taken offline until Wednesday. Bancor’s ICO raised roughly $153 million in 2017. French hardware wallet manufacturer, Ledger, sold in excess of 1 million units during […]

Coinbase Offers a Short List of Five Tokens to Be Added Soon

Coinbase remains one of the more popular cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, despite not having offered support for very many currencies over the years. The company is now “exploring” adding several additional currencies, although the list includes some rather interesting names.

Coinbase Makes Another Move

For Coinbase, it is evident that adding additional cryptocurrencies, assets, and tokens will keep its business afloat. Providing convenient access to BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, and ETC is only a part of the long-term plan. In the coming years, the platform will enable trading of dozens of other tokens and assets. No exact timelines have been provided at this point, although five currencies are on the short list to be added.

That list includes some rather surprising items. Although the addition of Zcash and Stellar makes a lot of sense, other currencies may not necessarily be as logical. Stellar has been on a meteoric rise in popularity over the past few months, even though its price might not necessarily reflect this. Zcash is also doing big things, even though its market position has declined dramatically.

The other tokens Coinbase is currently exploring include 0x, Cardano, and Basic Attention Token. Of those three currencies, BAT makes the most sense, as the Brave browser is currently exploring the integration of Basic Attention Token in a real-world environment. As such, there will be a lot more tokens being used at all times, and users will be looking for ways to convert said tokens to other cryptocurrencies.

Cardano, while still a relatively new cryptocurrency, also has a fair amount of market traction. This is despite the project still being in the very early stages of development and having very little working code to back up its efforts to date. Even so, it is a currency that’s of keen interest to speculators. It is only natural that companies such as Coinbase would want to get in on the price action sooner or later.

Support for 0x is quite interesting as well. This token powers the 0x exchange protocol, which is a direct competitor to centralized entities such as Coinbase. Lending a helping hand to competitors is pretty significant in the cryptocurrency industry, as competition brings out the best in companies.

It is important to note that the addition of these five tokens will not impede the ongoing integration of Ethereum Classic. There are also no guarantees that these five currencies will be added to Coinbase in the near future. The company is merely exploring its options at this stage.

Top Swiss Stock Exchange Says It Is ‘Open’ to Offering Crypto Trading on Its Platform

Operator of Switzerland’s top stock exchange SIX Group is “open” to the possibility of offering crypto trading on its planned digital trading platform.

SIX Group, the parent company of Switzerland’s principal stock exchange, has revealed that it is “open” to the possibility of offering cryptocurrency trading services on its digital trading platform. The platform, still in development, is set to launch by mid-2019, SIX Group’s spokesman told the Swissinfo news outlet in an interview July 15.

Swiss Infrastructure and Exchange (SIX) Group operates the country’s largest stock market, and is planning to launch a “fully-regulated” platform for digital asset trading by mid-2019. The service is set to offer a “complete” range of services from, including initial coin offering (ICO) consulting for those ICOs that are not classified as securities.

In the interview with Swissinfo, SIX Group spokesman Stephan Meier claimed that there is a “real need” for the establishment of “transparency and accountability in the crypto-world.” According to Meier, this would benefit both the businesses and investors in the crypto industry, and the participants of traditional markets.

“Not only traditional financial service providers and investors are interested in this, but also numerous companies and investors who want to take advantage of the new digital opportunities for raising capital and trading in digital assets.”

Meier clarified that SIX Group has not yet made a decision on what “specific products will be offered to list and trade” on its upcoming platform, noting that the question of whether cryptocurrency trading will be available is still “open.”

He added that the company would “technically be able to add various digital assets to the platform,” stressing that each digital asset will undergo a “due diligence process” before being added.

Stephan Meier also claimed that the company “want[s] to build a bridge between the traditional financial services and digital communities.” He emphasized that SIX Group is working in “close consultation” with regulatory authorities to find out “in which areas adjustments or additions to the legal framework may be necessary.”

Earlier this week, Switzerland has been reported as the second “most favorable” country for ICOs in terms of funds raised, outperformed only by the U.S.

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Hodler’s Digest, July 9-15: While Mining ETH is a ‘Side Hustle’ for Google Co-Founder, Mining BTC for Russians May Fund Election ‘Interference’

Russian officials have been accused of mining Bitcoin to fund election “interference,” while a UK study sees crypto soon becoming “mainstream.”

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

US Charges 12 Russian Intelligence Officers With Crypto-Funded Election “Interference”

The U.S. Department of Justice released an indictment this week that charged twelve Russian nationals with the intention to “interfere” in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections. According to the indictment, Russian officials from the government’s Main Intelligence Directorate mined cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin in order to fund efforts to hack into various computer networks associated with the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and U.S. elections-related state boards and technology companies. The Russian hackers then released stolen emails through a crypto-funded domain while promoting themselves as “American hacktivists.”

Billionaire Google Co-Founder Reveals He Mines Ethereum With Son As A “Side Hustle”

Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google and the current president of Google’s parent company Alphabet, has said that he and his 10-year-old son mine Ethereum together as a “side hustle.” Brin also said that cryptocurrencies are “mind-boggling” and the crypto global network is “extraordinary,” admitting that Google hasn’t been on the “bleeding-edge” in embracing crypto.

UK Study Finds Crypto Has Potential To Become Mainstream Payment Means In Decade

A joint study by Imperial College and U.K. trading platform eToro writes that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin could become a mainstream means of payment in the next decade, as they already meet one of the three main criteria of money— store of value. In order to become a fully fledged payment instrument, the study notes that cryptocurrencies must now solve their six main challenges: scalability, usability, regulation, volatility, incentives, and privacy.

Three American Economists Shoot Down Bitcoin’s Chances For Survival

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Kenneth Rogoff, and NYU economist “Dr. Doom” Nouriel Roubini have all expressed negative views about Bitcoin during an interview. According to the three economists, Bitcoin’s anonymity, volatility, and ability to be used for “nefarious activity” mean the coin will fail as a currency.

Elon Musk Refers To Twitter Crypto Scammers’ “Mad Skillz” In Tweet About Ethereum

Billionaire Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, tweeted this week about the “mad skillz” of Twitter scammers impersonating famous people to steal ETH and other crypto from their victims. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin responded to Musk by both asking Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey for help and noting his disappointment that Musk’s first tweet about ETH concerned scammers.

Most Memorable Quotations

“I want to know who is running the Etherium [sic] scambots! Mad skillz…” — Elon Musk, billionaire entrepreneur, on Twitter crypto scams

“We’re moving into a qualitative shift in the nature of money…towards a world of ‘global villages’ where you can have decentralized governance,” — Joseph Lubin, Ethereum Foundation co-founder

Laws And Taxes

Philippine Special Economic Zone Issues Three Provisional Crypto Exchange Licenses

The Philippine’s Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) has issued provisional licenses to three crypto exchanges, reportedly two from Hong Kong and a third from Thailand. CEZA, which is a state-owned corporation that control the operations of the special economic zone, expects to attract $3 million of investment as a result of the issuance. The Philippine government announced in April that it would allow 10 blockchain and crypto-related companies to operate in the special zone to stimulate the economy.

EU Directive Sets New Legal Framework For Financial Watchdogs To Regulate Crypto

The EU Fifth Anti-Money Laundering Director, which came into force on July 9, will create a new legal framework for regulating digital currencies to protect against money laundering and terrorism financing. The new rules include stricter transparency requirements for the use of “anonymous payments through prepaid cards” and “virtual currency exchange platforms.

South Korea Legislators Reveal Crypto, ICO, Blockchain Bill Drafts

South Korean regulators will reportedly introduce drafts of bills regulating cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, and blockchain tech at an extraordinary National Assembly session which will take place from July 13-26. The bills are reported to call for regulations on crypto trading platforms in order to prevent money laundering, cybercrimes, and personal data leaks. Also this week, South Korean regulators promised to create more friendly blockchain investment legislation.

Report: India Won’t Ban Digital Currencies, But Will Treat Them As Commodities

An anonymous source in the government reported this week that India is not gearing up for a blanket crypto ban, but will instead treat digital currencies as commodities. According to the source, Indian regulators participating in a Finance Ministry-ordered crypto study are mainly concerned with tracking investors and funds to fight money laundering and illicit financing.

Bermuda To Introduce New ICO, Distributed Ledger Technology Regulations

Bermuda’s Premier and Minister of Finance has introduced new regulations on ICOs to the House of Assembly this week. The new regulatory guidelines lay out the information required for ICOs projects, as well as establishing compliance measures for companies conducting an ICO. The Premier also noted that the government will set out a legal framework for distributed ledger technology, passing the Digital Asset Business Act 2018.

Adoption

London School of Economics To Offer Online Crypto Investing Course

The London School of Economics will offer an online course titled “Cryptocurrency Investment and Disruption” beginning this August. According to the announcement, students will learn the “practical skills” involved in dealing with crypto exchanges, crypto wallets, and how to evaluate the analytics of ICOs.

Blockchain-Based Phone To Be Released In November By Sirin Labs

Swiss smartphone developer Sirin Labs will release a blockchain-based phone, the Finney, this November with an expected price of $1,000. The phone will be based on the Android system, and run on SIRIN OS with an included cold storage wallet, a Token Conversion Service, and a DApp store. Sirin Labs previously released a privacy-focused smartphone in 2016 for the much higher price of $16,000.

Ledger Reportedly Attracts Industry Investors For Funding After Selling 1 Mln Wallets

Security-focused hardware wallet Ledger, which sold more than one million crypto wallets in 2017, is now seeking an additional funding found. The company already raised $75 million in a Series B funding round in January, but the new fundraising intends to attract “industrial partners who will also sign commercial contracts with the crypto startup.” Forbes reports that tech giants like Samsung, Siemens, and Google’s venture arm GV are interested, with talk of Ledger’s valuation reaching as high as $1 billion.

Czech Investment Banking Firm Reveals $100 Mln Fund For Israeli Blockchain Startups

Investment banking firm Benson Oak said this week that it would pump “around $100 mln” into Israeli startups with an emphasis on blockchain tech. The company has already raised one fourth, or $25 million, of the funds, and notes that Israel was chosen as a focus due to its potential for “great entrepreneurs” to develop blockchain further.

Bloomberg: Billionaire Steven Cohen Reportedly Backs Crypto, Blockchain Hedge Fund

Steven Cohen, the founder of Point72 Asset Management, is allegedly backing crypto and blockchain-focused hedge fund, Autonomous Partners. According to Bloomberg, Cohen invested in Arianna Simpson’s crypto hedge fund visa his private equity firm Cohen Private Ventures.

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

Litecoin Foundation Partners with TokenPay, Acquires 10 Percent Stake In German Bank

The Litecoin Foundation has partnered with crypto-fiat payments firm TokenPay and acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Germany WEG Bank AG. TokenPay transferred its equity share of the bank to the Litecoin Foundation as part of an agreement that the foundation will provide blockchain and marketing expertise for TokenPay’s operations.

South Korean Logistics Giant Join Blockchain Transport Alliance

Seoul-headquartered logistics and shipping firm, Lotte Global Logistics, has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) this week. The BiTA was formed in 2017 to develop blockchain applications in transport and logistics industries, and includes as FedEx, Uber, shipping giant UPS, and GE Transportation as members.

Saudi Arabian Municipality Partners With IBM For Blockchain Development

The Riyadh Municipality in Saudi Arabia has partnered with IBM in order to develop blockchain tech for government services. The Riyadh Municipality, IBM, and Saudi tech firm Elm Company will collaborate on workshops for deciding with government services are suitable for blockchain.

Winners And Losers

The crypto markets are still down this week, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,297, Ethereum for around $438, and total market cap around $250 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are BitShares, Decred, and Enigma. The top three altcoin losers of the week are DigiByte, KuCoin Shares, and RChain.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD Of The Week

Head of Chinese Regulator Says Blockchain Shouldn’t Be “Mythologized”

Fan Wenzhong, the head of the international department of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said this week that although blockchain innovation has “significant meaning,” one shouldn’t “mythologize” the technology. Wenzhong also added that decentralization is merely a loop of an old trend, and that cryptocurrencies are not “necessarily useful.”

20 Arrested In Chinese Cryptojacking Case Allegedly Affecting Over 1 Million Computers

A major cryptojacking case in China has led to the arrest of 20 suspects that reportedly garnered around $2.2 million in illicit profits by infecting over 1 million computers with cryptojacking mining scripts. Local sources report that the investigation began in January of this year after a security team alerted the Weifang City Public Security Bureau about a mining script hidden in freely-downloadable plugins.

Decentralized Crypto Platform Bancor Experiences “Security Breach” Involving $12 Mln

Bancor, a decentralized cryptocurrency platform, halted operations on July 9 as it investigated a “security breach” that reportedly involved around $12 million of Ethereum, $1,200 of Pundi X, and the platform’s native token BNT. The exchange reported that no users funds were affected, as cryptocurrencies are not held in hot wallets. Bancor’s head of communications told Cointelegraph that the exchange expected to be back online in 24 hours. As of press time, Bancor is back online.

Cybersecurity Firm Kaspersky Lab Finds More Than $10 Mln ETH Stolen Over Past Year

Kaspersky Lab reports that cyber criminals have stolen around 21,000 in Ethereum through social engineering schemes over the past year, with more than a hundred thousand alarms triggered on security software dealing with crypto since the beginning of 2018. According to the report, the scammers targeted investors interested in ICOs, using fake websites and phishing emails to illegally obtain their victims money.

Study Shows That Over 80 Percent Of ICOs Held In 2017 Were Scams

According to a study by ICO advisory firm Statis Group, more than 80 percent of ICOs conducted in 2017 can be considered scams. The study examined the life cycles of the ICOs, determining that four percent had failed and three percent had “gone dead.” The ICOs identified as scams garnered $1.34 billion of funding overall, which is 11 percent of total ICO funding in 2017.

Prediction Of The Week

Bitcoin Will Hit $60,000 This Year, Says TenX Co-Founder Julian Hosp

Julian Hosp, the co-founder of crypto startup TenX, repeated his previous prediction that Bitcoin will hit $60,000 this year. Last December, Hosp had forecasted that Bitcoin would see both $5,000 and $60,000 in 2018, and he is still “quite confident” that the $60,000 mark will become a reality.

Best Features

From Icarus to Basic Sanity: Blockchain Technology and the Power of Not Knowing

Aleksandr Bulkin from Coinfund explains the impudence of assuming that a decentralized solution will automatically work, and the importance of avoiding the hubris that can blind developers to gaps in their project.

Dear Cryptocurrency Investors — They’re Trying to Trick You

Chris Douthit, CEO and analyst at CryptoInvestingInsider.com, draws parallels between an American entrepreneur creating “fake news” in the 1800s to buy up as many gold mines as possible with the media “FUD” around cryptocurrencies today. Douthit details what he considers the recent “eye opening” changes that show the crypto space is actually moving in the right direction, like Bloomberg’s Crypto Galaxy Fund Index and Goldman Sachs’s future crypto trading desk.

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Ripple Beefs up Its Legal Team to Address the XRP Securities Lawsuit

Legal trouble is brewing at Ripple. The issuer of the XRP asset is facing many lawsuits over securities fraud and its alleged issuing of security tokens without an official license. To counter these issues, the firm recently hired two new people who will help defend the company.

Ripple Is Prepared to Fight

Many experts are concerned that Ripple’s XRP asset may be labeled as a security by the SEC. Those concerns first became apparent several months ago when a securities fraud lawsuit was filed against the company. The plaintiffs claimed the firm had sold securities to investors while maintaining centralized control over the currency’s supply.

Although this appeared to be a one-off incident caused by one dismayed XRP investor, things deteriorated rather quickly. Numerous people have joined this securities fraud lawsuit, and Ripple has been forced to beef up its legal team to counter these threats. Former SEC chair Mary Jo White and attorney Andrew Ceresney are now part of Ripple’s efforts.

It is rather interesting that this lawsuit was filed because of a $551.89 trade going awry. Ryan Coffey lost this money and then claimed Ripple’s XRP should have been registered as a security. In his opinion, the parent company maintains a centralized ledger and has made good money from the increase in XRP’s value at the expense of investors. It’s an interesting accusation, considering that the coin supply retained by Ripple has been locked in contracts.

According to Ripple’s lawyers, the lawsuit should be handled by a federal court, rather than the San Francisco Superior Court. Some people may view this as a stalling tactic first and foremost, although this matter deserves the utmost attention. Its outcome could make or break Ripple as a company, after all. Until the SEC decides whether or not XRP is a security, this issue cannot be resolved.

By adding these two new members to its defense team, Ripple shows that it means business. Although the company is looking for ways to put this matter to rest in a professional manner, it may struggle to do so. According to the company, this securities fraud lawsuit is an “opportunistic suit” more than anything else.

Rest assured this is not the final development in the ongoing XRP securities fraud lawsuit. Issues like these will not magically disappear overnight, yet they can have major repercussions for the long-term growth of Ripple and its XRP asset. Should the SEC determine XRP to be a security, things could get rather dicey for the company.

Kraken Hints at Adding Coins with Mysterious Tweet

Even though Kraken is one of the older exchanges in the cryptocurrency world, it too needs to innovate and add more currencies. While it remains unclear if it will do so, the company’s most recent tweet has sparked considerable debate on this topic. It is possible all of this is just one big joke, though.

Kraken’s Mysterious Tweet

Social media has proven to be an interesting platform for all companies active in the world of cryptocurrency. Some use it to convey important messages, whereas others see it as a way to have some fun at the expense of gullible users. In the case of Kraken, its most recent tweet regarding potentially adding new currencies could still go either way.

The company has shared that it is actively exploring the addition of new currencies. Every single exchange goes through this process on a regular basis, mainly because the demand for exposure to different currencies is only rising. Accommodating those needs is of the utmost importance for any company, especially one with a reputation such as Kraken’s. The firm has not offered too many new trading pairs over the past few years, after all.

Although it seems highly unlikely the company will add over 1,600 new currencies in one go, expanding on its existing offerings seems more than warranted. With so many cryptocurrencies finding niche markets, tapping into different revenue streams has become a lot more appealing for exchanges. Finding the right currencies, tokens, and assets to add is a different matter altogether.

It is evident Kraken needs to keep tabs on all new currencies making a name for themselves. Quite a few of these currencies are still at risk of becoming completely irrelevant in the coming year or years. Bitcoin and Ethereum are still the only two dominant currencies in the market, mainly because they actually serve a purpose. For a lot of altcoins, finding that use case has not happened just yet.

One could argue that this is just a case of Kraken having some fun at the expense of Coinbase, which announced on Friday that it’s considering adding up to five new digital assets. Even so, Kraken’s recent overhaul of its trading engine and underlying services has resulted in a much smoother overall experience. As such, there is plenty of room to add support for new currencies.

In light of Coinbase’s announcement, it is evident Kraken and other exchanges will need to take a similar approach. All cryptocurrency exchanges have to find ways to attract even more clients now and in the future. That is much easier said than done, as users have differing desires, needs, and expectations.

Universities Racing to Provide Lectures on Crypto: Opportunities and Pitfalls

Universities are increasingly offering crypto courses, but most provide students with introductory knowledge, rather than advanced skills.

Knowledge is power, particularly in the Information Age, where an understanding of ‘the new’ can provide an edge over the competition. This is why, barely a year since crypto exploded into mainstream awareness — and long before it’s likely to enjoy blanket adoption — it’s already been the object of a growing number of university courses. While a minority of these have focused on the actual coding, computer science and cryptography lying behind cryptocurrencies, most others have sought to provide a detailed introduction to crypto, so that a more business-focused audience will have the basis for deciding whether — and to what extent — it should adopt Bitcoins and blockchains.

In other words, increasingly profit-oriented universities are seeking to capitalize on the crypto-rush by offering the public nontechnical courses on cryptocurrencies. However, even if many of them are simply teaching students how to conceptualize blockchains as opposed to how to actually code and create them, students are reporting considerable satisfaction with the teaching they’ve received so far. And despite not necessarily providing them with the ability to build decentralized apps and currencies for themselves, the knowledge they’ve received may be vital if crypto is to be adopted on a mass scale in the future.

The United States

For the most part, the teaching of crypto takes place in the context of business-related programs, with very few universities offering specific degrees in cryptocurrencies or blockchains themselves. In the U.S., a number of high-profile MBA (Master of Business Administration) programs have been or are adding cryptocurrency courses, enabling students to gain a grounding in crypto at the same time as learning about accounting, finance, entrepreneurship, and so on. This is the case with the following institutions:

  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley
  • NYU’s Stern School of Business
  • Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
  • MIT Sloan School of Management
  • UCLA Anderson School of Management
  • Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business
  • The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania)

To take an example, NYU’s Stern School of Business offers MBA students an introductory course titled, “Digital Currency, Blockchains, and the Future of the Financial Services Industry.” According to the course’s own outline, it aims “to equip the students to better understand the law and business of blockchain technology, both in its initial application in the digital currency Bitcoin, as well as in the applications currently being explored for a wide variety of uses and functions.”

Since the teaching is centred around understanding the applications of blockchain tech, its lectures cover such topics as payment systems through history, how blockchains work, criminality and cryptocurrencies, and managing bank runs. There is no coding or computer science-aspect of the course, which is typical across the institutions listed above, with students instead being schooled in the basic principles of cryptocurrencies and the impact they’ll likely have on the financial sector.

Given that only three of the schools listed above were offering their courses when Cointelegraph published a similar article on blockchains and universities roughly a year ago, their expansion signals that cryptocurrency courses are enjoying a steady growth. And what’s interesting about such growth is that it’s being driven, to a large extent, by the students themselves, who in some cases are pushing their universities to include modules, courses and lectures on crypto in their programs.

For instance, second-year MBA student Itamar Orr said in April that Stanford’s inclusion of its cryptocurrency course was in part the result of pressure heaped on the Graduate School of Business by him and 12 other students, who wrote a joint letter to the school demanding the addition of a crypto-themed module.

“Many of us will have to discuss blockchain at our jobs. It makes sense to teach it. It gets you a competitive advantage; it’s an extra hammer in your toolbox.”

Similarly, universities and professors themselves recognize the growing public demand for crypto courses, a demand that’s been heightened by the price movements that cryptocurrencies have enjoyed in recent months. David Yermack, a professor at NYU’s Stern School of Business, reported in February that the first lecture theatre he used for his Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies course had a maximum capacity of 180 people, but he had to move to a bigger theatre that accommodates 225 people, after interest exploded in the new year. Likewise, Dawn Song, a professor at UC Berkeley, reports telling her students, “This is a very precious opportunity for you to be able to sit in this class […] There are a bazillion other students who are waiting for your spot.”

The rest of the world: MOOCs and courses

The supply and demand for courses in crypto is perhaps highest in the U.S., but that’s not to say such courses aren’t available elsewhere. In fact, there are a number of places outside of America where students can gain full degrees or qualifications in a crypto-related field.

In Cyprus, the University of Nicosia has offered a MSc in Digital Currencies since 2014, when it also launched the first module of this program as a free MOOC (massive open online course). Available online and worldwide, the program includes lectures on banking, regulation, blockchain applications, financial markets and digital currency programming. Its coverage is therefore quite broad, with its overview stating that it’s “designed to prepare participants to become competent professionals in the field of digital currency.”

The University of Nicosia isn’t the only place in Europe students can obtain a master’s degree in cryptocurrencies. The Universidad de Alcalá in Spain is now offering a “Máster en Ethereum, Tecnología Blockchain y Cripto-Economía,” which promises “to provide comprehensive training in the field of blockchain technology, DAOs and smart contracts, including cryptocurrencies as a special and transversal case, from a triple perspective: technological, economic-financial and regulatory.” A similarly tripartite focus is also evident with the Expert Master in Blockchain and Cryptoeconomics organized by the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Running from this September to May, it’s “aimed at providing professionals with the basic tools related to blockchain in these three fields: technological, economic and legal.”

And while its degree is a postgraduate diploma rather than a master’s, the Universidad Europea Madrid is also attempting to tailor its crypto program specifically for professionals. Its Postgraduate Diploma in Bitcoin and Blockchain begins in October and last for six months, at the end of which students “will be able to analyze in a critical way the technical and legal viability of solutions based on blockchain technologies and to develop integral projects related to cryptocurrency.”

Another vocational diploma is available from the Buenos Aires Institute of Technology, in Argentina. The Diploma in Cryptoeconomies: Blockchain, Smart Contracts and Cryptocurrencies is again targeted at people “with very basic knowledge and who want to learn the reasons, mechanics and disruptive opportunities at a monetary, technological level and as a form of investment.” It lasts only for a couple of months starting July 11, underlining the fact that its priorities reside more with introducing students to blockchains and cryptocurrencies than with fully teaching them how to be an integral and productive part of the cryptocurrency industry itself.

Again, short courses that cater to professionals and terminate in a certificate or diploma are becoming increasingly common throughout the rest of the world. In February, the RMIT University in Australia launched an eight-week online course, Developing Blockchain Strategy, in which — for the price of around $1,200 — students will receive an “introduction to the blockchain basics,” will then “look at the scope of the wider blockchain industry,” and finally will be advised on how to “apply these learnings to [their] own business.”

Back in Europe, the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark has been running a one-week Blockchain Summer School since 2016, with this year’s edition due to take place in August, and to “focus on the application of blockchain technology for generating business and social value.”

In Russia, three institutions added crypto-related courses to their financial programs at the end of 2017: Moscow State University, the Saint Petersburg State University, and the Higher School of Economics. Meanwhile, a couple of technical universities (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, the National University of Science and Technology) are adding courses on how to develop cryptocurrencies, highlighting the ways some nations are aiming to teach students the means of building blockchains, rather than of just understanding them on a conceptual and financial level.

Education, or profiteering as well?

But while there appears to be no shortage of courses and degrees for those interested in crypto, it’s still an open question as to just how valuable such courses and degrees are. Do they enable students to become active in cryptocurrencies and to design blockchains for themselves, or do they simply provide a higher, more marketable class of general knowledge?

As the above summaries reveal, most of them are tailored toward business professionals, who are either interested in beefing up their CVs with a fashionable qualification, or who actually want to decide whether it’s worth integrating blockchains or cryptocurrencies into their businesses. Universities therefore increasingly seek to capitalize on such people, and — given that the knowledge they’re imparting is sometimes ‘basic’ — it’s arguable as to whether their underlying motive in offering crypto courses is partly profit-driven, rather than being guided solely by a belief in the wider social, economic and political value of what they’re teaching.

Of course, there has been no admission from any of the universities concerned that they’re simply looking to make money out of the crypto craze, although the increasing commercialization of universities in general would strengthen such a suspicion. For example, between 1988 and 2018, the average tuition fee for an American private nonprofit university — i.e., Harvard, NYU, Duke, Georgetown, etc. — rose from $15,160 to $34,740 per year in real terms, representing an increase of 129 percent. In England, yearly tuition fees went from £0 (in 1998) to the current £9,250 in 19 years, catalysing a change that has seen universities becoming more driven by targets and teaching ‘outcomes’ in a bid to attract more student numbers — or, rather more “customers,” as one anonymous academic put it. And such a process has been exacerbated by the financial crisis, which, in the U.S., U.K., and other nations, left universities with less public funding, and therefore more impetus to find revenue streams for themselves.

There is, then, reason to think that some universities are being drawn toward crypto partly by their increasing corporatization and commercialization, especially when the tuition fees for their crypto-courses range from $1,200 — for a mere eight weeks at the RMIT University — to €12,080 — for 18 months of studying online with the University of Nicosia. However, even if this is the case, the students that Cointelegraph has talked to indicate considerable satisfaction with the teaching and instruction they’ve received.

Christelle Bure, a director at a South African consultancy firm, is taking the MSc at the University of Nicosia, and — despite being in the early stages of the program — already reports gaining helpful knowledge.

“The free MOOC (Module 1) was a wonderful intro to crypto and blockchains. It covered information on both a business and technical level. Obviously, it is an intro course, but the knowledge I received was incredibly useful and helped me conceptually understand the what, how and why of crypto and blockchains.”

Another student at Nicosia who has actually completed the program is cryptocurrency journalist Caleb Chen, who confirms that, aside from looking at money and the markets, the degree also involves cryptographic and coding elements. “The nine course degree program had two paths, one for those with a developer background and one for those without,” he explains. And although he chose the non-developer route, the program still delved into how to understand and use cryptography.

“As an example, every student did have to create and sign their own multi-sig testnet transactions with the instructor as the 3rd key in one of the classes, even in the non-developer course path. The program in general definitely focused on design of blockchains and cryptocurrencies more than how to engineer or code them — though I imagine that may have been covered in the developer course path.”

Education = Adoption

Such accounts show that, even if some crypto courses are more introductory than intensive, there are others that provide students with a thorough and varied schooling in cryptocurrencies and blockchains — one that will actually help them play an active, rather than passive, role in the crypto industry. Added to this, while their numbers are still small, there are certain courses that do focus specifically on the technical aspects of crypto, such as Cornell University’s Distributed Consensus and Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts, and Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, and Smart Contracts courses, which are all available through its computer science department, rather than through its SC Johnson College of Business.

Another example comes from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which runs Cryptocurrency Engineering & Design and Shared Public Ledgers courses as part of its Digital Currency Initiative. In Europe, the University of Edinburgh now runs a Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers course for undergraduates at its School of Informatics, while the Varna University of Management in Bulgaria is planning to include a blockchain module in its Software Engineering program in the 2018/19 academic year.

While it may take other universities some time to catch up with such offerings, the more general and introductory courses on crypto are still very valuable — and not just in a professional sense. As highlighted PwC’s Daniel Diemers in a recent interview:

Adoption of new technologies requires more education.”

This is why the healthy growth in general and introductory courses on blockchains and Bitcoin is a very welcome development, since, even if these courses don’t necessarily breed the next generation of crypto coders and developers, they will breed the next generation of people ready to adopt what these coders and developers produce.

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R3 Blockchain Consortium Mulls IPO

There is a lot of hype associated with the blockchain industry. Companies and investors expect big things from this technology. So far, few actual use cases exist to warrant that excitement. Despite the ongoing struggles, the R3 blockchain consortium is contemplating filing for an initial public offering.

R3 Wants to Go Public

It is not entirely common for blockchain firms to look into launching their own IPO. In this day and age, most blockchain ventures use an initial coin offering to raise capital, even though that business model is still met with a lot of scrutiny. When it comes to the R3 consortium, their business model is very different from what a typical ICO venture is trying to achieve.

Rather than going for the quick money, R3 is working on legitimizing blockchain technology in the financial industry. It will take a lot of time, money, and effort to do exactly that, since making blockchains work with legacy infrastructures remains a huge problem. Additionally, it remains up to individual banks and other service providers to develop new use cases for this technology.

With the R3 consortium now looking to file for an initial public offering, things will undoubtedly get very interesting. Although this plan has not been set in motion officially, it is an option actively being discussed among key members. Whether or not this would bring more positive attention to the R3 consortium and its Corda project remains to be determined. An IPO would certainly validate the startup’s plans.

One also has to wonder if now is a good time for R3 to be exploring this option. Despite having been created nearly five years ago, the company has still not achieved any real traction. Nor has it successfully built a business around its own version of blockchain technology, despite raising $107 million throughout 2017.

Some speculators are even concerned that R3 might run out of money by mid-2019, which would put a nail in the coffin of the project fairly quickly. If that is indeed plausible, launching an IPO now would not help matters much. In fact, it would cause investors to lose a lot of money by investing in a project that was already nearly dead in the water.

If R3 were to host an IPO, they could bring a lot more legitimacy to the blockchain industry as a whole. This technology needs to go mainstream very soon if it wants to play any role of importance. Billions of dollars have been poured into blockchain firms over the years, yet nearly none of them have anything to show for it. It is crunch time for the blockchain industry, and R3 may set a precedent for other firms to follow.

0x Price: Bullish Momentum Reigns Supreme Thanks to Coinbase Rumors

With so much positive cryptocurrency market momentum to take into account, it will be interesting to see what the future holds.  For the time being, things look very promising, especially as long as the Bitcoin price remains in the green. The 0x price, for example, is rising very quickly as of late.

0x Price Momentum Intensifies

There is a very good reason as to why the 0x price is rising so quickly these days. Coinbase recently made it clear the company will be adding support for new currencies and tokens in the near future. Among the tokens highlighted by the exchange is 0x, and it seems that is fueling plenty of 0x price speculation at this point. Whether or not that momentum will remain in place for some time, is a different matter altogether.

For the time being, there is a 17.56% 0x price increase over the past 24 hours. It is a remarkable gain, especially when considering how most of the other cryptocurrencies only note a gain of 2-5% in the same timespan. Assuming this momentum remains in place for quite some time to come, the 0x price may effectively surpass the $1.15 mark in the coming days. As is usually the case, the current market conditions are subject to change, and nothing has been set in stone at this time.

The current 0x price momentum is also aided by solid gains over both Bitcoin and Ethereum. The 0x/BTC ratio improved by 15.32% in favor of the altcoin, whereas the 0x/ETH ratio rose by 14.54%. This further confirms the 0x price is in a very good place right now, although it is possible this momentum will turn around fairly soon. Sundays are always interesting for cryptocurrencies, albeit they never pave the way for long-term gains.

All of this current momentum isn’t aided all that much by the current low trading volume. All cryptocurrencies have suffered from a decline in trading volume over the weekend, and the 0x market is no exception in this regard. With just $31.237m in 24-hour trading volume, there isn’t too much of a demand for 0x, despite all of the positive momentum and hype associated with this market at this time.

As one would come to expect, there is a lot of trading volume stemming from the Binance exchange. Its BTC and ETH pairs are both in the top three, separated by Upbit’s KRW market. BitMart and Bittrex bring two additional BTC markets to the top five. Although this is not necessarily an influx of new money entering the 0x market, it is still a pretty good mix of trading pairs

As is always the case when it comes to cryptocurrency markets, things will be very different come Monday. When exchanges clear new deposits and users begin cashing out profits, the markets will see some big changes which may not necessarily be all that positive for certain currencies. In the case of the 0x price, it is a matter of time until the market is affected by profit takers who drive the value down accordingly.

Chile Court of Appeals Orders Bank to Resume Business With Crypto Exchange Orionx

Chile’s Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of Orionx crypto exchange, saying that the state-owned Banco Estado has to reopen its deposit account.

Chilean Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of crypto exchange Orionx, resolving that the state-owned bank Banco Estado should reopen the company’s deposit account, local news outlet La Tercera reported July 12.

The Fourth Chamber of the Court of Appeals of Santiago has accepted the appeal filed by Orionx crypto exchange against Banco Estado, which closed the company’s deposit account in late March. At that time, the bank cited the lack of “regulatory recognition of [cryptocurrency trading]” as justification for its decision.

Now, by the ruling of the Court of Appeals, Banco Estado has been ordered to reopen the deposit account of Orionx. The Court called the bank’s original decision to close it an “arbitrary and illegal action, which constitutes a deprivation of the right protected by Article 19 No. 2 of the Political Constitution of the Republic, that is, the right to equality before the law.”

In late April, Chile’s anti-monopoly court similarly ruled that two banks, Banco del Estado de Chile and Itau Corpbanca, have to reopen the previously closed accounts of crypto exchange Buda.

In May, the president of Central Bank of Chile Mario Marcel announced that they are considering the development of a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies, in order to better manage the risks associated with crypto trading.

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Do Dash Treasury-Funded Projects Have an Inherent PR Problem?

As part of the ongoing discussion over why Dash doesn’t get the attention it deserves from the mainstream (crypto) media, one thing that comes up often is: “So many awesome projects are going on with Dash, why doesn’t anyone hear about them?” While faithful readers of Dash Force News are more than updated on the issue, there is, so far, little information that makes it out into the cryptosphere’s hype cycle. Why? Crypto entrepreneur Vin Armani has a theory:

Is this a problem specific to Dash? Is it unavoidable? Well let’s see…

So far, most Dash projects are unknown outside of the Dash community

The Dash treasury system has funded quite a wide array of amazing projects. Regrettably, however, most are only known by active members of the Dash community. Few outside this group know that MMA stars Chael Sonnen and Rory MacDonald were sponsored by Dash, that Dash-exclusive Alt36 is making heavy inroads into the cannabis industry, or that in New Hampshire, one of the historical cryptocurrency hotspots, basically no one uses anything other than Dash. A few now know that Venezuela has hundreds of Dash-accepting businesses, only after relentless Twitter shaming of journalists guilty of glaring omissions is the world starting to take notice. On a lot of levels, Dash is crypto’s best-kept secret: and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Shifting communication platforms have changed the game

However, this is beginning to shift. In the past, for a brief shining moment, the path to a successful Dash proposal was clear: post a pre-proposal on the Dash.org forums, deal with feedback and questions, and then submit a full proposal on Dash Central. Now, fewer people use the forums, and a proposal that goes directly to Dash Central will likely not have the acclaim right out of the gate to get a strong showing. Some members have taken to gather most of their proposal knowledge from the Dash Nation Discord channel, while still others rely on Reddit. This has made a more comprehensive promotional strategy necessary to just get the attention of the Dash community.

Tighter budgets have increased the need for hype

During most of 2017, the Dash treasury exploded in valuation, leaving plenty of room to fund, well, just about anything that moved. Now that has changed significantly, with the present budget a fraction of the previous valuation. Because of a tight budget, now projects have to generate heavy interest in order to stand out. More than internal interest, the Dash community is hungry for something that will catch attention far outside as well, and thus is much more willing to fund something that can bring in new users and get new investors to drive up the price. The “funded in silence” phenomenon was simply a directly result of Dash having way more money than it knew what to do with.

At the end of the day, the economics are no different

And here we come full-circle. This unique problem only facing the Dash community ended up being simply a result of a temporary lack of scarcity. Abundance removed the need for competition, so the loudest, most well-oiled projects didn’t exclusively rise to the top. Now we have scarcity. Now we have projects competing over limited investment funds, just like VC. Turns out Dash isn’t so different after all.

The post Do Dash Treasury-Funded Projects Have an Inherent PR Problem? appeared first on Dash Force News.

MyCrypto Announces Desktop Application with Hardware Wallet Support

Making cryptocurrency more accessible is only part of solving the mass adoption problem. The bigger issue is making it more convenient for users to safely manage their cryptocurrency assets. MyCrypto has updated its platform to make a positive impact in this regard.

MyCrypto Adds Critical Features

Managing one’s cryptocurrency portfolio can be a laborious process for novice users. A lot of people struggle with the concept of taking control of their currency and bearing full responsibility for what happens to it in the long run. This is part of the reason why so many users keep currencies on an exchange, as it is the most convenient solution.

MyCrypto aims to change all that in the near future. The company is introducing a desktop application which will make using cryptocurrency hardware wallets a lot more straightforward. Until now, one could only access such a hardware wallet through a native browser extension or by using online platforms such as MyEtherWallet. It is not the most cumbersome experience, but there is still plenty of room for improvement in this regard.

As part of the most recent MyCrypto update, users can now access both Ledger and Trezor hardware wallets through the native desktop application. This is an interesting step forward, as it removes the need to access online services and protocols. This desktop application has been fully audited by Cure53, a respected security firm. That was a smart decision on behalf of the team, as users need to know their funds will be safe at all times.

This new desktop application also affects the MyCrypto.com website itself. Because of the newly-launched desktop app, the website will no longer support the use of private keys, mnemonics, or keystores. This is a conscious decision by the MyCrypto team, as they aim to ensure safety and security for all users at all times. It is still possible to use MetaMask, Ledger, Trezor, and Parity Signer on the web without any issues.

Transitioning to a native desktop application is an interesting decision by the company. Although it will help make users aware of how they can conveniently use advanced security solutions to store cryptocurrencies, it remains to be seen if users will appreciate this decision. Most people are not too keen on using multiple desktop applications for different purposes, and this decision may cause a bit of friction for that reason.

It is evident the cryptocurrency industry needs more solutions like this one. Making security more convenient for cryptocurrency holders and speculators will be incredibly beneficial in the long run. Relying less on centralized online solutions and gateways will help pave the way for a more decentralized ecosystem.

Stellar Price: Major Gains cap off Solid Week

Sundays are always interesting days for the cryptocurrency industry. Although it usually results in a fair amount of negative market pressure, this Sunday proves to be very different. The Stellar price continues to rise at an accelerated pace, as it continues a week-long uptrend without too many setbacks.

Stellar Price Peaks Above $0.215

Just a few days ago, it became apparent the Stellar price was on the right track. After a brief spell of continued upward momentum, the Stellar price maintained its value at $0.18 with relative ease. That trend has only continued ever since, as the XLM value is still rising as of right now. With a current price of $0.217,  things are looking pretty good for this asset.

Over the past 24 hours, there has been another 9.4% Stellar price increase. That in itself is rather spectacular, even though it is mainly fueled by the current positive Bitcoin price trend. If Bitcoin was losing value, very few currencies would effectively see a value increase, but Stellar is doing quite well on its own. If this rate keeps up, it’s not unlikely to expect a Stellar price of $0.25 in a few days’ time.

As one would come to expect from this current Stellar price momentum, the current situation is facilitated by an increase in the XLM/BTC department. That trading ratio has seen a strong 7.14% increase over the past 24 hours, further indicating the demand to buy and sell XLM is rising as of right now. Whether or not that is effectively a sustainable long-term situation, is very difficult to predict at this time.

All of this positive Stellar price momentum is occurring despite very low overall trading volume. Although a volume of $47.58m is not bad by any means, it is virtually nothing compared to what one would expect based on the current Stellar momentum. Even so, it is more than sufficient to keep this trend going, albeit the situation may come to change in the coming days.

Similar to earlier this week, Binance is the leading exchange ranked by trading volume. Its BTC and USDT pairs generate over 38.7% of all trades. BCEX’s CKUSD pair is in third place, followed by two BTC pairs by CoinEgg and BCEX. All of these markets are quite interesting for the current XLM momentum, although there is not necessarily a lot of fresh capital entering the market.

Whether or not the Stellar price can continue to rise, is a very different matter. Sundays are very different days compared to the rest of the week, as they are not a correct representation of cryptocurrency market sentiment. Once things return to normal on Monday, the situation may look very different for XLM and all other markets.

Bitcoin Price Watch: Currency Remains at $6,200

At press time, the number one cryptocurrency in the world remains at $6,200. The coin has stayed in this position for more than 24 hours, giving us plausible evidence that perhaps things are beginning to settle…

Unfortunately, one source is suggesting that another fall to $6,000 – or perhaps even less – may occur in the coming week. Downward trends are beginning to form on bitcoin’s technical charts, which could potentially take the father of crypto down to $5,900. Support is hovering in the $6,100 range, however, which means that if the bulls can retain their present hold on the financial reins, the currency could find itself face-to-face with $6,300, which is where it stood just 48 hours ago.

BTCUSD: Bitcoin USD Price Prediction 2018: When will Bitcoin go up?

Another source agrees with this sentiment, explaining:

“BTC could attack the $6,400 mark, but further gains are ruled out for now as the descending (bearish) 5-day MA and 10-day MA are located at $6,366 and $6,500 respectively. That said, if BTC manages to close (as per UTC) today above 10-day MA, the doors would open for a retest of Monday’s high of $6,820. Bearish scenario: a failure to produce a significant move higher despite the bullish price RSI divergence and the falling wedge breakout would shift risk in favor of a drop to a recent low of $5,755. The downside move could gather pace if BTC fails to hold above $6,080 (previous day’s high) over the weekend.”

Contrary to these statements, another platform claims that the bitcoin price could see itself spiking quickly. As reported on Yahoo! Finance, the piece in question introduces readers to what’s known as the Monte Carlo simulation, in which the bitcoin’s past behavior is monitored and analyzed, and compared to what it’s doing now. It’s somewhat easy to assume that bitcoin will repeat behavior granted the similarities are there, and build price simulations based on what is viewed.

The number of simulations in this case that show bitcoin striking the $10,000 mark or beyond are far greater than those that do not. Granted the simulations are correct, we can expect bitcoin to move into the five-figure range by the end of the year.

In other news, the battle for mining dominance continues throughout the crypto arena, and regulators in the Big Apple have reset the power rate structure for crypto miners, making it considerably cheaper. New York – despite a high cost of living – offers some of the least expensive power rates in the United States of $0.039 per kilowatt hour. This is significantly less than the national average of $0.13 per kilowatt hour.

This could potentially bring about a new wave of miners, making bitcoin more “fashionable” and desired and thereby boost the price even further.

Bitcoin Charts by TradingView

What Is an Equity Token Offering (ETO)?

As regulators and blockchain companies in the States play cat and mouse, some interesting developments are going on in Europe. The crypto community watched on in awe last week as Malta became the first country to pass new blockchain-based regulations. At last, a clear set of guidelines on how to hold a legal ICO!

The Maltese government recognizes that new laws are needed for new technology and situations with no precedent. So, rather than risk quashing innovation and labeling everything a “security” or a “utility,” they will use a qualifying scale system. At one end, it’s a security; at the other end, a utility. But something can also be a hybrid in the middle – a virtual asset that can be traded on an exchange.

Germany is also making headway when it comes to legal ICOs. In fact, they have successfully extended this fundraising method to off-chain companies as well. So, any company, private or public – blockchain or otherwise – can now hold a legally compliant ICO. How? By tokenizing assets, issuing shares and holding an Equity Token Offering (ETO).

What Is an ETO?

German law has two definitions of securities, which enable companies to issue shares in the form of equity tokens. These tokens allow investors to receive a percentage of voting rights and become part owners of the company. Being able to issue equity tokens is so interesting because it allows all registered companies to tokenize assets and raise funds.

Why would they want to do that? There are plenty of reasons, but mainly because it allows them to unlock capital. So, think about a three-year-old company whose assets and value are illiquid. They can issue tokens to unlock much-needed funding for growing their business. ETOs also allow blockchain companies to raise funds legally without having to issue some banal, irrelevant token that has no utility beyond raising funds.

ETOs (unlike ICOs as we’ve seen them) are completely legal in Germany because all companies are registered and therefore comply with practices like KYC and AML. As blockchain technology moves more into the mainstream, the possibilities for ETOs are huge. They allow all types of businesses to raise funds from everyday investors in a crowdfunding mechanism.

Case in Point

Neufund is a German investment platform that allows financial products and assets to be issued as tokens on the blockchain. As a pioneer in the Equity Token Offering (ETO) space, it recognizes that the ICO method of fundraising is groundbreaking. Everyday investors should be able to get in on all types of exciting projects – and all companies should be able to raise funds in this way too.

Neufund defines ETOs as “a hybrid investment model combining advantages of an IPO, an ICO, and a VC round.” Some of its notable community investors include Atlantic Labs and Index Ventures. And now, mega exchange Binance is getting in on the action.

The latest company set to hold an ETO with Neufund is Founders Bank located in Malta. (To hold a legally compliant ETO in Germany, the company doesn’t have to be registered in Germany, although there are some countries Neufund is unable to work with, the US included.)

Founders Bank is a decentralized banking solution that aims to bridge the gap between traditional banking and crypto. By holding an ETO with Neufund, its clients will be able to become co-owners of the bank and decide on development solutions being built with blockchain-style governance based on smart contracts.

Once licensed, Founders Bank will be the first decentralized and community-owned bank in the world. And, according to Neufund, Binance has acquired a 5 percent stake in the bank, along with other anchor investors at a pre-money valuation of 133 million euros.

With so many exciting developments afoot in Europe, what does this mean for blockchain companies in the United States? 2018 has indeed been the year of regulation, but we’re only just getting started. It will be interesting to see what direction it takes and whether Europe will keep blazing the trail in the race.

Crypto Markets See Slight Gains Since Yesterday’s Upswing, Despite US Indictment FUD

Crypto markets keep moving upwards slowly since yesterday’s mild upswing, Bitcoin near $6,300, despite U.S. govt’s crypto-involving indictment.

July 14: crypto markets are holding gains from yesterday’s mild upswing, with all top ten cryptocurrencies seeing slight growth over the past 24 hours, according to data from CoinMarketCap and Coin360.

Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is up just over one percent over the past 24 hours, trading at $6,274 at press time. The leading cryptocurrency has been mostly trading sideways today, holding gains from yesterday’s modest rebound.

Btc

Bitcoin price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Top altcoin Ethereum (ETH) is trading at about $435, up almost one percent on the day to press time. The top altcoin by market cap is still down over 10 percent over the past week.

Value

Ethereum price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is hovering near $250 billion, around yesterday’s levels, with an intraday low of $246 billion. Total market cap however has lost almost $30 bln on the week.

Total market

Total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

While most top ten cryptocurrencies have seen modest growth of around 1-2 percent over the past 24 hours, some coins have seen bigger gains.

Stellar (XLM), the seventh largest coin by market cap, is currently up almost 5 percent, trading at $0.21 at press time.

Cardano (ADA), the 8th largest coin, is the only one of the top ten coins in the red, down just a slight 0.01 percent over the past 24 hours, trading at $0.138 at press time.

On July 10, crypto markets took dip, reversing an overall upswing since late June that saw Bitcoin reach almost $6,800 this same week, July 9. Since July 10, markets have been following a further downward trend until yesterday, July 13, when the markets took a turn to make a modest comeback.  

Though slight, the general growth of crypto markets comes despite the fact that yesterday, July 13,  U.S. authorities indicted twelve Russian officials for allegedly using Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to fund “interference” in the 2016 U.S. presidential elections.

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3 Reasons for Soccer Fans to Be Grateful

Unless you’re French or Croatian, you’re probably still licking your wounds from the World Cup bloodbath. After months of anticipation, elevated expectations, and shattered dreams, the most important sporting event is coming to a close. This is an anticlimactic time for soccer fans around the world. And if you’re suffering from World Cup blues, take heart. Here are three reasons to be grateful.

3. The Italian Football League Is Getting a Boost

Real Madrid may not be happy about losing their most important player, but Juventus is pretty psyched. The transfer of one of football’s most loved (and hated!) personalities will certainly give Italian football a much-needed boost, as Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a four-year deal with the Italian club. It will also be interesting to see what other major transfers will follow as the season starts up next month!

2. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo Have Buried the Hatchet

The longstanding feud between these two players may be coming to an end… or maybe not. But they’re putting their grievances aside for a moment at least, and it’s for a good cause. Both players are supporting CharityStar’s soccer-related auction to support the Forever Dream Foundation, a charity that works with underprivileged children and their families.

Soccer fans in need of some good news can meet their favorite players Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo at a home game at Camp Nou or Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Considering that this could be Ronaldo’s last game with Spain’s top club, you’ll be seeing history in the making.

1. You Can Donate and Bid with Your Cryptocurrency

More and more charities have been accepting donations in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. So, if you feel like giving back, or you just need a tax write-off, why not donate to an awesome cause?

If you want to take part in the auction, the Forever Dream Foundation accepts bids in ETH, BTC, and AidCoin, the ERC20 token launched by CharityStars.

And if you’re a charity looking to accept donations in cryptocurrency, you can install AidCoin’s payment gateway AidPay. It lets you accept donations in more than 20 different cryptocurrencies all in one wallet.

See? It’s not all bad now that the dust has settled. Your team may not have made it to the final, but the new season starts soon. Having some exciting transfers to look forward to, a shakeup in Europe’s most prominent teams, and the chance to do something good for charity – or even meet your favorite player – should put a smile back on your face.

Bitcoin Awareness in Canada Rises to 85%: Bank of Canada Report

A survey by the Bank of Canada has found that 85 percent of Canadians are aware of Bitcoin. The survey further revealed that the level of ownership of the digital currency had nearly doubled in 2017, with most of the owners holding it for speculative reasons and as a form of investment. The residents of the western province of British Columbia were the most knowledgeable at 92 percent, with Quebec registering the highest increase over the year, standing at 77 percent. The survey was dubbed the Bitcoin Omnibus Survey and was conducted to assess the impact that the rise in adoption of cryptos could have on the country’s financial system.

Bitcoin’s Rising Prominence

The level of awareness rose by 21 percentage points in 2017 as the price of Bitcoin shot through the roof, from 64 percent to 85 percent. While the increased awareness was noted across all demographics, it was highest among residents with incomes exceeding $70,000. Residents of Quebec saw the largest increase in awareness, rising by 28 percentage points to stand at 77 percent. The province of Quebec has been in the news frequently as it strives to regulate crypto mining, having become a favorite destination for miners thanks to its low power costs and its cool environment.

Awareness among women also saw a great increase to stand at 80 percent, up from 54 percent the previous year. Despite the notable increase among women, men remained more aware at 91 percent, up from 75 percent the previous year. The survey also confirmed findings by similar surveys around the world which have correlated higher income and education to greater knowledge on cryptocurrencies.

The high awareness among Canadian residents hasn’t translated to ownership of the digital currency, with the survey finding that only 5 percent of the population owned Bitcoin. This is an increase from the 2.9 percent recorded a year earlier. As expected, the tech-savvy 18-24 demographic leads the race, having more than doubled from 6 percent in the previous year to stand at 14 percent. There was also a notable increase in the 45-54 demographic from 0.9 percent to 3.5 percent.

So, why do Canadians own Bitcoin?

The survey sought to find out why the residents owned Bitcoin, stating that this has major implications for central banks. Transactors who use Bitcoin to pay for goods and to send to their friends make up half the owner population, with non-transactors who have only used Bitcoin once or twice making up the other half. Among the non-transactors, an overwhelming majority held Bitcoin as an investment, with a small minority stating that they had Bitcoin because their friends did too.

Two weeks ago, yet another survey was released which focused on the popularity of cryptos in Ontario. Conducted by the Ontario Securities Commission, the survey revealed that only five percent of residents owned cryptos, with an additional four percent who previously owned them having sold them. Despite over 10 percent of the population having been approached to invest in an ICO, only 1.5 percent reported to having done so, with the majority of the respondents stating that they are unaware of who regulates this new crowdfunding space. Unlike most places around the world where the majority of people acquired cryptos hoping to sell it at a profit, most Ontarians purchased digital currencies because they were excited by the new technology, the survey found.

Crypto and Blockchain — Following in the Footsteps of Man’s Greatest Inventions?

From the printing press to electricity, radio and the internet — here’s how cryptocurrency and blockchain stacks up to some of the most influential technologies of the modern age.

Throughout history, human civilization has gone through massive growth periods, thanks to major technological advances.

The earliest — and perhaps most notable — was the discovery and mastery of fire, which is estimated to have happened around 700,000 years ago. The American Council of Science and Health cites archaeological evidence for these figures.

Fire provided the impetus for Homo Sapiens to evolve, creating ‘revolutionary’ changes for early man, which may have led to the establishment of bigger settlements and the development of more intricate tools and a better quality of life.This very distant discovery marks the start of man’s intellectual development.

While the list of technological discoveries that have changed history are numerous, let’s narrow down our list to five of the biggest innovations in communications technology that have changed the way people access and consume information and data.

For a more comprehensive list of man’s greatest inventions, The Atlantic has put together a fantastic catalogue compiled and ranked by some of the world’s most notable historians, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.

INFOGRAPHICS

The printing press

Hailed as one of the most important inventions in history, the printing press precedes the rest of our list by almost 400 years. Johannes Gutenberg is credited with the creation of what is known as the Gutenberg press.

The German, who was a goldsmith by trade, created a hand-held metal matrice that essentially created the first type-based printing press system.

It allowed the rapid and cheap printing of documents and books in short print runs. As the printing press spread around the world, more and more people had access to information — which led to an intellectual revolution and played a big role in the Reformation.

This ability to spread information had marked influences on the scientific revolution and the rise of adult literacy. It also, ironically, led to the decline of Latin and the development of vernacular languages around the globe.

The printing press literally fast-tracked the ability to create and share information around the world, and played a big role in the development of education on a grand scale.

Electricity

While the printing press allowed the spread of information and knowledge around the world, people were still in the dark, per se.

That would eventually come to an end in the late 1800s, as a number of scientists came to grips with the intricacies of electricity. The invention of the light bulb, which had numerous contributors throughout the 19th century, brought lighting to the world as one of the first widely used applications of electricity.

One of its applications was developed earlier and had an even bigger role to play in communications. The electric telegraph was developed in the 1830s, which allowed people to send messages across the world with the use of an electric circuit.

This laid the platform for communication systems likes telephones, fax machines and, eventually, the internet.

Radio

The next step in the development of communication was the emergence of radio. At the turn of the 19th century, a certain Guglielmo Marconi patented the idea of a wireless telegraphy system in England in 1896.

Marconi delivered his first ever wirelessly transmitted signal — the first radio waves — across the Atlantic, from the Isle Wight of Cornwall in 1901.

For the next 20 years, radio communication was mainly used by the military. But from the 1920s onward, commercial radio was launched. The likes of the BBC started broadcasting in 1922 — providing people with news, information and entertainment.

Radio then played an important role in bringing news to the people during World War II — and then changed its focus to music and entertainment after those chaotic days. Commercialization changed the nature of radio, but it still plays an important part in keeping people informed of major events around the world.

Radio’s success lies in its wireless nature. Anyone with a receiver can tune in to a frequency that is in range to access messages and information. This also means that many people can benefit from a single receiver — making it one of the most powerful mediums for the exchange of information.

Internet

While radio and television slowly gained adoption around the world from the 1920s onward, it would take a good 70 years — until the 1990s — before the internet would be accessible to the wider public.

Its origins began in the 1960s, where psychologist and computer scientist Dr J.C.R. Licklider produced a series of documents that outlined the idea of an ‘Intergalactic Computer Network’ —  which would allow a network of globally connected computers to access and share data, as well as use programs from a number of sites.

In 1963, while serving as the director of the U.S. Department of Defense’ Advanced Research Projects Agency (known as DARPA), Licklider laid the foundation for the development of ARPANET.

Building on the concept of time-sharing, which was the sharing of computational resources to multiple users, the internet’s development was mainly driven by the use of packet switching as a means to transmit information over these early, closed networks.

From the 1980s onward, the internet as we know it began to become commercialized, as businesses looked to embrace and make use of the capabilities of a global network. This saw the emergence of internet service providers.

At the turn of the 1990s, the public had access to email services and basic web pages, and the next ten years saw an explosion of growth, which was characterized by the dot com bubble.

Nevertheless, the internet’s use has all but encompased all of the technologies listed above. Through a network of global computers and servers, people around the world have access to an almost infinite supply of information.

Furthermore, the internet now provides the platform for video and audio, which has shaken up the world of radio and television. Its applications are numerous — and the internet has reshaped the modern world.

It is also, in part, responsible for the infrastructure that blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies are built upon.

Blockchain and cryptocurrency

The internet is now the road that links global networks together, empowering hundreds of millions of people to be able to access information and communicate with each other around the world.

As the digital world continued to evolve after the internet became widely accessible to the masses, newer technologies were developed using its infrastructure.

With the ability to communicate and share data with users around the world via the World Wide Web, privacy and safety also became an issue.

This is where the foundations of cryptocurrency came into being — through the development of encryption technology.

The development of cryptocurrencies finds its origins in the 1980s, where ‘cypherpunks’ pre-empted threats against privacy. As software developer Jameson Lopp said in November 2017, these cypherpunks were responsible for the foundation of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency:

“The origin of the cypherpunk goes back to the 1980s. A bunch of nerds who saw the promise of the internet and these new communication technologies, but they also saw the dark side.”

“They wanted to bring privacy-enhancing technologies into the internet itself, on top of the internet protocols and it just so happens that digital money was one of those interesting things the cypherpunks thought was important for society to have. A number of cypherpunks worked on it for decades and it wasn’t until 2009 that Satoshi came along with an elegant solution.”

Encryption technology was pioneered, once again, by governmental and military agencies in the 1960s, while the origin of encryption dates back way further. Nevertheless, once digital data-encryption was developed, it was released to the public in the late 1980s, and during 1990s, the cypherpunk movement was officially formed by Eric Hughes, Tim May and John Gilmore.

With access to previously classified technology, these technologists were able to continue the work being done on data privacy. This encryption technology then became a vital part of the Bitcoin protocol.

Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin white paper even credits the work of Dr. Adam Back and his Hashcash proof-of-work — which is an algorithm that can be used to safeguard against denial-of-service attacks.

The work of b-money creator Wei Dai, computer scientist Ralph Merkle — who invented cryptographic hashing — and a number of other scientists that have worked on digital time-stamping technology, all contributed to the eventual creation of Bitcoin.

Bitcoin was birthed in 2009, on that fateful day of January 4, when the genesis block was mined. While its uptake was slow in the first few years, things have changed dramatically since.

2017 was arguably the breakout year for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general. A spiralling bull run saw the pre-eminent cryptocurrency break past the $20,000 mark.

This cast a spotlight on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general, and they’re no longer an obscure technology that nerds talk about on lunch break in Silicon Valley.

Bitcoin and its blockchain still rule the roost, while the likes of Ethereum have brought a new dimension to the applications and possibilities of blockchain technology.

A brave new world

Like the early years of electricity, radio and the internet, the uses of this technology are still being figured out. But as more people come to grips with the possibilities of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, the faster adoption occurs.

While the crypto space is constantly evolving, with a number of big movers having entered the scene in the past few years, blockchain technology is being harnessed by private companies around the world as well.

Ironically, this is where blockchain technology differs from the predecessors mentioned above. Radio and internet technology was developed and harnessed by government and military operations first.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, was released to the public in 2009, and since then it has been adopted by millions around the world and has birthed numerous blockchain projects — both public and private.

The applications of blockchain technology are still being explored and the sky’s the limit in terms of the effect it could have on society.

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US Ranks as ‘Most Favorable’ Country for ICOs in Recent Report

The U.S. and Switzerland ranked as top two ‘most favorable’ countries for running an ICO, according to a new report.

The U.S., Switzerland, and Singapore were ranked as the top three “most favorable” countries for Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) in a recent report, according to a press release the researchers shared with Cointelegraph July 14.

Analysts associated with the Crypto Finance Conference compiled the research based on publicly available data of the top 100 ICOs by country in terms of funds raised and ranked them by number of projects launched.

The report highlights the U.S. as the most favorable country for ICOs with a  total of 30 companies launched in the field. The second country is Switzerland, which is responsible for half as many of the projects, while Singapore is ranked third place with 11 projects.

countries

Top ‘favorable’ ICO countries from Crypto Finance Conference’s study

The report also features Russia, Estonia and the UK as some of the most promising countries for crypto project funding.

As Cointelegraph reported last week, the largest ever month for ICO investment took place just four months ago, and 2018 has also seen the time taken to complete and ICO, and success of these projects, shift significantly since last year.

Cointelegraph also recently reported that ICO volumes reached new records in the first half of 2018, amounting to already twice as much as it was during the entire year of 2017.

As a top location for conducting biggest ICOs and crypto projects, the U.S. continues to combat cases of illegal activity in the sphere. Earlier this week, the Texas State Securities Board (SSB) issued an an emergency cease and desist order to a network of cryptocurrency-related firms allegedly accused of offering fraudulent crypto investments to state residents.

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More Wall Street Execs Decamp to Join Crypto Startups

Australian exchange bitcoin.com.au has a new man at the helm: Ben Ingram. The former executive at audit firm PricewaterhouseCoopers was appointed by the exchange to spearhead its expansion as it seeks to list more cryptos and become the dominant player in the largely untapped Australian market. Ingram becomes the latest executive from a mainstream firm to join a crypto startup in what has become a very popular trend. With the industry growing by leaps and bounds over the past two years, it has attracted the attention of some of the brightest minds who have founded their own startups or joined established ones.

The Exodus Continues

Ingram, who served as the director in charge of digital strategy at PwC, has his eyes set on expanding the number of cryptos listed by the exchange. Currently, only Bitcoin and Ethereum are offered. In an interview with Business Insider, Ingram also revealed that he intends to introduce crypto investment products that target the country’s vast pool of superannuation. He is optimistic that blockchain technology is the future despite the current challenges it faces.

We know this tech doesn’t have a dead-end. While the evolutionary path hasn’t been fully determined, I think there’s enough evidence that there is a path.

Ingram’s entry into the crypto industry comes barely a day after Ripple announced that Kahina Van Dyke had joined them as their senior vice president of business and corporate development. Van Dyke previously served in various roles on Wall Street including at Western Union, Citibank, PayPal, and TD Ameritrade. Her most recent post was at Facebook where she led the Global Financial Services team. Her previous experience in the financial services industry makes her an ideal match for Ripple, whose cross-border remittance products have continued to attract the attention of some of the biggest banks globally.

Asked why she decided to join Ripple, Van Dyke stated:

Ripple offers a compelling opportunity to be a transformative force for good in the world of money movement. Together, with our partners, we can reduce friction and deliver better options for individuals, businesses and financial institutions. It’s an exciting time in the industry — and I feel very fortunate to be a part of creating the next generation of global payments.

In May, Rob Jesudason shocked many when he resigned from his post as the chief financial officer at the Commonwealth Bank to become the new COO of Block.one, the company behind EOS. Jesudason had created a name for himself as one of the elite minds in the financial services world, and his move into the crypto industry came as a surprise to many. Block.one is one of the most valuable startups in the crypto industry, having set the record for the highest amount raised in an ICO this year at over $4 billion.

While Wall Street has continued to debate the place of cryptos in the financial services industry, many employees in these firms have continued to invest in cryptos, and for some, their efforts have paid off. And it’s not just executives who have been decamping, as according to a report by Bloomberg, several other lower-level employees who’d invested in cryptos early on made enough money to quit their posts and get into crypto ventures full time.

Greek Court Rules to Extradite Alexander Vinnik, Accused of Laundering $4 Bln in Bitcoin

Greek court rules to extradite Russian national Alexander “Mr. Bitcoin” Vinnik to France on charges of fraud and money laundering.

A Greek court has ruled to extradite the alleged former operator of crypto exchange BTC-e, Alexander Vinnik, to France, local news outlet CNN Greece reported Friday, July 13.

The 39-year old Russian national Vinnik, also known colloquially as “Mr. Bitcoin,” was indicted by U.S. authorities on charges of fraud and money laundering last year, reportedly involving up to $4 billion in Bitcoin (BTC).

Vinnik’s Greek lawyer Ilias Spyrliadis confirmed to Russian news agency TASS that “the court has granted France’s request for Vinnik’s extradition.” Spyrliadis also revealed that he is planning to appeal against the court’s decision in the Greek Supreme Court.

According to CNN Greece, Vinnik himself challenged the decision of the Greek court on extradition to France, denying the allegations of French authorities, who issued a warrant, in which the alleged BTC-e owner was accused of “defraud[ing] over 100 people in six French cities between 2016 and 2018.” Vinnik responded that he was “transferring e-money through a platform,” considering it as “legitimate personal transactions.”

Vinnik’s lawyer Spyrliadis assured Russian BBC that the latest extradition to France would lead to a further extradition to the U.S., because “otherwise the U.S. cannot get him, since the extradition process was blocked.”

The Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a comment July 13 in response to the events, accusing the Greek authorities of “continu[ing] to complicate relations with Russia.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that Russia’s request to extradite Vinnik should have been given priority over France’s, concluding “[i]t is obvious that Russia cannot leave these actions unanswered.”

On July 25, 2017, Vinnik was arrested by Greek police under the order of of the U.S. Ministry of Justice, following the closure of once major cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e, allegedly owned and administered by Vinnik.

Having publicly stated his innocence in September 2017, Vinnik also denied his involvement in the Mt. Gox hack back in 2011 after a group of Bitcoin security experts claimed that Vinnik had a direct relationship to the incident.

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Top 5 Industries Already Affected by Cryptocurrency

A major argument in favor of blockchain technology is the role it will play in disrupting and revolutionizing major industries worldwide, as cryptocurrencies can be used to facilitate transactions and communications in new and empowering ways. While the possibilities of tomorrow are exciting, the utilization of this emerging tech on industries today is similarly significant. Here are five industries already seeing a positive impact through their use of crypto.

5. Charity

While members of the cryptocurrency community have earned a controversial reputation for hoarding their newfound wealth by evading taxes and exploiting loopholes, some initiatives within the space have proved that many members of the community are actually quite charitable. The Pineapple Fund, which donated US$55 million to numerous charities in late 2017, is perhaps the most prolific example. Additionally, cryptocurrency donations are seeing increasing usage in response to disasters and crises.

Other charity initiatives have involved the use of mining for charity. UNICEF tinkered with an Ethereum miner, and donors could engage with a mining client that would send ETH to UNICEF. Other mining clients, such as GNation’s GShare one-click mining ecosystem, are also working to incorporate ways for users to donate a portion of their mining outputs to various charities.

4. Freelance/Microtasks

The marriage of the virtual jobs marketplace and cryptocurrency just makes sense. The nature of virtual work prior to cryptocurrency made small freelance contracts and microtask work nearly impossible to agree upon, as there were many insecurities and inefficiencies that would often negate these types of work agreements.

However, with cryptocurrency’s simple cross-border, anonymous payment capabilities, community trust networks, and smart contract escrow, online work in any capacity is possible at any scale. The bounty hunting niche, where users earn significant wages by completing microtasks for numerous entities, was essentially born through the proliferation of cryptocurrency.

3. The Black Market

For better or worse, cryptocurrency plays a role in black market transactions. While most cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are arguably worse than fiat due to the transparent, immutable nature of its transactions, privacy coins such as Monero are far-and-away the most secure option for sellers and buyers. With Monero, addresses, transactions, blocks, and so on are opaque. It’s not possible to see the balances or activities of any wallet in the Monero network.

However, black market activity extends beyond the drugs and weapons that typically come to mind when speaking on the subject. Cryptocurrency use in black markets are actually more prominent in economies such as Venezuela, where cryptocurrency sees significant use as a method of transacting outside of the nation’s failing currency and beyond the scope of the oppressive regime, oftentimes providing opportunities such as food security not normally possible through regulated markets.

2. Finance

Although cryptocurrency was first introduced through Bitcoin as a tool to arm global citizens against banks and financial institutions, these same enemies of crypto have been major adopters. Of course, with the nature of the finance industry in mind, this doesn’t seem too far-fetched. Institutions that perform record keeping and transact on blockchain networks, rather than in central databases, can save exponentially on energy costs.

For example, participants in Ripple’s RippleNet can see savings of up to 97% on cross-border payments. Firms in the industry that choose to not even explore blockchain are essentially shooting themselves in the foot. However, industry leaders, such as JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Mastercard have all taken increasingly proactive roles in cryptocurrency, which suggests that moving forward we will see more and more blockchain adoption by these firms.

1. E-commerce

E-commerce is the first and arguably most prolific use case for cryptocurrency. Since the early days of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency has enabled individuals to engage in e-commerce through avenues that were previously impossible, like micropayments for things such as online accounts and subscriptions, game currencies, software keys, and more.

As cryptocurrency has grown, so has its adoption in e-commerce. Numerous major e-commerce businesses, such as Overstock, WordPress, and Newegg have accepted Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for many years. Nowadays, cryptocurrency can be used to purchase anything online. Even E-commerce gargantuan Amazon has been experimenting with blockchain since at least 2014.

Galaxy Digital to Partner with Caspian to Boost Adoption of Crypto Trading

Bitcoin bull Mike Novogratz and his Galaxy Digital crypto merchant bank are teaming up with Caspian, the full-stack crypto trading and risk management platform. The aim is to improve the infrastructure supporting the institutional adoption of digital currency trading. The announcement, made yesterday, will see Galaxy Digital become one of the initial users of Caspian’s […]

The post Galaxy Digital to Partner with Caspian to Boost Adoption of Crypto Trading appeared first on Coinjournal.

New York State Prepares to Welcome Bitcoin Miners With Cheaper Electricity Rates

The state of New York doesn’t have the best of reputations when it comes to cryptocurrency. Its BitLicense requirement has made operating a crypto business very expensive and difficult. In an effort to turn things around, state regulators are now aiming to attract Bitcoin and altcoin miners.

New York and Bitcoin Mining

On paper, there is no reason for cryptocurrency miners to ever consider setting up shop in New York. The state has a very problematic regulatory ecosystem, and the situation seemingly won’t be changing anytime soon. Few people are aware that the region could soon provide access to very cheap electricity.

A new electricity rate structure has been proposed by New York regulators. Miners who are contemplating setting up shop in this part of the United States would be able to negotiate a more favorable price. The municipality of Massena is leading the way in this regard, as its utility provider will review contracts individually. Additionally, it will ensure that other clients do not suffer from higher rates due to the influx of mining firms.

This news comes at a very interesting time for the cryptocurrency industry. Earlier this year, the New York regulators decided to increase the overall electricity rates for cryptocurrency mining firms. It seems that decision hasn’t paid off favorably for the state of New York, although there may be other reasons for this sudden change of heart.

New York State Department of Public Service Chair John Rhodes stated:

We must ensure that business customers pay a fair price for the electricity that they consume. However, given the abundance of low-cost electricity in Upstate New York, there is an opportunity to serve the needs of existing customers and to encourage economic development in the region.

With so many mining firms and investors looking to find the cheapest electricity rates possible, competition is direly needed in this regard. New York State seeks to have its finger on the pulse of this industry as soon as possible. It remains to be seen how much electricity will be provided to mining firms, though. Depending on the overall consumption, there may be some limitations put in place.

For the cryptocurrency industry, this news comes at a more than opportune time. Considering that there are so many negative developments taking place in the price department, it remains to be seen if this news can appease investors and speculators once again. Hydroelectric power is one of the many renewable energy sources cryptocurrency mining operators can take advantage of in order to cut down on overall operational costs.

Dash Podcast 60 – Feat. Paul Puey CEO & Co-Founder of Edge

Video repost of episode 60 of the three amigos podcast featuring special guest Paul Puey CEO and Co-Founder of Edge.

The 3 amigos podcast takes place every Friday at 3pm EST / 8pm BST.

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The post Dash Podcast 60 – Feat. Paul Puey CEO & Co-Founder of Edge appeared first on Dash Force News.

Robinhood Crypto Enables Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash Support

Making cryptocurrencies more accessible to the masses will be an ongoing struggle. Even centralized exchanges are not making the biggest of impacts in this regard. Robinhood, a brokerage which has ventured into cryptocurrency recently, has added support for both Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash.

Robinhood Continues to Expand

Although not everyone is a big fan of companies that do not let consumers control their own private keys, it is evident Robinhood is quickly gaining traction. The California-based broker added cryptocurrency support to its platform a while ago. Ever since that time, the company has seen an influx of new users and a demand from clients to offer support for additional currencies.

That decision has now been made, as two new currencies will make their way to the Robinhood platform. Clients will be able to be exposed to the volatility presented by both Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash. Adding these two currencies comes at a crucial time for the company, especially because the firm is still relatively new. Even so, its course of action makes sense, as adding established currencies is a solid business decision.

Robinhood has made its intentions to add new currencies quite clear over the past few weeks. The company has already hired additional developers to incorporate support for additional cryptocurrencies. Whether or not these currencies will be added in the coming weeks and months remains a bit unclear at this time. The company has not offered any official clarification in this regard.

Considering that Robinhood Crypto is only available in 17 states, its impact has been rather minimal. The company aims to dethrone Coinbase as the leading exchange among novice cryptocurrency enthusiasts. Doing so is a very tall order, but it is not impossible. Robinhood’s users need to keep in mind that they are never in full control of their funds, which could be a major roadblock.

Despite its somewhat limited popularity, Robinhood claims it provides services to as many as five million customers. This is a healthy increase compared to its three million clients in December of 2017. Adding cryptocurrency support has been quite beneficial to the company, and further expanding upon this functionality is more than warranted at this time.

For the cryptocurrency industry, this may not necessarily result in any major changes. More people being exposed to various cryptocurrencies will not necessarily result in major price movements or wider adoption. Even so, one cannot deny that traditional finance has been bridging the gap with cryptocurrency in many ways as of late. When looking at the bigger picture, this move is another nod of approval to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Magazine’s Week in Review: Progress in Different Forms

Week in Review

Going back to the early days of Bitcoin, we look at the contributions of Nick Szabo to smart contracts and Bit Gold. Decentralizing gets another boost by Augur in the predictions marketplace with the launch of their platform. Then we see a very real world example of cryptocurrency solving a real need in Venezuela to avoid their collapsing currency and allow people to buy the goods they need to survive. Finally, we see a conventional exchange, the CBOE, talking to the SEC about getting a bitcoin ETF license, which would be a real milestone in terms of bringing cryptocurrency even closer to the masses as an investment vehicle.

Featured stories by Jimmy Aki, Colin Harper and Aaron van Wirdum

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The Genesis Files: With Bit Gold, Szabo Was Inches Away From Inventing Bitcoin

Early cypherpunk Nick Szabo had been researching decentralized financial solutions in the mid-1990s and came to propose what he is perhaps best known for today: smart contracts. These (then-hypothetical) computer protocols could digitally facilitate, verify and enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract, ideally without the need of any third party.

The latest installment in Aaron van Wirdum’s Genesis Files series looks at the contributions of Szabo and recounts how he proposed solutions to some of the problems that Bitcoin would eventually solve.

Augur Launches Decentralized Prediction Marketplace

Blockchain-based predictions platform Augur has opened to the general public, becoming the “world’s first” decentralized prediction-market platform. It was created by the Forecast Foundation, a not-for-profit corporation whose goal is to build “open-source, public forecasting tools.”

Prediction markets have long been dominated by the likes of Paddy Power and DraftKings, which are centrally owned, operated and regulated. This centralization causes all kinds of problems, such as restrictions for users in certain regions, higher associated costs to use and limitations on the types of markets that users could create. A key differentiator for Augur is its global and decentralized nature.

Fighting for Freedom in Venezuela: How Crypto Helped Héctor’s Family Buy Food

On July 1, 2018, Venezuelan citizen Héctor received 0.5 nano, roughly worth $1.80 USD. The amount seems trivial, but it is almost a month’s salary in the impoverished nation and more than he had made the previous month. This inspired him to write a post celebrating his newfound wealth on the r/nanocurrency subreddit.

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Héctor describes the day-to-day economic circumstances in Venezuela and tells how cryptocurrencies are giving people like him hope.

CBOE Files with SEC for Bitcoin ETF

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is examining an application from the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) Global Markets which, if approved, could grant the company a coveted bitcoin ETF license and bring new waves of institutional investors to the bitcoin arena.

The cryptocurrency space remains largely unmonitored, and the SEC has sought to take a firm stance to ensure consumer protection and safety. After much debate and speculation, however, officials recently decided that both bitcoin and Ethereum — despite its early pre-sale (now ICO) status — were too decentralized to be considered securities and could not be regulated by the organization.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

South Korean Regulators to Introduce New Cryptocurrency-Related Proposals This Month

A lot of things are changing in South Korea’s cryptocurrency ecosystem. With all major exchanges adhering to self-regulation, the government has bought additional time prior to introducing official guidelines. It seems that regulation will be introduced a lot sooner than originally thought.

South Korean Regulators Make Their Move

According to local sources, there will be some regulatory changes in South Korea fairly soon. Local lawmakers are preparing to introduce official guidelines for cryptocurrency, blockchain, and initial coin offerings. The first two areas will be of particular interest, as there has never been any official rule set for either industry in the country to date.

An “unusual” session of the South Korean National Assembly is taking place from July 13 to July 26. It is expected the new rules will be unveiled during this extraordinary session, although nothing has been officially confirmed at this stage. Several lawmakers have drafted their final proposals, which seems to indicate they will be introduced at some point over the next two weeks.

One has to keep in mind that these are merely proposals being put forward. Nothing has been turned into law yet, and it is unlikely that situation will change in the coming two weeks. Anything is possible in South Korea when it comes to cryptocurrency regulation, although the government is mainly interested in bringing more legitimacy to this industry rather than ban all activity.

Offering an official legal status to cryptocurrency seems to be one of the proposals to look forward to. Similar to Japan, South Korean lawmakers may device to effectively legitimize Bitcoin and other key cryptocurrencies later this year. Additionally, an official legal framework for cryptocurrency exchanges will bring more legitimacy to this industry as well.

Earlier this week, South Korean cryptocurrency exchanges all received a favorable “audit” from the Korean Blockchain Association. That came as a bit of a surprise, especially in light of the recent hack which affected the Bithumb trading platform. Even so, it seems self-regulation has been a positive step toward official cryptocurrency regulation in the country. Preventing money laundering and other criminal activity will remain one of the top priorities.

With South Korean regulators paying positive attention to cryptocurrency, the ecosystem will continue to grow and expand. Even though there is still a lot of work to be done prior to taking this technology mainstream, all of these developments are fueling global adoption of Bitcoin and altcoins. No short-term changes in terms of pricing are to be expected at this time.

Social Engineering Cryptocurrency Scams Earned Criminals $10M in 2017

Crime and cryptocurrency seem to go hand-in-hand these days. That’s more than unfortunate, although it seems there is no real improvement in sight just yet. A new report by Kaspersky Lab shows that 2017 was a big year for social engineering schemes related to cryptocurrency.

Social Engineering Remains a Big Problem

Even though there has been a strong focus on malware and cryptojacking in the past few months, they are just two of the major threats affecting this industry these days. Cryptocurrency users are of keen interest to criminals all over the world, mainly because of the non-refundable nature of Bitcoin and altcoins. That’s especially true when it comes to novice cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

A new report by Kaspersky Lab paints a worrisome outlook when it comes to cryptocurrency-related social engineering attacks. Although these events are hardly ever documented, it is evident that criminals are exploring many different options when it comes to making money. Multiple tactics are at play when it comes to social engineering, and some ventures have proven to be more successful than others.

As one would expect, a lot of social engineering attempts are aimed at ICO investors. Anyone throwing money at an initial coin offering is at risk of losing their funds in the process. That isn’t just because the project may be a complete scam, but also because so many ventures fail within the first six to twelve months. All the money in the world can’t make people execute business ideas if they lack the necessary skills.

Cybercriminals are targeting ICO speculators by creating fake websites which mimic legitimate projects. Additionally, they’re targeting ICO investors using platforms such as Slack, social media, and even Discord. The Switcheo ICO was an interesting example of this, as hackers stole over $25,000 through a fake Twitter account. It was a stark reminder for all enthusiasts and speculators to conduct their own due diligence.

Perhaps the biggest social engineering threat are the so-called giveaway scams. By mimicking existing cryptocurrency-related accounts on social media, hackers and criminals try to make people send them cryptocurrency by offering them higher amounts of crypto in return. Although everyone knows such a business model is not sustainable for more than a few hours, these ventures continue to claim many victims around the world.

It is estimated that all of these social engineering efforts netted criminals close to $10 million worth of cryptocurrency in 2017. This year’s number is expected to be even higher, as there have been numerous attempts to defraud investors in 2018. Users need to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves at all times, rather than blindly trust others to take care of all the work.

What Is Scatter?

Blockchain technology allows consumers to benefit from a wide range of new tools. When it comes to online identity and reputation management, the competition is heating up significantly. Scatter aims to play a role of importance in this regard over the coming years.

The Idea Behind Scatter

User authentication on the internet has become a rather complicated process. Every platform has a separate login and password, with some services interlinking with one another. Scatter aims to simplify matters by providing single sign-on backed by asymmetric encryption, allowing one to log into applications and services without using passwords.

How Does it Work?

Creating a single sign-on solution backed by cryptography and encryption is not all that easy. Offering a convenient yet secure solution to the masses will require the use of innovative technologies. Scatter aims to let owners retain full control of their information at all times. All information is stored on one’s own device, although it can be pushed to a blockchain using a hashed fingerprint.

With Scatter, handing over one’s personal information is a decision that only the user can make. Applications and service providers cannot harvest client data without the end user’s permission. Additionally, Scatter will warn users about applications which have a habit of leaking client data. This will hopefully force companies to ensure they adhere to the highest level of security and privacy at all times.

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Scatter is that it works with multiple blockchains. Only EOS and Ethereum are supported at this stage, but additional chains will be supported in the future. Having one identity and reputation system capable of being used across all blockchains sounds very appealing to the right users. This multi-chain approach also means users can interact with any application, which will pave the way for mass adoption of DApps.

The Road Ahead

Unlike what one might expect, Scatter is a completely free solution which is currently available for beta testing. Although there is still a lot of work to be done, there is a Chrome extension available to users who prefer to access this service that way. Once support for all other main blockchains is incorporated, Scatter can begin making its mark on the industry as a whole.

This Week In Dash: July 9-14

It continues to be a great week in Dash with plenty of new developments, integrations, and overall news content! Continue reading to get a brief summary of the week.

Integration of the Week:

  • 34 Bytes Payments Processor: 34 Bytes is a point-of-sale merchant solution that operates as a traditional credit card POS swipe machine, which prints out a physical receipt. On the receipt is a QR code with the receiver address and amount due. 34 Bytes initially only took Bitcoin, but has recently decided to integrate Dash after Bitcoin’s large spike in fees and confirmation times. The 34 Bytes POS is attractive for merchants that do not have the equipment for a full modern tablet-based POS platform like the Anypay POS. This integration will allow Dash to further expand its ever growing merchant list – currently around 1,500 merchants on DiscoverDash.com

Research of the Week:

  • ASU Blockchain Labs: New research from Arizona State University’s Blockchain Research Laboratory shows that Dash can scale, on-chain, up to 10 MB blocks at 2.5 minute intervals with only a 0.1% orphan rate. This would be the equivalent of 40 MB blocks on the Bitcoin network. At this level, Dash could handle 120 transactions per second, which is just over half of what PayPal currently handles. The authors of the paper believe that on-chain scaling is a viable, long-term, solution for a global payments network, which is the goal of Dash.
  • Imperial College London: Researchers from Imperial College London and eToro believe that cryptocurrencies could see mainstream payments adoption within a decade. Although, they cited a few obstacles that cryptocurrencies would have to overcome first, such as volatility, scalability, and privacy. However, Dash is already making strides to find solutions to many of the obstacles that they mentioned.

Community Outreach of the Week:

  • Dash Africa in Nigeria: Nigeria once again topped Bitrefill’s list of countries that used Dash to make mobile airtime purchases. Dash Africa is working hard to increase consumer and merchant adoption in Nigeria and is waiting for the Anypay POS to integrate the Nigeria Naira to aid in their merchant adoption campaign. The team also has numerous other plans to increase Dash adoption in Nigeria and the surrounding area.

Regulations of the Week:

  • France Argues Against Cryptocurrency Regulations: The French government official, Jean-Pierre Landau, who previously spoke out against Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, has since changed his stance to arguing against overzealous cryptocurrency regulations. Although, he still wants some control over the financial and monetary innovations of cryptocurrencies, which indicates that he has not made a full switch, yet. His comments, nevertheless, highlighted how less regulations encourage more innovation, which is what Dash has been able to do to bring revolutionary new features and benefits to consumers.
  • Regulators Worldwide Shift to Lighter Regulation Approach: Regulators in South Korea, India, and the United States have begun to walk back earlier talks of harsh cryptocurrency bans in favor of a lighter regulation approach. The light regulations will still impose costs on merchant and consumers, but will allow for greater adoption than a straight ban would have allowed. The comparative advantage of Dash is its strong economic incentives that encourages self-regulation and disincentivizes fraud, and thus, makes government regulations redundant.

Interviews of the Week:

  • Ryan Taylor Speaks with Cointelegraph: During the interview, Ryan discusses his move from traditional finance to the cryptocurrency sector, the difference between Dash and other currencies, key use cases and markets, regulations, and Dash’s omittance from crypto media.
  • New Information on Dash Ventures: Ryan Taylor has recently been dropping new pieces of information on Dash Ventures, an investment fund built on the Dash network. The exact structure of Dash Ventures is still unknown, but it will benefit the Dash network by providing extra revenue streams and enhancing the incentives to create useful and valuable products and services for consumers.

As always, we hope that our content and coverage was informative and enjoyable this week. Be sure to regularly visit the site and our social media pages to see additional content that is always being rolled out. It has been a great week for Dash and we cannot wait to see what next week holds!

The post This Week In Dash: July 9-14 appeared first on Dash Force News.

KuCoin Enables Trading of Havven’s nUSD Stablecoin

Stablecoins have been making an impact on the cryptocurrency industry over the past two years. What first started out as an effort by Tether has turned into a full-fledged competition with TrueUSD, nUSD, and a few other currencies aiming to achieve the same goal. KuCoin is one of the first exchanges to have integrated Havven’s nUSD stablecoin, which will be interesting to keep an eye on.

KuCoin Sees Merit in nUSD

Virtually every major cryptocurrency exchange has enabled support for stablecoin trading at this point. Popular platforms such as Binance, Bittrex, and OKEX all support Tether’s USDT currency. With its value pegged to the US dollar, it is a convenient solution for users who are not looking to directly convert US dollars to cryptocurrency. This is also the biggest cryptocurrency-oriented stablecoin on the market.

Throughout 2018, various new stablecoins have begun showing up. Additional currencies pegged to the US dollar are not necessarily a bad thing for the industry, even though it remains to be seen how successful all of these ventures will be. The launch of TrueUSD on Bittrex and Binance has not gone by unnoticed, but that currency has yet to rival Tether’s USDT at this time.

Another competitor slowly making a name for itself is Havven. The company has introduced an Ethereum-based stablecoin known as nUSD. It is the second decentralized stablecoin to launch on a major cryptocurrency exchange, according to the Havven team. KuCoin, one of the most popular altcoin exchanges, decided to integrate nUSD starting this week. It was a smart decision by the exchange, assuming there is sufficient liquidity to make this venture worthwhile.

For the time being, KuCoin has limited its nUSD functionality to a select few trading pairs. Bitcoin and Ethereum are supported, which is what everyone would expect to see. Additionally, the company has opened a USDT-nUSD trading pair. It is the second time an exchange has traded different stablecoins against one another. This allows Tether users to check out nUSD and vice versa.

This development presents an opportunity to test Havven’s dual-token mechanism. Under the hood, the firm maintains HAV as its collateral token and nUSD as the stablecoin. The value of nUSD is kept stable by HAV holders, and the HAV tokens are locked in a smart contract at all times. KuCoin is taking somewhat of a gamble by exposing its clients to this new market, but it is an option worth exploring regardless.

More stablecoins could introduce a lot more consumers and speculators to the cryptocurrency industry in the coming years. Although not all stablecoins are created equal, it is good to see some competition for Tether. That company remains the subject of speculation and controversy due to its lack of legally binding audits.

Blockchain Platform Offers Digital Collectibles of World Leaders and Politicians

A blockchain-based platform is giving people the chance to buy digital collectibles of public figures, ranging from Donald Trump to Oprah Winfrey.

A blockchain-based platform is giving people the chance to buy unique, digital collectibles inspired by public figures and political leaders — including politicians, such as Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, and media personalities, like Oprah Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres.

Each Crypton comes with a handcrafted image of the person it represents. Humorous or satirical “gaglines” can be added underneath and shared on social media in order to comment on matters of public interest or just to have fun. Examples of edgy captions so far have included Mark Zuckerberg (“Elections are more fun with FB,”) Jeff Bezos (“Poor Donald… I am 100x richer,”) and Sarah Palin (“Don’t misunderestimate me”).

The company behind the concept, Crypton Labs, believes this form of expression will prove to be far more effective and sophisticated than the “dry word fights” or messages seen on Twitter. In the future, it plans to add short audio clips and animations to Cryptons — and even allow owners to use an image of themselves to create their own Crypton. Historical figures and famous fictional characters can also be collected.

When it comes to ownership, an automatic price escalation feature has been introduced, which means someone’s Crypton can be purchased by someone else for twice the price. Most of the revenues go back to the person who has lost their collectible, creating the prospect of making a profit. It is also possible to pay a one-time protection fee in order to prevent a Crypton from changing hands. This feature allows owners to set their own selling price.

According to Crypton Labs, snapping up the Crypton for someone who is considering a run for U.S. president in 2020 or 2024 might not be worth much now, but it could be in high demand a few years down the line, if they become a candidate or win the election.

Varun Gupta, the company’s co-founder, told Cointelegraph that the Cryptons don’t trade on some celebrity’s image only for profit.  Rather, they are transformative and artistic creative works and a powerful expressive tool protected by freedom of expression. The company’s representative added that the Crypton personalities are selected based on various criteria but the most important criteria is whether they are of public interest.  Politicians and world leaders squarely fall within that category. To the company’s knowledge, the project has not received any legal complaints or queries.

The platform is currently open for anyone to share any of the Crypton images on social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, or download to send via email.

Revenue opportunities

Beyond buying and selling Cryptons, the company says there are other ways to generate revenues from these digital collectibles.

If a Crypton that someone owns is involved in a game on the platform, they would receive a proportion of the revenue it generates — creating the potential for their asset to be even more valuable.

A mating game has already been launched through Crypton Labs. Here, two well-known personalities can be combined to make a whole new person.

Crypton Labs says that many other game ideas are in the pipeline, with the company planning to open its platform up to developers — paving the way for new games to appear on the marketplace. A game called Angry Mobs is being actively developed, and people will be able to jeer and revere famous people through the game.

When it comes to artwork, the startup is inviting talented caricaturists to get in touch, allowing them to get public exposure and offer their creations for use on the platform.

Crypton Labs is also actively looking at introducing a token economy into the platform through an ICO in the near future.

Getting charitable

The smart contract for Crypton also allows for the issuance of special charity fundraiser Cryptons. In the near future, the company intends to partner with crypto industry leaders to raise money for good causes by creating special charity fundraiser Cryptons, featuring images of these persons. Instead of the proceeds from the sale of these collectibles going back to sellers, the revenue would be donated to nonprofit organizations instead. The Crypton would revert to its normal profit mode once a fundraising goal had been reached. It is hoped that anyone in the crypto world could launch their own campaigns on the platform, creating momentum among their fans and followers.

A MetaMask digital wallet and Ethereum wallet are used for purchasing Cryptons. In the near future, Crypton Labs intends to launch apps on iOS and Android — enabling all the functionalities on mobile.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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VeChain Price: Lowest Value in Seven Months has Been Reached

The cryptocurrency markets currently offer an interesting mix of ups and downs. Although the downtrend vastly outweighs the positive momentum, these coming hours will get very interesting regardless. Some coins may struggle to recover their losses. The VeChain price, for example, is down by 11.91% for no apparent reason.

VeChain Price Momentum Turns Very Sour

Although all other currencies feel the effect of Bitcoin losing value, the current VeChain price trend is very different. It has suffered from massive bearish pressure over the past 24 hours. While that is not uncommon among smaller-cap coins, VeChain still maintains a market cap of over $1bn. As such, such wild percentile swings should occur without a very good reason.

Even so, the current negative Chain price trend cannot be denied nor ignored. A net 11.91% loss in a 24-hour period is extremely worrisome for any cryptocurrency or asset on the market today. With the VeChain price now dipping below $1.87, it is the lost value this altcoin has seen since late December of 2017. Not a positive outlook by any means, as it may even hint at more bearish pressure to come in the next few hours.

As one would expect, this trend is not only the direct result of Bitcoin losing value. VeChain is also losing momentum in the BTC and ETH ratio department. A loss of 11.44% against Bitcoin and a decline of 10.72% against Ethereum only compounds the negative VeChain price trend right now. It remains unclear where all of this selling panic is coming from exactly, yet it may not necessarily relent anytime soon either.

One also has to keep in mind how unusual this entire VeChain price trend looks right now. All of these declines are triggered by a very low amount of trading volume, which raises even more questions. Just $24.81m worth of VEN has changed hands in the past 24 hours, and it appears that is sufficient for such a massive downtrend.

LBank is – in theory – responsible for most of the VeChain trading volume. CoinMarketCap currently has it excluded due to some API issue, which might explain why so many people are looking to sell VEN as of right now. Binance has its BTC and USDT pairs in the top three, and currently represents 73% of all VEN trades. No one knows for sure what is going on with LBank, but any form of outage can quickly trigger a massive sell-off across other exchanges.

For the time being, it remains unclear if the VeChain price will go even lower or bounce back fairly soon. The LBank issues clearly spooked the market, although its actual repercussions remain a bit unclear. Binance is quickly making up for the trading volume, albeit it may not help in keeping the values table for the foreseeable future. An interesting market to keep an eye on, although more losses are to be expected at this stage.

Bank of Thailand Considers Blockchain for Cross-Border Payments, Fraud Reduction

The Bank of Thailand’s governor says the bank is considering blockchain technology for multiple applications.

The Governor of the Bank of Thailand (BoT), said that the bank is considering blockchain technology for various applications during a speech at the the Bloomberg ASEAN Business Summit on July 12.

The central bank’s governor Dr. Veerathai Santiprabhob stated that the bank was specifically reviewing blockchain applications for cross-border payments, supply chain financing, and document authentication.

According to Dr. Santiprabhob, using blockchain for cross-border payments would “improve regional financial connectivity and facilitate smoother cross-border financial services.”

The BoT’s Governor also sees blockchain playing an important role in reducing fraud and protecting financial information:

“Adoption of modern technologies like biometrics and blockchains can help safeguard financial information and reduce the number and magnitude of fraudulent activities.”        

Also during his speech Thursday, the BoT governor spoke to the bank’s ongoing development of updated regulations encourage “competition and innovation”:

“The Bank of Thailand is also undergoing regulatory reform to review outdated rules and regulations, to facilitate ease of doing business and ensure that our regulations do not impede competition and innovation and contribute to high costs of financial services.”    

Thailand has recently made two notable moves in regulating cryptocurrencies. As Cointelegraph reported March 30, the country’s Finance Minister revealed a new tax framework for cryptocurrencies. The second move came from the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (Thai SEC), who stated that new Initial Coin Offering (ICO) regulations will come into effect July 16, as Cointelegraph reported last week.

This is not the BoT governor’s first step towards implementing blockchain-based technologies. As Cointelegraph reported earlier in June, Dr. Santiprabhob spoke of possibly issuing central bank digital currency (CBDC) to improve interbank settlements.

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Cardano Price: Solid Gains may not Remain in Place for Long

After what appeared to be a promising start for all cryptocurrency markets last night, the reality has set in once again. Most major currencies are suffering from slight bearish pressure. So far, this has not affected the Cardano price all that much, as the altcoin is still going strong.

Cardano Price Trucks Along Nicely

With the Bitcoin value going in the red once again, it is a matter of time until all other altcoins are dragged down with it. For most of the top currencies, that process has already become rather apparent. Some exceptions remain, for the time being. The Cardano price, for example, is still up by 5.8% over the past 24 hours despite Bitcoin losing a bit of value in the same time span.

This modest gain has also pushed the Cardano price back to the $0.135 mark. Albeit this is still a very long way removed from the all-time high of over $1.2, one has to welcome these brief moments of reprieve with open arms whenever they arise. The year 2018 has been very bearish for all cryptocurrencies and it has driven the Cardano price in the dirt. Recovering from such a major market onslaught will take a lot of time.

To accommodate these USD gains, the Cardano price is also thriving thanks to an increase in the ADA/BTC ratio. Over the past 24 hours, this ratio has improved by 6.32% in favor of Cardano. With this strong gain, any decline in Bitcoin value is negated. As such, it allows the Cardano price to remain relatively stable and even gain a bit more value until Bitcoin effectively recovers.

Similar to previous weekends, the overall cryptocurrency trading volume looks far from impressive. It seems to be a matter of time until this figure drops below $10bn once again, which usually doesn’t bode well for the various cryptocurrency markets. In the case of Cardano, the coin has noted $98.69m in 24-hour trading volume. A respectable number, although one that is not necessarily sufficient to maintain this current price trend.

Binance is currently in firm of control of the Cardano trading volume. Its BTC and USDT pair combine for over 51.6% of all trades in the past 24 hours. Upbit’s KRW market comes in third place with another 22.12% of all trades. Huobi’s USDT pair and Bittrex’s BTC market complete the top five, albeit they both play a less important role in the current proceedings.

Whether or not the Cardano price can remain in the green all day, remains unclear. The current momentum remains rather positive, but it is evident Bitcoin isn’t having the best day today either. Depending on how the price of the world’s leading cryptocurrency evolves, it may very well drag the Cardano price down with it before the day is over. This weekend will seemingly not have a positive impact on most cryptocurrencies.

Alleged BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik to be Extradited to France, Greek Court Rules

The court in Greek city of Thessaloniki agreed on Friday to extradite a Russian cybercrime suspect and alleged BTC-e exchange operator Alexander Vinnik to France.

Vinnik, 38, who was arrested in Greece last year on a US-issued warrant, is also wanted on criminal charges in the United States and Russia.

France is seeking Vinnik for alleged cybercrime, money laundering, membership in a criminal organization and extortion. French authorities accuse Vinnik of defrauding thousands of people worldwide, including about 100 French nationals, by launching cyberattacks through his bitcoin platform. They allege he used 20,643 bitcoins to launder around 133 million euros ($155 million.)

Vinnik has denied doing anything illegal. He remains jailed in Greece pending final decisions on his extradition.

The Greek Supreme Court earlier approved Vinnik’s extradition to the U.S. to stand trial for allegedly laundering billions of dollars using bitcoin.

Meanwhile, Russian authorities sent a new request this month for Vinnik’s extradition Russia initially sought Vinnik on lesser fraud charges, and a Greek court ruled for his extradition to Russia based on the first request. The second request raises the amount of money allegedly involved in the cyberfraud there to 750 million rubles ($12 million.)

Defense lawyer Ilias Spyrliadis said a European warrant ordinarily would take precedence over others, giving France first dibs on prosecuting Vinnik. But he said in practice, it’ll be up to Greece’s justice minister to decide where Vinnik ends up.

Notably, the ruling was made a day after Greek authorities confirmed that two Russian diplomats were being expelled for allegedly providing protest funding in an attempt to keep neighbor Macedonia from joining NATO.

The Russian Foreign Ministry indicated it was considering reprisals.

Tezos Foundation to Launch Grantmaking Process

The Tezos Foundation is launching their first grantmaking process in August of this year, with plans to attract participants from various fields to apply for grants.

The Tezos Foundation has announced that it will hold their first formal call for proposals through an open grantmaking process, according to an announcement published July 13.

According to the announcement, Tezos’ public call for grants will be made in August of this year, and has determined three main areas as an initial target. These include “research that furthers the Tezos protocol and related technologies,” “development of tools and applications to support the Tezos ecosystem,” and “efforts to strengthen and nurture the burgeoning Tezos community.”

Within the initiative, the Foundation is reportedly going to invite community members, institutions, developers, and other parties which would be interested in applying for grants. All proposed projects should relate to one of the three grantmaking categories and will be reviewed on a monthly basis and evaluated by the Tezos Foundation Board.

On June 30, Tezos launched its beta network, calling the move an “inflection point” for the project. From that point on, users can begin validating blocks or “baking” after the first seven cycles which they estimate to be in about three weeks from the launch. According to Tezos’ website, the betanet is being launched in anticipation of a broader main network launch in the future.

Last month, the Foundation also announced the implementation of Know Your Customer/Anti-Money Laundering (KYC/AML) checks for contributors, in particular for those who ask for participation in initial coin offerings. The move was met with a negative reaction from the community.

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Coinbase Announces Five Possible New Assets, Makes No Guarantees For Trade Listing

Coinbase announced that it is considering the addition of new assets to its exchange and will negotiate with local banks and regulators to add the assets to different jurisdictions.

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has announced that it is examining the addition of five new coins, according to a blog post published July 13.

The trading platform is exploring the possibility of adding new assets to its trading lists, including Cardano (ADA), Basic Attention Token (BAT), Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC), and 0x (ZRX). Additionally, Coinbase said it will negotiate with local banks and regulators to add the assets to as many jurisdictions as possible.

In June, Coinbase announced it will support Ethereum Classic (ETC) on their platform, after which the ETC price surged by more than 25 percent. According to Coinbase, the process of adding ETC to their exchange platform is “proceeding as planned.”

Coinbase noted that unlike adding ETC, which is technically akin to Ethereum (ETH), the new assets “will require additional exploratory work.” The exchange noted that it does not guarantee the new tokens will be listed for trading.

Additionally, the exchange warned that the listing process may make some coins available for customers to buy and sell only, without the ability to send or receive them using a local wallet. Coinbase further explains:

“We may also only enable certain ways to interact with these assets through our site, such as supporting only deposits and withdrawals from transparent Zcash addresses. Finally, some of these assets may be offered in other jurisdictions prior to being listed in the U.S.

The exchange said that these assets require more detailed study, and have not yet determined when or whether these coins will become available on the platform. Coinbase further states that “some of these assets may become available everywhere, while others may only be supported in specific jurisdictions.”

At press time, all the announced coins are in the green. ADA and XLM are trading up over 8 percent in the last 24 hours, while ZEC, ZRX, and BAT are up 11, 15, and 22 percent respectively.

In March, Coinbase announced its intention to support ERC20 tokens on its exchange. The company said then that its decision to add ERC20 “paves the way for supporting ERC20 assets across Coinbase products in the future.”

Currently, Coinbase supports four different assets, which are Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC). Last month, the company initiated the process to become a fully regulated broker dealer by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). This would help Coinbase extend its offerings and subsequently expand into non-crypto financial products.

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Top 5 Threats Keeping Cybersecurity Professionals Up at Night

If you’d asked any cybersecurity professional around this time last year what the greatest threat to cybersecurity was, they’d have undoubtedly said ransomware. Now worth over a billion dollars a year (and rising), with attacks like WannaCry and Petya/NotPetya wreaking havoc, every expert worth their salt was planning ways to stay ahead of the hackers.

But you know what? Things move pretty quickly in the cybercrime space. Hackers are inventive, ingenious and destructive, always coming up with new ways of pushing boundaries. Ransomware was so last year. While no one will deny it’s still a (massive) problem, other types of cybercrime are beginning to spread like the bubonic plague.

Check out the top five threats keeping cybersecurity professionals up at night right now.

5. Cryptojacking

Spiking by a massive 1,189% in Q1 of 2018, cryptojacking propelled its way past ransomware as the number one nuisance on the block. According to CSO Magazine, what makes this form of cybercrime so “interesting” is that it blurs the ethical line between everyday internet users and criminals.

In fact, some sites like The Pirate Bay are even using it to replace advertising and earn income. How? As long as you have their site open in your browser, they temporarily hijack your device and borrow your computational power to mine cryptocurrency. As soon as you close your browser, the crypto miner goes away. In other, more serious cases, it infiltrates your system and downloads just like malware.

Since cryptojacking overtakes devices and forces them to mine cryptocurrency, it burns through a lot of CPU cycles. But, unlike DDoS attacks, you won’t see disastrous downtime or funds siphoned off into a criminal’s account. You just get servers pushed to the max mining Monero.

Cryptojacking is more of an irritation than a serious disease. It’s like trying to swat a persistent fly in the outback. In fact, according to Matt Downing, Principal Analyst at Alert Logic, the most worrying thing about cryptojacking isn’t really the cryptojacking itself – it’s the fact that you got cryptojacked.

This highlights a “vulnerability in your system,” meaning that something worse could just as easily have hacked its way in.

4. Ransomware

Yes, ransomware is still high up on the list, as this vicious form of cybercrime overtakes systems and locks down computer files with strong encryption. And most businesses end up paying the ransom to get their data back (especially when it isn’t backed up).

According to Peter Tran, Head of Global Cyber Defense & Security Strategy at Worldpay, data manipulation or destruction in the form of ransomware is often the most disruptive and can take out critical infrastructures including healthcare, financial services, and supply chains.

“This is a critical threat as we move toward pervasive hyper-converged mobile, cloud and IoT-based data infrastructures. There’s much more at stake now with modern IT,” he warns.

3. Data Breaches

The very word “Equifax” sends a shiver down the spines of cybersecurity professionals, especially if the companies they work for hold sensitive data. In fact, according to research by Norton, 54 percent of US consumers report having had some personal information involved in a breach.

What’s particularly worrying about this is that the data may be sold in stolen data marketplaces on the dark web. Not only do hackers stand to make high profits from this, but they can also gather extra social information they need to hack into more accounts.

2. Micro Breaches

Oftentimes, cybercrime is aggressive and makes a lot of noise, but this is not the case with what Tran calls “low and slow attacks.” In a type of “micro breach” situation, access is gained slowly and quietly over a period of time by subverting traditional detection methods.

He says, “Lack of visibility or ‘flying blind’ puts security professionals in a constant position of disadvantage… you can’t defend against what you can’t see or detect… that leads to a lot of sleepless nights!”

1. Internet of Things (IoT) Hacking

By 2020 it is estimated there will be over 20 billion connected IoT devices worldwide. This means the amount of attack vectors significantly increases. “This increases their chances of a successful breach into much larger systems that utilize IoT as their main infrastructure,” Tran advises.

Great. So a bunch of medical devices on the blink and cars crashing into each other?

“Think about it like a hub and spokes on a bicycle wheel,” he explains, “where the hub represents a single IoT device and the spokes all lead to other access points… then multiply that by 20 billion… It’s a lot to monitor for security professionals and certainly will have security pros sleep with one eye open.”

The Takeaway

You may have noticed that phishing, cyberstalking, weaponization of AI, and other serious cybercrimes didn’t make the list. There are plenty of other forms of criminality on the web taking place which are keeping our dear friends in the IT department from getting a restful night’s sleep. But, right now, these are the top five on most security professionals’ lists.

What Is a Blockchain-Based Fantasy Sports Platform?

Finding a platform that understands and respects the community it caters to is important for sports enthusiasts who are considering joining the fantasy sports world. However, if a platform is too regulated or too complicated, fans lose interest. Additionally, the lack of a connection between fans and the athletes they “manage” also needs to be addressed.

According to Stryking Entertainment, a company that specializes in sports fan engagement and monetization, it’s important to combine the real and virtual worlds of sports in order to create genuine interaction opportunities for fans, stars, and brands. Stryking’s platform, Football-Stars, is an innovative system where users are able to compete in football (soccer) against each other in numerous challenges, while proving their experience and skill to everybody else. In a community-driven fantasy football platform like Stryking’s, users/fans have total control – as it should be – which is also the key differentiating factor of a blockchain-based fantasy sports platform.

Christian Szymanski, the Chief Marketing Officer at Stryking Entertainment, told me that users will be able to decide every aspect of the challenge, including the entry fee and the number of participants, and whether it’s a private league or a public league. “Essentially what we are creating is a community-driven platform, where users have the control,” says Szymanski.

Of course, integrating blockchain technology and cryptocurrency allows users to be rewarded for actively contributing to the platform, whether it’s by publishing related articles, updating player stats, correcting match data, and revealing lineups—similar to how the actual sports space works prior to a game.

“One of the main reasons was that we wanted to create a community-driven platform, where users can play against each other and win a coin that can also be spent in real life,” says Dirk Weyel, CEO and founder of Stryking. “Essentially allowing football fans to have a platform where they decide exactly what they want and are rewarded in the process. Our aim is to allow the large fantasy football fan base that is spread across numerous media publishers to be able to use one coin that can be used on multiple platforms and easily transferred across borders. Using blockchain technology was the easiest way to do this.”

Investing in the Sports Space

Moreover, Stryking recently announced that it had signed the Ballon d’Or winner and former FIFA World Footballer of the Year, Luis Figo, as the brand ambassador for its Football-Stars platform. Figo’s support of Stryking, as well as his football business network, will help to encourage users to actively engage with other Football Stars in the in-game challenges and other tournaments.

Figo is involved in several entrepreneurial projects, and has invested in digital football applications, holding a firm interest in cryptocurrencies.

“When I heard about Football-Stars for the first time, I immediately loved the idea,” says Figo. “Football becomes more and more data-driven, unbeknownst to people, with detailed statistics about all aspects of the game. This is what Stryking’s platform utilizes to create a truly compelling fan experience. I am happy to support passionate individuals at Stryking and continue spreading the word about the platform that allows fans to connect, engage, and have fun with the teams and players they are backing.”

Stryking has also made appearances in the blockchain space, recently finishing first at the Bloxpo conference in Stockholm last week, and at the d10 conference in Malta. Most recently, Stryking announced that in anticipation of the beginning of the Football World Cup, it would be hosting its upcoming token sale through the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange.

Bermuda Government to Introduce New Regulations on ICOs, Address ‘Legal Ambiguity’

The Government of Bermuda has introduced ICO regulations that require issuers to provide detailed data in order to conduct an ICO

The Premier and Minister of Finance of Bermuda David Burt introduced new regulations on initial coin offerings (ICOs) speaking before the House of Assembly, the Royal Gazette news reports July 13. The regulatory framework describes minimum required information for ICO projects and establishes compliance measures for companies to conduct an ICO.

Addressing the lower house of the Bermudian Parliament, Burt outlined regulations that would require Bermudian ICO issuers to provide detailed information about “all persons involved with the ICO.” Issuers must also disclose a review of the project, including such key aspects as the product or service, the market audience, financing system, the amount of money that is planned to be raised, and technical aspects associated with software and blockchain specifications.

Burt stated that a group of new bills would be tabled before the end of summer that would expand existing laws against money laundering and terrorism financing. The Premier added that Bermuda has developed a legal environment “expeditiously” that addresses the “legal ambiguity” plaguing the fintech and blockchain industries. 

The Premier stated that, in response to “market demand,”  the Bermuda government set out to develop a legal framework for distributed ledger technology (DLT) firms, passing the Digital Asset Business Act 2018. The new regulatory regime sets visible boundaries for blockchain and crypto-related businesses and protects the rights of their existing and potential clients.

Earlier this month, the government of Bermuda announced plans to release amendments to the Banking Act to establish a new class of bank to provide services to local fintech and blockchain organizations. After local banks refused to offer services to blockchain companies, the government consulted with them to create the new classification.

In April, Premier Burt signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trade volume, to establish funding for educational programs on blockchain and fintech. Burt said that a new Binance “global compliance base” would create 40 new jobs, 30 of which would go to Bermudians.

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LendChain Outshines Others in Trillion-Dollar Blue Ocean Market

Trade Secrets Revealed in The South Korean Roadshow

“ASIA BLOCKCHAIN CORPS” summit was held in Seoul, South Korea Yesterday. This 200-seat available conference was occupied by 250 participants from many countries. Projects are hotly welcomed and organizer had to give office area away. As the first speaker, Oscar, founder and CEO of LendChain delivered a speech “In fact, you are not a good cryptocurrency investor” and published trade secrets which never been mentioned even in whitepaper before. Korean MTN 머 니 투 데 이 TV interviewed Oscar and played his presentation.

Oscar firstly mentioned several pain points. Experienced heaven research work, he finally reveals reasons behind it:

  1. Individual investors have no better choice except cashing out to turnover.
  2. Individual investors have to put their believed cryptocurrencies into wallets or exchanges, lacking crypto based on financial products.
  3. Individual investors have to sell EOS for GXS when they expect an inflation.
  4. Under current bear market, Token Fund are not willing to sacrifice vested interest though there is not enough cash flow.
  5. To maintain daily operation, sometimes projects have to get sacrificed or accept ETH payment.
  6. Normally, ETH raised can support two years expenses. Such idle assets actually can be used for an investment with low risk.
  7. Quantitative fund and market maker require large amount specific token. There is no better choice except from secondary market
  8. Lacking fiat based profitable financial products for traditional investors.
  9. Afterwards, Oscar talked about how LendChain can solve pain points above and introduced the working mechanism of LendChain.

User suffered from point 1& 3 mentioned above can mortgage token in LendChain and borrow cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH and USDT, which can solve point 2; Enterprise suffered from point 4 can mortgage token listed and circulated in LendChain and borrow BTC, ETH, which can solve point 2 & 6; Enterprise suffered from point 5 can mortgage ETH in LendChain and borrow USDT for daily expenditure, which can solve point 8 and requirement of traditional P2P investors;For enterprises suffered from point 7, LendChain will do lots background research work including team security, investment ability and past investment income. Pick quality team and strictly control their financial leverage and lending quotas.

By designing a good mechanism, LendChain perfectly solves many pain points existed. However, several issues like how LendChain can ensure assist security once default or slump occurred? Oscar replied to MTN 머 니 투 데 이.

“First, we provide hot & cold wallet, most of assets, especially for mortgaged assets, can be deposited in various cold wallets. For assets user has already, we will daily transfer to financing party. Hot purse will be used for change transaction. In the future, LendChain will use smart contracts to manage mortgaged assets, with publicly available links and opened code.

“In case of defaulted, mortgaged assets must be double worth of, which means you mortgage 20,000 can borrow 10,000. LendChain will enforce assets delivery once someone denied. What is more, additional margin will be asked once price fall 30%. If that failed, assets delivery will be forced when price falling 50%. Maintain assets security is LendChain’s first priority.

After that, Oscar talked about the horizontal comparison between LendChain and other rival products and what advantages they had. And what resource advantages does LendChain have?

There are more and more borrowing projects recently. LendChain started since last year and takes the lead currently. Following are comparison from five dimensions.

  • Mortgage loan

This is the core business of every borrowing projects and many projects are fiat based. LendChain only focuses on crypto which can occupy global market quickly and avoid policy risks. Meanwhile, we can meet different requirements by supporting various cryptocurrencies and improve crypto – crypto based financial services.

  • Credit loan

No one dare to do crypto based credit loan because this is different from fiat. However, multi-dimensional credit data of GXChain and Blockcity can provide LendChain a strong foundation. LendChain will ask users to authorize their data, combined with their behaviors on LendChain, LendChain will do risk control model and determine the credit line. Normally, mortgage is needed twice as collateral which is 50% mortgage rate. If you have good credit, you can get 60%, 70% or even 80%. This is something that others cannot do.

  • Financial products

Financial management is the core business of LendChain, which is a great potential demand in the market. If you compare to others, only ETHLend is barely is, and only supporting ETH.

  • Platform traffic

For both lending and financial services, we cannot without flow support. After all, this is a traffic business and banks either. Several others have been doing this for a long time, but only few people in this circle know. However, LendChain supported by 2 million real-name verified uses from Blockcity, Bitpie and 10,000 global users from QuarkChain, all of these can provide LendChain powerful flow support in the early development.

  • Equity transfer

This feature will be launched after platform developed stably. For example, if you lend 10,000 USDT at LendChain for a year, then this equity can be transferred on the platform, or remortgaged to meet your liquidity needs.

In terms of the resources of LendChain, we have begun to cooperate with GXChain, PreAngel, QuarkChain and Bitpie. Blockcity, which is now opening to all users, will increase its exposure in the near future. PreAngel has started to introduce many high-quality projects it has invested in to LendChain, which will make LendChain more powerful. The strategic cooperation of QuarkChain is set up by Wang Lijie, the founder of PreAngel. We plan to officially launch QKC in LendChain next week. We will also launch Bitpie APP next week. Later, we will conduct deeper cooperation to provide better experience for both users.

When talking about the progress of LendChain, Oscar published the operation data of internal test and public test: 8953 registered users, 880 certified users and a total investment of 850,000 US dollars. However, the official promotion has not started yet, LendChain have been partnered with five companies. The iOS version of the APP, which was originally expected to be launched in July, was launched on 27. LendChain also announced airdrop plans in next week, but did not reveal details, waiting for an official announcement.

“Financing progress, currently, LendChain has completed the cornerstone round and private sale round, compared with recent lending business based new projects, they raised almost $100 million in the first place. However, valuation of LendChain is very low, which is 200 K – 300 K ETH. Only qualified investors or resources providers can get. Many KOLs participated, because what LendChain needs are resources.

“We are not worried that investment institutions and private equity investors will crash the market. The first is that our valuation is low which is not cheating. Second, for each agency, we have limited investment quota in 100-500 ETH, this is poor in contrast with other projects, their quotas are mostly 800, 1000, 2000 and 5000 ETH. If they sell, they can only earn several hundred ETH. So, they had no incentive to cash out immediately, in this way, we let them hold for a long time and help us.”

“In the case of public sale, we expect to start in the middle of July, Token price is 0.2 yuan, and strict KYC is carried out to exclude users from China and the United States.”

At the later roundtable meeting, the web celebrity host in Korean cryptocurrency circle raised several very sharp questions, which caused heated discussions among all speakers.

Host: “is there a bubble in the blockchain? How do you view the irrational investment behaviors of some blockchain investors?

Oscar: “there must be a bubble, especially at the end of last year, because so many speculators were involved. But currently, the market has lost its quick money effect, and most speculators have left in the last few months. As for irrational investments, ‘investment losses come from a lack of understanding,’ as one bigwig put it. It is irrational to follow a project blindly because of some big institutional investment or bigwig. Big institutions indeed do better when it comes to investment projects, but they also invest in bad ones.I suggest you start with the basic knowledge of blockchain and take responsibility for every investment you make.”

Host: “at present, the blockchain investment market is too hot, but the future must be good money to drive out bad and value return, how do investors distinguish good money from bad?”

Oscar: “compared with article or bigwig standing out to raise a lot of money last year, the bad money has been much less, especially those air projects. Currently, you can see which projects are still work hard. And the other thing is, what this project does, whether there is a market in the future, whether it can be landed, maybe it’s too professional for ordinary investors. And you can also look at the product that he’s making, whether you’re going to use it yourself, whether anyone around you is going to use it, and that’s one important criteria. Many investors and institutions want to use it when we still in internal test period, the same as those friends who dedicate to cryptocurrencies and traditional financial management. The pain point is that real. If you just want to make some money, hold our Token, a bull market is enough. But if you want to do shareholders of this cryptocurrency bank, you need to hold it for long time. This is a tremendous market and currently, only LendChain is the most professional. As far as LendChain has so many channels and resources, it can erect trade barriers in the shortest time.”

After the meeting, LendChain reached in-depth cooperation intention with a number of south Korean media, investment institutions, Market companies, KOL and Huobi Korea. They all favored LendChain and will provide various resources and assistance.

This is a sponsored press release and does not necessarily reflect the opinions or views held by any employees of NullTX. This is not investment, trading, or gambling advice. Always conduct your own independent research.

Bitcoin Is Still a Better Investment Than Altcoins: Crypto Expert

If you are thinking of decamping from Bitcoin to invest in the various altcoins anticipating higher returns, don’t. According to Bart Smith of the Susquehanna International Group, Bitcoin is still the best bet and will continue to dominate the market. The rise of altcoins at the end of last year occurred because investors were excited about new developments and use cases such as smart contracts. However, the market is gradually realizing that these developments will not materialize in the short term and that cryptos’ biggest function is serving as a currency, a function that Bitcoin provides best.

Bitcoin Is Still the Undisputed King

Smith, who serves as the head of digital assets at the multinational trading firm, stated in an interview that Bitcoin’s biggest advantage is that its use cases are valid today, unlike many altcoins whose values are completely speculative. While in the US many investors trade Bitcoin against the US dollar, in other countries people trade altcoins for Bitcoins. This is a testament to the value and credibility attributed to Bitcoin around the world.

While Ripple has attracted all the attention for cross-border money transfers, Smith believes that Bitcoin has featured just as prominently, if not more so, in this industry. This use case is especially crucial for people from less developed countries who previously depended on expensive and slow money transfer methods such as Western Union and banks. Bitcoin has changed all this.

With bitcoin, I can send money. It’s fast. It’s cheap. And frankly, no one can stop me.

The entry of institutional capital will be a crucial factor in the success of Bitcoin and all the other cryptos, Smith added. With his firm dealing with institutional investment, he expressed confidence that it was only a matter of time before this happened. Currently, the Asian retail market is in the driver’s seat and determines the direction the market takes, but this might change as the European and American retail markets make forays into the industry.

It’s a humongous flow of money; it will drive the prices higher. I think there’s a lot of plumbing that needs to happen. We aren’t even really sure what regulatory agency is going to have jurisdiction over that, and so people feel like at any point in time they can jump in on the futures. So, when there’s clarity and when they feel a little better about it, they will.

Smith isn’t the first industry leader to have endorsed Bitcoin over altcoins, with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey having expressed similar sentiments in March. Dorsey, who also serves as the CEO of Square, said that he expects Bitcoin to become the most dominant form of currency in the world in a decade and that he hopes that Square will be at the forefront of the revolution. The Square app offers crypto trading services, and in the first quarter of the year, it sold over $34 million worth of Bitcoin, with its revenue from the crypto business estimated to be around $200,000. Dorsey believes that as the Bitcoin network continues to be developed, transactions will be faster and one will be able to pay for a cup of coffee with bitcoins in the near future. In Dorsey’s words:

The world ultimately will have a single currency; the internet will have a single currency. I personally believe that it will be bitcoin.