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AmigoCoin cryptographic token built on the Ethereum Network according to the ERC20 standard for tokens.           

AmigoCoin services a diverse set of customers including individuals, institutions, algorithmic traders, proprietary traders, market makers, investment firms, hedge funds, and various digital asset businesses.

Security. Liquidity. Trust. AmigoCoin listed on seven digital asset exchanges

Former Goldman Sachs president and Trump chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, will take an advisory role with Spring Labs. The FinTech startup aims to use blockchain technologies to revolutionize credit and identity services. New Horizons Cohn resigned as director of the US National Economic Council in April, after disagreements with President Trump over trade tariffs. Prior to taking this position, he served as president and chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs for over ten years.

Chiefs of Coinbase UK, eToro, B2C2, and others will be speaking at the London Summit’s special Crypto edition at the Old Billingsgate, on November 14 2018. (London, October 9th) – London Summit 2018, Europe’s largest event for the financial services sector, is hosting a dedicated gathering for the UK’s crypto community. Held on November 14 at the Old Billingsgate, the Crypto Trading Floor will bring together 3,000 traders and industry participants to exchange ideas, network, and discuss the most pressing topics for the crypto community.

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has opened a new office in Dublin to mark its latest expansion into Ireland as a marked effort to “plan for all eventualities for Brexit,” according to a top Coinbase executive. In an announcement on Monday, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase – the industry’s first ‘unicorn’ – said Dublin “was the clear choice” in its ongoing expansion effort. The new office in Dublin will compliment Coinbase’s existing operations in London, the base for its EU operations. Ireland’s minister for financial services and insurance Michael D’Arcy stated: “I am delighted that Coinbase is opening an office in Dublin. This decision highlights the completive offering and attractiveness of Ireland for financial services.” Pointedly, Coinbase adds it ‘explored a variety of cities across the EU’ to earmark potential outposts across European nations at a time when Britain’s exit from the European bloc looms large. The contingency plan is particularly relevant as European Union users of Coinbase “grew faster than any other market in 2017,” according to the company. Coinbase UK chief executive Zeeshan Feroz underlined the importance of Dublin as a new base in Europe, telling Reuters: “It ticks a lot of boxes – ranging from giving us a contingency, helping us plan for all eventualities for Brexit and engaging with Europe through another base.” Coinbase insists that its headquarters outside the U.S. will remain in London, for a company that supports cryptocurrency trading in 32 countries presently.

The increasing demand for blockchain skills from various sectors makes blockchain an attractive subject and urges universities to add blockchain to their course list. To this end, several universities have already launched blockchain courses. We have put together a list of universities where you can learn about blockchain technology and Bitcoin, and make yourself more marketable in the eyes of potential employers.

The airport’s team believes that this move towards accepting cryptocurrencies will be well received by customers. Schiphol Airport has become one of the largest airports in the world, being a hub of international travel and accepting upwards of 68 million tourists each year. Introducing a cryptocurrency ATM, albeit only one, should prove to be a great way for one of the world’s largest airports to expose millions of travelers to this growing industry.

(LBX), announced that they would be making a cryptocurrency debit card available to users, which will make the process of spending and keep track of cryptocurrency accounts much more manageable. The project will be managed by several prominent figures in the financial world, including a former Credit Suisse Banker

Months after announcing the launch of Uganda’s first-ever fiat-crypto exchange, Binance has made another step towards facilitating cryptocurrency trading in the East African country. Beginning October 17, users will be able to make deposits to Binance Uganda in the leading cryptocurrencies bitcoin and ethereum as well as in Ugandan Shillings. This will allow trading in bitcoin to Ugandan shillings and vice versa as well as ethereum to Ugandan shillings and vice versa. However, trading in the BTC/UGX and ETH/UGX pairs will not commence immediately and will be announced at a later date. “Trading on Binance Uganda will open soon with BTC/UGX and ETH/UGX trading pairs.

Cryptocurrency will be an important use case of the technology, enabling our overseas foreign workers (OFWs) to save on the cost of expensive fees from wire-transfer services like Western Union.

Travelbybit: In a move to try and boost tourism in Australia’s second-largest state, Queensland, the residing government has proposed it will back a local crypto payments startup using its new ‘Advance Queensland Ignite Ideas’ grant.

UK blockchain: With its latest moves in the crypto space, the UK is well-placed at becoming a global leader in blockchain technologies. According to the group analysis by DAG Global, Big Innovation Centre, and Deep Knowledge Analytics, Great Britain has all the required resources to become a global hub for blockchain technology by the year 2022.

IBM has been using the Stellar network since 2017 for cross-border payments and has now adopted the new stablecoin to enhance this process. According to IBM’s senior vice president of global industries, platforms, and blockchain, Bridget van Kralingen, the new token represents a “tremendous opportunity” to improve blockchain payments currently undertaken by IBM.

Microsoft and Bank of America demonstrated their increasing interest and investment into blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

Norway's largest online-only bank, Skandiabanken recently announced it plans to offer clients the ability to link bank accounts to cryptocurrency holdings.

"As a bank that sets itself up technologically and pursues a cooperative strategy in the field of fintech, it is also a matter of credibility to work together with the young sector of crypto and blockchain companies in Switzerland".

Ripple will have "dozens" of banks using its blockchain product that requires a digital currency known as XRP to work, the start-up's CEO told CNBC on Tuesday. The company is developing a solution that allows cross-border money transactions between banks in a faster and cheaper way than the current system allows. It's based on a blockchain, the technology that underpins many cryptocurrencies.

Banks and technology services companies are realizing the real potential of both cryptocurrencies and the underlying distributed ledger technology behind them as important assets for their organization.

Former head of J.P. Morgan's blockchain arm is no longer on Wall Street. But the former insider says major banks like her former employer could get into the cryptocurrency business imminently.

Currently the fifth largest bank in the world by assets, MUFG originally signalled its intention to launch a token in January this year, in so doing becoming the first Japanese bank to issue one. Plans for the move stretch back further to 2016

Goldman Sachs will finally launch its widely-rumoured bitcoin trading operation after the investment banking giant succumbed to pressure from clients enthusiastic about cryptocurrency.

Gary Cohn, former Goldman Sachs President as well as former chief economic advisor to US President Donald Trump, believes that there will a global cryptocurrency in the future

HSBC issued a letter of credit for U.S. food and agriculture firm Cargill using blockchain. It used a platform developed by blockchain start-up R3 called Corda. The exchange was performed in 24 hours, HSBC and ING said.

Barclays is weighing a move into cryptocrurency trading, potentially pitting it against US rival Goldman Sachs in the fast-emerging field. The British bank has sounded out potential clients about setting up a cryptocurrency trading desk, in what would be a first for a European investment bank.

Four cryptocurrencies have been added to the Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis, one of twelve regional banks in the US central banking system. The four cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum. The fact that a US Federal reserve bank recognizes cryptocurrency is highly significant.

Coinbase Inc. and another cryptocurrency firm talked to U.S. regulators about the possibility of obtaining banking licenses, a move that would allow the startups to broaden the types of products they offer.

Karatbars International has announced the opening of the cryptocurrency bank KC Bank, which fully operates under U.S. licensing in Miami.

Developers have sold the first two luxury homes in the UK using cryptocurrency. It follows an increasing trend in the last few months for developers to place new homes on the market in the cryptocurrency. Property developer Go Homes announced the successful sale of the homes yesterday, both have been bought by men in their 20s in the technology industry.

A company will now make purchases of real estate with cryptocurrency possible, great news for people who don’t trust fiat currency but want to get their holdings into something solid like property

Billionaire entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, whose Virgin Galactic airlines was the first to accept bitcoins for space flight, recently describedbitcoin as “the pioneer of a global currency” in an interview in the April issue of Delta’s SKY Magazine. Branson clearly believes in bitcoin. Not only is he accepting it, but he’s invested in it as well.

As the cryptocurrency industry matures and public interest heightens, blockchain research and educational efforts have made their way into the halls of some of the world’s leading universities. Courses on cryptocurrency finance, blockchain development and related law are developing into serious avenues of study.

Malta’s government had also approved a blockchain strategy earlier this year, making it one of the first countries in the world to incorporate a national strategy based on its technology. Aside from working on improvements to the nation’s transportation system, Omnitude is also partnering with Formula One to bring blockchain benefits to advanced racing and engineering projects.

Different countries are starting to to promote cryptocurrency and blockchain investments. One of the chosen ways to do it is by reducing taxes and creating special economic zones. Spain wants to benefit from this industry by creating a favorable environment for blockchain companies

The French minister of the economy, Bruno Le Maire, has announced the creation of a working group to develop cryptocurrency regulations. In a speech Monday, Le Maire said that the working group will be responsible for proposing guidelines and drafting a framework on cryptocurrency regulations

Portugal , Have released the information that or Country’s Taxing Entities will not charge any fee related to profits obtained due to Cryptocurrency’s trading.

The Netherlands is flexing its bureaucratic muscles to renovate a range of public services with blockchain, a decentralized digital ledger technology, which also constitutes an underlying algorithm of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Major government agencies here, including the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy and the Ministry of Justice and Security, have launched dozens of pilot projects with private enterprises and universities to test how much blockchain can build trust and transparency of public services without traditional centralized data collectors and managers.

Germany is one of the countries who managed to integrate cryptocurrencies very fast. Moreover the German authorities have succeeded in developing regulations so that the new virtual currencies to be accommodated as quickly as possible by the national legislation. When an entrepreneur decides to open a company in Germany and to make it functional for cryptocurrency, he must comply with the special provisions adopted by the German government related to virtual coins and

“We are entering the age of cryptocurrencies and decentralized exchanges. However, few companies are implementing solutions that benefit everyday merchants and consumers.” — John Karantonis, Founder of Geopay

Polish Blockchain Technology Accelerator (PATB), which functions under the Ministry of Digitalisation. The most recent project that they have been working on is the creation of a digitised national cryptocurrency, Digital PLN (dPLN). This virtual currency has been developed at the Lazarski University in Warsaw, where the dedicated team have been developing a working basic version of the national currency. They are centralising their efforts now around advancing the current version of the code

Austria has joined the list of countries planning to regulate cryptocurrencies and will use as a model existing rules for the trading of gold and derivatives.

Nestled between the Rock and an airport runway, a football team are making history in Gibraltar. This time it is not the national side conceding an exorbitant number of goals (124 at the last count in four and a half years) or Lincoln Red Imps beating Celtic in the Champions League. It did not even happen on the artificial pitch of the iconic national ground, Victoria Stadium. Instead, Premier Division Gibraltar United have crept into the spotlight by becoming the world’s first football team to introduce cryptocurrency.

Cannabis culture media organization High Times Holding Corp. will accept cryptocurrencies in its Initial Public Offering (IPO), High Times reports Aug. 2. In doing so, it will reportedly be the “first traditional stock offering ever to accept investments” in cryptocurrencies.

Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has announced that will list a physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts and form a new company whose mission is to make bitcoin a mainstream financial asset.

129-year old Northern Trust has long been a stalwart in the financial services world. Now, the company is turning its eyes to the future and is working on projects that incorporate blockchain and cryptocurrency. Headquartered in Chicago Illinois, Northern Trust has been working with different clients, including corporations and institutional investors, for more than a century. Currently, Northern Trust has offices across the United States and in 23 different countries. As of June 30, assets under management totaled more than $1 trillion dollars.

“The bill provides a net regulatory relief to industry of $36 mln annually, with the digital currency exchange sector being regulated for the first time, while deregulating low-risk industries such as cash-in-transit, which is already subject to state and territory licensing requirements.”

Singapore’s central bank has published a post-trail analysis of its blockchain endeavor that saw digital tokens of the national currency issued on a private Ethereum blockchain. A newly published report by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), reveals details of ‘Project Ubin’ its blockchain effort “which places a tokenized form of the Singapore Dollar (SGD) on a distributed ledger” platform.

Cryptocurrencies are gradually being discovered in Africa. In countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, there is a semblance of digital currencies, primarily bitcoin, taking roots. Blockchain or DLT (distributed ledger technology) can be seen as the solution for Africa’s current problems and future growth. Bitcoin, based on blockchain, could be the engine for African growth, and could fuel the continent’s great leap forward.

Few people are aware of how Cryptopia is an exchange based in New Zealand. The platform is mainly known for altcoin trading and is considered one of the smaller platforms. Even so, they now have nearly 1.5 million users, which is an impressive number. It is evident the Kiwi nation should not be overlooked when it comes to blockchain and cryptocurrency.

Receiving Unwanted calls and SMS is very common these days. To resolve the problem of getting unwanted calls and SMS, Telecom Regulatory Authority of India planned to adopt the blockchain technology. The Draft of consultation paper released by TRAI having the proposal of usage of blockchain technology to prevent the spam calls and SMS

Innovative technology of artificial intelligence and teaming that up with the cryptocurrency industry to create a more fundamentally sound and perfected way to attain and discover the greatest profits. They offer safe and secure trading in the form of buying, storing and selling of cryptocurrency, as well as the owning of production of crypts for comfortable use of personal digital media, offering a Bitcoin ATM. Through their technology, they are able to provide an accurate analysis of profitable offers in the market.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has hired finance executive Jeff Horowitz in its new role of chief compliance officer, to help it navigate regulations for virtual currency companies, the company said on Tuesday. For the past three years Horowitz has served as global head of compliance for Pershing LLC, a subsidiary of Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Pershing handles approximately $1.8 trillion in client assets.

Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings is making efforts to create a cryptocurrency derivatives trading platform for institutional investors, a recent report from Nikkei Asian Review has revealed. SBI Crypto Investment, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SBI Holdings, has made an investment in Clear Markets, a North Carolina-based developer of digital marketplaces. According to the details, it has purchased 12 percent stake in Clear Market, which Nikkei estimates to be worth around 1 billion yen ($9 million).

San Francisco-based marketplace DCEX will become the first cryptocurrency exchange to use XRP as its ‘base currency’, available for both retail and institutional investors. DCEX will function as a crypto-to-crypto marketplace wherein all digital currencies will be trading against the XRP – the native token powering the Ripple Consensus Ledger (RCL) developed by San Francisco-based Ripple – as the platform’s “base currency”,

Argo Blockchain, which is headquartered in London but runs its service from a data-centre in Canada, has raised £25m following its debut, giving it a valuation of £47m. The company mines digital currencies on behalf of monthly subscribers using a similar model to Spotify or Netflix. This means people with little technical prowess and lacking the right tools to set up a mining rig can still make money from the Bitcoin craze by creating an account on Argo’s website or smartphone app.

As cryptocurrency becomes more mainstream, pension funds and other big institutions are seeking to add it to their portfolios. This represents a potential opportunity for investors but also a new business line for the likes of Coinbase, which charges funds to be the custodian of their crypto assets. On Friday, Coinbase announced it is exploring plans to expand its custody service to include 40 more assets, including XRP, which is the third biggest cryptocurrency by market cap.

The Philippines has one of the fastest growing crypto industries in the world that is currently in line for new ICO and cryptocurrency regulations. The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved the draft for new rules that will regulate the crypto and ICO markets. With so many Filipinos living in other countries who need to transfer money back to relatives, the Philippines has seen massive growth in the popularity of crypto and the SEC is planning to get a firm grip of the market

The release of a new web app has seen Czech Republic-based payment services provider Saifu become the first financial institution to offer current accounts in fiat and cryptocurrencies.

The two new approaches Sony wants to patent are titled “Electronic Node and Method for Maintaining a Distributed Ledger”, and “Device and Systems.” This is the first time that Sony has made moves to indicate they want to enter the crypto mining hardware scene. The move is obviously linked to the electronic giants entering into blockchain-related fields in the imminent future with potential new devices.

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Kevin Jenkins held the position of Managing Director with VISA UK & Ireland for over four years and was the Senior Vice President of VISA Europe for six years before that. This week he signed on as a Non-Executive Director of payments and ID UK blockchain startup Nuggets.

31% of employees would be happy to be paid in cryptocurrency. This was the finding of a survey by Sage, which revealed there is a growing interest in cryptocurrency salaries.

According to figures from the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain (RACIB), in 2018 alone there has been a 15% increase in the number of crypto mining companies across the nation. Due to its vast energy resources, which correlates in cheaper electric than most nations, Russia is potentially the ultimate crypto mining destination in the world.

A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets.

PayPal is eyeing a way to boost the speed of cryptocurrency payments, a newly-released patent filing shows."The systems and methods of the present disclosure practically eliminate the amount of time the payee must wait to be sure they will receive a virtual currency payment in a virtual currency transaction by transferring to the payee private keys that are included in virtual currency wallets that are associated with predefined amounts of virtual currency that equal a payment amount identified in the virtual currency transaction."

Multinational e-commerce giant eBay has filed two cryptocurrency-related patent applications. Published by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) last week, the applications were both submitted on 18th April last year. According to the filings, eBay wants to patent a "distributed cryptocurrency unauthorised transfer monitoring system" and a "distributed cryptocurrency reputation system". Ebay's filings come after the USPTO published Coinbase's applications for nine bitcoin-related products and 21 Inc's filing for a digital currency mining circuitry patent. Speculation about eBay's possible involvement in crypto has been rife in recent years, with John Donahoe, CEO at the time, hinting at bitcoin integration for PayPal – eBay's former subsidiary – on various occasions.

Facebook has reversed its controversial ban on cryptocurrency adverts, prompting further speculation that the tech giant may be planning something major in the space. The lifting of the ban – put in place in January amid fears that ads were used for fraud – was welcomed by industry figures, with some saying that it indicated the firm's recognition of the potential of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

he biggest management reshuffle in Facebook’s history has revealed the social network’s intentions to develop blockchain technology, though it is not yet clear for what purpose. David Marcus, the former head of Facebook Messenger, announced this week that he will lead an exploratory blockchain group that will report directly to the company’s CTO, Mike Schroepfer.

New patent filings from General Electric suggest that the U.S. conglomerate may be looking at blockchain as part of a wider aircraft monitoring and maintenance system. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published five applications from GE today, each of which focus on a concept for a "dynamic optimization" system that would touch multiple aspects of managing and operating aircraft, including maintenance services. One component of that system, the applications indicate, would be a mechanism for parties involved in the aircraft oversight process. While noting that these entities would typically be paid through traditional finance channels, they suggest that cryptocurrencies – or some application of blockchain thereof – could facilitate such payouts instead.

Upwork, a freelancing firm, says blockchain is its fastest-growing skill category. LinkedIn says there has been a rise in bitcoin postings and more people are adding bitcoin and related skills to their profiles. Some jobs pay more than $1000 an hour.

This is the beginning of Apple’s cryptocurrency. Think about it. Transferring money from one person to another. A digital currency that stores value. A wallet. This is how the cryptocurrency community talks. It’s how people describe Bitcoin and Ether.

Think of cryptocurrency developers and names like Satoshi Nakamoto, Gavin Andresen, and Nick Szabo spring to mind. Individuals who place principles ahead of profit and are more aligned with open source principles than filing patents and closely guarding their secrets. The only secret Satoshi guarded was his identity. It may come as a surprise then to learn that in the last decade, the company that has more cryptocurrency patents than any other is in many bitcoiners’ eyes the antithesis of everything decentralized currency stands for – Bank of America.

Of the 406 patent applications related to blockchain in 2017, Alibaba had 43, second only to People’s Bank of China (PBOC) who filed 68. Alibaba’s blockchain patents covered areas of invention, design, and utility. It goes a long way to show the efforts the multifaceted internet giants are making in the area of blockchain innovation. One of the more interesting landmarks of Alibaba’s blockchain efforts is The Ant Financial blockchain 2.0 released by Alibaba’s financial arm. The platform has evolved from the initial blockchain 1.0 to become an open platform for self-operation and decentralization. Blockchain patents aren’t the only proof of Alibaba’s strong showing in Blockchain related endeavors. The e-commerce giant seems to know a lot about more blockchain than many others giving priority to this emerging technology. To date, Alibaba has scored huge points for its blockchain partnerships, blockchain innovations, and adoption.

According to industry portal OilPrice, the energy giant has bought up a minority share in Gartner-listed startup Applied Blockchain. Details of the deal have yet to be disclosed, but the move will enable the London startup to help Shell explore how the technology might be applied to its business.Operating for around three years now, Applied Blockchain has clients from the banking, telecoms, carmaking, manufacturing, and aerospace industries. This its first foray into energy. The technology is slowly entering into the energy sector with, according to Reuters, a consortium involving Shell, BP, and Statoil already working on the development of a blockchain-based energy commodity trading platform. Shell chief technology officer Johan Krebbers highlighted the huge potential blockchain tech has for business:

While the blockchain is most well-known for its application to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, Walmart wants to use it for payment systems for vendors and customers. In two patents filed last year and approved on Thursday, Walmart describes the system: “In one aspect, provided is a vendor payment sharing system, [which would] automatically process payment for a total amount due for the products and services related to obtaining and delivering the products; automatically dividing the payment between parties that provided services related to obtaining and delivering the products; and encrypt the payment and the division of the payment with a blockchain.”

Volkswagen Unveils Over-the-air Update Proof of Concept with IOTA Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer of Volkswagen Group, presented a proof of concept during the Cebit summit on how trusted transfer of software over the air to vehicles can effectively be documented using IOTA’s Tangle.

How the ICBC Blockchain Will Work The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) was able to apply for the patent through the State Intellectual Property Office with an aim of developing a technology that proposes to increase efficiency in the issuing of certificates to users. The patent application document indicates that although traditionally users have had to manually “obtain a certificate from the authority that issues it” the process has mostly been prone to “counterfeit issues” due to the inefficiencies therein. With the new patent going public, the bank is set to develop a system that will automate the entire process by seamlessly matching a certificate’s details with a user’s credentials. In addition, the data will be encrypted as soon as the certificate application is approved then the data will be stored on a blockchain network, where other authorized entities will have easy access.

Oliver Harris, 29, is taking on a new role as head of crypto-assets strategy, reporting to Umar Farooq, the head of blockchain initiatives at the corporate and investment bank. Harris will also lead JPMorgan's Quorum project, the internal blockchain platform developed by the bank that's rumoured to be preparing for a spinoff.

his year, in the first quarter of 2018, Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest bank and one of Europe’s leading financial institutions, recorded a profit of $146 million. Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, recorded a profit of $200 million. Binance Vs. Deutsche Bank Binance surpassed Germany’s largest and one of Europe’s biggest banks in profitability. Binance, a cryptocurrency startup that was non-existent merely 8 months ago beat out a leading bank that was established 148 years ago. A startup with 200 employees beat out a banking giant with 100,000 employees. Changpeng Zhao, the CEO at Binance, who is better known to the cryptocurrency space as CZ, wrote on March 3: “Binance is the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange. In the first 3 months from inception, profits amounted to $7,500,000 USD. In the 2nd quarter, profits amounted to $200,000,000 USD. The 3rd quarter is still in progress, and is expected to have further growth. Any country that can attract Binance to open a branch in their location will receive a handsome tax income revenue.” For Malta, the relocation of Binance from Taiwan to the European country is a bigger move than Deutsche Bank permanently relocating its headquarters and operations from Germany to Malta. Given the exponential growth rate of Binance and the rapid movement of the cryptocurrency market, the motivation of the government of Malta in embracing the cryptocurrency industry and startups within it is quite evident. Christian Sewing, who was appointed as the new CEO at Deutsche Bank, stated that the bank will move away from hedge fund investment and focus on stabilizing on a few areas the bank where the bank is still dominant. With an $800 million restructuring plan and a massive cut of employees, the bank aims to generate profits by the end of 2018.

Canaan Creative has launched what it hopes will be the future of the blockchain and the first of a series of releases that will improve its position as it battles for increased market share in the bitcoin mining device market. Dubbed the AvalonMiner Inside, the smart TV also doubles as a bitcoin mining device, and while some dismiss it as a marketing stunt, Canaan believes that this could be the future of bitcoin mining.

Even after weathering a bear market that wiped out more than 60 percent of the flagship cryptocurrency’s value, the bitcoin price continues to trade at a mark far above what its critics thought it could ever reach. Nevertheless, it still has a long way to go if it hopes to supplant the U.S. dollar or even become a viable tool for global payments. That’s according to a new report from Swiss investment bank UBS, which found that the bitcoin price must reach $213,000 to replace the estimated $3.63 trillion worth of USD in circulation, commonly referred to as the M1 or “narrow money” supply. At present, bitcoin has a circulating market cap of $127 billion, which is roughly the size of the M1 supplies maintained by the United Arab Emirates and Turkey. At its peak, bitcoin boasted a market cap larger than the M1 supplies of all but about 15 countries.

Coinbase Custody is exploring the addition of many existing and forthcoming crypto assets for storage only, and will be working to add them as quickly and safely as possible. At this time, we have not yet considered these assets for trading. We are making this announcement internally at Coinbase and to the public at the same time to remain transparent with our customers about support for future assets.”

The chief executive of the company that owns and operates the world’s largest stock exchange believes that bitcoin has the potential to be the world’s “first worldwide currency,” and he’s throwing his firm’s weight behind an ambitious plan to make that a reality. As CCN reported, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) — owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) — is forming a new company, dubbed Bakkt, that seeks to bridge the divide between Wall Street, Main Street, and the flagship cryptocurrency. Speaking with Fortune, ICE founder, Chairman, and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher explained that he believes that — bolstered by Bakkt’s infrastructure — bitcoin could become the currency of choice for global payments. ”Bitcoin would greatly simplify the movement of global money,” said Sprecher. “It has the potential to become the first worldwide currency.” The move will see ICE not only launch a physically-settled bitcoin futures product but also custody cryptoassets directly and help merchants such as Starbucks — which has already signed onto the platform as a partner — accept digital assets such as bitcoin for everyday payments. It represents a remarkable about-face for ICE, which said last December that it didn’t want to rush into launching bitcoin products. All the while though, Sprecher and other ICE executives were scheming to launch the most ambitious crypto play that any Wall Street firm had yet attempted. And while, if successful, it promises to plant bitcoin firmly in the mainstream, Sprecher says that it could also help conventional asset managers attract younger investors, who are sometimes as skeptical of traditional financial products as asset managers are of bitcoin. “Millennials don’t trust traditional financial institutions. To gain their trust, banks, brokerages, and asset managers can use a currency that millennials believe in, like Bitcoin. Using digital currencies brings a lot of sizzle,” he told Fortune. Notably, that comment hearkens back to another statement Sprecher made, months before revealing that ICE intends to take a central role in facilitating that “sizzle.” “There is a trend here we can’t ignore in my mind, so I don’t discount it,” he said in April. “People put more faith in a guy named Satoshi Nakamoto that no one has ever met than they do in the US Fed.”

Coinbase Commerce, a cryptocurrency payment provider, has announced a series of initiatives to support crypto commerce, including a WooCommerce plugin to give millions of merchants the option to accept cryptocurrencies, the ability to send bitcoin and litecoin directly, and other new capabilities. Coinbase believes the improved access will support adoption of cryptocurrency and a more open financial system. The WooCommerce plugin, a WordPress e-commerce platform, currently supports more than 28% of all online stores, all of which now have the ability to accept cryptocurrency from customers worldwide, Coinbase noted on its blog. Users can install the WooCommerce payment gateway from GitHub, from which they can download a zip file of the repository.

Because the software and hardware utilized in Bitcoin mining uses brute force to repeatedly and endlessly perform SHA-256 functions, the process of Bitcoin mining can be very power-intensive and utilize large amounts of hardware space. The embodiments described herein optimize Bitcoin mining operations by reducing the space utilized and power consumed by Bitcoin mining hardware.

Regarding the integration of cryptocurrencies, the patent application states the following: “Thus, in various embodiments, electronic transfer network may be configured to support and perform transfers of various currency types, including traditional and/or digital currencies, centralized and/or de-centralized currencies, cryptocurrencies, and any other medium of exchange (e.g., credit, gift cards or certificates, points in a user point system, etc.), between client devices and/or external systems in different areas, regions, or jurisdictions.”

A new patent application from Mastercard suggests that the global credit card issuer is exploring ways to build refund services for cryptocurrency users. The application, titled "Information Transaction Infrastructure", was published by the the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on August 3, having been submitted in late January. Vladimir Goloshchuk, who according to LinkedIn previously worked as a senior analyst at Mastercard, is listed as the sole inventor. The application details an infrastructure through which users could verify their identities, which would then be linked to cryptocurrency addresses they elect to disclose. The text of the application points to this being most relevant for situations in which users are submitting payments to merchants from accounts on exchanges, or other services, in which their funds may be held alongside those belonging to others. In the event that a merchant has to send the money back for a refund, they would send it back to an address linked to that user's account – a situation in which the exchange or custody holder might then need to know where those funds are being sourced from and why. To counter this, Mastercard proposes a way for users, through a shared service, to have two kinds of wallets. "The basic principle of the arrangement ... is that a user of the shared wallet service has two types of wallet. Firstly, they have a 'public' wallet for on-the-chain publicly visible and verified transactions. The user will make and receive cryptocurrency payments external to the shared wallet service using a public wallet," the application explains, adding: "Using this approach, the refund problem can be addressed – a payment received from the public wallet can be refunded by an equal payment back to the public wallet." The application is the latest from Mastercard, which has filed several patents in the past few years. The company has also developed projects focused on blockchain tech, releasing a set of dedicated APIs last fall. Disclosure: Mastercard is an investor in Digital Currency Group, CoinDesk's parent company.

Mastercard has reportedly been granted a patent to link cryptocurrency with Fiat accounts. According to its filing, the patent was created to manage fractional reserves of blockchain currency comprising: storing, in a first central account, at least a fiat amount associated with a fiat currency.

Singapore residents will soon be able to make purchases with a prepaid Visa card backed by the cryptocurrency platform Monaco. “Our team has worked incredibly hard over the past year to achieve this milestone. This is an important step towards Monaco’s vision to introduce cryptocurrency to the mass market,” said Kris Marszalek, co-founder and CEO of Monaco, in a press release. “We believe that the Monaco card program lays solid foundation for Monaco’s growth, and we’re grateful to all partners for their support. The demand for the Monaco Visa prepaid cards has exceeded our expectations with over 17,000 cards reserved, based on word of mouth alone. With perfect interbank exchange rates, and 0.75 percent cryptocurrency cash back on all transactions, the Monaco Visa prepaid card will become the card of choice for consumers. More perks will be added over time to turn the Monaco Visa prepaid card into a dominant force in payments.”

Bank of America Files Patent for Cryptocurrency Wire Transfer System "Enterprises handle a large number of foreign wire transfer requests on a daily basis. As technology advances, foreign transactions have become more common. For some customers, it may be desirable to conduct a foreign wire transfer in less time than what current foreign wire transfer systems allow."

Financial institutions have been taking a good hard look at blockchain, and now, six of the world's biggest banks have decided the best way to take advantage of the decentralized, distributed digital ledger technology is by partnering on their own cryptocurrency. The digital coin, which they are calling the “utility settlement coin,” was developed back in 2015 by financial services firm UBS, and its purpose is to enable the clearing and settling of transactions worldwide over a blockchain. The six new banks — Barclays, Credit Suisse, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, HSBC, MUFG, and State Street — join UBS, BNY Mellon, and several others already on the project.

New York – Bloomberg, together with Galaxy Digital Capital Management LP, a leading digital asset management firm founded by Michael Novogratz, today launched the Bloomberg Galaxy Crypto Index (BGCI). The index is designed to track the performance of the largest, most liquid portion of the cryptocurrency market. The BGCI is market capitalization-weighted and measures the performance of ten USD-traded cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Monero, Ripple, and Zcash. The index constituents are diversified across different categories of digital assets, including stores of value, mediums of exchange, smart contract protocols, and privacy assets. The creation of the index marks an important step in the evolution of the digital assets space, facilitating diversified exposure as well as independent benchmarking for investors, the companies said. The BGCI utilizes a rules-based methodology and data from sources that have passed both Bloomberg and Galaxy Digital Capital Management’s due diligence processes. The index is owned and administered by Bloomberg Index Services Limited and is co-branded with Galaxy Digital Capital Management. As a new member of the Bloomberg index family, the BGCI offers the first institutional grade benchmark for the cryptocurrency market.

China's central bank has developed its own cryptocurrency, which is now being tested. Cryptocurrencies have the potential to not only benefit China, but the rest of the world, due to their basis in blockchain. China’s central bank — the People’s Bank of China — has developed a prototype of a cryptocurrency that it could end up in circulation in the near future. It would be introduced alongside the China’s primary currency the renminbi (also called the yuan). China will be simulating possible scenarios and running mock transactions using the cryptocurrency with some commercial Chinese banks.

China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), has been working to develop its own digital currency. Having recently completed a trial run of its cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology, the PBoC is moving closer to becoming one of the first central banks to issue digital money. The obvious benefits of such a push include lower operating costs, greater efficiency, and better control of illicit money flows, reasons that have previously been cited by the Chinese central bank.

At a time when cryptocurrencies are becoming much more regulated, it is not surprising to learn that Thai regulators have reportedly agreed to enact two laws on both cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings. Mr Apisak Tantivorawong, the Thai Minister of Finance announced that the government will be preparing for these regulations so they are ready to implement at the end of this month. The first regulation is the Act on Digital Asset Businesses, which requires the registration and know your customer compliance of cryptocurrency operators, as well as imposing penalties and remedies for any violations of this. The second regulation that Thailand is introducing is the revision of the country’s Revenue Code which concerns taxation related to cryptocurrencies and ICO’s. The laws that they are looking to implement putting the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand in charge of the regulations, and added; “Thai private companies that have already issued an ICO must comply with the law within 6 months.”

Hawaii’s Division of Financial Institutions at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Protection endorses much of the measure, which has a mix of virtual currency industry

President Nicolas Maduro on Friday said Venezuela in the coming days will issue 100 million units of an oil-backed cryptocurrency known as the petro, which will be worth the price of one barrel in Venezuela’s oil basket. Speaking at a meeting of his ministers broadcast on state television, Maduro said that the petro will be backed by 5 billion barrels in the Ayacucho block of the Orinoco Oil Belt. Based on the latest price of the country’s oil basket, the total issue would be worth about $5.9 billion. “I have ordered the issuance of 100 million petros with the legal support of Venezuela’s oil wealth,” Maduro said. He said the cryptocurrency will help the South American country challenge the “tyranny of the dollar,” economic war and U.S.-led financial persecution. Over the past year, the U.S. Treasury Department has blacklisted numerous top-ranking officials, including Maduro and many of his ministers. Years of government mismanagement have left Venezuela beset by quadruple-digit inflation, severe shortages of food and medicine as well as four straight years of recession, forcing the government to restructure or refinance its foreign debt. Home to the world’s largest crude reserves, Venezuelan oil output fell to a 14-year low last July. Maduro didn’t comment on whether Venezuela bondholders would be paid with petros. He said yesterday that a commission to restructure or refinance foreign debt is “working very well.” At the start, the petro will be obtained through auctions or direct allocation by the country’s Cryptocurrency Superintendent, Maduro said. Virtual cryptocurrency exchanges are still in a trial stage, he said.

The development of crypto-currencies can lead to an unexpected scenario in world trade. Some experts believe that oil-producing countries will be able to launch their digital currencies backed by oil, and start trading them instead of dollars. Of course, such an option now looks somewhat fantastic, but the speed with which events in the world change, yet allows you to think about this. Take, for example, Iran, Russia and Venezuela. All three countries are under various sanctions by the United States, at the same time, are forced to trade oil for dollars, which creates certain risks. Now the vast majority of oil contracts are nominated in dollars, but in theory everything can be changed. A decentralized currency that allows anonymous transactions with the help of blocking technology, could be an ideal tool for this. Tehran, Caracas and Moscow could thus get rid of the dollar, writes RT. However, for this it is necessary that counterparties also take this step.

India doesn’t plan to use Venezuela’s ‘petro’ cryptocurrency to pay for crude oil imports from the Latin American nation of which it is a large regular customer, India’s Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said on Monday. India’s central bank has issued an order saying that it doesn’t allow trade in cryptocurrency, Swaraj said at a news conference, citing that order. India’s average oil imports from Venezuela have recently slumped to their lowest level since 2012. Venezuela faces increasingly stricter U.S. financial sanctions and is trying to circumvent them by offering the customers of its declining oil production to pay in the El Petro cryptocurrency, touted by Nicolas Maduro as the first-ever sovereign digital currency backed by oil reserves. India, on the other hand, faces an increasingly fatter crude oil import bill, as oil prices have rallied in the past few months and worsened Indian current accounts, with officials already worried that the high oil prices and the fuel prices at five-year-highs have started to affect economic growth.

Dubai: You can soon buy a property in Dubai using crypto-currency. And with Sharia-compliance too. MAG Lifestyle Development is allowing buyers in its projects to use “OneGram”, the Sharia-compliant crypto-currency. Said to be a first for the region, the move could also bring OneGram into the mainstream and get it the kind of exposure Bitcoins do.

Playboy TV is launching a new payment option that will allow customers to access its exclusive adult content using cryptocurrencies. According to an announcement today, the adult content network said it will roll out a dedicated cryptocurrency wallet by the end of this year. The media firm will initially accept a cryptocurrency dubbed Vice Industry Token, which is being issued through an initial coin offering that ends next week, with other unnamed "leading" tokens to follow later. According to its white paper, Vice Industry Token (VIT) is designed partially for adult content specifically and touts a utility that can track real user engagement on adult content channels over a blockchain. In its release, Playboy TV said users can view, comment on and vote for original content using VITs on its channel. The initiative marks possibly the first instance of a major television company moving to accept cryptocurrency as a payment tool. Reena Patel, Chief Operations Officer, Licensing and Media for Playboy Enterprises, said:

StormX has recently announced that customers will now be able to purchase first class plane tickets with cryptocurrency, thanks to the fact that they have partnered with I Only Fly First Class – a travel concierge service. Tickets can be purchased through the Storm Play app. Customers can use STORM tokens to purchase discounted first class airfare. The way in which I Only Fly First Class works is the company will purchase award miles from different loyalty programmes at the wholesale prices, and use these to book flights, meaning they can pass the saving to their customers. Speaking about the partnership, the CEO of StormX said; “Making first class flights available in cryptocurrency to savvy consumers, tech enthusiasts, adventurers, and bargain hunters is a momentous leap forward in merging the worlds of travel and crypto. Perhaps the most exciting is that StormX’s alliance with I Only Fly First Class means that travelling in style – once a luxury afforded by few – is now at the fingertips of everyday people. By watching advertisements or reviewing products, for example, anyone anywhere in the world can be rewarded in STORM Tokens and then use them to travel the world first class at more affordable fare.” The CEO of I Only Fly First Class echoed these views, saying; “The travellers on our platform come to us for the best luxury deals that are off the beaten path of traditional flight booking. Incorporating the added bonus of being able to pay in cryptocurrency – and being one of the first concierge services to offer this option – is an exciting way to recognise our thriving community. Our focus is to provide the most progressive, upscale, and secure air travel experience in the world, and our alliance with StormX will help us make this a reality for an entirely new community of tech lovers.” The reason that this is such a big deal, is that it is one of the first major steps at bridging the gap between digital currency and the travel industry, which may well inspire others to follow suit.

So, the news today that American Express has opened up a payments corridor using Ripple that can send money from England to the U.S. in just a few seconds has been a long time coming. "Whereas beforehand Amex had to send Swift messaging to the banks to request the payment to happen, now Amex is connected directly to the banks using Ripple and Ripple's cryptography, so that the movement of value happens immediately."

Tianya Club, an internet forum founded in 1999, announced on Wednesday it will launch the blockchain-based Tianyan Token (TYT) on Aug. 8 as a way to reward original content contributions and participation in community activities. It will also serve as a means of exchange and payments. With a hard-cap of 90 billion tokens to be created, Tianya said 20 percent of the total will be reserved for its operational teams, while the remaining 80 percent will be distributed to community members. So far, Tianya has not disclosed what platform its blockchain is built on, nor is it clear if TYTs will be subsequently tradeable on third-party exchanges or how its value will be determined. Today's launch also appears to be boosting the firm's non-blockchain token – Tianya Diamond –which was launched by the firm in late 2017, just a few months after China explicitly banned companies from soliciting Chinese residents over blockchain-related tokens. According to today's announcement, only users who hold a certain amount of Tianya Diamonds can receive TYT tokens by participating in certain community activities such as moderating threads. Tianya Diamond was revealed in December as a centrally issued utility token for collectibles and gifting, with the firm promising "more use cases in the future." With a hard-cap of 900 million, Tianya Diamond can be purchased using Chinese yuan on WeChat. For users who hope to earn TYTs by contributing original content, the total of any reward depends on the numbers votes received from other users who hold TYTs. The move appears to be an attempt by the internet forum to revitalize its community after a decline in profits amid decreasing popularity.

Japan-based tech conglomerate Hitachi and telecommunication giant KDDI are testing a blockchain-based system that can settle retail payments using shoppers' fingers. According to a release on Wednesday, a group of staff from the two partners are this week experimenting with a coupon settlement system deployed in a KDDI store in Tokyo's Shinjuku district, as well as a local donut shop. Built by Hitachi with technology from the Hyperledger Fabric platform, the blockchain system is integrated with Hitachi's biometric verification and KDDI's existing coupon system. It seeks to settle shoppers' coupon transactions over a distributed network based on the vein pattern of their fingers as validators. Hitachi explained that when shoppers sign up to use the system, they will register their coupon credits and biometric information, which are then encoded into a string of encrypted data and stored on the blockchain. When initiating a transaction at a retail shop that accepts the coupons and participates in the blockchain as a node, shoppers will verify their identity with a finger reading device that broadcasts the request to the network and the transaction is settled. Hitachi said the end goal is to use a tamper-proof blockchain to assist in verifying the vein pattern of users' fingers and to keep their coupon usage information accurate and updated across stores within the network simultaneously. "As a result, users can authenticate themselves by holding the finger on the authentication infrastructure, so it is not necessary to present a coupon at the store, and the coupon can be used even without a smartphone," the company said in the release. The project is the latest pilot test taken by Hitachi to utilize a blockchain platform in retail transactions. Last year, the company also announced it is developing a blockchain platform for supply chain businesses to manage orders and invoices on an immutable ledger.

Germany's second-largest stock exchange is developing an ICO platform, it announced on Thursday. Boerse Stuttgart expects to roll out the platform as part of larger "end-to-end infrastructure" for "digital assets" it is currently developing, and says the ICO platform will allow token issuers to conduct token sales with "standardized and transparent processes." It will also offer a "multilateral trading venue for cryptocurrencies as well as solutions for safe custody," it said in a statement. The bourse's announcement comes just months after it unveiled plans for a crypto trading app. Dubbed Bison, the app is expected to be released in September. The debut of the ICO platform, trading venue and will follow Bison's launch, Boerse Stuttgart said, while its custody services will be available before Bison is live. The company also has its sights set on secondary markets and has designed its new services accordingly. CEO Alexander Hoptner explained, "At the trading venue tokens issued via our ICO platform can be traded on the secondary market. This is an important success factor for ICOs. At the same time, we are responding to demand from both retail and institutional investors for a regulated and reliable environment for trading and cryptocurrencies."

the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a patent application that was filed in January by Walmart Inc. It describes the validation, through blockchain technology, of transactions involving smart appliances, such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and dryers. The inventors outline a process whereby a user makes a transaction request, which triggers a consensus mechanism within nodes in a network. From there, a consensus protocol would be implemented to validate the transaction, allowing the smart appliance associated with the transaction to perform the requested function. The management of these smart appliance transactions could be part of an internet of things (IoT) ecosystem wherein the transaction data is recorded on a public ledger like a blockchain. The ledger would allow relevant parties in the IoT ecosystem to confirm the legitimacy of a transaction. Also, within the system could be wearable devices that maintain individuals' private keys, which they would use to authorize the smart appliance transactions. The control and access of such devices could be modified by authorized users as well, like when a new device is introduced or removed from the system. Moreover, the application provides a broad list of potential uses for the blockchain-based system, including within homes, environmental monitoring efforts, healthcare, and manufacturing. The inventors go on to note that such a system need not be limited to the management of smart appliances. Walmart has a few patent applications under its belt, including an active one for an electrical grid that uses a public ledger (published by the USPTO on June 14). However, that could merely be a duplicate or a slightly updated version of a patent application that the retail giant filed in December 2016. Another surfaced on May 10, calling for autonomous vehicle deliveries, which may be part of an effort on Walmart's behalf to ramp up its supply chain processes through blockchain technology.

The university wants to position itself as a leader in blockchain technology education and stimulate blockchain projects in the state. The University of Arkansas announced the establishment of its new Blockchain Center of Excellence on August 2. The new center, which the university's board of trustees approved in May, will be part of the school's Sam. M Walton College of Business Department of Information Systems and is intended to educate students on the "importance of blockchain technology in the future of business and digital security." It's also meant to be a place where academics, government representatives, and industry members can collaborate on blockchain projects that create new jobs and strengthen Arkansas' business industry. Mary C. Lacity, who joined the University of Arkansas this summer and has been chosen as the center's director, said the college wants to position itself as a leader in blockchain technology education. Walton College dean Matt Waller expressed the desired objectives for the new center: "The mission of the center is three-fold. We will develop and establish research partnerships by conducting collaborative industry-university research, we will promote and enable dissemination of knowledge about blockchains, and we will accelerate industry adoption of blockchain technology." A specific timeline for the opening of the center has not been made public, and degrees and classes have yet to be listed on U of A's website. Many colleges and universities are seeing the demand for education in the industry. In June, ETHNews reported that the University of California, Berkeley was implementing a blockchain certification program. In July, a blockchain university called Woolf had plans to address challenges in the education sector using blockchain technology, and later that month, IBM and Columbia University announced they were collaborating to open a blockchain research and education center.

he multinational mass media corporation will give financial professionals access to crypto-asset data. CryptoCompare, a cryptocurrency market data aggregator, recently announced its partnership with the Thomson Reuters Corporation to "integrate order book and trade data for 50 coins" with Eikon, the information giant's finance platform. According to the announcement, the data will come from exchanges that the aggregator trusts to provide reliable market information. At this time, the crypto-assets to be covered and the specific data sources have not been identified. With the addition of the data, investors and traders using Eikon could track active crypto-assets. This monitoring could potentially allow users to predict price movements, identify buy and sell opportunities, and broaden their portfolios of digital assets. Sam Chadwick, director of strategy in innovation and blockchain at Thomson Reuters, is enthusiastic about the company's partnership with CryptoCompare: "Despite the decline in the price of many of the leading cryptocurrencies during 2018, we continue to see increasing demand from our customers for pricing coverage of the major names. We have been engaged with CryptoCompare since their involvement in our blockchain hackathon in September 2016, and continue to be very impressed by their approach to coverage of these challenging markets." CryptoCompare seeks to provide comprehensive data for the growing cryptocurrency market. The company's CEO and founder, Charles Hayter, hopes investors on Eikon will benefit from CryptoCompare's "experience and insight." The organization prides itself on purportedly offering "the most accurate live prices, charting and market analysis from 65 of the top crypto exchanges globally." This isn't the first time Thomson Reuters has demonstrated an interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain development. In September 2016, the company hosted a three-day HackETHon in London with the Ethereum Foundation. On June 14, 2017, the corporation announced the release of a blockchain market data plugin, BlockOne IQ. Chadwick spoke at Devcon3 last year about this platform and its role in helping the company become an oracle for Ethereum. In March of this year, Thomson Reuters unveiled its plans for a bitcoin "sentiment data feed" so that investors and traders could monitor general attitudes about the cryptocurrency across social media and news outlets. The information company expanded this feed in June to track the top 100 cryptocurrencies.

In the midst of runaway inflation, Venezuela will print new money, removing five zeroes from the denominations, and tie its national currency to the recently created petro. According to the International Monetary Fund, the Venezuelan inflation rate was 46 thousand percent last month and, if it continues on the path it's on, could exceed 1 million percent by the end of the year. The Venezuelan government announced an initiative to address hyperinflation. The Economic Prosperity Recovery Program is set to begin August 20. To accommodate the skyrocketing amount of cash necessary to make purchases, the government will issue new paper money with five fewer zeroes than the existing bills. President Maduro also signed a decree to remove taxes and duties on imports of raw goods. Without giving much detail, Maduro claimed the economic plan will also tie the Venezuelan bolivar to the county's recently created cryptocurrency, the petro. The petro, in turn, is tied to the value of oil. One petro supposedly equals the value of (but it not redeemable for) one barrel of Venezuelan oil. However, at the time of press, CoinMarketCap has the petro's value listed at less than one cent (up 24 percent from yesterday). "The petro is going to undoubtedly make one of the stabilizing columns of the Venezuelan economy," Maduro said in the announcement. Other governments have implemented similar plans to fight hyperinflation. Weimar Germany created a new currency pegged to (but not redeemable for) a commodity (gold, in its case). However, there's been a great deal of skepticism about the petro's usefulness. A Brookings Institution article, for instance, asserted that the "petro cannot stabilize the Venezuelan economy and instead exists to create foreign currency reserves from thin air." Even inside Venezuela, the petro is controversial. Several lawmakers called the cryptocurrency illegal and claimed it would not be honored once Maduro left office. However, the deeply unpopular president remains in office, having won an election in May that was widely considered fraudulent. Tim Prentiss Tim Prentiss is a writer and editor for ETHNews. He has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno. He lives in Reno with his daughter. In his spare time he writes songs and disassembles perfectly good electronic devices.

Arsenal have become the first football team in the UK to officially partner with a digital cryptocurrency, with the North London club teaming up with CashBet Coin. With Bitcoin becoming more and more common in today’s high-tech digital age, it was only a matter of time before one of the Premier League’s cash-rich members go in on the act. CashBet Coin is designed specifically with iGaming in mind, with the company looking to offer what they call an ‘ICO’ of their cryptocurrency, where they make an initial coin offering to the public.

The alliance of sports and cryptocurrency is all set for an entertaining development. With high user engagement observed in live streaming of video games and in dedicated fan following of players, a blockchain project is opening up to National Football League (NFL) players. The NFL Players Association, the union for NFL athletes, has announced a partnership with a blockchain startup that will allow its players to host content and earn revenue through the decentralized platform. The deal involves NFLPA acquiring a minority stake in SportsCastr, a live streaming platform that enables users, fans or athletes to act as sportscasters to cover live sporting events. Launched by the creators of the FanChain token, SportsCastr aims to emerge as a decentralized sports entertainment ecosystem and reward users for producing and hosting content based on audience engagement. As a part of the collaboration and stake purchase, NFLPA “plans to encourage its members to provide commentary, live streams and other content for the FanChain platform, thereby earning revenue for themselves outside the games they play,” reports CoinDesk. Exclusive NFL-Based Content Through this initiative, past and present NFL players will be able to join the SportsCastr platform and create their own dedicated channels to provide live commentary on games, and by creating other unique content that can be hosted on the platform. Depending on audience engagement and the subscription numbers attracted by the player's content, they will be able to earn monetary rewards in the form of FanChain tokens. The platform also enable fans to directly pay tokens to the NFL players of their choice. Additionally, the platform supports subscription-only channels with a paywall, allowing only paying users and fans to access the content offered by the NFL players. The ecosystem will facilitate FanChain tokens to be “used to unlock premium NFL player content (such as backstage access), purchase sports tickets or merchandise, and send virtual gifts to NFL players,” among other token-based perks, reports BitsOnline. While the initiative is currently open to football players, it may be expanded later to bring in representatives from other sports, NFLPA vice president of business and legal affairs Casey Schwab told CoinDesk. "We're not limiting it to any sports. It's really about engaging all athletes," he said. The players will be allowed to comment, discuss and cover games from sports outside their own. A New Sports Ecosystem The first NFL player commentators are expected to go live on the SportsCastr platform during Q3, which will also mark the start of this year’s NFL season. SportsCastr was selected after months of consideration as the NFLPA was looking for a blockchain-based startup that offered a whole ecosystem. "They are building an entire universe. To use an analogy, they're not just building the video game, they're building the video game, the console, the outlets [and] the television. That's a big endeavor," Schwab said. (See also: NBA's Sacramento Kings Read more: Online Deal Will Pay NFL Players in Cryptocurrency | Investopedia https://www.investopedia.com/news/online-deal-will-pay-nfl-players-cryptocurrency/#ixzz5NFmMv3Jd Follow us: Investopedia on Facebook

Chinese millionaire has purchased four Formula 1 cars, valued at about £4m, using the digital currency Litecoin. See related Who are the Bitcoin billionaires? Bitcoin: why did its value skyrocket? The sale includes the Ferrari-powered Sauber C30 from the 2011 F1 season, reports Bitcoin News, when it was driven by Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi - with the latter scoring the C30’s best result of fifth place in Monaco.The deal was made through the London-based Heritage F1 dealership, adds the website, and was orchestrated by art dealer and cryptocurrency champion Eleesa Dadiani. Dadiani’s London gallery allows buyers to purchase art using “several different cryptocurrencies including including bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and Dash”, says The Drive. While bitcoin millionaires have been using the digital currency to buy supercars for some time, the site says, the F1 purchase is believed to be the first vehicle sale to be completed entirely in Litecoin.

Under the beautiful bonnet is the 6.6-litre engine that powers the Gold Rolls and the personalised plate features 007. The super-luxury four-seater hardtop painted in Gold finish is as opulent as its interior, with innovative infotainment – watch your favourite film while relaxing in the comfort of its lavish interior, with TV screens and champagne flutes catered to those with impeccable taste. The Gold Rolls is said to be the only Rolls-Royce that comes with an in-built rear refrigerator and champagne flutes. Other exciting features that further perfected the comfort systems are the 360-degree overhead camera system, active cruise control automatic breaking and TV. Ultimately, the growing number of transactions of this nature point to a rising class of crypto-affluents poised to become the next new market for luxury merchants, an arena which Aditus Network, currently serves as the world’s first bridge between luxury merchants and this new “With the meteoric rise in popularity and value of Bitcoin in recent years, it comes as no surprise that sellers are now attempting to trade this way.” – Erin Baker, Auto Trader editorial director

The chives growing in one crypto tycoon’s California mansion carry a hidden message. Guo Hongcai, a beef salesman turned early bitcoin adopter from China’s Shanxi province, is one of many freshly minted millionaires funneling parts of their wealth out of the country by purchasing real estate abroad. In April, Hongcai sold 500 bitcoin in the U.S. then used that money to buy a 100,000-square-foot mansion in Los Gatos, a 90-minute drive from San Francisco, California. His Rolls-Royce, also purchased with the fruits of bitcoin arbitrage, sits in the driveway close to a small chives garden. “It’s very normal to sell bitcoin in the U.S. After selling bitcoin, you can just buy anything you want,” he told CoinDesk. Guo calls this secondary residence his “Mansion of Chives,” because the vegetable is also Chinese slang for crypto investors who prove vulnerable to big sell-offs.

One of the ways investors and traders can use cryptocurrency, is to buy and sell real estate. Cryptocurrency makes it possible for anyone to buy property anywhere, from wherever they happen to be. So you could, for instance, be traveling through the Negev or laying beachside or poolside at some nice hotel on your Summer holiday, and buy a property in the US or Europe or virtually anywhere. There are even some boutique real estate investors based in certain small, tech-savvy countries including the likes of Israel, Lichtenstein and Holland, that are buying up properties around the world, on the blockchain. So much for the argument that there is no use for cryptocurrency. There are a number of real estate crypto projects already on the market, including ATLANT, SwissRealCoin and The Crypto Realty Group. Visiting each of these sites quickly shows how very different each project is. For instance, ATLANT is developing a tokenized ownership model for liquid and transparent real estate trading and investing. SwissRealCoin is a security token linked to a portfolio of Swiss Commercial Real Estate. The coin’s managers believe this gives it an ever-growing inner value. Their mission is to revolutionize and automate real estate asset management with “MIA” (Management & Investment Assistant), their blockchain software. And The Crypto Realty Group operates as a cryptocurrency-enabled real estate agency based in Southern California.

Now, imagine how different your life would be if you never opened your first bank account. Your only option would be to somehow earn money in cash. You'd either need to hide it in your home, or spend the money right away on things you need. If an emergency happened and you needed to borrow money, you'd probably end up borrowing from high-interest loan sharks. While this sounds like a nightmare, it is actually an everyday reality for 2 billion "unbanked" people in under-developed countries around the world. The current economic system that's in place makes it impossible for people living in true poverty to make their way out, regardless of how hard they try. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's motto is: All Lives Have Equal Value. For years, the couple have been using their own success to help bring improvements in health care and education to developing nations. Now, they have a vision for growing the economies of those countries.

Ripple (XRP) and American Express ‘shook hands’ in a partnership that was one of the many that highlighted that period. Other Ripple partnerships announced in December were with Santander, Western Union, and Moneygram. In the case of American Express, not too much was disclosed in terms of which Ripple software solution was going to be used with their payment processes. All speculation hinted at xVia or xCurrent. But a recent news development has revealed that it is indeed xCurrent that American Express is using. This is the same software solution seen to power Santander’s OnePayFX app. Read more at http://globalcoinreport.com/how-ripple-xrp-xcurrent-is-boosting-american-express-transaction-speeds/

ritish Airways last year tested blockchain to maintain data on flights between London, Geneva and Miami. The idea was to stop conflicting flight information from appearing at gates, on airport monitors, at airline websites and in customer apps.“Today, you can’t live your life without a mobile phone. In a few years, you will have to participate in one or more blockchain solutions because they’re just more efficient and lower cost,” he said. Corporate spending on blockchain software is expected to reach $2.1 billion this year, up from $945 million in 2017, according to researcher International Data Corp. Distribution, retail and manufacturing are among the industries due to ramp up blockchain spending in 2018, IDC said. Airports and airlines already share data, but the exchanges are often between just a few organizations at a time, with each player updating its own databases on its own timetable, said Kevin O’Sullivan, a lead engineer at SITA, the airline technology organization that coordinated the experiment. “Separate copies tend to drift out of sync. It’s a significant problem,” he said. In last year’s test, British Airways, London Heathrow, Geneva International Airport and Miami International Airport uploaded their flight operations nearly continuously to their blockchain, giving all parties a view of the same information at the same time. The result was “one pure, true instance of data,” said Maurice Jenkins, director of information systems and telecommunications at Miami International. Mr. Jenkins expects to run more blockchain tests, in part to help the airport manage growth. The number of air travelers world-wide is expected to double to 7.8 billion a year within two decades, he said. In 2017, more than 44 million travelers passed through his airport alone.

Blockchain isn’t only about bitcoin. The technology best known as the record-keeping system behind cryptocurrencies seems poised to play a broader role in business, where it could change how supply chains work. Walmart Inc. is beginning to use the online ledger technology to manage supply-chain data for mangoes, berries and a couple of dozen other products. The system, built with International Business Machines Corp., will help Walmart figure out where bad food came from during product recalls.

The numerous benefits involved in developing such a platform have already attracted immense traction, and subsequently investments, from the financial sector as well as many technological giants. The technology holds the ability to change the way the financial sector works and would result in favorably impacting many other industries including technology, consumer goods, and media and telecom. An innovative requiem for all Bitcoin transactions, blockchain technology has also incorporated other cryptocurrencies, including Litecoin, Ripple, and Mintchip. Many financial institutions and banks are developing keen interest in the technology, owing to its unique and innovative structure with regulatory bodies, such as IMF and Bank of England, which are showing considerable interest in the matter. A wide range of players in the finance industry are looking out for investment opportunities and many have made the first round of investments to develop products and services in the industry. Though the market may be struggling with regulatory uncertainties and security concerns, the coming years are expected to witness a larger role in financial transactions, spanning diverse domains and industries. Apart from the financial sector, blockchain technology holds enormous opportunities across multiple application arenas. Healthcare and public-sector applications are expected to witness enormous growth in the years to come. This is due to the fact that the implication of the technology was restricted only to the BFSI segment earlier. The actual model of blockchain is now being implemented in various core applications.

What is Blockchain? Blockchain is a distributed general ledger recording that a transaction happened, when it happened and that it happened correctly, without exposing any confidential details about the subject or the parties’ involved. The first Blockchain transaction was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (the pseudonym publishing the initial white paper about Bitcoin). When we talk about Blockchain we often mean the Bitcoin Blockchain, which is the general ledger of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Bitcoin is the concept of an encrypted virtual currency using the Blockchain protocol to perform financial transactions. In the aftermath of the financial crises in 2008, Bitcoin was developed as an alternative to traditional currencies which were being challenged by market volatility and liquidity needs in an environment of unpredictability and mistrust. The premise of Bitcoin is to have a peer-to-peer digital payment system enabling users to execute transactions, secured by cryptography and without the involvement of any third party (e.g. Central Bank or clearing institution) to issue or control the exchange. Deloitte University Press Even though you can’t physically hold a bitcoin in your hand, paying by Bitcoin is not much different from using recognized currencies like cash or gold. All you need is a wallet (an address registered on the Bitcoin Blockchain accessible via an application like you have on your phone or tablet) with some bitcoins. You can then make a transaction of a certain amount to a special bitcoin address and sign it with your private key (which you need to keep secret). A verification process will take place by ‘miners’ ensuring that the transaction is between existing accounts on the network 2 and that there is no double spending. Once the block of transactions is validated and the solution has been validated by a consensus of miners, it is added in chronological order to a publically available ‘distributed ledger’, the Bitcoin Blockchain and cannot be reversed or changed. How is Blockchain Different to Bitcoin? Even though Blockchain initially was a means to create Bitcoins, today Blockchain is not only used for Bitcoins and is a software protocol on its own. The Blockchain technology is said to be changing and challenging the existing security model / paradigm. Established security models are building walls to lock people out of the network, handing out encryption keys only to people that are allowed access a certain information. Cue disruption, Blockchain’s model is all about letting as many people in as possible. In fact, the more people that have the ledger and participate in the validation, the harder it gets to break the system. “Trusting strangers with your digital information may sound silly, but it’s actually a revolution in distributed computing” (IEEE Spectrum). The distributed ledger technology of Blockchain can be used for way more than currencies: • Virtual wallet / payments / exchange offering (Bitreserve, BitPesa) • Process payments (BitPay, Coinbase) • Clearing and settlement solutions (Hyperledger, Serica) • Developing and offering cryptocurrency denominated products (SolidX, Tinker) Different platforms are developing in order to facilitate the usage of Blockchain technology. Solutions like Factom, Counterparty, and Blockstream are building Blockchain

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin have seen a surge in popularity across South Africa as the nation grapples with growing political and economic uncertainty. The nation has made international headlines as the ruling African National Congress (ANC) and President Cyril Ramaphosa discuss contentious land reform policies in a country facing high unemployment rates and liquidity crises. As a result, more and more citizens are researching virtual currencies, and rising trade volume inside of the country has also been seen. Research from a pan-African investment bank in July revealed how 38 percent of South Africans “wish they had invested” in cryptocurrency. Legal regulations in the nation have also been relatively loose so far.

Walk into a Prague subway station and chances are you’ll see an ATM. But you don’t need a debit card or even a bank account to use this machine. This is a cryptocurrency ATM. It’s the physical manifestation of a set of virtual currencies that have leapt out of the shadows of the underground to the mainstream of global finance. And it’s over these ATMs that the latest race in the cryptosphere is unfolding. From Detroit to Delhi, and Santiago to Split, cryptocurrency ATMs are popping up around the world, catering to an interest that has been tempered by a crash in Bitcoin valuations this year. The first such ATM opened in 2013 at Waves coffee shop in Vancouver, British Columbia. Now, just five years later, more than 3,000 cryptocurrency ATMs populate train stations, factories, delis, hookah bars, tattoo shops, pubs and even pet clinics. These ATMs allow users to withdraw cash or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. And crypto kingpins are now duking it out for control of that exploding market. Crypto ATMs are now the only way I can have a functioning economy. Yoshi Livo, entrepreneur and crypto promoter Czech firm General Bytes, which has set up the machines in Prague, claims it has sold more than 1,700 cryptocurrency ATMs, in 53 countries, since 2014. EasyBit, a pioneer in the field, started in 2013, and has developed four machine models, selling more than 60 ATMs on four continents. An early-mover advantage has helped both firms spread out geographically. But while scale is their biggest ally, others are trying to make their mark with more sophisticated technology. Vault Logic, which is currently in its beta launch phase, is deploying so-called smart ATMs that allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies for global cash, and uses an operating system to accept third-party apps. This allows it to both sell cryptocurrencies for cash and offer additional services such as paying bills or topping up prepaid mobiles. Vault Logic has placed 10 prototype ATMs in high-profile Bitcoin “embassies” — spaces built to introduce more people to crypto technology — and more traditional venues such as downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, and the headquarters of internet retailer Overstock.com in Salt Lake City.

Bitcoin (BTC)–Friday brought about a rather momentous announcement for the adoption of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, when news broke that Starbucks is working on a collaboration to begin accepting crypto through a fiat intermediary. Called Bakkt, a global platform and ecosystem for digital assets, the exchange will allow for customers to trade crypto for fiat and participate in the purchase of items at Starbucks. While the company has since clarified that they will not be accepting Bitcoin directly, it does provide some level of validation for the industry in addition to giving the currency some much needed adoption-related exposure. Bakkt Backed by Starbucks, Microsoft and More Bakkt, the proposed exchange for simplifying the swap of BTC and fiat for market purposes, represents a collaboration between Starbucks, Microsoft and Intercontinental Exchange. Original articles ran with some misleading headlines that gave the appearance Starbucks was planning to outright accept Bitcoin for coffee. Instead, the company has made its intention clear that it wants to operate with cryptocurrency–albeit through the presence of a third party intermediary. The news comes as a somewhat lackluster advancement for most diehard cryptocurrency fans. Investors and members of the community have had numerous opportunities to work with payment platforms, BitPay being one of the more popular, which convert BTC to fiat for purchases. However, the intermediary step neglects one of the primary functions of crypto: that it can work fine as a secure, digital payment in its present form without the need of exchanging to government currencies. Nonetheless, interest from Starbucks and Microsoft is positive news for advancing Bitcoin’s brand and growing greater merchant-based adoption. Brian Kelly, a regular contributor to CNBC’s crypto shows, found the move to be overwhelmingly positive.

Does this blockchain platform have what it takes to transform the global payments industry? Launched in 2012, XRP (XRP) is now firmly entrenched as one of the world’s largest cryptocurrencies. The native asset of the XRP Ledger, an open-source blockchain platform, XRP aims to offer fast, affordable and reliable cross-border payments. Both XRP and the XRP Ledger are used by US technology company Ripple, which is developing a range of solutions designed to transform the global payment industry. This guide takes a closer look at Ripple’s global payments network, how XRP works, and what the future may hold for this ambitious project. What is Ripple? Ripple is a San Francisco-based technology company with more than 200 employees. With a focus on providing cross-border payment solutions, Ripple also has offices in New York, London, Sydney, India, Singapore and Luxembourg. Ripple’s main aim is to create a global settlement network that ensures more efficient transactions between the world’s financial institutions. The platform is designed to allow users to transfer money from any currency to any other currency in a matter of seconds, anywhere in the world. This is an ambitious goal meant to eliminate the need for older systems like Western Union or SWIFT. Before going any further, we should point out that the term Ripple is often used interchangeably, and often incorrectly, to refer to a few different things: XRP. XRP is the name of the digital currency that facilitates transactions on the Ripple network. It effectively acts as a bridge between the two currencies being transferred, and also serves as a source of liquidity when necessary. XRP is the native asset of the XRP Ledger, an open-source blockchain that runs on a network of peer-to-peer servers. Ripple. This is the American technology company that develops the Ripple payment protocol and network. Originally known as OpenCoin, it later traded as Ripple Labs before rebranding to Ripple in 2015. RippleNet. This is Ripple’s network of payment providers around the world. It connects the different payment networks of banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporate entities, and can accept both fiat and cryptocurrencies.

This is a prime example of the out dated Worldwide Banking systems will be crushed by Cryptocurrency: - Let’s say Bank A in Australia wants to send $5 million to Bank B in Bangladesh. Rather than converting Australian dollars to Bangladeshi taka, battling exchange rate margins, processing fees and slow transaction times along the way, Bank A can transfer $5 million worth of XRP to Bank B’s Ripple wallet, which can then be converted to local currency. Payments using XRP settle in four seconds, and the current minimum transaction cost required by the network for a standard transaction is 0.00001 XRP. The network is also currently capable of consistently handling 1,500 transactions per second.

he market demand for cryptocurrency ATMs has grown rapidly. Cryptocurrency owners need ATMs to quickly exchange and spend their invested cash when they need to, and the competition between cryptocurrency ATM providers is heating up.he first cryptocurrency ATM was installed in a coffee shop in Vancouver in 2013 and, according to data from coinatmradar.com, there are now 3502 Bitcoin ATMs in operation globally. Over half of current cryptocurrency ATMs support at least one altcoin as well as Bitcoin. 49% offer Litecoin transactions and 32% offer Ethereum. The average fee for using a cryptocurrency ATM transaction is around 8%. Cryptocurrency ATM makers are thriving, opening up a further new channel for cryptocurrency investors and capital inflow to the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Genesis Coin has a 33% share of the ATM market followed by General Bytes at 26%. General Bytes says it has sold 1,700 ATMs in 53 countries, since 2014. EasyBit, founded in 2013, has 60 ATMs in operation. Coinatmradar estimates new cryptocurrency ATMs are being installed around the globe at a rate of nearly 9 per day. At this rate, there will be nearly 5000 cryptocurrency ATMs in operation by the end of 2018. Demand for Cryptocurrency ATMs The need for cryptocurrency ATMs is driven by cryptocurrency users, some of whom prefer to avoid centralized financial institutions like banks. Other cryptocurrency users are just looking to access tied up assets quickly while on the move. By allowing withdrawals in fiat, from cryptocurrency balances, cryptocurrency ATMs permit exactly that. Mike Dupree, CEO of ATM makers EasyBit, says his firm is targeting customers already using cryptocurrencies and that building customers outside of this niche is a challenge. Dupree recognizes that the fall in cryptocurrency prices and regulatory concerns affects the market, but predicts: “The beauty of cryptocurrencies is that you don’t have to trust a financial institution to back your wealth. Decentralization is the future, and regulation will eventually fall in line.” In July 2018, Malta saw the installation of its first two way Bitcoin and Litecoin cryptocurrency ATM by Maltese ATM startup Moon Zebra. Have you used a cryptocurrency ATM? Do you have, or need one, in your town or city?

On Monday, the Bango Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, confirmed that there are currently 29 companies that have submitted digital currency exchange applications to try to get a foothold at the local cryptocurrency market. BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi Fonacier stated: “There are 29 pending applications under different stages of processing, i.e., ongoing evaluation, awaiting submission of documentary requirements, and for presentation of business model.” Currently, only Betur Inc. and Rebittance Inc. have been granted licenses by the BSP to operate a virtual currency exchange in the Philippines. Betur’s application was approved in September 2017 while Rebittance’s was approved a month later. Aside from the pending applications, several foreign companies are in various stages of planning to put up cryptocurrency exchange operations in the Philippines either to cater to the domestic market or in the country’s economic zones. In anticipation of the growth in the virtual currency space especially in remittance and payment services, the BSP issued Circular 944 in February last year creating a formal regulatory framework for digital currency exchanges. The circular also recognized “that virtual currency (VC) systems have the potential to revolutionize delivery of financial services, particularly for payments and remittance, in view of their ability to provide faster and more economical transfer of funds, both domestic and international, and may further support financial inclusion.”

EER-TO-PEER lending may have revolutionised how individuals save and borrow money, but cryptocurrency fans are now turning their attention to the sector. Crypto or digital currencies such as Bitcoin or Ethereum have gained public attention recently amid the emergence of initial coin offerings (ICOs) — a fundraising that rewards investors with supposedly-tradeable tokens in return for supporting a business using the blockchain technology behind cryptocurrency. Some providers are looking to combine the principle of P2P with cryptocurrencies. All argue that using blockchain technology is faster than traditional banking or P2P and can help those particularly in developing countries where the credit scoring or financial system may not be as advanced. For example, Sikoba, founded by Luxembourg-based financial consultant and researcher Aleksander Kampa, is offering ERC-20 tokens in return for backing a platform that provides a P2P IOU system, extending lines of credit to users who know each other around the world.

Major global insurers are starting to offer protection against cryptocurrency theft, willing to tackle daunting challenges it brings rather than miss out on this volatile and loosely regulated, but rapidly growing business. So far only a few insurers sell such insurance, including XL Catlin, Chubb, and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance. Yet several others told Reuters they are looking into theft coverage for companies that handle digital currencies like bitcoin and ether, which trade between anonymous parties.

The High Court of Zimbabwe has lifted a ban on cryptocurrencies in the Southern African country. This follows a lawsuit that was filed by a local cryptocurrency exchange which argued that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe did not have any authority to declare cryptocurrencies illegal.

Samsung Electronics has revealed it is making chips designed specifically to harvest crypto-currency coins. The firm made the disclosure in its latest earnings report, where it said the activity should boost its profits. The report also confirmed that the South Korean company overtook Intel to become the biggest chipmaker last year. And it forecast strong demand for its forthcoming Galaxy S9 smartphone, which is due to be revealed on 25 February. Samsung Electronic's fourth quarter net profit totalled 12.3tn won ($11.5bn; £8.1bn), which was roughly in line with analysts' expectations. But its shares jumped nearly 9% after the company revealed that it was splitting its stock 50-to-1, which should encourage trade in the asset. Asic's advantage For now, Samsung is providing little detail about its new crypto-currency business. "Samsung's foundry business is currently engaged in the manufacturing of crypto-currency mining chips," it said in a statement given to the BBC. "However we are unable to disclose further details regarding our customers."

Smart Containers Group is accepting cryptocurrency payments to ship pharmaceutical products, which the firm says will free up manpower and reduce transport costs. https://www.outsourcing-pharma.com/Article/2018/01/24/Cryptocurrency-payments-will-reduce-shipping-costs-says-pharma-logistics-firm

BASF showed off how it is applying blockchain to its supply chain at an EXPO Day of start-up accelerator STARTUP AUTOBAHN. This was held in Stuttgart on July 25. Alongside Daimler, Porsche and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (amongst others), BASF is partnering and mentoring selected start-ups in pilot projects in the areas of: blockchain sensor technology augmented reality future manufacturing product simulation. Jürgen Becky, Senior Vice President, Performance materials, BASF “We believe that big ideas start small. That’s why we work with young entrepreneurs who have the potential to change the future of mobility and production,” says Jürgen Becky, Senior Vice President Performance Materials at BASF. “It’s at STARTUP AUTOBAHN, where – figuratively speaking – the ingenuity of Carl Benz or Fritz Haber meets the visionary ideas of Steve Jobs. It is this enthusiasm for new things and entrepreneurial spirit that we want to foster within BASF to strengthen our own innovation power and competitiveness.” BASF BASF is a leading chemical supplier to the automotive industry. In 2016, BASF’s automotive driven sales totalled €10 billion – representing approximately 17 percent of BASF Group’s sales. BASF supplies and develops functional materials and solutions which enable vehicles to have a lower environmental impact, whatever powertrain technology they use. BASF’s product range includes:

In a small village outside Moscow, a quiet revolution is underway. Farmers and small businesses around Kolionovo, 80 miles from the capital, are ditching the ruble and switching to a cryptocurrency -- the kolion -- to pay for local trade. Banker turned farmer Mikhail Shlyapnikov led the way. Diagnosed with cancer a decade ago, he moved out of the city with the aim of reviving a dying village. Five years later, he needed funds to develop his plant nursery but ran into an obstacle many small Russian businesses face: banks wanted to charge 12% interest to lend him money. "I didn't want to suffocate and be a slave of the banks," Shlyapnikov says, putting a hand on his throat. "So I had to invent my own money. And I did it. I'm my own bank, government, regulator."

Litecoin is definitely a cryptocurrency to watch this year, as the price has been predicted to hit $1,500 by the end of 2018. Speaking of the cryptocurrency, Tim Lea, the CEO of REFFIND said; “The LitePay product that is being produced has all the hallmarks of greatness. With a heavy emphasis on compliance, there is a great recognition within the team to hit the operational payments space very strongly and with the right compliance issues to deal with the regulatory structures that cryptocurrencies so desperately needs.” When you consider that Litecoin is currency worth $205, it’s a huge profit of 631%.Litecoin is not the only virtual currency that is seeing huge price increases. Bitcoin prices have, once again topped $11,000, with investors being confident of a bright future for the top cryptocurrency. Bill Miller, the former Legg Mason fund manager, who is currently running his own hedge fund said;

Dutch pension funds APG and PGGM said they have completed the initial phase of a joint experiment involving a blockchain application to develop an advanced pension administration system. The companies said blockchain technology has the potential to significantly improve the services pension funds provide to their plan participants. One of their main goals is to use blockchain to lower participant costs, simplify pension administration, and increase security. In addition, the personal pension data will become more accessible to participants. “We aim to create the maximum possible value for pension funds and their participants,” Wim Henk Steenpoorte, a member of the APG’s executive board, said in a statement. “By investing in smart applications, such as blockchain, we make our pension administration simpler and cheaper over time.” The prototype is comparable to a pension administration system shared by all parties, and is controlled by a so-called “smart contract,” which is a set of programmable rules that specify who can view, change, and use the data. The companies say blockchain technology, which was first developed as an accounting method for bitcoins, makes it possible to store pension information in the nodes of a blockchain network. For example, the nodes are points in a network and can consist of pension providers, employers, and regulators. “The nodes check the information, execute the programmed pension contracts, and synchronize with each other,” said APG and PGGM in a statement. “This makes the storage of pension information secure, and participants, at the push of a button, can see how much pension they have accrued.” APG and PGGM said the next step will involve conducting further research with the prototype. “There is still much to learn about blockchain and the opportunities for pensions,” said the companies, adding that they will also hold talks with pension funds, regulators, and information providers about utilizing the new system. “The first results make us excited and curious to learn and explore even more,” said Paul Boomkamp, a member of PGGM’s executive board. “Ultimately, this experiment has to show that blockchain technology has the potential to manage a policy administration at lower rates.”

Crypto currencies are surging in popularity and wealth managers must decide whether to act now to take advantage of the opportunities or to play it safe and wait to see how things develop Historically, society has made several major changes to how it perceives ‘currency’ – gold replaced bartering, paper money replaced gold, and today, some believe crypto aassets, such as bitcoin, will replace paper money. Each new type of currency aims to solve the problems of the prior currency’s generation, and crypto assets are believed to be the answer to a more resilient and accountable global financial system because they promise to add trust and transparency to complex or sometimes misunderstood markets. Growing interest in, and wealth generated by this yet to be regulated asset, therefore means wealth managers need to decide whether they act now to take advantage of the opportunities being created, or to play it safe and wait. Crypto assets are a new kind of payment system which enables people to make purchases and transactions with anonymity. However, in spite of the lucrative return rates and wealth creation generated (at its peak, one unit of bitcoin was estimated to be worth $19,386.80), crypto assets are yet to impress big Wall Street players because many still view them as an opaque, highly volatile and esoteric instruments. “It’s like going to the casinos,” says Kiran Ganesh, head of Investment Advice Solutions at UBS Wealth Management. “If you are lucky, you can certainly win a million dollars, but it’s pure luck.” It’s like going to the casinos. If you are lucky, you can certainly win a million dollars, but it’s pure luck Kiran Ganesh, UBS Wealth Management Regardless of these teething trust issues, crypto currencies are surging in popularity – in the process creating fortunes and crypto-millionaires overnight. Interestingly, 58 per cent of bitcoin buyers are aged under 35, an increasingly important demographic for wealth managers. Among these individuals is a 25 year old self-made crypto-millionaire Jeremy Gardner, who created his fortune when bitcoin, bought for him by a friend, exploded in value doubling his net worth. Another example is Erik Finman who in 2012 (at the age of 12) repurposed a $1,000 gift from his grandmother for a university fund to buy 100 bitcoins at roughly $10 each. Several years later, after a dramatic escalation in price, he dropped out of school to trade crypto currencies, start a business and become a crypto-millionaire by the time he turned 18. “Cryptocurrency represents the largest transfer of wealth our generation has ever seen,” says Mr Finman. “Never before have young people been able to change economic classes so quickly.” The fact crypto assets remain a largely untested territory, with little to no existing regulation, is an unsettling issue for traditional wealth managers. G20 leaders however, are taking action to demystify their stance. The UK government, for example, is establishing a crypto assets ‘task force’ to explore the underlying technology’s potential. Similarly, the European Securities and Markets Authority is reviewing the EU bloc’s regulatory framework towards crypto assets. Such moves are translating into tangible proposition developments across the wealth space. Falcon Private Bank, for example, became the first Swiss private bank to offer bitcoin to their clients through an alliance with currency exchange Bitsuisse. The bank says it applies required due diligence to analyse the transaction history on the blockchain to ensure full compliance with anti-money laundering and know your client laws. Under the arrangement, approved by Switzerland’s regulatory body Finma, clients can exchange and hold bitcoins via Falcon using their cash holdings. Similarly, Swiss bank deVere Group is citing soaring global demand for developing a crypto currency app to add to its product offering. This is the firm’s second major fintech offering in less than a year, one which will allow users to store, transfer and exchange five major crypto assets – and help it bank affluent younger clients. The use and popularity of crypto assets is unlikely to abate any time soon but whether players in the wealth space mobilise to take first mover advantage is up for debate. The regulatory issues, while still a challenge, are actively being addressed by industry and policymakers alike. The underlying structural challenges, such as establishing a credible audit trail, are a little more difficult but not impossible to resolve. With this in mind, wealth managers need to recognise that while crypto assets are a relatively nascent development, the space is quickly evolving. And with challenges come opportunities to differentiate, innovate, and attract new clients. Wealth managers therefore need to start thinking about their existing and future clients, and how to best address their potentially increasingly crypto-related needs.

The UK's leading investing website is offering customers the chance to invest in bitcoin from today - without the technological palaver that buying the cryptocurrency typically requires. People with a self-invested pension or a general trading account with Hargreaves Lansdown can now buy into a tracker fund that follows bitcoin. Customers with an Isa or Lifetime Isa can’t invest in bitcoin because it doesn't qualify for inclusion under taxman rules, Hargreaves explained. nvestors can gain exposure to bitcoin through their SIPPs and shares and fund accounts in the form of an exchange traded note issued by Swedish company XBT Provider. ETNs are funds listed on the stock exchange, so they can be bought and sold like shares. They are denominated in Swedish krona and investors should be aware of the currency risks, as well as those attached to bitcoin itself.

The chief executive of the company that owns and operates the world’s largest stock exchange believes that bitcoin has the potential to be the world’s “first worldwide currency,” and he’s throwing his firm’s weight behind an ambitious plan to make that a reality. As CCN reported, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) — owner of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) — is forming a new company, dubbed Bakkt, that seeks to bridge the divide between Wall Street, Main Street, and the flagship cryptocurrency. Speaking with Fortune, ICE founder, Chairman, and CEO Jeffrey Sprecher explained that he believes that — bolstered by Bakkt’s infrastructure — bitcoin could become the currency of choice for global payments. ”Bitcoin would greatly simplify the movement of global money,” said Sprecher. “It has the potential to become the first worldwide currency.The move will see ICE not only launch a physically-settled bitcoin futures product but also custody cryptoassets directly and help merchants such as Starbucks — which has already signed onto the platform as a partner — accept digital assets such as bitcoin for everyday payments. It represents a remarkable about-face for ICE, which said last December that it didn’t want to rush into launching bitcoin products.”

It’s been a year since the Canadian messaging app Kik created its own cryptocurrency to help brands engage with users—and to give Kik a way to differentiate itself from Facebook. Now, more of the pieces are falling into place, with brands trying out the crypto known as Kin. Brands including Red Bull and Swarovski have been experimenting with Kin, giving fans tokens in exchange for time spent with polling questions that help the brands better understand their users. Last month, Kin quietly released its own app for Android that doubles as a crypto wallet and lets users earn Kin by engaging with brands and other platforms via quizzes, surveys and videos. The app, which is called Kinit, is the first test case for user interest in the crypto—and, in turn, the first test case for whether the promises of Kik’s $100 million initial coin offering will pan out. Among the first companies to plug into Kinit is Swelly, which conducts polls for brands on platforms like Kik, Facebook Messenger and now Kinit. The Austrian company uses a chatbot to target audiences—especially U.S. and European users between the ages of 14 and 25—that might be interested in answering questions for brands. According to Swelly CEO Peter Buchroithner, the company has built up a user base of 8 million, with monthly users in the millions. Since its 2016 debut, users have answered more than 200 million questions. While it didn’t offer rewards for questions in the beginning, the company later started offering points before it saw offering cryptocurrency as a way to further reward engagement. Swelly’s team considered doing its own ICO, but then came across Kik and thought it made more sense to use Kin rather than starting from scratch. Over the past few weeks, Swelly has been conducting surveys for brands using Kin. Red Bull was the first, followed by Swarovski and others. When Swelly asks questions—about logos, can designs or social media—users are rewarded with Kin for answering 10 questions. Buchroithner said the reward helps garner engagement quickly, especially when brands are trying to collect between 500 and 2,000 responses. In the case of Red Bull and other brands, each short question—they can only be 80 characters long–is accompanied by two photos that help the brand gain more insight into its audience. For example, for the ad copy “Soaring into the sunset,” Red Bull asked fans to choose between a photo of someone riding a mountain bike or a person diving off a cliff. Red Bull and Swarovski did not respond to requests for comment. Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing, said it’s a “no-brainer” that consumers will want a way to get paid for their time. That’s especially true, he said, if their privacy isn’t violated. He added that the target market of teens and millennials does seem to already be taking an interest in similar token systems. For example, Epstein said his fifth-grade daughter has been using a similar app called PreSearch to gain cryptocurrency—and evangelizing it to her friends as well. “I don’t think Google is worried about a flank assault from fifth-grade girls,” he said. “But stranger things have happened.” Swelly isn’t the only company experimenting with Kin. TrueX, 21st Century Fox’s ad-tech division, is also using Kinit to reward users for watching 30-second ads from its network of advertisers. The company had previously rewarded Kik users with Kik Points—Kik’s rewards engine before Kin—which let users trade in points for sticker pages or other rewards. Patrick Gales, TrueX’s vice president of business development, wouldn’t disclose which brands are testing Kin through its platform. However, he did say Kik now has everything in place to make user point generation and redemption for its roster of Fortune 500 brands such as Harley Davidson and Mondolez. That’s partially thanks to Kik’s partnership with Blackhawk Network, which works with around 700 companies to let users trade in points for gift cards and other rewards from brands such as Domino’s, Nike, Gamestop and Sephora. “The big thing for us is that there are enough of those smaller opportunities to scale,” said Gales. “Because as many transactions we can do in a day, we want this to be accessible at any level and to maintain interest at any time in the day.” There are still questions surrounding the future viability of the Kin ecosystem: Are the rewards appealing enough yet to get users to voluntary remember to open up apps like Kinit and Kik on a regular basis to earn Kin? Will brands and platforms give users enough Kin to let them pay for the rewards they want? If they can make the apps as sticky as gaming and social networking apps, it might become an appealing way for brands and users to interact in a way that doesn’t force people to give up their personal data—and therefore become an alternative to the likes of Google and Facebook.

It’s been a year since the Canadian messaging app Kik created its own cryptocurrency to help brands engage with users—and to give Kik a way to differentiate itself from Facebook. Now, more of the pieces are falling into place, with brands trying out the crypto known as Kin. Brands including Red Bull and Swarovski have been experimenting with Kin, giving fans tokens in exchange for time spent with polling questions that help the brands better understand their users. Last month, Kin quietly released its own app for Android that doubles as a crypto wallet and lets users earn Kin by engaging with brands and other platforms via quizzes, surveys and videos. The app, which is called Kinit, is the first test case for user interest in the crypto—and, in turn, the first test case for whether the promises of Kik’s $100 million initial coin offering will pan out. Among the first companies to plug into Kinit is Swelly, which conducts polls for brands on platforms like Kik, Facebook Messenger and now Kinit. The Austrian company uses a chatbot to target audiences—especially U.S. and European users between the ages of 14 and 25—that might be interested in answering questions for brands. According to Swelly CEO Peter Buchroithner, the company has built up a user base of 8 million, with monthly users in the millions. Since its 2016 debut, users have answered more than 200 million questions. While it didn’t offer rewards for questions in the beginning, the company later started offering points before it saw offering cryptocurrency as a way to further reward engagement. Swelly’s team considered doing its own ICO, but then came across Kik and thought it made more sense to use Kin rather than starting from scratch. Over the past few weeks, Swelly has been conducting surveys for brands using Kin. Red Bull was the first, followed by Swarovski and others. When Swelly asks questions—about logos, can designs or social media—users are rewarded with Kin for answering 10 questions. Buchroithner said the reward helps garner engagement quickly, especially when brands are trying to collect between 500 and 2,000 responses. In the case of Red Bull and other brands, each short question—they can only be 80 characters long–is accompanied by two photos that help the brand gain more insight into its audience. For example, for the ad copy “Soaring into the sunset,” Red Bull asked fans to choose between a photo of someone riding a mountain bike or a person diving off a cliff. Red Bull and Swarovski did not respond to requests for comment. Jeremy Epstein, CEO of Never Stop Marketing, said it’s a “no-brainer” that consumers will want a way to get paid for their time. That’s especially true, he said, if their privacy isn’t violated. He added that the target market of teens and millennials does seem to already be taking an interest in similar token systems. For example, Epstein said his fifth-grade daughter has been using a similar app called PreSearch to gain cryptocurrency—and evangelizing it to her friends as well. “I don’t think Google is worried about a flank assault from fifth-grade girls,” he said. “But stranger things have happened.” Swelly isn’t the only company experimenting with Kin. TrueX, 21st Century Fox’s ad-tech division, is also using Kinit to reward users for watching 30-second ads from its network of advertisers. The company had previously rewarded Kik users with Kik Points—Kik’s rewards engine before Kin—which let users trade in points for sticker pages or other rewards. Patrick Gales, TrueX’s vice president of business development, wouldn’t disclose which brands are testing Kin through its platform. However, he did say Kik now has everything in place to make user point generation and redemption for its roster of Fortune 500 brands such as Harley Davidson and Mondolez. That’s partially thanks to Kik’s partnership with Blackhawk Network, which works with around 700 companies to let users trade in points for gift cards and other rewards from brands such as Domino’s, Nike, Gamestop and Sephora. “The big thing for us is that there are enough of those smaller opportunities to scale,” said Gales. “Because as many transactions we can do in a day, we want this to be accessible at any level and to maintain interest at any time in the day.” There are still questions surrounding the future viability of the Kin ecosystem: Are the rewards appealing enough yet to get users to voluntary remember to open up apps like Kinit and Kik on a regular basis to earn Kin? Will brands and platforms give users enough Kin to let them pay for the rewards they want? If they can make the apps as sticky as gaming and social networking apps, it might become an appealing way for brands and users to interact in a way that doesn’t force people to give up their personal data—and therefore become an alternative to the likes of Google and Facebook.

Since emerging a decade ago, Bitcoin and other digitally based cryptocurrencies have captured the imaginations of tech wizards, Wall Street bankers, and investors of all stripes. Proponents argue that cryptocurrencies, which are decentralized and function outside the control of governments, could someday replace national currencies as the primary means of exchange. Skeptics believe that virtual currencies amount to smoke and mirrors and expect their value to crater. In a new study, Yale economist Aleh Tsyvinski and Yukun Liu, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics, provide the first-ever comprehensive economic analysis of cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology upon which it is based. Yale economist Aleh Tsyvinski Aleh Tsyvinski Tsyvinski, the Arthur M. Okun Professor of Economics at Yale, described their work and findings to YaleNews. An edited transcript follows. What got you interested in studying cryptocurrency? There is a lot of mystique surrounding cryptocurrency. It’s a new instrument, but what exactly is it? Is it an asset or just a fad? There is obviously broad interest in cryptocurrency because many people are investing in it. Everybody from your local bartender to Goldman Sachs executives is talking about it, but most of the research on cryptocurrency comes from a computer-science perspective. A comprehensive economic analysis is, however, lacking. We’ve done something very simple. We said: Let’s use textbook finance tools to help us better understand cryptocurrency. We looked at three major cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Ripple, and Ethereum. We wanted to identify their basic properties. We examined whether they behaved like other asset classes, specifically stocks, traditional currencies, and precious metal commodities. We also gauged their potential for benefiting or disrupting various industries. What did you learn about cryptocurrency’s basic properties? We documented a high return but with a lot of volatility. Does the high return compensate for the high volatility? This is called the Sharpe ratio, which measures the performance of an asset by adjusting for risk. Surprisingly, we found that cryptocurrency’s Sharpe ratio shows that the return is higher than the risk implied by its volatility. It’s higher than the Sharpe ratio for stocks and bonds, but not drastically so. There have been asset classes and trading strategies with Sharpe ratios that are either the same or similar to cryptocurrency’s. So if you just look at return versus volatility, cryptocurrency looks more or less normal. Does cryptocurrency behave like other asset classes? In my introduction to macroeconomics course, I teach my students that money has several functions. It can act as a unit of account, which is a function of traditional currency. Money can also be a way to store value, which is how gold and other precious metals function. You put it in a safe, and tomorrow you can use it for something else. Does cryptocurrency serve one of these two functions? Or is it is a bet on blockchain technology dramatically disrupting several industries, which is to say: Does it behave like stocks? To answer these questions, we looked at whether cryptocurrency returns can be explained by the same factors that drive returns of stocks, currencies, or precious metal commodities. For stocks, we examined 155 potential risk factors in the finance literature and found that almost none of them account for the returns of cryptocurrencies. They are not like stocks. Yale Ph.D. candidate in economics, Yukun Liu Co-author Yukun Liu We also found no similarities between the behavior of cryptocurrency and five major traditional currencies — the Euro, Australian dollar, Canadian dollar, Singaporean dollar, and the British pound. Finally, we saw no link between the behavior of cryptocurrency and gold, silver, or platinum. Our findings cast doubt on the popular narratives that cryptocurrencies derive their value from either serving as a unit of account, such as the usual currencies, or as a store of value, such as precious metals. If cryptocurrency does not behave like these traditional assets, then is it possible to predict its performance? While we discovered that cryptocurrency behaves differently than traditional asset classes, we also found that investors can better understand cryptocurrencies by applying common asset pricing tools to factors specific to them. We show that some of the factors people use to predict the performance of traditional asset classes can be used to meaningfully predict cryptocurrency’s behavior. The first is called the momentum effect, which basically means that when an asset increases in value, it will tend to rise even higher. That is a feature of just about every known asset class, and we found that it strongly affects cryptocurrency. To take advantage of momentum effect, we have designed a simple strategy that says an investor should buy Bitcoin if its value increases more than 20% in the previous week. This strategy generates outstanding returns and a very high Sharpe ratio. The second factor strongly influencing cryptocurrency is the measure of investor attention. We asked the following: If there is an abnormally high number of mentions of the cryptocurrencies we studied in either Google search or on Twitter, will their returns go up? It turns out that they will. At the same time, we found that negative investor attention, such as an increase in the use of the search phrase “Bitcoin hack,” will generate negative returns for cryptocurrencies.

Starbucks, the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), Microsoft and BCG, among others, announced they are working to launch a new company called Bakkt. Along with enabling consumers to use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies at Starbucks, Bakkt will leverage Microsoft cloud to create an open and regulated, digital asset ecosystem. ”They’ll now have a U.S.-regulated exchange and they have a licensed warehouse, which is how commodities are stored and that’s going to make it a lot easier for an ETF to come through, ” Kelly, a bitcoin enthusiast, said on CNBC‘s Fast Money. Starbucks and a major exchange taking cryptocurrency seriously could help bitcoin break through as a mainstream global currency. It may also help boost cryptocurrency prices, which have struggled to find footing since the end of 2017. Starbucks accepting cryptocurrencies makes them much more mainstream, plus it means users can spend their digital fortunes almost anywhere. And ICE’s participation massively increases the chances of bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs), or baskets of related assets that trade on stock exchanges.

Roger Ver, a prominent cryptocurrency investor who has backed some of the largest companies in the global crypto sector such as Blockchain, Zcash, BitPay, and Kraken, recently sent the governor of Jeju Island of South Korea $100 worth of bitcoin cash at a public event. Humorous Kim Yeong-Ran Rule Banter Over the weekend, Ver visited Jeju Island to promote the usage of cryptocurrency and discuss the future of the blockchain industry with the island’s governor, Won Hee-ryong, who has publicly expressed his intent to evolve Jeju Island into the next Zug and Malta of Asia with favorable regulatory frameworks targeted at cryptocurrency businesses. At a cryptocurrency conference participated by Governor Won, Ver sent $100 in bitcoin cash to the governor and his associates to demonstrate the capability of cryptocurrencies to facilitate the transfer of instantaneous payments. As Ver tried to send $100 in bitcoin cash to Governor Won, one of the associates told Ver, “in South Korea, there’s a policy called the “Kim Yeong-Ran rule,” to which Ver responded, “is there a legal problem in sending a payment to the governor?” South Korea bitcoin Source: Shutterstock Governor Won stepped in and told Ver that in the country, it is not appropriate for individuals in a higher ranking, especially government officials, to take items, gift cards, and money worth more than $30 in a single transaction. Hence, technically, Ver sending $100 to Governor Won could violate the Kim Yeong-Ran rule, as the amount is larger than $30. However, Governor Won emphasized to Ver and the rest of the participants of the conference that he was only bantering and that in this situation, the Kim Yeong-Ran rule doesn’t apply because it was dealt with in a public event and it will be recorded as a special payment by the government, which could be used to fund charities. Humorously, Governor Won said that he will use the $100 he received using bitcoin cash to pay for dinner after the event, eliminating the possibility of the Kim Yeong-Ran rule applying to that specific transaction. Why Was Ver in Jeju Island? Over the past month, with the approval of South Korea’s first cryptocurrency and blockchain legislation on the horizon, Jeju Island and other regional governments including Busan and Sejong have publicly disclosed their intent to focus on growing the local cryptocurrency market and blockchain sector. Uniquely, South Korea has a piece of regulation in place which excludes Jeju Island from most of the federal regulations established by the government, providing the government of Jeju Island authority to establish its own policies and run an autonomous government. Jeju Island has been exploring various possible regulatory frameworks it can adopt in addition to the national cryptocurrency legislation to create a friendly ecosystem for cryptocurrency businesses. Apart from tax benefits, the government of Jeju Island has said that it may drop the initial coin offering (ICO) ban on domestic startups, which would allow local companies to conduct token sales within South Korea, in Jeju Island.

Goldman Sachs is deliberating a plan to hold bitcoin and other digital currencies on behalf of funds betting on cryptocurrency, according to a report. The plan would see the banking giant take its most significant step yet into the nascent world of digital assets, and has resulted in bitcoin analysts predicting positive market movements for the cryptocurrency due to increased investor interest. The crypto fund would reduce risk for investors and could potentially lead to other cryptocurrency-based ventures An inside source revealed the plans to Bloomberg, who said that a timeline for launching the custody fund is yet to be put in place. A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs told the publication: "In response to client interest in various digital products we are exploring how best to serve them in this space. At this point we have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering." Bitcoin's volatile history in pictures Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first bitcoin block in 2009 Bitcoin is used as a currency for the first time Silk Road opens for business The first bitcoin ATM appears + show all The Wall Street firm has previously expressed interest in cryptocurrency and was rumoured in May to be setting up a bitcoin trading desk. The venture, first reported by The New York Times, would make Goldman Sachs the first major Wall Street bank to open a cryptocurrency trading desk. Cryptocurrency analyst Matthew Newton, who works for the online trading platform eToro, told The Independent at the time that the news "shouldn't come as a huge surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to cryptocurrencies."

The Maerki Baumann private bank will become the second Swiss bank to accept cryptocurrency assets, financial news outlet International Investment reports August 6. The private Zurich bank has decided to accept crypto assets from payments received for services rendered, as well as those earned from crypto mining, as a response to new market demands and the rise of cryptocurrencies’ popularity, International Investment writes. Maerki Baumann noted that they are not ready to provide direct cryptocurrency investments, but will provide “experts” to clients interested in crypto investing. According to their statement, the bank “closely monitors the development” of crypto as an investment vehicle and its “underlying regulation,” noting “We currently see cryptocurrencies as alternative investment vehicles, but we have limited experience and data (prices, volatility, trading volumes) available in our house.” However, the bank does state that they “currently advise against larger investments in cryptocurrencies,” adding “Crypto currencies [sic] are not, in our estimation, suitable for long-term investment due to the uncertainties outlined above.” Earlier this summer, the Hypothekarbank Lenzburg had become the first bank Switzerland to provide company accounts for blockchain and crypto-related fintech companies. Last year, the Falcon Private Bank had received authorization from the Swiss Financial Supervisory Authority (FINMA) for managing Bitcoin (BTC) and other cryptocurrencies based on blockchain technology. Follow us on:

Art and cryptocurrency really share a certain bond: their value is just agreed upon – albeit subjectively. Long ago, society decided gold was worth something, mostly because it is pretty and kind of hard to get. It’s only taken about a decade for us to agree that Bitcoin is, at least, worth something. We’ve had even less time to decide what constitutes blockchain art. By the time you’ve finished reading this, though, you’ll at least have an understanding of where we’re at. Bling to match your lambo Jewellery making is surely an ancient art form, and one that, for better or worse, was the very first to establish itself in the Bitcoin community. Those looking to make some powerful statements are definitely accommodated for in 2018. The BTC Jewellery, from Japan, is offering up a massive selection of cryptocurrency jewellery – some bold, some more subdued. What better way to show your dedication to blockchain-ifying society than by rocking custom-made rings, pendants, earrings or cufflinks that pay homage to the internet of money. The pendants even come in a range of sizes to match your stack. One ring, that reads DECENTRALIZED, is strictly for the ballers. Another ring simply says: SATOSHI. Cryptocurrency graffiti It’s not only jewellery makers using Bitcoin as a muse. Thankfully, the rebellious nature of cryptocurrency pairs well with street art, too. Graffiti murals are popping up around the globe, giving a certain texture to the digital money revolution. Hard Fork recently spoke with French artist Pascal ‘PBOY’ Boyart, who has been adding QR codes to his street murals that allow admirers to show appreciation directly by sending Bitcoin. By the time we spoke to PBOY, over $1,000 in donations had been received. This highlights just how effective blockchains can be at guerilla fundraising. Miniatures are art, too! Miniatures are also getting their time in the spotlight. We’ve all seen those dorky physical coins of the major cryptocurrencies – but they don’t really have the allure of a bobblehead of Vitalik Buterin riding a blue unicorn-thing. Cryptocurrency novelty store moonstüff is behind the collectables, with infamous BitConnect hype-man Carlos Matos and Bitcoin Cash evangelist Roger Ver making up the rest of the set. Pushing the boundaries Ready for something a bit more adventurous? Kevin Abosch is one conceptual artist pushing the boundaries of crypto-art. His work, if I must describe it, is equally confusing and intimidating. Famous for selling a photograph of a potato for a million Euros (approx. $1.15 million), Abosch is now becoming one with the blockchain. IAMACoin is his latest project – a set of ten million tokens, each one of them acting as their own, standalone work of art. To which I say, sure, why not, a token derived from a blockchain is a piece of art. If you get enough people interested in your work, each token becomes valuable and could even be traded for art more tangible. But here’s the hook: the artist stamps a contract address with his own blood on a fancy piece of paper – 100 of these have been created. The completely real and unedited artist statement reads: We come into the world like newly minted coins — perfect and priceless. Yet we are constantly being ascribed a value. The most unfortunate are deemed “worthless” by those who exploit human currency. At times life may seem reduced to the transactional. I often have difficulty discerning where I end and the person before me begins, while photographing my various subjects. A sense of oneness staves off the call to market. If I could only bleed for the blockchain, its ledger, for all to see, would reveal that I am a coin. This project consists of an edition of 100 physical works whose meaningful existence is predicated by the existence of the virtual works. Through my blood, a blockchain contract-address and ten million divisible crypto-tokens, the very nature of value shall be redefined. Another Abosch piece perfectly combines everything you don’t understand about computers with all that goes over your head when appreciating art. View image on Twitter View image on Twitter kevin abosch @kevinabosch Tangled:Entangled (2018) - Blockchain wallet address filled with #iamacoin converted to visual binary on twine. #cryptoart #blockchain 4:37 PM - Jul 29, 2018 30 15 people are talking about this Twitter Ads info and privacy (Edit: This piece has been updated to correctly describe Abosch’s IAMACoin project, which was not launched via ICO) Something more familiar Not everything is so pretentious, I promise. Hungarian illustrator Zsolt Vidak has produced a colorful piece that I’d totally dig for the new shag-pad. If oil paintings are more your style, the “Ascension of Satoshi”, by Daniel Loveday might be better suited. It recently sold for over $2,500, but who knows – it might be back on the market one day. (Note: images courtesy of Bitcoin Art Gallery) Also, if you squint and turn your head a bit, it totally looks like Elon Musk, right? Art comes in all forms, just like cryptocurrencies. Some are surely worthless – others, might be valuable one day. In the end, all that really matters is that enough people think it’s worth something, right? Right? Published August 6, 2018 — 17:08 UTC SHOW 2 COMMENTS Most popular rockdale Bitmain is building a massive $500M

In yet another sign of the mainstreaming of cryptocurrencies, financial data provider Thomson Reuters has partnered with crypto data and analytics company CryptoCompare to provide order book and trade data for 50 cryptocurrencies on the former’s financial desktop platform, Eikon. Charles Hayter, CEO and founder of CryptoCompare, said the partnership would provide transparency to the market. “This partnership provides a great opportunity for the institutional investor community to access not only our data, but also to benefit from our experience and insight,” he said. “Despite the decline in the price of many of the leading cryptocurrencies during 2018, we continue to see increasing demand from our customers for pricing coverage of the major names. The partnership with CryptoCompare puts pricing data for this emerging market alongside other asset classes, giving our customers a more comprehensive, holistic trading view in Eikon,” said Sam Chadwick, Director of Strategy and Innovation at Reuters. He also told Forbes that the integration of cryptocurrency data would help educate and inform other organizations and industries interested in funding cryptocurrencies: “We are also starting to see more evolved organizations other than startups using smart contracts and distributed ledger technology to raise capital,” he said. “This is moving the scale into the private equity space.” Reuters already offers sentiment data related to cryptocurrencies from social media on its feed. Bloomberg, another major news and data organization, also provides cryptocurrency data to subscribers and has plans to launch a cryptocurrency index. (See also: Bloomberg To Launch Cryptocurrency Index). How The Integration Of Data Benefits Investors The integration of data from CryptoCompare into Reuters’ data feed is a major win for cryptocurrency enthusiasts. In addition to making cryptocurrency data accessible to mainstream and institutional investors, the move will also bring transparency to crypto markets by sourcing it from trusted organizations. Cryptocurrency exchanges have operated outside the purview of regulatory organizations, so far. This has led to questions about the integrity of their data and operations. Thomson Reuters’ involvement in broadcasting this data will ensure greater accountability and oversight. (See also: Should Cryptocurrency Exchang

Bitmain, monster of cryptocurrency mining, has shown off plans for its brand new blockchain data center to be built in Texas – it’s worth $500 million and it’s already under construction. The announcement claims that initial operations should begin by early 2019. Bitmain expects it to be at full steam in “about” two years, at which stage 400 jobs would have been injected into the economy of Rockdale, Milam County. “This represents an investment of more than $500 million by Bitmain over an initial period of seven years into the local, county, and statewide economies,” the release reads. “The Milam County blockchain data center and cryptocurrency mining facility represents a key component of Bitmain’s strategic investment and expansion plans within North America.” Bitmain has solidified itself as an industry leader in blockchain hardware and software. It’s mostly known for its specialized cryptocurrency mining hardware, widely used by large mining groups, called pools. Bitmain’s mining pools, namely Antpool and BTC.com, are two of the most profitable groups currently mining Bitcoin. Back in June, the two controlled almost 51 percent of hash rate – the overall processing power being used to confirm transactions. In fact, its so efficient at crypto-mining that cryptocurrencies are hard forking to escape its control, after Bitcoin Gold declared war on its ASIC chips a few months back. Luckily, it seems Milam County is a bit more receptive – as long as Bitmain maintain its end of the bargain, that is. And why shouldn’t they? Profits of over $1 billion were posted by Bitmain in just the first quarter of this year. It could also be inching closer to being publicly listed via IPO – its valuation rumored to be as high as $12 billion a few months back. More recently, though, it has reportedly found investment from tech giants Tencent and Softbank – boosting the number significantly to $15 billion, although those reports have yet to be confirmed.

Despite rising competition from other countries seeking to capitalize on the cryptocurrency boom, Switzerland’s Crypto Valley looks poised to get its moxie back. Swiss Bank Maerki Baumman Will Offer Accounts to Cryptocurrency Firms That’s because a second Swiss bank — the Zurich-based private bank Maerki Baumann — has agreed to form banking partnership with cryptocurrency firms, solving a major pain point for companies that operate in this industry. The news was first reported by financial publication International Investment. Previously, fellow Zurich institution Falcon Private Bank was the highest-profile Swiss bank comfortable with offering services to blockchain companies. Last year, Falcon even began offering cryptocurrency asset management services through a cooperation agreement with Bitcoin Suisse AG. Unlike Falcon, Maerki Baumann does not currently plan to offer cryptocurrency asset management or custody services. However, the bank recently published a report on cryptocurrencies in which it said it is “keeping an eye” on this asset class. From the report: “Maerki Baumann is keeping an eye on the development of these investment instruments and the corresponding progress on the regulatory side, without looking to gain exposure to this young asset class at the present time. This is true not just of direct investments in cryptocurrencies, but also investments in the necessary technology for the trading and custody of these instruments.” “Maerki Baumann is generally prepared to accept funds generated through cryptocurrencies, be it through speculative transactions or in the form of payment received for services provided or from mining profits,” the bank added.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Arthur Levitt and former Federal Deposit Insurance Corp chair Sheila Bair have joined the board of advisors of cryptocurrency trading platform Omniex, the company said on Tuesday. Omniex also said it had hired Maartje Bus, former head of capital markets at Thomson Reuters Corp, as director of strategic partnerships, and Tom Eidt, former head of KCG's regulatory affairs, as chief compliance officer and general counsel. More former watchdogs and financial services executives have been joining the cryptocurrency ranks, as the nascent sector looks to mature and cope with more regulatory scrutiny. "We're in the nascent stages of a revolutionary, global asset class, but we're also on the cusp of regulatory thinking on how to approach and regulate crypto assets," Bair said in a statement. Bair served as chair of the U.S. banking regulator from 2006 to 2011 and played an important role in the government's response to the financial crisis of 2008. Omniex, which has offices in San Francisco and Santa Monica, California, is developing technology and services to make it easier for financial institutions to trade cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. While interest in cryptocurrencies has grown, the sector still lacks the same level market infrastructure available to investors in other asset classes. "Institutional investors need purpose-built technology to solve the challenges they face today and equipped to handle the hidden obstacles they'll encounter tomorrow in this new asset class," Levitt said in a statement. Levitt, who became the SEC's longest-serving chairman after holding the role from 1993 to 2001, is currently an advisor to several financial technology companies including student lender Social Finance Inc, payments company BitPay and crypto-wallet provider Blockchain. Omniex has raised $10 million in seed funding over the past 10 months from firms including Jump Capital, Digital Currency group and Wicklow Capital, as well as from Alan Howard, founder of hedge fund Brevan Howard.

As crypto and sports come closer together, news that a cryptocurrency startup has received a major investment from the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) is making waves in the crypto-related sports industry. SportsCastr is a live-streaming sports platform that recently announced its cryptocurrency startup, FanChain, which is garnering much interest from the global sports community, and the NFL Players Association. Sports cryptocurrency startup gets NFL boost The live-streaming network has recently announced that the NFL Players Association has acquired a minor stake in the network’s cryptocurrency startup, FanChain, in a move that merges sport and crypto. SportsCastr is a unique network where anyone can become a color commentator, offering live and interactive content for sports fans. A main component of the partnership will see NFL players using the network to provide live commentary across many pro and collegiate sports, while also sharing their own personal highlights and insights. SportsCastr announced their cryptocurrency startup, FanChain, in July, targeting the multi-billion-dollar world sports market. The crypto can be used to participate on the platform, and also to unblock premium NFL content from the players such as behind the scenes content, and the ability to purchase special merchandising, send virtual gifts to NFL players and even buying tickets. It really is an NFL fan’s dream what you can access with this new cryptocurrency startup. SportsCastr will become an official licensee of the NFLPA as part of the deal, which will create new mobile apps and platforms to discuss sports. SportsCastr has become the eighth partner of the NFLPA via their OneTeam Collective that gives the opportunity for startup companies to leverage the exclusive rights of the NFLPA. Merging sport and cryptocurrency The deal is another in a recent spate of sports teams and athletes now aligning themselves with cryptocurrency and blockchain. In recent days, we have seen the English Premier League team, Wolverhampton Wanderers sign a deal with the crypto exchange, CoinDeal, which has been raising a few eyebrows. The promotion of a cryptocurrency startup can greatly benefit from joining forces with a sports celebrity or club. Footballers such as Ronaldinho, Michael Own, and Didier Drogba have recently joined forces with new crypto startups, joining boxing legends such as Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao who have also lent their names to blockchain startups in recent months. As news circulates of the NFL Players Association deal with SportsCastr, the senior manager of business development for the NFL Players Inc. recently stated his views on the subject by saying that: “Athletes constantly explore ways to build their personal brands and creatively connect with their fans, and SportsCastr’s live-stream capabilities align perfectly with these goals. We look forward to working with the team at SportsCastr to deliver an exciting new way for fans to engage with their favorite athletes while watching the sports they love.” This is not the last time we will see the combined forces of a cryptocurrency startup leveraging major sporting associations and sporting legends to give their project more exposure, and this move by the NFLPA is good business all round.

In an effort to gain adoption, Tron cryptocurrency vouchers can now be purchased in more than 20,000 stores across Spain and Italy. Some of the largest retailers in Spain and Italy are now selling TRX vouchers, including FNAC, Carrefour, and Game. The Tron (TRX) facility is being provided by the Spanish cryptocurrency platform, Bitnova. In 2016, Bitnovo launched new payment options, one of which was a ‘Bitcoin charged’ debit card, which is available to use at all retailers and ATMs that accept MasterCard. Asides bitcoin, Bitnovo facilitates a range of cryptocurrencies, including Dash, Cardano, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The Tron Foundation’s founder and CEO announced the news that Tron cryptocurrency vouchers are available at thousands of retail stores in the two European countries on Twitter, tweeting: “Thanks for the support to #TRON. Now you can buy $TRX at over 20000 stores in Spain and Italy or at bitnovo.com.” This is not the first time Tron has forged alliances with other big firms. Last month, the France-based hardware wallet and custody startup Ledger announced that its hardware wallet Ledger Nano S will sport the Tron cryptocurrency.

Libra, a provider of financial reporting services for the crypto assets ecosystem, has closed a $15 million Series B funding round, bringing the company’s total funding to $24.8 million. The funding bodes positively for financial institutions interested in expanding into cryptocurrency since Libra has been able to apply the type of reporting tools that such institutions use to the cryptocurrency sector. Libra specialize in transforming crypto transactional data into audit-ready information for financial institutions. Libra Achieves A Benchmark “Libra’s mission is to provide a system of record that allows institutions with crypto transactions to meet the reporting requirements of managers, investors, auditors and regulators,” Jake Benson, Libra founder and CEO, said in a prepared statement. The investors’ commitment will allow Libra to expand its customer offerings, build its team and strengthen its customer base, Benson said. The company will use its funding to support the development of its Libra Crypto Office platform, in addition to new products to be released later this year. Libra’s service automates audit, accounting and tax processes for exchanges, trading operations, funds, fund administrators and enterprises. Expansion Into New Markets The capital infusion will support the company’s expansion into new markets such as custodians, miners and lenders, as well as supporting its chances for continued growth. The new round was led by Libra’s previous lead investor, with continued participation from Liberty City Ventures. Libra’s bitcoin tax accounting service, LibraTax, helps CPAs and businesses account for cryptocurrency transactions. In 2014, the IRS gave guidance that cryptocurrency is taxable as property rather than currency and is classified as a capital tax.

Cryptocurrency startup Coinbase will boost its daily purchase limits and allow for "instant" trading following user bank transfers, the company announced Tuesday. Currently, according to the startup, clients have to wait five days for those funds to settle. But that's about to change, with Coinbase reasoning that "when someone makes the decision to sign up, they don't want to wait days before they can start buying cryptocurrency." Coinbase went on to note: "While we do support instant transfers via wire transfer and debit cards, purchases via direct debits from your bank account can take days to appear. With this update, customers will receive an immediate credit for the funds being sent from their bank account. They can then buy and sell crypto to and from their USD wallet right away, but cannot send their funds off the Coinbase platform until the funds coming from their bank have settled." Daily purchase limits are being lifted to $25,000, according to Coinbase, though only customers who have completed the site's identity verification process will have access to these changes. Coinbase is still in the process of adding these changes for its non-U.S. customers. A Coinbase spokesperson told CoinDesk that "these improvements are built on our [six]-year history of focusing entirely on cryptocurrency and building the most trusted, compliant cryptocurrency exchange in the world." "We've focused on building a state-of-the-art fraud detection system that relies on machine learning and, over the past year, we've made significant improvements to our systems that help us balance a good user experience with preventing losses due to fraud," the representative said. The news came just minutes before Coinbase announced the launch of ethereum classic on Coinbase Pro. The launch will occur in four stages – transfer-only, post-only, limit-only and full trading – according to a blog post.

Portugal’s Central Bank Director Hélder Rosalino said that he didn't consider cryptocurrency a currency or legal tender and hinted that the Central Bank of Portugal has a similar position. His views are in line with many countries around the world, including the US where “a cryptocurrency does not have legal tender status in any jurisdiction.” The Finance Minister of Portugal Mario Centano, who is also the president of the Eurogroup, said last December that he is looking to European regulatory guidance concerning cryptocurrencies since they are "overseeing the general picture." The Eurogroup is a group of nineteen finance ministers of EU countries, who meet once a month to talk about major economic and monetary policies that are implemented across the EU. Finance ministers from France, Germany and the UK have proposed that cryptocurrency regulation should be coordinated at a global level with discussions taking center stage at the next upcoming G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The Ripple effect on banking transactions As the Portuguese banking and finance regulators hint at and seek a coordinated regulatory solution for cryptocurrencies– their extreme price volatility with tsunami-like price fluctuations have Portuguese banks spooked, to no end. When in December 2017 Bitcoin’s price first surged 100 percent to $20,000 and then nose-dove 50 percent in value, bringing down the prices of all other cryptocurrencies in its wake, Banco Santander-Portugal, the fourth largest Portuguese bank, shuttered their customer’s cryptocurrency trading activity. As a backlash, more than 1,000 its customers signed a petition stating that the bank was deviating from the financial innovation trend and was ignoring the unhinged technological shift towards Blockchain technology all over the world. Some customers even went to file complaints with the DECO, country's consumer protection organization. Caving to customer pressure after admitting that the Santander Group began using Blockchain technology in the fourth quarter of 2017 to reduce costs and make cross-border payment transactions more efficient, Banco Santander-Portugal changed its policy about shutting down its customer’s cross-border cryptocurrency trades at foreign cryptocurrency exchanges like Luxembourg-based Bitstamp and US-based Coinbase. “We are committed to creating a leading international Blockchain payment ecosystem that presents significant opportunity for cross-border payments globally,” explained José Luis Calderón, the global head of Santander Global Transaction Banking. Banco Santander-UK began working with American Express and the Ripple network, to allow American Express' US business customers to make instant, traceable cross-border non-card payments using the Blockchain network – RippleNet – to Banco Santander-UK. “We’re taking a huge step forward with American Express and Santander to solve the problems customers experience with slow cross-border global payments,” Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple revealed. RippleNet provides optional access to Ripple (XRP), which as of Jan. 28, 2018, is the third largest by market capitalization cryptocurrency, after Bitcoin and Ethereum. Released in 2012, Ripple purports to enable "secure, instantly and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks." It supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodity or any other unit of value such as frequent flier miles or mobile minutes. Currently, Ripple requires two parties for a transaction to occur: a regulated financial institution "holds funds and issues balances on behalf of customers" while "market makers" such as hedge funds or currency trading desks provide liquidity in the currency they want to trade in. In addition to Banco Santander, over 100 banks and payment networks have adopted RippleNet as a settlement infrastructure technology. No personal income taxation of cryptocurrency gains As Banco Santander-Portugal began restating its customers’ ability to trade cross-border on foreign cryptocurrency exchanges, more good news arrived. Personal income taxation does not apply to cryptocurrency gains in Portugal. “A recent binding ruling from the Portuguese tax administration says that gains from the sale of cryptocurrency are not taxed in Portugal unless the individual taxpayer carries on a business or professional activity and earns said income in that context (profit). The tax administration acknowledges that this sale is not taxable as personal income, particularly as capital income or capital gains. Thus, unless the individual taxpayer carries on an active trade or business concerning cryptocurrencies, income from the sale or purchase of cryptocurrency is not subject to tax in the context of the Personal Income Tax (PIT) code, Rogerio Fernandes Ferreira, the lead tax partner at international law firm Rogerio Fernandes Ferreira & Associados pointed out. Taxation may only take place when its regularity constitutes a business or professional activity for the taxpayer. “Portugal does not charge a “cross-border tax” in addition to or as an alternative to the personal income tax,” Ferreira added However, since Portuguese individual taxpayers may undertake cross-border cryptocurrency transactions on a foreign crypto exchange – they may be subject to cross-border taxes imposed by a foreign country that may be minimized or eliminated under an income tax treaty. Recently the EU Commission has prepared draft tax legislation on the digital economy, which calls for formulating an appropriate proposal, with cooperation with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and other international partners. While the Portuguese consumer protection association DECO has appealed to the Ministry of Finance, and the European commissioner in charge of consumer defense, proposing that individual cryptocurrency gains in Portugal should be taxed in the same manner as stocks. DECO’s tax proposal has similarities to the method in which the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) taxes cryptocurrency gains. The IRS characterizes cryptocurrencies as property. This means that every time a cryptocurrency is transferred, it might trigger a gain, subject to US taxation. A cryptocurrency held as a capital asset by a taxpayer would be taxed as capital gains. A cryptocurrency held as inventory or for resale by a taxpayer would be taxed as ordinary income. If it is used as a means of payment, it would be treated like a currency, converted to fiat at its fair market value as disclosed on a cryptocurrency exchange and taxed as ordinary income. Since cryptocurrencies are used in cross-border transactions, US sourced cryptocurrency gains of non-resident taxpayers would be subjected to a withholding tax that could be reduced or eliminated under an income tax treaty. For these purposes, the cryptocurrency-related income traded over the Internet would be determined under the international communications source rules. In summary, it can be said that Portuguese individual taxpayers who are increasingly excited about trading cryptocurrencies cross-border on foreign cryptocurrency exchanges are urged take into consideration the tax laws in all the jurisdictions they trade in and store their cryptocurrencies in secure foreign wallets to avoid hacking risks.

Multinational investment bank Morgan Stanley has hired a self-described crypto trading expert and 12-year veteran of Credit Suisse as its new head of digital asset markets, eFinancialCareers reported July 31. The new appointment, Andrew Peel, spent his last three years at Credit Suisse as vice president of sales and trading innovation, in which role he acted as “trading subject matter expert for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies” according to his LinkedIn profile. His page also includes an independent position as “advocate of crypto markets” as of June 2013. Nabbing a crypto enthusiast for its team aligns with Morgan Stanley’s evolving stance towards the nascent industry, which has been notably more moderate than that of other traditional financial sector behemoths. In fall 2017, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon scathingly characterized Bitcoin (BTC) as a “fraud” that is “worse than tulip bulbs,” a sentiment closely echoed with somewhat less vitriol by Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam’s claims that Bitcoin is “the very definition of a bubble.” In contrast, Morgan Stanley’s CEO James Gorman remarked around the same time that while Bitcoin is undeniably “highly speculative,” the privacy it offers is an “interesting” challenge to the central banking system, further considering the asset to be a “natural consequence” of blockchain innovation. Morgan Stanley has also notably been clearing Bitcoin futures for its clients as of mid- January 2018, just a month after their December 2017 debut on CME and CBOE. A rising tide of figures who have decamped from the traditional financial sector to become crypto and blockchain industry front runners was recently revealed in the first-ever crypto-focused version of Fortune’s “40 under 40” honor roll for the most influential young disruptors in global finance and technology. Among these were Goldman Sachs’ Rana Yared and Justin Schmidt for spearheading the Wall Street giant’s future Bitcoin trading operation, as well as Amber Baldet, who left her former position as blockchain program lead at JPMorgan to co-found her own blockchain venture. Follow us on:

LISTEN TO ARTICLE 1:31 SHARE THIS ARTICLE Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Email In this article CSGN CREDIT SUISS-REG 15.74CHF-0.07-0.41% Credit Suisse Group AG banker Brian Wirtz, known for proselytizing on Bitcoin and blockchain technology, is leaving after five years, according to people familiar with his departure. Wirtz, an investment banker in the technology, media and telecommunications group, tried to get the bank more involved in cryptocurrencies and related deals, said the people, asking not to be identified discussing personnel matters. In his LinkedIn profile, Wirtz says he specializes in “Blockchain and crypto-asset investment-banking advisory.” He’s starting a venture to work with security token offerings, one of the people said. Zurich-based Credit Suisse is among banks that have expressed skepticism of crypto, as Chief Executive Officer Tidjane Thiam has cited regulatory uncertainty around digital currencies. Still, the Swiss bank hosts crypto conferences in New York and San Francisco that are attended by hundreds including hedge fund managers trading Bitcoin. Credit Suisse has refrained from advising clients in the cryptocurrency transactions, the people said. It does work on blockchain, which is the digital ledger underpinning cryptocurrencies. Among the bank’s staff are Emmanuel Aidoo, who heads blockchain strategy, and Paul Condra, an equity research analyst who has written about Bitcoin and blockchain. Wirtz previously worked at boutique banks Harris Williams & Co. and Cowen & Co., according to Financial Industry Regulatory Authority records, and joined the Swiss bank in 2013. Credit Suisse declined to comment on his departure.

Japanese mobile messaging company Line has offered up a major hint as to how it plans to make its messaging app a one-stop shop for just about any digital transaction. First up, Line has offloaded a majority stake in its mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) subsidiary to SoftBank. The deal will see SoftBank procure 51 percent of Line Mobile, with Line retaining the remaining 49 percent. A subsidiary of South Korea’s biggest web operator, Naver Corp, Line offers a WhatsApp-style messaging app that now claims 220 million users, the majority of whom are based in just a handful of Asian markets — including Japan. The company has also branched into numerous other verticals, including games, apps, mobile payments, carpooling, smart speakers, and, indeed, mobile networks. Line, which embarked on a dual IPO in Tokyo and New York nearly two years back, revealed plans to become an MVNO in early 2016 before launching to the public later that year via a licensing partnership with NTT DoCoMo. Fast-forward 16 months, and it’s clear Line needs a closer strategic alliance with one of the big three mobile network operators in Japan, one of which is SoftBank. Full details of the partnership are still to be decided through “mutual consultations,” but it should, of course, mean that Line will switch from NTT DoCoMo to SoftBank’s network. Additionally, the new partners plan to pool their collective strengths to become a “one-stop location” for just about everything. In effect, SoftBank will leverage Line’s scale and reach as a messaging company, while Line will be able to access SoftBank’s promotional and financial might to push its products and services to millions more across the region. This is what Line refers to as its “smart portal strategy,” which it hopes will transform the Line messaging app into a conduit that “seamlessly connects people to information and services, as well as to companies and brands,” according to a statement. “I am fully confident that Line Mobile will become one of the major mobile telecommunication services demanded by users in the future through its three proposed values of ‘simple’, ‘free’, and ‘value’,” said Line Mobile president Ayano Kado. “Through this partnership between Line — which brought to light a new form of communication in the smartphone generation — and SoftBank — the first carrier in Japan to carry the iPhone and drive the smartphone market — we will bring together our mutual strengths and strive to further improve users’ experiences with Line Mobile.”

The price of bitcoin tends to mirror people's interest in the cryptocurrency, with the level of Google searches providing a near-perfect correlation to the virtual currency's value. This could be good news for investors, as new research suggests that interest in cryptocurrency is expected to more than double. The latest consumer economic report from Dutch banking giant ING revealed that fewer than one in 10 Europeans currently own cryptocurrency, however 16 per cent of people expect to own them in the future. Surveying nearly 15,000 people across 13 countries, the Dutch bank said the survey reflects a gradual change in attitude towards cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum and ripple. One of the most surprising findings from the survey was that 15 per cent of respondents said they would consider receiving their salary in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, despite their notorious volatility.

Garrett Camp, best known for being a co-founder of Uber and founder of the accelerator/venture fund Expa, is launching his own cryptocurrency. The currency is called Eco, and Camp wants it to be a digital global currency that can be used as a payment tool around the world for daily-use transactions. There will be one trillion tokens issued initially, of which 50% will be given away to the first one billion verified humans that sign up. 20% will go to the universities running trusted nodes, 10% will go to advisors, 10% will go to strategic partners, and 10% will go to a newly formed Eco Foundation which will be responsible for creating and maintaining the network. Camp as well as a small number of partners affiliated with Expa will also donate $10M to seed the foundation with an operating budget. Notably there will be no ICO – which means no money will be raised for the project, and also lets the project avoid any potential legal issues which have now become prevalent with most major ICOs. Eco’s initial whitepaper explains that it wants to improve on a few main issues common with digital currencies. First, it wants to use only verified nodes for network support and transaction confirmations, meaning someone anonymous couldn’t run a node and confirm transactions like they could do on bitcoin’s network. While this essentially removes issues of 51% attacks or other acts of fraud, it also means it won’t be truly decentralized. Second, Eco will have a large token supply (one trillion, at least initially) and simple web and mobile apps. This is likely the project’s attempt to be more user friendly, meaning a smaller dollar to Eco token conversation rate so regular users aren’t scared away by high token prices, which often happens with bitcoin. Similarly, the web and mobile app directive likely means they want to make wallets easily accessible to anyone regardless of technical ability. The last improvement is that Eco wants to be energy efficient when it comes to transaction verification and token generation, meaning there won’t be a network of electricity-intensive miners supporting the network like some other cryptocurrencies have.

Ola is planning their own cryptocurrency The name can be OlaCoin or something else Ola has already build up a dedicated team Ankit Bhati is leading the whole team OlaCoin can be used in day to day usage Cryptocurrency has been a “hotword” in this week’s headlines. Although cryptocurrency was trending in 2017 & will be trending in 2018 too. It looks like companies have understood very well that they should following the “trend” to boost up their business. That is why big companies have started to go for the cryptocurrency based on blockchain. While Jio is planning for JioCoin, Eastman Kodak already launched KODAKCoin – stepping into the blockchain technology. Now the rumours are popular cab service provider Ola is planning to launch their own cryptocurrency based on blockchain. Although Ola has not decided the name for their crypto but speculations are, it could be called OlaCoin. This can be changed when the final announcement comes. Ola is already popular for their convenient cab service in India. Until now Ola was limited to India, but this week it was reported that Ola is trying to setup their own operation in Australia and New Zealand. So it is clear that Ola wants to build a reputation internationally. If they able to provide convenient cab services internationally like India as well, it will not be very difficult to make themselves a strong cryptocurrency competitor. In that case we can see a high rise of OlaCoin (or whatever it named as) in the initial stage. Ankit Bhati, co-founder, Ola Cabs leading the OlaCoin! Ankit Bhati, co-founder, Ola Cabs leading the OlaCoin! We know under the trade name Ola the whole thing actually operated by ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Reports are, ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd. may not engage in the cryptocurrency technology directly. Rather they are planning to register a different subsidiary or a different organization. That’s why their are uncertainty on the name OlaCoin, it can definitely be something else. Ankit Bhati, who is another co-founder of Ola is reportedly handling the whole cryptocurrency department. They have already build a dedicated team for their own cryptocurrency. “Ankit Bhati is leading the whole matter. Our dedicated team is working hard to make it as successful as other cryptocurrencies. But its going to different from all other cryptocurrencies available. We are planning to make available for day-to-day usage,” a person from the Ola cryptocurrency team revealed on the condition of anonymity. Recently Ola invested in Foodpanda India. According to that person the new crypto will be made available to make transaction on Foodpanda and other Indian shopping portals. “Customers will be able make successful secure transaction in Foodpanda and other Indian popular shopping portal as well. We are already under discussion with those companies to make it possible,” the same person added. If this big brands like Jio or Ola steps into the blockchain technology, undoubtedly cryptocurrency will be a legal tender soon in India. We hope Government of India & RBI will soon approve cryptocurrency as a legal tender. Because blockchain is one of the best use of technology as its a digital ledger which is not only limited to financial transactions. Although finance minister Arun Jaitely has already warned not to invest in cryptocurrencies as it is not under the surveillance of any centralized authority, and there are huge risks involved. Confirming cryptocurrencies as not as a legal tender Jaitely said “A committee under the chairmanship of secretary, department of economic affairs, is deliberating over all issues related to cryptocurrencies to propose specific actions to be taken,” Although there is no official confirmation from Ola regarding the same till now. Keeping this things aside people from different nations from all over the world are going crazy over cryptocurrencies. Although the Bitcoin seems to fixed at a stable point. The quotes of Bitcoin is moving between $14000 to $14500. Will JioCoin and OlaCoin be able to change the cryptocurrency scenario in India? Let’s wait for it.

German banking institution Commerzbank is looking to digitize the trade finance process using blockchain. The bank said yesterday in a release that it is working with the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IMI), a consultancy firm with operations in Germany, Spain and China. The focus of that partnership, according to the 4th July announcement, is the pursuit of "new processes and provides latest insights into the future of physical supply chains as well as the future deployment of blockchain based technology in this area". Dr. Bernd Laber, the bank's group executive for corporate trade finance and cash management, said in a statement: "We are working on several projects and in a number of consortiums also with other international banks on the digitisation of bank products and bank services, and on applications for blockchain technologies. As a corporate bank the focus on future supply chains of our customers is of paramount importance and we will develop this in co-operation with Fraunhofer Institute." Commerzbank, which has explored the tech through industry initiatives like the R3 distributed ledger consortium, will "develop scenarios for future supply chains" alongside IMI, though the research schedule and timeline isn't exactly clear. The bank previously took part in a blockchain trial focused on commercial debt. That R3-led project also involved fellow banks ABN Amro, ING and KBC. Commerzbank first joined the R3 effort in the fall of 2015.

There is no doubt that Kurt Russell is one of Hollywood’s biggest actors to date. Now, he is expected to star in an indie movie that features cryptocurrencies. This is definitely an interesting film for all crypto lovers out there. The film’s title does not shy away from its gist, as it is titled “Crypto.” Apart from Russell, the upcoming film will feature prominent stars such as Alexis Bledel, Jeremie Harris, and Luke Hemsworth, among many others. It is worth noting that the movie will heavily focus on a young anti-money laundering agent, played by Beau Knapp, who returns to his beloved hometown in New York. He is poised to investigate a case about corruption and fraud. Russell, on the other hand, will play the father of Knapp’s character. “Crypto’s” producers deem the forthcoming movie “a thriller in the vein of The Firm and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” Of course, the only difference is that the movie will revolve around cryptocurrency. The film is written by Carlyle Eubank and David Frigerio. According to one of the producers of the movie, there is a reason why they decided to focus on the digital currency. He suggests that cryptocurrency has strongly “captured the attention and imagination” of many individuals as well as entrepreneurs across the globe. And considering that it has never been explored in any existing film of today, it is an opportunity for them to do it. The rise of the digital asset will be featured in “a nuanced and exciting way” in the movie. Filming Has Begun “Crypto” has already started filming in New York, but there has yet to be a released date. It is expected to be one of the most high-profile movies to date to heavily focus on the world of cryptocurrencies. Last year, it was reported that the Coen brothers – the filmmakers behind films like “No Country For Old Men” and “The Big Lebowski” – were already working on a film about the Silk Road. The latter is basically today’s now defunct market that utilized Bitcoin as its primary currency. “Crypto,” however, is quite far from the first film to ever hone in a cryptocurrency setting. Perhaps one of the most notable and unusual forays in this area is the infamous Bitcoin Heist. It is a Vietnamese film that revolved around an international, high-stakes manhunt.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decision on the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF until September 30, 2018, according to an official document released by the Commission. This notice comes some days after Van Eck sent a 13-page report to the SEC where it addressed concerns cited as reasons for rejecting a similar ETF floated by both companies last year. The VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF proposal was filed with the SEC in June. The ETF is backed by the Chicago Board of Exchange BZX Equities Exchange (CBOE) and it was primarily touted to get approval due to the tremendous interest it generated in the community and the announcement by the SEC that it had received over 1,300 comments on the proposed rule change. In the notice published online, the SEC announced its desire to push back its decision on the Bitcoin ETF floated by VanECK and SolidX. The Commission explained that the Securities Exchange Act provides that it can extend the 45 days period from publication if it finds it “appropriate to designate a longer period” so it has sufficient time to consider the proposed rule change. “Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act designates September 30, 2018, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change.” While the Commission has chosen September 30, 2018, as the date for making its decision on the proposed rule change, it still has the power to extend it further if it feels it requires more time. According to the Exchange Act, the SEC can extend its decision by 240 days from the date published in the Federal Register. This is not the first time the SEC is on pushing back on its decision regarding an ETF. Last month, the agency used its statutory powers to postpone the decision on the Direxion Investments filing until September 2018. The Commission also declined the proposed rule change to list and trade shares of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust on the Bats BZX Exchange in late July, which was met with criticism by SEC commissioner Hester M. Price who argued that the proposed rule change, did abide by the statutory standards.

amborghini sales have indeed been boosted by the cryptocurrency community’s obsession with the Italian supercar — but is that really all investors should aspire to achieve? As noted by Business Insider, rich individuals in Silicon Valley don’t generally flaunt their wealth — instead favoring a more casual, humble, and work-focused approach. That’s not the case with the newfound ‘crypto-rich,’ however. In a young industry full of newfound bag-holders looking who bought high and sold low during the epic bull-run and subsequent collapse over the last five months, the words “When Lambo?” have been sarcastically (and seriously) asked on virtually every cryptocurrency-related social media thread one can possibly find. Though most users asking that question will never get behind the wheel of a Lamborghini, plenty of cryptocurrency investors have struck it rich by getting involved with the likes of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and others early on — which has, in turn, helped boost sales of the much sought after Italian supercar. NOW LAMBO! As reported by Lamborghini, 2017 proved to be another record year for the luxury automobile maker. The company delivered 3,815 vehicles last year, marking seven straight years of positive sales growth. Perhaps unsurprisingly, more than a few of those automobiles have been purchased with cryptocurrency.

Big things are happening over in Zuffenhausen, Germany, headquarters of Porsche. According to a Porsche press release, the automobile powerhouse is making a major push towards integrating blockchain technology into its cars. In a partnership with XAIN, a tech startup located in Berlin, Porsche is reportedly working on developing blockchain applications with its cars. Things like locking and unlocking a vehicle, parking, or even enterprise usage such as loaning out the company car to an employee are all made easier by way of the blockchain. Especially useful is the fact that blockchains are essentially public ledgers. Because all transactions (in this case, actions involving the vehicle) are recorded in an immutable ledger, gathering data about driver behavior and vehicle performance will be much easier to track. Car owners would theoretically be able to monitor who accessed their vehicle, by whom and when. This could play a major factor in expanding the “sharing” economy which has exploded over the past few years. Furthermore, it opens up a world of possibilities with P2P transactions between vehicle owners. Instead of using a credit card to refill their gas tank or recharge their car battery, drivers could send each other the equivalent of “PorscheCoins,” to pitch in for a night out on the town. By integrating their cars with the blockchain, Porsche also capitalizes on the “blockchain mania” sweeping the world. Film giant Kodak recently rented out their name to KodakCoin “a photo-centric cryptocurrency to empower photographers and agencies to take greater control in image rights management.” After Kodak made their announcement, their stock price tripled. At the time of this writing, it has since leveled off to merely double its price before the announcement. Not bad for a company that had appeared to lose all relevancy in a rapidly-advancing world of technology. Another interesting example is The Long Island Ice Tea Company. Their stock price doubled after announcing that it was changing it’s name to Long Blockchain, drastically changing their business model overnight. While this move by Porsche seems genuine and not a ploy to woo investors, it will doubtless have the effect of exciting them nonetheless. Porsche has not announced their own digital currency yet, nor even hinted at it – but the temptation to cash in on “crypto mania” may prove to be too great for the German automaker. The real question is: who is this XAIN company, and how did they secure the deal with Porsche to manage their blockchain division in the first place? A closer look reveals that XAIN won the blockchain-centric “Porsche Innovation Contest” in summer 2017, placing first out of one hundred contestants. After the contest, teams from different departments within Porsche worked together with XAIN to develop apps that intergrated with the cars’ computer systems. The founders of XAIN, Leif-Nissen Lundbaek and Felix Hahmann, got their start in the automotive industry. Their pedigree includes working with the University of Oxford and Imperial College London on a blockchain system which reduces the electricity-consumption of cryptocurrency mining. One could imagine how that would come in handy when integrating blockchain-based apps in automobiles. Especially high-performance vehicles like those produced by Porsche.

West Virginia is rolling out a blockchain based mobile voting app so American troops overseas can cast their votes in the upcoming elections, CNN reports. The state had previously used the mobile voting platform, called Voatz app, in a pilot for deployed troops and their dependents in two counties for the state’s primary elections. Secretary of State Mac Warner at the time said the plan was to extend the pilot to the state’s 55 counties for the midterms in November once the pilot was successful. According to Warner’s office, “four audits of various components of the tool, including its cloud and blockchain infrastructure, revealed no problems.” The rollout will limit the use of the Voatz app to troops serving abroad. “There is nobody that deserves the right to vote any more than the guys that are out there, and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for us,” Warner added. He also added that the new app wasn’t a call to replace traditional balloting and insisted that troops would still be able to “cast paper ballots” at the election. Michael L. Queen, Warner’s deputy chief of staff, says the final decisions will be left to individual counties on whether they want to use the app for the election. The app, which was created by Boston based startup Voatz, matches a voter’s selfie video to their government-issued ID to verify users. Once approved, voters will be able to cast their votes, which are then recorded on the blockchain, ensuring the information is encrypted securely. While it remains to see how well the adoption will play out in the counties, the decision by the state has been met by some dissenting voices. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the network: “It’s internet voting on people’s horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote.”

West Virginia is rolling out a blockchain based mobile voting app so American troops overseas can cast their votes in the upcoming elections, CNN reports. The state had previously used the mobile voting platform, called Voatz app, in a pilot for deployed troops and their dependents in two counties for the state’s primary elections. Secretary of State Mac Warner at the time said the plan was to extend the pilot to the state’s 55 counties for the midterms in November once the pilot was successful. According to Warner’s office, “four audits of various components of the tool, including its cloud and blockchain infrastructure, revealed no problems.” The rollout will limit the use of the Voatz app to troops serving abroad. “There is nobody that deserves the right to vote any more than the guys that are out there, and the women that are out there, putting their lives on the line for us,” Warner added. He also added that the new app wasn’t a call to replace traditional balloting and insisted that troops would still be able to “cast paper ballots” at the election. Michael L. Queen, Warner’s deputy chief of staff, says the final decisions will be left to individual counties on whether they want to use the app for the election. The app, which was created by Boston based startup Voatz, matches a voter’s selfie video to their government-issued ID to verify users. Once approved, voters will be able to cast their votes, which are then recorded on the blockchain, ensuring the information is encrypted securely. While it remains to see how well the adoption will play out in the counties, the decision by the state has been met by some dissenting voices. Joseph Lorenzo Hall, the chief technologist at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told the network: “It’s internet voting on people’s horribly secured devices, over our horrible networks, to servers that are very difficult to secure without a physical paper record of the vote.”

A new research paper published by an Economics Professor at Yale University recommends a portfolio with at least 6% in Bitcoin. ADDING BITCOIN TO YOUR INVESTMENT PORTFOLIO According to Professor Aleh Tsyvinski, Bitcoin should be an imperative part of your portfolio, regardless of whether you are enthusiastic about the cryptocurrency or not. For an optimal construction of one’s portfolio, the economist holds that Bitcoin should account for at least 6 percent of it. Those who are less enthusiastic about the world’s most popular cryptocurrency should hold 4 percent of it. In any case, though, regardless of your position on the matter, Bitcoin should comprise a minimum of 1 percent of your portfolio just for diversification purposes. Bitcoin Investments Made Simple The study seems to fall in line with the observations of another scholar – Professor Dragan Boscovic from the Arizona State University. Speaking on the matter of cryptocurrencies, he noted: Institutional investors are recognizing this new asset as a valued investment opportunity; this will encourage individual investors. It will also encourage consumers and small shops to start trading in cryptocurrency. BETTER THAN TRADITIONAL STOCKS The study titled, Risks and Returns of Cryptocurrencies, also outlines a very positive feature of cryptocurrencies when compared to traditional stocks and bonds. Using the Sharpe’s ratio, Tsyvinski demonstrated that digital currencies show higher potential for return, despite their increased volatility. It’s noteworthy, however, that the professor only examined Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Ripple (XRP) for the purposes of his study.

Software giant Microsoft has debuted a new Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) product that allows businesses across industry verticals to deploy a flexible instance of Ethereum tailored specifically for enterprise environments. Announced on Tuesday, Ethereum Proof-of-Authority on Azure allows enterprises to build applications on an Ethereum blockchain that is not secured by a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm and consequently does not require mining — features that are better suited for networks in which participants do not trust one another. PoW “works great in anonymous, open networks where cryptocurrency promotes security on the network,” said Azure Global software engineer Cody Born. “However, in private/consortium networks the underlying ether has no value.” Born explained that, since all participants on an enterprise blockchain network are known and reputable, governance can be separated from network operation.

Musicians and star athletes come to shop for luxury cars at MotorCars of Georgia, a dealership just outside of Atlanta. Quavious Marshall, better known as Quavo of local rap group Migos, bought a Silica White McLaren 720S from there in November. Ricardo Lockette, a retired Seattle Seahawk wide receiver, posed for an Instagram photo with a blue Lamborghini Huracan in December. Even Shaquille O'Neal has stopped Last fall, the dealership also got a visit from Peter Saddington, a seemingly unassuming 35-year-old coder who is neither a rapper nor a celebrity. He caught the attention of the dealership though — and the internet — by cashing in 45 bitcoins to drive away with a $200,000 2015 Lamborghini Huracan with a white matte wrap and race exhaust features. Thanks to an early interest in cryptocurrencies, buying those 45 bitcoin cost Saddington less than $115. The bitcoin enthusiast's Lamborghini purchase isn't just a crazy bargain. It reflects a trend of the new rich spending their cryptowealth on the Italian super car. "That is like a meme that goes around Reddit," Saddington tells CNBC Make It. In talking about when a coin is going to make buyers a lot of money, "someone says, 'When Lambo?'" on social media, referring to when will the holder will be able to buy the sports car.

irby Chicas quit his job as a General Electric account manager in Toronto a few months ago to chase a dream he’s had for years — to help start a revolution in bitcoin-like cryptocurrencies. Just three weeks into his new job at a startup called Decentral, the 29-year-old engineer was whisked to New York for a blowout party Wednesday night to mark his company’s debut. SEE ALSO Securities and Exchange Commission logo SEC uses mock website to warn investors about cryptocurrency One of Chicas’ party-night jobs was to hand out white electronic wristbands that would light up to the beats the party’s DJ was putting down. And oh yeah, two of the wristbands would light up post-party to alert the lucky winners of a couple of $250,000-plus Aston Martin sports cars. The party, a six-hour cruise to the Statue of Liberty and around Upper New York Bay, capped a crazy week of cryptocurrency conferences around the Big Apple. On display at the conferences was one of the most ostentatious displays of wealth that New York has seen since the peak of the subprime mortgage boom more than 10 years ago. An 18-fold run-up in bitcoin value in 2017 and some $13 billion in money raised for other crypto-assets will create that kind of ostentatiousness. Modal Trigger A crowd of crypto true believers.Kevin Dugan During the week one company, Ripple, had wrangled Snoop Dogg to play a private show in the West Village for about 200 people. The rap star later showed up to an after-party at 1 Oak and was joined by celebrities from A-Trak to James Murphy, founder of LCD Soundsystem. In that regard, Wednesday’s Decentral party was just another $3 million crypto-blowout. Decentral, a new venture by Ethereum co-founder Anthony Di Iorio, 43, rented out the 210-foot party yacht Cornucopia Majesty. The company is launching an app in July which, Di Iorio says, will be like his industry’s Netscape, and allow anyone to invest in cryptocurrencies. But really, the event was a coming-out party for a new, and suddenly wealthy industry that has few regulations and isn’t chastened by scandals that have held back Wall Street and now Silicon Valley. Thanks to barely there government oversight and a gold-rush mentality surrounding bitcoin, people have flocked to start their own copycat coins which, they hope, will be the next big thing. “It’s perplexing,” said David Tran, a VP of marketing at Coinberry, a trading app that hopes to continue bringing cryptro-currencies to the mainstream and to shed its image as mainly being used by drug dealers. “It feels like the 1990s internet.” As a partygoer asked Tran about his company, another attendee sidled up and shouted, “Coinberry!” — wrapping his arm around Tran. “I love Coinberry,” said the man who was suddenly Tran’s best friend. “I’m, like, a criminal, and I got verified [cleared to trade on Coinberry] right away.” As the yacht — with its 30,000 square feet of party space — pulled out of Pier 81 on Manhattan’s West Side, scores of young women wrapped in form-fitting black party dresses paired off with boyfriends or just mingled among schlubby guys in T-shirts or Wall Street pros. MORE ON: DIGITAL CURRENCY NYSE parent launches digital currency exchange Salon Media's cryptocurrency 'solution' hasn't erased losses Valedictorian allegedly stole $2M in digital currency by hacking cell phones Cryptocurrency king is hippie former child actor who loves Steve Bannon Dudes with neck tattoos got into the scene — as a guy wearing a space helmet floated around the dance floor. One young woman, who wore custom athleisure tights that featured a blockchain code print, added a bit of fashion to the scene — as did a fop who showed off his unreleased Yeezy kicks. Around midnight, perhaps the booze was getting the better of at least one partygoer, who seemed to step straight out of “The Wolf of Wall Street” set. “Do you want a Russian?” the young crypto bro asked a fellow reveler, gesturing to a thin brunette in a black dress. The woman then smacked the man in the face. “I’m Ukrainian,” she said. Di Iorio, who said he shelled out his own money to pay for the cruise, flew in from London his favorite DJ, Chicane, to play house music for the 1,000 attendees. As the party yacht made a turn near the Statue of Liberty, one attendee reflected on the rush of wealth into the suddenly flush industry. “Yeah, I’m cool — I’m cool with making myself super-dope rich and having awesome things and getting to enjoy visages that no one else does,” said Curtis Ingleton, CEO of Refinery, a Canadian compliance startup. “But at the same time, man, what happens to all those poor people?” Ingleton asked, gesturing toward New Jersey. “What happens to every single one of those lights that’s across the way? What do they do? At the end of the day, man, they actually need to make their day happen to make me make my day happen, so it really is my day to make sure their lives happen. It’s a huge responsibility.” Chicas was already jazzed about cryptocurrencies — even before he turned out to be one of the two lucky winners of an Aston Martin. “You know what’s really crazy about this?” he asked post-party, standing beside his $295,000 Aston Martin Vanquish, emblazoned with the Ethereum logo at around 1 a.m. “At one point I had 13 wristbands, and I was giving them out to everybody, and I just kept the one I had initially. And I got lucky.”

The Facebook-famous Winklevoss twins donated $100,000 to Gov. Cuomo’s campaign — and less than a month later, state authorities approved their cryptocurrency exchange, campaign-finance filings show. And once the Department of Financial Services gave the stamp of approval, the twins chipped in another $30,000 for the governor’s re-election. The big-bucks donations were the first checks that Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss ever cut for Cuomo and account for $130,000 of the $140,900 they gave to candidates in the state. The men sent identical $50,000 donations on April 24. On May 14, state regulators licensed the Winklevosses’ firm, Gemini Trust Company, to trade Bitcoin and other emerging currencies. Gemini was the “first qualified custodian and exchange” to offer trading of the “emerging digital currency Zcash in New York,” officials bragged in the press release. Then, a month later, the twins were dipping into their bank accounts again to each give Cuomo another $15,000 on June 20. Everyone involved insisted there was no quid pro quo. “We appreciate their support,” said Cuomo reelection-campaign spokeswoman Abbey Fashouer. “No contribution of any size influences any government action.” A Winklevoss rep defended the donations. “Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have supported — and continue to support — many effective leaders around the country,” the spokeswoman said. “They contributed to Gov. Cuomo’s campaign because they believe he’s doing a great job, is a problem-solver, and is definitely the right person to lead New York in the years ahead.” But this was the first time in Cuomo’s two terms as governor that the twins have supported him financially. State financial officials said they did nothing wrong in approving the license. “DFS takes care in reviewing every application,” said spokesman Richard Loconte. “The department has no knowledge of political contributions and such contributions have absolutely no bearing on DFS’s independent authority and decision making.” Officials also approved a license for a Winklevoss competitor, itBit, in May. The trading license could boost the legitimacy of the Winklevosses’ ZCash currency, which is worth just a fraction of Bitcoin. Its market cap is currently $878 million, while Bitcoin is valued at more than $122 billion. The mega-donations weren’t the end of the twins’ support for the Democratic incumbent, who faces a spirited primary challenge from actress and activist Cynthia Nixon. Sources told The Post’s Page Six the twins were named to the host committee for Cuomo’s July 14 fundraiser at the Montauk, LI, hot spot Surf Lodge, where Tiffany Trump and Malia Obama have partied this summer. The minimum donation to be named as a host was $1,000 per person, sources said. According to campaign records, the twins have contributed to just one other state politician, former state Sen. Dan Squadron (D-Manhattan), who received $10,900 in 2012 and 2014. Cuomo reported raising another $6 million during the first half of the year and has more than $31 million in cash on hand. His challenger, Nixon, reported raising $1.6 million since entering the race in March and has about $660,000 in the bank.

New patent filings from General Electric suggest that the U.S. conglomerate may be looking at blockchain as part of a wider aircraft monitoring and maintenance system. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published five applications from GE today, each of which focus on a concept for a "dynamic optimization" system that would touch multiple aspects of managing and operating aircraft, including maintenance services. One component of that system, the applications indicate, would be a mechanism for parties involved in the aircraft oversight process. While noting that these entities would typically be paid through traditional finance channels, they suggest that cryptocurrencies – or some application of blockchain thereof – could facilitate such payouts instead. "The delivery of the cash flows amongst stakeholders is certainly enabled with traditional debits and credits into financial accounts and may be implemented with crypto-currency mechanisms whose core logic is informed by precise allocation of cashflows," the applications note – though they don't include any other mention of the technology. That GE would potentially investigate this area is perhaps unsurprising, given past developments from notable airline carriers. Earlier this year, Air France revealed that it was looking at blockchain as a way to track maintenance flows for its airplanes, with the idea being that the technology could underpin a shared database of update information.

WHILE bitcoin continues to divide its advocates and critics, the craze for cryptocurrencies has shifted from the business world to classrooms as blockchain courses spring up at universities and high schools around the globe - but should cryptocurrency be taught in schools? The University of California is just one elite US establishment now offering a course on digital currencies, along with Pennsylvania, New York and Stanford universities. Demand from younger students has also prompted some high schools to start offering non-curricular educational sessions. New Jersey teacher Timothy Breza told CNN earlier this year crypto is now on his Business and Personal Finance course for 16 to 18-year-olds. He said: "If one student's talking about it, many of them are talking about it. So I figured we needed to include it." he UK has also caught on with Cambridge University announcing in 2016 it would be the first university to incorporate blockchain as part of its Masters in Finance degree. Should cryptocurrency be taught in schools? Nate Flanders, who run a cryptocurrency trading platform, said schools should “absolutely” being including blockchain based on the benefits of coding alone. The Co-Founder & CEO of Mandala Exchange told Express.co.uk: “What it really comes down to is, continuing to push coding generally into the school system. “Java, C++, python - these are just some of the languages blockchain platforms are being built on.” He added: “With the current push towards integrating the fundamental programming languages into school systems, blockchain should become a complimentary area of study with the possibility to major in it or specialise.”

Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure has introduced a proof-of-authority (PoA) algorithm on its Ethereum (ETH) blockchain product, according to a blog post Aug. 7. The new Ethereum network algorithm will reportedly allow a “more efficient” way of building decentralized applications (DApps) for private or consortium networks, where “all consensus participants are known and reputable.” In contrast to proof-of-work (PoW) — the existing protocol on Azure — a PoA algorithm is based on the principle of approved identities or validators on a blockchain, and does not require competition in completing the transactions. The new Ethereum product on Azure is equipped with a number of features to ensure its correct functioning and security, such as an identity leasing system, Parity’s web-assembly support, Azure Monitor, and a Governance DApp. The identity leasing system intends to ensure that while each member possesses “redundant consensus nodes,” no two nodes can carry the same identity. The system provides identity protection even in the case of virtual machine (VM) or outage, so the new nodes “can quickly spin up and resume the previous nodes’ identities.” Parity’s web-assembly support aims to simplify the process of building smart contracts, enabling customers to write them in languages that are more familiar than the existing Solidity programming language on the ETH blockchain. The blog post notes that developers will now be able to write DApps in such languages as C, C++, and Rust. The Governance DApp solution intends to simplify voting and validator delegation in the process of participation in a consortium. By enabling this feature, the developers provide customers with a level of abstraction, which allows programmers to hide all but the relevant data about an object in order to lessen complexity and boost efficiency. The Governance DApp will also ensure that each consortium member has control over his or her own keys, which allows for fully protected signing on a user’s chosen wallet, the blog post writes. Microsoft first announced the launch of the Ethereum-based Azure cloud computing platform in late 2015. Founded in 2010, Azure provides a global network of Microsoft-managed data centers for developing, testing, deploying, and managing applications and services.

Following a new licensing system for the cryptocurrency sector in July, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has fielded nearly two dozen applicants looking to operate domestic cryptocurrency exchanges. Thailand SEC secretary-general Rapee Sucharitakul has revealed that as many as 20 companies have applied for licenses to operate cryptocurrency exchanges within a month after a new regulatory licensing framework for ICOs and the wider crypto sector came into effect, on July 16. As reported by the Bangkok Post on Thursday, the senior SEC official confirmed that license approvals are currently “being processed”, adding: “Many companies interested in opening digital asset exchanges have said digital assets and cryptocurrency trading in the Thai market are quite active.” As reported previously, Thai authorities pushed a royal decree to fast-track the regulation of the domestic crypto sector that mandates all exchange operators, ICO issuers and brokerages to register with the SEC before commencing operations. The regulatory framework came into effect less than a month ago on July 16th, wherein the SEC became one of the world’s earliest securities market regulators to recognize cryptocurrencies in fundraising, allowing seven specific coins as payments for ICO users. They are namely Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum Classic, Stellar and Litecoin. ICO issuers will have to earn licensure through ‘portals’ (companies operating marketplaces) wherein the latter’s management structure and plan of operations will be scrutinized by the regulator. Three of the five ICO portals have already submitted their applications to the SEC. Notably, Rapee added that the SEC has seen interest from 50 ICO issuers looking to gain licenses to raise funds, five of which are likely to be approved at the present time as reported previously. The news comes at a time when the primary body representing Thailand’s securities firms are also exploring the possibility of launching a joint cryptocurrency exchange by applying with the SEC, a sign of the growing institutional and retail investor interest in trading cryptocurrencies. Thailand’s embrace of the cryptocurrency space in a regulated capacity follows developments to its east in the Philippines wherein the country’s central bank approved the accreditation of two new cryptocurrency exchanges in July, raising the total to 5 regulated exchanges in the country presently. Beyond developments in the mainland, a government-controlled economic zone in the northern tip of the Philippines is also issuing 25 crypto exchange licenses within the economic zone. It all makes for a rising trend among eastern Asian nations that began in Japan last year, wherein the country’s Payment Services Act was revised to recognize cryptocurrency like bitcoin as legal tender. The new legislation has also mandated domestic exchanges to register and earn licensure from Japan’s financial regulator. So far, Japan has licensed sixteen cryptocurrency exchanges to operate domestically.

Software giant Microsoft has debuted a new Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) product that allows businesses across industry verticals to deploy a flexible instance of Ethereum tailored specifically for enterprise environments. Announced on Tuesday, Ethereum Proof-of-Authority on Azure allows enterprises to build applications on an Ethereum blockchain that is not secured by a Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm and consequently does not require mining — features that are better suited for networks in which participants do not trust one another. PoW “works great in anonymous, open networks where cryptocurrency promotes security on the network,” said Azure Global software engineer Cody Born. “However, in private/consortium networks the underlying ether has no value.” Born explained that, since all participants on an enterprise blockchain network are known and reputable, governance can be separated from network operation.

An Australian data center operator and its cryptocurrency subsidiary are developing what they describe as the country’s first “behind-the-grid data center” powered by renewable energy. Situated in the coal-mining town of Collie, some 200km south of Perth, the new facility is being developed by data center operator DC Two and subsidiary D Coin and will be powered by a solar farm built by a company called Hadouken, IT Brief reports. With the key objective of competitive power rates via primarily renewable source, the company claims it will offer the lowest cost and highest density data center in Australia. The data center will notably offer specific zones customized to host cryptocurrency mining operations. “By providing customised low cost hosting options specifically engineered for cryptocurrency and Bitcoin mining at globally competitive rates, DC Two & D Coin have been able to attract the interest of both the local and international crypto mining community,” the company said. The first stages of the data center and the solar farm will draw an expected power supply of up to 4 megawatts and is will take shape in early 2019. At this stage, the two installations are expected to service 256 IT racks wherein each rack is capable of delivering up to 30 kw of IT load. Through its crypto-mining hosting subsidiary D Coin, DC Two underlined its intent to cater to crypto mining operations. The company said: In complete crypto mining configuration, using the initial 4MW power availability, the data centre could mine about 650 bitcoins per annum worth around $6 million based on current mining and exchange rates. The endeavor is the second instance of a proposed ‘behind-the-grid data center’ in Australia, both taking shape this year. In May, Sydney-based blockchain firm IoT Group – a company listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) – announced a conditional binding agreement with the domestic seller of bitcoin mining hardware giant Bitfury to commence a crypto mining operation. The conditional terms, specifically, relates to a proposed mining center built within a decommissioned coal plant – the Redbank power station in Hunter Valley, New South Wales. The AUD$190 million deal is contingent on the successful acquisition of the power station.

Opera, the web browser backed by bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, has announced that it will add a native ethereum wallet to the desktop version of its web browsing software. Opera Brings Built-in Ethereum Wallet to PC Browser The Oslo-based firm made the announcement on Wednesday, citing “strong interest” in and an “overwhelmingly positive response” to the private beta for its mobile browser, which now features a built-in ethereum wallet that supports both ether and ethereum-based tokens. “By adding a crypto wallet directly into the browser, we removed the need for complex extensions or separate apps,” said Charles Hamel, product lead of Opera Crypto. “Opening up the PC browser to crypto marks Opera’s second step towards making cryptocurrencies and Web 3.0 mainstream.” To access the feature in Opera’s desktop browser, users will first need to download the mobile browser on an Android device and enable the native cryptocurrency wallet. Then, they can connect it to their PC browser by scanning a QR code. In addition to storing tokens, the wallet functions as a decentralized application (dApp) browser, enabling users to interact with dApps like Augur and CryptoKitties without manually downloading extensions. Keys to the wallet remain stored on the user’s phone, so they must sign all payments — including those initiated through the PC browser — on their mobile devices using a fingerprint swipe. “After making crypto payments smooth and easy on mobile, we wanted the find the perfect solution for PCs”, said Krystian Kolondra, EVP of Opera’s browsers division. “We realized the best way is to utilize our new mobile crypto wallet technology and to give our PC users access to it.” “Some users prefer to perform crypto payments or interact with Dapps on their desktop. They can now do so in a simple way by using the same wallet they have on their mobile phone,” added Hamel. With Bitmain’s Backing, Opera Goes Crypto The move comes just one month after Bitmain — the dominant bitcoin mining firm and likely the most valuable cryptocurrency company — paid $50 million to purchase a controlling stake in Opera, who through its browsers and fintech subsidiaries has a major presence in Africa. A week later, Opera announced that it was adding a native ethereum wallet to the Android version of its mobile browser, and the firm now says that its next aim is to “make crypto-integration mainstream.” “At Opera, we try to stay at the forefront of innovation. Our next aim is to make crypto-integration mainstream. We believe blockchain technology has the power to transform the web of tomorrow and expect it to make a big difference in the years to come,” said Kolondra.

Swiss-based trading platform ShapeShift AG has announced the acquisition of Bitfract, a software firm that allows users to swap bitcoin into dozens of digital assets in one transaction. According to the company’s post, the Bitfract tool is poised as a game changer that simplifies the buying process by allowing investors rebalance their cryptocurrency portfolios in quick and easy steps. Erik Voorhees, founder and CEO of ShapeShift said he was impressed by the Bitfract team and their execution in creating a tool ShapeShift was planning on building itself. “The Bitfract team made expert use of ShapeShift’s open API to build a product that we ourselves were planning to build,” Voorhees remarked. “This demonstrated a great alignment of strategy and thinking, and their execution was so exceptional that we wanted to bring their talented team and technology on board.” With the Bitfract tool, users will be able to gain exposure to a diversified portfolio of digital assets without making multiple transactions — saving time and fees. Willy Ogorzaly, co-founder and CEO of Bitfract said, “We believe in a decentralized future where individuals freely control their digital wealth, and our team is honored to work alongside Erik and everyone at ShapeShift to make this a reality.” The tool uses a simple process. It helps converts bitcoin into any cryptocurrency or cryptocurrencies by sending in the BTC to the company’s address, which then links to ShapeShift open API to convert it into multiple cryptocurrencies in one transaction. With the acquisition, ShapeShift will be able to extend its reach and use the tool as a base layer for expanding its products and offerings. The company believes that the Bitfract platform has a lot of positives, especially the “multiple output transactions,” which would be incorporated into ShapeShift’s platform soon. ShapeShift AG has a fondness for acquiring digital assets startups that are solving problems in the industry, especially those using their open API. Last year, the company acquired hardware wallet creator KeepKey, a tool that allows users to exchange digital assets without exposing their private keys online.

Jersey's financial services regulator has issued new guidelines for companies wanting to use the island to raise money through digital currency. There has been a sharp rise in companies using "Initial Coin Offerings" or ICOs to raise money for their business. An ICO allows a company to issue a digital token, such as Bitcoin, that investors can purchase. That money goes to the company and, if the coin does well, the investor makes money. It is an alternative to more traditional ways of raising money for a company, such as venture capitalism or stock options. The Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) has warned investors that ICOs can be volatile. It has made it easier for companies to register an ICO in the island while also ensuring protections are in place to avoid criminal activity. It has not gone so far as to regulate ICOs, said it would impose minimum standards on the companies issuing them.

IBM and Danish transport and logistics giant Maersk have launched their global blockchain-enabled shipping solution, according to an official press release today, August 9. The new jointly developed blockchain solution revealed 94 organizations involved and 154 million shipping events already captured. The global supply chain platform has been dubbed ‘TradeLens,’ and its dataset is reportedly growing at a rate of close to one million shipping events a day. According to the press release, the platform is able to track critical data about each shipment in a supply chain in real time, generating a distributed, immutable record on the fly. TradeLens’ participants now include over 20 port and terminal operators worldwide, as well as international customs authorities, freight forwarders, logistics firms and cargo owners, the press release reports. It also counts global container carriers Hamburg Süd and Pacific International Lines as participants, alongside Maersk Line. As Forbes notes today, “collectively, the shipping companies account for more than 20% of the global supply chain market share… [and serve] 235 marine gateways around the world.” IBM and Maersk say that the new blockchain-enabled platform is expected to bring multiple trading partners “a single shared view of a transaction without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality,” further integrating Internet of Things (IoT) and sensor data that allows for the monitoring of a range of variables, from temperature control to container weight. The platform is said to be able to simplify a gamut of basic operational questions –– for example, determining the location of a container –– from 10 steps involving five middlemen to a single, disintermediated step. IBM general manager and head of blockchain, Marie Wieck, told Forbes: “We have seen a lot of skeptics talk about the validity of blockchain solutions [...] I think with over 90 organizations and over 150 million events captured on the system we really are seeing proof in the pudding in terms of where people are spending their time to get benefits from blockchain.”

Yale University financial experts have suggested a system of factors to predict price trends in major cryptocurrencies, according to an official statement by YaleNews Aug. 6. The new study was conducted by Yale economist Aleh Tsyvinski and Yukun Liu, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Economics, and is reportedly the “first-ever comprehensive economic analysis of cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology.” In the paper, the authors intend to provide a “risk-return tradeoff” of major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Ripple (XRP), according to its historical performance data. The experts reportedly analyzed the behavior of Bitcoin between 2011 and 2018, while Ripple and Ethereum data was tracked since their inceptions in 2012 and 2015, respectively. In the study, Tsyvinski and Liu found that cryptocurrencies “have no exposure” to most common stock markets, as well as to returns of currencies and commodities and macroeconomic factors. Instead, the researchers assert that “cryptocurrency returns can be predicted by factors which are specific to cryptocurrency markets.” Among these factors is a “strong time-series momentum effect.” Tsyvinski and Liu argue that if the price of Bitcoin increases over a week, it is likely to keep growing over the following week. The researchers note that a sharp increase of Bitcoin’s price stimulates higher demand in the market, which leads to bigger investments. The study says that the “momentum effect was stronger” for Bitcoin, but was “still statistically significant” with Ethereum and Ripple. Apart from the momentum effect, the Yale researchers mention the factor of investor attention, which is a correlation between crypto prices and the number of posts and queries for cryptocurrencies on social media and in search engines. Ultimately, Tsyvinski states:

Cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service Bittrex has announced plans to launch U.S. dollar (USD) trading pairs for two new cryptocurrencies, according to an official announcement published August 8. Per the announcement, Bittrex is looking to expand its fiat markets to Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Ripple (XRP) on August 20. The new trading pairs will be added to already listed dollar markets for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), and TrueUSD (TUSD). The company says that it will continue gradually adding tokens to its USD markets, using a “phased approach” for USD trading. Bittrex further explained that it takes a gradual approach to “ramping up these markets” in order to ensure quality in processes and systems before making them available to qualified customers. Bittrex said: “In addition to broader acceptance, expanding fiat markets to the top digital currencies on our trading platform will help limit the dominance and influence of any one token over other blockchain projects – a necessary evolution if we’re going to unleash blockchain’s potential benefits for consumers and businesses.”

U.S. Senate candidate Austin Petersen, who is known for his Bitcoin (BTC) advocacy, lost the Republican primary election Aug. 7. According to unofficial results published by the Missouri Secretary of State, Petersen lost the battle to Attorney General Josh Hawley, who received 58.6 percent of the 663,553 votes. Hawley will go on to face to Democratic Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill in the general election. Petersen tweeted: “Sorry I couldn't pull out a win for us, friends. My faults as a candidate are my own, and not the fault of our activists. I am not a perfect messenger. One day soon I believe we will see more leaders who rise up and fight for our cause more fiercely and more successfully than I.” In February, ABC News reported that Petersen’s campaign for Senate received 24 donations in Bitcoin amounting to just under $10,000 total. One such donation was reportedly the largest BTC donation ever received in a federal election. Upon the receipt on Dec. 20, the contribution of 0.284 BTC was purportedly converted to U.S. dollars. At the time the donation was worth over $4,500, putting the donation over the Federal election limit of $2,700 per individual. The candidate’s website explained that the first $2,700 would go toward activities in the primary election, while the remaining amount would be used in the general election. Petersen’s campaign manager Jeff Carson said on his behalf:

The Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market has more than doubled in a year according to ICORating’s ICO market report for the the second quarter of 2018, published August 8. ICORating is an independent rating agency that conducts independent analytical research evaluating ICOs and the ICO market. According to the report, ICOs in 2018 have already raised over $11 billion in investments, a figure which it purports is ten times larger than the sum of investments from ICOs in Q1-2 2017. ICORating reports that in Q2 2018, 827 projects raised over $8 billion in funding, compared to $3.3 billion in Q1 2018, representing a 151 percent increase overall. The report notes: “Funds raised by EOS project account for most of this increase, they have collected $4,197,956,135 for a year-long ICO.” Per ICORating, Europe has become a leader, launching 46 percent of all projects, while North America is leading in investment, collecting 64.67 percent of attracted funding. The reports adds: “Asia-based projects showed an increase in funds raised (+20%), but a decrease in the number of projects launched (–40%).” Institutional capital in ICO markets has increased, while the report notes a “continued decline in the number of retail investors.” According to the study, this results in an environment in which project requirements increase, while the amount of funds raised during ICOs increasingly becomes dependent on “how well projects cooperate with investment funds.” The top 10 industries by funds raised were led by financial services, blockchain infrastructure, and banking and payments, which collectively represent over $1 billion in raised assets. Financial services led all other industries both in the amount of funds attracted, and the number of projects. In July, analysts associated with the Crypto Finance Conference revealed that the “most favorable” countries for ICOs were the U.S., Switzerland, and Singapore. Researchers based the rankings on publicly available data of the top 100 ICOs by country in terms of funds raised and ranked them by number of projects launched.

Cointelegraph recently had the chance to speak with Pierre-Edouard Wahl, the head of blockchain digital services at PwC Switzerland, about the future potential of blockchain in the country. Wahl, who noted that PwC Switzerland worked closely with main Swiss stock exchange SIX on their announcement of a future distributed ledger-based digital asset exchange, elaborated on his beliefs that crypto must be used in order to go mainstream enough to give people back control of their digital footprints. This interview has been edited and condensed. Molly Jane: Could you tell us how you got interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space? Pierre-Edouard Wahl: I’m an engineer by schooling. I’ve been in the blockchain space for several years now, and I discovered a Bitcoin community that was very ideologically driven. The community drove me to the technology, not the other way around. And so I decided to start a B2B Bitcoin exchange and got into some trouble, because at that time, it was very difficult. There was no clear regulation around exchange operations, and I looked for a big banking partner. Unfortunately, at the time, every time you mentioned Bitcoin, there were closed doors — so that did not work out. But Credit Suisse asked me if I was willing to jumpstart their blockchain department, so I happily did. I spent three years at Credit Suisse and after that left, thought I was going to get back to the startup world, but really thought I had an opportunity at PwC to make an even bigger difference than in the startup world. Because we have a reach that is pretty amazing — a very high level of established business, executive suite. So, yeah, that was the exciting part. MJ: When did you first hear about cryptocurrencies? PW: The first time I heard about Bitcoin was in 2010. I dabbled with Bitcoin really for the first time in 2011, and got into the space full-time in 2012. I feel like it is an industry that has such a huge potential, and I wish I could have spent more time there. But yes, relative to the existence of this industry, I have been there for a while. MJ: Do you actually invest in the industry, do you own Bitcoin? PW: I am fully invested. I’ve asked my employers to pay me in crypto, but it hasn’t really worked yet. MJ: Since you say you have been investing in the market for a while, have you ever bought anything with Bitcoin? Like a pizza? PW: I try to spend Bitcoin wherever I can. I see it as a way to spread the cost. So, yes, I have spent Bitcoin. In the meetup in San Francisco — the SF Bitcoin-dev meetup — we used to organize what we call “Bitcoin bombs.” All of the participants go to a bar and ask if we can pay in crypto, in Bitcoin — and if we couldn’t, we could go to the next bar, until we found the first one that would accept it. MJ: So how long did it take you to find a bar that would accept Bitcoin? PW: San Francisco is pretty open, so generally it went pretty quickly. And we were a crowd, so they had a good incentive. And at that time, there was already BitPay, so if they wanted to receive dollars, they could easily get their dollars rather than Bitcoin. MJ: Do you have any fear that in the next 10 years Bitcoin will go to a million, and you’ll be that guy that spent his Bitcoin on a cocktail? PW: Well, it will only go to a million if it gets used. So, it’s cool if the price goes up to a million, but it is not my priority. My priority, really, is to try to support a world where people have more sovereignty over their digital footprints, have more sovereignty in terms of freedom of speech, freedom of movement. And public blockchains need a token for incentivizing various parties, and if one of those tokens goes to a million of dollars, it’s great for the investors and those tokens. But the million dollars is not the end goal — the million dollars is just the means to an end.

Japanese IT giant GMO has just reported making an operating profit of 255 million yen (about $2.3 million) for its cryptocurrency business in the second quarter of this year. The firm released its financial report following an earnings call on Thursday, which indicated that the company's crypto segment made a total of 2.6 billion yen, or $23 million, in net revenue. The amount generated in the crypto segment was almost equally split between the mining and exchange businesses, which accounted for 47 and 53 percent of the net revenue, respectively. That said, with operating costs mounting to $21 million in just three months, GMO recorded a relatively small margin of $2.3 million, or 10.95 percent. However, the figure looks more respectable when placed in the context of GMO's net loss of $6.6 million in the first quarter – mainly due to negative revenue suffered by its exchange business in the first two months of this year. Although GMO didn't provide a breakdown of the operating costs for the crypto segment in Q2, it did indicate that a notable portion arises from the mining side of its business. "Although the expansion and mining equipment progressed as planned and recorded sales of 1.2 billion yen, mining profitability declined due to deterioration of the macro environment such as stagnation of bitcoin price as well as the increase of hash rate," the report said. Indeed, according to GMO's latest mining report, dated Aug. 3, the firm appears to have increased its mining capacity in the second quarter. For instance, the company mined 512 bitcoins in the first quarter – less than the 528 bitcoins GMO mined in June 2018 alone. Notably, those figures come soon after the launch of GMO's own 7nm bitcoin miners, which were touted as having higher hashing power alongside lower electricity demands. Before now, the only previous profitable quarter for GMO's fledgling crypto business was Q4 2017, a time when bitcoin prices soared to a record high of nearly $20,000.

The Ripple platform represents one of those innovative systems. While it has been around since 2012, it is still solidly backing up banking and financial institutions in their quest to provide more efficient and faster transactions that can be built around customers’ trust in each other and the network. Ripple is a project based on small free software that pursues the development of a credit system based on the end-to-end paradigm. Each Ripple node functions as a local exchange system, in such a way that the entire network forms a decentralized mutual bank. In other words, the Ripple platform is a distributed social service based on the honor and trust of existing people in real-world social networks. In this way, financial capital is based on social capital. A reduced version of the Ripple network would consist of an extension of the existing hierarchical banking system. Ripple: an exciting, feature-rich network To understand Ripple’s place in the crypto universe, we have to value its contributions to the industry. In addition to being one of the most renowned digital tokens out there – even competing for the second spot in market share, behind Bitcoin, with options such as Dash, Litecoin, and Ethereum – it is also one of the most efficient payment networks for financial transactions in the planet. The Ripple technology is, in fact, more widely known for its digital payment protocol than for being a cryptocurrency. Since being co-founded by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb in 2012, it has flourished, reaching worldwide recognition and market success via the digital coin, the XRP. Ripple functions in a decentralized platform that fosters money transfers in any form. It is open source and peer to peer, and can work with several exchanges and currencies, physical or crypto, such as US dollars, Yen, Litecoin, and Bitcoin. To work correctly, Ripple implements the Gateway medium, which serves as the link in the trust chain between two parties wanting to make a transaction. Gateway is the credit intermediary, the one in charge of receiving the funds to public addresses managed within the Ripple platform. In Ripple, anyone can sign up and open a gateway that authorizes that person to be the middleman for exchanging currencies. The XRP (Ripple) is the associated cryptocurrency of the platform. It performs the part of a bridge currency to other tokens without discriminating between fiat and crypto, facilitating exchanges between different coins. According to Ripple’s chief cryptographer, David Schwartz, the payment systems of today are where the email was in the early ’80s. Every provider built their system for their customers, and if people used different ones, they couldn’t easily interact with each other. The purpose of Ripple is enabling the connection of different payment systems together. Ripple’s original and intellectual authors are Arthur Britto, David Schwartz, and Ryan Fugger. They formed the Ripple Company in 2012 and came up with the initial release. The latest version or release was on February 20th, 2018. The project is written in C++ code, under the operating systems GNU/Linux (RHEL, CentOS, Ubuntu), Windows, and OS X. We can consider Ripple to be a real-time gross settlement, currency exchange, and remittance network. Ripple’s first significant period ranged from 2012 to 2013, involving OpenCoin and Ripple Labs. OpenCoin started the development phase of a new payment protocol, named Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP), with Fugger’s ideas, primarily instant money transfer between two parties. By that time, the company had already created its digital currency, the XRP, in the same mold as Bitcoin. Later, between 2014 and 2017, Ripple began to focus on the banking market, with Ripple Labs taking part in related projects. They experimented with an App for iPhone that enabled users to send and receive transfer between them. Since 2013, the Ripple protocol has been adopted by numerous financial institutions to offer an alternative remittance option to people. German bank Fidor was the first to use the Ripple network to allow cross-border payments, in the first part of 2014. American institutions Cross River Bank and CBW Bank quickly followed, and later on, Ripple began working with Earthport. From that point on, success followed, and more prominent banking institutions, such as HSBC and Bank of America, utilize the Ripple protocol to perform operations in astonishingly quick times. Ripple’s bread and butter: the consensus protocol Bitcoin, along with other renowned cryptocurrencies in the market, performs its operations with the proof-of-work system. Others, such as Nxt, use proof-of-stake; but Ripple implements the consensus protocol. The consensus protocol validates account balances and transactions in the network, improving overall integrity by avoiding double spending. The system will automatically delete malicious advances from morally shady people looking to send one deal to multiple gateways. In short, the protocol consists of distributed nodes deciding by consensus the transaction’s pecking order through a majority vote. One would think that they take a lot of time to complete. Well, five seconds isn’t a whole lot, is it? Ripple is a decentralized platform because it doesn’t involve any governance or central authorities in any part of the process. While the transactions are all made public in the consensus ledger, there is still anonymity because they can’t be linked with the involved people’s ID or account. All users or gateways have a database of every registered IOU. Get to know Ripple’s benefits The consensus ledger that the Ripple system implements is versatile and fast enough that each day, more and more banks and financial institutions are adopting it as their preferred way to perform their business operations. Ripple provides an improvement on the traditional way that banks use to work. The transactions are completed, settled and registered in a matter of seconds despite the high amount of traffic that the platform experiences every day. That is a vast improvement over, say, the Bitcoin system, which takes an average of ten minutes to complete an operation. Traditional banks and financial institutions can take days, or even weeks, to perform a wire transfer, and let’s face it, that delay isn’t going to cut it in our current financial reality. On top of all that, the transaction fees in Ripple are almost non-existent: the minimum is 0.00001 XRP. That’s nothing if you compare it to the costs of a cross-border payment. Ripple, the token The Ripple network has an associated cryptocurrency; the XRP, which has the power of liquidity by serving as a bridge between other means of payment, making the exchange more comfortable for all parties involved in a transaction. Judging by data as recent as June 2017, the XRP was the world’s the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap of $11.94 billion. The first is Bitcoin (BTC,) at $45.26 billion, and the second is Ethereum (ETH) at $31.53 billion.

Bitcoin (BTC) now makes up 50 percent of the entire cryptocurrency market capitalization. Shortly past 03:00 UTC on August 11, CoinMarketCap's bitcoin dominance rate – an indicator that tracks the percent of the total cryptocurrency market capitalization contributed by the leading cryptocurrency – reached 50 percent for the first time since December 19th, 2017. At press time, bitcoin's market capitalization now records $105,785,552,545, which is about $901 million more than the market capitalization of every other cryptocurrency combined. The above chart shows bitcoin's dominance rate has been on a steady incline over the past few months, currently representing a 14 percent increase from May 1st. In the same time period the market dominance of all other cryptocurrencies have largely been on the decline. Conditions were much different the last time bitcoin's market dominance was above 50 percent. On Dec. 19th, the average price of BTC was $17,605.81 across exchanges - an 65 percent higher price than the cryptocurrency's value today, according to the CoinDesk Bitcoin Price Index.

Goldman Sachs is deliberating a plan to hold bitcoin and other digital currencies on behalf of funds betting on cryptocurrency, according to a report. The plan would see the banking giant take its most significant step yet into the nascent world of digital assets, and has resulted in bitcoin analysts predicting positive market movements for the cryptocurrency due to increased investor interest. The crypto fund would reduce risk for investors and could potentially lead to other cryptocurrency-based ventures An inside source revealed the plans to Bloomberg, who said that a timeline for launching the custody fund is yet to be put in place. A spokesperson for Goldman Sachs told the publication: "In response to client interest in various digital products we are exploring how best to serve them in this space. At this point we have not reached a conclusion on the scope of our digital asset offering."

An Israeli startup behind one of the world's most expensive phones has unveiled its latest device, which it hopes will simultaneously revolutionise smartphones and deliver cryptocurrency to the masses. The Finney phone – named after the late bitcoin pioneer Hal Finney – follows the $16,000 Solarin smartphone by Sirin Labs, which was geared towards ultra-wealthy individuals. In contrast to its predecessor, the new device aims to reach as wide an audience as possible with a more modest price tag of $1,000. It is unique both in terms of its software and hardware, having ditched the monolithic slab design adopted by most modern-day smartphone manufacturers. A twist to this ubiquitous design means the introduction of a hidden screen that slides up from behind the Finney's main display to reveal a cold-storage cryptocurrency wallet. Sirin Labs describes the Finney phone as an "ultra-secure blockchain smartphone" that capitalises on the team's knowledge of cyber security and crypotcurrency. "We're blockchain enthusiasts," Nimrod May, Sirin Labs' chief marketing officer, tells The Independent. "We want this phone to make all the benefits of blockchain technology available to as big an audience as possible, while making cryptocurrency accessible to the mainstream." In order to bridge the gap between the blockchain economy and the mass market, Sirin Labs has sought to solve the two biggest barriers to the cryptocurrency market: security and user experience. To help fund the Finney's development, Sirin Labs looked to the blockchain economy and launched an initial coin offering (ICO) – a new crowdfunding device that allows early backers to secure tokens of a new cryptocurrency. With over $157 million raised, Sirin Labs' ICO was the fourth largest in history.

In order to fulfill the final two criteria, the researchers said bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will need to overcome challenges like scalability and regulation. "The world of cryptocurrency is evolving as rapidly as the considerable collection of confusing terminology that accompanies it. These decentralised technologies have the potential to upend everything we thought we knew about the nature of financial systems and financial assets," said Professor William Knottenbelt from Imperial. READ MORE Bitcoin price recovers from eight-month low “There’s a lot of scepticism over cryptocurrencies and how they could ever become a day-to-day payment system used by the man on the street. In this research we show that cryptocurrencies have already made significant headway towards fulfilling the criteria for becoming a widely accepted method of payment.” Should cryptocurrencies continue to progress in terms of functionality, Professor Knottenbelt said they represent a viable technological update to the way we spend money. Dr Zeynep Gurguc from Imperial added: "New payment systems – or asset classes – do not emerge overnight but it is worth noting that the concept of money has evolved – even in our lifetime – from cash to digital or contactless payments. The wider use of cryptocurrencies and crypto-assets is the next natural step if they successfully overcome the six challenges [scalability, usability, regulation, volatility, incentives and privacy] we set out in our report.” Considering each evolutionary iteration of money has made the process of paying for something easier, the research paper concludes that the underlying technology of cryptocurrencies make them the next natural step towards reducing the friction of payments. One possible way this could happen would be for cross-border payments, which currently involve lengthy and costly transaction times. The decentralised nature of cryptocurrencies mean they are borderless by design, and therefore negate such issues. "The history of money is a history of evolution, of new technology replacing old to improve the transfer of value from one person to another. Cryptocurrencies represent a next step on this journey," said Iqbal Gandham, the UK managing director of eToro. "​Given the speed of adoption, we believe that we could see Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies on the high street within the decade."

In a blog post detailing the $300m fund, Andreessen Horowitz partner Chris Dixon said: "Although the bitcoin whitepaper is now almost 10 years old, we believe we are still early in the crypto movement. He added: "We are long-term, patient investors. We’ve been investing in crypto assets for 5+ years. We’ve never sold any of those investments, and don’t plan to any time soon... If there is another 'crypto winter,' we’ll keep investing aggressively." The faith Andreessen Horowitz has in cryptocurrency markets is all the more significant considering the VC firm's track record: Since its inception in 2009 it has invested in more multi-billion dollar startups than any other company, including AirBnB, Uber and Foursquare. It has also been one of the most significant investors in the cryptocurrency space, having contributed to a $25 million funding round to the Coinbase exchange in 2013.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has given a glowing endorsement of bitcoin, saying that he hopes the cryptocurrency will one day serve as a global single currency. Mr Wozniak was responding to comments made by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey earlier this year, who claimed that bitcoin would become the world's single currency within 10 years. "I buy into what Jack Dorsey says, not that I necessarily believe it's going to happen, but because I want it to be that way, that is so pure thinking," Mr Wozniak told CNBC. "Bitcoin is mathematically defined, there is a certain quantity of bitcoin, there's a way it's distributed... and it's pure and there's no human running, there's no company running and it's just... growing and growing." The decentralized nature of bitcoin meant that it is "natural," Mr Wozniak added, saying: "Nature is more important than all our human conventions." Bitcoin's volatile history in pictures Satoshi Nakamoto creates the first bitcoin block in 2009 Bitcoin is used as a currency for the first time Silk Road opens for business The first bitcoin ATM appears + show all It is not the first time that Mr Wozniak has spoken publicly about the merits of bitcoin, having previously heralded the cryptocurrency and its underlying blockchain technology as better than gold and the US dollar. Mr Wozniak first became interested in bitcoin a few years ago and bought some when they were worth around 10 per cent of what they are today. He has since sold all but one of the bitcoins, saying that he did not want to become: "One of those people that watches it, watches it and cares about the number." At a conference in Las Vegas last October, Mr Wozniak said that traditional currencies were "kind of phoney," due to the fact measures like quantitative easing could artificially inflate the money supply. The major drawback of gold, he said, was that there was no fixed supply. READ MORE Google bitcoin ban: Blanket ban on cryptocurrencies is ‘heavy-handed’ "There is a certain amount of bitcoin that can ever exist," Mr Wozniak said at the Money 20/20 event. "Gold gets mined and mined and mined. Maybe there's a finite amount of gold in the world, but cryptocurrency is even more mathematical and regulated and nobody can change mathematics." His comments come in contrast to other influential figures,

Have you heard a little bit about cryptocurrency and the excitement surrounding the investment possibilities in the digital coins? Are you perhaps curious about how to invest in the coins yourself, whether that means Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any of the other popular coins in the market? If you answered yes to either of those first few questions, you are probably anxious to get started, but you might not how to go about that. Would you believe that there is a way that you can keep a kind of hands-off approach to investing and still reap the rewards that come from this thrilling new asset class? It can happen for you via the assistance of something called a robot trader, and it’s easier and less daunting than you might think. Robots that trade cryptocurrencies for clients are one of the most exciting technological investment advances in many a year. They essentially do most of the work for the investor, choosing which trades to make, when to make them, and how to manage a crypto portfolio. With the help of some crypto robots like the Bitcoin Trader System, the investor need not make any decision at all about the investments, or they can be as hands-on as they prefer to be. That kind of flexibility, along with the benefits that investors receive from having artificial intelligence working for them, is why these trading programs are becoming so successful. Here’s how they work. 1. The Funding Once an investor settles on a cryptocurrency robot that seems worth their while, they generally need only to fund the account with a certain minimum amount of money. Make sure that the program you choose doesn’t require any money up front aside from the account money; otherwise, you could be dealing with a scam. If you have funded the money, you need only sit back and watch as the robot does its work and fills your portfolio with the most lucrative coins. 2. The Controls Again, you may be ceding control of your trades to the robot in question, but you don’t need to be completely out of the loop. You can make decisions to buy and sell coins on your own as well if you feel strongly about something, or you can take money out or put money back into your account at your heart’s desire. 3. The Right Robot What you should be looking for in a robot is a legitimate success rate that doesn’t seem overinflated or unrealistic. You should also be able to verify that the human being in charge of creating the specifications of the digital program has a proven track record of investing success. And, again, you should be wary of hidden fees that might cut into any profits that you might amass from this endeavor. If all of those aforementioned factors are in place, you probably have a winning robot in your hands. Now all you need to do is get that account funded and you should have the potential for great cryptocurrency profits within your portfolio.

It’s not entirely clear what exactly is going on in Facebook’s nascent cryptocurrency division, but several reports suggest that something is afoot. Facebook Meets with Cryptocurrency Project Stellar The first comes from Business Insider, who reports that Facebook’s blockchain research group recently met with Stellar to discuss how the social media conglomerate could leverage distributed ledger technology (DLT) as it explores potentially building out a payments network. According to unnamed sources, the two parties discussed how Facebook could fork the public Stellar blockchain, much as chat app Kik did after it decided to create an independent blockchain for its Kin cryptocurrency rather than piggyback on the main Stellar network. The task force is also said to have met with other unnamed cryptocurrency projects. The publication also reports that Facebook has rapidly been expanding its blockchain division. One job posting said that the endeavor “is a startup within Facebook, with a vision to make blockchain technology work at Facebook scale and improve the lives of billions of people around the world.” Facebook’s Crypto Lead Steps Down from Coinbase Board Further stoking the coals of the rumor mill is the announcement, first reported by CoinDesk, that David Marcus, a Facebook vice president and the former head of its Messenger division, has stepped down from his post on Coinbase’s board of directors, a role he originally took on at the cryptocurrency exchange giant last December.

Singaporean venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures is launching what it bills as Southeast Asia’s ‘first dedicated VC cryptocurrency fund’ with $10 million in investment capital. Dubbed LuneX Ventures, the fund will see a ‘laser-like focus’ on the cryptocurrency and blockchain space by investing in early-stage startups including cryptocurrency exchanges, the VC firm said on Friday. The fund will be led by Golden Gate’s former head of growth Kenrick Drijoningen, who will assume the role of its founding partner. The launch of the fund is also timed for the current climate in the crypto sector where cryptocurrencies are steadily going mainstream in spite of the ongoing bear market in 2018, according to Drijkoningen. He stated: “We view blockchain as a foundational technology, on a par with or possibly exceeding the Internet in disruptive potential. Right now valuations have come down to more reasonable levels and the industry is moving from pioneers to early adopters, which is a great time to start investing.” Further, the fund will aim to “invest exclusively in high-growth blockchain companies and cryptocurrency assets” including startups that can “bring the industry to the next level” globally, the executive was quoted as stating by TechinAsia. Beyond cryptocurrency exchanges, the fund will also target startups devising practical solutions to custody and security requirements in the crypto sector. Firms looking to introduce crypto assets and blockchain technology to “institutional services” will also be favored according to Drijkoningen. The fund is expected to close up to $10 million within the end of 2018 and has already lined up a number of investments, Drijkoningen told e27. He stated: “We have a strong pipeline of five to 10 investments ready to go and made our first commitment to Singapore-based Sparrow Exchange [a peer-to-peer crypto options trading platform] already.” Before its crypto-exclusive spin-off fund, Golden Gate Ventures has notably backed Thai-based Ethereum blockchain startup Omise in the latter’s development of a decentralized payments platform powered by OMG, an ERC20 cryptocurrency token.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has unveiled the first demo of its much-anticipated decentralized trading platform, which will serve as a core component of the firm’s future public blockchain. During the brief demo, a Binance engineer demonstrated how to use the platform to issue a new cryptocurrency token and then list it on the decentralized exchange (DEX). The engineer then created and filled a sell order using two separate DEX-connected computers. The platform does not yet feature a GUI, so the demo was conducted using a command-line interface (CLI). While stressing that the platform is in “rough, pre-alpha” development, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said that the project is several months ahead of schedule. “There’s still a ton of work to be done to turn it into a final product,” he said. “Nevertheless, I think this is a major milestone for Binance Chain.” As CCN reported, decentralized exchanges are widely viewed as the next frontier in cryptocurrency trading since they allow users to trade assets with other users without entrusting their assets to a third party where they can be hacked by external attackers or stolen by malicious company employees. DEXs can also provide users with access to trading platforms that cannot be censored by hostile governments. While such already platforms exist, they have yet to attract enough volume to become a major force in the global marketplace. That’s expected to change, particularly as cash-flush businesses like Binance seek to migrate their centralized services to these decentralized structures. Several other centralized exchanges, including fellow heavyweights Huobi and OKEx, have announced similar plans to build their own decentralized exchanges and public blockchains. Others, such as Coinbase, have pursued DEX acquisitions but have thus far kept their operations separate from the company’s flagship brand. Last month, Binance announced that it had made its first-ever acquisition, purchasing ethereum wallet provider Trust Wallet for an undisclosed sum that included a mixture of cash, stock, and BNB tokens. The exchange said at the time that Trust Wallet will serve as one of several default wallets for the DEX when it eventually goes live. Featured Image from Binance

Cryptocurrency-collateralized loan provider SALT Lending has announced that it is now operational in 35 U.S. states after receiving regulatory approval to expand its network to 20 new localities. The Colorado-based firm is perhaps the best known of several companies that allow borrowers to stake their bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets as collateral when applying for a loan, enabling them to immediately access the purchasing power of their investments without relinquishing their future upside potential. Following SALT’s expansion into 20 new states including Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, and Oklahoma, cryptocurrency investors in all but 15 states can leverage their holdings to obtain USD-denominated personal loans. SALT says that it has issued over $50 million in loans to its more than 70,000 users since its launch in June 2017 and that it hopes to be operational in all 50 states by the end of next year., “This news effectively gives our platform a 60 percent increase in lendable areas,” stated Bill Sinclair, CTO and interim president and CEO of SALT Lending. “It is our goal to operate in all 50 states by the end of 2019, barring any regulatory challenges.” “With our operating advancements and technological enhancements, we have made yet another sizeable leap to grant more banked and unbanked people access to leverage their blockchain assets to accommodate the need for traditional fiat-based transactional living,” Sinclair continued. The expansion announcement comes just weeks after SALT founder and former CEO Sean Owen abruptly left the organization, temporarily sparking fears among customers that the firm was pulling an exit scam and thrusting Sinclair into his new position as interim CEO. Several competitors made takeover bids, with at least one — Nexo AG — publishing a letter of intent (LOI) offering to purchase SALT’s remaining qualifying assets. However, SALT denied that it was either insolvent or for sale, stating that it “remains strong” and is “fully focused” on continuing to expand its business and product line.

The new course has been created by the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Academy (ECA) and subject matter experts - A successful pilot of the course has been delivered by the ECA, with another scheduled for August 2018 - Police officers will learn the skills and knowledge to recognise and manage cryptocurrencies in their investigations - The course was created in response to increased national interest from police officers In a UK first for police training, the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Academy (ECA) has recently launched a new course on cryptocurrencies. Developed by the ECA together with subject matter experts in the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Directorate, the new one-day course Cryptocurrencies for Investigators is designed to give officers the skills and knowledge to recognise and manage cryptocurrencies in their investigations. It is the first of its kind in the UK and has been developed in response to an increased level of interest from police officers nationally. The ECA delivered a successful pilot course in July 2018 to City of London Police officers, with another scheduled in August for a partner regulatory body. It is hoped that the course will then be rolled out nationally in autumn 2018. Upon successful completion of the course, officers will understand how to detect, seize and investigate the use of cryptocurrencies, and will be able to: - Explain the investigative opportunities available to investigators to recover and trace cryptocurrencies - Understand the criminal use of cryptocurrencies - Describe the legal framework relevant to cryptocurrency investigation Mike Betts, Head of Skills & Development at the City of London Police’s Economic Crime Academy, said: “In recent years the cryptocurrency market has grown considerably, with more and more people using it and investing their money. However, this surge in popularity has also given rise to more fraud in this area, with criminals identifying cryptocurrencies as a new way to defraud people and steal their money, and also launder money. “The Economic Crime Academy continues to develop national and international courses in response to emerging threats, and this new course will provide training to counter the growing risks that cryptocurrencies pose."

Facebook blockchain head David Marcus announced he was quitting his position on the board of U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Friday, August 10, in a statement seen by various media outlets. Marcus, who joined the exchange’s board in December 2017 and took on a blockchain research group at Facebook in May, said he now thinks it is “appropriate” to leave. “Because of the new group I'm setting up at Facebook around Blockchain, I've decided it was appropriate for me to resign from the Coinbase board. “...I've been thoroughly impressed by the talent and execution the team has demonstrated during my tenure, and I wish the team all the success it deserves going forward.” The decision comes as rumors continue to swirl about a potential acquisition of Coinbase by Facebook. Last month, the social media platform allowed the exchange to advertise its services, reversing a ban which took effect in January. Correspondingly, media outlets quoted sources which suggested a perceived “conflict of interest” lay at the heart of Marcus giving up the board slot. According to Facebook spokesperson who spoke to CNBC, the move was “to avoid the appearance of conflict, rather than because of an actual conflict.” “Under David's leadership Facebook is poised to be one of the leading players in crypto and an active acquirer,” Ryan Gilbert, a partner at Propel Venture Partners and a minor Coinbase investor also told the publication Saturday. “Who knows, one day an acquisition of Coinbase could be in the cards.”

Analysts polled by FactSet suggest that Nvidia will see increased revenue this quarter despite “waning” cryptocurrency mining, Marketwatch reported August 10. The purported increase is due to strong demand for gaming devices and data-centers. While analysts suggest that the company’s revenue from crypto mining hardware will decline, the U.S.-based graphic processing units (GPU) manufacturer will see significant growth in its gaming and servers sales. Revenue from Nvidia’s gaming sector is expected to grow by 47 percent to $1.75 billion on a year-on-year basis while data-center revenue is expected to surge 78 percent to $740 million. C.J. Muse, an analyst at Evercore, concurs with other analysts, saying that “data Center/AI remains an area of strength, particularly when considering additional benefit of a new gaming cycle favoring Nvidia.” Muse added: “We believe concerns around a likely falloff from cryptocurrency-driven Ethereum GPU mining strength are largely exaggerated, and Nvidia will likely power through any tough compares from cryptocurrency-driven tailwinds.” In May, Nvidia reported that it generated $289 million from processor sales to the crypto market. Nvidia’s first-quarter crypto sales amounted to over 9 percent of overall revenue for the company, which stood at $3.2 billion. Chips for crypto mining made up 76 percent of (Original Equipment Manufacturer) OEM revenue, which was up 115 percent from the previous quarter. Nvidia, however, suggested that sales to the crypto market will likely decrease by two-thirds in the second quarter. In July, the company’s estimates were proven as the price of specialized GPUs declined along with sinking prices in digital currency markets. Nvidia’s main competitor Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) unveiled in April that 10 percent of the company’s revenue during the quarter was attributed to blockchain or mining, though the company’s CEO Lisa Su said that blockchain was “a bit of a distraction in the short term.” The mining hardware price fall has not dissuaded manufacturers from producing new crypto mining hardware. In May, ASUS announced the release of its “second generation” cryptocurrency mining motherboard, which was scheduled to launch in North America at the beginning of the third quarter of 2018. Follow us on:

Facebook has reportedly denied entering into talks with cryptocurrency firm Stellar (XLM), Cheddar reported August 10. Earlier today, Business insider reported that Facebook and Stellar had been considering a potential partnership to build a Facebook variant of a Stellar blockchain. A Facebook spokesman reportedly told Cheddar that the company is “not engaged in any discussions with Stellar, and we are not considering building on their technology.” The statement was made in response to Business Insider’s report that the two companies had discussed a potential fork from the main Stellar network as part of its blockchain efforts. Sources from Stellar reportedly told Business Insider that, “it would make sense for Facebook to record payments transactions onto a distributed ledger like Stellar.” While the news regarding Facebook’s collaboration with Stellar is in question, the social media company has made some steps to embrace blockchain technology. Last month, Evan Cheng, Facebook’s Director of Engineering moved to the same position at the company’s recently established blockchain team. The team was initially formed in May by David Marcus, the head of Facebook’s messaging app Messenger, to explore possible applications for distributed ledger technology. The establishment of the blockchain team followed the implementation of a broader shake-up of Facebook's product team, which led to the formation of three separate divisions: a “family of apps” group, "central product services" and “new platforma and infra.” Later that month, anonymous sources familiar with “Facebook’s plans” told Cheddar that Facebook is “exploring” the creation of its own in-app cryptocurrency, despite having banned crypto ads on the platform earlier this year. Facebook banned crypto ads under a clause preventing advertisements for “financial products and services frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices." Stellar was originally established in early 2014 as a payment technology built on the Ripple protocol, though it has underwent significant changes since then. In July, Stellar obtained Sharia compliance certification in the money transfer and asset tokenization field. This means that Stellar will be able to enhance its ecosystem in regions where operation in the field of financial services requires compliance with Islamic financing principles.

Japan’s financial watchdog, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), has published the results of its on-site inspections of cryptocurrency exchange operators, Cointelegraph Japan reports August 10. Based on its findings, the watchdog has decided to apply more rigorous oversight into new applications from exchanges hoping to receive an official operating license. Newly registered exchanges will be required to undergo on-site inspections at an early stage and the agency plans to closely examine the effectiveness of their business models. According to the agency, there are currently “hundreds” of companies awaiting its review. The FSA probe revealed that exchange operators’ maintenance of their internal control systems has failed to keep pace with the rapid growth of transaction volumes, which it partly attributed to the “renaissance” of the crypto markets in fall 2017. According to the investigations, the total digital assets of domestic exchanges surged to 792.8 billion yen ($7.1 billion), an over six-fold increase within the space of one year. Meanwhile, most exchanges’ workforces are fewer than 20 people, meaning that one employee on average was found to be managing digital assets worth 3.3 billion yen ($29.7 million). The comprehensive document identified a wide array of problems across exchanges’ business models, risk management and compliance, internal audits, and corporate governance. The agency further highlighted concerns over insufficient anti-money laundering (AML) measures among certain exchanges. Local news platform Nikkei has reported that it is likely the new registration of exchange operators — which had virtually stopped in the wake of January’s $532 mln hack of crypto exchange Coincheck — will resume following the FSA’s interim publication. The FSA has said that “substantial” ongoing review of registration procedures will be necessary, and that it will continue to give “priority to investor protection.” In May, the FSA unrolled regulatory stipulations for registered exchanges, including tough restrictions on the trading of anonymity-oriented altcoins. In July, the FSA announced it was considering changing the legal framework for the regulation of cryptocurrency exchanges, and the agency was also recently restructured in order improve its handling of fintech-related areas, including cryptocurrencies. A self-regulatory body, the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), formed in early March in order to develop and coordinate policies in conjunction with the FSA. Last month, JVCEA announced it would be requiring its members to place maximum limits on the volumes traded by their customers.

satellite service provider DISH has announced it has added Bitcoin Cash (BCH) as a payment option and migrated to the BitPay payments provider, according to an official press release August 9. The DISH Network Corporation was among the first satellite service providers in the world to accept Bitcoin (BTC) payments back in 2014. John Swieringa, the executive vice president and chief operating officer at DISH, said in the press release that the company has “a steady volume of customers paying with cryptocurrency each month”, adding: "We've added Bitcoin Cash just as we chose to accept Bitcoin to serve customers who have adopted a new way of doing business.” According to the press release, DISH customers will be able to pay with both BTC and BCH for monthly subscriptions and pay-per-view movies by sending the exact amount of cryptocurrency in a push transaction to the company. Sonny Singh, the chief commercial officer with BitPay, noted in the press release that they aim to have a “seamless transition” from DISH’s old payment service to the new one. Singh added that cryptocurrency purchases are becoming more popular both because they reduce the chances for credit card fraud, as well as provide a cheaper payment service option for merchants.

It began like this: In January 2017, officials from the People's Bank of China stepped into the offices of the largest crypto exchanges in the country and sat down with their executives. From the financial regulator's Shanghai and Beijing bureaus, the officials told the exchanges at the time they were interested in identifying whether anti-money laundering and capital control mandates were being met. But according to Robin Zhu, chief operating officer at Huobi, the regulators had an ulterior motive that January day. "The regulator wanted to grab a big picture of how significant cryptocurrency trading was in China – how does bitcoin work; where does the money come from; where does it go to; how do people make and lose money?" Zhu said. The PBoC also requested information on the exchange's trading volume and user numbers. In addition to the platform's data, Huobi had been regularly submitting information and reports about worldwide government policy in an effort to help the PBoC understand the industry. Zhu definitely thought something was up. To him, it seemed like the PBoC was gathering information in an order to create a framework for regulating the industry, something many exchanges wouldn't have necessarily been worried about. But then September came and with it the announcement that the PBoC was banning initial coin offerings (ICOs) and shutting down domestic fiat-to-crypto order book trading. It seems the inquiries paved the way for the ultimate clampdown, one that severely affected cryptocurrency exchanges in the country. In a previous interview with CoinDesk, Huobi's founder and CEO Leo Li reported trading volumes followed suit. On November 1, 2017, these figures were just 5 percent of what they were on Sept. 15, the last day before the close of order-book trading. Yet, not to be deterred, exchanges such as Huobi have continued to thrive, finding new ways to grow their business. Zhu told CoinDesk: "Whatever the policy may be, we will comply with the rules and are here to say. The [bitcoin] trend is irresistible." Westward and eastward expansion In fact, two of China's largest exchanges at the time, Huobi and OKCoin, already have offerings that again rank within the top 10 in the world by trading volume – Huobi Pro and OKEx, two platforms that now trade cryptocurrencies only. And Zhu told CoinDesk that Huobi Group has more than doubled its staff to over 400 since September, signaling a strong commitment even facing a tightened regulatory landscape. "The shift to over-the-counter trading is an unexpected pivot to us. We had never anticipated that to be one of our business strategies," said Zhu. But until some of the pressure is lifted, Huobi is proceeding with an aggressive expansion plan. Over the past few months, the exchange has opened offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and the U.S. Through partnerships with Japan's SBI Group and an unnamed partner in South Korea, Huobi is expecting its new exchanges in those countries to be running by March of this year. And in San Francisco, the company's new office is focusing on research and fostering blockchain startups, but Huobi has also employed compliance experts there as well, hinting at a possible crypto service launch in the U.S. too. "Once we have fully understood the legal issue in the U.S., opening a new exchange remains to be the next phase of the plan," Zhu said. While Zhu claimed that opening up operations overseas has always been a part of Huobi's long-term strategy, the PBoC's actions undoubtedly forced the platform to expedite its pivot. All in all, the pivot has been good to Huobi, which is already seeing a more diverse user base, according to Zhu. For instance, Huobi Pro currently has about 3 million users and less than half of them are from mainland China today. Loyalty, and revenue, token Yet, Huobi is still focused on adding services for its existing user base. Toward that goal, Huobi even launched its own token, HT, which runs on the ethereum blockchain, as a way to create user loyalty (and bring in some additional revenue). Instead of following the ICO model that most startups do, whereby tokens are sold to interested investors, Huobi is giving the tokens away as a free gift to users that purchase service fee packages on its platform. Over the course of 14 days, the announcement of the HT tokens resulted in investors rushing to buy some $300 million as pre-paid service fees, which Huobi Pro is able to collect in advance. Following the launch of its own token, Huobi Pro announced a new exchange named HADAX, which allows investors to vote with HT on which new cryptocurrency assets they want listed for trading on the platform. "We can't evaluate every new cryptocurrency because there are simply too many of them," Zhu explained. "HADAX gives investors the choice to vote for tokens they believe are worth trading." According to Huobi's data, as of Feb. 24, the HADAX platform has collected 8.5 million HT from 104,308 users who have cast a total of 85 million votes for 75 different crypto assets. And with this, Zhu said: "In the long term, we think crypto-to-crypto trading has more potential than fiat currencies because of the large number of trading choices that can be available." The rise of Binance But the PBoC's ruling didn't only add hurdles, it also seemed to lift up a new crypto exchange which has a significant connection to the country. Binance was launched in July of last year (just two months prior to the PBoC's ruling) by former top executives from OKCoin, Zhao Changpeng and He Yi. At the time, Binance also disclosed that its first round of funding came from two Chinese venture capital firms – Blackhole and Funcity. Yet, because its base was outside of mainland China, Binance was in the right place at the right time. When uncertainty prevailed in the domestic market, Chinese investors began withdrawing crypto assets and shifting them onto overseas platforms, according to Zhu. He said: "The timing was perfect for Binance." Six months after its launch, Binance has now grown into one of the top cryptocurrency exchanges, having seen $2 billion in trading activity in the past 24 hours, according to CoinMarketCap. "Although Huobi already launched Huobi Pro at the time, we didn't have as many tokens available for trading as Binance did," Zhu said, adding that the service is now recording more than $1 billion in daily trading volume. And even though Binance has previously announced it would limit the access for users from inside China, Zhu said, "One can always surf the internet 'scientifically'" – referring to the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), which mask user's IP addresses. Zhu continued: "If you have assets in an exchange and now you are prohibited from accessing it through a normal process, you definitely will rack your brain to get in there."

African countries want to regulate cryptocurrency, but hardly any one wants to take the lead in responding to the meteoric rise of this technology and asset class. That’s according to a new report from the Togo-based Ecobank, the leading independent regional banking group that serves nearly 40 countries in West and Central Africa. The report, which examined the regulatory response to cryptocurrencies in the 39 sub-Saharan countries, found that regulators in most jurisdictions are taking a “wait-and-see” approach, hoping that they can learn from the mistakes of their neighbors before they take action themselves. “African countries appear to be looking to their neighbours to regulate and innovate first, and learn from their mistakes, rather than being the first mover,” the bank said. “African governments worry that if its citizens become overexposed to cryptocurrency investments, the repercussions of a future crash could be felt in the broader economy, hence their scepticism of licensing their use.” Of the 39 regulatory regimes surveyed, more than half — 21 countries — had yet to make a public stance on cryptocurrency. Only three countries had taken a strong position on cryptocurrency, with Namibia issuing an outright ban and — on the the opposite extreme — South Africa and Swaziland adopting “generally favourable and permissive” stances on the asset class but stopping short of providing them with “full legality.” The other 15 countries lay somewhere in the middle, largely declining to regulate them directly, stating that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fall under a legal gray area and warning investors against investing in them. For its part, the bank lamented the emphasis that cryptocurrency price movements have engendered in the public discourse surrounding this technology and asset class. “Unfortunately, the spectacular rise and fall in the traded value of cryptocurrencies has drowned out broader discussion on the potential benefits this new technology could bring,” the bank said, concluding:

“I was led away from Wall Street for two primary reasons. The first is the tremendous opportunity I believe is inherent in the space. This is an incredibly immature industry with enormous potential for well-run projects. The second reason is that this technology has the potential to change the world for the better by empowering some of the most disaffected people in the world with a greater degree of financial freedom. It is truly an exciting place to be working.” Dash is a cryptocurrency and a digital autonomous organization (DAO) aimed at enabling merchants to handle private payments in crypto. The currency has been adopted in Venezuela by over 800 merchants and is also active in Zimbabwe. After working for 15 years in financial services and technology, Taylor left his position as a hedge fund analyst working for a $20 billion investment firm based in New York to set up Dash, and he has some interesting insights into how things work behind the scenes in the traditional finance world. “Wall Street has a tendency to work on major new developments in private, and I suspect many others are working on solutions, even while simultaneously publicly shunning cryptocurrencies,” said Taylor. Cryptocurrency Doesn’t Need Wall Street The effects of mainstream financial institutions investing in crypto has yet to be seen, but Taylor believes that crypto will make its own way regardless of outside influence. “Crypto doesn’t need Wall Street to grow. It is getting adopted more and more every year with or without it. There are major benefits and drawbacks from its involvement, but I think netting those out, it is an overall positive thing that crypto is becoming more and more integrated with the traditional financial system.” “Cryptocurrency can become much easier to use if it is integrated with other financial systems and add to its utility. Would you rather use the U.S. dollar if it were not integrated with the financial system? By turning the question around, it becomes obvious that this will help crypto adoption,” he added. While Taylor acknowledges that there are benefits as well as disadvantages to Wall Street becoming more involved in crypto, there are other obstacles to be dealt with before we see widespread adoption. “Right now, regulatory uncertainty is preventing a lot of businesses from jumping in to provide services or become comfortable accepting payments in digital currencies. Regulators will eventually catch up and provide businesses with the guidance they need to gain comfort with it.” “With banks now jumping into the space, I think regulators will need to finally address this. The problem is that regulators tend to focus on institutions, and this was unusually a market that developed from a grassroots movement by regular people, rather than the financial institutions. Regulators got caught on their back heels as a result, but seem to be catching up to the need quickly,” he concluded.

$18 Billion IPO Throughout July, Bitmain, the Chinese crypto and blockchain corporation, touted its plans to initiate an IPO valued at $15 billion. It invested in multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency exchange Circle and major Internet browser Opera leading up to the IPO, publicly disclosing its intent to expand into the venture capital and investment sector. The $18 billion valuation of Bitmain was secured after the firm closed a $1 billion funding round by Tencent and SoftBank Group, two of the most influential companies in the global technology market. As China’s most valuable technology company, Tencent has led the development of massively popular mobile games, smartphones, payment systems, internet services, social network platforms, and web portals. Increasing hype and demand surrounding Bitmain have been supported by the company’s exponential increase in revenues. Last year, Bitmain recorded a revenue of $2.5 billion, in a period in which infrastructure in the cryptocurrency sector was not well established. In the past 12 months, Bitmain has seen a four-fold increase in its revenues, recording a $10 billion revenue in 2018. More to that, despite the 80 percent correction of major cryptocurrencies in the past eight months, Bitmain has recorded a larger revenue than Nvidia, the chip manufacturing giant which dominates the graphics card and artificial intelligence (AI) industries. Bitmain’s business model is mainly based on three components: bitcoin mining equipment manufacturing, mining equipment rentals, and mining pool. Bitmain’s clients can directly purchase ASIC miners to mine cryptocurrencies, rent their existing machines to immediately start mining cryptocurrencies, and become a part of their pools to mine digital currencies with minimal hashrate. An interesting aspect about Bitmain’s revenues is that the company’s income does not depend on the performance of the market, unlike cryptocurrency exchanges, which remain as the only multi-billion dollar companies apart from Bitmain and blockchain network creators such as Ripple Labs and Block.one. Moreover, in the public finance sector, outside of early-stage technology companies similar to Facebook and Google in their early days, it is rare for investors to find companies that can grow at the pace demonstrated by Bitmain over the past two years, and its expansion into venture capital and AI could appeal to public investors that intent to commit to the cryptocurrency sector. Positive For Crypto Market Bitmain is set to conduct the first ever IPO initiated by a company within the cryptocurrency industry, with a valuation of over $18 billion. If Bitmain goes public with a $18 billion offering, one of the largest offerings to date, it will lead investors to acknowledge the cryptocurrency sector as a legitimate and a rapidly evolving industry with the potential to compete against other multi-trillion dollar sectors. More to that, an influx of capital into Bitmain through the public market may also lead funds in the traditional finance sector to flow into emerging blockchain projects and companies, as Bitmain has recently focused on the development and sustainability of its investment arm. As CCN reported, Bitmain has also employed an aggressive expansion strategy earlier this year, establishing a factory in the US with over 400 employees. Increasing presence of cryptocurrency conglomerates on the international stage will play a vital role in establishing the cryptocurrency industry. “Bitmain is truly honored to announce this news and is excited to work with local partners, government and stakeholders in realizing this vision, throughout the initial set-up phase, operations and beyond,” said Jeff Stearns, executive vice president and direct of operations for Bitmain’s North America division.

South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT will promote the training of blockchain technology as part of an effort to prepare young people for what it calls the “Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Blockchain technology is included in courses that have recently been announced by the Ministry of Science and ICT. The Ministry of Science and ICT believes the country faces a global transformation called the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to its website, and is focusing on supporting innovation across all of society by building an environment that promotes autonomous research and promotes growth technologies. Blockchain A Growth Industry Innovation growth industries cited by the ministry include blockchain, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud, virtual reality, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles and drones. The ministry has announced the development of 40 courses that cover these subject areas. The courses, the ministry believes, will help improve employment opportunities for youth. “Although the youth employment issue is emerging as a social problem, the problem of job mismatch is serious,” said Young-Kyung Won, a software policy officer at the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy. The ministry will foster talents that match a companies’ visions, he said, thereby creating new opportunities for young people who are looking for jobs and creating jobs. Consortium Supports Youth Training A consortium of corporations, universities, trade associations, industry/academic related organizations is committed to improving youth employment opportunities through training, the ministry noted. Organizations in the consortium include SAP, Unity Technologies, PWC, Oracle, Hancom MDS, KBS, Seoul National University Hospital and Saltlux. The project plans to recruit trainees in August and will promote then the through various media such as the website and educational institutions. South Korea is currently the third largest cryptocurrency market besides Japan and the U.S. Shinhan Bank, South Korea’s second-largest bank, recently partnered with KT Corp, the country’s second-largest telecoms provider to develop a blockchain-based platform.

Prominent economist and editorial director of the American Institute for Economic Research (AEIR), Jeffrey Tucker, has urged governments and central banks around the world to let go of the idea of creating state-backed cryptocurrencies and instead focus on the soundness of the fiat system and the banking system. “Leave Crypto Alone” In an editorial published in AEIR, Tucker stated that the growing cryptocurrency scene and its associated infrastructure are the preserve of private innovation and enterprise and that governments should not dabble in this field. Speaking about efforts to regulate cryptocurrencies and bring them under government control strictly, Tucker opined that such efforts run in direct contrast to the stated goal of cryptocurrencies, which is the end of a monopoly on money. Explaining this point, he said: “I’m not a believer. They won’t compete in the marketplace. They might achieve the opposite of the stated goal – the end of monopoly. Truly rivalrous competition is just now starting to exist in a sector long monopolized by governments…Thanks to decentralized-ledger technology and some impressive innovations to create digital money and banking solutions — the technology operates peer-to-peer and requires neither government nor intermediaries to operate — we are beginning to see what real choice in currency might look like.” In Tucker’s view, the rise of state-controlled monopoly over money supply over the past century is what led to world wars, economic depression, constant inflation, huge government debt and sprawling government bureaucracies dependent on quantitative easing for finance and influence.Cryptocurrency he says, is the “most exciting thing in money and finance on the planet,” so governments have no business putting their hands into it and strangulating the emerging success story or pontificating about any of its perceived failings including its vast range of available choices and its failure rate which roughly rivals that of small businesses. In his words: “Intervening will only result in more costly regulation and probably end up setting back the cause of genuine competition.” ECB Coin Controversy Tucker also attacked the planned “ECB Coin” cryptocurrency tentatively mooted by the European Central Bank (ECB), stating that such a move would be pointless and potentially unworkable. State-backed cryptocurrencies he said, would be a remedy for a problem that does not exist. According to him, the way for authorities to express support for blockchain technology is not to try to reinvent the wheel but merely to create an enabling light-touch regulatory environment to allow such innovations flourish on their own. Going further, he expressed a desire for European monetary authorities to reform the European financial system and increase competition through deregulation and reduced regulatory barriers to entry. Most notably, he called for a return to a gold standard instead of the current fiat system. All these he said, would be much more effective uses of regulatory power than attempting to elbow into the crypto market. He also savaged the planned Venezuelan state-backed crypto — the petro — describing it as “not a cryptocurrency, but rather an oil-backed debt instrument floated only to get around U.S. trade sanctions.” This and other attempts at government-backed cryptos, Tucker says, will never work as the crypto market rewards coins that appeal to the desires of the market, not to official imposition. Summarizing his thoughts on having the government in crypto he said: “When the private sector is innovating, government and central banks should leave them alone. And an even better rule: if you didn’t invent it, and you made no contribution to making it more valuable, you can’t regulate it either.”

Cryptocurrency is full of get rich quick stories. There is a new class of people entering the ‘3 Comma Club’ who have earned their wealth through cryptocurrency. We’ll take a look at who they are and how they made their fortune:Back when the internet was still in its infancy, Chris co-founded E-Loan in 1992 and entered the mortgage business. Mr Larsen was frustrated by the inefficient mortgage industry and saw the internet as a new tool to circumvent agent fees and commission. In 1998, Intuit and Yahoo came in with offers for for E-Loan. Chris and his business partner opted for the lower Yahoo offer of $25 million for a 23% stake in the business as this ensured they retained control of the business.By 1999, E-Loans had 25% of the online mortgage market and commanded an estimated valuation of $1 billion. In the early 2000’s, the pro consumer Chris Larsen founded the coalition ‘Californians for Privacy Now’ and funded the project with $1 million of his own money. He was instrumental in ensuring that customers had to opt in before financial services firms could sell customer data. Chris then stepped down from E-Loan in 2005 and co-founded Prosper Marketplace, the first peer to peer lending site in the US. By the time of the financial crisis, the company had processed over $120 million in loans and Chris stepped down as CEO in 2012. How Chris Made It In Cryptocurrency Many people do not know that the precursor of Ripple was OpenCoin and this was Co-Founded by Mr Larsen in 2012. The company then began work on developing the Ripple protocol, with the goal of reducing bank fees and decreasing transaction times. OpenCoin then changed its name to Ripple Labs in 2013. Chris co-founded the cryptocurrency Ripple, which has devised a faster and cheaper transfer network for banks. Before his involvement in cryptocurrencies, Chris was a veteran of Silicon Valley and graduated from Stanford with an MBA. The majority of Mr Larsen’s wealth comes from the 5.2 billion Ripple tokens he owns (XRP). At the time of writing these are worth $4.1 billion. Changpeng Zhao – Total Wealth From Crypto: $1.1 Bill

Back in March 2018, LiveBitcoinNews reported that fintech companies consider the venture capital in Singapore to be sufficient. According to a report from Singapore Business Review, the government provides appealing incentives for investors: In Singapore, the government is seen to provide attractive incentives to VCs to encourage risk-taking, including reduction of regulatory red tape, protection of intellectual property, and allocation of public money for early investments. –Reads the report. Now, a few months later, a major Singapore-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures has announced that it is set to launch a $10 million fund designated for investments in cryptocurrencies and in blockchain technology startups. The fund, which is dubbed LuneX Ventures, is going to focus on investing in early-stage companies throughout the world, including security providers and cryptocurrency exchanges. According to Reuters, the fund is just one among a cluster of similar ventures which are investing in the field of cryptocurrencies.LuneX founding partner Kenrick Drijkoningen told TechCrunch that, even though market prices are down significantly from their December 2017 / January 2018 highs, he believes that this is the right time for the fund: Despite the fact that public markets are down, the amount of talent that’s moving into this space is exciting. There are young entrepreneurs who are passionate about this space and want to build an ecosystem Investors in LuneX Ventures will purportedly include high net worth individuals as well as family offices. A Welcoming Environment The city-state has managed to establish itself as a proponent of blockchain-based technologies and cryptocurrencies. In March 2018, the Managing Director of Singapore’s Central Bank, Ravi Menon, recognized the potential of the technology and even identified its strongest use case, according to him. This is the challenge that Singapore’s Project Ubin has set itself to solve: to use blockchain technology to enable entities across jurisdictions to make payments to one another without intermediaries; with greater speed and efficiency; and at lower risk and cost. – He said. Later that month, the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) and the Fintech Association of Japan (FAJ), entered into a partnership through a signed memorandum to work closely together on joint fintech projects. It’s safe to say that Singapore’s proactive and fairly friendly approach towards the field of cryptocurrencies is shaping it as a reliable and reputable destination.

Back in March 2018, LiveBitcoinNews reported that fintech companies consider the venture capital in Singapore to be sufficient. According to a report from Singapore Business Review, the government provides appealing incentives for investors: In Singapore, the government is seen to provide attractive incentives to VCs to encourage risk-taking, including reduction of regulatory red tape, protection of intellectual property, and allocation of public money for early investments. –Reads the report. Now, a few months later, a major Singapore-based venture capital firm Golden Gate Ventures has announced that it is set to launch a $10 million fund designated for investments in cryptocurrencies and in blockchain technology startups. The fund, which is dubbed LuneX Ventures, is going to focus on investing in early-stage companies throughout the world, including security providers and cryptocurrency exchanges. According to Reuters, the fund is just one among a cluster of similar ventures which are investing in the field of cryptocurrencies.LuneX founding partner Kenrick Drijkoningen told TechCrunch that, even though market prices are down significantly from their December 2017 / January 2018 highs, he believes that this is the right time for the fund: Despite the fact that public markets are down, the amount of talent that’s moving into this space is exciting. There are young entrepreneurs who are passionate about this space and want to build an ecosystem Investors in LuneX Ventures will purportedly include high net worth individuals as well as family offices. A Welcoming Environment The city-state has managed to establish itself as a proponent of blockchain-based technologies and cryptocurrencies. In March 2018, the Managing Director of Singapore’s Central Bank, Ravi Menon, recognized the potential of the technology and even identified its strongest use case, according to him. This is the challenge that Singapore’s Project Ubin has set itself to solve: to use blockchain technology to enable entities across jurisdictions to make payments to one another without intermediaries; with greater speed and efficiency; and at lower risk and cost. – He said. Later that month, the Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) and the Fintech Association of Japan (FAJ), entered into a partnership through a signed memorandum to work closely together on joint fintech projects. It’s safe to say that Singapore’s proactive and fairly friendly approach towards the field of cryptocurrencies is shaping it as a reliable and reputable destination.

The biggest U.S. cryptocurrency company has reportedly been valued at billions of dollars and that's a bullish sign for the industry's legitimacy, according to former Fortress hedge fund manager Michael Novogratz. Coinbase is negotiating a deal with investment firm Tiger Global that would value it at about $8 billion, technology website Recode and Dow Jones reported Tuesday. The deal would make it one of the most highly valued U.S. start-ups. "Here's the poster child of the crypto space worth $8 billion — that's a real company, and Tiger's not a flake of an investor. These are smart, savvy guys," Novogratz said at The Economist's Finance Disrupted conference in Manhattan Tuesday. Coinbase is reportedly looking at an investment of up to $500 million, Recode said, citing people familiar with the deal. Wall Street has not been entirely sold on the value of cryptocurrency.

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