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Thursday January 25 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

Bitcoin Ranked C+ in Weiss Ratings First Ever Digital Currency Ratings (Coinsquare), Rated: AAA

Now, in a world first, the site’s ratings of 74 digital currencies were made available in a recently released document. The Weiss Cryptocurrency ratings make use of a letter grade, with ‘A’ being ‘excellent’ and ‘E’ meaning ‘very weak.’

Perhaps most notably, Bitcoin, the world’s first and most popular digital currency, earned a ‘C+’ letter grade, indicating that it’s a ‘fair’ investment.

Ratings firm issues first grades on cryptocurrencies, sparking outrage online and a cyberattack (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Weiss Ratings, which claims to offer the first “ratings” on cryptocurrencies, has judged ethereum to be better than bitcoin.

The securities ratings agency announced Wednesday that it gave ethereum a B rating because it “benefits from more readily upgradable technology and better speed, despite some bottlenecks.”

None of the 74 cryptocurrencies the agency covers received an “excellent” A rating. B-rated ethereum and digital currency EOS have the highest ratings.

There’s now an official cryptpocurrency rating system from CNBC.

Crypto-Coin Stellar Spikes 20% on Stripe S (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

The cryptocurrency stellar, also known as XLM, jumped about 20% Wednesday following news that online payments provider Stripe is considering adding support for the digital currency on its platform as it phases out bitcoin.

OmiseGo Rises on Stripe’s Positive Comments (cryptovest), Rated: A

In the past two weeks, OmiseGo (OMG) went through a minor boom and bust, heading toward $25 before sinking back as low as $13. But OMG has started to recover the losses and show strength. Just as Stripe announced it would discontinue using Bitcoin as a payment, the company spoke favorably of Ethereum and OMG tokens for their potential to achieve faster, cheaper payments.

9 Risk Factors To Consider When Making Digital Currency Investment Decisions (JDSupra), Rated: AAA

  1. Cybercrime and Theft Digital hot wallets, such as Coinbase, are at risk of being hacked or going bankrupt.
  2. Hyper-Volatile Assets Cryptocurrencies are highly speculative assets that not only have the potential to double, triple, etc. in value, but may crash to zero without warning.
  3. Government Regulation The Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Internal Revenue Service, Department of the Treasury, Congress, and state equivalent agencies are considering if, and how, to regulate crypto-companies and exchanges.
  4. Vulnerabilities in Blockchain Consensus Protocols Although some argue that blockchain technology is completely secure, as no one has yet managed to break the encryption and decentralized architecture of a blockchain, technical issues may arise if vulnerabilities in a protocol are discovered.
  5. Lack of Disclosure The deregulated market in which crypto companies operate creates information asymmetries in the market – where the company has information that its investors do not.
  6. Legal Proceedings, Litigation Class-action lawsuits filed against exchanges have alleged system crashes, lack of access to funds, failure to perform adequate “know your client/anti-money laundering” procedures, and breach of fiduciary duties.
  7. Social Risk As cryptocurrencies continue to go mainstream there is risk of a market bubble and of unsophisticated investors entering the market without understanding the economic risk.
  8. Fraud Companies are using Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) as a mechanism to raise capital and, as no ICOs are registered with the SEC, companies have not always disclosed information that investors need to protect themselves.
  9. Forgot Your Password? Transacting in cryptocurrencies requires both a public and private key, or password.

19-year-old bitcoin millionaire is traveling the world to build an alternative to the ‘corrupt’ world of cryptocurrency (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

19-year-old Erik Finman made headlines last year when the value of his bitcoin holdings hit the $1 million mark — meaning he won a bet with his parents and didn’t have to go to college.

Now, thanks to the recent surge in the cryptocurrency markets, Finman’s personal bitcoin hoard is worth about $4 million, even after the slump of the last few weeks. And he’s diversified into other cryptocurrencies, as well as more traditional investment vehicles — he’s even started a 401(k) retirement account.

And yet, Finman is disappointed with the state of cryptocurrency, he tells Business Insider.

price of bitcoin

ICO Fundraising Is Rising Even With Crypto Market Downturn (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Startups have raised about $450 million in initial coin offerings so far this month, the most since October, according to Coinist, which compiles cryptocurrency market data. ICOs brought in $3.8 billion in 2017, beating venture capital funding.

ICO funds raised

Crypto Finance Meets Regular Finance (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Yesterday I casually suggested that the ideal thing to turn into a smart contract on the blockchain is an interest-rate swap: It’s just a series of exchanges of money, with no need to do anything in the real world, so it is easy to encode in computer instructions. But one reader correctly objected that the real meat of an interest-rate swap as a contract is its credit terms.

That means that if interest rates move sharply against me — if Libor goes to 10 percent — then I have to come up with $100 each year, and you have to trust that I’m good for it.

Anyway here’s a story about a former Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch structurer who “plans to launch a platform for digital currencies later in 2018 that will allow private or institutional investors to strike so-called repurchase agreements or repos with one another”.

Elsewhere in tensions between blockchains and finance, here’s a story about the Lightning Network, a bid to ease congestion on the Bitcoin blockchain by basically deferring settlement of Bitcoin transactions.

When the founder of a cryptocurrency tells you he’s selling everything, that’s should be a clue (ForexLive), Rated: A

The latter is a particularly interesting case as it continues to make a series of lower highs and lower lows follow the Dec 20 revelation from Litecoin founder Charlie Lee that he’s sold all his holdings.

Source: ForexLive

Actions clearly speak louder than words and Litecoin has been halved since he bailed.

Bitcoin’s Blockchain Tech Could Bring Sweeping Innovation to Legal Industry (The Legal Intelligencer), Rated: A

World’s First Platform for Private, Cross-chain Smart Contracts (The Blockchain News), Rated: A

After two years in stealth mode, distributed financial platform Wanchain has launched Mainnetthe world’s first platform for private cross-chain smart contracts, according to a statement the company released last week. It plans to incorporate cross-chain transactions with the Ethereum blockchain in Q3 2018.

Bank of America CEO: We have tons of blockchain patents (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

In an interview with Yahoo Finance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, BofA CEO Brian Moynihan was asked for his thoughts on bitcoin. He immediately turned to blockchain: “We have more patents, I think, than almost anybody in blockchain,” Moynihan said. “We believe in the idea of distributed ledgers, and smart contracts, and all the words you hear about that. We are developing stuff… But it’s not new concepts. The Registry of Motor Vehicles is a distributed ledger. We know who owns a car, we know who owns a house. The idea is that you can do it more electronically, and can do it across borders.”

Will Kodak Cryptocurrency Help Photographers? Doubts Emerge (Adorama), Rated: A

Kodak caused a major buzz in the photo industry a couple of weeks ago when they announced a cryptocurrency, KodakCoin, using blockchain technology and a new platform to help photographers sell and track the use of their photos. In the initial excitement, the company’s stock nearly tripled overnight. However, initial enthusiasm has turned to uncertainty as details trickle out about how it will actually work.

Marketplace analysis web site Seeking Alpha, in a scathing, deep-reaching analysis, is strongly discouraging its readers from investing in Kodak or the KodakCoin Initial Coin Offering.

Digital Marketplace Startup Completes $ 15 Million Token Sale (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Listia, which is planning to launch its decentralized marketplace next month, drew funding from more than 4,000 people during the sale. Founded in 2009, the startup already operates a more traditional online market but is moving develop new services by utilizing the technology.

The company said that the sale ended in about 12 minutes after it hit the hard-cap of $15 million.

Arias Intel Develops Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Point of Sale Technology (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Arias Intel Corp. (OTC PINK: ASNT), (the “Company”), a technology, media and mobile gaming platform, today announced the development of its proprietary iNEO Cryptocurrency, Blockchain and Point of Sale Technology Platform (“iNEO”).

The Company plans to launch its iNEO ‘coin or token’ in 2018 as a cryptonized asset and standard medium of exchange used to fund the execution of smart contracts transactions or purchase and sell products or services from others within the same ecosystem.

US Government Lab Looks to Blockchain for P2P Energy (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Blockchain startup BlockCypher has partnered with a U.S. Department of Energy lab to develop solutions allowing energy transactions to be settled across multiple blockchains.

The energy agency’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and BlockCypher first plan to demonstrate peer-to-peer energy transactions involving distributed energy resources (DER) over the dash cryptocurrency network between two test homes in the NREL’s energy facility, said Dylan Cutler, senior engineer for the initiative at NREL.

Colorado Wants to Track Weed With Chemicals and the Blockchain (Motherboard), Rated: A

Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that would explore “marijuana tracking technology” that can be added to the plant itself to allow law enforcement to trace a plant back to its grower.

The bill would require a local cannabis research school to develop this marijuana-tracking technology, using either chemical agents, isotopes, nanotechnology, or other biological identifiers. It could even implement a distributed ledger or blockchain to encrypt it.

Virginia Lawmakers Seek Study on Government Blockchain Use (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Lawmakers in the U.S. state of Virginia hope to form a study group that would research the impact of implementing blockchain technology across some government services.

US charges cryptocurrency creators over $ 6 million scam (engadget), Rated: A

US regulators are making good on their promise to get tough on crypto fraud. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has filed complaints charging My Big Coin Pay and two of its operators, Randall Crater and Mark Gillespie, with using the company’s My Big Coin cryptocurrency as part of an ongoing, not-so-subtle Ponzi scheme. Crater and Gillespie allegedly drew investments in the virtual money by making numerous bogus claims (that it was traded on multiple exchanges, backed by gold and had a MasterCard partnership) and promptly “misappropriated” the $6 million in funds for buying a home, jewelry, vacations and other indulgences.

SEC May Crack Down on Firms Misusing ‘Blockchain’ Name (Investopedia), Rated: A

Going forward, though, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will monitor these activities more closely, prohibiting companies from misleading potential investors and the public with a random, gimmicky name change.

Benebit ICO Does a Runner with $ 2.7 Million of Investor Funds (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

Benebit, one of this year’s most hyped ICOs, has pulled an exit scam, making off with a reported $2.7 million of investor funds. Other estimates put the figure as high as $4 million.

Musicoin: Could It Revolutionise the Music Industry? (The Market Mogul), Rated: A

Musicoin ($MUSIC), a free-to-stream distributed ledger technology solution to issues pervading the modern music industry, is an ambitious project – so much so that its current white paper has the coin’s fourth stage of development titled as ‘Life on Mars’.

It uses pay per play (PPP) smart contracts to deliver $MUSIC direct to artists.

Ethereum thieves are targeting Android users with fake MyEtherWallet apps (The Next Web), Rated: B

One consequence of the recent cryptocurrency craze is that people are increasingly more interested in downloading a wallet on their phones. But it seems scammers have found an opportunity to exploit this trend – and are now actively seeking to dupe gullible Ethereum holders with malicious MyEtherWallet copycats on Google Play.

New “ICO Insight” Online Show Streams Weekly to Cover ICO News, ICO Spotlights & Expert Interviews (BusinessWire), Rated: B

ICOinvestor.tv, the first video platform dedicated to the rapidly-growing Initial Coin Offering (ICO) industry, announces ICO Insight — a weekly livestreamed show that focuses on news and updates in the fast-moving era of Initial Coin Offerings.

The Go Eco Group (LIBE) Forms Subsidiary BitWhisper, LLC for Blockchain Technology (NASDAQ), Rated: B

The Go Eco Group Inc.(OTC PINK:LIBE) is pleased to announce that it has formed BitWhisper, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Go Eco Group, Inc. dedicated to further developing and monetizing its proprietary blockchain technology.

BitWhisper, LLC is a technology Company based in the United States. Their primary focus will be to allow for the transfer of video, pictures, or files on the strongest encryption method possible.

United Kingdom

BlackRock Bond Veterans Start Hedge Fund Aimed at Cryptocurrency (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Goodbye bonds, hello Bitcoin.

That’s the career path taken by former BlackRock Inc. bond specialists Michael Wong and Adam Grimsley who together with a third founder have set up Prime Factor Capital, a London hedge fund that will trade cryptocurrencies from April.

European Union

3D – Token ICO – Etherical Invests in the Factory 4.0 (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

3D-Token, which is running on the back of an already existing business (Politronica Srl) have launched their Initial Coin Offering in one of the most exciting and dynamic spaces on the Internet. Just-in-time manufacturing has been revolutionizing the corporate world for many years, but now the possibilities of advanced 3D printing technology are unlocking new markets and bringing infinite possibilities of creation to empower the people.


Ripple sold $ 91.6 million of its digital currency XRP last quarter  (CNBC), Rated: AAA

Ripple, the payments company that’s developing a blockchain-based system for banks, sold $91.6 million worth of digital currency XRP in the fourth quarter, taking advantage of last year’s 29,631 percent price surge.

Trading volume in the quarter jumped more than 35,000 percent to an average of over $807 million a day from $2.28 million in the same period a year earlier, Ripple said on Wednesday.


Ripple Adds New Partners in Push to Make Case for XRP (Fortune), Rated: A

Ripple, which provides blockchain software for banks, announced on Wednesday that a currency exchange firm and a telecom provider will be the latest to use XRP—Ripple’s highly volatile currency—as part of their money transfer operations.

The firms are publicly-traded IDT Corporation, which provides international long distance and payment services, and MercuryFX, which offers discount rates on foreign exchange transactions.

Does Bitcoin Use Too Much Energy? (CryptoDaily), Rated: A

Experts have been warning that the Bitcoin network has caused a massive surge in energy consumption; despite the fact that it actually only uses about 0.14 percent of global electricity. So, why are people believing that it is using too much?

Figures suggest that it took approximately 250 kilowatt-hours of energy to process a single action in early December of 2017. Other figures suggest that the network actually consumes more electricity than the whole of Serbia. It also equates as enough electricity to provide for almost 3 million households in the US.

Blockchain can no longer be ignored (Financial Times), Rated: A

After a surge in the combined market value of cryptocurrencies from less than $20bn to more than $540bn, the phenomenon — and the blockchain technology that underpins it — has become impossible for the financial establishment to ignore, despite its denunciations of bitcoin in particular as “a fraud”, “index of money-laundering” and worse.

The looming threat for today’s financial institutions is that the technology is based on sharing a single version of a database across multiple parties without a controlling entity in the middle. As a result, stock exchanges and clearing houses could be disintermediated, while big global foreign exchange trading houses, such as JPMorgan and Citigroup, could lose out if smaller banks start using blockchain.

5 Things To Know Before Investing In An Initial Coin Offering (Investing.com), Rated: A

  1. Question How The Funds Will Be Used – “Ultimately, if a business plan or the expected uses of funds do not make common sense, an investor should run the other way. Second, every business model ought to stand up to the questions: (i) is this product or service needed and (ii) how many other companies are providing this product or service? Third, not everything can be “tokenized.”
  2. Understand The Risks – As can happen with initial public stock offerings, be warned that many ICOs fail to hit their promised goals, cautions Eddy Travia, chief executive of Coinsilium, a London-based firm that advises and invests in blockchain companies.
  3. Approach An ICO The Same Way You Would A More Traditional Asset
  4. Pay Close Attention To The White Paper – The white paper is the critical pitch document for potential investors.
  5. Not All Jurisdictions Support Or Accept ICOs – “On the 4th of September 2017, China’s Central Bank declared Initial Coin Offerings (ICO’s) illegal on Chinese soil, and asked all Chinese related fundraising activities to be halted immediately.”
ICO funds raised
Source: Investing.com

International Securities Board Reminds Public to be Wary of Initial Coin Offerings (BTCManager), Rated: B

In the IOSCO board’s statement, members colluded to “clear risks associated with these offerings.” Furthermore, the board added that:

“ICOs are highly speculative investments in which investors are putting their entire invested capital at risk. While some operators are providing legitimate investment opportunities to fund projects or businesses, the increased targeting of ICOs to retail investors through online distribution channels by parties often located outside an investor’s home jurisdiction [raises]investor protection concerns.”


Brisbane Airport and TravelbyBit launch world-first digital currency airport terminal (The Moodie Davitt Report), Rated: A

Brisbane Airport is teaming up with TravelbyBit to introduce a digital currency experience to its terminal shopping.

Travellers will soon be able to use TravelbyBit’s cryptocurrency payment system, including Bitcoin, Dash, Ethereum and other digital currencies, to dine and shop.


Banks must use tech behind Bitcoin; cannot ignore digital currency (moneycontrol), Rated: A

Banks must accept and use blockchain, the technology behind Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, to expand their business rather than fighting its development and spread, a former Reserve Bank of India executive has said.

Amarendra Sahoo, former Chief General Manager and Regional Director at RBI, said that with the growing pace of virtual currencies, no regulator or nation can stop it.


South Korea Fines Crypto Exchanges for Privacy Failures (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

The South Korea government has today issued fines totaling 141 million won ($130,000) to domestic cryptocurrency exchanges for providing insufficient user data protection.

Japan turns into cryptocurrency haven as others crack down (Nikkei Asian Review), Rated: A

Japan is fast turning into the world’s top haven for cryptocurrencies, drawing benefit from a broader clampdown in China and South Korea on the main digital currency, bitcoin.

Genie ICO Adds David Drake, Other Experts to Its Advisory Board (CoinTelegraph), Rated: B

Joining the Crowd Genie advisory board is David Drake, Founder and Chairman of LDJ Capital, who is also a global pioneer in the cryptocurrency industry and has written for more than 100 publications on innovative investing. Also joining the board is serial entrepreneur Petter Sehlin, who is a Founding Partner of global angel fund True Global Ventures and founder of the Polarchain blockchain. The founders of one of the world’s most comprehensive online cryptocurrency databases and information resources, AllCoinWiki, Anders Larsson and Joakim Holmer have also joined the board.


ICO funded projects hit by 100 cyber attacks a month (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Projects which raise funds through “initial coin offerings” (ICOs) are attacked by cyber criminals 100 times a month on average, a report said, underscoring the risks of investing in cryptocurrency ventures online.

The research, published by Moscow-based cyber security firm Group-IB on Wednesday, was based on an analysis of 450 attacks on ICOs since the beginning of 2017.

Over Half of Russians Know About Bitcoin Now, Government Ready to Regulate? (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

More than 56 percent of Russians have already heard of Bitcoin, according to a survey conducted by “All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, or VCIOM,”  translated by Bitcoin.com


Victory Square Technologies Invests in Top Three ICO Companies (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Victory Square Technologies Inc. (“Victory Square” or the “Company”) (CSE:VST) (OTC:VSQTF) (FWB:6F6) returns from the North American Bitcoin Conference in Miami with newly-formed partnerships and investments in three promising blockchain companies that won awards for their presentations in Florida.

The top 3 companies selected by Victory Square management to share in the $100,000 investment prize pool were: Shopin, Tax Token and Impact PPA.


Bermuda’s deeds registry to go on blockchain (The Royal Gazette), Rated: AAA

Bermuda is going to transfer its property deed system to blockchain as it embraces the technology that also powers cryptocurrency bitcoin.


George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
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