Daily News Digest Featured News

Thursday March 8 2018, Daily News Digest

ultra-rich cryptocurrencies
Source: MarketWatch

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United States

Bitmain Wants to Invest in Blockchain-Powered ‘Central Banks’ (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Bitcoin mining hardware giant Bitmain announced Wednesday that it intends to invest in as many as thirty startups working to create “private central banks” powered by blockchain.

Federal Court to decide whether tokens issued through an ICO are securities (The National Law Review), Rated: AAA

In a criminal case in Brooklyn, New York, a federal court has been asked to decide for the first time whether tokens or coins issued through an initial coin offering constitute “securities” under U.S. securities laws.

On September 29, 2017 the SEC filed a civil complaint against Maksim Zaslavskiy, alleging that he had committed securities fraud and sold “illegal unregistered securities.”

On February 27, Mr. Zaslavskiy filed a motion to dismiss the criminal case, asserting that: (1) the tokens were cryptocurrencies that are exempt from U.S. securities laws just as fiat currency is exempt; (2) the tokens did not satisfy the U.S. Supreme Court’s test articulated in SEC v. W.J. Howey Co. for determining whether an instrument is an “investment contract,” and therefore a security under U.S. securities laws; and (3) the securities fraud charges, as applied to cryptocurrencies, are void for unconstitutional vagueness. The government’s responses are due by March 19.

Bitcoin plunges on regulator caution to investors about ‘potentially unlawful’ platforms (USA Today), Rated: AAA

The value of Bitcoin, the largest cryptocurrency, plunged Wednesday after the Securities and Exchange Commission warned of “potentially unlawful” online trading platforms that lack regulatory oversight.

Bitcoin dropped more than 7.1% to $10,030 as of Wednesday evening, recovering slightly from a 9% fall after the warning.

7 Reasons Bitcoin Is Doomed (Kiplinger), Rated: A

Kiplinger

 

  • Bad idea

cryptocurrencies

 

  • Too much volatility
  • No real value
  • They’re a commodity
  • It’s a bubble
  • Unregulated, but regulators are clamping down
  • Blockchain is important, but infant

Ripple CEO tells cryptocurrency industry to ‘work with the regulators’ (CNBC), Rated: AAA

“It’s incredibly important that the entire industry recognizes that we have to work with the regulators, we have to work with the system, ” Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said in an interview that aired Wednesday on CNBC’s “Fast Money.” “The blockchain revolution is happening from within the system it’s not going to happen from outside the system.”

One in Three Cryptocurrencies Is Currently Unspendable (Bitcoin.com), Rated: AAA

Mom rocks an iPhone, little bro has an Android, and dad, for some strange reason, only uses a desktop. To pass this test, a cryptocurrency must be capable of being sent and received on all three devices.

As it stands, 30 out of the top 100 cryptocurrencies fail this test.

In addition to recording the number of cryptocurrencies that lack a stable desktop or mobile wallet, news.Bitcoin.com calculated the average age of these projects: two years and one month. Of these, 53% lack an iOS wallet, while the remainder lack an Android and/or stable desktop wallet.

Store of value or medium of exchange, it makes no difference. 70% of cryptocurrencies currently pass the test. 30% must do better.

How to safely buy and sell cryptocurrency (TechRepublic), Rated: AAA

There are five popular ways that cryptocurrency criminals get their hands on your virtual coins:

  • Brute forcing, in which an attacker simply tries again and again to guess a password until they finally get in.
  • Phone porting, in which criminals call cellular customer service, have a number transferred to their phone, and use the number to reset a crypto account password.
  • Phishing, which installs malware that looks for, and steals, digital wallet addresses.
  • Ponzi schemes, in which investors are paid returns that are actually just the money new investors put in (see BitConnect).
  • Mining malware, which uses a victim’s computer to do the mining for the hacker.

 

Comcast Makes First Big Bet on a Multi-Blockchain Future (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Comcast is banking on a world with multiple blockchains.

Revealed exclusively to CoinDesk, the venture arm of the telecommunications giant is leading a $3.3 million seed investment in Blockdaemon, a New York City-based startup that creates enterprise software for interacting with a wide range of blockchains.

‘BLOCKCHAIN’ IS MEANINGLESS (The Verge), Rated: A

The idea of a blockchain, the cryptographically enhanced digital ledger that underpins Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies, is now being used to describe everything from a system for inter-bank transactions to a new supply chain database for Walmart. The term has become so widespread that it’s quickly losing meaning.

LET’S TRY TO SEE CLEARLY ON BLOCKCHAIN FOR ADVERTISING (AdAge), Rated: A

The release of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Blockchain for Video Advertising white paper has the digital ad industry abuzz.

Much like the talk of AI, today’s conversation around blockchain includes a good amount of hyperbole. Still, today’s wishful thinking is driving tomorrow’s solutions, so it’s worth toning down the enthusiasm to see where the real potential of blockchain for advertising lies.

Here Is Why Litecoin (LTC) could have 2018 biggest comeback (CryptoRecorder), Rated: A

Litecoin (LTC) the past few days have seen some marginal gains from a bullish tone overseen on Monday to land the profits at 2%.

For the Litecoin (LTC) network, making the SegWit technology a piece of their system means the backwards-compatibility needs no upgrade to support transactions within the blockchain. That makes Litecoin far less light regarding purchase within its ecosystem compared to Bitcoin. People are warming up to this advantage, and you could see an increase in adoption shortly.

The installation of the Lightning Network will help improve scalability and speed of transactions. With such a technology, Litecoin may become a popular alternative to the slow-paced Bitcoin in an instant, low cost and decentralized payment infrastructure.

Recently, the altcoins hit a low of $191 before settling for an upward trend. While pushing LTC price is facing many challenges the cost of $200 and above are still achievable but not short.

More US States May Roll Out Cryptocurrency Regulations (Investopedia), Rated: A

Cryptocurrencies were originally meant to be stateless entities, not beholden to the legal frameworks of any state or country. Practical reality is different, however. Traction for cryptocurrencies has brought increased government censure and cynosure. Indifference and cynicism towards blockchain and virtual currency across the United States has given way to concern and grudging acceptance.

But there are three broad aspects they are most concerned about: the use of cryptocurrencies as legal tender in business transactions (including taxation), imposing authority on operations of cryptocurrency exchanges as money transmitters, and the status of smart contracts and ethereum tokens.

California and New York Take the Lead

Very few states have made progress on all three fronts. California and New York, which are both home to a large number of crypto businesses, are ahead of the pack. But others are quickly catching up. There are some unlikely contenders. For example, Wyoming has become one of the most progressive states as far as cryptocurrency and blockchain regulation is concerned. As is Arizona.

cryptocurrency regulation
Source: Investopedia

The Enterprise and Rise of Blockchain Developers (NASDAQ), Rated: A

2017 was a busy year for New York entrepreneur Dean Anastos. This is mainly due to the fact that he and his team at Blockchain Developers were in high demand. Specializing in token creation and smart contracts for clients on the Ethereum network, Blockchain Developers sought to work with a specific caliber of enterprise.

TxMQ Launches Disruptive Technologies Group to Build Blockchain and Hashgraph-Based Applications for Enterprises (PR Newswire), Rated: A

TxMQ, an enterprise solutions and consulting company, today launched its Disruptive Technologies Group. The business unit will focus on developing solutions for customers using cutting edge technologies with industry disrupting potential.  Primary work effort will focus on developing solutions based on blockchain and Hashgraph, both emerging distributed ledger technologies. The company’s Internet of Things (IOT), Cognitive and AI work will fall under the same group.

Can Blockchain Technology Solve Voting Issues? (NASDAQ), Rated: A

If some of these cases are merely inconvenient, a significant portion represent real problems. Not only does an inefficient voting system discourage voting, but it also provokes public distrust. If the government doesn’t effectively administer a vote, how can we be sure the results are legitimate? If a voting machine fails, how do we know our votes have been recorded — and recorded properly?

Blockchains — which are already used in finance, real estate, healthcare and other sectors —not only offer the most secure voting technology available, but they could potentially revolutionize the entire voting process.

What is Blockchain Technology? A Beginner’s Guide (Invest in Blockchain), Rated: A

The very primitive form of the blockchain was the hash tree, also known as a Merkle tree. This data structure was patented by Ralph Merkle in 1979, and functioned by verifying and handling data between computer systems. In a peer-to-peer network of computers, validating data was important to make sure nothing was altered or changed during transfer. It also helped to ensure that false data was not sent. In essence, it is used to maintain and prove the integrity of data being shared.

Merkle tree
Source: Invest in Blockchain

In 1991, the Merkle tree was used to create a “secured chain of blocks” — a series of data records, each connected to the one before it. The newest record in this chain would contain the history of the entire chain. And thus, the blockchain was created.

1. Blockchain keeps a record of all data exchanges — this record is referred to as a “ledger” in the cryptocurrency world, and each data exchange is a “transaction“. Every verified transaction is added to the ledger as a “block
2. It utilizes a distributed system to verify each transaction — a peer-to-peer network of nodes
3. Once signed and verified, the new transaction is added to the blockchain and can not be altered

Each transaction in that ledger will have the same data: a digital signature, a public key, a timestamp, and a unique ID. Each transaction will be connected, so if you move back one transaction in the ledger, you may see that Chuck sent Alice 0.8 BTC at some time. If you move back another transaction, you might see that Dan sent Chuck 0.2 BTC at some other time before that.

blockchain keys
Source: Invest in Blockchain

There is also a concept called the “51% attack” — if for some reason 51% of a peer-to-peer network validates an otherwise invalid transaction, it will still get approved and added to the ledger by nature of how the validation process works. Maybe right now it’s unlikely to happen, but it is a security flaw that might have potential for exploitation in the future.

COBINHOOD Partners With Upstart MoxyOne To Underwrite And Launch ICO (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Today, COBINHOOD, the next-generation cryptocurrency service platform and zero-fee exchange, announced its partnership with blockchain-based debit card infrastructure startup, MoxyOne, to underwrite and advise the launch of the company’s initial coin offering (ICO). The ticker for MoxyOne’s token, SPEND, uses its smart contract to create coins through the transactions of Ether, leaving no remaining tokens at the end of the ICO. The project has set a hard cap distribution of 50 million tokens during this phase, and all funds received from the ICO will be used for the development of the MoxyOne Project. As part of COBINHOOD’s ICO Underwriting Services, the offering consists of business model consulting, smart contract code review, legal compliance, deployment procedures and marketing support.

How to get a top job as a Blockchain Engineer? (Toptal Email), Rated: A

Last week, elite freelance hiring platform, Toptal, launched an on-demand blockchain talent network that allows companies around the world to tap into a pool of elite blockchain engineers. To nurture top talent the company has also launched a unique Blockchain Academy program that provides education resources to participants and allows access to fellow elite engineers in the blockchain industry. On the first day alone, 200+ elite developers, from within the Toptal network, signed up to go through their blockchain academy.

Since announcing the program, there has been a huge interest within the Toptal community:

  • 93% of Toptal engineers responding to a survey about the Blockchain Academy indicated a likelihood to pursue further education in blockchain after this initiative.
  • 75% of respondents indicated that they are likely to pursue a career in blockchain after this initiative.

SEI and Synechron Join Forces for Blockchain Utilization (PR Newswire), Rated: B

SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC) today announced its strategic partnership with Synechron, a global consulting and technology organization, to support SEI’s efforts to employ blockchain technology in the financial services industry through use cases and the establishment of SEI’s Blockchain Center of Excellence.

New Jersey Issues Cease-and-Desist to ICO Endorsed by Steven Seagal (CoinDesk), Rated: B

In an order entered on March 7, the New Jersey Bureau of Securities alleged that Bitcoiin is selling unregistered securities to New Jersey residents. The document highlights the lack of concrete information about those behind the project, stating that “Bitcoiin’s developers, officers, managers, employees, controllers, and/or directors are anonymous,” though it highlights the endorsement by Seagal.

Motion to lift ban on Krops’ coin offering denied (Inquirer.net), Rated: B

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied a petition from the group of controversial businessman Joseph Calata to lift the ban on the local initial coin offering (ICO) of Krops, an online marketplace for farm produce.

U.S., Foreign Regulators Working Well Together To Combat Cryptocurrency Fraud, Says CFTC Chair (Forbes), Rated: B

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, U.S. bank regulators and foreign financial regulators are working well together to combat cryptocurrency fraud, CFTC Chair Christopher Giancarlo said today.

At a House committee hearing on the CFTC’s budget for next year, he said he has had talks about cryptocurrency recently with the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) and with European regulators.

United Kingdom

BITCOIN: RIVAL CRYPTOCURRENCIES QUIETLY GAINING GROUND ON ALL-CONQUERING MARKET LEADER (Independent), Rated: AAA

Ethereum’s coin ether, for instance, has a market capitalisation of $76.5bn (£55bn) compared to bitcoin’s $178bn (£128bn), according to CoinMarketCap.

It is worth $780 (£562) today, according to Coinbase data, having experienced a huge 3,922 per cent rise in value over the last year, peaking at $1,339 (£967) on 15 January this year at the height of the new year crypto-frenzy.

Other contenders like litecoin and ripple have market capitalisations of $35bn (£25bn) and $10.5bn (£7.6bn) respectively.

The former was started in 2011 and has 55.5m coins in circulation. It is worth less than ether – $190 (£137) – but has seen even greater growth in percentage terms year-on-year, up 4,597 per cent on 7 March 2017.

Prominent ICO lawyer joins digital wallet startup (AXIOS), Rated: B

Blockchain, a digital token wallet startup, said that it has hired Marco Santori as its president and chief legal officer.

China

Huawei Seeks Patent for Blockchain Rights Management (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Chinese telecoms giant and smartphone maker Huawei may be seeking to use blockchain tech to protect digital property rights.

In its latest patent application, released by China’s State Intellectual Property Office on Tuesday, the Shenzhen-based technology firm details an invention that claims to add a verification feature to a peer-to-peer content distribution network powered by blockchain technology.

European Union

Ether Price Hits One-Month Low and Could Test $ 700 (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Ether, the native cryptocurrency of the ethereum network, has fallen to one-month lows below $800 and looks set to extend losses further.

As of writing, the second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization is trading at $787 – down just over 5 percent in the last 24 hours. Prices fell to $779 earlier today, which is the lowest level since Feb. 8, as per data source CoinMarketCap.

Ether
Source: CoinDesk

Swedish Government Land Registry Soon To Conduct First Blockchain Property Transaction (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Sweden’s land-ownership authority, the Lantmäteriet, is soon expected to conduct their first Blockchain technology property transaction after two years of testing, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported Wendesday, Mar. 7.

BMW Trials Blockchain for Cobalt Tracking (cryptovest), Rated: A

BMW is collaborating with a blockchain startup to apply the technology for tracking the cobalt used in its batteries, Reuters reports. The German car manufacturer will rely on blockchain to ensure its cobalt is ethically sourced. BMW will be assisted by London-based Circulor on this project.

Ethereum Foundation Awards Millions In New Grant Funding (CoinDesk), Rated: B

A total of 13 projects received more than $2.5 million combined to work on scalability, security, development experiences, user interface study and other derivatives of the ethereum blockchain, according to a Wednesday announcement.

The grants will help the ethereum community better develop distributed applications (dapps) and smart contracts, according to the post.

International

Halong Mining Is the First Bitcoin Mining Hardware Producer to Implement Overt AsicBoost (Bitcoin Magazine), Rated: AAA

Halong Mining announced today, March 7, 2018, that it is embedding AsicBoost in its DragonMint mining hardware. Halong Mining is able to do so because it joined the Blockchain Defensive Patent License (BDPL), giving them access to the patent-pending technology, which utilizes a trick called “version rolling.” With AsicBoost, the DragonMint machines should be up to 20 percent more energy efficient than they would otherwise be.

As far as publicly known, no other mining hardware producer has implemented the overt version of AsicBoost in its application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips so far.

Here’s how many of the world’s ultrawealthy are increasing their cryptocurrency investments (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

More than one in five — 21% — of respondents in an annual survey of wealth advisers and private bankers said clients had increased their investments in cryptocurrencies in 2017, according to Knight Frank’s 2018 edition of its Wealth Report. The survey is based on responses from more than 500 private bankers and wealth advisers who collectively represent about 50,000 people with a combined wealth of more than $3 trillion.

Just 5% more Asia’s ultrawealthy increased their exposure to cryptocurrencies than those decreasing their exposure. On the other hand, 33% more ultrawealthy individuals in Latin America increased their exposure to cryptos than decreased it.

Despite all the conversation around cryptos, the ultrarich still prefer stocks and property over everything else. Some 62% of respondents said their clients had increased their exposure to equities in 2017, while 56% said clients increased their exposure to property.

ultra-rich cryptocurrencies
Source: MarketWatch

Ripple’s Plan To Enhance, Not Kill, the Global Payments System (Fortune), Rated: A

In Larsen’s vision, existing banks and payment services like Citi (c) and JPMorgan Chase (jpm) and PayPal (pypl) and Alipay all will continue to exist. But his “Internet of value” will be the system they use to talk to each other, just as the protocols of Internet interoperability currently stitch together the world’s email networks. It’s a plan for collaboration rather than zero-sum-game competition.

Currency that moves as freely as email and converts into local currency just as emails convert into words on a page: That makes sense to me.

SWIFT Claims ‘Huge’ Progress on DLT Bank Pilot (CoinDesk), Rated: B

Based on Hyperledger Fabric, the SWIFT trial focused on the use of nostro accounts, or bank accounts held by banks inside other banks. The proof-of-concept envisioned these “many-to-many” bank transfers, specifically examining how the system could meet requirements around governance, security and data privacy as they relate to the nostro reconcilitation process.

Australia

These are the 12 cryptocurrencies fintech experts say will soar by end of 2018 (Financial Review), Rated: AAA

A group of fintech leaders say bitcoin will hit $US38,000 by the end of 2018, but its 194 per cent growth will be miniscule compared with rising cryptocurrency stars.

Comparison site finder.com.au has just released the results of its March Cryptocurrency Predictions Survey, forecasting how the top 10 by market cap and top two trending cryptocurrencies will perform in 2018.

  • Bitcoin +194 per cent
  • Bitcoin cash +123 per cent
  • Ethereum +212 per cent

But of the 12 coins reviewed, by far the biggest forecast came for Dogecoin, the digital currency inspired by the popular Doge meme.

It rose 800 per cent from $US0.002 a coin at the start of December, 2017, to $US0.018 a month later, but has settled down again to around $US0.004 this week.

Asia

Japan’s watchdog orders 2 digital currency exchanges to suspend ops (Kyodo News), Rated: AAA

Japan’s financial watchdog on Thursday took administrative action against seven digital currency exchanges across the country, ordering two of them to suspend business in the first such penalty against cryptocurrency exchanges.

Bitcoin’s Famed Tokyo Whale Sold $ 400 Million and He’s Not Done Yet (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Nobuaki Kobayashi has become a force to be reckoned with in the cryptocurrency world.

The Tokyo attorney and bankruptcy trustee for the now-defunct Mt. Gox exchange disclosed on Wednesday that he sold about $400 million worth of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash since late September. Kobayashi is sitting on another $1.9 billion of the tokens and will consider offloading those too as he raises cash to distribute to Mt. Gox’s creditors.

Disclosures in his report on the Mt. Gox website suggest his Bitcoin sales since September fetched the equivalent of $10,105 on average.

Investors eye Dragon Coin (Japan Today), Rated: A

Dragon Inc is looking to raise more than $400 million in what would be the world’s largest initial coin offering (ICO). Dragon which is betting its focus on Asia’s booming gaming industry has seen extremely strong demand from investors and institutional investors alike.

Fujitsu Touts New Tech to Detect Ethereum Smart Contract Bugs (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Japanese IT giant Fujitsu has revealed a new technology that it says could help to mitigate problems with ethereum’s smart contracts.

In a statement released Wednesday, Fujitsu said the new system aims to detect in advance the risks associated with a smart contract source code on ethereum. In effect, the tech helps the blockchain authenticate the source call that triggers smart contract transactions.

Eurasia

How Russia’s ICO-hub System Could Transfer Decision Power to ICO Investors (Equities.com), Rated: A

Reports on Russia’s media platform, Izvestia, indicate that the country will be launching a system called ICO-hub to guarantee investments in initial coin offerings (ICOs) this year. The system will be developed in partnership with several players including the Globex Bank, an auxiliary of Vnesheconombank (VEB), a bank owned by the government, CrowdHub platform and Russian Association of Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (RACIB).

If launched successfully, ICO-hub will allow investors to monitor how ICOs implement their projects and decide on whether funds raised should be transferred to them or projects liquidated and remaining funds redistributed to investors.

Canada

Zip Remit Officially Using Ripple XRP (Crypto Daily), Rated: AAA

On March 1st, the Canada-based global money transfer company Zip Remit announced via Twitter that it would be implementing Ripple technology to allow its users to send funds across the world.

Latin America

Brazil bears down on cryptocurrencies (LatinFinance), Rated: AAA

Brazil is shutting down brokers’ bank accounts and barring investment funds from buying bitcoin. Now a fight over the future of cryptocurrencies has broken out in Latin America’s largest market.

FoxBit, launched by four investors at the end of 2014, now has a staff of 60 and intends to keep expanding despite market jitters. But Marcos Henrique acknowledges that FoxBit must be careful.

Central bankers vs cryptocurrencies
Brazil’s central bank governor, Ilan Goldfajn, was among the early critics, even before bitcoin dropped from a December peak of nearly $20,000.

The Brazilian government was quick to impose a levy on cryptocurrency-related trading — a tax rate of 15% is applicable to gains of 35,000 reais, around $11,000, or more.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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Allen Taylor

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