Daily News Digest Featured News

Thursday June 28 2018, Daily News Digest

Bitcoin volatility
Source: Kiel Institute for the World Economy

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United States


European Union



News Summary

United States

Facebook Reverses Ban on Cryptocurrency Ads, Maintains Ban on ICOs (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Facebook has updated its policy to allow cryptocurrencies to once again be advertised, while upholding its ban on the promotion of initial coin offerings (ICOs), in an announcement published Tuesday, June 26.

Bitcoin Price Risks Another Fall Below $ 6K, Charts Say (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

After a drop yesterday, bitcoin (BTC) risks another move below $6,000 in the next 24 hours, but it will still likely fare better than other cryptocurrencies.

Even if a drop in prices is seen, bitcoin could still outperform other cryptocurrencies, as a break below $6,000 could trigger risk aversion in the markets, forcing investors to venture out of high-risk alternative cryptocurrencies and into bitcoin.

Source: CoinDesk

Risk aversion

Clearly, BTC chart is biased to the bears, however, other cryptocurrencies will likely post bigger losses, as indicated by a bearish breakdown in ether-bitcoin (ETH/BTC) exchange rate.

As most alternative cryptocurrencies are built on the ethereum blockchain, the ETH/BTC serves as a good indicator of risk-on/risk-off sentiment, i.e. rising ETH/BTC means risk-on and falling ETH/BTC means risk-off.

So, ETH/BTC could be heading lower towards 0.0655BTC (Aug. 15, 2017 low).

Source: CoinDesk

Coinbase CEO Launches Charitable Initiative to Help People in Emerging Markets (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Brian Armstrong has announced the launch of a charitable initiative to “financially empower people by distributing cryptocurrency globally,” according to a blog post published June 27.

Payments company Circle: ‘We never left bitcoin’ (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

Circle has four distinct products: Circle Pay, its original fast money-transfer app a la Venmo; Circle Invest, which offers buying and selling of seven different cryptocurrencies (bitcoin, ether, bitcoin cash, litecoin, monero, ethereum classic, and Zcash); Circle Trade, an institutional trading desk that provides liquidity to large crypto exchanges and investors; and Poloniex, a US bitcoin exchange Circle acquired in February.

“We never left bitcoin,” says Circle president Sean Neville. It’s a statement big bitcoin believers might dispute based on the company’s history. “We believe in bitcoin. Everything that we’re doing is based on crypto assets and underlying blockchain technology. We’re not necessarily bitcoin maximalists, it’s not necessarily the perfect thing for everything that we’re doing, but it’s extremely valuable and a core component of what we’re doing.”

To Catch a Bitcoin Thief, Call These Detectives (Fortune), Rated: AAA

Companies like Chainalysis have built fast-growing businesses helping law enforcement track the mysterious money.

The New York City company employs a gaggle of doctoratewielding data scientists and statisticians who study Bitcoin’s blockchain—its indelible public ledger that records transactions—to gain clues about who owns given hoards of the digital currency.

IRS steps up cryptocurrency investigations (Accounting Today), Rated: A

The Internal Revenue Service has been leading the charge on cryptocurrency investigations, with more on the way now that it has access to information from at least 14,000 customers of Coinbase, one of the largest virtual currency exchanges, after a protracted court battle.

Few taxpayers currently report their transactions in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum. “Some of the press reports indicate there were some $90 billion of unreported gains in 2017,” said Steven Toscher, a principal at Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez, during New York University’s Tax Controversy Forum last week.

US Agencies Seize Cryptocurrencies from Dark Web Vendors Valued Over $ 23 Million (NewsBTC), Rated: A

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has just announced the arrests of over 35 dark web vendors, seizing cryptocurrency holdings from the arrested individuals.

According to the release, the DOJ, along with other American governmental agencies, like the U.S. Secret Service and the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit, investigated 65 targets.

US State Seeks to Confiscate $ 24 Million in Dark Web Bitcoin (CoinDesk), Rated: A

The U.S. government is seeking to forfeit 4,000 bitcoins that were seized during a crackdown of vendors on darkweb marketplaces – an amount that worth over $24 million as of press time.

According to an announcement published by the Department of Justice for the District of Maryland on Tuesday, the prosecutors indicted two men, Ryan Farace and Robert Swain, both residents of the state who allegedly manufactured drugs and distributed them through darkweb marketplaces.

The request, if approved, would mark the latest addition to the existing pool of cryptocurrencies confiscated by the U.S. government, which could be subject to further auction into the market.

FBI Has 130 Cryptocurrency-Related Investigations, Agent Says (Bloomberg), Rated: A

FBI crypto

Crypto Investors on Track to Lose Billion to Scammers by Year’s End (cryptovest), Rated: A

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

This was made clear by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which found consumers lost $542 million to cryptocurrency-related scams in the first two months of 2018.

Specifically, he said losses could reach $3 billion by the end of the year.

US House Unanimously Passes Bill to Help Fight Illicit Use of Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin.com), Rated: B

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed Bill H.R. 6069, known as the “Fight Illicit Networks and Detect Trafficking Act.”

The bill was considered by the House on Monday, June 25, and “passed unanimously,” according to California Rep. Juan Vargas, the representative who jointly introduced the bill with Rep. Keith Rothfus, announced.

The SEC Is Seeking Comment on Yet Another Bitcoin ETF (CoinDesk), Rated: A

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is once again seeking comments on a potential bitcoin-based exchange-traded fund (ETF).

The securities regulator called for comments on a proposal by the Cboe to list and trade the SolidX Bitcoin Shares, an ETF that was in turn proposed by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust, according to documents published Tuesday.

BitIRA Adds Stellar Lumens and Zcash to Digital Currency Retirement Accounts (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

BitIRA today continued its steady expansion of available coins with the addition of Stellar Lumens (XLM) and Zcash (ZEC), which join Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) as investment opportunities for its customers. Equally important, BitIRA has included the new coins in its strict security protocols and end-to-end insurance program, protecting against any type of theft, fraud, mistakes or hacking from initial purchase through storage and sale.

Travel Booking Giant Expedia Has Quietly Removed Bitcoin Payment Option (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Major travel booking website Expedia.com recently stopped accepting Bitcoin(BTC) as a payment method for hotels or flights, Expedia told Cointelegraph June 27.

Stanford Students Built 16 Ethereum-Based dApps, Without an ICO (CryptoSlate), Rated: A

This week, students attending Stanford’s CS 359B program “Designing Decentralized Applications on Blockchain” developed 16 blockchain-based decentralized applications on the Ethereumprotocol, creating applications to maximize the potential of peer-to-peer digital asset trading and transaction processing.

Stanford blockchain projects
Source: CryptoSlate

Sacramento Kings Become The First Sports Team To Mine Cryptocurrency (Forbes), Rated: A

The NBA organization announced Wednesday, that it has partnered with global cryptocurrency leader, MiningStore.com, to become the first sports team in the world to mine digital currency. That’s right, the Kings can add another “first’ to its scoreboard of ever-growing technological innovations.

Florida Appoints Crypto Czar to ‘Scrutinize’ and Regulate Digital Currency (NewsBTC), Rated: B

Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis issued a statement today saying that he is creating the position of a ‘crypto czar’ in order to provide oversight on cryptocurrencies.

Ohio legislature passes blockchain legislation (Cleveland.com), Rated: B

The Ohio Senate on Wednesday night signed off on Senate Bill 222, cybersecurity legislation which Ohio House members had amended to include the blockchain language. The amendment updated existing Ohio law dealing with electronic transactions to also include blockchain-based transactions. It now will head to Gov. John Kasich for his signature.


Central Bank Digital Currency Could Provide Stability, But Crypto Is Too Volatile (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Economic researchers at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy have identified digital currencies issued by a central bank as an opportunity for a more stable financial system, while at the same time rejecting cryptocurrencies, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reports today, June 27.

Bitcoin volatility
Source: Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Read the full report here.

The People Leading the Blockchain Revolution (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

Amber Baldet

While the JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon was bashing Bitcoin as a fraud, his employee Amber Baldet put the bank at the front of Wall Street’s efforts to harness the blockchain. Ms. Baldet, 35 and until recently the head of the bank’s blockchain lab, led a project to create a bank-friendly version of the Ethereum software, known as Quorum.

Brian Behlendorf

In 2016, he was brought in by the Linux Foundation to lead a nonprofit known as Hyperledger that aims to create standard blockchain software that anyone can use.

Vitalik Buterin

Aside from the blockchain inventor known as Satoshi Nakamoto, no name in the cryptocurrency world is more recognizable than that of Vitalik Buterin, the 24-year-old inventor of Ethereum.

Daniel Larimer

This began with an exchange that was supposed to make it easier to trade Bitcoin, and that relied on its own internal currency, known as BitShares. He left that project before it took off to create Steemit, a new kind of social network, powered by its own, eponymous token.

From Coincheck to Bithumb: 2018’s Largest Security Breaches So Far (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Bithumb: “No damage” to the customers
When: June 2018
Hacker’s prize: $30 million worth of cryptocurrencies
Outcome: Drop in rating

Coinrail: Danger of FUD
When: June 2018
Hacker’s prize: 40 billion won (approximately $37.2 million)
Outcome: Mainstream media overreaction

Verge: Ignorance is bliss
When: April-May
Hacker’s prize: 35 million XVG (about $1.7 million)
Outcome: Damaged reputation

Coincheck: Compliance and transparency
When: January
Hacker’s prize: 532 million NEM coins
Outcome: Coincheck survived the hack and the FSA pressure, was bought

BitGrail: Let’s play the blame game (and get sued)
When: February
Hacker’s prize: 17 million XRB tokens
Outcome: Firms wallets seized through court

Smaller hacks: MyEtherWallet, BlackWallet and Binance

In January, a DNS hijack led to hackers stealing $400,000 worth of Stellar Lumen (XLM) coins from wallets of Blackwallet.co. The attackers took over the service’s hosting server and changed settings to send the coins to their address.

Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Others Can Now Be Carried Out Offline (Zycrypto), Rated: A

Because of unreliable or the unavailability of internet service in some parts of the world, some users have either not heard or can’t make use of cryptocurrencies even if they wanted to.

Using mesh technology which was originally developed for the military, this allows nodes to communicate with each other.

With the product released by the company; the ShortFuse, QuickFuse, and CryptoFuse, users and able to send and receive cryptocurrencies and also do some things with or without the internet.

Cryptocurrencies are more secure than you think (TechWorld), Rated: AAA

In the past six months, it’s estimated that $1.1 billion has been siphoned from cryptocurrency exchanges, thanks to instruments available for purchase in marketplaces found on the dark web.

According to ‘Cryptocurrency Gold Rush on the Dark Web‘, a recent report carried out by Carbon Black, ‘The available dark web marketplaces represent a $6.7 million illicit economy built from cryptocurrency-related malware development and sales.’

It’s for this reason, then, that 27 percent of cryptocurrency attacks are aimed at exchanges. And while most attacks are still aimed at Bitcoin – offering the promise of the most lavish returns – 44 percent are now targeted towards Monero, another cryptocurrency offering comparatively low transaction fees, non-traceability and privacy.

5 Blockchain Product Use Cases To Follow This Year (Forbes), Rated: A

The numbers speak for themselves, after initial coin offerings raised massive sums of money for blockchain-based projects in the last two years. Even after raising $5 billion in 2017, the industry has already surpassed that number in 2018 with no signs of stopping.

Streamlined supply chains

Global commerce has grown unevenly, more as a reaction to changing needs than an organized expansion. This dynamic has also made supply chains needlessly convoluted, with manufacturing activity taking place across the globe and transparency between suppliers oftentimes nonexistent.

Global Debt Registry Launches Decentralized Ledger For The Loan Market Using IBM Blockchain (PaymentWeek), Rated: A

Global Debt Registry (“GDR”) today announced the launch of its loan registry designed to verify and provide transparency on loan data on the cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform. All loan level collateral positions and verification activity will now be immutably recorded on the decentralized registry with highly secure permissioning and access controls to provide new levels of efficiency to the $400bn asset backed securities (ABS) market.

Hyperledger Adds to its Global Community with 11 New Members (PR Newswire), Rated: B

Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies, today announced 11 new members. The newest members hail from the U.S., Europe and Asia with a major wave of the new members from China.

The latest general members to join the community are: Beike Finance, BGI Shenzhen Co., Ltd., Bit Game Foundation, Circulor, JD.com, Kyra Solutions, Lenovo, NuCypher, Optherium Labs, Shenzhen Onething Technologies and Shenzhen Ultrachain Technologies.

Slipstream Advantage Chooses DAV Coin as Preferred Payment Solution (Markets Insider), Rated: B

Slipstream Advantage today announced that it has joined the DAV Network, a decentralised, peer-to-peer, global transportation network, enabling vehicles to discover, communicate, and transact with one another using blockchain. By joining the network and conducting payments with the DAV coin, Slipstream is now able to optimise and expand its transport services.

European Union

Binance Resumes Trading Within Hours, Maintenance Took Longer than Expected (cryptovest), Rated: AAA

Binance is coming back online in a few hours, if all goes according to plan. More issues were found during the maintenance period, and the lockdown lasted for more than a couple of days. Deposits will be reopened, but withdrawals will wait for another hour, Binance explained.

NANO Ranked Fastest Cryptocurrency On Binance (Ethereum World News), Rated: AAA

Anything Crypto, a website which compares exchange speeds and costs, has published their rankings for the fastest coins on Binance. Unsurprising to the NANO community, their currency came in first, with the shortest block time confirmation of 3 seconds (ahead of Stellar Lumens XLM at 5 seconds and Ripple XRP at 10s).

Binance fastest coins
Source: Ethereum World News

Security or Not, Ethereum’s Soul Searching Isn’t Over (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

There’s an existential debate raging among Ether advocates even after regulators stated that the second-biggest cryptocurrency shouldn’t be considered a security.

The discussion centers around whether users should be able to undo erroneous or faulty transactions, and if so, in which cases and who decides. Then there’s the broader question of how to decide on the answers in the first place. Thousands of software developers, miners and investors scattered across continents are struggling to sort this out, all while Ethereum continues to be the preferred platform for token sales raising billions of dollars.

What Crypto Investors Need to Know About Ethereum ERC777 – the New Advanced Token Standard (CryptoSlate), Rated: A

While the ERC20 standard has helped facilitate the smooth undertaking of many blockchain projects, especially being widely used and accepted by many companies during their Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), it has its limitations.

The ERC777 standard is fully backward compatible with the ERC20 standard, meaning that any application that supports ERC20, also inherently supports ERC777. It maintains the ERC20’s strengths of enabling decentralized computing while offsetting the few problems that the earlier token had.

Europol Collaborates with Cryptocurrency Exchanges to Entirely Eradicate Abuse of Digital Currency (BTCManager), Rated: A

Blockchain-based virtual currencies have the ability to ease financial transactions across borders and make life much easier for people by eliminating third parties when sending or receiving money. However, the sad truth remains that bad actors constantly abuse cryptos, using them to aid their illicit activities like money laundering and purchase of banned products on the dark web. Now, Europol is working with over a dozen exchanges to curb this menace.

An Alpine Bitcoin Bunker Wants to Be Your Next Swiss Bank Account (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Niklas Nikolajsen and former UBS Group AG investment banker Philipp Vonmoos have set up a venture called Swiss Crypto Vault that aims to lure ultra-high net worth individuals and institutional investors with its “deep underground storage, state-of-the-art encryption, multi-signing authorization processes and many more security features.” The storage space is available for clients starting Wednesday can handle various cryptocurrencies including Ether and Litecoin, Bitcoin Suisse said in a statement.

One Monumental Regulatory Step Forward: 3 Crypto Bills Approved In Malta (Ethereum World News), Rated: B

Malta has taken a major step with the three bills which are as follows:

  1. The Malta Digital Innovation Authority Bill – This first bill establishes the Malta Digital Innovation Authority that will focus on internal governance arrangements through a Board of Governors.
  2. The Technology Arrangements and Services Bill – This bill is primarily geared towards the establishing of exchanges in the country and other companies that want to operate in the crypto industry.
  3. The Virtual Financial Assets Bill – This third bill deals with the regulatory framework for ICOs in the country.
United Kingdom

Coinbase Will Add GBP Support to Ease Withdrawals in UK (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

Coinbase UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz said that Coinbase will be supporting GBP wires in the next few weeks. At present, Coinbase use Estonian bank LHV to process payments which are all done in euros. UK users have to withdraw euros from Coinbase using SEPA transfers or via mobile banking apps such as Revolut.

Huobi OTC & Huobi Quant Trading Services Launch For Crypto Investors (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

Huobi OTC is poised to be an “over-the-counter” services that will come in handy for those who are interested in trading a large amount of currency. The service is scheduled for beta testing in the UK Q3 of 2018. The project will provide users with protection from adverse price volatility. Further, dissimilar from other ITO platforms, this one will not have a commission fee, making transactions free.


PBoC Filings Reveal Big Picture for Planned Digital Currency (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Data from China’s State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) revealed two new patent applications on Friday, pushing the total number submitted by the lab to 41 over the 12 months since its launch.

Instead, the patents indicates the wallet would store a digital currency issued by the central bank or any authorized central entity that is encrypted like a cryptocurrency with private keys, offers multi-signature security and is held by users in a decentralized way.

Bank Regulator Proposes Chinese Crypto License In Research Paper (CoinDesk), Rated: A

A working paper published by the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) is advocating that domestic regulators issue licenses for crypto-related activities.

China crypto license
Source: China Banking Regulatory Commission

Read it here (in Chinese).

Ontology announce date of second ONT airdrop (NEO News Today), Rated: A

On February 12, 2018, NEO announced an airdrop of Ontology tokens (ONT) to NEO token holders, following Ontology’s donation of 20 million ONT to the NEO Council. A snapshot of NEO account balances was taken at block height 1,974,823 at 9:15:33 (UTC +8) on March 1st, 2018.

The second half of the ONT airdrop has been scheduled for Monday, July 9th, 2018. However, it will not be delivered to NEO addresses, but rather to MainNet ONT addresses.

Alibaba Founder Jack Ma Warns of Bitcoin Bubble (Blokt), Rated: A

Founder and Chairman of Alibaba Jack Ma recently spoke about his views on cryptocurrencies, declaring Bitcoin an asset bubble and saying that digital currency prices are based on speculations. Ma made these remarks after launching a blockchain-based money transfer service.

Australia/New Zealand

Accelerate banking innovation, but not with digital currency (ComputerWorld), Rated: A

Commerce and consumer affairs minister Kris Faafoi has urged the payment sector to accelerate innovation and the move to open banking.

However, one financial innovation that will not appear in New Zealand any time soon is an official digital currency.


20% fixed tax bracket in the cards for Japan’s crypto investors (CoinGeek), Rated: AAA

The finance minister of Japan has discussed the idea of a reduction in the rate of tax paid by cryptocurrency investors, in a move that could further stimulate interest in the nascent sector.

Finance Minister Taro Aso made the comments at a budget committee meeting in the Upper House of the National Diet of Japan, prompted by a question from a senator regarding the current treatment of cryptocurrency gains, Reuters reported.


Financial University to Store Diplomas via Blockchain (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

A state university in Russia has announced that it will store diploma records using blockchain technology, the institution announced in an official statementJune 26.


Five industries that are likely to use smart contracts in the future (IT News Africa), Rated: AAA

  • Employment contracts – By using a smart contract in the employee-employer relationship, it can be made extremely clear what is expected of the employee.
  • Mortgage loans – The process of getting a mortgage today can be lengthy, time-consuming, and not always fair. Using a smart contract can mean cutting out the middleman as the two parties will be able to deal directly with each other.
  • Insurance – Using a smart contact, the insurance claim process can be streamlined and simplified.
  • Supply chain management – Businesses in the supply chain management industry will be able to use smart contracts to record ownership rights as various products move through the supply chain.
  • Copyrighted content – In terms of copyrighted material, for example, in the music industry, a smart contract can be used to ensure that the royalties of content go to the intended recipient rather than all the middlemen in between.


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George Popescu
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