ETH Round-Up: Parity Unfreeze Shot Down, Casper Code Made Public, Vitalik Slams Greedy Market Sentiment

ETH Round-Up: Parity Unfreeze Shot Down, Casper Code Made Public, Vitalik Slams Greedy Market Sentiment

A number of significant events have occurred pertaining to the Ethereum ecosystem in recent days. Last week, the code for the proposed first step of Ethereum’s technical transition toward the adoption of proof-of-stake mining, Vitalik Buterin made disparaging comments regarding 2017’s explosion in the initial coin offering (ICO) industry in an interview with Financial Times, and most recently, an Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) seeking to restore a disabled contract to unfreeze 513,774 ETH held in 587 wallets used by Parity Wallet has been rejected.

Also Read: New Party in Ukraine to Fund Itself Only with Cryptos

Code for First Step in Casper Transition Unveiled

ETH Round-Up: Parity Unfreeze Shot Down, Casper Code Made Public, Vitalik Slams Greedy Market SentimentEthereum developers recently announced that code expected to comprise the networks first step towards the adoption of a proof-of-stake (PoS) mining model has been available for public review.

The proposed code, described in EIP 1011, states “This EIP specifies a hybrid PoW/PoS consensus model for Ethereum main net. Existing PoW mechanics are used for new block creation, and a novel PoS mechanism called Casper the Friendly Finality Gadget (Casper FFG) is layered on top using a smart contract.”

The transition from Pow to Pos has long been a pervasive issue within the Ethereum community, with discussions of such having been present “on the roadmap and in the Yellow Paper since the launch of the protocol.” How to conduct the transition, the EIP asserts, was “an open area of research” until the first paper detailing Casper FFG was published by Vitalik Buterin and Virgil Griffith in October 2017.

Casper FFG aims to reduce the energy consumed through mining ETH and provide resistance to ASICs. The EIP’s authors assert that “The Casper FFG contract can be layered on top of any block proposal mechanism, providing finality to the underlying chain,” adding that “the FFG staking mechanism requires minimal changes to the protocol.”

Proposal to Unfreeze Over $300 Million USD Worth of ETH Rejected

ETH Round-Up: Parity Unfreeze Shot Down, Casper Code Made Public, Vitalik Slams Greedy Market SentimentEIP 999, a proposal to implement a patch unfreeze 513,774.16 ETH held in 587 wallets related to the Parity debacle, has been rejected after a vote among the affected wallet owners. The EIP proposed “restoring the WalletLibrary by a patched version to allow the owners of the dependent multi-signature wallets regain access to their assets.” At current prices, said frozen ETH would be valued at over $325.7 million USD.

The vote saw 330 ‘no’ votes cast, a ten percent victory over the 300 ‘yes’ votes that were submitted. Nine “don’t care” votes were also cast.

Vitalik Buterin Slams ‘Get-Rich-Quick’ Sentiment in Crypto Markets

ETH Round-Up: Parity Unfreeze Shot Down, Casper Code Made Public, Vitalik Slams Greedy Market SentimentIn a recent interview with Financial Times, Ethereum’s co-founder, Vitalik Buterin, lamented the transition of the cryptocurrency sphere from hosting a rebellious and clandestine cypherpunk culture, to that which is dominated by greed and the desire to get rich quick.

Of many cryptocurrencies that were baptized in the 2017 crypto bubble, Mr. Buterin states that “There’s projects that never had a soul, that are just like, ra-ra, price go up. Lambo[rghini], vrromm, buybuybuy now!” Vitalik states that “We’ve created a culture where some totally random project raising something like $8m is like, oh yeah that’s peanuts,” describing such as evidence that the cryptocurrency markets are in a “bubble.”

Mr. Buterin also argues that the market capitalization and prices witness by many projects are “far ahead of what this space has actually accomplished for the world.”

Do you agree with Vitalik’s comments? What are your thoughts on EIPs 999 and 1011? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Germany Gets Its First Crypto Exchange for Whales

Germany Gets Its First Crypto Exchange for Whales

Germany’s VPE Wertpapierhandelsbank AG (VPE) has announced its institutional investor cryptocurrency trading services and claims them to be the first of their kind for the country. Armed with a Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (Bafin) license, in expanding its brokerage offerings VPE purports to offer “best-in-class technology” to customers, “secure and regulated.”

Also read: Facebook to Be Sued for Defamation Related to Scammy Crypto Ads

VPE Launches Germany’s First Institutional Investor Cryptocurrency Trading Services

VPE Wertpapierhandelsbank AG spokesperson Katharina Strenski stressed, “Until now, institutional investors have faced high entry barriers to crypto trading. Our cryptocurrency trading services offer a much more convenient alternative.”

The world over, institutional investors, or whales, usually control vast sums of capital. They’ve been looking for ways to leverage cryptocurrency markets, but often run up against their own lobbying efforts in wielding government regulatory power to insulate themselves from competition. The consequences thus far include uneven access to a red hot and emerging asset class, arguably the future of finance in one form or another, cryptocurrency.

Germany Gets Its First Crypto Exchange for Whales

“Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and others have become a promising asset class in recent years,” Ms. Strenski detailed. “To date, trading digital tokens has been restricted to crypto exchanges and online marketplaces. We are pleased to be the first German bank to offer our customers cryptocurrency trading services.”

VPE is a German centric exchange-based OTC trader. Financial corporations, private investors, and institutional investors (whales) get brokerage services, investment advice, and portfolio management. Under that umbrella, the bank offers clearing services, settlement of transactions in securities, contracts for difference, options, and futures.

Germany Is an Economic Powerhouse

Germany is an economic powerhouse, and so any entry its companies make into the crypto space will undoubtedly move the needle. It ranks as Europe’s economic engine and its largest economy, is a constant innovator, and is a giant exporter of goods. Routinely the country can boast Europe’s lowest employment rate, and its citizens average over $50K per capita.

Germany Gets Its First Crypto Exchange for Whales

All this could point to a boost for the digital asset sector as German institutional investors are among the most profitable companies in the world. For its part, as a “securities trading bank,” the bank’s press release continues, “VPE has an impressive trading track record and has access to the appropriate networks and technical requirements for processing individual transactions. VPE also meets all necessary KYC (Know your Customer) and AML (Anti-Money-Laundering) requirements.”

VPE also offers automated crypto trades, “developed in partnership with Solarisbank, the first banking platform with a full banking license, and with support from leading banking and legal crypto experts. VPE’s virtual currency trading account is held in escrow by Solarisbank. Customers will also receive access to an individual virtual currency wallet hosted by VPE. This will make trading fast and simple while ensuring the highest security standards,” the company insists.

Do you think German institutional investors will be a boost for crypto markets? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Philippines Welcomes Crypto Economic Zone

After hemming and hawing in its strange relationship with cryptocurrencies and the businesses they imply, the Philippine government decided to make room for a set aside economic zone. The scheme is offered in hopes of generating more tax income, employment for its people, and perhaps a dedicated crypto university.

Also read: Telegram Urges Paper Airplane Protest, Pussy Riot Activist Arrested

Philippines Allows Crypto Companies to Operate Economic Zone

Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) spokesman Raul Lambinos told Reuters, “We are about to licence 10 platforms for cryptocurrency exchange. They are Japanese, Hong Kong, Malaysians, Koreans. They can go into cryptocurrency mining, initial coin offerings, or they can go into exchange.” Exchanges providing onramps to the nation’s fiat money, on the other hand, are encouraged to launch offshore to avoid running afoul of Philippine law.

Raul Lambino

Such zones offer advantageous tax regimes in the hope of creating more employment for Filipinos. Early this year, the country legalized such zones for crypto, which appears to be more welcoming to digital assets than other countries in the region.

Local authorities estimate over two years crypto companies will invest more than $1 million, with ten percent of that going toward building a tax base. Ambitious plans also include a possible blockchain-based financial technology university to help feed workers to surrounding businesses in the zone.

A Strange Relationship with Crypto

The government appears to be responding to popular sentiment regarding cryptocurrency, as it has not been very supportive of late: its Philippine National Police arrested bitcoiners, accusing them of running a Ponzi scheme, and the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission came down against cloud mining, asserting such contracts are too close to securities.  

Senator Leila M. de Lima

And, as we wrote recently, opposition “leader senator Leila M. de Lima thinks that the legislative chamber needs to prioritize Senate Bill 1694, a proposal she filed a month ago. The recent Ordonio Ponzi scheme has compelled her to call upon her colleagues.’I hope that this occurrence will push my esteemed colleagues in the Senate to take my proposed bill seriously and help pass it into law soon.’”

Slightly before that, the SEC “revealed to the public that it plans to enforce securities regulations against cloud mining operations. According to the SEC’s statement, the regulatory agency believes these types of contracts should be defined as ‘securities,’” News.Bitcoin.com reported.

Acceptance, however, of an economic zone for crypto is a positive first start for the industry, and might signal a slight change of heart on the government’s end.

Do you think this initiative will be imitated by other governments in the region? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Facebook to Be Sued for Defamation Related to Scammy Bitcoin Ads

Facebook to be Sued for Defamation Related to Scammy Bitcoin Ads

In what is being referred to as a “groundbreaking lawsuit”, United Kingdom financial guru Martin Lewis is taking aim at Facebook’s lack of vigilance with regard to fake accounts. Mr. Lewis claims his likeness and reputation were used in multiple fraudulent instances, peddling mostly investment advice for assets such as bitcoin.

Also read: James Bond-Like Villain in $2 Million Bitcoin Heist Caught in Amsterdam

Facebook to Be Sued for Defamatory Bitcoin Ads

“I will issue High Court proceedings against Facebook,” the popular UK financial advisor posted in lieu of his regular column, “to try and stop all the disgusting repeated fake adverts from scammers it refuses to stop publishing with my picture, name and reputation.”

Mr. Lewis is proprietor of a consumer finance site and host of Independent Television’s (ITV) The Martin Lewis Money Show. “Within the last year,” a press release reads, Facebook “has published over 50 fake Martin Lewis adverts, which are regularly seen, likely by millions of people, in the UK. These adverts are often for scams. Many have big pictures of Martin and his name, alongside a raft of false promises or endorsements – some then link on to fake articles which continue the theme.”

Facebook to be Sued for Defamation Related to Scammy Bitcoin Ads
Facebook fraudulent ad

Increasingly, Facebook has come under fire for its privacy policies, including having to defend itself in front of the United States Senate and House of Representatives. The social network seems to understand there is a problem with crypto-related ads, taking action earlier this year, insisting “ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency.” Evidently their latest moves have yet to produce results.

As a result, Mr. Lewis will “issue High Court proceedings for a campaigning defamation lawsuit against Facebook and will be seeking exemplary damages. This is not being done for personal gain – he pledges any and all money paid out to him will be donated to anti-scam charities.”

Enough is Enough

The offending fake ad content revolves around get-rich-quick schemes. “‘Bitcoin code’ or ‘Cloud Trader,’” the release details, “are fronts for binary trading firms based outside the EU. Binary trading is a financially dangerous, near-certain money-loser, which the regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) strongly warns against.”

“Enough is enough,” Mr. Lewis said. “I’ve been fighting for over a year to stop Facebook letting scammers use my name and face to rip off vulnerable people – yet it continues. I feel sick each time I hear of another victim being conned because of trust they wrongly thought they were placing in me. One lady had over £100,000 taken from her.”

Facebook to be Sued for Defamation Related to Scammy Bitcoin Ads
Another Facebook fraudulent ad

He claims not to do advertisements, and has informed Facebook of that fact. “Any ad with my picture or name in is without my permission. I’ve asked it not to publish them, or at least to check their legitimacy with me before publishing. This shouldn’t be difficult – after all, it’s a leader in face and text recognition. Yet it simply continues to repeatedly publish these adverts and then relies on me to report them, once the damage has been done.”

The attorney leading the charge urged, “Facebook is not above the law – it cannot hide outside the UK and think that it is untouchable.  Exemplary damages are being sought. This means we will ask the court to ensure they are substantial enough that Facebook can’t simply see paying out damages as just the ‘cost of business’ and carry on regardless. It needs to be shown that the price of causing misery is very high.”

Do you think more lawsuits like this are coming for Facebook? Let us know in the comments section below.


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James Bond-Like Villain in $2 Million Bitcoin Heist Caught in Amsterdam

James Bond-like Bitcoin Villain in $2 Million Heist Finally Caught in Amsterdam

Amsterdam police have announced the re-arrest of Sindri Thor Stefansson. He was initially arrested days ago in Iceland in connection with a bitcoin hardware mining caper that included 600 computers worth $2 million. In a James Bond-like villain move, after his first capture he managed to escape, reportedly hitching a ride on a plane carrying Iceland’s prime minister.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: ICO Scares Investors with Ghost Prank

Bond-Like Bitcoin Villain Re-Arrested

Mr. Stefansson, after have absconded, wrote to a popular online site to plead his case. “I simply refuse to be in prison of my own free will,” he explained to Frettabladid, “especially when the police threaten to arrest me without explanation. I’m not trying to say that it was the right decision to leave, I really regret it…I didn’t expect an international arrest warrant to be issued against me, as I was legally free to leave, and believed it was out of the question that I would be labelled a fugitive. I would never have done this if I didn’t believe I was a free man.”

James Bond-like Bitcoin Villain in $2 Million Heist Finally Caught in Amsterdam
Sindri Thor Stefansson shown on CCTV while at large

It’s something straight out of a movie. Media outlets are claiming Sindri Thor Stefansson to be a “mastermind”. He, at the very least, was implicated recently in a major crime for the country of Iceland: $2 million in computer mining hardware is missing, believed to be part of an elaborate theft conspiracy, involving a gang of 11 others including Mr. Stefansson’s wife.

Mr. Stefansson escaped what local press refers to as “low-security” confinement after first being arrested. He was held in Sogn, an open prison 59 miles from the country’s international airport (95 km). It’s so loose it doesn’t have a fence, and detainees can even surf the net.

Thought He Could Avoid Capture Indefinitely

The mastermind slipped out through a window. He somehow later made it to the airport, procuring a flight boarding pass under an assumed name (though he paid with his own debit card), and managed to put himself on a flight to Sweden carrying Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir. He wasn’t discovered missing by guards until well after the plane was airbound. An international warrant was soon issued for Mr. Stefansson.

James Bond-like Bitcoin Villain in $2 Million Heist Finally Caught in Amsterdam
Downtown Amsterdam

The Big Bitcoin Heist, as it has been tagged on the frozen island, involved bitcoin mining rigs grabbed in conjunction with four data center break-ins. Iceland has become a magnet for crypto miners due to relatively cheap electricity and its cold climes, helping the notoriously overheated instruments cool as they mine.

Mr. Stefansson’s unorthodox public letter while on the run insisted he could remain elusive to authorities for “as long as I like”. Dutch police disagreed, arresting him downtown without incident and are presently arranging for his extradition back to Iceland. 

Do you think bitcoin mining rigs present a lucrative target to thieves? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Ether & Ripple Doomed As Securities According to Regulation Expert

Ether & Ripple Doomed As Securities According to Regulation Expert

Former Obama administration financial regulator Gary Gensler believes cryptocurrencies such as ether and ripple appear as unregistered securities, and in current violation of the law. His comments carry considerable weight in the broader financial community. They also come after venture capitalists and lawyers invested in ether projects met secretly with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to head off such regulation. Spokespeople for both coins insist they’re not securities.  

Also read: Telegram Urges Paper Airplane Protest, Pussy Riot Activist Arrested

Ether and Ripple Might Be Securities

Former Obama CFTC head Gary Gensler told The New York Times, “I would be surprised if 10 years from now this isn’t somewhere in the financial system in a meaningful way. But so much of the stuff that is being promoted now will not be around.” The ‘this’ he’s speaking of is cryptocurrencies, and as part of his appointment to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Mr. Gensler is weighing in on the phenomenon’s future with regard to regulation.

In particular, he’s focusing upon two of the most popular cryptos, ether and ripple, as potentially very susceptible to future designation as securities. Should that happen, many experts believe it would herald the decline of both. Securities regulation imposes a host of legal burdens upon registrants, and costs to comply are often prohibitive and burdensome.

Ether & Ripple Doomed As Securities According to Regulation Expert

“There is a strong case for both of them — but particularly Ripple — that they are noncompliant securities,” he told Nathaniel Popper. Bitcoin and others like it are decentralized to such an extent as to not trigger regulation, he believes. That’s not so clear in the cases of ether and ripple, both of which Mr. Gensler insists are in violation of securities law.

“2018 is going to be a very interesting time. Over 1,000 previously issued initial coin offerings, and over 100 exchanges that offer I.C.O.s, are going to need to sort out how to come into compliance with U.S. securities law,” the Times quotes him as saying. Indeed, representatives with heavy financial interests in ether-related projects recently were discovered to have secretly pled their case to the SEC in hopes of heading off what some say is certain regulation. That’s a potential problem for tens of billions of dollars in coins respectively when ether and ripple are combined.

Impact Not Good

Ether & Ripple Doomed As Securities According to Regulation Expert
Gary Gensler

Should such a designation be handed down, one of crypto’s largest markets, the United States, would essentially be cut off, made against the law for trading ETH and XRP on exchanges. It’s not too extreme to figure such a move would impact both coins’ prices, and probably not in a good way. 

Mr. Gensler, 60, was tapped by MIT’s Media Lab and its Digital Currency Initiative, along with being a lecturer at its Sloan School of Management (with a blockchain emphasis) for his expertise in the financial sector. His views on the future of regulation carry heft simply because of his past experience in the Obama administration, and previous connections to Goldman Sachs as well as helping to finance the ill-fated Hillary Clinton run of 2016. 

Asked for comment about Mr. Gensler’s claims, the Ethereum Foundation answered how it “neither controls the supply of nor has the ability to issue Ether, and the quantity of Ether that the foundation holds (under 1 percent of all Ether) is already lower than that held by many other ecosystem participants,” according to the Times. A Ripple spokesperson responded by insisting, “XRP does not give its owners an interest or stake in Ripple, and they are not paid dividends. XRP exists independent of Ripple, was created before the company and will exist after it.”

Do you think ether and ripple should be regulated? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Telegram Urges Paper Airplane Protest, Pussy Riot Activist Arrested

Telegram Urges Paper Airplane Protest, Pussy Riot Activist Arrested

After a Russian court enacted an immediate ban on the popular encrypted messaging service Telegram, the feisty company began to resist. Founder Pavel Durov insisted there were ways around the prohibition, including proxies and VPNs. It appears to have had some success even though millions of IP addresses have been blocked by the government. In response, some activists took to making paper airplanes (the company’s logo) in protest, flying them at the country’s notorious security agency’s headquarters, with some protesters being arrested. Mr. Durov took to his personal channel, urging Russians to fly their own paper airplanes in unison at a specific time.

Also read: Telegram Uses Bitcoin in Effort to Thwart Russian Authorities

Telegram Continues to Resist Russian Government Crackdown

“For 7 days Russia has been trying to ban Telegram on its territory – with no luck so far,” the still defiant founder of the encrypted messaging service posted to his personal channel. “I’m thrilled we were able to survive under the most aggressive attempt of internet censorship in Russian history with almost 18 million IP addresses blocked.”

Back on April 13, Dmitri S. Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, stressed, “There is a certain legislation that demands certain data to be passed to certain services of the Russian Federation.” Judge Yulia Smolina agreed, ruling, “The ban on access to information will be in force until the [Federal Security Service’s] demands are met on providing keys for decrypting user messages.”

Telegram Urges Paper Airplane Protest, Pussy Riot Activist Arrested
Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina

Roskomnadzor, a censuring media body, made the most vigorous argument in asking the court to shutter Telegram. Last month, the company appealed before the Supreme Court over Russia’s Federal Security Service’s (FSB) 800,000 ruble fine. The FSB ordered Telegram to decrypt messages in accordance with relatively recent anti-terrorism laws. “We don’t do deals with marketers, data miners or government agencies. Since the day we launched in August 2013 we haven’t disclosed a single byte of our users’ private data to third parties,” a Telegram blog post insisted. Telegram was summarily banned, effective immediately.

An initial response by Mr. Durov came also on his personal channel, explaining, “To support internet freedoms in Russia and elsewhere I started giving out bitcoin grants to individuals and companies who run socks5 proxies and VPN. I am happy to donate millions of dollars this year to this cause, and hope that other people will follow. I called this Digital Resistance – a decentralized movement standing for digital freedoms and progress globally.”

Telegram Urges Paper Airplane Protest, Pussy Riot Activist Arrested
Paper airplanes flown at Russia’s security agency in protest over country’s ban on Telegram.

The Digital Resistance Gets Paper Wings

Activists took to the streets roughly 4 days ago, placing themselves in front of the Federal Security Services’ headquarters, armed with colored paper. They then began to make paper airplanes in remembrance of the iconic Telegram logo. Not soon after, busses of uniformed police rolled up, and began dispersing the crowd, and wound up arresting Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina. She was brought before a nearby magistrate, booked on blocking a public passageway, and released.

In response, Mr. Durov insisted on April 22, “If you live in Russia and support free internet, fly a paper plane from your window at 7 PM local time today. Please collect the airplanes in your neighborhood an hour later – remember, today is Earth Day. My thanks to all the members of the #Digitalresistance movement. Keep up your great work setting up socks5-proxies and VPNs and spreading them among your Russian friends and relatives. They will be needed as the country descends into an era of full-scale internet censorship.”

Do you think such protests make a difference? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Saxo Investment Bank is Bullish on Crypto Over Next 3 Months

Saxo Investment Bank is Bullish on Crypto Over Next 3 Months

Influential investment bank Saxo released the 35 page, Q2 2018 Quarterly Outlook. In it, the bank’s newly hired Crypto Analyst, Jacob Pouncey, noted the perils of this year’s first financial quarter with regard to digital assets. Taking into account several factors, he believes the next three months could be a breakout time for digital assets, holding the potential to trigger a bull market.

Also read: German Cops Look Hard at Antics of ICO Savedroid After Ghost Prank

Heavy Hitter Saxo Bank Released Bullish Outlook on Cryptocurrencies

It takes all of 33 pages to find it, but there it is: a very influential investment bank not only hired a “Crypto Analyst,” but allowed him to have an authored section titled – Are Cryptocurrencies Entering a New Cycle?

The Danish bank, Saxo, forwarded its general outlook for 2018’s second set of three months. Turning to cryptos, Mr. Pouncey prefaced, “Cryptocurrencies fell back to earth with a bang in the first months of this year, having enjoyed exponential growth in 2017. The situation remains fragile, given the outlook to increased regulation and social media advertising bans. That said, we can’t rule out the possibility of a comeback.”

Saxo is based in Copenhagen, and its products include online trading in futures spreads, funds, bonds, CFDs, stocks, and even a foreign exchange. It has the rare charter of being both a proper bank and a broker. As such, it typically caters to institutional, legacy financial companies (more than 100 globally). Its European presence is well established, though it has exposure in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Saxo claims to handle $12 billion USD daily, having clients in 180 countries.  

Saxo Investment Bank is Bullish on Crypto in the Next 3 Months

That its main analyst in the crypto sector is optimistic going forward means cover for institutional investors who’re looking to dabble. Indeed, Mr. Pouncey details, “The market has seen several acquisitions of crypto exchanges from financial firms such as Goldman Sachs backed Circle acquiring Poloniex, Monex Group acquiring Coincheck, and Yahoo Japan buying a 40% stake in Bitarg Exchange Tokyo.” Additionally, crypto exchanges such as Coinbase have been able to recruit real talent from Silicon Valley, and they’re being placed in key executive positions. These moves seem poised to take advantage of price spikes.

Mr. Pouncey concludes, “several events could serve as springboards for a cryptocurrency bull market in Q2, whether it is through fundamental drivers, or it is just a self-fulfilling prophecy [….] In my opinion, we will eventually see the end of the current, negative cryptocurrency cycle, as many of the weak hands have been shaken out by the bear market and the remaining investors are on the ready to latch onto any good news after the bad start this year.”

Saxo Investment Bank is Bullish on Crypto in the Next 3 Months
Jacob Pouncey

Much of the Positive Outlook is Based on Institutional Investors Entering the Crypto Space

Many professional financial legacy gurus expect the easy credit market to dry up a bit in the coming months as a hedge against inflation. This could mean traditional equities are less attractive, and the search for “uncorrelated assets” begins.

These are “assets that lie outside the reach of the traditional financial system in which cryptocurrencies are a potential alternative,” Mr. Pouncey insists. “Historically, many of the blue chip cryptocurrencies have seen price increases in the face of global uncertainty and [… the] inflow of institutional capital to the cryptocurrency market due to the increase in regulation and investor protection could lead cryptocurrencies to a positive quarter.”

Do you believe institutional investors are going to enter the crypto market soon? Let us know in the comments section below.


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German Cops Look Hard at Antics of ICO Savedroid After Ghost Prank

German Cops Look Hard at Antics of ICO Savedroid

The same German online news outlet that broke the Savedroid supposed exit scam, turned gotcha publicity stunt, is reporting prosecutors just might have a legal case against the initial coin offering (ICO) outfit.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: ICO Scares Investors with Ghost Prank

German Prosecutors Consider Legal Action Against Savedroid

Wirtschafts Woche, the same German source that announced a $50 million exit scam by ICO Savedroid, is reporting prosecutors in Frankfurt are examining the “extreme advertising campaign” of the startup. After an elaborate hoax was played on its investors and the public, the company has been doing heavy damage control. According to the online news group, prosecutors have begun a “preliminary investigation.”

A day or so ago, nearly every media outlet in the space ran headlines about tens of millions of dollars ghosted by a brazen ICO founder. He appeared on a beach, Egyptian beer in a frame beside him. Safedroid’s website featured a well-known meme, circumstantially suggesting yet another ICO has orchestrated an exit scam.

German Cops Look Hard at Antics of ICO Savedroid

But this one seemed off. Veteran journalists, and these very pages, wondered aloud if this wasn’t just a publicity stunt. By later that evening, the site was back up, insisting they were joking and trying to educate the ecosystem about the potential of fraud. “That could have legal consequences for Savedroid now,” the German website stated.

Founder Yassin Hankir released a video statement, asking the public “let me apologize for the drastic campaign.” Indeed, even the company’s Telegram account ghosted during those hours. In situations like these, especially with new investors to whom ICOs are geared, dangerous emotions are often involved, including drastic measures of self harm. Losing considerable sums is no laughing matter, especially if it’s your money.

German Cops Look Hard at Antics of ICO Savedroid
Yassin Hankir

For Education Purposes

Mr. Hankir continued, “We’ve noticed in the past few months that there are a lot of scams in the industry and we believe this is just the tip of the iceberg. That’s why we wanted to use this very drastic method to show that even we, as a very heavily regulated German company, could easily have run away with all investments.”

Noted.

Wirtschafts Woche also revealed that indeed police have visited Mr. Hankir to discuss the issue.

Would you invest in Savedroid now? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Big Money Meets Secretly with Regulators to Protect Ethereum

Big Money Meets Secretly with Regulators to Protect Ethereum

Big money venture capitalists and law firms met in secret, roughly a month ago, with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to two major media outlets. The SEC has been particularly active this year, causing those with interest in pet coins and projects to lobby the agency for special protection. Top of the list was a push to provide “safe harbor” for Ethereum.    

Also read: Telegram Uses Bitcoin in Effort to Thwart Russian Authorities

Big Money Lobbies for Ethereum in Secret

Andreessen Horowitz,  Union Square Ventures, along with powerhouse law firms Cooley, Perkins Coie, and McDermott Will & Emery, formed an ad hoc association, the Venture Capital Working Group. It appears to exist in an effort to influence what some see as inevitable, regulation. Almost weekly, the SEC has made noise about cryptocurrencies in one form or another, and the broader ecosystem continues to debate whether to go further underground or embrace government intervention.

Online political journal Politico broke the story, insisting a “group of venture capital firms with investments in digital currency-related companies has asked the SEC for a safe harbor from securities laws for certain projects.” Perkins evidently led the effort, flooding the SEC with a nearly 50 page note. The note “argues that while certain digital tokens sold to select investors before wider availability may qualify as securities, they should be granted protection from regulations once they are used for a non-investment purpose.”

Big Money Meets Secretly with Regulators to Protect Ethereum

It has been long thought if the SEC were to overtly designate a cryptocurrency coin or token a “security,” the weight of legal implications alone would probably kill it. Compliance would necessarily mean hoards of expensive lawyers, etc. The working group, therefore, wished to get ahead of that possible future by proposing safe harbor for some coins they feel are objectively not securities, hoping to secure what Politico refers to as “no action letters.”

Chief among the working group’s concern, evidently, is the second most popular cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ethereum. Ether, the group’s plea to the SEC reads, “is a good example of this type of protocol token that has become so decentralized it should not be deemed a Security.” Saddling ether with the “security” tag, again, might sideline a great many future projects built on top of its network. Presumably, these are present and future companies the working group has heavily invested in.

Regulations for Thee, Not for Me

“Though many digital currencies run off code related to the Ethereum network that uses ether,” Politico was keen to point out, “the working group does not believe the safe harbor would necessarily apply to those tokens.” The key, then, just might be in what the term “decentralization” means, going forward. The document insists, “To remedy the uncertainty and confusion in this space, we are proposing a non-exclusive safe harbor to help provide guidance to the industry on what constitutes an ‘investment contract’ and how the investment contract law and guidance should apply to utility tokens.”

Ethereum has been credited/blamed for the boom in crowdfunding popularized with initial coin offerings, ICOs. The easy onboarding of ICOs has fueled a boom throughout most of 2017, and there appears to be little let up going into the second financial quarter. The SEC is on record as stating ICOs, to a project, are all securities, and so fall under the agency’s jurisdiction.

Big Money Meets Secretly with Regulators to Protect Ethereum

“Under the terms of the safe harbor,” Politico continues, “digital currencies would not be subject to securities law, including the so-called Howey test, once they achieve certain benchmarks centered on blockchain software functions. Pre-sales of tokens would continue to fall under securities law.”

The group, comprised of the two biggest venture capital funds within the ecosystem, “met with the S.E.C. in Washington on March 28 to present their idea for a safe harbor that would allow some tokens to be categorized as ‘utility tokens’ rather than securities,” according to the New York Times, who picked up the story a day later. Whereas coins such as bitcoin cash (BCH) did not arise from an ICO and have no central organizing body, they appear to be safe and sufficiently “decentralized.” Ethereum, however, is another matter altogether. It did sell ether initially through a primitive form of an early ICO. As of this writing, there is no word as to whether the SEC accepted the group’s definitions and requests.

Do you think it’s time for the ecosystem to embrace regulation? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. 


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Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: ICO Scares Investors with Ghost Prank

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Another ICO Ghosts with $50 Million - Sends Thanx from Beer Beach

Today we’ve simply given-in to no nutritional value, guilty pleasure, lowest common denominator: bitcoin-related crime news. Start your day with laughs and head scratching, as we examine the purported Savedroid ICO exit scam, an international bitcoin heist escape, the fury of a scorned woman, a bear spray robbery, and some whole food violence.  

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub

Savedroid Appeared to Ghost With Investors’ Money

This can’t be real, right? This must be a publicity gimmick. Well, in any event, German online news source Wirtschafts Woche documents how Savedroid has apparently taken the money and run. The company website was replaced with a meme picture, “Aannnd it’s gone.” Founder and CEO Yassin Hankir tweeted a picture of himself on a beach, long gone. All this after having raised $50 million in an ICO.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Another ICO Ghosts with $50 Million - Sends Thanx from Beer Beach
Savedroid webpage

Promises of artificial intelligence, curated portfolios, and a native credit card proved too much for investors, and they poured in money. Stranger than fiction.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Savedroid Scams Investors for $50 Million

Reads Like a Movie Script

A suspect involved in an Icelandic heist involving a dozen perpetrators, 600 missing bitcoin mining rigs, was able to evade authorities after they’d managed to arrest him. “Sindri Thor Stefansson” the BBC reported, “escaped the low-security prison through a window and fled to Sweden on a passenger plane that was also carrying Iceland’s prime minister, local media report. The ticket had another man’s name and he was identified through CCTV video. The stolen computers, which are still missing, are worth $2m (£1.45m).” It appears Mrs. Stefansson was also arrested, but he didn’t have time to circle back evidently.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Savedroid Scams Investors for $50 Million
Sindri Thor Stefansson

Hell Hath No Fury

Speaking of angry women, the broader ecosystem has been accused as being too male. Well, here’s Tina Jones breaking through the digital glass ceiling. According to WGN, Ms. Jones was  “charged after allegedly paying thousands of dollars via bitcoin to a company on the dark web to murder the wife of a man she had an affair with, according to officials. Tina Jones, 31, appeared at bond court Wednesday morning where a judge set bond at $250,000. She was charged with one felony count of solicitation of murder-for-hire.”

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Savedroid Scams Investors for $50 Million
Tina Jones

Bearly Escaped with Bitcoin ATM

The Irving Patch, a Texas local online news source, are attempting to help police find two men. Police claim they “entered a store […]  and sprayed a clerk with bear spray before making off with cash from a Bitcoin machine …. They can be seen in security footage spraying the store clerk with bear spray, a powerful form of pepper spray, before heading to the back of the store where the Bitcoin machine was located ….The clerk was taken to a hospital for treatment after being sprayed but was later released.”

Well, He Warned Him

Government crackdown on legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges usually receive very positive media coverage. What both government and mainstream media often miss is how less online exchanges necessarily means more face-to-face encounters, which can be dangerous for reasons bitcoin traders are well familiar. Case in point: a Miami man wished to turn $30,000 cash into more than that in bitcoin. He met supposed crypto dealers at a public place, a local Whole Foods parking lot. The fellow with the cash brought a gun just in case something went wrong. Turned out to be a pretty good idea. He was jumped for the money, and as he was attacked, yelled to his attacker, “Back off, I have a weapon,” the Miami Herald details. The attacker didn’t listen, and was shot. He was later arrested after being taken to a local hospital.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Savedroid Scams Investors for $50 Million

Bitcoiners Wanted at Citi

A recent now hiring Linkedin post detailed how Citi is looking for a  “Senior Vice President, Senior AML Compliance Officer —Emerging Risk,” in Tampa, Florida. “Knowledge of cryptocurrency and bitcoin monitoring” and “Certified Bitcoin Professional Certification a plus,” are among the job qualifications and requirements.

More Spring Cleaning

Clearing off some smaller stories, Riot Blockchain has been subpoenaed.  The Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines issued a rather blunt warning about what it terms bitcoin “schemes” to defraud investors. It lists more than a dozen companies by name, and proceeds to go through steps to identify future scams. Josh Ellithorpe tweeted how he “Just released my first open source project at Coinbase. If you need Cashaddr support for your Ruby app then you should check it out!” here.  

Do you think Savedroid really scammed its investors? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Special thanks to Kai Sedgwick and Avi Mizrahi for sourcing.


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Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub

Bitcoin in Brief for Wednesday is a potpourri of quickies to get your day going: Pornhub, a website we’ve never heard of, has joined the crypto revolution (well, Verge at least); South Korea’s loss is Switzerland’s gain; bitcoin blamed for every crime under the sun; Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin is accused of favoritism; and bitcoin cash (BCH) is getting a ton of love from CNBC’s Brian Kelly.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Effect

We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub, What’s Pornhub?

“The adult entertainment titan has announced it will now accept payments in anonymous cryptocurrency Verge (XVG),” according to Hard Fork. “This means now you now have the option to pay for your premium subscription without leaving any trails.”

Pornhub’s VP explained, “Here at Pornhub, we’re all about convenience and security, which makes cryptocurrency an attractive form of payment for us. We’ve been looking at crypto for quite some time and, while overall adoption is relatively low, we think it has gained enough steam for us to penetrate the market.” Dirty birds. 

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub

As South Korea Clamps Down, Foreign Markets Pick up Slack

The funny thing about cryptocurrency is, a government arrogant enough to believe it can regulate mathematics probably also won’t understand how they’re essentially robbing themselves of commerce. If the people want crypto, there’s going to be a steady supply to meet that demand.

Reuters reports, “Six months after South Korea banned the issuance of new cryptocurrencies, they are starting to creep back into the country by using overseas listings for local trading,” as initial coin offerings (ICO), which the country banned outright, have been popping up geared at the South Korean investor. Switzerland is there to help.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub
Pornhub for the win!

Of Course, Before Crypto, Crimes Were Never Committed With Fiat

Since its inception, cryptocurrency has been a target of mainstream media outlets. They constantly, maybe unknowingly, undermine it by linking all ills to bitcoin (usually). In Taiwan, it appears gangsters looking for a fast buck in crypto won’t take any excuses, even if your home country (China) bans the practice outright. They’ll shoot you, and then turn themselves in later.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub

“Vitalik on Brink of Second Bailout for Friends”

Accusations abound on the Twittersphere about how Ethereum’s guru has taken to a kind of bailout, citing a Tweet claiming, “And.. EIP867 titled ‘Standardized #Ethereum Recovery Proposals’ is now merged in. The frozen parity funds from 2017 are 1 step closer to being bailed out,” leading to charges of centralization and favoritism.

Defenders chimed in, “To call it a bailout is intellectually dishonest. There was a bug, funds got stuck. A software engineer will find a way to resolve the problem, rather than claim it’s a feature and ignore the people the code is supposed to serve. Choose to be an engineer first, not a politician.”

Mr. Buterin himself shot back, “To say that Vitalik is on the brink of being okay with it is also incredibly intellectually dishonest.”

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub
Vitalik meme’d

Ripple in Peace

A sad, curious statement was released, detailing how “Billionaire Matthew Mellon, 53, died suddenly in Cancun, Mexico, where he was attending a drug rehabilitation facility. Mellon made his fortune in cryptocurrency, turning a $2 million investment into $1 billion. He is survived by his three children, Force, Olympia and Minty. The family asks that their privacy be respected at this very painful time.”

Fox News is reporting Mr. Mellon, an early Ripple booster, explained two years ago “‘OxyContin is like legal heroin. And it needs to be addressed,’ while at a Malibu treatment center kicking a habit of $100,000 a month.”

Now That is a Great Point

Regarding the ongoing Facebook privacy problem, Leo Weese has put it best: “Amazing how people suddenly realize they don’t own their data on Facebook. Let’s see how they react when they find out they don’t own the money in their bank accounts either!”

And in related news, New York TimesNathaniel Popper is reporting Cambridge Analytica was looking into their own crypto coin along with an initial coin offering (ICO) prior to the Facebook-related scandal breaking.

Bitcoin Cash Getting Love from CNBC, Zimbabwe, and Free Stickers!

Fast Money’s Brian Kelly is signalling a strong buy for bitcoin cash (BCH). He’s claiming to rely on “technical indicators” that show BCH poised for a potential breakout and increasing volume. With increasing volumes, traders are keen to see “something” happen in a positive direction for the digital asset.

Bitcoin in Brief Wednesday: Pornhub? We’ve Never Heard of Pornhub
BCH stickers, free!

We reported Zimbabwe’s latest crypto acquisition, an ATM, and it appears now the owner has activated bitcoin cash to go along with bitcoin core. Hopefully, these alternatives serve as a currency oasis in a pretty dry market.

Finally, bitcoin cash enthusiast Bittburger announced BCH stickers for those who’d like to help spread the word about the best form of money ever devised. Free!     

Do you think bitcoin cash is poised for a price breakout? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Special thanks to Kai Sedgwick and Avi Mizrahi for sourcing.


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Telegram Uses Bitcoin in Effort to Thwart Russian Authorities

Telegram Uses Bitcoin to Fund Proxies and VPNs in Effort to Thwart Russian Authorities

Recently, a Moscow court handed a win to Russian security forces. In an effort to combat terrorism, they announced Telegram would be banned immediately. The company refused to hand over user information. A day after the ban going into effect, CEO Pavel Durov announced Telegram would use bitcoin to fund proxies and VPNs as possible workarounds for Russian customers.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet

Telegram Remains Defiant

Pavel Durov’s Telegram channel followers were pinged early this morning, explaining “For the last 24 hours Telegram has been under a ban by internet providers in Russia. The reason is our refusal to provide encryption keys to Russian security agencies. For us, this was an easy decision. We promised our users 100% privacy and would rather cease to exist than violate this promise,” the company’s CEO stressed.

Telegram Uses Bitcoin to Fund Proxies and VPNs in Effort to Thwart Russian Authorities

Telegram has been in conflict with its native government, Russia, for quite some time. The encrypted messaging service is often used all over the world’s for those seeking relative levels of privacy. In fact, it’s a known source of communication for much of the Middle East and those under rather oppressive political arrangements.

As a result, Russia points to various terrorist acts on its soil, and around the globe, where Telegram has been accused of playing a role. And so its security and communication agencies have demanded Telegram provide a way for government minders to access user information in at least the most criminal of cases.

Telegram Uses Bitcoin to Fund Proxies and VPNs in Effort to Thwart Russian Authorities

Bitcoin Used to Digital Resistance

Mr. Durov has outright refused, even holding back participation in this final hearing on the company’s immediate fate in the country. “Despite the ban,” Mr. Pavel continued this morning, “we haven’t seen a significant drop in user engagement so far, since Russians tend to bypass the ban with VPNs and proxies. We also have been relying on third-party cloud services to remain partly available for our users there.”

Telegram Uses Bitcoin to Fund Proxies and VPNs in Effort to Thwart Russian Authorities
Pavel Durov

“Russia accounts for ~7% of the Telegram user base, and even if we lose that entire market, Telegram’s organic growth in other regions will compensate for this loss within a couple of months,” Mr. Durov stressed. “However, it is important for me personally to make sure we do everything we can for our Russian users.”

That necessarily means workarounds. As Mr. Durov urges, “To support internet freedoms in Russia and elsewhere I started giving out bitcoin grants to individuals and companies who run socks5 proxies and VPN. I am happy to donate millions of dollars this year to this cause, and hope that other people will follow. I called this Digital Resistance – a decentralized movement standing for digital freedoms and progress globally.”

Do you support Telegram’s efforts? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. 


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Bitcoiner Runs for Mayor of Taiwan’s Capital

Bitcoiner Runs for Mayor of Taiwan’s Capital

Hacker. Educator. Successful businesswoman. Yi-Ting Cheng, better known as Xdite, shocked the broader cryptocurrency world when she announced her campaign for Mayor of Taipei City, the capital of Taiwan. The native of China is taking a big risk by offering herself up for political leadership, but, then again, as her exclusive interview with Humans of Bitcoin examines, she’s all about challenging herself.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Effect

Xdite Runs for Mayor of Taipei City

In a recent Facebook post, Xdite explains, “Most politicians [in Taipei City] have very little understanding of technology. So it’s really hard to make things happen by pushing them.” For this and many other reasons, she’s decided to throw her hat in the ring to help bring the capital city she loves of nearly 3 million people a young and forward-looking government.

“I am not losing my mind,” she assures admirers, “I am running for mayor for one reason: to make Taipei great again. Let’s make Taipei the pioneer blockchain city in Asia. Taipei has great potential to be a blockchain city. It is near Japan, Korea, and China. It is regulation friendly. Blockchain is all about a financial revolution. Taipei has the environment to make it happen.”

Bitcoiner Runs for Mayor of Taiwan’s Capital

And Xdite should know. Her background reads: owner and CEO of OTCBTC, the largest crypto exchange of its kind in Asia; “former CTO of ico.info, the largest ICO platform in the world. I have very deep knowledge of the ICO economy / operation / design.I am experienced in the Ed-Tech space. I used to run the world’s largest online coding camp (500 people participated in the first phase and we had a retention rate of 40 percent). I have over 10 years experience as a developer. I founded and maintained several large scale internet products. On top of that, I am very good at solving real world problem using internet products. I won the Global Grand Prize at the 2012 Hackathon hosted by Facebook.”

All by itself, such a resume would turn heads, but given she is only 35 years old it adds to her legend. “Taipei used to be a very advanced city,” Xdite stresses, “But after 20 years things have stagnated and the law became outdated. The political figures remain the same, but the economy is not that good. As an entrepreneur, we hope all politicians can listen to us; To make it startup-friendly. Even to understand the industry a little bit. At the very least, don’t create roadblocks for future innovation! Those that truly understand the importance of technology have little money and/or influence. Or maybe they just want to stay out of trouble.”

Bitcoiner Runs for Mayor of Taiwan’s Capital
Xdite

Bitcoin’s Renaissance Woman

Xdite describes the political climate as “8 candidates running for mayor, most of them are nearly 60 years old or older than 70. None of them know what’s going on in the world, nor what challenges or competition we face. I always wanted a mayor who understands how business works. Let this city become an innovation hub; a truly revolutionary city. This person needs to have the money, the guts, the passion, and experience running a team/company I couldn’t find one, so I decide to run.”

In its most recent episode, Humans of Bitcoin, host Matt Aaron describes Xdite as one of the most interesting interviewees he’s encountered. He probes “Bitcoin’s Renaissance Woman”, discussing her childhood spent in the 80s surrounded by electronics. In college, having majored in applied mathematics, a professor noticed Xdite’s acumen and proficiency around computers. It wasn’t long before she was in charge of it all, creating a cushy IT job for herself in the process.

Bitcoiner Runs for Mayor of Taiwan’s CapitalShe continued to push herself, especially once she realized there is a great, big world out there to explore, and leaves college to start a variety of businesses. Along the way she taught herself computer programming languages, and became so proficient that demand for her classes became an overwhelming success.

Xdite ventures into the business world by doing, by seeing problems that need to be solved or at least addressed. In an effort to not provide too many more spoilers, it’s safe to write her eventual commercial and financial success is, well, unbelievable (seriously, your mouth is going to drop). This brings out inevitable Chinese government minders, who for a time forced her from her native country, China, into the waiting digital arms of Taiwan. Fortunately for the island, now she looks to take her years of go-getter attitude and futurism into the Mayor’s office.   

Should more bitcoiners get involved in the political process? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Special thanks to Cindy Wang for sourcing.


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Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Effect

Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Cometh

Bitcoin in Brief continues with the second day this week of mostly FOMO news. The biggest economy in the world faces the tax man today, as the United States and its crypto enthusiasts must atone for the sin of last year’s gains. Economists and market bulls are insisting that this fact caused dramatic sell offs, leading to haircuts across the board. Bulls believe, after today, prices ought to soar.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet

Tom Lee on Crypto Tax

Once again, we get another chance to test the predictions of a much cited financial professional. We’re once again focusing on crypto’s favorite guru, Tom Lee of Fundstrat.

Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Cometh

He was seen recently on Fast Money, making his case for why the ecosystem should prepare itself for the potential of incoming cash tsunamis, as this year’s US tax deadline is upon us today. It is estimated americans owe the tax man as much as $25 billion. The panel doesn’t just accept Mr. Lee’s prognostications, and instead makes him work a little to better flesh out why he continues to say what he does. If you’re a bitcoin core proponent, these five minutes will be comforting.

They Pay You

Assuming after-tax price spikes, you’re going to need a hot wallet to store your bitcoin cash. After you’re done installing the Bitcoin.com Wallet, check out the I Pay You idea. Gift cards are gaining in popularity among enthusiasts, for a variety of reasons, and this wallet seeks to capitalize and grow that trend.

Supporting both bitcoin core and bitcoin cash, the company claims average minimum fees of 3 cents, the ability to send payments through Twitter and email, your own bitcoin address, same day turnaround, with the intriguing notion of buying gift cards for them (they’ll pay you). “Sell bitcoin and bitcoin cash at any time and receive USD funds in your bank account. We support all banks and credit unions in the USA via ACH transfer,” the company website promises.

Hacked?

You ever come across a cry for help, and instantly you find yourself almost humming? Prominent initial coin offering investor (and some say, shill), Ian Balina, claims to have been hacked for a loss of something like $2 million USD. Hmmmmmm. I’ll just leave this here.

Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Cometh

Bitcoin Fetus

It had to happen, right? A tweet explained, “After months of private Alpha, we are pleased to announce the official release of the public Beta version of the project previously [known] as ‘Bitcoin Fetus.’ Codename: ‘Bitcoin Baby.’ Notable changes: autonomous breathing, more modular design.” They’re not kidding.

Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Cometh
Bitcoin Fetus has a mined genesis block.

Spring Cleaning

And what would Spring be without a good cleaning! The following briefs don’t really follow a theme, but are worthy of mention: Jeffrey Tucker convinces popular podcaster to accept crypto; the New York TimesNathaniel Popper is having none of the hype surrounding Coinbase’s latest acquisition; Bitcoin Core continues to receive good-natured ribbing; when it comes to bitcoin cash, Satoshi Dice is killing it; crypto enthusiasts are jockeying to show adoption all over the world; and hopeful signs appear in Venezuela as Localbitcoins continues its charge. We’ll see you again, here, tomorrow.    

Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: The Tax Man Cometh

Would you use a wallet like I Pay You? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Special thanks to Marcel Chuo, Kai Sedgwick for sourcing.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

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Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet

Bitcoin in Brief today is slanted toward a crypto winter slowly thawing, as Pantera Capital bets on a moonshot price point. Also, the world’s most popular decentralized digital asset has been forked more than a plate of good pasta; there’s a growing list of countries who’re less likely to nab your crypto profits; Yahoo! smashes rumors; and a good-hearted wager between bitcoin core and bitcoin cash partisans exemplifies how ecosystem actors should treat one another.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Saturday: Hide Your Seed

A Panther’s Moonshot

Bulls have a panther as their advocate to help thaw this crypto winter. We reported this week, “Pantera Capital, an investment firm exclusively operating in the cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology sectors, has published a letter predicting that bitcoin has established the low for its current bear market. Pantera cites a number of factors as informing its market outlook.”

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet

Among those factors are taxes on capital gains, where estimates are in the many, many billions expected from enthusiasts. That in turn, the fund theorizes, dragged prices down, and bitcoin core has found a bottom at $6,500, as holders were forced to sell in order to pay government bills. We continue, “Pantera also states that ‘It’s highly likely’ for the price of bitcoin to exceed its previous record highs of $20,000 ‘within a year,’ asserting that ‘A wall of institutional money will drive’ the growth in price.”

Speaking of Taxes

Until that prediction comes true, readers should pack their bags to save money from the tax man! Start looking for places to stay in Germany, Slovenia, Denmark, Belarus, South Korea, Singapore, as they’re some of the most advantageous.

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet

We stressed how many “jurisdictions have yet to update their tax laws to encompass cryptocurrencies. Rules governing taxation are often incoherent and very different even in countries that are part of a common space. In the European Union, for instance, tax rates in member-states vary between 0 and 50%.”

Forking Crazy

Be honest. You’ve never heard of Bitcoin Minor, Bitcoin King, nor Bitcoin Boy. How many times would you guess the Bitcoin network has been forked? During an extensive and really interesting investigation, we revealed nearly 70 times. That’s right, 70.

We summarized findings as how forking “bitcoin used to be a rarity. Then it became the norm. And then it became a meme, with anyone and everyone forking bitcoin on a weekly basis. There have now been a total of 69 bitcoin forks plus another 18 altcoin forks. Holders of bitcoin, monero, ethereum, and litecoin can claim almost 80 additional coins for free. Whether it’s worth their time to do so, however, is another matter.”

The Fork of All Forks Remains a Solid Option

The most famous of forks is, of course, bitcoin cash (BCH). Its being faster, sleeker, younger, and bigger (block wise) has lead those on the bitcoin core (BTC) side to take a stance on BCH’s long term viability. And while each side feels passionate about its coin, and the future that it entails, debate often become rancorous, turning everyone off.

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet
A reader responds to a hilarious bet.

We reported how two well-known advocates joked and ribbed one another about Core’s anticipated Lightning Network solution. They bet bragging rights if a demonstration of the solution failed a basic transaction. Loser would have to wear a t-shirt of the winner’s coin. Regardless of which won, the import is how the two men exchanged laughs and good humor, and the ecosystem needs more of both.

Japan Continues to Lead

No laughing matter is how the crypto winter continues its thaw as “Yahoo! Japan has confirmed that it is entering the crypto space by acquiring a stake in a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange that is already licensed by the country’s financial regulator. The company plans to launch a crypto exchange in the fall of this year,” we explained.

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet

We Have the Best Readers in All of Crypto

Thanks to our readers liking and sharing, our post on aspects of Islam possibly opening to cryptocurrency was picked up and republished and referenced around the world. Some contend it was the root cause of bitcoin’s recent price rebound. Great job, gang.

The crazy good book by Wendy McElroy we continue to serialize brings in wonderful reader comments and observations. To wit:

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: A Panther’s Moonshot Bet

Do you think bitcoin will continue to rise or to fall to new lows? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Coinbase Uses Crypto Winter to Expand – Acquires Decentralized Wallet Startup

Coinbase Uses Crypto Winter to Expand – Acquires Decentralized Wallet Startup

Crypto winter? What crypto winter! The exchange arguably most responsible for onboarding bitcoin investors, Coinbase, has not allowed sour price levels to keep them complacent, conservative. Instead, they’ve maintained a breakneck pace, forming a venture capital fund, hiring top executive talent, and now they’re gobbling up competitors such as Cipher Browser.

Also read: Russian Court Bans Telegram, Founder Pavel Durov Defiant

Coinbase Expands

Depressed prices force weak hands out, and ill-prepared businesses begin the sorrowful process of inevitable decline, issuing layoffs and regimes of belt tightening. Such is not the case for San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase. The billion-plus in revenues, and climbing, company continues to expand its position. Business press has quoted its executive team as patterning itself after Google, including the possibility of going public, and acquiring competitors.  

Coinbase Uses Crypto Winter to Expand – Acquires Decentralized Wallet Startup
Rachael Horwitz

Just this year alone, barely out of the first quarter, they’ve created Coinbase Ventures. Emilie Choi, head of corporate business development and operations for Coinbase, explains, “We’ll be providing financing to promising early stage companies that have the teams and ideas that can move the space forward in a positive, meaningful way.” The fund is already $15 million strong. Also, key management positions are being filled by the likes of Ms. Choi, formerly of Linkedin, Asiff Hirji, former COO at TD Ameritrade, now Coinbase COO and President, and Facebook/Twitter veteran Rachael Horwitz as Vice President of Communications. And this week, the company announced an intriguing buy of the open source, decentralized application and wallet, Cipher Browser.

Toshi Gets Upgraded

Coinbase Uses Crypto Winter to Expand, Gobbles Up Cipher Browser
Peter Kim

Though terms of the Cipher deal haven’t been made public, it’s pretty clear it’ll be wrapped into the existing Ethereum-based dapp browser, Toshi. Customers used the app for searching Ethereum’s network but also as an ethereum wallet, along with sending relatively secure messages. Cipher seems somewhat duplicative, but what Coinbase also gains is Cipher’s creator, Peter Kim. Mr. Kim will now head the engineering team at Toshi. 

At the very least this seems to cement the exchange’s commitment to the ERC20 token platform, as well as working-in testnets on the browser, allowing developers to experiment without using live ammunition.

Do you think Coinbase can keep up this pace? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coin Dance.


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On the Money Prognosticator Draper’s Bitcoin Price Prediction: $250,000 by 2022

Tim Draper's Four Year Bitcoin Price Prediction — $250K by 2022

The well-known venture capitalist and cryptocurrency investor Tim Draper has revealed his four-year prediction after holding back his statements in a few interviews some weeks ago. Now Draper, who correctly predicted bitcoin’s price would surpass $10,000 USD per coin by 2018, believes in just four years the price will be $250,000.

Also read: Coinsecure Announces Repayment Plan and Bounty for Stolen Bitcoins

‘Serious Winds of Change’

Tim Draper's Four Year Bitcoin Price Prediction — $250K by 2022Tim Draper is a venture capitalist who has a whole lot of money tied up in technology-based investments. Draper is a strong believer in cryptocurrency solutions and blockchain technology. The man has been a pretty popular figure among the bitcoin community for quite some time. Back in 2014, Draper predicted four years before it happened that by 2018 the price of bitcoin would be above $10K. Further, Draper put his money where his mouth is, and purchased 30,000 BTC for an undisclosed price at the U.S. Marshals Silk Road bitcoin auction. The spot price of those coins were worth $19 million at the time, and today that investment should be worth at least $239 million.

Over the past couple of months, Draper has avoided giving his next four-year prediction while being interviewed by the media. But on Friday the 13th of 2018, Draper revealed his forecast over the social media platform Twitter.

“Serious winds (of change) at our block(chain) party last night,” Draper writes to his followers on Twitter.

I predict $250K by 2022

Many Luminaries and Moguls Predict New All-Time Highs This Year, But Draper Has Had a Deep Conviction for Cryptocurrencies for Years

Tim Draper is not the only investor who’s bullish about bitcoin’s price reaching new highs. Fundstrat advisor and co-founder Tom Lee still believes bitcoin will outpace last year’s all-time high by the year’s end. Lee had also predicted bitcoin would rally to $10K by the end of 2017 and his forecast came true. This week the well-known hedge fund Pantera Capital detailed that $6,500 was bitcoin’s low and expects the price to touch $20,000 by the end of 2018. Lastly, the founder and chairman of investment firm LDJ Capital, David Drake, believes bitcoin’s price will top $30,000 by the end of the year.

Tim Draper's Four Year Bitcoin Price Prediction — $250K by 2022

Although Draper’s prediction comes from a person who has had a deep conviction for digital currencies and bitcoin for a long time. In fact, Draper declared that digital currencies will dominate fiat currencies in five years time at the 2017 Web Summit. The investor stated during the summit:  

In five years, if you try to use fiat currency they will laugh at you — bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will be so relevant — there will be no reason to have the fiat currencies.

Following 2017 Web Summit, Draper explained in an interview this year that he believes “bitcoin is the future currency.” The venture capitalist explains, “People ask me, ‘Are you going to sell your bitcoin [for fiat]?’ and I say, ‘Why would I sell the future for the past?’”

It’s safe to say the man’s faith in cryptocurrency is also well represented throughout the many blockchain startups Draper Associates invests in as well as his entrepreneurship ‘crash course’ school Draper University. $250,000 per bitcoin by 2022 would definitely be some ‘serious winds of change,’ but due to Draper’s last forecast coming true four years later, people are taking his predictions very seriously.

What do you think about Tim Draper’s prediction that bitcoin will be $250,000 by 2022? Do you think that it is possible for it to reach that price range? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comments below.


Images via Twitter, Draper University, and Wiki Commons.


Do you agree with us that Bitcoin is the best invention since sliced bread? Thought so. That’s why we are building this online universe revolving around anything and everything Bitcoin. We have a store. And a forum. And a casino, a pool and real-time price statistics.

The post On the Money Prognosticator Draper’s Bitcoin Price Prediction: $250,000 by 2022 appeared first on Bitcoin News.