Amazon Patents a Bitcoin Analysis Service

Law enforcement agencies are showing great interest in Bitcoin users as of right now. They mainly intend to crack down on illicit activities taking place in the world of cryptocurrency. It now appears Amazon is preparing to enter this space as well, as th

Bitcoin Boosting Square Earnings

Since Square, Inc. added Bitcoin trading capabilities to its payment app, the value of its stocks has increased spectacularly. Dan Dolev, an analyst at Nomura Instinet, believes this ascending trajectory will most likely continue. As a result, Nomura Inst

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That Matter

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That Matter

In today’s Bitcoin in Brief we are focusing on some truths that have been uttered recently in regards to the latest attempt by authorities in New York to cross borders, when it comes to crypto controls and regulations. Also, crypto T-shirts, inspired by digital aesthetics, have been put on sale. Do you want to know why their design is a bit old-fashioned? Crypto markets are to blame…

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

Speaking from Crypto Perspective

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That MatterKraken CEO, Jesse Powell, has been praised for saying what many in the crypto community have been thinking about the latest actions by authorities in New York. The state’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has sent letters to 13 crypto exchanges as part of his inquiry into policies and practices employed by the trading platforms. “Consumers have the right to transparency and accountability when they invest,” Schneiderman said, adding that many cryptocurrency traders do not have access to the “basic facts” needed to assess the integrity and security of these platforms.

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That Matter
Eric Schneiderman

Not complying with Schneiderman’s probe, Jesse Powell has refused to send complete the questionnaire, opt instead to respond with strong-worded language. “Kraken’s BitLicense prompted exit from New York in 2015 pays another dividend today. When I saw this 34-point demand, I immediately thought ‘The audacity of these guys – the entitlement, the disrespect for our business, our time! […] I realized that we made the right decision to get the hell out of New York,” he said in a Twitter post. Kraken’s chief executive was referring to the controversial licensing regime for crypto companies in the state.

Thanks for the Ethical Stance!

In his post, Powell also said that his company would be happy to help government understand the business, but “this is not the way to go about it.” “When is it going to be enough for New York? We did all this once already, and then you gave us the BitLicense […] This ‘questionnaire’ we received today proves that New York is not only hostile to crypto, it is hostile to business,” he stated. “Somebody has to say what everybody’s actually thinking about the NYAG’s inquiry. The placative kowtowing toward this kind of abuse sends the message that it’s ok. It’s not ok. It’s insulting,” Kraken CEO tweeted.

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That MatterPowell’s comments received support from colleagues and members of the whole community. “Jesse – thank you for taking the ethical stance and speaking up for what’s right”, Shapeshift CEO Erik Voorhees wrote on Twitter. “Crypto has brought more transparency to finance and protection to consumers than the last 100 years of bureaucratic nonsense that has spilled from the sewers of New York,” he said.

From Crypto Truths to Crypto T-shirts

A “Crypto T-shirt” is now available from The Hundreds. As they say, it’s “inspired by digital aesthetics and iconography, featuring graphic flips on cryptocurrency logos, services, and sites”. The T-shirts can be ordered online. They take cryptos for the limited edition. You can buy yours with any of the following digital coins: Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum. However, keep in mind that it’s available for purchase only through a Coinbase account.

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That MatterAccording to the product’s description, the back print is a Bitcoin flip, rendered in wire frame, and with the RGB color spectrum used in the representation of images in electronic systems. The graphs refer to the rise and fall of the mentioned cryptocurrencies. The currently available designs on the T-shirt, however, depict a drastic drop. The message is a bit outdated, as it doesn’t represent what we are currently witnessing in the markets. Bitcoin is now trading well over $8,000 USD, while Bitcoin Cash just crossed the $1,000 dollar mark.

Exciting Things Happening With  Brave Browser

Privacy web browser Brave Software and Dow Jones Media Group have just announced a partnership through which the companies aim to test blockchain technology in digital publishing, among other exciting plans. Under the agreement, Brave will provide access to premium content from Dow Jones to a limited number of users who download the Brave browser. The available content set features full access to or a premium MarketWatch newsletter.

Bitcoin in Brief Friday: Truths, T-Shirts, Things That MatterThe companies intend to experiment with blockchain-based technologies in media and advertising. A number of innovative solutions in the news and information space will be tested. Content will be delivered via Brave’s blockchain-based digital advertising and services platform. Under the agreement, Barron’s and MarketWatch, both Dow Jones Media brands, will become verified publishers on the Basic Attention Token (BAT) platform, developed by Brave.

Do you think Kraken CEO Jesse Powell did the right thing refusing to comply with NYAG’s inquiry? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Brookings.

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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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Ripple Price Rallies 20% to Headline Surging Cryptocurrency Markets

The cryptocurrency markets continued their post-tax day climb on Friday, as 97 of the 100 largest cryptocurrencies posted gains against the US dollar. The rally enabled the Bitcoin price to crack the $8,500 barrier, but the Ripple price was the true headliner, leaping more than 20 percent during intraday trading. Altogether, the rally enabled the

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Fake News: World’s Largest Crypto Exchange Binance Isn’t Adding Dollar Pairs

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, has stayed ahead of the curve in recent months with plans to work with banks and potentially introduce fiat trading pairs, something that is sure to make a big impact on the market if implemented. At the moment, investors typically have to buy high cap coins like Bitcoin or … Continued

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