Israeli Bitcoin Company Sues Banks for Not Letting it Open Accounts

Israeli Bitcoin Company Sues Banks for Not Letting it Open Accounts

An Israeli company that was created in January has gotten its business rejected by all banks in the country, and is now suing them. Without a bank account, an Israeli exchange would not be able to legally receive fiat transfers from clients, effectively preventing it from starting operations.

Also Read: Israel Tax Authority: Bitcoin is Property, Not Currency

Banking Cartel

Israeli Bitcoin Company Sues Banks for Not Letting it Open AccountsBitflash LTD, a new Israeli company which was established to provide digital currency trading services based in Acre, has asked the Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday to order all 11 banks in the country to open a current account without credit for it. The company claims that the banks’ refusal to open an account for it is in violation of the law and shows lack of good faith, as some of them manage similar accounts for competing companies.

The lawsuit states that there is a concern that the banks have illegally incorporated as a cartel and unjustifiably prevent the opening of the account to the plaintiff, thus thwarting its activity and causing it ever increasing damages on every passing day it is unable to operate. Unfortunately for Bitflash, the court ruled last year that a bank can refuse to work with a bitcoin exchange in the case of Bits of Gold vs. Leumi. However, by focusing on the banks as a cartel instead of each individually the company might persuade the court that they should not have the collective power to prevent the growth of a new industry.

Banks All Say No

Israeli Bitcoin Company Sues Banks for Not Letting it Open AccountsAccording to Bitflash, since its establishment over a month ago, it approached a number of branches of each Israeli banking corporation for the purpose of opening an account, but was outright refused on the grounds that its business in digital currencies is not to the liking of branch managers. In some of the branches the company was told explicitly that “the bank’s policy is not to open accounts for those who deal with digital currencies, regardless of the nature of the business.”

According to the plaintiff, through its attorney Alon Huberman, the company emphasized to the representatives of the banks that it has no need for credit, its account will be in perpetual positive credit balance, and that it needs only a current account that will allow the transfer of money from its clients inside Israel to its account. According to company, some of the banks justified the refusal by claiming that they would not be able to trace the source of the funds deposited in the company’s account, but even after it was made clear to them that the account would only be used to transfer funds from individuals and entities with a bank account at the same bank, removing this fear completely, they still refused.

Should banks be allowed to refuse to open accounts for bitcoin companies? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

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A Beginner’s Guide to MobileGo

As cryptocurrencies continue to grow, groups of coins are priming themselves for real integration into worldwide industries. Among these industries, video gaming is perhaps the most ripe for widespread utilization of crypto. While there are dozens of coi

Wyoming House Unanimously Approves Two Pro-Blockchain Bills

Wyoming House Unanimously Approves Two Pro-Blockchain Bills

In a watershed moment for United States blockchain and cryptocurrency law, Wyoming’s House of Representatives unanimously voted “aye” to pass two blockchain bills – HB 70 the “utility token bill” and HB 19 the “bitcoin bill” –  sending them to the State Senate for consideration. HB 70 defines utility tokens as neither traditional money nor securities; HB 19 exempts cryptocurrency from the 2003 Wyoming Money Transmitter Act (passed in the state before Bitcoin’s invention in 2008).

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Wyoming Blockchain Coalition co-founder, and 22-year Wall Street veteran, Caitlin Long, attributed much of the bills’ successes so far to teamwork between Wyoming banking and security regulators and the efforts of House of Representatives member Tyler Lindholm, who is a co-sponsor and advocate of all five blockchain-related bills.

Wyoming aims to set the standard for blockchain-friendly regulation in the U.S. and to become a hub for blockchain-based innovation with these two bills. Long explained, “There are already bitcoin miners setting up shop because of [Wyoming’s] cheap electricity, no income tax and no franchise tax.”

HB 70: Utility Token Definition

The Wyoming HB 70 defines a utility token, or “open blockchain token,” as neither traditional money nor a security if it meets the following conditions:

  1. The token has not been marketed by the protocol developers as an investment opportunity.
  2. The token is exchangeable for goods or services. (This implies that protocols must offer a working product or service before tokens are issued, similar to Switzerland’s recent ICO framework.)
  3. The protocol developer has not entered into a repurchase agreement of any kind or entered into an agreement to locate buyers for the token.

Similarly, people who facilitate the exchange of an “open blockchain token” are not deemed traditional broker-dealers of securities.

HB 19: Cryptocurrency Exemption

HB 19 exempts cryptocurrency from the Wyoming Money Transmitter Act. A 2015 interpretation of this act by the Wyoming Division of Banking made it impractical for cryptocurrency exchanges to operate in the state. As a result, Coinbase suspended operations in Wyoming indefinitely in June 2015.

The passage of HB 19 moves Wyoming one step closer to cryptocurrency-friendly exchange regulation. Should the bill receive a majority vote in the Senate, exchanges such as Coinbase could resume operation in Wyoming.

Other Bills in the Pipeline

The Wyoming House of Representatives is also reviewing bills HB 101 and HB 126 in the House and SF 111 in the Senate.

HB 101, the “blockchain filings bill,” promises to update Wyoming’s Business Corporations Act to authorize the creation and use of blockchains to store records, the use of a network address to identify a corporation's shareholder and the acceptance of shareholder votes signed by network signatures.

At a high level, HB 101 specifies requirements for all corporations using electronic network or (blockchain) databases. HB 101 has passed the first reading in the House.

HB 126, the “series LLC bill” allows for the creation of “series LLCs.” This type of LLC structure is favorable towards decentralized protocols, as it enables LLCs to establish a compartmentalized series of members/managers, transferable interests or assets, and distributions to members.

HB 126 has also passed the first reading in the House.

SF 111, the “crypto property tax exemption bill,” has already been approved in the House, and its goal is to exempt cryptocurrency from Wyoming state property taxes. The bill is now awaiting consideration in the Senate.

Nothing Is Carved in Stone

While HB 70 and HB 19 have both passed in the House by a vote of 60–0, they must also pass in the Senate to be recognized as official acts.

Long expressed her optimism, while acknowledging the difficulties that lie ahead:

I don’t want to sugar-coat that it won’t be difficult. The Senate is a more uncertain chamber. But, we have incredible momentum, and all we need [for the bills to become acts] is a majority vote in the Senate.

Should the bill pass in the Senate and become an act in Wyoming, federal regulation and the SEC Howey Test could still nullify all of the advocates’ blood, sweat and tears. However, Long believes that Federal Law with regards to utility hasn’t been established yet — and, that there are people in the blockchain/cryptocurrency industry “flush with cash, interested in litigating this issue.”

Long and other Wyoming blockchain proponents hope for a final Senate outcome on HB 70, the “utility token bill,” and HB 19, the “Bitcoin bill,” as early as the middle next week.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

NASA, ESA Considering Innovative Applications of Blockchain Technology

NASA, ESA Considering Innovative Applications of Blockchain Technology

NASA and other space agencies, such as the European Space Agency (ESA), are considering potential applications of blockchain technology to space missions and internal operations.

According to a NASA presentation titled “Bitcoin, Blockchains and Efficient Distributed Spacecraft Mission Control,” blockchain technology could have useful applications in distributed spacecraft missions involving multiple elements. Artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain technologies could be further integrated to make space-based sensor networks more efficient and responsive.

In September 2017, NASA awarded a $333,000 grant to University of Akron (UA) Assistant Professor Jin Wei to research how to make space hardware smarter and more autonomous. The research program, titled “RNCP: A Resilient Networking and Computing Paradigm for NASA Space Exploration,” wants to improve the automation, environment awareness and intelligence of NASA space probes, which is an important requirement for deep space missions.

“The objective here is the application of blockchain and distributed intelligence to our space and ground network communication assets,” said Thomas Kacpura, advanced communications program manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. “If successful, the overall objective will be to incorporate Dr. Wei’s research in our overall portfolio to ultimately optimize our communication networks."

ESA is also quietly researching innovative blockchain-powered solutions. Recently, the Agency has been investigating the applicability of blockchain technologies to key challenges for ESA’s space activities and administrative areas. A position paper titled “Distributed Ledger Technology: Leveraging Blockchain for ESA's Success,” authored by trainee Torben David and senior coordinator Gianluigi Baldesi, offers a concise summary of blockchain technology and its main applications, and then goes on to list several potential applications to the Agency’s mission.

In particular, the paper mentions faster and more accurate payments, blockchain-based smart contracts applications to streamlining procurement, audit processes and record-keeping, data traceability and access rights, and voting and direct democracy.

It’s worth noting that the ESA paper focuses on blockchain technology applications to administrative processes but doesn’t address embedded blockchain technology for space hardware and software, which is covered by NASA’s RNCP. However, since ESA’s exploration of blockchain technology is just beginning, it seems likely that applications to space missions will be considered in due course.

In conversation with Bitcoin Magazine, Baldesi confirmed that the Agency is considering potential applications of blockchain technology with keen interest and a forward-looking approach. In the framework of “the Space 4.0 era” with diverse space actors around the world, including emerging private companies and citizen groups empowered by digital technologies, ESA launched the “Exploring Threats and Opportunities through Mega Trends in the Space 4.0 Era” initiative with the support of consulting firm Frost & Sullivan, and hosted a related workshop at the ESTEC technical centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, on October 23, 2017.

“In the era of Space 4.0 — as in our own lives — we have to be adaptive to change and nurture a culture of pro-activeness and open-mindedness to both disruption and opportunity,” said Baldesi.

The workshop was live-streamed and is now available for public viewing. Several presentations discuss blockchain technology as a key enabler of disruptive innovation in a wide range of industries, including space. Potential space applications of blockchain technology include  mission data; smart contracts and smart procurement to optimize the supply chain; and information management where applications may include virtual spacecraft (traceability and configuration consistency) and configuration control (hardware and documentation).

Baldesi explained that the Agency is awarding exploratory research contracts related to blockchain technology, such as a Satcom Maker Space initiative that includes Internet of Things (IoT) solutions for satellite telecommunications and a “Testbed for Blockchain supporting satellite M2M/IoT,” as well as an intended “Blockchain for Space Activities” study and an intended “fintech” initiative for innovative fintech-related applications and services based on the integration of space and non-space technology.

The governance and “direct democracy” applications mentioned in the position paper are especially interesting. Baldesi explained that the current Director General of the Agency, Johann-Dietrich Wörner, known for his vigorous support of bold, visionary initiatives such as the “Moon Village,” is determined to systematically use tools such as Kahoot for crowdsourced decision making and has launched several pilot e-voting initiatives, not only internally but also with the participation of external actors.

Blockchain-based e-voting platforms are, according to Baldesi, especially promising and in line with the desired openness and inclusiveness of Space 4.0.

These sorts of Space 4.0 citizen initiatives are growing in popularity; projects like Space Decentral project are moving in a similar direction.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Markets Update: Bullish Sentiment Returns to Crypto Markets

Markets Update: Bullish Sentiment Returns to Crypto Markets

Cryptocurrency markets have been accumulating gains again after the significant dips in value during the first two months of 2018. BTC/USD prices are holding steady above the $11,450 price range after bouncing off the $5,900 bottom not too long ago. Digital asset enthusiasts speculate the market is starting to show strong bullish sentiment once again.

Also Read: China Censors Cryptocurrency Ads on Search Engines and Social Media

The Steady Uptrend Back to Higher Price Regions

Over the past twenty days, BTC/USD markets have been on a tear once again as markets are up well over 80 percent since touching its price bottom. Crypto-proponents, speculators, and traders believe digital asset markets will continue to rise to even higher price levels than before. BTC trade volume is fairly decent with roughly $8.9Bn swapped over the past 24-hours. Exchanges trading the most BTC volume today include Bitfinex, Okex, Binance, Upbit, and Bithumb. Currently, the Japanese yen is dominating currency volumes by 47 percent. This is followed by the USD (24%), tether (USDT 15%), the Korean won (5.5%), and the euro (4.6%). Presently BTC/USD market averages have been hovering around $11,450-11,550 over the past 12-hours.

Markets Update: Bullish Sentiment Returns to Crypto Markets
BTC/USD Coinbase February 20, 2018. 4-hour chart.

Technical Indicators

Looking at the 4-hour, daily and weekly charts BTC/USD markets have formed a solid uptrend over the last twenty days. The two Simple Moving Averages (SMA) both short and long-term have been close to crossing paths over the past 24-hours. Right now the short term 100 SMA is above the longer term 200 SMA indicating the path to resistance is on the upside. The Relative Strength Index (RSI) and Stochastic oscillators are also heading northbound showing bullish sentiment is in the air during Tuesday’s morning trading sessions. The MACd is also following suit but is showing there is much heavier resistance within these current price levels.

Markets Update: Bullish Sentiment Returns to Crypto Markets
BTC/USD Bitstamp February 20, 2018. 1-day chart.

Order books show on the upside there’s some resistance around the $11,900 zone as well as heavier opposition around the $12,200 range. If bulls can manage to muster up some strength and push past this region a $13K target isn’t too far off from sight. On the backside, there’s lots of foundational support between the $11,200 all the way to the $10,500 range. A break below the $10,200 area could bring the price below the $10K region but this scenario seems unlikely at the moment.

The Top Digital Assets

Most digital asset prices, in general, are up between 0.2-10 percent today following BTC/USD markets. Ethereum (ETH) prices are up 0.5 percent this morning as one ETH is hovering around $953 today. Ripple (XRP) markets are down today 0.6 percent as each token is worth $1.14. Bitcoin cash (BCH) values have been correlated with BTC/USD markets and BCH prices are up 0.26 percent. Lastly, Litecoin (LTC) now commands the fifth highest market cap as the currency has knocked Cardano (ADA) from its position. LTC prices are up over 9 percent and one token is averaging around $245. Today the total market capitalization of all 1,500 digital assets is above $512Bn at the time of publication.

Markets Update: Bullish Sentiment Returns to Crypto Markets
This week litecoin takes the #5 position and dash comes back into the top ten.

The Verdict: Bullish Optimism

Overall cryptocurrency proponents are optimistic that the bull market sentiment will continue. Many traders are envisioning all-time highs this year will reach between $30-50K before the next big correction. Of course, much of the predictions are based on speculation, Elliot Wave theories, and other forms of technical analysis that are spot on at times and sometimes way off the radar. In general, the BTC/USD rebound back above the $11K price region is a good sign compared to the lows touched a few weeks prior.

Where do you see the price of BTC and other digital assets heading from here? Do you think cryptocurrencies will see more gains? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: Price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”

Images via Shutterstock, Bitstamp, Bitcoin Wisdom, AP, and Coinmarketcap.

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82.4 Million Tokens: Venezuela Officially Launches ‘Petro’ Cryptocurrency Pre-Sale

The post 82.4 Million Tokens: Venezuela Officially Launches ‘Petro’ Cryptocurrency Pre-Sale appeared first on CCN

The Venezuelan government has officially launched the pre-sale of its Petro (PTR) cryptocurrency. The Petro, as previously covered, is an Ethereum-based ERC-20 token that’s supposedly pegged to the country’s notable oil reserves. The cryptocurrency’s token, expected to be worth about $60, will be divisible into 100 million parts, with the smallest one being the “mene.” … Continued

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”Zen Master” Steven Seagal Eyes Up a Replacement for Bitcoin

Steven Seagal Eyes Up a Replacement for Bitcoin

Steven Seagal is eyeing up a cryptocurrency to replace bitcoin. Bitcoiin – count those I’s – may look and sound similar to bitcoin, but it is very different. It runs on the Ethereum network, confusingly, and boasts “zen master” Steven Seagal as its brand ambassador. To add to the confusion, Bitcoiin with two I’s sports a website that’s one letter away from this one and styled in the same colors. The whole affair could be dismissed as another crypto joke, were it not for a tweet from Seagal’s official account throwing his considerable weight behind the project.

Also read: The ICO Scam Train Arrives in Sweden – Meet “Starflow”

Dotting the I’s and Crossing the T’s

Steven Seagal Eyes Up a Replacement for BitcoinBitcoin has survived all kinds of foes, but in Steven Seagal it may have met its biggest threat yet. The man who spent his professional life beating up bad guys has one final boss in his sights: bitcoin. If Seagal has his way, the world’s most popular cryptocurrency will be dealt a lethal one-two combo courtesy of bitcoiin2gen (B2G).

Pronounced, presumably, in the same manner was one would pronounce bitconeeeeeeect, bitcoiin is being billed as the ultimate sequel that will be “bigger and better” than the original. Naturally there’s an ICO, a white paper, and a roadmap which speaks of $50 million of venture capital being raised in September of last year. Apparently $50 million isn’t enough to launch a cryptocurrency these days. With “unlimited potential clients” and a “worldwide network approach”, Bitcoiin is quite the groundbreaking project.

Zen Master Zteven’s version of Bitcoin.

A Token Project with a Token Ambassador will refrain from linking to the site to prevent link confusion, though the curious are welcome to explore Bitcoiin dot com for themselves. With a four-tier ICO referral scheme, Bitcoiin is a literal pyramid. As for what happens after the ICO, hypothetically at least, the main event is December 2018, when B2G is projected to be trading at the curiously precise price of $388 a token – and ‘token’ is the key word here, for this is an ERC20 project.

Steven Seagal Eyes Up a Replacement for BitcoinAnyone trying to wrap their head around Bitcoiin may wish to scrutinize the official press release. Scam, spoof, or ‘legitimate’ project, it makes little difference: all that matters is Steven Seagal is fronting an ICO named Bitcoiin. It seems strangely fitting that the star of Exit Wounds and Above the Law should wind up promoting a dubious cryptocurrency. The twilight of the 65-year-old’s career has been dogged with sexual misconduct allegations. Bitcoiin could be the final nail in the coffin for the Marked for Death actor.

What do you make of Bitcoiin and Steven Seagal’s involvement in crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.

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