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Playboy to Soon Allow Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Across its Platform

2 hours 37 min ago

The US-based company, Playboy Enterprises, Inc., has announced that it will start accepting cryptocurrency payments beginning later this year. In a press release dated March 14, 2018, Playboy revealed that it is working on creating an online payment gateway to facilitate cryptocurrency payments across the company’s adult entertainment business. The company will set up a multi-cryptocurrency wallet to enable ease of payment for its audience.

Once the online cryptocurrency payment setup goes live, Playboy will also begin accepting the Vice Entertainment Token (VIT). The token has been specifically created for the adult entertainment industry.

The first platform to start accepting cryptocurrency payments will be Playboy.TV and its visitors will be paid with Vice tokens for watching exclusive content. VIT founder, Stuart Duncan, feels that the existing ad-driven business model of adult entertainment websites is deeply flawed. He argues that there is a need to reward users through tokens to increase their engagement with the platform. Users will be able to redeem their VIT tokens on the Playboy platform.

Playboy, originally founded in 1953 as an American men’s lifestyle and entertainment magazine, has experienced a huge reduction in its earnings due to other adult websites. There have also been several instances of piracy when a video made exclusively for Playboy’s platform was distributed on other websites. Since the content was freely available on other websites such as Pornhub, it resulted in a revenue loss for Playboy.

A New Chapter for Playboy?

Most of Playboy’s revenue today comes from licensing its brand name to other merchants. In 2015, its magazine and digital publishing brought in $38 million while licensing rights raked in $55 million. Playboy has been steadily trying to move in a profitable direction after the death of its founder Hugh Hefner. There were also reports in January 2018 that it would exit the print magazine business due to excessive losses.

Reena Patel, Chief Commercial Officer and Head of Operations at Playboy, said, “As the popularity of alternative payment methods continues to grow around the world, along with the reach Playboy’s digital platforms, we felt it was important to give our 100 million monthly consumers increased payment flexibility.”

She further asserted her belief that this move would turn out to be a game changer, “This innovation gives the millions of people who enjoy our content, as well as those in the future who participate in our casual gaming, AR and VR platforms, more choices with regard to payment and in the case of VIT, an opportunity to be rewarded for engaging with Playboy offerings.”

The move is not the first instance of Playboy accepting cryptocurrency payments though, as Playboy Plus has been accepting bitcoin from as early as 2014.

Adult Industry Continues to Adopt Crypto

Another adult website, Xhamster, has also been accepting cryptocurrency. Its project manager stated, “Bitcoin profit is not as big compared to traditional billing methods yet, but it’s growing. What’s very important for our members, it’s anonymity (actually pseudonymous).”

The adult entertainment industry has been steadily adopting cryptocurrencies. A website saw its sales rise by more than ten percent after it began accepting payments in bitcoin. One reason why more subscribers are using digital tokens to pay at such websites is to keep their identity anonymous.

It remains to be seen how accepting cryptocurrency payments will turn out to be for Playboy. Some critics argue that the price of bitcoin and ether is too volatile, causing the rates provided on the Playboy platform to fluctuate. Another argument is that the transaction fee of most cryptocurrencies may turn out to be a major deterrent to user adoption.

The post Playboy to Soon Allow Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies Across its Platform appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

Peter Thiel Believes in the Future of Bitcoin as the Digital Gold of a New Era

4 hours 37 min ago

Venture capitalist Peter Thiel is a strong supporter of cryptocurrencies and would bet in bitcoin to be the “biggest” of its kind. The venture capitalist is known being a long-time supporter of bitcoin. After stressing the potential of cryptocurrencies at a conference during October 2017, Thiel has followed up with strong conviction that echoes bitcoin maximalists.

According to CNBC, the former Trump advisor and early Facebook investor, was willing to bet on bitcoin as it is the biggest cryptocurrency, meaning that the digital currency is the strongest of its kind with about 42 percent of the total market share according to CoinMarketCap. Thiel is betting on bitcoin not only for its size but for the possibility that it can become a gold-like asset. On March 8, during a consultation at the Economic Club of New York, Thiel said:

“I would be long bitcoin, and neutral to skeptical of just about everything else at this point with a few possible exceptions. There will be one online equivalent to gold, and the one you’d bet on would be the biggest.”

However, the financial expert’s optimism does not come without alarm as Thiel stressed, “I’m not sure I would encourage people to run out right now and buy these cryptocurrencies.”

Bitcoin as a Gold-like Asset

Thiel pointed out to the fact that as a means of exchange, bitcoin is too “cumbersome,” but as that it could perfectly act as a store of value. He said that he backed the idea of bitcoin becoming a “store of value instead of a go-to currency for daily transactions.”

PayPal’s co-founder revealed that he saw bitcoin as a gold-like asset of some sort that could be easily traded. Thiel stated:

“I’m not talking about a new payments system. It’s like bars of gold in a vault that never move, and it’s a sort of hedge of sorts against the whole world going falling apart.”

Bitcoin Can be Exceeded

The venture capitalist also commented on the future of Bitcoin stressing that there’s a chance some other competitor such as Ethereum could end up taking its place. He also stated that other developments down the road may introduce better and more innovative features which could easily sentence bitcoin to a slow death.

He also reckons that there is a 50 to 80 percent chance that bitcoin could end up being worthless, and another 20 to 50 percent chance it ends up going to new highs, “Probability weighted it’s good, and the question of how to time this I’m not going to try to do that precisely.”

In early January, the Founders Fund, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm investing in companies building revolutionary technologies directed by Thiel, bought about $15 million to $20 million of dollars in bitcoin. 24 hours after the report bitcoin’s price went rose by about nine percent.

The post Peter Thiel Believes in the Future of Bitcoin as the Digital Gold of a New Era appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

Fake Tax Collectors in Australia Demand Bitcoin as Payment

6 hours 8 min ago

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) released a warning to the public to take caution as scammers are issuing fake tax debts and demanding payment in cryptocurrencies.

While the ATO issued a statement on March 14, assistant commissioner Kath Anderson noted that scammers had defrauded taxpayers with this new payment method since late 2017.

“We became aware of scammers seeking payment in bitcoin last year,” said Anderson. “So far we have seen over A$50,000 (approximately $39,000) paid in bitcoin to scammers claiming fake ATO tax debts.”

Unfortunately, scammers are quite innovative in their approaches to trick others. It was therefore inevitable that fraudsters would target cryptocurrency given its rise in value, popularity, and anonymity.

The ATO has, however, made it extremely clear that cryptocurrency is not a recognized method of payment. In the press release, the ATO provided a link and listed information on legitimate forms of payment at the end of the statement which included BPAY, credit and debit cards, and other options including bank transfers.

Increase in Cryptocurrency Scams in Australia

Although fake tax debts are on the rise, the ATO appeared helpful and proactive. They mentioned that residents who are uncertain about a tax demand could contact the organization for confirmation. Any form of legal action and calls threatening police would not be from the ATO.

Other Australian organizations such as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) during ABC’s current affairs program, also warned the public about the increases in cryptocurrency related scams in 2017. On November 1, 2017, ACCC’s website Scamwatch informed the Australian public through a tweet that, 77 bitcoin-related scams that occurred during October 23-29. It was in fact, a 126 percent spike from the previous week.

Here’s a snapshot of current and emerging scams targeting Australians, based on reports to Scamwatch last week

— Scamwatch_gov_au (@Scamwatch_gov) November 1, 2017

In total, the ACCC received 12,389 complaints in 2017 regarding cryptocurrency scams with over A$1,218,206 (approximately $950,000) lost to scammers and fraudsters.

Cryptocurrency Scams in Canada and the US

Similar scams are also present internationally, especially in Canada and the US. According to CBC, fraudsters pretended to be employees of the Canada Revenue Agency and threatened Canadian citizens with their unpaid taxes. The scammers profited C$340,000 ($267,000) with their fake tax debt. Unfortunately “cryptocurrency operates in a virtual world, and once the scammers receive payment, it’s virtually impossible to get it back,” said Anderson.

In the US, a similar scheme emerged concerning the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC, therefore, released a report, warning investors to be

“cautious of sales pitches touting IRS approved or IRA approved virtual currency retirement accounts.” Although the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not approve or review investments for retirement accounts, “businesses have been known to use false claims or by painting virtual currencies as less risky because they can be used for retirement saving.”

Regulators Taking an Active Role

Like the ATO, the CFTC is taking an active role in regulating cryptocurrency-related activities. The CFTC became increasingly aggressive about prosecuting cases of cryptocurrency fraud towards those who have misappropriated funds, preyed on vulnerable customers or are simply committing acts of fraud.

Although the cryptocurrency industry has a reputation for scams and fraudulent schemes, from crypto-jacking to illegal investment schemes and fraudulent exchanges, the increase in scams will force regulators to increase their watch and scrutiny towards any form of crypto-related fraud.

The post Fake Tax Collectors in Australia Demand Bitcoin as Payment appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

Signals Network ICO Review

7 hours 37 min ago

So, from the very jump, the author decided to visit the Signals Network website and see what they have available thus far on the sign-up, just to see if they have a working product.

Once the registration was successfully completed, we logged onto the website and was taken to the ‘marketplace’:

Here are a couple of screenshots (hopefully in high enough resolution to see what’s going on).

Above is one of the strategies labeled as ‘Bollinger Bands.’

Overall, the strategy doesn’t appear to be too terribly effective with a win rate of 38.74 percent and a loss rate of 61.26 percent.

It looks like one can choose which securities can be traded using this strategy. The author is a bit skeptical about the efficacy of the strategies that have been presented – but we’re assuming that in the ‘alpha’ mode, these are just filler strategies to give folks a feel for how the marketplace would ultimately function once the website is up.

Out of all the features, these are the only ones that are currently available for individuals to view at the present moment.

Another fundamental question worth pondering is whether this would rank supreme over the cryptocurrency signal finder that’s available on TradingView:

While one can’t backtest this strategy, per se, it wouldn’t be particularly difficult for one to do so.

The author also wonders where the machine learning portion of this whole thing comes into play, but we’ll get into that a bit later.

So, let’s take a look at the whitepaper, shall we?

This next excerpt, in essence, also describes the gist behind what the Signals Network does:

So, more or less, they look at exchange data (prices, etc. of all coins), allow you to select between a host of indicators and choose which parameters you want to set for each. The gist I’m getting is that they also allow you to integrate the ‘machine learning’ aspect into the indicators that you choose.

I find that last bit of information interesting, however, because machine learning, in itself, especially when applied to markets, is a process that takes a LONG time. The coding of the indicators is something that’s relatively rudimentary when looking at the grand scheme here.  

Here’s a really good Medium article that explains the concept of machine learning algorithms in greater depth.  

This information is law when it comes to creating viable machine-learning algorithms, and it is one of the main reasons why creating a viable machine-trading algorithm is something that requires weeks of testing before a viable strategy for entry and exit can be produced.

So, Does That Mean This Whole Thing is Bunk?

No. It just means that the reliability of the strategies that one creates on this platform can’t be determined based on historical data alone. It needs to be tested against live data in order to ensure that the trading algorithm hasn’t become ‘stale.’


Imagine if you created a strategy for trading the stock market in the 70’s. The mentality and culture of the United States (the country we’re looking at in this example), is entirely different than today. In the same way, the sentiment and the atmosphere in the cryptocurrency markets in June 2017 or December 2016, is entirely different than what it is now, at the time of writing, in March 2018.

Other Important Information  

Now, these aspects of the program could be useful – minus the ‘custom indicators’ portion for the reasons that we’ve mentioned above regarding the machine learning based on the prior historical data.

This is more important information that’s within the whitepaper as well. One of the more important aspects of this whitepaper right here is the fact that they’re working with iExec.

Here’s a little bit of information regarding them.

We’ll dig more into that a bit later.

Their Business Model

Source: Signals Network Whitepaper

What Exchanges Will They Be Released On?

That was an administrator from their official Telegram that the author spoke with. It remains to be seen whether those plans will come to fruition or whether they stated that to simply pacify me in the chat. Take everything with a grain of salt.

Based on this, there appears to be some interest in the token for sure.


This probably is a fairly solid investment in the short-term (from ICO to actual launch on the exchanges). The author does not anticipate that it’s going to last too far into the long-term, but it should definitely be a viable investment if you can get in early enough on the ICO.


Disclaimer: Investing in cryptocurrencies and ICOs carries a lot of risk. BTCManager does not endorse this ICO in any way. The opinions stated here are the author’s and do not represent the views of BTCManager. The author has not invested in the Signals Network ICO.

The post Signals Network ICO Review appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

Binance to Hold $1 Million Dexathon For Decentralized Exchange

9 hours 7 min ago

Hackathons existed long before the emergence of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. They typically were events of varying duration where tech minds gathered around to brainstorm ideas and proffer solutions to nagging issues in their industries. However, like almost everything in the world of tech and finance, blockchain technology is causing a revolution.

A Growing Trend: Collaborative Problem-Solving

There has been an explosion of blockchain hackathons within the past two years. Many have been in the form of contests that invite individuals or teams to participate in developing cutting-edge blockchain technology solutions.

BTCManager has previously reported on blockchain hackathons organized by Coinbase, Hyperledger, B2X, and IIT Kharagpur, one of the leading technical institutions in India.

Binance, the cryptocurrency exchange platform giant is set to become the next blockchain enterprise to organize a hackathon. This development was made known via a post on the company’s Medium account on March 16, 2018. The hackathon, dubbed the Binance Dexathon, aims to facilitate the development of the company’s own decentralized exchange (DEX) platform for cryptocurrency trading.

#Binance Dexathon#Decentralized Exchange #Coding #Competition

— binance (@binance_2017) March 16, 2018

Binance already runs one of the largest centralized cryptocurrency exchange platforms in the world. Now they’re looking to develop a stronger relationship the crypto community at large.

Details of the Dexathon

The Binance Dexathon is primarily a coding competition which seeks to encourage talented programmers and blockchain specialists to submit implementation protocols that would enable the creation of a fully functioning DEX. The total prize money for the hackathon is $1 million to be paid in BNB tokens, the native cryptocurrency of the Binance crypto exchange platform.

In its bid to build a robust-functioning DEX platform, the company is adopting an “all-hands-on-deck” approach by soliciting and accepting external prototypes to complement the internal R&D being done at the company. While announcing the Dexathon, the company detailed a number of relevant parameters that the DEX prototype must possess. Many of these parameters were based on the core issues that have been affecting the functionality of already existing DEX platforms.

To those looking to participate in the Dexathon, the company has said that they should put more focus on simplicity and speed, rather than on fancy features that can hinder user experience. The prospective participants have also been asked to develop their protocol implementations without using virtual machines, Turing complete programming languages, and smart contracts.

Participants can choose to create their protocol implementations from scratch or fork an existing blockchain implementation and add in the necessary modifications. Participants that decide to take the fork route must ensure that they are not in violation of any copyright or licensing laws.

DEX Implementation

It is expedient to point out that are some DEX platforms that already exist. However, the overwhelming consensus is that these platforms are difficult to use when compared to their centralized counterparts. Issues relating to limited liquidity, lack of intuitive systems, and order books that don’t include a wide variety of digital assets have hampered the popularity of many DEX platforms.

Despite these issues, there is still a great deal of effort being put into developing fully functional DEX platforms. This focus is because Binance, Coinbase, Kraken and the other popular cryptocurrency exchange platforms are all centralized. The centralization of exchanges means that traders/investors have to entrust their funds, crypto, and fiat, to third-party intermediaries in order to trade digital assets, coins, or tokens. This irony is in stark contrast to the underlying philosophy of the blockchain, which seeks to eliminate intermediaries from commerce.

There is also the issue of centralized exchanges being vulnerable to hacking as has been seen in a number of high-profile cryptocurrency hacks. The DEX platform is thought to offer more robust security options.

Bitcoin is the most secure financial network on the planet. But its centralized peripheral companies are among the most insecure.

— Nick Szabo⚡️ (@NickSzabo4) June 18, 2017

Interested participants in the Binance Dexathon have until June 30, 2018, to submit their entries. Teams who submit before the deadline can continue to modify their submission up until the competition’s deadline. Binance may also offer member(s) of the winning team(s) employment. University teams are also encouraged to apply as any qualifying university team will be given a $10,000 grant regardless of whether they win an award during the competition or not.

The post Binance to Hold $1 Million Dexathon For Decentralized Exchange appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

Meet Tim Draper and Michael Arrington at the Global Blockchain Forum

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 22:00

Learn about the best investment strategies and changes blockchain is bringing about.

Presentations by Silicon Valley Titans

The event will take place on April 2 to 3, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Tim Draper (world-famous venture capitalist, founder of Draper Associates), Michael Arrington (founder of TechCrunch and XRP Capital) are among the speakers.

Other business leaders both inside and outside Silicon Valley will be examining the myriad impacts blockchain can have beyond banking and crypto-currencies.

From health care to autonomous vehicles blockchain is likely to change how much of the business of the world runs. Expert panels will be giving their thoughts and explaining strategies to take advantage of the new legal structures that are now available.

From investigating the current state of ICOs to predictions on the social impact to potential changes in how we govern ourselves blockchain enabled technologies offer a variety of opportunities.

The Forum will feature panel discussions, networking sessions, and a VIP party.

This is a great opportunity to listen to practitioners such as Vinny Lingham from Civic, Edith Yeung from 500 startups, Eric Ly from LinkedIn and many more.

With over 50 speakers and 2,000 attendees from many of the most active blockchain companies in Silicon Valley, the Global Blockchain Forum will be an exciting event for thinkers, makers, and doers in the financial and technology industries.

Further information about the conference and links to register can be found at the GBForum website.


This is a paid press release. BTCManager does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. Readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company. BTCManager is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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Bittrex Cryptocurrency Exchange Will Delist over 80 Tokens for Lack of Liquidity

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 20:00

While initial coin offerings (ICOs) and token generation events have become a proven and viable means of raising funds for startups in the cryptocurrency space, there’s no denying that often things do go wrong.

Not Good Enough?

U.S. based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has announced it will delist 82 tokens with poor liquidity on its platform. The Bittrex team has said that with effect starting on March 30, 2018, cryptocurrencies like BITS, BITZ, CRBIT, CRYPT and 78 other cryptos will cease to exist on its trading platform.

“Occasionally, there are circumstances that lead Bittrex to remove a coin’s wallet or market from the Bittrex Exchange, said team Bittrex, adding that “These actions are taken to ensure customers have access to digital tokens that continue to meet our strict coin listing criteria and have a properly functioning blockchain and wallet.”

The team urged holders of the affected coins to withdraw their digital assets to other wallets before the set date as failure to do so would lead to total forfeiture of the altcoins.

“We will be removing the wallets included in the list below on March 30, 2018. Once these wallets are removed, we will no longer be able to recover these coins. Users must withdraw their coins before March 30, 2018, in order to keep them,” the notice stated.

It’s a known fact that altcoins with combined low liquidity and low demand pose enormous challenges to cryptocurrency trading platforms. Specifically, these unpopular assets make it quite a herculean task for exchanges to sustain a balance in their order books.

Another feature of this situation, founded on a lack of liquidity, can lead to price manipulation, of which many exchanges are guilty.

In recent market research by an expert crypto trader named Sylvain Ribes, he used a method known as slippage (“a process of selling $50k worth of a given currency on an exchange to measure its impact on the price”) to find out which exchanges engage in market manipulation.

Ribes concluded that:

“A bit of wash trading and artificial volume inflation is to be expected in a thoroughly unregulated market. What I did not expect was the magnitude of the fraud. Many pairs, albeit boasting up to $5 million volumes, would cost you more than [ten percent] in slippage, should you want to liquidate a mere $50k in assets.”

Wash trading and price manipulation is a common phenomenon on essential trading platforms. On March 15, 2018, BTCManager reported on BitFinex’s move to improve trade surveillance with Irisium, a firm that provides highly efficient market surveillance and other analytical services.

The Fear of SEC

Although it’s not abnormal for an exchange to delist coins that are not doing so well, this latest action by Bittrex might be in a bid to avoid falling into the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) snare.

The SEC has warned all exchanges involved in the sales of tokens to delist the coins or get registered under the commission.

In the coming weeks, it is expected that other exchanges in the U.S will delist a lot of low liquidity altcoins which will further reduce the already crashing total market cap.

These are trying times indeed for crypto enthusiasts and investors. When will this raging storm finally come to an end?

The post Bittrex Cryptocurrency Exchange Will Delist over 80 Tokens for Lack of Liquidity appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

BitGrail Offers BGS Token to Satisfy Sore Customers

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 18:30

Despite still refusing to take responsibility for the hack of February 2018, Nano (XRB) Exchange BitGrail has prepared a plan to reimburse 80 percent of lost customer funds in the form of another token BGS (Bitgrail Shares). This token can only be traded on the platform itself and will be repurchased by the exchange at the end of every month at a fixed rate of$10.50 per BGS.

Legal Powers in Exchange for BGS

The other 20 percent of lost funds, the exchange claims, should already be credited to user accounts in its original form XRB.

However, there is a catch to this agreement. In accepting such a refund, you are signing away your rights to legal recourse, leaving you with no possibility of legal action should BitGrail fail to honor their promises.

But if you choose not to accept the agreement, then you will no longer have the ability to use the exchange! The statement reads:

“When the site reopens, the use of the platform for users who are victims of theft, will be bound to the signing of a settlement agreement to settle the dispute with the express waiver by the user to any type of legal action, to be formalized by filling out a form to be printed, signed and uploaded with the attached documents.

This waiver will allow users to enter the actual availability of the BGS tokens. [The] parties who will not agree to formalize the settlement agreement above, will have no alternative but the elimination of the account in accordance with the TOS in force.”

Not that this should matter to most: With trust at all-time-low for the exchange, it is not likely that anyone would choose to use it now that Binance has also listed the coin.

February Misfortunes

The hack is thought to have occurred in November 2017 but only came to light in early February 2018 around the same time as the listing of NANO on Binance.

#Binance lists $NANO

— binance (@binance_2017) February 2, 2018

The total extent of lost funds is thought to be around $100 to $200 million worth of Nano cryptocurrency. Founder Firano has been accused of covering it up and defrauding new users out of their money in order to keep the exchange afloat.

The Italy-based crypto exchange founder is known more widely for his Twitter username Francesco the Bomber.

Firano blamed the hack on “faults in [Nano’s] software” and claimed an ongoing investigation is ongoing but has yet to provide more details on the subject.

The Nano team have distanced themselves from the exchange and released an official statement that claimed the loss was not due to an issue in the Nano protocol but appeared to be related to BitGrail’s software.

The post BitGrail Offers BGS Token to Satisfy Sore Customers appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

While Bitcoin Moves Down, Blockchain Moves up in Canada

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 17:00

Today, Canada remains at the forefront of technological development in areas including transportation, communications, and energy. And in a patent application released on March 15, 2018, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) seems all but ready to adopt the world’s newest technology: The blockchain.

Frictionless Loan Assignment

According to the application, the RBC would build a blockchain-based platform that automatically generates credit ratings from the historical and predictive data present for a user.

The proposed application shuns using data from just one credit rating system, and instead uses multiple data sources, thus creating a permanent record and improving the process of loan giving.

The patent application notably works towards creating a transparent credit rating system to help users better understand how the credit scores are calculated.

Based on a reading of the patent application, the system could work by analyzing and using marketplace information based on existing credit histories to process loans.

“It benefits us internally to be more efficient in some of our processes, but that efficiency can directly translate to something the consumer sees,” says Eddy Ortiz, VP of Solutions at RBC

Understanding the patent application

The application explains:

“In another aspect there is provided a system for credit and digital identity records with a distributed ledger of a plurality of nodes, each node including at least a computing device, and the distributed ledger having a plurality of blocks, each block comprising identification data linked to a set of identifiers for an individual, transaction data, a timestamp indicating when the block was created, and a hash reference for the distributed ledger.”

Based on the submission of a loan application, the type of loan to be given is automatically identified by the system. After this, the loan terms are automatically generated using a unique smart contract.

Simply put, every step of the credit rating process is automated by the blockchain system, thus creating a fully-automated, yet transparent system.

While most institutions are exploring internal use cases for the technology, RBC is just as focused on solving consumer client problems.

RBC Historically Bullish on Blockchain Technology

Earlier this year in January 2018, Mitch Steves, a capital markets analyst with RBC, stated that blockchain and cryptocurrency is potentially a $10 trillion ecosystem.

“While the cryptocurrency space has many risks, the opportunity appears vast with constant technology updates,” said Steves.

Although many blockchain startups are focusing heavily on cryptocurrencies to serve as a decentralized means of remittance, Steves believes that most of the ecosystem’s value lies in the protocol layer (on which these services will be built).

What do you think of RBC’s decision to implement the blockchain? Is this is a sign of improved mainstream confidence? Let us know in the comments.

The post While Bitcoin Moves Down, Blockchain Moves up in Canada appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

Brazilian Authorities Uncover Million Dollar Scam Involving Bitcoin

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 15:30

Police authorities in Rio De Janeiro have uncovered financial irregularities to the tune of $13,625,901 in a food contract for prisons across the city. It is the first case in Brazil where analysis has indicated that the accused used bitcoin to siphon money instead of regular currency.

Following the Digital Bread Crumbs

The investigations began on March 13, 2018, and were carried out by the Federal Revenue Service Brazil (RFB), Federal Police (PF), Federal Public Ministry (MPF) and the Public Ministry of the State of Rio de Janeiro (MPRJ).

At a press conference, authorities pointed out that their initial investigations revealed a racket which involved overbilling a food supplying contract for prison inmates. The discovery has led to the issuance of arrest warrants for 16 individuals, seven of which have already been arrested.

Felipe Paiva, the alleged mastermind is said to have been doing this since 2001, when his company, Induspan, was hired by the Brazilian government to execute the Bread-School project.

During an audit in 2010, however, the financial scam was unearthed, leading to the termination of the contract.

Paiva then founded Primus Initiative as a not-for-profit organization which would take the responsibility of the delivery of snacks and other food items in prisons. Primus operated primarily in Rio de Janeiro and reportedly kept raising prices after each renewal of its contract.

The price quoted for bread increased from six cents in 2001 to 63 cents in 2014. The current contract was to provide around 83,600 servings of snack and coffee each day to prison inmates in Rio de Janeiro.

Prosecutor Carvalho Neto has said that the agreement promised to pay $22,252,590 to the Primus Initiative between August 2010 and August 2015. Of that amount though, Carvalho alleges that more than half was diverted elsewhere.

Luiz Henrique Casemiro, the Superintendent of the Internal Revenue Service, has labeled it as the first instance in Brazil where a cryptocurrency, namely bitcoin, has been used to transfer illegitimate funds to a foreign account on such a large scale.

Speaking at the press conference, Casemiro said, “We at the Federal Revenue first drew attention to this specific operation because it was the first time when an operation involved bitcoin. This shows that people are trying to maybe fly below the radar of the IRS and the Central Bank.”

The superintendent believes that the perpetrators used bitcoin because of its relative unregulated nature of it in Brazil. However, it ended up in the IRS’ crosshairs because of the uncharacteristically large amount of money changing hands.

The entirety of the $13,625,901 was transferred to overseas companies set up for the sole purpose of receiving the funds. Other than that, they had no business or employees whatsoever.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (CVM) announced on January 12, 2018, that it does not consider digital currencies as a financial asset. Central Bank President Ilan Goldfajn had earlier said:

“The bitcoin is a financial asset with no ballast that people buy because they believe it will appreciate. That is a typical bubble or pyramid, and the central bank is not interested in bubbles or illicit payments.”

The post Brazilian Authorities Uncover Million Dollar Scam Involving Bitcoin appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

Cardano Review

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 14:00

When analyzing any coin in the crypto ecosystem, it’s always important to first get a better understanding of the coin’s backstory and inception. So, before we can go into any detail about Cardano, its token currency ($ADA), purpose or anything, we will provide a brief overview of the founder’s background and his specific affiliation with cryptocurrency.

Charles Hoskinson

Currently, Charles Hoskinson is considered to be one of the foremost experts in the cryptocurrency field.

While there are different viewpoints on Hoskinson as a human being and his ethical standard of conduct (we’ll get into that later), few will dispute the fact that he’s legitimate regarding his innovative ideas within the realm of blockchain technology.

Plus, his contributions to some pretty hefty cryptocurrency projects that are still in existence today.

Below, is a short biographical synopsis of Charles that you can find online with ease:


The world came to become familiar with Hoskinson through his involvement with the Ethereum project. If you remember back in time, he teamed up with Vitalik Buterin to start that Ethereum project circa 2013/2014.

Long story short, time went by and Buterin and Hoskinson got into a tiff over whether Ethereum should be some non-profit, open source software like Bitcoin or if it should be monetized. In this debate, Hoskinson was on the side of those that wished to monetize the Ethereum project directly like a business.

Eventually, after some period of bickering and back-and-forths, Hoskinson decided to simply abandon the project altogether, then go after other pursuits. As such, he officially departed from the Ethereum project in 2014.

As you can probably guess, this wasn’t really an amicable parting of ways, and the former CEO more or less vowed to create a rival crypto capable of ‘dethroning’ Ethereum one day.

Soon afterward, Charles Hoskinson started something called the IOHK with a guy named Jeremy Wood:


What Is IOHK?



So, that brings us over to Cardano ($ADA), and it also shows that Hoskinson is closely linked with the Ethereum Classic ($ETC) project as well. Also, to clarify, $ADA is currently ranked seventh among all coins in terms of market cap and sits at $7.6 billion.

So, you can see that $ADA lost a considerable amount of value since the above-posted article was published. What’s crazy is that the original date on that article is February 7, 2018. So, they’ve definitely been getting their asses kicked in the past few weeks.

Ethereum Classic is currently fifteenth with a market cap of $3.13 billion at the time of writing.

Cardano Review

So now that we’ve gotten the backstory out of the way, we can begin to focus on which Cardano is purposed.


So, essentially, Cardano is another blockchain that can be used as a method of payments and is also being designed to allow smart contract-based projects and activities to be built on top of the primary ‘settlement’ layer for $ADA.

In order to facilitate this, they will build extra layers, as mentioned above. Thus, they won’t need ‘gas’ to power the transactions in the same way that one would need with Ethereum.

We won’t debate the merits of whether this should be considered an inherent ‘advantage’ or not, but it’s definitely a difference worth noting. This distinction is also present in the Ethereum Classic protocol – no doubt signaling that it’s a manifestation of the IOHK ideology of how such cryptocurrencies should be operated.

As you can see, the principle behind Cardano is fairly similar to what you see from Ethereum. Check out this quote from the picture posted above:

“After the settlement layer that will run ADA is complete, a separate computing layer will be built to handle smart contracts, the digital legal agreements that will underpin future commerce and business. Cardano will also run decentralized applications, or dapps, services not controlled by any single party but instead operate on a blockchain.”

Consensus Method

One of the most unique things about Cardano ($ADA) is its consensus algorithm.

Quick Review: What is Consensus?

Consensus, in the context of blockchain technology, refers to the process by which all nodes come to an agreement. A consensus method in the context that we’re discussing refers to how all the nodes on a network come to a consensus on who has the privilege to produce the next block for the blockchain. For example, Bitcoin possesses a ‘Proof of Work’ consensus, so the miner that does the necessary calculations and figures out the ‘answer’ before all other miners becomes the ‘winner’.

…back to the consensus method discussion for $ADA

The $ADA blockchain uses a consensus method called the ‘Ouroboros Praos.’ If you’ve never heard of this before or don’t know how to pronounce it, don’t worry – it’s a very new concept, and no one else had heard of it before $ADA introduced it to the world.

Here’s a description of the consensus method below, as quoted from the IOHK website.


To those wondering what this is saying, allow us to break this down for a moment.

That quote extracted above points out that they’ve created a consensus algorithm where, as long as over half of the all the nodes (>50 percent) in the network are not corrupted by a dishonest party (someone trying to “hack” the blockchain/double spend/attack the network etc.), then the network will remain safe under this consensus method.

There’s nothing revolutionary in that concept itself, so that’s not anything you need to pay attention to. In fact, in another consensus method, the Byzantine Fault Tolerant consensus method that $NEO implements, requires more than 66 percent of the potential actors in the network need to be corrupted entirely for the dPoS to be rendered ineffective.

There are other potential faults within that consensus method though, so it’s far from perfect, but we won’t get into that at this point because this is an article for $ADA. We just wanted to mention that fact so that everyone can have a baseline understanding of the current standard for consensus methods for the blockchain.

ADA Ouroboros

So, in terms of Cardano, specifically, the Ouroboros has been described as ‘proof of stake mining.’ Essentially, the actual idea of Ouroboros combines the consensus algorithms of Proof of Stake and Proof of Work.


Here’s a link to learn a bit more on the Ouroboros algorithm.

Primarily, the ‘Ouroboros’ consensus algorithm refers to a type of Proof of Stake. For those that are unfamiliar with Proof of Stake, here’ s a formal definition of the term


This definition above will give you a fundamental understanding of how PoS truly works. There’s a bit of a difference when exploring how this consensus algorithm works for Cardano though.

The most important thing to note though is that stake in the Cardano network is determined by one’s relative stake in relation to all others that are on the network.

For example, if there are ten coins on the network in total and you own four of them, you have a 40 percent stake and would more than likely have the largest ‘stake’ out of all other parties (assuming that no other party owned four or more coins).

However, if there were 100 coins on the network, then those four coins would only represent a four percent stake in the entire network, which isn’t insignificant, but it isn’t substantial either.

According to the Cardano website:

“Nodes with a positive stake are called stakeholders, and only stakeholders may participate in running the protocol. Moreover, to be able to generate new blocks for the blockchain, a stakeholder must be elected as a slot leader. The slot leader can listen to transactions announced by other nodes, make a block of those transactions, sign this block with its secret key and publish it to the network. You can think of a slot leader as a miner in bitcoin, but the above-mentioned consensus, defines who will be able to mine, when and how much.”

Essentially, the setup that Cardano has is very similar to the delegated proof of stake consensus algorithm that you’ll find on other coins such as EOS ($EOS).


Without getting too wrapped up in the flowery speech like the claim that it’s the “fastest, most decentralized, and most flexible consensus model available,” the above should give a pretty good definition of dPoS, making the parallels between this consensus method and the Ouroboros algorithm obvious.

What’s unique about Cardano’s setup is that they reject all of the standard naming conventions of blockchain technology such as ‘blockchain’ and ‘blocks.’

Instead, they divide their blockchain up by ‘epochs,’ which are labeled for a predefined period of time. For example, ten-minute increments could be considered an epoch.

Within these time frames, there are multiple slots. For each slot, there is a ‘slot leader,’ which is the role that we mentioned above when explaining the Ouroboros algorithm.

Below is an illustration straight from the Cardano website outlining how this works graphically:

Take note of the note posted at the bottom outlining that each slot represents a very short time-period of about 20 seconds.

What you see above explains the gist of how the Cardano blockchain is formulated and how transactions are processed. Another critical consideration to take into account for Cardano is the process by which slot leaders are elected:

Thus, as in the other PoS methods, the wealth that one possesses on a given network correlates to their likelihood of being able to contribute to the formation of subsequent blocks. The thinking behind this type of system is that those that own the most coins would have the least incentive to undermine the integrity of the blockchain because they would have the most to lose.

However, what many PoS algorithms (not all) fail to realize is that a bad actor could obtain a substantial amount of the token/cryptocurrency in question for a short period of time specifically to undermine the chain before dumping his/her stake.

Thus, it would be more logical if PoS consensus algorithms accounted for the amount of time that one has been staking their coins on the chain if they wish to truly enforce this principle.

As noted on the website, the slotholders are selected ‘randomly’ using an MPC (multi-party computation) algorithm.

The choices of the electors go through a ‘commitment,’ ‘reveal’ and ‘recovery’ phase, as described below by the Cardano team:

From this point, the values from each one of the ‘electors’ on the chain are condensed into a value that’s called a ‘seed.’ This seed is then inputted into the ‘FTS’ (Follow the Satoshi) algorithm, as alluded to in the last sentence of the paragraph posted above.

Once this occurs, a random coin is selected on the blockchain. Based on who the owner of that coin is, they will be deemed the slot leader for a particular slot in the next epoch. If that node is not available, then the algorithm will seek another candidate using the same method.

Thus, in many ways, this resembles a ‘lottery’ system akin to how the NBA Draft Lottery works (for those that are familiar with the league).

As with most other chains, $ADA notes that their blockchain is susceptible to 51 percent attacks in the event that an attacker owns more than 51 percent of the total coins on offer. An ideal situation would be complete parity among the token holders of $ADA.

Con: No Blockchain Explorer

Personally, this author doesn’t like this aspect of Cardano. In many ways, blockchain explorers are almost mandatory for projects nowadays (with the exception of privacy coins), so that one can see the passage of coins from one wallet to another.

Otherwise, it looks like something fishy can be going on, especially with a coin like Cardano that works via PoS. Transparency would help to ensure investors that there is parity among the coin’s stakeholders. For all we know, Charles Hoskinson owns 75 percent of all of the coins distributed.

Price Drop

Above is the $ADA / BTC chart. As you can see, $ADA has depreciated against BTC by a whopping 70 percent.
The story remains the same for the USD chart as well, below (at the time of writing):

The drop has been steep and noticeable.

What’s the Reason for the Drop in Price?

There are a few reasons why Cardano has dropped so substantially in price:

  1. Multiple accusations from the crypto community that $ADA is vaporware (bullshit) and has no real utility in their sphere. (This is the main one.)
  2. Failure to invigorate their investor base with any noteworthy news or updates as of late. There was a roadmap released on March 5, 2018; however, if you look at the prices above, it didn’t appear to have too much of an impact.
  3. Charles Hoskinson himself.

In regards to the third point, there have been a number of notable criticisms leveled against Hoskinson, some of which are legitimate concerns. See some examples below:



Many have also noted that the ‘Media’ section of his Twitter profile is filled primarily with pictures of him visiting different locations, eating lavish meals, attending raves, and participating in a host of activities that are entirely unrelated to Cardano or cryptocurrency in general.

Others have made the cogent point that Charles is a free, independent thinking adult that has the right to do whatever he chooses.

While this is true, the flaunting of wealth and luxurious experiences appears painfully tone-deaf in the faces of the many investors that have currently lost well over half of their initial investment in Cardano if they bought at any price above $1.

The unprofessional nature of his conduct on his official Twitter account has bothered other individuals as well. For example, denying a reporter the ability to ask questions without first receiving a public apology or doing vlog updates to the Cardano investment pool in pajamas reflects a blatant disregard for common courtesies that one would expect in this sphere from someone in this position.

While this criticism may seem harsh, it doesn’t strike the author as ill-placed. However, the author feels that his apathetic disposition toward the Cardano project and it’s plummeting levels of support are out-of-sync with how he should be reacting to the situation.

What About the Roadmap?

The roadmap that was released by the Cardano team on March 5, 2018, is perhaps even more disappointing than the price action has been over the past few months.

Here’s a link if you wish to view it yourself.

Apart from launching the mainnet in September 2017, there have been no other notable upgrades to the $ADA protocol. There are no approximate dates or estimations for the release of other technology by the team either.

According to their website, it doesn’t look like they’re anywhere near finished any of the upgrades that they have proposed with the highest completion percentage listed on the website being 50 percent.

All in all, the roadmap did little to combat the claims that $ADA is indeed vaporware. In fact, following this release, it’s looking more and more likely that this claim is valid.

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Indian HDFC Bank Warns Customers against Using Debit, Credit Cards for Cryptocurrency Purchases

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 12:30

In a major move, one of India’s largest private banks HDFC Bank, announced a ban on the usage of its debit and credit cards for cryptocurrency related transactions. The news comes shortly after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) confirmed its stance on the matter, stating that it does not plan to classify cryptocurrencies as legal tender in India.

First Steps in Reducing Illicit Activity

The ban has been in place since March 14, 2018, following an email notification sent out to the bank’s patrons.

Despite there being no law preventing Indians from buying or trading cryptocurrencies, major lenders such as ICICI Bank and state-run SBI have taken it upon themselves to advise the public against investing in digital currencies.

The two banks in question were also responsible for suspending the accounts of some major cryptocurrency exchanges in January 2018.

In the email notification sent to all of its customers, HDFC Bank started off on an ominous note, stating:

“You may be aware of the increasing global apprehensions regarding bitcoins, cryptocurrencies, and virtual currencies.”

Citing RBI’s warning on the risks of trading cryptocurrencies, the email continued, “To ensure our customer’s security, we have decided to not permit usage of HDFC bank credit card, debit and prepaid cards towards purchase or trading of such bitcoins and cryptocurrencies.”

On November 6, 2017, the executive director of the RBI, S. Ganesh Kumar, made it clear that the government would not recognize bitcoin and other digital currencies as legal tender.

However, he added that the central bank was optimistic about the applications of blockchain technology in the finance and banking sector.

The Indian Finance Minister shared similar views during his annual budget speech. He stated, “The Government does not consider cryptocurrencies (as) legal tender or coin and will take all measures to eliminate the use of these crypto-assets in financing illegitimate activities or as part of the payment system.”

The legality of cryptocurrencies in India has never been unambiguously answered. The only thing the RBI has done is to issue cautionary press releases condemning them. Adding to the confusion, while the Indian government did label cryptocurrency investments and trading as legal, the taxation scheme on the gains received is still unclear.

Given that the tax rate for capital gains differs from other types of income, the incorrect filing of taxes has been a frequent concern for many individuals.

Cryptocurrency investments in India are still not as ubiquitous as in other Asian countries such as South Korea. Furthermore, most people in the country have only made small investments and do not have any intention to trade their holdings actively.

Former Indian bureaucrat, Shaktikanta Das, who spearheaded the first cryptocurrency regulatory body in the country, is also skeptical about their role in the Indian economy.

In an interview with Quartz, Das said that it may be almost impossible to regulate the asset class in the country after all. He also shared his concerns over the possible role of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities such as money laundering and terrorism financing.

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Chinese Blockchain Investment to Create a Global Stir

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 11:00

A government-led venture relationship in China is reportedly setting up a financing focus to encourage blockchain improvement in the nation. The activity, named the Global Blockchain Investment and Development Center (GBIDC), is said to be driven by the Investment Association of China (IAC), a social conduit that encourages significant domestic investment projects and has pulled in foreign capital.

Growing Interest Earns Institutional Interest

The news initially developed when a document was passed on over the internet, which had all the earmarks of the IAC concerning the new entity.

Since then, Liu Ren, Vice Chairman of the IAC, has confirmed the record’s authenticity to the paper, clarifying that the initiative came to fruition after the association noticed the developing prevalence of blockchain.

Accordingly, the association settled on the choice to finance and shape measures to the business, Ren included.

Whether the subsidizing sources will be funded from the public or private segments is undecided at current.

The new funding center, which will be set up under the IAC’s Foreign Investment Committee, will look for future coordinated efforts with abroad blockchain projects and will put procured resources into excellent local initiatives.

Experience Turns to Innovation

The extent of the GBIDC will include providing consulting services to institutions that are interested in investing in blockchain initiatives.

Established in 2001, the IAC reports straightforwardly to China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the principal government organization responsible for financial and speculation change in the nation.

Liu Ren, vice chairman of the IAC, said the growing popularity of blockchain is the main reason they decided to enter the industry formally.

The chairman added that they would vigorously promote research and development, application, promotion, investment and blockchain innovations in China. Another goal will be to strengthen the integration and international cooperation of blockchain resources.

Liu Ren also stated that the center is still in the preparatory stage and will be officially announced on March 18, 2018. Specifically, departments and experts will take a course and, after a clear understanding of the situation, may hold an international blockchain summit in May.

The GBIDC activity comes as China sees a developing number of government-driven endeavors to build up the residential blockchain industry.

China’s blanket ban on cryptocurrencies has not prevented the country from supporting blockchain, the technology behind crypto.

On March 12, 2018, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that it would launch a committee to develop national standards for blockchain technology.

What do you think of China’s increased interest in the blockchain field? What would this mean for Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments.

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Eastern Caribbean Central Bank Pilots Blockchain Initiative with Bitt Inc.

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 08:15

The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and Barbados-based FinTech company Bitt Inc. will conduct a pilot using blockchain technology with the member countries of the ECCB.

According to the press release, the ECCB will work closely with the  FinTech company to:

“develop, deploy and test technology which focuses on data management, compliance, and transaction monitoring system for Know Your Customer, Anti-Money Laundering, and Combating the Financing of Terrorism.”

The implementation of blockchain technology can help the ECCB develop a more secure and resilient digital payments and settlements platform while improving the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union’s risk profile and reputation.

Furthermore, the pilot will also focus on the “issuance of a digital EC currency which will operate alongside physical EC currency.”

Central Banks and Blockchain Technology

The ECCB’s optimism towards blockchain technology is similar to other international Central Banks. While the ECCB will conduct a pilot using blockchain technology, Lithuania’s Central bank is launching a sandbox blockchain platform while Papua New Guinea’s Central bank is looking to use blockchain to improve financial inclusion. Sweden, on the other hand, is exploring the idea of digital money, while Japanese and South African Central banks are warming up to the use of blockchain.

Central Banks recognizes the potential impact of blockchain technology in the FinTech industry. Timothy N.J Antoine, the governor of the ECCB, acknowledges that, while the ECCB admit the importance of safety, security, and stability of the financial ecosystem, they also support innovation and “blockchain technology merits our attention and consideration at this time.”

ECCB’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2021

“This FinTech pilot is part of the Bank’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021,” said Antoine:

“The aim of the pilot is to ascertain the suitability of blockchain technology to help boost economic growth and competitiveness in the region consistent with the ECCB’s monetary and financial stability objective.”

Bitt Inc. will work on the pilot in 2018 as the ECCB supervises the process in controlled environments. The member nations of the ECCB that will be involved include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“We are proud to collaborate with the ECCB in the development of this pilot study to explore technological solutions to some of the all too real problems affecting the region, its institutions and most importantly its people,” said Rawdon Adams, CEO of Bitt Inc. The press release, however, did not mention how long the pilot will go for or when the results would be available.

Bitt Inc. is also Providing Digital Payments Services to Montserrat

On February 21st, Bitt Inc. also agreed to work with the Caribbean island Montserrat to launch a digital payments platform. While this may involve blockchain technology, it is a separate and distinct pilot from the ECCB’s initiative.

Bitt Inc. sees an excellent opportunity to launch a digital payments platform for the people of Montserrat. These people experience high frictional fees from banks and complicated money transfer processes that are costly to resolve. The Barbados-based company wants to enable “everyone with a smartphone, tablet, or computer to easily make digital domestic transactions.”

“We’re honored to assist Montserrat in meeting its objective of boosting financial inclusion while reducing reliance on cash while building resilient and sustainable socio-economic progress together,” said Adams.


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McAfee Returns: John McAfee is Now a Crypto Security Startup Adviser

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 07:15

John McAfee’s name has been immortalized in the antivirus that carries his moniker, historically his most exceptional contribution to life online. He has also been extensively involved as a cryptocurrency enthusiast with no small amount of clout.

McAfee suddenly disappeared from the spotlight towards the end of January 2018 after what some see as an acrimonious severing of ties with MGT Capital Investments Inc. He had been serving on their board since August 2017 as Chief Cybersecurity Visionary of MGT.

Channeling his expertise into a different avenue

The decision by both parties to part ways was official “totally amicable,” said Robert Ladd, MGT CEO. He did add that MGT was “… getting some feedback that in order to get uplisted etc. it might be easier to not have John McAfee be an officer or director of the company.”

McAfee had also said the decision was mutual, at the time, although it presented as an unusual and abrupt hard fork from previous statements.

McAfee has now joined CryptoSecure as senior strategic adviser according to a March 14, 2018, press release. The company claims to offer “hackproof security solutions” for the virtual coin fraternity. A diversified parent company, Key Capital Corp., with interests in cancer treatment, FinTech and precious metal mining, is overseeing development at the CryptoSecure startup. Key Capital shares, traded over the counter, surged nearly 400 percent after the press release. CryptoSecure is currently preparing for an ICO.

The company release stated that “Mr. McAfee met the CryptoSecure team on a recent Blockchain cruise conference at which he was the keynote speaker.” Outlining the history of the association, he went on to add that “During an early morning discussion on the security deficiencies of the cryptocurrency market, he was apprised of CryptoSecure’s military-grade hybrid blockchain, Trusted Solaris OS, One Time Pad infrastructure project.”

Decentralized security is McAfee’s new focus

McAfee had initially resigned as CEO and Chairman of MGT during 2017 as part of an internal company shuffle. The cybersecurity outfit that changed tack to focus on bitcoin mining then said in January 2018 that the upshot of it all was that McAfee and the company were parting ways. Neither the former Chief Cybersecurity Visionary nor MGT itself would say anything else besides putting an amicable spin on the fallout. McAfee had occupied the revamped role at MGT since August 2017.

In his position at MGT, McAfee had been steering MGT’s cybersecurity development, including the rolling out of Sentinel, the enterprise-class network intrusion detector that was released in October 2017. He was also working on a previously much-feted privacy phone that sported extreme security measures and would ostensibly be unhackable. The board of MGT is considering various routes to enable its ambitions, including a spinoff or a sale.

Another ICO McAfee recently became affiliated with is Skraps, a micro-investing application that allows users to invest their spare change in varying cryptocurrency portfolios. According to the website, he is listed as the company’s “senior strategic advisor.”

With cryptocurrency and blockchain technology becoming a popular business model worldwide, John McAfee’s new focus in distributed ledger security may prove to be a pivotal one for his career.


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Crypto Bashing: US Congressman Calls Cryptos “a Crock” During a Congressional Hearing

Sat, 03/17/2018 - 06:15

What was supposed to be a Congressional Hearing on Cryptocurrencies and the ICO Markets soon turned into an absolute cryptocurrency bashing exercise. Some statements alluded to the fraudulent nature of ICOs as well as unintentional Freudian slips that offer an insight into the potential sentiments behind the attack on cryptos. At the forefront of the crypto, bashing was Rep. Brad Sherman, a Democratic Congressman representing California. Speaking during the hearing on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, he said that cryptocurrencies were a “crock” (utter nonsense). He also challenged the social benefits of cryptocurrencies declaring that they have none whatsoever.

ICOs are Fraudulent

Commenting on ICOs, the preferred fundraising route for blockchain and cryptocurrency startups, Rep. Sherman described them as being fraudulent. He accused the crypto community of conning the general public by espousing the narrative that ICOs are similar to IPOs. In his remarks, he said that ICOs have stolen the operating philosophies and principles of legitimate enterprises and applied them to a Ponzi scheme with no social benefit. According to him, ICOs have created an avenue for people to sit idly in their pajamas while nursing the dream of becoming millionaires.

Echoing similar sentiments, Rep. Bill Huizenga, a Republican Congressman representing Michigan referred to a soon-to-be-published ICO market study by Prof. Christian Catalini of MIT. The study reportedly shows that frauds and scams have hijacked a significant portion of the money raised by ICOs. Rep Huizenga who is the head of the subcommittee that is examining the cryptocurrency market declared that the panel was going to work hard to ensure that crypto investors are protected.

Cryptos Hurt Government Control Over Fiat

In what was perhaps the most telling statement issued by anyone during the hearing, Rep. Sherman let slip that cryptos hinder the ability of the government to control fiat currency. To be fair, he did stop in mid-sentence and chose a more moderate rhetoric, but the sentiments seemed clear. This is perhaps indicative of the philosophical nature of the struggle between the two opposing powers of centralization and decentralization. The libertarian views of cryptocurrency pioneers seem at odds with the established narrative of the mainstream social and economic construct.

Rep. Sherman also touched on the potential use of cryptocurrencies for terrorist funding and financial crimes. He remarked that cryptos help terrorists and criminals to launder money and move funds around, circumventing the best efforts of law enforcement.

Twitter Backlash

Unsurprisingly, Rep. Sherman’s comments were met with a massive backlash on Twitter with many responders accusing him of being ignorant about the cryptocurrency market. Michelle L. Staton, the founder of Digital Asset Affairs via her Twitter account described Sherman’s views as being “outdated and poorly researched.” Another Twitter user likened Sherman’s “pajamas” comment to allude to the fact that Senators make $174,000 per year but yet retire as millionaires. A significant portion of the Twitter backlash was focused on Sherman’s comments about cryptocurrency and terrorist funding as the rhetoric drew a great deal of scorn from the tweetosphere.

In a related development, the SEC has taken many steps to regulate the market. The commission has mandated cryptocurrency exchange platforms to register with. In January 2018, the SEC and the CFTC both issued joint statements that a significant portion of the SEC’s resources was being utilized in formulating a regulatory framework for the ICO market.

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Circle Launches Crypto Exchange App in the US, Plans to Expand in Asia

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 17:00

Circle continues to make giant strides in its bid to become a major force in the global cryptocurrency industry as it has announced the launching of its new app in the US.

In a blog post on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, on the company’s website, Rachel Mayer, the Senior Product Manager at Circle announced that early access availability of the new app was being extended to all but four states in the US. The four states not included are New York, Minnesota, Hawaii, and Wyoming.

The Circle Invest App

The new app, called Circle Invest, is the latest addition to the Circle Internet Financial Ltd., business catalog. Strictly speaking, the app is not a cryptocurrency exchange platform in the sense that users cannot submit limit orders or look through the order book. The app doesn’t offer many of the features that are available on so-called full-fledged cryptocurrency exchange platforms. Users can only make fiat deposits and withdrawals, as well as buying and selling of cryptocurrencies.

So far, the cryptos that are supported by the app are bitcoin, bitcoin cash, ether, ether classic, and litecoin. The app is available for both the iOS and Android app stores. The app offers instant cryptocurrency transactions below $10,000. Any transaction beyond this limit requirements a waiting period of a few days. All Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers on the platform are free. This sets it apart from a platform like Coinbase which charges a fee of 1.49 percent on ACH transfer.

The stated spread for the Circle Invest Platform is between 1.5 to 2 percent. Circle plans to offer the Circle Invest platform in all states in the US. However, there are a number of regulatory hurdles that the company will have to navigate before it can offer the platform in the four states mentioned above.

Establishing a Full-Stack Blockchain Company

In a recent article on Fortune, it was reported that Circle manages upwards of $2 billion in transactions per month. Within a three-month period between November 2017 and January 2018, the company’s total revenue exceeded $60 million which is impressive considering the unstable nature of the cryptocurrency market. The company, however, appears not to be resting on its laurels as it continues to be a major force in the emerging crypto market.

This new app is likely to be in direct competition with Coinbase, the largest crypto exchange service in the US. Already, the competition between Circle and Coinbase appears to be increasing in intensity, especially after Circle acquired Poloniex.

The company, which is backed by Goldman Sachs, Baidu and a number of other investors, is set to hire 100 people to support its global expansion efforts. The new recruits will be spread across offices in Hong Kong, Mainland China, South Korea, Japan, and other locations in Asia. In an interview with Jeremy Allaire, the co-founder of the company, it was remarked that he envisions a situation in the future where every store of value will be tokenized:

“We want to offer more markets, more assets, we want to localize it, and launch it in more international markets and, critically, we need to work with the most important regulators.”

With all these statements he made clear that he is positioning Circle to take advantage of the new and emerging markets.

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Dispelling the Myth that ‘Charts Don’t Work in Crypto’

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 16:00

Perhaps the greatest lie ever told in crypto is, Chart’s don’t work in Crypto.’

Personally, as a trader and an avid fan of charts and everything related to the process of technical analysis, the author finds that this statement couldn’t be more wrong.

Not only that, the statement just simply is not rooted in objective facts. When you ask the purveyors of this myth to explain why they think this is true, they merely state, ‘There is no regulation in cryptocurrency like you would expect in traditional markets.’

What do they mean by traditional markets? Are they referring to the Dow Jones (index), S&P 500, NASDAQ and other well-established American-based stock markets/indices? If so, what regulations do they see in place for these markets that would make technical indicators more ‘valid’ for those stocks/securities than cryptocurrencies/tokens?

Of course, if you ask this question, you’ll more than likely either receive:

  1. No response,
  2. Trolling,
  3. A repeat of the same claim just repackaged in a slightly different manner.
But Why?

Is it because these individuals have disingenuous intention to discourage you from using all of the tools at your disposal to ensure that you receive the best result possible? Probably not.

Unfortunately, this is a statement that stems from ignorance.

It’s a harsh word, yes, but one that has to be used in this situation.


Because the claim that ‘Charts don’t work with bitcoin’ is one that simply is not rooted in logic, at all. This statement usually comes from not only a lack of fundamental understanding as to how these markets and ‘regulations’ work, but a misunderstanding of charting and technical indicators as well.

Market Psychology

See, the reason why ‘regulation’ is not relevant when assessing whether or not charts work is because human psychology is at the root of all investment decisions that people make because people are the ones that are taking the investment decisions.

Let’s go back to that lemonade stand example.

When you release your lemonade stand stock as an IPO, and it hits the markets, everyone has the option of offering a price on it. The price of your stock at any given moment in time is what the market values it at. Now, this could be ‘accurate’ or ‘distorted’ depending on who you talk to about it. Perhaps some people have a lot of faith in your work ethic, and your prowess as a business owner and they feel confident enough in your vision to grab as much of your lemonade stand stock as possible. Based on their knowledge of what they feel other very successful lemonade stand companies trade for, they are confident that the current price of $8/stock is an absolute steal. In their minds, they believe that you’ll grow the company to the point where each share will be worth $50/stock one day.

Those people that believe in your stock will buy up as much of those $8/stocks as they possibly can if they feel this way. Why not? However, in order for them to be able to buy your stock for $8/share, they need to find someone else that feels that the price will not increase in the short or long-term beyond $8/share. Because, after all, if they did think that were the case, then they wouldn’t be selling the share in the first place. They would wait to sell it, or they would ask for a higher price on it because $8 is way too low for them.

Perhaps they ask for $10, but no one is willing to buy it for that price. Perhaps others are looking to buy it for $8, but no one is willing to sell it for that price. So, both parties decide they can compromise with $9 and ‘meet in the middle.’Thus, the new price of your lemonade stand company after the first day of trading is $9/share.

That value of $9/share, in many ways, reflects how the market, as a whole, values your company. It means there is a general equilibrium between people that feel as though the stock is a good value purchase at $9/share because it will inevitably go up in the future. Where they can sell it for a profit, and there are some that feel as though the stock is an excellent sell at $9/share, because they anticipate that there are no higher gains to be made on it and if they wait to sell it, then they may lose out on potential profits.

Now Here is Where Market Psychology Really Kicks In  

Most of these people that are investing in your company aren’t doing so because they love you so much and they want nothing more than to see you win in this life. Maybe a small percentage of them are just hardcore believers that are willing to go to the moon or bust, but the majority of the investors in your company are people that want to make money. Plain and simple.

So, not only will these investors be trading based on what they think your company will be valued at in the future, but they are also trying to gauge what the market believes that your market will be worth in the future.

So, let’s say John bought a bunch of your stock at $9/share. From that point, the price of your lemonade-stand stock skyrockets all the way up to $20/share. At this point, John has already made 100+ percent profit.

John’s a pretty smart guy though, and he makes an apt realization; the fact that the price of your stock has gone up means two things:

  1. Before the price traveled from $9 to $10 (market price), a shift in the market had to occur where more people were willing to buy the stock at $9 than there were willing to sell it. So, eventually, all the folks that were willing to sell the stock at $9/share either already sold their holdings or they made the realization that the appetite for this stock is so strong, that they should probably be asking for a higher bargaining price.
  2. Those that were offering to sell your lemonade stand stock are now reconsidering. Now that they can see the price is going up, they are starting to withdraw their sell offers because they see that the demand for the stock is going up, which will naturally raise the price.

The combination of these two factors is what typically creates a ‘bull run’ in any stock or security. Other investors that observe what’s going on start to join in the party too and buy up the stock because they see, ‘Hey, everyone wants that lemonade stand stock. It used to be $9/share, and now it’s $20/share! I should get in on this too!’

What brings things down, however, is the fact that people like John who bought the stock at $9/share may start to get antsy. At a certain point, John realizes that people will pause and ask themselves, ‘Why the hell am I paying $20+/share for this lemonade stand company?’ Eventually, the price of the lemonade stand company will reach a point where new investors won’t want to enter into the market because they see the value of the stock as being way too inflated for them. Let’s say $21 is that threshold where people make that determination that the price of the stock is just way too much for a lemonade stand company, no matter how good it is!

A Shift Would Occur in the Market

The ‘buy orders’ would start to decrease rapidly. Those that bought the stock for $20 will realize that there are hardly any players in the market that are willing to purchase it for above that price. However, that will not come until later.

People like John who bought the stock at $9 and feel that the price of the lemonade is reaching a tipping point will more than likely sell at the $20/share price mark. Why not? That is a substantial profit for John. Others like John will attempt to sell at the $20 price mark, but they would find that the number of people willing to buy it at that price has all but disappeared. Now there are only those that are willing to buy the lemonade stand stock for $19. Sure, they would sell to them. Why not? Selling for $19 after buying for $9 is still a substantial profit. There is a reason for them to hang their head over.

However, the people that just bought that stock at $20, may start to panic. They might look at this stock that they paid $20 and notice that it’s now going for $19 and then think to themselves, ‘What the hell, I just paid $20 for something that is already going for $19! What’s going on?’ Perhaps they are patient investors, and they believe that in the long-term the market will realize that the lemonade stand company will eventually be worth $80/share one day.

However, most of them will start to panic a little once all the $19 buyers dry out and the market price goes to $18. So, they would start to sell their stock as well at a loss because they would rather take that ten percent loss (from $20 to $18). Instead of taking the risk of the price going all the way down to $10 or $11, where they would take a steeper loss if buyers decide that they would never value it beyond that point again.

So, in addition to the people that bought at $9 and $10 who are now selling to take profit, people that bought the lemonade stand stock at $20 are also selling what they have in order to minimize their perceived losses. Of course, buyers can observe that the market price for the lemonade stand company has been dwindling, so buyers begin to dry up even faster. The goal of investing is to make money, so most investors are not going to buy something if they feel like the price is going to go down right after they buy it. That is antithetical to the whole process.

See the Rabbit Hole We Just Traveled Into?  

That is how stocks, securities and yes, cryptocurrency, work. It has nothing to do with regulation and everything to do with how the market is valuing a certain derivative product or security at a given time.

The beauty of technical analysis is that it helps us to determine how the market is feeling at a given time.

See, if you’re a smart investor, you know that there is only so much that you can learn from looking at the market price of something at a given point in time. Most people would want to know what the price has been historically. Is it at a high? A low? What was it valued at when the day began? What did the market value it at last year? Did it suddenly plummet in the last two months? Why? Maybe the market knows something you don’t.

That is Technical Analysis

All of those questions that you’re asking in your head are all forms of technical analysis. Just by looking at a chart before purchasing something, you’re performing technical analysis.

Essentially this is what lets you know, ‘What’s going on.’           


The post Dispelling the Myth that ‘Charts Don’t Work in Crypto’ appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

How to Earn Extra Money and Loyalty Points While Literally Sitting on the Couch

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:00

The gig economy has been growing rapidly for quite some time now, and reports suggest that this trend will only continue. According to data gathered and synthesized by Nation 1099, 11 percent of U.S. working adults are independent contractors. An overwhelming majority of freelancers – 86 percent, to be exact – choose to be freelancers, despite the common belief that they can’t find a job elsewhere.

One of the most popular freelance and gig economy sectors is the sharing economy; Uber, Lyft, Airbnb. However, a recent study conducted by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research showed that “per hour worked, median profit from driving [for Uber and Lyft] is $3.37/hour before taxes, and 74 percent of drivers earn less than the minimum wage in their state.” Wear and tear and other expenses really take their toll, and as MIT reports, “30 percent of drivers are actually losing money once vehicle expenses are included.” With data like this, one has to wonder whether being a sharing economy driver is even worth it anymore.

Thankfully, Uber and Lyft aren’t the only companies looking to provide a job – or side job – to freelance workers. In fact, some companies have developed platforms that allow freelancers to work from their couches and save money with ease. And no, it doesn’t involve answering 100 question surveys for a meager sum of money or signing up for an expensive credit card.

How Blockchain Technology Can Change Freelancing

Meet Cool Cousin, a platform that lets its employees – affectionately called “cousins” – make money from their couches. Through their iOS app, Cool Cousin lets users give tips on where to visit in their city. Travelers can discover incredible places by using city guides created by locals. Cousins represent their home town in the best way possible by pointing visitors to their favorite businesses, restaurants, and attractions through the app. Additionally, Cool Cousin is developing blockchain integration to help their app reach new and exciting heights.

Cool Cousin’s blockchain development will center around the implementation and use of smart contracts. Smart contracts will define the relationship between “The Company,” which facilitates the growth and sustainability of the ecosystem, and “The Community,” the autonomous ecosystem of cousins, travelers, and network participants. Smart contracts therefore act as an immutable set of checks and balances that help maintain true decentralization. They will also provide the facilitation of transactions between travelers and cousins, creating trust between the two parties. Cousins can earn money from their couches—in the form of CUZ coins—by simply providing traveling tips to visitors.

How Blockchain Technology Can Save Customers Money

Another blockchain company, Sandblock, is creating an ecosystem designed to revamp businesses’ reward and loyalty programs. By integrating blockchain technology and the platform’s native SAT coin, Sandblock will give consumers incredible reward options while keeping their personal data safe and anonymous. Merchants also have the option of creating their own tokens to issue coupons, vouchers, and loyalty points. These points have intrinsic market value and can be traded or redeemed, providing users with money for simply being loyal customers. In this sense, freelancers can get paid to spend money, in addition to receiving rewards for sending in anonymous data.

Finally, there is Concierge, an online travel booking marketplace with a global reach. It is built on the NEO blockchain and offers true peer-to-peer interactions between travelers and merchants. Suppliers pay zero percent in commission fees, while customers have the option to pay in either crypto or fiat. The incorporation of blockchain technology enables the platform for control for and automate systematic errors that frequently occur in the booking process—such as overbooking. It also fosters transparency and auditability, something that traditional booking platforms like Expedia and can’t provide. While not an outright freelancing gig, the Concierge platform lets users earn loyalty points through an automated system, providing them with monetary incentives to book through the platform.


BTCManager does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as investment advice.

The post How to Earn Extra Money and Loyalty Points While Literally Sitting on the Couch appeared first on BTCMANAGER.

A Guide to Airdrops Part 1: The Beauty of Airdrops

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 14:00

We’re sure you’ve all heard the idea that ‘airdrops are free money!’ As wise investors and skeptical purveyors of the cryptospace, we are rightfully incredulous of such a claim. “Free money?”

Sounds like bullshit.

In some cases, you’re right. However, in many cases, you’re actually wrong.

Because airdrops are so muddled with B.S. and worthless coin drops and require some level of technical knowledge of how cryptocurrency works beyond “send money from wallet A to person in wallet B,” and sometimes even involve the transfer of private keys, many people in the cryptospace stay away from them.

But if you’re willing to navigate through the sea of B.S. and find the many (yes, many) projects that actually offer legitimate airdrops that can be cashed out for real value, then you actually can get “free money” in this space fairly easily.

How Much?  

This number depends on you and your personal situation as well as the cryptosphere in general at a given moment in time. How much free time do you have? What projects are offering the airdrops at this current moment? How long do you have to wait for it? Do you need to stake anything? Will the price of the coins drop or rise by the time you finally get around to selling your free airdrop? How much disposable income do you have available to accumulating coins specifically for the purpose of obtaining “free ones”?

Okay, I Get It but Can I At Least Get a Rough Estimate?

So, like I said above, it’s hard to get a ‘rough’ estimate. But if you stay on top of these, and you’re diligent about the opportunities that you pursue, and you have roughly $4,000 of disposable income to invest and ‘hold’ certain coins, you earning an extra $1,500+ per month is not out of the question at all, and that’s a conservative estimate.

Will you become a millionaire/rich off of airdrops? Probably not. But there is a great chance that you can earn yourself several thousand dollars of additional passive income each year doing little to no work without having to ‘gamble’ on making good choices on the markets, and that’s something that 99 percent of people on this planet should want to take advantage of.

So Why Are These Projects Giving Away These Coins?

Because there’s something in it for them and it costs them relatively little to nothing to do so.

Here’s a brief explanation:

  1. They have a new project that they just released, and they don’t want to have their project destroyed by folks that simply bought the coin during the ICO to make a quick profit the day that it launches on exchanges. So, they build in a staking mechanism or some other sort of incentive to encourage people to hold the coin, rather than selling it. This encourages folks to not only buy it, but hold it – shortening up the sell side of the order books (generally), and forcing the price upward gradually. This strategy doesn’t always work, but it has been very effective in the past, and it’s a formula that a lot of different crypto projects have attempted to duplicate for that reason alone.
  2. A hard fork is another common reason for “free coins.” This isn’t necessarily the developers doing; this is just a consequence of initiating a contentious hard fork on any chain. Basically, whenever a contentious hard fork occurs, it ‘copies’ the history of the chain up to that point. So, all of the transactions that occurred in the past are still valid.

Let’s give an example here:

Suppose there’s a coin called “ExampleChain.” ExampleChain has existed since 2011, and it has a lengthy history in the community. Some developers decide they’re going to create a hard fork for this chain called “BetterExampleChain” and it’s set to initiate tomorrow. Everything that’s a part of ExampleChain’s history is part of the “BetterExampleChain” blockchain up until the point of launch tomorrow. So, if Billy sent Jill 20 “ExampleChain” coins the week before, the “BetterExampleChain” has that recorded as Billy sent Jill 20 “BetterExampleChain” coins the week before.

So, when “BetterExampleChain” launches, Jill will have 20 “BetterExampleChain” coins in her wallet. And why wouldn’t she?

What Wallet?

So, let’s say Jill has no clue what the hell “BetterExampleChain” is. That doesn’t matter. If “BetterExampleChain” is a true hard-fork, then Jill should be able to “claim” her coins.

What Do You Mean “Claim?”

Basically, Jill has a few options here:

  • Jill can claim her new ‘BetterExampleChain’ coins by configuring the ‘BetterExampleChain’ wallet by inputting her public key and private key (proof that she really is the owner of this wallet), and she’ll gain access to the new tokens. *We’ll get into how to manage this private key issue later.
  • Perhaps Jill has her coins on an exchange that has the private key to her wallet. However, that exchange has decided to do the work for Jill and will compensate her by adding the corresponding amount of ‘BetterExampleChain’ coins to her wallet.
  • Jill has her coins in another wallet service like Coinomi that’s been known to support airdrops. They decide to do the work for Jill and deliver her coins to her.

Thus, if you’re someone that’s looking to make a bit of extra money through cryptocurrency, but you don’t want to risk an absurd amount of money doing so, airdrops may be the way to go.

Keep in mind though – airdrops are not without risk. There’s a chance that the price could drop while you’re staking or waiting for an airdrop. Folks in the cryptocurrency world have been known to pick up a coin solely to stake it for an airdrop or to qualify as a ‘holder’ at the time of the ‘snapshot,’ then they’ll quickly “dump” or sell their holdings immediately thereafter. Thus, if you’re not wise about the strategy that you use for an airdrop, you may find yourself losing out.

However, the chances of coming out with a net loss during this process is usually tangibly less than it is for those trading on the open markets.

You don’t have to participate in airdrops, but they often present themselves as a viable means of acquiring some ‘easy money’ in crypto.  

The post A Guide to Airdrops Part 1: The Beauty of Airdrops appeared first on BTCMANAGER.