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Kenya uses blockchain to tackle land fraud

8 hours 30 min ago

Nairobi – In order to counter dubious land transactions, such as dual ownership, African-based startups are testing out blockchain technology in order to provide a more transparent and auditable process.

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Land fraud is a major issues in pats of Africa. One common type of fraud is with the double ownership of land. Here cartels can collude with officials so to create parallel titles for areas of land that the criminal organizations wish to acquire illegally. Due to Africa’s troubled and colonial past, ownership of vast areas of land is often unclear and disputed. These practices are now being challenged by the emerging generation of African startups. Here blockchain technology is being harnessed in order to create tamper proof digital land registries.

An example of the application of blockchain technology to address issues of land ownership is in Kenya. Blockchains provide a mechanism to store vital data, like contracts and assets. This enables ledgers of digital transactions to be created, which cannot be adjusted. The initial role of the platform will be to provide a mirror reflection of the Government Land Registry systems.

An example comes from Peter Tole, who is the founder of a company called the Land Layby Group, a Nairobi-based real estate firm. The company is experimenting with blockchain. This is in the form of a private land registry, which will allow investors to purchase land and property in a secure way.

The new registry will use a cryptocurrency token termed the ‘harambee token’. The digital currency will work by rewarding participants for adding correct entries into the blockchain. The system will also penalizes those who make erroneous statements or records. The process starts after the first person to register a piece of land correctly is issued with 100 harambee tokens; following this, the second person or business receives 80 tokens; the third 50, and so on through a decreasing scale of token issuance.

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The Belarus power grid is ready for the cryptocurrency miners

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 12:40

MINSK, 16 February (BelTA) – The Belarusian power grid is ready satisfy the increased demand from cryptocurrency miners, Belenergo Deputy Director General Sergei Shebeko told a press conference, BelTA has learned. When asked whether the Belarusian power system is ready for a possible increase in demand for electricity from cryptocurrency miners, Sergei Shebeko noted:

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”I do not see any problems.

We are ready to welcome any miners as this will benefit our country. We do not have power deficit. We are ready to satisfy any demand for electricity and thermal energy.”

Belarus consumes around 28 billion kWh a year. The main consumer is the country’s industrial sector (54%), the population accounts for 24%.

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Japanese Crypto Industry Groups to merge and launch Self-Regulatory Body

Fri, 02/16/2018 - 03:32

Japan is one of the world’s most crypto-friendly nations at the moment. It made digital currencies legal tender in April last year and enjoys a free and unfettered crypto trading environment. The drive behind this adoption of virtual currencies is an efficient and structured framework of regulation. This is about to be improved with the merger of two of the country’s leading cryptocurrency groups.

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According to reports the Japan Blockchain Association and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association are expected to merge as early as April. The ambition is to seek improved safeguards for investors and traders following last month’s $530 million Coincheck hack.

In order to achieve safer trading the fusion of the two associations will produce one body with the possible appointment of the heads of the two existing organizations as chairman and vice chairman. However, the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association said in a statement that nothing has been decided and sources were not authorized to speak to the media yet.

The Coincheck incursion was one of the largest crypto heists to date. Hackers pilfered over half a million dollars of NEM’s token XEM from the Tokyo based exchange. However, in an unusual move, the exchange did offer to reimburse its customers for up to 90% of the lifted loot. Under normal circumstances, stolen crypto disappears pretty rapidly down the digital rabbit hole of anonymous wallets and accounts.

The attack exposed flaws in Japan’s system and has spurred action to further improve it as opposed to restricting it as other Asian nations such as China has chosen to do. South Korea is still sending mixed messages but in all likelihood, it will follow the Japanese route of regulated and safer crypto trading for its citizens.

Japan has some of the largest exchanges in the world including bitFlyer which has branches in Europe and America. According to local media Japanese Yen accounted for over 50% of the global trade in Bitcoin in January.  The Japanese are already familiar with trading traditional vehicles such as stocks, commodities, and forex so venturing into crypto has been an easy step for many.

Often known for its quirky culture Japan has a number of crypto themed bars and coffee shops and even a cosplay girl group promoting cryptocurrencies to the youth. Self-regulation, safer trading and a secure ecosystem can only be a good thing for Japan’s booming crypto market.

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Token Sale Launch of Decentralised Cryptocurrency Exchange EOZ

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 15:16

Bitcoin Press Release: Cryptocurrency’s newest decentralised trading platform EOZ launch token sale on the 16th of February. The platform is backed by their Artificial Neural Network and hosts exciting features such as lending, trading and staking.

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February 13, 2018, LOCATION: This week EOZ are preparing for their token sale which will commence on Sunday 18th of February. EOZ is a new blockchain-powered lending platform and governed ecosystem that applies blockchain technologies to the cryptocurrency investment industry.

From Wall Street to Crypto Street

The team behind EOZ left Wall Street after 11 years of trading and decided to bring their knowledge and experience of trading to the Cryptocurrency market. After four successful years mastering the blockchain industry they started to develop their own algorithms for their Artificial Neural Network which they are now sharing with the public.

The traditional investment market is awash with issues leaving clients feeling frustrated and looking for alternatives. Highlighting these problems are support and funding issues, high fees and confusion over investment funds; EOZ have sought about creating a solution.

The decentralisation of cryptocurrencies was a perfect place for EOZ to create a platform for cryptocurrency trading in the financial industry with the goals of providing a stable, accessible, and secure platform. Knowing that the cryptocurrency market is growing rapidly, EOZ aim to offer a safer and reliable alternative to current offerings in the form of their EOZ token which will be backed by a tangible lending and referral program through seamless peer to peer transactions.

Artificial Neural Network (ANN)

ANN are statistical models directly inspired by, and partially modelled on the biological neural network. They are capable of modelling and processing non-linear relationships between inputs and outputs in parallel. The related algorithms are part of the broader field of machine learning, and can be used in many applications. EOZ are using Artificial Neural Networks (Deep Learning) to give signals to their custom cryptocurrency bot.

Artificial Neural Networks are popular tools for financial decision making as they have a very good adaptive and generalizing properties which provide high accurate prediction results. EOZ will be giving greater access to global investments, lowering barriers to entry and increasing market liquidity. EOZ is a means and a tool for cryptocurrency trading and lending, a unique blockchain technology with inherent value as a secure cryptocurrency that introduces decentralized lending on blockchain.

EOZ Token Sale

EOZ pre-token sale will begin on the 16th of February. The token sale will run from 18th February until the 19th of March. During the pre-token sale round EOZ tokens will be priced at $0.85, followed by the first round at $1.35, Second Round $1.85, third round $2.35, fourth round $2.85 and round five will be $3.35. All stages will consist of 2,000,000 EOZ tokens, a total of 12 million tokens will be offered during the token sale.

Media Contact


Visit the Website:

Read the Whitepaper:

Telegram: @eozsupport

Twitter: @eozcoin


EOZ is the source of this content. Virtual currency is not legal tender, is not backed by the government, and accounts and value balances are not subject to consumer protections. This press release is for informational purposes only. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.

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Citibank India Is Preventing Customers From Buying Crypto

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 14:54

According to The Merkle, the cryptocurrency situation in India is not evolving in a favorable direction. The country’s government has made it clear it plans to regulate cryptocurrencies and digital assets. For now, it remains unclear what that will entail exactly, although it probably won’t be positive. Indian banks, on the other hand, are continuing to squeeze cryptocurrency users. Citibank India is the latest company to do so, which is pretty worrisome for anyone in the country with an interest in Bitcoin.

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No one will deny the cryptocurrency industry has sparked much debate. Not all of these discussions will lead to positive outcomes, though. Right now, things are not looking all that great in India. With the country’s government currently looking into introducing regulation, things could head in either direction over the coming months.

Banks in the country are starting to take matters into their own hands, and it’s almost impossible for Indian consumers to buy cryptocurrency right now. Citibank India is the latest institution to prevent users from buying Bitcoin using debit or credit cards. It is a trend we have seen materialize in countries around the world over the past few weeks.

In an email sent to its customers, Citibank India explained the situation. The institution is mainly concerned over the economic, financial, and legal risks associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. For now, they have removed the option to purchase Bitcoin and similar currencies with a credit or debit card. It is unclear if the feature will be implemented again in the future, but for now, that seems highly unlikely.

Citibank has taken a similar course of action in the United States as well. It is not impossible that they will limit the functionality of their payment cards across the globe in the weeks and months to come. This further confirms that people who trust banks with their money will essentially be told what they can and cannot buy with their own money. It is a very disturbing situation, yet one that will only grow worse over time, by the look of things.

Purchasing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with a credit or debit card has always been considered somewhat of a problem. Even though payment cards are both useful and popular right now, they are also some of the biggest facilitators of online payment fraud in this day and age. With Bitcoin, the risk of fraud is only greater. Recipients of Bitcoin payments are subject to chargebacks, as digital goods are not covered by any major card issuer, especially not when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

For now, we will have to wait and see what the future holds in India. With the government still contemplating how to regulate the industry, things could head in either direction from here. It is evident there is a booming cryptocurrency industry in this country, but with major opposition from banks and other financial institutions, it will only become more difficult to get in on the action. It is a very volatile situation well worth keeping an eye on right now.

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$26000 to mine one bitcoin in South Korea and just $530 in Venezuela

Thu, 02/15/2018 - 10:00

Mining just one bitcoin in South Korea costs $26,170, according to data released by lighting and furniture firm Elite Fixtures. The Elite Fixtures data also showed that Venezuela is the cheapest country in which to mine bitcoin.

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Bitcoin mining is costing South Koreans a lot of money. So-called bitcoin miners are vital to keeping the underlying blockchain, or distributed ledger, network tick. A blockchain network is essentially a huge decentralized database that maintains a continuously growing record of transactions or other data. Miners solve complex mathematical problems to validate transactions and add them to the blockchain.

The Elite Fixtures data also showed that Venezuela is the cheapest country in which to mine bitcoin. It costs $531 to mine the world’s best known virtual currency there. Some Venezuelans have turned to bitcoin mining for survival in the economically struggling South American country.

And Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro is banking on a cryptocurrency called “petro,” backed by the country’s oil, gas, gold and diamond reserves, as a way to get around U.S. sanctions.

Mining digital currency uses up a lot of electricity, as miners utilize huge rigs of computers for the process. However, in return for their work, voluntary miners are rewarded with a sum of bitcoin as well as a transaction fee paid by people who transact with the cryptocurrency.

According to data, the total revenue earned by all bitcoin miners hit an all-time high of $53 million on December 17, the same day that bitcoin notched its highest price ever of $19,783.21.

The Elite Fixtures study analyzed electricity prices from 115 different countries, using data provided by governments, utility firms and the International Energy Agency. It worked out the price of power consumption based on averages from three popular cryptocurrency mining rigs.

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Petroteq Energy announced the development of crypto payments

Wed, 02/14/2018 - 02:49

Petroteq, a company focused on the development and implementation of proprietary technologies for the energy industry, today announced it is developing the ability to accept cryptocurrency for both the sale of its oil products and equity.

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Alex Blyumkin, CEO, stated

“In January CNBC ran a piece on how more and more high-end real estate transactions are being handled using cryptocurrency. This is because cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies possess some of the same features ESCROW accounts are used for to assure that funds and assets transfer smoothly and fairly. We are developing a method to bring this same transaction security to our oil transactions.”


Additionally, the Company is setting up an e-wallet so it will be in a position to accept cryptocurrency, initially limited to Bitcoin or Ether, for the purchase of newly issued securities of the Company. According to Forbes, as of December 2017, more than $4 billion had been raised by investors investing in companies through cryptocurrencies.

Mr. Blyumkin went on to state:

“It is clear that billions in capital is looking for assets to purchase using cryptocurrencies. We want to harness that liquidity to increase value for our shareholders. That is why we are developing the tools to enable cryptocurrency-based investors to participate in future Petroteq offerings.”


About Petroteq Energy Inc.

Petroteq is a fully integrated oil and gas company focused on the development and implementation of a new proprietary technology for oil extraction. The Company has an environmentally safe and sustainable technology for the extraction of heavy oils from oil sands, oil shale deposits and shallow oil deposits. Petroteq is engaged in the development and implementation of its patented environmentally friendly heavy oil processing and extraction technologies. Our proprietary process produces zero greenhouse gas, zero waste and requires no high temperatures. Petroteq is currently focused on developing its oil sands resources and expanding production capacity at its Asphalt Ridge heavy oil extraction facility located near Vernal, Utah. The Company also owns a minority stake in an exploration and production play located in southwest Texas held by Accord GR Energy Inc. In addition, the Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary PetroBLOQ, LLC, is seeking to develop the first blockchain based platform created exclusively for the supply chain needs of the oil & gas sector. For more information, visit and

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Smart cars on blockchain: how does the technology cope with the issues of smart cars?

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 13:08

The development of the Internet of Things (IoT) is a new stage in the digital revolution. The IoT is a network of connected devices that interact with each other, form and exchange data. All these devices, for example a well-known watch for fitness tracking, and smart home technologies, are used to make people’s lives easier and more comfortable. The implementation of a blockchain will greatly optimize IoT processes.

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One growing sector of the IoT are “smart” cars, which are a hybrid between car and built-in artificial intelligence. Cars can be smart in various ways, for example, cars with alternative power sources or self-driving cars. Blockchain platforms should improve the technology and make smart cars even more popular. So how this will happen?

How does a decentralized network improve the operation of a smart car?
The developers of smart cars continue to pour out ideas. For example, a Japanese car company plans to create a car which “predicts” heart problems of drivers; and American engineers have patented a system that tracks short circuits in the batteries. However, the normal operation of such vehicles still requires all systems to work in a well-coordinated way.

According to Christophe Ozcan CEO & Co-founder at Crypto4all,  blockchain will help with inter-machine interactions (M2M), i.e. the technology that provides information exchange between machines. As a decentralized network does not allow individual participants to control processes in a blockchain, they cannot disrupt operations in the network. Thus all blockchain members are equal and connected to the network by the same protocols. However, different blockchain platforms view this interaction in different ways.
HDAC (Hyundai Digital Asset Company), founded by the South Korean Hyundai Motor Company, allows users of smart cars to set the conditions of smart contracts in the network by themselves. A smart contract is an algorithm that runs automatically when certain events occur in the blockchain. In addition, processes in the decentralized HDAC network are supported by mining and are built on a proof-of-work algorithm, i.e. a network participant “wins” and gets a reward when they perform a complex task or solve a problem in a blockchain before anyone else.
The new CREDITS blockchain platform also uses smart contracts for M2M that can exist only within an environment providing unimpeded access to all network objects and which excludes any interference in the transactions that take place between participants of the blockchain. For example, a “smart” contract in a decentralized network may not technically allow a smart car to transport a person who is not a member of the network if the smart contract stipulates such a condition.

The platform has also abandoned mining, so the risks associated with PoW, such as a mining monopoly, are eliminated. The network’s work in CREDITS is supported by a delegated share evidence (DPoS) consensus algorithm. Briefly: nodes of a blockchain network admitted to voting are sorted; the node that confirmed the software currentness votes. Each node can become trusted no more than once over a certain period. Thus, decentralization is maintained, which in turn, ensures the smooth operation of the smart car system.

Security issue
Car owners are always concerned about security from theft or hijacking. Smart cars give new ways for human interaction with the car, and intruders can no longer use the same old methods. However, this does not deter them, they still try to “cheat” the controlling system, rewriting its data or replacing the access rights.  Once again, a blockchain gives the solution: it is almost impossible to crack a decentralized network.
Self-managed cars on a Blockchain are beginning to be used in carpooling, i.e. sharing of cars using search services for travel companions. Security is provided by a reputation protocol: participants of a blockchain network create rules and those who do not follow them lose the “bonuses” of trust. For example, someone who has not complied with the requirements will simply not be able to open the car door. Could this be applicable not only to “distributed” transport, but also to private smart cars?
HDAC uses a “hybrid” blockchain for protection, which is a “double chain” (public and private) with a secure connection between the user and the device. Both the public and private key of a blockchain network user is produced by quantum random number technology. This protects data in the system, and a hacker will not be able to take possession of a smart car owned by someone else.
The CREDITS platform also eliminates hacking of public and private keys in a distributed network, but uses a more mathematically complex algorithm. How does it work? Two parties in a network can obtain a shared secret key using an unsecured communication channel. This code can then be used to create a new key or to encrypt further transactions. Therefore the potential hacker is unable to invade the system. However, if a problem has already occurred, for example, a smart car “does not respond” to the owner, it is easy to detect its source. CREDITS is a public data register with information about different aspects of transactions.
Security in CREDITS is augmented by one more mathematical solution, a homomorphous encryption: in a blockchain, you can perform operations with encrypted data without having to decrypt them. Additionally, this also increases the speed of the network, and the “hijacker” simply does not have a chance to affect the system in 1-3 seconds (the speed that transactions pass in the CREDITS).

Smart cars and Blockchain: The Future
The IoT is rapidly growing and experts believe that tens of billions of devices will be linked by 2025. Each user of the IoT generates 0.77 GB of data every day, and this number will continue to increase. Currently,  Blockchain brings some advantages, but over time it may become necessary, as only a distributed network is able to cope with this amount of data.
At the moment smart cars represent a significant share in the growing IoT, and, given the technologies being developed by automakers, these cars will only become more popular. A blockchain itself guarantees safety and protection not only from criminals, but also from the risk that “smart” car operation will suffer from the actions of separate participants in the distributed network. The new blockchain platforms are improved versions of the previous ones without the disadvantages.

Therefore when changing to a smart car, owners should also change to blockchain. Global experience shows that this technology is the future, especially the future of the automobile market.

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Microsoft lays out plans for blockchain-based digital IDs

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 11:27

Over the past year, Microsoft has made a number of investments in using blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies to create new types of secure digital identities. On Monday, the company described its roadmap for the continuing use of these technologies to improve the lives of refugees and others who lack identification.

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“Each of us needs a digital identity we own, one which securely and privately stores all elements of our digital identity,” Ankur Patel, principal program manager in the Microsoft Identity Division, wrote in a Monday blog post. “This self-owned identity must be easy to use and give us complete control over how our identity data is accessed and used.”

In January, Microsoft officially joined global public-private partnership ID2020 as a founding member, committing $1 million to the initiative to help develop a secure, portable, blockchain-based form of digital identity, according to a blog post from Peggy Johnson, Microsoft executive vice president of business development.

Microsoft and Accenture first announced a partnership to use the technology to provide a legal form of identification for 1.1 billion people worldwide as part of ID2020 back in June 2017. The two tech giants developed a prototype that taps Accenture’s blockchain capabilities and runs on Microsoft Azure.

The tech tool uses a person’s biometric data, such as a fingerprint or iris scan, to unlock the record-keeping blockchain technology and create a legal ID. This will allow refugees to have a personal identity record they can access from an app on a smartphone to receive assistance at border crossings, or to access basic services such as healthcare.

Microsoft’s goal is to start piloting ID2020 solutions in the coming year, beginning with refugee populations, according to Johnson’s post.

In Patel’s post, he described the best practices the company has learned from its decentralized identity work. These include the need to own and control your identity. While users today grant broad consent to apps and services to collect, use, and retain their information, they need a better way to take ownership of their identity, Patel wrote. “After examining decentralized storage systems, consensus protocols, blockchains, and a variety of emerging standards we believe blockchain technology and protocols are well suited for enabling Decentralized IDs (DID),” he wrote.

Users also need a secure, encrypted digital hub that can interact with their data while honoring their privacy and control, Patel wrote. Apps and services must be built with the user at the center—and DIDs and ID hubs can help developers access to user information while reducing legal and compliance risks.

As a next step, Microsoft plans to add support from Decentralized Identities into Microsoft Authenticator, which will act as a User Agent to manage identity data and cryptographic keys, Patel wrote. “In this design, only the ID is rooted on chain,” he wrote. “Identity data is stored in an off-chain ID Hub (that Microsoft can’t see) encrypted using these cryptographic keys.”

With this capability, apps and services will be able to interact with a user’s data using a common messaging conduit by requesting their consent, Patel wrote. “Initially we will support a select group of DID implementations across blockchains and we will likely add more in the future,” he wrote.

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Our Pre-Sale has begun – be a part of making crowdfunding free!

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 11:09

The Acorn Collective is making crowdfunding free, and accessible to all. Using the blockchain we are able to create a crowdfunding platform that’s the first to be completely free and accessible in any country.

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Unlike leading platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo we:

  • Charge no fees to founders
  • Open to any legal project in any country
  • Have an integrated Acorn marketplace for campaign support services and post-crowdfunded products.

How does it work?

We use a fixed supply token (OAK) for all transactions in our crowdfunding hub, our post-campaign marketplace, our support services and our point-of-sales payment app. This ensures that we create real utility and thus real demand.

By using an ICO as our funding model, we put the ecosystem before shareholders. Blockchain gets rid of outside equity investors who need returns and payment providers who expect fees.

In short – we’re changing the crowdfunding industry, by crowdfunding it. This means developing countries are no longer shut out. It’s a revolution in funding access that encourages every community.


Take a look at our whitepaper for more details.

Why join our Pre-Sale?

  • Receive 50% discount on tokens ahead of main ICO
  • Over 40% of tokens already sold
  • $5 million cap during the pre-sale period

Early Highlights

Things are moving quickly at Acorn HQ – the team has expanded rapidly, bringing in experts and advisors from a wide range of industries including crowdfunding, marketing, and cryptocurrencies.

Just some of our early highlights include:

  • One of top rate ICOs on ICOBench with an average score of 4.1
  • Growing pipeline of ventures from all over the world waiting to list on our platform
  • Ex-CTO of CrowdCube, the world’s largest equity crowdfunding platform, is on our board.
  • UCL Blockchain Group research fellows are on our board.

Let’s Change the Face of Crowdfunding:

We think our ICO fulfils the early promise of crowdfunding through improved transparency, a better incentive model and the right support. All other global platforms have shareholders to satisfy, which means the pick a few projects that they think will raise the most fees.  ICO changes that – we want an expansive global marketplace that is as available for a community food business in Ghana as it is a tech start-up in California”


Acorn’s Founder and CEO, Moritz Kurtz

I’d like to see Acorn provide the opportunities beyond Europe that I’ve seen crowdfunding provide within it — and within other established economies. Creating a global opportunity is a thrilling idea. There are so many thousands of people all over the world that have got fantastic plans that could really benefit.”


David Ives, Ex-CTO of Crowdcube, Specialist Crowdfunding and Technical Advisor.

For more information about how to contribute visit

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CFTC event could boost ETH prices on Wednesday

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 07:49

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is not the hero investors asked for, but it’s the one they got when Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo testified before the Senate Banking Committee.

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Giancarlo struck a bullish tone on cryptocurrencies, saying that regulators should “do no harm” to private sector innovation. He presented himself and his colleague, SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, as friends of the cryptocurrency market.

Those comments reversed a market-wide crash in cryptocurrencies. ETH prices have rebounded by 33% since then, bringing the Ethereum to $835.00. Now they could receive another tailwind courtesy of the CFTC.

The Commission is hosting two panels on Wednesday. Both will feature cryptocurrency experts like Charley Cooper (managing director of R3) and Jerry Brito (executive director of Coin Center) alongside top brass from Washington D.C.

Given the conciliatory tone of the meeting, investors are hoping for a productive outcome.

I think that’s a little optimistic. These events are stage managed by PR professionals—they’re not as substantial as you think. Real decisions aren’t made in committees; they’re made in the halls of power.

Nonetheless, if last week is any gauge, we could see a moderate increase in investor sentiment. Below are some details about the panels in case you’re thinking about tuning in. (Source: “Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) February 14, 2018 Agenda,” Commodity Futures Trading Commission, last accessed February 13, 2018.)

Panel 1: Blockchain and the Potential Application of Distributed Ledger Technology to the Derivatives Markets

Speakers: Jennifer Peve, Executive Director for Business Development and FinTech Strategy, DTCC; Charley Cooper, Managing Director, R3; and Dan Bucsa, Deputy Director, DMO, CFTC.

Topic: This is probably going to become a high-level, abstract discussion about blockchain’s potential impact on the derivatives market.

Panel 2: Market and Regulatory Developments with Virtual Currencies and Related Futures Products

Speakers: Jerry Brito, Executive Director, Coin Center; Gary DeWaal, Special Counsel, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; Richard Gorelick, Chief Executive Officer, RGM Advisors, DRW; and Amir Zaidi, Director, DMO, CFTC.

Topic: This panel might get into the weeds with regards to the crypto futures market. Expect to hear some conversation about how the CFTC plans to regulate these virtual currencies.


If there’s so much as a whiff of Ethereum futures, we expect a surge in ETH prices. The CFTC is notoriously circumspect on these issues, but who knows what’s possible with the recent shift in tone. With these possibilities in mind, we strongly believe the $1,500 Ethereum price forecast for the end of Q2.

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Cleaning the Esports Betting Industry – Luckbox’s Game Changer ICO

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 07:17

The rise of Esports created a new industry – the esports betting one. Even if you’re not a fan of it and gaming is not really your hobby, the Esports industry is now a multi-billion-dollar one.

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Starting with 2016 when the total audience was 370 million, the Esports industry is on a continuous upwards trend with a 589 million projected until 2020. The revenue generated by Esports industry was 1.1 billion pounds.

As an example of how big the industry is – in 2016 there were 31 million people who watched the NBA finals. League of Legends World Finals beat that number in the same year, with an additional 5 million people who watched it.

When an industry grows so much – the competition is getting intense and competitive. And of course – where there’s a competition, there are bets on it. Esports betting has been around for a few years, but the main issue is that most of the businesses operating this were illegal.  These had absolutely no license to operate a gambling business – some closed down while walking away with a nice profit while others still operate and it’s a matter of time until they will be closed.

Luckbox – The Esports Betting Industry Game-changer

Luckbox is an esports betting startup sitting on the presale stage of its crowdsale. Besides the fact that soon they’ll be fully licensed – they will also accept cryptocurrency payments and purchases for in-game items – such as skins.

They plan to assure a high quality compliance level and established themselves as the leader of the esports betting company.

CEO Lars Lien said: “The potential in esports betting is clear and what has been done so far is just a drop in the ocean.

“Illegal sites have made millions but, clearly, long-term sustainability requires compliance and regulation. This is not only a business decision but a question of ethics.

“At Luckbox our aim is to adhere to the highest levels of gambling regulation so that customers can trust us but also so that we can operate on a global scale.

“Being fully licensed means we can employ marketing strategies just like the major operators as well as be available app stores.”

When Will Luckbox be launched?

As Luckbox is just in the presale phase, the official launch will be in the third quarter of 2018.

Luckbox will have an amazing reward program – where players would be able to open their Luckbox crates to win prizes and use LuckCash – a cryptocurrency used on their website – to play and earn prizes.

The idea will be created by a professional team of developers, managed by the Luckbox CEO Lars Lien, formed COO of GosuGamers and Mike Stevens, professional poker player and formed PokerStars employee.

The founders already started working on the platform and they assure their future users that Luckbox will have the highest levels of licensing jurisdiction while also will create a fun and safe place to enjoy esports betting. They will accept cash, cryptocurrency and even skins as a payment – but in a regulated & legal environment.

Lien said esports fans are tired of being treated like “a cashcow” by traditional bookmakers.

He said: “Just like sports fans, esports fans want a safe and trustworthy platform but they also don’t like the idea of the traditional operators coming in and using them as a cashcow.

“They want a genuine dedicated esports platform but with the same levels of quality that traditional operators offer football fans, for example.

“Generally, esports is becoming more professional and aware of its own value as time goes on. Betting will follow and operators will align their efforts with that value. That’s why we are confident Luckbox will be a success.”

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TokenCard is the one crypto fans have been waiting for

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 11:36

WaveCrest, an issuing member of the Visa and Mastercard networks, dropped a bombshell at the beginning of January when it announced it would be withdrawing its services from the start-ups offering crypto prepaid cards. At a stroke it destroyed or seriously disrupted the businesses of crypto card companies, such as Tenx, Wirex and Xapo.

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Providers such as Wirex had to introduce a facility to let users convert their fiat balances into bitcoin and then move it to the app’s bitcoin wallet.

Issuers and banks don’t like crypto

Regulators have never been big fans of prepaid cards – especially in their crypto incarnation – and have long pushed for stricter know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) processes when they are issued by non-bank institutions. Visa says these more stringent conditions were not being followed by WaveCrest and because of that it terminated its membership.

All this has now been followed by banks stopping crypto investors using their credit cards to buy crypto. Worse still Visa is now treating such purchases as “cash advances” and slapping an additional 5% fee on top of the 4% credit card fee. Not good, although buying crypto on credit was never a good idea to begin with. So the card issuers are not making it easy for the community to buy, with credit or, more relevantly, prepaid.

So we are still in a world where spending crypto is still far more difficult than it should be to spend, notwithstanding the efforts of Bitpay, which provides bitcoin payment services to merchants or the recent launch of LitePay for litecoin payments.

Solving the convenience problem

That’s a problem for early-stage investors sitting on substantial paper profits who want to be able to conveniently convert their crypto funds into fiat in order to spend in shops or on services. And it’s why crypto card companies have been springing up to meet the demand.

Companies with a supposed first-mover advantage have seen their prospects upended by WaveCrest’s action taken with no consultation with its crypto card customers. In WaveCrest’s defense, they weren’t given any warning by Visa.

However, the card coming soon from blockchain startup TokenCard stands out from the crowd.

Even before the WaveCrest fiasco, the TokenCard team had been preparing behind the scenes to use a different issuer. In a blog post on 5 January it announced that it had secured this new issuer, but did not let on who that might be. That’s got people talking as the community speculates on which company it could be.

Advantages of an Ethereum base

TokenCard’s offering is built on the Ethereum blockchain, which means that all ERC20 tokens, of which there are many, can be used in the app.

Assuming it delivers on its promises, app users will enjoy instant settlement when converting crypto to fiat and will be able to exchange crypto assets with one another, dispensing with the need to go no to an exchange.

The app’s wallet also includes Tether, which is useful if you want to quickly convert some of your crypto assets into a “stablecoin” during times of market turmoil. Sure, there are worries about Tether but to-date it is still working as advertised. These are just some of the features that enables TokenCard to stand out from the crowd.

Naturally, the app will let you do all the basics too. That means, for example, you can top up with fiat direct from your bank account as well as being able to use the card with the peace of mind that comes from the security feature that lets you freeze your card right from within the app, in that event you ever lose it.

Invest in ICOs direct from the app

The part investors will really appreciate is the ability to invest in initial coin offerings straight from the app wallet without having to mess with MyEtherWallet, as good as MEW is. That’s because the TokenCard is developed on Ethereum and so the smart contract can interact with token sales that are soliciting ETH contributions and can receive the token being issued in the project’s ICO.

TokenCard will be available globally, from Japan and South Korea to Europe and the US, and contactless payments will also be fully integrated.

So who has TokenCard teamed up with to bring the card we’ve been waiting for to market? Leave your thoughts below.

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Litecoin Is the Second-Most Popular Cryptocurrency on the Dark Web

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 11:07

Litecoin is the second-most popular cryptocurrency among vendors that operate on the Dark Web, according to recent research.

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Recorded Future analyzed 150 message boards, marketplaces and illicit services on the Dark Web and determined that 30 percent of these vendors currently accept Litecoin as an alternative payment system. Not far behind is Dash, another form of cryptocurrency, which is accepted by 1 in 5 digital underground merchants.

Meanwhile, bitcoin still enjoys universal acceptance among Dark Web vendors.

Litecoin Gaining Ground on Bitcoin

According to the report, bitcoin’s rise in popularity has strained the blockchain network, resulting in larger payment fees and rendering these payments “economically infeasible.” In addition, some criminals abuse the blockchain to try to double-spend their bitcoins.

Most vendors have responded by requiring three confirmations before marking a transaction as complete. Such a policy makes Dark Web bitcoin users jittery, especially if they’re purchasing illicit goods such as drugs or weapons.

Litecoin’s code increases the speed of transactions. As a result, transaction fees are low and miners can generate a larger number of coins. Recorded Future asserted that these benefits could ultimately make Litecoin, or a similar cryptocurrency such as Dash, the top choice on the Dark Web within the next year.

Ryan Taylor, CEO of the Dash Core team, told SC Magazine he disagrees with that assessment, noting that the criminal underground doesn’t use his cryptocurrency. “Currently, less than 1 percent of transactions on the Dash network utilize the PrivateSend feature,” he said, “which contradicts the assertion that Dash is on the rise as a Dark Net payments alternative.”

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Pitch Investors Live announces a token sale of PITCH token

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 10:57

CITY, FL / January 19, 2018 – 2UP Technology, Inc announced today the creation of the PITCH token for it’s Pitch Investors Live platform. 2UP Technology, Inc developed the smartphone app, “Pitch Investors Live”and is now releasing ERC-20 tokens named “PITCH.” PITCH will be the primary means of purchasing services from the software platform Pitch Investors Live. The token sale opens to the public on the 28th of February and is currently finalizing its pre-sale.
“Unlike most of the token sales, 2UP Technology has a real product that we’ve been improving for years,” said Founder and CEO Matthew Lally. “We’ve formed a core development team and built a fantastic product since the initial investment, and we’re excited to launch the PITCH token sale.”
The PITCH Investors Live Platform, is a software product which can already be accessed from an iOS app, and eventually from web browsers and Android devices. It allows entrepreneurs to create short summaries of their product or business, which accredited investors/experts and users can then easily sift through to find those in which they have some interest. “The next step is for the accredited investor/potential token buyer to invite the entrepreneur to pitch live via the platform. During this live discussion, other users of this app may watch as audience members, and even buy tokens in the presenting project” says Lally.
Pitch Investors Live will issue ERC-20 tokens named “PITCH” in a limited time event, using an Ethereum-based token sale. PITCH Tokens are used as a payment mechanism for services on the network, and as an economic incentive to accredited investors and business experts who contribute their time investigating projects that pitch on the platform. ““We’re not only offering edu-tainment to a new industry in dire need of education and entertainment but we are also revolutionizing how innovative projects get vetted and funded.”,” said Co-founder, Jonathan Foltz. “Our goal is to build a global platform for entrepreneurs to pitch to investors live”.

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Full details of the token sale, as well as the full version of the PITCH white paper can be viewed on the website – PITCH Token Issuance

Initial token count: 1,618,000,000 PITCH
Token sale: 20% of total supply.

Company name: 2UP Technology, Inc
Company site:
Company contact: Matt Lally or Jonathan Foltz Email:
Press Inquiries: Alice Hlidkova

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Ripple lands largest Middle East client in UAE Exchange

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 05:55

UAE Exchange has become the latest money transfer brand to join the RippleNet network to speed up the processing of remittance transfers across the Middle East and Asia. Headquartered in Abu Dhabi, UAE Exchange has more than 9,000 employees in over 40 countries, with particular emphasis on India where over 40% of its offices and staff are based.

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Ripple is making significant inroads into the global cross-border remittance industry, recently inking deals with IDT, MercuryFX, MoneyGram and Cuallix.

Dilip Rao, global head, infrastructure innovation, Ripple, says:

“We chose to focus on solving inefficiencies in key corridors where payment flows are significant and growing. Adding a market leader like UAE Exchange to RippleNet will bring instant, certain, low-cost payments to the millions of retail customers in the UAE who send money abroad.”

The large Indian workforce in the UAE is estimated to send home nearly $12.6 billion annually. UAE Exchange follows in the footsteps of India’s Axis Bank, which also recently joined the RippleNet messaging system to speed remittance flows between India and the Middle East through an arrangement with the UAE’s Rakbank.

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Malaysia’s bank Negara lets public decide on future of cryptocurrency

Sun, 02/11/2018 - 05:38

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Bank Negara, the central bank of Malaysia will release a concept paper soon for public to decide on the fate of cryptocurrencies. It will not recognise nor ban cryptocurrencies.

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A concept paper on cryptocurrency will be finalised this month for public to decide on the future of such currency, says Bank Negara governor Muhammad Ibrahim.

He stressed that the central bank would not recognise cryptocurrency as fiat money. Bank Negara would also not ban cryptocurrency either but leave it to the market to decide on the fate of cryptocurrency. The key point is one must know what does it have internally.

“Basically, we will let the cryptocurrency promoters including bitcoin, ethereum and ripple to be more transparent, the methods to be more transparent and people behind the scene are to be more transparent too.

“By doing so, the public can decide on its own if they want to invest in cryptocurrencies,’’ he said.

Muhammad said this during a question and answer session at the 40th anniversary dinner of Harvard Business School Alumni Club of Malaysia.

Unlike other countries which decided to ban on cryptocurrency, Malaysia adopted a slightly different approach.

Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani had said Malaysia would not completely ban transaction on cryptocurrency as such move would “curb creativity and innovation in financial sector.

As of September 2017, there are more than 1,100 types of cryptocurrency.

On the other hand, Muhammad said according to data, many aged between 35 and 45 are bankrupt for owing credit cards.

While increase in cost of living is true, people should also examine their lifestyle.

He said currently 40 per cent of lower income group (income lower than RM3,855) still can’t afford to buy affordable homes.

“If your salary is about RM3,000 (USD789.47) , you can only afford to buy a RM180,000 (USD 47,368) property. But where can you find this type of property?”

He added that the high-end condominiums are oversupplied in the market but their price is unaffordable.

“We need to rectify this through market mechanism,’’ he said.

Facing an environment with changes taking place fast due to big data and information science and technology, Muhammad said policy makers should remain alert and do not live in their own world.

He said when facing changes, the scope for policy makers to take into consideration is even larger.

He said corporate sector hope the government would relax policy for them to look for new opportunities. But when risks are involved, the authorities are responsible to revise unfriendly policy in order to maintain the stability of market and its growth potential.

He also said that policy makers should be protective and emphasis on independence execution.

“When necessary, policy makers should be bold in drafting policies especially when the operation in financial and economic system face pressure or the yardsticks are no longer effective. “

He said the policies must be transparent with good communication so that the public would understand the policies for them to be effective.

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Arizona Senate Votes to Accept Tax Payments in Bitcoin

Sat, 02/10/2018 - 15:54

The Arizona Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would allow residents to pay their income taxes using Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies “recognized” by the state’s revenue authorities. The law will next be considered by the state’s House of Representatives.

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Accepting payment of income taxes in cryptocurrency has profound symbolic and practical significance. Historically, the use of government-issued currencies for the payment of income tax has helped guarantee those currency’s widespread adoption as a payments medium. Skeptics of systems like Bitcoin, which allow quick global payments but are not issued or backed by governments, have argued in part that their separation from government revenue structures reduces their inherent usefulness and, in turn, value.

The Arizona move, then, is a positive signal for Bitcoin. But Arizona State Representative Jeff Weninger, who has sponsored similar bills, says the primary goal is to foster technological innovation in the state. The bill, Weninger told Fox News, is “sending a signal to everyone in the United States and possibly throughout the world that Arizona is going to be the place to be for blockchain and digital currency technology in the future.”

That may sound like a longshot, given the concentration of tech innovation in places like San Francisco and New York. But blockchain tech in particular has been met with widely divergent regulatory approaches that could reshape that landscape. For instance, New York’s controversial ‘BitLicense’ law is widely seen as restrictive to blockchain innovation and may be pushing startups out of the state.

The Arizona Senate bill includes a provision mandating that cryptocurrency payments be converted to U.S. dollars within 24 hours of their payment. That could help address concerns about the volatility of cryptocurrency values and its potential impact on state revenues.

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ICO Launch Aims to Reinvent Freelancer and Gig Economies Blockchain Based Startup Challenges Status Quo

Sat, 02/10/2018 - 06:02

Los Angeles, CA.  (January 29, 2018)- 3 billion people, or 39% of the world’s population does not have a bank account and are literally unable to offer their skills online in exchange for currency. This number includes nearly 16 Million people in the United States.

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Launching in mid- 2018, blockchain powered startup, ALMBank, aims to change that. AlmBank will allow companies to pay through their blockchain platform in cryptocurrency for any work done, eliminating the need for users to convert to cash or conversely, to pay freelancer fees and more importantly, leveling the playing field for freelancers.

The brainchild of noted author ,Startup Fever: How Crowdfunding Will Rebuild the American Dream, Austin Muhs, ALMBank is it built on a barter system with instant transactions. Secondarily, ALMBank aims to help other blockchain and ICO startups build high level and functional teams, all while funding a charitable marketplace, the first of its kind in the world.

“ALMbank was created to finally solve the work/life balance conundrum of how do I balance life and work, while still earning a decent living.” said Austin Muhs.” “We think we have solved this problem by helping people build their work networks while also making a decent wage. ALMbank ultimately helps people help themselves and we are looking forward to reinventing the workplace marketplace niche’.”

It’s estimated that  57.3 million Americans and an additional 100 million people in the EU are currently freelancing and freelancers are expected to make up the majority of the US workforce within 10 years. However, the gig and freelancer economy is fraught with a number of risks. People may have great talents and skills but fail for any number of reasons – not having good business sense or poor marketing skills, for example. Many of the risks related to traditional job marketplaces include fraud, contract disputes, poor payment methods with high fees and  issue regarding ownership of products and intellectual property. Blockchain offers a solution for all of these issues and may be the alternative to legislative initiatives that seem to be slow in coming.  

ALMBank will solve these 3 pain points:

  • Better method of payment for both parties using cryptocurrencies
  • Smarter contracts between parties
  • Proof of work and protection of intellectual assets

AlmBank is also incorporating a charity aspect into their platform and is being designed as a way for people to help others, without needing anything other than sweat capital.  Users will have the ability to pay in “sweat capital” for services. Through the patented upvoting system,  ALMBank also incorporates a self-powered economic engine, creating a need for tasks and a need for someone to complete them for a fair price. The task machine is moderated, yet decentralized in terms of voting priority for charity tasks.  Not only is ALMBank built on a barter system with instant transactions, but ALMBank helps ICO’s build high level and functional teams, all while funding a charitable marketplace, the first of its kind in the world. Tokens are redeemable for hours worked.

To download the ALMBank whitepaper, please visit:

To register for the ALMBank token sale, please visit:

For more information:

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AstorGame Shakes Up The Casino/Betting Industry With Launch Of ICO & Revolutionary Betting Platform That Accepts Cryptocurrency

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:05

The saying “the house always wins” often makes casino players and bettors feel unsure whether the house is playing fairly or whether it’s tricking them by manipulating the outcome. With the launch of the Astorgame ICO, users no longer need to worry about being cheated by the house as it is completely administered by Smart Contracts on the Blockchain.
Buenos Aires, Argentina – Feb 7th 2018, AstorGame sent shockwaves through the gaming industry today with the announcement that they will be launching an ICO backed by a decentralized betting platform that will accept cryptocurrency as payment. Players will have access to sports betting, tournaments, casinos and more. AstorGame is changing the traditional eSports and betting world with a brand new eSports and online gaming platform based on cutting-edge blockchain technology, where users are provided with a choice between gaming and betting. The funds brought in by AstorGames’ players will be protected by a smart contract, completely removing the middleman.
AstorGame was developed by a group of likeminded developers and gaming experts that were ready to deliver a unique gaming experience to the cryptocurrency community. The team at AstorGame has more than 15 years of experience in the world of gaming and betting as well as the development of several different platforms using various technologies. One such technology known as Provably Fair, enables the client to check and make sure that each game is played by the rules and that values have not been altered by a third party in order to place them at a disadvantage. The AstorGame platform unlike most others, uses this technology and is currently in development stages. The Beta version is expected to be released soon.
During a recent press conference, the company spokesperson for AstorGame was quoted as saying, “AstorGame is a company with a real and solid project. We are focused on using new technologies such as smart contracts and the Ethereum’s Blockchain to improve the quality of the products we develop for our customers. We believe that this formula will translate into a hugely successful ICO.” He went on to say, “Whether you fancy eSports, event tourneys or casino games, AstorGame has you covered. Our team is developing this platform to cover all bases and make sure all players are catered to, period! AstorGame offers a solution against cheats in the game and our results cannot be changed by any third party. The successful Pre-Sale of our ICO is a just a sign of things to come.”
The AstorGame ICO token sale began on January 29th 2018 and is expected to close on April 29th 2018. The ASTOR token currently costs $1 USD per token with an included bonus of 40%. Additional bonuses may also be available. Only 60,000,000 ASTOR tokens will be sold before this ICO closes to the public.
To learn more about investing in the AstorGame ICO, visit their official website at or read their Whitepaper directly by clicking here.

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Media Contact:
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