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Renewable Energy Solutions for Cryptocurrency Mining

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 16:37

Far from plunging the globe into ecological disaster, cryptocurrency mining can be sustainable or, better yet, can be used to neutralize the carbon footprint of other energy intensive processes. Indeed, under the right circumstances, mining can produce a minimal carbon output. Moreover, its energy emissions can be recycled for other eco-friendly endeavors. Hydroelectric power has earned its own place at the crypto conservationist’s table.

By using hydroelectricity in Norway, Northern Bitcoin is running its bitcoin mining facilities powered by 100% renewable energy. Northern Bitcoin is introducing the zero CO2 emission green bitcoin mining, providing bitcoin and its blockchain with the leading sustainable solution to cope with bitcoins soaring energy consumption.

In its initial roll-out phase in the first half of 2018, Northern Bitcoin is using 3,360 Antminer S9, the most powerful and efficient miner and the world’s first bitcoin mining ASIC based on the 16nm process node. Each miner employs 189 of these ASIC chips to deliver a higher hashrate and efficiency than any bitcoin miner ever made.

Some of the oldest mining farms are Chinese. They have long drawn cheap surplus energy from hydroelectric dams, especially in the Sichuan province. One of the oldest of these, BW, for instance, helped to pioneer the practice. Founded in 2014, the mining operation has drawn renewable energy to power its rigs since 2015.

Image courtesy of HydroMiner

Though its roots are in China, hydroelectric mining has found its way into other regions that offer cheap river-run energy. In Austria, the Damblon sisters at HydroMiner have looked to harness the output of hydroelectric dams in the alps for their own operation. Nadine and Nicole Damblon founded the HydroMiner Limited Company in 2016 alongside a posse of Viennese miners. By 2017, the team established its first facility in Schönberg, Austria, which draws a base energy output of 290 kWh for its 120 mining units. Their second mining farm in Waidhofen an der Ybbs, Austria, receives a consistent supply of 600 kWh for its 250 Antmine 29s and 1152 GPUs.

The team built this second farm thanks to funds from its H2o token ICO. Each H2o token guarantees 5 kWh worth of mining time, which holders can redeem for any cryptocurrency the facilities mine using the project’s mining portal. As the operation expands, the team plans to launch the H3o token, which will pay holders dividends much like a security and is, according to its creators, “the first fully compliant security token according to European financial law.”

With the ICO proceeds, HydroMining will look to establish a facility outside of Austria, either in Canada, Georgia or some other country with low-cost, clean energy. According to the Damblons, hydroelectric energy in Austria is 85 percent cheaper than average electricity costs. They can pump energy into their mining rigs for 3-5 cents per kWh, and the Austrian climate is ideal for keeping their hardware cool. When overheating is a problem, they can reroute water from the rivers to keep their system’s from running a fever.

Speaking of heating up, the warmth mining rigs produce is ideal for heating a home, especially in colder climates. In the tiny Siberian town of Irkutsk, Russia, Ilya Frolov and Dmitry Tolmachyov are using the heat emitted by their mining rigs to keep their micro home warm.

The system heats up a water source connected to the mining hardware, and once warmed, the water is piped to a space heater to keep their abode nice and toasty. Using locally sourced energy from a nearby hydroelectric power plant, the men can warm their home without having to draw any additional energy for heating, and they even get to pocket an additional $430 per month after covering mining costs.

One company has taken this concept and run with it. The Qarnot QC-1 streamlines Frolov and Tolmachyov’s design by combining the miner and heating unit into one; it looks like a space heater, runs like a space heater and feels like a space heater, but it’s actually two GPUs with a default to mine Ethereum.

In yet another example, NastyMining is an Arizona-based, bitcoin mining organization that harnesses solar and wind energy to run its mining rigs. Since 2012, NastyMining has worked to find a middle way for Bitcoin’s energy issues, encouraging “socially responsible” mining from the 30,000 miners contributing to its pool. Since 2017, NastyMining has ramped up its commitment to these sustainable mining practices, utilizing a wind turbine donated by YoBit exchange and a generous donation of solar panels from SunPower solar company to run the ASIC rigs in its facility.

The team at NastyMining is part of a wave of miners who have looked to harness natural forces to negate their carbon footprint, and there are more resources than just wind and solar at these innovators’ disposal.

In Japan, Kumamoto Energy hopes for a more sustainable and greener future, which does not exclude cryptocurrency mining. The company has set up an affiliate called OZ Mining with the intention of using the excess power generated at solar power plants for mining operations. The company will also work with other Japanese electricity enterprises to run “mega solar plants” in the Kumamoto Prefecture.

Kumamoto Energy is also developing and preparing to sell eco-friendly systems that they say are very efficient at mining cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. The energy company is expecting that once they will go online, other companies will follow suit, making it a more affordable and profitable activity for local miners.

Thus, there are innovators who see mining’s weakness as its strength, and they are exploiting the problem as the source of its own solution. These examples are not exhaustive and offer just a sampling of the myriad ways entrepreneurs are challenging the limits of crypto’s mining potential. As more solutions come out of the woodwork, these innovations paint a different picture of what mining can do and what ecological impact it may have on green initiatives going forward.

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Top Ten Cryptocurrency Exchanges Are Generating $3m Each Day

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 15:53

The top ten cryptocurrency exchanges are generating up to $3 million a day in fees, according to Bloomberg. Tax officials in India estimate the figure is even higher, putting the total annual income of the top ten is around $6.25 billion a year.

Binance made $7.5 million in fees in its first quarter after opening last year, but by March it was making more than $40 million in fees a month  with their current 50% trading fee discount. Huobi has half the volume but makes even higher profits due to higher fees,  around $54m a month. Even the recently started Kucoin is making $1.8 million a month.

These projections by Bloomberg are a rough estimate, because it’s impossible to know what the firms are charging, including discounts for their most active traders. Based on daily trading volume and fees listed, annual revenue for the top 10 goes into the billions of dollars.

Then there is the money to be made from charging high fees to list new coins. Business Insider reports ICOs are being charged between $50,000 and $1 million to list their new coins, depending on the size and popularity of the exchange. Listing on Binance reportedly costs between $350,000 and $1 million USD.

Exchanges have also seen amazing growth in their own coins too. The Huobi token increased 64 percent to its peak despite launching in challenging market conditions in February. KuCoin Shares, which launched in September, increased by 2,738 percent to its all time high. However, the standout is Binance Coin which is up 22,000 percent to its all time high, and is currently 12,000 percent up on launch. It’s made everyone who invested in the Binance ICO very wealthy.

Gil Luria, an equity analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co, said:

“The exchanges and transaction processors are the biggest winners in the space because they’re allowing people to transact and participate in this burgeoning sector. There’s a big business there and it would not surprise me if they’re making hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and possibly even billions a year.”

It takes a lot of money, time and regulatory hassles to launch an exchange, which is why there are only 170 worldwide taking advantage of this explosive growth in crypto. However, as the market opens up with the arrival of platforms for crypto exchanges such as 0x and Waves making the barrier to entry lower, there is sure to be a surge in the number of new crypto exchanges arriving in 2018 and beyond.

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Three New Crypto Projects Launching Without an ICO

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 14:58

In the good old days before 2017, most new crypto projects launched without an ICO. However, they have become the accepted way to fund new projects, but in doing so they have led to controversy in regards to the ethics and legitimacy of this new funding model. Therefore it’s refreshing to see new projects that intend to start without issuing a token. This is especially true considering the scrutiny that ICO’s are coming under in the US from the SEC.

Here are three upcoming projects that are about to launch without an ICO:

Elixir (ELIX) is a platform that allows its users to make payments, lend money, and crowdfund projects. Currently, users can pledge to become “Early Creators”, or hosts of the first crowdfunding initiatives, and earn ELIX in exchange. The team is working to finalize the crowdfunding element of the project, which is slated for release sometime in the second quarter 2018. After that will come the release of the mobile app, which is claimed to have most of the main features of the platform.

Elixir uses a Proof-of-Time algorithm, and the coin was fairly distributed through a “genesis airdrop” event. Participants in the airdrop not only received a portion of the supply of ELIX, but also were granted the opportunity to sacrifice their coins in order to mine more. The longer they hold the coins before returning them to the genesis address, the more ELIX is returned. Elixir currently holds rank #507 on CoinMarketCap, with a market cap of US$9.5 million.

Masari is a privacy coin forked from XMR. It was fairly launched on September 2, 2017 with no premine. The coin boasts an active community and very active development, with hundreds of Github commits since the September launch. The lead developer mined an amount equal to 0.5% of the current supply after the genesis block, and has put that amount into a transparent donation address that will fund future initiatives and projects.

While MSR does not have many exciting developments to share, it sparks interest due to the sound fundamentals of the coin. The strong team and active community, coupled with the low maximum supply of 18 million and minuscule market cap of about US$1 million, make it a worthwhile project to take a look at. Particularly due to the sustained popularity of privacy coins, the niche to which MSR belongs only seems to be growing.

ChanCoin is a community-driven cryptocurrency initially created in the summer of 2017. Developers from the community are actively working to deploy a system of steganographic technology to provide credit to original content creators. Essentially, CHN seeks to attach original ownership, primarily on image boards, to the first creator of an image or media. This is another extension of its role as a tipping currency, and such a development would allow users to reward the original creator of a piece of artwork, even if they’ve only viewed it as a repost.

After the coin’s primary developer engaged in malicious behavior (failing to disclose the extent of the premine and subsequently dumping the coin), the community removed the developer from CHN and worked to rebuild the project, and have made great strides since. This is an absolute microcap coin, with a market cap of just over US$200,000. Regardless, CHN maintains an active community that is excited about the future of this project.

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Mithril the Decentralized Social Network Introduces Social Mining

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 12:08

Mithril is a new social media platform that intends to reward content creators in a fair and transparent manner. Despite the fact that there are a lot of social media platforms out there, most of them are designed to harvest user data. Mithril intends to make money from and for it’s users in a fair and transparent manner.

Mithril takes a completely different approach, as it aims to put the “social” back in social media. Rewarding content creators through the novel approach Social Mining whereby content creators can ‘mine’ the MITH token. Each user’s content and social interactions generated in the Mithril ecosystem will mine MITH based on their algorithm.

With such ambitious goals, Mithril will need to pack a fair amount of technology to make it all work. The MITH token is based on the ERC20 standard, and users will be able to “mine” this currency through social interactions and content creation. Any action taking place on the platform will mine MITH based on the project’s algorithm. This will incentivize people to use the platform quite frequently, as they will be rewarded for doing so.

It is also expected that this social media ecosystem will encompass a lot of different areas. Online applications for Mithril will range from online dating to premium content and even live streaming.

Their website states:

“Mithril tokens will soon be accepted throughout the Mithril Merchant Network, with online applications such as dating services, premium content channels, and live-stream applications, or retailers, starting with INST.RECYCLE.”

Additionally, there is a beta Lit app available for mobile. This application is a part of the overall Mithril ecosystem, which lets users share their stories. Depending on how those creations impact and influence others across the network, the creators will be rewarded with a certain amount of MITH tokens.

Mithril founder Jeffrey Huang says:

“Qtum has provided great support for Mithril since the early days of our project. I believe Qtum’s security, reliability, and scalability will be instrumental to the future development of the Mithril ecosystem.”

Jeffrey Huang, aka Machi Big Brother, is an influential music, entertainment, and technology industry leader based out of Taipei, Taiwan. In 2015, he founded 17 Media, a leading live-streaming platform that garnered fast adoption in Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Indonesia, with over 27-million downloads.

As mentioned before, Mithril has its own token, known as MITH. It is used to reward content creators, promote social activity on the platform. The team will set up a dedicated Merchant Network which will include apps for dating and live streaming, among other things.

Building this decentralized social media ecosystem will require a lot of work in the months and years to come. Although the beta version of the mobile app is a positive step in the right direction. The priority must be to get content creators excited enough that they  begin to produce and share unique content on this platform. Given the wide variety of social media platforms out there and the inertia that come from creators existing subscriber and followers this will be the most difficult part of the challenge.

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Amazon Web Services Announce Tools to make Blockchain Development Easy

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 09:52

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the e-commerce giant’s cloud computing arm, has unveiled a new service for launching out-of-the-box blockchain networks for the ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric protocols.

AWS announced back in 2016 that it would start working with blockchain startups, offering dedicated technical support and infrastructure for the firms involved.

AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr wrote in a blog post on Wednesday, that the newly available “templates” allow clients to “launch an ethereum (either public or private) or Hyperledger Fabric (private) network in a matter of minutes and with just a few clicks.”

He went on to explain:

“The templates create and configure all of the AWS resources needed to get you going in a robust and scalable fashion.”

The post provides detailed instructions for setting up an ethereum template, which supports mining, as well as an EthStats page that provides network metrics and an EthExplorer tool that displays the transactions and smart contracts entered into the ledger.

AWS is a fast-growing segment of Amazon’s business, which saw sales increase 55 percent in 2016 and 43 percent in 2017. The division is in fierce competition with other tech giants’ cloud computing arms, including Microsoft Azure, which showed an early interest in providing blockchain as a service when it partnered with the ethereum startup ConsenSys in 2015.

Google may be looking to secure audit information using blockchain tech, according to a recent patent application. The filing, released by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and submitted in September 2017, proposes using a blockchain to create a “tamper-evident” log which can store signatures, verify that information stored by the system has not been altered, or provide a clear path to find what information was changed and when.

The application describes using two blockchains, one referred to as the “target blockchain,” which contains “first signatures.” A second, separate blockchain would store the data verified by the signature.

The company goes on to explain:

“The method may include, by the electronic device, adding a new block to the target blockchain, by linking the new block to both the existing block and the block of the second blockchain that is identified by generating a signature for the new block that is based on the first signature and the second signature, and associating the signature with the new block. The target blockchain and the second blockchain may be part of a block lattice.”

The application noted that the blockchain could be based on multiple data storage spaces, or the entire chain could be stored on one device.

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Coinbase Blocks WikiLeaks Shop Account

Sat, 04/21/2018 - 08:13

In a poignant reminder of what centralization and banking regulations means, WikiLeaks Shop, reported on Twitter Friday, April 20, that their account with crypto wallet and exchange Coinbase has been blocked.

Andreas M. Antonopoulos noted the irony of the situation in a tweet that pointed how Bitcoin came to many peoples attention when it was used to fund Wikileaks when credit card companies banned donations six years ago.

We have come full circle. Many people's interest in bitcoin started when Wikileaks was out under an extra judicial embargo by VISA, MC, PayPal and banks. Now Coinbase has repeated history. Oops. https://t.co/b8HQkoOwyQ

— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) April 21, 2018

WikiLeaks Shop’s tweet contains a screen grab from an email from Coinbase that states the organization violated their Terms of Service and therefore “can no longer provide access to [their] service.” Coinbase has not responded to a requests for comments on the specifics of WikiLeaks Shop’s violation by press time.

ANNOUNCE: Coinbase has blocked the official @WikiLeaks shop from its platform without notice or explanation. You can continue to donate #Bitcoin to WikiLeaks at https://t.co/lvhoyhlqUa. #Coinbase #DefendWL #Cryptocurrency #Ethereum #BitcoinCash #ReconnectJulian pic.twitter.com/4BSS023OOk

— WikiLeaks Shop (@WikiLeaksShop) April 21, 2018

A tweet by the main WikiLeaks Twitter account called for a “global blockade” of Coinbase in response to the block:

WikiLeaks will call for a global blockade of Coinbase next week as an unfit member of the crypto community. Coinbase, a large Californian Bitcoin processor, responding to a concealed influence, has blocked the entirely harmless @WikiLeaksShop in a decision approved by management. https://t.co/PAldF8b12P

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 21, 2018

This block by Coinbase is not as serious as the blockade WikiLeaks faced before as there are so many different wallet and crypto payment options to them now, that the loss of Coinbase is mainly a symbolic one.

As a footnote it’s worth mentioning that Satoshi Nakamoto cautioned against Bitcoin being used as a source of funding for WikiLeaks. In response to a post on Bitcointalk saying “bring it on” he said:

“No, don’t “bring it on”.

The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way.

I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use Bitcoin.  Bitcoin is a small beta community in its infancy.  You would not stand to get more than pocket change, and the heat you would bring would likely destroy us at this stage.”

Source: https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=1735.msg26999#msg26999

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Venture Capitalists Met with SEC to Discuss Crypto ‘Safe Harbor’

Fri, 04/20/2018 - 06:34

 

According to a report in the New York Times yesterday, the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz helped assemble a group of investors and lawyers that met with the Securities and Exchange Commission in late March. The Silicon Valley-based venture capital firms and their special counsel met with senior officials from the SEC’s Division of Corporate Finance and the offices of some commissioners on March 28.

The companies argued that regulation could suppress innovation, and proposed that cryptographic tokens do not constitute investments and therefore are not securities. Instead, tokens should be viewed as a means of accessing blockchain-based services and networks, and should be considered “utility tokens,”

Regulators have indicated in private meetings that they are considering whether virtual currencies — including Ether, the second most widely used digital token — should be categorized as a security, according to three people who have been in the meetings. That designation could cause a significant drop in the value of Ether.

Richard Levin, a lawyer at the firm Polsinelli who works with companies in the space said:

“It’s a ‘come to the lord’ moment. We are seeing a watershed moment in which many firms in the digital asset community who may have been ignorant of the law — or poorly informed — are now coming to terms with the fact that they are subject to regulators.”

The group led by Andreessen Horowitz called themselves the “Venture Capital Working Group,” according to the proposal. The group included the two largest venture capital firms in the virtual currency industry, Andreessen Horowitz and Union Square Ventures. It also included lawyers from Cooley, Perkins Coie, and McDermott Will & Emery.

Thousands of virtual currencies have been created through so-called initial coin offerings in which entrepreneurs sold digital tokens to raise money for their projects. The tokens are generally intended to serve as internal payment methods in software that the entrepreneurs are building.

Over the past year, entrepreneurs have raised more than $6 billion through initial coin offerings. These coins mostly trade on unregulated virtual currency exchanges. Many entrepreneurs have said that because their tokens have a utility, as a payment method, they should not be considered investment contracts or securities.

Notably, SEC chairman Jay Clayton raised doubts about the utility token classification earlier this month during a speech at Princeton University, reiterating his previous statement that almost all token sales offer securities.

Clayton said in the speech:

“If I have a laundry token for washing my clothes, that’s not a security. But if I have a set of 10 laundry tokens and the laundromats are to be developed and those are offered to me as something I can use for the future and I’m buying them because I can sell them to next year’s incoming class, that’s a security.”

The S.E.C. has sent subpoenas to dozens of people and companies in the virtual currency industry asking for information about how various digital tokens were issued and marketed to investors.

When investments are securities, they generally need to have paperwork filed with regulators and can only be traded on regulated exchanges, like those where stocks and commodities are bought and sold. No regulated securities exchanges offer virtual currency trading.

Most investors assume that Bitcoin is safe from being categorized as a security because it was not originally issued through an initial coin offering or central organization. New Bitcoins are distributed on a daily basis to computers helping to maintain the network. Some large virtual currencies, like Litecoin and Monero, have similar designs.

But Ethereum, the virtual currency network that houses the Ether virtual currency, did raise money by selling Ether tokens to investors through what was then called a pre-sale and is now often called an initial coin offering. The Ethereum Foundation took in Bitcoin that were worth around $18 million at the time. Ether are now distributed in a manner similar to that of Bitcoin.

The group pulled together by Andreessen Horowitz said in its proposal that Ether “has become so decentralized it should not be deemed a security.”

The proposal suggests that digital tokens should generally be exempt from securities laws if they achieve “full decentralization” or “full functionality.” It adds that full decentralization could occur under several conditions, including “when the token creator no longer has control of the network based on its ability to make unilateral changes to the functionality of the tokens.”

The proposal says a token is fully functional when it can be used for its intended purpose on a computer network and is not just useful as a speculative investment, which is the case with many tokens today.

The group notes that these definitions are only suggestions, but the “proposed safe harbor has been vetted by, and has the support of, many of the key players in the industry.”

The SEC has privately expressed skepticism to such a broad exemption, and is more likely to opt for a “limited exemption” from oversight, wherein each investor would acquire investments limits, and the purchased tokens would not be resold to third parties for profit.

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When is an ICO Exit Scam Not a Scam?

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:10

Many ICOs have raised millions, only to then disappear with the investors money in what is known as an ‘exit scam’. One such project to raise millions in their ICO was Savedroid, a German company founded by a man named Dr. Yassin Hankir. The company raised a total of $50 million through their ICO and direct funding. The team promised to develop an AI to manage user investments along with a crypto-backed credit card.

Then Dr. Hankir decided to flee the country on April 18th with all $50 million in tow. And while he was waiting for his flight to come in at the airport, he chose to thank his loyal followers with a Twitter selfie and a cheeky message: “Thanks guys! Over and out …”

Thanks guys! Over and out … #savedroidICO pic.twitter.com/PMRtjlbEdD

— Yassin Hankir #savedroidico (@YassinHankir) April 18, 2018

Now for the plot twist….Dr. Yassin Hankir has posted a video, declaring that the entire incident was a PR stunt to show how vulnerable investors are to ICO scams. He calls for greater regulation in order to protect investors from being harmed by a development team just absconding with any raised funds. Here is the video he has posted:

Hankir revealed that all of this was just a ‘drastic campaign’ played to highlight how easy it, in fact, is for ICOs to run away with their investors’ money:

“If we look to this market, and this is what we have experienced in the last 4 months, we saw that there is so much scam happening, scam from the beginning to the end of the ICO…exit scams all over the place. We believe, what we have seen so far is just the tip of the iceberg. The question is how can we change that? And I think it should change. We all have a common goal, we want this market —the crypto market, the ICO market— to be sustainable for innovative startups.  That is why we wanted to send this very drastic message by just saying how easy it could have been that we even as a highly regulated German corporation, we could have just run away…. then exit scam with all the funds, leaving all the investors behind.”

So the result of this PR stunt is that Savedroid has in fact managed to bring the limelight back to the vital issue — ICOs need to be better regulated, and investors need to be smarter and more cautious about investing in them.

Savedroid told its investors it ran away with $50 million and then later said "surprise! we still have your money."

This is a desperate attempt to get attention from the cryptocurrency market. You don't mess around with people's money. This ICO has no respect for its investors.

— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) April 19, 2018

However, is staging a fake exit scam the best way to go about this? Opinion is certainly divided, what do you think, please have your say in our comments sections below.

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Amazon Wins Patent Related to Bitcoin Transactions

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 05:09

Amazon Technologies, Inc. has won a patent for a marketplace that offers data feeds. The patent was originally filed in September 2014 and makes reference to bitcoin transactions twice, although the patent is mainly focused around the concept of a streaming data marketplace.

CNBC reported the first bitcoin-related instance described “a data stream that publishes or includes global bitcoin transactions (or any cryptocurrency transaction).” The patent provides an example:

“For example, a group of electronic or internet retailers who accept bitcoin transactions may have a shipping address that may correlate with the bitcoin address. The electronic retailers may combine the shipping address with the bitcoin transaction data to create correlated data and republish the combined data as a combined data stream. A group of telecommunications providers may subscribe downstream to the combined data stream and be able to correlate the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of the transactions to countries of origin. Government agencies may be able to subscribe downstream and correlate tax transaction data to help identify transaction participants.”

CNBC also notes that the patents second bitcoin-related example describes how a law enforcement agency may be interested in global bitcoin transaction data in order to correlate bitcoin wallet addresses to IP or physical addresses. Reads the patent:

“For example, a law enforcement agency may be a customer and may desire to receive global bitcoin transactions, correlated by country, with ISP data to determine source IP addresses and shipping addresses that correlate to bitcoin addresses. The agency may not want additional available enhancements such as local bank data records. The streaming data marketplace may price this desired data out per GB (gigabyte), for example, and the agency can start running analytics on the desired data using the analysis module.”

Are Amazon’s plans positive, or negative for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies in general?

The idea of Amazon providing law enforcement agencies and regulators with a wealth of bitcoin-related (or other cryptocurrency-related) information obviously detracts from cryptocurrency’s promise of relative anonymity. Although the public ledger is, of course public, the identity of the owners is private unless they reveal themselves to be the owners.

Bitcoin users, for example, are represented in the virtual currencies ledger by strings of text and numbers generated by a cryptographic algorithm. Taxation for Bitcoin thus relies on self-reporting. Amazon’s system, if it comes into being, could allow government subscribers to “correlate tax transaction data” with Bitcoin data in order to identify people, the patent filing says.

The patent filing imagines a stream of transactions involving Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency, and therefore the retailers in the stream can “combine the shipping address with the bitcoin transaction data” and publish the combined data to the stream; next, telecommunications companies “downstream” from the retailers may “correlate the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of the transactions to countries of origin;” and further downstream, a government subscriber would “correlate tax transaction data.” With all of this data combined, stream subscribers may be able to identify Bitcoin users.

However, on a positive note, if Amazon and it’s stable of vendors are able to accept bitcoin payments this would be a massive boost to the dominant cryptocurrency’s quest for mass acceptance. With Amazon leading the charge, it’s safe to assume that every other online marketplace would have to follow suit. This is the sort of news that would spark a run to a new ATH.

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Crypto Trading in Japan is Booming with 3.5 Million Active Traders

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 10:44

A recent survey undertaken by Japan’s Financial Services Authority show a huge interest in cryptocurrency, with 3.5 million crypto traders active in the country. The survey, taken from 17 Japanese cryptocurrency exchanges, shows that the most traded cryptocurrencies in Japan are BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC.

The research showed that 84% of the traders were between the ages of 20 and 40, supporting the notion that much of the country’s crypto frenzy has been fueled by a jump in trading activity by millennial-aged investors.

Annual trading in Bitcoin alone has risen from $22 million in 2014 to $97 billion in 2017, with the trading of Bitcoin as an underlying asset like futures even higher, increasing from $2 million to $543 billion over the same time period.

This surging interest in the trading industry is one reason that Japan is taking a strict approach to ICO regulation. Countries like China and South Korea chose to ban ICOs while conducting further investigation into how they work. While Japan announced earlier this month that that a government-backed research group is working on regulatory guidelines that will grant regulatory approval to ICOs whose application is successful.

The guidelines include identification of investors to prevent money laundering, a major concern for many government authorities surrounding ICOs. The guidelines will also cover increased cybersecurity measures to prevent fraud and and insider trading. Legalizing ICOs in Japan could set a useful precedent for other countries to follow, and all eyes are on Japan to see exactly how the regulatory measures will work.

This announcement follows the largest ever heist in cryptocurrency to date which took place earlier this year when Japanese exchange Coincheck was hacked and $550 million worth of NEM tokens stolen, the majority of which have reportedly already been laundered. Coincheck has since been sold for $34 million to Monex following the breach.

With huge amounts of money changing hands, the ICO space is vulnerable to fraud and exploitation – chat service Telegram have raised over $1.7 billion in the largest ever ICO, and discovered a company legally registered by scammersunder the name of the new Telegram venture in an effort to divert funds.

In a space that many agree is in need of some kind of regulation, Japan’s efforts may well be the answer to legally incorporating ICO fundraising to fintech, blockchain, and traditional finance markets in a way that protects investors and continues to allow the cryptocurrency space to develop.

Japan is now officially the world’s largest Bitcoin trading market, and the government certainly seem to be meeting the issue head on by exploring a way of sustaining that growth in a more controlled environment.

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Indian Startup Crypto Exchange Challenges Central Bank Ban

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 08:58

An Indian crypto startup has filed a writ petition challenging the central bank’s mandate of stopping banks from providing services to the sector. The startup was planing to launch a cryptocurrency exchange later this year.

Kali Digital Ecosystems has filed a writ petition at the Delhi High Court seeking to quash the central bank’s order, after deeming the recent Reserve Bank of India (RBI) policy of prohibiting banks from dealing with cryptocurrency companies as “unconstitutional”.

The company had planned to launch a cryptocurrency exchange called ‘Coin Recoil’ in August 2018, adding it has “already undertaken [a] substantial investment in this regard”, in the writ petition.

However, the RBI mandate forcing banks to stop providing services to crypto companies means Kali Digital will not be able to launch or operate the exchange.

An excerpt from the petition reads:

On account of the Impugned Circular, the Petitioner will not be able to avail banking services in connection with operating the cryptocurrency exchange. In the absence of banking services, the Petitioner will not be able to conduct the proposed business.

As a result, the filed petition directly takes on the RBI, India’s Ministry of Finance (Department of Economic Affairs) and the Goods and Service Tax Council, blaming the tax authority of failing to introduce appropriate GST tax laws for the treatment of cryptocurrencies.

The petition has challenged the RBI circular to banks as being “arbitrary and unconstitutional” as well as discriminatory due to “differential treatment” given to the cryptocurrency startup.

The inherent ambiguity present in adequately defining ‘cryptocurrency’ by the RBI, could also mean that airline miles may be mistakenly come under the term, the petition argued.

As reported earlier this month, the RBI’s crackdown has seen trading volumes through popular exchange platforms plummet in recent weeks. Inversely, trading through peer-to-peer platforms like LocalBitcoins have spiked.

The RBI circular mandating the banking blockade comes after three notices urging the public to be wary of cryptocurrency investments. CCN reported on the first warning in December 2013, followed by two separate notices – essentially a rehash of the 2013 warning – in 2017.

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Pantera Capital Says Bitcoin Has Hit a Buy Signal

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 07:34

The CEO of Pantera Capital, Dan Morehead, said bitcoin has hit a buy signal after falling some 75% to then sideway at around $8,000 for the past six days. Pantera focuses exclusively on digital currencies and blockchain technology.

Morehead said:

“For those who are new to Pantera who might think a fund manager like Pantera would always be saying ‘Today’s a great day to get long.’ we’ve only made four cryptocurrency trade recommendations in seven years: three buy recommendations and one sell/it’s-going-to-go-sideways-for-a-while,”

Their rational is bitcoin’s 200 days moving average, which is bitcoin’s average closing price over the last 200 days.

Pantera says:

“Bitcoin just hit that rare buy signal again. It just crossed below its 200-day moving average,”

While a textbook of 200d as an indicator says:

“On the surface, it seems as though the higher the 200-day moving average goes, the more bullish the market is (and the lower it goes, the more bearish). In practice, however, the reverse is true.

Extremely high readings are a warning that the market may soon reverse to the downside. High readings reveal that traders are far too optimistic. When this occurs, fresh new buyers are often few and far between.

Meanwhile, very low readings signify the reverse; the bears are in the ascendancy and a bottom is near. The shorter the moving average, the sooner you’ll see a change in the market.”

In only the fourth trade recommendation over seven years, and seemingly primarily based on the 200d moving average, Pantera has thus apparently turned bullish.

They do not mention other cryptos in their trade recommendation, but they reveal they hold a diverse portfolio of countless of digital currencies, tokens, and business equity. All of the three big ones are there: eth, bitcoin, bitcoin cash. Ripple is there through what appears to be investment in the team or the company. Same for Brave (BAT). While Zcash is there both through the team and through coin holding.

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PornHub Now Accepting Verge Cryptocurrency

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 05:57

Adult entertainment website Pornhub has announced that it will begin accepting the cryptocurrency verge as payment. The company detailed its move in a blog post and accompanying video, saying that it will take the token for its premium services as well as other available purchases.

Beginning today, Pornhub will accept Verge as a payment option for all Pornhub purchases such as Pornhub premium, HD and on-demand services and merchandising, but not recurring subscriptions.

According to Pornhub, the kick-off will be marked by events in New York City and Silicon Valley.

Pornhub VP Corey Price added in a statement:

“Not only is this an exciting announcement for us and the adult entertainment industry, it’s exciting for the crypto space. History has proven that the adult entertainment industry plays a critical role in adoption for innovative technology. We saw that with VHS, Beta Max, credit card payment icons and, most recently, VR goggles. We expect to see widespread adoption of crypto and blockchain in short order.”

Verge’s backers previously stoked speculation about its “mystery deal” earlier this month, and in March moved to collect donations in an effort to push ahead with the partnership.

According to Price, the partnership came about after Pornhub “approached [the Verge team] in a very deliberate selection process.” He also cited the cryptocurrency’s user base and a recent online push on its forums to accept the coin as payment.

Price said:

“We’re extremely excited to offer our fans the ability to use crypto and think Verge, with its focus on anonymity, is the best option – whether for privacy, convenience or both,”

This partnership caused the price of Verge to skyrocket this week, and it will surely go up as this news breaks around the internet. Once the porn industry embraces a technology, that technology tends to begin to thrive. It’s too early to tell if this will set Verge up for success previously experienced by Bitcoin and Ethereum, but it will certainly shake up the cryptocurrency world as investors see Verge succeed as the chosen payment option of an industry that tends to set the curve.

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Will a Bitcoin Rally Start Now That US Tax Season is Ending?

Wed, 04/18/2018 - 05:06

With the end of U.S. tax season upon us, Bitcoin bulls believe that the digital currency will finally begin its next run to prices over $20,000. Despite these predictions from bitcoin bulls that prices would recover, prices pulled back dramatically below $8,000 late Tuesday and have recovered slightly to $8,090 at the time of writing.

Since December 2017 it has been a downward trajectory for cryptocurrencies, with the cryptocurrency market cap plummeting from a high of $820 billion all the way down to $250 billion. This came after the mainstream media began to pile onto cryptocurrencies in a manner that was far from positive.

Despite a bearish Q1 2018, the sentiment portrayed by the public and mainstream media sources appears to be shifting. Investors are becoming cautiously optimistic as they have seen some strength return to the cryptocurrency market, with Bitcoin prices climbing over 20% in a single week. However, this may be premature as the latest small rally may only be a ‘bull trap’.

Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat, has projected that Bitcoin will reach over $25,000 by the end of the year, 25% higher than the prices seen during the 2017 peak in December. Along with this speculation, bullish signals have returned, in the form of positive sentiment, which has begun to pile up.

Spencer Bogart, a partner at Blockchain capital, took a stab at reasons for the market decline by stating:

“Tax-selling has been a significant factor in downward crypto prices over the past few weeks. I would expect this downward pressure to abate after tax day. With the long-awaited passing of the U.S. tax day, bullish investors expect that this will relieve a large majority of selling pressure seen on the market.”

According to Tom Lee, an estimated $25 billion is owed to the IRS for “realized gains” for U.S. households last year. To cover the taxes required for these cryptocurrency gains, many have begun selling their cryptocurrencies for fiat currencies in order to procure the funds needed to pay their tax bills.

The man behind the #bitcoin tax selling theory, @fundstrat's Tom Lee, breaks down why the #cryptocurrency is set for a big rally pic.twitter.com/Ulv5wqlfab

— CNBC's Fast Money (@CNBCFastMoney) April 16, 2018

Along with this speculation about taxes, there have been other positive indicators showing that Bitcoin is ready for more public consumption. The SEC recently indicated that they will be taking a second look at Bitcoin ETFs. It is now clear that this would not be any old ETF. It would be a widespread, highly liquid Bitcoin ETF which would reach millions of new investors.

Along with a public ETF, large financial organizations such as Venrock have announced their plans to make investments in this evolving industry. Venrock is a prominent venture capital firm which has invested over $2.5 Billion dollars in companies like Intel and Apple. Venrock is poised to pour large sums of money into blockchain related startups in a move which obviously emanates classic venture capitalism.

Venrock partner David Pakman stated:

“We wanted to partner with this team that has been making investments and actually helping to architect a number of different crypto economies and crypto token-based projects.”

It is clear that with this move into the space that Venrock is willing to invest in companies which will not only grow the blockchain space but the cryptocurrency space along with it.

Tim Draper, famous venture capitalist and Bitcoin proponent, is even more optimistic about the digital currency’s future, predicting that it will reach over $250,000 by 2022.

On April 12th, Draper confidently announced:

“I’m thinking $250,000 a bitcoin by 2022… Believe it, it’s going to happen; they’re going to think you’re crazy but believe it, it’s happening, it’s going to be awesome!”

Oops! I predicted $250k in 2022. My tweet last night was missing a zero. $250k is the number!

— Tim Draper (@TimDraper) April 13, 2018

These bullish signals, coupled with increased media presence, might be indicators that Bitcoin is getting ramped up for another price surge that will put cryptocurrencies back into the public eye once again. As things begin to pick up, we may see that Mr.Draper’s statement won’t be as outlandish as it currently seems.

Jack Tatar, co-author of “Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond,” said prices could still rebound after Tax Day, but it won’t be immediate.

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Coinbase Snaps up Another Small Crypto Company

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 11:19

Coinbase, the $1.6 billion cryptocurrency exchange announced Monday that it had acquired Earn.com, a crypto company founded by Balaji Srinivasan, a former general partner at Andreessen Horowitz. Srinivasan will join Coinbase as its first chief technology officer, Coinbase said on it’s blog.

Last week, Coinbase said it acquired Cipher Browser, a cryptocurrency-wallet company that lets users store tokens based in the Ethereum blockchain.

CoinDesk’s Pete Rizzo reported last month that Earn.com was in talks with Coinbase. Earn.com, which rebranded from 21.co at the end of last year, provides a platform that allows users to earn cryptocurrency by answering emails.

Citing people familiar with the matter, Recode reported that Coinbase offered a little over $100 million for Earn.com.

Coinbase said in its blog post:

“We’re going to be doubling down on the Earn business within Coinbase, as they have built a paid email product that is arguably one of the earliest practical blockchain applications to achieve meaningful traction,” 

Business Insider’s Becky Peterson has reported on the mergers-and-acquisitions ambitions of Coinbase, which hired its first M&A boss in March to lead a new push for acquisitions and partnerships to expand its opportunities in the booming market.

However, some market observers think Coinbase is biting off more than it can chew. The founder of CoinRoutes, Dave Weisberger, said that Coinbase should focus its resources on understanding markets and regulations and developing its trading technology, which is not at the same level as more established exchanges like the New York Stock Exchange or the Nasdaq.

Weisberger said:

“They have failed to consider the implications of these topics, along with understanding institutional needs, including how and why dark pools evolved, and the nature of fragmentation in displayed markets,” 

Coinbase’s institutional-grade exchange, GDAX, is working on more mature offerings such as advanced order types and products tied to market data. It’s also looking to hire a head of market structure according to a recently posted job ad:

“develop marketplace improvements such as new order types, liquidity incentive programs, and market safeguards,” 

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IMF Boss Says Digital Currencies Can Coexist With Traditional Banks

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:56

Writing in a blogpost as politicians and central bankers gather in Washington for the IMF’s regular spring meetings, Christine Lagarde said there was hope for a world where firms using digital currencies could coexist alongside traditional banks.

She said that level of diversity could build a:

“financial ecosystem that is more efficient and potentially more robust in resisting threats”

The advance of bitcoin and other digital currencies could make the global financial system safer despite the prospect of “inevitable” accidents waiting to happen, the head of the International Monetary Fund has said.

Christine Lagarde said some tools built using the technology behind bitcoin, hold the potential to revolutionise the world of high finance by making it faster, cheaper and safer. Among them, there are “real threats and needless fears”, she said.

An increasing number of consumers have used cryptocurrencies as an alternative to the old ways of holding and moving money and prefer them to traditional banks, which crashed in the 2008 financial crisis. However, many have lost money from volatile price movements and after some cryptocurrency exchanges have been hacked.

Lagarde has previously issued warnings over the risks posed by bitcoin and other digital currencies, calling for global regulators to stage a crackdown by using its technology to “fight fire with fire”.

Last month, she said authorities around the world could harness the potential of cryptocurrencies to help bring them under control. Failure to do so would allow the unfettered development of a “potentially major new vehicle for money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” she added.

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has called bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies “inherently risky” and that they have failed to fulfil their most basic function as money. Bitcoin hit almost $20,000 (£13,958) in value in the run-up to Christmas, before crashing by more than half earlier this year.

But ahead of the IMF’s forthcoming global financial stability report, which looks at emerging risks from the world of banking, Lagarde said there were merits from looking again at crypto-assets.

She said:

“A clear-eyed approach can help us harness the gains and avoid the pitfalls,”

Comparing recent developments to the advances of the 1990s – when thousands of technology companies were started only to collapse a few years later during the dot-com crash – she said many crypto-assets were bound to fail. More than 1,600 digital currencies are in circulation, having ballooned in number in recent years.

However, just as a few technologies that emerged during the dot-com era have since transformed the world, she said crypto-assets that survived this process of “creative destruction” could have a significant impact on how we save, invest and pay our bills. Could this be a realisation that Bitcoin cannot be regulated by governments and therefore the only choice left is to co-opt the technology.

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NFC Integration Could Be Killer App for Lighting Network

Mon, 04/16/2018 - 21:24

Developers are moving ahead on designs to make the Lightning Network (LN) payment system easier to use, with one developer recently submitting a proposal for connecting LN with a payment technology that could make it as easy to use as a credit card, or Apple Pay on your phone.

That payment technology, near-field communication (NFC) would allow a user to pay for an item just by holding their smartphone an inch away from the point of sale device.

NFC-based payments have caught on throughout Asia and Europe through chips embedded in payment cards and smartphones. And while the U.S. might be lagging behind in NFC adoption, bitcoin’s early adopters might just be the right target audience.

A proposal submitted by developer Igor Cota, looks to standardize a way to connect lightning with NFC and Cota is confident combining LN with NFC technology can be a more than valid approach moving forward

Invoking the name of his lightning wallet that uses NFC, Presto, Cota is developing a Lighting Wallet called Pretso that uses NFC:

“I want the payments to be instant just like with the contactless cards we have here in Europe. A user would simply tap on the payment terminal and presto!”

Cota imagines turning any computer into a lightning point-of-sale terminal through the use of a $29 USB attachment, a route that has proven successful in his early tests. Cota’s proposal is about standardizing what he’s created, adding it to the many other standard rules that describe how each lightning software implementation should operate.

Cota is convinced he can make Bitcoin payments more mainstream. Getting rid of QR codes and webpage-based payment options is certainly an important step in this regard. While QR codes are still pretty popular, it’s not necessarily the most convenient solution either. QR codes can be a bit finicky, but they also can become “unwieldy,” Cota said, especially when more information is added to them. In this way, merchants won’t be able to add much information such as itemized receipts and coupons to QR codes, he said. NFC, though, doesn’t have this hurdle.

Cota said:

“I’d like to see a system where the payment terminal sends a nice HTML receipt for the customer – that receipt has, say, a table list of your grocery shopping with subtotal, taxes, grand-total, perhaps a shop logo, some loyalty code or a coupon for future use,”

In Cota’s mind, this would give consumers a more detailed record of their spending habits, empowering them to take even more control of their finances.

Cota added:

“Imagine a wallet that can tell you how much you’ve spent on broccoli last month? With crypto you’re always in control, but with these digital receipts you are even more so.”

In order to do this, Cota is trying to get his NFC implementation added to the standards that lightning network developers have established in an effort to make sure all implementations are compatible with each other.

These standards are called “BOLTS,” and Cota believes NFC should be added to BOLT 11, which explains how “invoices” – describing how much a person owes – should be encoded and presented to a user. It’s a similar process to that of the credit card reader at Starbucks showing you that you owe $4.50 for a mocha latte. At the moment, BOLT 11 only describes a standard for QR codes.

Already, Cota has come up with a rough standard, putting together a Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) type, which is a format for sending data; an NFC application ID, which indicates the payment method is lightning; and a “very simple protocol to forward socket data.”

Though these pieces weren’t so hard to come up with, Cota said he thinks it’s important to write up a standard, whereby all NFC-enabled point-of-sale devices can accept any NFC-based lightning payment, now to be ahead of the game should NFC-based lightning payments take off.

Cota explained:

“For the sake of interoperability, it would be great if we agreed on some standards,”

And already, most of the public technical feedback has been positive, with Lightning developers ZmnSCPxj and Corné Plooy responding favorably to the proposal on the mailing list.

Bridging the gap between NFC and Lightning technology will not be all that easy. The implementation must be added to the current standards introduced by the lightning developers so that the integration is as widely adopted as possible. The idea may still be ahead of its time as so few retailers are currently using LN, but as with most technologies the adoption curve will be very steep if the idea proves popular.

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Why Monero Is More Secure Than Other Cryptocurrencies?

Sun, 04/15/2018 - 16:18

For most cryptocurrency users, the need for secure, private and anonymous transactions occupies a central part when it comes to choice of a cryptocurrency. While blockchain was developed to offer decentralized and anonymous transactions, the use of open-source ledgers means that platforms have become pseudonymous, since public addresses are accessible.

That is precisely why privacy-centric cryptocurrencies emerged. They are designed to offer users privacy and complete anonymity as they transact online. Although there are a number of cryptocurrencies that privacy oriented, Monero seems to be the one that offers a platform to transact privately and anonymously.

So, why do we say that Monero is more secure than any other cryptocurrency?

Monero (XMR) has several features that make it stand out as a secure cryptocurrency: untraceability of transactions, the privacy of wallets through Stealth address, fungibility of transactions, obfuscation using Kovri, and RCT. On websites like aBitGreedy.com to find out how to buy Monero (XMR) and other interesting facts about this community developed cryptocurrency.

Untraceability of transactions on the Monero blockchain

Monero is a privacy-centric crypto that is anonymous and secure. The cryptocurrency has features that protect both the sender and recipient in a transaction. It achieves these through the use of Stealth Addresses and a feature called Ring Signatures.

It is also worth noting that all transactions done in XMR are anonymous by default, unlike other cryptocurrencies that offer opt-in options. The moment a user transacts in Monero, all their footprints are masked by the network’s protocol, making it impossible to track transactions.

If someone were to use the blockchain to try tracking you, Monero makes it impossible by obfuscating all traces to the receiver’s IP address. You cannot pinpoint the address form which a payment was made. Even the receiver of a payment made in Monero cannot tell from who the transaction originates, unless they gave out a unique payment ID and that the transaction corresponds to it.

Even then, only a transaction timestamp will be visible to a second party and not the receiving address of the Monero payment.

Stealth Addresses make transactions unlinkable to the recipient. An honest user may receive funding anonymously, not aware of the funds’ origin. Aid organizations, for instance, can benefit from this feature; receive donor funding from well-wishers whose privacy is also provided by the Ring Signature feature.

Monero’s Stealth Addresses ensures the recipient’s privacy and security during transactions. What the stealth address does is to obfuscate any transaction done on a user’s private address. Every time you transact using Monero, the system creates a new address that can only be used once.

This one-time address is never linked to your public key, making it impossible for you to be tracked using your public address information.  What’s more, this information isn’t recorded on the public blockchain. The unlinkability is made irreversible by way of a secure cryptographic protocol.

The use of ring signatures ensures that transactions can’t be traced back to a certain sender using information available on the blockchain. When you send money through Monero, the system uses what is called ‘mixing outputs” to make it harder for anyone to categorically say that this transaction was made by you. To achieve this, Monero uses one-time digital fingerprints to mix your transaction with thousands of other transactions. The ring signatures make it impossible to trace the address of the sender, offering privacy and security to the sender.

Monero’s Fungibility is great for wider adoption

Simply put, fungibility means Monero cannot be blacklisted by merchants for reason of associating coins with a crime. In other words, at any point your coins are not going to be rejected because they are suspected or linked to some dark use like drug trafficking, theft or so.

Fungibility makes the coins equal in value and can’t be distinguished whatsoever. This is because Monero’s transactional history is untraceable and therefore, there’s no way of telling which coins are tainted and which are not.

Though it may be criticized as offering a haven to criminals on the dark web, (marketplaces like AlphBay and Oasis have adopted XMR), Monero also does have positive use cases.

If I am an investor who buys Monero that is actually linked to the WannaCry hackers, I don’t have to worry because nobody will shun my coins. You cannot distinguish one XMR coin form another.

The bottom line is you may have nothing to do with the said crimes, so Monero offers you, as an innocent user, security through fungibility.

Ring CT makes Monero secure

The implementation of RCT (Ring Confidential Transactions), adds another dimension to the issue of security offered by Monero. Most other cryptocurrencies do not hide the amounts involved in a transaction.

With Bitcoin, for instance, your public key gives another party the access to your transaction history. But that is not possible with Monero. The Monero blockchain hides all transactions, including what the transactions involved. Even with the View Key, one can only be able to see that transactions took place, but not who or what amounts were involved.

IP Obfuscation using the Kovri Protocol

Kovri is a project by Monero that provides free anonymity through I2P-based obfuscation technology. It utilizes garlic encryption and routing to allow a user the freedom to hide their geo-location and importantly, their IP addresses.

Kovri makes use of the internet secure by anonymizing traffic. When you use Monero, the Kovri protocol will hide your internet history by creating an overlay that obfuscates your IP.

BOTTOM LINE!

Even though cryptocurrency began with the promise of privacy and anonymity, most of the major virtual coins are to a large extent open and transparent. Every time you transact on these blockchains, you leave a footprint through the public ledger. What this means is that someone with access to the blockchain can use information unwittingly given out to trace a transaction, linking it back to the real user.

However, this isn’t a problem with the Monero blockchain. The privacy features in place ensure a user’s privacy and security are guaranteed. A lot is being done to improve on these elements even further.  Monero is already in a great position because the future of cryptocurrency is in privacy and anonymity. We hope this article is useful for you. Make sure to visit our website more often and keep up with everything crypto happening around the world. Thank you and until next time.

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Legacy Banking Report Defines Four Hurdles Crypto Must Overcome Before Going Mainstream

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 11:47

According to the authors of Barclays’ annual Equity Gilt Study for 2018, there are four huge hurdles cryptocurrencies, and the wider crypto technology space must overcome, before they can be considered to be truly mainstream,

The Equity Gilt study, a massive report chronicling the bank’s thoughts on important topics in the world of global finance and economics, this year focuses on technology, particularly crypto and artificial intelligence — two subjects that many in markets believe have the potential to cause substantial disruption.

Crypto technologies such as blockchain, as well as cryptocurrencies, Barclays argued are “interesting” and “innovative,” but still need to be proved to be actually useful.

“The title summarizes it all in fact,” Marvin Barth, Barclays’ global head of FX strategy, said at an event to launch the report. “Crypto technologies are a solution still seeking a problem.”

He continued: “The bottom line here is that these are interesting, innovative technologies and they do enable solutions to a bunch of different problems we have encountered in finance and money before, but we already have solutions that are in place that seem to work pretty darn well. What these technologies are facing, is effectively overcoming four critical problems.”

The four challenges, Barth, along with fellow authors Joseph Abate, Zoso Davies, and Tomasz Wieladek argue are as follows:

  1. Acceptance and trust — Basically whether or not the wider population will learn to accept the use of crypto tech in their day-to-day lives.
  2. Sovereignty and regulation — Crypto technologies also need to be adopted, or at least accepted, by governments, and need to be subject to regulations that don’t overarch their abiding purpose.
  3. Privacy — The technology needs to provide privacy of a higher level than that of existing tech. “Privacy actually cuts both ways with these technologies,” Barth noted.
  4. Irreversibility — The current technologies for blockchains are irreversible, which is not always a desirable feature in every aspect of commerce.

The report’s authors note:

“At present, existing technologies appear to be sufficiently good, or even better, to deter broad crypto technology adoption in money and finance,”

To see whether or not crypto tech might be widely adopted, Barth told journalists that the bank:

“tried to look at cryptocurrencies, which are most developed, as a sort of case study for how do these critical challenges fit into their adoption. We did this via a cross country study, where we look at proxies for demand for cryptocurrencies across countries, and what are the characteristics of those countries that seem to be leading this demand. One of the interesting things we’ve seen is that contrary to some of the evangelists for cryptocurrencies, actually inflation doesn’t seem to be a big issue that causes demand,” he said. “It really is about trust and opportunity within societies.”

Countries where cryptocurrencies have so far been most highly adopted for their actual purpose, rather than for simply trying to make money, are largely developing nations, where there is less trust in financial and governmental institutions.

Barth said:

“The places where we see the largest adjusted demand for these currencies tend to be low trust societies or developing countries with few other investment opportunities,”

Essentially, the societies where there will be long term demand for cryptocurrencies are those where it actually solves an existing social problem — such as a lack of trust in financial institutions.

Barth continued:

“You don’t have trust? Well here’s a way to create trust through blockchain and a distributed ledger that allows people to check their transactions,”

“That doesn’t apply in advanced societies,” he added, pointing to the fact that there is seemingly little desire to replace mainstream currencies in major economies.

Central bankers in such economies have also heavily criticised cryptocurrencies, with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney among the loudest voices.

Carney warned back in March that the digital currency could be heading for a “pretty brutal reckoning.”

Another argument where bitcoin falls down, Barth pointed out, is in terms of the speed of payments, something often cited by crypto acolytes as one of their major advantages.

Barth said:

“A lot of people say ‘These will be so much faster than the international payments we have now.’ It’s not clear that there is a Pareto achievement — that is that these are more desirable than what we have in place in terms of speed and complications,”

Barclays is not, Barth said, a: “slow behemoth who can’t figure out technology and how to transfer money in a short period of time,” but faces serious regulatory barriers which stop it from undertaking ultra fast transactions.

“We can do it like that,” he said, clicking his fingers.

“The issue is that we have regulations that require us to check who we’re sending it to, who it’s coming from, and whether they’re money laundering or not.”

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Samsung Confirm Production of ASIC Mining Chips

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 10:15

A Samsung spokesperson recently told Techcrunch that Samsung is “currently engaged in the manufacturing of cryptocurrency mining chips.” They’ve already gotten a taste for cryptocurrency mining as they also produce memory chips for GPUs, which have seen a huge spike in price ever since altcoin mining became popular back in summer 2017. These chips look to supply ASIC manufacturers that produce consumer-ready hardware to sell to the public.

Bitmain, an ASIC manufacturer, produces the vast majority of the world’s ASIC’s at the moment. They’ve been able to produce the most efficient miners in an industry where profit margins are already very small. However, a better product can quickly change the competitive landscape. Bitmain works with TSMC, a Taiwanese chip manufacturing company. Samsung will be a direct competitor with TSMC, but this new-found competition could spawn new hardware manufacturers and may even prompt Samsung to build full ASIC’s rather then just selling the chips.

Bitmain recently announced they had built ASICs for Ethereum and Monero, coins previously thought to be ASIC-resistant. The Monero development team decided to tweak the mining algorithm to effectively brick any ASICs mining on the network and added it to their scheduled network upgrade that occurred earlier this month. However, three groups hard forked to create their own versions – monero classic, monero original and monero zero. (Each new software is compatible with and open to ASIC miners.)

Ethereum developers have spoken out against an emergency hard fork in response to ASICs, and Vitalik Buterin called for “no action” on the issue. In response, one ethereum miner called Buterin’s standpoint a “slap in the face.”

Rob Stumpf, the moderator of EtherMining, the ethereum mining subreddit, said:

“If a developer believes that he or she can improve upon [ethereum] and wishes to start their own fork, they can do just that.”

This whole mining chip debate has brought back ethereum’s interest in scrapping mining by moving from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. Buterin told developers at a recent meeting that ASICs would be flushed out with the upgrade so there isn’t much to worry about (although there still isn’t a date nailed down for that change).

Speaking to ethereum developer’s interest in eliminating mining, Stumpf said:

“Mining was always doomed from the start; it is just a ticking difficulty bomb waiting to explode.”

NVIDIA’s GPUs have seen huge price spikes over the past year as the growing price of cryptocurrency makes mining more and more profitable. People are building massive specialized rigs to mine ASIC-resistant coins, which means the average Joe who wants the newest GTX 1080 to play some video games may have to pay a premium of several hundred dollars extra to get the graphics card. The NVIDIA CEO has spoken to the public about this issue, asking retailers to prioritize sales to gamers over miners.

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