Daily News Digest Featured News

Wednesday March 21 2018, Daily News Digest

Binance Bitrex
Source: Dier and Finance Magnates

News Comments

United States

International

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Latin America

Other

News Summary

United States

THE NSA WORKED TO “TRACK DOWN” BITCOIN USERS, SNOWDEN DOCUMENTS REVEAL (The Intercept), Rated: AAA

It turns out the conspiracy theorists were onto something. Classified documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the National Security Agency indeed worked urgently to target bitcoin users around the world — and wielded at least one mysterious source of information to “help track down senders and receivers of Bitcoins,” according to a top-secret passage in an internal NSA report dating to March 2013. The data source appears to have leveraged the NSA’s ability to harvest and analyze raw, global internet traffic while also exploiting an unnamed software program that purported to offer anonymity to users, according to other documents.

Although the agency was interested in surveilling some competing cryptocurrencies, “Bitcoin is #1 priority,” a March 15, 2013 internal NSA report stated.

Specifically, the NSA targeted bitcoin through MONKEYROCKET, a sub-program of OAKSTAR, which tapped network equipment to gather data from the Middle East, EuropeSouth America, and Asia, according to classified descriptions. As of spring 2013, MONKEYROCKET was “the sole source of SIGDEV for the BITCOIN Targets,” the March 29, 2013 NSA report stated, using the term for signals intelligence development, “SIGDEV,” to indicate the agency had no other way to surveil bitcoin users. The data obtained through MONKEYROCKET is described in the documents as “full take” surveillance, meaning the entirety of data passing through a network was examined and at least some entire data sessions were stored for later analysis.

BITCOIN MAY HAVE been the NSA’s top cryptocurrency target, but it wasn’t the only one. The March 15, 2013 NSA report detailed progress on MONKEYROCKET’s bitcoin surveillance and noted that American spies were also working to crack Liberty Reserve, a far seedier predecessor. Despite being headquartered in Costa Rica, the site was charged with running a $6 billion “laundering scheme” and triple-teamed by the U.S. Department of Justice, Homeland Security, and the IRS, resulting in a 20-year conviction for its Ukrainian founder.

Overstock Reports Loss on Strategic Crypto Investments (CyptoSlate), Rated: AAA

On Friday, in a scheduled fourth-quarter earnings report, Overstock’s crypto unit announced a $22 million loss for the quarter. Medici Venture, Overstock’s crypto-oriented unit endured the losses, which will be paid for by the revenue generated from their recent ICO.

overstock
Source: CryptoSlate

The losses are attributable to investments in platforms and businesses that have not generated any revenue yet. For example, their currency trading platform, tZero invested more than $20 million in companies that haven’t produced positive returns. According to the Wall Street Journal,

Coinbase Hit With Lawsuit Over Bitcoin Cash Insider Trading (Hibusiness), Rated: AAA

Recent reports have it that Coinbase, a cryptocurrency exchange has been attacked by an action lawsuit over “insider trading” at the time of its launch of bitcoin cash.

This case was brought about by Jeffery Berk, who represented a group of investors that placed trading orders on Coinbase or its order book trading platform GDAX from Dec. 19-21, 2017 according to a court document last Thursday.

According to the reports, “the case aims at Coinbase’s Launch of bitcoin cash (BCH) trading in the same month, with the plaintiffs accusing the company of tipping off insiders ahead of the formal launch. As such, the group accuses the firm of negligence, and is seeking damages, the amount of which will be decided at trial.” Cited news reports.

PayPal’s Patent Pursuit: A Turbulence For Ripple’s (XRP) xRapid (Oracle Times), Rated: AAA

Paypal Holding Inc. has filed a patent pursuit on a self-claimed cryptocurrency invention with faster transaction processing time which is absolutely similar to Ripple’s dynamic, fast and low cost liquidity the world has been regarding since it was made public.

What the Founding Fathers’ Money Problems Can Teach Us About Bitcoin (Smithsonian Magazine), Rated: AAA

If you walk into the Ketchup Premium Burger Bar in Las Vegas, tucked inside you’ll find a strange icon of today’s economy: a Coinsource ATM. Put in a few American dollars, and the ATM will quickly exchange them for Bitcoin, the newfangled digital currency, which it will place in your “digital wallet.” Want to do the reverse transaction? No problem: you can sell Bitcoin and withdraw U.S. greenbacks.

The first American Colonists faced a problem: They didn’t have enough currency. At first, the Colonists bought far more from Britain than they sold to it, so pretty soon the Colonists had no liquidity at all.

A young Ben Franklin decided that the United States needed more. He’d noticed that whenever a town got an infusion of foreign currency, business activity suddenly boomed—because merchants had a trustworthy, liquid way to do business. Money had a magical quality: “It is Cloth to him that wants Cloth, and Corn to those that want Corn,” he wrote, in a pamphlet urging the Colonies to print their own paper money.

James Madison argued “nothing but evil” could come from “imaginary money.” If they were going to have currency, it should only be silver and gold coins—things that had real, inherent value. John Adams hotly declared that every dollar of printed, fiat money was “a cheat upon somebody.” As a result, the Constitution struck a compromise: Officially, it let the federal government mint only coins, forcing it to tether its currency to real-world value.

In the years after the Revolution, banks and governments across the U.S. began avidly issuing bank notes, which were used more or less as everyday money.

But figuring out which bill to trust was hard—a daily calculation for the average American.

Bitcoin—and today’s other cryptocurrencies—solve old problems of currency and create new limits on how it’s used. They cannot easily be counterfeited.

Snapchat Bans Initial Coin Offering (ICO) Ads (Legal Gambling and the Law), Rated: AAA

Snap Inc. has banned advertising of initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the Snapchat app, according to a report on Cheddar. The decision follows a similar announcement made by Facebook, Google and Twitter over the past two months. However, Snap has not banned other kinds of ads related to cryptocurrencies.

Snap’s ban on ads related to ICOs has been in effect since early February.

How To Prepare Your Business For The Age Of Stable Bitcoin (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Bitcoin wasn’t meant to be an asset that would continue to rise in value like a rocket. It was supposed to keep a steady, predictable value so that buyers and sellers could use it to set prices and exchange goods and services.

To work as a currency, Bitcoin needs lower volatility than the movements generated by investors. It’s unlikely to create that low volatility while people are still using it as a get-rich-quick scheme.

That means business owners need to do three things.

First, they need to prepare for a return to Bitcoin as a currency.

Second, lower volatility isn’t the same as no volatility. Once you decide to accept Bitcoin, be prepared to protect your revenues until Bitcoin is as stable as fiat.

And, third, you should also be ready to accept other altcoins.

Alt-coin bear market is over, but bitcoin is still the best bet (CNBC), Rated: A

Thomas Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, said the bear market for small-cap cryptocurrencies is over. But he said he still thinks bitcoin is the best bet for investors.

On Jan. 13, the indicator hit 78 percent, “which is normally a top,” he said.

Lee still expects bitcoin to reach $20,000 by the middle of the year and $25,000 by the end of the year, he said.

Major Factors That Would Make Starbucks Adopt Ripple In 2018 (Global Coin Report), Rated: A

Firstly, Starbucks receives roughly 1/3 rd of its orders from its mobile app. Secondly, the CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schulz has a highly positive attitude towards cryptocurrencies and believes that integration of a cryptocurrency like Ripple would create a significant, long-term shareholder value for the company.

  1. Expanding brand reputation of Ripple: In spite of the fact that Bitcoin still enjoys the biggest brand name and market status, Ripple has been steadily earning a name for itself as the potential breakout candidate for one of the best-performing cryptocurrencies of 2018.
  2. The usage of RipplePay: Starbucks is going to be hard-pressed to start accepting cryptocurrency as a means of payment in 2018. This opens the avenue for the development of an application, similar to LitePay, which allows Ripple holders to spend XRP however they choose without needing the merchant to reciprocate.
  3. The transactional utility of XRP:
    • Extremely low-cost transaction fees
    • Extremely high transaction speed

Three Reasons why Litecoin (LTC) LitePay Will Be Adopted in 2018 (CryptoRecorder), Rated: A

The 4th cryptocurrency by market capitalization has been struggling to recover its lost value due to the instability in the cryptocurrency market following pressure from regulatory authorities around the world.

The Litecoin Cash hard fork caused an upsurge in the price of LTC, but the crypto went through what is known us hump and dump which saw the value gain depreciate to the trading levels recorded in early December 2017. The announcement that Litecoin (LTC) will launch LitePay; a payment card system for purchasing goods and services caused another upsurge in the price of LTC from lows of $160 to $234. In addition to that, there was a $2 billion increase in Litecoin market capitalization.

Reasons Why LitePay will be Adopted in 2018

  1. LitePay Solves the Current Problem of Cryptocurrency Commerce Adoption
  2. LitePay State of the art Prepaid Card
  3. LitePay lower transaction fees and Commissions

Could these grain-sized computers using blockchain networks thwart counterfeiters? (Computerworld), Rated: A

IBM has created a microcomputer technology called cryptographic anchors (abbreviated: crypto-anchors) and says they could be used to authenticate anything from pharmaceuticals to luxury goods, such as diamonds, from point of origin to merchant.

Fraud costs the global economy more than $600 billion a year, according to IBM, and in some countries, nearly 70% of certain drugs are counterfeit.

THE FCC SHOULD USE BLOCKCHAIN TO MANAGE WIRELESS SPECTRUM (Wired), Rated: A

Spectrum may be invisible, but it is some of the most important infrastructure we have. The wireless frequencies used to transmit voice and data signals over the air keep us connected and facilitate everything from Wi-Fi to GPS to the Internet of Things.

But as dependence on wireless technologies expands, the demands on our airwaves are growing, too, which means it’s time for spectrum policy to evolve.

This effort is a step forward in spectrum management. But it’s time to take this model further into the future. The FCC can do that by leveraging new technologies that are smarter and more decentralized—like blockchain.

Why President Trump’s Banning the Petro Matters for Real Cryptocurrencies (AIER.org), Rated: A

Observers initially thought it was run on something resembling a blockchain, except that all the nodes of the network were controlled by the regime. But then the next draft of the Petro’s white paper said it would live on the Ethereum blockchain, as do many other cryptocurrencies and tokens. And then the next draft deleted all references to Ethereum and said it would instead use NEM, another blockchain protocol.

But the Petro did have at least one undeniable source of value, as a tool for the Venezuelan government to do business beyond its borders while avoiding global sanctions. And at least on paper, that was the American government’s concern.

US Treasury Could Add Cryptocurrency Wallet Addresses To Sanctions List (ETH News), Rated: A

On March 19, 2018, the US Department of the Treasury issued guidanceregarding virtual currency sanctions levied by its Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), explaining that OFAC may add specific digital currency addresses to the Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) List. The guidance occurred on the same day that President Trump issued an executive ordersanctioning the Venezuelan petro cryptocurrency.

Will A U.S. Company Ever Issue Its Own Cryptocurrency? (Forbes), Rated: A

Who will be the first American brand-named company to issue their own cryptocurrency?

Chalk Kodak up as the “almost first” U.S. company to issue their own cryptocurrency. Who would have ever guessed that?

On March 14, Playboy said it would create its own cryptocurrency wallet, allowing for payment of Playboy’s product line in crypto.

The big daddy of them all would be Amazon. An AmazonCoin would be a game changer.

Cryptocurrency Miner Pulls Plug In Massena (WWNYTV), Rated: A

Blockchain Industries said it would spend $600 million and employ 500 at a cryptocurrency mine and call center in Massena. Now it’s pulling back. It says that’s because the New York Power Authority will not give it cut-rate power. Blockchain Industries says it’s Massena’s loss.

Maryland Bills Call for Study, Possible Regulation of Blockchain (CoinDesk), Rated: B

House Bill 1634 and its companion Senate Bill 1068, together known as the Financial Consumer Protection Act of 2018, would mandate that the Maryland Financial Consumer Protection Commission study the technology and the space.

‘Production-ready’ blockchain networks easier to build on updated Ethereum on Azure (Tech Republic), Rated: B

On Monday, Microsoft announced new improvements to its Ethereum on Azure offering, designed to help enterprises create production-ready consortium blockchain networks.

International

Binance and Bitrex List Better Coins Than Their Competitors, Study Says (Finance Magnates), Rated: AAA

According to the study’s findings, the inverse success ratio of new tokens generated via an ICO is 27 percent for Bittrex and 38 percent for Binance, while for both Huobi and OKEx, the ratio is 64 percent. HitBTC, which lists the maximum number of new tokens, meanwhile has an inverse success ratio of 61 percent.

Binance Bittrex
Source: Dier and Finance Magnates

Binance Inches Closer to Revealing Hacking Group (NewsBTC), Rated: A

In the case of Binance, their hacker bounty program sheds some interesting light on how this attack was performed. It seems this is not the work of an individual user per se. Instead, there is most likely a group that is responsible for this most recent development.

Binance API Hackers Suspected To Be Russian (Cryptona), Rated: B

Over the course of a few months, the hackers were out and about using fake websites to collect user data. They managed to gain access to 31 Binance user accounts which they could then use to create an API key.

Among the domain owners contained here and provided in the post, the names of two Russian individuals keep popping up consistently. Additionally, it’s worth noting that these individuals have already been involved with previous phishing attacks related to Bittrex.

Find out which cryptocurrency you are in this 78,3% accurate list (The Next Web), Rated: AAA

The Shopaholic

Last year, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was created by ‘forking’ the Bitcoin blockchain ledger — meaning the underlying technology was copied but with upgraded consensus rules that allow it to grow and scale. While Bitcoin remains the Goliath, the young upstart Bitcoin Cash has been able to gain some ground. This is mainly because compared to Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash is better able to act as “digital cash,” as it can be used for small payments (micropayments) to certain merchants without breaking the bank.

The Suit

Maybe you have no interest in sticking it to The Man, because, well, you are The Man.

Then Ripple (XRP) is for you! Cryptocurrencies have gone corporate with Ripple, which is the cryptocurrency for financial institutions.

Financial institutions like Ripple both because it isn’t mined by users — instead the company (Ripple) has centralized control — and because transactions occur much quicker with Ripple than cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

The Underdog

Some people spend their whole lives struggling to come first, while others have no problem being the runner-up. Litecoin (LTC) founder Charlie Lee is one of those people.

The Prepper

So if you’re going off-grid, trying to become a deep-cover spy, or just really don’t want people seeing your texts, then Monero is the cryptocurrency for you.

G20’s crypto decision plus a string of new listings will push Litecoin (LTC) to 00 (Crypto Globalist), Rated: A

One of the reasons why the crypto market had dipped quite hard in the last few days were fears that the G20 would recommend stringent regulations against the crypto market. However, as it is emerging, that will not be the case. Litecoin has already edged up by more than 10% in the last 24 hours, signaling the increased investor confidence.

Abra, a platform that aims to take cryptocurrencies to the mass market has chosen to add Litecoin to their platform instead of Bitcoin cash. This is guaranteed to increase Litecoin trading volumes, and it’s a good thing for Litecoin’s future growth.

On top of that, there is emerging news that LTC could be added to the Gemini exchange. A listing on this exchange could easily be the trigger that pushes Litecoin to over $300 in the next few weeks.

The ‘Crypto Bubble’ Was About More Than Market Mania (CoinDesk), Rated: A

And I apply the same positive mindset to the current crypto bubble. (Yes, this IS a bubble. People will lose money. Many coins will die. This isn’t FUD.)

One way to look at the current bubble is through the lens of Carlota Perez, the Venezuelan theorist who wrote about the interplay between technology and capital markets in an influential book called “Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages.” She concluded that bubbles – and their inevitable collapse – are an integral, in fact necessary, part of the economic dynamics through which transformational technologies take root in society.

Who Will Be The World’s First Crypto Nation? (Forbes), Rated: A

The really burning question right now is whether nations will be able to adapt to this new economic reality fast enough and become true Crypto-Nations: a nation where cryptocurrencies are embraced, clearly and fairly regulated, taxed, powering multiple level of their economies, capital formations, and workforce, while improving overall value creation and political impact on a global scale. This, of course, won’t happen overnight, but some countries are further along, or more disposed to the future than others.

Reddit’s biggest cryptocurrency forum is banning memes and shilling (The Next Web), Rated: A

Reddit has gradually cemented its reputation as the go-to place for all sorts of banter and discussions around the cryptocurrency and blockchain space – and the popular /r/Cryptocurrency forum has played a central role in this trend. But due to its unexpected growth over the past few months, /r/Cryptocurrency is changing its rules.

In a recent post, the community’s moderators announced the updated policy aims to curb a growing number of co-ordinated misinformation campaigns from individuals seeking to benefit from manipulating the market.

For starters, the community is moving all comedy and meme posts to the new /r/Cryptocurrencymemes subreddit, which will be precisely dedicated to this sort of content. This means all meme submissions will now be removed from the main subreddit, and moved to the newly founded one.

Long Blockchain Corp. Announces Minority Investment in Stater Blockchain (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Long Blockchain Corp. (Nasdaq: LBCC) (“Long Blockchain” or the “Company”) today announced that it has closed on a strategic investment in Stater Blockchain Limited (“Stater”), a technology company focused on developing and deploying globally scalable blockchain technology solutions in the financial markets. Stater’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Stater Global Markets, is a Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulated brokerage that facilitates market access across multiple instruments including spot FX, exchange traded futures and contracts for difference (CFDs).

12 WORST CRYPTOCURRENCIES TO AVOID, ACCORDING TO WEISS RATINGS (Bitcoinist), Rated: B

The latest grades according to the agency with a Cryptocurrency Rating of D- or lower include the following twelve:

  • Auraracoin (D-),
  • Comet (E-),
  • Electroneum (E+),
  • Expanse (E),
  • Gulden (D-),
  • Matchpool (E),
  • Magacoin (E-),
  • Novacoin (E),
  • PotCoin (D-),
  • Quark (E-),
  • Rise (D-)
  • SaluS (E-)
United Kingdom

Largest Bitcoin Mining Farm in UK Seeking Investors (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

Bladetec, a UK tech company with past experience in IT support for NATO and the UK Ministry of Defense, is building the first Bitcoin mine in Europe funded by investors in a limited company protected by UK law.

Located in the Southeast of the United Kingdom, the facility – Third Bladetec Bitcoin Mining Company (TBBMC) – will cover 3,500 square feet divided in three locations in London, Surrey, and Suffolk.

In order to build and operate the farm for up to two years, the company is raising £10 million from investors.

15-Year-old Finds Flaw in Ledger Crypto Wallet (Krebs on Security), Rated: AAA

Yet Saleem Rashid, a 15-year-old security researcher from the United Kingdom, discovered a way to acquire the private keys from Ledger devices. Rashid’s method requires an attacker to have physical access to the device, and normally such hacks would be unremarkable because they fall under the #1 rule of security — namely, if an attacker has physical access to your device, then it is not your device anymore.

The crux of the problem is that Ledger’s devices contain a secure processor chip and a non-secure microcontroller chip. The latter is used for a variety of non-security related purposes, from handling the USB connections to displaying text on the Ledger’s digital display, but the two chips still pass information between each other. Rashid found that an attacker could compromise the insecure processor (the microcontroller) on Ledger devices to run malicious code without being detected.

Ripple’s XRP Might Be the Next Crypto Futures Market (CoinDesk), Rated: A

U.K.-based startup Crypto Facilities has been operating a futures market for the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency, developed by blockchain startup Ripple Inc., for almost 18 months now. And while the company’s CEO, Timo Schlaefer, has been tight-lipped about the product so far, he sees trends in recent data that indicate broader XRP futures adoption may be on the horizon.

Cambridge Analytica: ICO seeks warrant to raid London offices (IT Pro), Rated: A

The UK’s data privacy watchdog is seeking a warrant to raid Cambridge Analytica’s London headquarters in order to investigate allegations that the company illegally harvested the information of 50 million Facebook profiles.

The Estonian bank that works with TransferWise and Coinbase is opening in the UK (Business Insider), Rated: B

Estonian bank LHV is opening a UK branch in a bid to win more financial technology business in what it’s CEO believes is “the fintech capital of Europe.”

China

ICO ghost writers offer initial coin offering ‘white papers’ for US$ 475 (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Taobao, one of the world’s biggest e-commerce websites run and owned by China’s Alibaba Group, is arguably most famous for selling anything to anyone.

No less than 12 vendors on the site are offering buyers tailor-made, ghostwritten “white papers”, or business plans, on how to launch their very own initial coin offerings (ICO), or fundraisings using virtual currencies.

Two of them, who say they are based in Beijing and Shenzhen, told the South China Morning Post they can write 8,000-10,000 word plans in Chinese in less than a week, for the bargain price of 3,000 yuan (US$475). An English version will set you back another 3,500 yuan.

“In a way, they all just copy the technical parts from each other,” said Leonhard Weese, president of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong.

Crypto Exchange Lists the Blockchain Startup Protecting Autonomous Cars (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Hong Kong-based OKEx became the first crypto exchange to list the South Korean high tech startup Cube, as was announced on Feb. 28. Cube’s team recently revealed its project that will protect network security designed for driverless cars and autonomous vehicles, by use of Blockchain technology. As OKEx representatives told Cointelegraph, the exchange is listing a new token called AUTO to provide the customers with another option to benefit from their investments.

What is AirSwap (AST) and should you invest in it? (Forex News Now0, Rated: A

AirSwap is a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency. In October 2017, Michael Novogratz formerly of Fortress hedge fund agreed to join the board of directors at AirSwap. Novogratz has been attracting headlines on his own with heavy deals such as the launch of a $500 million digital assets fund through his firm, Galaxy Investment Partners. AirSwap, on the other hand, is a joint venture with Consensys which is best known for being one of the leading developers of Ethereum.

AirSwap is meant to provide every other Ethereum based token holder a chance to access a decentralized exchange marketplace instantly. In such an exchange, a token holder is able to create a Smart Contract and putting their tokens up for sale.

300cubits trials blockchain technology for shipping industry (Ship-Technology), Rated: B

Hong Kong-based company 300cubits has successfully conducted the first trial shipment under its smart contract deployed through its Ethereum blockchain technology.

Malaysian liner company West Port and Brazilian textile importer LPR have taken part in the trial.

European Union

Crypto Investment Bank Community Banca Giveaways 200 Prizes Including Porsche 911 During Its ICO (Coinspeaker), Rated: AAA

Banca uses its own Banca token to run the platform. At the moment it celebrates World`s Premier Listing. The platform wants to thank all the supporters and gives them a chance to win amazing prizes. During March 7-28, Banca runs a competition – and the winner can get Porsche 911 Carrera T. The only thing needed to participate in this activity is to trade Banca token on your HitBTC account. All the users will be ranked due to the trading volume. The prize for the first place is Porsche 911, the second rank brings the user Volvo. Seven more users will be rewarded with IPhone X.

Bitcoin’s Blockchain Contains “Hundreds of Links” to Child Pornography (Fortune), Rated: A

Bitcoin’s supporters have pointed to its falling use in illegal transactions as a sign of the cryptocurrency’s growth toward mainstream acceptance. But German researchers say that links to child pornography within technology underlying Bitcoin could stifle its development.

Blocksquare Democratizes Investments in Commercial Estate with Series A Crowdsale (GlobeNewswire), Rated: A

Blocksquare, a blockchain-based plug and play system to power commercial real estate tokenization, today announces its Series A crowdsale to provide online real estate platforms with a way to tap into the upcoming tokenized real estate market. As the Ethereum of real estate and one of the first real estate projects sold in this way, Blocksquare is developing the infrastructure layer and standard for real estate tokenization and fractional ownership to open real estate ventures for anyone with an internet connection. The Blocksquare token (BST), an Ethereum (ETH) based utility token used to fuel the Blocksquare network, is available to the public in its Series A crowdsale beginning April 18.

blocksquare

SwissRealCoin promises a stable cryptocurrency backed by Swiss real estate (VentureBeat), Rated: B

Today, SwissRealCoin (SRC) has announced its estate-backed cryptocurrency platform, which enables access to Swiss real estate value for investors around the world.

Further UHNWI Investment To Support FinTech Entrepreneur Zichain’s Growth and Innovation (Investegate), Rated: B

Zichain, a Switzerland-based digital asset management company, is pleased to announce that it has secured an USD 1.2m investment from a syndicate of UHNW Hong-Kong based investors, supporting further development of its unique cryptocurrency products.

Australia

Digital Currency Market in Australia Grows as Trading on Crypto-Exchanges Tops AU $ 3.9 Billion in 2017 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Australia’s digital currency market is booming. This is according to a report by the Australian Digital Commerce Association (ACDA) and Accenture that tallied the numbers for 2017. During the year, over AU $3.9 billion was traded on cryptocurrency exchanges with more than 300,000 active traders. Unsurprisingly, Accenture / ACDA said the majority of traders were under the age of 40. Even more telling is the information that 40 percent of cryptocurrency customers are aged 18 to 29. The most popular digital currency was Bitcoin with AU$1.86 in volume followed by Ethereum with AU $712 million in trading.

Key Findings of the Accenture / ACDA report include:

  • The seven participating Australian crypto exchanges processed more than 2.7 million cryptocurrency transactions in 2017.
  • The largest individual transaction by any exchange was worth AU $500,000.
  • The average trade value was AU$1,430.
  • Customer Demographics: There were 312,633 unique customers in total registered across all seven exchanges at the end of 2017.
  • Employment:The average number of full-time employees (FTEs) at participating exchanges nearly quadrupled in 2017, from 2.9 FTEs in January 2017to 11.3 FTEs by December 2017.
  • Trading Currencies: All seven exchanges trade Bitcoin (BTC), with approximately AU $1.864 billion traded in 2017.
  • Six out of seven exchanges trade Ethereum (ETH), with about AU $712 million traded in 2017.
  • Three Exchanges trade Litecoin (LTC), with approximately AU $330 million traded in 2017.
  • Ripple (XRP) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) are each traded by two exchanges, with approximately AU $566 million and AU $374 million of each currency, respectively, traded in 2017.

83% of Australian Cryptocurrency Investors are Male, Study Shows (CCN), Rated: A

study of Australian cryptocurrency traders has discovered that 8 out of ten are men.

The study examined data from seven cryptocurrency trading exchanges spanning a period of 12 months. More than 83 percent of the registered 312,633 traders were male, according to the work by the Australian Digital Commerce Association and Accenture (ADCA).

Whilst the gender divide was the biggest result, the data also showed that 71 percent of traders were under 40 years of age, with 18-to-29 year olds the largest group at 40 percent.

Asia

Hardware Wallet Demand in South Korea Grows Exponentially (Bitcoin.com), Rated: AAA

According to local reports in South Korea, demand for hardware wallets is increasing exponentially. 

Many cryptocurrency enthusiasts worldwide use cold storage devices like Trezor, Ledger, Bitbox, and Keepkey. However, South Koreans also have a few local choices to choose from when it comes to hardware wallets and more in the near future. The cold storage hardware producers selling products in South Korea or plan to launch this year include Key Fair, Penta Security, Coldwelt, and K-Sine.

Thailand’s central bank is studying use of wholesale digital currency (Forex Live), Rated: A

He says that they are currently studying the use of wholesale central bank digital currencies (CBDC) with commercial banks.

Adding that this pilot project will help to increase efficiency and reduce costs for interbank settlement and that it may link with other countries’ CBDC in the future.

MENA

Bitcoin Cafe in Israel: Chain Café Joe Supports Coinbase Wallet (cryptovest), Rated: A

The Israeli-coffee shop chain said it is now supporting the Coinbase payment option and Nano.

Canada

Canada’s VersaBank Lands Two Prospects to Use Its Crypto Vault (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

The bank announced on Monday that it had signed two memorandums of understanding – one with a cryptocurrency exchange and the other with a “cryptocurrency-based fund.”

Latin America

Venezuelan Politician Blasts US Sanctions as Petro ICO Goes Public (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

A senior politician from Venezuela’s ruling party has denounced the sanctions imposed by the U.S. government against its recently launched national cryptocurrency, the oil-backed petro.

Venezuelan City Launches Its Own Currency Amid Cash Crunch (KCUR), Rated: A

Elorza, in western Venezuela near the border with Colombia, is selling its own bills featuring the image of an independence leader from the area, according to Reuters.

Kleros, the Justice Protocol, Brings Fairness to the Broken ICO Market (Kleros Email), Rated: A

Kleros, a new dispute resolution layer for virtually everything on the internet, has announced that they will be using the model of an ‘Interactive Initial Coin Offering’ (IICO) for the company’s crowd sale coming on May 15. It will mark one of the first times a company has gone without private funding and exclusively used the IICO model in a public crowd sale.

A total of 16% of all PNK tokens will be issued in the Kleros IICO on May 15th, with the remainder of the supply earmarked for a public sale to follow. In total, 66% of the 1 billion PNK minted will be distributed for sale.

One of the guiding principles of the IICO model is that it eliminates favoritism and deep discounting. Kleros has declined private sale offers from major investors, electing to proceed directly to a public sale in which everyone has an equal opportunity to acquire tokens. Buyers are free to submit a bid for tokens, but retain the option of voluntarily withdrawing their offer if the ‘hard cap’ of the sale become too high.

The IICO concept resolves problems associated with capped sales including oversubscription, network congestion, and, in the case of uncapped sales, misaligned incentives between contributors and developers. Kleros’ purchase protocol will allow participants to specify the amount of tokens they’d like to purchase and a personal cap in ETH. The contract will then remove contributors whose cap was exceeded, starting with the lowest bids, and these individuals will be given the option of entering a higher personal cap to ensure inclusion.

Eurasia

Telegram Loses Bid to Block Russia From Encryption Keys (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Supreme Court Judge Alla Nazarova on Tuesday rejected Telegram’s appeal against the Federal Security Service, the successor to the KGB spy agency which last year asked the company to share its encryption keys. Telegram declined to comply and was hit with a fine of $14,000. Communications regulator Roskomnadzor said Telegram now has 15 days to provide the encryption keys.

Blockchain eSports platform Play2Live raises $ 30 million in ICO (Leaprate), Rated: A

The decentralised streaming platform for gamers and eSports fans Play2Live announced that it has completed its ICO (Initial Coin Offering) campaign, raising $30 million in total in less than two months.

Bermuda

Bermuda Drafting ICO-Friendly Legislation to Draw Crypto Businesses (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

A move toward ICO regulation is underway in Bermuda, the premier of the British Overseas Territory said last Friday.

David Burt, who is also the minister of finance, provided an overview of a draft bill to the parliament’s House of Assembly, saying that legislators will take a “measured approach” to regulating the crypto industry in order to make the island “a global leader in the fintech space.”

Africa

TOP 5 AFRICAN BLOCKCHAIN APPLICATIONS (Trend Watching), Rated: AAA

De Beers

January 2018 saw South African-founded diamond company De Beers announce a pilot program using blockchain to ensure its diamonds are authentic, conflict-free and natural. Blockchain provides a permanent, unchangeable record for every diamond registered from the moment they are mined. De Beers aims to fully launch the initiative over 2018.

Interpol & VoguePay

February 2018 saw the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) partner with online payments provider VoguePay to develop a blockchain-based information portal for crime control in Nigeria. The citizen-focused platform, named interPort, will allow Interpol to access information and manage stakeholder engagements and crime reporting.

The Democratic Republic of Congo

A pilot scheme, set to launch in Q3 2018, will use blockchain to monitor cobalt mining in the Democratic Republic of Congo.The scheme aims to ensure that cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries (found in everything from cellphones to electric cars) hasn’t been mined by children. Companies are under increasing pressure from consumers and investors to show that cobalt has come through supply chains free of rights abuses, similar to other minerals such as tantalum, tin, tungsten and gold.

WISeKey & Microsoft

October 2017 saw Switzerland-based cybersecurity company WISeKey partner with Microsoft to help the Rwandan government develop blockchain-based initiatives. The partnership is part of an ongoing collaboration to turn Rwanda into a blockchain and IoT center of excellence. The first phase of the initiative includes digitizing Rwanda’s Land Registry to aid authenticity – proving ownership of land and property in developing countries is a well-documented problem.

Pick n Pay

During September 2017, a Cape Town branch of Pick n Pay accepted bitcoin as a payment for groceries and services. The pilot was developed in partnership with software payments provider Electrum and bitcoin company Luno. To checkout, shoppers scanned a QR code using the Luno app and confirmed the bitcoin transaction.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

About the author

Allen Taylor

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *