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Thursday May 17 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

The SEC Has an Opportunity You Won’t Want to Miss: Act Now! (SEC), Rated: AAA

Check out the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy’s mock initial coin offering (ICO) website that touts an all too good to be true investment opportunity. But please don’t expect the SEC to fly you anywhere exotic—because the offer isn’t real.

The SEC set up a website, HoweyCoins.com, that mimics a bogus coin offering to educate investors about what to look for before they invest in a scam. Anyone who clicks on “Buy Coins Now” will be led instead to investor education tools and tips from the SEC and other financial regulators.

The website features several of the enticements that are common to fraudulent offerings, including a white paper with a complex yet vague explanation of the investment opportunity, promises of guaranteed returns, and a countdown clock that shows time is quickly running out on the deal of a lifetime.

The website’s name, HoweyCoins, is a bit of an Easter egg—a tongue-in-cheek reference to the Howey test that’s used to determine whether a transaction is an investment contract.

LedgerX Announces the First Regulated Bitcoin Savings Account (CryptoSlate), Rated: AAA

Bitcoin bulls now have a new opportunity to put their money where their sentiment is. On Tuesday, CFTC regulated derivatives exchange, LedgerX, launched a Bitcoin savings account, the latest in a slew of traditional banking products made available for the digital currency.

Bitcoin Downloads Booming For Square But Big Money Yet To Come (Investors.com), Rated: A

San Francisco-based Square (SQ) makes credit-card readers that plug into mobile phones and tablets. In November, it set up a Bitcoin exchange so that users of its Square Cash app could buy and sell the digital cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin has not been a big moneymaker for Square. Square said Bitcoin accounted for $34 million in gross revenue in its first quarter. That’s the total sale amount of Bitcoin to customers.

But adjusted revenue from Bitcoin during the period was $200,000. That’s Square’s Bitcoin sales to app users, minus the cost of purchasing the digital currency.

Bitcoin will surge again this year. But here’s what needs to happen first, says CoinShares chairman (CNBC), Rated: A

Bitcoin will rally this year and reach its previous highs, CoinShares Chairman Danny Masters predicted.

But here’s what needs to happen first: Better structures and a life cycle post initial coin offerings (ICOs) — the fundraising process that helps launch new cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, And Other Major Cryptocurrencies To Get A Boost From New Funds (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and other major cryptocurrencies are expected to get a boost from the launch of two mutual fund-like cryptocurrency index funds, IronChain MiX10 and IronChain MiX10 Institutional.

“Both Funds will track the MiX10 Index, a market cap weighted index that tracks up to the 10 largest cryptocurrencies,” according to a press release by IronChain Capital, which is to launch the two funds.

That’s a bullish development for major cryptocurrencies. For an obvious reason: It will help address multiple barriers to investing in major cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin 101: The volatile cryptocurrency industry and if it’s right for you (Fox11), Rated: A

Some people are referring to the Bitcoin boom as ‘the digital gold rush, hoping to get 15-20 times the return they put into it over the next few years.  But unlike the dollar, Bitcoin is not government backed, and that’s why naysayers pan cryptocurrency, and that’s also why Bitcoin buyers love it.

If you’re interested in getting into the cryptocurrency game, most investors buy and sell on an exchange like Coinbase or Kraken, and there are mobile apps that can track the value in real time. Some people buy fractions of fractions of Bitcoin, such as $20 worth of Bitcoin and they see where it goes as an investment.

Bitcoin is consuming as much energy as the country of Ireland (The Outline), Rated: AAA

In addition to being insufferable, Bitcoin is also absolutely terrible for the environment. According to a letter published today in the energy journal Joule by financial economist and blockchain specialist Alex de Vries, the Bitcoin network is consuming roughly 2.55 gigawatts of energy annually, at the absolute minimum. To put that in context, that’s nearly the same amount of energy consumed by the entirety of Ireland. That’s just the conservative current estimate; De Vries predicts that by December, the Bitcoin network could be using almost triple that.

Bitcoin Ireland

 

Coinbase To Unite Two Scorned Corners Of The Financial Market (Dealbreaker), Rated: AAA

San Francisco-based Coinbase plans to introduce “low-latency performance,” the company said in a blog post, using a term in the exchange industry that means extremely fast processing times.

Coinbase also said it would allow trading firms to place their servers directly in its data center, a practice called co-location….

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong to talk the future of cryptocurrency at Disrupt SF (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Coinbase has come a long way since its launch in 2012. The company has raised more than $225 million and paved the way for cryptocurrencies to enter the mainstream by providing a digital currency exchange. Which is why we’re absolutely thrilled to have Coinbase  co-founder and CEO Brian Armstrong join us on the main stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF in September.

Coinbase’s first investment, Compound, earns you interest on crypto (TechCrunch), Rated: A

Compound wants to create liquid money markets for cryptocurrency by algorithmically setting interest rates, and letting you gamble by borrowing and then short-selling coins you think will sink. It plans to launch its first five for Ether, a stable coin, and a few others, by October.

It’s just become the first-ever investment by crypto exchange juggernaut Coinbase’s new venture fund. It’s part of an $8.2 million seed round led by top-tier VC Andreessen Horowitz, crypto hedge fund Polychain Capital and Bain Capital Ventures — the startup arm of the big investment firm.

What does Coinbase see in the Compound crypto lending platform? (finder), Rated: A

Venture capital divisions are all the rage these days as tech giants realise it’s a lot cheaper to fund useful projects from inception, rather than buying them out later. Coinbase recently jumped in with its own VC fund, Coinbase Ventures, which made its first investment shortly afterwards.

The recipient is a startup called Compound. As the story reported in TechCrunch goes, Compound was just about to wrap up its funding round when Coinbase VC was announced. The Compound team sent an email, and after a few hours of thorough evaluation, the fledgling company was a few million dollars richer.

Wall Street Vet Brian Kelly Launches Blockchain ETF (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Investment manager Brian Kelly is launching a new blockchain startup-based exchange-traded-fund (ETF), he announced Wednesday.

Mercury Cash Launches Miami Crypto Exchange (MCEX), Powered by AlphaPoint Blockchain Technology (AlphaPoint), Rated: A

Mercury Cash today announced the launch of its new exchange platform, Miami Crypto Exchange (MCEX), a legal and fully compliant crypto gateway between the U.S. and the world. MCEX will have a specific focus on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dash Core Group, a leading e-commerce and payments-focused digital currency, has made a partnership agreement with Mercury Cash and MCEX to support further growth.

Litecoin (LTC) Erases Gains Despite Getting Listed On Gemini (Nasdaq), Rated: AAA

Despite these, Litecoin price crashed versus the US dollar on Tuesday, erasing Monday and Sunday’s gains.

From a technical point of view, LTC/USD has formed three consecutive lower highs since it reached the all-time high level of $368 back in December 2017. The most recent high $183 was capped at the upper band of the daily Ichimoku cloud.

Litecoin
Source: Nasdaq

eToro will Offer Ripple (XRP), Bitcoin (BTC) and 8 Other Cryptos (Globa Coin Report), Rated: A

The platform started a waiting list on Tuesday, May 15, and those interested to join in are free to do so. They will receive a demo account that will allow them to try out the platform, and perhaps decide to stay when all of its services are completely available later in the year.

Yoni Assia, Chief Executive Officer and a co-founder of eToro, has stated that the platform will offer 10 currencies – Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Stellar, Litecoin, Dash, NEO, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, and Ethereum Classic. Each of these can be exchanged for another currency, or alternatively, for the US dollar.

Microsoft’s Bing joins Internet giants in banning cryptocurrency ads (CoinGeek), Rated: A

In an announcement on Bing’s website, cryptocurrency adverts and any other related programs will be banned from their platform worldwide. These changes will be implemented on Bing’s financial products and service policy. The change is scheduled to start in June and become fully effective in July.

Cryptocurrencies and the Power Industry (T&DWorld), Rated: AAA

The estimated annual revenue associated with the creation of the most common cryptocurrency, bitcoin, is roughly $7 Billion.  Plus, there are more than 1000 additional cryptocurrencies on the web.

When cryptocurrencies were just a novelty, the computer power needed was insignificant.  Today, data centers and even extensive server farms that draw 10’s of megawatts are required for large operations. Estimates of the energy use for bitcoin creation, likely the most common cryptocurrency, range from 14 to 57 TWh annually, worldwide.  Operations develop where power is cheap and major mining operations may favor cooler regions where computer system cooling costs will be less.

Well, consider this:  analysts at Morgan Stanley believe cryptocurrency mining will use more power this year than electric cars will require in the next seven!  (See:  http://news.morningstar.com/all/ViewNews.aspx?article=/MW/TDJNMW20180113122_univ.xml.)

Blockchain Is Magic for Influencer Marketing, But in a Bad Way (AdWeek), Rated: A

The blockchain value proposition is that ad fraud and a confused and complicated marketplace prevent brands from running successful influencer marketing campaigns, and that blockchain solves these problems through price transparency and better metrics measurement. However, what blockchain solutions don’t provide are any concrete details about how they solve those problems or how blockchain solutions are different from existing platform technologies. What blockchain definitely provides is a magic buzzword for vendors to convince clients that blockchain will make their troubles disappear.

Congressman to SEC on ICO Market: ‘Shut It All Down’ (ThinkAdvisor), Rated: B

House lawmakers took the co-directors of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division to task Wednesday on the agency’s oversight of initial coin offerings, with Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., calling on the SEC officials to “shut it all down.”

International

Axoni, Clearmatics Claim Milestone for Blockchain Interoperability (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

At Consensus 2018 this week, Clearmatics and Axoni demonstrated how a financial derivative can be issued via a smart contract, trigger a payment and then instigate a cross-chain atomic transfer of value between two distinct networks. This marked the first time a derivatives contract has been originated on one enterprise blockchain and settled on another.

“Stablecoin” Trueusd Pumps After Binance Listing (Bitcoin.com), Rated: AAA

On May 16, Binance became the latest and largest exchange to announce its intention to list TUSD. Up until this date, the coin had performed as expected, with scarcely a wobble from its dollar peg. But then Binance released its news and TUSD went on a run to rival even the pumpiest of altcoins. At 3:36am ET, Trueusd was trading at $0.997. In the space of 22 minutes, it jumped to $1.18 and by 5am was at $1.39, a 39% rise for a coin whose defining characteristic is that isn’t meant to rise.

TrueUSD
Source: Bitcoin.com

Ironically, in pumping by 39%, TUSD may have just proven its unsuitability as a stablecoin, and strengthened the case for tether.

TrueUSD
Source: Bitcoin.com

Fortinet Threat Report Reveals an Evolution of Malware to Exploit Cryptocurrencies (Fortinet), Rated: AAA

Fortinet has just released its Quarterly Threat Landscape Report for Q1 of 2018, and the numbers are interesting. While some of the most common threat indicators actually dropped during the quarter, the data also shows that attackers may simply be refining their technologies and methodologies.

Growing from a tiny risk just a few years ago, over one in five organizations now report mobile malware (up 7%, to 21%). At the same time, Web oriented technologies were also heavily hunted by cybercriminals. Another technology area under attack in Q1 was web Content Management Systems (CMS).

A growing trend FortiGuard Labs has been tracking is cryptojacking. While this malware only affected 13% of organizations in Q4 of 2017, it more than doubled in Q1 to impact 28% of companies. It is also showing incredible diversity for such a relatively new threat. We have documented miners targeting multiple operating systems as well as different cryptocurrencies, including BitCoin, Dash, and Monero.

GandCrab ransomware emerged in January with the distinction of being the first ransomware to require DASH cryptocurrency as a payment. According to Europol, it claimed 50,000 victims in less than a month.

HPE and Nokia Want to Let You Sell Your Own Data on the Blockchain (Fortune), Rated: A

With concerns over data privacy reaching a fever pitch in the U.S. and Europe, major companies are proposing a new solution: Let customers control—and sell—their own data as they wish.

At the Consensus conference in New York this week, companies including Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Nokia unveiled partnerships with a Swiss startup called Streamr, which is building a marketplace for data atop a blockchain. The plan is to allow consumers to put their data—collected by any number of Internet-connected devices—on the blockchain, and then potentially make money by selling it a wide range of organizations, from advertisers to governments, interested in buying it.

Streamr, which plans to “tokenize” the data in the form of a cryptocurrency called DATAcoin, or DATA, raised $30 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) last year.

With Blockchain, Knowing Your Customer Is More Important Than Ever (Forbes), Rated: A

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) recently released A Guide to Digital Token Offerings, that outlines the legalistic procedures that must surround Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). This document clarifies that digital tokens do constitute a product, and therefore they fall under MAS regulatory law. Articles 3.2 and 3.3 require companies to conduct diligent and continuous KYC checks, and report any suspicious or unlawful activity.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) of Hong Kong recently released numerous documents on the risks of ICOs and the KYC requirements for cryptocurrency related companies. The Central Bank of Malaysia has followed suit, enacting AML and CFT policy specifically catered to cryptocurrencies. These new policies address KYC checks as well as other processes to mitigate the possibility of scams or security breaches.

Read the MAS guide here (in English).

Bermuda Continues Crypto-Friendly Push With Digital ID Partnership (Forbes), Rated: A

Bermuda’s transition from crypto-nobody to jurisdiction du jour in the space continued to plow ahead Tuesday with the inking of a deal with Shyft, the Toronto-based digital identity provider.

Shyft is building a decentralized identity solution designed to collate all of the KYC and AML-related inputs required for a compliant blockchain transaction in a manner that maximizes privacy, enables required attestation and offers verification in a more streamlined and cost-efficient manner than current methods.

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Addresses Bottlenecks around Block Size Limits and Enables Smart-Contract Scripting (BTC Manager), Rated: A

It was another hard fork day on May 15! Bitcoin Cash is creating a new blockchain with 32MB block size limits and added smart-contract functionality. This is the third hard fork that the Bitcoin Cash community has undergone in under a year, and declares their undeterred commitment to change whatever necessary to grow their blockchain’s transaction abilities. Bitcoin Cash strives to provide an inexpensive and fast medium of exchange for everyday payments.

Jack Dorsey Says the Internet Should Have Its Own Native Currency (AdWeek), Rated: A

Jack Dorsey thinks the internet should have its own currency.

According to the CEO of Twitter and Square, a digital currency that’s universal in nature could benefit both consumers and companies in the ever-evolving world of online payments.

“The internet deserves its own currency,” Dorsey said today at the Consensus blockchain and cryptocurrency conference New York. “It will have a native currency. I don’t know if it will be Bitcoin or not. I hope it will be.”

How Smart Contracts Could Change The Way You Do Business (Forbes), Rated: A

Even for small businesses, that automation can make life a great deal easier. Escrow is a service worth billions of dollars; real estate escrow services, for example, charge as much as 1-2% of the value of a property to hold onto purchase funds until a deal’s conditions have been met. Those services can easily be replaced by smart contracts. A property buyer would purchase tokens and send them to an address on the blockchain. The funds stay at that address until a computer program acknowledges that all the required steps in the purchase process have been completed: entering a code on a title deed, for example, or uploading a house inspection certificate or a signed copy of the contract. Once the transaction has met all its requirements, the tokens would automatically be released to the seller, who could convert them back into fiat currency. The entire purchase process becomes automated.

For dealers who want the added security of a third party, smart contracts can also be multisignature.

 

Hyperledger Adds Deutsche Bank as Premier Member (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Hyperledger, an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry business blockchain technologies, announced today that Deutsche Bank has joined the project as a Premier member. Other Hyperledger Premier members include: Accenture, Airbus, American Express, Baidu, Change Healthcare, Cisco, Daimler, Digital Asset, DTCC, Fujitsu, Hitachi, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, NEC, SAP, Tradeshift and Wanda FFan Technology.

Nebulabs & CertiK Partner To Provide Smart Contract and DApp Security (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: B

Nebulabs has been acting as an incubator for their next-generation platform for blockchain called Nebulas. However, they have recently entered a partnership with CertiK, which is a verification platform for blockchain security and smart contract preservation. By joining forces, Certik offers technology that makes the Nebulas smart contacts and DApps more secure and reliable, while resisting tampering.

Tokenizing Floating Cities: Cindicator Partners with Blue Frontiers (ChipIn), Rated: B

Cindicator, a tokenized fintech company that enables effective asset management through predictive analytics based on Hybrid Intelligence technology, today announces its strategic partnership with Blue Frontiers, a leader of the seasteading movement that is engineering its first floating communities off the coast of host nations .

European Union

More regulation coming to EU for cryptocurrencies (CoinGeek), Rated: AAA

With cryptocurrencies under the spotlight on a consistent basis and several countries imposing bans or restrictions on trading, the situation is just about to get a little bit harder for traders and investors in the European Union. The European Council has just introduced a directive that would affect the crypto sector in Europe since it would be clamping down on anonymity in the sector—something which crypto investors hold rather dear.

These new rules are intended to drastically reduce anonymity for both users as well as transactions. Anonymity is one of the key advantages of certain digital currencies such as Monero and Cardano, so these new rules will undoubtedly have a negative effect on such currencies. Amongst the procedures to be implemented, the document calls for Know-Your-Customer (KYC) procedures that the platforms will have to introduce.

Enterprise Ethereum Alliance Releases Client Specifications To Facilitate Interoperability (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) has released the Enterprise Ethereum Client Specification 1.0 today, May 16, that will enable interoperability for companies that use Ethereum blockchain-based solutions.

Monaco Based Billionaire’s Society Chooses SuchApp for Initial Crypto Investment (PR Newswire), Rated: A

As part of its initiative to promote mainstream blockchain technology, SuchApp secured the support of an exclusive billionaire society interested in the world’s first 5G blockchain messenger application.

Recently, the 20 charter members, with a combined net worth of over $89 billion, belonging to this exclusive society met in Monaco to learn about SuchApp. They saw firsthand how SuchApp can be used to enhance the way businesses, governments, and everyday people communicate in their day-to-day lives. They also strategized with the SuchApp directors on how best to implement the innovative new business models presented by the technology.

Announcing the TechCrunch Session on Blockchain Agenda (TechCrunch), Rated: B

TechCrunch Sessions: Blockchain 2018features an impressive lineup of fireside chats and panels with icons of the global blockchain and crypto tech scene.

Tickets are still available for purchase. We’re thrilled to make it to Zug for this show and hope you can make it.

United Kingdom

Ethereum Client Parity Adds Support for Encrypted Smart Contracts (CCN), Rated: AAA

Ethereum client Parity has added support for on-chain private transactions in its latest software update, providing developers with the ability to create and deploy encrypted smart contracts.

Released on Tuesday, Parity 1.11.1-beta introduces several new features to the software client, which remains popular even though several bugs in Parity’s multisig smart contract libraries have given the company a black eye — and have caused users to lose access to hundreds of millions of dollars worth of funds.

ICO Releases Q4 Data Security Incident Trends Report (Information Security Buzz), Rated: AAA

The ICO has released its latest Data Security Incident Trends revealing data breaches that were reported to it in Q4 (January-March 2018). Simon McCalla, CTO at Nominet commented below.

cyber security
Source: ICO

Read the full report here.

Stratis Unveils Alpha Release of C# Smart Contracts (CryptoSlate), Rated: A

Stratis has unveiled the alpha version of their C# Stratis Smart Contract, taking the company closer to its vision of being the business-friendly blockchain for smart contracts.

Is Energy Data The Real Winner For Blockchain? (Forbes), Rated: A

UK based machine learning start-up Verv executed the UK’s first physical energy trade on the blockchain in April 2018. Now it’s partnering with Ocean Protocol to develop its longer term goal, an energy information marketplace.

China

Binance Co-Founder Denies Rumors of Company’s Plans to Build Blockchain Country on Private Island (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Co-founder of Binance crypto exchange He Yi has dismissed the sci-fi-esque claims of a Chinese fintech media platform that his company has hatched a so-called “Genesis Plan.” The plan was to build Binance’s own blockchain-powered country on a private island, QQ News reports Wednesday, May 16.

He Yi’s rebuttal of the outlandish claims emphasized that the company’s vision is indeed to “promote the legalization of the blockchain and crypto industries globally,” but that:

“The article [in question] is maliciously tarnishing the image of Binance and caus[ing] regulators in the country to have a bad impression of Binance. To create a country? It is absolutely absurd to fabricate such a story.”

HTC is planning to build a blockchain-powered smartphone (Alphr), Rated: A

HTC is planning to build a new blockchain-powered phone featuring a built-in cryptocurrency wallet.

The touted Android device, known as Exodus, will come packaged with a universal wallet and hardware support for all major cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, as well as featuring decentralised applications.

Asia

Subsidiary of Korean Search Giant Naver Launches Blockchain Venture For Decentralized Apps (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

In the beginning of April, Line Plus had also released its blockchain affiliate Unblock in South Korea, in order to integrate blockchain tech into Line’s cross-market system. Line is itself a subsidiary of South Korean search engine giant Naver, but is based in Tokyo to avoid competition from Kakao.

Line’s press release notes that Unchain will work with Unblock to bring Line’s blockchain mainnet and its DApps closer together by using ICON’s blockchain technology.

South Korea Will Focus ‘Positive Aspects’ of Cryptocurrency, Soften Policy (CCN), Rated: A

South Korean regulators and officials are likely to relax their approach to regulating cryptocurrencies, starting with classifying them as ‘financial assets’.

There’s a July deadline looming for G20 nations after policymakers called for recommendations for regulating cryptocurrencies, seen as ‘financial assets’ by the economic leaders from the world’s twenty largest economies.

Eurasia

Ukraine To Legalize Cryptocurrencies, Invites Citizens To Comment On Proposed Regulations (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Ukraine is preparing draft legislation to legalize cryptocurrencies, according to a post by a member of the Ukrainian parliament, Alexei Mushak, on his Facebook page Tuesday, May 15.

Putin’s Orders: Russia’s ‘Digital Law’ Bill Won’t Legalize Crypto Payments (CCN), Rated: A

Russia’s State Duma Committee on State Construction was scheduled to hold the first reading of amendments to the country’s civil code pertaining to digital currency today, but is not expected to make digital currency a legitimate method of payment, according to Izvestia, the news portal of the Ministry of Information Technologies.

The bill does not address all of the president’s directives, but its presents conditions for further regulation of the digital currency industry, said Igor Sudets, director of the Plekhanov Russian Economic University’s “Blockade for Lawyers” educational program.

Latin America

Bytecoin: Gigantic fraud or fateful mistake? (Cryptoninjas), Rated: AAA

Bytecoin

BCN volume
Source: Cryptoninjas
Canada

Blox Labs and Sonoro Energy to Develop Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts Ledger for the Oil and Gas Industry (OilandGas360), Rated: A

Blox Labs Inc. (“BLOX”) (CSE: BLOX) (Frankfurt: BR1B) is pleased to announce that, in partnership with Sonoro Energy Ltd. (“SNV”) (TSXV: SNV) (Frankfurt: FDZN) (OTC: SNVFF), BLOX has commenced development of “PetroBLOX”, a Blockchain-based smart contract supply chain management platform for the global oil and gas industry.

Authors:

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George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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Allen Taylor

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