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Friday March 2 2018, Daily News Digest

bitcoin
Source: Time

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United States

Overstock: $ 250 Million tZero ICO Under SEC Review (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

A filing with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released Thursday has revealed new details about Overstock.com’s ongoing $250 million ICO for its tZero alternative trading system.

However, most notable amid the stream of information on the sale s(SFGate)tructure and advisory board, is the public e-commerce company’s confirmation that the sale has been under review by the SEC since February.

“SaftLaunch was utilized for the presale. We’re now augmenting the subsequent sale to bring on StartEngine,” Cammarata said.

According to Cammarata, tZero’s decision to switch platforms was not due to regulatory issues, but stems from SaftLaunch’s complicated and time-consuming anti-money laundering (AML) and know your customer (KYC) process, which resulted in a bottleneck as the ICO attracted huge interest.

Overstock plunges after reporting the SEC asked for information about its ICO (SFGate), Rated: A

Shares of online retailer Overstock dived Thursday morning after a regulatory filing showed the Securities and Exchange Commission asked for information about a recent fundraise by tZero, Overstock’s cryptocurrency exchange subsidiary.

Overstock
Source: SFGate

StartEngine Launches First Regulated ICO (BusinessWire), Rated: B

StartEngine Crowdfunding Inc. (https://www.startengine.com/) announced today that it has launched Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK) subsidiary tØ.com, Inc. (tZERO) as the first regulated ICO on its platform in compliance with Rule 506(c) under the Securities Act, in a sale limited to accredited investors. On March 1, 2018, tZERO launched its sale of tZERO Equity Tokens on StartEngine’s platform. tZERO’s offering is for $250M USD, with an option to upsize to $300M USD, and is available until May 14, 2018.

Dear Crypto Enthusiasts, Forget The Telegram ICO, It’s Not For You (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Forget this new blockbuster initial coin offering by Russian developed messaging app, Telegram. Unless you’re a one-percenter, Telegram’s not for you.

The Telegram Open Network (TON) coin is for accredited investors only with at least a half a million dollars to put to work in a cryptocurrency project everyone thinks will raise at least $2 billion.

It’s a private sale and only open to professional investors in the U.S. The minimum limit for the first round is as high as $20 million for outsiders and $500,000 for “friends,” according to industry insiders.

Litecoin Was The Top Performing Cryptocurrency In February (CryptoDaily), Rated: AAA

Litecoin is a leading altcoin, which is the fifth largest virtual currency by market capital in the world. During the past month, it has increased in value by more than 21% which is far more than the number one cryptocoin, Bitcoin, which saw a 4% drop in value.

On February 28, Lee gave a shoutout to Nano. While Lee’s Litecoin is the fifth largest cryptocurrency in the world, with a market cap of $11.7 billion according to CoinMarketCap, Nano is the 17th largest at $2.2 billion.

“I took a look at Nano currency recently,” Lee tweeted. “Pretty neat. Every account has [its] own blockchain. It focuses on fast and free transactions for payments. Uses [proof of stake] for double spend protection and [proof of work] to fight spam. The challenge is to keep it decentralized.”

The cryptocurrency entrepreneur’s endorsement has been credited with causing a noticeable bump in Nano’s price over the past few days. The day Lee mentioned the token, it was valued as low as $13.56. As of 5:00 p.m. Eastern Thursday, it has reached heights of $17.19, a figure it hasn’t been at in over a month.

Uber Creator Invents New Cryptocurrency—And Wants Your Help Making It Reality (Fortune), Rated: A

Over the past five months, Camp has been sketching out plans for a brand new cryptocurrency that aims to fix technical and other challenges plaguing existing projects, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. His hope, he told Fortune, is to resuscitate virtual currency’s original promise: an instant, affordable, and borderless means of payment for the masses.

Camp has christened his rival project “Eco,” a name he settled on because it is short, easy to pronounce in many languages, and evokes concepts like “ecosystem,” “economics,” and “ecommerce.”

Square ‘is not stopping at buying and selling’ bitcoin (Business Insider), Rated: A

Bitcoin, for us, is not stopping at buying and selling,” Dorsey told analysts on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call. “We do believe that this is a transformational technology for our industry and we want to learn as quickly as possible.”

In the final quarter of 2017, the company earned an adjusted $0.8 per share, beating the $0.067 that Wall Street was expecting, according to Bloomberg. Revenue of $282 million also topped the Street’s estimate.

This Bitcoin-Trading Family Man Faced Years in Prison. Now He’s Telling His Story (Time), Rated: AAA

Klein, a small business owner who lives in Nixa, Mo., is talking about bitcoin, a sensational invention that recently turned his life upside down. His story — involving undercover federal agents, courtroom drama and a community’s outpouring of support — is one he hasn’t shared until now. The tale highlights how entrancing this new technology can be, as well as the legal confusion surrounding cryptocurrencies like bitcoin: digital tokens that are minted, essentially, by computers doing puzzles.

Klein has a history of adopting promising innovations before the masses, and his curiosity is often piqued as he tries to spot the next big thing. So he paid attention when online circles started buzzing about bitcoin in the years following its launch in 2009.

Klein decided to buy $100 worth. Poking around, he found few easy options for purchasing the tokens and ended up mailing off a money order to an exchange based in Atlanta. By mid-2013, that gamble looked pretty good: the seven bitcoins he had purchased had soared in value and were suddenly worth about $1,000. Seeing this as a “first wave of legitimacy,” Klein bought more, using the same means of plopping a money order in the mail and waiting for the exchange to turn his U.S. dollars into bitcoins that he kept in a virtual wallet.

Referenced in court documents only as “Undercover Agent #1,” the guy seemed normal enough at first, Klein says: He presented himself as a business person, someone fascinated with bitcoin and wanting to learn more. They met at an Einstein Bros. Bagels shop and Klein sold him $1,000 worth of bitcoin, making his usual commission of about 10%. Then the guy asked if he could bring in a business partner who also wanted to understand what this bitcoin business was all about. “Unbeknownst to me,” Klein says, that person was Undercover Agent #2.

bitcoin
Source: Time

Klein got caught in the crosshairs at a time when regulators, law enforcement and Congress are all scrambling to catch up with the implications of the cryptocurrency boom, including how officials might control digital tokens that have no physical existence and were designed to sidestep traditional financial institutions.

Bitcoin trader charged with money laundering in unusual case testing digital currency (The San Diego Union-Tribune), Rated: B

Morgan Rockcoons, 30, was arrested Feb. 9 at the Palms Hotel in Las Vegas where he’d been staying, according to court records. He is accused of selling bitcoin to an undercover agent who posed as a butane hash oil manufacturer, as well as operating an unlicensed money transmitting business.

L.A.’s real estate industry enters the age of bitcoin (L.A. Times), Rated: A

A little over a year ago, in a first for Southern California, a buyer used roughly 3,300 bitcoins to buy a Cape Cod-style mansion in Manhattan Beach for $3.225 million.

In San Diego, a company brokering the sale of two multimillion-dollar homes in the affluent community said this month that it would accept bitcoin as payment. The custom-built homes are listed for sale for $19.8 million, the equivalent of roughly 1,750 bitcoins.

Bitcoin bull Bill Miller says bubbles are ‘necessary to bring capital into the market’ (MarketWatch), Rated: AAA

Fund manager and bitcoin bull Bill Miller told Fox News Thursday that the recent collapse in the price of digital currencies should not deter investors, but serve as a gauge of the future potential of digital currencies and the blockchain technology.

Major cryptocurrencies lost as much as 50% since peaking mid-December, with the No.1 digital currency, bitcoin BTCUSD, -1.10% falling from $19,694.68 to below $6,000 in six weeks causing many investors to put digital currencies in the bubble category.

coindesk bitcoin

Goldman Sachs Investment Chief: Crypto ‘Bubble’ Burst Will Affect 1% Of Global GDP (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

The chief investment officer (CIO) of the Investment Strategy Group at Goldman Sachs, Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani, said in an interview with Business Insider on Feb. 27 that cryptocurrencies are in a bubble, which, when it bursts, will impact only 1 percent of global GDP.

Goldman Sachs’ Chief Investment Strategist Sees Crypto Bubbles; Even with Ethereum (cryptovest), Rated: B

A Goldman Sachs top executive came out strongly about cryptocurrencies this week, saying that not only is Bitcoin a bubble, but Ethereum is too.

During an interview with Business Insider, Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani, Goldman’s CIO of the Private Wealth Management, said this about cryptos, while at the same time saying they could be ‘extremely useful.’

Researchers Explore Eclipse Attacks on the Ethereum Blockchain (Bitcoin Magazine), Rated: A

In a new paper titled “Low-Resource Eclipse Attacks on Ethereum’s Peer-to-Peer Network,” Sharon Goldberg, an associate professor at Boston University; Ethan Heilman, a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University; and Yuval Marcus, a researcher at the University of Pittsburgh, describe a way to carry out an eclipse attack on the Ethereum network.

(The researchers disclosed their attacks to Ethereum on January 9, 2018, and Ethereum developers have already issued a patch — Geth v1.8.1 — to fix the network.)

Read the full report here.

An ‘arms race’ is emerging to steal computing power to mine cryptocurrencies, says RedLock CEO (CNBC), Rated: A

There appears to be an arms race by hackers to steal computing power from the public cloud to mine cryptocurrencies, RedLock co-founder and CEO Varun Badhwar told CNBC on Thursday.

Cryptojacking, a process whereby hackers deploy software that exploits a computer’s central processing unit to mine cryptocurrency, is on the rise, said Badhwar, whose firm specializes in cloud security.

Ethereum’s smart contracts are full of holes (MIT Technology Review), Rated: A

Technologists are just beginning to figure out how to design them so they can be relied on not to lose people’s money, and—as a new survey of Ethereum smart contracts illustrates—security researchers are only now coming to terms with what a smart contract vulnerability even looks like.

ICOs everywhere: One of the most popular applications of smart contracts has been to create brand new cryptocurrencies. A few of them have provided glimpses of a new kind of economy, one in which a purpose-made digital currency  can be used for a “decentralized” service, like data storage or digital currency trading. Investor excitement over the promise of such applications has helped fuel the ICO craze, which has raised over $5 billion.

ICO Security Playbook: 5 Steps to Ensure Best Practice (Investopedia), Rated: AAA

Despite cryptocurrencies’ highly touted security advantages and blockchain’s own defenses, there are several highly publicized cases that show even the toughest walls are not impregnable. For prospective ICO launchers, this paints a hostile and potentially alarming landscape.

With nearly 10% of all funds raised by ICOs reported stolen or lost due to hacks, blockchain-based startups face an uphill battle for success.

1. Audit Your Underlying Smart Contracts

“It’s almost impossible to code a 100% airtight smart contract,” Bonnet said. “Even the best programmers make mistakes, and therefore it’s an absolute must to have a third-party review and audit your contract, even if just for your investors’ peace of mind.”

smart contracts

2. Listen to Community Concerns and Resolve Them

Community members have a vested interest in a successful ICO as it means they will be able to benefit from the utility being offered by the platform or service. Thus, giving them a clear channel to express concerns and expose issues is a vital component in securing your ICO. More important, however, is turning those concerns into concrete fixes, as they can be areas you might have missed when generating the contract.

3. Implement Robust Policies to Detect Phishers

In the case of EtherDelta, the company’s inability to detect fraudulent copies of their site, which hackers set up by accessing its DNS records and replacing its domains, led to thousands of dollars lost. Fraudsters set up fake websites that appeared like the original, and the company was not vigilant enough to identify and report the potential scams.

4. Provide Strong Security for Your ICO Gateway

The moral of CoinDash’s story is that it is increasingly popular to target not just the infrastructure of most ICOs, which have been upgrading their security, but rather an easily overlooked target like a website.

5. Protect Your Users

Investing in Cryptocurrencies: The Fed Is Likely to Unveil a Digital Currency (TheStreet), Rated: A

The Federal Reserve will eventually enter the digital currency space, according to top experts from TheStreet’s exclusive webcast Investing in Cryptocurrencies.

The Branding Of Cryptocurrency (Forbes), Rated: A

I’ve written before about how a company’s branding can play an oversized role in how it is perceived by investors. Something similar is happening now with cryptocurrency, as investments are driven less by the financial promise cryptocurrencies offer than the sense that blockchain and the underlying technology are hot areas to invest in. Case in point: Dogecoin, a currency created as a joke, recently hit a market cap of over $2 billion. Granted, an individual dogecoin is worth about two cents — but that’s still a remarkable valuation considering its inauspicious beginnings.

The issue is that it’s not just one currency that’s seeing massive growth. It’s all of them: Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin — each one of these is currently worth tens of billions of dollars, and given the general volatility of the cryptocurrency market, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more cryptocurrencies surging above the billion-dollar mark.

Branding, just like cryptocurrencies, is decentralized because companies don’t control the brand image — the public does. Even though Bitcoin isn’t overseen by a giant corporation with a huge brand marketing budget, the cryptocurrency’s brand value continues to grow in the marketplace through changing public perception.

Mavatar Announces ICO Presale Launch of Blockchain-based shoppable content publishing platform (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Mavatar today announced the pre-sale II ICO launch of rights to acquire mCart tokens, which are scheduled to be available by May 2018 through Ethereum blockchain as an ERC-20 token. mCart will be a revolutionary decentralized platform that restructures the dynamics between shoppers, retailers and influencers in a way that will track and shorten the discovery to purchase cycle leveraging the power of blockchain technology. Using the smart contract capabilities of the Ethereum blockchain, mCart will create mCart-driven marketplaces and transparent shoppable content publishing platforms-as-a-service through which marketers will be able to leverage influencer marketing to transparently and verifiably promote products to shoppers, while giving each participant the right financial incentives to participate in the ecosystem.

6 industries that are using blockchain to drive business value right now (TechRepublic), Rated: A

An October 2017 report from CompTIA found that 16% of companies had purchased blockchain-enabled tools, while 22% were developing tools using blockchain. Another 24% said they were exploring the technology, while the majority—38%—said they had no current plans to do so, or were unsure of plans.

Early adopters are using blockchain for digital identity (51%), asset management and tracking (49%), regulatory compliance/auditing (49%), distributed storage (48%), smart contracts (45%), and cryptocurrency/payments (44%).

  1. Pharmaceuticals – Life sciences and healthcare companies create unique serial numbers for units of medication and pieces of equipment, which are scanned, captured, and verified at their point of origin, according to Scott Allison, president of healthcare at logistics giant DHL.
  2. Fashion – CGS, an organization providing business applications, enterprise learning systems, and outsourcing services, uses blockchain to work with fashion, apparel, and consumer goods companies.
  3. Cross-border payment – Binkabi, a cross-border agricultural trading platform, is tapping a blockchain solution from Sweetbridge to develop a system for fair commodity trading in underdeveloped countries, where access to banking services and working capital is a problem.
  4. Food safety – IBM is partnering with food suppliers including Dole, Nestlé, and Walmart to better regulate food safety using blockchain.
  5. Humanitarian crises – Microsoft and Accenture also recently announced a partnership to use blockchain technology to provide a legal form of identification for 1.1 billion people worldwide as part of the global public-private partnership ID2020.
  6. Jewelry – Ethically sourced jewelry company Brilliant Earth is partnering with Everledger to use blockchain to track and trace the provenance of diamonds and other gemstones, to ensure they are conflict free.

Artificial Intelligence And Blockchain: 3 Major Benefits Of Combining These Two Mega-Trends (Forbes), Rated: A

  1. AI and encryption work very well together
  2. Blockchain can help us track, understand and explain decisions made by AI
  3. AI can manage blockchains more efficiently than humans (or “stupid” conventional computers)

Blockchain digital ID efforts undergo deep review in new Kantara paper (SecureIDNews), Rated: B

As digital ID and blockchain move closer together—potentially impacting everything from airport security checksto benefits delivery—a new paper from the Kantara Initiative takes a deep look at the privacy and control issues involved in such projects. The paper, “Report from the Blockchain and Smart Contacts Discussion Group to the Kantara Initiative,” reads more like a meditation on the prospects and issues involving blockchain-supported digital ID, rather than a solid policy prescription. But its case studies and other musings offer an in-depth look at an evolving technology.

China

Alibaba’s T-Mall Is Moving Cross-Border E-Commerce to Blockchain (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

Alibaba’s T-Mall e-commerce platform is reportedly adopting blockchain technology in its cross-border supply chain through a partnership with logistics company Cainiao.

European Union

Fabric Token’s TGE Raises $ 1 Million in Less Than A Day (Coinspeaker), Rated: AAA

Fabric Token platform, which enables any individual or business create their own Smart Contract, started TGE raising $1 Million during less than 24 hours.

15,000 internet-connected devices could be hacked to mine $ 1,000 of cryptocurrency in 4 days (CNBC), Rated: A

Vulnerable internet-connected devices from security cameras to smartphones can be hijacked by hackers and turned into tools to mine cryptocurrencies, a cybersecurity company has demonstrated.

Avast, which is based in the Czech Republic, ran a demonstration on Wednesday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, which had a number of devices running on a network powering a cryptocurrency mining software.

Banks complete 25 million euros securities transaction on blockchain platform (Reuters), Rated: A

Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN.S) and ING Groep NV (INGA.AS) have completed a 25 million euros ($30.48 million) securities lending transaction using blockchain-based software, the companies said on Thursday, as more projects involving the nascent technology behind cryptocurrencies get closer to yielding results.

The transaction involved the banks swapping baskets of securities through an application from financial technology company HQLAx built with a type of blockchain created by bank consortium R3, the companies said.

Liechtenstein’s Bank Frick Introduces ‘Direct’ Cryptocurrency Investment And Cold Storage (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Liechtenstein lending institution Bank Frick now offers“direct investment” and cold storage of five cryptocurrencies, it announced in a press release Feb. 28, noting it is the “first” financial instituion in the country to do so.

FundRequest and Indorse partner to Certify and Reward Open Source Developers on the Blockchain (The Merkle), Rated: B

FundRequest, a decentralized marketplace built for open source collaboration, has announced a partnership with Indorse, a reward-based decentralized professional social network where users can control their data, to match talented and certified open source developers with available projects, bounties and jobs.

International

How Banking Institutions Can be Decentralized (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Cryptobanks are decentralized platforms that provide the usual services that centralized banks provide, primarily lending services and credit scoring, but essentially cuts out all of the middlemen that a centralized bank uses. The people needed in a bank to approve loans and structure financial data are replaced in a crypto banking ecosystem by smart contracts and p2p, peer-to-peer, services.

What kind of technologies do crypto banks use?

P2P, Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, Machine Learning, Big Data and smart contracts are used in crypto banking.

Do crypto banks have their own native currency?

Yes. Native cryptocurrencies help make the bank global.

Datarius, the first social p2p crypto bank, for instance, uses their own native token DTRC for all transactions.

What are the benefits of decentralized banking?

In today’s world, 2.5 bln people do not have access to banks.

Yet, only one bln don’t have access to cell phones. Decentralized banking has the mobile infrastructure to allow those without access that to at least have a chance at having a decentralized bank. Simple mobile wallets will be used to store cryptocurrencies, and DApps can give many people an opportunity to take out loans and have a shot at starting something big. These banks can reach places that centralized, traditional banks will never reach, the truth is that centralized banks are becoming too bulky in light of Blockchain and the fall of the middleman.

Cryptocurrency Will Replace National Currencies By 2030, According to This Futurist (Time), Rated: A

“Cryptocurrency is very much here to stay,” said futurist and author Thomas Frey, noting that he’s speaking to the Federal Reserve in September on the topic. He predicts that “cryptocurrencies are going to displace roughly 25% of national currencies by 2030. They’re just much more efficient, the way they run.”

“The future of commerce will be shaped by the crypto supply chain, which will have less friction and more exponential value between buyers and sellers of all products,” Canton said. And while it’s hard to bet on any single cryptocurrency at the moment, funds such as Apex bundle multiple tokens for those looking to enter the market.

Crypto Startup Blockchain Partners With UN on Sustainability Goals (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Cryptocurrency wallet startup Blockchain is partnering with the United Nations to explore applications of blockchain in a range of areas, from natural resource conservation to the protection of democratic systems.

VEGANCOIN: Cruelty Free Cryptocurrency Launched By Vegan Community Founder (Plant Based News), Rated: A

A new vegan-friendly community with its own cyprocurrency called ‘vegancoin’ has been announced.

The decentralized community – called VeganNation – will bring vegan-verified services and products together in an online space – these include platforms for meal sharing, content sharing, e-commerce, meet-ups, and more.

There are reportedly more than 300 million vegans around the world – making the community close in size to that of the United States.

Australia

Bitcoin, Digital Assets, “Clouds” and your internet identity- what happens to your Digital Assets when you die? (Lexology), Rated: A

Gone are the days when someone’s assets consisted of their house, a car and some black and white photos. A whopping 3.431 billion people are plugged into the internet worldwide as of August 2016[1]and most clients we see have some form of Digital Assets – that is, anything you own or have certain rights over that exists online or are stored on computers or other digital technology.

Now take a moment to consider what would happen to your digital technology once you die. Specifically, consider:

  • who can access (and how do they access) your email, social media accounts, dating profiles, online passwords, online banking records, media hosting services (eg Instagram, Flickr) or professional blog when you die;
  • what happens to the documents, files and photos on your cloud Storage (for example, Google Drive, Apple iCloud, Microsoft Skydrive);
  • what happens to your online assets (for example, funds in your Paypal account, downloaded music and movies or streaming services, Airline Frequent Flyer points and cryptocurrencies);
  • what happens to the photos, messages and data stored on your phone, laptop or tablet;
  • how can you ensure your “digital life” is removed from the worldwide web once you have died
Asia

Fusion Completes A Successful Ethereum Crowdsale And ICO Of 9 Million (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Fusionthe foundation that focuses on creating a cryptofinance platform to break down the barriers hindering widespread use of blockchain in finance, has completed its crowdsale by raising more than 126,000 ETH ($109 million at time of writing).

This ‘crowdsale’, where tokens are offered to early buyers through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), hit its cap in the first 24 hours and has concluded the ICO with an oversubscription of 2.5 times of its hard cap.

Singapore Weighs Need for New Rules to Protect Crypto Investors (CoinDesk), Rated: A

According to a Reuters report, Ong Chong Tee, deputy managing director of MAS, said during a speech Thursday that his agency is currently “assessing if additional regulations are required in the area of investor protection,” though he didn’t elaborate on the details.

 

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

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Allen Taylor

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