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Monday April 23 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

Amazon Web Services Releases Blockchain Frameworks For Ethereum And Hyperledger Fabric (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud platform has recently introduced its Blockchain framework for Ethereum (ETH) and Hyperledger Fabric allowing users to build and manage their own Blockchain-powered decentralized applications (DApps), AWS announced in a blog post Thursday, April 19.

According to the statement, users will be able to create their own Blockchain applications via the AWS CloudFormation Templates tool to avoid the time-consuming manual setup of their Blockchain network.

Amazon’s new blockchain service competes with similar products from Oracle and IBM (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Amazon  Web Services announced Blockchain Templates late last week, a “blockchain -as-a-service” offering that competes with similar products from Oracle and IBM.

Alexa disses Bitcoin Cash (The Next Web), Rated: A

Twitter user Kunani has shared a video where he asks Alexa about the essence of Bitcoin Cash; and chances the assistant’s response will hit BCH supporters right where it hurts.

“Alexa, what is Bitcoin Cash,” he asked plainly. This is when Alexa dished it out:

Bitcoin Cash also known as BCash is a simple hard fork of Bitcoin. Its shillers have tried to convince people that BCash is the real Bitcoin, but everyone knows that the real Bitcoin is Bitcoin.

Bitcoin Is The Religion, But Ripple Would Pack Higher Return (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Investors looking to venture into the cryptocurrency market may want to set their sights on buying alternative crypto assets as opposed to just buying Bitcoin. Bitcoin is coming off of an all-time high of just under $20,000 and currently trades at a price of $8,200. Should Bitcoin return to its previous all-time highs, investors that purchase today will receive an ROI of 140%. That’s not bad if you’re comparing this return to the average returns in the equities market, for example.

But there are many other crypto assets that have the potential for greater ROI should they return back to their original all-time highs. Investors may want to take a closer look at Ripple’s XRP, a blockchain solution that has the potential to revolutionize the banking system as we know it. Currently trading close to $0.70 coming off on an all-time high of just over $3.30, XRP has the potential to gift investors with a whopping 300% return, if the asset makes its way back to its peak. It’s very well possible!

Bitcoin of America Opening New BTMs in 5 Major U.S. Cities (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

Bitcoin of America is happy to announce that they will be expanding their services in five major U.S. cities during the next four months. The company, which is headquartered in Chicago, IL, will be opening new Bitcoin Teller Machines — also known as BTMs, Bitcoin Kiosks, and Bitcoin ATMs — in Cleveland, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.

6 Charts On The Outlook For Bitcoin (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

As a fun weekend activity, I decided to dust off some of my various experimental Bitcoin (BTC-USD) market indicator charts to see if they can help shed any light on the outlook for Bitcoin prices.

The key observations and conclusions on the Bitcoin and the price outlook are:

  • Investor uptake of (i.e. allocations to) Bitcoin/Cryptocurrencies is still substantially lower than that for gold.
  • Sentiment, futures positioning, and short interest seem consistent with at least a short-term bottom in the Bitcoin price.
  • Seasonality analysis seems to indicate a seasonal surge occurs around June, which is an interesting piece of information given what the other indicators are saying.

1. Asset Allocation – Where Does Bitcoin Fit?

The results show apparently just over 10% of institutional investors are allocating to crypto, whereas in the latest survey just over 30% of individuals are.
crypto asset allocation
2. Bitcoin – Google Search Trends Sentiment Indicator:

bitcoin search sentiment

6. Seasonality in 2018:

bitcoin seasonality 2018

LedgerX’s Bitcoin Derivatives Trading Is Up 7X Since Launch (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Bitcoin trading platform LedgerX has seen a sevenfold increase in volume in the six months following its launch of cryptocurrency derivatives.

Chief operating officer Juthica Chou told CoinDesk that the startup has seen roughly $7.5 million traded weekly through 700 swaps and options contracts. Since the platform launched its derivatives products, it has cleared $130 million notional – meaning the total number of assets traded at their spot price during the time of the transaction.

3 Partnerships That Prove Stellar Will Overtake Ripple (Stocks Gazette), Rated: A

2018 will see XLM record a new ATH

In 2017, XLM gained more than 14,000%, emerging as one of the top cryptocurrencies. Most of the excitement around it owes a lot to its promise of drastically reducing the time it takes to complete cross-border transactions from a few days to a matter of seconds.

Three partnerships central to XLM adoption

The deal with IBM might have raised a few eyebrows at first. This is due to the well-known fact that it was an active competitor in the blockchain sector. However, it has since emerged that the software giant could be the launch pad from which Stellar penetrates the cross-border payments ecosystem.

Stellar partnered with Deloitte in 2016. The firm is instrumental in getting XLM adopted by some of its clients who account for over 80% of the Fortune 500 companies.

The Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India (ICICI) is a top banking and financial service provider in India. India has one of the world’s largest populations, most of which are unbanked. As such, Lumens could be a vital bridge currency for transactions involving banking the unbanked.

Ripple’s Internet Of Value Vision And The $ 1 Question (Ethereum World News), Rated: A

The past week has been an exciting one for our dear Ripple (XRP) in the crypto markets. We saw XRP trading at $0.65 on Monday and an exciting $0.93 by Saturday, April 21st. This is a wonderful leap of 43% in less than a week. XRP is currently trading at $0.86.

It is highly possible for us to see $1 per XRP the coming week and around Thursday, 26th April.

Three Big News Behind Ripple Bull Run (CryptoRecorder), Rated: B

The first message that created uproar in the crypto space some days back was the awaited news of Apple-Ripple Partnership.

Although, the news of Ripple and Santander partnership was all in the air before this time, when the news that the app was unveiled surfaced, the price of ripple skyrocketed.

Ripple Committed $25 Million To Innovations.

Free Crypto Trading App Robinhood Launches in Colorado with Bitcoin, Ethereum (CCN), Rated: AAA

Zero-commission startup exchange Robinhood just announced on Twitter its expansion into Colorado. The trading platform unveiled commision-free trading for leading cryptocurrencies bitcoin and Ethereum in the western state.

Texas State Securities Board Investigation Uncovers 32 Illegal Cryptocurrency Schemes (BTCManager), Rated: AAA

The Texas State Securities Board (TSSB) published a report on April 10 based on afour-week investigation concerning cryptocurrency fraud in which 32 illegal schemes were discovered.

The list comprises some major points that should be noted:

  • Out of these 32 ventures not a single company was licensed to sell securities in the state,
  • 11 crypto businesses only had an online presence but no physical address,
  • Five of the listed companies promised unrealistic returns – a clear indication of fraud,
  • Six of them were running Multi-level marketing (MLM) schemes.
crypto fraud
Source: Texas State Securities Board

Download and read the full report here.

The Google Play Store has a serious crypto scam problem (Android Authority), Rated: A

According to The Next Web, in 2018 alone, Google has removed three instances of malicious apps posing as legitimate crypto wallet apps. These imposter apps steal keys from you and then drain your accounts. Granted, each app was removed in a few days and only got a few downloads, if any at all, but this is just one part of the problem.

In this most recent case, Android users searching for popular cryptocurrency app MyEtherWallet may have mistakenly downloaded a doppelgänger version of the application that is designed to steal your information. It looks like the application remained on the Google Play Store for four days before Google took it down.

SEC files fraud charges against co-founder of Centra Tech (Digital Trends), Rated: B

Litecoin’s (LTC) Charlie Lee signs NDA with rising giant TokenPay (TPAY): LiteCard on the Way? (Crypto Globalist) Rated: A

TokenPay (TPAY) has partnered with a couple of blockchains starting with Verge (XVG), Enjin (ENJ) and most recently signed a non-disclosure agreement with Litecoin (LTC). Litecoin’s CEO Charlie Lee welcomed the idea of an agreement between LTC and TPAY with the LTC boss hinting on a possible integration of LTC to TPAY ecosystem.

Cloud Giant Xunlei Claims Blockchain Advance With ‘ThunderChain’ (CoinDesk), Rated: A

Xunlei, the NASDAQ-listed cloud network provider, has launched its proprietary blockchain platform, despite ongoing class actions over an alleged initial coin offering (ICO).

At a press event in Beijing on Friday, the company announced its open blockchain platform dubbed “ThunderChain,” which is designed to enable developers to build decentralization applications.

Based on the practical Byzantine fault tolerance (PBFT) consensus mechanism, Xunlei makes the significant claim for ThunderChain that it provides processing capacity in the millions of transactions per second.

Drivezy raises $ 8 Mn in the second round of Initial Coin Offering (Entrackr), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer car and bike rental platform Drivezy has raised about $8 million in the second round of its initial coin offering (ICO) by offering tokens called RentalCoins – 1.O.

Rare Bits has raised $ 6 million on the way to becoming cryptocurrency’s answer to eBay (CNBC), Rated: A

Startup Rare Bits is positioning itself to be the go-to site for cryptocurrency enthusiasts — or beginners — who want to buy digital assets.

The platform, which launched in February and allows users to buy, sell and search for virtual assets denominated in cryptocurrency, just raised a $6 million dollar series A round. Investors included big names in the space, like Spark Capital, First Round Capital, Twitch CEO Emmett Shear and founder and former CEO Justin Kan.

Cryptocurrency miners hacked my blog (VentureBeat), Rated: A

A few weeks ago, I was alerted by email that someone had logged into the admin console of one of my blogs. It was around 11:30 PM, and I was getting ready to go to sleep. Since I’m the only admin on my blog, I was surprised. Surprise quickly turned to alarm as I realized it must be a hack. That realization was the beginning of nearly five days of effort to stop the attacks, restore my sites and secure them to minimize the possibility of attacks in the future.

Research Shows Technology Professionals Are Confident Blockchain Is the Next Big Thing (The Merkle), Rated: A

Even so, the overall industry sentiment remains rather bullish when it comes to distributed ledgers. The new research conducted by Intrinsic Insights confirms that technology professionals are convinced this technology will be transformative. It is certainly true that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of potential use cases for distributed ledgers. However, not every concept needs a blockchain, and it is due time to phase out the clutter at some point.

Cryptocurrency Market Will Get ‘Much Bigger’: Former JPMorgan Banker (CCN), Rated: A

Daniel Masters, who previously led JPMorgan’s global energy trading desk, says cryptocurrencies are fueling a financial revolution.

Masters is now chairman of digital investment bank Coinshares and chief investment officer at Global Advisors, and he explained in an interview with Bloomberg how distributed ledger technology is doing for the democratization of peer-to-peer transactions what the internet did for the democratization of news.

Walmart is jumping on the crypto bandwagon with two blockchain patents (BGR.com), Rated: B

In two patents filed last year and approved on Thursday, Walmart describes the system:

“In one aspect, provided is a vendor payment sharing system, [which would] automatically process payment for a total amount due for the products and services related to obtaining and delivering the products; automatically dividing the payment between parties that provided services related to obtaining and delivering the products; and encrypt the payment and the division of the payment with a blockchain.”

Byteball Launches Initial Coin Offering Tool for Accredited Investors (The Merkle), Rated: A

More specifically, Byteball is launching a new tool which makes the organization of ICOs a lot more straightforward. Thanks to the integration of VerifyInvestor.com, the team is introducing an ICO platform which mainly targets accredited investors. This allows ICO projects to sell securities without any big problems, although it means they may not be able to attract thousands of investors.

Long Blockchain Clarifies Plans, Appoints Stater’s Ramy Soliman to Board (Finance Magnates), Rated: B

The company has previously voiced its plans to acquire a UK-based software development firm Hashcove Limited. The company has also invested into TSLC PTE Ltd., which is the parent of digital money and short-term financial product provider CASHe, and blockchain company who also has FX prime brokerage operations Stater Blockchain Limited.

The CEO of Stater Global Markets and Stater Blockchain, Ramy Soliman, has been the most recent addition to the board of directors of Long Blockchain.

 

We’re giving away $ 500 of Ethereum to one lucky reader (Popular Science), Rated: B

In most giveaways, the star prize is a holiday or a laptop. But we wanted to do something a little different for PopSci readers. Instead of shipping you a piece of tech you didn’t need, we are going to send $500 worth of Ethereum to one lucky person. Yes, that’s right—we’re giving away free digital money. Head over to the PopSci Shop now for your chance to win.

 

International

The Illiterate Are Key to Bitcoin Adoption (NewsBTC), Rated: AAA

Bitcoin adoption as a currency finds different motives among users, depending on factors such as geography, politics, economic systems, and even literacy. The ones who need Bitcoin the most may even be unaware of its existence due to illiteracy and lack of internet access.

The populations of countries such as Venezuela, Zimbabwe, or Afghanistan, live in the daily plight of not having trustworthy official currencies for savings purposes. These are only used for buying goods and services, but most people usually exchange their hard earned money for U.S. Dollars to store value.

The Killer Feature for New Cryptocurrency Exchanges Isn’t What You Think (Hackernoon), Rated: AAA

These shiny, high-tech and (usually) tokenized exchanges promise to be all the things the current crop are not. Gone are the days when listing half a dozen solid altcoins was enough to launch an exchange. The era defined by Mt Gox and Btc-e, powered by a simple trading engine and a trollbox, are long gone (and for good reason). The multi-dimensional next generation exchanges that have supplanted them aren’t content to be good at one thing — they want to be good at all the things: liquidity, coin selection, ICO launching, community incentivization, rewards mechanisms, supplying strategies, implementing copycat trading and, oh, don’t forget the AI. Because 2018.

Step outside of the top 10 exchanges and the user experience can best be described as challenging and less charitably as dogshit, as anyone who’s used the hundreds of smaller exchanges will attest.

The Role of the World’s Most Popular Digital Currency Mining Pools (Coinsquare), Rated: A

However, digital currency mining is not always profitable on an individual level. The fluctuating value of digital currencies and the uncertainty that their computer will earn rewards causes some users to lose money while mining due to electricity costs. As a solution, mining pools attempt to unite users, incentivize mining, and share rewards.

One year after ICO mania, these big-money projects are delivering (VentureBeat), Rated: A

The company’s concept of a decentralized prediction marketplace made a lot of sense to me. What made less sense to me was that it was able to raise $12.5 million in 15 minutes. And what made no sense to me at all was when Gnosis’ valuation hit $300 million. If I recall correctly, it even hit $1 billion at some point.

Then Brave’s Basic Attention Token raised $35 million in 30 seconds at the end of May.

Then, in June, Bancor said, “I see you and raise you,” bringing in a then-record $153 million in three hours.

Top 4 Upcoming Cryptocurrencies Sans ICOs (The Merkle), Rated: A

The team behind Market Protocol is working to develop a decentralized derivatives exchange – the first of its kind.

Elixir (ELIX) is a platform that allows its users to make payments, lend money, and crowdfund projects.

Elixir uses a Proof-of-Time algorithm, and the coin was fairly distributed through a “genesis airdrop” event.

ChanCoin is a community-driven cryptocurrency initially created in the summer of 2017. Developers from the community are actively working to deploy a system of steganographic technology to provide credit to original content creators.

Masari is a privacy coin forked from XMR.

Greeneum – A Blockchain Platform For Investing In Clean Energy (Legal Gambling and the Law), Rated: A

Until now, innovation in clean energy technologies has progressed slowly due to centralized market systems, compounded by lack of demand and incentives. By 2020, less than a third of the world’s energy supply is sustainable. To encourage funding in clean energy, Greeneum has created the world’s first blockchain technology-based clean energy investment and trading platform.

The platform consists of three parallel and connected systems:

  1. Greeneum Global Data system
  2. Greeneum Energy Trading system
  3. Green Global Monetization System
Greeneum
Source: Legal Gambling and the Law

Waste Woes: How Blockchain Could Clean Up The Mess We’re In (Forbes), Rated: A

There are many, of course. But at the end of last year, China banned its importation of plastic waste. To date, China has banned twenty-four categories of waste as part of a crackdown cleaning up its environment and infamous Beijing haze.

And the figures are as eye-watering as the smog associated with it. China was taking in more than 30 million metric tonnes of waste from every corner of the globe including the EU and Australia.

About one million plastic PET bottles are sold each minute around the globe.

In this case, they take a paid-for rubbish bag, save the costs of expensive repossessing and dump a taxed bag in the nearest sea or lake. But as in many supply chain situations, blockchain could help make sure the chain doesn’t get broken in a nefarious way.

DAOSTACK – THE ‘WORDPRESS’ FOR DAOS (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

One company, DAOstack, is making DAO accessibility a reality.

DAOstack provides the foundational tools for the creation, operation and governance of DAOs, internally and externally within a broader ecosystem. In a nutshell, it can be regarded as an analogue of WordPress for DAOs.

The Blockchain on the High Seas (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Here’s a story about how the shipping industry, which “still relies on millions and millions of paper documents,” is pushing to get shippers, customers, banks, insurers, port authorities and others to stop filling out forms on paper and start filling them out on websites instead:

The idea is not that you’d go to A.P. Moeller-Maerk A/S’s website and fill out a form that Maersk would use to track your container; it’s that you’d go to Maersk’s website and fill out a form that Maersk would use to track your container on the blockchain.

Rix Foundation ICO: Another Cryptocurrency Coin Shut Down? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: A

There are a few factors that lead to the termination of this promising company, a few points that will give you a clearer picture as to why the company had to be terminated. To begin with, encrypted money is actually not money, which raised a few worries from investors.

Santandar Has Bigger Plans for Ripple’s Technology (Daily HODL), Rated: A

Santander Ripple

ATFX adds Ripple to its cryptocurrency trading platform (Leaprate), Rated: B

Online trading services provider AT Global Markets Limited (ATFX) has announced  that it has added Ripple to its cryptocurrency trading platform in March.

Allianz Insurance Token Could Become Reality as Internal Testing is Starting (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: B

The world’s largest insurance company Allianz is experimenting with an internalized token which is meant to send money around the world to eliminate the extensive costs of conversions and supply.

The project is being called Allianz token and is being helped by a blockchain startup Adjoint.

ICOAdmin: Initial Coin Offering Investor Dashboard Software? (Bitcoin Exchange Guide), Rated: B

ICOadm.in is an upcoming ICO that is set to launch an international platform to build and sustain successful ICO launches. The blockchain platform will enable interested ICO startups to seek and raise capital through the provision of innovative and convenient turnkey solutions.

European Union

How Malta Became a Hub of the Cryptocurrency World (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Two of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges plan to make the tiny European nation of Malta a central hub of their operations, and analysts say others are sure to follow.

1. What explains Malta’s appeal?

At a time when countries around the world are expressing ambivalence about cryptocurrencies, if not cracking down on them, Malta is writing rules that should give exchange owners and users certainty about the future.

malta blockchain
Source: Bloomberg

3. What does this mean for cryptocurrency investors?

Transparency and legal certainty should be a positive for an industry that’s suffered from fraud, hacks and sudden regulatory crackdowns. But Malta’s recent economic success has been overshadowed by corruption and money-laundering scandals, including the death of a journalist who wrote about alleged graft in the highest ranks of the government. Some European Union lawmakers have raised doubts about Malta’s rule of law, a point strongly challenged by Muscat.

5. What does Malta’s push mean for other crypto hubs?

Malta is trying to pull the center of the crypto-trading world to the west. Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong host multiple exchanges and Asia-based investors are a large chunk of global trading. Amid last year’s crackdown by China, Japan took a crypto-friendly stance that’s been challenged by theft and fraud, and while authorities are still open to digital currencies, they have stepped up their scrutiny of exchanges. Regulatory uncertainty in South Korea and Hong Kong may put them at a disadvantage if Malta gains in popularity.

6. Are other companies also looking for a Mediterranean base?

Yes, and increasingly so after Binance’s announcement.

The Code for Ethereum’s Consensus Change Is Now Ready for Review (CoinDesk), Rated: AAA

New code written to change the way the ethereum network reaches consensus is now ready for review, developers said Friday.

Ethereum improvement proposal (EIP) 1011, known as Hybrid Casper FFG (short for “Friendly Finality Gadget”), would implement the first step in a long-planned shift away from the energy-intensive mining process and toward an allegedly greener method sometimes called “minting.”

Ethereum’s Buterin: Altcoin Valuations ‘Far Ahead Of Accomplishments’ (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has hit out at Blockchain platform Tron, among others, telling mainstream media April 18 it was an example of “projects that never had a soul.”

Following an unpublished “critique” of the Chinese platform Tron, Buterin then described its token’s market cap, which at one point in January hit $17 bln, as an example of a valuation that is “far ahead of what this space has actually accomplished for the world.”

Seems Litecoin (LTC) And TokenPay (TPAY) Are Partnering on Acquiring Bank In Germany (CryptoRecorder), Rated: A

While Daren and Charlee were taking on each other on who failed to donate and who donated, Daren revealed that TokenPay has a partnership with Verge and that they, TokenPay, are buying a bank in Germany and will be using Verge as their banking solution.

During this period, Daren, however, question Charlee on Litecoin’s desire to have debit card. Since, Litecoin has been partnering with different firms to make sure a debit card is produced in the cryptocurrency’s name. Cryptocurrency enthusiasts hopes that in few month a Litecoin Debit Card would surface.

Litecoin (LTC) and TokenPay (TPAY) did not reveal what the partnership is all about till now, but it was confirmed in a tweet by TokenPay that the two cryptocurrencies have entered into a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Bitcoin Payments Are on the Rise in the Baltics (Bitcoin.com), Rated: A

Cryptocurrencies are becoming more widely accepted in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, where buying a cup of coffee with bitcoin is nothing special these days. Cafes, bars, restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops, and even an orthopedic clinic, are now accepting cryptos, according to local media. It seems that the Baltic Tigers of the EU are becoming the “Bitcoin Tigers” of Europe.

Midex Closes $ 20 Million Initial Coin Offering. Cryptocurrency Exchange to Launch in May (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Estonia licensed Midex reports having closed on more than $ 20 million during their initial coin offering (ICO).

During the Midex crowdsale, 20 million MDX tokens were sold at a price between $1 and $1.20 and the number of transactions on the site reportedly topped 7 million.

Midex explains that their main advantage of the Midex Exchange is its bespoke software that is described as being able to perform an impressive 1.5 million orders per second.

European Venture Capitalists are Investing in Cryptocurrency, Blockchain Projects (BTCManager), Rated: A

Mainstream European venture capitalists (VC) are making inroads into the digital currency scene. Some of the largest venture capital firms on the continent are making big moves in the crypto market, buying up new cryptocurreny and investing in ICOs. Many of these firms are also asking their investors to allow them more room to maneuver with the funds at their disposal, concerning cryptocurrency investments.

Smaller firms like BlueYard Capital and Fabric Ventures as well as behemoths like the Zurich-based Lakestar have been making considerable investments in crypto and blockchain-related enterprises since 2017. Lakestar, run by Klaus Hummels, has invested in four of such enterprises including ShapeShift (a crypto exchange platform) and Blockchain (a crypto wallet provider). Many of the smaller firms focus their investments on blockchain startups.

IOTA Demonstrates Real-World Use Case With Smart Vehicle Charging Stations (CryptoSlate), Rated: A

Netherlands-based ElaadNL has officially unveiled the world first Internet of Things capable charging station by harnessing the IOTA tangle to facilitate direct transactions between vehicle and charger. This application of the protocol represents a milestone, providing a tangible demonstration of the possibilities of feeless M2M transactions.

Alleged Bitcoin Miner Thief Says Police Held Him ‘Without Evidence’ (CoinDesk), Rated: A

The accused mastermind of Iceland’s “Big Bitcoin Heist” says that he was free to travel when he escaped from a low-security prison and flew to Sweden last week.

Yet in a letter sent to Icelandic newspaper Frettabladidlast week, Stefansson claimed he held with no evidence for months prior to his escape. He further asserted that the order of detention against him expired on April 16, and that when police attempted to extend his custody by another 10 days, a judge deferred that decision for another day. As a result, during the time of the escape, Stefansson claimed, he was legally free to go.

European Parliament approves stricter regulation for cryptocurrencies (EconoTimes), Rated: B

The European Parliament has approved stricter rules that aim to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies for money laundering and terrorism financing activities.

The new measures include an extension of the Directive to cover all forms of tax advisory services, letting agents, art dealers, as well as electronic wallet providers and cryptocurrency exchange service providers. Among other things, it seeks to end the anonymity associated with cryptocurrencies and also address the risks linked to prepaid cards and cryptocurrencies.

Under the new rules, cryptocurrency exchange platforms and wallet providers will now have to apply customer due diligence controls, including customer verification requirements. Furthermore, these platforms and providers will also have to be registered, as will currency exchanges and cheque cashing offices, and trust or company services providers.

United Kingdom

Genesis London Conference: Study Shows Ethereum is More Decentralized Than Bitcoin (CCN), Rated: A

At the Genesis London blockchain conference held in February by Binary District, Cornell professor, cryptocurrency expert, and computer scientist Emin Gün Sirer said in an interview that a study done by prestigious university Cornell has shown the Ethereum blockchain network is currently more decentralized than bitcoin.

China

Debunking the Rumors: Binance Is Not Adding USD Trading Anytime Soon (The Merkle), Rated: AAA

Contrary to what the internet would have you believe, the Binance exchange is not getting involved in USD-based trading as of right now. While having such pairs on the exchange would certainly be a good thing overall, the firm is not in the process of adding them as of right now. Instead, they are talking with banks to potentially explore fiat currency pairs in the future, but nothing has been confirmed at this point in time.

APAC

Iran officially bans use of cryptocurrencies (CNBC), Rated: AAA

An Iranian newspaper says the country’s Central Bank has officially banned the use of cryptocurrencies in financial transactions in order to “prevent crimes such as money laundering and terrorism.”

FORGET CHINA: HONG KONG, SINGAPORE ARE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCKCHAIN (SCMP), Rated: AAA

SINGAPORE and Hong Kong have become the up-and-coming destination for companies that want to raise funds using blockchain technology, as Beijing’s recent crackdown on digital currencies sends investors to speculate elsewhere.

Last year, Singapore became the world’s third-largest ICO launch pad in terms of money raised, after the United States and Switzerland, according to a report from information portal Funderbeam.

Hong Kong and Singapore Welcome Chinese and South Korean ICOs (NewsBTC), Rated: A

Singapore and Hong Kong are experiencing an explosion in the number of companies launching ICO’s in the past few months and they have China to thank for it. Since Beijing has defined Initial Coin Offering as an illegal fundraising tool in fear of potential financial crimes that can be perpetrated using the method startups from within the country are looking for places that will allow them to grow freely.

How Blockchain is taking hold across Asia Pacific (Jill Real Views), Rated: A

Singapore’s Suntec City building is setting itself up as a hub of blockchain players with several companies setting up shop in a 1,336sq feet co-working space. A similar project is being launched in Tokyo.

Corporates are also taking note. HSBC Australia joined forces with start-up Moneycatcha last year to use its end-to-end blockchain-enabled platform for approving home loans automatically.

Blockchain bodes well for Asia Pacific’s bustling Proptech scene, where China and India are leading the way in fundraising, at US$2 billion and US$1.7 billion, respectively, according to JLL’s Proptech report.

Coinsecure Prepares Customers’ Claims Process For Stolen Bitcoin (CCN), Rated: A

Indian cryptocurrency exchange Coinsecure has advised users on its website that it has been working with authorities since last week’s theft of 438 bitcoins and has asked for patience as it prepares the claims process. The company’s legal team is reviewing contracts and preparing the claims form for users to peruse. The exchange has been “flooded with calls” for the past few days.

UTRUM TO LAUNCH INNOVATIVE BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM SOLVING TRUST PROBLEMS FOR CRYPTO INVESTORS (Bitcoinist), Rated: A

Komodo is the world leader in Atomic Swap technology and this technology will be utilized in the Utrum dICO App, allowing participants to invest in the ICO in a unique “wallet-to-wallet” transaction, receiving OOT immediately in exchange for their investment with no third-party intermediary. The target crowd sale soft cap is $1 Million USD with a hard cap of $5 Million USD.

Utrum, a decentralized community platform with reputation-based quality reviews of crypto projects and assets, has announced its public token crowd sale to launch May 10, 2018.

Two Indian Fraudsters Arrested for Operating Bitcoin Ponzi Schemes (Bitsonline), Rated: B

The two fraudsters — Deepak Jangra and Deepak Malhotra — operated an online portal offering 12 percent return on investments for 18 months including the principal amount. The swindlers claimed to make a profit from bitcoin mining and trading. Investors were kept under the false pretense that the portal was run from the United States.

Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges need tighter rules (Reuters), Rated: B

Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges should be regulated more like banks as they hold investors’ assets while offering trading platforms, the chief executive of online brokerage Monex Group Inc said.

Four Industries Poised For Blockchain Disruption In Indonesia (Forbes), Rated: B

“I’d love to see Blockchain disrupting the way governments are run, especially in Indonesia,” Sastrowardoyo says. “There is immense potential for increased SLAs [service-level agreements], less waste and corruption prevention for governments in this region.”

Suhadi says that supply-chain management will benefit from blockchain applications in processing and financing, as well as verifying the origin and authenticity of goods. He points to Eximchain as an example of a company already making inroads in this space. Eximchain CEO Hope Liu told me last month that her company uses blockchain to improve the supply chain industry’s privacy, scalability and security.

Pundi X is in the business of driving better consumer transactions through blockchain-based point of sale (POS) systems. So it’s not surprising that Papadimitriou sees real potential in this area.

Sastrowardoyo believes blockchain will return power and control to individual consumers, allowing them to determine how their data is used and with whom it’s shared. “The Cambridge Analytica debacle shows us that we don’t currently own our own data, since centralized systems are owned by who owns the servers,” she says. “ Blockchain can allow you to actually own your data — even though the Blockchain lives on top of servers owned by organizations , they will not be able to access any of your data unless you allow them to. Therefore identity apps, I predict, would be the next ‘killer app’ for customers.”

Eurasia

Russian Farmer Alters Rural Economy With Virtual Currency, as Moscow Watches Warily (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Farmer Mikhail Shlyapnikov says the best way to revive the ailing economy in this remote village is cutting financial ties to Moscow.

Mr. Shlyapnikov has launched a cryptocurrency, the kolion, named after his hamlet some 80 miles southeast of Moscow, buoyed by an initial investment of a half-million dollars from investors in Russia and abroad.

Since its launch last year, the currency is slowly becoming a tender of choice here and in surrounding towns for transactions, from milk to tractors.

Africa

Binance Partners with African Innovation Hub to Support Ugandan Development (Crypto Coin Spy), Rated: AAA

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has tweeted details of a freshly inked partnership with Crypto Savannah, a newly formed innovation hub focusing on blockchain implementation in various sectors across the African continent.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

About the author

Allen Taylor

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