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Friday May 18 2018, Daily News Digest

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United States

Square Cash Growth Accelerating Faster Than Venmo Partially Due to Bitcoin (BlockExplorer News), Rated: AAA

Square Cash, the mobile payments app operated by San Francisco-based financial services company Square, has seen faster growth than their fiercest competitor, PayPal’s Venmo app, according to new analysis from Nomura’s Instinet.

A report sent to Instinet clients from analyst Dan Dolev concludes that Square Cash is quickly catching up to Venmo’s install base, with nearly 28 million cumulative downloads of the Square Cash app, a mere $1 million behind Venmo, despite releasing 4 years later. Square Cash’s downloads have averaged a strong 128 percent year-over-year growth since 2016, with Venmo only managing 74% year-over-year growth comparatively.

How Coinbase is building a cryptocurrency empire (The Washington Post), Rated: AAA

From its office tower perch overlooking San Francisco’s financial district, Coinbase handles thousands of requests a day from investors who want to buy, sell or store bitcoin, or perhaps other cryptocurrencies supported on the nearly six-year-old exchange.

Since its founding by a former Airbnb engineer in 2012, Coinbase has been growing at a rate rivaling much better-known start-ups. It manages more than 20 million accounts, almost as many as Fidelity Investments, twice as many as Charles Schwab and about as many accounts as Vanguard has investors. Coinbase is, however, a much smaller player in terms of assets under management; it stores $20 billion worth of virtual currencies, compared with the nearly $7 trillion in assets held by Fidelity.

Consumers who sign up with Coinbase must feel comfortable knowing that their online wallets will not be hacked, its executives say. To minimize the risk of a catastrophic data breach, Coinbase stores roughly 99 percent of its customers’ funds in formats that are not connected to the Internet.The remaining 1 percent — the liquid funds that Coinbase uses to carry out trades — comes from the company’s reserves, so that customer funds are never directly connected to the marketplace. That 1 percent is privately insured by Lloyds of London, Hirji said, offering another layer of protection.

Cardano (ADA) Could Be Next On Coinbase Along With EOS (EOS) And Tron (TRX) (Cryptodaily), Rated: AAA

Cardano (ADA) is all set to enforce its mark in the smart contracts and Dapp development community. Recently, Charles Hoskinson of IOHK, who is also the founder of Cardano (ADA) mentioned in an interview that Cardano (ADA) will be bigger than Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) in a year’s time. Cardano along with its South Korean partner, Metaps Plus seems eager to establish its foothold in Asian and African markets. Cardano Foundation, which looks after interests of the Cardano (ADA) Project, has been actively working in target markets to register Cardano and ADA trademarks. The Foundation believes that Cardano (ADA) will continue to exist at least for the next 50 years.

Cardano
Source: Cryptodaily

Buyer Beware: Hundreds of Bitcoin Wannabes Show Hallmarks of Fraud (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In a review of documents produced for 1,450 digital coin offerings, The Wall Street Journal has found 271 with red flags that include plagiarized investor documents, promises of guaranteed returns and missing or fake executive teams.

Investors have poured more than $1 billion into the 271 coin offerings where the Journal identified red flags, according to a review of company statements and online transaction records—nearly one in five of those reviewed. Some of the firms are still raising funds, while others have shut down. Investors have so far claimed losses of up to $273 million in these projects, according to lawsuits and regulatory actions.

Led by the bitcoin fever, the 1,450 projects analyzed by the Journal—a number believed to encompass most of those aimed at an English-speaking audience since 2014—say they have raised at least $5 billion. Since 2017, cryptocoin offerings have generated more than $9 billion in proceeds globally, according to research and data firm Satis Group.
ICOs
ICO red flags

Cryptocurrency: Both a Revolutionary Technology and a Bubble in Waiting (Nasdaq), Rated: A

“Is cryptocurrency a bubble?” has been asked so frequently that Google now autofills the question.

Indeed, the question itself has reached bubble status. Frequently, the question confuses whether crypto is (or will be) a bubble with whether the technology has long-term value. Both are true. Cryptocurrency is a revolutionary technology, and the excitement over revolutionary technology creates bubbles.

What Determines The Price Of Bitcoin? (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Bitcoin investors have been predicting meteoritic rises will recommence any day now. But Bitcoin has so far refused to cooperate, staying stubbornly stuck below $10,000 for the last two months. How can we know when – or if – it will rise again?

Cryptocurrency analysts Fundstrat think they have found a way of predicting the future price of Bitcoin. They used the expected path of breakeven Bitcoin mining costs to forecast that Bitcoin will reach $36,000 by the end of 2019:

Fundstrat Bitcoin price
Source: Fundstrat and Forbes

People are buying bitcoin — because their horoscope said so (MarketWatch), Rated: A

When Chicago-based investor Marcus Thomas first heard about cryptocurrency in 2017, he was skeptical. “I couldn’t understand how something digital could have any value like the dollar, gold or silver,” he said.

But he has since invested more than $11,000 in cryptocurrencies — in part because astrologers said it was a good idea. People who track the zodiac say the movement of the planet Uranus — which represents revolution and change — from Aries into Taurus this week is a good sign for cryptocurrencies. Thomas and starry-eyed others say they’re moving money into crypto to get in on the potential action.

Massive Consensus Conference Succumbs To Blockchain ‘Echo Chamber’ (Forbes), Rated: A

The problem: most of the noise around both blockchain and crypto is little more than the community talking to itself – a massive ‘echo chamber’ that in its final analysis promises no lasting business value for its participants.

This echo chamber filled with schemers, scammers, speculators, and their various marks did not account for the entirety of the conversations at Consensus, however.

In contrast to the carnival huckster atmosphere dominating the event were firms focused on the other side of the blockchain equation: those seemingly rare but essential business models where blockchain may actually deliver real business value – in spite of all the nonsense at surrounding booths.

Why JP Morgan’s Blockchain Patent Application Is Not That Surprising (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

While their skepticism surrounding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is clear, JP Morgan, and Jamie Dimon, never expressed any animosity towards blockchain’s legitimacy. In fact, JP Morgan is one of the underlying technology’s earliest supporters and testers.

Free-Range Beef Bound By The Blockchain (Forbes), Rated: A

In many ways, Wyoming Senator Ogden Driskill is an unlikely candidate to be leading the blockchain revolution in his home state.

It turns out that while expensive, raising cattle this way is also a commodity in its own right, with many consumers willing to pay a premium for animals that lived their lives outside and ate only natural food. But it’s also a commodity that’s difficult to monetize without giving incontrovertible proof to the end consumer that the cattle and other animals really were raised on a particular ranch, in a particular way and maybe even by a particular rancher.

Start-Up Uses Blockchain And AI To Offer ‘Trustworthy, Unbiased’ Skincare Advice (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

Opu Labs says the vast majority of consumers get advice from social media, friends and product marketers – information which is often biased or too general to take their unique skin type into account. According to its white paper, just 12 percent of people  get recommendations from professional dermatologists, but more than 80 percent would like to do so.

Opu CRM would be geared towards skincare professionals – enabling them to hold consultations with patients and create treatment plans. This would be coupled with a blockchain-enabled medical records system  that would allow patient data to be exchanged securely.

Ivy Joins the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (GlobeNewswire), Rated: B

Ivy, a blockchain-based financial services company looking to change the way banking transactions are done, announced today that it has joined the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), the world’s largest open source blockchain initiative.

Steve Wozniak: Bitcoin And Blockchain Will Achieve Full Potential In a Decade (CoinTelegraph), Rated: B

The blockchain and cryptocurrencies will achieve their full potential in a decade, according to Wozniak. Apple’s co-founder quoted CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey, who had said in March that Bitcoin will become the world’s “single currency.”

Texas Shuts Down ICO that Used Fake Jennifer Aniston Endorsement (CCN), Rated: B

Filed on Wednesday, the emergency cease-and-desist order alleges that — in addition to illegally peddling unregistered securities — Wind Wide Coin used photographs of Aniston, Prince Charles, and former Finnish prime minister Matti Vanhanen to deceive investors.

International

Cases Of Illegal Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency Mining: Chicken Farms And New York (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

In the USChina, and South Korea, many individual cryptocurrency miners and large-scale mining centers were cracked down for conducting illicit operations. For example, in April 2018, cryptocurrency miners in South Korea were arrested for illicitly utilizing cheap electricity to produce cryptos.

Chicken farm in South Korea

On April 19, police in the Gyeong-ki province of South Korea, the second largest region behind Seoul, arrested operators of a mining center in Nam Yang city. An in-depth police investigation disclosed that five cryptocurrency miners, whose identities remain confidential as they are still in police custody, purposely rented out factories and chicken farms in the protected part of the city to receive electricity for substantially lower rates.

The group generated more than $300,000 by accepting ASIC miners from individuals within months but the actual sum of cryptocurrencies the group was able to produce throughout the 8-month period remains unclear.

First mining ban in New York

In the US on March 18, local authorities in the state of New York requested a cryptocurrency mining facility to halt their mining initiative after residents of Plattsburg, a small lakeside town in upstate New York, filed an official complaint to the police for the excessive usage of low-cost electricity by local miners.

Another cryptocurrency mining facility was confronted by local authorities and a telecommunication powerhouse T-Mobile on Feb. 15 after it was revealed that ASIC miners from a mining facility based in Brooklyn interfered with the 700 MHz band of T-Mobile.

cryptocurrency mining
Source: CoinTelegraph

Specialized chips are threatening to take over cryptocurrencies, and they look unstoppable (MIT Technology Review), Rated: AAA

Application-specific integrated circuits are chips specially designed to perform the kinds of computations needed to mine a chosen currency more efficiently than general-purpose hardware can. That miners can use ASICs to gain an advantage probably wouldn’t represent such a threat if one company, the Chinese firm Bitmain, hadn’t come to dominate the market. Now David Vorick, the founder of the three-year-old blockchain-based file storage service Sia, and his team are going head-to-head with Bitmain, the mining industry’s Goliath.

Vorick’s ASIC manufacturing company, called Obelisk, is an attempt to make an end run around Bitmain’s relentless production of new ASICs.

And Bitmain has been branching out of late, releasing new ASICs designed to mine Ether, Zcash, and Monero in addition to Siacoin.

Indorse Partners with ICOCrunch to Drive ICO Project Transparency (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Indorse, a blockchain-powered social network for professionals, has partnered with ICOCrunch, an independent research platform that showcases ICO projects. Through this partnership, Indorse will help ICOCrunch add an “additional layer of legitimacy” to projects on the platform. Once a project has been verified through Indorse, it will then receive a badge of recognition on the ICOCrunch listing index. Indorse guarantees the authenticity of a project, by validating the team members’ and advisors’ connections with the project, through the blockchain.

Former McKinsey consultant pranks ICO community with ‘scam’ (Consultancy), Rated: A

A former McKinsey & Company consultant has been found at the heart of an internet prank that enraged thousands of people worldwide. An apparent Initial Coin Offering ‘scam’ saw Dr. Yassin Hankir allegedly make off with millions in investors’ funds with his company Savedroid. While Hankir has since stated he had investors best interests at heart by raising awareness of online crimes, his stunt seems to have struck a nerve with a number of ICO investors.

Solving a blockchain conundrum: Biometrics could recover lost encryption keys (ComputerWorld), Rated: A

Blockchain could one day solve the online privacy problemby encrypting or scrambling personally identifiable information and issuing each person a random string of bits – a private key – created explicitly for unscrambling their data.

The person holding the blockchain private key could issue various public keys controlling who has access to the personal data on the blockchain. So, for instance, if a car rental agency needed to verify you have a driver’s license.

How Blockchain Technology is Rejuvenating Free Trade (Entrepreneur), Rated: A

Today more than ever, world governments are seeing the effects of Crony Capitalism.  Special interest groups lobby politicians and make substantial monetary contributions to bolster and secure these public legislators’ positions.  In turn, policies are created benefitting those businesses. The transference of incomes and wealth are gained by the few and taken from the many at serious costs. Consequences of these actions are significant losses in efficiency and productivity, slower long-run economic growth and the public’s growing mistrust in their political representatives.

There will be a change in capitalism as we are seeing it today as blockchains enable a new relationship between producers and consumers.

Simdaq launching smart contract crypto trade marketplace on Waves (Cryptoninjas), Rated: A

simdaq

The Satori Botnet Is Mass-Scanning for Exposed Ethereum Mining Rigs (Bleeping Computer), Rated: A

The operators of the Satori botnet are mass-scanning the Internet for exposed Ethereum mining rigs, according to three sources in the infosec community who’ve observed the malicious behavior —SANS ISC, Qihoo 360 Netlab, and GreyNoise Intelligence.

HashChain Technology Adds Support for Coinbase-Owned GDAX Exchange (Stockhouse), Rated: B

HashChain Technology Inc. ( “HashChain” or the “Company” ) (TSXV: KASH; OTCQB: HSSHF) today announced that their blockchain accounting software solution, Balance , now supports the GDAX Exchange .

DMG Blockchain Expands Cryptocurrency Forensics & Analytics Services to International Customers (Nasdaq), Rated: B

DMG Blockchain Solutions Inc. (TSX-V:DMGI) (“DMG” or the “Company”), a diversified blockchain and cryptocurrency company, announced today that its Blockchain Forensics & Analytics group is expanding internationally with contracts from several new international auditing and consulting firms.

Brutal cryptocurrency mining malware crashes your PC when discovered (ZDNet), Rated: B

The malware, dubbed WinstarNssmMiner by 360 Total Security researchers, has been used in half a million attempted attacks leveraged at PCs in only three days.

European Union

Swiss Government Requests Study on State-Backed Digital Currency (CoinTelegraph), Rated: AAA

The Federal Council of the Government of Switzerland has requested a report on the risks and opportunities of introducing its own state-backed digital currency, or so called “e-franc”, Reuters reported May 17.

Banco Santander Successfully Completes ‘First Practical’ Blockchain Investor Voting Pilot (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

One of the largest banks in Europe, Spain-headquartered Santander has become the first company to use blockchain technology for investor voting, it announced May 17.

Maltese Government signs partnership with Omnitude to use blockchain technology to enhance the Malta Public Transport (Medium), Rated: A

Minister Ian Borg announced a partnership with Omnitude — a Multi-Enterprise Blockchain Middleware Platform. The deal is part of the Maltese Government’s blockchain strategy that will see blockchain technology implemented into the operations of the Maltese Public Transport Service to develop a transport and logistics platform using Omnitude’s blockchain middleware technology.

Coindeal Exchange Replaces Bitcoin (BTC) Trade Pair With Ripple (XRP) (Oracle Times), Rated: A

A coin exchange named CoinDeal aired on its Twitter page that it has removed a renowned trade pair on it platform for another. The tweet stated that trade pair SHND/BTC has been removed, while it introduces SHND/XRP.

United Kingdom

JPMorgan has asked a 29-year-old highflier to draw up a cryptocurrency strategy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

JPMorgan has asked a London-based fintech head to draw up a cryptocurrency strategy for the bank.

Oliver Harris, 29, is taking on a new role as head of crypto-assets strategy, reporting to Umar Farooq, the head of blockchain initiatives at the corporate and investment bank. Harris will also lead JPMorgan’s Quorum project, the internal blockchain platform developed by the bank that’s rumoured to be preparing for a spinoff.

It’s Not Bitcoin Trading — But J.P. Morgan Is Heading Deeper Into Crypto (Fortune), Rated: A

J.P. Morgan created a new position dubbed Head of Crypto-Assets Strategy. With his new title, Harris will seek out cryptocurrency projects that can be taken to market, Fortune has learned.

Barclays has hired a top data scientist from BuzzFeed to build a team to exploit a billion opportunity (Business Insider), Rated: A

Barclays is building a new team intended to tap unconventional data sources to bolster its research department, and it has hired a top data scientist from BuzzFeed to lead the charge.

The British bank announced Thursday that it had hired Adam Kelleher as director and chief data scientist for research, a new role at the bank focused on “sourcing, normalizing, and utilizing alternative data sets to support Barclays’ Research franchise.”

Bitbose signs up ICO expert Mark Kreimerman as technical advisor (Financial Report 24), Rated: B

Senior ICO expert Mark Kreimerman has recently joined latest AI-powered crypto platform Bitbose as Senior Technical Advisor. Bitbose represents the smartest & most transparent cryptocurrency and the most advanced crypto exchange in the current digital currency industry. Developed on Ethereum blockchain, the company also stands out with the guarantee of faster funds transfer as well as lowest and fairest exchange rates.

China

BINANCE DELAYS TRUEUSD LAUNCH DUE TO ‘POPULAR DEMAND’ AND LIQUIDITY CONCERNS (Bitcoinist), Rated: AAA

Binance will no longer be launching TrueUSD (TUSD) trading on Friday, May 18th, at 4:00 am (UTC), as was originally planned. Instead, the hugely popular cryptocurrency exchange will start offering TUSD trading on May 22nd, at 4:00 am (UTC).

The change apparently comes after an evaluation of the coin’s interest in the community brought forth concerns over having sufficient liquidity.

China Ranks Ethereum as the World’s Best Blockchain Network, Bitcoin at #13 (CCN), Rated: AAA

On May 17, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology released its public blockchain ratings, ranking various blockchain projects like Ethereum in the global cryptocurrency sector based on three criteria: technology, application, and innovation.

Bitcoin at #13

As shown in the chart below, the Chinese government ranked Ethereum as the world’s best blockchain network at number 1. The top five included Ethereum, Steem, Lisk, NEO, and Komodo, all of which utilize smart contracts to efficiently and securely process information in a decentralized manner.

blockchain rankings

Asia

Thailand exempts crypto investors from 7% VAT ‘to reduce tax burden’ (CoinGeek), Rated: AAA

More good news is on the horizon for cryptocurrency investors in Thailand. The country’s Revenue Department announced that it would be waiving the 7% value-added tax (VAT) for all individual cryptocurrency investors.

Startup Aims to Bring Blockchain To 200,000 Developers And 1 Bln Gadgets (CoinTelegraph), Rated: A

A Singapore-based company Egretia is aiming to combine HTML5 – a technology to structure and present content online – with blockchain to create the world’s first HTML5 blockchain engine and platform. The new technology could increase blockchain apps popularity, Egretia team believes.

Eurasia

Cryptocurrency may light up renewable energy in Moldova (Reuters), Rated: A

Moldova, a small, landlocked country in eastern Europe, imports three-quarters of its energy and has seen its energy prices rise by more than half in the past five years.

But that could soon change, according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which this year will launch an innovative effort to power a Moldovan university with cryptocurrency-funded solar energy.

Azerbaijan becomes latest country to tax cryptocurrency revenues (CoinGeek), Rated: B

Azerbaijan has become the latest country to announce measures taxing revenues from cryptocurrency-related operations, joining numerous other jurisdictions in applying a levy to crypto received.

MENA

TASE sets up blockchain securities lending platform (Globes), Rated: AAA

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) is embedding cutting-edge technology into its operating business, utilizing it as the technological basis of a new Securities Lending Platform – the first central securities lending platform in the Israeli market.

The use of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) (blockchain) as the basis of this new trading platform will harness some of the blockchain’s primary advantages and features, such as direct peer-to-peer transactions, Smart Contract, and enhanced security through immutability.

Africa

Transform Africa Summit Blockchain Hub recap (CoinGeek), Rated: AAA

The Transform Africa Summit took place last week in Kigali, Rwanda, an event dedicated to accelerating Africa’s Single Digital Market. Thanks to the Smart Africa team, K Lab and several other parties, education on Blockchain technology was introduced into the event for the first time with a roaring success.

Authors:

George Popescu
George Popescu
Allen Taylor
Allen Taylor

About the author

Allen Taylor

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