Archive for Category: News

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  • Bitcoin Is ‘Anything but Useful’ Says Ex-Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen

    Bitcoin Is ‘Anything but Useful’ Says Ex-Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen

    Bitcoin is “anything but” a useful store of value, former U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen stated in a speech Monday, Canadian financial news outlet Kitco reported Oct. 29.

    Speaking during an interview at the 2018 Canada FinTech Forum in Montreal, Yellen – who rose to fame in the cryptocurrency community last year as the target of the now infamous ‘Buy Bitcoin’ session at a House Financial Services Committee meeting – doubled down on her previous criticism of the asset.

    “It has long been thought that for something to be a useful currency, it needs to be a stable source of value, and bitcoin is anything but,” she claimed, continuing:

    “It’s not used for a lot of transactions, it’s not a stable source of value, and it’s not an efficient means of processing payments. It’s very slow in handling payments. It has difficulty because of its very decentralized nature.”

    Having been present during Yellen’s speech, Satoshi Portal CEO Francis Pouliot was among the first to denounce her words on social media, describing them as “The Official NPC [non-player character] guidelines to Bitcoin FUD, courtesy of the FED.”

    At a press conference in December of last year, Yellen similarly called Bitcoin a “highly speculative asset” and “not a stable source of value." She also noted that the Fed was not “seriously considering” the concept of a state-issued digital currency at that time.  

    Yellen’s speech Monday echos not only her own previous comments on crypto, but also those made earlier this month by economist Nouriel Roubini, an outspoken cryptocurrency naysayer who foresees the entire ecosystem failing.

    Commentators have taken Roubini to task over his comments, arguing his lack of understanding of decentralized cryptocurrency has led him, like Yellen, to draw false conclusions about its resilience.

    “I can see a bubble when there is one – and to me, this entire space has been the mother and the father of all financial bubbles and now it’s [going to] burst,” he told Cointelegraph during an appearance at BlockShow Americas in August.

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  • U.K.’s Financial Regulator Mulls Ban on Sale of Crypto Derivatives

    U.K.'s Financial Regulator Mulls Ban on Sale of Crypto Derivatives

    The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said it will consider whether to ban the sale of cryptocurrency-based derivatives, the Financial Times (FT) reported Oct. 29.

    Unlike crypto spot market activities, trading, transacting and advising on crypto derivatives such as contracts for difference (CFDs), options, and futures currently falls within the FCA’s regulatory perimeter and requires its official authorization.

    In a statement published Monday, the watchdog is reported to have said it will now launch a consultation in the first quarter of 2019 into whether or not to place a ban on their sale in future.

    The regulator’s remarks came the same day as a new report published by the Cryptoassets Taskforce – which includes representatives from the FCA, the U.K. Treasury and the Bank of England – emphasized that leveraged crypto-based derivatives were even riskier than spot market trading as they can amplify and “cause losses that go beyond the initial investment,” as well as imposing additional fees.

    FT reports that the sale of crypto derivatives have become increasingly profitable for London-listed online trading platforms, citing IG Group and Plus500 as examples.

    The FCA reportedly plans to launch a parallel consultation into whether to extend its regulatory jurisdiction to crypto assets themselves, as well as to infrastructure providers such as exchanges and wallet services.

    CryptoUK chair Iqbal Gandham is quoted by FT as saying the group was “pleased” by the proactive move, but stressed “[i]t is important that new rules are proportionate and do not put up excessive barriers, including for retail investors.”

    In its statement, the FCA is said to have “made clear that in its view cryptoassets have no intrinsic value and investors should therefore be prepared to lose all the value they have put in,” further highlighting that the asset class as a whole poses “potential future threats to stability.”

    As reported yesterday, the U.K. government Taskforce’s newly-published report proposed a three-fold framework for cryptoassets, depending on whether they are used as a means of exchange, for investment, or to support capital raising and the development of decentralized networks through Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The report struck a circumspect and interventionist tone, while recognizing the beneficial innovations of the emerging sector.

    Earlier this month, the legal director of London-based corporate and insurance law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) said the introduction of crypto market regulations in Britain could take around two years.

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  • ‘Halal Coins Only’: First Islamic Crypto Exchange to be Launched in 2019

    ‘Halal Coins Only’: First Islamic Crypto Exchange to be Launched in 2019

    The ADAB Solutions project, based in the United Arab Emirates, is planning to launch FICE — the First Islamic Crypto Exchange which will be operating “according to the principles of Shariah law.” The company is expecting to reach $146 million daily trading and $4.4 billion monthly turnover by 2020.

    Islamic finance as crypto exchange base

    The new project hasn’t been launched yet but it has already gotten the attention of the crypto community. The First Islamic Crypto Exchange was marked as number one in a recently published Coin Shark rating “TOP 10 ICO Projects That Became the Most Useful Ideas of 2018.” The company says their product is an “opportunity for the crypto market to enter the Islamic world” and that it will be the “world's first cryptocurrency exchange that will operate in full compliance with the principles of Islamic finance.”

    That means there will be two special departments to control how the platform works. FICE will have a special Department of Islamic Finance and a Shariah Advisory Board in its structure. The Shariah Advisory Board will unite famous Islamic financial experts who will analyze and confirm that each of the cryptocurrencies which will be listed on FICE are “halal”, so Muslim clients which wish to use their services can rely on this estimation. According to ADAB Solutions, the difference between conventional and Islamic exchange platforms is that there will also be no speculations or market manipulation by FICE.

    Islamic finance’s boom

    Experts report a constant rise in Islamic finance over the last decade. In September 2018, Daily News wrote that the annual growth of this market is 10-12 percent over the past 10 years. Moreover, the analytics from Thomson Reuters in July 2018 estimated the value of Islamic finance as $2.2 trillion. They also noted that the industry is spread over more than 60 countries. The experts predict Islamic finance to grow to $3.8 trillion by 2022.

    According to the Pew Research Center, there are 1.8 billion Muslims in the world and this number is growing every year. That’s why ADAB Solutions believe that they’ve chosen the best time to create First Islamic Crypto Exchange. “The idea of FICE is really relevant and needed” —  the company said.

    ICO and future plans

    ADAB Solutions offers users to buy their own ADAB tokens during the ICO that was launched in August 2018 and will be held until February 2019. The cost of Islamic digital currency is $ 0.1 and the company expects the coin’s value to increase to $11.5 by the end of 2022. The ADAB token can be used for paying the commission on all transactions within the platform. The company also promises to automatically burn 10 percent of each commission that it receives in order to reduce the number of tokens and increase its value.

    ADAB Solutions expects to attract around 730,000 people after the launch of the project in 2019. The team plans to increase this number by almost three times and reach a 1.9 million audience in 2022, including Muslim and non-Muslim users.

    Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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  • Coincheck Reopens New Signups, Deposits and Withdrawals of ‘Some’ Cryptocurrencies

    Coincheck Reopens New Signups, Deposits and Withdrawals of ‘Some’ Cryptocurrencies

    Monex Group, the Japanese internet broker that purchased hacked cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck, announced it had reopened new account signups and limited trading in a statement Tuesday, Oct. 30.

    The latest phase of a step-by-step reboot of Coincheck, Monex added users could also begin depositing and purchasing certain cryptocurrencies.

    “...Here we announce that Coincheck has resumed ‘new account openings’ and ‘customers’ depositing and purchasing some cryptocurrencies’ services today,” the statement reads.

    From Tuesday, users will be able to deposit four cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

    Purchase options now extend once more to the three altcoins, Bitcoin having continued to be available in the intervening period since Monex took over.

    In future, Ethereum (ETH), NEM (XEM), Lisk (LSK), Ripple (XRP) and Factom (FCT) will return to Coincheck, “if the services are confirmed safe and become ready to be offered,” the statement adds.

    For those choosing to open a new account on the platform, Monex advised a strict know-your-customer (KYC) process would be in place, in line with regulations demanded from exchanges by Japanese regulator the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

    Fiscal results published by Monex yesterday, Oct. 29, revealed that Coincheck saw a 66 percent decline in revenue for Q3 2018.

    Monex purchased Coincheck for around $33.5 million in April, outlining plans to relaunch the exchange in full compliance with local regulations.

    In January, hackers stole funds from Coincheck at the time worth an estimated $534 million.

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  • Crypto Price Tracking App CoinTicker Installs Backdoors to Control Host Computer: Report

    Crypto Price Tracking App CoinTicker Installs Backdoors to Control Host Computer: Report

    Cybersecurity publications were sounding the alarm over cryptocurrency malware again Monday, Oct. 29 after a Malwarebytes forum user reported a price monitoring app for macOS was a trojan.

    Confirmed in a blog post by the cybersecurity software developer, community member 1vladimir reported suspicious behavior by an app called CoinTicker over the weekend.

    The app purports to let users track cryptocurrency prices from within the Mac toolbar, which update automatically.

    “Although this functionality seems to be legitimate, the app is actually up to no good in the background, unbeknownst to the user,” Malwarebytes’ blog post explains, adding:

    “Without any signs of trouble, such as requests for authentication to root, there’s nothing to suggest to the user that anything is wrong.”

    Upon further inspection, it became clear CoinTicker contained script that would download two backdoors onto the host machine, allowing a remote party to take control of it.

    The Github repository from which the CoinTicker malware downloaded the backdoors has since been deleted, tech magazine Bleeping Computer meanwhile notes.

    In its own analysis, the publication suggests the app could well have purely been developed to distribute the trojan.

    While it is unknown how many machines the malware has infected in the few days since its discovery, the episode is a further reminder of the voracity of attackers targeting cryptocurrency investors.

    As Cointelegraph has frequently reported, malware continues to surface, often in the form of hidden crypto mining scripts or even schemes that empty mobile or other hot wallets.

    Earlier this month, Google opted to remove all extensions with so-called obfuscated code – a feature which masks their purpose – from its Web Store in an effort to combat the problem.

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  • Survey: 60% of Americans Think Crypto Should Be Treated as Fiat in Political Campaigns

    Survey: 60% of Americans Think Crypto Should Be Treated as Fiat in Political Campaigns

    A new survey by blockchain-oriented research firm Clovr showed that 60 percent of respondents think that cryptocurrency should be treated like fiat currency in political elections.

    In the course of its research, Clovr surveyed 1,023 eligible voters registered in the U.S. for their understanding of what impact virtual currency could exert on the political process. Per the survey, almost 60 percent of the voters surveyed answered that crypto and the U.S. dollar should be treated the same, while only 21 percent of respondents said the opposite.

    “60 percent of eligible voters believed that it should be legal to donate cryptocurrency in federal elections under the same rules that apply to donations in U.S. dollars.”

    63 percent of the voters identifying as Republicans assumed that crypto was secure enough to be deployed for political purposes, and 52 percent of Democrats suggested the same. In regards to Independent voters, only 45 percent were reportedly comfortable with donations in crypto.

    73 percent of respondents who were aware of digital currencies believed security was not an issue for political donations, while 23 percent expressed concern.

    When asked about financial stability issues with crypto in politics, slightly more than half of Republicans — 52 percent — said that crypto was stable enough, while Democrats and Independents came in at 40 and 35 percent respectively.

    Per the survey, 25 percent of the participants stated that they would be more likely to make a contribution to political campaigns if crypto donations were an option. More than 20 percent of Republicans expressed their wish to contribute more substantial amounts if crypto was an option. 16 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of Independents stated the same, respectively.

    Regarding concerns over whether crypto in political campaigns would increase foreign interference in U.S. elections, 60 percent answered in the affirmative, wherein Democrats showed more concern than the other groups.

    Per the survey, 62 percent of respondents think that crypto donations could be used illegally in the U.S. political system. On this issue, all three groups showed similar results, with 64 percent of Independents, 62 percent of Republicans, and 61 percent of Democrats answering in the affirmative. 60 percent of respondents expressed concern over politician and party misuse of crypto donations.

    Last year, the Campaign Finance Task Force issued released a report dubbed “Public attitudes and campaign finance,” devoted to the role of money in the political system. According to the report, the public overall is “woefully” misinformed about campaign finance law, revealing that only four percent of Americans knew that corporations cannot contribute directly to the campaigns of candidates for president and Congress.

    The same survey found that “nearly 90% of respondents answered less than three of five factual questions correctly.” Respondents reportedly believed that the amounts of House of Representatives campaign contributions are $5.8 million on average, while the statistics show that average spending was $785,000.

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  • Bitcoin ‘Patient Zero’ Says BTC’s Current Stage is Like ‘1992 for The Internet’

    Bitcoin 'Patient Zero' Says BTC’s Current Stage is Like ‘1992 for The Internet’

    Bitcoin "Patient Zero" Wences Casares, the founder of Bitcoin (BTC) wallet startup Xapo, said that the seminal cryptocurrency may take years to prove successful, in an interview with Bloomberg Oct. 29.

    In an interview with Bloomberg, Casares argued that BTC is an “intellectual experiment,” and it could be several years before it proves successful. “It may work, it might not work,” said Casares, noting that Bitcoin is in its early stages and that “we are in the equivalent of 1992 for the Internet.” However, Casares suggested that the probability of success is still greater than failure.

    Argentina-born Casares has been called the “patient zero” of Bitcoin for serving as a catalyst for Silicon Valley’s interest in the seminal cryptocurrency. In 2014, Casares established Xapo, a company that offers a Bitcoin wallet combined with cold storage and a BTC-based debit card.

    Casares forecasted that it will take at least seven years to determine whether BTC is successful, and if it does, BTC will become a non-political global standard of value and settlement. Casares stated:

    “We need a nonpolitical standard of value and we don’t have one. So a world in which we [see it] is a world [in which] when you ask for the price of Turkish lira, you get a price in bits, when you ask for the price of a barrel of oil, you get a price in bits, when as for the price of the U.S. dollar you get a price in bits.”

    Notably, the Bitcoin advocate said that it will not replace fiat currencies as "it does not make sense." He added that the idea that a blockchain can “change the idea of an asset, that already derives its value from a central authority [...] its really nonsensical and does not make any sense.”

    Casares has previously proclaimed his vision of BTC becoming an apolitical standard of value. Last year Casares predicted that the price of BTC “will hit $1 million in 5–10 years.”

    Regarding blockchain, Casares stated in January that there would eventually come about a single “robust” blockchain to move value globally. Per Casares, the future of crypto lies in the cooperation around a singular, robust blockchain, and in his opinion BTC is the most likely to be the blockchain of choice.

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  • Ethereum Enterprise Alliance Releases New Specifications

    Ethereum Enterprise Alliance Releases New Specifications

    The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) has released a new set of specifications in an effort to provide standards for developers using private iterations of the Ethereum Blockchain, according to statements shared with Cointelegraph.

    At DevCon4 today in Prague, the EEA announced the release of its Enterprise Ethereum Client Specification V2 and Off-Chain Trusted Compute Specification V0.5. The former is a development of common standards, which aims to ensure that Ethereum developers will write code that “[motivates] enterprise customers to select EEA specification-based solutions over proprietary offerings.”

    The Client Specification V2 will essentially offer a label of sorts, which means a product underwent third party testing in order to be sold as EEA-compliant.

    The latter spec release is a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that can move transactions “off-chain” for computation elsewhere, and then move a summary to the “main chain.” EEA APIs using the recently released specs would offer programmers methods of moving data off-chain independent of any one trust verification method. The APIs have been reviewed to be compatible with Trusted Execution Environments, Zero-Knowledge Proofs, and Trusted Multi-Party Compute.

    Executive Director Ron Resnick said that “enterprises can choose whichever trusted compute methods work best for their use case, whether it is for supply chains, banks, retail, or other large enterprise-based ecosystems.”

    The EEA aims to broaden its set of standards by onboarding new firms from various industries to its list of member organizations, which numbers over 500. Speaking with Cointelegraph, Resnick stated that he sees further potential for EEAs standards in streamlining the payments process in chemical supply chains, as well as various applications in automotive, trucking, addressing music piracy, and health services.

    The blockchain standards organization released the first version of its Enterprise Ethereum Client Specification in May. The first spec interaction aimed at interoperability would “basically [be] the catapult that launches the whole ecosystem,” Resnick said at the time. He told Cointelegraph:

    “Without interoperability, the big players aren’t going to want to jump in, because they don’t want to be locked in to one particular vendor for a proprietary solution [...] It attracts more and more of the bigger players to come in and make a commitment, because they feel a little more safe that they’re not going to get stuck.”

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  • Israeli Blockchain Startup Concludes $30 Mln Financing Round That Included Intel, Sequoia

    Israeli Blockchain Startup Concludes $30 Mln Financing Round That Included Intel, Sequoia

    Israeli blockchain startup StarkWare Industries has completed a $30 million financing round, generating funds from such industry players as Intel Capital and Sequoia USA, according to an announcement published Oct. 29.

    Established in 2018, StarkWare Industries develops both software and hardware, with applications including transparent privacy in blockchains, increased transaction throughput, as well as off chain computation. The company offers a zero-knowledge protocol STARK, that purports to address the privacy and scalability challenges of the blockchain field.

    The firm has announced the completion of its $30 million financing round, which was led by Paradigm, a crypto hedge fund founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam. The investors participated in the round include such industry players as Intel Capital, Sequoia, Atomico, DCVC, Wing, Consensys, Coinbase Ventures, Multicoin Capital, Collaborative Fund, Scalar Capital and Semantic Ventures.

    The financing follows a $6 million seed funding round completed in May, with the reported participation of Ethereum’s Vitalik Buterin, Tezos’ Arthur Breitman, NEO’s Da Hongfei, and Bitmain among others.

    Sequoia supported cryptocurrency and blockchain startups in the past. Last year, the company invested in cryptocurrency hedge fund MetaStable Capital based in San Francisco. Prior to that, Sequoia contributed to Polychain Capital which specializes in investing in other blockchain companies through Initial Coin offerings (ICOs).

    In July of this year, Sequoia, along with other blockchain-related enterprises, invested in a Chinese blockchain startup Nervos Network. Nervos would use the new capital to expand its product and engineering teams and form strategic partnerships. The company also aims to provide a hybrid solution that combines a secure public blockchain and an application chain.

    Intel has made forays into the blockchain industry in various ways, filing of a related patent application this March. The patent cites a Bitcoin (BTC) mining hardware accelerator that would reduce the amount of electricity used in crypto mining by “reducing the space utilized and power consumed by Bitcoin mining hardware.”

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