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Jack Ma: I Pay Special Attention to Blockchain & Bitcoin to Create Cashless Society

Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba and $150 billion China-based financial conglomerate Ant Financial, has said in a recent speech that he pays special attention to Bitcoin and blockchain technology, and the potential of establishing a cashless society.

Although Ma is still studying the fundamental value Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies bring to the market, he emphasized that blockchain technology as a whole is a powerful innovation that could enable a completely cashless society.

China is Already Nearly Cashless

Only a very small portion of the population in China uses cash or credit cards to purchase products, receive compensation for their work, and to settle utility bills. Payment applications like Ant Financial’s $60 billion Alipay dominate the space.

With NFC-enabled smartphones, Alipay users in China can purchase coffee with a tap of a smartphone on sophisticated Point of Sale (PoS) terminals and instantaneously receive salaries from their employees through the app, without dealing with delays that often occur with wire transfers and inefficient banking services.

“I pay special attention to cashless society and blockchain technology. Mine and Alibaba’s job is we will move the world into a cashless society. The society can make everybody equal, inclusive to get the money they need, make sure it is sustainable and is transparent. I hate corruption. I don’t have opportunity is ok. But I don’t want somebody through a dirty way take away my opportunity. This is why we want a cashless society.”

Previously, speaking to FT, Ray Chan, vice-president of Ant Financial, said that new products of the company are tailored to millennials and the new generation users, who have demonstrated the willingness to move on from traditional means of payments to more efficient and sophisticated financial networks.

“When we consider new products, we create them for this era, one in which young people have become the main driving force of our society,” Chan said.

During his speech, Ma emphasized that he has not dismissed crypto or Bitcoin as a currency and a store of value. But, he is still undecided whether Bitcoin brings in sufficient value to the society as a consensus currency based on blockchain technology.

Ma explained:

“Bitcoin, the thing I want to know is that what value, what things that itcoin can bring to the society. But Behind bitcoin, the technology itself, is really very powerful.”

Blockchain Technology as a Data Processing Platform

Currently, most of the world’s largest financial networks rely on centralized databases to record the transfer of fiat currencies and digital assets.

By blockchain technology, Ma refers to decentralized computing systems like Ethereum that enable businesses to build on top of the blockchain, like decentralized applications (dApps) and tokens on the ERC20 token standard.

As an incentive system to compensate good actors in the space and punish bad actors with malicious intent, a cryptocurrency is necessary on a blockchain platform that is not inherently centralized. Hence, as blockchain technology achieves mainstream adoption and an increasing number of conglomerates start to utilize the technology as an underlying platform to process information, the importance of crypto will increase.

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Australia Trials Citizen Disability Insurance Payments on a Blockchain

The Australian federal government is testing a blockchain application to explore the use of blockchain technology to create ‘smart money’ for the country’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Dubbed “Making Money Smart”, the trial is jointly developed by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) – Australia’s federal science agency – and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), one of the domestic ‘big four’ retail banks.

The proof-of-concept trial will use smart contracts to create ‘smart money’ or ‘programmable money’ as blockchain tokens to the country’s disability insurance program, an announcement on Tuesday revealed, enabling participants and service providers to process payments conditionally.

In essence, the prototype allows citizens to manage their disability insurance plan without the need for any paperwork or receipts ‘by enabling them to find, book and pay for services’ from service providers.

‘The NDIS was selected as the first case study for the proof of concept, as it involves highly personalised payment conditions,’ Australia’s federal science agency explained. ‘In the NDIS, participants have individualised plans that can contain multiple budget categories – each with different spending rules.’

In a notable endorsement of blockchain technology, the ‘smart money’ will also be designed to integrate with Australia’s New Payments Platform, a new national payments infrastructure that enables real-time low-value payments.

Dr. Mark Staples, senior principal researcher at CSIRO’s software and computational systems program stated:

“This has been a really interesting research project into how blockchain technology can integrate with new payments technologies to provide more choice, control and flexibility for conditional payments for NDIS participants and service providers.”

The proof-of-concept has already seen feedback from the government and other stakeholders in the industry with the prototype app currently being tested among NDIS users and service providers.

The application of blockchain technology will benefit all participants, CBA’s head of Experimentation and Blockchain Sophie Gilder said, adding citizens will be empowered further while care-providers see fewer administration costs – all under greater visibility of the Government.

The CSIRO has a history in developing blockchain solutions. Earlier this year, the federal agency led the formation of a new data consortium that includes technology giant IBM to develop a nationwide blockchain platform enabled by smart-contracts across industries. The national science agency also announced results of the first global trial of its ‘Red Belly Blockchain’, scaling 30,000 transactions per second on Amazon’s commercial cloud infrastructure.

In a similar effort elsewhere, Seoul has already trialed commercial insurance payments on a blockchain for the city’s residents.

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Bitcoin Mining Firms are Seeing Record Revenues, But Little Profit

New research from Diar has revealed that while the price of bitcoin remains 40 percent higher than a year ago, and bitcoin miners have achieved record revenues of $4.7 billion this year, a host of factors including increased competition and computing power have combined to make bitcoin mining less profitable than before. The report says that this creates a situation that imperils smaller mining operations and places larger mining pools at an advantage in the struggle to survive.

Role of Equipment and Energy Costs

According to the research, China remains one of the few countries which offers retail energy price packages that make commercial sense for bitcoin mining, with a midpoint cost of about $0.08/kWH. That notwithstanding, rents, salaries, equipment, and other overheads could quickly render an amateur mining enterprise insolvent.

All of this adds up to a market situation that favors the survival of large mining pools such as those owned by Bitmain over smaller mine operators. Bitmain on its part recently released data showing that it is, in fact, more dependent on sales of its Antminer ASIC mining devices than anything else, with 95 percent of its H1 2018 revenues coming from miner sales.

The data also shows that Bitmain’s mining strategy is directly linked to its sales strategy for its mining units. According to Diar, Bitmain’s 11 mining facilities in China along with its soon-to-be-opened facilities in Tennessee, Texas and Washington State could see the company position itself as a swing producer controlling a significant portion of the bitcoin blockchain’s hashrate with the ultimate goal of ensuring that mining remains profitable for all miners. When miners make money the reasoning goes, they will be more likely to buy more mining hardware.

As a by-product of this, of course, Bitmain’s mining pools also remain profitable, which is especially important for its new North American operations which are substantially more expensive to run than its Chinese installations due to higher energy costs.

Giving a verdict on the current state of the bitcoin mining market the report says:

“It’s unlikely then that the recent tapering out of the Hash power to last. With big mining operations on low electricity costs running at anywhere between 50-60% gross profit from Bitcoin revenues, the market has a lot of room left to grow and, profits to squeeze. But Bitcoin mining has, at least for now, and most likely in the future, moved into the court of bigger players with deep pockets.”

The full Diar report is available here.

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United Arab Emirates to Approve ICOs as ‘Securities’ in 2019 to Boost Corporate Funding

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is pressing ahead with plans to introduce initial coin offerings (ICOs) as means toward fundraising for companies and startups in 2019.

In an effort to boost financing in capital markets, the UAE will enable domestic companies to raise funding by offering cryptocurrency tokens to investors alongside traditional means like shares issued in an initial public offering (IPO), Reuters reported.

Specifically, ICOs will be considered as ‘securities’ by authorities under regulations, currently in draft, enforced early in 2019.

Speaking at a seminar, UAE securities market watchdog chief Omar Saif al-Zaabi said:

“The board of the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority [ESCA] has approved considering ICOs as securities. As per our plan, we should have regulations on the ground in the first half of 2019.”

The ESCA is currently drafting ICO regulations with unnamed intentional advisers. The watchdog is notably working alongside Abu Dhabi and Dubai stock markets to develop crypto-friendly trading platforms to support ICOs, the official added.

Nearly a year ago to the day, Abu Dhabi – the UAE’s largest emirate – issued guidelines on cryptocurrencies and ICOs, regulating the latter as ‘securities’. Cryptocurrencies, while not classified as legal tender, are considered commodities by the government of Abu Dhabi.

The report suggests that a combination of low oil prices and laboring equity markets over several years has ‘severely’ dented IPOs, dealing a blow for domestic companies looking to raise finances in the UAE and wider Gulf region.

Authorities are taking measures to check the drain, with a new law that enables family-owned businesses to sell a majority of even 100 percent stakes in their companies with IPOs. If approved by the UAE’s prime minister, the new law will take effect in 2019. Further, the watchdog is also considering a mandated minimum of 20% women members in boards of publicly listed companies as a step toward equality in addition to encouraging female investors.

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Bitcoin Volumes Surge Nearly 30% as it Price Breaks Out of $6,550

Bitcoin, the most dominant cryptocurrency in the global market, has seen an abrupt increase in its volume from $2 billion to $2.53 billion on

On Coinmarketcap, the volume of Bitcoin has risen from $3.2 billion to $3.8. The discrepancy between the volume of BTC listed on and Coinmarketcap comes from’s system that does not take daily trading volumes from exchanges suspected to have inflated numbers into account.

Volume was the Biggest Issue

Throughout the past seven days, CCN consistently reported that the low volume of Bitcoin had posed a serious issue for the rest of the market. Although tokens started to initiate some big gains on October 8, the lack of momentum on BTC has prevented the market from initiating large gains to the upside.

For most of October, Bitcoin was bear biased, with weakening $6,500 support level and continuous demonstration of low market activity.

Edward Morra, a technical analyst in the cryptocurrency sector, reported this week that Bitcoin had recorded the lowest volume in 2018. The unforeseen drop in the volume of Bitcoin meant one of two things; either market is demonstrating seller fatigue or traders are simply not trading in the cryptocurrency exchange market due to the uncertainty in the market.

“This is the lowest recorded daily volume in more than a year at least (as much as I could squeeze on the chart leaving chart readable) while hovering around the POC of the whole 2018. This is combined volume from various exchanges,” Morra said.

It is possible that a combination of the two factors affected the short-term price trend of BTC, leading it to maintain record-high stability at the $6,550 mark.

One positive element in the price trend of Bitcoin throughout the past 30 days is that the digital asset has achieved five consecutive higher lows, which generally indicate a positive short-term price movement.

If the volume of Bitcoin can continue to recover and potentially break out of the $3 billion mark, it is highly likely that the asset’s demonstration of higher lows will allow it to engage in a strong short-term price movement, possibly to $7,000.

Crypto Rand, a well-recognized cryptocurrency trader and technical analyst, stated:

“Bitcoin knocking the door and looking for the breakout. It breaks that resistance I will be looking at $7,500 as first target. Expecting a huge breakout on volume too during the next 2-3 days.”

Break Out of $7,000 Will be Challenging

Since August 9, Bitcoin has remained stable in the range of $6,400 to $6,700 and broke out of the $7,000 resistance level once in mid-September. As such, it will be challenging for the dominant cryptocurrency to surpass the $7,000 mark and sustain its momentum in a higher price range.

If it can, possibly fueled by a strong recovery in market activity and volume, many major cryptocurrencies and tokens will positively benefit from the strong price action of BTC.

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Thailand Studies Blockchain for Applications in Intellectual Property, Trade Finance

Two feasibility studies on blockchain technology have been launched by Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce.

The studies, which will focus on exploring the use of blockchain technology in trade finance and the registration of intellectual property, are expected to be completed in February 2019, per the Bangkok Post.

According to Pimchanok Vonkorpon, the director of Thailand’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office (TPSO) which falls under the commerce ministry, the project has received support from the British Embassy.

Increasing Efficiency and Trust

With regards to trade financing, Pimchanok pointed out that blockchain technology will assist in enhancing transparency, reducing the cost of doing business and shortening the whole process. And as pertains to intellectual property blockchain will assist in the management of IP and company registration as well as traceability. In this regard, a wide variety of topics will be covered including commercialization opportunities of intellectual property on the blockchain, use of smart contracts, intellectual property registration and protections offered.

Additionally, the feasibility study will involve conducting a review of intellectual property law, stakeholder interviews and a review of the intellectual property management process.

Initially, Thailand’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office intend to roll out blockchain projects on a small scale.

Organic Rice Exports

Besides the use of blockchain in trade finance and intellectual property, the TPSO is also working on using the technology in processing organic rice exports with a view of eliminating delays and cutting costs. Currently, the time taken to process organic rice exports from the Southeast Asian country is between 15-20 days with a lot of bureaucracy involved along the way that adds expenses.

But with blockchain technology the TPSO envisages shortening the processing period besides enhancing transparency and boosting confidence and trust in the supply chain, thus benefiting the various stakeholders.

“Using blockchain for the process could reduce processing time to less than three days, improving transparency and increasing confidence and trust for exporters and foreign importers, benefiting Thai farmers,” Pimchanok said.

Pro-Blockchain and Cryptocurrency

The feasibility study being conducted by the Trade Policy and Strategy Office comes as no surprise since the Southeast Asian country has had a fairly progressive stance towards blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies as evidenced by various developments in the last couple of months.

In July, for instance, the Bank of Thailand revealed that it was reviewing blockchain applications meant for use in making cross-border payments, supply-chain financing and document authentication. During the same month, the Thai Bond Market Association disclosed that it was working on a blockchain-based token which will enable the instant clearing and settlement of corporate bonds.

Additionally, the Bank of Thailand is working on a central bank digital currency which is set to be used in enabling domestic funds transfers, as reported by CCN two months ago.

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Takeoff: Airports Plenty Interested in Blockchain Applications, Study Reveals

A new study has shown that the blockchain technology appears to be gaining traction, and attention in the airline industry. Per reports from airline focused magazine, Airport World, data from SITA Lab has revealed that blockchain technology attracted the most research attention in the industry in 2018.

SITA, a technology research company responsible for stimulating technological revolution by collaborating with airlines, airports, and technology specialists globally—opined that distributed ledgers are more efficient and give an advantage when it comes to rendering airline services such as passenger identification, ticketing and more.

The magazine quoted Gustavo Pina, director at SITA Lab, who argued that one of the biggest obstacles preventing a “seamless passenger journey” are the “siloed processes” that they have to scale through on a regular basis.

“They act as significant speed bumps at every step of the way. By collaborating as a single industry, we can smooth that journey and blockchain is one of the technologies that have the potential to make that possible. This explains the industry’s significant interest in it,” he stated.

The study by SITA also revealed that both airlines and airports had found exciting use cases for the blockchain from the rollout of passenger tokens to frequent flyer programs (34%) and e-tickets (31%). 59% of airlines have also put in place blockchain research programs to be implemented by 2021.

To increase the research on the potentials of employing blockchain technology, SITA announced earlier in June its intention to launch The Aviation Blockchain Sandbox. “Through this collaborative innovation we will accelerate the learning for all and have already significant interest in pursuing cross-industry initiatives through the Aviation Blockchain Sandbox initiative,” Pina had stated in the announcement.

However, while some airports are still sitting on the fence on adopting the technology, others have begun to employ the use of blockchain technology in their operations.

Brisbane International leads the line for the adoption of the technology, as individuals traveling to Australia can now spend various cryptocurrencies at the Brisbane International Airport. In the same vein, Amsterdam Schiphol Airport installed an ATM that lets passengers convert their euros into bitcoin or ethereum.

Dubai International airport, took it a step further last year when it announced its intention to employ a passport-free entry into the city. It signed an agreement with UK-based blockchain startup ObjectTech, who partnered with Dubai’s Immigration and Visas Department to develop a solution that combines biometric verification with blockchain technology.

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CFTC Cracks Down Harder on Cryptocurrency Fraud Under Trump

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has bolstered its police actions in the last fiscal year, driven largely by cryptocurrency cases, according to The Wall Street Journal. Under President Trump, the federal derivatives market regulator levied about $900 million in civil penalties in 2018 alone, exceeding the annual amount in five of the eight years of the Obama administration. The amount had declined in 2017, drawing criticism from consumer groups and some Democrats.

Gary DeWaaal, a former CFTC enforcement lawyer who is now special counsel at Katten Munchin Roseman LLP, told the WSJ that the agency knows cryptocurrency fraud is an issue, along with insider trading and manipulation, and has focused on spoofing.

CFTC More Vigorous Than Ever


J. Christopher Giancarlo, the CFTC chairman, extolled the agency’s enforcement activity numbers in a presentation in Minneapolis last week, calling it the most vigorous enforcement in its history.

The CFTC filed five times more spoofing related cases – practices that distort prices – in the past year than any prior year. The agency also won a court judgment that determined cryptocurrencies are commodities, which permits the regulator to police cryptocurrency markets.

Giancarlo said the agency in 2018 levied fines exceeding $10 million in 10 cases, as opposed to an average of three cases per year under the Obama administration.

The agency also reached settlements between $30 million and $90 million concerning interest rate benchmark manipulation with several banks. He compared the 2018 numbers to years 2009 and 2016, not 2017, which was a transition year between the administrations.

Also read: Cryptocurrency is ‘here to stay’: CFTC chairman Giancarlo

CFTC Outpaces SEC Actions

The CFTC actions are expected to contrast with those of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has played down its numbers in advance of releasing them later in the year. The two agencies police different segments of the financial markets, with some overlap on derivatives and other areas.

SEC fines dropped by 7.2% in 2017 to around $3.8 billion, marking the lowest since 2013, according to the agency.

Stephanie Avakian, the SEC’s co-director of enforcement, indicated in a September speech the agency’s numbers could fall again in 2018 partly on account of Supreme Court decisions curbing the agency’s ability to reclaim funds for victimized investors. However, she has vowed that the agency will take a more active role in policing illegal initial coin offerings (ICOs), resulting in “more substantial” enforcement actions.

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While Major Crypto Exchanges Flourish, Minor Platforms Struggle in Bear Market

The world’s largest crypto brokerage Coinbase is reportedly close to finalizing a $500 million funding round at a valuation of $8 billion, and Binance has started to become more active in the investment sector, funding blockchain startups internationally.

While major cryptocurrency exchanges like Coinbase, Binance, and BitMEX are seeing their businesses flourish with lucrative business models and high profit margins, minor exchanges are struggling in the bear market.

This week, the UK’s oldest exchange, Coinfloor, has slashed the number of its employees after recording a decline in its revenues as a consequence of the drop in daily trading volume of major cryptocurrencies and the emergence of many cryptocurrency exchanges in the local market.

Hard to Deal With Competition

As CCN reported, on Sept. 6, Coinbase integrated the British pound sterling into its exchange, officially expanding into the UK cryptocurrency market.

Coinbase entered the local cryptocurrency exchange market of the UK, which has stagnated over the years due to the lack of infrastructure and user demand, by eliminating exchange rates and appealing to local users that have been awaiting a reliable cryptocurrency exchange in the region.

Coinbase UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz told CCN in an interview:

“We have been working to introduce Faster Payments for as long as we’ve been operating in the UK. Customers not only benefit from increased speed, but reduced cost as well. By no longer having to convert funds from Pound Sterling to Euros and vice versa to add and remove funds, there will be no more exchange rates. This will make crypto easily accessible to most people in the UK.”

United Kingdom UK London

This week, possibly due to the increase in competition in the UK market fueled by the entrance of Coinbase and, reportedly, Bithumb, Obi Nwosu, chief executive at Coinfloor, announced that it is reducing its employee count in the weeks to come.

The significance of Coinfloor’s cut of its employee count cannot be dismissed, particularly because of the strategic partners and investors the UK based exchange has secured over the years.

TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus, venture capital firm Passion Capital, and Adam Knight, a former managing director at Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse, invested in and supported the exchange since its launch.

Yet, despite the involvement of high profile investors and venture capital firms, Coinfloor has not been able to face stiff competition and is undergoing restructuring.

“Coinfloor is currently undergoing a business restructure to focus on our competitive advantages in the marketplace and to best serve our clients. As part of this restructure, we are making some staff changes and redundancies,” Coinfloor CEO Obi Nwosu said.

Possibly a Good Sign

Perhaps the establishment of large-scale exchanges and companies in the cryptocurrency sector is beneficial for the long-term growth of the cryptocurrency market, as it allows the strengthening of infrastructure.

In South Korea, for instance, cryptocurrency exchange backed by the country’s biggest commercial banks, Internet conglomerates, and technology corporations including Upbit, Gopax, and Korbit have imposed dominance over the local market throughout the past two years.

The fact that even an exchange in the magnitude of Coinfloor cannot sustain high-cost operations demonstrates that, for startups to compete in the market, they need strong infrastructure and backing from major investors and conglomerates.

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Court Authorizes Cryptocurrency Firm to Reclaim 530 ETH Sent to Wrong Address

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has issued a major ruling in a case stemming from a dispute over ethereum (ETH) tokens mistakenly sent to an initial coin offering (ICO) investor, and it could have implications for cryptocurrency users or exchanges outside of the litigants involved in the case.

The ruling, which was issued by Justice Ronald A. Skolrood on Sept. 12, authorized Singapore-based blockchain startup Copytrack to track down and reclaim approximately 530 ETH that it had mistakenly sent to an investor who participated in its initial coin offering (ICO). At the time, those 530 ETH were valued at approximately $391,000 (CAD$495,000), though they have since declined in value to about $121,000 — still a large sum.

According to documents published by the court, cryptocurrency investor Brian Wall participated in the Copytrack ICO, subscribing to purchase 530 CPY tokens. At the conclusion of the ICO, Copytrack sent Wall 530 tokens, but, much to the company’s chagrin, they sent him ETH rather than CPY — a token that, at a present value of about five cents, is worth a fraction of ETH.

Wall, who initially refused to return the 530 ETH to Copytrack, later agreed to comply. However, he said that, before he could send the funds back to the company, a hacker unlawfully accessed his ethereum wallet and stole the funds. Further complicating the legal matter, Wall died before the case could be resolved.


Noting that the case raised several legal questions, including whether the ether tokens should be classified as “goods” or something else, Justice Skolrood nevertheless maintained that the crux of the matter is that the tokens belong to Copytrack — uncensorable transactions or not.

He said:

“Further, regardless of the characterization of the Ether Tokens, it is undisputed that they were the property of Copytrack, they were sent to Wall in error, they were not returned when demand was made and Wall has no proprietary claim to them. While the evidence of what has happened to the Ether Tokens since is somewhat murky, this does not detract from the point that they should rightfully be returned to Copytrack.”

Consequently, Justice Skolrood issued the following ruling:

“An order that Copytrack be entitled to trace and recover the 529.8273791 Ether Tokens received by Wall from Copytrack on 15 February 2018 in whatsoever hands those Ether Tokens may currently be held.”

Note that the ruling does not merely state that Copytrack is the rightful owner of the misplaced ETH and that current holder — whether Wall’s estate or a hacker — must pay the company back the 530 ETH. It would seem to imply that Copytrack is entitled to those specific tokens, no matter who is holding them or whether they received them through legitimate for illegitimate means. This could raise some other thorny issues, particularly if those funds have been sent to a cryptocurrency exchange and unknowingly distributed to another trader’s external wallet.

Read the full document below:

Copytrack Pte Ltd. v. Wall by CCN on Scribd


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Tron Says its Community is More Active Than Ethereum, Hackathon Shows Otherwise

During an interview with Investopedia on Oct. 5, Tron CEO Justin Sun stated that its developer community is more vibrant and active than Ethereum.

When asked by the publication to provide five reasons why Tron is better than Ethereum, Sun said:

“At TRON we always emphasize the importance of accessibility and our dedication to the community. That’s why we made sure to deliver on our goals of being faster and cheaper than Ethereum, providing an easy-to-use and affordable network to our vibrant community of talented developers.”

1,000 Developers at ETHSanFrancisco Ethereum Hackathon

In a recent hackathon held in San Francisco, more than 1,000 developers gathered to develop applications and scaling solutions on Ethereum.

Brayton Williams, the co-founder of venture capital firm Boost VC and a blockchain investor, stated:

“5 years ago at one of the first crypto conferences ‘Bitcoin 2013’ we Boost VC organized the hackathon. We maybe had 25 people participate and took place in San Jose. This weekend it was amazing to see over 1,000 people hacking away @ETH SanFrancisco at the Palace of Fine Arts.”

Lindia Xie, a co-founder at Scalar Capital and 0x advisor, who has helped ETH SanFrancisco and other locations to host Ethereum hackathons, said that the developer community of Ethereum has grown significantly over the past three years.

Echoing the sentiment of Williams, Xie said:

“Completely agree, I remember attending the ETH San Francisco meetups 3 years ago and it’d be like 20 people there! It’s been so amazing seeing the community grow.”

ethereum Blockchain EEA

In terms of user activity, transasction volume, network activity, and number of dApps, Ethereum is stastically far ahead of Tron. According to Etherscan, Ethereum is processing around 500,000 transactions per second on a daily basis. Tron, in contrast, is struggling to record 50 percent of that.

But, for blockchain projects based on the ERC20 token contract standard of Ethereum, competition against the second most valuable cryptocurrency in the global market is only friendly, because they benefit off of the efforts of the developer community of Ethereum to scale the blockchain.

Many of the scaling solutions that are being integrated into the Ethereum network including Sharding, Plasma, Snark-Based Side Chain, and ZK-SNARKs are expected to drastically increase the mainnet capacity of the Ethereum network, which will be beneficial to both dApps and blockchain protocols launched on top of Ethereum.

How Tron can Actually Compete

In all areas, Tron remains behind Ethereum, and the blockchain project is not close to catching up to the dominant smart contract protocol, as a cryptocurrency that remains outside of the top 10 rankings in the global market.

But, Tron’s acquisition of BitTorrent, the largest torrent client in the world with more than 100 million users, given Tron a unique market to target with a decentralized blockchain system. With it, if leveraged correctly, it is possible for Tron to find a solid use case of its blockchain technology.

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UK’s Oldest Bitcoin Exchange Announces Layoffs amid Prolonged Bear Market

Coinfloor, the oldest bitcoin exchange in the U.K., will lay of most of its 40 employees, according to two sources interviewed by the Financial News.

The layoffs at the London-based exchange are in response to “significant” change in market volume, according to Obi Nwosu, Coinfloor’s chief executive, and are seen as a setback for the country’s fintech industry, as the exchange is backed by Taavet Hinrikus, founder of TransferWise, as well as Passion Capital. Adam Knight, a former Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse director, has also supported the exchange, whose customers had traded about $1 billion in the last 12 months, Nwosu said.

While Nwosu confirmed the layoffs, he did not confirm the number of employees affected. He said it is typical for a company to adjust staff based on the market, and Coinfloor has experienced a “significant change” in trading volume as cryptocurrency prices declined throughout most of the year and stagnated in recent weeks.

Alternative Platforms Emerge

Since Coinfloor was started in Oct. 2013, numerous cryptocurrency trading platforms have been introduced, with more than 200 cryptocurrency exchanges worldwide, according to CoinMarketCap.

Coinfloor is geared to financial professionals interested in bitcoin. Mark Lamb, who was chief executive at the time of its launch, told Financial News it wanted to attract financial institutions to invest in bitcoin.

This past March, Coinfloor became the first exchange to announce plans for a futures exchange for digital assets to include physically-delivered bitcoin futures contracts. The exchange was intended to allow investors, traders, hedge funds, and miners to have access to cryptocurrency contracts supported by institutional governance. The exchange, called CoinfloorEX, was intended to protect traders from price changes on positions at settlement time and against market manipulation.

Also read: UK exchange to launch first physically delivered cryptocurrency futures contract

Competition Intensifies For Institutional Market

Several other companies have since emerged targeting the same investor group. Senior executives from Omni Partners, a $1.4 billion hedge fund, in April launched Archax, a cryptocurrency exchange targeting institutional investors. Archax hired former London Stock Exchange strategist David Lester in June as a senior adviser, FN reported.

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Crypto Firm Prepares £45 Million Bid on Hull City Football Club

Yorkshire-based championship football team Hull City may be about to change hands as international bidders make their interest known in what is being referred to as a takeover in the UK media.

Last weekend Paul Duffen, former chairman of Hull City AFC, announced his intention to buy the club with the backing of Saudi Arabian private investors. Duffen led Hull City to its first Premier League during his time as chairman but resigned in 2009 with the club in dire financial straits.

However, new players have entered the game – the Hull City Supporters Trust (HCST) and SportyCo, a cryptocurrency crowdfunding platform operating on blockchain technology. SportyCo allows investors to crowdfund for and invest in athletes, paying for training and maintenance in exchange for dividends based on athlete success.

SportyCo is backed by the local HCST as well as a consortium of US and UK  investors and are preparing a £45 million ($58.9 million USD) bid to purchase the club. Hull Daily Mail reports that if SportyCo wins the bid, fans will be included into the ownership structure of the club and as such will be able to work with the consortium on team matters.

Hull City is currently in the English Football League Championship, the highest division of the English football league and the second highest overall in English football after the Premier League.

The platform’s CEO Marko Filej has reportedly met with the owners of the club, Assem and Ehab Allam, and sent an official letter to formally begin negotiations. HCST chairman Geoff Bielby stated:

“We are 100% sure that this new and unique approach of combining institutional investors and the fan base will enable us both to achieve our goals, a successful and stable Hull City AFC that will be a joy to watch play. This model will surely be emulated by other clubs in the future and Hull City AFC fans are thrilled to be the trendsetters of how fans take a more active role in clubs they support.”

This isn’t the city of Hull’s first brush with blockchain – in 2014 the Hull City Council launched what may have been the first ever local government cryptocurrency, HullCoin. HullCoin was then adopted as a means of rewarding local volunteer work carried out in Hull, the idea being that residents could volunteer and be rewarded in a cryptocurrency that could only be spent within the community among local retailers.

The tech-savvy city is also known for being the only UK city with its own independent indepdent telephone network and broadband provider. Hull City Daily Mail Sports Editor James Smailey commented on the positive response from fans upon hearing that they would have a presence on the football board were SportyCo’s bid to go through. He pointed out that the negotiations with Paul Duffen’s investor group were at a more advanced stage, and that fans would have to wait until later this week for more information on the Allams’ decision.

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Cryptocurrency ‘More Centralized than North Korea’: NYU Economist

New York University (NYU) economist Nouriel Roubini is scheduled to testify later this week during a U.S. Senate hearing on blockchain and cryptocurrency technology, and the noted bitcoin basher appears to be preparing for his testimony by trying out some new criticisms of the nascent asset class.

Ethereum Co-Creator a ‘Dictator for Life’

Writing on Twitter, Roubini alleged that it is a myth to say that cryptocurrency is decentralized, stating that in this respect the ecosystem is worse than North Korea. In addition to the usual suspects of mining firms and cryptocurrency exchanges, he alleged that developers such as Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin are “centralized dictators.”

“Decentralization in crypto is a myth. It is a system more centralized than North Korea: miners are centralized, exchanges are centralized, developers are centralized dictators (Buterin is ‘dictator for life’ ) & the Gini inequality coefficient of bitcoin is worse than North Korea,” he said.


It’s not the first time that Roubini, nicknamed “Dr. Doom” for his oft-bearish economic forecasts, particularly in the lead-up to the Great Recession, has taken aim at alleged centralization within the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

Earlier this year, while participating in a heated panel discussion on cryptocurrency at the Milken Institute Global conference in Los Angeles, Roubini said that the idea that bitcoin is decentralized is “bulls–t” and that a blockchain is just a “glorified Excel spreadsheet.”


The Stern School of Business professor has also at various points lambasted cryptocurrency supporters as “Hodl nuts” and “cyber terrorists,” among a variety of other colorful epithets. He has further responded with glee to every major bitcoin price decline, although his most bearish prediction — that bitcoin will go to zero — has not yet been realized.

Dr. Doom to Testify at Senate Blockchain Hearing

Later this week, on Thursday, Roubini will testify before a Senate hearing on blockchain technology. He will be joined by Peter Van Valkenburgh, director of research at cryptocurrency lobbying group Coin Center.

It remains to be seen what epithets Roubini will pull out of his quiver as he seeks to dissuade lawmakers from creating a favorable climate for cryptocurrency development. However, if his Twitter feed is any guide, they will be creative — and they will be colorful.

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Fake News? Cryptocurrency Exchange Bitfinex Denies Rumors of Insolvency.

Responding to longstanding rumors of financial struggles and outright accusations of insolvency, major cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has provided a glimpse into its cryptocurrency balance sheet.

The exchange, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands but headquartered in Hong Kong, sought to dispel these rumors in a blog post published on Sunday, which included links to three cold wallets — one each for bitcoin, ethereum, and EOS, holding funds collectively worth around $1.6 billion at the time of writing — that the company claimed represented a “small fraction” of its cryptocurrency holdings, not to mention its fiat deposits.

Though not named directly in the post, the trigger for Bitfinex’s decision to disclose its cryptocurrency holdings appears to have been a lengthy Medium post published on Oct. 6 by a pseudonymous user named ProofofResearch. That post, which was widely circulated on social media, claimed that Bitfinex users were experiencing major fiat and cryptocurrency withdrawal issues, likely indicating that the platform was no longer solvent.

Answering those criticisms, Bitfinex said:

“Bitfinex is not insolvent, and a constant stream of Medium articles claiming otherwise is not going to change this. As one of only a very few exchanges operating since 2013, with a small team and low operating costs, we do not entirely understand the arguments that purport to show us to be insolvent without providing any explanation about why.”

“How any rational party can claim insolvency when the opposite is there for all to see is interesting and, once again, perhaps indicative of a targeted campaign based on nothing but fiction,” the firm continued. “Complications continue to exist for us in the domain of fiat transactions, as they do for most cryptocurrency-related organisations. However, we continue to do our utmost to minimise any waiting times associated with fiat deposits and withdrawals.”

puerto rico

The Puerto Rico-based Noble Bank is reportedly no longer offering banking services to Bitfinex and Tether.

Such rumors have intensified as the Puerto Rico-based Noble Bank, long believed to have been the most recent banking partner of Bitfinex and Tether — the stablecoin issuer that shares a management team with the exchange — is said to have stopped offering banking services to these cryptocurrency clients amid its decision to put itself up for sale.

Bitfinex has never acknowledged Noble as its banking partner, and the exchange claimed that any news stories involving the institution have had no impact on the exchange operator’s business. The firm said, “Stories and allegations currently circulating mentioning an entity called Noble Bank have no impact on our operations, survivability, or solvency.”

That may be because, as CCN reported, Bitfinex has apparently found a new, much more prestigious bank to house its assets. Per the report, Bitfinex is now banking with HSBC, the $133 billion financial institution based out of London, providing the exchange with its first “proper” banking partner since Wells Fargo severed ties with the firm in early 2017. Even so, Bitfinex has — true to form — not confirmed the development publicly.

Many concerns about Bitfinex’s solvency stem from its close relationship with Tether — creator of the eponymous tether (USDT) cryptocurrency token, whose value is pegged to the U.S. dollar and purportedly backed by physical dollars stored in bank accounts. Similarly criticized for not operating transparently, Tether has been accused of operating a fractional reserve bank and contributing to a massive price manipulation scheme. While a transparency report published over the summer suggested USDT was full-backed by physical USD, Tether and Bitfinex have not undergone a full-scale audit, even as USDT’s market cap has swelled to $2.8 billion.

Recognizing the desire for another fiat-backed stablecoin option, several major cryptocurrency firms including Circle and Gemini have created “regulated” stablecoins. Though still in their early days, these tokens have tended to trade at a slight premium to USDT, perhaps suggesting that traders trust them more than the controversial tether.

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Maker Price (MKR) Explodes Through $750 as Dai Cryptocurrency Awaits Augur Integration

Maker (MKR), the central token of the Maker smart contract platform and the Dai stablecoin system, has experienced a phenomenal rally over the past month, bolstered a major partnership and an investment from one of the cryptocurrency industry’s top venture funds.

Less than one month ago, on Sept. 12, MKR was trading below $300. Since then, the token has gone on a tear, rising 159 percent to a present value of $758 on Monday morning. The Maker price has risen 24 percent in the past 24 hours alone, raising the MKR market cap to $552 million and launching the token to 22nd in the market cap rankings.

maker price MKR Dai cryptocurrency

MKR/USD | Source: CoinMarketCap

Investors should note that this massive price swing has been accompanied by relatively little trading volume. Over the past 24 hours, for instance, MKR has seen just $3.3 million in trading volume, with approximately 60 percent of those trades concentrated on OasisDEX.

This caveat aside, though, MKR has seen a dramatic rise, and this rally has correlated with two major announcements regarding the cryptocurrency token.

A16z Makes $15 Million MKR Bet

As CCN reported, legendary venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) recently invested $15 million in Maker, acquiring 7 percent of the network’s total currency supply and 6 percent of its total decision-making power. A16z has been investing in the cryptocurrency ecosystem for years, but the firm’s MKR purchase marked its first investment through its newly-launched $300 million cryptocurrency fund, which has received backing from Yale University’s $29.4 billion endowment.

“The investment of A16Z in MKR is conceptually similar to putting dollar savings in a US-based bank. Upon placing a certain amount of money in a bank like Goldman Sachs or JPMorgan, an individual receives a monthly or yearly return based on the program offered by the bank,” CCN explained at the time. “With money obtained from its clients, the bank then loans the capital out to trusted businesses and individual investors with high interest to pay out its clients that provided the bank with an initial capital.”

Specifically, MKR holders receive interest when the Maker network issues loans denominated in Dai, an asset-backed stablecoin whose value is collateralized to the U.S. dollar.

While the size of a16z’s investment itself would not have been enough to push the MKR price up this far, the fact that firm of this size and prestige would place such a bullish bet on the asset likely sent a buy signal to retail investors.

Augur to Add Support for Dai Stablecoin

More recently, on Oct. 4, the developers of decentralized prediction market Augur announced that they would add support for Dai on the platform, which heretofore had only allowed punter’s to place bets using ether.

Though renowned as one of the most-anticipated dApps and most promising applications of censorship-resistant blockchain technology throughout its multi-year development cycle, Augur has yet to build a sustainable user base in the several months since its deployment on the Ethereum mainnet.

According to DappRadar, the platform — which allows users to bet on the outcome of virtually any future event — had 57 users in the past 24 hours, with a cumulative volume of less than 212 ETH (around $48,000) spread across 184 transactions. That’s above average for the dApp, which has generally seen daily active user figures in the mid-30s throughout September and early October.

Holding ETH is already a gamble, as the second-largest cryptocurrency’s value has both traded above $1,400 and below $170 within the past calendar year. Consequently, some would-be users may be hesitant to further roll the dice by placing bets — particularly those with long time horizons — that could cause them to lose money (i.e. fiat purchasing power) even if they win the bets themselves.

Adding a stablecoin should provide users with the assurance that the assets they are staking and stand to win will retain a consistent value throughout the life of the bet, narrowing the risk associated with staking money in a prediction market to the bet itself. As the developers said, “Integration of a stable coin as the denomination for markets will allow money at risk to be exposed to less volatility.”

Given the growing number of stablecoins available, Augur’s decision to choose Dai for its platform is a huge vote of confidence in the Maker network and its ability to maintain a consistent peg to the value of the U.S. dollar.

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Dubai to Launch Blockchain Payments with State Digital Currency ‘emCash’

Dubai residents will soon have the means to make payments for school fees, bills and other retail purchases with emCash, a state-developed blockchain-based digital currency.

The UAE’s first official credit bureau – emCredit – under the Dubai Department of Economic Development is pushing its official blockchain-encrypted state digital currency emCash for wider adoption by rolling out point-of-sale (PoS) devices at government storefronts across Dubai.

PoS devices will also be deployed at retail storefronts, enabling both citizens and residents of Dubai to make purchases following a partnership with blockchain payments provider Pundi X , Trade Arabia reported on Monday.

A spokesperson for the state-backed subsidiary emCredit stated:

To be the world’s first city to offer blockchain-based payment solutions to our residents is an exciting moment for Dubai…Deploying cutting-edge technology such as blockchain is a key priority and is delivering benefits to our citizens in the form of convenience and securities to customers and merchants across Dubai.

As reported by CCN in October 2017, emCash was developed as Dubai’s first blockchain-based digital currency as a digital equivalent to the dirham, the UAE’s fiat currency.

While UAE residents use the digital currency via a smartphone app ‘emPay’, the blockchain enabling the digital currency is compatible with shared ledgers to record transactions instantaneously while ‘control over payments is not limited to any single member in the emPay ecosystem,” emCredit chief executive Muna Al Qassab explained at the time.

The entire ecosystem consisting of the digital currency, the smartphone application and the PoS terminals will see development and testing before their approval by government regulators this financial year.

The development comes at a time when the Smart Dubai office, a government initiative led by the Crown Prince of Dubai, has approved a citywide blockchain payments platform connecting all 38 government entities, partnering financial institutions and other municipal departments in the UAE’s largest and most populous city. In this particular use-case, the blockchain deployed is compatible with both public and permissioned blockchains using open-source Hyperledger and public Ethereum tech.

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Spanish Bitcoin Miner Plans 300 MW Solar Plant with Panels from China

Cryptosolartech, a Spanish cryptocurrency mining firm that uses renewable energy for its operations, has contracted a Chinese maker of photovoltaic solar panels to put up a solar farm with a production capacity of 300 MW.

Risen Energy Spain, the Spanish subsidiary of Chinese firm Risen Energy, is partnering with Cryptosolartech to build the solar farm in the Southern European country with a view of using the electricity produced from the solar plant solely for the mining of cryptocurrencies.

According to a statement released by Cryptosolartech, the development of the solar farm will be conducted in phases. The first phase of the project will involve putting up three photovoltaic plants with a combined capacity of 45 MW in Spain’s Seville province. The electricity produced from these farms will be directed to cryptocurrency mining farms which are currently located in Malaga city.

“With this, we can finally give way to the start-up and installation of the photovoltaic plants with a capacity of 300MW, thus providing clean energy to the largest cryptocurrency mining farm in Spain, our farm,” wrote Cryptosolartech in a statement.

Two Solar Farms Up and Running

While two plants are already operational, Cryptosolartech also has three other plants which are currently being constructed. The solar farms which have been completed are Marchena and Cantillana while those under construction are Salteras, Palomares and Alcala de Guadaira.

With critics every now and then slamming the cryptocurrency mining sector over its heavy usage of electricity and consequent contribution to global warming, Cryptosolartech is not alone in turning to renewable energy as a solution. In Australia, for instance, D Coin, the cryptocurrency subsidiary of a data center operator DC Two was reported two months ago to have been in the process of developing a crypto mining facility that uses solar energy.

Reducing Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint

Located in a coal town, the facility which is expected to offer reduced rates relative to other data centers is set to begin operations early next year, as CCN reported then.

“By providing customised low cost hosting options specifically engineered for cryptocurrency and Bitcoin mining at globally competitive rates, DC Two & D Coin have been able to attract the interest of both the local and international crypto mining community,” said the company as reported earlier.

Additionally, mid this year, Hollywood actor William Shatner announced his involvement in an effort focused on promoting the use of renewable energy in the mining of cryptocurrencies. This was through Solar Alliance, a Vancouver, Canada-based firm that counts Shatner as its spokesperson. Then, the firm was reported to have acquired an abandoned warehouse in the state of Illinois with a view of renting it out to cryptocurrency miners who will use electricity generated by a 3 MW solar farm.

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Tron (TRX) Jumps 12% as Founder Justin Sun Announces Virtual Machine Launch

Tron on Monday appreciated 12 percent against the US Dollar to restest August high near $0.028.

The spike came hours after Justin Sun, CEO and Founder of the Tron Foundation, announced that their super representatives reached consensus to launch the Tron Committee Function and Tron Virtual Machine (TVM). TVM launch marks an important step towards the functionality of Tron network. It is expected to test and execute large-scale decentralized applications similar to that of Ethereum. The TVM launch also marks the introduction of its very own smart contracts, called Era.

TVM, according to Sun, will make the Tron blockchain 200 times faster than Ethereum, and 100 times cheaper than EOS.

Sun also appeared in a brief interview round with Investopedia, the leading financial news and education websites, in which he predicted that Tron would be among the top ten cryptocurrencies.

“If we look at the top 10 cryptocurrencies, many of them are not motivated to continue innovating or improving their product. They represent the older generation of cryptos. TRON, on the other hand, is a young company with cutting edge technology, with much more room for growth. We are confident that TRON will surge into top 10 in the next 6 months.” – he told Investopedia.

The latest upside action has pushed Tron closer to top 10 coins. The cryptocurrency now stands at the 11th position, according to the data available at

A Stronger Month for TRX

Tron has regained its September’s high near $0.027 following the latest uptrend and is now in the process of adding more dollars to its market cap. The TRX/USD has already broken above the August high of 0.028-fiat by a small margin and owing to the fundamentals that are still fresh; the pair could see more long entries on higher highs.

Taking the last 30 days into account, which includes price performance of September, TRX/USD has already surged by 67 percent, making it one of the most robust 30-day performance among the top coins. Only Ripple has achieved more than 100 percent gains within the same timeframe owing to its very own bullish updates.

When BitBay added TRX pairs on its European trading platform, the coin reacted with a 13 percent gain. A 10 percent jump was seen when BitFinex introduced three TRX-to-fiat instruments this week. More major push followed with BitTorrent, which announced TRX blockchain was taken to 1 million users on uTorrent, which resulted in another 7 percent spike.

And now, with the launch of TVM, Tron has all the fundamentals backing its rally.

A Technical Opinion, However

The TRX/USD pair is supported by an ascending trendline and is trending sideways in the medium-term perspective. The pair has reversed from August high before and is currently inside a breakout action scenario. It could be a false breakout signal considering the historical performance of the TRON market. The August and September price action had also witnessed rallies owing to robust fundamental scenarios but erased all their gains once the hype dried off. That said, those entering longs on higher highs must wait for TRX/USD to break above the false breakout zone, whose upside target is near 0.302-fiat.

A long position towards 0.302-fiat on a close above 0.268-fiat should make day traders decent profits for now, given they also have a stop loss order somewhere marginally below their entry positions. A pullback, if it happens, could TRX/USD towards the ascending line support, from where we could expect to enter a long position towards the nearest interim resistance. A breakdown action is also possible, but not convenient to discuss in times of a “bull run.”

Trade safe!

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Crypto Giant Binance Will Donate All Coin Listing Fees to Charity

binance cryptocurrency exchange



Binance announced that as of today the company will make all listing fees transparent. In addition, 100% of fees will be donated to charity.

The move is likely to generate a fair amount of attention for the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume. Previously, listing fees on Binance – the cost of listing a cryptocurrency in their exchange – have varied based on a number of factors such as the type of token and expected daily volume.

The move is not without some controversy. Binance was rumored to charge astronomical figures for tokens to be listed on the exchange. Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, refuted these rumors as baseless.

Zhao told CCN:

“There were so much incorrect data, rumors and FUD about listing fees. We care about our community and want to address this once and for all.” 

When asked if Binance’s move towards greater transparency was driven by the earlier controversy, Zhao answered in the affirmative. “Yes, partially. We never charged 400 BTC for any project. That was a purely made up number,” he said.

Now, cryptocurrency projects will be able to decide what kind of fee they want to pay. In essence, this fee will be a donation to charity through Binance. The exchange will then disclose the fee to the public via their charity initiative, the Blockchain Charity Foundation.

“This will be disclosed in a subsequent Binance Charity Foundation press release. We are discussing with a few large donors at the moment. We don’t want to release a partial list just yet,” Zhao said.

Binance Zhao Changpeng Sequoia

Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao | Source: Youtube/Piergiorgio Borgogno

Binance will not dictate how much projects have to charge, and there won’t be any minimum donation fee when listing a cryptocurrency. They also want to avoid giving the impression that larger donations will gain favor for projects, with Zhao saying in a press release, “A large donation does not guarantee or in any way influence the outcome of our listing review process”.

When asked if other players are expected to follow suit in providing transparency, Zhao was optimistic. 

He said:

“I certainly hope so. They copied us on many other things, this will be a good thing to copy. There is no competition in charity.”

Binance recently launched Blockchain Charity Foundation together with the UN, led by UN Ambassador of Goodwill, Helen Hai.

The goal of the project is to help the UN tackle the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals funding gap. Currently, the UN is struggling to raise the $2.5 trillion needed to help developing countries reach their investment goals. The BCF was set up to explore the potential of blockchain technology to help with this.

One of the next important steps in this process is the meeting of Binance and the BCF, at the Blockchains for Sustainable Development forum on October 24th in Geneva. The forum aims to unite various blockchain thought leaders with philanthropists and heads of state, with the goal of discussing how blockchain can be used in future for public good.

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