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French Bitcoin Startup ACINQ Raises $1.7 Million to Grow the Lightning Network.

French bitcoin startup ACINQ has closed $1.7 million in seed funding to aid its development of the tools and services necessary to help the Lightning Network (LN) experience mass adoption.

Lightning Network Developer Closes Seed Round

According to the announcement, the Series Seed round was led by venture capital firm Serena, with participation from Bertrand Diard, Sébastien Lucas, bitcoin trader Alistair Milne, and Yves Weisselberger. Including previous funding, ACINQ — which was founded in 2014 — has now raised $2 million in 2018.

The Lightning Network, as CCN reported, is a second-layer scaling technology that can run on top of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency networks. Using Bitcoin’s built-in scripting language, users can deposit on-chain funds to off-chain LN payment channels. Those funds can be instantly routed to any LN user, and they do not require on-chain verification until the payment channel is closed, at which point they would be settled on the blockchain.

So while the main Bitcoin blockchain can only process a handful of transactions every second, the LN should be able to facilitate a virtually unlimited number of instant payments at virtually-negligible cost.

In addition to general scaling, supporters argue that the LN can be used to increase user privacy, facilitate the trustless exchange of cryptocurrencies across blockchains in transfers known as “atomic swaps,” and make microtransactions economically-feasible — a feature that could dramatically expand the use cases of cryptocurrency. That’s the goal, anyway.

The technology is still in beta, and, although users have been entrusting an increasingly-large amount of bitcoin to the LN protocol layer — ~$740,000 worth at the time of writing — it is still a long way from achieving widespread usage among current cryptocurrency users, much less the general public. ACINQ is working to change that.

ACINQ’s LN Contributions

An early mover in the space, ACINQ began working on the Lightning Network in 2015, shortly after Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja first outlined this scaling solution in a whitepaper. The firm now stands alongside Lightning Labs and Blockstream as one of the LN’s main leading developers.

ACINQ’s most well-known product is the Eclair software suite, one of the three major open-source implementations of the Lightning Network. Eclair Wallet was the first LN wallet released in the Google Play store, and it remains the most popular mobile LN wallet with more than 5,000 downloads as of the time of writing.

Acinq strike

“Strike” Payment Visualization | Source: ACINQ

ACINQ has also launched a service called “Strike” — so named due to its similarity to payment processing service Stripe — which allows merchants to more easily accept LN payments. Through the service, ACINQ accepts LN payments on behalf of a merchant and then sends the funds, minus a 1 percent fee, to the merchant’s on-chain bitcoin wallet when they reach a user-defined threshold.

The firm says that it plans to use its new funding to hire more software engineers, enabling it to build out new LN services.

https://www.ccn.com/french-bitcoin-startup-acinq-raises-1-7-million-to-grow-the-lightning-network/

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Korean Crypto Giant Bithumb is Launching a Decentralized Exchange.

Perhaps inspired by the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance to launch a decentralized exchange (DEX) by 2019, Bithumb, a major digital asset trading platform in South Korea, has announced its plans to operate a DEX in the months to come.

Bithumb DEX, which is expected to target the global cryptocurrency market, will be launched under an overseas subsidiary of the exchange outside of South Korea. The DEX is currently being developed with the assistance of One Root Network (RNT), which already has deployed a decentralized exchange in early 2018.

A source close to Bithumb DEX told local publications that to expand its user base internationally, the exchange established a mid-term plan to fully deploy a decentralized exchange in the upcoming months.

“Bithumb is one of the leading global exchanges in terms of transactions but it is true that most of its users are Korean. The latest decision seems to be the company’s strategy to compete with other leading exchanges in the global market by opening a decentralized exchange that receives attention in the global market,” said the source.

Binance Versus Bithumb

Centralized cryptocurrency exchanges including Bithumb and Binance generate massive profit margins from trading fees. Every time a user initiates a trade on an exchange, a fee has to be made to the exchange to process the order.

On a decentralized exchange, a third party service provider or mediator cannot exist, which limits the involvement of a central party in processing cryptocurrency trades and orders.

But, to incentivize developers and finance operations, it is possible to hardcode recurring transaction fees into smart contracts so that each trade provides the development team of the decentralized exchange with incentive to sustain development.

Previously, in an interview with Ran Neuner on CNBC’s Crypto Trader, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated that he firmly believes decentralized exchange is the future of the crypto market.

“I believe that decentralized exchange is the future. I don’t know when that future will come yet. I think we’re at an early stage for that so I don’t know if it’s a year, two years, three years, or five years. I don’t know but we got to be ready for it,” he said.

Based on the strategy of Bithumb to secure international users through the launch of a decentralized exchange, it is fairly evident that the main competitor of Bithumb will be Binance, which already has dominance over the cryptocurrency exchange market.

Bithumb’s Decentralized Exchange Could Appeal to Local Investors

As CCN previously reported, US Securities and Exchange Commissioner (SEC) Hester Peirce stated that investing in the crypto market through digital asset trading platforms requires a specific know-how and knowledge on the market, which many investors lack.

“This complexity means that only a very particular type of investor can pursue the diversification opportunities such assets can provide. Entrepreneurs are developing new products through which people can access cryptocurrencies indirectly or hedge their cryptocurrency holdings. Bitcoin futures, for example, began to trade recently,” she explained.

Investing through a DEX is even more complex than investing through a crypto exchange because users have no service providers to rely on when potential issues emerge. But, for Bithumb users, the launch of Bithumb DEX could be positive given the company’s poor track record with security breaches and hacking attacks.

https://www.ccn.com/korean-crypto-giant-bithumb-is-launching-a-decentralized-exchange/

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Crypto May Boost Student Finance.

  • Startups are building crypto- and blockchain-based platforms that promise to help students.
  • It's still an open question as to whether investment in cryptocurrencies is really the safest method for paying off student fees and loans.

Crypto May Boost Student Finance 101

Source: iStock/D-Keine

It's no secret that, in the US, UK, and the rest of Europe, students are having a hard time financially.

Fortunately, a growing number of startups are building crypto- and blockchain-based platforms that promise to help them with their money woes.

But while the solutions these startups are offering will no doubt help educate students about cryptocurrencies and may provide a more efficient way for them to purchase goods and transfer money, their offers of crypto-investments may be risky at a time when markets remain so volatile.

Coins on Campus

CampusCoin is a Delaware-based startup that, founded in 2017, is building a P2P (peer-to-peer) network for students, who will use the CampusCoin currency (CMPCO) to purchase goods/services offered by participating businesses.

Having already released the CMPCO wallet and completed an initial airdrop of tokens at the end of last year, its CEO Bryan Dube explains to Cryptonews.com that it's about to release its mobile app.

"The CampusCoin Mobile app will enable the students to carry out transactions from their mobile internet connection," he says. "These transactions may occur phone to phone through use of QR codes, or manually entered."

App preview video:

Mobile app preview video. Watch the full video and other CampusCoin related videos on our official YouTube channel. Share this video to fellow students! $CC #Blockchain #cryptocurrencynews #crypto #tech pic.twitter.com/EN7Y4XVPMO

— CampusCoin Project (@CampusCoinORG) September 24, 2018

CampusCoin affirm that paying for goods/services and receiving money transfers from parents is easier, more efficient and cheaper with cryptocurrency. But on a deeper level, Dube also contends that cryptocurrency offers students more value than fiat currency simply because its decentralization prevents it from political abuse and devaluation.

 

"While cryptocurrency uses the blockchain, proof of stake, proof of work, and new and emerging technologies to ensure that tokens are created through defined and open parameters, this cannot be said of fiat," he explains. "Cryptocurrency offers a path to diversify away from fiat, as opposed to remaining in a 'solution' that continues to be further debased over time."

 

[Insert College-Related Word Here] Coins

These are strong words, but other companies offering similar solutions would indicate that CampusCoin aren't the only ones who believe cryptocurrencies can help students ease the financial burden of higher education. Aside from the similarly named CollegeCoin (which now appears to be inactive), there's also Student Coin.

Running on the Ethereum-based Seratio Platform, the UK-based Student Coin will also let students use crypto to pay for things. But added to this, it will provide users with "the latest and relevant offers, investment schemes and money management tools," as founder Benjamin Stone wrote in a February blog.

Its decentralized app (dapp) will give students a wallet with smart-contract control, access to discounts and loyalty schemes, micro-loans, and also cryptocurrency investment intended to "to pay off student fees and loans."

Loyalty Programs and Investments

With its initial coin offering (ICO) scheduled for this October, Student Coin still has some way to go before its plans to offer crypto-purchasing, discounts, loans and investments comes to fruition, yet there is already precedent for a crypto-powered loyalty scheme that might give it extra hope for success.

At the end of last year, Australian students at the University of New South Wales helped to trial loyalty program that rewarded them with ten Australian dollars' worth of Ethereum for every ten purchases they made. According to the trial's organisers, participating students were very excited to receive ETH, with the students who chose to HODL their rewards enjoying gains.

However, it's still an open question as to whether investment in cryptocurrencies is really the safest method for paying off student fees and loans, given the current volatility of Bitcoin and altcoins alike.

On top of this, there’s also the issue of adoption. The success of platforms such as CampusCoin and Student Coin depends on there being enough businesses willing to accept their cryptocurrencies, and at the moment CampusCoin isn’t offering any indication of how many merchants it has on board.

“CampusCoin cannot disclose that information at this time,” says Bryan Dube. “We can say that we are populating our app with a selection of more than 20k universities. CampusCoin has intent to engage in this space at the international level.”

Once again, these are lofty aims. But at the very least, research released in March shows that using loans to invest in crypto is already popular among students, so apps that help them use crypto in a more responsible way may end up being even more popular.

https://cryptonews.com/exclusives/crypto-may-boost-student-finance-2688.htm

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Gemini achieves insurance coverage for custodied digital assets.

One small step for cryptocurrency; one giant leap for Gemini

An insurance policy for a cryptocurrency exchange that can cover customer assets being held isn't just something you take out. It's something you achieve with a lot of hard work, education and demonstration of security measures.

And Gemini has just achieved it, according to a 3 October press release.


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Standardising risks

Coverage was arranged by Aon and provided by "a global consortium of industry-leading insurers," the press release says.

It's a significant step for Gemini, and also solidifies the status of cryptocurrencies as digital yet, in a way, tangible assets which can be protected in various ways.

"Consumers are looking for the same levels of insured protection they're used to being afforded by traditional financial institutions," said Yusuf Hussain, Gemini's Head of Risk. "Educating our insurers not only allows us to provide such protections to our customers, but it also sets the expectation for consumer protection across the crypto industry."

juicy crypto words

Gemini isn't the first crypto custodian to secure insurance for customer funds. Australia's Custodian Vaults claims customer funds are insured, and many other exchanges have claimed some form of insurance on and off, although in many cases, their insurance wouldn't necessarily provide effective coverage for all customer funds.

And perhaps bolstered by demand from potential clients like Gemini, and the education provided by these prospective clients, insurers are also starting to explore the potential of digital asset insurance. Lloyds of London, for example, has broken into the space.

The growing prevalence of insurance solutions for the industry is a significant development because it goes a long way towards offsetting the risk of complete loss that many institutions still worry about and presents a measurable and quantifiable cost rather than an unknown risk.

It also helps cement standard security practises, which are still much needed in an industry prone to massive exchange hacks and the theft of tens of millions of dollars' worth of crypto.

Essentially, if insurance becomes a new standard for cryptocurrency exchanges, it will lift standards across the board. This is because complying with the terms of these policies and getting coverage will be dependent on exchanges maintaining a high standard of security. In this way, insurance might present an informal but quite effective set of security standards for exchanges.

https://www.finder.com.au/gemini-achieves-insurance-coverage-for-custodied-digital-assets

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Crypto revenue models for content creators can improve the Internet.

If most web content today feels low quality, that's not just you. It's what ad revenue models encourage.

The Internet is one of the least consistent places in the world. In its relatively short life to date, it has seen an ongoing series of upheavals and changes, which are in turn changing the world in small but significant ways.

The world of Internet content creation has been changing especially fast, largely due to the monetary models that drive it. Accruing eyeballs to spam with low quality advertising used to be the main objective, but it has since been morphed by a combination of factors, including the ad blockers which dam up old revenue streams and the congealing of access under a small handful of tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

But advertising is still largely how content creators on YouTube and Facebook get paid. Unfortunately for them, it's now mostly in the order of a few cents, or a few fractions of a cent, for each viewer who sits through advertising while viewing their content.

Therefore, being a financially successful independent content creator means raking in the views. Millions are good, but billions are better. At the same time, content needs to be produced as cheaply as possible to keep margins high and as quickly as possible to attract more views overall.

The sheer size of platforms like YouTube means aspiring creators can't afford to ignore them and will then inevitably get sucked into the same incentive models.

If you feel like most of the popular stuff on the Internet these days is low quality interchangeable garbage, it's not (entirely) because you're getting old and kids these days are crazy. It's because most content is being produced under revenue models that encourage the quick and cheap production of dross.


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Unintended but not accidental

It's a perfectly logical revenue sharing model for platforms like YouTube and Facebook, but it's also an incentive mechanism that's driven some unfortunate outcomes. Beyond filling the Internet with production line junk, it's led to side effects such as the terrifying world of kids YouTube.

Consumers aren't thrilled either and are always looking for alternatives. Patreon, for example, is having a bumper existence.

It offers a way for fans to fund creators directly in a mutually beneficial way. Creators can make more than they could from the advertising churn, and fans can keep getting high quality content, rather than seeing their favourite creator's work get chewed up by the realities of scraping for ad revenue.

Could this be a blockchain thing?

Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency stands to reshape the Internet and its content once again. First, blockchain itself can bring some much needed transparency to the system to reassure people that their payments are going where they should be without middlemen taking exorbitant cuts as well as help fight plagiarism and otherwise bring a series of further advantages.

And second, there are some very interesting opportunities in cryptocurrency for anyone that needs to move money globally and in small amounts. It's worth emphasising that the ability to make international micropayments is extremely new and was only made possible with cryptocurrencies.

juicy crypto words

Just look at the Bitcoin Cash Tippr bot, for example. People are using it to tip people money on Reddit, just throwing a small amount of money to someone anywhere else in the world. There are a few large "tips" which look a lot more like payments, but for the most part it's just people throwing amounts as small as a few cents to each other around the world.

In this way, cryptocurrency allows for the creation of entirely new revenue models for content creators, which goes right to the heart of the problem – a lack of suitably diverse revenue options for creators. This also opens the door to direct monetisation of a much wider variety of content in a way that suits creators.

A full time Internet video maker might want to get patronised with regular income a la Patreon, an occasional e-poet might just appreciate the occasional handful of coins, a professional Elvis-impersonating stripper (for example) might want to charge viewers on a show-by-show basis and a professional Askfm respondent might release their answers for a certain price.

The end result might be a much more diverse and high quality world of content on the Internet. It also introduces new challenges though, such as finding a way of surfacing the "best" things and managing frictions between different platforms and creators.

These are some of the things the ASQ Protocol is thinking about. Created by the team behind Askfm, who you might remember as the crew behind a recent Mt. Everest crypto-PR stunt gone wrong, it aims to be more than a single platform. It aims to become a content monetisation and surfacing protocol that can be used across the Internet at large.

Q&A

To get a better understanding of how it all works and what makes ASQ tick, we asked ASQ Protocol and Askfm CEO Maxim Tsaryk a few questions. A Q&A format seemed appropriate all things considered.

Q1. How does ASQ determine what value a user gets from content, beyond metrics such as likes and shares?

"Users on our platform will get a transparent and fair reward for the content they’re producing. The reward is based on the quality of the content and the demand it creates. This allows content creators to realize full profit from their materials rather than relying on media intermediates to share and promote it for substantial fees."

Q2. How does ASQ differentiate between high value and low quality content?

"We are implementing the mechanism of up-voting which will allow content creators to build an excellent reputation. This means that the most valuable and trustworthy content will be spread, while lurking among users will be reduced."

Q3. Is it possible that the Internet is just too big for this kind of initiative?

"The Internet community has already faced a lot of problems regarding exponential growth in data and information. It is increasingly difficult to find valuable authentic information quickly. Concentration of distribution sources of information by a small number of communications platforms, together with the explosion in the amount of information exchanged has introduced significant challenges to the consumption, creation, delivery, and storage of content. ASQ Protocol aims to help reorganize this status quo in the content economy by rewarding all stakeholders and increasing the content produced in the process."

Q4. How does ASQ differentiate itself from competitors such as Steem, TRON and similar?

"Platforms like Steem and TRON provide peer-to-peer (P2P) payments from consumers to content creators. However, they are relatively small in scale and narrow in the type of content they host. ASQ Protocol is introducing not only opportunities for C2C monetization, but also a value-driven business model to a much larger user base and for all kinds of content."

Q5. Will people be willing to pay to access content on ASQ? Why?

"At ASQ Protocol we strongly believe that high-quality information should be paid. Already we can see the growing amount of people who are ready to pay for really unique and useful content that can't be found using search engines."

Q6. What advantages does ASQ provide content creators over services like Patreon?

"Patreon is a niche platform, focused on the brands and influencers themselves. It provides only one opportunity - to buy and sell influencers’ content. Unlike Patreon, on ASQ Protocol users don't need to be influencers to make money. Rather, all users can choose the content to monetize and the way to monetize it. This autonomy sets ASQ Protocol apart from platforms like Patreon."

Q7. Will the content creators who choose to use ASQ for exposure and provide content for free undercut those who want to get paid?

"The platform doesn’t fundamentally work like this. ASQ Protocol creates a whole new ecosystem for the content economy. Market forces of supply and demand will be key. Creators who provide high-quality content will be definitely in demand, and therefore will get paid. The token economy flows will depend on the quality of content and the revenue model used for content sharing. At the same time, users with low quality content will be unable to gain substantial exposure."

Q8. Do you foresee the rise of advertising and web content-related projects, such as Brave Browser's BAT, affecting ASQ? Are these kinds of projects a fundamentally different way of approaching the same problem (domination of the Internet by a handful of advertising giants)? Are these compatible with ASQ?

"We don't consider BAT as a primary competitor, since the aim of that system is providing privacy for surfing the Internet and anonymously capturing user attention to reward publishers directly. At ASQ Protocol we are focusing on content creation, sharing and consumption. ASQ provides a front-end methodology for determining the importance of quality content, thereby providing different monetization models for customers and business units."

Q9. Is ASQ at risk of becoming the next Internet gatekeeping giant if it succeeds?

"The ASQ Protocol’s mission is to foster the growth of individuals and society at large by making original, high-value content available to everyone, everywhere. ASQ plays the role of an assistant for apps & platforms, so rather than becoming a gatekeeper, success would make ASQ more like a gateway. The ASQ Protocol has the potential to replace existing huge gatekeepers like Facebook or Twitter and other social media giants, since it provides a distributed protocol of trust where actions are transparent and visible to all."

Q10. If Facebook offered to buy Askfm for $10 billion, would you take it?

https://www.finder.com.au/crypto-revenue-models-for-content-creators-can-improve-the-internet

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Zcoin is the first cryptocurrency to implement Dandelion privacy protocol.

Zcoin is now protecting user IP addresses with flower power.

On 26 September 2018, Zcoin (XZC) became the first cryptocurrency to implement Dandelion Protocol.

Although if you want to get super literal, it might be the second. Dandelion was tested in runs on the bitcoin network, where researchers modified the Bitcoin Core client to set up their own circle of Dandelion nodes on the bitcoin network.


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(De)anonymisation

Dandelion is the work of researchers from Carnegie Mellon, MIT and the University of Illinois; Giulia Fanti, Shaileshh Bojja Venkatakrishnan, Surya Bakshi, Bradley Denby, Shruti Bhargava, Andrew Miller and Pramod Viswanath.

It was intended to present a solution to certain "de-anonymisation attacks".

Basically, bitcoin is a network of peers, where each peer is identified by a combination of its IP address and port. Whenever a node generates a transaction, it broadcasts a record of this transaction over the peer to peer network. The transaction record doesn't actually include the sender's IP address, of course. Only the pseudonymous wallet address is publicly available.

The problem is that transactions tend to spread around the bitcoin network in a certain way, like the way ripples spread outwards in concentric circles from a pebble dropped into water. So when someone with enough know-how and time on their hands monitors transactions as they spread through the network, they can observe these patterns to make an educated guess at the source of the transaction – just like you can look at ripples in a pond and guess where the pebble was dropped. Using new wallet addresses for each transaction doesn't help much either, because the ripples will still keep originating from the same place.

So with a bit of patience, someone can observe enough ripples to get a good idea of where the pebbles are being dropped, and start associating ripples with pebbles. Now they've managed to associate certain transactions and wallet addresses with IP addresses. And IP addresses can in turn be deciphered to deduce physical location.

Consider what might happen if a watcher manages to track a lot of large transactions to an IP address, picks out the real world location of that IP address, and then decides to go pay them a visit with the expectation of finding a lot of money there.

"There is a lot of sensitive information in people's financial transactions, so it's important to ensure that their data can't be exploited by malicious agents, especially given the public nature of cryptocurrencies. Dandelion protects users from adversaries who might try to link their cryptocurrency transactions to an IP address," says Giulia Fanti, Dandelion researcher and assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University.

Stable solutions

There are ways to minimise and avoid the risk, and privacy-conscious bitcoin users will commonly route their network traffic through Tor (The Onion Router) to better hide themselves. But it's not perfect, and limits functionality in some ways.

“Unlike using Tor, Dandelion is implemented within the existing cryptocurrency peer-to-peer network, so it doesn't rely on (or impose costs on) an external service. It's also lightweight and fairly easy to implement on top of existing cryptocurrency gossip networks because it does not use encryption," explains Andrew Miller, Dandelion researcher and assistant professor at the University of Illinois.

"Expecting bitcoin users to route their traffic through Tor (or a similar service) poses several challenges, depending on the mode of integration," the research paper notes. "...many Bitcoin users are unaware of bitcoin's privacy vulnerabilities and/or may lack the technical expertise to route their transactions through Tor."

They also flirted with the idea of hard coding Tor-like functionality into the system, but moved away from that on account of it being super complicated.

"One option would be to hard-code Tor-like functionality into the cryptocurrency's networking stack; for instance, Monero is currently integrating onion routing into its network. However, this requires significant engineering effort; Monero’s development effort is still incomplete after four years," they say.

Flower power

Hence Dandelion.

juicy crypto words

The name comes from the shape of a dandelion, as a stem leading to a fluffy bit on top. It works by essentially bouncing transactions to a random new location before it starts propagating across the network. In other words, the ripples will come from a random part of the pond even if you keep dropping pebbles in the same spot.

Visualised, this looks like a dandelion. The stem is when a transaction is initially bounced to a random new location, and the fluff is the transaction propagating around the network. The benefits are best realised when an entire network is updated to use Dandelion Protocol, rather than just having a few nodes in the network using it.

For the end user, the effect is another layer of protection for their IP address. It's not perfect, but as far as anyone knows it's probably one of the most practical solutions that doesn't involve the use of cumbersome encryption. One of the key benefits might be that it can be permanently built into systems to help protect all users much more effectively, without any real downsides.

"We're excited to be adding yet another layer of privacy to reduce the likelihood of any linkability to personal information like IP addresses to transactions," says Zcoin CEO Reuben Yap. "Dandelion is an elegant and lightweight solution to further conceal IP addresses and we are proud to be the first to implement it in a cryptocurrency. Having an IP address connected to a transaction can give information as private as your physical location, name and account balance - the exposure of this can have very far reaching ramifications."

https://www.finder.com.au/zcoin-is-the-first-cryptocurrency-to-implement-dandelion-privacy-protocol

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Bitcoin Price Unexpectedly Rises to $6,600, as Market Adds $5 Billion in Hours.

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Within the past six hours, the cryptocurrency market has added $5 billion to its valuation as Bitcoin demonstrated an unexpected increase in its price.

1-day chart of total crypto market valuation, chart provided by Coinmarketcap.com

Throughout the week, Bitcoin struggled to demonstrate recovery in its volume and momentum, as it fell below the $6,500 mark, a level which the dominant cryptocurrency managed to sustain for several weeks.

Since August 9, the price of BTC has remained relatively stable in the range of $6,400 to $6,800. Apart from one instance in late September during which Bitcoin tested the $7,000 resistance level, the asset has shown a record high level of stability since June of 2017.

Bitcoin Rises Abruptly

Earlier this week, the vast majority of technical analysts and prominent crypto traders expressed their negative stance towards the short-term price trend of BTC.

One trader who goes with the online alias “Rampage” stated that the declining volume and consistent demonstration of lower highs are expected to lead the price of BTC to drop.

“Declining volume, weaker bounces, lower highs. Demand is getting eaten up and it’s just a matter of time until we break support for new yearly lows. There is nothing bullish about this chart,” he explained.

Since then, the volume of Bitcoin actually dropped even more, from $4.3 billion to $3.8 billion on Coinmarketcap. On Coincap.io, the cryptocurrency market data provider of ShapeShift, which filters out exchanges suspected to have inflated volumes, the daily trading volume of Bitcoin hovers at around $2.57 billion, down 0.23 billion since October 2.

With the same year-to-date chart of Bitcoin, several other technical analysts predicted the price of Bitcoin to increase in the short-term, as the market started to demonstrate seller fatigue and a decline in sell pressure.

“Declining volume, weaker sell-offs, recent higher lows. Bears are getting exhausted and it’s just a matter of time before no willing sellers remain and strong hands dominate supply. There is nothing bearish about this chart,” one analyst said.

The decline in the volume of Bitcoin in itself could either represent fatigue of bears or general decline in momentum of the asset. Hence, in such a period, the less risky approach is to wait it out and observe minor movements in the market.

Given the slight bounce of major cryptocurrencies in the past few hours, it is likely that due to market exhaustion and seller fatigue, Bitcoin and other major cryptocurrencies will record minor gains in the short-term.

State of the Market

Already, some tokens including Wanchain, Verge and Aeternity have started to demonstrate decent gains in the 4 to 5 percent range, with Ripple (XRP) recording a solid 3.5 percent increase in price.

But, the low volume of Bitcoin still remains as a variable in the short-term. If the volume of BTC fails to supplement its short-term increase in price, then a sudden drop in the valuation of the crypto market is also possible.

Until BTC breaks out of the $6,800 resistance level however, no major movement to the upside is expected, especially considering the state of the market.

https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-price-unexpectedly-rises-to-6600-as-market-adds-5-billion-in-hours/

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Mt. Gox Users, Mizuho Bank Seek Delay in Lawsuit to Await Compensation Outcome

Mt. Gox

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U.S. investors and Japan’s Mizuho Bank have jointly asked a federal court in California to stay a case in which the financial institution is being sued for creating transaction difficulties for users around the time of Mt Gox’s collapse.

According to Reuters, lawyers for the plaintiffs led by Joseph Lack and the defendant are asking for a stay in the case until February 28, 2019. This is to allow both the plaintiffs and the defendant added time within which to get a clearer picture over whether they are going to be compensated in full or partially for the losses incurred following the collapse of Mt. Gox, once the biggest exchange in the world for the flagship cryptocurrency. The delay will, consequently, enable the two parties to make informed recommendations to the federal court in Los Angeles on how the case should proceed.

More than US$0.6 Billion Raised

This comes after the Mt Gox civil rehabilitation and bankruptcy trustee, Nobuaki Kobayashi, revealed last month that he had raised over US$617 million following the sale of bitcoins that were recovered. The amount is believed to be adequate to pay claims in full and not partially as previously thought.

Besides the cash assets, the estate also possesses more than 137,000 bitcoins. Clients of the long-defunct bitcoin exchange who lost their bitcoin holdings or money have until October 22 to lodge claims. The Mt Gox civil rehabilitation and bankruptcy trustee has indicated that the claims could be approved by January 24 next year. Subsequently, a proposed rehabilitation plan is expected to be submitted the month after.

Withholding Material Information

In the lawsuit, Lack, a resident of California, claims to have made a deposit of US$40,000 to the Mizuho bank account of Mt. Gox after joining the exchange in January 2014. However, Lack’s deposit was not reflected in his Mt. Gox account and he was unable to get back his money. Around this time the website of Mt. Gox became unresponsive. In the lawsuit, Lack accuses the Japanese bank of defrauding him as it hid the fact that it was not processing withdrawal requests.

The Japanese bank has previously tried to stop the lawsuit. Two months ago, Mizuho lodged an appeal where it argued that its acceptance of money transfer wires originating from residents of California was passive and could therefore not be held technically liable for anything. The appeal was, however, denied by the court which sided with the plaintiffs on the grounds that the argument was unconvincing.

https://www.ccn.com/mt-gox-users-mizuho-bank-seek-delay-in-lawsuit-to-await-compensation-outcome/

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Israel’s Securities Regulator Upgrades Cybersecurity with Blockchain.

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The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) has quietly integrated blockchain technology within its internal systems to securely deliver messages and information to regulated entities under its purview.

The ISA, Israel’s national securities regulator, is carrying out the implementation after already embedding a platform dubbed “Yael”, used by the government agency to communicate and relay information to supervised institutions, The Times of Israel reported.

The blockchain pivot will add another layer to ensure the credibility of data relayed to supervised entities, the ISA explained. The blockchain will notably verify the authenticity of origin messages, negate tampering by preventing them from being edited or deleted altogether, the regulator added. Furthermore, regulated institutions will no longer be able to plead ignorance that a message wasn’t received after its transmission from the ISA.

The blockchain platform reportedly took three months to be developed by Israel-based IT giant Taldor, a publicly-listed company.

Natan Hershkovitz, director of the ISA’s Information Systems Department stated:

“Implementing blockchain technology in the ISA’s information systems makes it one of the global leading authorities in securing the information provided to the public and its credibility, and one of the leaders in Israel’s public sector.”

Beyond shoring up its security framework for messaging, the ISA is also looking to implement the decentralized technology in an online voting system that enables shareholders of listed companies on the exchange to vote online, without needing to actually be present in shareholder meetings.

In another application, the ISA also revealed its intention to integrate blockchain technology to its Magna platform, which records all reports submitted by institutions under the ISA’s supervision.

Decentralized e-voting, in particular, has already been tested and put to use in other markets and industries. In early 2016, Estonia’s e-residency platform launched a blockchain e-voting service for shareholders to vote for companies listed on the Estonian Stock Exchange operated by Nasdaq.

Later that year, the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), also launched a blockchain-powered e-voting platform for shareholders to vote during companies’ annual general meetings from anywhere in the world through a smartphone app.

https://www.ccn.com/israels-securities-regulator-upgrades-cybersecurity-with-blockchain/

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Singapore’s Biggest Shipper Partners IBM in Developing Blockchain for Crucial Trade Paperwork.

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Tech giant IBM is partnering with one of Singapore’s biggest shipper, Pacific International Lines (PIL), in digitalizing one of the most important documents in shipping – Bill of Lading.

The two firms will collaborate in designing and creating an electronic Bill of Lading (e-BL) which will exist on a blockchain. In international trade, the Bill of Lading not only serves as evidence of ownership of goods, receipt of shipment and contract of carriage but is also relied upon by banks and other financial institutions in the provision of trade financing.

Blockchain to the Rescue

But because the Bill of Lading is handled by multiple parties, there is the risk of loss and fraud. Additionally, it has to be mailed to the various parties and this results in unnecessary costs being incurred. With the e-BL which will reside on blockchain ledger developed by IBM, it is hoped that fraud and unnecessary handling costs will be eliminated.

“Traditionally, information flow is predominantly handled via manual processes and the supply chain is slowed down when there are many points of communication within its framework,” PIL’s Executive Director, Lisa Teo, said in a statement. “The use of blockchain technology to allow for the direct exchange of documents and information via the decentralized network to boost transparency, eliminate disputes forgeries and unnecessary risks will be key for this industry to progress.”

The collaboration between IBM and PIL is backed by among others Singapore Customs, Singapore Shipping Association, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, Bank of China (Singapore) and Infocomm Media Development Authority.

Good for the World

The e-BL initiative comes a little over a year since PIL together with the Port Authority of Singapore signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IBM with a view of jointly working on proof-of-concept blockchain solutions aimed at enhancing efficiency and security of the supply chain network in the Southeast Asian country. At the time, the CEO of the Port Authority of Singapore, Tan Chong Mong, pointed out that blockchain technology could spur the expansion of global trade:

“Blockchain has the potential to reduce inefficiencies and gaps within the supply chain, promote more cost-efficient transactions and facilitate the continued growth in world trade.”

This is not the first shipping line that IBM is collaborating with in utilizing blockchain technology to enhance operations in the supply chain. Early last year, for instance, IBM teamed up with the world’s biggest ocean container shipper, Maersk Line, in employing the blockchain framework implementation known as HyperLedger Fabric in operations stretching across a network of ports, ocean carriers and freight forwarders.

https://www.ccn.com/singapores-biggest-shipper-partners-ibm-in-developing-blockchain-for-crucial-trade-paperwork/

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Ripple Blockchain Payments App ‘MoneyTap’ Goes Live in Japan.

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A consortium of 61 Japanese banks, responsible for over 80% of Japan’s banking assets, has begun using a consumer-centric retail payments app using Ripple blockchain technology.

In a tweet by Ripple’s own official handle on Thursday, the San Francisco-based fintech confirmed the app went live on Thursday, nearly seven months after its initial announcement earlier this year. As CCN reported at the time, the app is the product of SBI Ripple Asia, a banking consortium that launched in November 2016 with a focused effort to leverage Ripple’s blockchain technology for domestic bank transfers in Japan.

Dubbed ‘MoneyTap’, the smartphone app will enable real-time, round-the-year domestic money transfers between bank accounts using xCurrent, Ripple’s enterprise blockchain network, details from the app’s website reveal.

Payments can be triggered with the use of a simple QR code or the recipient’s phone number through the application, made available on both iOS and Android platforms. With today’s launch, the MoneyTap app is supported by three specific banks – Suruga Bank, SBI Net Sumishin Bank and Resona Bank, for zero-cost transfers between them. In the scenario of a request for a return of funds, participants will be required to pay a small fee.

Designed to be a quick, small-amount remittance service between everyday residents, MoneyTap allows for a maximum transfer amount of ¥30,000 (approx. $262) per transaction and a ceiling of ¥100,000 ($875) per day.

Blockchain Breakthrough: 47 Japanese Banks Complete Money Transfer Pilot Using Ripple https://t.co/2igNj8nVQ9 pic.twitter.com/6iSW075uHY

— CCN (@CryptoCoinsNews) March 2, 2017

 

Japan’s current decades-old national payments clearing platform ‘Zengin’ facilitates domestic money transfers between 8:30 AM and 3:30 PM in Japan, in addition to banking fees.

While the launch of the app is the first notable implementation of commercial blockchain technology on a consumer scale in Japan, Ripple’s tech is also live in Banco Santander’s One Pay FX. A similar application powered by Ripple’s xCurrent, Santander says its retail banking clients in Spain, the UK, Brazil and Poland can settle international payments in a matter of “3 clicks and 40 seconds”.

https://www.ccn.com/ripple-blockchain-payments-app-moneytap-goes-live-in-japan/

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Bitcoin-Stealing Malware Targets Fortnite Gamers.

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The release of season six for the popular Fortnite video game has inspired the development of bitcoin-stealing malware disguised as game cheating tools.

Malwarebytes Labs has discovered malware disguised as cheat tools that can steal data and bitcoin from Fortnite gamers, according to Christopher Boyd, the lead malware intelligence analyst. Malwarebytes Labs found the malware among YouTube videos offering “free” season passes and offers for “free” Android versions of the game, Boyd noted in a blog post.

Multiple Steps To Getting Scammed

Finding the malware required going through numerous steps, including subscribing to a YouTube channel, getting prompted to a different site, then taking a survey before downloading the malware.

One video was titled, “New Season 6 Fortnite Hack Cheat Free Download September 2018 / WH / Aimbot/ Undetectable.” One was titled, “Fortnite Hack Free Download,” while another was titled “Fortnite Cheat.”

One video racked up 120,892 views before being removed for violating YouTube’s spam policy, noted Boyd, who also observed that disguising malware as a cheat tool is not a new technique, but one that can do a lot of damage.

Also read: Malware discovered sending fake emails to steal bitcoin and passwords

Plenty Of Data Vulnerable

When the initial .exe file runs on the target system, it enumerates details of the infected computer, Boyd noted. It then sends data by means of a POST command to a file in the Russian Federation. A lot of data can be stolen, as the malware examines bitcoin wallets, Steam sessions, cookies, and browser session information. A readme file advertises the ability to purchase additional Fortnite scams for “$80 bitcoin.”

Boyd advised anyone tempted to cheat at Fortnite to steer clear of the numerous offers available.

“Offering up a malicious file under the pretense of a cheat is as old school as it gets, but that’s never stopped cybercriminals before. In this scenario, would-be cheaters suffer a taste of their own medicine via a daisy chain of clickthroughs and (eventually) some malware as a parting gift,” he wrote. “Winning is great, but it’s absolutely not worth risking a huge slice of personal information to get the job done.”

https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-stealing-malware-targets-fortnite-gamers/

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Bank of America Thinks Blockchain Could be a $7 Billion Market.

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Bank of America research analysts have predicted that blockchain technology could represent a multi-billion dollar industry down the road, and be of particular benefit for leading companies like Amazon and Microsoft.

BoA: Many Can Benefit From Blockchain

The analysts predicted the total addressable blockchain market would eventually hit $7 billion, but there was not a particular timeline for the market growth since the technology is not yet widely used.

CNBC reported that the market estimate was predicated on the assumption that 2% of servers would one day be used to run blockchain.

In a note to clients on Tuesday, Bank of America research analyst Kash Rangan wrote that companies like Amazon could integrate blockchain to streamline retail operation and enhance cloud computing operations.

Rangan said specific parts of “software as a service” (SaaS) could be improved by blockchain technology, pointing out that “blockchain as a service” could be of particular interest to a company like Microsoft for their Azure platform, which already features Ethereum-based products.

Rangan also noted that there have been many use cases for blockchain that have been identified.

While Bank of America was clear to note that the money-making capabilities of blockchain are still relatively unproven, it did say companies like Oracle, IBM, Salesforce, VMware, Redfin, Zillow, and LendingTree all stand to reap benefits from incorporating distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Leading The Way Forward

The well-known financial institution has not been shy about making its name known in the digital asset space.

Bank of America currently sits alongside industry giants like IBM and Walmart as one of the most prolific investors into blockchain-related research projects.

In February, the bank wrote in their annual report that virtual currencies represent a threat to their model of business, one that could “require substantial expenditures to modify or adapt our existing products and services.”

However, Bank of America has long been assembling a list of patents correlated with blockchain technology.

In May, the company won a patent that would see DLT used to create tags so a person could find a block by searching keywords associated with the tag.

Documents published by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office in August revealed further details into a longstanding proposal by the company to develop an enterprise cryptocurrency online vault storage system.

Around the same time, the bank applied for a patent concerning a cold storage system and also filed a patent application for a system that would help facilitate digital currency payments and conversions in real time.

https://www.ccn.com/bank-of-america-thinks-blockchain-could-be-a-7-billion-market/

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Hacker Zaps Coca-Cola VM to Accept Bitcoin via Lightning Network.

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A Brazillian computer programmer built a Coca-Cola vending machine that accepts bitcoin payments over the Lightning Network (LN).

Bitcoin-Powered Coke Vending Machine

Ricardo Reis described his feat in a Medium post on Oct. 2, in which he also mentioned the accessories that were employed to create the bitcoin-enabled Coke portal. In addition to applied programming techniques and vending machine hardware that could take instructions from the user-interface, Reis also used the Lightning Network to enable faster and cheaper bitcoin transactions.

Unlike a normal bitcoin transaction, which gets recorded and verified on a public blockchain, the LN adds a secondary layer to create a payment channel that does not require transactions to be confirmed by the main blockchain until the users close the channel. Thus, users can make a series of the transactions without needing miners’ confirmation. Once they close the payment channel on the Lightning network, its cumulative output gets recorded and verified on the main bitcoin ledger.

Cryptocurrency developers Joseph Poon and Thaddeus Dryja had introduced Lightning Network as a solution to bitcoin’s slow on-chain transactions that were supposedly hampering its growth among merchants. Reis’ efforts simply illustrated the process with a real-world example as simple as a Coca-Cola vending machine.

How the Coke Vending Machine Works

 

Reis makes a communicative bridge between the Coke machine’s hardware and software tools. On the hardware side, there is a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, a Display 7″ Official Touch Screen Para Raspberry Pi, a Water pump RS 385, and a Bridge H L298N. On the software and web solutions’ side, Reis employs Linux Raspbian in Raspberry Pi, Apache Server + PHP in Raspberry Pi, Wiring Pi (interface GPIO), BTCPAY as checkout solution, PUSHER as a web-socket solution, and HTML, PHP, Javascript e jQuery as applied programming languages.

A simpler front-end makes up for a complex backend. The Coke vending machine features a simple interface, with a bitcoin wallet QR code of the receiver. People looking to purchase a beverage must scan the QR via their bitcoin wallet apps, enter the amount, and send it. The machine sends the payment confirmation upon receiving the funds, which should not take more than a minute, and Coke starts to pour in the glass underneath the device.

“In BTCPAY I create the invoice (payment button), so it generates a Lightning Network QR code for payment,” Reis wrote. “I also set up a return URL (notification.php), which is the destination BTCPAY will inform when a purchase order has any changes, such as payment receipt.”

https://www.ccn.com/hacker-zaps-coca-cola-vm-to-accept-bitcoin-via-lightning-network/

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Tether Price Falls on Crypto Exchanges: How Will it Affect Bitcoin?

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Technical analyst and crypto trader Aurelius revealed that the price of Tether (USDT), the most widely utilized stablecoin in the cryptocurrency exchange market, has fallen in the past 24 hours.

The drop in the price of Tether by around 1 percent led a premium to form on USDT-to-crypto trades, especially on USDT-to-Bitcoin trades.

1-day price chart of USDT, data provided by Coinmarketcap.com

As a stablecoin backed by the US dollar, the value of USDT has to remain at $1. Tether LLC, the company that operates USDT, is said to have $2.8 billion stored in a bank account based in Puerto Rico, according to BitMEX Research.

 

Hence, when the price of Tether drops, likely due to a sell-off on major crypto exchanges, it can lead to market instability.

1% Spread Between Bitfinex and Coinbase, Can it Impact Bitcoin?

On Oct.  3, cryptocurrency trader and well-recognized analyst Alex Kruger stated that the spread between Bitfinex and Coinbase, a USDT-backed exchange and a fiat exchange (US dollar), increased to 1 percent.

Because the price of Tether fell to $0.99 at its daily low point, it quickly became more expensive to purchase cryptocurrencies with Tether on cryptocurrency-only trading platforms, by around 1 percent.

“There’s a 1% spread between Bitfinex and Coinbase at the moment. Quite striking. Yesterday it was around 0.75%. It usually is around zero,” Kruger said.

The only logical explanation to the drop in the price of Tether in the past 12 hours is a sell-off of USDT by large holders. As large USDT holders started to sell the stablecoin, its price dropped, causing a premium to form on USDT-to-crypto pairs.

Considering that it is more expensive to buy cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum with USDT than with the US dollar, it can be argued that traders have sold USDT to invest in cryptocurrencies.

After hitting a weekly low at $6,440, Bitcoin has recovered beyond the $6,500 mark, around the same time Tether demonstrated a 1 percent decline in its value. The valuation of the crypto market also increased by $4 billion, from $212 to $214 billion, in the past 12 hours.

1-day price chart of Bitcoin, data provided by Coincap.io

It is entirely possible that on Oct. 3, a group of traders or large USDT holders sold a big chunk of Tether holdings to invest in various cryptocurrencies, predicting market recovery in the short-term.

Tether leaving Noble Bank, which has provided banking support to Tether LLC for years, could have also had an impact on the short-term price trend of the stablecoin.

“The bank has lost many of its customers, including Bitfinex and Tether, and is no longer profitable, the person said. The company could sell itself for a price between $5 million and $10 million, based largely on the value of its Puerto Rican license to operate as an international financial entity, the [source] said,” Bloomberg reported.

Good to Have Alternatives

On Sept. 27, after listing PAX, the New York Department of Financial Services-approved stablecoin operated by Paxos, the world’s largest crypto exchange Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao said:

“For people who complained about lack of audit on USDT, here is another alternative. As always, make sure you understand what it is before you buy.”

Although the reasons behind the drop in the price of Tether still remain unclear, it is likely that it had an impact on the short-term trend of the market. As such, for the long-term growth of the market, it is positive to have alternatives to dominant cryptocurrencies.

https://www.ccn.com/tether-price-falls-on-crypto-exchanges-how-will-it-affect-bitcoin/

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Crypto Bull Mike Novogratz Trims Short-Term Bitcoin Price Forecast [Again]

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One of the cryptocurrency market’s biggest bulls has once again trimmed his optimistic short-term bitcoin price forecast, stating this week that he does not believe that “digital gold” will reach the five-figure mark again until 2019.

According to CNBC, Mike Novogratz, the billionaire founder of cryptocurrency merchant bank Galaxy Digital said on stage at the Economist Finance Disrupted event in Manhattan that he does not expect the bitcoin price to even crack $9,000 before the New Year’s ball drops at least one more time.

“I don’t think it breaks $9,000 this year,” he said at the event on Tuesday, explaining that by this point in the bear market blockchain companies were being forced to sell their cryptocurrency holdings “just to fund the burn rate of the industry,” referring to payroll and other operational costs.

bitcoin price chart

BTC/USD | Bitfinex

At one point during last year’s bull run, Novogratz predicted the bitcoin price could hit $40,000 in 2018, with the total cryptocurrency market cap swelling past $2 trillion. He later lowered that forecast to $800 billion, indicating that he thought the cryptocurrency market would end the year on par with its all-time high. In late July, he pumped the brakes once more, stating that the market would not reach $800 billion for another calendar year.

Now, as CCN previously reported, he expects the bitcoin price to begin seeing real momentum during the first and second quarters of 2019 and cross the $10,000 threshold at some point during that timeframe. However, barring a massive altcoin rally eclipsing even the one seen in January of this year, it’s unlikely that the overall market will hit $800 billion with bitcoin trading near $10,000, as that would give the largest cryptocurrency a total valuation of just ~$175 billion.

But though he now believes the cryptocurrency market will hit these targets over a longer timeframe than he had originally believed, Novogratz has not soured on the asset class, and he told event attendees that investment firm Tiger Global’s major investment in Coinbase secondary market stock — Tiger reportedly purchased $500 million worth of shares at an $8 billion valuation — is evidence that bitcoin is not analogous to the 17th-century Tulip Bubble often cited by crypto skeptics.

“Here’s the poster child of the crypto space worth $8 billion — that’s a real company, and Tiger’s not a flake of an investor. These are smart, savvy guys,” he said, adding that he sees more institutions investing in cryptocurrencies and industry firms heading into mid and late 2019.

https://www.ccn.com/crypto-bull-mike-novogratz-trims-short-term-bitcoin-price-forecast-again/

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TD Ameritrade, Trading Giant Virtu Invest in U.S. Cryptocurrency Exchange.

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Retail brokerage giant TD Ameritrade and high-frequency trading firm Virtu Financial have invested in a cryptocurrency exchange that seeks to bridge the gap between Wall Street and the burgeoning cryptoasset ecosystem.

Futures Market Relaunches as Cryptocurrency Exchange

Originally launched as a traditional futures market in 2010, The Wall Street Journal reports that this exchange — ErisX — now intends to not only list cryptocurrency derivatives like bitcoin options and swaps but also the so-called “physical” cryptocurrencies themselves.

Initially, ErisX will list cryptocurrency derivatives, which are regulated financial instruments tied to the prices of the underlying assets. In addition to allowing investors to speculate on the future value of bitcoin and its peers, these products help sophisticated traders as well as cryptocurrency mining firms hedge against future price volatility.

However, the firm plans to launch a spot trading market as early as next year, at which point it will operate as a conventional cryptocurrency exchange and allow traders to directly exchange coins and tokens. Concurrently, ErisX says it will release physically-settled cryptocurrency futures contracts, meaning that — unlike with the bitcoin futures contracts currently available on CME and CBOE — contract owners will receive actual cryptocurrencies when the contracts expire, rather than cash.

“The traditional aspects of our market will create an environment that is open to a wide range of traders and intermediaries,” CEO Thomas Chippas told the publication.

TD Ameritrade, Virtu, & CBOE among Investors

bitcoin price predictions

Source: Shutterstock

ErisX isn’t the first cryptocurrency exchange to launch with the explicit mission of luring Wall Street investors. However, its impressive stable of backers could give it a leg up on the competition.

Electronic brokerage giant TD Ameritrade, which currently has more than 11 million customers and $1.1 trillion in client assets, invested in the exchange, stating that the firm desired to provide consumers with the ability to invest in cryptocurrency on a regulated platform.

“We wanted to find something that brings cryptocurrency to customers where they can see it on an actual exchange, something they feel comfortable with in regulated space,” said J.B. Mackenzie, head of futures and foreign exchange trading at TD Ameritrade, in an interview with the publication.

ErisX has also received financial backing from Virtu Financial, one of the world’s largest high-frequency trading and market making firms with an estimated $1.2 billion in annual revenue.

Earlier this year, CCN reported that Virtu Financial CEO Douglas Cifu said during an earnings call that the trading firm would make markets on cryptocurrency exchanges once the asset class was more regulated.

“I don’t have to make a qualitative judgment about whether or not those are appropriate asset classes. It’s a new asset class, we’re excited about it,” he said. “If and when it becomes more regulated and centrally cleared, we’ll put a big toe in and all the little toes will follow and we’ll be a big market maker there.”

It’s not clear whether Virtu will make markets on ErisX.

Reuters reports that other investors include CBOE Global Markets — the operator of the first regulated U.S. exchange to list bitcoin futures contracts — and Digital Currency Group, Barry Silbert’s cryptoasset investment firm.

Even with support from firms such as TD Ameritrade and Virtu, ErisX will face stiff competition as it seeks to carve out market share. In addition to incumbent players such as LedgerX, the platform must contend with Bakkt, the ambitious bitcoin startup created by Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), the owner-operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Bakkt, as CCN reported, will provide physical warehousing for cryptocurrency assets, as well as physically-settled bitcoin futures contracts. Over the long-term, ICE believes that Bakkt can help bitcoin potentially become the “first worldwide currency.”

https://www.ccn.com/td-ameritrade-trading-giant-virtu-invest-in-u-s-cryptocurrency-exchange/

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XRP is ‘Very Clearly Decentralized’: Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse XRP

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When Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Division of Corporation Finance Director William Hinman gave his opinion this summer that ether — the native asset of the Ethereum platform — was not a security under federal law, he listed among his justifications the fact that, although ether was originally distributed through a token sale, it has become substantially decentralized in the years since its network launch.

Since then, supporters of XRP, the third-largest cryptocurrency, have sought to demonstrate that the token — colloquially referred to as “ripple” due to its close association with the blockchain startup of the same name — is sufficiently decentralized to evade the security classification as well.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse made this argument in a recent interview with financial news outlet Cheddar. Garlinghouse, who was speaking on the sidelines of the Ripple-sponsored industry conference “Swell” in San Francisco, said that he believes XRP is “very clearly decentralized.”

 

“Is XRP centralized or decentralized? It is very clearly decentralized. I, as CEO of the company, can’t control the XRP ledger. I can’t change a transaction,” he said. “Anybody can participate in the XRP ecosystem, and if Ripple does something that is not in the best interest of the ecosystem, the rest of the ecosystem can ignore us.”

Echoing claims made in a recent post by Ripple CTO David Schwartz, the former Yahoo! Executive further alleged that XRP is actually more decentralized than bitcoin and ethereum since mining hashpower for these and other Proof-of-Work (PoW) cryptocurrencies tends toward centralization within a small number of mining pools.

But while bitcoin mining may be geographically centralized, critics allege that XRP ownership is even more centralized, as — even after selling XRP tokens for several years — Ripple still owns a majority of the cryptocurrency’s total supply (the firm recently placed its holdings in escrow, which are meted out on a monthly basis). They also claim that — irrespective of whether one agrees with Ripple’s attestation that it did not create XRP — there is no denying that Ripple and its founders received owned 100 percent of the XRP tokens (then also called “Ripple Credits”) when the network launched.

Perhaps alluding to those claims, Garlinghouse said that critics have an “economic interest” in spreading misinformation about Ripple and XRP, and he alleged that Ripple’s relationship with XRP is similar to Amazon’s investment in the communications protocols that undergird the internet.

“I think there’s a lot of people out there that are fighting ‘holy wars,’ and they’re spreading misinformation…because they have an economic interest,” he said. “Ripple is a centralized company investing in a decentralized technology, in the same way Amazon was investing in TCP/IP, in some ways.”

“The facts will set you free,” he added.

https://www.ccn.com/xrp-is-very-clearly-decentralized-ripple-ceo-brad-garlinghouse/

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Binance invests $3.5 million in TravelByBit to add BNB, more airports.

Maybe the Binance CEO is just sick of changing money every time he wants to buy something at an airport?

Australian cryptocurrency startup TravelByBit has received a US$2.5 million (AUD$3.48 million) investment from Binance, the world's largest cryptocurrency exchange by volume, to expand its network of cryptocurrency payment terminals to more airports around the world.

TravelByBit has enjoyed a good deal of success around Australia to date, especially all around Queensland, but its mission is to go global. This cash injection is intended to help accomplish that.


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Where to begin

Where do you go if you want to make your way all around the world?

To the airport, obviously.

juicy crypto words

"Let's start with airports and go from there," said Binance CEO Changpeng "CZ" Zhao. "Look for TravelByBit and put your coins (hopefully the Binance Coin or BNB) to use."

In some ways it's a continuation of recent Binance efforts to more widely promote the functionality and use of Binance coin beyond part of broader recent efforts to expand the functionality of BNB beyond its ability to get discounts and lodge votes on the Binance exchange.

"Real, on-the-ground, just-when-you-need-it use case is key for further crypto adoption," CZ said. "In this light, there is no better fit than being able to use your crypto when traveling, just after you land in a foreign country, where you may not have the local currency."

"Long term, TravelbyBit shares our vision and values, and we are excited to work together with them to bring a blockchain-enabled economy."

"Imagine traveling with multiple stopovers and only needing a single currency," said Caleb Yeoh, CEO of TravelByBit. "We're working with the most innovative airports and retailers who want to offer their consumers non-traditional payment options and a chance to experience cutting-edge technology."

TravelByBit has previously been financially lauded by the Queensland state government with a $100,000 grant to help it install crypto payment terminals around the state, and Queensland Minister for Innovation and Tourism Kate Jones also remarked on the new deal.

"It is great to see a local company partnering with one of the most established multinational companies in the blockchain ecosystem," she said.

Part of the new deal is also to add Binance Coin (BNB) to the platform. TravelByBit currently supports bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, and they'll soon be joined by Binance Coin.

Binance has the unique distinction of being the quickest company to ever achieve a $1 billion valuation, and CZ probably does a lot of travelling. Maybe he was just sick of changing money all the time and decided $2.5 million was a reasonable amount to pay for the ability to use the company coin at various airports around the world.

https://www.finder.com.au/binance-invests-3-5-million-in-travelbybit-to-add-bnb-more-airports

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A bitcoin fork has been hit by the now-famous money printing bug.

If nothing else, it's definitive confirmation that CVE-2018-17144 was exactly as devastating as one would expect.

CVE-2018-17144 was the name of a recent vulnerability in bitcoin. It has variously been referred to as the DoS bug, a critical inflation vulnerability and "that thing which would have let people create bitcoin out of thin air".

It arrived recently and became retroactively famous based on the staggering severity of the vulnerability and the way bitcoin developers used a less severe DoS vulnerability as a smokescreen to get people to patch their systems urgently without revealing the extent of the problem.

Bitcoin managed to fix the vulnerability and get away unscathed, but there was always the possibility of bitcoin forks being left vulnerable. That's exactly what just happened, with an obscure project called Pigeoncoin succumbing to attack on 27 September.

Someone used the vulnerability to create an estimated 235 million PGN (pigeons?) out of thin air. It's about a full quarter of the 980 million PGN total supply and is worth about US$15,000 on paper.


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Feathers flying

Like most bitcoin forks that just siphon off bitcoin's codebase, bugs and all, and then fail to update following a widely publicised critical bug, Pigeoncoin as a project might be a rather expendable part of the cryptosphere. But it still serves as a useful example of how potentially devastating this bug might have been if someone used it to attack bitcoin.

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It definitely works, noted cryptocurrency developer Scott Roberts to CoinDesk.

"Mainly it's just nice to know for sure by this example that coins in the wild were really vulnerable. It was not just some vague theoretical problem," he said.

Pigeoncoin is the only known victim so far, but theoretically plenty of other forks are also susceptible, although most updated promptly.

As for Pigeoncoin going forwards, it's now a wait and see game. The small community and various gawkers are following the funds and waiting to see if they're going to be sold off.

"My guess is the funds won't move for a few days. It would be stupid to try and move them all at once," said Pigeoncoin developer Michael Oates on the community Discord.

How easy it is to move them at all remains to be seen. Pigeoncoin is only tradeable on Cryptobridge, where its trading volume is about $500 over the last 24 hours, with Pigeon going for about a hundredth of a cent.

Its primary pair is naturally against BTC, but entertainingly there's also a bit of a Ravencoin to Pigeoncoin market. Maybe market forces can now settle once and for all the exchange rate between a bird in the hand and two birds in the bush.

https://www.finder.com.au/a-bitcoin-fork-has-been-hit-by-the-now-famous-money-printing-bug

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