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French Official Arrested for Allegedly Selling State Secrets for Bitcoin.

A French security official with the Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI) was indicted last week and taken into custody on charges of selling state secrets in exchange for payments in bitcoin.

According to local French media Le Parisien, the unnamed agent was allegedly arrested for peddling economic information and falsifying administrative documents.

Protecting French Data

While no link to terrorism has been found yet, the news outlet reported that the agent had contact members of the organized crime, as well as “specialists of economic intelligence” interested in obtaining such secrets. The leaks were first discovered by members of the Central Directorate of the Judicial Police before investigators at the DGSI traced the agent’s activities online using his personal code. Every official working with the GDIS has a personal code that tracks their computer activity. For this investigation, the DGSI focused on the “origin of file queries.”

The Central Office for the Repression of Irregular Immigration and the Employment of Untitled Foreigners ( OCRIEST ), the agency in charge of the fight against irregular immigration, dismantled the criminal network setup the agent had leveraged on.

Data files within the GDIS are either classified as “secret defense” or “confidential defense,” leaking documents with this level of security clearance comes with a hefty penalty.

The agent faces seven years in prison and a potential fine of 100,000 euros, if found guilty at the court.

Protecting French Consumers

Last month, the French stock market regulator, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), blacklisted 21 new investment websites, including multiple crypto related websites, reminding French consumers to be wary of such investments and that “no advertising materials should make you overlook the fact that high returns always involve high risk.”

The regulator, which recently received legal powers to grant licenses to companies issuing Initial Coin Offerings, would see the agency provide additional guarantees for ICOs, as companies applying now have to provide detailed information regarding the offer and the issuer.

https://www.ccn.com/french-official-arrested-for-allegedly-selling-state-secrets-for-bitcoin/

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Cryptocurrency is ‘Here to Stay’: CFTC Chairman Giancarlo.

Bitcoin may never replace the greenback, but the flagship cryptocurrency could achieve significant adoption in the two-thirds of countries without stable currencies.

That statement might sound like a thesis put forward by an early bitcoin adopter, or perhaps a forward-thinking hedge fund manager. In actuality, though, that bullish forecast was issued by J. Christopher Giancarlo, the top derivatives regulator in the United States.

 

Giancarlo, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) stated in an interview with CNBC that cryptocurrency is “here to stay,” even if it never achieves the ultimate goal of becoming the world’s leading currency, as Square CEO Jack Dorsey said that he believes it will.

Giancarlo said:

“I personally think that cryptocurrencies are here to stay. I think there is a future for them. I’m not sure they ever come to rival the dollar or other hard currencies, but there’s a whole section of the world that really is hungry for functioning currencies that they can’t find in their local currencies. There’s 140 countries in the world, every one of them has a currency. Probably two-thirds are not worth the polymer or the paper they’re written on, and those parts of the world rely on hard currencies. Bitcoin [or another] cryptocurrency may solve some of the problems.”

“We’re talking maybe 10 years down the road,” he clarified.

The Trump appointee, as CCN reported, has been nicknamed “CryptoDad” for his congressional testimony in which he advised legislators to not dismiss cryptocurrency out of hand just because it appeals more to younger investors.

However, he also believes that regulators have a duty to take a “thoughtful” approach to approving cryptocurrency products, even if that means that the U.S. does not become the leader in every aspect of blockchain industry development.

“There’s no question that the United States is leading in a number of areas,” he said, referencing the burgeoning U.S. bitcoin derivatives market, “but there’s other areas as well of innovation where I think it makes sense for us to take a little bit more of a thoughtful and intelligent approach, just as the U.S. Congress did 20 years ago in the early days of the internet.”

https://www.ccn.com/cryptocurrency-is-here-to-stay-cftc-chairman-giancarlo/

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UK Finance Minister: Blockchain Could Be Solution to Irish Border Trade Issue After Brexit

British finance minister Philip Hammond has said that the issue of trade across the Irish border after Great Britain leaves the European Union (EU) might be solved by deploying blockchain technology, The Irish Times reported October 1.

Speaking at the Tory party conference in Birmingham, Hammond reportedly asserted that “there is technology becoming available [...] I don’t claim to be an expert on it but the most obvious technology is blockchain,” when asked how the government plans to achieve frictionless trade after Brexit.

Addressing the future of the Irish border, the United Kingdom (UK) and the EU agreed to leave the border between the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland open; however, the parties are still working on the issue of how to make it a reality, Forbes reported in February.

The UK intends to leave the EU Customs Union, which would require border controls between Northern Ireland, a part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, which will stay in the EU. Although London has offered to sign a comprehensive free trade agreement with the continental bloc, it would include rules of identification of products’ countries of origin to ensure compliance, Forbes notes.

The implementation of blockchain could be a tool for resolving the Irish border issue, as the technology enables products’ movement to be recorded transparently and without changes. In August, logistics giant Maersk announced the launch of a blockchain solution with IBM that included 94 organizations, with 154 million shipping events already captured at the time.

In May, the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway released a study calling on the government to promote blockchain more broadly in the country. The NUI proposes recommendations to increase blockchain awareness and adoption, which can reportedly have a positive impact on economic growth and establish a basis for how the government and Irish organizations carry out business.https://blog.cofredcoin.com/2018/10/02/uk-finance-minis…sue-after-brexit/

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Blockchain Has ‘Staggering’ Possibilities, Pres. Bill Clinton Tells Ripple Conference.

Ten years ago this month, pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto published the whitepaper for a new piece of technology that sought to upend the global financial system: “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”

There’s perhaps no clearer sign of the degree to which the Nakamoto revolution has begun to take hold than that yesterday, on Oct. 1, a former U.S. president appeared at a cryptocurrency industry conference sponsored by the largest holder of — not bitcoin — but a cryptoasset just one-fifth its size, to casually discuss the promise and perils of blockchain technology.

That former president was Bill Clinton, that cryptoasset was XRP, and that conference was Swell by Ripple — held this week in San Francisco.

Tapped as the conference’s keynote speaker, Clinton participated in a question-and-answer session with Gene Sperling, his economic adviser from 1996 to 2001. Unlike other conference sessions, Clinton’s keynote was not recorded; however, a cell phone video recorded by an event attendee reveals a wide-ranging discussion that focused on Clinton’s two terms as president from 1993 to 2001, and, on occasion, circled back to blockchain.

Speaking on the subject toward the end of his remarks, Clinton — who served as the nation’s chief executive during the internet’s transition from the technological fringe to the commercial mainstream — said that distributed ledger technology (DLT) has “staggering” possibilities since it does not depend on national borders. However, he warned that divisive economic and social policies could “ruin” it.

“This whole blockchain deal has the potential it does only because it is applicable across national borders [and] income groups. The permutations and possibilities are staggeringly great,” he said. “We could ruin it all by negative identity politics and economic and social policy. You think about that.”

Clinton also suggested that the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry should not get ahead of itself, warning that moving too quickly could magnify the financial and social inequalities between people in developed and emerging markets.

“The more the benefits materialize, the more you have to be careful about it,” he said, according to a report in TheStreet, adding that early adopters must avoid getting “carried away with the immediate financial rewards” associated with this asset class.

“You don’t want consumer fraud, you don’t want to finance criminal enterprises, and you certainly don’t want to make it easier to pull off severe attacks by terrorists,” he continued. “That’s the challenge of each new technology.”

https://www.ccn.com/blockchain-has-staggering-possibilities-pres-bill-clinton-tells-ripple-conference/

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GBTC Premium Down 10%: Will Bitcoin Drop in Price or is ETF Hype Rising Again?

The premium on Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC), a publicly tradable Bitcoin instrument operated by Grayscale Investment, a $2 billion cryptocurrency fund and subsidiary of Digital Currency Group (DCG), has dropped by 10 percent in the past week.

Tyler Jenks, the president of Lucid Investment, who operated as an analyst in the traditional finance sector for over 4 decades, stated that the decline in the premium on GBTC is attributable to two major factors: a potential drop in the price of Bitcoin or a shift in interest from GBTC to exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

“GBTC premium down to below 10%. In the past, this would be a screaming buy. Not this time. Either Bitcoin is about to go much lower, AND/OR, Big money is betting on a new Bitcoin ETF,” Jenks said.

Why GBTC Premium is Relevant

Since its launch in 2016, GBTC has consistently seen substantial premium rates on its share price that represents 0.1 percent of the price of BTC. Currently, in OTC Markets, GBTC is being traded at $7.73, which means that investors in the traditional finance sector are trading BTC at a price of around $7,730.

Investors purchase Bitcoin from the Bitcoin Investment Trust and Grayscale with a substantial premium because it remains as the closest publicly tradable instrument to an ETF.

“Bitcoin Investment Trust is a traditional investment vehicle with shares titled in the investors name, providing a familiar structure for financial and tax advisors and easy transferability to beneficiaries under estate laws,” the Grayscale team explains.

GBTC is supported by a network of trusted service providers and Bitcoin owned by the fund are stored in the vaults of Xapo, to ensure the safety of customer funds.

Hence, accredited investors that do not have sufficient knowledge to invest in crypto through digital asset exchanges or are not permitted by law to invest in unregulated markets apart from the stock market can easily invest in the cryptocurrency market through GBTC.

However, the decline in the premium on GBTC suggests that either investors are losing interest in Bitcoin or are simply moving away from GBTC to other alternatives.

As of now, alternatives in the US market do not exist. If the interest towards GBTC is dropping, then it is highly likely due to increasing anticipation towards the emergence of alternative solutions like Seba in Switzerland.

ETF Alternatives

Last week, CCN reported that a group of executives at UBS, the largest commercial bank in Switzerland, raised $104 million to launch the first fully licensed cryptocurrency bank by obtaining a license from Finma, the Swiss financial authority.

“Our vision is when you log in into your online banking, you’d have access to crypto and fiat within one account,” Seba Chief Executive Officer Guido Buehler said.

These alternatives, like Seba, Bakkt, and Coinbase Custody offer the same merit as GBTC and XBT Provider, an exchange-traded note (ETN), which as several investors said, reduces the relevance of GBTC in the cryptocurrency market.

It is unlikely that anticipation towards the approval of a Bitcoin ETF is leading to a drop in the premium on GBTC, as the final approval date of most ETFs filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is in 2019.

https://www.ccn.com/gbtc-premium-down-10-will-bitcoin-drop-in-price-or-is-etf-hype-rising-again/

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Flippening? Singapore Hosted More ICOs than the US in August: Report.

Singapore Bitcoin Exchange

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With the increased regulatory scrutiny on ICOs in the United States, there appears to be a move by projects towards more friendly environments.

According to blockchain analytics firm Elementus, there was a decline in the number of ICOs hosted in the United States compared to Singapore in the month of August. In that month the city-state hosted 17 Initial Coin Offerings while the United States hosted 15. This was the first time ever that the tiny city-state hosted more ICOs than the world’s biggest economy.

ICO Paradise

While it remains to be seen whether this will be sustained, Singapore, which already boasts of a thriving financial sector, has emerged as one of the least restrictive countries with regards to ICOs. Other countries which also hosted a significant number of Initial Coin Offerings included the United Kingdom while had 9 ICOs while Switzerland boasted of 5 ICOs in the same month.

While conceding that consensus is lacking with regards to the amount that has been raised by ICOs over time, Elementus estimates this number to be US$28.4 billion by the close of August 2018. And even though the current bear market may lead to a sentiment that the market is heading for a collapse, the blockchain analytics firm pointed out that this is not the case.

In August 2018, for instance, ICOs raised approximately US$1.466 billion and this was nearly the same amount that was raised last year during the bull in the month of November – US$1.429 billion.

https://twitter.com/elementus_io/status/1044965668981026817

Additionally, most of the funding that has been raised in ICOs was collected this year, when the price of cryptocurrencies had fallen off their record highs.

“In fact, the majority of historical ICO fundraising occurred during the current bear market,” Elementus’ co-founder, Mike Kalomeni, wrote in the report. “Of the total $28 billion raised to date, $15.9 billion occurred between February, 2018 and August, 2018.”

Higher Standards

One trend that has emerged, according to Elementus, is that there is increasing competitiveness with regards to token sales. Last year in June, for example, the percentage of token sales which raised a minimum of US$100,000 (the threshold for an ICO to be considered a success, per Elementus) was 84% in June 2017 but this fell to 22% in August 2018. In the last 12 months, the successful ICO rate has fallen from 50% to 20%. This has been attributed to the growing selectiveness of both retail and professional investors.

Besides investors getting wiser, another indication that the ICO market is maturing is the fact that it is now harder than ever to have a pre-product startup raise more than US$100 million based entirely on a white paper. Per Elementus, this has now become the preserve of established firms.

https://www.ccn.com/flippening-singapore-hosted-more-icos-than-the-us-in-august-report/

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$80 Billion Banco Santander Uses Ripple For Payments, Will Many Banks Follow?

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On October 2, Ripple Labs announced the integration of RippleNet into OnePay FX, a mobile application for cross-border payments developed by $80 billion banking giant Banco Santander.

The strategic partnership between Ripple Labs and Santander was announced in March of 2018, but at the time, the intricacies of the collaborative work between the two companies were not disclosed to the public.

What Ripple x Santander Means For XRP

Since March, the Ripple team explained in an official statement that Santander has been experimenting with RippleNet and other liquidity products available on its blockchain network. As the conglomerate started to pilot blockchain-based solutions, Santander saw a new level of transparency, certainty, and speed that was previously unseen in the traditional finance sector.

At Swell, Santander Head of Innovation Ed Metzger said the bank’s vision in the integration of Ripple is to utilize XRP to improve the lives of its customers.

Metzger said:

“We believe that financial services is moving to a world of open platforms where companies collaborate to deliver excellent customer service for their customers, and that’s at the core of what we’re doing with OnePay FX.”

During his speech, Metzger explained that the core purpose of XRP and RippleNet within the infrastructure of the OnePay FX platform is to seamlessly process cross-border transactions to ensure that international customers of Banco Santander can send and receive money with ease.

“One of our customers was in Italy on holiday and parked in the wrong place. He needed to pay a fine and didn’t have his banking card. He was able to use the app to immediately pay the fine, and stop his car from being towed away. It’s four or five clicks to do something that would have taken an awful, awful long time in the past,” he added.

Source: Santander.

In the months to come, Santander will expand OnePay FX to more countries in Europe, South America, and Asia. Currently, the Ripple-based OnePay FX app is available to customers in the UK, Spain, Brazil, and Poland.

In essence, the work Ripple has done with Santander is similar to its partnership with SBI Holdings and major banks in Japan and South Korea. By using blockchain-based liquidity solutions, Ripple allows users to send international payments, which if sent with wire transfers could take days to weeks.

“People don’t have to plan ahead. They can send an international payment when they need to. That’s really powerful,” stated Mertzger.

The integration of RippleNet by Santander’s OnePay FX presents the first real-world usage of XRP at a large commercial scale. Santander, as the biggest bank in the Eurozone, will continue to rely on Ripple to process international transactions.

Santander Partnership Will Impact Japan and South Korea

Led by SBI Ripple Asia, a consortium of over 61 Japanese banks, Ripple Labs have led pilot tests of its liquidity solutions with leading financial institutions in South Korea. Woori Bank and Shinhan Bank, two of the largest commercial companies in the country, released their plans of integrating Ripple by 2019.

The integration of RippleNet into the OnePay FX could streamline the process of banks implementing XRP-related products in Japan and South Korea, which already have shown tremendous interest in the technology.

“Too many companies have a peanut butter problem. They’ve spread themselves very thin, working on lots of different initiatives. By contrast, Ripple has gone deep in understanding how global payments problem can be addressed with blockchain technology and digital assets,” said Ripple Labs CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

https://www.ccn.com/80-billion-banco-santander-uses-ripple-for-payments-will-many-banks-follow/

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Cryptocurrency markets and news round-up 2 October 2018.

Market update

Bitcoin (BTC)

The leading cryptocurrency touched a high of just under $6,800 over the weekend and is currently sitting at $6,600. It has closed the month several hundred dollars lower than where it started, at around $7,000 on 1 September.

Despite the gradual loss in value over the course of the month, analysts are discussing the possibility that the bear run is out of steam.

CoinDesk analyst Omar Godbole says that bitcoin's inability to break downward of the 21-month Exponential Moving Average is a sign that the bear-selling is nearing an end. The EMA is currently around $6,150 and has formed strong support in the past 4-months of trade.

Despite this strong support level, bulls have failed to push the price upward in any meaningful way.

But all is not lost – over at Bloomberg they are reporting their analysis of RIG trend lines, which indicates an upwards breakout is due. Yesterday the Momentum Gauge crossed the Relative Strength Index, which has been a bullish signal in the past.

It is the fourth time this year that it's occurred. Each time it was followed by a steady rise in bitcoin's price for several weeks after. As recently as August, the RSI was crossed, and bitcoin's price rose by 21% over the following three weeks.

EOS (EOS)

Moving on to today's big story... Huobi and EOS have come under fire this weekend, as documents revealed Huobi's successful attempts to buy and sell votes to become an EOS Block Producer.

The documents were posted by an EOS commentator on Twitter, named "Maple Leaf Capital", who claimed they had been doing the rounds in Chinese-speaking groups for some days now.

As we can see here, one of the spreadsheets amongst the collection reportedly lists a series of hopeful Block Producers that Huobi is allegedly colluding with. It's said that Huobi are both buying and selling votes to these producers, to ensure each party is elected as a block producer.

Before we go on, let us explain what Block Producers on EOS are.

The EOS blockchain is validated by 21 Block Producers who vote between each other to reach consensus about the true state-of-affairs regarding the blockchain. Block Producers are elected by EOS coin holders in what is meant to be a democratic manner.

Successful Block Producers are often large consortium groups of users such as EOS New York and EOS Beijing, or may be corporate entities such as Huobi or Bitfinex, which are both cryptocurrency exchanges.

Becoming a Block Producer is a coveted role for several reasons, as it grants the highest level of voting rights on the network, a say in dispute resolution, as well as substantial financial rewards for producing each block.

Those who miss out on becoming one of the 21 Block Producers still have a chance. As 100 standby producers are also elected, who also get a share of funds from another pool of EOS coins.

Voting is done by staking coins. The more coins, the more votes you have. This means that exchanges, who manage massive amounts of cryptocurrency, are at an advantage with voting, as they can leverage user funds to give themselves more votes.

At this point you might be thinking it's obvious that an exchange is going to use this advantage to make themselves more money, and you'd apparently be right.

A rough translation of the leaked documents, indicates that Huobi are providing votes to 20 Block Producers, with 16 of them voting for Huobi in return. Those which are voted for by Huobi, pay-back Huobi with EOS tokens they earn from being a Block Producer.

Huobi allegedly earns over 1,000 EOS per day through this, in addition to what they earn as a one-of-21 Block Producer. As EOS coins are the key to more votes, there is reasonable concern that cartel behaviour such as this will threaten the integrity of the Block Producer system.

Which is why Block.one, who developed EOS, has taken steps to prevent this sort of behaviour. Article IV of the EOS constitution itself clearly states:

"# Article IV - No Vote Buying - No Member shall offer nor accept anything of value in exchange for a vote of any type, nor shall any Member unduly influence the vote of another."

Huobi has so far denied the allegations. Block.one has not yet commented on the involvement of Huobi directly but they did release a lacklustre blog post in response to the allegations.

The blogpost reminds readers of EOS's relative infancy and appears to shoulder the burden of responsibility back on to EOS holders and voters.

"We are aware of some unverified claims regarding irregular block producer voting, and the subsequent denials of those claims. We believe it is important to ensure a free and democratic election process within EOS and may, as we deem appropriate, vote with other holders to reinforce the integrity of this process. We continue working on our potential involvement with the goal of empowering the intent of the greater community through a transparent process that incorporates community feedback."

It remains to be seen whether users in a system, in which you can literally buy votes, will be able to oust an entity that reportedly deals in $1 billion worth of trades daily. According to CoinMarketCap data, yesterday Huobi accounted for roughly 15% of all EOS trade.

EOS is currently trading for $5.67.

Tron (TRX)

Tron was in the headlines over the weekend, and brought its latest acquisition BitTorrent along with it. Tron acquired the peer-to-peer file sharing (or torrenting) service back in July, and now plans to incentivise users of the platform by rewarding them with cryptocurrency.

The collaboration is titled Project Atlas, and appears to have two main goals in mind. To improve the speed of the BitTorrent protocol, and encourage users to be more active in uploading and seeding files on the network. The press release makes mention of a "custom-token" so it is not clear whether users will be incentivised with Tron's native TRX token or a new token.

One key takeaway is that the Project Atlas will be backwards compatible, and opt-in. Users of other torrent clients such as uTorrent will be able to part take in the network if they so desire. Being an opt-in system, users can choose whether or not they want to take part in Project Atlas or stick with classic BitTorrent as if bitcoin were never invented.

Before you go...

Malta's Prime Minister preaches blockchain to the UN

Before we go, we'd like to leave you with some inspiring words by Malta's Prime Minister. Speaking at the UN last week, he gave an impassioned speech about the power for change through blockchain technology. He even went so far as to call cryptocurrencies the inevitable future of money.

https://www.finder.com.au/cryptocurrency-markets-and-news-round-up-2-october-2018

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Rumours of Tether insolvency and Noble Bank sale are circulating.

Rumour has it that Noble Bank is under the hammer, and people are having trouble unloading their Tethers.

The Tether saga is the gift that just keeps on giving. And if recent rumours hold water, it might have just taken a hot new turn. Bloomberg is now citing "a person with direct knowledge of the situation" who says Noble Bank is now looking for a buyer, after losing customers including Tether and Bitfinex.

It's an unusual turn given the extremely close relationships between these three entities, which practically share the same management and legal team.

At the same time other anonymous sources suggest that the problem might extend to Tether. They paint a picture of a cash-strapped company desperately looking for a new cash injection. The end result is that largely unfounded rumours of a Tether insolvency are now circulating the cryptocurrency ecosystem, stoked by vaguely irresponsible and highly speculative pieces (such as this one) that just cite the same old sources in increasingly hysterical ways.


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A surprise twist

Noble Bank could price itself somewhere between $5 million and $10 million, the anonymous insider is reported as saying to Bloomberg, based largely on the value of its Puerto Rican licence to operate as an international financial entity. This could be a useful cash injection for someone.

At the same time, Tether's most vocal critic, Bitfinex'ed, has dug up some court records from 2015, showing that Noble Bank was accused of asking staff to cook the books. It's worth noting that the case was dismissed in December 2016 though, so it might not be worth reading too much into. Plus, the anonymous Bitfinex'ed is a man/woman on a mission specifically to discredit Tether and Bitfinex, so take it with a grain of salt.

It's similarly worth exercising caution regarding Noble Bank's rumoured divorce with Tether and Bitfinex. One anonymous source isn't necessarily the repository of all truth. With that in mind, the person apparently also said that Noble Bank no longer has a relationship with Bank of New York Mellon, which Noble Bank said it was previously using as a custodian.

juicy crypto words

The overall picture is of a potential Noble Bank insolvency. A piece by Modern Consensus, citing its own sources who may or may not be the same person(s) that spoke to Bloomberg talk of a dire situation at Noble Bank.

"If Noble doesn’t get cash soon, they will only have a few days left," said the source. "They’re desperate."

Someone else, a supposed insider at a major exchange, said Tether was in similarly dire straits. They recalled the story of someone trying to unload "tens of millions of Tethers" without successfully finding a counterparty.

If the story is true, it means people are already trying to get rid of their Tethers without much success. It's notable, because you can supposedly trade in Tethers for an equivalent fiat amount through the Tether company itself. That someone is trying to do this in such large amounts through an exchange, rather than through Tether itself, might mean one of two things. Either they don't want to verify their identity with Tether and instead want to make the conversion on an anonymous exchange, or Tether doesn't have the funds to buy back its own Tethers.

Why now?

There's no way of saying how reliable any of the anonymous sources are, but it does make a lot of sense that this would start happening now. An independent audit would help set minds at ease, but Tether has previously babbled its way out of them, instead declaring, without any kind of good excuse, that it will never be audited full stop.

This left it with some credibility issues, which opened the door for competitors to offer a more transparent fully-audited stablecoin. In this way, good old fashioned market forces might end up being its undoing.

The reason this is striking now, if it is indeed striking now, might be because stablecoin competitors have pulled the rug out from beneath Tether, quietly turning Tether holders into bagholders

. But according to CoinMarketCap and similar sources, Tethers are still changing hands as usual.

Between March 2018 and August 2018, outstanding TrueUSD (a stablecoin Tether competitor) grew from $4.7 million to over $73 million, as confirmed by audits from the Cohen and Company accounting firm.

Then there's the Gemini stablecoin which launched on September 11, with an initial circulating distribution of $100,000 according to a BPM audit (PDF). It hasn't yet reached its second monthly audit date, but blockchain magic says there are about $2.5 million worth of Gemini dollars in circulation, just a few weeks after launch. Elsewhere, projects like Stronghold, along with more exotic next-gen stablecoins like ndau and Dai are making their own further inroads.

By the numbers, it looks like collateralised stablecoins are seeing monumental growth, which might be taking away from Tether's bottom line.

When it had a pseudo-monopoly, Tether could probably continue chugging along more happily without too many people ever cashing out. But now that more reliable and transparently audited options are available, and seeing uptake on various exchanges, there's less reason to use Tether.

It's too early to say whether this is the beginning of the end for Tether – people have been predicting its abrupt demise for a long time now – but if it does happen, this might be a sensible time for it to happen.

The news from Noble Bank might be quite telling. If Tether needs a real cash injection, Noble Bank might be an asset which can be liquidated.

https://www.finder.com.au/rumours-of-tether-insolvency-and-noble-bank-sale-are-circulating

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Sia hard fork bricks Innosilicon and Bitmain ASIC miners as punishment.

Siacoin is hard forking to ruin competing miners, while leaving its own Obelisk miners fully functional.

An equally exciting and troubling development has gone down today, with Siacoin passing through a hard fork that destroys competing application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) mining machines, turning them into so many tens of millions of dollars' worth of useless paper weights. Specifically, the fork will be bricking Innosilicon and Bitmain Siacoin miners.

At the same time, Obelisk miners are left unaffected. The same people run both Siacoin and Obelisk, so this decision is essentially just Siacoin handing its own partner company a complete, highly centralised monopoly over the Siacoin network.

It's well worth unpacking this fascinating development, and its implications, for quite a few reasons.


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Piece by piece

Proof of work is highly centralised by nature

There were several different motivations behind the fork, and it wasn't one that the Siacoin team took lightly. In fact, the issue first came up months ago but was decided against largely because people were worried about what would happen if Siacoin's creators got a mining monopoly over their own network.

But as David Vorick, lead developer of Sia and CEO of Obelisk said, almost any proof-of-work cryptocurrency will inevitably find itself under a mining monopoly. The alternative is GPU minability and anti-ASIC forks, but these are unreliable for two main reasons.

The first reason is because it will only ever be a stopgap measure and means committing to an endless series of anti-ASIC forks. The second is because it makes a coin a ripe target for 51% attacks through rented mining alone or through secret ASICs.

"To the best of my knowledge, no ASIC mined coin has ever been hit by a 51% attack. And yet, something like a dozen different GPU mined coins have been hit by 51% attacks, typically to steal from exchanges," he said in the official announcement.

ASIC mining, meanwhile, means accepting that all but the largest cryptocurrencies – bitcoin and that's about it – will become highly centralised under a monopoly. This is down to the market forces of ASIC mining, he says.

It requires a large upfront investment of at least $5 million to start manufacturing ASIC miners for a certain algorithm, which means manufacturers need to be confident that there's enough money waiting for them. Unless you're making a competitive mining machine for bitcoin or another very large cap coin, this means finding a market you can dominate by rendering the competition obsolete.

Because mining companies aim to recoup their investments as soon as possible, and know that their own hardware will eventually be usurped by newer machines, the smart thing is to milk a coin's community for as much money as possible as quickly as possible. The goal is to monopolise a market and then use that monopoly to gouge as hard as possible. If people don't want to pay the price for the machines, a mining company can always just use them itself.

"For a new product that is going to obsolete all existing hardware and become the new monopoly, the market size required to justify investment is in the mid tens of millions of dollars. But for a new product that is going to merely break up an existing monopoly rather than replace it, the market size required to justify investment is hundreds of millions of dollars due to the much reduced margins and presence of competition," Vorick explains.

"Based on what we’ve seen out in the market, the total amount of hardware sales that a cryptocurrency can support is roughly equal to its annual block reward. Cryptocurrencies with a block reward below hundreds of millions of dollars per year will not be able to profitably sustain multiple ASIC manufacturers. This cleanly explains why Bitcoin is the only cryptocurrency with multiple reasonably competitive machines."

Mining as a service

Vorick sees miners as service providers for cryptocurrencies. They provide the service of protecting the network and are in turn paid millions of dollars per year for providing this service. Communities have every right to hold ASIC manufacturers to a high standard, he says.

"All told, we believe that embracing an ASIC monopoly is better than resisting ASICs altogether," Vorick says. "That said, we don’t believe that a cryptocurrency needs to embrace a parasitic or abusive ASIC monopoly. ASIC manufacturers ultimately exist to serve the network, and specifically to protect the network against 51% attacks. Even small cryptocurrencies pay millions of dollars per year for this protection, and it's reasonable to hold any incumbent manufacturer to high standards."

It's obviously a little naive though. As Vorick said, market forces favour a strategy of monopolisation and gouging, and a mining company that adopts a more altruistic paradigm probably won't last long.

Enter the kill switch

Vorick sees the solution to parasitic miners as built-in kill switches, which allow for the selective destruction of competing machines. In the case of Obelisk's Siacoin miners, the kill switch was presciently built in right from the start, as "a tiny, secret extra circuit" which "would allow the Sia developers to perform a hard fork that breaks manufacturers without that extra circuit, but does not break the Obelisk machines... we encourage all manufacturers to add extra secret circuits that can act as failsafes."

Revenge served hot

This is not a nice hard fork. It's going to destroy tens of millions of dollars of hardware and make a lot of people very unhappy. And on one level, it's a straightforward act of revenge. Obelisk was in the process of publicly making its own Siacoin miners, and had already invested millions to that end, when competitors came out with machines that rendered Obelisk miners obsolete.

"An important line was crossed when secret ASIC projects superseded a public project that had substantial community investment," Vorick writes. "Sia is forking today to reprimand the current ASIC monopoly for the damage it did to the Sia community, to make whole the supporters of Sia's community ASIC project, and to send a clear message to all future Sia ASIC manufacturers: we will not tolerate an abusive ASIC monopoly.

"In v1.3.6, Sia will be releasing hardfork code which bricks the Bitmain and Innosilicon ASICs, but continues to allow Obelisk ASICs to mine on the Sia network. This revokes the Innosilicon monopoly and instates Obelisk as the incumbent ASIC monopoly."

The implications

OPINION

This is a radical departure from previous decentralisation paradigms. It's a cryptocurrency whose developers manufacture their own ASIC miners with kill switches that let them destroy rivals. Siacoin is unique in this respect.

juicy crypto words

Vorick sees the need for a hard fork as a kind of failsafe inside that, whereby no forks can take place without the approval of the community. Of course, when a proof-of-work coin talks about community approval, they're really talking about miner approval – they're the ones who decide whether the upgrade goes forwards.

A developer might project fluffy altruistic ideals onto their communities, but Obelisk miners aren't any more altruistic than Bitmain or Innosilicon miners. They're in it for the money just as much as anyone else, and this hard fork is a protectionist move to ensure their own return on investment at the expense of their rivals.

If all manufacturers start building in their own kill switches – and many undoubtedly already are, they're just being quieter about it than Obelisk is – you might get an entirely new proof-of-work system where monopolies are transparently passed on through these kinds of destructive forks.

This won't do anything to prevent abusive monopolies, and Vorick also notes that you can't just keep bricking miners without compromising network security, but at least some additional transparency might mean people will stop pretending that proof of work in any coin, except perhaps bitcoin, is decentralised.

Plus, by virtue of the sheer hardware expenses and energy consumption involved, ASIC proof-of-work mining will always be purely about the money.

The most likely outcome for Siacoin in the long run is that Obelisk as a company changes hands or goes public, and then starts using its monopoly to gouge the Sia community. You can't eliminate basic greed with a hard fork.

That's assuming proof of work lasts long enough for Obelisk to go bad. As this entire fiasco shows, it's a wasteful, deeply flawed and inherently highly centralised type of consensus mechanism, which is completely unsuitable for serious use in the long run. Alternatives might not be ready for prime time yet, but a lot of people will probably be glad to get off the PoW ride when they are.

https://www.finder.com.au/sia-hard-fork-bricks-innosilicon-bitmain-asic-miners-as-punishment

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Ripple: xRapid is now commercially available and being taken up.

Ripple has cut the ribbon on xRapid to the interest of many financial institutions.

Ripple's ongoing Swell conference, headlined by former US president Bill Clinton, has brought out a lot of new developments, including Clinton's call for more cryptocurrency regulatory developments, asserting that further cryptocurrency regulation is needed because "you can't apply old regulatory regime[s] to a new technology."

But markets might have been more interested in Ripple's announcement that xRapid was now commercially available, and being taken up by a range of new customers, right on schedule.


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Old and new faces

Some of the new customers being migrated onto xRapid mentioned by name, include Mercury FX, Cuallix and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union.

They are, respectively, two money transfer services and a wholesale cooperative financial institution that serves more than 1,400 member and client credit unions throughout the United States, and all have found benefits in quicker and cheaper cross-border payments via Ripple.

It's also worth noting that all of them have been involved with Ripple for a while now, to probe the realities of solutions like xRapid before signing on the dotted line. With recent rumours suggesting that Ripple is looking to fold all its services into "RippleNet," this might suggest a lot more uptake of xRapid's XRP-powered solution from Ripple's many other experimental partners. Although some of them, such as Western Union, haven't exactly been enthralled with the results so far.

Overall though, Ripple's new signings are keen to start saving.

juicy crypto words

"Mercury FX has been working closely with Ripple for more than a year to bring the power of RippleNet to our customers. In pilot tests we saw the benefits of xRapid, and we’re excited to roll commercial payments out within the quarter," said Mercury FX founder and CEO Alastair Constance. "The time to replace slow, expensive payments architecture is now because the need for global access to smooth-flowing capital has never been so acute."

"The promise of digital assets has always been faster, more efficient payments. That's why we started exploring xRapid for our financial services platforms Payllix and Cuallet – to help our customers whose livelihoods depend on sending micro-payments easily and quickly to Mexico. Now, our customers can finally realize that promise," agrees Nicolas Palacios, CFO of Cuallix.

Both Mercury FX and Cuallix are focused largely on consumer money transfers, which might be why xRapid, which is designed to facilitate quick low-volume payments as needed, is right up their alley when xCurrent may not have been.

Catalyst's situation might be a bit different, seeing Ripple's offerings as a replacement for outdated Swift wire transfers.

"The traditional international wire experience fails to meet today’s expectations from a price, speed and ease-of-use perspective," Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union COO Brad Ganey said bluntly. "Blockchain technology, and specifically Ripple’s xRapid product, resolves all three of these challenges simultaneously. Catalyst Corporate, through our subsidiary companies' technology platforms, will leverage the XRP digital asset to transfer money across borders instantly on behalf of our 1400+ member credit unions. We have signed a production contract and are currently building out our plan."

Plenty of other financial institutions were also in attendance at the Swell conference, including many of Ripple's existing customers, and with the promising results and keenness seen by institutions to date, it might be a fair bet that many of these will start exploring xRapid solutions in more detail in the near future.

https://www.finder.com.au/ripple-xrapid-is-now-commercially-available-and-being-taken-up

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“Shock” allegations of EOS block producer collusion shock no one.

EOS's main problem might be that it regards its flaws as features, rather than risks to be managed.

A "shocking" new allegation has emerged. A spreadsheet authored by supposed Huobi insider Shi Feifei has allegedly detailed some collusion between Huobi and other block producers. The gist of the accusation is that Huobi is accepting money in exchange for supporting other block producers, while also being a block producer itself.


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Why are people so uppity about this?

OPINION

Being a block producer is a desirable position that people are naturally willing to invest in because it gives back a significant amount of money in return in the form of EOS rewards. The amount can vary from hundreds to thousands of dollars per day depending on what EOS prices are doing at the time, and the exact position of the block producer. But block producers are elected, with EOS token holders being allowed to lodge votes, the power of which depends on how much EOS they stake on their chosen candidates.

Huobi has a big say in deciding who gets to be a block producer. First, because as an exchange, it's holding on to a lot of customer EOS, which it can use to vote for whoever pays it. Second, because it's a block producer itself as well as an entity that's allegedly being paid significant sums in EOS per day. This means its voting power keeps accumulating day by day as it hoards more EOS tokens.

The main reason people are pretending that this is some kind of big deal might be because it's EOS users whose funds are being used to facilitate this alleged abuse. There might be some sense of indignity stoking people's fires.

"With the secret internal information [of Huobi] as direct evidence, seeing the world of EOSONE still feels shocking!" says Weixin, one of the outlets that first spread the news.

Of course, shock is relative. In the real world it would be much more shocking if these kinds of backroom shenanigans weren't going on. Far from discouraging it, EOS's entire system might as well have been designed specifically to facilitate this kind of thing.

It's worth noting that none of what's alleged to have happened here is actually illegal, and there almost certainly won't be any actual penalties except the potential for a bit of bad PR. The grand EOS constitution – the guiding light for this supposedly cutting edge decentralised governance system – is just a meaningless and easy to ignore set of terms and conditions, enforced by nothing but the honour system.

The kicker is that actually levying any penalties, or changing the system to prevent this kind of abuse, can only be done with the approval of block producers. There are only 21 block producers, and as long as the colluders control 8 of them, either directly or indirectly, it's going to be almost impossible to pass a resolution to prevent these kinds of abuses.

Basically, solving the problem within the bounds of the EOS system is dependent on the people profiting from these arrangements to altruistically turn in their cash cows. It's not going to happen.

It's a failed system, which once again comes as no surprise to all those who pointed out that it was destined for corruption and failure before launch. The weak official response to these allegations doesn't instil much confidence or hope for EOS's future, but at least it's good for a laugh.

The official response

"We are aware of some unverified claims regarding irregular block producer voting, and the subsequent denials of those claims. We believe it is important to ensure a free and democratic election process within EOS and may, as we deem appropriate, vote with other holders to reinforce the integrity of this process," wrote Block.one CEO Brendan Blumer in an official response." We continue working on our potential involvement with the goal of empowering the intent of the greater community through a transparent process that incorporates community feedback."

In short, Block.one (which is itself a huge EOS holder with a lot of voting power) is saying that it might just start voting for desired block producers itself. This would mean dropping the pretence of decentralisation though, and there's similarly no reason to expect Block.one to be any more altruistic than the other colluding block producers. Block.one raised about $4 billion to drag this hunk of junk to market, so it's safe to say they're pretty well motivated by money.

juicy crypto words

Hilariously, Blumer then described the poorly thought out EOS constitutional democracy as the forefront of optimal system design.

"As we go forward and continue to improve the EOSIO open source code, we extensively think about the future of decentralized governance and are committed to continually pushing thought leadership on optimal design," he said.

If extensive thinking from the finest minds of EOS couldn't conceive of a governance system other than an obviously flawed cargo cult democracy powered entirely by the honour system, it's not entirely clear what else they have to offer going forwards.

The problem might be that most thoughts on "the future of decentralized governance" probably don't include EOS except as an example of how not to do it, and that you can't be at the forefront of "thought leadership on optimal design" from within EOS. Its system is inherently flawed, backed as it is with nothing but a worthless and unenforceable constitution, and the only real solution is to tear it down and rebuild it from the ground up with a more solid foundation.

That's not to say centralised elements and constitutions in themselves are inherently worthless, and that voting systems can't be an important piece of a decentralised network, but they must be managed as risks in order to be effective. By contrast EOS approaches its voting system and centralised elements as a core strength, and touts them as game-changing benefits rather than necessary evils.

To be fair, effective decentralisation in cryptocurrencies is extremely difficult to achieve, and governance problems in general are endemic to human society as we know it. Solving these problems requires a lot of hard work, a lot of trial and error and a lot of learning from mistakes.

And EOS is turning out to be an extremely educational train wreck.

https://www.finder.com.au/shock-allegations-of-eos-block-producer-collusion-shock-no-one

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Blockbid cryptocurrency exchange’s no-trading-fee beta now live.

It might be time to see how reality, or a beta version of it at least, stacks up next to Blockbid's goals.

On 28 September, the Blockbid cryptocurrency exchange went live with its hotly anticipated no-trading-fee beta. For the next month or so, traders can sign up to Blockbid to enjoy these features.

The live beta includes unlimited deposits and withdrawals along with trading of BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, BCH and Blockbid's own BID token. Accepted fiat currencies include AUD, USD, Euro and JPY. More cryptocurrencies and more fiat currencies are expected to arrive sometime after the beta phase.


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Is it worth it?

The relatively wide range of fiat options might be a bit of a draw card in itself. And although the range of cryptocurrencies isn't especially wide during the beta, all the major options are still there. Plus, not having to pay trading fees is naturally pretty attractive in itself.

juicy crypto words

But experienced traders might be looking for other things during the beta. Blockbid is promising a lot to stand out from the competition, and a trader hoping for a new home might be keen on seeing if it's in a position to deliver.

Specifically, it aims to be one of the fastest exchanges around, scalable up to 1 million transactions per second. Unfortunately, this might be quite hard to test during the beta when volumes are unlikely to get anywhere near that. Likewise, it's also intending to be one of the most secure exchanges on the planet with multisignature cold storage wallets for 95% of customer funds, and some form of insurance for the exchange. But once again, this might only be tested one way or another if things go wrong (or don't go wrong).

Blockbid's biggest ambitions might be untested during the beta, but maybe an opportunity to get on a market with no trading fees and a nice range of fiat options is reason enough.

Meanwhile, the interface, charting tools and advanced trading options might similarly be worth taking for a spin ahead of the full launch. It's worth noting that the full range of tools might not be available initially, but there's only one way to find out though.

https://www.finder.com.au/blockbid-cryptocurrency-exchange-no-fee-live-trading-beta-now-live

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XRP price analysis 1 October: Token’s value falls after bullish trend line is broken.

The coin has fallen around 7% in the last 24 hours, unable to push past the US$0.60 resistance level.

 

Key takeaways

  • XRP has experienced some turbulent price movements in the last 24 hours.
  • Trading volumes have remained relatively stable over the past few days.
  • Analysts suggest that XRP/USD price has crashed from a rising channel pattern.

XRP has fluctuated significantly over the past 24 hours of trading. This time yesterday, the coin was valued at US$0.591 but sank down to US$0.565 by mid-afternoon. The coin has lost 7.5% of its value over the last day.

XRP

Following this the cryptocurrency clawed back from its losses, gaining almost US$0.04 to reach US$0.602 by late Sunday evening. However, since then the token has been slowly losing value, dropping as low as US$0.537 earlier this morning.

At the time of writing, XRP was valued at US$0.547.

24-hour trading volumes reduced slightly from US$1.329 billion yesterday to US$1.311 billion today.

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Most of the digital currency market is in the red today.

CryptoGlobe analysts advise that XRP's token is likely to be in a range bound movement, having been resisted. The coin is also above the 12-day EMA and the 26-day EMA, indicating that the bullish trend is continuing.

Ripple, in partnership with Thailand's Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), has revealed it will pioneer a new feature known as "multi-hop". The function will allow for the frictionless settlement of payments on behalf of other financial institutions on the network, eliminating the need for direct or bilateral one-to-one connections.

Additionally, Ripple is preparing to host its largest event to-date. SWELL 2018 is a two day conference that will be held in San Francisco on October 1-2. Keynote speakers include former US President Bill Clinton, American former US national executive council director Gene Sperling, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and many more.

You can learn all about different exchanges, understand exactly how to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, calculate your taxes, discover digital wallets to hold assets and explore a list of all the alternative coins on the market.

https://www.finder.com.au/xrp-price-analysis-20181001

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Blockchain the Answer to Avoiding an Irish Hard Border in Brexit: UK Finance Minister.

As the Irish border question has remained one of the thorniest issues in the Brexit talks between the United Kingdom and the European Union, a cabinet minister in Prime Minister Theresa May’s government believes the solution lies in technology.

According to Phillip Hammond, UK’s finance minister, the best way to ensure trade across the Irish border remains frictionless after Britain leaves the EU lies in the use of blockchain technology.

“There is technology becoming available (…) I don’t claim to be an expert on it but the most obvious technology is blockchain,” Reuters reported Hammond as having answered after being asked what the government was proposing to do to ensure smooth trade after Brexit.

Island of Ireland

With the UK having voted to leave the EU more than two years ago in a referendum, there have been fears that the border between Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, and the Republic of Ireland, which is independent and an EU member, would become an external EU border and thus inhibiting movement and trade on the island. This has resulted in a delicate balancing act as the parties in the Brexit negotiations want to avoid a hard border while at the same time respecting the spirit of the referendum decision.

If the finance minister’s proposal indeed turns out to be the solution that resolves the Irish border problem, this would not be the UK government’s first time to embrace blockchain technology. In August, for instance, the Ministry of Justice announced plans of experimenting with storing digital evidence on a blockchain, as CCN reported. This was part of the reform plans by Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) and was aimed at creating an audit trail that is foolproof and which tracks custody while preventing tampering.

Record-Keeping and Food Safety

Another UK public body that is experimenting with blockchain technology is the official record-keeper of the UK government, the National Archives. Mid this year the National Archives revealed plans to use blockchain technology in the verification of archived documents. This was necessitated by the challenging nature of digital archiving whereby accuracy can be undermined when files are changed from one format to another. But with distributed ledger technology hashes of documents would be registered on a permissioned blockchain making it tamper-proof as only authorized parties would be allowed to make changes.

Besides the HMCTS and the National Archives, blockchain technology has also been trialed by the Food Standards Agency, the UK government’s food safety watchdog. In this particular case the technology was applied in meat inspection and involved tracking beef from a slaughterhouse though the food safety watchdog revealed plans to extend the pilot to other food products in the future.

https://www.ccn.com/blockchain-the-answer-to-avoiding-an-irish-hard-border-in-brexit-uk-finance-minister/

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Hyperledger & EEA: The Two Biggest Blockchain Consortiums Join Forces.

In a significant move to propel the adoption of blockchain technology in the enterprise sector, two of the largest blockchain consortiums in the industry have announced their formal collaboration.

The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), a consortium that sees over 300 members working to leverage open-source Ethereum technology for blockchain solutions in enterprise and Hyperledger, a cross-industry working group led by the open-source Linux Foundation, are formally each other’s organizations as associate members, the two said in a press release on Monday.

The collaboration between the two consortiums will “accelerate adoption of blockchain technologies for business,” they added in a joint statement, underlining similar goals with complementary approaches to scaling blockchain tech for industries.

As members of each other’s communities, the leaderships of the EEA and Hyperledger will have the means to collaborate across Special Interest Groups and Working Groups as well as “hundreds of thousands of developers in both communities,” Hyperledger said in its own announcement.

“EEA community members working on specifications and standards can turn to Hyperledger to collaborate on software implementations of those standards,” it added.

Launched in early 2017, the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance began as a 30-member group, rising to over 150 members including the likes of a state government from India by mid-2017. By the end of the year, the EEA became the world’s largest blockchain consortium. In the joint statement, the EEA said it sponsors the development of enterprise blockchain standards with a particular ‘focus on those aligned with the broader Ethereum ecosystem.’

Talking up the collaboration in a “time of great opportunity” EEA executive director Ron Resnick added:

“In addition, Hyperledger developers who join the EEA can participate in EEA Certification to ensure solution compliance for projects related to the Enterprise Ethereum Client Specification.”

The Hyperledger project took shape in December 2015 as the largest industry-focused open-source blockchain effort at the time. Come July 2017, the Linux Foundation-led consortium released Hyperledger Fabric, its first production-ready blockchain software for industries and enterprises. The blockchain software has since seen adoption in a number of industries, including the notable example of the world’s largest shipping company Maersk deploying the Hyperledger Fabric to track shipments.

“Hyperledger fosters the development of open source software for establishing, managing, and connecting enterprise blockchain networks,” the joint announcement added.

Downplaying any perceived rivalry between the two biggest enterprise blockchain consortiums, Hyperledger executive director Brian Behlendorf said:

“For anyone who ever put a ‘vs.’ between Ethereum and Hyperledger, this collaboration shows it’s now ‘Ethereum AND Hyperledger.”

“Great open standards depend upon great open source code, so this is a natural alliance for both organizations,” Behlendorf added. “Standards, specifications and certification all help enterprise blockchain customers commit to implementations with confidence since they have better assurances of interoperability as well as multiple vendors of choice.”

https://www.ccn.com/hyperledger-eea-the-two-biggest-blockchain-consortiums-join-forces/

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Blockchain Adoption Levels Highest in the Semiconductor Industry: Accenture.

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A study conducted by global professional services firm Accenture indicates that with regards to the adoption of blockchain technology, the semiconductor sector is currently enjoying the highest levels of bullish sentiment compared to other surveyed sectors.

The study which polled mostly senior executives at firms which boasted of yearly revenues of at least US$0.5 billion showed that 88% of the executives in the semi-conductor industry expect to have blockchain technology integrated into their organization’s systems in the next 36 months. The features of blockchain technology that make it appealing to the semi-conductor sector include its immutability, security and decentralized nature. Per the report, these can assist in lowering operational costs, enhancing inter-company collaborations, and improving efficiency in the supply chain.

Shorter Product-to-Market Timespans

Additionally, according to the head of the semiconductor practice at Accenture, Syed Alam, blockchain could shorten the time it takes to launch new products:

“Throughout the industry’s complex supply chain, blockchain simplifies business operations leveraging semiconductor chips and related technologies. This faster traceability will improve companies’ business operations and accelerate delivery of their products to market – while enabling them to do so at lower costs. Semiconductor companies can also use blockchain to create, scale and manage technology-based collaborations and redefine future business transactions.”

Besides the semiconductor sector, other industries which were surveyed include aerospace and defense, industrial equipment, life sciences, insurance, software and platforms, automotive, chemicals, and communications.

In the aerospace and defense sector, 86% of the executives expressed bullishness with regards to the adoption of blockchain technology in their industry. The bullishness level in the life sciences, retail and industrial equipment sectors was tied at 85% while in the insurance and software & platforms sectors it was 84%. In the automotive sector, the level of bullishness was 82% while in the chemicals and communications sectors it was 81%.

Progress Made so far

Various CCN reports in the recent past have highlighted the blockchain technology efforts being made by players in some of the above-mentioned sectors. For instance, China’s largest online retailer, Alibaba, recently hit the headlines after it was reported to have filed more than 10% of the blockchain patents in the world. As CCN reported earlier this month some of the patents were aimed at enhancing transparency in the supply chain especially with regards to food.

In the automotive sector German luxury car maker, BMW, recently partnered with a blockchain startup with a view of developing a lending solution for its customers. And in the communications industry the 172-year-old news organization, The Associated Press, late last month announced a partnership with the blockchain journalism startup, Civil Media Company, aimed at distributing content on a decentralized ledger platform.

https://www.ccn.com/blockchain-adoption-levels-highest-in-the-semiconductor-industry-accenture/

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Another Stablecoin: U.K. Crypto Exchange Launches GBP-Pegged Cryptocurrency.

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The London Block Exchange has announced the launch of a GBP-pegged cryptocurrency stablecoin called LBXPeg. In a statement posted on its website, LBX revealed that the so-called “cryptopound” will be tied to the value of GBP held in an auditable U.K. bank account on a 1:1 basis.

Speaking to Business Insider ahead of the launch, LBX CEO, Benjamin Dives said:

“We will be ready for the first cryptopound to be minted in the next 10 days. The primary use case will be settlement for OTC trades in the London market, then commonwealth exchanges where they don’t have fiat banking, and then securities tokens who want to pay dividends in a cryptopound.”

Since opening in Nov. 2017, LBX has become one of the UK’s busiest crypto exchanges, and, like many other exchanges, it sees a significant value in the stablecoin concept. Taking the concept from a fresh angle designed to appeal to U.K.-based crypto traders, LBXPeg promises its users fully transparent auditing processes, management structure and distribution schedules, all of which have been major complaints about the stablecoin market lodestar tether (USDT).

According to LBX, the new “cryptopound” will enable seamless and fast transfer of GBP digital equivalent on a worldwide scale. In addition to just being a stablecoin, it also comes with built-in use cases such as company dividend distribution to shareholders via smart contracts using the Ethereum blockchain.

LBXPeg will initially run on Ethereum’s ERC-621 standard, which is an extension of the popular ERC-20 standard. The company says that this will provide the necessary flexibility in total supply to match the GBP holdings kept in the segregated bank account. Eventually, the plan is to LBXPeg to be issued on other blockchains subject to compliance audits.

The company further revealed that following LBXPeg’s initial release, it will explore tying the stablecoin to other auditable accounts containing fiat currencies like EUR and USD, so as to improve the product’s scope and stability.

Of late, USDT has faced a growing number of challenges to its stablecoin market dominance. CCN reported recently that Goldman Sachs-backed Circle Financial announced the issue of USD Coin (USDC), a dollar-pegged stablecoin that took aim at tether’s perceived opacity and lack of accountability. Gemini, the cryptocurrency exchange owned by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, also recently announced the launch of the Gemini Dollar, which was billed as the world’s first fully-regulated stablecoin, operating under the oversight of the New York Department of Financial Services (NYDFS).

https://www.ccn.com/another-stablecoin-u-k-crypto-exchange-launches-gbp-pegged-cryptocurrency/

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Ripple Drops 2% Loss Despite Major XRP Announcement, Bitcoin Shows Low Volume

Ripple

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Since late September, the low volume of Bitcoin has been an issue for the cryptocurrency exchange market. Although BTC was expected to break out of major resistance levels at $6,800 and $7,000, its low volume prevented it from recording a major movement on the upside.

Earlier today, on October 2, Ripple Labs introduced three partnerships with major banks including the $80 billion banking giant Banco Santander. One Pay FX, a platform operated by Banco Santander, became the world’s first mobile application for cross-border payments powered by RippleNet.

Subsequent to the announcement, the price of XRP declined by around 3 percent. Since then, the price of XRP has initiated a slight recovery, minimizing its loss to 1 percent.

Fairly Stagnant Market

The majority of investors in the cryptocurrency market expected the price of XRP to initiate a large short-term rally, as it had done throughout the past week. However, Ripple’s largest partnership in 2018 with Banco Santander barely had any impact on the price movement of XRP.

The struggle in the price of XRP to rebound to its yearly high following an impressive 150 percent rally in late September can be attributed to two factors: the decline in the volume of the crypto market and Ripple’s overbought conditions fueled by its three-fold increase in price since early September.

Apart from Bitcoin’s attempt to test the $6,800 resistance level at on September 28, the dominant cryptocurrency has remained fairly stable in the $6,500 range for over a week. The stability in the price of Bitcoin led technical analysts to speculate a potential short-term breakout.

However, for BTC to initiate a short-term rally, its volume needs to compliment positive technical indicators the asset has demonstrated in the past seven days.

The volume of Bitcoin remains fairly low at around $4 billion, down more than 30 percent since mid-September. On Coincap, the cryptocurrency market data provider of popular digital asset trading platform ShapeShift, which eliminates exchanges suspected of having false volumes, the daily trading volume of Bitcoin is estimated to be around $2.6 billion

Currently, technical analysts are waiting for BTC to engage in a noticeable movement to either the downside or upside. Some are awaiting BTC to close its weekly candle, which could confirm the short-term movement of the currency.

“Slowly crawling back into the range. The bulls don’t want to see a close through support. If that happened I’d target the range low. Due to an unclear monthly and weekly close, I’m sticking to scalping. No reason to trade big sizes here,” technical analyst Don Alt wrote.

Better to Observe

In a period of stability, it is less risky to observe the market and simply wait for major cryptocurrencies to demonstrate signs of a breakout, especially for individual investors that trade low volume cryptocurrencies like tokens.

Price trend of top five cryptocurrencies, data provided by Coincap.io

It is possible for the crypto market to initiate a rally in the upcoming days if Bitcoin can retest the $6,800 resistance level in the next 24 to 48 hours, which seems unlikely due to its low volume. But, the volume of BTC can experience a substantial spike in a short period of time so a potential breakout cannot be ruled out as of yet.

https://www.ccn.com/ripple-drops-2-loss-despite-major-xrp-announcement-bitcoin-shows-low-volume/

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Bitcoin Will Not Challenge Gold as a Safe-Haven Asset: Equity Analyst.

Bitcoin vs. gold

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Though many bitcoin investors believe multi-layer scaling solutions such as the Lightning Network (LN) will eventually make BTC a viable payment instrument for the proverbial coffee purchase, most argue that the flagship cryptocurrency’s primary short-term use case is as “digital gold.” However, an equity analyst at one of the world’s most respected investment research firms said that he doesn’t expect bitcoin to make a noticeable dent into the yellow metal’s market share.

Analyst: Bitcoin Won’t Steal Gold’s Shine

Writing in Morningstar Research Services’ short-form investment commentary series, the “Morningstar Minute,” equity analyst Kristoffer Inton noted that if bitcoin did begin to replace gold as a safe haven asset, it would represent a “seismic shift” in the investment case for the precious metal as 40 percent of gold demand comes from investors.

“If cryptocurrency were to displace gold’s investment case, the implications for gold prices would be devastating. 40% of gold demand relates to investment, so a shift in investment from gold to cryptocurrency would be a seismic shock.”

However, Inton, who has been at Morningstar since 2013, wrote that the firm has created a proprietary framework for evaluating assets as stores of value and found that cryptocurrency does not score well on this rubric, leading him to continue recommending long-term investments in certain gold stocks, including Goldcorp.

“In order to assess the threat, we’ve created a framework to grade any asset class’s viability as a safe haven by focusing on liquidity, functional purpose, scarcity of supply, future demand certainty, and permanence. Through this framework, we conclude that cryptocurrency does not and will not challenge gold as a safe-haven asset class.”

The Case for ‘Digital Gold’

bitcoin gold comparison

Bitcoin vs. Gold

Nevertheless, cryptocurrency bulls maintain that bitcoin does have a solid investment thesis as “digital gold” because, although it is currently quite volatile, it possesses many of gold’s attractive features (e.g. liquidity and scarcity) while also alleviating some of its drawbacks, such as its lack of portability and impracticality for payments.

Billionaire investor Peter Thiel, for instance, said earlier this year that he is long on bitcoin, even if it never matures as a payment instrument.

“I would be long bitcoin, and neutral to skeptical of just about everything else at this point with a few possible exceptions. There will be one online equivalent to gold, and the one you’d bet on would be the biggest,” he said. “I would be long bitcoin, and neutral to skeptical of just about everything else at this point with a few possible exceptions. There will be one online equivalent to gold, and the one you’d bet on would be the biggest.”

https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-will-not-challenge-gold-as-a-safe-haven-asset-equity-analyst/

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