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Bitcoin Will Rebound, But Altcoins are ‘Never Coming Back’: BitPay Exec..

A top executive at one of the oldest and largest cryptocurrency payment processors said that he firmly expects bitcoin to rebound within the next year but that altcoin prices may never again see their early-2018 peaks.

Sonny Singh, chief commercial officer at BitPay, said during an interview with Bloomberg that his firm has “never been more bullish” on cryptocurrency, noting that adoption and infrastructure development is moving “full speed ahead” even as the market has shed approximately 80 percent of its value from its January peak.

However, he notes that this infrastructure development has largely been concentrated on a single cryptocurrency — bitcoin — which Singh expects to steadily eclipse the bulk of its supposed disruptors.

“[Altcoins] will never come back, I believe, in the same way, a bitcoin will come back. You know, Fidelity, BlackRock, they’re not launching altcoin products. They’re going to launch bitcoin products. So bitcoin will rebound next year” when these mainstream products begin to see widespread releases, he said, adding that the initial coin offering (ICO) market is “in a lot of trouble.”

To his point, altcoins as a group have been affected by the precipitous market decline to a markedly greater degree than bitcoin, whose market share in recent days has risen to 2018 highs.

Singh said that he is not sure if the bitcoin market has yet found its bottom, noting that trading sentiment appears to suggest that investors are looking for a “defining moment” or “catalyst” that will spur the next bitcoin rally.

Lately, he explained, investors have largely been trading on rumors of whether or not large financial institutions will roll out products for this nascent asset class. Consequently, it’s unlikely that the bitcoin price rally will see anything more than fits and starts until these rumors concretize into material actions, such if Goldman Sachs actually starts trading cryptocurrency, BlackRock launches a bitcoin ETF, or Squarebegins processing bitcoin payments.

Singh believes that such a catalyst will occur in the mid-term, likely at some point in 2019.

Featured Image from Shutterstock. Charts from TradingView.

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Mastercard Thinks Blockchain Can Simplify B2B Transactions in New Patent.

Financial services giant Mastercard has invented a blockchain system that it believes can simplify business-to-business (B2B) transactions in a high-volume enterprise environment.

That system is outlined in a series of three patent applications filed by the New York-based multinational firm in March, made public on Thursday by the US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).

Writing in one filing, the patent authors explain that existing settlement systems, which settle individual transactions from end-to-end, do not scale well to the needs of 21st-century businesses.

“Currently, existing settlement systems often operate using the settlement of individual payment transactions. For example, after a transaction is processed, the issuing bank will transfer funds for that single transaction to the settlement network, which will then forward the funds for that single transaction on to the acquiring bank. Since most businesses are not financial firms, or financially regulated, B2B transactional innovation left payment flows between the parties intact,” they wrote.

“As a result, 21st century B2B collaboration sits on an unwieldy, unconnected and largely unchanged mid-20th century B2B payments platform. As the number of transactions being processed, and therefore settled, increases, the strain on the processing power of settlement systems and those of financial institutions increases, as well as the number of fund transfers that must occur every day.”

Mastercard argues that there is a need for a uniform payment system that will allow businesses to execute B2B transactions more efficiently, and the firm believes a blockchain or other type of digital ledger could be an ideal solution for such an inter-enterprise settlement system.

A blockchain, the patent authors note, would allow data to be stored in the system in a clear format that is easily accessible and auditable by connected firms while also remaining highly-resistant to tampering. These features would be quite beneficial, particularly given that most of the participants would not themselves be financial institutions.

The patent notes that the system could be built on either a public or private blockchain, but, if Mastercard actually does attempt to build it, it’s likely that it would exist on a permissioned network.

That’s because, as CCN reported, Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga, has a long history of bashing public, decentralized cryptocurrencies. In July, he said that these assets are “junk,” adding that he would only be interested in a digital currency developed by the government.

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Crypto Market Cap to Hit $80 Trillion in 15 Years: Bitcoin Bull Tim Draper.

Bitcoin bull Tim Draper has predicted that the market capitalization of cryptocurrencies will increase by four hundred times in the coming one and a half decades.

Equating the current state of the crypto market to the early days of the internet, Draper, however, warned that the prices of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will first have to drop before rising. The billionaire tech investor was addressing a DEALSTREETASIA-sponsored private equity and venture capital summit in Singapore via video link.

“The internet started in the same way, it came in big waves and then it kind of came crashing down, and then the next wave comes concentrated but much bigger, and I suspect the same thing will go on here,” said Draper.

High Ignorance Levels

According to Deal Street Asia, Draper also stated that the reason why the price of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies had fallen drastically since the record highs reached last year was due to ignorance. As people get accustomed to them, according to Draper, various billion dollar industries across the globe stand to be transformed. There will, however, be one big difference between the disruption caused by the internet and the one expected to be brought about by blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies:

“The internet went after industries that were $10-100 billion dollar markets, cryptocurrency will go after trillion dollar markets – these are finance, healthcare and insurance, banking and investment banking, and governments.”

Perennial Bull

This was not Draper’s first time to claim that cryptocurrencies and the blockchain technology possess more revolutionary potential than the internet. Earlier in the year, Californian stated that this transformative potential would be bigger than the industrial revolution, the Renaissance and the Iron Age. In March Draper also stated that fiat currencies will have been wiped out in half a decade and only cryptocurrencies will be in use.

Additionally, this is not the first time that Draper is making bold declarations regarding bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Five months ago, Draper predicted that the price of bitcoin would reach US$250,000 by 2022. And in 2015 the venture capitalist projected that the price of the flagship cryptocurrency would reach US$10,000 by the close of 2017, a prediction that came to pass.

To his credit, Draper has backed his bullish views with cold hard cash. At an auction in 2014, for instance, he paid US$18 million for 30,000 bitcoins which had been confiscated by the U.S. Marshalls. At current market prices that translates to a profit of more than $170 million.

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IBM, Hacera Create Distributed 'Yellow Pages' for Blockchain Networks..

IBM has teamed up with enterprise blockchain firm Hacera to launch a yellow pages-like directory aimed to make it easier for interested companies to participate in worldwide blockchain applications.

Jerry Cuomo, vice president at IBM Blockchain, wrote in a blog post on Thursday that the directory – called Unbounded Registry – is now up and running, and aggregates a list of decentralized platforms built on various blockchain networks.

The goal, as explained by Cuomo, is to have an information hub that can inform companies who are looking to adopt blockchain what options are out there and how they can participate in projects, especially those built on private networks that are invitation-only.

Currently listed on the registry are efforts launched by both startups and major financial and technology giants such as IBM, Huawei, Oracle, SAP and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

For each project, the registry provides a brief explanation and a list of recent news events. It further offers a channel – after a sign-up process – for interested parties to directly message the respective teams.

Built on top of the Linux Foundation's Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, Unbounded Registry itself is an open-source application that allows blockchain projects to register their information in a distributed fashion.

Cuomo added that the registry also interoperates with major blockchain platforms, so far including Hyperledger Fabric, R3 Corda, EEA Quorum and Stellar.

Explaining the reasons for the directory, he wrote:

"We realized from the start that you cannot do blockchain on your own; you need a vibrant community and ecosystem of like-minded innovators who share the vision of helping to transform the way companies conduct business in the global economy.":

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Hong Kong Jeweler Introduces Blockchain App for Diamond Authentication.

Hong Kong jewelry company Chow Tai Fook has partnered with Gemological Institute of America (GIA) to create a blockchain-based app that will enable customers to ascertain the origin and authenticity of stones purchased.

This development brings closer the blockchain implementation processes to regular individuals through a more conversant user interface, the app.

Provenance Using Blockchain

Transparency and the ability for stored data to remain eternally immutable are some of blockchain qualities that set it apart as an exceptional piece of technology. The application of these qualities in storing and tracking data on decentralized ledgers appears as one of the key aspects where blockchain is increasingly finding implementation.

Prior to this time, renowned Anglo American diamond unit, De Beers had embarked on the implementation of blockchain processes towards effective provenance of the identity of its precious stones. The process aims at tracking gems each time they change hands, starting from when they are dug out of the ground.

Tackling Controversies Around Precious Stones

The controversy surrounding precious stones, especially diamonds is no secret even at a global level. Cases of theft and socio-political consequences that exist in the jewelry industry, especially as it concerns diamonds is a well known phenomenon. Illegal mining which is rampant in conflict zones has been identified as a serious issue with regards to financing violence in what today is popularly known as “blood diamond”.

In order to track and prevent such global vices, measures that prove the sources and identity of precious stones, and the real-time confirmation of ownership has become essential.

Despite the initial efforts towards using blockchain to solve this perennial problem, introducing a familiar avenue for regular users to access such services surely represents a huge step towards a lasting solution.

This initiative by Chow Tai Fook will see diamonds sold in its T Mark-branded stores “graded” for customers, by the respected Gemological Institute of America (GIA), a non-profit industry research body.

Boosting Consumer Confidence

Besides theft and illegal sourcing of diamonds, dubious acts that involve passing off synthetic materials as original stuff is a practice that De Beers has been involved in fighting prior to this time. The establishment also focuses on selling technology across the industry to help prevent anyone trying to pass off synthetic stones as natural, while working with the rest of the industry and governments to support the Kimberley Process set up in 2003 to increase transparency and eliminate trade in conflict diamonds.

Consumer confidence is an important factor in any kind of business, it is even a more crucial factor in exclusive industries like jewelries and precious stones. Being able to prove the origin and authenticity of an item certainly introduces the industry to an era of “fresh air”. However, making such services easily accessible via familiar user interfaces like apps is indeed a monumental step for the industry.

Blockchain technology offers numerous implementation opportunities. However, its ability to enhance transparency and provenance it a quality that will be appreciated across various ecosystems in the coming years.

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Indian Central Bank Argues Cryptos 'Not Valid' as Currency in Court Battle.

The Reserve Bank of India argued Wednesday that bitcoin cannot be recognized in the country before the nation's Supreme Court.

In a case that has been brought by a number of exchanges against the Indian central bank for blocking their access to banking services five months ago, the RBI stated in an affidavit that current legislation means that cryptos cannot be considered either currency or money.

The RBI stated:

"It is submitted that crypto-currencies fall short of being true currencies. It is further submitted that RBI does not consider virtual currencies such as Bitcoins as 'currency' under the extant laws. There are no enabling provisions under the extant law to treat Bitcoin as currency."

Further, according to a report from CNN's News 18 and, the RBI continued to say that, as cryptos are peer-to-peer networks and not controlled by a service provider, "They can't even be considered as a valid payment system."

In order to be recognized as a "valid currency" the bank said instruments should "possess identical or similar characteristics of cheques, postal orders and money orders."

The next hearing on the case is scheduled for September 17, the news source indicates.

Back in April, the central bank ordered domestic banks and financial institutions to stop working with the country's crypto exchanges within three months.

Later that month, a petition was lodged against the RBI by Kali Digital Ecosystems, an Indian firm that had been planning to launch an exchange called CoinRecoil in August.

According to the text of the petition, Kali was seeking "an appropriate writ, order or direction quashing the [RBI's] circular." It stated that the ban is "arbitrary and unconstitutional" and that the company is unable to begin operating due to the RBI's restrictions.

The issue has since addressed by petitions from other exchanges seeking to overturn the ban, which the Supreme Court is hearing at the same time.

Since the RBI circular was issued, exchanges have been forced to drop rupee-to-crypto trading services, relying instead on crypt-to-crypto trading. However, trading volumes have taken a big drop and the companies face an uncertain future unless the court rules to overturn the ban.…-in-court-battle/

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Ethereum price analysis 14 September: ether enjoys accelerated support from bulls.

Ethereum, the second largest digital currency by market cap, is leading the charge in this bull market.


Key takeaways

  • Ethereum is rocketing northward, increasing its value at a formidable pace.
  • Trading volumes have also increased by one fifth in the last 24 hours of trading.
  • Ethereum's network will undergo a "hard fork" of sorts, when it upgrades to Constantinople in November.

The price of Ethereum has risen at an expeditious rate over the past 24 hours, increasing its value by more than one fifth (21%) amidst a now flourishing cryptocurrency market. But how long will this positive sentiment last?

The majority of digital coins in the market are experiencing a solid recovery today, posting significant gains across the board. Many tokens are fast reclaiming heavy losses incurred over the past few weeks of trade.


Ethereum, in particular, is rapidly tracking higher. The coin touched a weekly low of US$170.41 in the early hours of 12 September before triggering a huge turnaround, boosting its price at breakneck speed.

The value of ether continues to power towards its previous weekly high of US$233.19 on 6 September.

At the time of writing, ether was valued at US$210.01.

24-hour trading volumes have shot up (20%) since yesterday, jumping from US$1.87 billion to US$2.25 billion.

ETHNews reports that there has been a strong rise in ETH/BTC from lows, with the pair trading above the 0.0280 BTC and 0.0300 BTC resistance levels. The pair also surpassed the next resistance level at 0.0320 BTC.

In a post earlier this morning, CryptoDaily analyst Fakhan suggested that the cryptocurrency market is one heartbeat away from breaking the downtrend resistance and kicking off a much anticipated altcoin rally.

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.

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Morgan Stanley bitcoin derivatives reportedly ready to go.

The field of institutional-oriented bitcoin derivatives is growing quickly and sensibly.

The pieces are in place, and now it's just a matter of completing an internal review process and proving client demand, Bloomberg reports.

At a time when Wall Street giants are looking more closely at bitcoin and cryptocurrency than ever before, Morgan Stanley might be one of the later entrants to the field, reportedly set to come in with bitcoin price swap derivatives. These will functionally give speculators the option of going long or short on bitcoin, with Morgan Stanley charging a spread for each transaction.

It won't involve actually buying and holding bitcoin, so much as just being a way of betting on its future price movements from a distance.

This makes a lot of sense in line with Wall Street's general take on cryptocurrency, and Morgan Stanley's in particular.


Firstly, holding and storing "physical" cryptocurrency is still a major logistical and regulatory pain for established financial institutions. It's one of the main obstacles for closer institutional involvement in the space. This is why Goldman Sachs and others have similarly started out with bitcoin price-linked products to sate trader demand for exposure to the asset class while working towards actual custody solutions elsewhere.

Morgan Stanley's arms-length take is par for course. Going forward, it's also worth noting that more large financial institutions whetting client appetite for bitcoin price exposure now might mean more potential market impacts from the launch of Bakkt later. One might think of all these non-physical bitcoin derivatives as building pressure, which Bakkt might release by adding "real" bitcoin warehousing to the mix, and exploring demand for bitcoin as an actual asset class rather than mere demand for exposure to its volatility. It might go either way though – or neither way.

juicy crypto words

Morgan Stanley's approach, in the form of price return swaps, also makes a lot of sense in line with its previous takes on the bitcoin and crypto space.

"The idea is that as institutional investors seek out increasingly higher levels of risk/return, that Bitcoin may represent the most risky/potentially highest return available, and hence could be evolving quickly into a primary barometer/leading indicator for broader financial markets and risk appetite," it said in a letter to clients in February 2018.

By adding a futures-like derivative that allows clients to bet on future market movements, Morgan Stanley might be aiming to further explore the ties between bitcoin sentiment and other market indicators. For example, more shorts might indicate expectations of lower bitcoin demand in the future which might then suggest a lower appetite for risk in the wider market.

Of course, as the last year has shown, the altcoin markets are the real high risk high return space. Next to them, bitcoin is the safe and reliable option.

If the trend continues, an institution that really wants to satisfy risk-happy clients will need to look beyond bitcoin.

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ndau: World’s first “buoyant” stablecoin cryptocurrency revealed.

Meet the unpegged, uncollateralised ndau, courtesy of finely-tuned tokenomic and governance elements.

Stablecoins have been proliferating in the last few months. All of them are curious and flawed creations in their own way, and there are growing concerns that stablecoins of any kind, in principle, are economically impossible.

But maybe ndau can buck the trend. The coin was just unveiled today, and is perhaps the most distinctive and advanced stablecoin that has been created to date.

The best of both worlds, for the best of both worlds

"Stable is good. Buoyant is better," ndau says.

The ndau Collective came together as a group of early bitcoin enthusiasts who aimed to map out the biggest limitations for long-term use of cryptocurrencies. One of the key issues they found was the difficulty of using cryptocurrency as a long-term store of value.

Most cryptocurrencies have a built-in monetary policy to maintain cryptocurrency value. In the case of bitcoin and many others, this takes the form of relatively straightforward deflationary elements. For example, a hard cap of 21 million in the case of bitcoin, coupled with an assumption of ever-increasing demand.

But as has clearly been shown, this does little to decrease volatility or create ongoing price rises. Part of the problem might be that volatility becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, where there are profits to be made directly from the volatility itself (buying low and selling high, shorting, etc). Eventually, when volatility itself becomes the main drawcard, most of the people to touch the coin are doing so with the intention of selling at a profit in the near future. This naturally limits the kind of rises that a coin might see, while ensuring near-constant volatility.

Neither is great for someone who wants a cryptocurrency to serve as a long-term store of value, immune to fiat mismanagement, government collapse or anything else, and able to move independently of other markets. At the same time, constant volatility makes it hard to actually use bitcoin as an actual currency.

Some people pray to Satoshi in the "digital gold" church, while others prefer to worship in the "electronic cash" church. But in some respects, both will always be equally under-served by bitcoin and its variants. Hyper-volatility is a downside for both digital gold and electronic cash.

"When a group of early bitcoin enthusiasts came together a few years ago to map out the biggest limitations to wide adoption of cryptocurrencies, it was clear that those looking to use crypto for long-term value storage had problems that weren't being addressed," said Ken Lang, an advisor to and early member of the ndau Collective. "ndau was created as a solution to these problems."

Balance in all things

Stablecoins like ndau are, as the name suggests, built to prevent volatility. But that's a tall order.

The first and simplest generation of stablecoins, such as Tether or the more recent Gemini Dollar, take a very straightforward approach to the problem. They hold fiat (or sometimes gold or other valuables) as collateral and then issue tokens based on the collateral held.

One of the main criticisms of these kinds of coins is that they undermine the point of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which are specifically intended to be an immutable hedge against central bank mismanagement or falling fiat. There are some practical advantages to these in that they're programmable money, able to be easily moved anywhere in the world. But there are also inefficiencies in the form of the need for intermediaries, such as the Tether company or the Gemini Exchange, to maintain their value. It's basically just trading one central bank for another central bank, albeit a (probably) less regulated and reliable one.

Then you have the more complex second and third generation stablecoins. These fascinating projects usually work as self-sustaining economies, typically running on paired token systems which expand and contract in line with supply and demand to maintain their pegs.

These also run into the same problem as the earlier model – if fiat pegs are so good then why not just use fiat? – as well as issues around the balancing mechanism itself and the likelihood of snowballing into oblivion. To a certain extent, these systems also depend on constant growth, just like bitcoin and others, while also being less resilient to bank runs or economic contraction than fiat or the collateralised stablecoins.

The seemingly impossible solution, then, might be a cryptocurrency that's stable without being pegged to anything.

The ndau way

The ndau Collective is a semi-anonymous group of experts from institutions including Goldman Sachs, Columbia University and Carnegie Mellon. It's one of the only stablecoin projects to be entirely privately funded. It sold $15 million worth of ndau in private sales and picked up a sizable paycheck from COSIMO Ventures, a VC fund focused on finding the most unique projects.

"COSIMO Ventures is a team of highly experienced former entrepreneurs who invest in the tech space, and we currently focus on blockchain projects that have something really unique to offer," said managing partner at Cosimo Ventures Robert Frasca. "We surveyed the landscape of cryptocurrencies, and we invested in Oneiro because the ndau coin is leveraging blockchain technology to create a really groundbreaking buoyant currency. ndau challenges many of the assumptions held by current cryptocurrency thought leaders today, especially in the realms of digital governance and combining value growth with stability."

How ndau stability works

ndau is designed in broadly similar strokes to other uncollateralised stablecoin systems, except with the intention of minimising price downsides and gently encouraging rises based on token demand. When demand increases, the system responds by both increasing supply as well as letting market forces push the price higher.

The idea is that growing demand pushes the market price of ndau upwards along the "target price curve". This curve includes different price levels, each of which has 1,000 ndau in it. As these ndau are released, they go into the Endowment, which is intended to manage ndau's monetary policy and implement market operations like a semi-automated central bank.

Price stability mechanisms are triggered if market forces start pushing prices down past a certain threshold. One such mechanism, for example, is a penalty for traders who want to sell on a downswing, in the form of forfeiting a portion of the ndau they want to get rid of.

Another is that the Endowment funds can start buying up in the event of a severe market downturn, at a specific price floor. This price floor is dynamically determined as half the value of the Endowment, divided by the number of ndau in circulation. When this ndau is repurchased by the Endowment, it gets burnt and removed from circulation to contract the total supply. This formula means that the price floor rises as rebuying occurs, providing an inherent element of buoyancy.

Price rises, meanwhile, are determined by that target price curve. At any given time, there's a formulaic target price for ndau along that curve, dictated by current supply and demand.

When the market needs to expand in line with growing demand, prices are intended to rise along that curve. The threshold which determines that the market needs to grow is when demand for ndau rises beyond the limit of what's currently available in the market at the target price.

The market maker releases new ndau into the market by selling it at the current target price. With every 1,000 released, the target price will inch upwards and the Endowment is given another cash injection.

The end result is a system that's semi-automated and partly governed according to pre-determined formulas.

The Blockchain Policy Council (BPC) is the key governance element of the system. It's a democratically elected council, with the power to create and vote on rules and oversee other entities in the ndau ecosystem, within programmed and contractual boundaries. Other entities in the system include:

  • The Endowment managers. These managers invest the Endowment to achieve sufficient long-term capital generation and investment income to support ndau monetary policies.
  • Node operators. Straightforward ndau-powered proof of stake node operators.
  • The market maker. The market maker, who's contractually obligated to follow the instructions of the BPC.

Beyond these balancing mechanisms, ndau also supports elements like basic contract functionality to give the currency more usefulness, and other blockchain features.

juicy crypto words

Overall, ndau seems like it might more closely resemble a semi-decentralised private-ish central bank than a completely decentralised cryptocurrency, if there is such a thing. If all goes well, ndau might be an extraordinarily lucrative proposition for the governing council, the Endowment managers and the market makers, all of whom it's safe to assume will be handsomely incentivised.

A critic might dismiss it as a bunch of chaps who think they can do a better job than the federal reserve, but that might be overlooking the intended dual functions of ndau the cryptocurrency.

On the one hand, it's intended to be a spendable and useable currency with a relatively predictable value. On the other, it's intended to be a reliable long-term store of value with prices intended to move upwards at a reasonable rate more easily than they move downwards.

Assuming it all works as intended, this combination might leave ndau functionally closer to "the real Satoshi's vision" than any other project to date, as both "digital gold" and "electronic cash".

The odd part out of the original vision might be the Blockchain Policy Council, as a central power structure in the system. But it's also bound by democracy and programmed boundaries, which arguably leaves ndau more decentralised and less prone to interference than bitcoin.

The only thing that's for certain is that it will be interesting to track the coin's progress along the target price curve.

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Bloomberg: Morgan Stanley Plans Bitcoin Trading for Clients.

Bloomberg: Morgan Stanley Plans Bitcoin Trading for Clients.

U.S. banking giant Morgan Stanley is planning to offer clients Bitcoin trade swaps, anonymous sources told Bloomberg Thursday, September 13.

Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the publication reveals the U.S. multinational will follow in the footsteps of fellow Wall Street players in pursuing Bitcoin exposure options.

According to the sources, Morgan Stanley “will deal in contracts that give investors synthetic exposure to the performance of Bitcoin.”

“Investors will be able to go long or short using the so-called price return swaps, and Morgan Stanley will charge a spread for each transaction,” they added.

The news marks the latest commitment to Bitcoin interest from Wall Street giant, Goldman Sachs last week refuting claims it had dropped plans for a Bitcoin trading desk.

A Morgan Stanley spokesperson declined to comment to Bloomberg about the plans.

In addition to the unconfirmed Morgan plans, the past week has also seen banking giant Citigroup insiders hint it is planning an entry into Bitcoin trade products.

Like similar potential offerings from Morgan and Goldman, Citigroup’s clients would be able to gain exposure to Bitcoin markets without holding any of the cryptocurrency directly, in what is known as non-custodial trading.

Reactions to the apparent influx of institutional investors via non-custodial methods have been met with criticism from cryptocurrency figures, notably Nick Szabo and Andreas Antonopoulos

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Energy Giant Engie Backs 'Blockchain Studio' With $2.3 Million Funding.

French energy company Engie and business consulting group Maltem are launching a new blockchain development spinoff for commercial clients, the companies announced Friday.

Dubbed Blockchain Studio, the new venture will target clients in Asia and Southern Europe, Engie said in a press release. Its first product is a software suite that "accelerates and industrializes the implementation of blockchain projects."

"Most blockchain projects stagnate at the 'proof of concept' stage and this technology still remains the domain of experts and specialists," the company said in its release.

The tools will help in developing smart contracts, "making it accessible to users with no technical knowledge," as well as managing "the establishment of blockchain infrastructure accessible in the cloud or directly on the company's server."

The startup secured 1.9 million euros (roughly $2.3 million) in seed funding. The team now includes 10 people and is going to grow up to 25 by the end of 2019, Engie said. The company also plans to open a branch in Singapore sometime next year.

Last March, Engie joined a group of energy companies and Grid Singularity, a Vienna-based blockchain startup, in the Energy Web Foundation (EWF) aiming to foster blockchain projects in the energy sector for commercial deployment.

In July, Engie's corporate research center, Engie Lab CRIGEN, through its Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with The IOTA Foundation to explore test the possible use of blockchain in energy management, smart cities, smart buildings and mobility.…-million-funding/

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Manufacturing Giant Rostec to Manage Data on Waves Blockchain Platform.

Rostec, the Russian state-owned manufacturing conglomerate, is entering the blockchain fray.

The corporation, which holds stakes in 700 industrial entities in Russia, is working with the Waves platform to develop a blockchain system to manage data on its vast holdings, which include the carmakers Autovaz and Kamaz and the firearms manufacturer Kalashnikov.

Announced Thursday, Rostec has signed an agreement with Vostok, a startup founded by the Waves platform team. The two partners will invest a combined $2 million to bootstrap the project, but Rostec's share was not disclosed. Over the next month, the joint team will present a roadmap for the project.

The project will pave the way for the application of blockchain technology to Rostec's operations – specifically, for standardizing, collecting and analyzing data about the products manufactured under Rostec's supervision, which include both military and civilian goods.

The information coming from these disparate locations to Rostec's head office is not standardized and thus difficult to parse. Blockchain is expected to improve the organization and security of this data, some of which is sensitive military information.

Smart cities

The project will also seek to develop solutions for so-called smart cities, which leverage data to manage urban resources more efficiently. To that end, the project would facilitate the sharing of data via blockchain between federal and municipal government bodies and citizens.

Rostec has already been piloting smart city technology in several Russian cities designed to automatically regulate and adapt power consumption, traffic management, the work of street cameras with face recognition and other systems. These systems will be migrated to blockchain rails, a press representative of Rostec told CoinDesk.

For Waves, the deal is a high-profile partnership that offers the opportunity to reach major players in the Russian economy.

"Working together with Rostec, which is the main provider and driver for projects in digital economy, will not only get us access to the wide range of corporate and government clients but also will give us a strong impulse for the further development," Waves' and Vostok's CEO Sasha Ivanov said in a statement.

Rostec was created in 2007 as a state-funded corporation responsible for accelerating technological development in Russia and is chaired by Sergey Chemezov, one of the closest public officials to president Vladimir Putin.

Rostec was assigned a key role in Digital Economy,  the national development program designed by the Russian government to promote innovation in the country. In March 2017, blockchain technology was officially included in the program when prime minister Dmitry Medvedev issued an order to explore the possible use of the tech for managing Russian economic and governance practices.…ckchain-platform/

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Bitcoin Price Should Stabilize Near $5,000: Allianz Chief Economist.

It is not terribly common for a mainstream economist to say something good about bitcoin in the period of its downtrend, but Mohamad El-Erian once again made an exception.

Cryptocurrency’s Not Going Away

The Allianz chief economic advisor said in an interview that cryptocurrencies are not dead, though they may be overvalued. He specifically mentioned bitcoin as an asset whose buy value should be circa $5,000, a sentiment he had already shared in June. In his latest statements, El-Erian added that unnecessary speculations had led to the previous bullish action, causing an unwarranted buying frenzy.

He told Yahoo Finance:

“What we’re getting is the realization that adoption is not going to be as big and as quick as the proponents of crypto would like. I think it’s going to be there, it’s going to last for a long time, it’s going to play a role in the ecosystem, but it’s not going to be the currency that a lot of proponents would like it to be.”

The statement arrived at the time when the cryptocurrency market as a whole is undergoing a robust bearish correction. The industry’s capitalization has dropped by as much as 80 percent since its all-time high this year. All the top coins, including bitcoin (BTC), ripple (XRP), ethereum (ETH), and stellar (XLM), have contributed to the overall loss. All eyes are now on the bitcoin price’s yearly low around $5,800 — just $800 above El-Erian’s expectations.

Who Said What during Bitcoin’s Downtrend


Source: Shutterstock

Other notable financial experts have feared bitcoin’s downtrend is far from over and its value could even go lower than what El-Rian expects.

Luis Carranza, the founder of London Fintech Week, in June, had said that bitcoin could likely establish its bottom near $2,500 in 2018.

“$4,500 could be the bottom, but nothing is preventing $2,500 from being the bottom,” he had told Express UK.

Nouriel Roubini, the American economist and vociferous cryptocurrency skeptic who predicted the 2008’s stock market crash, has said that bitcoin’s value could eventually drop “all the way down to zero.” He even criticized ethereum smart contracts for being the tools that can only govern “kangaroo courts.”

Neil Welson, an analyst at ETX Capital, had said during the previous bottom formation that bitcoin will be derailed soon as soon as regulatory crunch appears closer.

“Selling pressure at the moment is intense as there has been nothing but bad news for bitcoin bulls of late. Trying to catch the falling knife is a risky game,” he told the Guardian.

At the same time, there are plenty of finance professionals that have come out in support of bitcoin’s short-term prospects.

Jürgen von Hagen of the Universität Bonn believes the success of any decentralized asset is proportional to the limitations of conventional currencies.

”Cryptocurrencies would become attractive if central bank issued currencies became very unstable. Their widespread use in the financial system would be a result, not a cause, of instability.”

Barry Silbert, founder, and CEO of Digital Currency Group, a venture capital firm, said after bitcoin established its bottom in June that the cryptocurrency could not go any lower.

“As an asset class, it is here to stay… I’m 100% confident a decentralized, non-fiat form of money is here to stay,” he said.

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Current Legal System Can’t Recognize Bitcoin, India’s Central Bank Tells Supreme Court.

The Reserve Bank on India (RBI) on Wednesday filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court to clarify its stand on cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.

The central bank reserved its views on the legality of cryptocurrencies in India, telling the apex court that the constitution has not defined any legal system for virtual currencies. Citing the provisions of The Coinage Act and The RBI Act, the affidavit explained that the existing legal frameworks neither recognize Bitcoin as currency nor money. Hence, they are not a valid payment system.

The Supreme Court of India is currently hearing a case between the RBI and Bitcoin exchanges. The court’s busy schedule has pushed the hearing date twice already; the next hearing is now scheduled for September 17, 2018.

FEMA, PSSA Roadblocks to Recognition

RBI has been facing a backlash from the Indian crypto-community ever since it ordered banks to discontinue their services with cryptocurrency exchanges. An RTI response after the blanket ban further revealed that the Indian apex bank didn’t research Bitcoin enough before dismissing it.

However, RBI said they could not be the one to term Bitcoin as legal or illegal. They are bound by statutory provisions –  the acts mentioned in the Constitution of India – that makes them take the necessary measures against the booming virtual currency industry.

“RBI cannot unilaterally decide for the Government, on the legality of Bitcoins,” the central bank said.

The RBI affidavit mentioned The Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) which allows them the authority to name instruments as valid currency. But the act itself is only valid for instruments with similar characteristics that of cheques, money orders, postal orders, etc.

“Thus, legally it may not be possible to notify Bitcoins as currency for FEMA…Since Bitcoins and other VCs are not in the physical form and neither expressed or drawn in Indian rupees, the definition of ‘Indian currency’ cannot be made applicable to Bitcoins,” the affidavit read.

RBI also noted that Bitcoin could not fall under the category of foreign money, as well, since they are not issued by any sovereign state. Also, the absence of any legal definition of virtual currencies puts it away from the purview of The Payment and Settlement System Act (PSSA).

What’s Next?

RBI in its one of its previous statements has supported cryptocurrency regulations in India. But there will be a need for a  concrete definition to begin the regulatory process. Currently, Bitcoin is undefinable due to its multifaceted characteristics. It can be used as money, a commodity and even stock. Some unconfirmed reports have hinted that Indian regulators would term Bitcoin as an asset of the commodity class.

Depending on the definition, the weight of making a regulatory framework will fall either upon the RBI, or the Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI). The latter has already organized cryptocurrency study tours to the Switzerland, the UK and Japan for its officials, hinting the security regulator might take on the burden of creating a new Bitcoin law.

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Crypto Crowdfunding Terrorists: Marketplace For Jihadist Crowdfunding Found on Dark Web.

As bizarre as it sounds, a marketplace for crowdfunding paramilitary mujahideen, those engaged in jihad, has been discovered on the dark web.

Accessible only through using the Tor browser, SadaqaCoins is very different from your average crowdfunding marketplace. Donors can send funds in the form of Bitcoin or Monero to help pay for 4×4 pickup trucks, .50 caliber bolt action rifles and ammunition, wind readers for sniping, silencers, and even combat training for aspiring jihadists.

CCN has written before on the subject of raising cryptocurrencies for Sadaqah, the act of alms-giving or charity. In this case, users can donate Bitcoin or Monero for a very different type of “Sadaqa.”

The Bitcoin wallet on the site is empty at the time of writing, and while the site states that no money has been raised so far through Monero or Bitcoin donations, the site is less than a month old at the time of writing.


The site mentions four ways to support the project – advertising to others, buying cryptocurrency to donate, mining crypto for donations, or a fourth method, “hustling” in which the site encourages readers to hack or coerce cryptocurrency from non-Muslims in keeping with the concept of Ghanima, the act of taking “war booty” from non-believers by force. The site quotes Imam Shafi’i as saying

“Ghanima is property that the Muslims seize from the disbelievers by means of overpowering them.”

SadaqaCoins was brought to light by open-source analyst Benjamin Strickland who wrote about it in late August a week after the site launched:


Prices on project ‘We Hunt’ range from $550 for a .50 cal silencer up to $8,800 for a 4×4 all-terrain pickup vehicle, with other products including Kestrel 4500NV weather reading equipment to provide snipers with wind speeds and other info, Nikon p900 cameras for reconnaissance, ammunition of various types and calibers, sniper scopes, and of course sniper rifles themselves for $4,400.

‘We Hunt’ isn’t the only crowdfunding page on the site. Another project posted today on September 13 is called ‘The Forgotten Sisters’ and claims to raise money to free five women imprisoned in Syria, listing their names and dates of imprisonment with a crowdfunding goal of $14,850 which is to be used for ransom.

A third project enables users to donate $220 to purchase livestock which will then be slaughtered in sacrificial prayer by the SadaqaCoins team on behalf of the donors for the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha (festival of sacrifice) where this is a common practice.

Is the site for real?

There’s certainly no conclusive proof that the site is genuinely funding paramilitary activity in the Middle East. The site has a contact page which only accepts encrypted email (CCN are still waiting on a response to comment requests at this time), but The Forgotten Sisters project, as well as the activity on the SadaqaCoins Twitter account, seems to suggest that the project is based in Syria.


The account follows Syrian investigative journalists as well as terrorism experts and watchdogs, and a user on Twitter commented that the livestock displayed on the account were marked in a way customary of Syrian farmers.

As Benjamin Strickland pointed out, the fact that project We Hunt has itemized and individual Bitcoin addresses for each individual weapon or product on the page also lends credence to the site.

Yes, it’s possible that it’s an elaborate scam. Between multiple blog posts, an FAQ page, an about page, and the various crowdfunding projects, many hours of work have been put into the site which sets it apart from the majority of online scams which are usually less sophisticated.

Indeed, apart from the outlandishly modern premise of crowdfunding anonymous cryptocurrencies to fund terrorist activity in the Middle East, there’s really nothing to indicate that the site isn’t exactly what it claims to be – a dark web marketplace for funding terrorists.

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The worst is still to come, says bitcoin analyst ... After a miserable few weeks, owners of Ether get some reprieve Thursday

Cryptocurrency prices were in recovery mode in early Thursday trade, with all major coins clawing back recent losses. However, the current state of play could be the calm before the storm, according to one crypto analyst.

Bitcoin BTCUSD, +2.45% the worlds No. 1 digital currency, has remained resilient in the face of the altcoin slump, not surrendering the key support at $6,000. A single bitcoin was last worth $6,429.83, up 1.9% since Wednesday at 5 p.m. Eastern Time on the Kraken exchange.

Still, the change in fortunes for digital-asset owners could be short-lived, says Jani Ziedins of CrackedMarket. “Bitcoin keeps slipping and is barely holding $6k support. Last week’s rebound to $7.4k is dead and gave us another lower-high since we failed to match the previous $8.4k bounce. Lower-highs tells us the next lower-low is just around the corner,” he wrote in a recent blog post., noting that the limited magnitude of the bounces and suggesting that a breach of critical support prices could be imminent.

“The trend is most definitely lower. but each bounce is still a selling opportunity. The worst is still ahead of us,” Ziedins wrote.

Read: Opinion: Your crypto ‘stable coin’ isn’t tethered to anything

Ether claws back 5%

Ether ETHUSD, +8.66% which had lost almost 90% of its value from top-to-bottom has found some much-needed demand Thursday, trading higher by 5.8% to $192.57. It has been a torrid period for the second-largest digital currency, which had recorded eight losing sessions in the previous 10 before Thursday.

Read: Traders are making record bets for digital currency Ether to fall

Other major altcoins are tracking higher Thursday as well. Bitcoin Cash BCHUSD, +4.29% was up 3.2% to $440.70, Litecoin LTCUSD, +3.46% was up 3.6% at $53.57 and Ripple’s XRP coin XRPUSD, +2.27% was last at 27 cents, up 1.5%.

Bitcoin futures are trending higher with spot prices. The Cboe Global Markets Group Inc.’s September contract XBTU8, +2.38% is up 2.2% at $6,425, and the comparable CME Group Inc. September contract BTCU8, +2.46% is at $6,440, up 2.4%.

Read: Bitcoin is flirting with a new low for the year after the SEC stopped trading on 2 funds

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Dead Cat Bounce? Ethereum Surges 9% amidst Crypto Market Recovery.

The crypto market has demonstrated a short-term corrective rally in the past 24 hours, after major assets like Ethereum showed strong oversold conditions. 

ETH, the native cryptocurrency of the Ethereum blockchain network, has been on an intensified downtrend since June, performing especially poorly against Bitcoin.…-market-recovery/ 

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5 Most Famous Crypto Personalities

Cryptocurrency has become such a phenomenon that the famous personalities of the crypto sphere are almost at par with the popularity of Hollywood stars. These cryptocurrency personalities, can influence thousands of decisions based on cryptocurrency, take the world in a technologically advanced economy, and help countless transactions become faster, safer and cheaper. There’s a lot these cryptocurrency lovers are up to – they live, breathe and sleep crypto!

There are several famous crypto personalities, and so we have divided the five into lists of people who have different strengths and are known for their different types of work. Here are 5 of the most famous crypto personalities in no particular order:

John McAfee (Crypto Influencer)

The genius who created the first anti-virus- McAfee Antivirus has shifted into a total crypto mode. His tweets are not only influential but entertaining as well. He’s known to be different and has already started a movement called ‘Declaration of the Freedom of Currency Independence’ to destroy fiat money around the world.

His tweets have been able to predict the movements of cryptocurrency in the future correctly. His latest prediction is Bitcoin reaching $500,000 by the end of the year 2020. He has also started creating waves with his ‘unhackable’ Bitfi Crypto Wallet.

Vitalik Buterin (Writer and Coder)

Buterin started off as a writer for Bitcoin, which led him to write and co-found the famous Bitcoin Magazine. As he was writing about Bitcoin-related topics, his unbelievable brain started unraveling Ethereum, thanks to his idea about a scripting language for application development being rejected by Bitcoin.

No, he’s not a robot, he’s an unbelievably smart individual who has achieved plenty at the age of 24 years old. His tweets are technical and rises debates with cryptocurrency developers around the world. It is no wonder his decisions make an impact, given Ethereum’s place in the cryptocurrency market placed ranked in at 2nd.

Roger Ver (Investor)

Cryptocurrency is not only about technological savvy entrepreneurs who know how to code; it requires hardcore business strategies too. Known in the world over as ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ he was one of the first investors in Bitcoin startups, and helped finance several projects such as and BitPay. He helped Bitcoin build up partnerships and gain a steady hold.

Today, he is the CEO of Bitcoin’s rival Bitcoin Cash, which makes him one of the most hated people in crypto. No doubt, his strengths could help stir Bitcoin Cash into becoming a cryptocurrency of the future. A quick learner, who knows his strategies well!

Changpeng Zhao (The Bright Newcomer and Crypto Exchange Founder)

Changpeng Zhao is known in the crypto world as ‘CZ.’ CZ’s net worth is close to $2 billion thanks to creating the world’s largest crypto exchange called Binance. The shocking part is Binance was only created last year, 2017 and has already attracted 6 million users, thanks to its exceptional handling of volumes and high security.

The plus point of the exchange was their native Binance token called BNB which rose from $0.10 to $13. His experience of studying computer science and building a system for matching trader orders on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and Bloomberg’s Tradebook for futures trading has led him to the path of cryptocurrency.

Satoshi Nakamoto (The one who started it all and the Godfather of Cryptocurrency)

The pseudonym that hides the person who created the whole cryptocurrency revolution. Satoshi Nakamoto’s real name still remains unknown. He is the pioneer of the world’s first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin and authored the whitepaper which brought in knowledge about digital payments.

It’s better he stays hidden, as in today’s value with the heights that Bitcoin has achieved, he could very well be the wealthiest person in the world. Any guesses who Satoshi could be?

Every day there are new cryptocurrency users and people who use their strengths to become the best in the cryptocurrency industry in their particular fields. With cryptocurrency being a new field altogether, if you know how to leverage your strengths whether they are technical, business-oriented or even in the arts form, you can succeed in the modern age cryptocurrency sector!

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SEC Suspends Bitcoin and Ethereum ETNs

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has suspended two Bitcoin and Ethereum exchange-traded notes (ETNs). The products are known as Bitcoin Tracker One (CXBTF) and
Ethereum Tracker One (CETHF). The suspension is immediate and will last until September 20th; or as noted later on.
SEC Suspends Crypto ETNs
The temporary suspension was
conducted pursuant to Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. According to this section, the SEC has the power to stop the activities of any security if it considers there is an emergency. If the President of the United States considers that the suspension should be longer, it could be extended for a period of 90 calendar days.
As per the statement released by the SEC, the decision to suspend trading in both ETNs is because of ‘confusion amongst market participant regarding these instruments.’
These instruments gave investors the possibility to enter the cryptocurrency market. Additionally, in order to do so, they did not have to purchase the physical asset.
Both ETNs are regulated and listed in Sweden and traded on the Nasdaq Stockholm Exchange. ETNs are symbolics of debt that the issuer supports, allowing the owner to have exposure to the virtual currency market.
The Release No. 84063 released by the SEC reads as follows:
“The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities CXBTF and CETHF because of confusion amongst market participants regarding these instruments. This order was entered pursuant to Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act).”
Both, Bitcoin and Ethereum lost between 1.5% and 3% of their price respectively, right after the SEC announced this information.
The real effect in the market of these products might be minimal by itself, but it follows a pattern of concern from U.S. regulatory agencies. However, it shows that the SEC is actively controlling the market and trying to create good financial practices.
Additionally, the SEC said that no broker or dealer should enter into a quotation if they do not have the provisions that are set in Rule 15c2-11 under the Exchange Act.
“If any broker or dealer enters any quotation which is in violation of the rule, the Commission will consider the need for prompt enforcement action,” stated the SEC.


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Softbank Completes Blockchain PoC for Cross-Carrier Mobile Payments.

Japanese telecoms giant Softbank Corp. has completed a blockchain proof-of-concept (PoC) that allows P2P mobile payments across different carriers.

Softbank said on Wednesday the technology was developed in partnership with blockchain startup TBCASoft, as well as Synchronoss, a Nasdaq-listed firm that delivered a SMS-replacement communications protocol called Rich Communication Service (RCS) in Japan.

Based on the announcement, the partners jointly created the blockchain-based PoC, which notably integrates RCS with a distributed network deployed across participating carriers.…-mobile-payments/

The system is intended to be deployed among mobile carriers in an effort to replace the traditional SMS text messging system with a richer pool of features, such as sending multimedia content, documents and voices calls via carrier networks instead of mobile apps.

Softbank further explained that, with a distribute network as a underlying technology, users can send funds stored in their wallets within the RCS system from one carrier to another in a peer-to-peer fashion – which would be especially useful when traveling abroad.

Softbank Corp. vice president Takeshi Fukuizumi commented in the announcement:

"This RCS and blockchain based mobile payments PoC demonstrates the value operator-led services can deliver. Not only do we foresee our new mobile payment service empowering merchants to operate digitally, and at a scale that was previously only available to big brands, but it will also give our customers more flexibility when it comes to their purchasing and traveling habits."

The effort comes a year after Softbank, TBCASoft and several global major carriers formed a Carrier Blockchain Study Group with the goal of developing a cross-carrier blockchain payments service. Others joining the consortium at the time included U.S.-based carrier Sprint and FarEasTone, one of largest operators in Taiwan.

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