All Threads

Tencent and Huawei-led Chinese Consortium to Launch Coinless Blockchain

The Financial Blockchain Shenzhen Consortium (FISCO) has announced the launch of FISCO BCOS, a revolutionary coinless blockchain platform designed to meet the regulatory and operational requirements of the financial industry. FISCO, which is one of China’s largest blockchain consortiums has more than 100 members including WeBank, and tech giants Tencent  and Huawei.


 FISCO BCOS Technical Details

Built by a FISCO Taskforce Team that includes Tencent Cloud, WeBank and Shenzhen Securities Communication, BCOS is an open-source platform that combines the functionality of a permissionless blockchain with a coinless framework such as that used by Hyperledger Fabric and R3 Corda.


This framework, called an Open Consortium Chain was pioneered by WeBank, and its purpose is not to serve as a single blockchain platform, but instead to become an entire blockchain ecosystem in its own right, made up of a number of blockchain applications aimed to solve specific problems.

The platform was designed for the express purpose of meeting the peculiarities of the financial industry in terms of regulatory requirements and operating demands. It gets around the problems commonly associated with blockchains such as long delays and low concurrency by using a unique platform design framework that it claims vastly improves transaction handling capacity.


BCOS claims that a single chain can handle more than 1000 transactions per second with split second confirmation, which is key to the operational demands of a large financial institution. It also claims that through the use of upgraded architecture and localized optimisation to a single chain, it makes safe and efficient concurrent computation and parallel expansion possible. This enables developers to seamlessly add more servers as required in line with business capacity requirements.


Regulatory Tie-in and Use Cases

According to FISCO, BCOS incorporates observatory nodes that enable regulators and auditors to access live, real-time data. It also provides a selection of development interfaces to help developers write smart contracts easily and effectively. From launch, BCOS use cases have been developed across a wide range of applications including copyrights, arbitration, recruiting and finance.


FISCO also says that BCOS has already helped along a number of projects and ideas including Open Chain Ecosystems, cross-consortium collaborations and Distributed Business Models. Its open source nature has also enabled public members to leverage BCOS in launching applications across tourism, gaming, finance, supply chain, recruitment and copyright transactions among other fields.

According to the announcement, BCOs will be officially unveiled at the Singapore Fintech Festival between November 12 and November 14.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 214
  • 0

No Point of a Central Bank Digital Currency in Australia: Assistant Governor

Australia is not likely to see a central bank digital currency (CBDC) any time soon as the country’s reserve bank is of the view that the existing system ‘works well’.


Speaking at this year’s Swift International Banking Operations Seminar (SIBOS) currently underway in Sydney, the assistant governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Michelle Bullock, said that the apex bank has yet to find a convincing reason to create a digital version of the Australian dollar.

According to the Financial Review, Bullock also added that the RBA is not interested in having a digitized version of the Australian dollar for domestic use since the system already works well and users don’t really need access to direct settlement in order for them to carry out transactions.


Burden of Proof

However, Bullock, pointed out that central bank digital currencies could play some limited specific roles though the fintech sector would bear the burden of proving the advantages of the new tech over existing systems.


“We do have more of an open mind on the issue of wholesale and whether or not central bank digital currencies should play a role in assisting with perhaps supply chains, cross border …” said Bullock. “But it remains for industry to demonstrate to us really why what we have got available in terms of payments systems, including those still coming on board, can’t actually deliver that already.”

Though untested, one of the touted benefits of CBDCs for central banks is that the technology would allow reserve banks to run negative interest rates and thereby overcome the monetary policy problem known as the zero lower bound. This is a problem experienced when interest rates are at or near zero thereby diminishing the capacity of the central banks to stimulate economic growth as a result of the resulting liquidity trap.


Flight to Safety

However, even though CBDCs could solve this problem, at least in theory, they may also complicate the management of monetary policy and liquidity for central banks in times of crises such as a bank run, per Bullock. This is because depositors would flock to a CBDC as they flee commercial banks seeking a ‘safe haven’.


“That would take liquidity out of the system and centre it in the central bank,” said Bullock. That might make the management of liquidity and monetary policy more difficult in those circumstances.”

RBA’s stance on CBDCs stands in contrast to several central banks spread across the globe which are exploring the idea of digitized versions of their national currencies. As previously reported by CCN, this includes Thailand under an initiative known as ‘Project Inthanon’. Others are Norway and Sweden, two Scandinavian countries which are currently grappling with a problem of low cash usage levels. The Bahamas and Canada are also exploring CBDCs.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 207
  • 0

Breaking: Japan Approves Self-Regulation for Cryptocurrency Industry

Japan’s primary financial regulator has formally granted the cryptocurrency industry with a self-regulatory status by allowing an industry body to police domestic exchanges.


The Financial Services Agency (FSA) on Wednesday approved the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA), a body comprised of all 16 licensed domestic cryptocurrency exchanges, to become a ‘certified fund settlement business association.’

In doing so, the regulator has bestowed the industry body with the means to create guidelines for domestic exchanges including strict measures to curb insider trading and money laundering while implementing security standards to safeguard customer assets.


As reported previously in April, the JVCEA was a marked effort among Japan’s licensed exchanges to launch a self-regulatory body for an industry reeling in the aftermath of a $530 million theft of cryptocurrency from Tokyo-based exchange Coincheck.


In August, the industry association formally submitted an application with the FSA to gain recognition. A rigorous two-month review ensued wherein the regulator sought to “carefully examine the affairs of the Association and investigate whether proper group management can be expected.”


The industry association confirmed its accreditation in a statement on its website today, stressing it has “enforced self-regulation rules on the same date.”


It added:


“With the acquisition of the accreditation, we will continue to make further efforts to create an industry that you can trust from everyone who uses virtual currency with members [exchanges].”


The FSA’s approval comes at a time when Japanese authorities are reviewing their own regulatory approach toward the industry in the aftermath of two seismic crypto thefts this year. After the infamous Coincheck theft in January, licensed cryptocurrency exchange Zaif was hacked for nearly $60 million in bitcoin, bitcoin cash and monacoin in September.


The JVCEA has reportedly drawn up a 100-page self-regulatory draft with rules including a proposal a complete ban on insider trading and privacy coins like Monero and Dash from licensed exchanges. The association has also proposed a 4-to-1 limit on margin trading with cryptocurrencies, restricting the amount of funds investors can borrow on their original deposit.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 185
  • 0

Unocoin Rolls Back First Crypto ATM in India Amidst Controversy

Indian cryptocurrency trading platform Unocoin has found itself amidst heated controversy over the launch of its first cryptocurrency kiosk in Bengaluru. While the existence of the machine had already been  leaked prior, the company officially unveiled it roughly ten days ago, on October 14. This is the first time that a physical machine has aided the purchase and sale of cryptocurrency in India.


Unlike other Bitcoin ATMs installed around the world, the kiosk is only accessible by users that have previously registered with Unocoin’s trading platform. As long as that requirement is satisfied, users can use the machine to deposit or withdraw a minimum of 1,000 Indian Rupees (INR) per transaction. In the case of cash deposits, these funds can be used to trade or purchase digital currencies on Unocoin or the company’s crypto to crypto trading platform, Unodax.


Crypto Kiosk or Bitcoin ATM

Shortly after the kiosk went live, however, questions regarding the machine’s legality began pouring in from local publications and social media. Most of the concerns had some merit, given the Indian financial regulator’s strict stance on cash handling, ATM establishment and cryptocurrency trading. However, other rumors were vaguer and alleged that the machine was being investigated by the Indian cyber cell division.


The sudden influx of criticism naturally did not go unnoticed by the company. A Twitter statement published October 21 read:


“Our Machine didn’t go well with few mainstream media reports who projected it under a negative light. The machine is still under final testing mode and it will be up and running in the upcoming week.”


Following this, the company proceeded to move the machine to an undisclosed location, presumably to avoid further backlash in the interim.


We reached out to Unocoin CEO Mr. Sathvik Vishwanath to understand the company’s position on the matter and how it has managed to stay within the confines of the law. He responded that the machine has been intentionally designed to not function as a typical automated teller machine (ATM). He instead believes that the term ‘kiosk’ would be better suited for Unocoin’s installation. According to Vishwanath, the distinction allows the machine to fall outside the scope of the banking network and by extension, the regulation on ATMs.

Vishwanath chose to not comment on the rumors, asserting that they were unsubstantiated and were not grounded in reality. When asked about plans for expansion in other parts of the country, he said that Unocoin will look into adding more kiosks in Mumbai and Delhi in due time.


The Revival of Crypto Trading in India

Digital currency trading was effectively dealt a huge blow earlier this year by the Indian central bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI). After issuing several cautionary circulars  between 2013 and 2017, the regulator directed all financial institutions operating in the country to cease relationships with cryptocurrency companies within a three month time frame. Since the ban came into effect on July 6, Indian cryptocurrency exchanges have not had access to banking services or a way to process crypto-fiat transactions.


Unocoin was one of the several cryptocurrency exchanges affected by the ban. Shortly before the regulation was fully imposed, however, it announced the launch of Unodax, a crypto-crypto trading platform that eliminates the need for fiat currency. However, other exchanges decided to introduce peer to peer trading to continue providing fiat liquidity. Structured similarly to LocalBitcoins, both WazirX and Koinex Loop offer users the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrency directly from each other. Notably, both platforms require their respective users to complete KYC verification.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 252
  • 0

Taiwan is Preparing ICO Regulations, Securities Regulator Chairman Reveals

Investing in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in Taiwan could soon be as easy as putting money in stocks.


This is according to the chairman of Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), Wellington Koo, who has said that regulations for governing ICOs are currently being drafted with a view of simplifying the process for investors as well as making tokens just as liquid as stocks.

Speaking during a finance committee meeting of the country’s legislature, Koo also revealed that the draft copy of the regulations will be ready by mid next year, according to the Taipei Times. This was after a legislator, William Tseng, asked whether the Taiwanese government was planning on regulating ICOs.


Alarming Levels of Fraud

Tseng was prompted by a report that was released earlier in the year by Satis Group, an ICO advisory firm, which claimed that 81% of ICOs had turned out to be scams.



The planned ICO regulations will, however, not apply to all tokens. Notably, the Financial Supervisory Commission will spare utility tokens as it has no intention of regulating them.


“…tokens exchanged for goods, such as those used in accruing points at convenience stores or mileage points accepted by airlines, would not be covered by the standards,” wrote the Taipei Times.

According to Koo, this is to prevent enacting legislation that would discourage innovation in the nascent sector.


“The commission has no intention of curbing the creativity and productivity associated with cryptocurrencies if they are not used as securities,” said Koo.


Pro-Crypto Stance

During his tenure as the chairman of the FSC, Koo has mostly been supportive of the cryptocurrency sector. A year ago, for instance, the FSC chairman told the Taiwanese parliament that he would not place outright bans on crypto-related activity in the country like had been the case in other countries in the region such as China and South Korea. At the time Koo indicated that he preferred having an enabling environment that would boost the development and adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in Taiwan.


As CCN reported then, Koo’s position was similar to that of Taiwanese legislator Jason Hsu, who had called on the government to follow a different path to that of China and South Korea.

“Just because China and South Korea are banning, doesn’t mean that Taiwan should follow suit – there is a huge opportunity for growth in the future. We should emulate Japan, where they treat cryptocurrency as a highly regulated, highly monitored industry like securities,” a Taiwanese publication quoted Hsu as saying at the time.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 186
  • 0

Twitter Locked Elon Musk’s Account after ‘Buy Bitcoin’ Tweet

Twitter took the unusual step of locking Elon Musk’s account yesterday after the billionaire Space X and Tesla founder posted a lighthearted tweet asking a follower if they would like to buy bitcoin. Revealing this in  a tweet posted earlier today, Musk said:



CCN reported yesterday that Musk made the tongue-in-cheek quip about offering bitcoin for sale in response to a question from a follower about whether Tesla accounts would soon begin utilising 2-factor authentication for added security. The joke was made in reference to the 2-factor authentication security protocol commonly deployed by crypto trading platforms like Coinbase and Circle, but Twitter apparently did not see the funny side of it. His account was temporarily locked on suspicion of being hacked while the platform investigated and eventually unlocked it.


Elon Musk and Twitter

Over the past few months, Musk has faced a series of controversies linked to his activity on Twitter. His declaration that he could take Tesla private for $420 a share which he made on Twitter ultimately landed him in trouble with the SEC, leading to a $20 million fine and an order to step aside as Tesla chairman for at least 3 years. He also famously got into a war of words with a diver involved in the Thai cave rescue, describing him as a paedophile – an action that led to legal action on the part of the diver.


Earlier in October, following the settlement of his case with the SEC, Musk also took a dig at the agency, describing it as the “Shortseller Enrichment Commission”.



A number of people, ranging from  Tesla investors to fellow billionaire  Richard Branson have publicly urged Musk to stop tweeting, believing that his sometimes erratic behaviour on the platform could have a significantly negative investment impact on them. Indeed, it is estimated that his tweet that originally drew the SEC’s attention ultimately led a Tesla share price loss of more than 10 percent in the space of just one day. His followers however generally like engaging with him on the platform and he currently has more than 20 million mostly millennial  followers, making him one of the most influential tech personalities on social media.


Against this backdrop, Twitter is understandably keen to avoid having his account being used as a megaphone by cybercriminals promoting shady investments or crypto giveaway scams. CCN reported in May that the Vertcoin ICO’s twitter account was successfully hijacked by criminals promoting a fraudulent crypto giveaway scheme, and since then several celebrities have been targeted either by hijackers or by botnets using account cloning techniques.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 233
  • 0

China’s Largest Newspaper Group to Launch Blockchain Laboratory

People Capital, the venture capital arm of People’s Daily Online — the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party — has signed an agreement with Xunlei Limited to use the blockchain technology for innovation and to empower the Chinese economy and the world at large. The alliance between the companies is part of a global partnership agreement signed earlier this year at the China-US Entrepreneur and Investment Summit, hosted by People’s Daily Online in the United States.


People’s Daily Online is the online version of China’s largest newspaper, The People’s Daily, through which the Communist Party distributes its unfiltered views on contemporary events.

Also known as the “BitTorrent of China,” blockchain infrastructure provider Xunlei Limited started as a cloud computing company before pivoting to the blockchain technology industry. The company launched a distributed file system called The ThunderChain File System (TCFS) and ThunderChain Open Platform in July as an underlying technology to support DLT platforms.



Source: Business Wire

Under the partnership, People Capital and Xunlei will build a blockchain laboratory which will be used to explore meaningful use cases for blockchain technology across various business sectors. In addition to the laboratory, the alliance will see the creation of a service platform for organizing offline fintech events, workshops, and competitions to share, identify, and promote innovation in DLT startups.


The laboratory will be under the purview of People Capital’s Blockchain Research Institute, which serves as a research platform focusing on distributed ledger technology. Speaking on the announcement, Xunlei CEO Lei Chen said the partnership highlights the company’s focus on research and development of blockchain-related technologies and the ecosystem as a whole. He also commented on the company’s ThunderChain, which it says would be developed further and launched on a mainnet.

The ThunderChain Open Platform is a decentralized file storage system, which Xunlei claims can process “over 1 million transactions per second and is embedded with strong scalability and stability.”


Last month, CCN reported on the launch of the world’s first blockchain identity laboratory called the Blockpass Identity Lab. Launched as part of a £600,000 collaboration between Hong Kong-based blockchain-based identity firm Blockpass IDN and the Edinburgh Napier University, the research facility will apply distributed ledger technology toward the protection of personal data.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 197
  • 0

Why HTC is Only Accepting Bitcoin and Ethereum for its First Blockchain Phone

Taiwanese consumer electronics giant HTC has officially launched its first blockchain phone, which will be sold exclusively in crypto.


Called Exodus 1, the blockchain mobile phone of HTC is available to consumers at a fixed price of 0.15 Bitcoin (ETC) and 4.78 Ethereum (ETH), nearing the price of the new iPhone XS that has a starting price of $999.

The Exodus 1 is sold at around $975 based on the current price of Bitcoin at $6,500. However, as the price of BTC rises, the price of the phone will also increase substantially. BTC was valued at $10,000 less than four months ago, and if BTC reaches the $10,000 resistance level in the months to come, the value of the Exodus 1 could surge to $1,500.


Why Pegged to BTC and ETH?

The primary feature of the Exodus 1 is its security. It has been developed to operate as a hardware cryptocurrency wallet, allowing users to safely store digital assets in the local wallet of the phone.


In July, Samsung, the largest electronics manufacturer in Asia, revealed that mobile phones are significantly more secure in processing cryptocurrency payments than alternative devices and platforms such as desktop and the web because of the existence of a trusted ecosystem called the Trusted Execution Environment (TEE).




With TEE in place, which operates as a separate execution environment with its own memory and storage, it is not possible for hackers to breach into protected information stored within the TEE ecosystem in the event of a hacking attack or a security breach.


“This is why smartphones have an edge over laptops and desktops for cryptocurrency wallets: without the benefits of the hardware-based TEE, the keys are more vulnerable. There is a significant caveat: a naïve wallet developer might choose to simply store the keys on the normal internal storage of the phone, in which case there’s little additional protection from using the smartphone platform,” Joel Snyder, a senior IT consultant at Samsung Insights, explained.

Exodus 1 of HTC leverages this ecosystem along with several other security features in a mobile phone to create a secure environment for cryptocurrency users.


In regards to the decision of the company to sell the device exclusively in crypto with price pegged to BTC and ETH, Phil Chen, head of HTC’s blockchain initiative,  told Hong Kong-based mainstream publication SCMP said that the company only intends to sell the device to the core audience that is the global blockchain community.


“Selling it in crypto only and being the first to do so means we are bringing this directly to the core audience and those who will want this device – the blockchain community. It reflects our belief in cryptocurrencies – in fact we had to recreate and overcome many processes internally, as well as find new distributors, so that we can achieve the goal of only accepting cryptocurrencies as the form of payment.”


Price Change

In the months to come, if the price of BTC and ETH rise or decline by a large margin, HTC is expected to adjust the price of its mobile phone to maintain a realistic price tag which its consumer base can afford.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 206
  • 0

Mark Cuban-Backed ICO Receives eSports Crypto Betting License

Unikrn, an esports company that raised over $15 million in its ICO pre-sale last year, has obtained a betting license in the Isle of Man, which is a key step on the way to rolling out its cryptocurrency betting service around the world.


In October 2017, CCN reported that the startup raised $15 million from accredited investors including Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Elisabeth Murdoch, Guy O’Seary, Shari Redstone, Binary, Hyperspeed, Indicator Ventures, and Tabcorp, en route to a $32 million token sale,  according to TokenData.

When the platform launches, users will be able to place bets on esports events, teams, and players. They will also be able to bet on their own performance in popular esports games like Fortnite, League of Legends and Dota 2.


Unikoin Gold and Unikrn Jet


Source: Shutterstock

Using infrastructure provided by Bittrex, users will be given the ability to seamlessly take part in betting and gaming activities using cryptocurrencies on the platform. Unikrn’s native cryptocurrency, UnikoinGold (UKG) will be deployed on the platform to give users access to exclusive benefits, as it seeks to become recognised as the default esports wagering token in more than 20 countries including 80 percent of Europe and parts of Asia and Latin America.


Speaking about the user experience on Unikrn, Andrew Vouris, the firm’s COO, said:


“This is long in the making. You can bet in fiat, crypto, or both, to bet on live markets or pre match for twenty titles and dozens of games a day on titles such as League of Legends, Dota and Fortnite.”


According to information released by the company, Unikrn has developed a fully functional wagering backend called Unikrn Jet, which is built on blockchain technology  and can process over 9,000 bets per second. Unikrn Jet is already live for the platform’s play token economy and is ready for immediate deployment for regulated crypto and fiat betting.


Speaking about Unikrn Jet and Unikrn’s Isle of Man license, Unikrn co-founder and CEO Rahul Sood said:


“Unikrn built the most advanced wagering backend in the world, built by incorporating blockchain technologies, and we’re entering a segment of the global games market which exceeds $30 billion. Equally historic for esports, wagering and blockchain, we’re the first company on the planet to launch with a license including crypto and fiat betting from the Isle of Man, which is home to one of the most respected regulators for gambling.”


According to the company, live betting for esports and gaming competitions on the platform will be launched in October for both fiat and crypto customers. Using the transaction engine provided by Bittrex, users will also have a frictionless transaction experience when converting their fiat or crypto to UKG.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 213
  • 0

New York Gives Coinbase Green Light to Offer Regulated Crypto Custody

Coinbase has made yet another pioneering move in the regulatory morass that is cryptocurrency. The company today announced that its institutional wing, Coinbase Custody Trust Company, has received approval from New York State regulators to operate as an “independent Qualified Custodian.”


Coinbase May Operate as Qualified Custodian

A qualified custodian operates similarly to a bank, so much so that it is sometimes referred to as “custodian bank,” in that it is authorized to hold money for other people. In general, the purpose of a custodian is to minimize theft and/or loss of funds. Coinbase is among the first cryptocurrency firms to achieve this status, with BitGo having recently received approval from the South Dakota Division of Banking to operate as a qualified custodian as well.


Coinbase Custody Trust Company is legally a separate company from Coinbase. This means its funds and accounts will be organized separately from existing capital and funds held by Coinbase.

The move does not affect everyday users of Coinbase products, although larger holders may find they have new options and products available to them in the coming months. It remains to be seen if Coinbase will seek approval from other jurisdictions, such as the EU, for similar licensing. According to the New York Department of Financial Services announcement, the firm is also legally authorized to protect crypto assets.




According to Coinbase, this is an important addition for their clients, the vast majority of whom use the firm to be sure they are legally transacting in the cryptocurrency space. On their blog, the company wrote:


“For our customers, operating under a New York State Trust Company is more than just a new license?—?it’s an important piece of regulatory clarity that will allow us to compliantly store more assets and add new features like staking.”


The keyword here is compliance. While many in the Bitcoin community still take issue with the “Bitcoin bank” business model or the influx of traditional financial operators into the crypto space, plenty of newer converts and people interested in cryptocurrency have a much greater fear of government reprisal for the unregulated use of cryptocurrencies. The move also adds a degree of accountability to Coinbase in terms of holding a great deal of currency — with the new services they can offer larger clients they also now have a new range of penalties and investigative angles they are open to.


Cryptocurrency No Longer a Fringe Asset

Not so many years ago, to invest in Bitcoin was widely considered either foolhardy, overly idealistic, or downright outlandish. Today, however, there is no major financial firm nor entity which has not taken note of the plane-shifting asset class. The majority of them have active plans in place to deal with the new reality: blockchains are here to stay, and the tokens that power them are mighty valuable. Folks like veteran banker Jamie Dimon may continue to disparage cryptos while quietly strategizing to profit from them, but today’s smart money knows better than to believe his epithets.


Coinbase has, since its inception, understood what cypherpunks might prefer to minimize or ignore: Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have the best chance of survival when governments do not actively have them in their crosshairs. The establishment and licensure of Coinbase Custody is only the company’s latest move in line with this philosophical realism.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 224
  • 0

Norway Bitcoin Investor Murder: Suspect Arrested in France

Makaveli Lindén, the primary suspect in the gruesome murder of 24-year-old Norwegian bitcoin investor Heikki Bjørklund Paltto, is in police custody following a successful international manhunt.


Swedish news outlet Aftonbladet reports that Oslo police have confirmed that Lindén, 20, has been captured more than a week after he allegedly stabbed Paltto to death in the latter’s apartment in Oslo’s Majorstuen neighborhood.

Lindén, a foreign national residing in Uppsala, Sweden, had fled Norway following the murder, allegedly returning to his home city before leaving Sweden as well. According to local reports, the suspect was ultimately arrested in France, though Norwegian police have not yet confirmed this publicly.


Initially, the crime appeared connected to Paltto’s cryptocurrency investments, which had reportedly made him hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits. Sources within the local police department said that he had sold a large amount of bitcoin shortly before the murder, and other sources said that he may have been planning to use the funds — which he was keeping in his residence — to purchase an apartment.


However, Lindén’s alleged involvement in the incident has led police to believe that Paltto may have just been a random victim. The 20-year-old suspect, who had a long rap sheet related to theft and drug abuse convictions, is also alleged to have committed another robbery at knife-point not far from the murder scene.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 217
  • 0

Ripple Co-Founder Invests in New Cryptocurrency from Digital Currency Pioneer David Chaum

When historians set out to chronicle the development of cryptocurrency, one of the first chapters will profile DigiCash, the early digital currency startup which, decades before Bitcoin, almost fulfilled the dream of giving the internet a native currency. However, that project’s inventor, cryptography pioneer David Chaum, wants his name to appear in the book’s subsequent chapters as well.


Chaum, now 63, is launching a new cryptocurrency project called Elixxir, which he claims has achieved the holy grail of network decentralization, blockchain security, and transaction speed.

In a Wall Street Journal interview published earlier this year, Chaum alleged that the technological innovations in Elixxir are game changers for blockchain adoption. “These breakthroughs I’ve made change the whole game,” he told the publication. “We can actually meet the requirements to go to consumer scale.”



David Chaum | Source: Distributed/YouTube

Specifically, Elixxir implements an inversion of the traditional blockchain model, wherein transactions are aggregated into blocks and then processed by validating nodes. Chaum said that blocks will instead be produced prior to transaction batching, allowing the network to process payments quickly, even at scale.


It remains to be seen whether the production blockchain will meet Chaum’s lofty expectations while also achieving sufficient decentralization. In the meantime, Elixxir has announced that the project has received a strategic investment from Chris Larsen, the co-founder of blockchain startup Ripple and, by virtue of his Ripple equity and remaining XRP holdings, one of the wealthiest persons in cryptocurrency.

Commenting on the project, Larsen said that he was optimistic about Elixxir’s potential as a consumer-facing network. He said, “David Chaum has been a defender of privacy in the digital world for almost forty years. I am proud to be an early backer of Elixxir and look forward to seeing this consumer-facing blockchain open the door to secure use by millions of individuals in their daily lives.”


Also providing seed funding was H&D Company Pte Ltd., an investment firm based out of Singapore.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 179
  • 0

Overstock’s Blockchain Unit Invests $6 Million in Crypto Social Network ‘Minds’ Inc.’s blockchain subsidiary, Medici Ventures, made a $6 million Series A investment in Minds, an open-source, blockchain-based crypto social network. Under the partnership, Overstock founder and CEO Patrick M. Byrne joined Minds Inc.’s board of directors.


“There has been increasing excitement in recent years over the power of blockchain technology to liberate individuals and organizations,” Byrne said in statement. “Minds’ work employing blockchain technology as a social media application is the next great innovation.”




Minds launched in 2015 and boasts more than 1 million members. It’s a blockchain-based alternative to Facebook, Twitter, and the Google-owned YouTube that promises strict user privacy and unfettered free speech.


Minds recently unveiled its own crypto token on the Ethereum Mainnet as a way for users to boost their content. Users can also earn Minds tokens through active engagement on the platform.


Minds Takes On Facebook and Google

Bill Ottman, the founder and CEO of Minds, said he believes partnering with can advance their vision of a decentralized social network that will not censor free speech and provides enhanced user privacy — features that social-media monopoly Facebook has been accused of trampling.


Facebook recently came under fire from both liberal and conservative commentators after mass-purging accounts whose content it considered “offensive.”




In early-October 2018, Facebook mass-deleted  800 political pages and accounts, claiming they violated one of its secret rules.


Owners of the affected accounts called the purge thinly-veiled censorship and said Facebook’s policies were arbitrary and opaque.



Minds aims to be a decentralized social network free from censorship.

Around the same time, Facebook also started blocking links to Minds. Bill Ottman said his users will never face that problem, because Minds is totally transparent.


“Minds’ foundational principles — privacy, transparency, free speech — are essential,” Ottman told the  Daily Caller in August 2018. “All of our code is open-source, meaning anyone can look at it.”




In contrast, Ottman said Facebook lacks transparency because it selectively censors content and “shadow-bans” certain groups.


“The reality is that they (Facebook, Twitter, Google) are punishing certain pages, and we don’t know why because they won’t share their code,” he explained.


Ottman: Facebook and Google Censor Speech

Ottman said Minds is centered around a strict principle of free speech. “Censorship affects both the left and right, and Internet freedom benefits all,” he said.


In an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson, Ottman said Google arbitrarily banned Minds Inc. from its AdSense advertising platform. “It’s actually a symptom of a bigger problem of censorship,” he said.


Ottman said Minds is building its own ad network to compete with Google to take on what he considers the search-engine monopoly’s draconian policies.




Meanwhile, Overstock continues to be a trailblazer in its support of cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.


As CCN reported, Overstock was one of the first mainstream companies to accept bitcoin payments. The Internet retail juggernaut also has a venture capital arm devoted exclusively to blockchain investments.


One of Overstock’s blockchain subsidiaries — tZero — is now worth more than the entire company, after Chinese private equity firm GSR Capital invested $270 million to buy a 15 percent stake in the security token exchange operator at a $1.5 billion valuation.


Overstock’s blockchain investments now comprise a whopping 60 percent of the firm’s total value, according to D.A. Davidson analyst Tom Forte.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 199
  • 0

Tesla CEO Elon Musk Jokes About Bitcoin on Twitter With 23 Million Followers

In a lighthearted tweet, Elon Musk referenced Bitcoin in a tweet yesterday in response to a Twitter user.


He also tagged his girlfriend Grimes in the tweet, who is a successful Canadian singer and songwriter. Twitter momentarily locked the Tesla founder’s account, as well, believing that his account may have been compromised.



Context of Tweet

Twitter user @vicentes had responded to an Elon Musk tweet –  where Musk professed his love for anime – with a serious question regarding whether Tesla accounts would begin utilizing 2-factor authentication. Elon Musk saw the opportunity for a joke regarding cryptocurrency, considering that many cryptocurrency companies and exchanges such as Coinbase, Binance, and countless others, utilize 2-factor authentication for security purposes. The tweet also used Sailor Moon, the lead character from an extremely successful 1990s manga series that is still popular to this day, wearing clothes endorsing Bitcoin, in front of a Bitcoin logo. Grimes responded to the tweet, joking that she would “prefer that free ethereum u promised”.


The tweet went viral, garnering thousands of likes and retweets within hours, and leading many cryptocurrency enthusiasts to inquire about whether Tesla would be accepting certain cryptocurrencies, and others took the opportunity to advertise cryptocurrency projects that they believed in.

After the exchange, Elon Musk revealed that Twitter had actually  locked his account – which has over 20 million followers – over concerns that he had been hacked over his tweets.  He then responded to the user @vicentes in a more serious manner, elaborating “working on it”, with regards to 2-factor authentication.


Recent Controversies

Musk recently caused a tremendous amount of controversy on Twitter months ago when he tweeted that he could take Tesla private at $420 a share – which some believed was a humorous reference to marijuana. Many investors also believed that the tweet confirmed that the Tesla founder was far too focused on Tesla short-sellers. The company’s shares were affected dramatically after the SEC then sued Musk for securities fraud, falling over 10% in one day.


Musk’s recent lighthearted tweets might be the result of the fact that he was able to reach a settlement with the SEC. The settlement would not only involve a $20 million dollar fine, but would also force Musk to step aside as chairman of the company. Many were surprised at the fact that Musk was able to reach a resolution, considering that he had previously walked away from a deal that many considered much more favorable.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 172
  • 0

Breaking: Crypto Giants Coinbase and Circle Launch Digital Dollar ‘USDC’

Cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage giant Coinbase has provided a major stamp of approval to one of several recently launched USD-pegged cryptocurrency “stablecoins” seeking to supplant tether (USDT) as the leader in this burgeoning market niche.


The San Francisco-based Coinbase on Tuesday announced that beginning today, customers can buy, sell, send, and receive USD Coin, the cryptocurrency initially launched by fellow cryptocurrency unicorn Circle.

Coinbase customers throughout the world can send and receive the token, which is backed by physical dollars stored in company-controlled bank accounts, while U.S. customers — excluding those in New York — can buy and sell the token on USDC is not currently listed on Coinbase Pro — the firm’s order-book cryptocurrency exchange — though the company says it will be added to this platform “in the coming weeks.”


Commenting on its decision to support the USDC stablecoin, Coinbase said that fiat-based blockchain currencies could contribute to the development of “a more open financial system” and could further the adoption of decentralized applications (dApps):


“The advantage of a blockchain-based digital dollar like USDC is easier to program with, to send quickly, to use in dApps, and to store locally than traditional bank account-based dollars. That’s why we think of it as an important step towards a more open financial system.”


Coinbase also noted that stablecoins like USDC are ideal for business purposes and e-commerce applications, as payments denominated in these tokens can be made at any time of day without the inherent risks of price volatility associated with using bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as working capital.



Source: Coinbase/YouTube

At present, though, stablecoins are primarily used as a USD proxy in cryptocurrency trading. Collectively, fiat-pegged assets see more than $2 billion in daily trading volume, with the vast majority of those trades currently denominated in the controversial tether token.


In adding support for USDC, Coinbase joins Circle as a founding member of the CENTRE Consortium, which governs the development of issuance of USD Coin and other stablecoins that the consortium may develop in the future.

According to the announcement, Coinbase had already partnered with Circle to build the underlying technology behind USDC, which is structured as an ERC-20 token on the Ethereum network, though the full extent of Coinbase’s involvement had not previously been made public.


In launching USDC through a partnership with Coinbase, Jeremy Allaire, co-founder and CEO of Circle, emphasized the importance of creating an asset that has no single owner or issuer.


“Coinbase joining us to co-found CENTRE and launch USDC reinforces the value of a shared, standard, interoperable stablecoin. Like internet standards, USDC is now not owned by one single company, but distributed among network participants according to clear rules, regulations, and collectively-owned software,” he said. “When we began work on CENTRE and USDC last year, we envisioned collaborating with a consortium of industry leaders to set new standards for global value exchange and financial contracts. We’ve been thrilled to collaborate with Coinbase on CENTRE, and we look forward to welcoming more partners who share this vision.”

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 197
  • 0

Decred Jumps 34% after Politeia Announcement, Binance Listing

A couple of strong fundamentals has pushed Decred value up by 34 percent.




The DCR/USD rate on Tuesday touched new weekly highs at 50.97-fiat on Binance. The pair underwent a sharp bull run – more like a pump – as traders went on a buying-the-highs spree. It is now developing a range level between 47.27-fiat and 50.15-fiat to consolidate sideways before deciding on its further action.


Politeia ANN

The Decred team on October 15 announced that they are beginning to develop Politeia, a proposal system, on its mainnet. The major highlight of this proposal is the distribution of 570,000 DCR tokens – almost $27.5 million at the press time – among the project’s stakeholders. By doing so, each stakeholder gains the right to propose, discuss, collaborate on, and fund new projects, initiatives, and consensus change on Decred mainnet. It explains why the demand for DCR tokens has surged in the crypto market, leading to the said surge.


At the same time, Decred has opened itself to the wrath of wrong participants. The team acknowledged in its announcement that if stakeholders use Politeia unwisely, it can have severe consequences for the project’s development.

“It is important to understand that Politeia is a [potent] tool: it can enable all manner of positive developments for Decred, but if used unwisely, it can lead to a wide variety of problems,” read the caution.


Binance Listing

Decred has lagged so far behind the other, marketing-friendly blockchain projects. The team has been very modest with its spending structure, prioritizing development over other tasks, and spending as little as $2.8 million from its Treasury fund since its ICO’s closure.


The Politeia announcement, therefore, didn’t cause the uptrend immediately owing to lack of media coverages. The DCR/USD rate went up only after Binance, the world’s leading crypto-to-crypto exchange decided to add the cryptocurrency to its portfolio.

DCR trade volume picked speed right after the listing, hitting as much as $6 million on a jump from a meager $600k. The upsurge was collectively noted at Binance, Bittrex, Huobi, Upbit, and other crypto-exchanges.


Potential Reversal?

The DCR rally is impressive but also opens a floodgate of sellers willing to close their positions on stronger intraday profits. An overlong consolidation period between the range, as mentioned above, could excite bears. The crypto market has witnessed similar cases during the uptrends of coins like XRP, Tron and – even – Bitcoin.


Technically speaking, a further bull trend could be confirmed if DCR/USD attempts a breakout action above 50.15-fiat. Should it happen, a long position towards 52.55-fiat, August 4’s lower high, would be an ideal upside target. Unless, the medium-term sentiment for DCR, like every other cryptocurrency, remains bearish.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 211
  • 0

Bitcoin ETF Applicants to SEC: Stop Moving the Goal Posts, Eliminate ICO Double Standard

Earlier this month, representatives from options exchange CBOE, fund provider VanEck, and blockchain startup SolidX met with top Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) brass, and — unsurprisingly — the group’s pending bitcoin ETF application was at the top of the agenda.


Bitcoin Market Reaching Maturity

In the meeting, which was held on Oct. 9, VanEck and SolidX made their case to SEC Commissioner Elad L. Roisman that the agency, charged with supervising the country’s securities markets, should break from its historical stance and allow their bitcoin exchange-traded fund to begin trading on CBOE BZX, a regulated U.S. exchange.


The VanEck-SolidX-CBOE presentation, first uncovered by The Block’s Larry Cermak, depicts a concerted effort to demonstrate to Commissioner Roisman, a Trump appointee who assumed office in September and is viewed as a potentially-friendly voice to the cryptocurrency industry, that the product complies with securities regulations and has been structured to protect investors.

The presentation begins in March 2017, when the SEC rejected an application to list the SolidX Bitcoin Trust on a New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) venue. After reviewing the agency’s justification for disapproving the previous application, the group seeks to demonstrate that changes in both the underlying bitcoin market and the SolidX trust itself warrant an approval on the current application, which is still pending.



CME’s bitcoin futures venue has quietly grown into one of the world’s largest BTC/USD markets.

The past year has seen the cryptocurrency trading market evolve begin to institutionalize, with three Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)-regulated entities launching bitcoin derivatives in 2017 alone. Though volumes on these platforms were initially small, they have steadily grown throughout 2018, even as activity in the spot markets has taken a steep dive. Last quarter, for instance, CME reported that bitcoin futures trading on its platform rose 41 percent over the previous period.


The applicants further stated that the fund would price shares based on data from over-the-counter (OTC) trading desks, which are supervised by the CFTC, compliant with various AML/KYC/BSA regulations, and “not subject to manipulation in the absence of misconduct by the trading desks themselves.”

Moreover, addressing concerns that the product could be too risky for mom-and-pop investors, VanEck and Solidx structured this fund such that each share represents 25 BTC (~$162,000), pricing the average retail investor out of the market.


SEC Regulators are Moving the Goalposts

Despite this growth in regulated market infrastructure and alterations in the product itself, the applicants argued that regulators had established a moving target for bitcoin ETF approval.


In last March’s disapproval, for instance, the SEC justified its decision by stating that bitcoin is in “the relatively early stages of its development” but that the agency may approve cryptocurrency products in the future if a regulated market of “significant size” develops.

By all accounts, the cryptocurrency market has experienced enormous growth in the year-and-a-half since that decision was levied. Bitcoin, in particular, has made strides as a regulated financial instrument. However, the SEC has not provided an objective rubric for measuring whether those markets are of “significant size,” and the applicants expressed concern that this will allow the agency to change that subjective standard to justify future rejections arbitrarily.


“As issuers, we are concerned the SEC staff have created a moving target in their use of the word ‘significant,’” the group said in the presentation. “The Staff have never provided guidance as to what ‘significant’ means, enabling them to move the goal post indefinitely.”



Source: SEC

Finally, in a particularly biting section, the group indicted the SEC for suspending bitcoin ETF applicants in “regulatory limbo” while the amount of unregistered initial coin offerings  (ICOs) — many of which the SEC has maintained are illegal securities offerings — now numbers in the thousands and continues to grow on a daily basis.


When Will the SEC Approve a Bitcoin ETF?

While it remains unclear whether Roisman is amenable to arguments in favor of a bitcoin ETF, the agency already has at least one commissioner — Hester Peirce — who is on record in favor of making this type of investment product available through a regulated trading venue.


Even so, most analysts predict that, based on the wording of recent SEC crypto ETF disapprovals, the agency is unlikely to provide applicants with the green light to move forward with a bitcoin ETF listing until at least 2019.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 167
  • 0

Banker: Continuous Establishment of Regulation in Crypto Will Attract Institutions

According to Daniel Santos, a former Standard Chartered executive, one major catalyst that could reverse the current trend of the crypto market is the imposition of positive regulatory frameworks by leading digital asset economies.


Earlier this week, the world’s fourth largest asset manager Fidelity Investments introduced a cryptocurrency custodian solution.

The unforeseen decision of the firm to enter the cryptocurrency market provided two crucial hints regarding the mid-term growth of the market: there exists significant demand from institutions and regulators have acknowledged major digital assets as alternative stores of value.


Market Regulation Will Lead to More Institutions

As early as 2014, the cryptocurrency sector anticipated large institutional investors such as pensions, hedge funds, and endowments to allocate a small portion of their portfolios in the cryptocurrency asset class.


However, the lack of custodian solutions and institutional products have prevented institutions from investing in the market.

Santos emphasized that regulatory uncertainty in the market contributed to the skepticism towards the asset class from institutional investors, as investing in assets that could be considered as unregistered securities could lead to serious compliance-related issues with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


The SEC only clarified that Bitcoin and Ethereum are not considered as securities under existing regulations in mid-2018.


As such, Santos explained that continuous imposition of positive regulatory frameworks in the global cryptocurrency market could allow the asset class to attract an increasing number of institutions in the months to come.


“The most powerful force to reverse such negative sentiment would be market regulation. If the crypto market is ever to establish itself as a credible alternative asset class, it will need a set of rules that will weed out fraudulent activity and encourage stable growth, which should attract the deep pockets of institutional investors.”

Speaking to Bloomberg, Ripple Labs executive Ryan Zagone stated that the days of protecting cryptocurrencies as anonymous assets structured to circumvent regulations are over. He explained that regulation has to be established to facilitate the growth of the industry and the philosophy of dismissing the authorities and regulatory frameworks is immature.


“Regulation is, in fact, a betrayal of the origins of Bitcoin, which was built around anonymity and skirting government oversight. This philosophy is unrealistic and immature.”


One Major Regulatory Decision Left

The entrance of Fidelity, Goldman Sachs, and Citigroup into the cryptocurrency market as custodian service providers reflects the green light provided by the SEC and local financial authorities to open the cryptocurrency market to institutions and investment firms.


But, a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) is yet to be approved. Analysts expect the VanEck and Cboe ETFs to be approved by early 2019. Still, the approval of a Bitcoin ETF remains as a key regulatory decision for the SEC, which would recognize the global cryptocurrency exchange market as a solidified and established sector.


The SEC has clarified its stance towards the cryptocurrency exchange market and the Bitcoin futures market operated by CME Group, Cboe, and soon Bakkt; it firmly stated  that the two markets have insufficient liquidity to handle an ETF.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 210
  • 0

Square Open-Sources Bitcoin Cold Storage System

Square, the digital payments giant that last year rolled out bitcoin trading through Cash App, its peer-to-peer mobile finance service, has open-sourced the system that the firm uses to manage cold storage for these cryptocurrency assets.


Announced in a blog post penned by Square security engineer Alok Menghrajani, the company said that it chose to make the system open source to inspire further innovation in the cryptocurrency space and help companies in the fledgling industry fulfill their security needs.


Menghrajani wrote:


“We hope that by sharing our work, we can make it easier for others to fulfill their security needs, enabling even more innovation?—?and better protection for all players?—?in the cryptocurrency space. In the long run, since we had to solve problems that other companies may face, we are interested in standardizing some of our work.”


Dubbed “Subzero,” Square describes the solution as an “enterprise offline Bitcoin wallet” that is ideal for “those who don’t want to use an off-the-shelf hardware wallet because they need to create unique customizations or implement business-related rules.”


Subzero relies on a Hardware Security Module (HSM), which is programmed to run a custom bitcoin wallet implementation called Subzero Core and supports both Segregated Witness  (SegWit) and Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) Wallets. Menghrajani said that the development team leveraged cryptocurrency hardware wallet manufacturer Trezor’s open source projects “as much as possible.”




Menghrajani said that the benefit of using an HSM as opposed to an off-the-shelf wallet is the ability to create multiple security layers that tradeoff convenience based on the amount of funds stored in each layer. For example: to further secure its cold wallets, Square programmed the HSM so that bitcoins in cold storage could only be transferred to Square’s hot wallets, ensuring that attackers  would have to compromise multiple systems to steal funds.


Notably, Menghrajani said that the HSM was programmable, giving the firm the “flexibility to implement other protocols in the future,” if it so chooses. In the past, Square CEO Jack Dorsey had suggested that the firm intends to expand its bitcoin services beyond buying and selling, but the company had not announced plans to add any new cryptocurrency assets to its offerings.


Square also open-sourced a tool called Beancounter, which the firm uses to audit its bitcoin wallet balances. One particularly useful feature of this tool is the ability to compute balances at any given date in the past.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 192
  • 0

Aussie Blockchain Startup Wins Billionaire Branson’s Tech Challenge

Power Ledger, a blockchain startup based in Australia, won business magnate Sir Richard Branson’s Extreme Tech Challenge (XTC) 2018, as  reported by Australian news channel Nine News.


The challenge, whose previous finalists include Doctor on Demand and Vantage Robotics, aims to provide entrepreneurs with the right tools to help them build their tech products. Power Ledger received endorsements worth millions of dollars in a ceremony that took place at Branson’s Caribbean island this weekend.

Power Ledger was launched in 2016 and raised $34 million AUD in its ICO the following year with a mission to provide peer-to-peer electricity to people through the use of blockchain technology. Dave Martin, co-founder of Power Ledger, said that the success of their renewable project proves that people understand the importance as well as the potential of clean energy. Apart from the endorsements, Power Ledger will also receive mentorship from leading tech companies such as IBM and Amazon.


Even though the top 10 finalists for XTC were announced on January 2018, the judges took nine months to finalize the winning team. During this period, Power Ledger implemented its solution and launched three different applications. In August 2018, the company, in collaboration with electric power generation company BCPG, began testing power trading  in Bangkok’s T77 precinct. The trial allows residents to buy and sell excess renewable energy using blockchain technology.

“(On) both sides of the United States we’ve got energy trading occurring within utilities… and we’re working with Silicon Valley power and the city of Santa Clara to develop a carbon trading derivative platform,” said Martin. He added that it was an honor as well as a “massive endorsement” for the company to receive support from Branson.


Power Ledger to Launch Security Token

Earlier today, Power Ledger published a press release announcing its latest product: Asset Germination Event (AGE) token. The security token will be shared among retail investors who co-own renewable energy assets. This token will encourage people to invest in clean energy and share their profits on a decentralized network.


Power Ledger chose to target investors who have been previously denied the opportunity to take part in renewable projects. The tokens will be issued once the company acquires a grid-connected battery and a commercial solar panel. The funds collected after the distribution of energy from these assets will be paid to investors in the form of AGE tokens. The security token doesn’t have a launch date set, however, Power Ledger mentioned that the process is in its final stage.

  • 0 Paxex
  • 0
  • 201
  • 0