Bad news continues to fall at the door of crypto in general. But the question now is are we near to the bottom of the market? Or are further falls possible? Negative news continues but the support levels appear to holding between $7,000.00 and $9,000.00. Risks remain if BTC falls back below these lower levels, such as if serious regulatory news comes back again from any of the major crypto markets. Ideally, we might look for moves above $9500.00 for confirmation that current resistance is becoming new support around $9,500.00 to $10,000.00.
So is the current BTC price resistant to news of the worst type or will this prove to be news that tips price lower?
Now in order to report BTC issues its unfortunate but we must discuss the issue raised by German researchers who have uncovered hundreds of links to illegal content and child porn on the bitcoin blockchain. I had given some thought not to report this issue given its very nature. But, it’s an issue that must be faced however unpleasant because it affects the heart of the BTC blockchain itself, and in turn price. Also, this may have a major effect on future crypto prices in general or just BTC. I’ve therefore deceided it would be irresponsible of me not to report these issues. The major issue is now the mere possession of the BTC blockchain could potentially make mere possession of it illegal in many countries. This in effect implies that bitcoin miners, who possess the entire bitcoin blockchain in order to verify transactions, (now) have child pornography among other illegal content on their computer hard drives. According to the researchers, a review of all blockchain transactions at a time revealed a total of 1,600 files, which equates to 1.4% of the entire bitcoin blockchain, which (may) have content that does not in any way relate to the cryptocurrency. At least eight of these files contained inappropriate sexual content, one of them being believed to be a nude image of an underage female. Two files had several hundred links to child porn websites, a majority of them on the dark web. They also say that there could be other problematic content if any material on the bitcoin blockchain violates privacy and copyright laws. Transacting in the digital currency does not necessarily require an individual to have a copy of the bitcoin blockchain. But in the case of miners, who are integral for the blockchain to work, the report could have legal implications. This could prove to be very problematic. The issue is how to remove it given the nature of the blockchain itself, otherwise, the possession of the blockchain itself could be deemed illegal due to its digital content. A solution will or may need to be found.
Now the news continues to flow from the FB Data breach. I’ve continued to cover this story because it goes to the heart of a centralised or decentralised solution to data storage. It may have effects on data storage, access or content sharing once investigations are concluded. These may have ramifications for crypto at a later stage. In the UK the offices of Cambridge Analytica were raided later in the week once the Information Commissionaires Office (ICO) had obtained a warrant to search the company premises. The CEO had been suspended. In a statement, the company said: “The board of Cambridge Analytica has announced today that it has suspended CEO Alexander Nix with immediate effect pending a full, independent investigation. “In the view of the board, Mr Nix’s recent comments secretly recorded by Channel 4 and other allegations do not represent the values or operations of the firm and his suspension reflects the seriousness with which we view this violation.”
As Facebook deals with the fallout from the scandal involving misused data from 50 million user accounts, the social network said it’s getting outside help to investigate the matter. FB is getting outside help as it audits Cambridge Analytica, who say they have agreed to the audit by FB. The point which appears to have been lost is why are they employing this firm now? Surely if they regularly conducted external audits of Companys who regularly use their
data then this firm would be on a permanant retainer as this would be continuous ongoing work? The company on Monday said it’s hired the digital forensics firm Stroz Friedberg to conduct a comprehensive audit of Cambridge Analytica, a consultancy used by the Trump campaign that received the data from a third-party app developer.
Over the weekend, The New York Times and the Guardian reported that the data initially came from Cambridge professor Aleksandr Kogan, who created the app “thisisyourdigitallife,” a personality quiz that was billed as “a research app
used by psychologists”. Other issues are now been reported from FB users that FB even had data on call logs. Something which has disturbed a number of users. They’ve retained old/deleted contacts, advertisers with your contact info. Have you deleted your FB messenger history? If you’ve not manually deleted this then the info is still stored by FB. Remember the early “poked” FB tags? Still there. Ex-partner, Old relationships? Still there. Old phone numbers yes still all there. Your deletion wasn’t an actual deletion. But more a file save in a holding file! I don’t think this is the last of this story. I think there is a lot more to this story which we were not aware of. I think we might just be getting started on a whole new story about how data and data company’s have been interacting. Our data may have been used in ways which have been completely outside how anyone envisaged their permissions would be used.
Binance suffered from what it called “irresponsible Journalism” when it was reported the Japanese Authorities had warned Binance is trading without a licence for its exchange. Binance hit back saying it was in talks with the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). Reports were the Financial Services Agency (FSA) will file a criminal complaint if the exchange does not stop operating despite the planned warning, the person told Reuters. Binance appears upset that the FSA’s plan was first reported by Japan’s Nikkei business daily. Changpeng Zhao, chief executive of Binance, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges, tweeted that the company was in talks with the FSA. “We are in constructive dialogues with Japan FSA, and have not received any mandates,” he tweeted. “It does not make sense for JFSA to tell a newspaper before telling us, while we have an active dialogue going on with them.” Zhao could not immediately be reached for additional comment after. Japan last year made it mandatory for cryptocurrency exchanges to be registered, and the FSA last month issued a warning to Macau-based Blockchain Laboratory for operating without registration.
Following such giants as Facebook, Google and Twitter, Snapchat has officially announced its ban of ICO advertising on its platform. As it has been announced, Snap Inc. took a decision to ban advertising of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in the Snapchat app.
On Monday Bitcoin is trading at $8208.63 a coin. Bitcoin recorded a weekly gain of over 1% and closed the week at $8907.70 a coin on Friday, amid easing concerns over regulations after G20 ministers did not call for an immediate clampdown on the cryptocurrency markets. Bitcoin started trading on a stronger footing last week after news emerged that the G20 countries will not impose any new regulation in the crypto market. However, the cryptocurrency trimmed some of its gains towards the end of the week after Japan’s Financial Services Agency announced that it is planning to issue a warning against Hong Kong based, Binance, for operating in Japan without a license. Bucking the trend, Ripple prices fell 5.5% last week. Meanwhile, Chinese regulators, banks, and payment platforms are planning to carry out a trial of Ripple’s settlement solution, xCurrent, in an attempt to improve payment infrastructure and enable financial institutions to instantly settle cross-border payments with end-to-end tracking. Also, Ethereum registered a weekly decline of over 9%. At present, the total market value of all cryptocurrencies is $327.67B, with Bitcoin accounting for $143.55B. Bitcoin Opening Price $8208.63 Close $8907.70 High $9176.43 Low $8101.00
Japan, China, Korea, AUS
China’s Stock Exchange is planning to crack down on companies which are misleading investors by falsely associating themselves with blockchain technology. Chinese e-commerce giant, JD.com, has unveiled a new blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, which will provide blockchain tools for developing apps in areas such as supply chain data tracking, government taxation, fraud prevention in insurance and big data security.
Huawei, the world’s third-biggest mobile phone maker, is reportedly in talks with Sirin Labs to develop a smartphone that will be able to run blockchain applications. Switzerland-based Sirin Labs, the creator of an ultra-secure Solarin smartphone, is developing the first blockchain smartphone and all-in-one personal computer.
The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has stopped Black Cell Technology’s Initial Coin Offering (ICO) on the grounds that the offering constituted an unregistered Collective Investment Scheme (CIS), according to a SFC website bulletin posted on 19 March. Black Cell must now refund Hong Kong investors of their investments in the token, which would support a mobile app call “Krops,” a marketplace for listing agricultural products.
The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) released a warning to the public to take caution as scammers are issuing fake tax debts and demanding payment in cryptocurrencies. While the ATO issued a statement on 14 March, assistant commissioner Kath Anderson noted that scammers had defrauded taxpayers with this new payment method since late 2017. “So far we have seen over A$50,000 (approximately $39,000) paid in bitcoin to scammers claiming fake ATO tax debts.”. The ATO has, however, made it extremely clear that cryptocurrency is not a recognized method of payment.
Yi Gang, who was “unexpectedly” appointed to serve as new governor of the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) on 19 March, could soften the institution’s stance towards cryptocurrencies, given his previously reported positive views on Bitcoin (BTC). According to reports from Chinese media, Yi spoke about Bitcoin at the end of 2013, when he said that the major cryptocurrency cannot be legally recognized by the PBOC in the near future. At the same time, he recognized the transactional potential of Bitcoin, adding that, “ordinary people have the freedom to participate.”. In
contrast with the negative stance of PBOC’s deputy governor Pan Gongsheng in December 2017, who argued that Bitcoin “will die”, Yi stated at the time that Bitcoin is “inspiring”, and that it will remain a subject of public attention in the long term.
Komodo, the open-source blockchain technology group announced that its secure and universal decentralized exchange BarterDEX now covers 95% of all tokens in existence for atomic swaps. According to Komodo, BarterDEX developers had not yet planned to integrate support for Etomic Swaps.
AirAsia, the Malaysian budget airline, is looking to run an Initial Coin Offering (ICO). At the same time, AirAsia CEO Tony Fernandes just launched BigPay, the airline’s digital payment’s platform. AirAsia is exploring the possibility of organizing an ICO to raise money through their own digital token. To that end, airline CEO Fernandes told TechCrunch: “We have a product that can be a currency in Big Loyalty, [and] we’re building a payment platform so the two can marry quite nicely,” Fernandes said. AirAsia’s plan to enter the blockchain space underlies how several other aviation industry participants have espoused endorsements of blockchain technology in recent weeks.
South Korea continues to make headlines in the cryptocurrency world as authorities raided and confiscated property from three cryptocurrency exchanges following a January investigation. Last month, legal authorities in Seoul raided three cryptocurrency exchanges. The raids followed a government investigation in January, which concluded that a certain amount of customer’s assets had been illegally transferred to exchange managers’ private bank accounts. The news comes as South Korea continues to make cryptocurrency headlines, and the country itself remains one of the largest players in the cryptocurrency market.
Coincheck, the Japanese exchange that lost $550M worth of NEM to hackers, will stop dealing with Monero, Dash and Zcash. Half of the NEM coins stolen in the hack may have been converted already on the darknet, a cybersecurity expert claims. The Japanese exchange Coincheck, which is trying to recover from one of the worst hacks in crypto history, is expected to stop handling three cryptocurrencies providing high levels of anonymity, the Japan Times reported. Coincheck now recognizes the high risk posed by these coins when used in money-laundering transactions, unnamed sources said.
The largest Indonesia Digital Asset Exchange is known as INDODAX which deals with the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin, ether, and litecoin is poised to overtake its country’s century-old stock exchange. According to its Chief Executive Officer Oscar Darmanwan, INDODAX will have more than 1.5 million users trading digital currencies before the year’s over. In contrast to Indonesia Stock Exchange, which offers stocks, futures, and exchange-traded funds and just has 1.18 million enlisted members, based on data from the Indonesia Central Securities Depository.
On 17 March, the Mt Gox bankruptcy trustee Nobuaki Kobayashi revealed some critical information about how he’s been selling the BTC and BCH he has in his possession. According to Kobayashi he has been consulting cryptocurrency experts and selling in a manner that would avoid affecting the market price. “I sold BTC and BCH from December 2017 to February 2018,” explains Kobayashi in response to questions about the sale. According to the trustee, he consulted “cryptocurrency experts” during the BCH and BTC sales, and he did not use the traditional method
of using a digital asset exchange. “Following consultation with cryptocurrency experts, I sold BTC and BCH, not by an ordinary sale through the BTC/BCH exchange, but in a manner that would avoid affecting the market price, while ensuring the security of the transaction to the extent possible,” Kobayashi details. A private sale?
Cryptocurrencies don’t pose a risk to the UK economy and any regulation of the sector will be “proportionate,” according to Britain’s City minister John Glen. British Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a new cryptocurrency “task force” on Thursday, featuring representatives from the Treasury, the Bank of England, and the Financial Conduct Authority, the UK’s regulator. Stressing the opportunities, he added: “Regulation could be an enabler of a stable, flourishing cryptocurrency exchange in the City of London”.
Brick-and-mortar stores will soon have a tool at their disposal to accept Bitcoin Cash payments. A group of developers out of the UK as created a point-of-sale (POS) server, the Mini-POS, which will facilitate 0-confirmation BCH transactions right in the store. The Mini-POS server allows for any smart device, such as an Android phone or tablet or an iPhone or iPad, to be connected to it to run the software. The merchant enters the amount to be charged into the terminal, and the server looks up the exchange rates in real time.
A Dutch court has ruled in favour of a petitioner who was owed 0.591 BTC by a private company. The petition was filed in a Dutch court by Mr. JW de Vries on 2 February 2018 against Koinz Trading BV, a private company, who was earlier ordered by a lower court to pay the mining proceeds of 0.591 BTC owed to the petitioner or risk paying a fine of 10,000 Euros. Following the failure of the company to pay the required amount in BTC, the court has now ordered that either the company pays up or be declared bankrupt!. The court judgment states that Bitcoin shows all the characteristics of a property right, and therefore a claim to transfer BTC under property rights is valid: Bitcoin exists, according to the court, from a unique, digitally encrypted series of numbers and letters stored on the hard drive of the right-holder’s computer.
French financial markets regulator AMF (l’Autorité des marchés financiers) is reportedly preparing to introduce legislation on Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) to encourage the development of the new type of fundraising in the country, reports local news outlet Les Echos on 15 March. The French Ministry for the Economy and Finance confirmed that the regulatory framework proposed by the AMF would recognize ICOs as a legitimate means of investment.
The MoonLite Project, which aims to dominate the cryptocurrency mining industry through the creation and operation of multiple industrial-scale data centres powered completely by green energy, has secured both power and distribution in a highly-competitive region of Iceland. The MoonLite Project is based in the Keflavik — an area of Iceland which already houses a number of prominent data centres and is conveniently located near the main international airport.
Speaking to Bloomberg, the EU Commission Vice-President Valois Dombrovskis said Brussels was concerned about the risks surrounding bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies exchanges and called on member states to transpose of the new European directive which seeks to include cryptocurrency exchanges in the bloc’s anti-money laundering legal framework. Mr Dombrovskis admitted the EU Commission did not consider the cryptocurrency phenomena to be a risk to the financial stability of the bloc, but that concerns about consumers protection were enough to spark some fears. He said: “Last week we had a roundtable on cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings to discuss what is the potential EU response to this phenomenon and some of the things which are emerging from it. “Europe is less than 5 percent of the total cryptocurrency trading.
In a surprise move, The G20 group’s financial regulator the Financial Stability Board (FSB) has rejected member countries’ requests for tighter controls on cryptocurrency trading, for now. FSB president Mark Carney said in a letter to finance ministers that “currently, these crypto-assets do not pose a risk to global financial security”. Its member countries and other international financial bodies, including the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), have spent the past few months leading up to the meeting warning of the risks new digital assets pose, and calling for stricter regulation. Were that share to grow into something more significant, it’s plausible the FSB would use its greater knowledge of cryptocurrency, blockchain and digital asset technology to control their use.
Bladetec, a British IT hardware supplier, has recently revealed plans to build a Bitcoin (BTC) farm in the South East of United Kingdom, The Sunday Telegraph reported on 17 March. The project dubbed the Third Bladetec Bitcoin Mining Company Ltd (TBBMC) aims to raise £10M or roughly $13.9M from investors to build and operate the farm over the next two to three years.
The Bank of Lithuania is inviting proposals from software developers from Lithuania and around the world for the development of the bank’s blockchain platform, LBChain. The central bank has issued a call for tenders to develop the LBChain platform-service.
Gibraltar has already attracted “200” prospective ICOs ahead of the planned launch of its Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), said in an official announced on 20 March. Speaking to Financial Times, GBX chief executive Nick Cowan said that companies have shown huge interest in launching token sales under the British Overseas Territory’s band-new regulated ICO environment.
German researchers have discovered unknown persons are using bitcoin’s blockchain to store and link to child abuse imagery, potentially putting the cryptocurrency in jeopardy. “Our analysis shows that certain content, eg, illegal pornography, can render the mere possession of a blockchain illegal,” the researchers wrote.
A gang of Manchester University students funded a luxury lifestyle by selling more than £800,000 worth of drugs on the dark web. One student claimed to have bought a flat and paid off his student debt with the drug money.
Inspired by Walter White, the teacher who turned to drug dealing in the TV show Breaking Bad, the gang included undergraduates studying pharmacology, computer science, petrochemical engineering, geology and marketing. They ran their worldwide operation after starting to take drugs at university.
CoinGate, a leading payment gateway for blockchain payments in the European market, and PrestaShop, one of the largest open-source e-commerce platforms globally, announced a cooperation to enable tens of thousands of online merchants to start accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method. The integration of CoinGate services into the PrestaShop platform will reach at least 80,000 EU-based merchants, giving access to this innovative payment method in a few clicks.
The EU will investigate whether the privacy rights of European citizens have been violated by social media companies that may have shared their data illegally, President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani said on Monday. The company took advantage of data harvested from Facebook accounts in order to build psychological profiles of voters that they could then target with ads, according to reports by The New York Times and Guardian.
According to former Cambridge Analytica employee-turned-whistleblower Chris Wylie, a University of Cambridge researcher named Aleksandr Kogan harvested the data through a personality quiz developed by his own company General Science Research (GSR), Facebook said. GSR extracted data about Facebook users who took part in the quiz as well as data about their friends and passed it on to Cambridge Analytica.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by traded value, is seeking a fresh start in the Mediterranean. The company, founded last year in Hong Kong, is planning to open an office in Malta, said founder Zhao Changpeng in an interview from Hong Kong. Binance will soon start a “fiat-to-crypto exchange” on the European island nation, and is close to securing a deal with local banks that can provide access to deposits and withdrawals, he said, without providing a time frame.
USA and Canada
The City of Medicine Hat has agreed to supply electricity and lease land to a Toronto-based cryptocurrency mining company in a deal that will see $100M in construction spending in the southern Alberta city. The city will provide electric energy capacity of about 42 megawatts to Hut 8 Mining Corp, which will construct bitcoin mining facilities near the city’s new Unit 16 power plant. The operation is expected to be running by September and will triple the company’s operating power to 60.7 megawatts.
The operator of the Toronto Stock Exchange, TMX Group, announced that it is planning to launch a cryptocurrency brokerage platform through its Shorcan Digital Currency Network subsidiary, which will be focused on Bitcoin and Ethereum.
A new survey of Americans has discovered that the cryptocurrency community still has a long way to go to in order to simplify the technology or to reach out and educate more people in the United States, especially among women and older folks. It found that 7.95% of the population has invested in a cryptocurrency, leaving much room for adoption to grow among the vast majority of Americans.
Google is planning to launch its own blockchain which would offer cloud and transactional services. Banking giant, JPMorgan Chase, is planning to spin-off its Quorum blockchain project as an independent company. Bitcoin will become the world’s single currency, tech chief says Jack Dorsey says that virtual currencies built using distributed ledgers will be the next big breakthrough. Bitcoin will overtake the dollar in importance as it becomes the single global currency of the internet within a decade, Jack Dorsey, one of Silicon Valley’s leading entrepreneurs, has said. Despite recent weakness in the value of bitcoin and concerns that it cannot currently process transactions fast or cheaply enough to act as a currency, Mr Dorsey, who is chief executive of both Twitter and the payments company Square, believes that bitcoin will overcome these obstacles and will be used to buy everyday items such as coffee. The Post reports that two condos in the building are in contact for Bitcoin, and are believed to be the first real estate transactions in the city to be made in the decentralized digital currency. The first condo, a 624-square-foot studio, is in contract asking $875,000. To complete the transaction, Shaoul is using the service BitPay that will convert the Bitcoin into dollars. Shaoul’s company, Magnum Real Estate, will then receive cash from BitPay.
The U.S. Marshals Office successfully sold 2,170.7 bitcoins to two bidders in its most recent auction on March 9, a spokesperson announced Thursday. In a press statement, the spokesperson said that the bitcoins had been distributed to the winning bidders, one of whom received 2,100 and the other who bought the remaining 70.7.
USDX is one of the newer projects in this regard, and it may actually replace central banks in the future. TrueUSD is another stablecoin pegged to the US dollar, although it remains to be seen if and how it can compete with Tether in this regard.
U.S. based cryptocurrency exchange Bittrex has announced it will delist 82 tokens with poor liquidity on its platform. The Bittrex team has said that with effect starting on 30 March 2018, cryptocurrencies like BITS, BITZ, CRBIT, CRYPT and 78 other cryptos will cease to exist on its trading platform. The team urged holders of the affected coins to withdraw their digital assets to other wallets before the set date as failure to do so would lead to total forfeiture of the altcoins. It’s a known fact that altcoins with combined low liquidity and low demand pose enormous challenges to cryptocurrency trading platforms.
Electricity providers are wising up to crypto miners tapping them to do their bidding, and in New York, miners won’t enjoy the same rate as everyone else to do their business. The New York State Public Service Commission ruled last week that its municipal power authorities can charge higher electricity rates to cryptocurrency companies that require huge amounts of electricity to conduct business. The ruling came during the same week as Plattsburgh, a small town in upstate New York, banned crypto mining for 18 months after its low electricity rates made it a magnet for crypto miners.
The last victim affected by ransomware is the city government of Atlanta, GA. The ninth-largest metro area in the US isn’t able to do things like process payments or provide access to courthouse information because some systems are locked down. During a press conference, mayor Keisha Bottoms and newly-appointed COO Richard Cox said that they’re working with the FBI, DHS, Microsoft and Cisco to find out what data has been potentially been compromised. The local NBC affiliate reports a ransom note included with the SamSam ransomware is demanding about $51,000 in bitcoin to restore the systems. If it is SamSam, it’s part of a family of malware has been active against many government and healthcare systems since late 2015.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is reportedly getting ready to examine up to 100 hedge funds that focus on cryptocurrencies, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. A source familiar with the matter said to the WSJ that while examiners will report any suspicious activity they discover during the course of their examinations, the main purpose is to determine how the SEC’s policies should address digital currencies.
“This is a way for the SEC overall to gather information and learn about important new technology and products,” explained Marc Elovitz, a partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, a firm which advises hedge funds. Examiners will determine whether assets bought by fund managers are the same as the ones listed in disclosure documents when advertised to investors.
Circle 17 April 2018, in your calendars, that’s the deadline to file 2017 returns and pay any taxes due to the IRS. On 23 March 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a release to remind taxpayers that “income from virtual currency transactions is reportable on their income tax returns”. The agency provided a link to its 2014 guidance, which explained that “for federal tax purposes, virtual currency is treated as property”. The IRS warned, “Taxpayers who not properly report the income tax consequences of virtual currency transactions can be audited for those transactions and, when appropriate, can be liable for penalties and interest”.
This week Jane Street Capital a global proprietary trading firm has announced it has been trading BTC these days. The trading firm Jane Street operated in New York City, London and Hong Kong and the company actively trades $8-13 billion worth of equities, Bonds, Futures, Options, and other investments. The New York Times has referred to Jane Street as one of the most secretive firms out there that handles a lot of trade volume. Arbitrage opportunities in the world of cryptocurrencies and bitcoin are very tempting to firms like Jane Street because spreads can be very high on different trading platforms. “Jane Street trades over 56,000 products globally across a wide variety of asset classes, including bitcoin,” the company explains this week.
An executive confirms that Mastercard is open to the use of cryptocurrency, but there is a major catch involved. The peer-to-peer economic marketplace of digital currencies is a direct threat to the current financial monopoly held by banks and other financial institutions. Which is why it was surprising when an executive at Mastercard said that the credit card issuer was open to the overall use of cryptocurrency. This was clearly evident when Mastercard and Visa classified the buying of cryptocurrency as a cash advance instead of a purchase. At the time, the credit card giant stated: The result was that using credit cards to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies became more expensive. Speaking to the Financial Times, Mastercard executive Ari Sarker says that the company is “very happy” to consider helping the use of cryptocurrencies, but only as long as those virtual currencies are issued by central banks.
Canadian lender VersaBank is moving towards launching a blockchain-based virtual vault to store digital properties such as cryptocurrency. The London, Ont. based chartered bank says its subsidiary VersaVault has signed two memorandums of understanding with a cryptocurrency exchange and a cryptocurrency-based fund. VersaBank did not disclose the names of the exchange or the fund. The branchless bank says these agreements will facilitate feedback from two institutional holders of cryptocurrency assets to help guide the lender’s development of VersaVault, which it intends to launch globally. VersaBank says the blockchain-based vault works like a safety deposit box, where only the user has access or knows what is inside but its contents are protected from hackers and other risks.
Can self-regulatory organizations (SROs) provide a solution to the regulation problem in cryptocurrency markets? The Winklevoss twins, who own Gemini – a prominent crypto-trading exchange, think they might and recently unveiled a proposal for a Virtual Commodity Association, a self-regulatory organization for cryptocurrency markets that promotes “price discovery, efficiency, and transparency” through adoption of industry standards. Most cryptocurrency enthusiasts are well aware that the SEC is cracking down on initial coin offerings. The SEC’s website has
recently been updated with a page dedicated to initial coin offerings, which is pretty interesting. It was only a matter of time until the SEC dedicated a portion of its website to initial coin offerings. Judging from the SEC’s
website, it is evident the agency wants to educate the masses on the potential risks posed by ICO projects.
The Petro is a no-go. President Donald Trump today signed an executive order banning any US transactions in the Petro, the controversial digital token backed by Venezuela’s oil reserves. The move further squeezes Venezuela’s attempts to bypass US economic sanctions.
The Israel Securities Authority today released a report detailing the conclusions of a committee convened to discuss the applicability of Israeli securities laws to cryptocurrencies. According to the report, the study was ordered because the agency understands that regulatory certainty is essential to both encourage the development of the industry in Israel and to maintain investor confidence in the capital market. The conclusions reached by the ISA regarding the legal definition of cryptocurrency are significant because these definitions are what decide whether tax will be paid on profit made, and how much.
The ISA report lists several conclusions:
1. Cryptocurrencies which are to be used as currencies only (i.e. that do not confer additional rights/are not controlled by a central entity) shall not be considered securities. This includes those that are used for future investment. This means that cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin will not be considered securities under Israeli law.
2. A cryptocurrency which grants rights similar to those of traditional securities such as shares and bonds shall be considered a security. Here, the agency is distinguishing between coin and token. A token that imparts ownership is called an ‘equity token’ – DAO tokens are one example.
3. Each cryptocurrency will be characterised individually.
4. The status of initial coin offerings will be analysed according to the product offered.
Now, the Israeli Tax Authority recently published guidelines for the taxation of cryptocurrency, basing its conclusions on the interpretation that cryptocurrencies are not currencies, but assets. Thus, tax will be paid on profit from cryptocurrency as it would be for any transacted commodity. This means that, as far as the ITA is concerned, the fact that Bitcoin is not a security is of no importance – it is still an asset, not a currency. The agency is still working on its definition of ICOs. The ISA has published its report on its website and invites comment until the 20 April.
Evarei Management on Wednesday announced it has secured the rights to acquire its first $20M real estate portfolio in Dubai. The Evareium portfolio comprises completed buildings totalling almost 700 apartments across two new up-and-coming master communities in Dubai, the company said in a statement.
Social trading firm eToro raises $100m 21 March 2018. Social trading network eToro is set to double down on its
work in blockchain-based technologies after raising $100 million in a Series E financing round led China Minsheng Financial. SBI Group, Korea Investment Partners and The World Wide Investment Company participated in the round, which takes eToro’s total capital raised to $162M. Founded in 2007, eToro enables participants to see, follow and automatically copy the actions of other investors in real time. It now has a community of over nine million users, receiving over $1B in customer deposits in 2017 alone.
Sierra Leone government denies the role of blockchain in its recent National Electoral Commission Sierra Leone has come out with a clarification to and, an outright condemnation of the news that theirs was one of the first elections recorded to the blockchain. While the blockchain voting company Agora claimed to have run the first blockchain-based election, it appears that the company did little more than observe the voting and store some of the results. “The NEC [National Electoral Commission] has not used and is not using blockchain technology in any part of the electoral process,” said NEC head Mohamed Conteh.
Traders who look for future price direction in chart patterns are finding more indicators suggesting the world’s largest digital currency may have further to fall. Bitcoin’s 50-day moving average has dropped to the closest proximity to its 200-day moving average in nine months. (Some traders refer to this as the DEATH CROSS) As the crypto markets drop across the board, BTC’s price has fallen the slowest, resulting in its steadily rising market dominance. Bitcoin (BTC) has fallen back below $8,000, as the crypto markets continue to slump in the wake of a week of mixed crypto news, ranging from the FUD fallout caused by the upcoming Google crypto ad ban to several wins for Blockchain adoption seen in China and Canada. Reports say that Twitter will follow in the footsteps of Facebook and Google by banning a wide range of cryptocurrency ads. Facebook was the first to lower the boom as the social media platform banned cryptocurrency ads. As for cryptocurrency exchanges, it appears that they might be banned as well from advertising on the social media platform. This ban is a little bit surprising as Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, is also the CEO
of Square, which has recently added Bitcoin trading to its platform.
DAV Foundation has announced the launch of its exchange platform for autonomous transportation services via payments in
cryptocurrencies. DAV (Decentralized Autonomous Vehicles)’s network connects self-driving vehicles (such as cars, trucks, rovers, and drones) to other vehicles, to customers, and to the infrastructure around them.
The world’s economic leaders agreed to monitor the industry and to develop regulatory proposals but no serious actions will be taken in the near future. The world’s economic leaders gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina for the G20 summit, reached an agreement to keep monitoring the crypto sphere and to develop proposals of cryptocurrency regulations by July 2018. The statement sent by the Governor is of great importance as it would reflect a positive point of view for digital currencies as many times they were labelled threats and risk-posing: “The FSB’s initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time. Even at their recent peak, their combined global market value was less than 1% of global GDP. In the document, it can be noticed that the finance leaders prefer to refer to cryptocurrencies as “crypto-assets,” which shows their attitude to cryptos as assets and not currencies in their common sense. The economic leaders positively welcomed a possibility to apply the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards to crypto-assets which could greatly contribute to addressing financial crimes.
Interest in coding smart contracts is at around all-time high according to google trends, with China interestingly topping the list. While searches for ethereum have fallen, for smart contracts and many other eth related terms, they remain at their highs. The price of ether, the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum network, has fallen below $500 for the first time this year. The price of ether has fallen 19 percent this week, from $580 to $470. The SEC’s decision to aggressively police cryptocurrency offerings is particularly significant for the Ethereum community because many new
cryptocurrency offerings are built on top of the Ethereum platform. People creating a new token on the Ethereum blockchain need to buy ether, the currency used to pay for Ethereum transactions. ETH O $537.00 C $543.32 H $590.48 L $507.00.
Ripple O $0.65 C $0.64 H $0.72 L $0.612
Ever since The Lightning Network was developed, it has been proclaimed as the solution for the scalability issues that are plaguing various cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin. Soon after the reveal of the beta for the Lightning Network on the 15 March, Stellar announced that they will be utilizing and integrating the Lightning Network into their platform. This announcement makes Stellar among the first platforms to formally announce intent to integrate Lightning Network into their operations.
The most awaited news for the IOTA project is the long-awaited release of the Trinity wallet. The IOTA project has seen great popularity, and the lack of a secure mobile wallet is somewhat curbing its image. The IOTA alpha release of the Trinity wallet has been tested by a small pool of Android and iOS users. But the wallet still has to prove its security is top-notch: “There had also been an increase in the number of non-technical users entering the IOTA community.
IOTA O $1.22 C $1.35 H $1.52 L $1.18
The Dash Core Group, the US-incorporated company leading the development of the peer-to-peer payment platform and cryptocurrency Dash, has filed a provisional patent relating to its upcoming platform called Evolution, expected to launch in Alpha in H2 2018. The patent deals with the registration and storage of metadata relating to blockchain-based user accounts on the Evolution platform. Utilizing a set of licensing criteria similar to Tesla’s ‘Good Faith’ clause with its open patents, we can now freely license the patent to the public, while ensuring that no one co-opts the technology for use that contradicts the Dash network’s long-term goals of mass adoption,” Dash Core CEO Ryan Taylor told CoinJournal. In a bid to boost the electric car industry, Tesla CEO Elon Musk vowed in 2014 that the company would not sue when other companies use its patents so long that these companies are “acting in good faith”. DASH O $394.50 C $431.28 H $450.32 L $364.17
BCH O $935.06 C $1027.18 H $1083.11 L $904.70
Monero O $208.55 C $214.93 H $236.00 L $196.64
Zcash O $244.00 C $258.87 H $281.59 L $226.20
Litecoin O $154.44 C $169.05 H $175.41 L $150.83