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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

Riot Blockchain Gets Hit by Another Shareholder Lawsuit

Riot Blockchain Gets Hit by Another Shareholder Lawsuit

After changing its name to Riot Blockchain in October to include the word “blockchain,” the public company watched its stock skyrocket from $8 a share to more than $38 during a cryptocurrency rally at the beginning of the year.

The first significant problem was the company did not have any real focus on blockchain technology. Before October, Riot was known as Bioptix, a maker of diagnostic machinery for the biotech industry. The company also changed its ticker symbol to RIOT from BIOP.

Another problem was that key shareholder Barry Honig got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, selling off a big stake of his shares at $38 per share after the name change.

On February 22, 2018, law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP announced it was filing a class-action lawsuit against Riot. The complaint charges Riot, along with Honig and company CEO John O’Rourke and CFO Jeffrey McGonegal, with securities violations.

Specifically, the charges claim that despite its lack of blockchain expertise, Riot changed its name to generate investor enthusiasm to further an insider scheme that would allow Riot’s controlling shareholders to dump their stocks at grossly inflated prices.

At least two other lawsuits have been filed against Riot and its principals, charging them with securities violations and false and misleading statements.

These lawsuits follow a scathing investigation into Riot by CNBC on February 16, 2018, that raised questions about the company’s business model and Honig. In the wake of that report, shares tumbled 33 percent to $11.46. It is likely these class-action lawsuits may be the first of many to come against Riot.

Shady Activities

On October 4, 2017, Riot adopted its new name and headed off in a radical new business direction, announcing it was going to invest in and operate blockchain technologies with a focus on Bitcoin and Ethereum. The company had no previous business in blockchain technology, yet in press releases, Riot portrayed itself as a seasoned player in the space.

“At Riot Blockchain, our team has the insight and network to effectively grow and develop blockchain assets,” said Riot’s then-CEO, Michael Beeghley, in a statement at the time.

The company has a history of questionable activities. In December, Riot began purchasing cryptocurrency mining equipment. But rather than purchasing from the manufacturer or other suppliers, the company paid more than $11 million for equipment worth only $2 million by purchasing it through a newly formed shell entity.  

Honig is also charged with exercising outside influence over the company’s business operations. Beginning in April 2016, long before the company changed its name to Riot, Honig began purchasing shares in the company. By December 2016, he had become the company’s largest shareholder, owning more than 11 percent of the company. He used that influence to nominate several new directors to the board, including O’Rourke.

In addition to insider selling after the name change, other worrying signs about the company included: Riot lost two auditing firms in just one year, and two annual stockholder meetings were postponed at the last minute. Also, some of Riot’s business deals involved investors who had worked on similar deals together in the past, raising questions about the company’s governance.

“All Aboard”

Riot is not the only company to have jumped onboard the rename-your-company  “blockchain” bandwagon. Several other companies have also rewritten their names to cash in on the blockchain and cryptocurrency craze.

In December, the Long Island Iced Tea Corporation, a New York–based company that makes iced tea, rebranded itself as “Long Blockchain.” Its company shares rose 300 percent as a result. In January, legacy photography company Kodak announced the launch of KODAKCoin, a “photo-centric” cryptocurrency for photographers, and its stock went up 80 percent within hours.

Lawsuits like the ones now piling up against Riot stand as a reminder that a name change is not enough — a company needs real blockchain experience and technology and a solid business plan behind it before adding “blockchain” to its name.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 8:47 am

Will Lightning Help or Hurt Bitcoin Privacy?

As the reality of faster, cheaper bitcoin payments approaches via the Lighting Network, concerns are spreading about the privacy it will offer.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 5:00 am

Strip Clubs, Lambos and Hackers: A Tale of Two Bitcoins

A conference in Miami played host to evidence of a growing schism in the crypto community between passionate developers and fly-by-night traders.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 4:05 am

Bitcoin Is Finding Its Way into High Schools - Bitcoin News (press release)


Bitcoin News (press release)

Bitcoin Is Finding Its Way into High Schools
Bitcoin News (press release)
Over the past few years, colleges and universities all over the world have been creating courses revolving around cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Now the subject is slowly infecting the halls of high school students who want to learn about ...

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 2:35 am

What Will It Take For Bitcoin To Replace The Dollar In Everyday Transactions - Forbes


Forbes

What Will It Take For Bitcoin To Replace The Dollar In Everyday Transactions
Forbes
Of all the problems that keep Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies from replacing the dollar in everyday transactions, one stands out: volatility—value fluctuation in relation to the dollar. That's according to a recent survey conducted by Survata, an ...

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 7:21 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Faces Pivotal Support as Bulls Exhaust Buying Pressure

Bitcoin Price Analysis

After seeing a rally to the $11,000s, bitcoin has managed to pull back to the $9,000 range and has left many bullish investors confused. The initial bullish rally seemed promising as it broke the macro, descending channel that governed much of the market over the last two months:

Figure_1.jpgFigure 1: BTC-USD, 6-Hour Candles, Descending Channel

The breakout of the descending channel (red dotted channel) gave hope to many bullish investors as it seemingly signaled the end of the downtrend and perhaps the beginning of a sustained bullish reversal. The volume was increasing and the price was pushing full steam ahead. However, after a few days of strong bullish movement, the price took a sharp turn downward and broke the governing channel that outlined the bullish rally from the $6,000s:

Figure_2_30mins.jpgFigure 2: BTC-USD, 30-Min. Candles, Bullish Channel

As noted in the previous BTC-USD market analysis, there was a possible distribution trading range (TR) under way, and I mentioned that a breakout above the TR was likely. However, if the market managed to break out and return back inside the TR, that would possibly mark the beginning of a sustained move downward:

Figure_3.jpgFigure 3: BTC-USD, 30-Min Candles, Distribution TR

Yesterday, the market saw a strong push below the TR, where it managed to find a bottom around the $9,600 range. After finding a local bottom, the market returned to the TR from the bottom side and was ultimately rejected from the TR, marking a possible last point of supply (LPSY) for the TR. Currently, the market is hovering just below the TR and is on the tipping point of breaking strong support. If we manage to break the strong support around the 38% retracement values (shown in Figure 3), I expect to see widespread capitulation that will lead to a return to the bearish channel shown in Figure 1. It is entirely possible that we could see a return to the TR once more, so I’m not ruling out the possibility of a short-term bullish rally.  However, I have very little hope at the moment for a resumption of the macro uptrend.

If we manage to push new lows, I expect to find support in the low $9,000s as this marked the breakout of the current, failed rally. From there we will have to reassess the market conditions, but for now, I have very little confidence in a bullish continuation.

Summary:

  1. After a strong uptrend, and after a breakout of the bearish descending channel, the market saw a strong pullback.
  2. The strong pullback marks a potential distribution trading range on the 30-minute candles.
  3. New lows may be in store for bitcoin as it decides whether the bulls are too exhausted to keep the buying pressure aloft.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 5:26 pm

Bitcoin Debate: Warren Buffett Bear Vs. Winklevoss Twins Bull - Forbes


Forbes

Bitcoin Debate: Warren Buffett Bear Vs. Winklevoss Twins Bull
Forbes
There are two distinct views on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. One view is that they will flame out and most, if not all, will become worthless . The other side is that at least some are destined to become much more valuable and become engrained in not ...

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 4:46 pm

Secretive Chinese bitcoin mining company may have made as much ... - CNBC


CNBC

Secretive Chinese bitcoin mining company may have made as much ...
CNBC
Bitmain likely took in the same operating profits as chipmaker Nvidia did last year, Bernstein analysts estimate.

and more »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:24 pm

Video Game Giant Ubisoft Is Exploring Blockchain Use Cases

Ubisoft, the company behind Assassin's Creed and Just Dance, is exploring applications of blockchain for video games.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:00 pm

New York Lawmakers Are Open to Revisiting the BitLicense

Two New York state senators held a roundtable Friday on the controversial BitLicense regulation, and said legislation to reform it may come soon.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 2:00 pm

What Is Bitcoin And Why Are The Price Of GPUs So High? - GameSpot


GameSpot

What Is Bitcoin And Why Are The Price Of GPUs So High?
GameSpot
You might be aware that GPU prices have skyrocketed in recent months. This is due in large part to the rise of cryptocurrencies, to which there are many. Bitcoin is the first and most popular one, but what is Bitcoin? We're here to demystify the topic ...
One of bitcoin's biggest problems is showing signs of getting betterBusiness Insider
Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Faces Pivotal Support as Bulls Exhaust Buying PressureBitcoin Magazine
Five reasons 2018 could be the best year yet for cryptocurrenciesCNBC
Popular Science -Investopedia (blog) -Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News) -BitInfoCharts
all 132 news articles »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 1:53 pm

Bank of America Now Considers Crypto a Business Risk

The bank warns its investors that cryptocurrencies could hamper its ability to comply with anti-money-laundering regulations, among other dangers.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 1:05 pm

Austria Planning New Regulations for Cryptocurrency, ICOs

Austria is drawing up cryptocurrency regulations, using as a model existing rules for the trading of gold and derivatives.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 12:00 pm

Bringing Renewable Energy to the World Using Blockchain Technology

Bringing Renewable Energy to the World Using Blockchain Technology

Modern energy services are vital to human well-being and to a country’s economic development, yet according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), globally 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity. It’s thought that around 95 percent of these people are in either sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia, with 80 percent in rural areas.

Ethereum-based platform ImpactPPA is attempting to turn on the lights using the power of the blockchain.

Selected as one of the top three most promising ICOs at this year’s North American Bitcoin Conference, ImpactPPA aims to disrupt renewable energy to finance and accelerate global clean energy production by decentralizing and tokenizing energy generation through power purchase agreements (PPAs). To achieve this, the platform is using blockchain technology, smart contracts and its energy protocol, the SmartPPA.

The project white paper describes how, right now, energy financing and distribution is bottlenecked by large, centralized NGOs and government agencies that have established an unwieldy financing system that can take years from proposal to product implementation.

The SmartPPA is the lynchpin of the new system and permits anyone, anywhere, to create a proposal for a project of any size. Even though ImpactPPA will allow users worldwide to access clean energy on a mobile device, the platform is primarily focusing on the emerging economies in the world.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, ImpactPPA CEO Dan Bates explained that the current funding process with centralized NGOs is “too cumbersome and costly for many developing nations,” leaving many countries and their populations with limited access to power.

“ImpactPPA’s use of the blockchain and the crowd dramatically changes this paradigm, tapping into the vast potential of the socially minded impact investor and concerned citizen, looking to benefit the well-being of others while mitigating climate change,” he said.

As a company that has already been working in the traditional renewable energy (wind and solar) space for over 10 years, with projects on the ground in 35 countries, ImpactPPA’s platform is now ready to deploy with the blockchain component.

According to Bates, the team has more than 200 megawatts in discussion for PPAs around the world that they expect to begin executing within the next six months. Through its pay-as-you-go model for power, ImpactPPA is providing the most remote and underserved populations the chance to rapidly fund and deploy clean energy solutions that improve their quality of life, giving users the chance to purchase and consume energy on an as-needed basis.

“There is great need for our solutions in rural Africa as well as island nations like Puerto Rico and Haiti, which have been affected by hurricanes, just to name a few examples,” said Bates. “But as a company, we are interested in working everywhere and anywhere there is a need for power.”

ImpactPPA is currently working with the Haitian government and local partners to provide power to 42 of their coastal communities that have been left without power since Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The platform is planning on working with NGOs in the future too.

Delivering this energy to smart meters that are connected to the blockchain allows for government, utility companies, businesses or individuals to decentralize the flow of power while using the best of the blockchain to ensure trust and security of the power generated and transmitted, Bates explained.

Built on the Ethereum platform, ImpactPPA will sell its asset-based MPAQ token to enable projects, typically microgrids, to be quickly deployed.

“MPAQ token holders will be able to review and vote on proposed projects for funding by the company, giving the token-holding community a voice in the conversation about which projects should be funded,” Bates said.

ImpactPPA expects to begin its MPAQ token sale on April 22, 2018, coinciding with Earth Day, for funding projects currently in the pipeline.

It will also sell a GEN Credit to be used by consumers of the electricity generated by the renewable energy systems. It is priced in kWh and is determined by the PPA that it is attached to. Bates added that 30 percent of all net profits from implemented PPAs will be credited toward the platform’s GEN Pool. On a quarterly basis, and as long as the GEN Pool has a value of at least $100,000, ImpactPPA will use the accumulated GEN Pool to repurchase MPAQ tokens.

“It is this GEN Credit that will be exchanged by end users, buyers or proxies for the energy created by the renewable energy systems delivered to fulfill the SmartPPAs,” said Bates. “It is used to insure delivery of energy, manage storage devices, create interconnected data networks, and enable new economic models for the millions upon millions of people who will be positively impacted by the access to power.”

For Bates, the platform will deliver positive social impact in any form.

Energy begets an improved quality of life, education and self-empowerment, but energy is just the beginning for ImpactPPA.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 11:29 am

Ethereum Governance 'Not That Bad' Says Buterin Amid Fund Debate

During an ethereum core developer meeting Friday, Vitalik Buterin argued the protocol's governance isn't functioning poorly, it's just misunderstood.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 11:00 am

Jeffrey Gundlach says if you want to know where stocks are going next, watch bitcoin - CNBC


Barron's

Jeffrey Gundlach says if you want to know where stocks are going next, watch bitcoin
CNBC
Want to know where stocks are going next? Jeffrey Gundlach says take a look at bitcoin. "Strangely, bitcoin seems to be the poster child for social mood and market mood," Gundlach, founder of DoubleLine Capital, told CNBC's "Halftime Report" on Friday ...
Bond King: Follow Bitcoin for Stock DirectionBarron's
Gundlach says bitcoin is 'poster child' for stock market's moodMarketWatch

all 10 news articles »

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 10:44 am

Nokia Launches Blockchain-Powered IoT Sensing as a Service for Smart Cities

Nokia Launches Blockchain-Powered IoT Sensing as a Service for Smart Cities

Nokia is launching a set of services, based on Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics, and blockchain technologies, for economically and environmentally sustainable “smart cities.”

In the emerging IoT, billions of connected devices and sensors will generate vast amounts of data. Smart cities will need to retrieve, process, interpret and act upon real-time environmental data in a timely manner to ensure they remain sustainable environments for their citizens. To enable efficient IoT ecosystems for smart cities, it’s important to create new data monetization opportunities for IoT sensor network operators able to provide smart city authorities with real-time processed and analyzed environmental data.

"Cities need to become digital in order to efficiently deliver services to their habitants,” said Asad Rizvi, head of Global Services business development at Nokia. “Smart infrastructure, which is shared, secure, and scalable, is needed to ensure urban assets and data are efficiently used. We can help cities with that. In addition, we can help operators generate new revenue utilizing their existing network by providing solutions for smart city players, such as city, transport, travel and public safety authorities."

Nokia’s Sensing as a Service (S2aaS) provides intelligent analytics on environmental data gathered from IoT-connected sensors, which operators can sell to cities and other authorities. Nokia envisions IoT-based, real-time monitoring systems able to provide timely environmental information for smart city management. For example, S2aaS will detect unusual environmental behavior like illegal construction, trash burning or unusual particles in the air.

NetworkWorld notes that the idea behind the product is to provide a way for mobile network operators (MNOs), many of which use Nokia cell site equipment, to monetize existing infrastructure, such as towers, by selling live environmental sensor data to cities and others.

Nokia’s S2aaS is powered by a blockchain with a built-in micropayment platform, which supports smart contracts for “anonymized, private and secure micro-transactions that allow operators to monetize analyzed data and generate new revenue streams.”

“Our complete micropayment platform can help you quickly generate new revenue from your data,” reads a Nokia solution paper. “Based on blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that is taking finance, healthcare, and a range of other industries by storm, our platform allows you to easily integrate third parties into your data market — expanding your customer base and service offerings. And as every transaction is verified against other peers in the blockchain network, you can be sure that your platform is secure.”

Independent operators will have the option of a traditional CapEx (Capital Expenditure) business model, or a revenue sharing service model. Nokia stated that it will work with clients to identify optimal business models for their specific use cases.

Nokia will manage all hardware installation, equipping existing network sites with new environmental sensors and edge gateways. S2aaS will include a complete platform for collecting and processing sensor data hosted in Microsoft Azure, AWS, or Nokia’s private cloud, using a choice of Amazon IoT, and Microsoft IoT, or Nokia’s own AVA cognitive services platform. According to the company,  AVA “integrates cloud-based delivery, intelligent analytics and extreme automation to deliver instant and flawless personalized services.”

Nokia will present S2aaS and related services at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, held from February 26 to March 1, 2018.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 9:58 am

Georgia Becomes Latest State to Consider Bitcoin for Tax Payments

Two state senators in Georgia have proposed a new bill that would allow citizens to pay their tax obligations in bitcoin.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 8:45 am

Menendez Hints At US Action on Venezuela's Controversial Crypto

A U.S. senator who has previously spoken out against Venezuela's newly launched "petro" cryptocurrency isn't done with the issue.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 8:05 am

Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

The majority of the top 25 cryptocurrencies are reporting losses on a weekly basis, but the nano token has bucked the trend.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 7:00 am

Telecoms Blockchain Group Touts Demo Success, New Members

Several multinational telecoms firms have joined the Carrier Blockchain Study Group to advance blockchain use cases in the industry.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 6:00 am

Bank of China Moves to Patent Blockchain Scaling Solution

Bank of China has filed a patent application for a process it says is better able to scale blockchain systems.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 5:00 am

Bitcoin Is Back Over $10K, But Rally Looks Weak

Bitcoin is witnessing a minor corrective rally today, but longer-term gains may be elusive, according to price chart analysis.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:45 am

Why Venezuela Should Worry About a National Crypto

While a lot is still unclear about Venezuela's state-backed "petro" token, what is apparent is that many feel it's potentially harmful for its people.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 2:00 am

Report: Mutual Funds Could Save Billions With Blockchain

Shifting to a distributed, blockchain-based infrastructure could bring huge financial benefits to the asset management industry, research indicates.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 10:00 pm

Turkish Lawmaker Proposes National Cryptocurrency

Politicians in Turkey are reportedly eyeing on launching the country's proprietary cryptocurrency. 

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 8:20 pm

Bitcoin Fees Drop: Why It Happened And What It Means

Not so long ago bitcoin's transaction fees were over $20, but now they're down to around $3 again. CoinDesk explores why.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 6:30 pm

Tezos Foundation Reorganizes, Gevers Steps Down

Tezos Foundation Reorganizes, Gevers Steps Down

After months of infighting between the organizers of Tezos, a blockchain project currently in development, and the Tezos Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit that controls the project’s pursestrings, the two remaining original members of the Foundation have “voluntarily” resigned. This means that since December, the entire three-person board has been replaced.

According to an announcement by the Tezos Foundation, Johann Gevers, the former president of the Foundation, has stepped down and will be replaced by Ryan Jesperson, a Tezos project contributor.

Diego Olivier Fernandez Pons also stepped down and will be replaced by Michel Mauny, a senior researcher at Inria, the French company that developed OCaml, the programming language Tezos is written in.  

Another board member, Guido Schmitz-Krummacher, resigned in December “because he was frustrated with the infighting, which was consuming a lot of his time,” according to Reuters. He was replaced by Lars Haussmann, head of accounting firm Haussmann Treuhand AG, on January 31, 2018.

Infighting

Tezos, a blockchain project aiming to compete with the likes Ethereum and Cardano, was co-founded by Kathleen and Arthur Breitman. In an uncapped initial coin offering (ICO) put forth as a “fundraiser,” the project raised $232 million worth of bitcoin and ether in July 2017. Those funds, which ballooned in value to around $1 billion due to this year’s rally in cryptocurrencies, were put in the control of the Tezos Foundation.

The Breitmans, who retain ownership of the Tezos code through Dynamic Ledger Solutions, a Delaware-based company, have been fighting to get rid of Gevers since October. At that time, the Breitmans’ lawyer sent a 46-page letter to the two other members of the Foundation (Schmitz-Krummacher and Fernandez Pons, at the time), accusing Gevers of “self-dealing, self-promotion and conflicts of interest” and calling for his prompt dismissal.

According to reports, the dispute originated a month before, when Gevers drew up a compensation package for himself, which the Breitmans claimed was excessive and not properly disclosed. It’s likely that the event also acted as a signal to the Breitmans that in setting up the Tezos Foundation, an organization that was supposed to operate completely independently of Dynamic Ledger Solutions, they had put too much control in the hands of too few people.

On October 18, 2017, in a blog post, Arthur Breitman proposed a solution to the power struggle, which involved setting up Tezos AG, a subsidiary of the Foundation that would have its own budget and allow Dynamic Ledger Solutions to operate with less oversight. The Breitmans also proposed increasing the number of people on the Tezos Foundation board from three to seven.

Since October, Gevers had kept relatively silent on the matter until January 28, 2018, when he published a blog post (archived) outlining steps for how the Foundation would push forward with the launch of the platform. (He later deleted the post.)

“I am glad to announce that the Foundation has regained access to banking services, which  —  due to the controversy surrounding the Tezos project  —  had been suspended since October 2017,” he wrote. “This allows us to continue with our top priority, which is to build an operational team that can execute the Foundation’s mission.”

In another interesting turn of events, a few days later, in an attempt to overthrow the Tezos Foundation, community members backing the Breitmans launched an alternative Swiss foundation dubbed “T2.” Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna described the move as “not unlike shareholders in a corporation proposing a new board of directors because they like the CEO more than the board.”

Listed among T2’s seven founding members were Jesperson and Mauny and Olaf-Carlson Wee, CEO of cryptocurrency investment fund Polychain Capital, an early Tezos backer.

Lawsuits

The infighting, in addition to delays in the launch of the network and a holdup on funds, led to other complications. Since October, at least four class-action suits have been filed against Tezos on behalf of contributors accusing the project of selling securities.

When the project was launched, the Breitmans portrayed the tokens as a donation to the project, but some contributors believed they were investing in a cryptocurrency that would go up in value like bitcoin. Those contributors were given vouchers for tezzies, the native token that will operate on the Tezos platform once it launches; but until the project launches, they are unable to redeem their tokens.

The changeover in board members of the Tezos Foundation may be a sign that good news is on the horizon. At the recent Cyber Days conference at the UCLA Blockchain Lab, Kathleen Breitman hinted the platform would be launching in a few weeks.  

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 2:53 pm

Kavita Gupta on Lubin, Buterin and Entrepreneurship in the Blockchain Space

Feature Interview With Kavita Gupta of ConsenSys Ventures

When ConsenSys, a Brooklyn, New York–based firm that builds decentralized applications and blockchain ecosystem tools on Ethereum, launched a $50 million venture arm, it turned to Kavita Gupta to run it. Working closely with Joe Lubin, the founder of ConsenSys and one of the early founders of Ethereum, Gupta began spearheading efforts to fund early stage Ethereum-based startups through ConsenSys’ rapidly growing network.

A native of India, Gupta received the UN Social Finance Innovator Award in 2015. She has done work at the World Bank, leading the organization’s youth innovation fund. Gupta also has vast experience in the investment world, with stints at high profile firms like McKinsey, HSBC and International Finance Corporation.

Following the recent Cyber Day event she presented on the campus U.C.L.A, Bitcoin Magazine spoke to Gupta about her journey in working with ConsenSys Ventures.

On Working With Joe Lubin and Vitalik Buterin

A few years ago, Gupta had the good fortune of meeting ConsenSys founder Joe Lubin at a very small luncheon organized by the World Bank. “We had a three-hour conversation and I was a convert. Over the ensuing months, we kept brainstorming ideas about investments in the blockchain space. Hearing about Ethereum got me super excited!”

Since joining the team as the head of ConsenSys Ventures, Gupta’s respect for Lubin has continued to grow. “He’s extremely visionary. As you know, Ethereum is a huge ecosystem and, even though ConsenSys is at the epicenter of it, there are a lot of other players taking things in various directions. So I admire Joe’s patience and faith, specifically his ability to work tirelessly each day with a smile on his face in a now 600+ person company with locales in 28 countries.”

Gupta admits to having been a bit intimidated the first time she met Ethereum founder and mastermind, Vitalik Buterin, but was quickly won over. “Somehow I had it in my head that I shouldn’t approach him and that if I didn’t have a deep Ethereum coding background I’d look stupid. I kept saying to myself, he’ll think I’m just fluff. But to my surprise he gave me two hours of his time when I first met with him in China.

“He’s a very simple, very humble, very sweet, super genius guy. While others have their opinions about him, the Vitalik I know has a very, very high emotional intelligence. I really deeply respect him. Our entire team respects him.”

Gupta has had some experience interacting with infamous, groundbreaking men in the technology space.

“I attended MIT when Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz [were starting] Facebook while at Harvard. Many of us kept bumping into the two of them, which gave us the opportunity to express what we liked or didn’t like about the Facebook wall. We could easily reach them and talk to them as though they were a friend. I feel like working with Joe and Vitalik is kind of like this: two people you can just walk up to and say, ‘I have a question.’”  

Advice for New Entrepreneurs in the Space

She chuckled loudly when asked about whether there are any misconceptions she hears from startup leaders when meeting them for the first time: “They often start out with, ‘Ahh, I’m doing a project on blockchain so my valuation should be $50 million dollars.’ I’m like, no, dude.”

For Gupta, it is important that entrepreneurs start with a solid product first. “Frankly, it’s sad to see even smart entrepreneurs focus their first six months on selling tokens rather than actually building a product. In my opinion, these startups don’t need $50 million to build a product. And for the life of me, I have no clue as to who all of these people are that are investing $50 million in these types of projects with little knowledge of or ever having met the founder.”

Her advice to new startups entering into the Ethereum blockchain space is to read and research voraciously. “There is amazing material out there. You don’t have to be a genius. You don’t have to come from a technology background. Just read online. There are many amazing Reddit threads if you have questions. There are so many meetups. ConsenSys does educational meetups and university programs everywhere. So just make it a priority to go and hang out and capitalize on these opportunities. Find people to exchange cards with and then go and have coffee together. That’s where all of the magic happens.”  

Find people to exchange cards with and then go and have coffee together. That’s where all of the magic happens.

Coming from an engineering background at MIT as well as from an investment background, Gupta seems to have found her niche.

“Honestly, I’m kind of like a kid in the candy store. For me personally, the work that I’m currently engaged in is the best I could have even asked for.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 2:27 pm

Government of Spain Considers Blockchain-Friendly Regulations

Government of Spain Considers Blockchain-Friendly Regulations

The government of Spain is preparing blockchain-friendly legislation including possible tax breaks to attract companies in the emerging blockchain technology sector, Bloomberg Politics reports.

“We hope to get the legislation ready this year,” said MP Teodoro Garcia Egea, who is preparing a comprehensive cryptocurrency-related bill. “We want to set up Europe’s safest framework to invest in ICOs.”

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales are one of the latest blockchain-related hot trends and have permitted several companies to raise tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars in a short space of time, bypassing the need for prior regulatory approval.

ICOs can be very appealing to speculators because the value of a successful token can rise spectacularly, but regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S., are beginning to clamp down on token sales, claiming that crypto-tokens are equivalent to company shares traded on the stock market. According to the SEC, some ICOs are essentially Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), and should be subject to similar regulations for the protection of investors.

At the same time, too much regulation could stifle innovation and push promising blockchain-based firms to relocate to less restrictive jurisdictions offshore. According to Garcia Egea and the Popular Party, the ruling political party of Spain to which the lawmaker belongs, it’s in Spain’s interest to attract and keep those firms, and, therefore, the country should adopt a blockchain-friendly regulatory approach.

Garcia Egea added that the bill in preparation was inspired by existing blockchain-friendly regulatory frameworks such as those that enable the Crypto Valley in Switzerland. It could include ways to attract investment in blockchain technologies, such as a threshold below which a cryptocurrency investment wouldn’t need to be reported to the regulator, and specific regulations to make it attractive for entrepreneurs to use a blockchain to carry out initial coin offerings, or ICOs, as a financing tool.

As shown by a series of recent posts (in Spanish) published in his personal website, Garcia Egea wants to introduce a whole range of emerging technologies in the Spanish economy, including digital administration, cybersecurity, 3D printing and blockchain technology.

For example, Garcia Egea supports the Alastria consortium focused on the establishment of a semi-public, permissioned national blockchain infrastructure and digital identity system.

“Smart contracts, ensuring the traceability and unchangeability of specific information, raising funds through ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), etc. is possible through this new network [Alastria],” said Garcia Egea (translated by this writer).

“The time has come to establish a legal framework for individuals and firms to execute [smart-contract based] financial transactions in a protected and secure way, using the best available technology,” added Garcia Egea. “This will not only provide legal security to financial investments done through this channel, but it will also place Spain in a privileged position to attract capital, talent and future-oriented projects, and an ecosystem upon which to build the future of the internet of value.”

It seems likely that, if Garcia Egea and the Popular Party manage to convert their vision into law, Spain could become one of the few crypto-havens in the Eurozone, which could result in many innovative technology developers and ICO operators relocating to Spain.

Find out more about cryptocurrency regulation around the world in our feature, Cryptocurrency Regulation in 2018: Where the World Stands Now.



This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 9:38 am

Korean Regulator Tips Cryptocurrency Prospects Back Toward “Normalization”

Korean Regulator Tips Cryptocurrency Prospects Back Toward “Normalization”

On February 20, 2018, investors saw signs of yet another directional shift in South Korea’s regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies. According to Reuters, Choe Heung-sik, the governor of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), told reporters, “The whole world is now framing the outline (for cryptocurrency) and therefore (the government) should rather work more on normalization than increasing regulation.”

The head of the FSS has wrestled with cryptocurrency regulation and the lack of legislation on the industry for some time. He stated in November 2017 that “supervision [of cryptocurrency exchanges] will come only after the legal recognition of digital tokens as legitimate currency.”

Choe also warned of a bitcoin bubble in December 2017 that paired with another warning that month, when he stated, “All we can do is to warn people as we don’t see virtual currencies as actual types of currency, meaning that we cannot step up regulation for now.”

The FSS, which has been spearheading the government’s regulation of cryptocurrency trading as part of a larger task force, has had an uphill battle in the face of Korean officials’ variable attitudes to the burgeoning industry. While the FSS-led taskforce set the nation’s first official rules around cryptocurrency trading on December 13, 2017, uncertainty around issues of taxation and regulation of the exchanges remained.

January brought even less certainty to the peninsula as South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges were raided by police and tax agencies on January 10, 2018, kicking off a week of contradiction by top Korean officials that precipitated a market-wide meltdown known as “Red Tuesday” on January 16, 2018.

Choe then had to state at a parliamentary hearing on January 19, 2018, that one FSS employee was being investigated “on suspicion that he or she traded a digital currency” ahead of the government’s announcement of toughening its stance on cryptocurrency trading. At the same hearing, the Office for Government Policy Coordination also disclosed a probe into two officials for alleged profiteering on government information after the events of Red Tuesday.

Korean officials rounded off the month of January by announcing on January 23, 2018, that anonymous accounts would be banned from trading cryptocurrencies as of January 30, 2018.

Merely three weeks after the ban on anonymous accounts took effect, Choe seemed to suggest rosier regulatory prospects for the cryptocurrency industry. These statements of normalization came only days after the sudden death of Jung Ki-joon on February 18, 2018. Jung, a 52-year-old man who led economic policy for the Office for Government Policy Coordination and was instrumental in spearheading the January crackdown, died of “unknown” causes in his home, though initial reports suggested that he’d had a heart attack.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 3:41 pm

This Upstart Cryptocurrency Exchange Is Making Inroads in Canada

Coinsquare

Cryptocurrency and precious metals exchange Coinsquare is taking steps toward its goal of leading the cryptocurrency exchange market in Canada. On February 20, 2018, it announced a new partnership with Processing.com, after wrapping up a recent investment of $30 million, for a total $47 million raised in the last four months.

The partnership with Processing.com will allow Coinsquare to facilitate instant fiat currency payments of digital currencies for the general public through debit and credit card transactions.

In a release, Processing.com’s James Bergman said:

“We are very excited to partner with such a respected and fast-growing trading platform as Coinsquare. As digital currencies increasingly make their way into the mainstream conscious, service providers have a responsibility to ensure the broader public can access the rapidly growing blockchain ecosystem.”

Marketing Strategy

Besides increasing its Canadian market share, Coinsquare also has plans to move on to establishing new exchanges internationally, initially in the U.S. and the U.K.

Coinsquare CEO Cole Diamond acknowledges that he is continuing original owner Virgile Rostand’s marketing strategy of emphasizing Coinsquare’s Canadian foundations, with its economic and political stability and relatively light regulatory environment.

Diamond said: “Virgile Rostand, Coinsquare's founder, was an early industry pioneer and blue-chip banking industry veteran. He built a custom platform that is unrivaled in Canada, boasting extremely high security standards."

Coinsquare is also continuing Rostand’s unprecedented service to the French-speaking community.

In an interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Diamond noted: “We are the only trading platform that we know of that has a French website. Five percent of our users view our website in French, and we have been commended for it and are proud of it.”

A recent review of exchanges by education website Blockgeeks, placed Coinsquare in the top 10 exchanges. Forex also reviewed Coinsquare and gave it a thumbs up.

Despite positive reviews, however, there have been some dissatisfied customers who have voiced concerns on social platforms and below the Forex review. Common complaints cite long wait times, lost funds, high fees and a non-responsive staff. Comments on other sites also mentioned an unclear fee structure and lack of customer support. Coinsquare has not responded to request for comment from Bitcoin Magazine regarding these concerns.

Canadian compliance expert, Amber D. Scott, CEO of Outlier Solutions told Bitcoin Magazine: "With price volatility and a massive influx of new clients, most exchanges are likely having some growing pains and Coinsquare is likely no exception."

Diversification as a Priority

Coinsquare, based in Toronto, Canada, wants to diversify its business beyond cryptocurrency holdings.

The company already has its own mining operation with 2 MW of power and 1700 mining units in operation.

They are planning to invest in two more mines. Canada, particularly the province of Quebec, is attracting lots of interest from mining companies based on inexpensive electricity and cooler temperatures.

“Canada is about to become a central source,” explained Diamond in a recent interview with Global News. “I think there’s definitely a rush happening now. I think we’re going to have a significant amount of mining in the next few months.”

Trading precious metals is also a part of Coinsquare’s diversified holdings. They trade in silver coins and silver and gold bars.

Coinsquare is planning a Trading and Arbitrage division to take advantage of cross exchange and hedge opportunities.

Also in the works is the launch of CoinCap Funds, a group of funds focused on investments across the digital asset landscape.

Security

According to Coinsquare, they store 98 percent of their assets in cold storage and their trading platform is based on the same technology as that used by the NYSE.

While Bitfinex and Coinbase announced recently they are adopting SegWit, Coinsquare does not have any plans to follow suit just yet.“The decision to use Segwit is an ongoing discussion at Coinsquare and we are not for or against it at this time,” said Diamond.

Meanwhile, they are working on developing trading platforms for international markets and white labelling and licensing its technology for markets around the world.

Coinsquare offers trading in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, Dogecoin and Litecoin and has a special OTC service for those wanting to trade large amounts.

Scott is optimistic about the future for Coinsquare: “At this stage, Canada has taken a relatively light touch from a regulatory perspective. This has been a boon for exchanges like Coinsquare in many ways. They’ve been able to focus on managing their risks and building their business, rather than fitting into paradigms that weren’t built with them in mind.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 21 February 2018 | 2:02 pm

Bitcoin tops $10,000 milestone

Posted on 29 November 2017 | 2:30 am

Bitcoin price climbs over $4,000

Posted on 14 August 2017 | 1:16 am

CRYENGINE now accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 29 March 2017 | 1:24 am

Consulting firm EY Switzerland accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 26 November 2016 | 12:47 am

Major Magazine Publisher to Accept Bitcoin Payments

Posted on 18 December 2014 | 12:43 pm

Microsoft accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 11 December 2014 | 5:06 am

Mozilla accepting Bitcoin

Posted on 20 November 2014 | 1:55 pm

German Newspaper "taz" accepts Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 1:32 pm

airBaltic - World’s First Airline To Accept Bitcoin

Posted on 22 July 2014 | 11:03 am

February 24, 2018 -
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