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Thanks to all who submitted questions for Shiv Malik in the GAINS AMA yesterday, it was great to see so much interest in Data Unions! You can read the full transcript here:
Gains x Streamr AMA Recap
https://preview.redd.it/o74jlxia8im51.png?width=1236&format=png&auto=webp&s=93eb37a3c9ed31dc3bf31c91295c6ee32e1582be Thanks to everyone in our community who attended the GAINS AMA yesterday with, Shiv Malik. We were excited to see that so many people attended and gladly overwhelmed by the amount of questions we got from you on Twitter and Telegram. We decided to do a little recap of the session for anyone who missed it, and to archive some points we haven’t previously discussed with our community. Happy reading and thanks to Alexandre and Henry for having us on their channel! What is the project about in a few simple sentences? At Streamr we are building a real-time network for tomorrow’s data economy. It’s a decentralized, peer-to-peer network which we are hoping will one day replace centralized message brokers like Amazon’s AWS services. On top of that one of the things I’m most excited about are Data Unions. With Data Unions anyone can join the data economy and start monetizing the data they already produce. Streamr’s Data Union framework provides a really easy way for devs to start building their own data unions and can also be easily integrated into any existing apps. Okay, sounds interesting. Do you have a concrete example you could give us to make it easier to understand? The best example of a Data Union is the first one that has been built out of our stack. It's called Swash and it's a browser plugin. You can download it here: http://swashapp.io/ And basically it helps you monetize the data you already generate (day in day out) as you browse the web. It's the sort of data that Google already knows about you. But this way, with Swash, you can actually monetize it yourself. The more people that join the union, the more powerful it becomes and the greater the rewards are for everyone as the data product sells to potential buyers. Very interesting. What stage is the project/product at? It's live, right? Yes. It's live. And the Data Union framework is in public beta. The Network is on course to be fully decentralized at some point next year. How much can a regular person browsing the Internet expect to make for example? So that's a great question. The answer is no one quite knows yet. We do know that this sort of data (consumer insights) is worth hundreds of millions and really isn't available in high quality. So With a union of a few million people, everyone could be getting 20-50 dollars a year. But it'll take a few years at least to realise that growth. Of course Swash is just one data union amongst many possible others (which are now starting to get built out on our platform!) With Swash, I believe they now have 3,000 members. They need to get to 50,000 before they become really viable but they are yet to do any marketing. So all that is organic growth. I assume the data is anonymized btw? Yes. And there in fact a few privacy protecting tools Swash supplys to its users. How does Swash compare to Brave? So Brave really is about consent for people's attention and getting paid for that. They don't sell your data as such. Swash can of course be a plugin with Brave and therefore you can make passive income browsing the internet. Whilst also then consenting to advertising if you so want to earn BAT. Of course it's Streamr that is powering Swash. And we're looking at powering other DUs - say for example mobile applications. The holy grail might be having already existing apps and platforms out there, integrating DU tech into their apps so people can consent (or not) to having their data sold - and then getting a cut of that revenue when it does sell. The other thing to recognise is that the big tech companies monopolise data on a vast scale - data that we of course produce for them. That is stifling innovation. Take for example a competitor map app. To effectively compete with Google maps or Waze, they need millions of users feeding real time data into it. Without that - it's like Google maps used to be - static and a bit useless. Right, so how do you convince these big tech companies that are producing these big apps to integrate with Streamr? Does it mean they wouldn't be able to monetize data as well on their end if it becomes more available through an aggregation of individuals? If a map application does manage to scale to that level then inevitably Google buys them out - that's what happened with Waze. But if you have a data union which bundles together the raw location data of millions of people then any application builder can come along and license that data for their app. This encourages all sorts of innovation and breaks the monopoly. We're currently having conversations with Mobile Network operators to see if they want to pilot this new approach to data monetization. And that's what even more exciting. Just be explicit with users - do you want to sell your data? Okay, if yes, then which data point do you want to sell. Then the mobile network operator (like T-mobile for example) then organises the sale of the data of those who consent and everyone gets a cut. Streamr - in this example provides the backend to port and bundle the data, and also the token and payment rail for the payments. So for big companies (mobile operators in this case), it's less logistics, handing over the implementation to you, and simply taking a cut? It's a vision that we'll be able to talk more about more concretely in a few weeks time 😁 Compared to having to make sense of that data themselves (in the past) and selling it themselves Sort of. We provide the backened to port the data and the template smart contracts to distribute the payments. They get to focus on finding buyers for the data and ensuring that the data that is being collected from the app is the kind of data that is valuable and useful to the world. (Through our sister company TX, we also help build out the applications for them and ensure a smooth integration). The other thing to add is that the reason why this vision is working, is that the current data economy is under attack. Not just from privacy laws such as GDPR, but also from Google shutting down cookies, bidstream data being investigated by the FTC (for example) and Apple making changes to IoS14 to make third party data sharing more explicit for users. All this means that the only real places for thousands of multinationals to buy the sort of consumer insights they need to ensure good business decisions will be owned by Google/FB etc, or from SDKs or through this method - from overt, rich, consent from the consumer in return for a cut of the earnings. A couple of questions to get a better feel about Streamr as a whole now and where it came from. How many people are in the team? For how long have you been working on Streamr? We are around 35 people with one office in Zug, Switzerland and another one in Helsinki. But there are team members all over the globe, we’ve people in the US, Spain, the UK, Germany, Poland, Australia and Singapore. I joined Streamr back in 2017 during the ICO craze (but not for that reason!) And did you raise funds so far? If so, how did you handle them? Are you planning to do any future raises? We did an ICO back in Sept/Oct 2017 in which we raised around 30 Millions CHF. The funds give us enough runway for around five/six years to finalize our roadmap. We’ve also simultaneously opened up a sister company consultancy business, TX which helps enterprise clients implementing the Streamr stack. We've got no more plans to raise more! What is the token use case? How did you make sure it captures the value of the ecosystem you're building The token is used for payments on the Marketplace (such as for Data Union products for example) also for the broker nodes in the Network. ( we haven't talked much about the P2P network but it's our project's secret sauce). The broker nodes will be paid in DATAcoin for providing bandwidth. We are currently working together with Blockscience on our tokeneconomics. We’ve just started the second phase in their consultancy process and will be soon able to share more on the Streamr Network’s tokeneconoimcs. But if you want to summate the Network in a sentence or two - imagine the Bittorrent network being run by nodes who get paid to do so. Except that instead of passing around static files, it's realtime data streams. That of course means it's really well suited for the IoT economy. Well, let's continue with questions from Twitter and this one comes at the perfect time. Can Streamr Network be used to transfer data from IOT devices? Is the network bandwidth sufficient? How is it possible to monetize the received data from a huge number of IOT devices? From u/EgorCypto Yes, IoT devices are a perfect use case for the Network. When it comes to the network’s bandwidth and speed - the Streamr team just recently did extensive research to find out how well the network scales. The result was that it is on par with centralized solutions. We ran experiments with network sizes between 32 to 2048 nodes and in the largest network of 2048 nodes, 99% of deliveries happened within 362 ms globally. To put these results in context, PubNub, a centralized message brokering service, promises to deliver messages within 250 ms — and that’s a centralized service! So we're super happy with those results. Here's a link to the paper: https://medium.com/streamrblog/streamr-network-performance-and-scalability-whitepaper-adb461edd002 While we're on the technical side, second question from Twitter: Can you be sure that valuable data is safe and not shared with service providers? Are you using any encryption methods? From u/ CryptoMatvey Yes, the messages in the Network are encrypted. Currently all nodes are still run by the Streamr team. This will change in the Brubeck release - our last milestone on the roadmap - when end-to-end encryption is added. This release adds end-to-end encryption and automatic key exchange mechanisms, ensuring that node operators can not access any confidential data. If BTW - you want to get very technical the encryption algorithms we are using are: AES (AES-256-CTR) for encryption of data payloads, RSA (PKCS #1) for securely exchanging the AES keys and ECDSA (secp256k1) for data signing (same as Bitcoin and Ethereum). Last question from Twitter, less technical now :) In their AMA ad, they say that Streamr has three unions, Swash, Tracey and MyDiem. Why does Tracey help fisherfolk in the Philippines monetize their catch data? Do they only work with this country or do they plan to expand? From u/ alej_pacedo So yes, Tracey is one of the first Data Unions on top of the Streamr stack. Currently we are working together with the WWF-Philippines and the UnionBank of the Philippines on doing a first pilot with local fishing communities in the Philippines. WWF is interested in the catch data to protect wildlife and make sure that no overfishing happens. And at the same time the fisherfolk are incentivized to record their catch data by being able to access micro loans from banks, which in turn helps them make their business more profitable. So far, we have lots of interest from other places in South East Asia which would like to use Tracey, too. In fact TX have already had explicit interest in building out the use cases in other countries and not just for sea-food tracking, but also for many other agricultural products. (I think they had a call this week about a use case involving cows 😂) I recall late last year, that the Streamr Data Union framework was launched into private beta, now public beta was recently released. What are the differences? Any added new features? By u/Idee02 The main difference will be that the DU 2.0 release will be more reliable and also more transparent since the sidechain we are using for micropayments is also now based on blockchain consensus (PoA). Are there plans in the pipeline for Streamr to focus on the consumer-facing products themselves or will the emphasis be on the further development of the underlying engine?by u/ Andromedamin We're all about what's under the hood. We want third party devs to take on the challenge of building the consumer facing apps. We know it would be foolish to try and do it all! As a project how do you consider the progress of the project to fully developed (in % of progress plz) by u/ Hash2T We're about 60% through I reckon! What tools does Streamr offer developers so that they can create their own DApps and monetize data?What is Streamr Architecture? How do the Ethereum blockchain and the Streamr network and Streamr Core applications interact? By u/ CryptoDurden We'll be releasing the Data UNion framework in a few weeks from now and I think DApp builders will be impressed with what they find. We all know that Blockchain has many disadvantages as well, So why did Streamr choose blockchain as a combination for its technology? What's your plan to merge Blockchain with your technologies to make it safer and more convenient for your users? By u/noonecanstopme So we're not a blockchain ourselves - that's important to note. The P2P network only uses BC tech for the payments. Why on earth for example would you want to store every single piece of info on a blockchain. You should only store what you want to store. And that should probably happen off chain. So we think we got the mix right there. What were the requirements needed for node setup ? by u/ John097 Good q - we're still working on that but those specs will be out in the next release. How does the STREAMR team ensure good data is entered into the blockchain by participants? By u/ kartika84 Another great Q there! From the product buying end, this will be done by reputation. But ensuring the quality of the data as it passes through the network - if that is what you also mean - is all about getting the architecture right. In a decentralised network, that's not easy as data points in streams have to arrive in the right order. It's one of the biggest challenges but we think we're solving it in a really decentralised way. What are the requirements for integrating applications with Data Union? What role does the DATA token play in this case? By u/JP_Morgan_Chase There are no specific requirements as such, just that your application needs to generate some kind of real-time data. Data Union members and administrators are both paid in DATA by data buyers coming from the Streamr marketplace. Regarding security and legality, how does STREAMR guarantee that the data uploaded by a given user belongs to him and he can monetize and capitalize on it? By u/kherrera22 So that's a sort of million dollar question for anyone involved in a digital industry. Within our system there are ways of ensuring that but in the end the negotiation of data licensing will still, in many ways be done human to human and via legal licenses rather than smart contracts. at least when it comes to sizeable data products. There are more answers to this but it's a long one! Okay thank you all for all of those! The AMA took place in theGAINS Telegramgroup 10/09/20. Answers by Shiv Malik.
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04-03 12:33 - 'Paul Le Roux' (self.Bitcoin) by /u/financeoptimum removed from /r/Bitcoin within 191-201min
''' Paul Le Roux is a fascinating character, whose story entails drugs, gold, arms dealing, North Koreans, Iranians, elite-level encryption, Somali pirates, women...and more women. Let's get into it... Part 1/5 - The Early Years Paul Le Roux was born on Christmas Eve, 1972, in Bulawayo, the second-largest city in what was then called—by the white minority that governed it, at least— Rhodesia. In 1980, Robert Mugabe became prime minister of what would now be called Zimbabwe, ending minority white rule in the country. Four years later, when Le Roux was 12, the family relocated to South Africa. Not long after the move, in exchange for washing his father’s car, Le Roux was given his first computer. After that, a relation of Le Roux states that he became "completely anti-social.” When Le Roux was 15 or 16, in the late 1980s, the local police raided the family home and arrested Paul for selling pornography. After that, Le Roux turned even more inward. Although he was an excellent student, he despised the idea of learning Afrikaans, which was compulsory in South African schools, describing it as "a dead language" that he "didn't want to learn." At 16, he dropped out of high school and decided to follow his interest in computers, taking a local programming course. Family lore has it that after he spent one class explaining some technical fact to the teacher, he got a letter saying he no longer needed to attend. He then completed a year’s worth of material in eight weeks! Accounts of Le Roux do indicate that he was exceptionally gifted, and people who worked with him described him as a genius. After returning from a family holiday to Disneyland in the US, 17-year-old Le Roux decided to leave South Africa, and departed for the UK eight months later to work as a programmer. He then moved from the UK to the US, where he lived in Virginia Beach. After six months in the US, he followed his then-girlfriend Michelle to Australia in 1995. The couple married and Le Roux acquired Australian citizenship. Le Roux frequented message boards and enjoyed trolling Australians. A typical post read: "All of Australia could disappear into the Pacific and the only difference it would make to the World is the Americans would have one less pussy country to protect." His posts caused outrage on the board - someone even changed their handle to fuck @ you.paul Le Roux would later declare that his correspondents had fallen for his ploy: "Australians are east to provoke and your postings (including 2 death threats, numerous flames, and one guy who swears he has my address & phone number) have provided me with hours of amusement." Of course, Le Roux did more than just troll Australian message boards in this period... Le Roux had started building E4M - Encryption for the Masses - in 1997, releasing it at the end of 1998. Part 2/5 - The Turning Point E4M allowed users to encrypt entire hard drives, and to conceal the existence of encrypted files (such that prying eyes wouldn't even know they were there). According to Le Roux, the software was written from scratch, with thousands of hours going into its development and testing. As well as this, in the [Politics section of the E4M website]1 , Le Roux published a sort of Manifesto, describing how "governments are increasingly relying on electronic data gathering" and how "Strong Encryption is the mechanism with which to combat these intrusions, preserve your rights, and guarantee your freedoms into the information age and beyond." In the spirit of the open-source software movement in the late 90s, Le Roux released E4M for free and made the code available for other people to improve. Therefore, with no income from his two years of labor, he was struggling financially. His marriage fell apart violently and the couple got divorced in 1999. Le Roux first relocated to Hong Kong, then to Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He married a Dutch citizen named Lilian, and they had a child shortly after. In 2000, in order to monetize E4M, Le Roux launched [SW Professionals]2 in 2000. Based in South Africa, the company offered offshore programming, including E4M customization. One of Le Roux's clients was an Italian telecoms engineer called Wilfried Hafner, who had corresponded with Le Roux for several years about E4M. Hafner had founded a company to create a commercial encryption product that would combine some of the elements of E4M with another piece of software, Scramdisk. The new company would be called SecurStar, and its product would be called DriveCrypt. Hafner hired Le Roux to build DriveCrypt's underlying engine. At the time, Le Roux was desperate for money - he drove a beat up car and worked out of a Rotterdam apartment small enough that, on the phone, Hafner could often hear a baby crying in the background. Hafner on the other hand was living in the South of France, and Le Roux openly coveted the kind of success that he imagined led to such a home. He told Hafner: "I am ambitious, I want to have all this." However, in the middle of the development work for DriveCrypt, Hafner discovered that Le Roux was still working on E4M and had incorporated some of his work for SecurStar into his personal project. As a result, Hafner terminated Le Roux's contract. By October 2002, SW Professionals was now defunct and Le Roux was openly soliciting for work on the alt.security.scramdisk forum. It was around this time that Le Roux received some news that "shattered his whole world." In 2002, he travelled to Zimbabwe to retrieve a copy of his birth certificate. On the trip, his aunt and uncle pulled him aside to tell him the truth, and it was then that Le Roux found out he was adopted. Although many family members had known for years, Le Roux’s parents had elected to keep him in the dark about it. It was the "unknown" part that hurt him the most. Shortly after, Le Roux appeared on an another set of message boards - he seemed to be launching some kind of moneymaking scheme that required opening a company based in the U.S. In 2004, a group of anonymous developers did exactly what Hafner had feared: they released a new and powerful, free file-encryption program, called TrueCrypt, built on the code for E4M. TrueCrypt combined security and convenience, giving users the ability to strongly encrypt files or entire disk drives while continuing to work with those files as they would a regular file on their computer. Hafner and his SecurStar colleagues suspected that Le Roux was part of the TrueCrypt collective but couldn't prove it. As we'll explore in Part 5, TrueCrypt is an interesting part of this story... Part 3/5 - Money and Power After Le Roux's departure from the encryption world, at least under his own name, he entered the Internet-pharmacy business. What Le Roux did next was combine two of America's favourite past times, popping pills and online shopping, and the results were sensational. He turned over around $300MM in 4 years. In 2007, Le Roux moved his family to Manila, where he would base his operations. He also had call centres in Israel. This was a brilliant move by Le Roux, as the authorities were not looking at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem as hot-spots for a large-scale organised crime operation... Le Roux was moving serious volume during this time - his operation was once one of FedEx's largest customers. A relative of Le Roux pointed to 2008 or 2009 as the point at which Le Roux snapped. "I think the money got to him. I personally saw $100 million in his office in Makati. Cash, bud. It was fucking ridiculous. It was in wicker baskets lined up on the side of the wall in his office." Le Roux's appetite only grew, and not just in the literal sense (he was known as the "Fat Man" in the Philippines): he wanted to be a different kind of businessman, a lord of the real underworld, not just the virtual one. An Israeli associate of Le Roux tells how "Le Roux wanted to make more money, fast. Le Roux wanted to diversify, to be bigger. The only way to do that was illegal. He was living inside a movie, you could almost say." As well as this, Le Roux was notorious for his sexual exploits - he once wrote to his cousin, "15-20 a week, sometimes 3 per night." A former call centre employee tells how Le Roux approached him with an assignment, which at first he thought was collecting women for Le Roux to open a bar. However, that was not the reason, as Le Roux explained: "I'm going to impregnate them, and build an army of kids." Le Roux asked him to make a spreadsheet to track the women: their names, dress size, age, medical checkups. The operation was given top priority by Le Roux, who even sent his emissary to China to try to find women there. It is rumoured that Le Roux has at least 11 children to 7 different women! Le Roux's businesses expanded into logging, precious metals mining, gold smuggling, land deals, cocaine shipping, and arms dealing. These activities were spread across dozens of shell companies registered all over the world. Of course, he needed to launder the money. Le Roux used paid muscle in Hong Kong to swap cash for gold bars, and then proceeded to stash the gold in warehouses in Hong Kong (this totalled around $50MM). Speaking of paid muscle, Le Roux had plenty: ex-soldiers and mercenaries made sure any problems were dealt with force if necessary. Le Roux was closest to ex-British soldier Dave Smith, who would act as the leader of the mercenaries and allow Le Roux to insulate himself and not have to deal with people. In fact, Le Roux once told Smith "I live vicariously through you." However, things took a turn for the worse, at least from Dave Smith's perspective, as Smith stole $5MM worth of Gold from Le Roux. Le Roux was furious. He then summoned Smith to his place in the country, and asked him to dig a hole as they needed to stash some gold. However, when he arrived, he was greeted by a South African hit-man. After the hit-man had finished shooting Smith, Le Roux then grabbed the gun and fired into Smith's corpse. Le Roux then set about building an arms base in Somalia. To achieve this, Le Roux called upon an ex-soldier from Europe, code-named 'Jack' to work for him on the ground in Somalia. At sea, Jack had to bribe Somali pirates. It was actually this activity in Somalia that landed Le Roux on the radar of the DEA, as he popped up in a UN Report on security in Somalia. The DEA were now on his tail. Of course, his encryption skills came in handy - Le Roux's thick layers of encryption meant that the DEA needed someone on the inside... Part 4/5 - "Well played gentlemen, well played" Le Roux was getting more and more paranoid about people in his organisation stealing from him. Without justification, he suspected that his self proclaimed 'Golden Boy' Jack was stealing from him - so he ordered a hit on Jack. This was a huge mistake on Le Roux's part, as Jack then called a CIA hotline and went on the run. It was 18 months later that a DEA investigating Le Roux found Jack's message to the CIA. The DEA agent then called Jack. Scared for his life, Jack agreed to turn informant. In the meantime, Le Roux then had a change of heart and apologised to Jack for ordering the hit on him. The DEA then asked Le Roux to go back to work for Le Roux - they now had someone on the inside. To tempt Le Roux, the DEA devised a sting operation. They knew that Le Roux wanted novelty and excitement. So they fabricated the scenario that Jack had made contact with a high profile Colombian trafficker, and the Colombians wanted to bypass the Mexicans for their meth supply in the US. Le Roux was hooked. However, the DEA needed to lure Le Roux out of Manila, as his network of corrupt officials would ensure he will never be arrested. Jack needed to get Le Roux to Liberia (where the DEA had a trusted ally in Fombah Sirleaf, Head of Liberia's National Security Agency). Jack achieved this by saying that they needed to meet a cartel representative to finalise the deal. It worked, and Le Roux was arrested. Initially, Le Roux went into passive resistance - he was a big unit (hence the nickname "Fat Man") - and it took around 10 agents to get him on the plane to fly back to the US. Well he settled on the plane, the first thing Le Roux said to the DEA agents was: "Well played gentlemen, well played." He then said: "If you're looking at me, then clearly you're looking at bigger things..." The DEA agents were intrigued: "No Paul, you're the prize - what could possibly be bigger than you?" Le Roux responded: "Nation states gentlemen, nation states." He then started to spew out extremely valuable information on North Korea and Iran. Of course, this wasn't the only leverage Le Roux had... The enforcers who were once on Le Roux's payroll needed to be held accountable for their numerous murders, and the DEA were desperate to get them behind bars. Le Roux was key in their eventual capture. But that's not all: a crucial piece to this story is Part 5... Part 5/5 - TrueCrypt As we discussed previously, Le Roux was rumoured to be a member of the TrueCrypt collective. In November 2012, a man with the online handle Cincinnatus decided to throw a party in Hawaii. The idea arose out of an email exchange with Runa Sandvik, a developer and expert on the online software Tor, which allows its users to mask the physical location of their computers on the Internet. After she gave a Tor tutorial on Reddit, Cincinnatus sent Sandvik an encrypted message. Cincinnatus told Sandvik that he lived in Hawaii. Sandvik mentioned that she would be there on vacation the following month and could give a talk on Tor. Cincinnatus suggested they host a “cryptoparty,” a phenomenon that had arisen around that time among technology- and privacy-conscious activists. The date was set for December 11. Unbeknownst to Sandvik, her fellow party planner was hatching a much more elaborate education scheme. Four days after he contacted Sandvik, Cincinnatus sent an email to the journalist Glenn Greenwald. “The security of people’s communications is very important to me,” he wrote. In a series of emails, he suggested that Greenwald set up an encrypted means by which sources could contact him. Cincinnatus organized the cryptoparty at a hacker space called HiCapacity, located in the back of a furniture store in Honolulu. When Sandvik arrived around 6 p.m., Cincinnatus introduced himself as Ed and told her that he worked at the computer-hardware company Dell. Ed kicked off the evening by welcoming the attendees, then invited Sandvik to give her presentation on Tor. When she was finished, Ed pulled out his laptop, plugged it into the projector, and began his own instructional talk about TrueCrypt. In Ed’s presentation, Sandvik later wrote, he “pointed out that while the only known name associated with TrueCrypt is someone in the Czech Republic, TrueCrypt is one of the best open-source solutions available.” Six months later, in June 2013, Greenwald and filmmaker Laura Poitras published the first of a series of articles that grew out of their contact with Cincinnatus. In time they revealed that his full name was Edward Snowden, that he had worked in various capacities at the National Security Agency, and that he had downloaded and handed over a trove of documents from the NSA in an effort to blow the whistle on what he believed were egregious privacy encroachments by the U.S. government. Among them was a document revealing that TrueCrypt was one of a small number of encryption programs that had withstood the NSA’s efforts to crack it. What Snowden and the rest of the world wouldn’t know for another two years was that Paul Le Roux, the man whose code formed the foundation of True Crypt, was at that very moment in the custody of the U.S. government. Le Roux was in a bind, facing the full force of a U.S. federal prosecution for any number of his extraordinary array of crimes. The only way out was to spill his secrets... [[link]4 ''' Paul Le Roux Go1dfish undelete link unreddit undelete link Author: financeoptimum 1: e4m.net/**l*ht*l 2: e4m*net* 3: www.yout*be.co*/watc**v=z**aMoJ**k* 4: www.youtube.com/watc*?v*z*Za*o***kc**^* Unknown links are censored to prevent spreading illicit content.
Exchanges The best way to support XRP is to buy/sell XRP directly with your local currency, not with USDT, ETH, LTC, or BTC. Available XRP pairs - AUD, BRL, CAD, CNY, EUR, GBP, IDR, INR, JPY, KRW, MXN, PHP, RUB, THB, TRY, UAH, USD, ZAR. You can find the complete list of XRP exchanges and supported XRP/fiat pairs Here.
Stellar Lumens HODL alert: 2017 Round up, Partnerships, Lumens vs. Other Cryptos
Welcome everyone! The future of Stellar Lumens is bright! Today we will look at the accomplishments of Stellar.org in 2017. . . 2017 Round Up • IBM / Stellar Partnership • Kik Messenger’s KIN coin to move from Ethereum to Stellar in 2018 • Stellar ATM introduced in Singapore • Jed McCaleb confirms IBM/Stellar has 30 banks on board (Youtube Video) • Lightyear.io enables forward thinking financial entities to easily join the Stellar ecosystem. • IBM adds 8 new validators from 8 different countries onto the Stellar network (article) • Forbes calls Stellar “venmo, but on a global scale - and for larger bodies like banks and corporations.” • Stellar Lumens Is Up 6,300% Since March and Is Aiming for Big Blockchain Partners (article) • Many new partnerships (listed below) that will be using the Stellar network in 2018. • Binance and GoPax Exchanges Adds Stellar • Ledger Nano S support is now available for Lumens (XLM) • The next coin to break into the top 10 cryptos (article) . . 2017 Partnerships & Financial Institutions • IBM - is an American multinational technology company headquartered in Armonk, New York, United States, with operations in over 170 countries. IBM partnered with Stellar to help financial institutions address the processes of universal cross-border payments, designed to reduce the settlement time and lower the cost of completing global payments for businesses and consumers. • SatoshiPay - a web payment system that helps online publishers monetize digital assets like news articles, videos, or PDFs in tiny increments without friction. • EXCH.ONE - is a FinTech software company based in Switzerland currently working to integrate its platform and its first technology adopter Euro Exchange Securities UK Ltd. into the Stellar network. This addition to the Stellar network will bring access to currency markets of South and Central America,UK and a number of EU countries. • Novati (ASX:NOV) - is an Australian-based software technology and payment services provider. Novatti is currently working to integrate it’s platform into the Stellar network with the ultimate aim to build a global money transfer solution to provide cross border, cross currency and cross asset payments. • Pundi X - is an Indonesia based fintech company that provides POS device, debit card, multi-currency wallet that empowers individuals to buy and sell cryptocurrency at any physical store in the world. They say "buying cryptocurrency should be as easy as buying a bottled water." • MoneyMatch - is a Malaysia based fintech startup that provides a fully-digital peer-to-peer currency exchange platform for customers to transfer and exchange foreign currencies with complete ease and at great value. The company plans to integrate with the Stellar network and enable pay in and pay out from Malaysia. • Streami - is a Korea based fintech company that offers blockchain enabled cross-border remittance service and recently launched a cryptocurrency exchange. The partnership extends both on the exchange side and remittance operations. • Neoframe - is developing and marketing trading solutions for big brokerage firms in Korea and extends its business to blockchain based applications. Neoframe developed high performance centralized cryptocurrency exchange as well as secure wallet solutions and is working with big financial players. The company is planning to launch a remittance business for ASEAN countries (Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, Laos, Brunei) using Stellar. • SureRemit($RMT) - is a Nigeria based global non-cash remittances company. SureRemit leverages the Stellar blockchain platform to connect immigrants abroad directly with merchants that provide the services needed by their loved ones back home. With Remit tokens, immigrants all over the world can access digital shopping vouchers that can be spent on goods and services at accepting merchants wherever they are. • Cowrie Integrated Systems - is a Nigerian based Value Added Service Provider. Cowrie provides services at the intersection between telecoms and finance. Cowrie recently joined the Stellar network to bring novel fintech services to the African market. • Smartlands - is a Stellar-based platform designed to create a new class of low-risk tokens, secured by real, profitable assets in the real-world economy. Smartlands is designed to promote investments in the agricultural sector by allowing investment in individual projects, agricultural companies or indexes of groups of projects. These investments will be fully collateralized by agricultural real estate, other productive assets such as fruit or nut trees or, in some cases, the actual crop. • Klick-Ex - is an award winning regional cross-border payments system delivering financial infrastructure for emerging markets. It has been responsible for dramatic uptake in digital financial services in unbanked regions of the world, and lowering costs for banks, central banks and consumers in low liquidity currencies. Its key presence is in the Pacific and Europe, and it is a founding member of www.APFII.org processing more than 775,000 transactions per second, per billion of population (source). • Mobius - Mobius connects any app, device, and data stream to the blockchain ecosystem. Our simple and easy to use bidirectional API allows non-blockchain developers to easily connect resources to smart contracts and more. The Mobius MVP acts like Stripe for Blockchain by introducing innovative standards for cross-blockchain login, payment, smart contract management, and oracles. The Mobius Team includes David Gobaud, Jed McCaleb (Stellar.org founder), Jackson Palmer (creator of Dogecoin), and Chandler Guo (notorious Bitcoin & blockchain investor). • Chaineum - Chaineum, the first French ICO Boutique, will use the Stellar network for upcoming ICOs. “Chaineum is positioned as the first “ICO Boutique” in France, providing a range of end-to-end services to companies and international start-ups wishing to develop with this new funding mechanism. Chaineum is preparing 8 ICOs by the end of 2017, for European, North American and Asian companies, of which cumulative amount could reach € 200 million." (source) • Poseidon Foundation - Poseidon will simplify the carbon credit market with the creation of an ecosystem built on Stellar.org’s blockchain technology. This technology will prevent double counting of carbon and will be consistent across jurisdictions, making it easier for companies to deliver and measure progress towards their climate targets or other goals such as deforestation-free commitments. • Remitr - Remitr is a global platform for cross border payments, licensed in Canada. Remitr uses the Stellar network for international settlements for businesses as well as other payment partners. Remitr’s own payout network of 63 countries, comprising several currencies, is extended onto the Stellar network. • MSewa Software Solution (MSS) - MSewa Software Solution (MSS) Payments provides a one-stop digital payment service available across the Globe. MSS Payments aims at serving the consumers (Banked, Unbanked and Underbanked) with mobile banking facilities on the move from anywhere by transferring funds in their mobile phone. • PesaChoice - PesaChoice is a leader in international bill payment services for the African diaspora. PesaChoice aims at making international bill payment process easy, seamless, secure, with reasonable and competitive service fees, and up to date technological advances. • SendX - Singapore based SendX, in partnership with Stellar, is the better way to move money worldwide. The SendX team believes that the future of transactions is decentralized and distributed, bringing true equity to everyone across the value chain. • VoguePay - VoguePay, with offices in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, is partnering with Stellar to become the cheapest and most efficient way to send money between the United Kingdom and Nigeria. In the coming months, they expect to expand this service to other selected African countries. • HashCash - Hashcash consultants build financial solutions for banks and financial institutions over blockchain. We leverage the Stellar platform to build products that vastly improve the remittance and payments experience for banks and their customers. Transfers happen lightning fast at a fraction of current rates and operational cost is significantly reduced. HashCash is headquartered in India, with operations across South Asia and the Gulf. . . Stellar Lumens vs Other Cryptocurrencies • Lumens vs. Bitcoin: Jed McCaleb spoke at Distributed Markets in 2017 about the advantages, but more importantly, the disadvantages of Bitcoin. Listen to the talk here. Jed said, “Bitcoin is this awesome innovation. The first thing it does is converts a real world resource, electricity, into a digital asset. So it takes something from the real world and puts it into the digital realm. The second thing it does is provides immutable public record. It’s basically a database that everyone can see but no one change arbitrarily… That’s great, Bitcoin solves the double spin problem [ of proving possession and transmitting volume]… [However, to fix the problems of bitcoin] you might think well maybe we’ll just kind of keep adding [software] to Bitcoin until we get there, but that’s not really the way software works. You want to have the design from the beginning and solve these simple issues. Bitcoin was designed to be a new currency, it wasn’t really designed to be this unifying universal payment network. So that’s what Stellar does. It solves these three remaining issues.” • Lumens vs. Bitcoin #2: According to wired.com, "Bitcoin mining guzzles energy - and it's carbon footprint just keeps growing." Wired says "Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the US for one day... The total energy use of this web of hardware is huge—an estimated 31 terawatt-hours per year. More than 150 individual countries in the world consume less energy annually. And that power-hungry network is currently increasing its energy use every day by about 450 gigawatt-hours, roughly the same amount of electricity the entire country of Haiti uses in a year." Because Stellar is based on a consensus algorithm rather than mining, it takes much less energy to run the Stellar network. The Poseidon Foundation decided to build their platform on Stellar rather than Ethereum or Bitcoin because of this (twitter source). • Lumens ICO tokens vs. Ethereum ICO tokens: According to Stellar.org, "traditionally, ICO tokens have been issued on the Ethereum network in the form of ERC20 tokens. ERC20 tokens are easy to issue and are infinitely customizable using Ethereum’s smart contracting language. However, recent events have highlighted and exacerbated some weaknesses of the network, including slow transaction processing times for the network during ICOs and increasingly expensive gas prices (by fiat standards) for transactions and smart contract execution. Moreover, many organizations require only basic tokens; they adopt the risk of Ethereum’s Turing complete programming language without taking advantage of many of its benefits." "While Ethereum has the most expressive programming capabilities, we believe Stellar is the best choice for ICOs that do not require complex smart contracts. Stellar’s primary goal is to facilitate issuing and trading tokens, especially those tied to legal commitments by known organizations, such as claims on real-world assets or fiat currency." • Stellar vs. Ethereum #2: The median transaction time on Stellar is 5 seconds, compared to approximately 3.5 minutes on Ethereum (source). Stellar has a negligible transaction fee (.00001 XLM ~= $0.0000002) with no gas fee for computation, while depending on the complexity of the computation, the median cost for a transfer on the Ethereum network is $0.094. Security: While both Stellar and Ethereum run on a decentralized network, the Stellar network has fewer security pitfalls. Stellar uses atomic transactions comprised of simple, declarative operations while Ethereum uses turing complete programming capabilities which produces less auditable code and greater risk of exploitable vulnerabilities(source). Recently, a security flaw in the Ethereum network froze millions of dollars. According to Mobius ariticle written by David Gobaud, "On November 6, 2017, Github user deveps199 'accidentally' triggered a bug in Parity, a popular Ethereum mult-sig wallet, that froze more than $152 million in Ether across 151 addresses. The bug impacted several token sales including Polkadot, which has had ~$98 million out of its recent $145 million sale frozen." "Mobius had none of its ongoing pre-sale Ether frozen because we do not trust Ethereum’s Smart Contract based multi-sig wallets given the vast Turing complete attack surface and did not use one. Security broadly is one of the main reasons the MOBI token that powers the DApp Store is a Stellar Protocol token and not an Ethereum token." • Lumens vs. Ripple: According to Wall Street Bitcoin Exchange, "Many investors like to compare the company [Stellar] to Ripple, and there are a lot of similarities, being that some of the founders worked on the Ripple team. In what can now be looked at as another blockchain development drama that plays out on chat boards and in interviews all across the globe. Stellar declared they fixed Ripple’s problems with their hard fork, however, Ripple has failed to admit to any of the flaws in its design that the Stellar team has pointed out." The article concludes by saying, "We Choose XLM Over XRP For 2018. That is why we are going with Stellar Lumens over Ripple in our portfolio for the rest of 2017 and 2018. After holding Ripple for a long time this year, it just never seems to make the big break like other names with bigger market caps like Bitcoin Cash, Dash, and Litecoin have. While we are holding on most all our larger market caps, we feel that Stellar Lumens will be one of the break out coins for 2018." . . Conclusion The stellar.org team is doing an amazing job making partnerships and pioneering the use of blockchain technology for various types of transactions. What we are seeing is a new technology that can actually be used to solve real-world problems. As a community, we need to continue supporting Stellar and we will quickly see it power transactions across the world. What are your thoughts about Stellar? What do you see in the future of Stellar? Any important news you want to share? Comment below.
https://preview.redd.it/bjix9mvdw2m31.png?width=864&format=png&auto=webp&s=0c7b463f7bcf30dfe1bff31aa70b33ca6e002e8f Article by Forbes: Joresa Blount In 2018, Asia was one of the leading regions in terms of growth of blockchain jobs, cryptocurrency usage, innovation, and general openness. Despite some early woes with China banning ICOs, China still produces nearly 70% of crypto mining activity. For users and entrepreneurs, the Asian ecosystem is in general a friendly one. For example, in Singapore Bitcoin is taxed as a good rather than a currency, setting a 7% flat tax for trades or purchases using Bitcoin. In Japan, messenger giant, LINE, was just granted a crypto exchange license from the Japanese financial regulator. In Korea, news just broke that the country’s largest entertainment company would be launching its own token. Besides the name brand companies that are exploring crypto solutions, there are hundreds of innovative startups and founders looking to radically disrupt their respective industries with blockchain technology. This list contains ten innovative blockchain startups based in Asia worth watching, including exchanges, fintech startups, and more. Today In: Innovation 1. Level01 Level01 is the world’s first broker less derivatives exchange in collaboration with Thomson Reuters. Through using blockchain technology, the platform eliminates middlemen while providing a decentralized trading experience. Users can trade derivatives and options in forex, cryptocurrencies, commodities, stocks and indices, all from the Level01 platform and app. Level01 does this by using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for transparent and automated trade settlement on the blockchain, with their unique Artificial Intelligence (AI) analytics called Fairsense that provides fair value pricing dynamically to counterparties in a trade, based on current and retrospective market data from Thomson Reuters. The platform and app are currently undergoing stringent beta testing by 50 experienced traders. 2. Galaxy Pool Galaxy Pool, also known as GPO, is a brand-new asset issuance style on blockchain that utilizes intelligent contracts for initial digital asset issuance. In general, GPO assets can be best described as mining machines used to explore various kinds of digital assets that can obtain value-added benefits of GPO through the repurchase and destruction of pond profits. With this brand-new asset issuance style on blockchain, more humanistic investment opportunities with free withdrawal rights can be provided to investors. 3. Biki Headquartered in Singapore, BiKi.com is a global cryptocurrency exchange ranked Top 20 on CoinMarketCap. BiKi.com provides a digital assets platform for trading more than 150 cryptocurrencies and 220 trading pairs. Since its official opening in August 2018, BiKi.com is considered one of the fastest-growing cryptocurrency exchanges in the world with an accumulated 1.5 million registered users, 130,000 daily active users, over 2000 community partners and 200,000 community members in under a year. BiKi’s competitive advantages include helping projects with marketing, influencers, brand awareness, and community growth in the Chinese markets and abroad. With a global approach, BiKi also helps Chinese companies go global and international companies penetrate Chinese markets. 4. Whitebit With a global team of over 100 people, Whitebit is a professional digital asset trading platform that services most major Asian markets via a European license. The exchange holds 95% of user funds in cold wallets and offers users an intuitive user interface with real-time orderbooks, charting and technical analysis tools, and automation features. Whitebit’s major competitive advantage is processing speeds of up to 10,000 trades every second and 1,000,000 TCP connections. Whitebit has also announced the release of S.M.A.R.T. Box, a program that allows users to budget and allocate funds based on unique plans with varying durations and interest rates. Next is the launch of margin trading in Q4 2020, as well as mobile iOS and Android apps and an eventual US license. 5. Opu Labs Opu Labs is creating the self-care business model of the future starting with the skincare space. There are over 1.2 billion online skincare consumers with a $3 billion digital services business. Opu Labs helps make the decision-making process easier by offering free advice powered by AI, rewarding users for their purchase data using blockchain technology, and using robust technologies to connect brands and consumers. Under the leadership of CEO Marc Bookman, Opu Labs was named in the top 25 healthcare solutions by CIO Applications and won the start-up GrandSlam in Singapore. To date, $2m in rewards have been earned on the platform and the company will be releasing their long-awaited apps soon. 6. Coinsbit.io Thanks to his vast expertise, experience, and sense of the market, Nikolay Udianskyi created a high-quality crypto exchange called Coinsbit.io. Now leading the Asian crypto market, Coinsbit was named the best 2018 crypto exchange at Asian Blockchain Life 2019. Coinsbit is planning to further distinguish itself from the competition through a series of novel functions. Among its plans is a P2P microfinancing lending service that will enable users to borrow and lend money on the platform. Coinsbit will ensure privacy for all users and will not require borrowers to show their credit history. An additional planned feature is an invest box service, which will reward users who deposit cryptocurrency by paying them interest on various coins. 7. GST Coin GST is a comprehensive digital application platform which integrates encrypted payment currency, blockchain and artificial intelligence technology. It is dedicated to providing the most valuable intelligent digital asset service for every user and creating a new GST digital public chain in a diversified market structure. GST project is committed to using the most advanced technology to create the most perfect user experience, and it has always been in the forefront of the market in the decentralized security sharing architecture. GST was born out of MHC Asset Management Corporation, a high-tech enterprise engaged in R&D and innovation of blockchain technology. Their executive team includes CEO Ms. Zhang Qun and other leading technologists and entrepreneurs in China. 8. Columbu Columbu (CAT) is a global community-based open-source blockchain project that has been active since 2017. Under CTO David Su, CAT’s main focus is building a high-performance DAPP development platform and community encouraging and autonomous system based on software and hardware combined GCloud Everest computing platform. This is the world’s first public blockchain (distributed cloud) using CUDA and blockchain technology. The project will allow for a worldwide distributed and free economic collaborative network of intelligent economies. This will happen through a community incentive mechanism and autonomous system to build in real-time. The project has an ambitious roadmap that will include growing its global developer community and other projects within their ecosystem. 9. KBC Registered in Singapore, KBC is the powering token of a global financial infrastructure and range of products focused around gold. These products include an innovative Voice-over-Blockchain smartphone called IMpulse K1, a crypto payment merchant processor called K-Merchant, and a cryptocurrency exchange and trading platform. Together these products and entities combine to form the Gold Imperium, the company’s financial ecosystem. The company has attracted heavy interest from users who have seen the benefits of having both gold and cryptocurrency exposure, as well as the ease of use of being able to use each day to day through tokens such as KBC. As both markets expand, keep an eye on KBC. 10. TEXCENT TEXCENT is a Singaporean blockchain and fintech startup focused on fully-integrated solutions for remittance, payments, and microfinancing. Using blockchain technology, the company wants to provide seamless and convenient digital financial services solutions to Asia and the world. TEXCENT is currently focusing on the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand as these markets will grow exponentially in the next 5 years. Their current products include PAYCENT, an app and hybrid wallet, as well as TEXCENT, a remittance solution with zero fees. TEXCENT has already acquired a remittance license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and is in the process of getting similar licenses for UK, Malaysia and Hong Kong in the coming months. The company is also a member of the Singapore Fintech Association.
I get it. It is difficult to regulate crypto, or even want to regulate crypto, for the following reasons:
Retail investors’ economic interest
Cannot track where INR goes, disrupts monetary policy
I don’t think it will survive, so why bother.
It’s a scam and just a way to fast money
Media tells me it is used just for terror financing and drugs
Only millennials care about it, like a fad.
Points 1-4 are genuine issues, especially within India. Points 5-8 are more subjective. Let us dive deeper into these issues.
Tax evasion: Let’s start off by quoting the benchmark here - Under 5% of Indians pay tax today, and most of these are at source. This will not change. Taxing crypto is not difficult, as most countries are figuring out. In fact, imagine the amount of tax revenues that you can get from investors and corporates?
Money laundering: India is still a cash rich society, even after demonetisation. Cash to crypto is a real problem, and from anecdotal remarks apparently many Indian crypto institutions have been guilty on this front. However, preventing cash from getting into crypto is frankly not crypto’s problem. It is a regulatory and judicial problem. Globally, crypto is a speck within the dust storm that is fiat, in this department.
Retail investors’ economic interest: Let’s again begin with the benchmark - Indians can today invest entire disposable incomes into equity. Technically equity can also result in huge losses. However I don’t disagree crypto is much more risky, at least for the moment. So government can restrict (not a fan, but maybe a compromise) what percentage of disposable income people can invest into crypto.
Tracking INR: Indian rupee is not freely transferable like USD, EUR, GBP. There are limits on how much people can send out of the country and there has to be a clear rationale. Now, crypto is decentralised (at least bitcoin, mostly) and one can digitally transfer it anywhere in the world. INR -> crypto -> outside India. However, this is still a regulatory issue, not a crypto issue. The government can clearly track crypto and its users - how else did 50k people in India get tax notices in 2017-18?
So, net-net the real objective issues around crypto can be easily addressed and just requires understanding of the technology, regulation, and judicial scrutiny. Let’s draw up a regulatory and licensing framework and let people operate within that, and impose strict judicial process against offenders. Points 5-8, as I mentioned above, are subjective. How do you know crypto is here to stay, it’s not a scam, and the media narrative? It just feels like quick money and a millennial fad. Crypto is ALL about adoption. Supply-demand dictates its price. There is no asset backing it. It will succeed if enough number of people believe in it. In other words, India should ask: what are other countries, corporates, investors, societies doing?
Japan issues licenses to crypto exchanges. As do US ( NY), Thailand, Philippines, Malta, Australia etc
UK’s FCA has a regulatory sandbox for crypto start-ups
Switzerland has created an entire crypto valley!
Fidelity ($7tn asset manager) is getting into crypto trading
Goldman Sachs is an investor in Circle and BitGo
IMF Chairman Christine Lagarde has acknowledged crypto’s potential influence
AT&T now accepts bitcoin as payment for monthly bills
Facebook has just forged a multi-institutional partnership to launch their own cryptocurrency (details TBD)
$1 in bitcoin on 1 Jan 2016 would have given you 1000x today. Sensex would have given you around 1.5x
Forbes research has found that around 30% of the age group 18-34 prefer bitcoin over stocks. Over 65% of India’s population is under 35. Think about the positive messages you can send them by being proactive on crypto.
I can go on and on, but I think this clearly shows that adoption is truly gathering pace, which implies more and more people are believing in it, and the Indian media narrative is completely lopsided and just wrong. In the last year, since I quit my investment banking job, I have been to SFO, NY, UK, Switzerland, China, South Korea, Singapore, Malta etc and the sense is overwhelmingly positive! While there are issues that need to be resolved, no one has denied their citizens the right to invest in crypto (with or without regulations). Except China, where the ban has not stopped the trading going underground and OTC. The CEOs of Google, Microsoft, Nokia, MasterCard, Adobe are all Indian. These were some of the best companies to come out of the internet age that we did not capitalise upon. We now potentially stand at the cusp of the next such age of digital assets. We can still make this happen before it is too late. India - please wake up. The author is a graduate from IIT Guwahati and IIM Calcutta, and was an investment banker at Morgan Stanley London for 10 years. He is currently the Founder & CEO of XDAT, a compliant EU cryptocurrency exchange.
State of the subreddit 2019 (A Report from Your Mod)
Before I start, I'd like to make a shameless plug for our Discord server. Update: Stay tuned soon for the mid-year update post. As we enter 2019, I mark another milestone year helping you all buy, sell, and trade Thinkpad items. And if I may say, we did rather well. We have certainly gone a long ways from when one of our founding and pioneering moderators, 'Grand_Sales' first asked in the Thinkpad subreddit about whether people thought this sub would be necessary (or not). The sub is quite heavily used now. In this past year, we had almost exactly 400 non-meta posts which exchanged at least one Thinkpad per post. As they are all have flairs (thanks to manual work by yours truly), we can break that down into:
about 250 sold (17 actively 'selling' in the last two weeks)
about 130 bought (4 actively 'looking to purchase' in the last two weeks)
about 23 traded (4 actively 'trading' in the last two weeks)
These interactions happened across the globe - the majority of posts were from the US, but we had a lot from the European Union, and a few more from Canada, the UK(%), Ireland, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan (of which, to my surprise and delight I was not the only user). We had only one reported heist, where a user bought with BitCoin and then could not get the transaction reversed when it started to become painfully obvious that the seller had no intention to send the laptop. We continue to urge all users to be wary in their trades. You are free (and some members did contact us last year) to send us modmail about something you are unsure about in your trading process (sending PMs to each other, etc). While most of these cases are harmless, we will make haste to inquiry the appropriate part(ies) if we detect something suspicious. Mid-year, we did add the USLBot to this subreddit and it has helped us in avoiding scammers quite auto-magically ever since. Here's to hoping that it doesn't break down on us. Conversely, we are also a participating subreddit on Reddit Trading Talk subreddit, where people can appeal the decisions of moderators from trading subs, or talk about some general concepts in trades. A bot is being drafted based off the one in Hardwareswap subreddit, so that your very tired mod doesn't spend a lot of time manually marking all the posts and making the meta confirmed trade posts, etc. The Discord server is also growing quickly. We have 195 members, of which 33 have demonstrated they are trustworthy sellers. We talk a lot about the Asian and European markets, esp. second-hand (lightly-used) sites, but we would like to welcome more topics of marketplace-centric discussion in the coming year. I'd like to extend my thanks to 'aif123', 'jpsulisz', and to 'theamdman' for their help as well, both on this subreddit and the Discord, for their work in moderating and promotion. Finally, I'd like to thank all the users of this sub for making it a great marketplace and I hope we will all continue to be excellent (#) to each other. I will be back with another update in mid-2019, so until then. % UK residents may continue to flair themselves [EU-UK] until Brexit is finalized, esp. considering that recent news has it that the UK may not leave the EU after all. # If a user is NOT being excellent with others (random, non-constructive price/usecomputer attacking etc) then please report them. I regularly check through the modqueue and will deal with this behaviour ASAP, because it is not acceptable.
Hi Bitcoiners! I’m back with the seventeenth monthly Bitcoin news recap. For those unfamiliar, each day I pick out the most popularelevant/interesting stories in Bitcoin and save them. At the end of the month I release them in one batch, to give you a quick (but not necessarily the best) overview of what happened in bitcoin over the past month. You can see recaps of the previous months on Bitcoinsnippets.com A recap of Bitcoin in May 2018
In case you missed it: Major Crypto and Blockchain News from the week ending 12/14/2018
Developments in Financial Services
A cryptocurrency exchange-traded product (ETP) that trades on Switzerland’s Six Exchange saw record trading volumes on Thursday and Friday last week, suggesting that institutional investors may be buying the dip in cryptocurrencies. Four major cryptocurrencies underlie the HODL ETP, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). While HODL ETP’s one-month average daily trading is 20,000 shares, on Thursday, December 6th, and Friday, December 7th, 53,233 shares and 62.986 shares were traded, respectively.
A report published last week by global anti-money laundering policymaker, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), indicates that cryptocurrency exchanges in the United Kingdom pose a, “low risk,” for money laundering and terrorist financing activities. The report, however, does highlight that such activities on UK cryptocurrency exchanges are an, “emerging risk,” although there is not yet enough evidence to suggest that these activities are occurring through cryptocurrency exchanges. In its report, the FATF urged UK regulators to, “Continue to develop an understanding of emerging risks (such as virtual currencies) and intelligence gaps, and take appropriate action.”
Andreas Utermann, CEO and CIO of Allianz Global Investors, called on global financial regulators to ban cryptocurrencies while speaking at a panel discussion in London. According to a report by Reuters, Utermann said, “You should outlaw it,” while participating in a panel alongside Andrew Bailey, the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority. Bailey responded by saying that Utermann’s comments were, “quite strong,” before adding that cryptocurrencies have, “no intrinsic value.”
Basis, a major US-based stablecoin project, is shutting down its operations and returning most of its funds to investors, according to a report by crypto news outlet The Block. The report by The Block cited, “multiple people with direct knowledge of the situation,” in claiming that the algorithmic stablecoin project, which generated UDS$133mm of funding through private investments in April, will return funds to investors. According to the Co-Founder and CEO of competing stablecoin project Nevin Freeman, Basis’ shutdown is due to regulatory concerns around one of its token types. Freeman explained, highlighting that algorithmic stablecoins implement a “secondary token”, known as a “bond token”, to help maintain the primary token’s peg. In many cases, regulators like the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) consider these secondary tokens to be securities.
Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, announced that it has added Circle’s US dollar-pegged stablecoin, USD Coin (USDC), to its combined Stablecoin Market. Circle, a company backed by Goldman Sachs, first released its stablecoin in September of this year. Binance’s combined Stablecoin Market features other notable stablecoins, like Tether (USDT), that trade against cryptocurrencies as interchangeable base pairs.
Coinone, a South Korea-based cryptocurrency exchange, has officially launched Cross, a cross-border payments application that leverages Ripple’s xCurrent product to increase efficiencies. The application, released by Coinone’s payments subsidiary, Coinone Transfer, targets unbanked or underbanked South Koreans by enabling the transfer of funds to Thailand or the Philippines at a low cost.
Gemini, a cryptocurrency exchange heralded by the Winklevoss twins, released an official company blog post this weekend announcing that the firm will support Bitcoin Cash (BCH) custody and trading. The exchange will support only the Bitcoin Cash ABC network at this time, adding that they, “are continuing to evaluate Bitcoin SV over the coming weeks or months, and we may or may not choose to support withdrawals and/or trading of Bitcoin SV in the future.” Additionally, the company detailed that its listing of BCH is pending regulatory approval by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
Gemini, the cryptocurrency trading platform founded by the Winklevoss twins, announced the launch of a mobile crypto trading application in an official blog post today. Accompanying the launch of the crypto trading app is a new investment vehicle, dubbed, “The Cryptoverse,” that is comprised of a basket of cryptocurrencies weighted by market capitalization. While speaking to Bloomberg today, Cameron Winklevoss said that, “A lot of our decisions have perhaps given off a perception that we’re more institutional-based. The reality of the situation is that we have a diverse customer base. And the retail story is just beginning.” The Winklevoss twins went on to detail of a goal to expand reach to Asian markets by 2019’s end.
Good Money, a US neo-banking platform, has closed its Series A investment round that generated USD$30mm led by cryptocurrency-focused merchant bank Galaxy Digital and the founder of EOS (EOS) Block.one. Good Money aims to provide a variety of banking service and certain financial instruments to US account holders while exploring innovative changes to traditional banking practices. “Modern banking is a primary driver of so many issues we as a society face – from economic inequality, institutional racism, environmental destruction to political corruption,” said Good Money founder Gunnar Lovelace. Specifically, Good Money eliminates ATM fees while offering each bank user equity in the company.
Kraken, a notable cryptocurrency exchange, is seeking to raise funding with a USD$4bn valuation for the company and a USD$100,000 investment minimum, according to CoinDesk. In an email to investors, Kraken CEO Jesse Powell wrote, “There is presently a limited time opportunity available to a very small select number of clients to purchase shares.” The email goes on to detail that the exchange will close its offer on December 16th.
OKEx, the second-largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume, will begin listing Bitcoin Cash ABC under the original Bitcoin Cash ticker (BCH), as per an official announcement Tuesday. Additionally, OKEx will change the Bitcoin Cash SV ticker from BCHSV to BSV. The announcement by OKEx comes after other notable cryptocurrency exchanges have made the same switch, including Coinbase and Gemini.
PayPal, an online payments portal, has launched its own internal private blockchain platform that will allow staff to trade and exchange tokens while generating ideas and participating in programs to foster innovation, as per a report by news outlet Cheddar. The private blockchain network, which was built by 25 PayPal employees in just 6 months, will allow employees to earn more for enrolling in learning and development programs. The PayPal tokens are not tradeable, or worth anything for that matter, outside PayPal’s blockchain.
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), a big four consulting firm, is partnering with Bitfury Group, a large blockchain software and mining firm, to develop a blockchain accelerator specific to Russian businesses. As per an official press release by PwC, the partnership will leverage Exonum, Bitfury’s open source framework to build blockchain applications, for educational courses and seminars. The partnership aims to meet the, “current needs,” of PwC’s enterprise clients in Russia.
Revolut, a digital banking alternative with an in-application cryptocurrency exchange, announced that it has been awarded a European banking license. Seeking to become the, “Amazon of banking,” the license will allow Revolut to offer traditional banking services alongside its current cryptocurrency offerings to European customers. Nikolay Storonsky, Founder and CEO of Revolut, said in regards to the newly acquired license that, “With the banking license now secured, commission-free stock trading progressing well, and five new international markets at final stages of launch, we are living up to our reputation as the ‘Amazon of Banking’. Our vision is simple: one ap with tens of millions of users, where you can manage every aspect of your financial life with the best value and technology.”
Shinhan Bank, the second-largest commercial bank in South Korea, is launching a new project to implement blockchain technology in its internal processes with a goal of eliminating human error. According to a report by news outlet The Korea Times, Shinhan also recently completed a training program for its staff to increase their knowledge of blockchain technology across various applications. After Shinhan implemented blockchain technology for interest rate swap transactions on November 30th, South Korea’s second-largest bank is now aiming to apply the technology in its record-keeping process to enhance overall efficiencies.
SolarisBank, Germany’s second-largest and Europe’s ninth-largest stock exchange, is partnering with Stuttgart Exchange Group, a German fintech company, to jointly develop a cryptocurrency exchange. As per a report by Cointelegraph Germany, the joint cryptocurrency exchange venture, “is scheduled to launch in the first half of 2019.” This news comes after SolarisBank announced plans to launch a zero-fee cryptocurrency trading application this past May.
The Canadian city of Calgary is becoming the first city in Canada to launch a digital version of its local currency, according to a report by the Global News. Dubbed as the Calgary Digital Dollar, the digital currency will be exclusive to Calgary and operate alongside the country’s Canadian Dollar. Calgary-based businesses will now be required by law to accept at least 10% of a payment in digital currency, although they are allowed to accept up to 100%.
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is launching a pilot of its Global Payment Initiative (GPI) to combat growing blockchain and fintech solutions, according to an official announcement last week. Currently, the SWIFT Network is used by global financial institutions to conduct global financial payments and cross-border transfers of fiat currency. Although the project is still in its early stages, the GPI pilot hopes to, “build the foundation of a new integrated and interactive service that will significantly improve efficiencies in the payments process and which will ultimately be made available to all 10,000 banks across the SWIFT network.”
The United Arab Emirates’(UAE) central bank is partnering with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to develop a cryptocurrency to facilitate cross border transactions between the two countries, according to a report by news outlet GulfNews. In a meeting pertaining to global banking standards and regulation in the Arab region, Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, the governor of the UAE’s central bank, said, “This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic and we hope that this achievement will foster similar collaboration in our region.” The prospective digital currency will be used by both central banks and financial institutions in the countries.
TokenSoft, a security token offering (STO) startup, has acquired a 20% stake in regulated broker-dealer Marpine Securities LLC in order to launch its own regulated broker-dealer. After acquiring the 20% stake, TokenSoft will launch its new regulated broker-dealer entity, called TokenSoft Global Markets, that will be registered through the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA). The new regulated broker-dealer entity will allow TokenSoft to advise token issuers through every step of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) process. Additionally, TokenSoft will now be able to legally operate in services related to insurance and management.
Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors and a notable cryptocurrency pundit, believes that the current fair value of Bitcoin (BTC) is between USD$13,800 and USD$14,800, according to a note published on Thursday. Lee arrived at this valuation by taking into account the number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, and other supply and demand metrics. Additionally, Lee forecasted that the fair value of BTC will reach USD$150,000/coin once BTC wallets account for 7% of Visa’s 4.5bn account holders.
UAE Exchange, an exchange based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is partnering with Ripple to launch a blockchain-based cross-border remittances platform by 1Q2019, as per a Reuters report on Thursday. The report details further that Finablr, a payments and foreign exchange company that owns UAE Exchange, observes a high level of remittance inflows from expatriate workers in the Middle East region. “We expect to go live with Rippel by Q1, 2019 with two other Asian banks,” said Finablr CEO Promoth Manghat, adding, “This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”
De Nederlandsche Bank, the Netherlands’ central bank, will soon require domestic cryptocurrency providers to obtain a license from the regulator to operate, as per a report by Dutch news outlet DeTelegraaf. The Netherlands' central bank is taking these measures in the hope that it will, “prevent such cryptocurrencies from being used to launder money obtained through crime or to fund terrorism.” In order to receive a license, cryptocurrency firms must maintain Know-Your-Customer procedures and report any suspicious activity to the Dutch central bank.
Eddie Hughes, a conservative member of the United Kingdom’s Parliament, suggested that Bitcoin (BTC) should be accepted as legal tender for tax and utility payments, according to news outlet Express.co.uk. The article discusses that Hughes, who is a self-described, “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge,” recently met with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts cryptocurrency donations. This news comes after the US state of Ohio announced that it would begin accepting BTC as legal tender for tax payments.
Following a case in Canadian courts that resulted in a ruling ordering mistakenly sent crypto funds to be returned to their owner, a blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law is noting that there could be repercussions with the case potentially setting a precedent for lost or stolen cryptocurrency claims. The Canadian court case’s ruling will require defendant Brian Wall to return USD$370,482 worth of Ethereum (ETH) tokens to the plaintiff, Copytrack. The blog post from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law reads, ‘This precedent may have major repercussions for the enforcement of claims regarding lost or stolen cryptocurrencies,” adding that the ruling allows the plaintiff to recover tokens, “in whatsoever hands those Ether Tokens may currently be held.”
Japan’s government is considering plans to ease cryptocurrency taxes in an effort to revitalize the domestic cryptocurrency and blockchain industry. This week, Japanese Congressman Takeshi Fujimaki proposed four significant changes to taxation requirements pertaining to digital assets, which include: a reduction on the cryptocurrency gains tax from 55% to 20%; elimination of taxes on crypto-to-crypto payments; elimination of taxes on miniscule cryptocurrency payments; and an adjustment that would allow cryptocurrency investors to carry forward losses across quarters and years, effectively until cryptocurrencies are ‘cashed’ out.
Jay Clayton, Chairman for the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC), said during a speech that Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), “can be effective,” for fundraising, but that, “securities laws must be followed.” Clayton went on in his speech to comment on the US SEC’s work regarding distributed ledger technology (DLT), digital assets, and ICOs, saying that it is an, “area where the Commission and staff have spent a significant amount of time,” and, “that this trend will continue in 2019.”
Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), expressed his optimism for distributed ledger technology’s potential impact on traditional financial markets in a testimony before the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs yesterday. According to a transcript published on the SEC’s website, Clayton said, “I am optimistic that developments in distributed ledger technology can help facilitate capital formation, providing promising investment opportunities for both institutional and Main Street Investors.” Additionally, Clayton highlighted that the SEC is, “Focusing a significant amount of attention and resources on digital assets and initial coin offerings (ICOs).”
Maxim Akimov, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia, announced that no significant changes will be made to the draft of a bill concerning cryptocurrency regulation in the country, as per news outlet Finmarket. The bill was already approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, in May 2018, although the bill has generated substantial discussion since. Since approval of the bill, all cryptocurrency and token-related terminology have been removed and replaced with the term “digital rights”. At the beginning of December, Pavel Krasheninnikov, Chairman of Russia’s State Duma, said that the bill needed to be, “significantly,” changed.
Pan Gongsheng, a deputy governor of the People’s Bank of China, highlighted that Security Token Offerings (STOs) in China are illegal while speaking at a summit in Beijing. As per a report by news outlet the South China Morning Post, Gongsheng told the summit that, “illegal financing activities through STOs and ICOs were still rampant in the mainland despite a nationwide clean-up of the cryptocurrency market last year.” In citing reasoning for the continued ban on STOs, Gongsheng explained that, “Virtual money has become an accomplice to all kinds of illegal and criminal activities.”
Pantera Capital, a blockchain and cryptocurrency-focused investment firm and hedge fund, is warning investors that as much as a quarter of their ICO project could potentially be violating US securities laws, according to a Bloomberg report. In a newsletter to clients, Pantera Capital warned, “While we believe the vast majority of the projects in our portfolio should not be affected, approximately 25% of our fund’s capital is invested in other projects with liquid tokens that sold to US investors without using Regulation D or Regulation S”
Russia has no intention of implementing Venezuela’s state-backed digital currency, the Petro, into commercial operations, according to a report by news outlet RIA Novosti. While speaking to reporters this week, Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergey Storchak said, “Representatives from our tax service and central bank... got acquainted with the cryptocurrency Venezuela is introducing,” adding, “But no more than that. As for payments, they’re not happening yet.”
South Korea’s representative body, the National Assembly, held its first official meeting with seven of the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges on Monday. The purpose of the meeting was to debate cryptocurrency regulation between stakeholders of South Korea’s cryptocurrency industry. Cryptocurrency exchanges Bithumb, CobitCoin, Coinone, Upbit, Gopax, Coinplug, and Hanbitco were among the attendees of the debate, which reportedly focused on Anti-Money Laundering (AML) customer protections and Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures.
The United Kingdom’s Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental financial security body, is calling on the country’s government to increase monitoring of cryptocurrency markets. According to an official report last week, the UK must overhaul its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and combat terrorist financing (CFT) efforts in order to prevent illicit activities with cryptocurrencies. “Virtual currency exchange providers are not yet covered by AML/CFT requirements,” the report details, adding, “this is an emerging risk and there is not yet evidence to suggest that broad scale ML/TF is occurring in the UK through this relatively small sector.”
The United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is interested in learning more about the Ethereum (ETH) network, its technology, and the markets build around it. On Tuesday, the CFTC published a Request for Input (RFI) that requests the public’s feedback on different questions concerning Ethereum. The RFI explains that its goal is to inform the CFTC about Ethereum and similar emerging technology, saying, “The input from this request will advance the CFTC’s mission of ensuring the integrity of the derivatives market as well as monitoring and reducing the systematic risk by enhancing legal certainty in the markets. The RFI seeks to understand the similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including here ether and bitcoin, as well as ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”
The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (US SEC) is ordering that cryptocurrency asset manager CoinAlpha Advisors LLC pay a USD$50,000 fine, alleging that the firm conducted an unregistered securities sale. After forming in October 2017, CoinAlpha raised more than USD$600,000 from investors to invest in digital assets. In an official release, the US SEC said that CoinAlpha did not file a Notice of Exempt Offering of Securities, meaning that the firm breached securities laws by soliciting securities investors. Additionally, the firm allegedly did not adhere to proper know-your-customer procedures to verify that investors were accredited.
Venezuela is reportedly beginning to convert its citizens’ monthly pension payments into Petros, Venezuela’s controversial state and oil-backed cryptocurrency, according to a report by local economics blog the Caracas Chronicles. The conversion of Venezuelan pensioners’ payments into Petros came after the country already sent pensioners their monthly payment in the form of a check for Venezuelan Bolivars -- normally, upon receiving their check, pensioners would deposit their funds into a bank account where they could then withdraw fiat from local branches. The Venezuelan government, however, converted pensioners’ fiat payments into the Petro upon their deposit into a bank. In the first few weeks of the Petro’s existence, its value has risen from 9,000 to more than 15,000.
Warren Davidson, an Ohio Congressman and notable advocate of blockchain and digital assets, is floating blockchain technology as a solution to fund US President Donald Trump’s prospective US-Mexico border wall. While interviewing with NPR, Congressman Davidson suggested, “the American people, or whomever should choose to donate,” could pay for the border wall, adding, “you could do it with sort of like a crowdfunding site or you could do a blockchain and you could have WallCoins.”
“The long-term value of Bitcoin (BTC) is more likely to be USD$100 than USD$100,000,” says Kenneth Rogoff, a former Chief Economist for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the current Harvard University Professor of Economics and Public Policy. While writing an article for major UK news outlet The Guardian, Rogoff highlighted that, because BTC’s use is limited to transactions, it makes the digital asset more vulnerable to a bubble-like collapse. Rogoff also cited that BTC’s energy-intensive verification processes is, “vastly less efficient,” than systems that leverage, “a trusted central authority like a central bank.”
A new report by PeckShield, a blockchain security company that monitors various cryptocurrency ecosystems, details that decentralized applications (DApps) on the EOS (EOS) blockchain have lost as much as USD$1mm in hacks since July 2018. The report details further that DApps on the EOS network have sustained 27 breaches since July, which are responsible for the up to 400,000 EOS that have been compromised from hacks. Guo Yonggang, a blockchain security expert cited in a report on the matter by crypto media firm Blockchain Truth, believes that the hacks can be attributed to security problems with the DApps themselves, rather than with the EOS network.
A new study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance on Wednesday finds that the number of unique ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled in in the first 3 quarters of 2018. The study details that total ID-verified users increased to 35mm in the first three quarters of 2018 from 18mm at the end of 2017, representing an increase of 94%. As per an analysis of the study by Bloomberg, the growth of crypto’s userbase despite the market decline, “could signal that an eventual recovery could be coming.”
Amid the continued cryptocurrency sell-off, only two cryptocurrency mining machines remain profitable, according to real-time data from ASICMinerValue.com. ASICMInerValue.com, which calculates the profitability of Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) miners, indicates that only indicates that only the Ebank Ebit E11++ and ASICminer 8 Nano 44Th mining models are profitable for mining cryptocurrencies based on the SHA-256 hash function -- notable cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) use this has function.
Bitmain, a large Chinese cryptocurrency mining firm, announced that it is closing its development center in Israel, citing current cryptocurrency market conditions. In closing Bitmaintech Israel, the crypto mining giant was forced to fire all 23 employees. Among the employees let go is Gadi Glikberg, head of Bitmain’s Israeli branch and Vice President of International Sales, who said on the recent market turmoil, “The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”
Busan, a major South Korean city, will be the beneficiary of the South Korean government’s plan to spend 4bn Korean won (USD$3.5mm) to establish a blockchain-enabled virtual power plant (VPP). As per a report by South Korean news outlet Yonhap News Agency, the project will be angled as a national competition in 2019, hosted by South Korea’s largest electric utility, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). The VPP will integrate the idle capacities of multiple energy resources through a cloud-based distributed ledger in order to optimize power generation and decrease costs.
Church’s Chicken, a large international fast food franchise, is partnering with Dash Venezuela to accept cryptocurrencies in its Venezuelan locations. According to an official press release, 13 Church’s Chicken establishments will begin accepting Dash (DASH) as payment following, “extensive and rigorous days of training,” staff to understand cryptocurrencies. With the addition of Church’s Chicken, more than 2,200 establishments in Venezuela accept DASH as payment.
Crypto.com, a Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency payments platform, announced the appointment of former PayPal executive Tyson Hackwood to serve as the firm’s Vice President and Head of Global Merchant Acquisition in an official press release today. Crypto.com aims to increase cryptocurrency adoption by both merchants and consumers through their point-of-sale (PoS) transaction terminals. Crypto.com CEO Kris Marszalek believes that Hackwood will be integral in furthering this goal, saying, “As we develop the Crypto.com Chain to fulfill the current industry need to pay and be paid in crypto, Tyson will play an important role in expanding the number and quality of merchants that are part of our network.”
Hyperledger, a notable blockchain consortium, is continuing its robust expansion after announcing the addition of 16 new members at the Hyperledger Global Forum in Basel, Switzerland. Among the notables to join the consortium are, Alibaba Cloud, Citigroup’s Citi Ventures arm, and Deutsche Telekom. The latest addition of 16 members brings the total membership of Hyperledger to more than 260 different companies. In a public statement, Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf said that, “The growing Hyperledger community reflects the increasing importance of open source efforts to build enterprise blockchain technologies across industries and markets. The latest members showcase the widening interest in and impact of DLT and Hyperledger."
Jeremy Henrickson, the former Chief Product Officer at Coinbase, has departed the US-based cryptocurrency exchange after serving since July 2016. “Jeremy’s contributions to Coinbase over the past two years were invaluable,” said a Coinbase spokesperson, adding that, “he helped to build our scrappy startup team into a high-functioning product and engineering organization -- overseeing a 5x+ growth of the team.” Henrickson’s departure comes after long-term Coinbase executives Adam White and Hunter Merghart left the US-based cryptocurrency exchange in recent months.
LinkedIn’s, “2018 U.S. Emerging Jobs,” report released on Thursday ranks the role of blockchain developer as the fastest growing job in the United States. The report by LinkedIn indicates that blockchain developer jobs have increased 33-fold in the past 12 months alone. San Francisco, New York City, and Atlanta are among the cities with the highest demand for blockchain developer jobs.
Orbs, a unique hybrid blockchain platform, raised more than USD$15mm in cryptocurrencies to fund its development of a public blockchain, according to a company blog post. South Korean application provider Kakao lead the fundraising efforts with a representative telling CoinDesk that the company, “always seeks to invest and support innovative startups, and Orbs is a good example.” In total, Orbs raised 139,000 Ether (ETH) and 892 Bitcoin (BTC), amounting to roughly USD$15.4mm. Orbs aims to build a public blockchain with this funding that is, “universal,” and, “scalable,” for decentralized applications (DApps) with the, “liquidity of a base layer.”
Samsung has reportedly filed patent applications for three different blockchain-related trademark requests that all pertain directly to smartphones, according to news outlet Galaxy Club. Specifically, the patents named “Blockchain KeyStore”, “Blockchain Key Box”, and “Blockchain Core” all pertain to cryptocurrency custody capabilities on smartphones. This news comes amid the release of HTC’s Exodus 1 and Sirin Labs’ FINNEY, both of which are being marketed as blockchain smartphones with cryptocurrency custody capabilities.
Abra - not quite as good as it should be - disappointed.
So unless you have a US or Philipines bank account, or already hold Bitcoin, at the moment Abra is pretty much useless, and this is the reply from Abra when I questioned about how to add fiat from the UK " Abra Crypto Wallet 15 March 2018 Hello Kevin, Unfortunately, we do only support US and PH banks at this time. We do not have a timeline as to when we will expand bank integration to the UK. You are still able to fund your wallet would be through BTC deposits at this time. I hope this helps! Kind regards, Jess" .... seems again a little like the litepay launch fiasco ... a bit of a damp squib as 99.9% of the world can't use it unless they already hold bitcoin or have a US/Philippines bank account, or sign up to an exchange to get some bitcoin, which rather misses the point ...... anybody who claims they can add fiat without using a US or Philippines bank account, please explain as I do not have that option.
Exchanges The best way to support XRP is to buy/sell XRP directly with your local currency, not with USDT, ETH, LTC, or BTC. Available XRP pairs - AUD, BRL, CAD, CNY, EUR, GBP, IDR, INR, JPY, KRW, MXN, PHP, RUB, THB, TRY, UAH, USD, ZAR. You can find the complete list of XRP exchanges and supported XRP/fiat pairs Here.
In August of 2016, a group calling itself the Shadow Brokers emerged with a treasure trove of purported NSA hacking tools. The group released only a small portion of its take and eventually tried unsuccessfully to auction the good stuff. When no one offered to pay, Shadow Brokers decided to give it away for free. In an enterprise setting, however, disabling the Windows Firewall and allowing remote desktop connections is quite common. That's where these exploits were designed to work, and the Shadow Brokers data appears to reveal that the NSA used these tools against at least one eyebrow-raising target: a SWIFT bureau in the Middle East.
Following The Money
As part of the Bush administration's War on Terrorism the Terrorist Finance Tracking program was set up. Under TFTP, the U.S. gained the ability to monitor transactions carried out via SWIFT. Why target SWIFT specifically? There are upwards of 11,000 banks in 200 countries that use it, and they exchange around 15 million messages a day. If you need to keep an eye on large amounts of money moving internationally, SWIFT is the key.
A leaked PowerPoint slide appears to confirm that the NSA had successfully set up backdoor monitoring on 9 banks running SWIFT Alliance Access (SAA) servers. At least three others at another SWIFT Bureau were targeted, but they had not been compromised at the time of creation of the PowerPoint presentation in 2013.
Large multinational companies are the prime targets of Business Email Compromise (BEC), which is a type of online scam that usually begins with an attacker compromising a legitimate email account and tricking the company’s financial officer to wire funds to their accounts. Typically the companies that fall victim to these scams deal with foreign suppliers and habitually use wire transfer payments. Victims of BEC scams have increased 270% since the start of 2015, and this year saw one of the largest amounts lost by an enterprise. Read more
The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is a global transaction messaging network used by banks and other financial entities such as foreign exchanges and investment firms. Unfortunately, this year saw attackers targeting SWIFT clients, compromising and manipulating organizations into sending fraudulent money transfer requests. It’s unclear how many of these attacks were actually successful, but in June, SWIFT sent its clients a letter warning them about the possible dangers. The organization also urged clients to update their software and tighten their cyber defenses.
The post includes a link to a selection of files and folders. One sub-folder called "exploits" includes executable files with apparent codenames such as "Eternalsynergy," "Erraticgopher," and "Emeraldthread."
"This is phenomenal data, it has all the hallmarks of slickly produced internal attack tools," Hacker Fantastic continued. "I am certain that analysis on this data will turn up another 0day [zero day]." Security architect Kevin Beaumont told Motherboard in a Twitter direct message, "All of the Windows implants are new to VirusTotal [an online file scanning tool], which suggests they've not been seen before."
New details about a second attack involving Swift — the messaging system used by thousands of banks and companies to move money around the world — are emerging as investigators are still trying to solve the $81 million heist from the central bank of Bangladesh in February. In that theft, the attackers were able to compel the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to move money to accounts in the Philippines. The second attack involves a commercial bank, which Swift declined to identify. But in a letter Swift plans to share with its users on Friday, the messaging network warned that the two attacks bore numerous similarities and were very likely part of a “wider and highly adaptive campaign targeting banks.”
Evidence is emerging that the SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecom) attacks began as far back as October 2015 when the Philippines bank was first hit, two months prior to the discovery of the failed attack on Tien Phong Bank in Vietnam.
There are many more articles beyond these, but what it looks like is the Shadow Brokers or some associated individuals pulled off a series of bank heists prior to releasing the applications to the open market. That also open the question of what the NSA was doing with the applications? They could have have been tracking "suspects" but it seems they could have also been moving money for any reason they chose without records being left in the banking system. The possible exploits were only exposed after a series of bank robberies exposed the power of the tools the NSA had developed. It seems once again crimes have exposed the government's illicit powers concealed by the intelligence community (IC). It is entirely possible that the tools were used legally and only to expose private records of terrorists and spies under FISA warrants, but who knows. The only thing that exposed these exploits was the theft. Kinda makes ya wonder, huh? The evidence and the different styles of hacking listed in the articles about the bank heists suggests that an initial group stole some NSA hacking tools and pulled off the Bangladesh heist. They may or may not have done Ecuador or the Philippines but it seems that at some point the exploits were sold on the open market, but that does not exclude some clandestine deals with other groups that also have employed the exploits. Once the initial 81 million was stolen they distributed the exploits to other groups who may have also attacked the SWIFT system and other targets to make forensics on nation state level zero day attacks that much more difficult. Several groups attempting independent attacks increased the attack vectors making identification even more difficult. It also appears that the hackers may have targeted banks that had the Trojans installed initially. So why would they go for relatively small scores when they essentially owned the SWIFT system. Could the hackers be attacking networks already infected with the Trojan. It really makes sense when you think about the banks they hit. The NSA installs the Trojans to "observe" suspected transactions. The hackers obtain the exploits, found the Trojans phoning home and used them to own the infected systems, modified the attack vectors to transfer money. Why not skip the phishing attack when there was already infected banks. Take the path of least resistance that leads back to someone the American government would never admit lead away from the hackers. Of course that means anyone including the IC could have manipulated transactions, but hey that wouldn't have been a robbery would it. Really the tools could have been used to track transactions, but they could have facilitated the IC surreptitious movement of money to fund operations. In all reality it was very clever, make a score, don't get greedy, prevent the creation of a M.O. to narrow investigations and identify the perpetrators. But identifying clever when they managed to steal exploits from the NSA and could use the exploits to attack the banking system. Just the fact that they can't be identified means they are pretty slick and the exploits are not for the novice user. There were some skills at work here. What else was done with the exploits and who are they? Shadow Brokers Group Releases More Stolen NSA Hacking Tools & Exploits Saturday, April 08, 2017
Besides dumping some NSA's hacking tools back in August 2016, the Shadow Brokers also released an encrypted cache of files containing more NSA's hacking tools and exploits in an auction, asking for 1 Million Bitcoins (around $568 Million). However, after failed auction, the group put up those hacking tools and exploits for direct sale on an underground website, categorizing them into a type — like "exploits," "Trojans," and "implant" — each of which ranged from 1 to 100 Bitcoins (from $780 to $78,000). Now, the Shadow Brokers has finally released password for the encrypted cache of NSA's files, allowing anyone to unlock and download the auction data dump.
Philippine cryptocurrency exchange operators must be registered with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) and meet the government’s anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing compliance and reporting obligations. It’s also worth noting that due to regulatory requirements, users from certain countries will not be allowed to access some exchanges. As always, check the fine print ... Choosing an exchange might be a difficult task, which is where our guide to Buy Bitcoin in the Philippines comes in handy. The guide gives potential Bitcoin buyers a bird’s eye view of the several cryptocurrency exchanges operating in the country, with special focus on the pros and cons of each. This makes it easier to choose an exchange based on your requirements. 100 BTC Bitcoin to PHP Philippine Peso exchange rate chart analysis ... IG Group is a UK-based company providing trading in financial derivatives such as contracts for difference and financial spread betting and, as of 2014, stockbroking to retail traders. While the... ADS Securities 100. ADS Securities LLC is a private financial services firm in Abu Dhabi that offers commodity trading ... News.Bitcoin.com previously reported that there were 13 approved crypto exchanges in the Philippines. However, Bitan Moneytech has been delisted as of June 30 and is no longer on the above BSP ... The governor of the Philippines Central Bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), Benjamin Diokno has recommended further research with respect to the Philippine’s plans toward the development of a central bank digital currency dubbed the Digital Peso.. As reported by Business Inquirer on Oct 22, Governor Diokno gave his recommendation to research further following the report of the ...
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