Daily Archives: January 6, 2019

Apple Loses Near Equivalent of Bitcoin’s Entire Market Cap in One Day

Apple Loses Near Equivalent of Bitcoin's Entire Market Cap in One Day

Apple’s recent hit in valuation due to the recent slowdown in China’s juggernaut economy illustrated to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency followers just how far the industry needs to develop to become a household name itself.

Falling revenues at the company are unprecedented in recent times with shares trading at their lowest since July 2017, and the hit it took last week was one of the worst since January 2013.

Given that Apple is just one company, albeit, one with total global recognition, it was nonetheless able to wipe $65 billion of its evaluation last week, roughly Bitcoin’s total market cap, and continue in business. At the time of writing Bitcoin’s market cap stands at $66,903,300,377 with its value at USD3,830.48 according to CoinMarketCap.

The cryptocurrency environment is still attempting to recover from its hammering of December 2017, with 2018 showing a $700 billion loss from its market cap and cryptocurrencies shedding 85% of their worth. However, tech giants appear to be having their own unique problems too as the world’s 5 household names in tech, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google, may have lost over $1 trillion from their all-time high.

Market Analyst, eToro guru Mati Greenspan comments that this slump could well be in Bitcoin’s favor suggesting that “A correlation of <0.1 is considered weak. If the stocks keep sliding and bitcoin rising, that grey line could plummet. Then Bitcoin might be seen as a safe haven.”

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook suggested that China, Hong Kong and Taiwan account for almost 20 percent of the company’s revenue, so that any slump in those regions is sure to impact company profits as a whole, adding, “While we anticipated some challenges in key emerging markets, we did not foresee the magnitude of the economic deceleration, particularly in Greater China.”

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South America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 29 December 2018 – 4 January 2019

South America

South America

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

Brazil

Market Experts Declare Bitcoin a big Opportunity Despite Price Tank: Many Brazilian markets have come together and selected cryptocurrencies especially Bitcoin as one of the main trends of 2019 alongside digital banks, payment systems, and data protection. The plus point for the industry is that these other sectors are also using the core blockchain technology in many applications as well.

According to Guilherme Horne, a Ph.D. holder and market expert, the cryptocurrency sector is maturing after ten years of existence and will play a big part in the digital banking industry as well. The government of Sao Paulo referred to the immense economic opportunity being presented by cryptocurrencies as a big lure for investment and innovation in a presser while experts like Ronaldo Lemos cited the development of Artificial Intelligence as the biggest attraction for investors while blockchain and cryptocurrencies will play a major role in the future as well.

Bitmain to Close South American Office in Sao Paulo: Bitmain, the world’s largest mining chip manufacturer has reportedly decided that it will be closing its office in Sao Paulo, Brazil which is responsible for operations across the continent. While Bitmain didn’t confirm this news itself, the move may not bring an end to the mining operations in the continent as the company wants to maintain its presence in one form or another.

The office was only opened in the second half of 2018 and was intended to bring the Chinese chipmaker closer to the mining industry in South America. There is a considerable surplus amount of energy in some parts of the continent and Bitmain believed that it could be used for mining purposes. The latest move isn’t indicative of Bitmain fleeing from the continent but rather restructuring efforts that are necessary for future expansion into the market.

Brazilian Military Experimenting with Blockchain-integrated Wearables: The Brazilian Industrial Development Agency (ABDI) has recently held a competition for wearables focused for military use in the country. IBM participated with a new tool built on the HyperLedger Blockchain system that could be used for Internet of Things (IoT) for the military.

Wearables and military tech are becoming one of the primary users of blockchain technology.

Exchange and Philanthropic  Organization Partnering to Raise Bitcoin for Digital Empowerment: Coinext exchange in association with Recode is throwing a fundraiser for a noble cause which is the digital empowerment of youth in the country. The money will be donated in Bitcoin and Recode will use the money for social insertion of young people in the sector through digital empowerment.

The issue of digital inclusion of the underprivileged youth in the country is extremely important if Brazil wants to progress as a leader in tech.

Venezuela

Petro’s Usefulness Once Again Questioned: Despite repeated government pushes to enable the state cryptocurrency Petro, it is still increasingly becoming clear that the government lacks a clear consensus and strategy on how to take it forward. Right now, Petro is mandated for passport fees by the government while pensions are also being paid in the cryptocurrency.

Overall, when you look closely, Petro is becoming more of a myth rather than a stable monetary tool by the government. It is still non-transferable and the only Petro one can see is a government guarantee that there are certain amounts of Petros there. Venezuela’s botched attempt at creating a national cryptocurrency is becoming a cautionary tale for other countries, prompting Japan to declare the fiat-pegged currencies as not cryptocurrencies at all.

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North America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 29 December 2018 – 4 January 2019

North America

North America

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

The United States

Bitcoin Not Affected by US Government Shutdown: Analysis of recent price flow of Bitcoin has revealed that the biggest cryptocurrency is slightly affected by the U.S. government partial shutdown. The row over President Trump’s Mexico wall has affected the U.S. stock market, but Bitcoin during that time has actually risen in value.

Institutional digital asset platform Bakkt has announced it has successfully completed its first seed round funding. The total investment is said to be around USD 182 million by 14 investors. The investment of Bakkt brings a lot of positivity towards cryptocurrencies, with the digital assets class finally gaining the attention of mainstream institutional investors.

New York

State Government Forms Task Force for Cryptocurrencies: The State of New York has announced that it is forming a task force to examine and see what kind of regulations are required for cryptocurrencies. Bank’s committee sect of the New York state legislature has already voted for the task force formation in May last year. The main target is to see how cryptocurrencies are affecting the state’s financial markets and what needs to be done to ensure that cryptocurrencies can co-exist with the current system.

The DarkOverlord, a hacker group that claimed it had accessed financial records of insurance companies involved in the aftermath of the September 2001 terrorist attack in New York, has released the first batch of the records. What impact the financial records of insurance claims and payouts will have is anyone’s guess. The hacker group has demanded Bitcoin in ransom or they will continue to publish information.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Published Piece on Blockchain Technology: The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has published an article in which it claims that decentralized technology like blockchain will “start to become mundane” in 2019, but also “more useful.” The report cites a number of indicators, such as Wall Street holding its first blockchain summit, the rise of a central bank backed national cryptocurrencies and the performance of the market. The report says that the hype is fading, leaving only the serious actors in the arena.

Ohio

Overstock Wants to Pay Tax in Bitcoin: The online U.S. retailer Overstock has become the first local retailer to be paying a part of its Commercial Activities Tax to the State of Ohio in Bitcoin. The government of Ohio had initially approved the option of firms and organizations to pay their taxes in cryptocurrencies. The state has even set up a dedicated portal OhioCrypto.com for the purpose.

Georgia

State Senator Sent to Jail for Falsifying Mining Equipment Fraud: Michail Williams, the State Senator from Georgia has been jailed for falsifying a crypto mining equipment theft. The Senator has reported the theft of the mining equipment from his office, claiming that the hardware was worth around USD 300,000. Investigators, however, failed to find any evidence of the machinery and he was indicted over the false report filing. Williams is a relatively little known in the Senate, although he had backed crypto related bills in the past. He is the first serving Senator to be sent to jail over cryptocurrency related matter.

Texas

Department of Banking Looking to Declare Stablecoins as Proper Currency: Texas Department of Banking is considering declaring stable coins as proper money. According to the state legislature, the Money Services Act, the state of Texas does not accept cryptocurrencies as any legal form of money. The Supervisory Memorandum 1037 says, “A licensing analysis will turn on whether the stablecoin provides the holder with a redemption right for sovereign currency thus creating a claim that can be converted into money or monetary value. This is true regardless whether the redemption right is expressly granted or implied by the issuer.

Mexico

UNICEF Holds Events for Promoting Blockchain Technology: UNICEF announced that it has held events in Mexico and Kazakhstan to encourage children and teenagers to go into the new sector. 

In Mexico, the focus of the event was on identity and payments part of the crypto world. There’s high optimism that these efforts will attract more people into the sector.

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BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast 5th January 2019: Proof of Keys

BitcoinNews.com Daily News Podcast

Listen to the 5 January 2019 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

On this episode of the BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast we do an in-depth market analysis. Bitcoin is relatively stable below USD 3,900, and Ethereum is rising ahead of the Constantinople hard fork. We discuss Proof of Keys, an event on 3 January where Bitcoin users withdrew bitcoins from exchanges into their own wallets to verify ownership.

Follow the Bitcoin News Daily Podcast on AnchoriTunesSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherRadio PublicPocket CastsOvercastCastbox, and Breaker. We broadcast a new episode every day, covering the most important topics in the crypto, Bitcoin, and blockchain world!

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 29 December 2018 – 4 January 2019

Asia

Asia and Australia

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

India

India Drops Plans for National Cryptocurrency: A report from the Hindu BusinessLine, an Indian financial news portal has said that the Reserve Bank of India has dropped its plan for issuing its own cryptocurrency. The rising cost of printing paper based money and the ever increasing trend of mobile-based micropayment services is what had pushed the central bank to eye cryptocurrency. The research by the institution held results that were not favorable, hence the plan being shelved.

The country’s regulators have declared cryptocurrencies illegal, with the local blockchain association running a legal battle in the courts. The blockchain industry in the country has a significant volume, therefore, a positive result on the legal status of cryptocurrencies can help promote the industry to make India a major player in the industry.

Thailand

Government Trialing Blockchain Voting System: The Bangkok Post, a Thai news outlet reported that the country’s National Electronics and Computer Technology Center (NECTEC) has completed the development of a blockchain based voting system. The NECTEC is currently looking for smaller partners such as Universities and Provincial governments to test the system before deploying at a national level. The system’s developer is very confident that its voting system is strong. Yet, the country still requires a significant penetration of mobile and internet use for the system to be effective at a national level.

Adoption of blockchain-based voting systems is developing a trend in the country. Recently, Democrat Party, the main Thai opposition held its primary party elections using the decentralized technology.

Philippines

The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission Fails to Issue Regulations on ICOs by the Year’s End: The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission (PSEC) has made another delay in issuing regulations over Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The PSEC has hinted at declaring ICOs as securities and the local crypto community is eagerly waiting for an announcement from the regulator so that they can be in compliance. The regulator, though, allows unregulated sales of tokens to less than 20 individuals, organizations and other entities in a year.

The regulator has, so far, kept a positive attitude towards decentralized technology, with nearly a dozen blockchain companies in the country’s special economic zone of Cagayan. The Asian state has also granted licenses to 3 crypto exchanges.

China

Central Bank Concerned Over Rising Irrelevance of Cash: With cashless micropayment services like WeChat and AliPay on the rise, the People’s Bank of China is starting to show concerns towards cryptocurrencies. Perhaps one of the largest anti-crypto regulator in the world, the Chinese state bank has repeatedly stressed the illegal status of blockchain-based payment systems.

Online micropayments are common in Chinese society such that many vendors, hotels and merchants refuse to accept Yuan in the form of cash. The popularity of cashless transactions in the country is seen as only a stepping stone that will ultimately lead to decentralized payment systems.

Iran

Government Against Telegram’s Cryptocurrency: The Persian country’s authorities have once again stressed against the use of Telegram’s cryptocurrency, the Gram. The government has been in a strained relationship with the messaging app since the political upheaval of 2017. “One of the most important factors in banning Telegram was a sense of serious economic threat from its activities,” was explained as the reason by Javad Javidnia, the Secretary of Criminal Content Definition Task Force.

In the meantime, the Islamic Republic has announced plans for developing its own central bank backed cryptocurrency to circumvent the economic restrictions posed by the US. The Iranian banking system is completely isolated since the international money transfer service for banks, SWIFT.

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Africa and the Middle East: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup 29 December 2018 – 4 January 19

Africa

Africa and the Middle East

Welcome to another weekly blockchain news roundup from around the world. Here, we present to you all the latest Bitcoin news, continent by continent and country by country.

South Africa

Cryptocurrency Regulatory Working Group Formed by the Government: In an effort to be more decisive and inclusive in cryptocurrency regulation, the South African government has announced the formation of a local working group task with the responsibility of formulating regulations and getting input from the industry.

According to a letter by Tito Mboweni, the Finance Minister of the country, the Cryptocurrency Asset Working Group will not just focus on cryptocurrencies but all other facets of the industry including blockchain technology and its wide range of applications.

According to the Minister:

“It is anticipated that, following broad industry comment and participation, the crypto assets regulatory working group will be ready to release a final research paper on the subject during the course of 2019.”

It remains to be seen what will be the constitution of this latest working group.

Nigeria

Investors Training Nigerians on Cryptocurrency Trading Profitability: To encourage more investment and trading in the sector, cryptocurrency trading experts are tutoring an emerging generation of traders in the country to become more profitable in trading cryptocurrencies.

Ian Balina, an acclaimed bitcoin trader and investor said that trading can be a profitable investment for youngsters if they can understand more about its working. Faith Titus, the co-founder of Blockchain Nigeria User Group believes that it is necessary for one to be educated in order to succeed in the sector. Toyosi Abolarin, the Lead Project Manager at Venture Garden Group endorsed the government’s efforts to regulate the industry fairly and believed it will boost trading.

Zimbabwe

Reserve Bank Declares Cryptocurrencies a Threat to the Nation: The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is continuing its anti-cryptocurrency stance by declaring cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin a threat to the nation.

Governor  Dr. John Mangudya made these comments in an official statement, saying that all cryptocurrency investments have no legal protection and they are prone to embezzlement as well as being used in Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism.

While the government has taken a hardline stance in the country, many Zimbabweans are turning to cryptocurrencies to avoid the crippling hyperinflation prevalent in the country. This is also the reason why cryptocurrencies are being traded at a heavy premium in the country.

Israel

Israel Blockchain Industry Survives Despite Tough Year: The Israeli Blockchain industry has had a tough year as dozens of new projects were scrapped because of lack of regulatory approval and fears of government crackdown which hasn’t materialized yet. Despite the tough year, many blockchain projects have survived and are looking to build on their survival with a little help from the government if needed.

Sirin Labs rolled out the first blockchain smartphone in the country and may look to build on its initial success despite the high price tag of the phone. There are other exchanges and new startups that made money in the course of 2018, but in the end, due to the price tank of Bitcoin and regulatory challenges, the kind of growth expected in the industry didn’t happen. Still, innovators are looking at 2019 with hope.

Turkey

Countries Looking to Abandon US Dollar May See Cryptocurrencies as an Alternative: Several notable economies in the world including Turkey, Russia, China, etc are looking to undercut the dominance of the US Dollar in the market by adopting alternative ways of payments, with cryptocurrencies being eyed as a possible alternative.

While China is beefing up gold reserves for this purpose, Turkey has had a bad experience because of its dependence on the greenback with the local currency Lira losing as much as 25% at one time because of an ongoing diplomatic tussle with the US. P2P cryptocurrency trading platform LocalBitcoins.com noticed a considerable spike in trading volumes during the tense period. With cryptocurrencies gaining popularity in the country, the government may also look to adopt them from a strategic point of view.

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UK’s First Auction of Seized Cryptocurrency by Independent Body Scheduled

UK's First Auction of Seized Cryptocurrencies by Independent Body Scheduled

An independent auction house in Northern Ireland has become the first of its kind worldwide to facilitate a sale of seized cryptocurrency assets.

The sale of 167.7 monero coins with a current exchange rate of £6,655.36 is to sell via a 24-hour live auction, enabling investors to have the chance to take part and place bids on the crypto.

This is not the first time that seized cryptocurrency assets have been sold off in this way by an independent auctioneer. Last year, Bavarian prosecutors auctioned off seized cryptocurrency worth nearly USD 14 million, estimated to be the highest such sale in German history.

That sale involved 1,312 Bitcoins (BTC) and other digital currencies including 1,399 Bitcoin Cash, 1312 Bitcoin Gold, and 220 Ethereum. The funds were confiscated as part of an investigation into online platform LuL.to

In October of 2018, the US Marshals Service (USMS) announced that the US Department of Justice (DOJ) was auctioning off approximately USD 4.2 million of the cryptocurrency acquired from various criminal proceedings.

The auction overseen by Wilsons of Northern Ireland will be the first of a series after winning a contract with the Belgium Federal Government’s Asset Management Office to facilitate the storage and sale of seized cryptocurrencies. The company is currently working with 40 government and law enforcement agencies across the globe in order to auction off assets impounded by police. The auction house’s head of recovery said that the company was:

“Able to offer government and law enforcement agencies throughout the UK, Ireland and internationally a secure solution so that the ever-increasing problem of seized cryptocurrencies can be managed by an auction company with significant experience dealing with seized assets.”

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Coinbase Banning Services to Social Media Group Stirs Up Twitter Again

Coinbase Banning Services to Social Media Group Stirs Twitter Again

Cryptocurrency exchange giant Coinbase has caused a stir on Twitter after excluding social media site Gab and its founder from services.

This is not the first time Coinbase has chosen to single out social network site Gab, having targeted the site in June 2018, closing its account with the San Francisco based company.

Gab launched in August 2016 as a response to censorship controversies involving major social media companies. Founder and CEO Andrew Torba referred to such companies at the time as “the entirely left-leaning Big Social monopoly.”

Although Coinbase gave no explanation for the Gab shutout last June, social commentator Kevin Pham, suggested it might have been in response to a Gab tweet that “crony capitalism” was behind last year’s SEC announcement that Ethereum was not a security.

At the time, Gab’s response to the first ban was “Centralized crypto exchanges/wallets are cancer and contradictory to everything crypto stands for.”

The new ban comes hours after a Gab tweet attacking exchange censorship and extolling the virtues of decentralization. The social network has gained a reputation for allowing expression of views which are controversial with some referring to the social network as “haven for white supremacists”.

I will be withdrawing whatever funds I have left in Coinbase and never using them again.

— ₿itcoin Maximus (@MaximusBitcoin) January 4, 2019

Coinbase has made no comment on its actions against the social media company or its CEO, leaving commentators speculating as to the reason it may have had to penalize a customer, and considering if a curb on freedom of expression is within the remit of a cryptocurrency exchange

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