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Siberian Church Turns to the Power of Crypto In Mining Gaff

A church in Irkutsk, Siberia’s largest state, has been taken to court for draining too much power from the local grid through crypto mining.

Crypto mining in itself is not illegal and Russian law permits reduced power rates for non-government organizations. But, it seems that the church decided to go beyond covering essential heating and lighting and raised extra funds in their own way through crypto mining.

Most churches fundraise for essential repairs, but it seems as though someone in this parish had their own particular use for the extra generation of cash raised by their mining activities. It is not clear if members of the clergy or someone in the parish had locked into the church’s power supply, but the court found for the power company that no case of power theft was suggested, which does indicate that the irregular use of power may have been authorised by the church.

The result means that the church has a tab of $16,000 to pick up and faces their tariffs being raised by the electricity company. More importantly, the case may set a precedent in the courts for future such incidents when excess power is drawn without consultation with local electricity providers. Although not currently legislated for, extreme overuse of power through crypto mining may invite closer government scrutiny if it became a common occurrence.

The cold climate, particularly in locations such as Siberia with its sub-zero temperatures, has made the likes of Russia and Iceland the go-to destinations for industrial level crypto mining. The Russian Association of Crypto Industry and Blockchain (RACIB) claims that there are now over 400,000 people employed in the sector. 70,000 enterprises operate hundreds of thousands of mining rigs, with an increase in one-man operators working from their homes.

Because much of Russia’s mining proceeds go towards foreign investment, locally run mining pools are becoming popular as a way of cutting back on the amount of Russian money going towards overseas enterprises through crypto mining.

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McAfee Claims: If in 2020 Presidential Race, “I Will Tell the Truth”

British-American computer programmer and businessman John McAfee has begun making pledges in his run up to the 2020 US presidential elections.

The founder of McAfee Anti Virus software and vocal cryptocurrency advocate stated recently that he would seek a nomination to run in the next US presidential election. In doing so, has expressed a clear aim to advance the stature of cryptocurrency and blockchain on the world’s financial stage. McAfee recently suggested that blockchain and crypto have given new freedoms to the working community who he sees as ‘hired slaves,’ arguing:

“If you want to send Bitcoin, Ethereum or Monero, who do I have to ask? Only the peer… We are creating a permissionless society…We are not slaves for our jobs, we are not slaves to the government, we are slaves to the entire system.”

In his latest pledge as a potential POTUS runner, which would be his second attempt to get his name on the ballot, he has vowed to “tell the truth,” despite also explaining that he has no chance or indeed no intention of actually winning anything. He commented in his latest tweet:

“In truth: the crowd doesn’t want the truth. It is why politicians lie. They cannot win by telling the truth. I don’t want to win POTUS. I just want the stage.”

Running on “Truth” would be a campaign which would certainly get some support in the present political climate in the US. Although, it would be highly unlikely that McAfee, seen by some as a maverick would progress. The comparisons to the potential of Donald Trump to become US President, turning back the clock, are there to be made, however. When questioned back in June about his chances in 2020, McAfee said:

“Don’t think that I have a chance of winning. I do not. But what truly changes America is not the president, but the process of creating one. If my following is sufficient I get to stand the world’s largest stage and talk to everyone, as I did last time, to tell the truth.”

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Brooklyn Nets Basketball Player Regrets Missing Bitcoin Slam Dunk

The National Basketball League’s Spencer Dinwiddie says he regrets not holding on to his bitcoins in 2017, allowing him to benefit from the end of year price hike.

The Brooklyn Nets guard, who narrowly missed out on the Most Improved Player award in the NBA last season to Victor Oladipo, was in quite early on Bitcoin’s bull run last year. Dinwiddie bought in at $1,200 a coin with a Coinbase account, but then sold early at $5000 to $15,000 before Bitcoin went north, finally hitting the wall at just under $20,000 at the end of 2017.

Dinwiddie discovered Bitcoin as an NBA rookie and was pulled towards investment portfolios to take up the slack. Clearly not earning the huge salaries of seasoned well-established players, he saw Bitcoin as a great investment opportunity. He initially took family advice, at first investing in real estate, before cryptocurrency lured him in, first to Bitcoin, then to altcoins such as Tron.

His early sell-off has left him feeling short-changed, although if he sold at $15,000 he was not far behind Bitcoin’s big numbers at the end of last year. However, he still regrets selling early, claiming “If I woulda gone all-in, boy, I’d be loaded right now.”

Cryptocurrency endorsements by sporting celebrities and clubs are not uncommon, and basketball is no exception as many see this as the next step to investment. Next year, Bitmain Technologies-owned bitcoin mining company AntPool enters a sponsorship deal with the Houston Rockets, in time for the 2018-19 season. Add to this the Sacramento Kings sign up to the MiningForGood initiative which will see the team mining Ethereum in an arena-based centre. What is refreshing to see is that the cryptocurrency generated funds will go towards the Build Black Coalition which plans to help the Sacramento community’s black residents profit from education and workforce development.

Businessman and investor Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks has already introduced cryptocurrency ticket purchasing in the NBA. He feels this needs to become the norm and was happy to make the first move, commenting:

“If crypto is going to have a chance of being a currency, then someone has to start accepting it for payment,”

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Closing Charities’ Accountability Gap Through Blockchain Technology

Humanitarian Blockchain

a BitcoinNews.com series

   Part 3: Closing Charities’ Accountability Gap Through Blockchain Technology

          Welcome to the third installment of the Bitcoin News Humanitarian Blockchain Series. Charity begins at home, but the growing question being asked over the past few years is, where does it actually go?  We try to highlight some of the current solutions being presented by blockchain technology to this essential industry

The track record of the charity industry has been, regrettably, far from exemplary, and in some instances, at worst, disgraceful. Well-publicized scandals over the past few years have seen a decline in the public donations to charitable organizations, with some of those intuitions being brought into disrepute by misappropriation of public funds or inappropriate behavior of field staff.

Even now, a US investigation is looking into fraudulent identity activity in Myanmar where refugees fingerprints from amongst the Chin minority are causing confusion as fraudsters purchase refugees’ identities for their own ends. Also, in Bangladesh many Rohingya refugees in safe-harbor there have been registered multiple times and records of family groups have been almost non-existent,

Using Blockchain to clean up the industry is possibly the only way that many charitable institutions can survive, and regain public trust by demonstrating a greater level of transparency and accountability.

The main barriers to success in the humanitarian field have been lowering the impact of administration, transportation and documentation cost on donated funds, and making every aspect of donations totally transparent from source to final delivery of the benefit to the recipient.

Charities have been slow to take up the obvious benefits that can be offered to the industry. In fact, it is no exaggeration to suggest that there could be no more obvious and beneficial use case for DLT than its solution to the accountability problems that charities are currently suffering.

Luckily some organizations are on board, but far too few. The World Food Programme (WFP) has been quick to realise the potential of blockchain solutions. As Bitcoin News reported in the first of its humanitarian series, the uses in Jordan’s refugee camps has been essential, in not only feeding and providing work for Syrian refugees but also creating a renewed feeling of self-worth, particularly against female escapees from the war in Syria.

Former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, as far back as 2011, was trying to deal with how to get donated funds from a source. At the time, a massive $40 billion was failing to reach its intended recipients, the money was diverted to corrupt officials and middlemen. Seven years on, the blockchain is now being used by the WFP to tackle this problem. Gustav Stromfelt, one of the project managers working on the WFP’s program commented:

“We have this rapid ability to understand where our money is throughout the process…It improves transparency, accountability, and communication across the board.”

This UN-supported programme in Jordan uses dollars at this stage, not cryptocurrency, but through DLT every cent is accounted for right up to the purchase and delivery of physical goods.

Charities accepting cryptocurrencies, and there have been many, were badly hit by the drop in the value of Bitcoin at the end of 2017 and much of the funds were seriously diminished before funds could be dispersed. Silicon Valley Community Foundation revealed in its 2017 audit 45% of its investment assets were unable to be turned into cash in 2018 due to government restrictions.

Many of these problems are now being overcome through online mining schemes which benefit charities and straight crypto donations fund by such organisations as Children in Need and others.

Binance, the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by 24-hour trading volume, has recently tried to address some of these issues with the announcement of a Blockchain Charity Foundation which aims to plug the transparency gap for multiple organisations with its planned donation tracking system: Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao explains:

“Lack of transparency has been a problem for charities today. Some estimate up to 80% of donations does not reach the intended beneficiaries. With the ability to track every single transaction, blockchain technology seems tailor-made to solve this problem.”

Although the Blockchain Charity Foundation is still at concept stage, Binance suggest that the system will allow donors to give to one or as many chosen charities as they want whilst retaining anonymity if they wish: The company commented:

“Each BCF program will have its unique receiving address(es). BCF may choose to donate directly to the ultimate beneficiaries or work with other charity partners who then distributes the funds to the ultimate beneficiaries. Either way, the funds will be tracked in a transparent manner.”

Solutions to past problems are slowly being presented through new technology, but clearly, more urgency is required to reshape the face of the charity industry and restore public face so that charity can transit from home to its needy target and arrive at its destination intact, as was intended from the source.

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Miami is Fast Becoming a US Crypto Trendsetter

Florida staked its claim as a significant name in crypto as two pizzas delivered by Papa John’s in Jacksonville once cost the crypto equivalent of $65 million in today’s money, and now with Miami staking its claim as Bitcoin capital of the US, the dream lives on.

Miami is on a charge and has seen a surge of blockchain and crypto conferences setting up their annual venues there over the years. It’s unsurprising, given that there’s also a history there too, as it was not only the home of the first North American Bitcoin Conference but also witnessed the birth of Vitalik Buterin’s Ethereum experiment.

This year’s North American Bitcoin Conference heralded in even more startups, some 30 in number, raising millions, and now gives way to the next conference in the queue, Blockchain Shift to be held in late October bringing IBM, Tesla, KPMG, Bloomberg into its orbit. It promises to be another extravaganza with late-night dancing and yacht parties scheduled, living up to the current festival mode employed by crypto conference organizers.

Miami started the crypto ATM revolution, with machine provider BitStop out of Palmetto Bay now providing services for client all over the state and in California with a network of 50 transaction points.

One of Florida’s movers and shakers, George Levy, award-winning Lecturer and Senior Instructor on the blockchain, had a hand in starting Miami’s Blockchain Institute of Technology (BIT), an online training academy which teaches people more about cryptocurrency and its technological foundations. Levy now has students in 166 countries around the globe and follows up his online training with personal appearances in many of those. Lately, he’s taken the leap to South America, where Bitcoin raised early interest. He now works alongside the engineering department at the University of Curaçao.

“We’re seeing innovation coming out of Latin America, as well strong developers based in Argentina,” he says, adding that, “The fact that I’m here in Miami gives me a very close spot to be able to engage that. It’s a great hub.”

South Americans have viewed cryptocurrency as an escape from financial oppression for years, as exemplified by Bitcoin’s huge following in Venezuela where the fiat economy is a total burnout. Because of its Latin American connection, Miami has a renewed spark of life as a potential crypto hub for South America as a result of political unrest there, geographic proximity and Spanish speaking population.

With such a vibrant cryptocurrency ecosystem comes regulatory concerns, one of the motivations by State government’s June decision to appoint a “Cryptocurrency Chief” to oversee the industry, according to Florida’s chief financial officer Jimmy Patronis, an “…active, comprehensive and balanced approach” providing an “appropriate level of scrutiny for emerging digital asset technologies.”

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Research: Bitcoin as Stable as “Dollar and Oil”, Cites Cubic Law

New research published in a respected Journal of Nonlinear Science, suggests that cryptocurrencies could soon be as reliable as fiat currency.

Chaos has released a research report titled “Bitcoin market route to maturity?” which maintains that due to the maturing of digital assets over time, many commentators view that Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies are volatile, and therefore too unstable to be used as a currency, are largely unfounded.

The basis of many of these commentaries about Bitcoin’s instability stems from the massive price fluctuations of the past year, seeing the flagship cryptocurrency reach a high of almost $20K in December of 2017 only to drop to $6000 in June of 2018.

The report cites influences, not unlike those which effect regular fiat markets, as instrumental in some of the fluctuating fortunes of digital currencies, such as temporal correlations as multi-scaling effects. The authors of the study commented on the Bitcoin movement over time after studying a number of graphic representations:

“Initially, the graphs we got were a bit crooked, which did not augur anything promising … but when we took a closer look at the data, suddenly it turned out that this crookedness originated from the first two years of the analysed period, that is, from the time when the market was just starting to shape itself.” Adding, “Later on, the rates of return fluctuated according to the inverse cubic law.”

Cubic law is a system of judging a market’s maturity where financial analysts plot price changes in one-minute sequences and compare how they match up.

They added that Bitcoin’s maturity was “particularly evident in the last six months of the examined period,” suggesting that the digital currency’s fluctuations corresponded in the same way as rates of return as regular, mature markets, such as the stock, dollar, oil or bond markets; all good news for Bitcoin enthusiasts and cryptocurrency investors in general.

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Heat Your House Whilst Earning Using French Crypto-Heater

A French-based startup has come up with a unique idea which enables users to heat their homes whilst using the same energy to mine cryptocurrency.

Startup Qarnot has manufactured the QC 1 crypto-heater, one of two products using both heating and computer energy, which uses the heat generated by home computers to heat the surrounding area via a system of graphic plates.

The crypto-heater is advertised as the only one in the market to be perfectly noiseless with no embedded mobile parts (no fans, no hard drives) and IP-protected. Taking only 10 mins to set up, the heat of the QC-1 is generated by 2 graphics cards embedded in the device enabling the mining of cryptocurrencies or blockchain transactions, while it heats.

At 2,900 euros plus shipping, this heater doesn’t come cheap though. The unit is advertised as configured to mine Ethereum and has extra controls which allow the user to follow the crypto market, either through an LED readout on the heater or via a downloadable app. Heater owners are able to mine other cryptocurrencies through a GitHub link which will give them the necessary codes.

As for dual-usage household products, this time not designed on a commercial level, but more as a bi-product, Alabama IT worker Lee, gave up his graphics card that he was using for Bitcoin mining for his bathtub. This turned out to be a much better tool for the job. By using ambient air pulled into a system to cool his ASICs and heated air pushed through a water-to-air intercooler pumped through from his bathtub, he generated enough computer heated water to keep his mining habits up to par.

The only problem was, he generated bathwater of 122F/50C, so fearing for the life of his pets he decided to halt his bathtub mining activities.

“Imagine a crypto heated swimming pool or anything else you could heat with the output from a small, medium, or large-scale mining operation,” gta3uzi wrote on Reddit.

Some suggestions arising from his post included using the hot water to create a sauna, heating his home, drying one’s hair, and even cooking a steak sous vide.

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Holland in Forefront of Promoting Blockchain Economy With Government Support

All the talk in Europe these days are about crypto-havens Malta and Switzerland as they continually break down borders with blockchain and emerging technologies and the subject of a flurry of positive government legislation, but Holland rarely gets a mention.

The Netherlands is a leader in advancing blockchain in Europe and often slips under the radar, but the Dutch government is no slouch when it comes to promoting the interests of companies adopting new technologies, especially when such projects benefit the entire community. Holland has been noted by others as a country with a social conscience, and legislation over the years has illustrated the degree to which its population is a beneficiary of the desire shown by the government to support its society as a whole.

With partners such as the World Bank, UN, and the EU Forum, the Netherland’s aims are progressive and express its social conscience. Emanuele Francioni, Tech-Lead of non-profit blockchain-based Dusk Foundation, explains where this government led social conscience is taking DLT:

“The Netherlands hosts one of the most passionate blockchain scenes in the world,” he suggests, adding that, “Most of the early experimentation by the government was done with multinationals through consortia, often in the permissioned [private] space…we are starting to see the first permissionless [public] initiatives getting more public traction, which is a very exciting area that should get a lot more attention.”

The Dutch government announced earlier this year that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy had created a special unit devoted to researching the ways in which blockchain technology can be harnessed to provide reliability in the area of tech development while being energy sustainable. Encouraged by the government’s actions, John Jansen of cryptocurrency exchange Deribit suggests:

“It’s amazing that the Dutch government created a special blockchain unit with the goal of not just regulating the new technology but actively looking for opportunities,” adding that this shows “ a positive attitude toward this technological development which benefits the blockchain ecosystem in the Netherlands.”

Jansen is further impressed by the stance of the Dutch population when it comes to trading and holding cryptocurrencies, commenting:

“Furthermore, crypto is catching on with the Dutch people as well… It was recently reported that in October of 2017, an estimated 135,000 Dutch people had invested in cryptocurrencies. But by February of this year, that number rose to 580,000. That’s 430% growth in five months. We have every reason to expect that number to continue to rise.”

The Dutch Central Bank may be wary, but even the Dutch royal family is in on the act with Plamen Nedyalkov, CEO of Zoom noting that Prince Constantijn van Oranje has been attending blockchain conferences across the lowlands, and has also become the chairman of StartUpFest Europe, which works with blockchain startups.

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Bithumb Acquired for $354 Million by Singapore Medical Group

South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has sold majority control for USD 354 million to a Singapore-based medical group, according to the latest Reuters update.

Bk Global Consortium has acquired the 51 per cent share in the exchange necessary to give it overall control. The deal was signed by BK International Consortium, a blockchain investment company formed by BK International, a plastic surgical procedures clinical team in Singapore.

The deal means that Bithumb, South Korea’s largest crypto exchange by volume, passes over its controlling stake from BTC Holdings, who had previously held 76% of the company’s equity, to the new stakeholders.

Bithumb, with daily trading volume near USD 400 million, is the sixth-largest in the world behind Binance, OKEx, Huobi, Bitfinex, and Upbit. A total of 37 different cryptocurrencies are traded on the exchange.

The new premier stakeholder in Bithumb is plastic surgeon Kim Byung Gun, a South Korean cryptocurrency investor who had already launched his own ICO consulting firm and platform last August. The deal with BK global priced the major South Korean exchange at over KRW 1 trillion won (USD 880 million). News Asia observed:

“Kim, who demonstrated his multinational management ability in the field of medical care, has invested in fintech [and] blockchain… companies in Singapore.”

Although beset by a major hacking in June of this year resulting in the loss of KRW 35 billion (USD 40 million), the exchange has still made significant gains through the first half of 2018 estimated to be around USD 35 million. The suspension of withdrawals and the opening of new accounts, however, led to a significant drop in volume at the time.

The new major stakeholder is setting his targets high, with plans to create a new platform similar that that of Binance and San Francisco exchange giant Coinbase. Kim also wants to create a blockchain e-commerce system in partnership with Singapore’s e-marketplace Q2 along with talk of a fiat-backed stablecoin being developed in the future.

 

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