Category Archives: altcoin

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Tether Produces Banking Report Showing Total Funds

Controversy-ridden stablecoin Tether fought back on allegations that it did not have enough fiat holdings to back up its Tether tokens (USDT) in circulation as it claims, producing a banking report Thursday allegedly displaying the total balance.

Tether Limited shared details of its banking relationship with Deltec in a blog post, claiming that the 72-year-old financial institution ”came after their due diligence review of our company”, saying this included an analysis of Tether’s compliance processes, policies and background checks of shareholders.

Most importantly, in this case, it claimed that Deltec checked its ability to maintain the USD peg at all times.

A letter dated 1 November appearing to come from the bank reads: “the portfolio cash value of your account with our bank was USD 1,831,322,828.

Several issues have arisen in regards to this letter, however. For one, there is no specific name attached to the letter in regards to any employee at Deltec, while the signature is merely a curved line. And additionally, the data shared in the letter was provided ”without liability” from the bank or any individual connected to it, with the caveat that it reflected ”the information currently in our possession”.

Tether says that the bank will consistently review the company’s funds in relation to its USD peg.

In an email to CoinDesk, Deltec declined to comment or even acknowledge its banking relationship with Tether, adding: ”However, we can state that Deltec conducts all client relationships in a manner that is fully compliant with all applicable banking regulations, and consistent with our internal policies with respect to safety and sound risk management.”

Amid criticism of Tether’s inability to provide USD based on its tokens as the company claims it can, USDT 930 million have been removed from circulation since 14th of November.

 

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Bank of England Governor Openly Considers a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)

Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, spoke at the Riksbank Anniversary conference on Friday, putting forward an open-minded stance about the possibility of a central bank digital currency (CBDC).

Potential CBD for England

As reported by Bloomberg, while Carney appeared open to the idea, he also pointed to several issues that prevented him from offering his full support for a CBDC. Specifically, Carney stressed his view that cryptocurrencies are not a true equivalent of money, and that should a CBDC be adopted, it will not be capable of happening successfully in the near future.

During his speech, Carney went on to explain that the Bank of England is looking to boost diversity within the institution by engaging with people who not only come from a mainstream economic background. “The future of central banking may involve fewer central bankers, ” he said, indicating perhaps a future direction more compatible with the cryptocurrency field.

Sweden’s central bank Riksbank hosted the conference. Risbank is currently researching the practicality of implementing an e-krona, a CBDC for Sweden, with results from the inquiry scheduled to be published in 2019.

Carney and Crypto

The Bank of England issued a working paper earlier this month, detailing results of an extended inquiry into the possible financial risks and stability issues associated with CBDC. The report indicated that there was no probable cause to assume adopting a CBDC would create issues surrounding private credit, or total liquidity provision to the economy.

Carney has not held back on his personal, skeptical view of cryptocurrencies in the past. In February this year, he stated ”[cryptocurrency] has pretty much failed thus far on… the traditional aspects of money. It is not a store of value because it is all over the map. Nobody uses it as a medium of exchange.”

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Zcash Responds to ASIC Threat

Bitmain is set to launch its new application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC), the Antminer Z9 mini in June, which will be used for mining cryptocurrencies using the Equihash proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm. The Zcash Foundation was quick to respond, labeling the task of maintaining ASIC resistance an “immediate technical priority”.

Pleased to announce the Antminer Z9 mini, an ASIC miner to mine #Equihash-based cryptocurrencies. To prevent hoarding and to let more individuals worldwide get one, we’ve set a limit of one miner per user. Order here (https://t.co/LdIbpRrbgI) now while stock lasts!#AntminerZ9 pic.twitter.com/xJD58SKUfy

— BITMAIN (@BITMAINtech) May 3, 2018

Zcash (ZEC) prides itself on being a decentralized cryptocurrency with optional privacy for transactions. Many developers and members of the cryptocurrency community are opposed to ASICs as they feel they are a step towards centralization, which could lead to similar problems of traditional systems. ASICs are highly efficient compared with their GPU counterparts, and there is speculation that Bitmain mines privately in order to gain market dominance.

Effects of ASICs and centralization

If an entity of miners are allowed to establish a majority on the network, it leaves the system more vulnerable to manipulation. Disrupting the flow of hashing power to the network can affect transaction times, leading to higher fees. Centralization can also lead to a concentration of tokens held by a single group, which can then be used for so-called “pump and dump” schemes, further consolidating their share of the market.

Bitmain is already cornering the market with USD 4 billion of profit from its dedicated hardware. This can be re-invested into future ASIC technologies and token holdings, further increasing their edge over competitors and control of the market.

There are growing concerns about centralization and the effect it could have on the industry.

“Bitmain is in a position where the Chinese government can take over their equipment at any time; something they will no doubt do if Bitcoin grows enough to allow them to use their control of the hashrate to push a Chinese geopolitical agenda,” said Cobra, the anonymous owner of bitcoin.org and bitcointalk.org.

Others view the attempt to resist ASIC hardware as delaying the inevitable.

“Even if we manage to neuter a wave of Equihash ASICs, this will not be the end of the discussion. Inevitably, some new ASIC will arise, and we may have to go through this process again,” wrote Josh Cincinnati, executive director of Zcash Foundation.

 

Image source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/120586634@N05/14673305874/ – Gareth Halfacree

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Venezuela’s Petro Token Faces Allegations of Falsified Records

The controversial state-backed cryptocurrency of Venezuela, El Petro token, has met further contention after allegedly holding falsified records regarding the initial coin offering (ICO). Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro reported USD 5 billion raised during the event, but both CCN and Criptomoedas Fácil report a discrepancy in the total reported and the amount possible to be raised according to the information on the whitepaper.

The Numbers

The whitepaper for the Petro token records 38,400,000 tokens in total to be sold, each valued at USD 60, and with a 60% discount added during the ICO stage. For each of these tokens to be sold at their valued price, the ICO would have raised USD 2.304 billion before subtracting the discount. The official documents released by Maduro reporting USD 5 billion raised is in direct contradiction to this.

This indicates that either the whitepaper contains misleading information about the actual value of the Petro token or that Maduro announced false claims about the earnings of the ICO.

Following the ICO, Maduro detailed the event received 200,927 participation requests from 133 different countries.

Further Controversies For El Petro

Each unit of El Petro is backed by one barrel of oil in Venezuela, introduced by Maduro to combat economic sanctions due to a what he dubbed a US-led blockade. There are, however, many that challenge the integrity of Maduro’s ambitions, denouncing it as a plan to compensate the lack of oil production that is seeing the state’s economy plummet.

Maduro does not have full support from his government, with the Venezuelan congress recently ruling El Petro as both unconstitutional and illegal. The National Assembly of Venezuela dubbed the currency a fraud, and a threat to potential investors. With many citizens in Venezuela struggling to provide themselves with basic essentials such as food and medicine, there is a call to invest the money raised in the ICO into rebuilding the economy. This would prove logistically challenging, as investors would surely demand compensation.

China-based credit rating firm Dagong see the Petro token as a good investment, however, suggesting it may aid international currency markets.

Other controversies aside, Maduro must address the financial discrepancies regarding the profits made from the ICO for it to be considered legitimate tender on exchange platforms.

 

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Bitcoin on the Rise: Bullish Trends and the G20 Influence

It has been a tough month for Bitcoin coming off the winter boom but there have been several standout moments offering respite from bearish trends and contributing to the current uptrend in the Bitcoin markets.

Firstly, Thomas Lee, the head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors and his team have released an interesting flow chart (below) that describes the phases of the altcoin market cycle.

While it indicates that the majority of the decline is behind us, their graphs don’t quite inspire an immediate sense of confidence with the purgatory phase apparently in effect and it is still relatively hard to tell when things will begin to look definitively bullish again.

The Risk of Stagnation

How deep this current period will be is still unknown, but it could be noted that markets tend to react swiftly, particularly to positive news, progress in innovations and regulations.

The stakes for blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies are higher than ever; the past couple of years have seen massive progress with efforts to make the industry more consumer-friendly and regulation-compliant. Despite the scandals of scam ICOs and the recent crackdown on cryptocurrency advertising, the blockchain industry is holding on tight and is more active than ever.

The pressure on altcoins to adapt or die is growing and this slump could spark further indecisiveness and cynicism, dampening the progress that new or established blockchain companies have been making over the past year.

These being worst case scenarios, anything at all can happen in this business, so it’s best to keep an open mind, especially as big organizations, governments, industry heads and key figures are all putting the conversation about cryptocurrencies on the table.

A Good Influence

The G20 Summit is considered partly responsible for the upswing Bitcoin has seen over the past couple of days. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, stated in a letter to G20 finances ministers: “The FSB’s initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time.”

He continued: “Crypto-assets raise a host of issues around consumer and investor protection, as well as their use to shield illicit activity and for money laundering and terrorist financing. At the same time, the technologies underlying them have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of both the financial system and the economy.”

A Little More Conversation and A Lot More Action

If the brains at Fundstrat are correct, then this low period of inactivity and consolidation could be a sluggish ride and set the evolution of this industry back for some time. This is the chance for the industry to begin shaking hands with the regulators, influencers and institutions that can begin to create a space for the technology in the everyday lives of the world.

Conversations such as this may only boost Bitcoin value for so long, however, and the bear market could still very well be in play. But the critical part to take away from all of this is that more and more powerful influencers are talking about how to make cryptocurrencies work.

Now let’s see some action.

 

 

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