Category Archives: Altcoins

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Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse Slates JPMorgan’s JPM Coin as Lacking Innovation

Wall Street banking giant JPMorgan’s announcement of its new stable coin JPM Coin, has Ripple’s boss Brad Garlinghouse criticizing its “closed network” lack of innovation.

JPMorgan says it sees potential in using digital coins to reduce risk and enable instant transfers, despite JPMorgan’s chief executive Jamie Dimon criticizing Bitcoin since it emerged as the industry’s flagship cryptocurrency.

The bank says it has always “believed in the potential of blockchain technology”. “We are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated,” says Umar Farooq, JPMorgan’s head of Digital Treasury Services and Blockchain. The new JPM coin will be transferable between client accounts at the bank, who will then be able to redeem them for US dollars pegged at parity with the coin.

With the arrival of JPM, the volatility of Ripple’s XRP is brought into question and certainly draws obvious comparisons, to which Garlinghouse has reacted by saying there is nothing innovative about JPMorgan’s final arrival into the cryptocurrency space, arguing:

“As predicted, banks are changing their tune on crypto. But this JPM project misses the point – introducing a closed network today is like launching AOL after Netscape’s IPO.”

His comments very much echo the sentiments illustrated in an article he wrote two years ago called “The Case Against BankCoin,” in which he argued that banks should be using XRP as the obvious independent digital asset, claiming they offered “universality” which bank coins did not:

“It goes back to the fundamentals of what makes digital assets unique and special – they’re universal currencies, meaning anyone can use them as units of value anywhere in the world. That universality gives digital assets global reach and the ability to settle much faster than traditional assets.”

Clearly, Ripple’s executives would argue that users of XRP also has the added option to speculate, holding on to the currency in the hope of trading later at a higher value; compared to bank coins which will only have a fixed settlement value based on parity with the US dollar.

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13% of Online Shoppers Going Crypto With 700% Growth since 2013

A recent survey has pointed to the increase in online shoppers using cryptocurrency for electronic payments, reporting growth of 700% since 2013.

According to Kaspersky Labs, 13% of shoppers have used cryptocurrency for making payments online, their recent survey of 12,000 customers in 22 different countries has shown, and the trend is clearly upwards. Kaspersky commented:

The majority of retailers are now happy for us to use whatever payment method we prefer in order to stop us from going elsewhere. From credit card transactions and bank transfers to cryptocurrency, subscriptions, and loyalty points, we can pay for goods and services in more ways than ever before.”

However, paying in this way still has problems which need to be addressed in the future. In the past, networks were trusted for zero-confirmations, but recent attacks against some of the coins have made vendors less enthusiastic. More coins are now available other than Bitcoin for these kinds of online payments with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) allowing SMS payments, and Verge (XVG) and ReddCoin (RDD) now offering small-scale payment options. Bitcoin’s Lightning network still remains a fast way of settling purchases online.

The profusion of Bitcoin ATMs, often in the most unlikely locations around the world, continues to offer shoppers, who prefer a face to face “trawling” the store option, the opportunity to instantly trade their BTC for cash. Recently New York, one of the world’s major shopping venues has given crypto users the opportunity to purchase Bitcoin using a regular credit card at machines around the Big Apple.

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Samba School to Depict History of Money to Bitcoin in Rio Carnival

Samba School to Depict History of Money to Bitcoin in Rio Carnival

This year’s iconic Rio Carnival at Marquês de Sapucaí Sambódromo is to feature a performance depicting the history of money from the development of early 7th century coins to Bitcoin.

Give Me Some Money“, is the work of, no not Abba, but prominent Brazilian samba school Imperatriz Leopoldinense, who are currently working on their entry for this year’s Carnivale. The school is so confident this year that they are hoping that their elaborate entry will win them the prize for the first time since 2001.

The performance will track the history of money concluding with the advent of cryptocurrencies, mapping out the centuries and the development of coins, paper bills and finally digital currency. Imperatriz Leopoldinense explains:

“Our story is about money and its relationship with humans from their invention to the present time. It is, without a doubt, one of the most important instruments in the economic life of nations and people.”

The events at the Rio Carnival are always flamboyant and colorful, and this depiction of money through the centuries will be no different according to the school. It maps out periods from the 7th century BC to the creation of paper money in China in the 10th century, then follows the South American native population’s first encounter with European conquistadors, to Brazilian money used in the eventuating slave trade.

The school says: “Imagine what life would be without money. How could we buy and sell, receive and pay, stock up and save for the future, if it did not exist?… We’ll end the parade talking about a future already present through cryptocurrencies – a digital resource system designed to function as a medium of exchange.”

As 82-year old Mário Monteiro, who performs along with his sister Cacá Monteiro, 64, points out, it is somewhat ironic to be putting on a performance about money when the carnival is going through its most sustained period of financial difficulty in years, but adds, “It’s time to put the sadness in the drawer and take the joy out of the closet, because it’s Carnival!”

 

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Bitcoin ETF a “Virtual Certainty”, Says Financial Expert

Bitcoin ETF a

Talks about a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) have been in the works a while now, and some experts in mainstream finance still believe it’s only a matter of time before one is granted. Ric Edelman, co-founder of Edelman Financial Services, insisted in an interview with CNBC that a Bitcoin ETF was “virtually certain”.

The derivative market for Bitcoin and altcoins are still a nascent development and while many mainstream financial players may have been watching from a distance, some have drawn closer to become pioneers from the traditional system to venture into cryptocurrency-related markets built on the topology of the traditional market.

Edelman’s comment that it was only a matter of time, adds yet another to many recent speculations that continue to draw the spotlight on Bitcoin in mainstream finance.

Bitcoin News reported earlier how mainstream financial players are considering hedging 1% of their portfolio funds to bitcoin – playing it safe with almost nothing to lose. Edelman also agreed to this strategy implying that the price volatility of the Bitcoin market can have useful impacts when favorable, and minimal when the price dips – after all, it’s just 1% of funds in the portfolio that will be affected.

He further reiterated the concerns of the regulatory watchdog, suggesting that the concerns of the SEC with regards to the crypto industry are legitimate and thoughtful. While affirming his confidence in the cryptocurrency markets and the efforts of key drivers in the industry towards overcoming these challenges, he, however, feels the time isn’t right for ordinary investors to dive into crypto investments, and that the ETF may highlight that hallmark. He said:

“It’s at that stage [Bitcoin ETF] that I will be much more comfortable recommending that ordinary investors participate.”

The Cryptocurrency industry is one of the most dynamic and innovative financial systems. However, regulators have thought it wise to tread carefully due to the overwhelming issues currently plaguing the industry, which the SEC has bored down to two basics: custody infrastructure and market oversight concerns – given that the nature of digital assets built on the blockchain is essentially decentralized.

Edelman further opines that serious players are in the industry, and are pulling in resources to ensure that they surmount the challenges highlighted by the SEC.

After multiple rejected Bitcoin ETF applications last year and a withdrawn application earlier this year due to the United States government shutdown, Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), SolidX, as well as VanEck have reapplied with the SEC keeping fingers crossed.

At this point, there’s no doubt that there’s high demand for Bitcoin ETF; from mainstream financial institutions to current crypto market participants; everyone is eagerly waiting to see the ETF approval lift the long bear-ridden cycle of the market.

Logically, the expectations are hinged on the premise of a similar occurrence in the December 2017 hype-drive, when Bitcoin futures introduced into the market by CBOE and CME Group ushered in a new class of investors and traders, thereby propelling the price-value of Bitcoin as well as alt markets.

ETF is one among others in the pipeline of financial derivatives that may fully launch crypto into mainstream finance. Recently, LedgerX introduced a new derivative called Binary Wager that would bet on Bitcoin’s next halving date. This occurrence happens once in every four years, and the new instrument can be classed under the long term derivate market. Either way, it would seem a lot of individuals have long term expectations for Bitcoin as well as the crypto market in general.

 

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Report Claims Ripple Tempts Recruits with Generous XRP Packages

Ripple

Ripple has recently claimed that it had no role in the development of the cryptocurrency XRP. However, reports are surfacing that claim the company was found utilizing its huge XRP reserves to attract potential hires.

It began with a media report claiming that an engineer was offered an XRP pay package by Ripple. The engineer, whose name has not been named, said that he received an email in late 2018 from the company stating that along with a generous salary, he would receive XRP worth USD 3 million.

For its xCurrent project, the company is looking to hire a new engineering head in addition to more than 12 technical experts and engineers, as stated on Ripple’s LinkedIn profile. xCurrent project is looking to challenge SWIFT (a legacy messaging network).

This is not the first time that Ripple has faced these allegations. In September 2018, an engineer requesting anonymity told the media about a similar email from the company offering him a generous XRP bonus package.

On the basis of the data obtained from two potential recruits, the general range of bonuses in XRP for engineers is from USD 1-6 million. However, these salaries are based on seniority.

A former Ripple employee revealed that it is a standard in Silicon Valley to offer generous equity deals to new recruits. However, he noted that before 2017, he never heard of anything like XRP bonus packages.

Nevertheless, the company has refused to comment on bonus packages. It is uncertain whether these packages are still being offered or not. The overly centralized nature of XRP is a much-debated topic within the crypto community and will draw further flak if it is proved that the company’s infrastructure is completely centralized.

 

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Another Altcoin Developer Makes Satoshi Nakamoto Claim

Yet Another Bitcoin Cash Developer Makes Satoshi Nakamoto Claim

Convincing other people to believe one is Satoshi Nakamoto may appear to be one aim of Bitcoin Cash forks in recent history.

First, it was Craig Wright of Bitcoin SV who declared himself as the legendary Bitcoin creator and now, one developer of Bitcoin Cash ABC (the other fork of Bitcoin Cash) is purporting to be the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin: enter Amaury Sechet.

In a series of Tweets, Sechet tried to lay claim to the Satoshi crown by using a similar technique used by Craig Wright, before the latter’s bluff was called. Sechet wrote some pre-existing signatures of the Bitcoin Network along with pointed instructions to verify them.

While Sechet may be pulling a fast one, when it comes to the identity of Satoshi Nakamoto, there is never a shortage of pretenders hoping to mislead newer members of the Bitcoin community. And when it comes to Bitcoin forkers, abandoning the world’s most popular cryptocurrency doesn’t seem to have lessened their desire to declare themselves its creator.

 

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FSA Reports Drop in Crypto Inquiries, Is Japan Losing Interest?

FSA Reports Drop in Crypto Inquiries, Is Japan Losing Interest?

In a report from the Financial Services Agency (FSA) last week, the number of inquiries about cryptocurrencies received by the Japanese financial regulator during the period of Q4 of 2018 had declined. Could Japan citizens be losing interest in crypto?

According to the report published on 8 February, in Q3, the FSA had received as many as 1231 inquiries related to cryptocurrencies from citizens, but this figure had dropped to 788, a 36% drop in Q4. Overall, the year 2018 saw a drop from 3,559 during Q1 to 788 in Q4 of the same year – an approximate 78% drop. Further signs may indicate a further decline may be on the horizon.

The year 2018 arguably was an active year in crypto for Japan, with the year end swamping the regulator with exchange applications after the FSA had granted the Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) the power to oversee self-regulation within the industry.

Strides had included a regulatory framework for ICOs, systems designed to monitor tax reporting and evasion, the appointment of a pro-crypto minister who would oversee all things crypto and blockchain which provided a positive outlook for crypto enthusiasts in the region. There were talks about a Japan instituted Bitcoin exchange-traded funds – although this was later dismissed by the FSA as rumors.

Although, unlike some other nations, Japan has had a more differing opinion about state-issued central bank digital currencies (CBDC), saying that they are unlikely to improve the existing monetary systems and therefore, the Bank of Japan itself had no plan to issue digital currencies.

Regardless, Japan is considered to be one of the progressively active countries in terms of crypto regulatory initiatives on the Asian continent. However, one baffling question that remains unanswered is why the inquiries about crypto-related issued had declined over the course of 2018. Are Japanese crypto holders and enthusiasts getting tired of crypto, or are they better off without the oversight of the regulator?

At the start of the year 2018, inquiries were higher even with Bitcoin price declining from its all-time high of December 2017, compared to when the price almost seemed to bottom out at the end of the year. Although, Bitcoin trade volume data from peer-to-peer trading platform LocalBitcoins.com as revealed by Coin Dance had peaked in one of the weeks in October 2018, reaching its highest point for the year and then slowly declined.

Perhaps the drop in inquiries may have had something to do with the security challenges plaguing the Asian crypto market which accounted for a sizeable share in the USD 1.7 billion worth of cryptos reportedly stolen in 2018. This included exchange hacks, exit scams, Ponzi schemes, and identity thefts.

One thing is certain, the government of Japan is striving for a more harmonized environment for both crypto ventures and investors, and most certainly not at the detriment of the financial system and its policies. It has also provided a regulatory sandbox for a more controlled environment for fintech products.

A beneficiary of the sandbox project is a recently approved trial for a yen-backed stablecoin settlement to be undertaken by Digital Garage. With the bottleneck-like regulatory framework designed to protect investors interest, even US-based crypto exchange Coinbase applauds the regulator’s effort for setting up such a system in place.

 

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Formula One Gets First Digital Asset Firm Sponsorship

Formula One Gets First Digital Asset Firm Sponsorship

The Formula One (F1) racing team Aston Martin Red Bull are to partner the cryptocurrency company FuturoCoin, making this the first of such projects in the history of the world’s top tier of motor car racing.

Aston Martin Red Bull has an illustrious history as the sixth-most-winning car constructor in F1 racing. FuturoCoin’s branding will now appear on the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing RB15 F1 cars of drivers Max Verstappen and Pierre Gasly.

FuturoCoin founder Roman Ziemian has long been a lover of motorsport so the deal comes as no accident. He said, “I’m a huge fan of motorsport and F1 has always intrigued me. The sponsorship is an exciting new chapter for our company and will be a global platform for us to drive awareness of FuturoCoin.”

The coin (FTO) was co-founded along with Stephan Morgenstern in 2017 offering a maximum supply of FTO 100,000,000. The coin is reportedly based on the same code as DASH, claiming to provide users four-second transaction times and low fixed fees. Red Bull Aston Martin Racing Team Principal, Christian Horner was clearly happy with the deal, commenting:

“In recent years, the rise of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies has been truly remarkable, and we’re delighted to be the first Formula One team to embrace this, through our partnership with FuturoCoin… Secure digital currencies are on the leading edge of technological development and we are very excited to be part of this revolution.”

The deal will cover both the 2019/2020 F1 seasons. Aston Martin Red Bull Racing won the F1 constructor’s and driver’s world championships in four consecutive years between 2010 and 2013 with its total Grand Prix wins currently standing at 59. The 21-round 2019 season takes off with the Australian Grand Prix on 14 to 17 March.

 

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Open Access Publisher ScienceMatters Turns to Blockchain

Open Access Publisher ScienceMatters Turns to Blockchain (2)

ScienceMatters, a Swiss-based scientific online publishing platform, is now developing a peer review process based on blockchain technology.

Plans are currently underway to utilize Eureka, a publishing platform that uses the Ethereum blockchain, which will also enable reviewers of submitted work to be compensated for their efforts with Eureka tokens. The tokens can then be exchanged for other currencies.

ScienceMatter’s editorial director Tamara Zaytouni claims, “Eureka’s crowdsourced scoring will provide researchers as well as publishers with a new metric that can be used to evaluate the work swiftly, thus speeding up the publication process.”

The platform should prove to be a trusted and immutable research management service according to the founder of both Science Matters and Eureka, Lawrence Rajendran, who is also a neuroscientist at King’s College London. Although, as yet ScienceMatters doesn’t actually use Eureka, little will drastically change due to the thoroughness of the peer review process, Rajandran suggests. Once Eureka is employed, however, reviewers will be unknown to one another (with reviewers crowdsourced from Eureka users), although their activities and reviews will be logged for all to see. The only downside, according to some current users of the platform is that upfront fees are liable for manuscript processing, and this doesn’t come cheap at USD 595 and with no guarantee of publication save a partial refund if turned down.

ScienceMatters is not the only publication of its kind using blockchain tech. ARTiFACTS in Cambridge, Massachusetts, presents research which produces a wealth of interesting material — such as data sets, single observations, and hypotheses.

ARTiFACTS provides a forum in which researchers can upload almost anything that they deem worth sharing, logging their finds to a blockchain. Jim Tate, president of EMR Advocate, a health-care technology consultancy based in Asheville, North Carolina, and a member of a working healthcare blockchain group, is positive that there is a future in the new technology in the sharing of research information.

He commented: “The underlying blockchain technology of Artifacts has directly increased the speed and efficiency of our entire project.”

With many other publishers using blockchain now, it is clear this technology has found a place among researchers who need to share their findings and store them safely for posterity.

 

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BitTorrent Fortunes Seek Boost from 11th February Airdrop

BitTorrent Fortunes Seek Boost from 11th February Airdrop

Further details have been released regarding BitTorrent‘s BTT token airdrop scheduled to take place in six days’ time.

The BTT token has been introduced as a medium of exchange for BitTorrent users, enabling the purchase of downloadable media, giving users the opportunity to participate in crowdfunding on the platform. File sharing will also offer rewards to users of the platform. The company explained some of the other benefits:

“Existing BitTorrent clients will implement an optional set of backward-compatible protocol extensions which allow them to bid and receive bids for their bandwidth, working in tandem with a cryptocurrency wallet and bidding engine.”

The firm is airdropping free BTT tokens to TRON (TRX) holders and it has been announced that the airdrop will continue for six years until 11 February 2025. The first snapshot will happen when TRON’s block height reaches 6.6 million. The initial airdrop will be a supply of BTT 10,890,000,000, followed by BTT 990,000,000 each month from 11 March.

No minimum of TRX is required to qualify for BTT airdrops. The following wallets and exchanges will support the airdrop: Kucoin, Binance, OKEx, Huobi, Bithumb, UPbit, gate.io, TrustWallet, Bitpie, Cobo, Bibox, Cointiger, ABCC, WazirX, Atomicwallet, DragonEx, CoinEgg, MBAex, Vena Pi, Livecoin, Ellipal, BitForex, Atomicwallet, Tokenomy, Coinsuper, Bitrue, FCoin, Bit-Z, Tronscan.

According to BitTorrent, “an additional BTT 99,990,000,000 will be airdropped to longtime TRX holders through online and offline events”.

It is widely expected that come 11 February, BitTorrent could come into immediate competition with similar file sharing outfits such as Upfiring, Flixxo, JoyStream, and LBRY, although a boost in funding through the airdrop could be significant for the company’s future.

 

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