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Elon Musk Among the Latest to Challenge Warren Buffett’s Investment Ideas

Warren Buffett has come under fire from Elon Musk after an exchange that led to Musk appearing to challenge his rival with a light-hearted ICO dubbed Cryptocandy. The two had been trading opinions via public shareholder meetings in the days prior. The reference to cryptocurrencies played on Buffett’s rigid ideas on bitcoin and his investment in See’s Candy.

Elon Musk Tweet

Elon Musk hasn’t taken a strong stance on cryptocurrencies but represents a newer generation of success believing that “what matters is the pace of innovation, that is the fundamental determinant of competitiveness”. Although Musk has had little to say, he did share that he had been gifted 0.25 bitcoin by a friend years ago and has been noted to have a copy of Cryptocurrencies simply explained. His company Tesla also began accepting bitcoin as a payment method for their electric cars back in 2016. The use of cryptocurrencies played on Buffett’s rigid ideas on bitcoin.

Musk is well established in the technology sector and is familiar with online payment systems having co-founded X.com which was acquired by Paypal. After standing as CEO for Paypal he went onto make USD 165 million when the company was bought by eBay. With blockchain expanding into several fields that Musk has invested in alongside his knowledge of payment systems, it would be interesting to hear more of what he has to say.

Elon Musk isn’t the only person to challenge Buffett

Buffett — a fellow multi-billionaire, on the other hand, has profited largely from his  Berkshire’s holdings, which are in food and beverage companies, clothing, materials, insurance, banking, and media. Buffet has continued with his militant stance against cryptocurrencies in particular bitcoin which he recently referred to as “rat poison”.

With his view on technology stocks only having recently changed alongside his inability to keep up with the times as pointed out by his use of a flip-phone, by CNBC. Buffet continues with comments such as cryptocurrencies are headed for a “bad ending.”

Musk’s exchange isn’t the first time Buffet has come under fire, with Binance CEO Zhao Changpeng questioning the grounds of his statements. In an interview in January discussing Binance’s growth and customer demographic Changpeng responded with “Warren Buffett is a guy I truly respect from an investment point of view, but I do not think he understands cryptocurrencies at all,” which is confirmed by Buffett who previously said “Why in the world should I take a long or short position of something I don’t know anything about?”

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Binance CEO Firmly Believes in ICOs as Answer to Venture Capitalism

The CEO of cryptocurrency trading platform Binance has made a positive case for initial coin offerings (ICOs). In a recent blog post, Changpeng Zhao argues that the digital crowdfunding method adopted at large by blockchain startups are “not just good-to-have”, but necessary.

Out with the old

At the crux of the blog post is a debate between traditional venture capitalism (VC) and ICOs; Zhao highlights several differences while acknowledging the present issues with the ICO markets.

For entrepreneurs, Zhao argues that the process of acquiring funding through VCs is tedious, time-consuming and requires startups to relinquish some or all control of their project. He writes:

“Courting VC investors, doing powerpoints, business plans, pitch decks, executive summaries, due diligence, term sheets, investment agreements, offshore company structure setup, board of directors, make reports for them, getting a bridge loan because the VC lawyers insist on some totalitarian terms that essentially gives them absolute power and ownership of your company and hence delays the whole investment process…”

He then compares it to the speed, effectiveness and control an ICO delivers to any entrepreneur:

“Writing an awesome white paper about your passionate dream project and raise USD 20M in 10 days, from thousands of people around the world who speak your language, understand your vision, use your product as soon as it is launched, spend all day beta testing your product, or discuss with you about new neat (and sometimes useless) features that you haven’t thought about.”

ICOs are still in development

Zhao admits that ICOs are still in their early stages, which is true considering that countries around the world are feverishly debating the validity and legalities of ICOs, which contrary to popular belief, is a good thing.

Concerns over ICOs having a myriad of security, fraud and other illegal activities tied to them has caused knee-jerk responses from governments and regulators everywhere in the world. However, Zhao makes a strong point saying:

“You can’t make advancements without encountering problems. Properly dealing with issues is how progress is made. If we had given up e-commerce/internet because there was identity theft or credit card fraud, where would the world be today? Whoever deals with the issues best will be the winners, that’s where the competition is.”

ICOs beat VC projects

Zhao is of the belief that ICOs will succeed more often than VC projects and makes three distinct points as to why he thinks this is the case. His first is that again, ICOs are extremely time and cost effective. Less time spent raising funds means the actual project itself receives the much-required attention it needs.

Furthermore, the higher amounts of funding received from ICOs allow for startups to better overcome weak points in the project. Finally, ICOs create a user base during the funding period, turning investors into users, which is an extraordinarily strong start for any company upon launch.

He concludes by noting that VCs are now investing heavily in ICOs, a factor which he believes speaks for itself regarding just how valid and useful the digital fundraising method is.

 

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Asia and Australia: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 27th April to 3rd May 2018

Asia and Australia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

The Korean Peninsula

Korea peace treaty inscribed in blockchain: The historic Korea peace declaration by North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and South Korea’s Moon Jae-in on 27 April 2018 was immutably recorded on the Ethereum blockchain. The move was done by Ryi Gi-Hyeok, a prominent South Korean game developer, after the two leaders met at the demilitarized zone on the border.

Rye coded the two Ether transactions, including the Panmunjom Declaration, one in English and the other in Korean. He explained:

“I just thought it took too long for the South and the North to give way to each other… After finding out what I could contribute to this historic achievement as a developer, I found the Panmunjom Declaration on the Blue House homepage and recorded it on Ethereum.”

He has further plans to launch a website to keep all important historic records in permanent, immutable storage on Ethereum.

Samsung posts record-breaking quarter thanks to crypto mining surge: South Korean tech giant Samsung’s investment into ASIC chips for Bitcoin mining seems to have paid off as the company posted a record operating income for the first quarter of 2018 and a profit of $14.5 billion.

Vice president, investor relations, Robert Yi was of the opinion:

“In the semiconductor business, earnings increased significantly year-over-year thanks to favorable memory market conditions driven by a strong demand for server and graphics memory as well as earnings improvements in both System LSI and foundry businesses led by increasing demand for chips used in flagship smartphones and cryptocurrency mining”.

Bank of Korea considering blockchain as part of cashless society concept: The South Korean cryptocurrency scene is exploding after Samsung announced record profits from ASIC chips sales and now the Bank of Korea is considering cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology as part of its “cashless society concept”.

The bank has announced the official launch of its cashless society project on its 2017 Payment Report, according to a post from TokenPost on 1 May 2018.

Japan

Crypto enquiries tripled in 2017: The Japanese Financial Security Agency (FSA) has released figures of cryptocurrency enquiries and they have gone up by more than three times since the same time last year. Over 3.5 million people have been trading in cryptocurrencies in Japan and the new figures confirm the massive spike in public interest in cryptocurrencies since the course of last year.

What is interesting is that most of the enquiries were from the 40s and 50s age groups and were regarding the legitimacy of ICOs and the security of the exchange platforms. It seems the older Japanese generation is also getting into cryptocurrencies.

Taiwan

Binance more profitable than Deutsche Bank: Binance, one of the biggest exchanges in the world, has outperformed the mighty Deutsche Bank in terms of profitability, according to latest figures from both of these organizations. Binance posted a profit of USD 200 million between January and March, while Deutsche Bank only recorded net gains of USD 146 million, significantly under a targeted USD 456 million amount.

Binance was originally founded in China but since then moved to Japan before eventually settling in Republic of China (Taiwan).

Singapore

Singapore fast tracks patents and crypto ride-hailing: The Singapore government has just announced its Fast Track Fintech initiative that is aimed at accelerating the patent approval process for fintech areas including cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based payments.

The development was announced by Low Ling, the senior parliamentary secretary for ministry of trade and industry. His office said:

“The incorporation of blockchain technology to improve the security and efficiency of clearing and settlement across borders for transaction and payment is deemed as a Fintech invention.”

Hong Kong

Government finds crypto not implicated in financial crime increase: The Hong Kong government’s investigation into criminal activity has revealed that criminals are still more likely to use conventional methods of money transfer rather than cryptocurrencies to move black money from one place to another.

Normally, cryptocurrencies are blamed for most of the money laundering efforts in criminal circles but this investigation proves that conventional systems are more likely to be used in this space than cryptocurrencies.

Australia

UNICEF announces mining project to help fund education: UNICEF Australia has announced a cryptocurrency mining initiative in which computing resources from donors will be used to mine cryptocurrency which in turn will be used to raise fiat money to invest in education.

The project is called the Hope Page and will be used to mine the cryptocurrency Monero using donors’ computer processing power that can be anything from powerful ASIC miners to a regular PC with GPU.

UNICEF launched a similar project back in February to help the Syrian civil war crisis.

Stock exchange okays plan for blockchain: The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) has announced plans to replace its old clearance and settlement system with a blockchain-based alternative as early as 2020.

The idea had been in the pipeline for some time since 2015 but the decision arrived back in December last year when the stock exchange announced plans to become the world’s first stock exchange to employ blockchain technology.

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Malta: The Next Place For Crypto Startups?

Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat has recently revealed plans to reestablish several cryptocurrency businesses in his country’s jurisdiction. Malta already has pro-blockchain legislation and existing regulations around cryptocurrency, making this announcement an outreach for more cryptocurrency companies to locate in the Mediterranean country.

Muscat’s announcement came during a political rally in Mqabba last weekend, where he stated he was in ongoing discussions with potential investors in the sector. The prime minister relayed his interest for Malta to become the initial country to ”take the first step” and have a state-regulated cryptocurrency industry. He noted the numerous jobs that the sector would add to the economy, as well the advantage it would give the education sector for people who wished to pursue a career related to the industry.

Binance are doing it

Meanwhile, popular cryptocurrency exchange platform Binance announced plans to open an office in Malta. In January of this year, Binance produced the highest volume of exchanges of any other exchange platform. In an interview with Bloomberg, CEO of Binance Zhao Changpeng described Malta as ”very progressive when it comes to crypto and fintech”.

Zhao went on to discuss the practical nature of the countries cryptocurrency legislation for businesses, describing it as ”logical and forward-thinking”, predicting Malta to be the next place for innovative blockchain companies to do business. Although not the first crypto company to headquarter in Malta, the transition hit the headlines because of the size and prominence of the company.

The Maltese prime minister made clear that companies would not be establishing themselves in the country for tax benefits, but because of the crypto-friendly legislation and welcoming capacity of the government.

Muscat’s call for cryptocurrency companies to headquarter in Malta follows the implementation of arguably lenient gambling legislation. The legislation executed was thoroughly constructed, successfully making the country an international gambling hub.

Considering the country’s previous success legislation for a strong gambling sector, progress so far indicates they will manage to achieve the same for blockchain companies.

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Weekly Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup: Asia, 19 to 26 March 2018

Asia

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

 

Japan

Japanese government’s decision to increase regulations on Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange that was hacked a few weeks ago, is affecting the price of Bitcoin, forcing it below USD 9,000 and eventually around USD 8,800 at the time of writing.

 

Police in Japan has claimed that Japanese people have lost over USD 6 million in cryptocurrency hacks only last year. Japan has generally been very accepting of the new digital assets but it is taking exception to Binance, which is based in Hong Kong, and Chinese politics with Japan might a be a factor in this decision.

South Korea

South Korea has been cracking down on ICOs but sources close to the current government believe that the ban on new ICOs could soon be lifted as it doesn’t want to miss out on the new asset class. The authorities are going to follow the steps by the US government to allow ICOs to operate if they register with the government, according to Cointelegraph.

South Korea is also stepping up to investigate banks over crypto-linked Anti-Money-Laundering (AML) guidelines. Despite all this negative news, South Korea is still considered as a future destination for blockchain-based technologies because of its tech infrastructure and human resource working on the blockchain technology.

China

Over in China, ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges have been banned for a long time. WeChat, the East’s answer to Whatsapp, is undergoing a crypto crackdown.

Ripple, however, is close to making a breakthrough and the pre-mined cryptocurrency could be the first fully legal coin to be allowed access to the Chinese market after regulatory clarity is achieved. Chinese regulators will test Ripple’s settlement solution.

While China is cracking down on cryptocurrencies, top Chinese innovators are currently unfazed by these latest developments. According to them, there are still plenty of opportunities despite the ban on ICOs, cryptocurrency exchanges and foreign companies dealing in cryptocurrencies.

Taiwan

The “Other China” is behaving oppositely to the mainland Chinese government’s overbearing attitude. Taiwan is actually moving towards liberalization of cryptocurrencies on its soil.

India

The Indian government’s struggles with cryptocurrencies continue as several exchanges were closed down in response to the government’s aggressive clampdown. Crypto trade also took a hit in the second most populous country in the world. India’s overall trading took a dive by over 90% as the Reserve Bank of India is finalizing regulations.

Malaysia

Malaysia’s Air Asia airlines is considering launching its digital cryptocurrency to allow cashless services. The idea was floated by one of the investors of the airline and one of Malaysia’s richest persons. Malaysia is considered as one of the best countries to be for cryptocurrency investors.

Indonesia

In a move by the Indonesian Central Bank, cryptocurrencies are not considered legitimate payments. The warning, however, makes no mention of cryptocurrency exchanges so there may be a lot following this story.

Still, Indonesia is considered a top destination for crypto startups and traders, where the crypto fever is reshaping financial markets. It is projected that within a matter of weeks, the number of crypto traders in the country will be more than conventional traders in the stock exchange.

Middle East

The Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA) is working to adopt Ripple’s blockchain technology. In a first, SAMA signed an agreement with Ripple to test a pilot program to use blockchain for its services. Central banks like SAMA are very interested in the blockchain itself, rather than in cryptocurrencies.

Over in the United Arab Emirates, a local expert has predicted a heavy Bitcoin price tanking in the coming weeks to a paltry $2,800.

Speaking at a university in Qatar, Jason Griffey, the creator of LibraryBox project is of the opinion that blockchain should be employed in libraries around the world.

 

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