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Crypto Fast Becoming Only Way to Pay in Northern Queensland

From Queensland International Airport to the northern parts of the state, this area of Australia is leading the rush in utilizing cryptocurrency as the way to pay, replacing more conventional card usage and the necessity to carry cash.

As covered by Bitcoin News last month and earlier this week in a televized BBC One piece on English TV, a microcosm of Queenslander’s changing crypto face has become the busy beachside tourist town of Agnes Water which has rightly laid claim to being the country’s first digital currency-friendly town.

With more than 30 businesses now taking Bitcoin as payment around the area including guest houses, hotels, restaurants, taxis, stores, and most retailers, payment is just a QR code away from an instant transaction. Now the region of North Queensland now boasts over 100 outlets for Bitcoin payments. As TravelbyBit’s CEO Caleb Yeoh observed regarding the new phenomenon:

“If you travel around the world you have to deal with multiple currencies, the exchange rate can be confusing, sometimes you struggle to find ATMs, and sometimes you get swindled by money changers… Travelling with one global currency like Bitcoin… makes sense.”

The move towards accepting Bitcoin for fast cardless payments is not only gaining traction as it moves its way around Northern Queensland. In some areas, cryptocurrency is now becoming the preferred method of payment along with Bitcoin Cash, and in some case its the only way to pay, putting credit and debit cards under pressure.

As one Reddit user observed, “Many merchants in North Queensland are choosing to accept only Bitcoin Cash, these merchants are well informed and well organized, why are they choosing to concentrate on Bitcoin Cash for their electronic commerce needs.”

Users in Northern Queensland often have numerous crypto methods of payment at their disposal including, NEM (XEM), Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Litecoin (LTC), and Ethereum (ETH) which doesn’t simply limit them to a choice of one currency. Freedom of choice seems to be the requirement of most users when it comes to preferred methods of QR payment, many having multiple currency wallets accessed through their phones.

In July, a senior representative of Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) predicted that there would be little likelihood of Bitcoin being widely adopted in Australia in the future due to its price volatility compared to the stability of the Australian dollar.

A trip to Northern Queensland may offer the RBA rep a picture of the future, particularly if the movement spreads across the states at its current pace. Currently, for many in the area, the only way to pay is in crypto.

 

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Poll Reveals Millennial’s Rush to Crypto Still Male Dominated

The latest cryptocurrency poll has indicated that millennial women are still lagging behind in adoption of cryptocurrency.

A new survey conducted in the US with 3000 millennials, was published on September 12, 2018, by crypto finance company Circle. It revealed that currently, men invest in cryptocurrency at twice the rate of women within the millennial age bracket.

In terms of investment, 71 percent of millennials say that they have kept their investment in crypto below $1000, of which 42 percent invested under $500 and 29 percent invested between $500–$1,000. The bigger spenders or at least those investing more than $1000 represented 29 percent of the poll. 17 percent of men are planning to purchase crypto against 8 percent of women.

The gender gap which has always existed in terms of crypto investments appears not to have narrowed greatly in the US if the results of this survey give a fair indication of who’s investing between the sexes. In the UK, which has become a major crypto hub, particularly for millennials, things have improved significantly over the past year according to a recent London Blockchange poll.

Their poll conducted earlier this year showed that the number of women showing interest in investing in cryptocurrencies has gone from 6 percent to 13 percent over the last six months; almost twice the amount revealed in the US poll. A significant result of that survey revealed that women were far less likely to stress over cryptocurrency, keeping a cool head when making their crypto investments. This inference was drawn from the new Circle poll which suggested that 42 percent of millennial men were “aggressive investors” as opposed to 27 percent of women.

The figures from the Blockchange poll suggested that women in the millennials group are responsible for the increased percentage of women participants in the space, as millennials remain the dominant group worldwide in cryptocurrency investment. Another survey revealed that this group viewed Bitcoin as more trustworthy than big banks.

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Binance CEO Predicts 1,000 Times Swell in Crypto Market

As the crypto community discussed the future of the market this week, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao has disagreed with recent remarks by Vitalik Buterin, suggesting that the Ethereum founder’s comments about a squeeze on cryptocurrency growth are completely wrong.

Buterin has denied that he made exactly those comments, Tweeting, “I never said that there is no room for growth in the crypto ecosystem. I said there is no room for 1000x price increases.” Buterin has claimed that the crypto market has practically reached its ceiling.

Further explaining that a thousand-fold growth would equal to 70% of the world’s entire wealth seems to have done little to halt Zhao’s charge that cryptocurrencies will go mainstream over time, and thereby reach exactly that level of growth and possibly more.

Zhao maintains that Buterin’s mistake is to view such a huge level of growth in terms of the traditional financial market, in which such a market expansion would be totally unrealistic. He feels that cryptocurrency is capable of making such an impact once it becomes fully operational with an accompanying derivatives market in full sway. He argues:

“I will say ‘crypto will absolutely grow 1000x and more’! Just reaching USD market cap will give it close to 1000x, (that’s just one currency with severely restricted use case), and the derivatives market is so much bigger.”

It is the case now that more central banks are on board with, or if not, certainly examining, cryptocurrencies with more than just a passing glance, and as such, the industry is gaining respect. Blockchain technology is now becoming influential in banking and business at the highest level, having gained respect from some of the world’s major players such as IBM and Microsoft. As central banks begin to delve deeper into the space, it is highly likely that smaller banks will also begin to take an active interest.

The more positive the impact that cryptocurrency makes on the financial system, the more that regulation is likely become not only clearer but more accommodating as crypto becomes the normal way to conduct business.

This is more likely to be the scenario that Binance’s head envisages in making such predictions; thinking of the big picture rather than the status quo. A USD 200 trillion market would make cryptocurrency the main source of payment and would certainly make stock markets around the world look very different. Clearly, a scenario that Zhao sees as achievable.

 

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New French ICO Framework Attracts Innovation, Boosts Macron’s Business Plan

France is continuing to follow President Macron’s plan raise its business profile in the world by establishing a legal framework for ICOs.

A recent Autorité des Marchés Financier (AMF) annual report indicated that ICOs are most definitely on the agenda for further regulatory framework as Robert Ophèle, President of the AMF, indicated that the government body would:

“…continue to reflect on changes in the regulatory framework in the face of new offers, in particular, the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), and to promote at European level the French regulator’s approach to innovation.”

The government has now taken one step further with a new announcement by finance minister Bruno Le Maire that the corresponding legislation, Article 26, had now been “adopted in (parliamentary) committee”, to improve business growth in the country, adding, “This legal framework will attract innovators from around the world of blockchain…”

✅Article 26 adopté en commission #PACTE !

➡Un cadre juridique des #ICO est créé. L’@AMF_actu pourra délivrer un visa aux acteurs respectant des critères de protection des épargnants
➡Ce cadre juridique va attirer les innovateurs du monde entier #blockchain #DirectAN

— Bruno Le Maire (@BrunoLeMaire) September 12, 2018

The legislation will allow the AMF to now approve businesses wanting to launch ICOs in France, given certain criteria are met by companies that “those projects provide specific guarantees for investors”.

Law firm Kramer Levin sees the new legislation providing a clear a definition of tokens for would-be French investors, suggesting that a token is:

“An intangible property representing, in numerical form, one or more rights that can be issued, registered, conserved or transferred using a shared electronic registration mechanism that facilitates the identification, directly or indirectly, of the owner of said property.”

After the lackluster and largely ineffective government led by previous president Francois Holland, Macron’s new regime has taken businesses to task with real vigor in an attempt to refresh outmoded business practices and regulations and inspire overseas faith in a new forward-looking approach, largely driven by government.

President Macron is seen by those that know him well and experts in the sector as a pro-tech leader, believing that he will further the interests of startups in the crypto industry as part of his business rejuvenation plan for the nation.

 

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Nasdaq to Trial Prediction Tool for 500 Cryptocurrencies

Nasdaq, second-largest exchange in the world by market capitalization, is planning to add a tool to the exchange which will aid investors to predict crypto price movement, according to unconfirmed reports.

A person familiar with the company’s plans has indicated that it will shortly be adding crypto assets to its new Analysist Hub. The Hub, launched in 2017, computes traditional asset market fluctuations drawing on social media and other sources.

Wall Street has shown interest in the cryptosphere over past months, with major banks making statements of intent, although Brian Kelly’s prediction that the addition of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) and Goldman Sachs to the crypto status quo would cause the market to surge, has yet to happen.

Bill Dague, Nasdaq’s head of alternative data, is guarded in his response to the suggestion that the exchange giant is about to take the same steps as some of Wall’s Streets other major financial institutions, and commented, “…given the abundance of interest, we are exploring cryptocurrency related datasets… Whether or not we launch a crypto-related product remains to be seen.”

On the other hand, Nasdaq’s source had a less guarded response, suggesting that the service would provide information on the movement of 500 crypto datasets using resources such as Twitter, and possibly StockTwits and Reddit.

Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman had hinted earlier this year that Nasdaq had been looking into crypto-related products when she remarked:

“Certainly, Nasdaq would consider becoming a crypto exchange over time… I believe that digital currencies will continue to persist it’s just a matter of how long it will take for that space to mature.”

An article published in May on the Nasdaq website even cited three coins that the exchange felt might be able to withstand future market turmoil if it transpired: Bitcoin (BTC), Litecoin (LTC) and Stellar (XLM).

Nasdaq will need to move fast with its any crypto additions to its Analyst Hub, as news services Reuters and Bloomberg are already lining up with similar plans to launch a crypto analytic tool.

 

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Iceland Comes out of the Cold With First Bitcoin Trading Pair

Iceland’s Financial Supervisory Authority (FME) has announced the first registration of a cryptocurrency exchange in the country, allowing users to trade Bitcoin.

The exchange Skiptimynt, will feature two trading pairs, the Icelandic Krona (ISK)/Aurora Coin(AUR) and Bitcoin (BTC)/ISK. Aurora coin is Iceland’s alternative to Bitcoin created in 2014.

In reality, Skiptimynt isn’t the country’s first exchange as that distinction rests with ISX launched in 2016. However, that exchange is largely inactive and doesn’t offer a Bitcoin trading pair, limited to the ISK/AUR pairing.

When Auroracoin was launched it caught the eye of the country including politicians, the cryptocurrency community and the media. Although, very few Icelandic shops and services accepted payments in AUR and since then it has been largely ignored.

After its failed attempts to  “break the shackles of the fiat currency financial system in Iceland”, the country has primarily become a center for cryptocurrency mining. This is largely due to its combination of abundant renewable energy sources and cold climate – both suited for mining operations as they result in low electricity tariffs and cooling costs. Lower costs generate higher profits for cryptocurrency miners, which has created a situation in Iceland where electricity consumption for mining has overtaken household use.

Prominent politicians in Iceland have suggested that the country’s economy could be at risk given a cryptocurrency market crash. Government finance minister Bjarni Benediktsson said that the crypto threat “cannot be excluded as a risk factor” to an economy still recovering from the global financial crisis.

Styrmir Hafliðason, security and quality manager at Skiptimynt data center, is responsible for dealing with the weekly flood of mining applications. He disagrees, suggesting, for example, a crackdown on crypto by regulators wouldn’t impact the country, as crypto assets are simply held as zeros and ones in private centers, and therefore aren’t part of Iceland’s economy.

A recent report by KPMG claims that about 90 percent of the power consumption of Iceland’s data centers last year was dedicated to crypto mining.

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Trader Triggers Emergency Mode at Exchange With 4.16 Million BTC Futures Position

The world’s second largest exchange Hong Kong-based OKEx, went into emergency mode in late July when a trader took up a 4.16 million Bitcoin futures position listed on the exchange.

The position, worth $416 million, triggered the exchange’s failsafe risk management system forcing futures traders to give up about 18 percent of their profits.

OKEx’s “socialized clawback mechanism,” was called on, which takes a percentage of profit from other short position traders to cover any financial shortfall. This procedure happens when an exchange’s insurance fund is not enough to cover margin call losses.

The client refused to liquidate part of his long position order when approached by the exchange forcing OKEx to freeze his account to prevent further problems.

This incident was seen by the industry as an example of how further regulation is still needed in order to offer a heightened level of protection to exchanges; such as in conventional stock exchanges where brokerages act as a buffer for ensuring clients have sufficient margin deposits and risk management in place on margin calls. Normally exchanges allow their clients to leverage their positions by as much as 20 times.

Soon after the incident, the subsequent drop in the Bitcoin price forced the exchange to liquidate the clients’ account as the required maintenance margin ratio wasn’t sufficient. The shortfall was 1,200 Bitcoin then valued at $9 million, forcing OKEx to add 2,500 of exchange funds into the insurance fund to limit the clawback.

OKEx released a statement explaining that a very large trade occurred which couldn’t be supported:

“An enormous long position in BTC0928 futures contract was force-liquidated at 20:17:14 July 31, 2018 (Hong Kong Time, UTC+8). Due to the sheer size of the order, our risk management system may be triggered to activate the societal loss risk management mechanism.”

Questions have been asked as to how the company’s risk management system allowed such a large trade in the first place, only triggering the system after the trade had been made.

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Asia is Buoyant, New Crypto Exchanges Set for Hong Kong, Korea, and Indonesia

While 160 crypto exchanges wait to enter the Japanese market, elsewhere, the market is turning more buoyant, as Hong Kong, Korea, and Indonesia are poised to become home to new exchanges. Bitone Trade HK, Huobi – Indonesia, and South Korean Probit have all announced that they are opening exchanges.

Hong Kong is particularly buoyant in the blockchain industry at the moment and is feeling the pinch in the sector with a lack of qualified professionals to fill positions. A “talent list” has been issued by The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region in which it states that it needs “quality people from around the world in a more effective and focused manner to support Hong Kong’s development as a high value-added and diversified economy”. Among the 11 professions on the new list are those with DLT skills.

The latest exchange, Bitone Trade HK will support 30 cryptocurrencies with plans to eventually list more than 100 coins. The company commented:

“Our platform is launched in Hong Kong which is Asia’s international financial center and we provide customers with stable and secure services. Mainly for the Asian market, our goal is to achieve a monthly transaction volume of US$5 billion”

Indonesia may not be one of the markets that spring to mind when the word cryptocurrency drops into a conversation, but the industry is beginning to express itself in South East Asia and forging its own way. The world’s fourth most populous nation has just launched its first formal blockchain association — Asosiasi Blockchain Indonesia (ABI), boosting hopes that the Southeast Asian country may yet embrace blockchain technology.

Huobi Indonesia built on the Huobi Cloud platform will list 123 coins on its new exchange. Currently, the platform lists three base cryptocurrencies: USDT, BTC, and ETH.

South Korea and Japan are considered the crypto powerhouses in the region and never run out of crypto news. Its latest exchange, soon to be launched Probit will list 157 currencies and plans to support eight languages on the platform. The bonus for users is the platform’s heightened levels of security, ensuring that more than 95% of digital assets are stored in a cold wallet supported by hardware keys and software double authentication. The company assures its clients that their “goal is to provide a virtual currency trading platform with the highest level of security.”

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Coinbase CEO: Crypto-Space Population Will Grow to 1 Billion in Next 5 Years

Brian Armstrong, crypto exchange giant Coinbase’s CEO, has suggested that the number of people in the cryptocurrency ecosystem will swell to 1 billion over the next five years.

In a recent interview, Armstrong sees the current number of 40 million making such a substantial growth due to the continued development of tokens by commercial enterprises and even charities. He suggested:

“It makes sense that any company out there who has a cap table should have their own token. Every open source project, every charity, potentially every fund or these new types of decentralized organizations [and] apps, they’re all going to have their own tokens.”

He added that his own company is likely to host hundreds of tokens within a period of years, and these could possibly swell into millions over time. He maintains that regulation remains key to such a groundswell of token adoption though, suggesting it is more likely that the majority of these tokens will more than luckily be classified as securities.

The exchange has made some major changes over past weeks. They introduced crypto trading pairs for the users in the United Kingdom through the Great Britain Pound (GBP) with a goal to be the trading platform of choice for UK crypto traders, one of the cryptocurrency’s largest world markets. Last month, the San Francisco Exchange introduced a digital gift card program aimed at revamping old business models, offering European clients other ways of accessing cash for crypto.

It’s also been rumored that Coinbase may apply for a Bitcoin ETF from the SEC, joining an already expanding waiting list, though, this hasn’t been confirmed yet by the exchange.

Last week Coinbase also revealed that it is considering the Irish Republic as its next push to expand local markets around the globe. Dublin has been cited as the exchange’s next target and to that end, they have begun an employment drive in the city taking on customer support, analysts, a compliance officer, and an office manager.

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The Music Industry Flirts With Crypto and Reaps the Benefits

Recently, blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies have used their burgeoning popularity to pull in stars from the world of sport, not wanting to miss out on the next big thing on the block. However, musicians are some of the newbies on the front line of the new tech. Some have made more impact than others though.

Better known from his time with band Genesis, Peter Gabriel is an example of one who has no intention of dabbling. Gabriel is an ardent fundraiser for humanitarian causes and a supporter of the British Labour Party to which he has made significant donations.

His investment in the startup, Provenance, was undisclosed but clearly, it’s now contributing towards the company’s expansion of its product. Through Provenance, Gabriel’s money helps provide transparency to food transportation, basically giving the public a better idea of exactly where their food comes from and how it gets there. The Provenance blockchain-based application is predicted to be used in over 1,000 food businesses by 2025.

The ex-Genesis singer and drummer can now add his name to the list with other prominent personalities promoting ICOs over social media in the past year, such as Paris Hilton, Floyd Mayweather, and Katy Perry.

Islandic enigmatic singer Bjork wants her music out there and be purchased with crypto, to which end she hooked up last year with London based Blockpool, allowing her fans to exchange Litecoin, Dashcoin, and AudioCoin for her 2017 album Utopia.

Singer Imogen Heap commented that cryptocurrency has helped her in her recent projects too, particularly with her release of the song Tiny Human on the Ethereum blockchain in 2015, allowing people to download the song in exchange for Ether:

“People paid USD 1, or 1 ETH, which was equal to USD 1 at the time,” she said. “That was USD 200. I didn’t think anything of it and then, of course, it went massively up and I took a bit out and put it into the project, and then it went massively down. It went up to GBP 200,000.”

Senegalese singer AKON with his cryptocurrency Akoin also made the headlines amid plans to build a crypto city, but others from the music industry are getting involved in the blockchain, such as Kanye West.

Never to be outdone, rapper Kanye West tweeted happily earlier this year about blockchain and his version of a digital music service Spotify called Yeezy Sound, aimed to be a decentralized application that would incorporate cryptocurrency. That plan clearly is still in the pipeline, although the trademark applications are in.

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