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Kraken Joins Other Exchanges in Delisting Bitcoin SV for “Toxic” Behavior

Kraken Joins Other Exchanges in Delisting Bitcoin SV for

Major US cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has decided to delist Bitcoin SV (BSV) after polling its clients on Twitter over the past few days.

In a largely expected move given the response by other major exchanges, Kraken stated that BSV’s behavior was not in keeping with what it regards as ethical. The California based exchange’s official press release stated that BSV had “…engaged in behavior completely antithetical to everything we at Kraken and the wider crypto community stands for

The alternative crypto’s popularity nosedived after pseudonymous cartoon space-cat “hodlonaut” was threatened with legal action for disputing the legitimacy Craig Wright’s claims to be the founder of Bitcoin.

Since Bitcoin SV forked from Bitcoin Cash in November of last year it has been on a downward spiral. Only major exchange OKEx is continuing to run against popular opinion with rumors that it may be forming a BitcoinSV-centric cryptocurrency exchange called Float SV, with a launch planned for later this month, although it remains to be seen if the tide against BSV is too much and it too caves in and delists, abandoning its offshoot exchange idea in the process.

The poll gathered over 70,000 votes, with 71% of respondents voting to delist the currency. Kraken didn’t hold back on their condemnation of the alternative crypto’s moves to attack those refuting Wright’s claim. Kraken added:

“It started with fraudulent claims, escalating to threats and legal action, with the BSV team suing a number of people speaking out against them. The threats made last week to individual members of the community were the last straw.”

 

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OKEx Stick with Bitcoin SV After Major Exchanges Dump It in Unison

OKEx Stick with Bitcoin SV After Major Exchanges Dump It in Unison

With Binance and Shapeshift dumping Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (Bitcoin SV) and Kraken going to its clients for advice, things don’t look too promising for the controversial crypto moving forward.

Poloniex is as yet uncommitted as to continuing to list BSV, but one exchange has definitely come out in favor; OKEx, currently ranked first on CoinMarketCap of exchanges by adjusted trading volume has said that it has no intention of delisting the currency, with the statement:

“As a neutral platform, OKEx respects the efforts of all dedicated teams in advancing the technology of Bitcoin and has no inclination to certain technical directions.”

The alternative crypto’s popularity nosedived after pseudonymous cartoon space-cat “hodlonaut” was threatened with legal action for disputing the legitimacy of the self-professed and much-refuted founder of Bitcoin, Craig Wright, BSV’s brains.

Since Bitcoin SV forked from Bitcoin Cash in November of last year its been on a downward spiral. Although the network is operating, it is diminutive by comparison to BTC, with 500 nodes compared to Bitcoin’s 9,000 plus. Roughly 60% of BSV’s hash rate is by Craig Wright-supported CoinGeek and nChain.

Things haven’t gone well for Craig Wright recently since Morgan Creek Digital co-founder Anthony Pompliano joined Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao in their condemnation of BSV. Pompliano has even called upon all exchanges to delist BSV on 1 May 2019 to protest their founders’ claims that BSV is the “real Bitcoin”.

It is now thought that OKEx is continuing to run against popular opinion and may be forming a BitcoinSV-centric cryptocurrency exchange called Float SV, with a launch planned for later this month.

 

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Why Crypto is Booming in the Philippines

Why Crypto is Booming in the Philippines

The Philippines is having a moment with cryptocurrency, which largely can be attributed to the country’s own political leadership.

A combination of the Filipino government and the central bank, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), have a lot to do with the growing pro-Bitcoin sentiment in the Asian country. Indeed, for the nation’s authorities, cryptocurrency may well prove to be a way to modernize digital payment systems, fitting in well with the schemes already established.

Bitcoin trading volumes have increased

Data shows that Bitcoin’s trading volume on LocalBitcoins has increased significantly, with the predominant turning point back in December 2017 in the heat of the bull run. Trading volumes have continued to rise since then, showing a weak but definite correlation with the cryptocurrency’s price.

The week claiming the highest trading volume commenced 15 September 2018 when Bitcoin benefited from a two-day market surge, reaching USD 6,400.

While transactions in the last few months have slowed down on LocalBitcoins, this is most likely because there are now more authorized cryptocurrency exchanges for Filipino’s to use.

Crypto fits in with the government’s fintech scheme

Providing a solid regulatory framework for cryptocurrency seems to be key for the Filipino government as part of its larger plan to modernize the nation’s digital payment systems. Governor of BSP, Benjamin Dioknoof, recently noted that the 2016 National Payment Systems Act “bolsters the central bank’s capacity to foster the efficiency of payment systems as pipelines of funds in the financial market.”

Vice president and senior credit officer with Moody’s Sovereign Risk Group in Singapore, Christian de Guzman, commented on the Filipino government’s approach towards cryptocurrency, saying that regulation efforts are part of a wider attempt to facilitate electronic payments. ”I think that’s a key point,” he added.

The number of regulated exchanges is growing

Last week the tenth cryptocurrency exchange in the Philippines was granted approval to operate by BSP. The most recent group of approved exchanges include Bexpress Inc., Coinvillel Phils Inc., and Aba Global Philippines Inc.

But cryptocurrency exchanges can operate legally in the Philippines without the green light from the central bank by obtaining an offshore license from the government-owned Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (Ceza). With Ceza-approved exchanges counted, this brings the total up to 29 legally operational cryptocurrency exchanges in the country.

The itch to join in with the cryptocurrency action has been felt by the mainstream banking sector; one of the largest banks in the country, Union Bank of the Philippines (UBP), has even installed a Bitcoin ATM machine at one of its main branches, receiving permission from BSP to do so. All you need to use the machine is a UBP account and a Bitcoin wallet.

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How Google May Prove the Bitcoin Bull Is Here to Stay

economist Joost van de Burgt.

Google searches for the term ‘Bitcoin’ have reached the highest levels since the last November. Researchers have found significant evidence that when there is a spike like this in searches, it reflects a positive market sentiment and buzz around the cryptocurrency which spurs on the bull.

There are several theories behind this:

Google searches show FOMO

Dutch economist Joost van de Burgt found a direct correlation between Google searches and fluctuations in Bitcoin price-the more Google searches of the cryptocurrency spiked, the higher it took the value.

“If the buzz is everywhere, it doesn’t matter exactly what the news is about… nobody wants to miss out and everybody’s trying to get a piece of it,” said van der Burgt, explaining the colloquial theory of fear of missing out, or FOMO, which is often used by the community to explain a bull market.

The economist also noted that regardless of whether mainstream media coverage was positive or negative, whenever Bitcoin was widely reported on, the price increased.

Investor attention can indicate price changes

Researchers from Yale University in Connecticut attribute investor attention as one of the top ways to predict the price movement of cryptocurrency assets. Investor attention can either be a good thing and show hype around a certain asset, or it can relate fear, uncertainty, and despair (FUD).

The research found that a spike in the number of times Bitcoin is Googled can consistently predict a price increase several weeks before it materializes. An increase in negative search terms such as ‘hack’ or ‘crime’ alongside Bitcoin was found to be indicators for a drop in the price quickly after.

Both Ripple and Ethereum were found to display similar trends in line with Google searches, albeit alongside a different timeline.

What is going on this time around

The most recent surge in Bitcoin Google searches occurred on 2 April, alongside the 20% price increase that saw Bitcoin reach the highly anticipated USD 5,000 ceiling.

Google does not share precise numbers of how many times a term is searched for, but data is available on which countries the searches are coming from. And the top nations are somewhat surprising: Nigeria, South Africa, St. Helena, Ghana, followed by the Netherlands. The US, UK, and Canada failed to reach the top 10. This may well show growing support for Bitcoin in markets it has yet to reach.

However, the Google spike has fallen by around 20% in the last few days meaning it is possible that either 1) the reason for the surge falls out of the parameters of both theories, or 2) the bullish trend will be shortlived.

Google searches are still well above any level seen this year and Bitcoin is performing well in the market, sitting around USD 5,150, so there would seem to be a good chance the price will remain at least steady for the time being.

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What is Ripple?

What is Ripple ?

Ripple is a cryptocurrency as well as a platform for enabling cheap and fast financial transactions all over the globe. Its platform’s payment settlement technology has been adopted by banks and other payment networks.

It claims to be an open source platform and offers a more transactional, functional and decentralized peer-to-peer network compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum, although there have been many detractors, particularly to its claim of decentralization.

Ripple allows the exchange for any kind of value (with XRP as its underlying token) between two or more parties almost instantaneously. However, due to its validating servers and mechanism which requires an agreement between those validating servers, Ripple is often misunderstood as a blockchain-based system.

RippleNet

The participants of the Ripple network (RippleNet) are categorized into two different groups, namely, Network Users (corporates, small- and medium-scale enterprises, banks and payment providers) who direct payments and Network Members (banks, payment providers) who process payments. This is incorporated through xCurrent, xRapid and xVia.

How does Ripple work?

The consensus mechanism and the validating servers make people think that Ripple is a blockchain-based system, when in reality, it is not. Ripple uses a HashTree to encapsulate the data into a single value which is paralleled by the validating servers to provide consensus. Ripple does not rely on the computing of rigorous proof-of-work protocol like Bitcoin. It is not possible to mine XRP and the only persons who can generate XRP are the ones who actually created it — one of the centralized features of Ripple.

XRP

XRP is the underlying token of Ripple. Its mining is not possible due to the following reasons:

  • It is a regular currency controlled by the US Ripple company which has produced an official static figure of 100 billion units of which 39 billion units are in the market.
  • Investors in XRP are betting on the inclination of banks towards buying huge amounts of this currency in order to improvise their services, rather than selling them and providing them to their customers, as it doesn’t come to replace currencies.

Pros

Currently, customers face real hardships in making real-time, low-cost and fully traceable payments. This is mainly because the current payment system is a blend of centralized networks. Ripple seeks to break through these pain points, offering an efficient network of banks and payment providers to achieve the above said. Moreover, it allows making payments in any currency and has a very small internal transaction fee of $0.00001. It appears to suit enterprise usage which is its main focus. The network’s ability to transfer assets around the world and shift money between the various foreign currencies makes it stand out.

Cons

  • The biggest problem that hinders any cryptocurrency’s growth in general is its real-world utilization. The real victory for Ripple would be when banks will approve payments in XRP. This could be quite challenging for now as it requires a better infrastructure, technology, liquefaction against any mode of transaction and of course, more acceptance.
  • Previously, there were many lawsuits filed against Ripple Lab, the inventors, alleging them of manipulating the market. Although they won many of these lawsuits, claims persist that Ripple is not decentralized, thereby hindering its progress and acceptance.

The future of Ripple

Ripple has come a long way to make its position in the market. In a discussion with Modern Wall Street, legal practitioner Douglas Borthwick said:

“There are some cryptos that are working with regulators. Ripple would be an example. I can imagine in the next five years instead of doing sterling against the dollar or sterling against the yen, I can see these transfer transactions with sterling versus Ripple… I think Ripple has a great future because right now it is supported by all the banks and all the regulators.”

 

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Amazon Streaming Service Twitch Removes Cryptocurrency Payment Choice

Amazon Streaming Service Twitch Removes Cryptocurrency Payment Choice

Amazon streaming service Twitch has reportedly removed its payment options of both Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash.

A Reddit user first noted the change which was then confirmed in the thread by many others, several of whom vowed to cancel their subscriptions due to the removal of both cryptocurrency payment choices. ”Well, I’m taking action now, canceled all my subs + sent them a ticket,” a poster wrote under the handle 1John8Lare.

Twitch had used a BitPay payment gateway for users who wished to pay for their subscriptions with BTC or BCH. The cryptocurrency payment option was first added in mid-2018 and initially included options for Ethereum and Litecoin.

While Twitch has not openly commented on the removal, it has been speculated that it could be due to a low transaction volume and many users not realizing the option even existed.

It was reported in March that the latest software update for Streamlabs, a streaming software popular among Twitch users to receive tips, had removed the platform’s cryptocurrency payment feature also. Streamlab users were able to collect cryptocurrency tips by linking their account to Coinbase.

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Exclusive: How a Local Startup Was Instrumental in Pakistan’s Decision to Legalize Crypto

How a Local Startup Was Instrumental in Pakistan's Decision to Legalize Crypto (2)

Pakistan’s own national celebrity and humanitarian Wakar Zaka has told Bitcoin News that his project, TenUp, played a key role in both informing the government about the technology and rousing a significant pressure group among the country’s population in favor of cryptocurrency legalization.

Pakistan’s Finance Minister Asad Umar has issued a recommendation to legalize cryptocurrency trading and business in the country. Around 5,000 digital currency exchanges are to be registered, while the cryptocurrencies will be classified as “investments” and net gains will be subject to taxation as per the US’s standard.

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) banned cryptocurrencies in April last year, so observers are asking, why the policy U-turn now?

Bitcoin News caught up with Zaka where he explained the vital role his own cryptocurrency project TenUp had in influencing the government’s decision.

TenUp was actually a test case to use and present to the government to show how cryptocurrency work… the government was very humble and up for the technology so I knew that I had a chance.”

Zaka has been in contact with Finance Minister Umar for a while now and his relationship with the country’s top government officials including the prime minister meant he knew they would be a careful audience for his ideas.

The new cryptocurrency legislation is still in a “recommended” stage but should be rolled out by 20 July given its strong support from the finance minister who has assured there will be a focus on know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) policies when it becomes legal to trade. It is particularly exciting news as it will be the first time Pakistan is taking the lead in technology, particularly among its neighboring countries, Zaka noted.

The government task force

He is currently working closely alongside the new government-imposed task force devoted to ensuring the cryptocurrency legalization is rolled out responsibly and practically.

”The task force is taking contributions directly from us; basically, it’s us behind all the decisions. They will send us messages and ask us about stuff. I have full faith in the new government. The president of Pakistan is educated about the technology and is pro-blockchain. He is the first national leader in the region to be this outspoken in favor of it. He explains the technology in the common man’s language- that’s a very good sign for us.”

The task force is made up of ”tech-savvy guys” there to create appropriate legislation. Zaka has been showing them videos and presentations and sharing information about the TenUp project.

On the task force’s agenda is mainly how cryptocurrency will be traced and how to appropriately license come 5,00 exchanges to operate. There will also be a special investigation team set up for initial coin offerings (ICOs).

Zaka’s next ambition is to help launch a state-issued cryptocurrency for Pakistan; he has been using Venezuela and Iran as examples for the government to look into. But the Pakistani state is still in need of some convincing that it is the best decision. Zaka argues, however, that a government-issued cryptocurrency could be a way to bring in revenue from across the globe.

”Pakistan should hold its own ICO because the president has good credibility all around the world, better than Venezuela for sure. The entire world would look into it.”

He has high hopes and expectations that the G20 held in Osaka, Japan in June will be a big turning point for how cryptocurrencies are perceived on the international stage. ”India will definitely follow us in legalization,” Zaka predicted, ”we will see that in a month or so.”

Legalizing cryptocurrency will of course usher in some macroeconomic changes for the country, allowing much of the vast number of unbanked people in Pakistan access to personal accounts. New businesses and the technology sector would also flourish, perhaps even bring the ”tech revolution” Wakar predicts.

Celebrity for the good and bad

Zaka has happily used his celebrity status and huge fan following to share the message and educate people on cryptocurrencies. ”It was very difficult to make them understand how cryptocurrency can work and can eliminate money laundering for example,” he acknowledged.

”Everyone in my region, in India and Pakistan, thought this was a tool for money laundering. I have been education fans for about six months. There has never been another case of a celebrity with a big fan following promoting cryptocurrency properly. When a celebrity starts promoting it, their fans will follow it. Those fans become an army and then they start pushing the government. If other celebrities in India or Nepal start speaking up about it, I think people will definitely start to understand.”

Pakistani celebrities have historically tended to protest against religions such as Islam and build popular movements behind these ideologies so Zaka’s actions were quite unpredicted.

The problem, of course, comes when celebrities such as Floyd Mayweather throw their weight behind token projects that prove to be multilevel marketing or Ponzi schemes. These cases bothered the Pakistani government, of course, and Zaka made it clear he was not in conversation with the government for personal financial benefits by promoting his own cryptocurrency project, TenUp.

”In every region of the world celebrities should use their fame to help people not just to promote themselves. If you have fame you have responsibility. Celebrities in Nepal and India should look at the bigger picture.”

”I’m very happy the government has made the decision to legalize cryptocurrency and its a very big thing for our country,” Zaka finished.

 

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FIO Study: 60% of Crypto Users Still Uncomfortable Making Payments

A recently published independent study claims that 60 percent of crypto users are “still scared to make a Bitcoin payment.”

The study was conducted by the Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) self-described as a “decentralized, open-source blockchain protocol that makes it easier and less risky to move blockchain tokens & coins from one address to another.”

The FIO asserts that such can be put down to poor user experience and inadequate inter wallet communication; an inability to handle payment requests between wallets. It includes the fact that a large portion of the crypto wallet ecosystem doesn’t have a standard payment request system and each blockchain has a unique address format.

This is a problem that the FIO claims to have overcome, as they assert that their protocol now allows multiple address formats to be mapped to the same system, providing users the ability to own multiple FIO addresses inside a single wallet.

The FIO report released this week involved a survey of over 200 cryptocurrency holders who were asked about the regularity of their transfers and how they felt about the experience. There appeared to be a correlation between being familiar with crypto and being more confident in its use, as although 60 percent of respondents said they were uncomfortable with the process in general, “there was a statistically significant increase in users who marked ‘very comfortable’ based on the length of their time in crypto,” stated the report.

Various wallets and exchanges have now joined the FIO protocol’s initiative including Edge, BRD, Mycelium, Shapeshift, Mycrypto, Keepkey, Trust Wallet, and Coinomi. Edge wallet’s Brett Musser was complimentary, clearly seeking more simplicity for users so that user confidence can be boosted when it comes to using the blockchain:

“[Transferring] cryptocurrencies can be quite complex and intimidating to users of all stripes — But the FIO protocol is attempting to make these actions easier, rich with data, and more versatile.”

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Basel Committee Warns Against Bitcoin Threat to Global Banking

Basel Committee Warns Against Bitcoin Threat to Global Banking

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) has warned that the growth of cryptocurrencies presents a risk for banking institutions.

The BCBS is a committee of banking supervisory authorities that was established by the central bank governors of the Group of Ten countries in 1974. It provides a forum for regular cooperation on banking supervisory matters. BCBS has its own governance arrangements, reporting lines and agendas, guided by the central bank governors of the Group of Ten countries.

The fact that a recent BCBS forum has highlighted crypto assets will come of little surprise to the cryptocurrency industry. It has long been accepted that banks are the most reluctant institutions to accept the rise in popularity of digital money. The threat to the dominance of banks as the traditional provider of financial services around the world, despite two-thirds of the planet being unbanked, is a considered argument. The recent BCBS newsletter argued:

“While the crypto-asset market remains small relative to that of the global financial system, and banks currently have [minimal] direct exposures, the committee is of the view that the continued growth of crypto-asset trading platforms and new [commercial] products related to crypto-assets has the potential to raise financial stability concerns and increase risks faced by banks.”

The committee has said that it will continue to monitor movements in the cryptocurrency industry with a view to offering banking systems protection from what they see is the higher risk posed by exposure to cryptocurrency. The main threat perceived by banks is the loss of dominance in financial markets as the world’s banks look to cheaper and more efficient ways of fulfilling their financial needs.

The devaluation of establishment money is a feasible outcome if cryptocurrency were to become any kind of threat to the established US dollar; a somewhat unlikely outcome at this stage, but if cryptocurrency were to become completely mainstream then there would begin to be real concerns amongst some of the world’s major banking institutions.

 

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Hodlers Buying Turkish Homes for as Little as 9 Bitcoins

Hodlers Buying Turkish Homes for as Little as 9 Bitcoins

Cryptocurrency shows no signs of dropping off as a means of payment in the real estate sector despite a lower Bitcoin price and the Turkish real estate market is the most recent location to offer buyers a digital means of settlement for their new home.

A house in Turkey can now be purchased for a little as 9 BTC (about USD 35,000) each, which has this writer thinking about a life in the sun. One of the platforms encouraging Turks and foreign investors to look to real estate purchasing with their Bitcoin is Antalya Homes with offices right across Turkey.

In fact, Turkey, with its unique position dividing two continents, became one of Europe’s most popular property investment locations in 2018 with some 40,000 properties having been sold to foreigners throughout last year.

Houses can now be purchased in a number of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC) Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Litecoin (LTC), Tether (USDT) and Stellar (XLM). Bayram Tekce, Chairman of Antalya Homes points out the befits of paying digitally:

“Payment with cryptocurrency enables a more reliable and faster transaction performance such as money transfer between bank accounts without any exchange loss. By making investments particularly in countries like Turkey, where housing is becoming increasingly valuable, investors can shift their investment to a less risky and safer area, and multiply their savings.”

To make it easier for clients the company has created a “Pay with Bitcoin” feature on the website, and to date, nine real estate purchases have been made using the facility.

Also in Europe, the first real estate transaction on blockchain was successfully completed in Switzerland last year. The feat was achieved by Blockimmo Ltd, a blockchain property transaction platform, in collaboration with two other companies.

The blockchain-backed real estate transaction, worth CHF 3 million (Swiss francs approximately USD 2.98 million), was conducted by Elea Labs Ltd, Swiss Crypto Tokens Ltd and Blockimmo, for a deal consisting of a restaurant and 18 apartments.

 

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