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Kurt Russell Thriller “Crypto” to be Released 2019

Talks are underway with producers with plans to release a movie next year called “Crypto” starring actor Kurt Russell.

The film, already in post production, is reportedly a crime-based thriller following in the footsteps of films such as Wall Street, Wolf of Wall Street and The Big Short which focussed on the economic crisis of 2008.

Such films about the financial sector are becoming increasingly popular and tend to get good box office ratings as a result. Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street quickly became the prolific filmmaker’s top-grossing film at the worldwide box office shortly after its release.

Cryptocurrency is not an area which has been ignored as a newcomer to the financial movie genre as plans are afoot for two movies covering the topic apart from “Crypto”. Actor Johnny Depp, of Edward Scissorhands and Pirates of the Caribbean fame, has been linked with a new film said to be a biopic of the late cryptocurrency billionaire Matthew Mellon. Although it hasn’t been confirmed, sources reportedly told the Mail Online that Depp is understood to be interested in the role and that “there is a screenplay being shopped”.

There is a rumor circulating that the soon-to-be-released biography about crypto twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss called “Bitcoin Billionaires” is already being considered for a movie deal even before its release, according to the New York Post.

The latest revelation is clearly more than a rumor, having reached post-production and a predicted release date. “Crypto” is reported to also star Beau Knapp from The Nice Guys and Alexis Bledel from The Handmaid’s Tale.

The producers of the film, Jordan Beckerman of Yale Productions and Jordan Tale Levine, are not reputed to be crypto investors but apparently are fans, so wish to do the film justice treating the subject accurately and fairly. Levine explained:

“Both of us have dabbled (with crypto). I don’t know if either of us would consider ourselves experts. It was really our writers who fleshed out the topic and dove into the research. They were the ones who really became experts to make sure the film was authentic.”

However, it must be mentioned for die-hard fans that cryptocurrency is by no means the main topic of the film. Co-producer Beckerman commented, “It’s more broad than that… It doesn’t particularly focus on any particular coin.” He said that the movie does involve corruption, crime and “a smattering of crypto”.

Kurt Russell is sure to give the film some leverage at the box office on its release next year.

 

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Hungary Working on Crypto Regulatory Framework

Hungary is reported to working on a framework to regulate cryptocurrency trading through a joint workgroup set up for this purpose.

The county is currently far from being a crypto haven with steep taxation and a lack of recognition by the country’s ministry of finance and banking system. Despite this stance, the country, like a few others, dabbled with a state cryptocurrency in February due for its Swiss ICO back in March.

The blockchain-based cryptocurrency, the Korona, introduced by the Korona development team and led by Jean-Marc Stiegemeier, a former Wall Street financial adviser, seems to have disappeared from the media as a whole. It appears that this new state crypto didn’t quite make the 26 March deadline due the ICO raising insufficient funds.  The most recent position regarding crypto in Hungary is clarified by this recent ministry statement:

“Hungary is currently looking into regulating crypto instruments, and the central bank, the tax authority, the finance ministry and other authorities have set up a joint workgroup to evaluate legal, economic, law enforcement, money laundering and other aspects of cryptocurrencies with an eye to introducing more detailed regulation.”

Taxation of cryptocurrency in Hungary at 15% is in line with many other countries such as France, who recently revised its rates, with a reduced rate if trading is carried out as part of a business venture, in which case it drops to 9% as corporate income tax.

Hungary has rigid tax laws and because of this nationals latch on to various schemes to get around taxation requirements such as investment schemes which reportedly also carry tax burdens and legal risks. As regards cryptocurrency, there is no tax on gifts or loans so working these into cryptocurrency transactions is reportedly an option for investors.

INLOCK describes itself as a protocol enabling cryptocurrency holders to use their digital assets as collateral for a fiat loan in a safe and regulated environment. Company CEO Csaba Csabai, explains:

“According to current law in Hungary, as a consequence of selling or exchanging cryptocurrencies is considered a taxable event… However, using these digital assets as collateral for a loan to finance a temporary liquidity problem is not. The platform we are building is working towards this concept enabling cryptocurrency holders to access the purchasing power of their holdings without being punished by the extremely high tax rates.”

It remains to be seen if the new workgroup is able to smooth the way for investors and traders in the months to come.

 

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Ethereum Founder and Coinbase CEO See Positive Growth in Crypto

Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum, has commented that the fall in recent cryptocurrency prices is no constraint to future positive market growth.

The comments were made in an interview with Bloomberg yesterday when the ConsenSys CEO indicated that the big picture was the relevant factor for investors, and not to focus on “pimples on a chart” as he put it, referring the peaks and troughs of Bitcoin prices.

He spoke of the “bubble” factor, suggesting that each of the six major events has always bought a surge of activity. He argues:

“…we build more fundamental infrastructure, we see a correction, and the potential gets even more impressive… I absolutely expect that there is a strong correlation between the rise in price and the growth of fundamental infrastructure in the ecosystem and the growth of development in the ecosystem. We are probably two orders of magnitude bigger as a developer community than we were eight or ten months ago.”

The current market trend should be expected, Lubin suggests. He argues that much of the current volatility has to be put down to investor speculation rather than flaws in the underlying technology, suggesting that cryptocurrencies were very much still on the right positive trajectory. Regarding his own case as a CEO, he said:

“So we can look at the price and make growth plans and projections, and we’re still on track, basically. So this is not unexpected.”

Lubin added that each value surge over the past years indicated that the current situation is just like the last “six big bubbles, each more epic than the previous one, and each bubble is astonishing when they’re happening”.

In other news, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong has revealed that the company signed up 50,000 new customers a day last year and on Tuesday reflected Lubin’s view that the general trend is positive, suggesting:

“This technology is going through a series of bubbles and corrections, and each time it does that, it’s at a new plateau… People’s expectations are all over the map, but real-world adoption has been going up.”

At time of press, Bitcoin is currently trading at USD 6,429, up 6.47% on 24-hr trading. Ethereum is trading at USD 285, up by 6.93% on 24-hr trade.

 

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South Korea Plans Special Crypto Zone Status for Jeju Island

The South Korean island of Jeju sees itself as a potential crypto haven and has requested that the government allows it special crypto zone status.

The island’s governor made the request at a meeting with Kim Dong-yeon, Korea’s finance minister and deputy prime minister for the economy, and other government officials in an attempt to place the island at the forefront of South Korea’s crypto economy.

Jeju Province, officially Jeju Self-Governing Province, is one of the nine provinces of South Korea. According to Wikipedia, the province is situated on and conterminous with the nation’s largest island of Jeju, formerly transliterated as Cheju, Cheju Do, etc., or known as Quelpart to Europeans.

Governor Won Hee-ryong proposes making the island a hub for the development of blockchain and cryptocurrency technology and has requested that the South Korean government form a panel of specialists to plan a strategy to boost its blockchain profile. At a meeting last week, the governor commented:

“For Korea to become a leader rather than a consumer of this new global industry, we need to quickly allow [the operation of] blockchain and cryptocurrency [firms].”

The request comes on the heels of a statement by central government on Monday that it plans to spend USD 4.4 million on eight tech sectors it regards as critical, citing self-driving cars and smart factories, with an emphasis on blockchain, big data, and artificial intelligence. This spending could increase to KRW 10 trillion over the next five years according to Kim Dong-yeon. If these reports are accurate, then the government would need to train 10,000 specialists to service these new projects.

The ministry said, “The measures will help facilitate the platform economy, which in turn will help speed up innovative growth.”

It appears that the request by Jeju may not be an accident coming so quickly after the government statement of extra funds targeting new technology. Governor Won’s desire to create “Jeju Free International City” is very much in keeping with the government’s drive towards regulating blockchain so that becomes fit for purpose, freeing up current restrictions.

Moves towards deregulating ICOs in South Korea is never far from the crypto news in the Asian techno hub, with announcements in June that Korea’s Financial Convergence Association had plans to build its own blockchain hub.

A startup fund is planned for the end of 2018 with Seoul talking the talk, promising that it plans to use “drastic measures to ease regulations that have been blocking new industries and technologies from moving forward”.

 

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Spanish Political Coalition Calls for Regulatory Body to Explore Crypto

Spanish coalition party Unidos Podemos is proposing a body to oversee the implementation of blockchain technology and crypto regulation in the country.

The coalition formed from left-wing parties Podemos, United Left, Equo and smaller parties has suggested the move in order to study the benefits of blockchain and implement its use in public administration in the country as well as explore its industrial potential.

Under the last administration, then Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was suggesting possible tax breaks in order to create a more favorable environment for potential blockchain investment. Although Spain’s new prime minister Pedro Sánchez has promised to raise taxation on companies and increase public spending, so far, his views on new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency still remain unclear.

Alberto Montero, the deputy of the political alliance, has presented the plan to Spain’s lower house as he sees blockchain significantly boosting security levels for social and economic transactions, suggesting that blockchain has “enormous potential”.

Regarding cryptocurrencies, the alliance is looking at examining current regulation for the use of digital currencies in Spain. Many of the major currencies are described by Podemos as being “located in a grey area of regulation”.

Podemos is not the only party looking at the adoption blockchain in government, as members of the current ruling party Partido Popular (People’s Party) had proposed a similar bill, although it now remains to be seen if this position is taken up by prime minister Sánchez as that proposal was made with Rajoy at the political helm before his departure in June of this year.

The current position is that Spanish Congress supports a draft regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in theory. The Partido Popular’s original suggestion is that the state cooperates with the National Securities Market Commission (CNMV) and the Bank of Spain to coordinate its position on cryptocurrency in line with EU guidelines.

 

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Could Wall Street Banks Become Crypto Custody Specialists?

Wall Street banks are slowly beginning to consider crypto custody as another mainstream service.

This, despite the occasional dig at crypto from the big players on Wall Street such as Goldman Sachs recent “cryptocurrency mania” comment last week citing it as one of the top risks for the market, even though the very same bank is dipping into Bitcoin derivatives on behalf of its fund manager clients.

The above service offered by Goldman Sachs may well be client-driven but behind the usual anti-crypto spin, a different picture can be detected after a bit of surface scratching. The Financial Times suggests that “trendy young crypto-types” are the new kids on the Wall Street financial block, although what crypto-related products will come from these young brains is still to be revealed. However, the trend is very much toward research and crypto is the name on the tip of everyone’s tongues.

Analysts are suggesting that the new frontier on Wall Street could well be cryptocurrency assets custody; looking after customer’s cryptocurrency funds. At the back of this are fees, another way the bank can make money out of cryptocurrency without dabbling themselves. In this way, billions of dollars held in custody by the banks can be another payday for the big names on Wall Street.

Recent Bitcoin News reports have illustrated some of the problems of safe storage of cryptocurrency assets, which vary in degrees of complexity from multiple vaults with random back up keys to Swiss Bunkers carved into the sides of mountains. Thus, there is clearly scope for bank intervention on behalf of clients.

Reportedly, forerunners in this new race are New York City-based ItBit, Gemini and more lately Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan now lining up to offer their services. Others are Japanese broker Nomara and notably the Swiss Stock Exchange part-owned by the 130-bank SIX group conglomerate.

Sam Mcingvale, San Francisco-based head of Coinbase Custody suggest that his company is joining the custody fray with plans to cold-store USD 5 billion of institutional crypto assets by the end 2018. Customers need these services, he argues:

“People were saying: “Hey, we’re already holding Bitcoin with you, we trust you, but we need more; we need a regulatory component, we need monthly statements, we need a different type of insurance.”

 

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Malta Makes Huge ICO Funding Gains as Crypto Investment Funds Rise in 2018

New crypto funds are continuing to open despite a falling market and apprehension over ETF decisions, according to the latest analysis from Crypto Fund Research.

With things seeming to go well for crypto funds, collectively amassing $7.1 billion, they still lag behind traditional hedge funds, with most of the institutional investment managers playing a wait and see scenario. Cryptocurrencies’ next big hurdle, now that digital currencies are very much out there in the financial sector, is to start encouraging institutional investment on a larger scale.

It is thought that 2018 will see more crypto hedge funds arrive on the scene, which is on target to reach 165, nine more than in 2017. Statistics show that until July 31 of this year, there were 96 new crypto hedge funds and venture capital funds with more than half of those existing today being launched in the past 18 months.

There are currently 466 crypto funds across the globe with San Francisco, New York, Singapore and London topping the list for 2018 launches. In addition, Austin, Dallas, Hong Kong, Philadelphia, San Diego, Tokyo, and Zug are not far behind in terms of multiple launches of crypto hedge funds and capital ventures since January this year.

In terms of ICOs, launches have also accelerated this year to date, also seemingly undeterred by a bear market. However, 50 percent of all projects in 2018 have failed to raise more than £100,000. This low figure was put down to investors concerns about scams

Service tokens accounted for 42 percent of new ICOs, but utility tokens attracted the most funding at $22 million per project, followed by crypto tokens at an average of $7 million.

Another hurdle for new ICOs remains that problem of getting projects listed on exchanges, which has become an increasingly lengthy process. The number of projects that managed to get listed in the shortest possible time fell by 22 percent this year, due in part to tougher exchange requirements and new regulatory demands.

In overall terms, 2018 has been 10 times better than the previous year for ICOs, according to a market status report published by ETF on August 8, with more money being raised and more ICOs being launched in the second quarter of the year.

A notable fact coming out of the report is that small nations are winning in terms of making the largest gains, with Malta, Gibraltar, and Singapore coming out on top. Malta raised an average of £119 million, almost twice the funds raised by second on the list Gibraltar. Other statistics show that although it is clearly European nations that are making the largest gains in terms of overall fundraising, North America is still the crypto giant at $4.98 billion with 116 projects, a huge 65 percent of all the funding raised. Europe came in second at $1.12 billion, with Asia coming in third with $751 million.

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Bitcoin Trade Skyrockets on Turkey’s Crypto Exchanges as Lira Plummets

Cryptocurrency trading surged in Turkey on Friday with the news that the country’s struggling fiat currency lira plunged in value on the money markets.

More concerns about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s economic policies and Turkey’s debt level sent the lira spiralling as global markets reflected their concerns about the state of that country’s economy. This was good news however for cryptocurrency as trading volumes at three of Turkey’s main crypto exchanges Paribu, Btcturk and Koinim witnessed a jump of 100% in just 24 hrs.

Turkey has experienced a bear market this year but terms of its relationship with Bitcoin and other cryptos, it’s been very upbeat, as one local university student observed on the weekend, “Every day there are new [bitcoin] exchanges coming up in Turkey.”

User Bitmov, an Instanbul marketing professional has been using bitcoin for over year to make overseas purchases and has now become his families crypto advisor. He commented:

“I started personally trading crypto 1.5 years ago because of the weakness of the Turkish lira, and fear of the political, and financial, status of the Turkish government. Cryptocurrency makes me feel much safer…If your national currency is falling like this … or you don’t trust centralized currencies and banks, what can you do? You should be your own bank, and I’m sure people all around the world will realize that”

This attitude is frequently reflected in other countries where unstable currencies are driving nationals towards a more stable kind of currency, such as in Venezuela and parts of Africa. Another such cryptocurrency user is Cardiologist from the capital Ankara, Bunyamin Yavuz who says he’s completely lost his trust of banks and now buys crypto such as XRP, Monero, and Stellar lumens. Yavuz only holds 10 percent of his currency in Lira, but 30 percent in cryptocurrencies.

There have been talks of a national cryptocurrency in Turkey for some time, following in the footsteps of the Venezuelan Petro, but this could hurt local exchanges if Bitcoin continues to become stronger and positions itself as an alternative.

Iran has gone the same way, although looking at a government-run crypto. But their current crypto trading position is different due to the use peer to peer transactions, overseas sanctions, and local government restrictions. Greater freedom exists in Turkey for those who wish to trade in Bitcoin. Concerns are growing though that the Turkish government may begin to take a harder line on cryptocurrency trading similar to that of its middle eastern neighbor.

The fall in the lira may be the first of many, given Erdoğan’s threats of an “economic war “ with the US. Although he has appealed for his country’s support for the currency, asking Turkish nationals to buy up the ailing lira for any other currency they own. It’s unlikely to be Bitcoin.

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Bitcoin Comes with Advantages Says Brazilian Presidential Candidate

Brazilian presidential candidate for the upcoming October elections in that country João Amoêdo has recently expressed pro Bitcoin views.

Amoêdo’s Brazil New Party aims for the privatization of public enterprises like Petrobras, Central Bank of Brazil and Banco do Brasil. Although the party supports welfare programs like Bolsa Família, it aims to privatize the public health system and public education. The state would give vouchers for health and education to people who couldn’t afford it, according to Wikipedia.

In terms of the country’s financial system, the party opposes extensive regulation in many aspects of Brazilian society. They believe the central bank should be independent of the state. When asked about cryptocurrency, Amoêdo said that Bitcoin comes with “advantages.” On the development of blockchain in Brazil, he was particularly upbeat about its place in the country’s economy.

“I see the blockchain as a protocol that increases the reliability and integrity of the data. There are obvious applications, such as for interbank transfers or to register as a notary. Another, not so commented, is to use the blockchain to follow the productive chain of products…. We could follow every step of the production chain of a product, ensuring less bureaucracy and more intelligence.”

When quizzed whether he thought that Cryptocurrency’s had a role in a new Brazil and whether it might be used as legal tender, he responded:

“As a means of payment, I see no doubts that bitcoin can be understood as a legal payment method. If both parties want to exchange a product via bitcoin… I do not see any legal barriers to doing so” adding:

“I do not think they are a threat to the traditional banking system. I see advantages in providing another means of payment for consumers,”

With a population of nearly 200 million and the largest economy in Latin America, Brazil is a significant economic force, and an increase in the adoption of cryptocurrency use would certainly have an impact under a liberal government, which on the whole tend to be more favorable towards crypto. It’s hard to say what stance Amoêdo would take regarding the sector if he becomes the new Brazilian president in October.  Like any other politician, he would want to be seen as a staunch supporter of the country’s national currency, the real, which is tightly pegged to the US dollar. On this he commented:

“But it must be clear that the country has only one national currency, one that has a legal course, that is, the one that people are obliged to accept, the real. No other currency, including the dollar, has this characteristic. Only the real. In addition, there are restrictions on the use of the dollar for payments and as a currency of account, which are the same for any other foreign currency, including crypto-coins.”

He suggests that governments must be made aware of the public’s assets held on-line as the internet shouldn’t become a “tax haven.”

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Singapore VC Firm to Launch $10 Million Crypto Fund, Follows Blockchain Investment Trend

Singapore-based Venture Capital firm Golden Gate Ventures is to launch a $10 million fund targetting crypto and blockchain start-ups that use innovative DLT, in what appears to be a growing investment trend.

Golden Gate Ventures will call the fund LuneX Ventures and will be funded primarily by high net worth individuals. The main focus of LuneX investment will be aimed at early-stage companies such as cryptocurrency exchanges and cybersecurity providers

The LuneX fund becomes the first such fund, set up by a traditional markets company in the region. Head of Growth at Golden Gate, Kenrick Drijkoningen, who is heading the project sees the recent downturn in the cryptocurrency markets as no hurdle to success. He points out:

“Despite the fact that public markets are down, the amount of talent that’s moving into this space is exciting. There are young entrepreneurs who are passionate about this space and want to build an ecosystem.”

One of these is Tushar Aggarwal, host of the Decrypt Asia podcast, who is to collaborate on the new project. Drijkoningen himself points out that the project is planned for the long-term and that the invested capital would be spread through a range of areas including ICO’s and previously-existing cryptos, along with investments into other crypto and blockchain products. Currently, about half a dozen deals are reportedly in the pipeline

The talk of a blockchain revolution, a term cited frequently over the past months, would certainly include such projects as these involve crypto custody and banking. Such blockchain investment funds are growing in popularity as traditional investors seek to make inroads into blockchain and crypto by another route to get ahead of the rush if it happens.

The recent Chinese venture in Nanjing sparked the new term “blockchain revolution” as the country appears to have ramped up its support for blockchain technologies with a CNY 10 billion (USD 1.48 billion) investment fund, focusing primarily on the public blockchain projects. The new fund was announced and reported to be formed by the district government of Jiangbei — new area in Nanjing city and the Beijing-based Zhongguancun Blockchain Industry Alliance, a cooperative alliance between blockchain companies and government research institutes.

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