Category Archives: Cryptocurrency

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Music Industry Reflections, Predictions on Blockchain Influence

Music Industry Reflections, Predictions on Blockchain Influence

As the end of 2018 approaches, some major blockchain players have been looking at what 2019 may offer, taking note that emerging technologies have already found a comfortable home within the music industry this year.

Blockchain is the first that springs to mind, and as Accenture Consulting wrote in a recent post, “with blockchain on the horizon, every company of every industry must re-evaluate their role in the value chain — where once again, the music industry is leading the pack.”

How then has the music industry taken this leadership role if these claims are accurate? Alan Goodman compares the influence of blockchain in the years to comes as perhaps rivaling that of MTV which completely revolutionized music sales and gave something back to the creators of the music:

“Thanks to MTV there was a whole new ecosystem around music. We didn’t just see video making as something that propelled musicians. Musicians were suddenly at the fulcrum of new businesses, and new ways of thinking about business.”

Goodman has another role apart from being a founding member of MTV. He is now current Chief Brand Leviator at blockchain payment solutions company Aeryus. He adds:

“More recently, we’ve seen how musicians who understand community building can control their own destinies by conquering social media, crowdfunding, and digital channel creation. But blockchain will have a massive impact on how we do business in music because of the revolutionary decentralized infrastructure.”

Not all in the music industry support Goodman’s utopian view of the future. But Adrian Miller, CEO of Xyion and architect behind recording artist Anderson Paak, doesn’t see much changing in the year to come regarding blockchains impact on the industry and is one of those who believes that the hype surrounding blockchain is little more than just that. He argues:

“Enterprise sales to a few large incumbents is one of the hardest things to do and it can take years, maybe a decade to see results. From that standpoint, I don’t understand how these blockchain-based systems make enough money to exist at scale because they are trying to provide a lower cost and faster solution compared to existing databases.”

He maintains that blockchains are no better than the databases the industry has grown up with, and are slower and more expensive on the whole. Miller says he’d prefer to continue his blockchain research but also pursue more traditional ways of promoting his artists, through promo and album releases.

Facundo M Diaz, Executive Director at Reality Code Foundation, sees extended reality (XR) technology as the future:

“Many artists are finding ways to creatively explore new business opportunities in XR. With approximately 171 million VR users, and AR in every mobile device, the motivation for the music industry to expand their business in these new technologies is huge, but they still need to understand the best way to create something that inspires users to pay.”

He sees 2019 as the opening up of musical talent through adopting XR technology, “creating new and amazing ways to experience music”.

Finally, Bryan Calhoun, head of Digital Strategy at Blueprint Group, an entertainment management firm representing top recording talent, sees ticketing as the area in which blockchain will make the biggest impact.

“I think the two biggest opportunities revolve around rights management and ticketing. Both are going to take time to get done correctly, but companies like Dot BC, Tari, and Big Neon are, respectively, leading the way with exciting projects that have traction.”

 

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Dutch Central Bank Takes Closer Look at Exchanges

Dutch Central Bank Takes Closer Look at Exchanges

The Dutch Central Bank, De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) has announced its plans to impose regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges in the country in order to counter money laundering and fundraising for terrorist activities.

In future, registering exchanges will need to ensure that any “unusual transactions” are reported and that exchanges’ KYC rules are tightened.

The new legislation was not completely unexpected by the Dutch cryptocurrency community. The central bank has long been unreceptive to the idea of digital currency, maintaining back in November of 2017 that Bitcoin had no real worth. According to DNB regional director Petra Hielksma at that time, “If something wants to be treated as money, you have to be able to spend, save and calculate with it.”

The Netherlands has been quick to find numerous worthy use cases for DLT, particularly in projects that support local communities, health, and civic pride. The larger community has been mainly positive towards cryptocurrencies too, despite the country’s Finance Minister Wopke Hoekstra proposing a ban on cryptocurrency advertising and trying to douse enthusiasm.

Arnhem, near the German border, has become the country’s crypto haven, where Bitcoin can be used to buy anything from bread to beer using Bitcoin and other major currencies. Despite the DNB’s concerns about cryptocurrency, approximately 60% of the households in the Netherlands have some cryptocurrency investment.

However, the DNB points to the more than USD 88 million reportedly laundered over 46 cryptocurrency exchanges around the globe during the past two years, as enough evidence that the government needs to take firmer measures with exchanges with regard to money laundering and other illegal activities.

In terms of expressing a social conscience though, the nation continues to demonstrate its progressive uses for blockchain by forming partnerships with the World Bank, the UN, and the EU Forum. Earlier this year, the Dutch government announced that the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy had created a special unit devoted to researching the ways in which blockchain technology could be harnessed to provide reliability in the area of tech development while being energy sustainable.

 

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BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast 12th December 2018: Mt Gox CEO Facing Down Prison

BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast

Listen to the 12 December 2018 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

On this edition of the BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast, we begin with market analysis, including Ethereum’s potential for futures markets and why that might not be favorable, and how Bakkt physical Bitcoin futures might not have as much of an impact as people think. We discuss how the Mt Gox CEO, Mark Karpeles, has been on bail this whole time and is about to go to prison since the trial is nearing completion.

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Cambridge Global Crypto Benchmarking Examines Bitcoin State of Play

Cambridge Global Crypto Benchmarking Examines Bitcoin State of Play

University of Cambridge Judge Business School has published the second of its annual reports which examine the cryptoconomy.

It’s been a huge year following the first report, with Bitcoin reaching such grand heights offering a pre- Christmas surprise for 2017 investors, to the travails of pre-Christmas 2018, which has investors not knowing whether to hold or sell.

The comprehensive 96-page report, which examines, among other subjects, cryptocurrency mining, exchanges, storage, and payments, may make sobering reading for enthusiasts and more active traders this Christmas as the picture it paints is certainly “real”, allowing no space for the hype which often surrounds cryptocurrency. The 2nd  Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study, as it’s been named, has some positive historical facts for investors in its pages but also has warnings for those entering the space, as well as facts that would be welcomed by industry professionals.

Less encouraging perhaps is the fact that around two-thirds of specialized custodial exchanges do not have a refund procedure in the case of customer funds getting lost or stolen; a message that might not be so warmly appreciated. More encouragingly, it has been estimated that crypto businesses are improving and doing a solid job of asset storage with over 80% of funds now being held in cold storage, out of sight and protected from hackers.

The report also revealed that 80% of crypto firms have become cagey when it comes to divulging the results of security audits; not good news for investors who would like to know exactly how companies entrusted with their assets actually operate.

This is not the first of such in-depth reports by a major university, or by academics, which examines cryptocurrency, and the development of its support infrastructure, to have been conducted, although most current research is focused on DLT.

Many universities now run courses, up to a Masters degree, on the subject of cryptocurrency and associated technology.

Judge Business School is a provider of management education and is consistently ranked as one of the world’s top business schools, with the Cambridge MBA program ranked among the top in the world by Bloomberg, the Financial Times, Business Insider, US News & World Report and Forbes Magazine.

 

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10-Year Prison Sentence Requested for Mt Gox’s Mark Karpeles

10-Year Prison Sentence Requested for Mt Gox's Mark Karpeles

Prosecutors in the Tokyo District Court are requesting that Mark Karpeles, former CEO of defunct exchange Mt Gox, be sentenced to prison for ten years. This request occurred during the final argument of the trial; it is not a plea deal. Therefore, an official sentence will be issued soon.

There exists some misconception in the crypto space that the Karpeles got away with his alleged illicit activities during the collapse of Mt Gox. The reality is that Karpeles has been on bail since July 2016, after spending less than a year in jail. His court case continues to be active.

Karpeles is accused of embezzling JPY 340 million from Mt Gox accounts in the final four months of 2013, and using that money for business acquisitions and rent. The prosecutors specifically said: “There was no documentation of loans and there was no intention of paying back… His responsibility… is severe.” Further, they accuse Karpeles of manipulating account data to cover up the fact that the money was no longer there.

Mt Gox was the biggest Bitcoin exchange in the world when it collapsed in 2013. In total, it lost BTC 850,000 worth USD 450 million at the time, although BTC 200,000 were later found. The loss of the biggest Bitcoin exchange and funds caused a serious disruption to the entire crypto space, leading to Bitcoin’s price crashing from USD 1,100 to less than USD 200 in the following two years.

Fortunately for the customers, the drastic increase in Bitcoin’s price since the collapse of Mt Gox will ensure that they get full refunds and then some in terms of fiat, although not in terms of Bitcoin. This is because the 200,000 recovered Bitcoins are worth USD 660 million at this time. The court-appointed custodian actually cashed out a significant fraction of the Bitcoins at a much higher price earlier this year. Refunds to Mt Gox customers are expected to begin in Q1 2019.

 

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12 Days of Coinbase Targets Venezuelan Border Town

12 Days of Coinbase Targets Venezuelan Border Town

The traditional 12 days of Christmas started yesterday crypto-style with Coinbase using the song to promote its worldwide services, focusing Day 2 on Venezuelan families in need.

In tune with the season of goodwill, the global exchange giant based in San Francisco, California, has promised to make an announcement that will profit someone each day leading up the big day itself.

Day 1 saw Coinbase announcing that users could buy gift cards so that family and friends could get some Uber, Adidas and Nike surprises through its U-gift program. For those hoping that materialism of this kind was a little too “Christmas Carol” for a multi-national, they have pushed the boat out a bit more on the second day with a gift which feels more befitting a company with such huge profits.

Venezuela continues to somehow avoid major news networks despite a humanitarian crisis there which is gradually becoming more intense by the day.

With a virtually non-existent virtual currency, the Petro, doing absolutely nothing to lift the economy, and inflation rising at alarming rates, eclipsing Germany in the Second World War, nationals are fleeing to neighboring South American countries for refuge. Venezuela is not in good shape, despite Bitcoin donations pouring in to alleviate pressure on some families. The local currency the Bolivar is now almost worthless.

Coinbase is donating USD 10,000 in ZCash (ZEC) to GiveCrypto.org, a nonprofit organization that distributes cryptocurrency to people living in poverty. The idea is that courtesy of Coinbase, GiveCrypto.org will donate USD 1 a day to the wallets of over 100 families living in the Venezuelan border town of Santa Elana de Uairen, located in Bolívar state near the border with Brazil and Guyana.

Recipients can spend their donated crypto on basic supplies and food over a period of three months in Santa Elana de Uairen. The USD 1 worth of crypto a day will allow families to buy 1-2 kilos of protein or 2 kilos of starches and vegetables every day.

 

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No Saudi Crypto Ban After All, UAE Partnership Reveals

No Saudi Crypto Ban After All, UAE Partnership Reveals

Media outlet GulfNews reported today on United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) recent blockchain undertaking involving central bank collaboration with Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (Sama) to develop a cross-border cryptocurrency.

In a recent meeting on global banking standards and regulatory and supervisory priorities, Governor of the UAE’s Central Bank Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri said: “This is probably the first time ever that witnesses the cooperation of monetary authorities from different countries on this topic.” And being the first of its kind in the region, he hopes that it will lead to similar regional collaborations.

Al Mansouri hinted on the current inclination, as being a “study between UAE and Saudi [Arabia]”, and the essential framework, though not yet structured, will be between banks and not consumers.

This comes off as a huge step from previous positions – the UAE Central Bank previously did not endorse digital currencies such as Bitcoin because of its speculative nature and risks involved. Further, in August, Saudi Arabia banned cryptocurrencies because of the high risk since the government doesn’t control Bitcoin.

However, recent developments such as ripple’s partnership with Saudi Arabia’s biggest bank National Commercial Bank of Saudi Arabia (NCB) gives hope to the development of the fintech venture in the region.

According to the GulfNews, Al Mansouri recognizes the recent development in fintech as both a challenge and an opportunity and that the best position would be to understand the risks and work on ways to mitigate them.

The Central Bank of UAE has already taken initiative into developing fintech regulations regarding cryptocurrencies. Al Mansouri said: “We started developing regulations in this regard in 2016 in order to safeguard the financial system and protect consumers. The project is at a final stage.”

It would seem there’s a future for blockchain and maybe cryptocurrencies as well in the Middle East as recent steps towards incorporating blockchain into the fintech and non-fintech spheres has proven to be promising. Last week, Bitcoin News reported on Abu Dhabi’s financial institutions’ success on phase 1 of their blockchain e-KYC solution.

 

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Macron’s Got Problems but Blockchain Ain’t One

Macron's Got Problems but Blockchain Ain't One

French President Emmanuel Macron is seeing his popularity wane by the day due to his planned reforms for business and industry but new technologies appear to be flourishing under the current government, regardless of current discontentment.

Blockchain, in particular, has been earmarked and the latest news of IBM’s new initiatives and investments which should bring 1,800 jobs to France won’t hurt either. Nor will IBM’s new French project with P-TECH to support the disadvantages in finding work. In fact, France is on the crest of a blockchain wave currently, despite Macron’s reforms being soundly rejected. With overturned cars burning in Paris streets it seems hard to imagine that French politicians have got anything right under the current regime.

Perhaps a hint of this shifting focus towards new technologies by a Macron government was the dabbling with taxation this year, with the government finally settling on dropping the tax on cryptocurrency to 17%… for the time being. Clearly, the government doesn’t want to stifle an industry which it is now openly promoting, suggesting that it should now benefit from an EUR 500 million  state handout.

Member of the National Assembly, Laure de La Raudière, is one of those calling for the money, who sees efficiency as an end product arguing that government should follow private industry’s lead using DLT. She says: “I draw the alarm: it’s time to invest. There are not yet established positions in the world.”

She also cited the certification of diplomas or administrative documents as potential use cases. France’s Prime Minister Édouard Philippe is another sold on blockchain although taking some criticism on the subject of allowing Bitcoin to be dispersed in tabacs around France via a ticketing system. In other areas, he’s on safer ground:

“Take the example of agribusiness. To have an interesting blockchain in terms of traceability and food security, it is necessary to bring together distributors, producers, logisticians, the industrialists… And do not let only one actor manage the network as Carrefour or Casino can do today.”

Carrefour was the first to set the blockchain clock ticking with its produce monitoring program being introduced into some of its supermarkets earlier this year, a move recently followed in Spain.

The multi-party suggestion that France should receive massive financial banking to promote blockchain has occurred according to De la Raudière because she believes that she is not alone in wanting to see France as a leader rather than a follower in Europe. She argues, “France must have a conquering philosophy on the subject with the State in the first place, both as a user and federator of projects.”

Other suggestions coming from the recent parliamentary report highlight a call for the opening of bank accounts for blockchain-centered businesses which must register with the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the French stock market regulator.

 

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7 Major South Korean Exchanges to Create “Healthy Crypto Ecosystem”

7 Major South Korean Exchanges to Create

As the South Korean government continues to work on institutionalizing cryptocurrency exchanges, seven major players have signed an ‘Agreement for the creation of a sound cryptocurrency ecosystem’.

Local media reports that the exchanges, Upbit, Bithumb, Korbit, Coinone, Gopax, Coinplug (Cpdax), and Hanbitco, have stated the accord’s aim is to not only to create a healthy ecosystem but also to prevent crime and protect investors by creating a sound ecosystem and preventing money laundering.

Information sharing and real-time monitoring of unusual transactions will become a major focus of the group’s activities along with more check and balance measures such as restrictions on unverified customers. Financial Services Commission (FSC) head of financial innovation, Kwon Dae-young, declared that the government’s position had not changed much since it was revealed last December:

“We are trying to institutionalize [cryptocurrency exchanges] but before we do, we have to answer the question of how to deal with the damage and tears of many virtual currency investors. We must see if any of the projects that can help the people in their daily lives have been presented. Trust and authenticity are important.”

The new agreement signed by the seven exchanges demonstrates that industry aims appear to be very much in line with the government’s own. Ubit’s de facto voice, Dunamu Inc’s Lee Seok-woo, proposed his own protectionist measures to bring South Korea’s exchanges into line. Lee suggested minimum qualifications and standards for the industry should be bought into play, AML/KYC guidelines should be observed and a new exchange registration system could be introduced: “If you [crypto exchange] cannot meet the standard after a six-month or one-year grace period, you should close it.”

Last month, 40 international and South Korean experts formed another group, the Blockchain Special Committee, which plans to establish a blockchain hub in South Korea’s North Gyeongsang Province, also known as Gyeongbuk. Members of the association will be tasked with deliberating and consulting on the creation of “mid-to-long-term strategies” that will foster the blockchain industry.

 

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BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast 11th December 2018, India’s Government Can’t Beat Bitcoin Dealers

BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast

Listen to the 11 December 2018 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

On this edition of the BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast, after continuing crypto market analysis, we explain the advantages and problems of major cryptocurrencies. We then discuss how India’s government is trying to ban Bitcoin. Do they stand a chance against Bitcoin dealers? We think not.

Follow the Bitcoin News Daily Podcast on AnchoriTunesSpotifyGoogle PodcastsStitcherRadio PublicPocket CastsOvercastCastbox, and Breaker. We broadcast a new episode every day, covering the most important topics in the crypto, Bitcoin, and blockchain world!

 

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