Category Archives: ETH

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Manila Residents Paid ETH for Consensys-Backed Beach Cleanup

beach cleanup

Manila residents are being paid in Ether for cleaning up the city’s plastic-ridden beaches in a new crypto for work project in the Philippine capital.

Recent research has shown that that five Asian countries — China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand — account for more than 55% of global plastic waste leaking into the ocean. Indonesia, currently participating in a number of blockchain programs, is also a significant contributor to ocean pollution.

Manila’s beaches are listed as being some of the most heavily polluted beaches among these nations. Residents now have the chance to do something about this and be rewarded with cryptocurrency in the process. Stirring this social conscience is Ethereum’s co-founder Joe Lubin, who is also CEO of blockchain software giant ConsenSys.

He commented, “In Manila, participants will be paid in ETH for spending a few hours cleaning up one of the most heavily polluted beaches in the world. Bounties Network and ConsenSys Impact are proving a new model where people fund causes directly without intermediaries.”

Beach cleaning participants will be able to use a decentralized application (Dapp) based on the Ethereum blockchain to receive their rewards in ETH. The project is part of a larger ConsenSys program called ‘Bounties for the Oceans: Philippines Pilot – Sustained, Verifiable Plastic Cleanups’. The initiative states:

“Plastic pollution costs the lives of 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year… With Bounties for the Ocean, we are asking people everywhere to submit verifiable proof of their direct plastic cleanup contribution as a way of fostering widespread and long-term behavioral shift. Do not depend on centralized organizations, go out there and do it yourselves.”

Manila residents are not the only ones “doing it for themselves”. There are a number of blockchain programs around the world at the moment which are making a significant contribution to fighting pollution.

US cleaning supplies firm SC Johnson has announced that it plans to launch blockchain rewards-based recycling centers in Indonesia to help solve the problem of plastic pollution. The company, which also which owns such brands as Glade, Ziploc and Mr Muscle, will open eight centers with the support of Plastic Bank using a tokens-for-waste payment system for local users.

A Norwegian startup has come up with a way of using blockchain to clean beaches via token rewards for recycling. The public, by removing plastic waste to any certified recycling station, is rewarded with waste tokens. The idea draws on a system that has been in operation for some time throughout Norway where plastic bottles can be returned to shops for between 15 and 30 cents a bottle.

The Philippines project is well placed given the country’s adoption of Bitcoin and Ethereum as legitimate forms of payment by the central bank, with local platform Coins.ph conducting business using partnerships with major commercial banks, remittance outlets, credit card companies, electric grid operators, and convenience stores,

Having become the largest platform in Southeast Asia, Coins.ph has over 5 million users.

 

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Tether’s Rivals Continue to Gain Stablecoin Ground

The emergence of stablecoins continues to provide a glimpse of hope to cryptocurrency investors despite the market’s steep decline since its all-time high in 2017.

However, not too long ago, this confidence began to shift away from Tether (USDT) – the largest stablecoin by capitalization, to others such as Huobi (HUSD), USD Coin (USDC), True USD (TUSD), Paxos Standard Token (PAX), and Gemini Dollar (GUSD). Many of those in the list have seen rising premiums against USDT in recent months.

In a recent stablecoin conference organized by BECON, which was held in New York on Monday, General Counsel of Huobi’s Global Institutional Joshua Goodbody discussed the important roles stablecoins play in the crypto-market affairs. In his opinion, they serve as bridges between the fiat world and the world of cryptocurrencies.

Since its launch, one of Tether’s rivals, HUSD, has proven to be popular among users, says Goodbody.

Stablecoins are perceived to mimic the qualities of real-world fiat properties. Therefore, they establish a baseline of trust for investors, and traders of cryptocurrencies to hedge. This was the objective in mind when Huobi proposed its stablecoin in late October as a complementary solution to help make investment decisions among multiple stablecoins and save costs when trading stablecoins.

Goodbody during the conference made it clear that they “believe the recent developments of stablecoins are positive for the industry and Huobi decided to support these developments proactively by launching HUSD”. The Stablecoin HUSD integrates the properties of four other major stablecoins to include PAX, TUSD, USDC, and GUSD.

As an aggregator of stablecoins, the HUSD interfaces between any of the four supported stablecoins and gives traders the flexibility of switching to any of them on a 1:1 ration at any point in time. Goodbody said that they “provide the ability to deposit any of the four supported coins as HUSD and receive a 1:1 balance of HUSD”. Further, these stablecoins can also be traded with six other cryptocurrency pairs on the Huobi exchange. These include BTC, USDT, ETH, and EOS.

HUSD is not a particular token or coin on the blockchain, but a mere service being offered by Huobi Global. The way the product works is that, when any stable coin is deposited into a user’s account with the exchange, they are registered as HUSD balances. This gives a pseudo-interoperability between the four stable coins currently being supported. As described by the exchange when the balance on a stablecoin type is low, users can simply withdraw with another with sufficient balance.

In other news, Coinbase decided to launch an over-the-counter (OTC) trading desk earlier this month for institutional investors and in an interview, USDC is described as “one of the most liquid stablecoins” on the market to help stem volatility.

To a large extent, stablecoins play an important role in stabilizing the market. So far, the stablecoin markets have provided a safety net-like effect for investors and traders whose portfolios are being devalued by the current market crash, thereby acting as a soothing balm to the hysteria in the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

 

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Germany’s Only Regulated Crypto Exchange Acquires Major Trading Bank

Germany’s only regulated cryptocurrency exchange has announced the acquisition of Bank Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH.

The announcement by Bitcoin Group SE, the holding company behind Bitcoin.de, signals not only expanding its current trading services but also its potential to operate cryptocurrency ATMs in the country. Tremmel Bank is not only well connected with both domestic and foreign banks, but also insurance companies, asset managers and fund companies.

This places Bitcoin Group SE in an ideal position to begin offering crypto custodial services as part of an expanded service through its bank as well as expanding its cryptocurrency offerings. Tremmel’s competence in the trading of stocks, bonds, and other exchange products is sure to have been a driver in the acquisition.

The exact acquisition figure has not been revealed by Bitcoin Group SE although a press release put the amount “in the lower seven-digit euro range”. However, before the move can go ahead, Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) need to give final approval. As Bitcoin Group SE has acquired 100% of Tremmel, the accompanying banking license becomes another huge asset in terms of future plans to extend its crypto profile and associated services once the takeover is complete.

Earlier this year, the German Federal Government stated that cryptocurrencies do not pose a threat to financial stability. The government stated on 12 June that the volume of cryptocurrencies, when juxtaposed to the overall size of the German financial system, is comparatively low and, therefore, simply needs careful monitoring and regulatory measures put in place in order to control the space.

Recently, Germany’s second-largest stock exchange, Boerse Stuttgart, took the step to host Crypto Trading and Coin Offerings. The intention for Boerse Stuttgart is to keep everything under one roof where hosted ICO coins can be traded alongside leading cryptocurrencies such as BTC and ETH.

 

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Hardware Wallet Sales Booming as Nano S Tops 1.3 Million Units

French crypto hardware manufacturer Ledger has now sold over 1.3 million units of its Nano S wallets, according to a recent blog on their website.

The peak sales come at a time when the demand for such devices is on an all-time high. The changing trend is quite evident by the sales numbers of Ledger Nano S as well as its rival Trezor’s recently launched Model T which has interested buyers in a long waitlist. Also, the Nano S is now available over the counter as a dutyfree item at Amsterdam’s Schiphol International Airport, such is its popularity, particularly amongst travellers.

Such wallets, promoted as being unhackable and therefore the safer way of storing coins and conducting transactions, gained some critics earlier this year when Bitfi, with a new wallet on the market, challenged anyone to hack the device.  15-year-old Saleem Rashid took on the task successfully, which resulted in BitFi withdrawing its guarantee.

CEO Eric Larchevêque claims that Ledger is planning updates to tighten the security of the hot-selling nano with “a chip designed specifically to resist highly skilled attackers and a custom OS designed specifically to protect crypto assets.”

Ledger has a clear run in the market with Trezor the only other major competitor in the sector to date. Trezor had reputed sales of 800,000 units some months ago, but this wasn’t confirmed by the company. There are others on the market, but as yet they have presented no challenge to the top two hard-wallet leaders.

Although advertised as a reliable storage option, these wallets have incurred problems in the past and Ledger has had its own issues, resulting in a temporary shut down of its Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC) infrastructures in August. The resulting outcome was that Ledger announced that there had been no hack, but a glitch that occurred due to a “side effect when [it] pushed an update to invite users to use the Ledger Live instead of the Chrome app.” A refund of any funds lost was offered to users.

The market is booming despite the occasional unit glitch, due to investors’ needs for a portable, safe way of storing their crypto with an easy recovery option, should units be lost or damaged; attributes which most of these units on the market provide.

Ledger also announced recently that it will be expanding its business into cryptocurrency custodianship, and is planning another major investment round that has already sparked interest from Google, Siemens, and Samsung, which may bring their valuation up to USD 1 billion.

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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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Popular Crypto Travel Company Gets Boost from Queensland Government

Australian crypto travel company TravelbyBit has just been awarded a grant from the Queensland state government of AUD 100,000.

The company has a hand in numerous projects throughout Australia’s travel and tourism industry as becoming well known across the nation for the supportive role it has taken in promoting using digital currency for travel.

TravelbyBit CEO Caleb Yeoh said it was early days for crypto, and that there was strong support for it as a “social movement”. The company currently supports many new crypto enterprises in the hospitality industry including the new crypto project with Queensland’s International Airport retailers, which is off to a slow start with just a handful of transactions in the airport each day so far, worth between USD 5 and USD 55.

No project is too small for the company as it designs tourist routes within Australia and offers selected providers with their own TravelbyBit digital currency payment platform. The company allows customers to pay in a digital currency of their choice.

Queensland Innovation minister Kate Jones commented on the importance of Australia’s tourism industry both at State and Federal levels:

“Tourism is one of Queensland’s most important industries… TravelbyBit has devised a clever way to make it easier for visitors to our state to pay for their purchases with a growing number of local businesses accepting cryptocurrency payments.”

The crypto travel specialist is one of 70 companies that are to receive the state government s grant of AUS 8.3 million and hopes that the funds that TravelbyBit receive will help them to scale up its current operations.

Yeoh says that now 150 merchants across the country have tapped into Bitcoin payments through his company and says he is now targeting a different type of traveler:

“With this next phase of technology, we are targeting a different brand of tourist – the tech-savvy travellers from anywhere in the world who are looking to book their travel experiences ahead of their trip and use digital currency to pay for their travels.”

TravelbyBit currently accepts BTC, ETH, XEM and plans to accept BNB in the future.

 

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Ethereum Could Get Major Lift from Plasma, Sharding Developments, SEC Boost

Ethereum has currently created an environment for some positive movement due to current developments in hand and positive SEC rulings over the past few days, according to NewsBTC. Although the price of Ether continues to reflect the current market, there are some positive developments such as its Plasma updates and sharding solutions.

Sharding, also known as horizontal partitioning is a design principle whereby rows of a database table are held separately, rather than splitting by columns (as for normalization). Each partition forms part of a shard, which may, in turn, be located on a separate database server or physical location, explains Stackoverflow.

Plasma itself is a collection of standard smart contracts used to create a tree of side-chains aptly called Plasma chains. This collection of smart contracts includes a multitude of key innovations that together make up a powerful tool in the battle towards scaling Ethereum’s capacity, explains Coincentral.

If Plasma is successful, it will successfully help Ethereum scale to a whole new level, and there has been some talk regarding Plasma Debit, which has the potential of introducing payment channels to Plasma Cash.

Ethereum can also gain a lift up after US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) commissioner Rostin Beham’s recent unexpected remarks that cryptocurrency is a “technological revolution” that will one day be a part of every national economy, tagging blockchain as life “transforming”.

Add to that the statement of director of division of corporation finance at SEC, William Hinman, which lifted market hopes considerably:

“And putting aside the fundraising that accompanied the creation of Ether, based on my understanding of the present state of Ether, the Ethereum network and its decentralized structure, current offers and sales of Ether are not securities transactions. And, as with Bitcoin, applying the disclosure regime of the federal securities laws to current transactions in Ether would seem to add little value.”

Such views from the SEC are empowering for Ethereum, Bitcoin and the blockchain, clearly adding much-needed and long-awaited legitimacy to crypto space, and along with new projects in hand, are certainly a step in the right direction for Ethereum investors.

 

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Grammy Winner Imogen Heap a Crypto Convert with New Blockchain Project

Double Grammy Award winner and singer Imogen Heap is using Ethereum to help fund her new blockchain project, writes Business Insider. Heap is self-funding the project with proceeds from a Harry Potter musical, which she helped to score, and her earnings from selling a song for Ether.

Heap’s latest and widely quoted-about initiative, Mycelia, focuses on connecting the dots for a fair and sustainable music industry ecosystem, writes London’s Palace Theatre, which is currently running Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Heap spoke about the Mycelia project this week at Dublin’s MoneyConf conference, saying that she wants to make a significant change to the music industry, which at present lacks any central storage of information like publishing rights, recording rights, and composition rights. Her new project aims to solve this problem by using the blockchain.

“It’s about how to ease the flow of payments, how to ease collaboration, how to grow partnerships, how to make better collaborations on a business level and a creative level,” Heap told Business Insider, “If you’re just a new musician out there and you don’t know what to do, how do you know where to sign up? This is a guide as much as anything, a way to help the music maker navigate the industry.”

She admits that there other ways of solving such information sharing and storage issues, but is quite happy to experiment with blockchain, encouraged by its popularity and successful solutions to data storage in other sectors. She believes that there were many methods to the solution but believed that the music industry had to keep up with relevant technology and she hoped to play a role in ensuring “music-makers are prepared”.

Heap commented that cryptocurrency has helped her in her recent projects, 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.”

Heap is an English singer, songwriter, record producer and audio engineer. She is known for her involvement in electronic music and as a member of the short-lived project Frou Frou. Heap has received two Grammy Awards and one Ivor Novello Award during her career to date.

 

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Young Afghan Female Coders Earn ETH Promoting New Crypto Projects

A non-profit company in Afghanistan which teaches women to write code has partnered with a network which allows students to accept Ether (ETH) for fixing vulnerabilities for businesses or projects posting bounties, writes Coindesk.

The company, Code to Inspire (CTI), has partnered with The Bounties Network for this endeavor. According to Fereshteh Forough, the founder of CTI, the women are already earning Ether.

In May, the partnership was formed, setting up the women with MetaMask accounts and software wallets. Although Forough didn’t expand on details about the project, it claimed that earnings varied between USD 10 and USD 80 per completed bounty.

A bounty is a simple task or job created by a coin developer that you carry out to earn coins or tokens, usually before and during an initial coin offering (ICO). The main areas are typically Tweeting about the project, posting on Facebook, creating blog posts, designing a logo for the coin, or participating in a forum with the logo signature. These jobs are essential jobs for the coin developer to promote their coin during ICO stage to fund their ambitions, explains CryptoCoinDude.

Forough didn’t say how much had been collected by her new staff, but explained that this wasn’t her first enterprise of this type. In 2014, she collaborated with another fellow Afghan entrepreneur Roya Mahoob to teach women how to earn Bitcoin by blogging, although the program fell into problems due to a lack of a local crypto exchange. Also, most of the bloggers had no bank accounts.

“The challenge was how to exchange [Bitcoin] to the local fiat currency… Even now, when they are saving crypto in any form, there is still the same challenges of how we can exchange them with the local currency or dollars.”

Another Bitcoin enthusiast, Afghan-American Janey Gak, is less optimistic, explaining that Afghanis are still asking simple questions about cryptocurrency and she’d only ever had one question about Ether, implying there’s still a long way to go before cryptocurrencies reach any kind of acceptance in Afghanistan. However, she was positive about the inclusion of women, particularly working in the financial sector in a male-dominated society:

“I personally think it is good to have digital literacy or financial literacy, the knowledge, especially for women in Afghanistan that are limited from accessing a lot of financial resources, such as banks,” adding, “It’s an amazing technology, not only in case of financial aspects but also in terms of using blockchain technology to create different products that could tackle, maybe, one of these [local access] issues.”

It is thought that cryptocurrency could find real leverage in the county if local money-sellers, called safaris, were to start trading in digital currency. Afghans are generally untrusting of financial institutions and turn to safaris, who deal with numerous fiat currencies across Afghanistan.

 

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Hearn Satoshi

Japan Establishes New ICO Regulation Guidelines in Government-Backed Report

Japan is making progress towards the full regulation and legalization of ICOs, with a government-backed study from Tama University detailing how to approach the new fundraising technology.

The study from the Centre for Rule-Making Strategies at the university identifies that the ICO market is still well within its infancy, but acknowledges that the fundraising method’s ability to generate investment capital has garnered international attention and could be utilized effectively should the proper legal or regulatory frameworks be in place.

How to regulate an ICO

The research group that conducted the study was comprised of experts and advisors who worked across various industries and specialist fields; they sought to identify potential ICO use cases, and then frame a set of rules around them. The study reads:

“For the permeation and development of ICO, it would be desirable to set rules on “issuance of tokens” and “trading of tokens in the issue market.” As for the purchase and sale of tokens in the trading market, there are certain rules set force in the Payment Services Act. However, there are no laws or regulations stipulating explicit rules for issue markets, which leads to cases of misunderstanding between parties and cases of investors being left without protection.”

The report, which could be a catalyst for future laws surrounding ICOs, has a set of ‘issuance principles’ which are designed to keep ICOs transparent and accountable. One of which is that issuers should “define and disclose” how funds, profits and residual assets are to be distributed amongst investors, shareholders and debt holders.

Furthermore, the study goes into some details on how to track the progress of whitepapers, often the go-to document for any potential ICO investor; investors identify the development of all plans within the whitepaper and are able to view the history of updates and revisions within it.

Progressive visions

Japan has been a notably volatile country in regards to ICO practices and Bitcoin operators; in late 2017, multiple media outlets reported that Japan was readying to ban ICOs entirely.

However, Japanese lawmakers and regulators have proven themselves time and time again to be extremely forward thinking when it comes to the adoption of cryptocurrencies. In 2015, in the wake of the Mt. Gox scandal, Japanese financial regulators began working out how to regulate domestic cryptocurrency exchanges, and in 2017 those visions were realized when Japan approved the registrations of 11 cryptocurrency exchanges, allowing them to operate legally in the country.

Despite Japan’s efforts to create a regulatory framework for exchanges, ICOs are the favored method of fundraising for blockchain startups and this report could finalize the legitimacy of cryptocurrency and all related technologies in the country, providing blockchain startups with the ability to raise funds through the previously controversial method.

Japan is part of the growing global movement to regulate and integrate cryptocurrency into respective societies; South Korea has been at the centre stage for a myriad of controversies and is now, similarly to Japan, making incredibly positive steps toward a secure crypto future that works for the public and the government.

 

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