Category Archives: France

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HSBC Whistleblower Is Developing His Own Cryptocurrency

Hervé Falciani, the French-Italian whistleblower who helped track down tax evaders with 130,00 Swiss bank accounts in the 2008 Valencia Polytechnic University crash, is to launch a new cryptocurrency.

Falciani became renowned as the HSBC ex-employee turned whistleblower who provided several European countries classified information on thousands of Swiss bank clients who were evading taxes, most of which were managed by a subsidiary of his employers at the time, HSBC Private Bank.

He created what became known as the “Lagarde list” of HSBC account holders who allegedly used the financial institution’s services for money laundering and tax evasion, leaking the list to the current International Monetary Fund (IMF) head, Christine Lagarde, who was French finance minister at the time.

Continuing his anti-banking crusade, Falciani has now fallen back on crypto to clean up the financial space, by creating his own cryptocurrency – Tabu, which has been developed by ‘Tactical Whistleblowers’, a non-profit organization founded by Falciani.

To date, the Tabu token project has raised €1.3 million (appr. $1.47 million), however, an additional €2 million of capital is required in order to ensure adequate funding for the project’s ongoing development. Falciani’s mission is to cut corruption caused by what he sees as inefficiencies of the traditional banking documentation system, by also developing a blockchain powered registration system.

Tactical Whistleblowers, with its HQ in Valencia, is comprised of several academics with a strong background in Mathematics from the Valencia Polytechnic University.

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Ledger: Market Still Here for Hardware Wallets

Ledger: Market Still Here for Hardware Wallets

Eric Larchevêque, CEO of French hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger, has said that he is optimistic for the future of the cryptocurrency industry, as he prepares for “a whole new generation of consumers”.

However, Larchevêque claims that education is still an area of concern when it comes to storage of cryptocurrencies, and many users fall short of protecting their funds adequately. Referring to the Cryptopia hack and various other losses in 2018 which amounted to almost USD 1 billion, Ledger’s CEO believes that people still don’t know how to protect their funds.

Speaking about the current volatile situation on the streets of some of France’s major cities in protest of current government moves to regulate industry working guidelines, Larchevêque said that the media had really hyped up the Bitcoin factor:

“I think that this call to take the money out of the banks and the protester with the ‘Buy Bitcoin’ sign is something that’s been exaggerated a lot by the media… The yellow vests do not really know about Bitcoin and they do not really think that cryptocurrency will solve their problems.”

He says that France is still not at the forefront of cryptocurrency adoption but government regulations are at least moving in the right direction. As for his own company, he admits that the bear market has impacted on product sales, but due to the cyclic history of cryptocurrency the company has simply scaled down ahead of the next bull market.

Given that Black Friday sales of the Nano S in November 2018 were almost on a par with 2017, the CEO admits that “the situation is still quite good”. He adds, “There is still a need for a new generation of hardware wallet and consumers are still ready to invest and buy new products. The market is still here.”

 

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Jimmy Song Suggests Bitcoin as Tool for “Peaceful Revolution”

Jimmy Song Suggests Bitcoin as Tool for

Bitcoin developer Jimmy Song has pointed the finger towards recent Gilets Jaunes (yellow vests) protesters in Paris as an illustration of how big government mismanagement can be overcome by using the right tools, but not by violence.

Song suggests that the missing tool, not yet being utilized by the French in anti-government protests, is cryptocurrency, believing that currencies such as Bitcoin are potentially powerful weapons in staging a “peaceful revolution”. He argued in a recent interview, “If you have government and big business get together, they usually get what they want.”

But according to Song this can be overcome by using the “currency of resistance”, adding that “the biggest thing Bitcoin brings is the decentralization of monetary power”.

Song claims that the way for such groups to gain the voice of resistance, is to take the power away from, banks, corporations, and plutocrats through decentralization: “That’s the thing that a lot of people don’t recognize: Monetary power is the big force in the world.”

The outspoken crypto developer has advice for those gilet jaunes taking to the street with bottles and rocks to protest against the current Macron government: focus on Bitcoin as the first step towards decentralized money; a step toward curbing the dominance of centralized banking.

Bitcoin in the Yellow Vest / Gilet Jaune mouvement #France #YellowVests #Bitcoin #cryptocurrency #revolutionfrancaise #revolution pic.twitter.com/FMP21cSpp6

— Crypto Kether (@R3I3ntI3ss) December 1, 2018

As for the current cryptocurrency bear market, Song maintains that productivity is far more likely than in periods when the market is bullish, suggesting that when the market is surging, developers are distracted by rising Bitcoin prices and focused purely on money instead of creating useful goods and services and working towards innovation.

 

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Paris Mural Bitcoin Puzzle Solved

Paris Mural Bitcoin Puzzle Solved

French crypto artist Pascal Boyart‘s Bitcoin competition came to an end yesterday when two diligent participants cracked the code, winning USD 1,000 in BTC.

Boyart set the challenge seven days ago hiding the public keys to the BTC in his mural based on Delacroix’s original “Liberty Leading the People” in honor of yellow vest protesters standing up against government cuts in streets of Paris. The art was located at 156 rue d’Aubervilliers.

Boyart is well known in the cryptosphere thanks to a graffiti mural he painted last year that included a QR code connected to his Bitcoin wallet so people could make donations to him. His initiative reportedly earned him USD 1,000 from donors. Boyart Retweeted yesterday that two winners had stepped forward and claimed the Bitcoin after discovering the 12 hidden seed phrases hidden in the mural revealing them the private key:

Deux personnes ont percé le mystère de la fresque «#Giletsjaunes» réalisée par PBOY. Ils ont trouvé la clé privée composée de 12 mots et débloqué 0,2891 #BTC, soit environ 890€ au cours actuel :https://t.co/9yBYDwBkTB

— Cryptonaute (@cryptonaute_fr) January 14, 2019

The answer

The inscriptions that are revealed with black light:

In the fluorescent inscriptions, ATOUT, JPAVFLU, Y29uZHVpcmU=, dHJpb21waGU=, mq+cC6Ax2+8R8LAnEWgQnA ==

The first two words are encoded in Caesar cipher. With respectively a shift of 20 and 19, therefore =union citizen The next two are Base64 encoded= lead triumph

And the last two are encrypted in 128bit AES with unlock key that was communicated to those who had found the fluorescent writings. This key is: 03012009 (Genesis Bitcoin Block Date in EU order).

Once deciphered, the code is + horizon yellow = “banker usury lie people fight hope union citizen lead triumph horizon yellow”.

 

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France’s Yellow Vests Movement to Use Cryptocurrencies for Their Bank Initiative

Yellow Vests

The Gilets Jaunes, also known as The Yellow Vests may use cryptocurrencies to power their “bank run.” The banking move was announced on 7 January, aiming at the destabilization of France’s financial system by using social media accounts.

The movement has termed the bank run as a “Collectors’ Referendum.” In this latest demonstration, the public is expected to withdraw their savings from the banks and other financial institutions, at once, on 12 January. Although no mentions of the cryptocurrencies have been made yet, the demonstration can potentially benefit the cryptocurrency sector.

The bank run is indeed an act in which a lot of people withdraw their money from a particular bank. It is usually done when the public fears that the respective bank might not be able to function in the future.

In such a situation, the public may use bonds, insurances, gold or cryptocurrencies in place of the fiat currency. The decentralized structure of the blockchain technology, offering independence from banks, is certainly attractive because banks are closing up in the French small towns where the yellow vest movement draws most of its strength from. Along with that, some protestors were recently seen wearing the Yellow Vests saying “Buy Bitcoin”.

So it can be expected that the Yellow Vests may ask their supporters to turn towards cryptocurrencies. Recently, the success of blockchain-based money transfers in Venezuela has shown a way to the public across the world to opt for blockchain in a state of political turmoil.

Although the Yellow Vests may have taken the inspiration from history, it is important to note that in the past, bank runs happened due to uncertainty and rumors rather than on a voluntary basis. For example, the bank runs during the Great Depression and recently in the 2007-08 financial crises happened naturally. Hence, it would be a challenge to pull out such a grand scale bank run. Nevertheless, the cryptoverse may eye such an opportunity and show the world its true potential.

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French Tobacco Retailers to Sell Bitcoin Gift Cards Despite Regulatory Issues

France

Tobacco shops in France are now going to offer Bitcoin vouchers despite possible backlash from the authorities. Paris-based fintech company KeplerK has recently signed a contract with six tobacco centers in Paris, who are expected to have bitcoin vouchers from now on. These vouchers are similar to the gift cards offered by retailers. Using  KeplerK’s crypto wallet, the customers can claim the digital currency in lieu of these vouchers.

KeplerK co-founder Adil Zakhar stated that he expects the total number of tobacco outlets selling Bitcoin vouchers to reach 100 by Sunday. The company is also looking to increase this number to 6,500 by February, he added. This would enable more new users to join the cryptoverse.

Zakhar said that at the moment, people find it difficult to buy Bitcoin online. Moreover, the trust factor is also lacking. Therefore, the company aims to utilize the customer-tobacco seller relationship, which is based on trust.

The company might face regulatory roadblocks, however.

Apparently, French regulators are unsure about the legal status of KeplerK or the entity PAYSAFEBIT SASU, which is supporting the startup. It claims to have obtained an operational approval from Autorité Des Marchés Financiers (AMF). However, the liquidity status of the company is still under question. An excerpt from the French regulator’s statement states that the PAYSAFEBIT SASU (capital of EUR 50,000) is using KeplerK as a trading name. However, it has not acquired any regulatory approval from French or European authorities.

Although these vouchers may be attractive for the tobacco sellers, the customers might still be unaware of how to utilize them. Conventional gift cards are still preferred and it will take some effort for the tobacco retailers to make it popular. Couple it with the regulatory issues and it will be a difficult, but possibly achievable, proposition for KeplerK.

 

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UNICEF Continues Crypto Advocacy, Now Accepts DAI

UNICEF Continues Crypto Advocacy, Now Accepts DAI

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) France has announced that it is now accepting donations in the DAI cryptocurrency. This makes it the 10th cryptocurrency it now accepts for charitable donations.

The organization seems to think that “open source explorations of blockchain” can be funded using the DAI. The latest cryptocurrency is MakerDAO’s stablecoin pegged to the USD. The funds to be collected through this channel is to be used to support open source projects through “bounties” and “funding research” for blockchain-related projects which ultimately aims at helping the “world’s most vulnerable people”.

UNICEF’s Ventures Fund invests in “frontier technologies” and how they could be used to solve “humanity’s greatest challenges” It currently considers the emergence of blockchain technology as “new systems of trust and exchange on which users can send value directly from one party to another without the need for intermediaries”.

Etherscan.io reveals that the DAI wallet address is about 12 days old and a few contributions totaling DAI 116.2 (about USD 116.7) at press time have been made with the latest contribution being two days old.

The UNICEF organization in France began accepting cryptocurrency donations in 2018 to facilitate the link between emerging technology and charitable causes.

The adoption pattern for cryptocurrencies as both a store and exchange of value may not happen as sporadically as most people expect. However, with reputable industries considering blockchain as alternate means to crowdfund leveraging on the perks of decentralization and trustlessness, the current pace is a steady and evolving transition.

With the likes of UNICEF, blockchain has once again been taken outside the confines of the fintech niche and brought into the regular day-to-day affairs of those who would one day be adopters of this looming technological revolution.

Trusting a developing multi-billion-dollar market, UNICEF sure sees the new technology as an opportunity do much more than virtual trading and speculative analysis. Director of UNICEF France Sébastien Lyon stated in the past: “Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology used for charitable purposes offers a new opportunity to appeal to the generosity of the public and continue to develop our operations with children in the countries of intervention.”

Prior to this news, other developments made by UNICEF around the blockchain industry included the addition of nine popular digital currencies to its website donation portal and a USD 100,000 funding across six blockchain startups.

Other companies are contributing their quota to extend charity through blockchain initiatives. Binance Charity Foundation (BFS) is another active portal that seeks the furtherance of UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

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Paris Graffiti Artist Sets Cryptic Crypto Challenge

Paris Graffiti Artist Sets Cryptic Crypto Challenge

French graffiti artist Pascal Boyart is back with another Bitcoin conundrum, this time embedding the clues to a USD 1,000 price in his latest work “La liberté guidant le peuple 2019”.

Boyart says that the prize hidden somewhere in the art is the public wallet address containing BTC 0.28492509 (USD 1,150 at time of writing). The only trick is to find it. Others are now suggesting that donors put more in to make it a more worthwhile dip into the unknown.

Boyart is well known in the cryptosphere thanks to a graffiti mural he painted last year that included a QR code connected to his Bitcoin wallet so people could make donations to him. His initiative reportedly earned him USD 1,000 from donors.

At the end of last year, the crypto lover and artist organized a Paris exhibition where artists were given the mission to hide Bitcoin symbols within their work somewhere not easily visible to surprise buyers and attendees. Collaborating artists were given the challenge to identify how Bitcoin changes the relationship between artist and audience, and identify how it could liberate creative expressions.

One of the most significant blockchain developments in the art community is the ability it gives creators and buyers to track and prove ownership over pieces of work. Such events, according to Boyart, offer artists a unique opportunity for creative minds to explore how exactly the emerging technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency may influence the art world.

Boyart’s latest challenge is hidden within the mural which is based on Delacroix’s original Revolutionary commentary of its day, Liberty Leading the People, but the artist is giving nothing away, saying, “…it’s up to you to find the wall and the solution to the puzzle.”

 

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Surge in Global ATMs Defies Crypto’s Downward Price Trends

Surge in Global ATMs Defies Crypto's Downward Price Trends

With Bitcoin trading at under USD 3,800 at the time, it marks a year of significant downward movement over a period of 12 months. Yet the rise in the number of global ATMs being installed is continuing.

Bitcoin’s recent slump hasn’t seemed to have affected the ATM industry with reports that it’s healthier than ever, given that at the beginning of 2017 there were only 1,000 machines worldwide. Bitcoin ATM startup BCB ATM saw its sales figures soar by 528% in just 11 months through 2017, and other companies are experiencing the same rise in sales in 2018. Rising Bitcoin prices over the past three years have accelerated the installation of machines with cryptocurrency’s wider adoption around the world.

Bitcoin machines are readily found in the US and Europe but are in increasingly being installed in most parts of the globe. A recent count revealed the US supporting a total of 2,133 ATMs, followed by Canada’s 604, United Kingdom’s 167, Austria’s 148, and the Russian Federation’s 72. Most ATMs only support five cryptocurrencies, which include Bitcoin [BTC], Bitcoin Cash [BCH], Ethereum [ETH], Dash [DASH], and Litecoin [LTC].

The top 10 manufacturers include Genesis Coin (1,165), General Bytes (920), Lamassu (390), BitAccess (210), Coinsource (195), Covault (119), BitXatm (70), Coinme (66), Orderbob ATM (46) and RusBit (43).

Traditional ATMs offer individuals and business owners the ability to withdraw or deposit fiat currency into or from their banking accounts or credit cards. Machines which allow customers to both buy and sell have increased by 35% as manufacturers have improved hardware. These machines have proved to be profitable for global operators as they charge fees for both buying and selling transactions, charging an average fee to the client of 8.77%.

Customers can now purchase their Bitcoin through vouchers, gift cards, and web-money kiosks. Switzerland leads the way with Bitcoin now available as payment at 1,357 railway ticket kiosks around the alpine nation. Recent announcements that from January 1 2019, customers would be able to buy coupons – in values of EUR 50, 100 or 250 – from French tabacs has been viewed by many as a questionable decision and one that was not condoned by the French central bank.

 

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French Parliament Rejects Another Taxation Policy for Crypto

French Parliament Rejects Another Taxation Policy for Crypto

As reported by the French media outlet Capital yesterday, the lower house of the French parliament in the Assemblée Nationale has rejected the amendments made to the 2019 finance bill with regards to cryptocurrency taxation. This makes it the fourth rejection so far in an attempt to provide a compromise on cryptocurrency tax policy that makes it easy to blend with the French economy.

The chairman of the Finance committee rejected the four different amendments with the backing of Bruno Le Maire, the Minister of the Economy and Finance for the Macron government.

An advantage derived by the amendment as proposed will ensure that cryptocurrency transactions are treated the same as stock market transactions. Further, a distinction would have been made between regular crypto transactions and occasion ones. Both instances would have given crypto-asset owners and users a tax advantage.

More so, part of the amendment included an increase in the total annual cryptocurrency transaction volume from EUR 305 to EUR 3,000 or as high as EUR 5,000 in the tax exemption laws. This was dismissed by the chairman who said the current EUR 305 were “quite favorable”.

However, the stance of the chairman was that it could be reevaluated in the future should crypto-assets become more commonly accepted in the country.

On the receiving end, blockchain proponents seem to take the news sadly as they see the amendment as a setback on the adoption of cryptocurrency in the French market.

The president of the blockchain lobbyist group La Chaintech Alexandre Stachtchenko told Capital: “The most frustrating thing about all this is that none of the rejections were motivated or justified by the Chairman or the Minister”. More so, it implied that crypto-asset users should “take all the risks” while the money earned will “go into the coffers of the state”. In his opinion, this was “dramatic”.

Surprisingly, the French government had been more open-minded to the development of the enterprise and was making plans to encourage startups with the issuing of licenses to crowdfund through ICO.

Further, it was not long ago when two deputies from the national assembly recommended that EUR 500 million from public funds be invested into blockchain technology over the course of 3 years. The intention was to explore the application of blockchain technology.

France’s position in relation to the taxation policy about cryptocurrencies remains unclear. Its aim is still geared towards establishing a more global regulatory network as digital currency is used globally, and not just in France.

 

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