Category Archives: France

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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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“Mad Money” Looks at Crypto Art From a Whole New Perspective

A “Mad Money” exhibition taking place in Moscow on the 18th October is dedicated to the art of crypto mining and trading.

Moscow’s Electromuseum is hosting the event, where installations and artwork will examine the nature of the industry in a whole new way, with artists attempting to demonstrate how modern financial instruments can transform society, according to curator Aristarkh Chernyshev.

In the process of putting on the exhibition, Chernyshev was intrigued that many of the artists came up with original ideas for using the heat created by mining. Such ideas, creating by-products from the mining process are gaining popularity. A French-based startup recently came up with a unique idea enabling users to heat their homes whilst using the same energy to mine cryptocurrency.

Mad Money’s artists have used transaction data, stock reports, and microchips as materials for their work, at the exhibition which includes participants such as “One red paperclip’” Canadian blogger Kyle MacDonald, who once bartered his way from a single red paperclip to a house in a series of fourteen online trades over the course of a year.

The event was launched on the back of a Bitcoin’s 10th Anniversary exhibition in Paris earlier this month where artists from all over the world arrived with their own very individual commentaries on the world of cryptocurrency. Featured artwork included Marguerite deCourcelle, also known as Coin Artist who in 2014 painted a picture which contained an encrypted access to five bitcoins and Josephine Bellini, a painter of “Filter”, and Andy Bauch who created his works on the basis of Lego.

The crypto art movement is growing rapidly with some exceptional concepts being created, such as by New York conceptual artist and photographer Kevin Abosch, who earlier this year created 10 million IAMA Coin tokens using the Ethereum ERC-20 protocol. The artist drew six vials of his own blood stamping 100 blockchain addresses where the IAMA Coins reside onto 100 separate pieces of paper using the bodily fluid. Lorenzo Sconci, the owner of Dubai-based Sconci Art Gallery, and CEO of crypto startup ArtWallet which records art provenance on a blockchain commented about this new wave of art:

“Without a doubt, bitcoin and blockchain has been the biggest revolution over the past 10 years. As revolutions have shaped artistic expression throughout time, there is no doubt that crypto will accomplish the same.”

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IBM’s Food Trust Blockchain Goes Live, Carrefour Jumps in First

Multinational tech giant IBM has been leaving a significant imprint on the retail industry lately with the use of blockchain technology, and it’s doing again with the latest project, Food Trust.

IBM, not content with providing foodchain solutions for mega-retailer Walmart, has now hooked up with French supermarket giant Carrefour in order to launch blockchain based Food Trust, enabling the chain to price its products more accurately.

The recent IBM/Walmart project came up with a farm-to-store tracking system based on blockchain technology which Walmart committed 100 of its suppliers to adhere to. Both Walmart and IBM have been at the forefront of DLT since its conception and both companies are eager to promote the use of new technology in sectors including business and commerce. Walmart has become a primary mover in the industry in pushing blockchain forward with numerous patents pending.

The latest IBM deal with Carrefour, now operating in over 12,000 locations around the globe, offers three individual retailing solutions using DLT. The first of which, called “Trace” offers a sophisticated system of tracking products from source, which also factors in shipping and production costs, allowing the retailer to arrive at a fair price to pass on to customers.

Other aspects of Food Trust in its present early form focus establishes how goods fit retailers “Fair Trade” or “Organic” tags in order to be accurately listed on the blockchain, adding to buyer confidence.

Carrefour itself is no stranger to using emerging technologies in recent months and made a recent impact on the French farming sector this year with its blockchain based system which began tracking its chicken supply. This provided customers with an egg to table history by using a smartphone to scan a code on the packaging to obtain details on each stage of production, including origins, earlier location, feed and where the meat was finally processed.

Carrefour may be the first to use the latest IBM system, but now Food Trust is live and it’s there to be used by all in the food industry moving forward.

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Heat Your House Whilst Earning Using French Crypto-Heater

A French-based startup has come up with a unique idea which enables users to heat their homes whilst using the same energy to mine cryptocurrency.

Startup Qarnot has manufactured the QC 1 crypto-heater, one of two products using both heating and computer energy, which uses the heat generated by home computers to heat the surrounding area via a system of graphic plates.

The crypto-heater is advertised as the only one in the market to be perfectly noiseless with no embedded mobile parts (no fans, no hard drives) and IP-protected. Taking only 10 mins to set up, the heat of the QC-1 is generated by 2 graphics cards embedded in the device enabling the mining of cryptocurrencies or blockchain transactions, while it heats.

At 2,900 euros plus shipping, this heater doesn’t come cheap though. The unit is advertised as configured to mine Ethereum and has extra controls which allow the user to follow the crypto market, either through an LED readout on the heater or via a downloadable app. Heater owners are able to mine other cryptocurrencies through a GitHub link which will give them the necessary codes.

As for dual-usage household products, this time not designed on a commercial level, but more as a bi-product, Alabama IT worker Lee, gave up his graphics card that he was using for Bitcoin mining for his bathtub. This turned out to be a much better tool for the job. By using ambient air pulled into a system to cool his ASICs and heated air pushed through a water-to-air intercooler pumped through from his bathtub, he generated enough computer heated water to keep his mining habits up to par.

The only problem was, he generated bathwater of 122F/50C, so fearing for the life of his pets he decided to halt his bathtub mining activities.

“Imagine a crypto heated swimming pool or anything else you could heat with the output from a small, medium, or large-scale mining operation,” gta3uzi wrote on Reddit.

Some suggestions arising from his post included using the hot water to create a sauna, heating his home, drying one’s hair, and even cooking a steak sous vide.

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700 French Savers Targeted By Bogus Exchanges in $35 Million Hype

The Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF), the French independent stock market regulator in that country, has told French newspaper La Parisienne that 700 savers have fallen foul of a current bout of phone scams in this year alone.

The amount of money lost to the scams is estimated to be around EUR 31 million ($35 million) according to the newspaper report. The scammers have taken to targeting victims via phone, after promising huge investment returns on Bitcoin via ads posted by phony sellers online.

Unfortunately, most of the victims are not crypto-aware, know nothing of the technology, and can only see the possibility of making a fast return on their savings simply too good to pass up, according to the French site Cryptonaute.

Lawyer Hélène Féron-Poloni, who is a specialist in inheritance cases, maintains that most savers have exactly no idea what’s happening when they commit to transferring their funds to “fabulous investments,” often confused by the technical jargon fed to them by the callers.

Marketing Director of Coinhouse, Brian O’Hagan, describe this year’s epidemic as “a plague, we’ve spotted over 200 fraudulent websites,” he commented.

These events, involving scammers either offering high returns for Bitcoin investment or as has been the case in the UK, using celebrities to promote unsound and often illegal deals, are worrying, but the cases of Bitcoin used in major crimes have been proven to be highly exaggerated.

It is undeniable that just like cash, cryptocurrencies are on the radar of criminals but the use of Bitcoin in criminal activity has dropped to 35% of the market share from a peak of 80% when the flagship digital currency was in its infancy.

In the US, a senior member of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies Centre on Sanctions and Illicit Finance recently spoke out against anti-crypto rhetoric, particularly those aimed at the financing of militant jihads, a reason often used by governments as a cause celebre for not advocating the use of cryptocurrencies. He referred to a recent report which found that:

“The use of cryptocurrencies by terrorist groups has only involved low-level transactions – their main funding still stems from conventional banking and money remittance services.”

In response to this year’s figures, the Autorite des Marches Financiers has increased its blacklist of dubious exchanges suggesting that they offer “unauthorized operations and atypical investments” warning investors and savers that “no advertising materials should make you overlook the fact that high returns always involve high risk.”

France remains open to cryptocurrency and blockchain projects and the AMF is also gaining sweeping powers to grant licenses to new initial coin offerings (ICOs) in the country. The French government is hopeful that with sound legislation and a legal framework, France will be able to continue to attract investors from around the world.

 

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Luxembourg Aims to Provide Legal Certainty for Blockchain

The government of Luxembourg is hoping to pass a bill through their legislature which will enable blockchain technology to be backed by an extra layer of legal security.

Tiny landlocked Luxembourg has an important role in the EU as the seat of the European Court of Justice, the highest judicial authority in the European Community. The bill which is being tabled by the government has been drafted in order to ensure that all blockchain-based transactions have the same level of security and legal stature as of those made without the technology behind them.

The country’s finance minister Pierre Gramegna has suggested that such measures are being introduced as a step to guarantee investor security and confidence in blockchain as a technological tool, suggesting that:

”This was in the best interests of the financial sector, as there have already been transactions done using blockchain, such as distributing parts of investment funds, for example.”

Luxembourg, is continuing to position itself as a blockchain hub in the region; surrounded by France, Germany, and Belgium. It is still in the throws of expanding its development in the sector. In comments made last year by Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister and minister of Telecommunication stated:

“The state is fulfilling its role as a kickstarter and a coordinator while leaving technological and commercial choices to the industry”, whilst facilitating projects which create “meaningful projects in cutting-edge technology.”

The new bill which is expected to pass into legislation is primarily aimed at blockchain and will make no reference to cryptocurrency or ICOs, but will focus on the new technology’s target of promoting new financial goods and services. Luxembourg’s financial regulator the CSSF has not particularly warmed to cryptocurrency in the same way as its neighbours, warning earlier this year that as yet the ICO model is as yet unproven.

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UNICEF France Now Accepting Multiple Crypto Coin Donations

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has announced that its French office now accepts cryptocurrency donations.

UNICEF France has followed up on other cryptocurrency related initiatives it adopted this year, to add 9 popular digital currencies to its website donation portal. The donation option features most of the popular coins including BCH and BTC.

The United Nations Children’s Fund is a United Nations program headquartered in New York City that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. It is a member of the United Nations Development Group. UNICEF currently works in 190 countries and territories around the globe.

This is not the first case of UNICEF using cryptocurrency to facilitate and fund their projects around the world. Earlier this year the organization announced a program designed to use donors’ computers to raise fiat currency through cryptocurrency mining.

The website, the nucleus of the new project, is called The Hope Page and is able to mine the cryptocurrency Monero using donors’ computer processing power through Coinhive, a crypto-mining service. In February, it launched a similar program to support children in Syria, affected by the lengthy civil war in that country, using donors’ computers to mine Ether. Talking about the latest of the fund’s humanitarian projects to support children around the globe, director of UNICEF France, Sébastien Lyon stated:

“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.”

Recently, there’s been a significant increase in charity events related to crypto. Some of these have joined a growing establishment of charities accepting Bitcoin donations such as Electronic Frontier Foundation, Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, WikiLeaks, Antiwar.com, Watsi, Water Project, Code to Inspire, Bitgive and Epic Change.

Despite the trend, charities claim they are still underfunded, and opening up to numerous cryptocurrencies is one way of opening up other channels for donors to support essential projects.

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France Celebrates 10 Years of Bitcoin With National Art Exhibition

In celebration of Bitcoin’s upcoming tenth birthday, international artists have come together to offer a crypto-themed exhibition in France.

Thematically, the exhibition will explore how cryptocurrencies can inspire artists to look beyond the traditional social parameters that influence their work, including the banking system. The collaborating artists have been given the challenge to identify how Bitcoin changes the relationship between artist and audience, and identify how it can liberate creative expressions.

Artist and organizer Pascal Boyart said that the exhibition, Art (r)evolution, is a unique opportunity for creative minds to explore how exactly the emerging technologies of blockchain and cryptocurrency may influence the art world. Artists were also given the mission to hide Bitcoin symbols within their work somewhere not easily visible to surprise buyers and attendees.

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. Event organizers have posted the question to participating artists, querying whether now it is possible to sell works independently without intermediaries, empowering the creators financially.

All of the showcased work will be available to purchase with some of the most prominent cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Monero.

Held in Paris, Boyart said this was a deliberate choice as the French capital has historically been the place for new artistic movements, and he believes it can become the key location for the crypto-art movement to blossom. He added,”The advent of cryptocurrencies is not just a monetary revolution, it’s also a cultural revolution.”

Boyart is well known in the cryptosphere thanks to a graffiti mural he painted 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.

Other artists attending the event include Andy Bauch, Coin Artist, Nanu Berks, Yom de Saint Phalle, Ilies Issiakhem, Josephine Bellini, Yosh, Mark Bern, Choq and Youl.

The event is scheduled from 28 September to 5 October 2018 and is open to the public.

 

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New French ICO Framework Attracts Innovation, Boosts Macron’s Business Plan

France is continuing to follow President Macron’s plan raise its business profile in the world by establishing a legal framework for ICOs.

A recent Autorité des Marchés Financier (AMF) annual report indicated that ICOs are most definitely on the agenda for further regulatory framework as Robert Ophèle, President of the AMF, indicated that the government body would:

“…continue to reflect on changes in the regulatory framework in the face of new offers, in particular, the Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), and to promote at European level the French regulator’s approach to innovation.”

The government has now taken one step further with a new announcement by finance minister Bruno Le Maire that the corresponding legislation, Article 26, had now been “adopted in (parliamentary) committee”, to improve business growth in the country, adding, “This legal framework will attract innovators from around the world of blockchain…”

✅Article 26 adopté en commission #PACTE !

➡Un cadre juridique des #ICO est créé. L’@AMF_actu pourra délivrer un visa aux acteurs respectant des critères de protection des épargnants
➡Ce cadre juridique va attirer les innovateurs du monde entier #blockchain #DirectAN

— Bruno Le Maire (@BrunoLeMaire) September 12, 2018

The legislation will allow the AMF to now approve businesses wanting to launch ICOs in France, given certain criteria are met by companies that “those projects provide specific guarantees for investors”.

Law firm Kramer Levin sees the new legislation providing a clear a definition of tokens for would-be French investors, suggesting that a token is:

“An intangible property representing, in numerical form, one or more rights that can be issued, registered, conserved or transferred using a shared electronic registration mechanism that facilitates the identification, directly or indirectly, of the owner of said property.”

After the lackluster and largely ineffective government led by previous president Francois Holland, Macron’s new regime has taken businesses to task with real vigor in an attempt to refresh outmoded business practices and regulations and inspire overseas faith in a new forward-looking approach, largely driven by government.

President Macron is seen by those that know him well and experts in the sector as a pro-tech leader, believing that he will further the interests of startups in the crypto industry as part of his business rejuvenation plan for the nation.

 

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It’s 2-0 as Brazilian and French Football Teams Go Crypto

With an increase in football teams and individual players taking up crypto-related products, two more clubs have picked up this current trend.

Two teams, Brazilian Avaí Futebol and top French club Paris Saint-Germain have both recently announced their own crypto token sales.

Avai Futebol Clube, currently languishing in Brazils Series B second tier, has announced plans for a USD 20 million ICO to develop a fanbase digital ecosystem in order to gain promotion to the higher Series A division. With promotion, the club would then be able to compete in the prestigious Copa Libertadores and make much-needed infrastructure modifications.

The club plans to work with SportyCo and Blackbridge Sports to sell 20.46 million tokens at USD 1 each and retain another 7% of the issue. Avaí president Francisco José Battistotti suggests that the ICO is part of a real push to get promotion and spread the club’s fanbase to a wider audience:

“With our ICO, we are actively… engaging all Avaí FC in Florianópolis and Brazil, working together towards our goal – to become a stable member of Brazil’s Série A and qualify for the Copa Libertadores… paving the way for other clubs all over the world to approach financing their sporting activities in this novel way.”

The club has set a minimum target of USD 8 million with its eyes set on a USD 20 million fundraising round, although the management suggests that funds will be returned to investors should it not make the lower figure.

The announcement follows French football giants Paris Saint-Germain’s own statement earlier this week that it was planning to form a partnership with Malta-based blockchain company Socios.com to issue its own cryptocurrency. PSG have become the most famous club in French history having won a total of 38 trophies at the top level, including the EUFA Cup.

The Fan Token Offering (FTO) will allow fans with PSG tokens to vote on “cosmetic” club issues, such as awarding player prizes, choosing friendlies and choosing strip colours.

 

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