Category Archives: Litecoin

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The Music Industry Flirts With Crypto and Reaps the Benefits

Recently, blockchain tech and cryptocurrencies have used their burgeoning popularity to pull in stars from the world of sport, not wanting to miss out on the next big thing on the block. However, musicians are some of the newbies on the front line of the new tech. Some have made more impact than others though.

Better known from his time with band Genesis, Peter Gabriel is an example of one who has no intention of dabbling. Gabriel is an ardent fundraiser for humanitarian causes and a supporter of the British Labour Party to which he has made significant donations.

His investment in the startup, Provenance, was undisclosed but clearly, it’s now contributing towards the company’s expansion of its product. Through Provenance, Gabriel’s money helps provide transparency to food transportation, basically giving the public a better idea of exactly where their food comes from and how it gets there. The Provenance blockchain-based application is predicted to be used in over 1,000 food businesses by 2025.

The ex-Genesis singer and drummer can now add his name to the list with other prominent personalities promoting ICOs over social media in the past year, such as Paris Hilton, Floyd Mayweather, and Katy Perry.

Islandic enigmatic singer Bjork wants her music out there and be purchased with crypto, to which end she hooked up last year with London based Blockpool, allowing her fans to exchange Litecoin, Dashcoin, and AudioCoin for her 2017 album Utopia.

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

Senegalese singer AKON with his cryptocurrency Akoin also made the headlines amid plans to build a crypto city, but others from the music industry are getting involved in the blockchain, such as Kanye West.

Never to be outdone, rapper Kanye West tweeted happily earlier this year about blockchain and his version of a digital music service Spotify called Yeezy Sound, aimed to be a decentralized application that would incorporate cryptocurrency. That plan clearly is still in the pipeline, although the trademark applications are in.

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Luxury Crypto Auctions Getting Cleaner as Bitcoin Footprint Improves

A luxury goods entrepreneur is now taking her company, which specializes in selling luxury vehicles, into the crypto space with good honest Bitcoin.

Bonham Auctions owned by Elizabeth White has to date sold over 30 Lamborghinis, a Ferrari which went under the hammer for a staggering USD 4 million and even sold a car to a 16-year-old waiting for his driving license after making his fortune Bitcoin mining.

In the past, such luxury items auctions have received some bad press, with suggestions that most of the proceeds feeding into such auctions are simply money laundering opportunities.

White disagrees, refuting that Bitcoin is the choice of disreputable clients and arguing that the nature of blockchain allows her to keep a close tab on clients:

“Every transaction is recorded on the Blockchain, which is publicly accessible, so it is actually much more transparent… We know who our clients are.”

A recent report by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future has indicated that Bitcoin is no longer the choice of criminals while coins such as Dash and Litecoin are increasingly being used for more nefarious purposes with 30% of dark web vendors accepting Litecoin and 20% accepting Dash.

White gains from the fact that buyers would need a prolonged period of withdrawals from exchanges in order to buy some of her auction items due to limits of USD 10,000 a week whereas they can transfer much larger sums to her in an instant. There is a strategy involved in terms of whether she holds or sells her Bitcoin due to current market volatility.

White has recently launched her own stable coin (WSD) tied to the USD to try and get around these issues, enabling customers to use her wallet facility to trade Bitcoin for WSD.

There is also an increasing number of platforms being launched to help wealthy consumers part with their cryptocurrency, usually on luxury items. Such entrepreneurs have created a business seemingly out of very little but nonetheless, they are serving a specific crypto elite and creating a thriving retailer-consumer database.

One such London gallery in Mayfair simply advises their clients on how to spend their cryptocurrency on luxury items and guides them through the process, working as a middleman between wealthy consumers and an established list of retailers.

 

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Coinbase Move Towards Primary Banking with New Support for Sterling

Coinbase has made another change to its platform making it easier for UK users to deposit and withdraw UK pounds.

The current system has caused frustrations for users particularly those that have UK bank linked to their account and wish to deposit the proceeds of a transaction changing Bitcoin, Ethereum or Litecoin into sterling.

The current process requires users to transfer their cryptocurrency into sterling, then pay into a euro account on the Coinbase platform and only then transfer the funds in Euros to a UK account, incurring SEPA transfer fees and losing money on the exchange as the euros then get changed back into pounds sterling.

The new system was introduced due to numerous complaints regarding Coinbase’s lack of a user-friendly system. Users complained about the difficulties in withdrawing as opposed to depositing. The exchange clearly prefers clients to either buy cryptocurrency with money on the exchange or deposit their funds rather than leave it on the platform which is always a risk due to potential hackers but needs to speed up its process.

The new system, which apparently will not be available to all users immediately, was described by Coinbase UK’s chief executive Zeeshan Feroz as being “progress towards becoming a primary bank account”.

It is suggested that sterling support will mean Coinbase users get access to the UK’s Faster Payments system offering same day deposits and immediate transfers. Coinbase had previously partnered with UK bank Barclays and currently allows most banks to transfer funds into UK accounts.

Last week, the San Francisco Exchange introduced a digital gift card program aimed at revamping old business models, offering European clients other ways of accessing cash for crypto. Many potential clients are dissuaded from signing up to platforms such as Coinbase due to lengthy verification processes, sometimes waiting many weeks before a user’s bank can be verified and linked for payments.

 

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First Fully Compliant Crypto Exchange Under New European Framework to Open in Liechtenstein

Under the most recent guidelines from the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), the first fully compliant cryptocurrency exchange is now open for registration in Liechtenstein.

ESMA’s new framework MiFID II/MiFIR was introduced in January 2018 to offer consumers an extra level of protection. The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (2004/39/EC) has been applicable across the European Union since November 2007.

It is a cornerstone of the EU’s regulation of financial markets seeking to improve their competitiveness by creating a single market for investment services and activities and to ensure a high degree of harmonised protection for investors in financial instruments. The new updated legislation (MiFID II) was introduced to further strengthen investor protection and improve the functioning of financial markets, making them more efficient, resilient and transparent.

Liechtenstein-based Blocktrade.com cryptocurrency exchange opens in full compliance with these new European regulations, the beta version reported to be the first of its kind.

The exchange promises to trade in Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ripple, offering users feedback rewards via the platform’s “Need Help” widget and a “Beta Feedback” option. Users sending in feedback stand to win an iWatch as part of the prize draw.

Blocktrade.com’s CEO, Luka Gubo feels that the platform adhering to the new EU guidelines will give greater credibility to cryptocurrency use in general. He said:

“This is an ideal way for regulators across Europe to recognize cryptocurrencies as a new asset class and put in a regulatory framework.”

It is commonly felt in the industry now that sensible and clear regulation will impact on the crypto ecosystem as a whole, and this is reflected in the global move towards regulation.

Liechtenstein’s prime minister recently stated he wanted his country to be at the forefront of the digital age, suppressing any burdensome regulations on blockchain technology. Its aim is to provide its citizens with sensible but cohesive blockchain regulations.

The Ukrainian government is another European nation leading this drive towards sensible cryptocurrency and blockchain regulation. The head of the Ukraine National Securities and Stock Market Commission, Timur Khromaev, has recently suggested that the way to move forward is to recognize cryptocurrencies as tokens and financial instruments, which will then necessitate government regulation and licensing rules, all of which is currently absent in Ukraine.

This, he suggests, would be “an important first step in building a consensus among government agencies and financial regulators”.

 

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Blockchain Sentiment Survey: Crypto Embraced by All Political Ideologies

Coindesk Research has published the results from its State of Blockchain Q2 2018 research. The findings show the extent of cryptocurrency adoption across all political ideologies, notably finding the number of liberals has surpassed those with a libertarian ideology. 

Key findings

Of 1,200 participants, the responses were broken down into categories as so: 27% liberals, 24% libertarians, 21% conservatives, 9% centrists,  9% socialists, 8% anarcho-capitalists, and 3% nihilists.

Considering the results in a strictly political left versus right, 52% of those in the cryptocurrency space fall on the right side of the spectrum, with 45% on the left.

Ideology by coin

Ethereum (ETH), EOS and Ripple (XRP) were ranked most favorably with those on the left, while DASH, Litecoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) were favored by a larger majority of those on the right.

XRP also shows the largest cluster towards more centrist politics when broken down into individual categories, as Monero (XMR) attracts those from the most extreme side of each spectrum and claiming the largest total number of anarcho-capitalists at 36%.

How and why

Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin particularly are still generally considered popular by those who believe in limited or no government centralization, and who trust in the free market such as libertarians and anarcho-capitalists. This was certainly the case in the early days of Bitcoin, but the changing shape of the market and individual cryptocurrencies over time has attracted those from all corners of political preference.

55% of respondents in Coindesk’s Q1 survey said that they did not begin actively watching the cryptocurrency industry until 2017; this is when greater financial incentives came in to play for the general population as they learned about Bitcoin. Prior to Bitcoin becoming seen as a profitable investment, much of the community pursued it out of their own libertarian, or similar, ideology. The profit motive attracted a group of people that represent the general population far more closely.

When it comes down to specific cryptocurrencies, the nuances of the leadership structure largely correlates with the beliefs in one’s political ideology. As the Bitcoin Sign Guy said, cryptocurrencies with increased central leadership or governance attract a higher percentage of those who identify as socialist.

What to take from the survey

With just 1,200 participants, the survey is perhaps not quite substantial enough to provide a definitive representation of political ideologies in the field, but it is certainly an interesting starting point.

Considering the percentage of the community that supports regulations and government acceptance of cryptocurrencies, it is not all too surprising to see this variety of political opinion.

 

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London Gallery Owner Helps Crypto Wealthy Make Expensive Choices

There is an increasing number of platforms being launched to help wealthy consumers part with their cryptocurrency, usually on luxury items, writes the China Morning Post.

Such entrepreneurs have created a business seemingly out of very little, but nonetheless, they are serving a specific crypto elite and creating a thriving retailer-consumer database.

Working from her gallery in London’s Mayfair, Eleesa Dadiani is one of the new providers to the crypto rich, with clients ranging from 20 to 70 years of age. It started a couple of years ago, she maintains, has noted that those who had made significant profits from cryptocurrency trading really had no idea how to spend it. Using her established clientele through her gallery Dadiani Fine Arts she decided to make it happen by forming a syndicate of retailers and customers to turn some of this wealth into goods. She explained:

“A couple of years ago, when we saw bitcoin perform as well as it did, there was no way to use those coins. You were rich on screen, but what could you do with it? You could invest in ICOs [initial coin offerings], but what about something tangible? The answer was ‘Nothing’.”

Dadiani is certainly a believer and wants to make cryptocurrency do what it was intended for. Her gallery was one of the first globally to accept multiple cryptocurrencies; she currently supports Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Litecoin, Ripple, Dash, and NEM. Her customers come to her so she can help them make that otherwise difficult crypto purchase.

The list of her client’s purchases are impressive to say the least, from bloodstock to jets, from gold bullion to rare cars, she’s handled them all. Even the purchase of four Formula 1 cars valued at £4 million ($5.3 million) wasn’t enough to dampen her enthusiasm for her role as crypto “ middle-man.”

She says she has little time for crypto-idealists trying to create decentralized government-free crypto utopias, suggesting that people need to make a “cognitive shift” and find a way of integrating cryptocurrency into real life through gradual change. She argues:

“These libertarians, they don’t understand money, they don’t understand history,” she says. “They know nothing about politics or international relations. You have to understand the world you live in before you can change it.”

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TokenPay Gives Litecoin Foundation 9.9% Stake in Germany’s WEG Bank

Cryptocurrency payment service TokenPay purchased a 9.9% stake in Germany’s WEG Bank, and gifted a 9.9% stake to the Litecoin Foundation to forge a partnership. In return for the stake, the Litecoin Foundation agreed to provide technology and marketing expertise for TokenPay’s blockchain initiatives including the TPAY cryptocurrency, eFin decentralized exchange, TokenSuisse asset management, WEG Bank’s FinTech platform, and a multi-signature transaction engine.

Charlie Lee, founder of Litecoin and director of the Litecoin Foundation, says, “This partnership is a huge win-win for both Litecoin and TokenPay. I’m looking forward to integrating Litecoin with the WEG Bank AG and all the various services it has to offer, to make it simple for anyone to buy and use Litecoin. I’m also excited about Litecoin’s support in TokenPay’s eFin decentralized exchange.”

The CEO of WEG Bank, Matthias von Hauff, says, “The partnership with innovative institutions such as TokenPay and Litecoin might at first come unexpectedly for a very conservative institution like us. But we have thoroughly and diligently examined the prospects of a common future, and we became convinced that the future of banking will make adoption of such modern payment methods inevitable. We are therefore proud to have teamed up with the best in the field.”

Under German law, no entity can buy more than a 9.9% share in a bank without regulatory approval. If TokenPay receives approval they plan on buying up all the shares of WEG Bank. This is a big if, since it would probably be the first time in history that a cryptocurrency firm purchased an entire bank, and would be major positive news for the crypto world. They want to keep the Litecoin Foundation on board as a strategic partner, so the Litecoin Foundation would keep its stake even if TokenPay takes over WEG Bank.

Due to its partnerships with the Litecoin Foundation, WEG Bank and Verge, TokenPay is expecting to get several hundred thousand customers when it releases its crypto debit cards. Indeed, the fact that TokenPay has a large share in a bank sets the foundation for an ideal fiat to crypto exchange service for cryptocurrency traders. Oftentimes, centralized actions by banks are the biggest hindrance to trading crypto for fiat, but since TokenPay now owns a part of WEG Bank, it is likely it won’t face much banking problems.

 

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Crypto Giant Huobi Australia-Bound for ‘Knowledgeable and Sophisticated’ Trading

Singapore crypto giant Huobi has announced it has begun trading from Sydney on its new Australian platform, reports the Asia Times.

It has been a huge week for Huobi, the world’s third-largest crypto exchange by trade volume also announced that it has opened registration on its newly created U.S.-based “strategic partner” trading platform.

The new Australian venture has come about following Huobi’s comments that Australian traders are reputed to be well respected. The company will be trading 10 pairs including BTC, ETH, BCH, and LTC in Australian dollars.

The company suggests that Huobi’s billion dollars a day in trade volume can be further boosted with the addition of new trading pairs. Smaller pairs at present include Ethereum Classic (ETC), Power Ledger (POWR), Aelf (ELF), Cortex (CTXC), Data (DTA) and IOST with more “obscure” pairs to follow.

In another development, tech giant IBM has been expanding into Australasia and has signed a five-year deal security deal worth $740 million with the Australian government. The focus of the deal is to improve the company’s cybersecurity capabilities by employing blockchain related technologies.

IBM Australia and New Zealand managing director David la Rose says that the deal is a testament to their 40-year partnership with the Australian government, adding, “We look forward to helping the Australian government to re-define the digital experience for the benefit of all Australians.”

The new deal can be seen very much as a rebuilding of trust between IBM and the Australian Government which has recently been dented by the company’s 2016 national census survey receiving four “distributed denial of service” notices at the time, which temporarily shut down the service. IBM agreed to pay the Australian government more than A$30 million ($US20 million) in compensation.

Huobi’s latest US cryptocurrency marketplace comes via a San Francisco-based company called HBUS, which will support nine cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Tether (USDT), DASH, Civic (CVC) and TrueUSD (TUSD), according to Cointelegraph.

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Brazil Accepts Crypto Payments For Cross-Country Transportation

Two Brazilian public transportation companies Viação Garcia and Brasil Sul have become the first of their kind in the country to offer a cryptocurrency payment option. Both bus companies are owned by GSB Group.

Currently, just Bitcoin is accepted, although the buisnesses are looking to expand into offering Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin payment options by July.

How it works

To choose the cryptocurrency payment method, customers must use the online pre-pay service. They are required to open their person online wallets and scan a code that appears on the screen. Viação Garcia or Brasil Sul will then email a voucher to the customer as payment confirmation.

The bus services offer trips between major metropolitan regions for both urban, and semi-urban areas. Additional options offered include sightseeing trips for clubs, schools, companies, unions, religious groups, as well as general private hire events.

Speaking on the crypto-payment adoption, GSB Group Vice President Estefano Boiko Jr. noted: “Many of the economic and commercial operations are migrating to the digital world, and in the road passenger transport segment it’s no different.”

Mass-adoption milestone

The move is being praised as a significant step in the goal of bringing cryptocurrencies into the mainstream. Brazil’s last population census accounted for nearly 208 million people, a hugely significant market should cryptocurrency payment options be adopted by alternative public transport service providers.

In 2017, Brazilian cryptocurrency exchanges accounted for USD 2.5 billion in Bitcoin, particularly notable considering an estimated 60 million people in Brazil do not have access to a ‘traditional’ bank account.

The adoption of cryptocurrency method by GSB Group is also indicative of a larger, global trend in modernising public transport services. Brisk Pass, a German initiative, offers an international blockchain-based system for recording public transport transactions.

Smart contracts allow members of the wallet to use public transportation located all over the world without purchasing tickets with fiat currencies, as they purchase the native BriskCoin token to make their purchases on the platform.

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‘World’s First’ Crypto Art Auction to Sell Andy Warhol Painting via Blockchain

Blockchain platform Maecenas announced Wednesday its plans to hold the “world’s first cryptocurrency art auction”, featuring a piece by famed artist Andy Warhol, as reported by Cointelegraph.

Crypto-friendly art auction

The auction will be held at UK fine art gallery Dadiani Syndicate on 20 June, with a 49% ownership stake of Andy Warhol’s 14 Small Electric Chairs up for sale. The piece is part of Warhol’s 1980 Reversal series, currently valued at USD 5.6 million, with a reserve price set for the part-ownership at USD 4 million.

Digital certificates will be issued confirming part-ownership upon purchase via the Maecenas blockchain platform. The acquisition can be made with either Maecenas’s ART token, Bitcoin, or Ether. To make the purchase of Warhol’s piece, buyers must be fully KYC and AML compliant.

Maecenas offers immutable purchase history and ownership information, connecting investors and art dealers on the platform while running a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain for this particular piece.

Cryptocurrency is becoming an increasingly popular payment method for art investors. In 2017, the Dadiani gallery began accepting cryptocurrency payment methods, as did the luxury market alternative Dadiani Syndicate which accepts Bitcoin, Ether and Litecoin.

Blockchain solutions

Blockchain can offer a practical solution to issues regarding copyright, ownership, and authenticity, problems faced in the art industry but certainly not restricted to it.

Sam Radocchia, co-founder of art blockchain authentification platform Chronicled described the main ambitions of the company as ”improving provenance and reducing art forgery“.

Registering art on the blockchain creates a cryptographic link between a physical work and the blockchain, meaning once it is registered, its identity can be automatically authenticated for potential buyers. This eliminates any forgeries or shady dealings from taking place.

There is also the added benefit of being able to monitor pieces of art while they are traveling. Blockchain has the potential to let buyers track the entire journey of their purchase on a mobile app, ensuring what they receive is true to what they paid for.

 

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