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French Yellow Vests Go Crypto with GiletJauneCoin

French Yellow Vests Go Crypto with GiletJauneCoin

The latest revolution on the streets of Paris, reminiscent of the student riots of May 1968 March, has been typified on news networks by shots of demonstrators sporting safety vests hurling objects from behind barricades at the police.

Among the Gilets Jaunes, named after the yellow vests they sport, is a majority who took the trip the capital to protest peacefully against president Macron’s political reforms and escalating taxes – the French bete noir. The French will tolerate a lot, but when it comes to taxes, the state’s calling card is everywhere in French society.

The latest development of what has become an ongoing protest by Les Gilets Jaunes across major French cities and also a weekend event in Paris, is the launching of a cryptocurrency. This is remarkable in the sense that as a body, the Gilets Jaunes don’t even recognize themselves as a movement and have no leadership.

However, there is now a website built around the GiletJauneCoin (GJC0) which was reportedly launched at the beginning of the protests two weeks ago. The project itself launched online yesterday and GJC0 is now sitting at a network hash rate of over 2.4Gh/s and reached a block height of close to 40,000.

As yet, the tokens have no intrinsic value and can’t be traded on exchanges. The aim of the launch is unclear due to the decentralized nature of the movement itself, one that refuses to even call itself one but rather sees itself as sporadic assemblies of French citizens with similar gripes about central government.

One spokesman with a clear aim has emerged from the tear gas though. Max Keiser, a financial pundit and cryptocurrency advocate has been tweeting the Yellow Vests to start converting their bank savings into Bitcoin:

If every French person converted 20% of their bank deposits into #Bitcoin (and got a Bitcoin debit card to use for day-2-day stuff), French banks and the government would collapse and a lot of bloodshed could be avoided. #jilletsjaunes #JeSuisSatoshi pic.twitter.com/stKqKHYHWl

— Max Keiser [Jan/3🔑] (@maxkeiser) December 9, 2018

Keiser’s belief is that a 20% deposit and withdrawal would create a chain reaction among France’s banks which would lead to a banking crisis. In the event that as he predicts Bitcoin prices would escalate this would give the public an incentive of making further withdraws to buy Bitcoin, putting the French banking system in turmoil.

 

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Permabull Tom Lee Puts Bitcoin Fair Value Near $15k

Permabull Tom Lee Puts Bitcoin Fair Value Near k

Fundstrat Managing Partner and Head of Research Thomas Lee is sticking to his guns despite Bitcoin’s flailing fortunes, saying that its fair market value is no lower than USD 13,000 and as high as USD 14,800.

Thomas Lee predicted that Bitcoin would hit USD 25,000 by the end of 2018, and while that forecast is all but guaranteed to go out the window by some distance, he insists that evidence of the growing number of active wallet addresses, usage per account, and factors influencing supply calculates fair market value at far higher prices.

Without disclosing the exact formula that combines these indicators, Lee attributes Bitcoin’s “meltdown” below fair market value to ICO companies selling off their treasuries, and the overall macroeconomic climate.

Bitcoin News also examined the possible causation driven by the launch of Bitcoin futures on CME. The Bitcoin market began its steep descent from USD 20,000 on 17 December 2017, the same day the futures launched. The Federal Reserve confirms that the launch of Bitcoin futures is a primary cause of the decline in Bitcoin’s price.

Combining Lee’s analysis and the Federal Reserve statements regarding Bitcoin futures, it can be postulated that Bitcoin really is below its fair market value due to the Bitcoin futures, and that price has become decoupled from reality. If this is true, it is similar to what happened to the spot gold markets after futures became a dominant force.

Essentially, once futures markets are introduced to an asset class, the fair market value no longer determines spot value. This theory is perhaps not well-known in the crypto space, leading to numerous price forecast busts in 2018.

Asked to update this forecast, Lee responded, “We are tired of people asking us about target prices.” Perhaps Lee now understands the tried and true weatherman adage that one should not make a forecast unless they have to.

 

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Study Indicates Blockchain Vital Ingredient for Carbon Efficient World

Study Indicates Blockchain Vital Ingredient for Carbon Efficient World

According to a major comprehensive study, blockchain technologies “can clearly benefit energy systems operations, markets, and consumers”.

Unbiased

The study, ‘Blockchain technology in the energy sector: A systematic review of challenges and opportunities‘, was made available online last month. It was conducted by scientists from Heriot-Watt University in Scotland who were looking deeper into the potential of blockchain technology when applied to the energy sector.

Having reviewed 140 blockchain research projects and startups, the researchers mapped out the “potential and relevance of blockchains for energy applications”, from which they have drawn several varied conclusions with regards to the present and future opportunities of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) as well as the challenges the technology faces.

Citing hallmark blockchain features such as “disintermediation, transparency and tamper-proof transactions”, the study also describes the “novel solutions” that DLT offers, writing that it also empowers consumers and “small renewable generators to play a more active role in the energy market and monetize their assets”. It adds that blockchains have resulted in sharing economy applications in energy, prompting authors to cite “novel market models and energy democratization”.

Intelligent energy

Referencing a survey of the German Energy Agency, the study highlights the growing positive sentiments toward blockchain with 20% of them seeing the tech as a “game changer for energy suppliers”. Furthermore, it notes that numerous energy utility companies have begun to explore DLT’s potential “as an enabling technology for low-carbon transition and sustainability”.

A city in South Korea and the United Kingdom are just two examples of jurisdictions that have partnered with blockchain enterprises on a mission to reduce carbon emissions via their solutions. The UK example is notable as the intention behind the ambitious project is to turn the city climate-positive, offsetting 110% of the emissions and utilizing the positive figure to fund conservation projects around the world.

There is also mention of blockchain enabled Virtual Power Plants (VPPs), these are distributed energy production facilities that connect multiple energy producers to a cloud-based system where excess and idle energy can be tapped and efficiently distributed and monitored. In South Korea, a VPP project was recently announced with renewable power generating units as the core energy model, intended to reduce energy consumption demands during peak-hours and redistribute it to wherever it is needed.

Power trades

A notable takeaway from the study is the examination of peer-to-peer (P2P) trading and decentralized energy. As written in the report: “Potential use cases in this category are decentralized trading in microgrids, bilateral transactions between prosumers and consumers and business-to-business (B2B) energy trading.”

Solutions provided by blockchain could be used in conjunction with VPPs, enhance grid and network management control as well other benefits. Most interestingly, direct P2P energy trading between users could create an on-demand energy marketplace, something of which numerous energy-based eco-blockchain startups are vying for, including one that is soon to go ahead in Japan.

The study is one of the most comprehensive of its kind and from an unbiased perspective, carefully examines blockchain in the energy sector as a future technology that boasts marvelous promise, but is not without its challenges.

Singing off, the study writes: “Blockchain technologies can be disruptive for energy companies and face a large variety of challenges to achieve market penetration, including legal, regulatory and competition barriers. Additional research initiatives, trials, projects, and collaborations will show if the technology can reach its full potential, prove its commercial viability and finally be adopted in the mainstream.”

 

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Pentagon Tops Crypto on “Worst Password Offenders” List

Pentagon Tops Crypto on

Password management site Dashlane has posted the results of its Worst Password Offenders list just in time for Christmas and cryptocurrency users don’t fare well, appearing third highest on the table.

Dashlane is a fairly strong position to make these judgments with its promise, “Discover how much better life is when you never forget another password”. The company publishes the annual rating in part to raise the public’s awareness of what constitutes good and bad passwording, with accesses to numerous users.

Quickly passing top runner Kanye West by, perhaps wondering why anyone would want his password, anyone involved in defending the United States would be a little concerned to see the Pentagon in second place on the list, followed by their employers at the White House, worryingly at number 6.

Those thinking that they were in safe hands with their private files in the possession of lawyers, forget it. UK law firms featured halfway down the list at number 5. Google, the UN, and prestigious UK university Cambridge all featured at the bottom of this top ten list with some of the worst password profiles according to Dashlane’s festive bout of finger-pointing.

Emmanuel Schalit, the company’s CEO, claims the average internet user has over 200 digital accounts with private passwords. What’s more, over a period of five years, this number may even double. So how does one look after 400 passwords apart from churning out the same one? An ill-advised move and recommended by virtually no one. She adds:

“Passwords are the first line of defense against cyber attacks. Weak passwords, reused passwords, and poor organizational password management can easily put sensitive information at risk.”

This is something known to all, nothing new here, so what is the solution? So just to recap, and hopefully the Pentagon staff are paying attention, as well as those White House employees, so they don’t make 2019’s list of worst password offenders. Here are the basics, again:

  • Passwords should not contain names or proper nouns that might connect to the user, ie., “Smith63” for Fred Smith’s private account.
  • Avoid weak number sequences also involving user details like date of birth, house address etc.
  • Alphanumeric sequences work best, mix those numbers and letters.
  • And for those 400 accounts… protect each one with a unique password (not helpful). There are numerous easy-to-use password managers, which help you to manage your multiple passwords securely.

…and here’s the honor roll for 2018’s worst password offenders:

Kanye West, the Pentagon, cryptocurrency owners, Nutella, UK law firms, Texas White House Staff, Google, UN, Cambridge University.

 

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South America: Crypto and Blockchain News Roundup, 7th to 13th December 2018

South America

South America

Welcome to our weekly roundup of all important blockchain and cryptocurrency news from around the world. Follow the latest developments in the cryptocurrency space continent by continent, country by country.

Venezuela

Government starts converting pension payments to Petro: The government of Venezuela has started converting pensioners’ payment to state cryptocurrency Petro, away from the national currency Bolivar without taking them on board. The move is part of latest measures by the Nicolas Maduro-led government to power through Petro cryptocurrency into the national fold.

According to local daily Caracas Chronicles, the country’s pensioners were notified of the move only after the funds were converted. The government’s message indicated that the funds were now in the state’s cryptocurrency for savings purposes.

According to the local publication, originally, bolivars were sent to the pensioners but the government unilaterally converted them into the allegedly oil-backed cryptocurrency.

The Venezuelan government has been trying to push for Petro adoption for months despite serious issues regarding its operation, circulation and government’s control on the affairs. Other countries and trading partners including India and Russia have also refrained from using the cryptocurrency for international payments.

Brazil

Blockchain Academy co-founder optimistic about crypto regulation: Rosine Kadamani, the co-founder of the Blockchain Academy based in Sao Paulo, has expressed optimistic views regarding the future of cryptocurrency regulation in the country.

Speaking with the local media, Kadamani said, “It is not possible to predict how this will happen in the short and medium term, as we have many variants in this process, but I can assure you that the technicians who are currently meeting (from the government and from the crypto ecosystem) are immensely qualified and very knowledgeable well the subject. The good seeds were planted, so I have a very positive view on the future of this relationship.”

Kadamani further predicted that 2019 might be a difficult year for cryptocurrencies but eventually, positive things can be expected from the industry overall in the future.

Exchange in $35 million transfer blunder: A local cryptocurrency exchange based in Brazil accidentally sent USD 35 million to a user who only requested a withdrawal of USD 127. The exchange in question is Bitcambio and the news was broken by local news outlet Portal do Bitcoin.

According to the news, the user Kaique Nunes soon received frantic calls from the exchange’s support to send back the extra USD 34.473 million.

According to Rodrigo Souza, an administrator at the exchange: “People, the mistake really happened. Kaique will be reimbursed for all the costs he has to go to the notary’s office to solve this shit. The note is already being canceled.”

Chile

Chile court says banks can ban crypto exchanges: Top Chilean court has finally ruled in favor of the state-owned Banco Estado and has declared that banks have the authority to shut down banking accounts as they see fit. The ruling overturns earlier decision by a lower court that forced the bank to open the accounts during the trial itself.

The affected cryptocurrency exchange, Orionx, had filed the complaint earlier this year when Banco Estado closed its account without prior warning. The court cited the bank’s concerns regarding its ability to monitor transactions and identities of cryptocurrency traders the reason behind this decision.

The ruling said: “These characteristics and elements determine, therefore, the current impossibility for the Bank to comply with the aforementioned obligations, since it prevents it from knowing in depth the financial activities related to cryptocurrencies developed by the appellant, the most relevant characteristics of its operations, the foundations on which these are supported and, finally, if their amounts are excessive or not.”

It is yet to be seen how the cryptocurrency market will react to the ban.

 

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SEC Hints at Flexibility for Crypto Startups Through “No Action” Letter

SEC Hints at Flexibility for Crypto Startups Through

SEC Senior Adviser for Digital Assets and Innovation Valerie A Szczepanik has indicated that in certain circumstances, ICOs may be able to avoid registration requirements.

Speaking in New York at a gathering hosted by the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance, the SEC official has suggested that in certain cases an application doesn’t fit SEC law or regulation “but that it perfectly fits the spirit accomplishing all the goals of investors protection”.

In such cases, a “no-action letter” can be issued to blockchain token projects which recommend no SEC action against the token issuer. Szczepanik explained:

“The letters set forth exactly what the person plans to do or the entity plans to do and if it’s something that the SEC feels comfortable with, we can release a no-action letter for exemptive relief saying “we can recommend no enforcement action”.”

William Hinman, the SEC Director of Corporation Finance maintains that in his view although the Ethereum platform is completely decentralized, it doesn’t currently qualify as a security. New token projects may well have an opportunity to gain SEC registration through the “no action” approach. Szczepanik argues:

“I think that’s a way forward for a lot of people who want to implement some of these things that may not exactly fit in the format of the rules that we want.”

The SEC came under fire in September regarding its current punitive regulations for cryptocurrency, accused again of a lacking a sufficient working knowledge, when a group headed by former Morgan Stanley managing director Caitlin Long and Bitcoin core developer Bryan Bishop, wrote a letter endorsed by prominent experts in the industry.

Referring to the SEC’s current regulations, the letter suggested that bad rules can only serve to damage the burgeoning industry stating:

“Current SEC rules surrounding custody do not reflect the risks inherent in managing digital assets and do not use the technical strengths of the technology. These technical strengths have the potential to lead to a stronger, more robust custody environment.”

The group suggested that the SEC gain insight into the industry by engaging with cryptographic engineers, software developers, Bitcoin exchanges, smart-contract designers, blockchain developers, and existing digital-asset managers.

 

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BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast 13th December 2018: Venezuela the First Cryptocurrency Utopia?

BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast

Listen to the 13 December 2018 BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast below.

On this edition of the BitcoinNews.com Daily Podcast, we examine price analysis as the market approaches lows for 2018. We discuss how the Petro is distracting from the fact that real cryptocurrency adoption is increasing in Venezuela, and there is potential for Venezuela to become a cryptocurrency utopia as it abandons fiat. This could be a glimpse into what would happen in the future if fiat currencies collapse worldwide.

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

 

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LinkedIn Reports Blockchain Developer #1 Emerging Job in USA

Blockchain Developers #1 Emerging Job in USA

The demand for blockchain developer talent in the United States has dominated the newly-published 2018 US Emerging Job Report from LinkedIn.

Blockchain No.1

LinkedIn Chief Economist Guy Berger opens the report describing it as an opportunity for professionals to make informed career decisions, utilizing data gathered from LinkedIn’s Economic Graph, which is a portal to job market data.

According to the report from the professional social network, blockchain developers are in hot demand as data gathered by LinkedIn reveals a growth of 33 times. Geographically, San Francisco, New York City and Atlanta are the three cities clamoring for blockchain developer talent. In addition, the top skills listed were Solidity, Blockchain, Ethereum, Cryptocurrency, and Node.js.

Blockchain developers beat out Machine Learning Engineers, Application Sales Executives, and Machine Learning Specialists by a significant margin. The report says that this news may not come as a surprise given “this year’s surge” of blockchain and cryptocurrency fascination, though it does go on to add that “only time will tell if blockchain will be a long-standing trend in the job market”.

Growing demand

This isn’t the first time that blockchain technologies have topped the job charts in the United States. In June, freelance website Upwork posted its Q1 2018 Skills Index which ranked the 20 fastest-growing skills in the freelancing world with blockchain topping the US charts.

Aside from the value of cryptocurrency markets, it appears as though blockchain is a lucrative option for tech-savvy workers. So much so in fact, that even Silicon Valley engineers are abandoning their “dream jobs” and entering this new and rapidly evolving industry.

In October, job search website Glassdoor reported a staggering increase of blockchain and cryptocurrency industry job vacancies which contained keywords such as blockchain, bitcoin, and other related terms. The research found that as of August 2018, there were 1,775 “unique blockchain-related job openings” in the US which, compared to August 2017 (466 jobs), was a 300% increase. Interestingly, Glassdoor Economic Research found that “Bitcoin job growth” was “outpacing cryptocurrency prices” as per this graph.

Seemingly, the waxing and waning of the cryptocurrency markets are doing little to stifle the growth of the blockchain job market, which may be indicative of a maturing industry. With demand so high, efforts to educate the new work-force are underway in places like Russia, as well as numerous academic institutions in the United States including New York University.

 

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Cambridge: Crypto Users Double in 2018 Despite Price Plunge

Cambridge: Crypto Users Double in 2018 Despite Price Plunge

The latest 2nd Global Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study conducted by Cambridge University’s Centre for Alternative Finance has revealed that 2018 saw the number of cryptocurrency users nearly double in number.

The Cryptoasset Benchmarking Study is an in-depth study carried out by the Judge Business School, a subsidiary of Cambridge University in the UK.

The report revealed that the numbers of verified users rose from 18 million in January 2018 to 35 million in December. Individual accounts at the time of the release of the report had risen to a record 150 million, although indications are that only 38% of these accounts are considered active according to some exchanges’ definitions and criteria.

More users, more multi-coin support, more market integration

The increase is significant and does offer the industry some Christmas cheer given Bitcoin’s tumultuous annus horribilus, seeing it lose 80% of its value since last December. The report also indicates that multi-coin support is expanding which, at the end of 2017, was the staple of 47% of all service providers.

This has also seen a significant rise in numbers in 2018 as some 84% of providers are now supporting a range of cryptocurrencies. The development of common trading standards introduced largely through the development of Ethereum’s ERC-20 has been cited as having a pivotal role in the increase of these altcoin numbers, including forks and airdrops.

The cross-segment expansion observed in 2017 has continued: 57% of crypto asset service providers are now operating across at least two market segments to provide integrated services for their customers, compared to 31% in early 2017.

Miners embrace sustainable energy

An encouraging revelation from the report is that mining companies are listening to calls from governmental environment agencies to embrace renewable energy resources. Coinshares, crypto assets research and investment firm, listed on Stockholm’s NASDAQ/OMX exchange, conducted a survey recently in answer to critics’ continued arguments that Bitcoin mining is essentially an environmentally harmful activity due to its extreme use of electricity.

That report targeted China’s influence, as representing 60% of the world’s Bitcoin mining activity, and that measures where being taken to reduce impact by moving to renewables such as solar. The Chinese program of “curtailment”, largely conducted in regions where most Bitcoin mining takes place, was drawing companies to areas where renewable energy such as solar was being utilized.

The Cambridge report indicated that the majority of identified mining facilities use some share of renewable energy sources and that mining is less concentrated that some critics are maintaining, a fact which conflicts somewhat with the aforementioned Coinshares report. The new report indicates a more global distribution with operations now expanding to the USA and Canada.

The report indicated that exchanges were increasingly self-regulating in line with state regulators guidelines, demonstrating the degree to which the industry had matured over the past 12 months.

 

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Church’s Chicken in Venezuela Accepts Dash Amid Hyperinflation Crisis

Church's Chicken in Venezuela Accepts Dash Amid Hyperinflation Crisis

Fast food outlet Church’s Chicken in Venezuela is taking the leap and has begun accepting Dash, the #1 X11 cryptocurrency, and the #16 cryptocurrency on CoinMarketCap overall.

In Venezuela, the native fiat currency, the Sovereign Bolivar (VES), is becoming more difficult to use with each passing week. The inflation rate is at 444,000% per year, based on six months of data from the Café Con Leche Index, where someone buys the same cup of coffee at the same shop in Caracas to gauge Venezuelan inflation. Since this data averages in lower inflation rates from months ago, the true inflation rate is already near 1,000,000% per year. This makes it unsurprising that people are ditching the native VES for other more stable currencies.

Dash has not been particularly stable this year relative to the US dollar, nor has any other cryptocurrency been stable in that relation for that matter. However, it compares far more favorably compared to the VES. Accepting bolivar almost guarantees merchants lose value every hour they hold, with a single day’s inflation capable of wiping out profit margins. Citizens have been exchanging VES for goods or other currencies and assets as fast as possible. Merchants like Church’s have been pricing their menu items in US dollars to mitigate inflation risks.

By accepting Dash, Church’s Chicken can now operate with less stress and actually store their money instead of immediately running out the door and exchanging it for other currencies, goods, or assets.

The choice of Dash is interesting, considering that the Petro, the official national cryptocurrency of Venezuela, is supposed to be a Dash clone. The reason the Venezuelan government chose Dash is that it uses masternode technology which makes transactions highly anonymous and therefore useful for circumventing international sanctions. However, all evidence indicates the Petro is not a cryptocurrency, rather it seems to be a non-fungible paper certificate.

The current situation in Venezuela could lead to widespread and permanent cryptocurrency adoption across the South American nation. Some economists believe it offers a glimpse into what would happen in the future if fiat currencies collapsed worldwide.

 

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