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De Vere:Threat of Labour Party Gaining Power Could Drive UK Wealthy to Crypto

UK, brit, Jeremy Corbyn, cryptocurrency, labour party, Britain

Nigel Green, founder and CEO of deVere Group, claims that wealthy Brits are considering cryptocurrency as a safe haven for their cash should Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn become UK’s Prime Minister.

With the resignation of Conservative Prime Minister Teresa May this week the fears of her party in tatters paving the way for a socialist government increase as each day passes, although a general election is still unlikely as the conservatives open the race for a new leader.

Green put these fears into the forefront of discussions about the future of the UK and Brexit when he expressed concerns about what would happen under a Corbyn led government:

“High-net-worth individuals in Britain and wealthy international investors with UK assets and business know that they will be hit by Mr. Corbyn’s tax hikes on wealth, income, and inheritance.”

Even a general election as far off as 2022 could still drive Britain’s wealthy undercover in preparation for sweeping reforms targeting the rich proposed by a left-wing leadership, according to the deVere Group founder:

“As such, many of them aren’t waiting to find out how his anti-wealth rhetoric would play out, and more and more of them are seeking advice on established, legitimate overseas opportunities to create, build, and importantly, protect their wealth.”

Green sees cryptocurrency’s as a possible safe haven for these individuals and companies, particularly in light of recent moves by some countries to offer tax breaks such as exemption from capital gains on cryptocurrencies similar to ones recently legislated by Germany.

Countries such as Hong Kong and Switzerland don’t have capital gains tax, making them the potential targets for fund relocation. “In a broader sense, high-net-worth individuals are increasingly seeking exposure to the associated benefits of these digital assets as our recent global survey highlights,” added Green. Brexit remains the elephant in the room regarding the future of politics in the UK.

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Is There a Future for the Crypto City

Is There a Future For The Crypto City

With Bitcoin seemingly on the march again, news of yet another smart city planned for construction stirs up the debate; can self-regulating crypto cities become a future reality if cryptocurrencies surpass cash and credit, or must they continue to share the same space.

Autonomous and self-regulating crypto environments aren’t simply a pipedream, if not a reality they are becoming the target of forward-thinking jurisdictions and well documented. So how does a smart city become a “Cryptopia”, and is this possible?

Smart cities are becoming a reality; the latest announcement by the Malaysian government has certainly gained the attention of the crypto press with huge plans for a blockchain city built on over 835 acres off the coast of Malacca in a project backed by the government of China and construction and engineering company China Wuyi.

Urban development in China, at first slipping under the global radar, suddenly exploded into reality, and three decades on becoming an example to the world as just how rapid change can be when it becomes the central guiding focus of a government and its people. Clearly, it wasn’t going to be too long in cryptocurrency’s very short history before China zoomed in on the latest opportunity.

The new Malaccan project is not the only Chinese future crypto city to emerge from drawing board into reality, with a significant partnership created last year between Xiong’an and blockchain development company ConsenSys in order to create President Xi’s own future dream city just 90 minutes from the capital.

One of the aims of such spaces is to make them functional for a range of business enterprises and educational services and in some cases also integrate platforms offering a city cryptocurrency, such as Melaka Straits City’s proposed DMI coin. But are they, or can they even become, autonomous self- dependent crypto environments so early in cryptocurrency’s development, when public trust is such a huge factor? Cities have, and will, continue to launch their own cryptocurrencies, and some may even insist on established currencies such as Bitcoin being used exclusively, although at present such jurisdictions are not proven.

Slovenia, which is in the process of establishing the world’s first crypto-friendly shopping center BTC CITY will contain a collection of shops that accept cryptocurrency. It has even taken the major “wild west” step of asking customers to leave their fiat at the door. The Ljubljana based BTC City, however, is planning to use dozens of digital currencies that already exist, rather than creating new ones from scratch. Still, this is one step further than the South Korean town of Gimpo who although having created its own K Coin, then allow stores to convert the cryptocurrency into fiat.

Liberstad, the anarcho-capitalist utopian project in Norway is a privately-run smart city project by the non-profit Liberstad Drift Organization, that aims to implement the principles of a total free-market economy and lack of government interference with a special focus on abolishing taxation. This seems to be a direction towards a truly autonomous non-cash reliant jurisdiction worthy of a crypto city, or in this case crypto town, tag.

The new city now has a “City Coin” (CITY) as their cryptocurrency. National fiat currencies are entirely prohibited, and the only way to pay within the city is with the CITY token. It operates seamlessly with the blockchain-powered smart city platform. Locals have the opportunity to use CITY “on a private, internal, and voluntary basis,” though it replaced public provisions that would otherwise be offered by the government. The press release said that the blockchain’s reputation for being trustless and decentralized is the “key ingredient for the development and prosperity of sustainable and free city-societies.” The head of Liberstad Drift AS, John Toralf Holmesland, has helped to implement the libertarian ideology and non-aggression principles into the society and writes:

“We want a society where people decide over themselves and can live together without government authorities. We want a society without government coercion, blackmail, surveillance or unnecessary violence.”

There are others who want to go through the entire course, but the proof is in eating, so to speak. 37-year-old Brock Pierce, a one-time child actor and now renegade Bitcoin evangelist, being one of the more publicized, with his attempts to promote “Puertopia” in Puerto Rico – a US overseas territory recently devasted by Hurricane Maria.

Although dozens of American entrepreneurs are flooding to build up the community after carelessly naming it “eternal boy playground” in Latin, and then sensibly changing it to Sol, it remains to be seen if a true crypto-community can become reality. The Puertopians have met local resistance, despite Pierce’s promises of offering compassion, respect, and financial transparency;  locals are not all as enamored with the goals of ‘Sol’ as was originally anticipated. This proves that Cryptopias cannot be created unless absolutely everyone is a participant and has a stake.

This may have been American Singer Akon’s objective in creating Akoin and then proposing building a futuristic city around it, based on the idea of Wakanda, the fictional highly technologically advanced African nation featured in the recent Black Panther movie.

Akon says he wants all to have a stake in his new 100% crypto-based city near Dakar, but how it will come to fruition is still anybody’s guess given how scant information is on the concept currently. It is true that Senegal is a country motivated by change with its new USD 700 million airport, but the only town taking shape near the airport-the proposed location for Akon City- currently is a purpose-built town called Diamniado, and the crypto city project remains just an idea.

All these concepts, ranging from the actual to the imagined, will face complexities in making a shift towards cryptocurrency and away from fiat. Security will be key for those cities launching their own cryptocurrencies and blockchains, needing to be foolproof and un-hackable, and citizens’ tokens safe. The volatility associated with cryptocurrencies will need to become a thing of the past before fiat can become irrelevant.

Digital tokens will possibly need to be backed by some other asset, a la stablecoins, an idea promoted by Brock Pierce himself back in 2014 with the launch of realcoin. Myles Snider of Multicoin Capital claims that stablecoins can offer a solution to cryptocurrency volatility, claiming that cryptocurrency’s current instability will prevent progress in terms of digital currency displacing fiat. He comments:

“The decoupling of governments and money could provide an end to hyperinflationary policies, economic controls, and other damaging policies that result from government mismanagement of national economies… and stablecoins can provide the solution”

The move towards crypto cities has clearly begun, albeit at toes-in-the-water velocity, and the Chinese, fervently anti-crypto philosophically, are ironically in the vanguard of this movement, but with blockchain as the motivator rather than any desire to replace the Yuan. Towns like Zug in Switzerland currently bridge the gap, making cryptocurrency useful and functional in the daily lives of their inhabitants.

But a true Cryptopia is yet to be created. Liberstad currently remains the only close model with its idealism of the people “living together without government authorities..without government coercion, blackmail, surveillance or unnecessary violence.”

A global financial revolution with governments recognizing cryptocurrencies’ innovative ideology for a more secure monetary future and governments switching from conventional currency to digital forms of currency, as a result, is distinctly possible. This change seems a long way off, but it is in this environment that crypto cities will begin to emerge. It’s back to public trust in crypto to get this moving.

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Mati Greenspan: “Alt season is Over”, Its All About Bitcoin

There are those that feel that altcoins have done their race; at least that’s the view of many exchange CEOs, suggesting that Bitcoin is now the big focus moving forward.

That’s not discounting stablecoins, although the recent Bitfinex alleged USD 850 million fraud involving Tether may have dampened enthusiasm for stablecoins just at the moment. Bitcoin is the cryptocurrency once again taking center stage as the Bitcoin market begins to drag altcoins with it; not for the first time, but will this last.?

Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst for eToro thinks that the writing may be on the wall for altcoins, maintaining, “Alt season is over and the market is now consolidating back into Bitcoin.”

Jeff Dorman, chief investment officer of asset manager Arca agrees with Greenspan’s opinion that there is a now discernible shift in the air away from altcoins and towards Bitcoin:

“BTC is still the most important asset in all of crypto. When it performs well, the best risk/reward is arguably to own Bitcoin over any other digital asset. This doesn’t necessarily mean BTC’s returns will be higher, just that the probability-weighted return is the highest given that BTC is so far ahead of any other digital asset in terms of adoption and use cases.”

Joe DiPasquale, CEO of cryptocurrency fund of hedge funds BitBull Capital, suggests that when Bitcoin rallies altcoins do see a shift towards the hallmark crypto but cryptocurrency analyst Joseph Young feels that a Bitcoin hike can actually encourage investors to take more risks which can actually favor some Altcoins.

However, statistics speak volumes for the general direction of the crypto market, such as Twitter’s recent survey on where the market was going even before Bitcoin began to show more bullish inclinations, suggesting:

“47% of crypto traders on Twitter held between 60-100% of value in altcoins… A mere 23% of respondents hold 0-20% of their total portfolio in altcoins, alluding to a portfolio made up mainly of Bitcoin.”

 

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FIO Study: 60% of Crypto Users Still Uncomfortable Making Payments

A recently published independent study claims that 60 percent of crypto users are “still scared to make a Bitcoin payment.”

The study was conducted by the Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) self-described as a “decentralized, open-source blockchain protocol that makes it easier and less risky to move blockchain tokens & coins from one address to another.”

The FIO asserts that such can be put down to poor user experience and inadequate inter wallet communication; an inability to handle payment requests between wallets. It includes the fact that a large portion of the crypto wallet ecosystem doesn’t have a standard payment request system and each blockchain has a unique address format.

This is a problem that the FIO claims to have overcome, as they assert that their protocol now allows multiple address formats to be mapped to the same system, providing users the ability to own multiple FIO addresses inside a single wallet.

The FIO report released this week involved a survey of over 200 cryptocurrency holders who were asked about the regularity of their transfers and how they felt about the experience. There appeared to be a correlation between being familiar with crypto and being more confident in its use, as although 60 percent of respondents said they were uncomfortable with the process in general, “there was a statistically significant increase in users who marked ‘very comfortable’ based on the length of their time in crypto,” stated the report.

Various wallets and exchanges have now joined the FIO protocol’s initiative including Edge, BRD, Mycelium, Shapeshift, Mycrypto, Keepkey, Trust Wallet, and Coinomi. Edge wallet’s Brett Musser was complimentary, clearly seeking more simplicity for users so that user confidence can be boosted when it comes to using the blockchain:

“[Transferring] cryptocurrencies can be quite complex and intimidating to users of all stripes — But the FIO protocol is attempting to make these actions easier, rich with data, and more versatile.”

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Brock Pierce: Dapps, STOs Industry Shakers in 2019

Brock Pierce: Dapps, STOs Industry Shakers in 2019

Former child actor and crypto kingpin Brock Pierce, one of the wealthiest people in crypto, has been sharing his predictions for where he feels the industry might be moving in 2019.

Pierce has earmarked decentralized applications (Dapps) as the major industry movers and shakers this year along with the advance of security token offerings (STOs).

There are currently numerous decentralized apps built on the Ethereum blockchain alone, unsurprising given Ethereum’s historical place in the development of blockchain solutions. Carl Bennet of Status.im also suggests that 2019 could become the new dawn for Dapps.

“We will see more developers and designers focusing on creating simpler and more familiar user onboarding experiences for mainstream use we’ve come to expect from the applications we use and an overall lower barrier to entry into the crypto ecosystem.”

This is something that Pierce agrees with suggesting that “big things” are in the ether with the possibility of “multiple applications hitting a million users”. He adds that low prices could be good for the industry:

“I love the fact that prices are down. When prices are up, very little gets built because teams don’t stick around. Everyone is getting rich too quick and that de-motivates people. All the best things I’ve seen built in this ecosystem have been built in bear markets.”

Security tokens are already becoming a watchword in 2019 as ICOs dwindle having hit their peak in 2018. Pierce sees STOs having a far better outcome in the long term:

Security tokens are going to give birth to a quadrillion dollar market… This is because we will see the tokenization of the world’s fiat money, debt market, real estate, equities, and art.”

The Bitcoin entrepreneur sees gaming and P2P “money messaging” as things to look for in 2019 and also more focus on the world’s unbanked, the two-thirds of the planet without access to traditional finance. As Pierce notes, “the internet didn’t become usable until Netscape because that gave the average person a user interface that was intuitive, simple, friendly — this made it accessible.”

 

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Crypto the Movie Now Due for 12th April Release

Crypto the Movie Now Due for 12th April Release

With the current rise of cryptocurrency, people are finding new ways to exploit the financial system and the global economy. After discovering evidence of fraud, a young US government agent named Martin is tasked with following a long trail of corruption and theft. During his investigation, he finds that the people involved are more powerful than he could have ever imagined, and have become skilled in the use of cryptocurrency.

This is the plot of the latest “crypto on film” development. The much-awaited film, Crypto, starring Kurt Russell, has finally arrived; the trailer is out, and the big screen depiction of the wonderful ups and downs of a nascent industry taking the financial world by storm is due for release on 12 April.

Of course, all should be taken with just a grain of salt, and it’s all simply good fun. How much the script bears up in terms of verisimilitude to actual cryptocurrency world is left for others to comment. How likely criminals are to leave files clearly marked “Kickbacks” is also left for compliance officers to comment on.

An anti-money laundering expert’s trip to small-town America and a subsequent run-in with the Russian mob is the basic meat and bones on which the plot is hung upon with Kurt Russell in the central role.

The movie world still awaits another crypto project starring Michael Keaton a film about the life of controversial crypto advocate John McAfee, the man who made millions creating antivirus software. It appears that Johnny Depp was the original choice, but was fired before the Birdman star was drafted in to play.

 

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Crypto360 Exclusive: Inheritance, Custody – Crypto Deserves Same Protection as Traditional Assets

Crypto360 Exclusive: Inheritance, Custody – Crypto Deserves Same Protection as Traditional Assets

As the blockchain and cryptocurrency industries mature, firms are beginning to use the technologies to create increasingly sophisticated alternatives to mainstream financial services. Beyond cryptocurrency exchanges, startups have created solutions for cryptocurrency loan services and futures trading, with many expected to see a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund in action later this year.

Based in Italy, Crypto360 is one such company offering an innovative finance solution as a digital currency custody provider. The project has two main selling points: 1) it offers a legally compliant platform to administer digital currency inheritance and 2) it provides a custody solution suitable for institutional and retail traders alike.

Ivan Rossi, who works at the company’s front desk, told Bitcoin News:

”We want to give to cryptocurrencies the same protection that traditional assets have on the hereditary front, and we do it in a different way from the competitors without taking possession of the asset.”

Crypto360’s founders claim they were ”not amazed” by other custody solution providers in the market but appreciated that these alternatives confirmed that custody is valid if integrated with the possibility for assets to be handed down in the face of decisive events.

Contractual and conditional custody on the go

The firm provides an ”ad hoc solution” for institutional investors, offering them different contractual conditions from that of other investors. 

A major group of users is expected to be those looking for a way to manage their cryptocurrency for inheritance with full legal compliance. Rossi explained, ”It is compatible with local tax laws because cryptocurrencies are not yet included as goods in the hereditary asset. The Crypto360 service has been conceived as an encrypted custody of private keys and the aspect of succession is an integrative character that makes its sphere of application complete.”

As well as inheritance, clients can assign a designated beneficiary to assume funds in the event of a particular incident that is contractually identified. 

The platform does save a copy of clients passwords but this is protected by a double level of encryption and stored in protected archives. If somehow the account was accessed fraudulently, any request to redeem funds in the account would be met with a request to verify the individual’s identity.

Rossi told Bitcoin News that the security process on Crypto 360 means the usual storage precautions needed to protect your private key does not apply. ”Clients can pin their password up on the wall or store it freely on multiple clouds. He could adopt any duplication and storage solution without countermeasures for the secret protection of the data, all in order to prevent its loss and without the fear that someone can use it,” he explained.

Because Crypto360 securely stores an encrypted copy of clients’ security details, if you lose your password through your own negligence you have not lost access to your account. As the company’s white paper cites, in 2017, as much as 23% of mined Bitcoins had been lost forever due to human error, so this is a way to help prevent client holdings from joining that statistic.

Security is, however, still a huge issue for cryptocurrency traders as compromised exchanges continue to make the headlines. Most recently it was revealed QuadrigaCX was given another 45-day extension for creditor protection, meaning any clients who lost money when the exchange lost control of USD 134 million in cryptocurrency will be unable to begin legal proceedings against the exchange during this time period. The exchange claims it lost control of the funds when its founder, who had sole control of the funds, died suddenly without passing on the private keys.

Rossi stated that Crypto 360 offers a different service to that of cryptocurrency exchanges, also operating with a unique security protocol which means incidents such as that experienced by QuadrigaCX would not happen on their platform. He added, ”It is important for users in the crypto world to understand that it is not safe to hold cryptocurrencies within exchanges. They are at risk of hacking and in the absence of countermeasures aimed at protecting the loss of access to funds, customers will lose their cryptocurrencies.”

How popular will crypto custodial services be?

It is no secret that cryptocurrency prices are not having their best moment. The success of projects such as Crypto360 is dependent on a large enough demand for its services, something directly correlated to the popularity of cryptocurrency and largely market prices also.

As the firm sees it, as the market matures there is a natural selection of projects as there was last year, but it is unlikely that performance similar to that of 2018 are repeated. ”Our vision on the market remains optimistic and we assume that it is a trend that is constantly growing, but in a more natural way that allows it to be consolidated,’ Rossi told Bitcoin News. 

Crypto360 also faces the potential problem of competition as more blockchain firms emerge to offer similar cryptocurrency solutions. Being one of the very first players, however, they are confident they will stay at the top of the game.

”We pride ourselves on being the first to think of a custody solution that keeps the clients’ funds private. It is very likely that the next competitors will be the banks, which as they currently do with the other assets, will keep the cryptocurrencies coming directly into possession,” Rossi affirmed. 

The prediction that 2019 will be the year of the cryptocurrency institutional investor had perhaps the largest consensus of all the year’s forecasts. In Rossi’s view, the time has already arrived: “[Custody soloutions] are a need very felt by the market and there are already large institutions ready to enter this business.”

 

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Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse Slates JPMorgan’s JPM Coin as Lacking Innovation

Wall Street banking giant JPMorgan’s announcement of its new stable coin JPM Coin, has Ripple’s boss Brad Garlinghouse criticizing its “closed network” lack of innovation.

JPMorgan says it sees potential in using digital coins to reduce risk and enable instant transfers, despite JPMorgan’s chief executive Jamie Dimon criticizing Bitcoin since it emerged as the industry’s flagship cryptocurrency.

The bank says it has always “believed in the potential of blockchain technology”. “We are supportive of cryptocurrencies as long as they are properly controlled and regulated,” says Umar Farooq, JPMorgan’s head of Digital Treasury Services and Blockchain. The new JPM coin will be transferable between client accounts at the bank, who will then be able to redeem them for US dollars pegged at parity with the coin.

With the arrival of JPM, the volatility of Ripple’s XRP is brought into question and certainly draws obvious comparisons, to which Garlinghouse has reacted by saying there is nothing innovative about JPMorgan’s final arrival into the cryptocurrency space, arguing:

“As predicted, banks are changing their tune on crypto. But this JPM project misses the point – introducing a closed network today is like launching AOL after Netscape’s IPO.”

His comments very much echo the sentiments illustrated in an article he wrote two years ago called “The Case Against BankCoin,” in which he argued that banks should be using XRP as the obvious independent digital asset, claiming they offered “universality” which bank coins did not:

“It goes back to the fundamentals of what makes digital assets unique and special – they’re universal currencies, meaning anyone can use them as units of value anywhere in the world. That universality gives digital assets global reach and the ability to settle much faster than traditional assets.”

Clearly, Ripple’s executives would argue that users of XRP also has the added option to speculate, holding on to the currency in the hope of trading later at a higher value; compared to bank coins which will only have a fixed settlement value based on parity with the US dollar.

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13% of Online Shoppers Going Crypto With 700% Growth since 2013

A recent survey has pointed to the increase in online shoppers using cryptocurrency for electronic payments, reporting growth of 700% since 2013.

According to Kaspersky Labs, 13% of shoppers have used cryptocurrency for making payments online, their recent survey of 12,000 customers in 22 different countries has shown, and the trend is clearly upwards. Kaspersky commented:

The majority of retailers are now happy for us to use whatever payment method we prefer in order to stop us from going elsewhere. From credit card transactions and bank transfers to cryptocurrency, subscriptions, and loyalty points, we can pay for goods and services in more ways than ever before.”

However, paying in this way still has problems which need to be addressed in the future. In the past, networks were trusted for zero-confirmations, but recent attacks against some of the coins have made vendors less enthusiastic. More coins are now available other than Bitcoin for these kinds of online payments with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) allowing SMS payments, and Verge (XVG) and ReddCoin (RDD) now offering small-scale payment options. Bitcoin’s Lightning network still remains a fast way of settling purchases online.

The profusion of Bitcoin ATMs, often in the most unlikely locations around the world, continues to offer shoppers, who prefer a face to face “trawling” the store option, the opportunity to instantly trade their BTC for cash. Recently New York, one of the world’s major shopping venues has given crypto users the opportunity to purchase Bitcoin using a regular credit card at machines around the Big Apple.

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Samba School to Depict History of Money to Bitcoin in Rio Carnival

Samba School to Depict History of Money to Bitcoin in Rio Carnival

This year’s iconic Rio Carnival at Marquês de Sapucaí Sambódromo is to feature a performance depicting the history of money from the development of early 7th century coins to Bitcoin.

Give Me Some Money“, is the work of, no not Abba, but prominent Brazilian samba school Imperatriz Leopoldinense, who are currently working on their entry for this year’s Carnivale. The school is so confident this year that they are hoping that their elaborate entry will win them the prize for the first time since 2001.

The performance will track the history of money concluding with the advent of cryptocurrencies, mapping out the centuries and the development of coins, paper bills and finally digital currency. Imperatriz Leopoldinense explains:

“Our story is about money and its relationship with humans from their invention to the present time. It is, without a doubt, one of the most important instruments in the economic life of nations and people.”

The events at the Rio Carnival are always flamboyant and colorful, and this depiction of money through the centuries will be no different according to the school. It maps out periods from the 7th century BC to the creation of paper money in China in the 10th century, then follows the South American native population’s first encounter with European conquistadors, to Brazilian money used in the eventuating slave trade.

The school says: “Imagine what life would be without money. How could we buy and sell, receive and pay, stock up and save for the future, if it did not exist?… We’ll end the parade talking about a future already present through cryptocurrencies – a digital resource system designed to function as a medium of exchange.”

As 82-year old Mário Monteiro, who performs along with his sister Cacá Monteiro, 64, points out, it is somewhat ironic to be putting on a performance about money when the carnival is going through its most sustained period of financial difficulty in years, but adds, “It’s time to put the sadness in the drawer and take the joy out of the closet, because it’s Carnival!”

 

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