Crypto Highlights 19/04/2018

Kraken CEO we will not answer NYC AG’s enquiry

Jesse Powell, the CEO of cryptocurrency exchange Kraken, has made it clear the firm does not plan to answer the New York Attorney General’s inquiry into cryptocurrency exchanges.

Powell added “Why don’t you try extracting this information from those businesses actually operating in your state?”

Read more on CoinDesk.

Chinese police smash ‘Pyramid-Scheme’

An investigation by the Public Security Bureau Economic Investigation Detachment in China’s Xi’an district cracked a cryptocurrency pyramid scheme wide open, the team behind Da Tang Coin (DTC) allegedly defrauded investors of $13 million dollars selling he useless coin for $0.50. They made wild claims of guaranteed profits and hired a western chairman to appear more like a “high-tech multinational corporation” said police.

Read more on HSW.

Brazil investment firm to open OTC exchange

Bitcoin’s booming in Brazil according to local media, the countries biggest investment firm XP Investimentos is planning to open an over-the counter (OTC) cryptocurrency exchange.

Read more at Finder.

Riot Blockchain received SEX subpoena

Earlier this week Riot Blockchain received a subpoena from the SEC seeking “certain information from the company”. This comes as no surprise as Riot have long raised many red flags with worried investors citing canceled board meetings at the last minute, with insiders dumping right after the firm changed their name from Bioptix.

Read more at CNBC.

Pound backed currency would not be popular

Research has revealed 60% of British people surveyed would not support a Bank of England-backed cryptocurrency linked to the pound.

Read more at the Daily Express.

Crypto hacks rely on human error

A report carried out by security firm Proofpoint has found that human error is the biggest factor in crypto attacks being successful from fake domains to dodgy plugins they all rely on the user making a mistake.

Read more at Cryptovest.

Huobi to open London office

Singapore-based crypto exchange Huobi has announced plans to set up shop in London as it seeks to continue its expansion outside of Asia.

Read more at NEWSBTC.

Reserve Bank of India orders the shut down crypto

India’s central bank has started a crack down on the trading and purchase of cryptocurrencies in India, announced at there bi-monthly monetary policy press conference. The order gives institutions currently working with cryptocurrencies three months, this has not gone unchallenged by many exchanges and businesses operating in india who are starting joint legal proceedings.

Read more at Forbes.

Amazon might build crypto snooping tool

Amazon has filed and won a patent described as a “streaming data marketplace” which will allow authorities such as the police and government agencies to match cryptocurrency addresses to actual users based on multiple data points from 3rd party sources. This data could come from an exchange for example where a user would supply their identity documents, ip address, bank account information which could tie you to addresses used to fund and withdraw assets. Spooky, eh!

Read more at Motherboard Vice.

Dow jones Media Group partners with Brave Browser

Through partnering with web browser Brave, Dow Jones Media Group will test ways to distribute content and advertising as part of a promotion that offers readers free subscription-based content. The firm owns MarketWatch, Barron’s and Financial News. Brave Browser used BAT tokens which incentivises users to engage with the ads by paying them the currency.

Read more at Tech Crunch.

Barclays Plc considering crypto trading desk

If you don’t believe that cryptocurrencies are having an effect on mainstream society, then you should really check out the latest information coming from Barclays Plc.

One would think a bank like Barclays would be as traditional as they come, but that is no longer the case. It has been reported that they are now gauging interest on a potential cryptocurrency trading desk.

Bloomberg has reported that Barclays are well into the preliminary assessment of the trading desk. Although no concrete plans are yet in place, this would represent a massive step into the future for the British bank.

If they were going to go down this road, they would become the only big European investment bank to do so. The likes of investment chief Tim Throsby and CEO Jess Staley may need to give it the go-ahead, as this isn’t in line with what other continental banks are doing.

Staley and Throsby are no strangers to showing innovation in leadership; for instance, Throsby authorised the transfer of huge sums of capital to high-risk trading from safer corporate lending already.

There is an existing demand for the services, with the likes of bitcoin hedge funds eager to find banks that can look after their transactions. Crypto hasn’t found its home within the banking sector just yet, but once it does, it could be a lucrative partnership for all involved.

This is especially true if you consider that the amount of hedge funds focusing on crypto grew significantly from in the year ranging from February 2017 to February 2018.

Goldman Sachs haven’t been shy in expressing their ambition around digital currencies. The American organisation has set up a trading desk, which it hopes will begin trading this summer.

Crypto Highlights 17/04/18

Indian police extorted builder for Bitcoin

Nine Indian police officers felt the full force of the law after being arrested for extorting nearly $50,000 in cash and 200 Bitcoins from Surat-based builder, Shailesh Bhatt, who claims he was kidnapped in a local hotel by the crime branch cops last February.

Read more here from NDTV.

Cardano scores with its launch on Huobi

Yesterday Huobi Pro announced that Cardano (ADA) will start trading on the 17th April at 14:00 GMT +8. Huobi is one of China’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges with a daily trading volume exceeding a billion dollars. The listing of the coin has already pushed the price up by 9.30% in the last 24 hours and is expected to significantly increase as more trading starts.

Coinbase acquires Earn.com for $100 million

Coinbase has acquired Earn.com for a cool $100 million. The firm was one of the most funded startups attracting $116 million over several rounds. CEO & Co-founder of Earn, Balaji Srinivasan, will become Coinbase’s first chief technology officer.

Read more here from Recode.

Tax day passing could help cryptos surge

Tax-selling has undoubtedly been a huge contributor to recent price dips but this could quickly reverse with the US tax deadline on the 17th of April predicted to be a day that cryptos increase.

Read more here from CNBC.

IMF boss says crypto could make finance safer

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – Christine Lagarde, believes digital currencies and blockchain technology could make the global finance system safer by increasing the speed, cost and safety of transactions.

That level of diversity could build a “financial ecosystem that is more efficient and potentially more robust in resisting threats”, she said.

Read more here from the Guardian.

Is your country a Bitcoin revolutionary?

Crypto enthusiasts across reddit are competing with each other in a challenge to prove which country is the most Bitcoin friendly. Users have posted Bitcoin signs spotted in stores across Romania, Saigon, Bali, Toronto and many more locations.

Read more here at The Next Web.

Honesty is the best policy?

An increasing numbers of ICO’s are promising all kinds of weird and wacky things from Bananas on the Blockchain (so ap-peel-ing) to AI that can predict the future. This week we seen the launch of Honest Coin “The Most Honest Cryptocurrency Ever Invented”. The project aims to be completely honest with their goals from day one.

Find out more here

Your ticket to the moon

No… we are not talking about psychedelics or bull markets however you can still ride yourself to the moon with CryptoRider, a mobile game developed to virtually ride those price charts. Now you can experience the highs and the lows again and again and again. Sounds like fun right? Download here.

Worlds first DNA on the Blockchain

A Los Angeles-bases cryptocurrency/ genetic firm has performed the worlds finda DNA sequence transfer on the Ethereum Blockchain. The Enterobacteria phage phiX174 sensu lato virus was transferred.

World’s first DNA sequence stored on the Blockchain

Is Monero the new tax haven?

Forget the Cayman Islands, Monero could be the next big tax shelter. With 8 months left of 2018 its time to become “tax efficient” by simply getting your boss to pay you in the pro privacy currency says hacked.com.

Indian crypto exchange offers bounty for information

Indian-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinsecure has offered a 10% bounty ($356,000) for information leading to the recovery of the $3(+) million funds stolen last week.

Read more here from India Times.

John Mcafee is Bullish on Bitcoin

Crypto personality John Mcafee believes that the Bitcoin price prediction of $20,000 in 2018 for Bitcoin is “absurdly low”. Agree or disagree we don’t recommend putting any body parts on the line.

Crypto-enthusiasts seek supportive Thai tax policy

In a bid to help domestic funding fro ICO’s and Cryptocurrency businesses in Thailand, enthusiasts have petitioned the Finance Ministry hoping the Revenue Department will reconsider its tax policy.

Read more here, the Bangkok Post.

Shipping on the Blockchain?

ShipChain is launching a pilot program this summer with CaseStack solving supply chain, tracking and tracing issues in the shipping industry. CaseStack works with Amazon, Target, Duracell and many other Fortune 50 companies in the world.

Read more here from Influencive.

Mastercard will tackle fraud with Blockchain technology

A patent has been filed by Mastercard that will use Blockchain technology to verify and store identity data to combat fraud.

Read the patent here filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Ethereum will power deep space exploration

The The University of Akron’s (UA) and NASA will work together to help spacecraft avoid floating debris, the assistant professor Dr. Jin Wei Kocsis has received $330,000 in the form of a grant from NASA.

Read more here from The University of Akron College of Engineering.

Not so illegal

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies released a report which found less then 1% of Bitcoin is used for illegal purposes.

Read more here from NewsBTC.

Insurance on the Blockchain

Marsh, ACORD Corporation and ISN Software Corp are working with IBM to develop insurance verification on the open-source hyperledger fabric technology and IBM blockchain platform. With the soft launch expected later this year. It will be used to speed up hiring contractors, transferring risk and coverage certainty.

Read more here from Seeking Alpha.

 

That all folks, until next time.

World’s first DNA sequence stored on the Blockchain

Los Angeles-based DNAtix, also known as the ‘genetic blockchain company’ has successfully performed the world’s first DNA sequence transfer on the Ethereum Blockchain.

The complete genome sequence of the Enterobacteria phage phiX174 sensu lato virus was transferred in a proof of concept test on the Ethereum blockchain and is believed to be the world’s first single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) virus to ever be stored in this manner.

The human genome contains 3 billion base pairs which is approximately 100 gigabytes in raw data. This amount of data is too large to be supported by any current blockchain technologies however the team at DNAtix have developed specialised compression algorithms which reduce the size by 75%, resulting in an impressive 700 megabytes. The team is also confident that this can be improved even further with a total 99% size reduction in the future.

“For the purpose of the POC we uploaded the virus sequence which is ~5400 ‘letters’ that equals about 1348 bytes,” explains Ofer Lidsky, DNAtix’s CEO and co-founder.

This transfer of DNA on the blockchain opens up many doors for medical services and applications like DNAtix who wish to develop autonomous, distributed and redundant global ecosystems.

The firm also hopes that by placing DNA on the blockchain it will open up data access and research for 3rd parties to push forward developments, advancements in treatments and preventative medicine for the benefit of humankind.

Chilean banks shut down crypto exchange accounts

Three Chilean-based cryptocurrency exchanges – CryptoMarket, Buda and Orionx –are seeking new banking partners after having their accounts shut down.

With little to no explanation, Banco del Estado de Chile, Itau Corpbanca and Bank of Nova Scotia have ceased providing their banking services for the exchanges, with some pointing the finger at the government secretly forcing the banks to do so. But as yet this is unclear.

South Americans are concerned that the ban is mimicking the cryptocurrency bans of other countries, such as China and the UK, whose banks have notoriously formed a cartel to block any cryptocurrency businesses gaining access to a bank account.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Guillermo Torrealba, Buda’s co-founder and chief executive officer, said: “They’re killing an entire industry. It won’t be possible to buy and sell crypto in a safe business in Chile. We’ll have to go back five years and trade in person. It seems very arbitrary.”

Chile’s cryptocurrency market is small but burgeoning. Entrepreneurs created digital coins Chaucha and Luka, whose names play off local slang used for money, while locally-based exchanges like Buda and CryptoMarket operate across Latin America. Buda traded about $1 million per day before losing its bank account, compared with about $2 billion for the world’s biggest exchanges.

Chile’s cryptocurrency industry is still small but rapidly growing with the Buda exchange trading around $1 million per day in digital assets.

The shutdown exchanges have said they follow stringent know-your-customer and anti-money-laundering practices by running checks with authorities and agencies.

Thousands of Chileans and crypto supporters around the world have taken to social media to support the exchanges with the tag #ChileQuiereCryptos.

The exchanges have formed a joint case at the appeals court, which has already agreed to hear their case; but the bank accounts remain shut until further notice.

OKEX is expanding to Malta

In a statement issued today, cryptocurrency exchange OKEX has confirmed that it has started expanding operations to blockchain friendly Malta.

After meeting with the Maltese regulatory and government leaders to discuss their legislative plans, OKEX confirmed that they will “make Malta a foundation for further OKEX growth”.

This comes as no surprise given Malta’s position not only on blockchain technologies but also other sectors that are otherwise heavily scrutinised and regulated in much of the rest of the world. For example Malta has long been supportive of gambling and finance firms seeking better tax incentives and more flexible legislation.

The news follows in the footsteps of Binance who also recently migrated to the country for the same reasons.

OKEX carries a daily trade volume of over $1 billion dollars with millions of customers globally.

“This is just the start. Other companies will soon establish their operations in Malta”, said Silvio Schembri.

This is just the beginning. OKEX and Binance are currently among a growing number of crypto companies that are being forced to expand operations in Malta due to harsh regulatory conditions that are being set in their home countries – a trend, which if unaddressed will stifle innovation and growth in much of the developed and western world.

Monero (XMR) Ledger Support Coming Soon!

Monero 0.12.1 will support Ledger hardware wallets

Monero (XMR) code lead Riccardo Spagni has confirmed that the privacy-focused coin will soon receive official Ledger support.

Currently, various options exist for secure storage of XMR cryptocurrency, from mobile wallets to the official desktop wallet, but so far no hardware wallet is available for public use.

The Ledger integration news broke when Riccardo confirmed during an interview on an episode of the Doug Polk podcast that integration had ‘already’ occurred for users who have the ‘dev kit’, but the public release will probably be available alongside the Monero 0.12.1 release.

Hardware support for cryptocurrencies is no longer deemed overprotective. It has become the de facto way of ensuring your assets are secured most effectively.

You can find the Github here for the Monero wallet application.

Monero was trading at roughly $172 before the Ledger news broke, increasing to $178 before dipping back to $164. This has now stabilised at $170 at the time of writing.

Cryptocurrencies try to draw Islamic investors

When people think of gold, they think of a reliable and valuable commodity. In the future, that might be the way people think about certain cryptocurrencies.

A company called OneGram are trying to combine both crypto and gold, by creating a currency which is backed by the chemical element.

There is method to their ambitious project; it is thought that by involving such a traditionally valuable commodity, that more investors from Islamic investors will be drawn to get involved.

Traditionally, this sort of investment didn’t sit well with Islam. That is in part due to Sharia principles, which don’t allow interest payments and don’t encourage monetary speculation. It is a hot debate amongst scholars, whether or not cryptocurrencies are allowed by the religion.

Hence, companies like OneGram, who are trying to launch currencies that have their base in physical assets. Each one of OneGram’s currency is backed by at least a gram of the valuable element, thus speculation decreases automatically.

Ibrahim Mohammed, the co-founder of OneGram, told Reuters: “Gold was among the first forms of money in Islamic societies so this is appropriate. We are trying to prove rules and regulations from sharia are fully compatible with digital blockchain technology.”

There have already been millions of dollars’ worth of this currency distributed and there are further plans to distributed what is the remaining 60 percent. In what was an important coup, OneGram obtained a ruling that this currency conforms with Islamic principles from a Dubai-based consulting firm OneGram isn’t the only cryptocurrency to receive this sort of approval. HelloGold, which originated in Malaysia, and is also based on Gold, received a separate approval stating their cryptocurrency is also conforming with Islamic principles.

Considering that 20 to 30 percent of banking in the Gulf and Southeast Asia follow these principles, it is important for any currency that wants to break into this market to also apply them.

National sharia authorities have warned their populations about the pitfalls of trading in cryptocurrencies, but they have not imposed outright bans.

Thus, it is down to the people themselves to use their values when deciding whether or not to invest in blockchain technology.

Three Korean banks will face inspection over cryptocurrency exchange compliance

According to a statement released on Monday by South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), three local banks will face a compliance inspection this month to check whether they are following new regulations put in place for dealing with cryptocurrency exchanges.

The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in conjunction with the FSS will carry out on-site inspections of Nonghyup Bank, Kookmin Bank and Hana Bank between 19 and 25 April.

Investigators will check whether the banks are following recently introduced anti-money-laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) rules, which were recently introduced to prevent anonymous accounts being set up virtually.

Some banks have taken the initiative to introduce internal compliance checks, notably Nonghyup Bank, which has been providing automatic verification checks for two of the largest Korean exchanges, Coinone and Bithumb. Other financial providers have been urged to carry out their own checks to comply with the new rules.

South Korea’s banking institutions have welcomed cryptocurrency exchanges and related businesses with open arms, unlike most of the banks located in the UK, which have formed what has been likened to a cartel to block any crypto-related business accessing traditional banking services. Only this year, Barclays was the first to provide its banking services to CoinBase, allowing customers to deposit and withdraw fiat under the Faster Payments Service (FPS), which is more or less real-time.

Many cryptocurrency exchanges are working with Polish-based banks, which have so far been more open to working with such firms.

Tech giants face class action lawsuit over targeted crypto ad ban

More Blockchain and cryptocurrency organisations have joined the anti-crypto advertising ban enforced by tech giants such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

According to Russia’s RNS, three more countries that now include Kazakhstan, Armenia and Switzerland have joined Russia, South Korea and China in a joint class action lawsuit that will be filed in New York this May. Legal costs will be crowd-sourced from donations made to a fund registered in Luxembourg.

Facebook, Google and Twitter as said to be displaying cartel-like behaviour when enforcing a restrictive ban on cryptocurrency ads, which appears to be aimed at curbing enthusiasm and hindering the adoption of new and possibly game-changing technologies. This blanket ban is penalising legitimate companies who wish to utilize advertising platforms to gain investors and users and spread the word about their projects, which subsequently affects the amount of funds raised.

The Chinese Association of Cryptocurrency Investors (LBTC), Russian Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Association (RACIB) and the Korea Venture Business Association (KOVA) came to an agreement to take the matter to court, and have been joined by many more organisations since.

Facebook banned crypto ads on the social network back in January citing complaints about advertisements from its user base.

Google restricted cryptocurrency ads and related content last month – this included ICO promotions, wallets and crypto exchanges, although a quick Google search for “ICO” returns multiple advertisements.

Russian search engines Yandex and Runet have also joined in and have started banning crypto ads.

The joint lawsuit is set to be filed in May 2018.