German bank adopts blockchain technology for Africa project

German state-owned development bank KfW has for the first time confirmed its use of Blockchain technology to improve transparency across its budgetary funds.

The bank is a running a pilot project in the African region on behalf of the The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) who will utilise Blockchain technology for greater transparency and auditing purposes.

The use of blockchain technology will allow the provider to create a fully auditable paper trail showing detailed plans of the work carried out, procurement, contracts, tenders and releasing funds for the project.

At this stage it does not appear that the bank is utilizing any of the more prominent open-source Blockchain technologies such as Ethereum and according to the press release have instead partnered with TruBudget, an independent software house who have developed their own blockchain implementation.

At this stage we have been unable to verify TruBudget’s internally developed blockchain (which somewhat defeats the purpose of transparency and openness).

The project hopes that the new technology will benefit the common good with schools, hospitals and other organisations receiving allocated funds in a transparent auditable manner as opposed to current systems that can lead to misuse, misallocation and terrorist funding.

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Ethereum bounces back

Despite reaching all time highs of around $400 in mid June, Ethereum has been slowly declining. It hits its lowest price of $130 last Sunday. The coin has seen a lot of volatility and panic although this now looks to be abating.

Its steady incline over the last 48 hour period looks promising as it hits $190 at the time of writing. This trend is expected to continue with the price breaching $200 by the end of the week.

ethereum price chart

There is no one reason for Ethereum’s recent decline but the biggest culprit seems to be the Bitcoin split. This has caused panic and uncertainty for many traders across all altcoins resulting in a sea of red.

Also the millions of ETH being raised and dumped for fiat through the recent ICO frenzy has also fueled investor uncertainty and driven down the price.

Even now the recent Tezo Initial Coin Offering (ICO) is worrying many traders with the fear that the project will dump the $200 million equivalent raised on the market in the very near future.

The market cap has dropped from $36 billion to $14 billion. That’s a $22 billion loss with a two-month period.

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Top UK Judge wants to update the law to deal with blockchain and smart contracts

A top judge in the United Kingdom says that without a doubt there should be an update to the current legislation so that blockchain and smart contracts are included.

Crypto-currencies are on the rise in the online world and seeing this, many lawmakers including the judge have realised that there should be a law for them as current rules and regulations don’t cover the new technology.

The Lord Chief Justice for England and Wales, John Thomas is the highest senior judge in the UK who declared the importance of making such changes.

At the end of last month, the top judge spoke during an event that is held twice every year by the UK Law commission, which is the government’s authority in looking after different legal developments in the country.
John Thomas’s speech mentioned strict reforms regarding the digital currency especially in the light of events and their effect on the global economy. He further mentioned how imperative it is for the British Government to keep abreast of the digital economy. He also commented on the steps taken by the European Commission to be up to date with the digital currencies such as Bitcoin. He said that the European Commission’s efforts to progress itself towards a digital economy is something what the UK government should also aim for.

In his own words he said:

“Certainly, the European Commission takes the view that legislative change will be needed to deal with new forms of contract such as the block-chain and smart contracts. I have no doubt that we must consider whether our law (as it will then be) will need similar legislative updating.”

While this statement of his doesn’t show an active pursuit in digital currency reforms, it certainly is a way towards progress and a new way of carrying out transactions online to become normalised.

Why does crypto-currency matter?

Countries like the USA, Japan and some countries Europe are legalising smart contracts and crypto currencies. This however, has only happened in a few states such as Vermont, Arizona and Delaware. This indicated that block-chain based signatures getting accepted by many places and merchants are looking towards a more digitised form of currency as well, be it in Europe or in the Americas.

Although Judge Thomas isn’t actively pursuing this method of transaction, his approval and acceptance of such payment modalities signifies something like this in the near future, especially given his designation at such a high place.

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ICO Ziber – What’s worth special attention?!

From a bunch of knowledge and information that we get every day, it is difficult to single out something useful. Why is this happening? Because the most of ICO conducted today is a pure fraudulence. And most investors understand it perfectly well. The investment approaches of Warren Buffett or Paul Graham don’t work here.

First of all, these gurus considered the profit that the business can give and tried to buy such a business at an easy rate. With ICO it’s useless to search for profit, in most cases it simply does not exist. This is not about a cheap price. Most of distributions are simply filled with investors’ money. Why are they doing that? Everyone is waiting for a sharp increase in the cost of tokens after posting on the exchanges. And, it is true that most investors are still right, which is almost impossible on the usual stock exchanges.

What is the problem? The problem is only one – another bubble inflates more and more. Everyone gets that it will burst, but no one knows when it will be. It can happen tomorrow, maybe in 3-4 years. Let’s see what happens at the time of this burst. Most companies that don’t really produce anything else and don’t generate additional profit can break up tens of times … more truly, the cost of tokes will be reduced.

Who will survive? Only those companies who bring real profit that you can feel your hands. Are there such companies and such ICO? Yes, there are. They are a few ones, but, in theory, “classical investors” should be on a manhunt for these companies. One of such companies is Ziber. The presentation will be held in a few days on July 15.

What does Ziber do? The project team combined the blockchain technology and IP telephony. If the technological problem is solved (the Ziber representatives stated it), the service will be a killer of Skype, Viber and hundreds of IP-telephony companies. The cost call will make up 0.5-2 cents, where for most countries it seems completely insignificant actual earnings. But it just so seems to you, if you don’t know real numbers. And the numbers tell the stories best. The market is approaching a turnover of $100 billion annually.

Once again! It’s about a new company that has made a technological breakthrough on the market with a turnover of $100 billion! Even if it gets net profit in the amount of $5 billion you will baulk at the idea of its future value on the basis of P/E within 2-3 years. Moreover, Ziber will generate real profit, but not virtual one.

By the way, let’s get back to Buffett, who also likes investing in the team. Ziber doesn’t have any problems with it! That only decision to distribute 10% of free tokens to all owners of Bitcoin and Ethereum wallets. A brilliant marketing trick that gives us a hope that will be ahead of the game.

Ziber ICO: https://ziber.io/#ico

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Blockchain storage provider SIA scoops $400k grant

Nebulous the firm behind Sia has been awarded a $400,00 grant from China-based investment firm INBlockchain.

In a press release the company stated that the funds will be used to aid further development of the SIA platform, which has been rumoured to be struggling with funds over the last few months.

“We are thrilled to receive INBlockchain’s generous grant and look forward to continuing Sia development,” said David Vorick, cofounder and CEO of Nebulous.

“This grant means Sia does not need to focus on fundraising, and can focus entirely on delivering strong technology.”

Sia’s technology is based around decentralising file hosting through the company’s own Blockchain which manages smart-contracts for the renters looking to host files and the hosters who provide storage space at a flexible cost.

The company aims to be the backbone storage layer of the internet.

At the time of writing Siacoin is priced at $0.007479 with a 24 hour trading volume of $10,923,300, although the price is around 40% down over the last 7 days.

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Thousands of Austrian post offices will soon sell Bitcoin

Nearly 2,000 post offices across Austria are planning to facilitate the easy purchase of Bitcoin and other digital currencies for customers.

The partnership between Austrian-based digital currency platform Bit Panda and the national post office Österreichische Post AG will bring cryptocurrencies to the masses, taking away the complex process of buying them.

Cash amounts of 50, 100 and 500 Euro can be exchanged for the required cryptocurrency at participating Post Offices, customers will then receive a digital code to access their wallet at Bit Panda.

Bitpanda is considered to be one of the largest Bitcoin platforms. It was founded in Vienna in 2014 and currently has over 300,000 users.

Bitpanda is hoping – also thanks to the post-cooperation – to grow to a transaction volume of 200 million euros.

“Digital currencies will become central points in our daily lives, but they are not in conflict with classical currencies,” says Bitpanda co-founder Eric Demuth in a press release.

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Billions stolen from South Korean Bitcoin exchange

Bithumb, the fourth largest Bitcoin exchange in the world was recently hacked resulting in Billions of Won being stolen.

According to the Korean Internet & Security Agency (KISA), earlier this year personal computers owned by staff at the exchange were infiltrated by an unknown 3rd party. Personal information was exploited by the hackers to obtain access to more than 3,000 individual accounts. Servers located at Bithumb’s headquarters were not comprised.

“It is an accident caused by an external infringement on the personal computer of the employee who is not related to the server of the head office.” “Some users Personal information leaked, he explained. However, some customers were found to have been stolen because of the disposable password (OPT) used in electronic financial transactions.” said Dr. Bitsum

Bithumb is South Korea’s largest virtual currency exchange, with annual transactions worth hundreds of billions of won. The cumulative amount of Bitcoin traded at Bithumb last year reached over 2 trillion won.

Bithumb’s 24 hour trading volume on the 4th of July exceeded 100,000 Bitcoin.

https://www.bithumb.com/

On June 29th 2017 Bithumb was made aware of the hack and subsequently reported it to the authorities a day later. At the time of writing hundreds of Bithumb customers no longer have access to their funds and have filed a complaint with the National Police Agency’s cybercrime report center.

Bithumb have promised to compensate its users for loss of personal information amounting to $870 per user (despite losses exceeding this amount), although the company is still investigating and has also hinted at further damages being announced.

Once made aware of the issue the exchange acted quickly in reporting to three government and state agencies. It is still unclear how widespread the damage is.

Due to the laws surrounding Bitcoin and digital currencies in the country it is not yet known if Bithumb will be facing any criminal charges.

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LazyCoins Goes “FAST” With New UK Banking Partnership

Scroll to bottom for Q&A With LazyCoins CEO

London-based Bitcoin exchange LazyCoins has announced a new partnership with a major financial banking service to provide customers with lightening fast transactions, a step ahead of their ‘Lazy’ name.

The new partnership see’s the implementation of a local deposit and withdrawal option for customers based in the United Kingdom and Ireland with a bank in the jurisdiction.

lazypay

The Faster Payments Service (FPS) has long been the envy of banking institutions around the world, payment times between different banks often took days, but with the new banking partnership, in most situations the transaction’s are almost instantaneous opening LazyCoins customers to speedy trading environment no other exchange can currently provide. Current FIAT deposit and withdrawal methods on other exchanges can take days and even weeks with high fees.

“Depositing £100 into Kraken cost me £35 in banking fee’s, the new announcement from LazyCoins would make this free to deposit £100 into the platform wallet and would take minutes” said Mark Hulme, a local Bitcoin trader in London.

LazyCoin’s banking announcement is notable because bitcoin startups in the UK are currently forced to bank elsewhere in the EU such as Poland and Latvia. This is due to the fact that financial institutions are reluctant to get involved due to their perceived high-risk factor and bureaucracy.

LazyCoins is doing the impossible so to speak, going where other Bitcoin exchanges such as CoinFloor and Safello have failed by providing the FPS service.

With the UK government slow to provide a solid compliance or regulation protocol for exchanges, LazyCoins has taken this into their own hands and is fully regulated and licensed as a Money Business License (MSB) which would currently cover them for operations under current legislation. Although recently Britain took a significant step towards becoming a global bitcoin hub on Wednesday as the government announced it would regulate digital currencies for the first time by applying anti-money laundering rules to exchanges.

“In a further boost to its credibility, the company has secured its Money Business License (MSB) from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC). Now a fully licensed bureau de change for GBP and Euro markets, LazyCoins users can now enjoy faster payments and same day deposits. Their European customers, the Brits in particular, are likely to find this interesting as it makes it easier for them to buy, trade and spend their bitcoins in the UK.

“In the coming months, we’re also launching LazyPay, an application that makes it easy for merchants to accept payments in Bitcoin, while dramatically reducing their cost of doing business. With a number of London merchants already signed up, we’re going on a mission to spread the word and make bitcoin part of everyday life,” Said Danial Daychopandan, CEO and founder of LazyCoins.

Another recent exchange which looked promising after announcing Faster Payments Service integration was “Mimex”, but a worrying blog post on the company’s website cited liquidity problems and the website is currently down. The founder failed to respond for comment.

LazyCoins Q&A

We caught up with LazyCoins founder and CEO, Danial Daychopandan.

  • 1) You have the backing of a financial partner for ‘Faster Payments’ can you reveal who you are working with?

– Given this point has been a little contentious for other firms, we would prefer not to disclose this information, at this time. While we have, of course, presented ourselves transparently to our business partners, we would not like to get drawn into “If LazyCoins, then why not us?” debate. However its not a secret, our banking details are available to our verified users.

  • 2) How do you plan to keep ahead of competion, such as UK exchange CoinFloor who have been a main exchange in the UK?

– First of all, we welcome all Bitcoin businesses. The more entrepreneurs and companies that help drive wider adoption of digital currencies the better it is for all in our industry.

And our brand and company ethos is all about making bitcoin a part of everyday life. So we see ourselves as a bitcoin portal, rather than just an exchange.

Besides, we believe focusing on solving our customers’ problems and creating valuable services is way more important than staring at the competition.

  • 3) Many exchanges in the UK have had the backing of a bank, but were shutdown, do you have an agreement? are you concerned this will happen to LazyCoins?

– We’re a licensed Bureau de Change and practice strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-money Laundering (AML) requirements – even though it’s not yet a UK law for bitcoin companies. We also have fiat-to-fiat markets for forex traders. Our banking partners understand our model and have given us their support. This is a rare position to be in.

  • 4) With the ‘Faster Payments’ option for customers to deposit, is this just open to just UK customers or does it expand to European banks?

Now a fully licensed Bureau de Change for GBP and Euro markets, LazyCoins users can now enjoy faster payments and same day deposits. Brits in particular, will find this attractive as it makes it easier for them to buy, trade and spend their bitcoins in the UK. Our European customers can use Sofort or SEPA transfers, which are not instant but usually credited within 24 hours.

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Polish Bank ‘Bank BPH’ Suspends BitMarket’s Business Account

A promising Polish Bitcoin exchange sees bank account suspension

Until recently, the Polish banking system went against the trend by offering support to digital currency businesses, and the future looked bright for many start-ups in this sector.

Other major European banks, too, were similarly supportive in providing bank accounts to bridge the fiat-related operations. Unfortunately, this has stopped, now that Bank BPH has suspended the bank account of popular bitcoin exchange BitMarket.pl.

The disappointing news follows closely behind the suspension by Handelsbanken of the bank account of Stockholm-based exchange Safello, who only recently had introduced a faster deposit and withdrawal method for UK customers.

This is worrying news for exchanges still needing the support of the traditional banking system for users to fund and withdraw their accounts with fiat to purchase bitcoins.

Until now, many European countries have been willing to work with bitcoin businesses; months down the line, however, these same businesses have had their bank accounts suspended with little to no notice. The suspicion is that, behind the scenes, government officials having been exerting undue influence.

Polish exchange BitMarket discovered its business account had been suspended on 26 January, but initial reports from the bank pointed towards a technical glitch.

BitMarket founder Michal Pleban recently told CoinDesk that BPH’s closure of the bank was sparked by an alleged fraudulent transaction flagged up at the local district attorney’s office.

By not providing proper notification to BitMarket regarding the closure of the account, the bank failed to follow normal procedure. This has raised doubts about whether the bank was closed for legitimate reasons, such as breaking the terms and conditions, or whether government officials are working behind the scenes to cripple the bitcoin industry.

The immediate closure of the account also caused deposit and withdrawal problems for BitMarket’s customers, as the technical section which communicates with the bank was never turned off, even though the account was closed.

I hope the recent spate of closures is not a sign of bigger things to come in Europe. According to an industry insider, if the closure was not to the result of a glitch, other exchanges such as CoinFloor, another exchange based in the UK which secured a Polish bank account with Polish PKO Bank, may be on the verge of no longer having a bank account.

‘I am currently on a quest to find a bitcoin-friendly bank in Poland,’ said Michal.

Corruption in the Polish banking system is well documented, and many smaller banks are run by the mafia operating on the fringes.

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Norwegian bitcoin exchange launches with a pledge to donate 5% of profits to charity

The newly launched Bitcoin and Litecoin exchange platform bitcoinsnorway.com has pledged to donate 5% of their profits to charitable organisations fighting poverty.

The platform enables the secure purchase, sell and hold of both Bitcoin and Litecoin and offers lighting fast transaction times with low fees worldwide. Bitcoins Norway values customer service and dons the company slogan “Be a part of the Bitcoin adventure!”

Customers will only be charged a 0.5% trading fee while executing transfers in less than 24 hours, banks transfers globally taking just 24-48 hours. Norwegian law states that digital currencies are regarded as income, subsequently Bitcoins Norway takes all legal actions to prevent money laundering.

The site implements an minimalistic design displaying all necessary information on the main page; like price chart, open orders, transaction history and updated buy and sell exchange rates in the top right corner. Day traders, professionals and Bitcoin enthusiasts alike can effortlessly buy, sell and trade Bitcoin and Litecoin by clicking the buy and sell buttons right next to the price chart. Bitcoins Norway allows the client to easily choose and trade a variety of coin pairs like XBT and LTC to NOK, USD, EUR. The site is available in both English and Norwegian. Bitcoins Norway utilizes cutting edge security features including cold wallet storage for all funds to minimise risk exposure to malicious hackers.

Bitcoins Norway sees the necessity of giving back to the world, hence they are dedicating 5% of their profit to global charity organisations. Bitcoins Norway has chosen to support 4 organisations in particular; Doctors without Borders, MSF, (Médecins Sans Frontières) a non-governmental humanitarian-aid organization consisting of medical professionals working in countries with extreme poverty and war. Save the Children, an international aid organisation that promotes children’s rights and provide help and support in development countries. The International Red Cross one of the world’s most well-known charities and SOS Children´s Villages an organisation dedicated to aid abandoned, poverty-stricken and orphaned children.

The launch of Norwegian exchange Bitcoins Norway illustrates increasing support for Bitcoin in Scandinavia. Bitcoins Norway allows effortless handling of Bitcoin and Litecoin with fast money transfers between 24-48 hours, with optimal security and low fees of maximum 0.5%. By donating a generous 5% of profits to worthy causes around the globe – Bitcoins Norway proves to be an ethical, as well a professional contribution to the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

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