Bolster your cryptocurrency portfolio with these five breakthrough altcoins for 2018

Despite early investors making impressive gains with Bitcoin, and many experts predicting that the cryptocurrency will reach as much as $50,000 this year, opinions continue to be divided, with its future as a currency and an investment solution faltering. The project’s ageing architecture and lack of innovation are central in this debate and continue to drive investors and enthusiasts alike into more exciting and innovative projects that are built on more able and scalable blockchain platforms.

Why trust us? Last year we tipped HelloGold, Cindicator, VeChain, Tronix, Request Network, and Utrust as projects to keep your eye on.  See for yourself here.

With that in mind here are a few upcoming ICOs to keep your eyes on in 2018.

Databroker DAO

databroker dao icoGovernments, researchers, companies and individuals are currently maintaining roughly 6 million IoT sensors worldwide, with this number rapidly growing every day. The data collectively generated is worth an estimated $600 billion per year and is simply sitting in storage, locked away.

Blockchain startup Databroker DAO aims to unlock and monetise this IoT sensor data by creating a marketplace for data to be bought and sold. In doing so, these entities can create new revenue streams whilst also making all industries across the board better informed and more effective.

Databroker DAO is planning a pre sale and public token sale, enabling investors to contribute directly. The sale starts on 26 March 2018 and will run until 23 April 2018.

It’s also worth noting that the CEO of Overstock sits on the advisory board alongside three other key advisors, putting the project in a good, well managed environment.

Website: https://databrokerdao.com/

EQUI

EQUI ICO LOGOEQUI aims to be a revolutionary investment platform by bringing venture capital into the modern world.

Powered by Blockchain technology, the platform enables anyone to combine funds and invest in sectors that have previously been accessible only to the rich. This is achieved by purchasing EQUI tokens which open up access to the platform to invest in approved projects. Projects that make a profit also offer a dividend, which is returned to investors via their Ethereum wallet.

EQUI is backed by a number of entrepreneurs with a wealth of experience across many business sectors. This Blockchain startup was co-founded by Baroness Mone of Mayfair, OBE, and Doug Barrowman.

The EQUI pre sale will run from 1 March to 8 March 2018.

Website: https://www.equi.capital/

Skyllz

skyllz icoSkyllz will change the way we access and manage employment in the near future.

With a rapidly growing technology sector that continues to dominate every other job market, the need for a better, more qualified workforce is no longer being met by traditional institutions. What is being taught and learnt in colleges and universities is becoming less relevant, with many opting for self-taught courses instead. This has become all the more popular with online universities, webinars, remote learning resources and YouTube.

Blockchain startup Skyllz hopes to tap into this gap in the market by creating an open source public skills validation platform to showcase, track and rate candidates. This immutable CV will reflect human-based metrics on a global scale that is based on actual skill.

The Skyllz team founded Workkola, an already fully working platform utilising the Skyllz technology.

The pre sale is scheduled for February to March, and the public main sale is going to happen between July and August 2018.

Skyllz has a strong team behind it with a range of advisors from multiple industries to drive the product forward.

Website: https://skyllz.org/

Momentum

momentum icoMomentum makes it easy for brands to create their own cryptocurrency to reward and incentivise customers. It claims to be the world’s first Blockchain-based automation platform that rewards customers with cryptocurrency.

Customers are rewarded for being loyal, telling friends about a product, leaving reviews etc. This creates an incentivised ecosystem where both company and buyer benefit. Customers earn tokens for marketing the brands they love, with the added bonus of trading, gifting or selling tokens on, all from one simple handy wallet.

Momentum spotted a gap in the market due to current loyalty programmes not rewarding customers, as the points have little to no value, expire quickly and sit on customers’ cards unused.

Momentum is already working with some big-name brands such as Burger King and Firelli and has seen a large increase in activity on its apps.

With Momentum already working with real companies, the ICO is the perfect opportunity to invest in an established project.

The public token sale starts on 26 March 2018.

Website: https://momentumtoken.io/

Nexo

NEXO ICO LOGONexo aims to cater for a growing market of cryptocurrency enthusiasts who need access to fiat but don’t want to part with their cryptocurrencies.

Nexo plans to make this easier by offering people an instant overdraft secured by their own cryptocurrency assets. Customers simply import their cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin into their Nexo wallet, where they are provided with a fiat credit limit. Fiat currencies can be withdrawn using various methods, including bank transfer. It’s a win-win for both parties involved; once the overdraft has been paid back, customers can withdraw their cryptocurrency assets.

Nexo is one of our favourite ICOs this year. It’s been developed by the same people behind Credissimo, a leading FinTech group with a wealth of experience in the finance industry.

The Nexo token sale starts on 1 March 2018, with a fundraising goal of $50 million.

Website: https://nexo.io/

 

CoinShares announces two new flagship crypto investment funds

Crypto investment is nothing new, but CoinShares‘ recent launch of two flagship funds both designed to invest in a diverse range of cryptocurrencies, certainly is.

The two funds: ‘Active’ Fund – a multi-coin, alpha-generating, active strategy; and ‘Large Cap’ Fund – a passive basket fund; represent a natural evolution of market approaches based on the current trajectory of the crypto-asset economy.

CoinShares hopes to provide users with less volatility than other single purpose funds and also aims to provide more of a reward, without the higher risk some would assume to be in place.

Ryan Radloff, CEO of CoinShares suggested that this is the way forward for folks who are looking for a way to invest in cryptocurrencies. He said in a statement: “If you wanted to invest in the internet through a diverse mix of strategies focused on everything from servers, fiber-optics and silicon to search engines, social network start-ups and e-commerce infrastructure – this would be that fund; but for the crypto-economy.

“We are very excited about bringing this fund and Block Asset Management’s expertise to our investor base; both the strategy and team will be a great complement to CoinShares’ growing platform of strategies.”

The experience on the Block Asset team suggests this may be true, with their team holding experience from the likes of Credit Suisse, Societe General, Citibank, UBS, Barclays & Lloyds.

CoinShares are definitely hoping to take advantage of this market, as they have also announced that they would be introducing two other crypto asset funds just a month ago. Thus, it’s not surprising that they are the European leader in crypto-finance, holding over $1b in crypto-assets across their investment products.

This announcement follows the group’s October launch of the first Ether Tracking, Exchange Traded Products on Nasdaq Stockholm. These ETPs now comprise more than $350M of assets less than 4 months post launch.

Potential investors should take note however, that cryptocurrencies typically deal in a very volatile market. Thus, it is advised that investors should only invest if they can afford to do so, as their capital will be at risk and there is no guarantee of a return.

Tether Interview (spoiler: they ignored us)

With the recent media controversy surrounding Tether we reached out to the team with 13 interview questions at the start of December, heres what they had to say ( more precisely didn’t say):

  • The UK government along with banks have been very strict and often reluctant to provide any banking solution to crypto related businesses, often forcing them to look to places like Poland. How do you plan to tackle this with the GBP Tether plans?

Failed to respond.

  • Do you have a approximate date for when the JPY and GBP Tether currencies will be available?

Failed to respond.

  • Matthew Leising in a recent Bloomberg article was concerned about whether the exact amount of Tether ration exists 1-1 dollars within a bank?

Failed to respond.

  • Oguz Serdar claims Tether will not allow him to exchange his $1 million worth of Tether for US dollars and that Tether refused to disclose the bank Tether held the funds in. To avoid confusion how do you respond to this as various sources are claiming that Tether have issued more tokens than it has assets for, which of course is a great concern for those wanting to start using Tether.

Failed to respond.

  • People are very concerned about the link between Bitfinex and Tether, more specifically Phil Potter’s/ Giancarlo Devasini role as per the connection found in the Paradise Paper’s leak. Can you comment on this?

Failed to respond.

  • Bitfinex has hired a law firm to counter claims which you say are untrue regarding the Bitfinex/ Tether connection. Can you elaborate on this?
    Is it possible/ likely that you will be more open/ provide evidence of where funds are held to calm investor concerns?

Failed to respond.

  • When will the full audit of Tether’s assets be available to the public?
    Will you be launching on any exchanges in the future?

Failed to respond.

  • Your recent audit by Friedman LLP has been discredited by many. What have you learnt from this and how to you plan to overcome the naysayers?
    What are Tether’s plans for 2018?

Failed to respond.

  • Do you have any update on the recent “$30,950,010 USDT Tether hack? Are authorities any closer to resolving this?

Failed to respond.

  • Can you provide more information on how Tethers are created. Specifically what determines the creation volume. For example what prompted the creation of $70 million Tethers in Early September?

Failed to respond.

British banks strangle UK crypto-startups

bitcoinDo British banks fear cryptocurrency startups?

We asked Santander, Barclays, the RBS, Metro Bank, Halifax, Standard Chartered, HSBC for their side of the story.

The UK’s financial service sector adds more than £6.6 billion into the economy each year, employing hundreds of thousands of people. The City of London and Canary Wharf are often portrayed as the hub of fintech, with many of the world’s biggest financial firms operating there. With such an influential and active global presence one might think Britain would be at the forefront of blockchain innovation and adoption. Unfortunately the reality is quite the opposite, with banks demonstrating cartel-like behaviour and overplaying the money laundering card to actively discredit and cut off these startups.

With the recent exponential growth of blockchain technology, many of these startups are seeking to create innovative financial products by mixing old money with new − and this means obtaining a bank account like any other business. Unfortunately, in the UK, adoption has been thwarted at every turn by the country’s banking elite, often forcing these firms to seek banking partnerships elsewhere in Europe, such as in Poland, Bulgaria, Latvia and Estonia, and thus the startups often end up based in those countries too.

Blockchain is undoubtedly one of the most exciting technologies of our time and it will probably change the world we live in by redefining and streamlining every industry, be that through global distributed ledgers, smart-contract-based automation or even global collaborative systems and resource sharing. Some examples include:

  • charities using blockchain technology to provide transparent processing of donations/aid relief,
  • green energy startups using blockchain to offer transparent, distributed peer-to-peer energy, resulting in a national grid that allows anybody to generate, sell and consume energy,
  • medical research institutions that use the technology to harness, combine and manage computing power. This allows anybody to donate their idle laptop/computing power to a distributed network to help process things such as misfolding and protein aggregation, to help find cures for Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, cystic fibrosis etc.

Where does the government stand on this?

Earlier this year even HM Treasury’s special envoy for fintech, Eileen Burbidge, said:

“The UK is already the best place in the world to start, grow and scale a FinTech company”.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:

“The FinTech sector is one of our fastest growing sectors, adding more than £6.6 billion into the UK’s economy and attracting more than £500 million of investment.”

And yet, despite these boasts from the UK government, the country’s own banks downplay and stigmatise the technology and refuse to service any crypto-related companies.

It’s a Catch-22 situation: on the one hand you have the UK government harping on about fintech and IoT while, on the other hand, British banks, supported by the government, are flat-out refusing to work with such companies by denying them basic access to services such as bank accounts without any justifiable reason.

Her Majesty’s Treasury is reluctant to intervene in any banking decisions, stating:

“Which businesses banks choose to offer services to is a commercial decision for each individual bank and the Government does not seek to intervene in these decisions.”

“The Government encourages banks to take a risk-based approach in their management of money laundering and terrorism financing risk, to ensure that the measures they take are proportionate and effectively mitigate the risks that they face.”

“We recognise the significant benefits that virtual currencies and the related technologies could bring, as well as the potential risks such as money laundering and terrorist financing.”

It would appear that change is on the horizon, as the Financial Conduct Authority, which operates independently of the UK government and regulates the financial industry, carried out sandbox testing with blockchain firms.

Following a feasibility report in 2015, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) established a regulatory sandbox, which enables financial firms to test innovative products, services and business models in a live market environment while adhering to appropriate safeguards. But, unfortunately, multiple participants in the sandbox programme, the aim of which was to create innovative services with distributed ledger technology (DLT) were given “blanket refusals” from banks and “denial of banking services”. Furthermore, even individual enthusiasts exploring blockchain technologies have been penalised and deterred through bank account closures and warnings.

Due to the reluctance of banks to open accounts for cryptocurrency-related firms, the FCA is concerned about banks hindering competition, especially after many banks flat-out refused several start-ups entering the FCA’s sandbox programme to test their business models under its guidance.

The government is essentially taking a backseat in the matter and giving banks free reign on blockchain adoption, or rather the lack thereof.

“We are concerned that denying certain customers bank accounts on a wholesale basis causes significant barriers to entry and could lead to poor competition in certain markets,” said the FCA.

“We work to ensure that the UK financial system is a hostile environment for money launderers. However, we are clear that effective money laundering risk management need not result in wholesale de-risking, and are aware of the risks this may pose to innovation and competition and intend to continue our focus on this issue,” said the FCA.

Speaking to the Financial Times, James Godfrey, head of capital markets at BlockEx, said:

“Nobody will give us a bank account in the UK.”

“Having [Bank of England governor] Mark Carney standing at the front of the shop and saying ‘raa, raa, fintech’ just doesn’t do it for me.” James continued to say that London-based Metro Bank shut its UK account, forcing it to rely on a lender in Bulgaria.

We reached out to the Bank of England for a comment on this, and they said:

“We do not have a comment for you on this issue.”

We spoke to Jamie McNaught, founder of Solidi, a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency exchange based in the UK:

“Our cryptocurrency exchange has implemented some of the most advanced AML and fraud detection systems in the industry; this has resulted in our fraud rate being below £3 per £1,000,000, much lower than card fraud statistics.”

“Multiple banks have refused our banking applications without a plausible reason; this is not just a problem for blockchain startups but also other innovative products in fintech. We are even part of the FCA Sandbox programme and with this accolade we’re still having little success with banks.”

We spoke to Marc Warne, the founder and CEO of Bittylicious:

“I can confirm the banks have remained hostile for the last five years; there are no crypto-companies allowed to open bank accounts in the UK [including those selling or operating ATMs].”

“Bittylicious and other companies in London regularly have meetings with representatives from the FCA to see if there is any power to change this – it’s a slow process but we’re trying hard.”

“The government is encouraging technology like this but the UK only has five real banks: they appear to have the same policies and block our industry quite easily.”

“Some exchanges are using banks on the continent too − it’s expensive and a waste of money, but there are ways around this.”

Jesse Powell, CEO and co-founder of Kraken Digital Asset Exchange:

“There are banks that see bitcoin and digital assets as an innovation they want to explore and leverage for good. These are the banks we choose as our partners. We choose to partner with the banks that are courageous enough and have the foresight to see opportunity and possibility in what’s new and different.”

UK Finance

What is UK Finance? It represents nearly 300 of the leading firms providing finance, banking, markets and payments-related services in or from the UK. They said:

“We can’t comment on individual banks and their activity.”

We contacted Santander, Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Metro Bank, Halifax, Standard Chartered and HSBC, among others.

Here’s what they had to say:

HSBC

“HSBC is monitoring the development of virtual and digital currencies such as Bitcoin as well as regulations governing their use. In countries where use of virtual currencies is permitted by the authorities, we expect any customer transacting in them to comply with all applicable laws and regulations, just as they would for transactions denominated in traditional legal tender. HSBC does not process virtual currency payments and we do not bank virtual currency exchanges.”

Santander

“As an innovative bank, we are interested in new technology and emerging currencies. In line with our regulatory obligations and industry best practice, any company, big or small, will be risk assessed when applying to open an account with us.”

“Santander is a supporter of new businesses and start-ups in the UK and across the globe, making significant investments through our venture capital, Santander Innoventures fund, based in London.”

Royal Bank of Scotland

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Metro Bank

“We review all applications on a case-by-case basis.”

Halifax

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Bank of Ireland

We are not in a position to comment.

Standard Chartered

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Lloyds Bank

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Co-operative Bank

“The Bank has been through a recapitalisation exercise as we look to rebuild our business, and our strategy is to focus on becoming a smaller retail and SME bank. As such, more specialist areas of finance and banking is not part of our current strategy, which includes new sectors such as blockchain at this moment in time,” said Paul Lawler, Head of Values & Ethics and Communications.

Yorkshire Building Society

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Deutsche Bank

Failed to respond to our enquiries.

Conclusion

Based on the findings of the FCA, it would appear that some banks have been complicit in anti-competitive practices. The law states that businesses can be fined up to 10% of their worldwide turnover and sued for damages if they are found to be involved in anti-competitive activities. It’s been widely said that the larger banks have formed a “cartel” to block out crypto-businesses.

Hostility has been ripe for many years now (we covered the same issue back in 2014) and yet nearly four years on nothing has changed, with mainstream banks continuing to suffocate blockchain companies across all sectors.

What has changed, however, is the flexible and adaptive nature of some smaller banks in Europe that have started to embrace crypto-businesses. If things continue as they are over the next ten years we will probably see London lose its fintech crown to a more blockchain-friendly country somewhere in Europe.

Steam drops Bitcoin support

Washington-base game developer and distribution company Valve will cease to accept Bitcoin as a valid payment method on Steam due to high transaction fees but. The outfit may re-evaluate in the future.

In a blog post today, Valve said “Steam will no longer support Bitcoin as a payment method on our platform due to high fees and volatility in the value of Bitcoin.”

When the firm started accepting Bitcoin sometime ago the network transaction fees was roughly $0.20, in recent days this has reached around $20 making the purchase of games extremely expensive.

Back in April 2016 Valve partnered with BitPay to utilise their payment gateway enabling customers to pay in Bitcoin. They hoped it would provide a fast, cheap and alternative solution for emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil with no risk of chargeback fraud that comes with card payments. Fast forward today it has become the complete opposite in terms of the currency becoming an overly expensive method of payment.

Valve are stating they have no control over transaction fees due to BitPay automatically presetting them when generating invoices, which are automatically adjusted depending on network congestion.

“When checking out on Steam, a customer will transfer x amount of Bitcoin for the cost of the game, plus y amount of Bitcoin to cover the transaction fee charged by the Bitcoin network,” the company said. “The value of Bitcoin is only guaranteed for a certain period of time so if the transaction doesn’t complete within that window of time, then the amount of Bitcoin needed to cover the transaction can fluctuate considerably. This value has been increasing significantly.”

“At this point, it has become untenable to support Bitcoin as a payment option,” Valve said. “We may re-evaluate whether Bitcoin makes sense for us and for the Steam community at a later date.”

Valve added support for Steam purchases with bitcoin in 2016 as part of a partnership with company Bitpay.

In the last few months alone Blockchain technology has rapidly advanced with newer technologies, Valve may look into Ethereum which would offer a faster checkout process.

Old money meets new: Revolut merges mobile banking with crypto trading

London-based mobile banking outfit Revolut is merging traditional day-to-day fiat spending with digital currencies, enabling customers to buy, sell, trade and hold cryptocurrencies including Ethereum, Litecoin and Bitcoin in 130 currencies in what the firm claims to be a world first.

Aiming to fill the void between digital currencies and old money, customers who have an debit card attached to their Revolut account can purchase goods in real time and have the funds deducted from their accounts in fiat or crypto. More importantly small transactions such as paying for groceries at the supermarket, parking etc are encouraged and work seamlessly at very reasonable rates.

Now, spending Bitcoin with a debit card is nothing new, firms such as Xapo, CEX and CryptoPay have been providing this for some time. The key difference with Revolut is that customers are now be able to tap into extremely low exchange rates resulting in ‘fee-free’ transactions with real exchange rates in over 130 currencies.

Revolut also removes the inconsistencies associated with Bitcoin/ fiat conversions which can be time consuming and expensive, particularly when the exchange is operating in other jurisdictions. These exchanges charge anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent per transaction whilst Revolut offers a fixed fee of just 1.5 percent.

Revolut’s platform launch comes as Bitcoin continues to blow past ATH’s like $10,000, fight for its legitimacy in the eyes of mainstream users and governments and prepares for futures trading this month. With the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approving Bitcoin futures, cryptocurrencies has grown up considerably since their less stellar dark web days and with services like Revolut now available are ready for mass adoption.

“Despite being one of the hottest trends in the world right now, getting exposure to cryptocurrency has notoriously been time-consuming and expensive,” Storonsky writes.

Nikolay Storonsky, the CEO of Revolut said at this years Techcrunch Disrupt conference in Berlin that users will be able to access the new cryptocurrency trading features on the app from this Thursday.

The company has an excellent track record when it comes to saving customers millions on foreign exchange fees, citing more than $160 million in customer savings since launch. The app is currently servicing over 1,000,000 users in Europe and is growing exponentially and now the company ready to roll out its mobile banking to the masses.

trade.io Announces Historic Partnerships & Introduces Tiered Structure Further To Community Demand

01 December 2017, Zug Switzerland. Highly anticipated upcoming ICO trade.io has made three major announcements this week, which have strengthened its positioning as one of the leading ICOs to invest in, for 2017.

The company has launched an historic partnership with The University Of Nicosia.

Two post-doctoral seats, funded by trade.io will focus on advanced research in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).  The research will have a specific focus on side-chains and cross-chain interoperability, as well as smart token corporate governance best practices and implementation.

trade.io has partnered with HitBTC.

HitBTC is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges, exceeding upwards of half a billion in daily volume, and operating since 2014. Once listed on the HitBTC exchange, the Trade Token (listed as TIO) will trade against the counters Bitcoin (BCT) and Ethereum (ETH).

The company has introduced a four-part tiered pricing structure

Further to overwhelming demand from the community a tiered pricing structure is now in place:

7-14 December: 1 ETH = 900 Trade Tokens

14-21 December: 1 ETH = 800 Trade Tokens

21-28 December: 1 ETH = 700 Trade Tokens

28 December – 4 January: 1 ETH = 600 Trade Tokens

On this, CEO Jim Preissler commented: “Our community has spoken. You have been asking us to extend the low Trade Token price for the ICO.  The strength of trade.io lies in our community, your voice acts as a directing force for strategic decisions.  With this in mind, our board has agreed to extend the low pricing by adding a tiered structure, giving early movers a bigger incentive to contribute and also to allow more time for such contributions”

Crypto broker LH-Crypto has collected $2,500,000 during the pre-ICO

 

Today has started the ICO of the project LH-Crypto, the first Forex broker that will work fully on the cryptocurrency. During the Pre-ICO was collected $ 2 555 426 and was determined the price of the token LHC and it is $0.128.

According to the mechanism of the sale of the tokens, every week the tokens LHC will become more expensive – so on the ICO  the price of the token was $0.1352 (5% higher than  pre-sale price). During the second week of the sale the price of the token will increase in comparison with the pre-ICO by 10%, during the third by 15%, and finally in the last week of sale by 21%. Thus, the company motivates investors to invest at an earlier stage. However, in the case of the crypto-broker it is really beneficial as early investors participate in the program Early Bird. Here, as elsewhere, those who buy tokens at the beginning pay less and those who buy in the end – pay more, that’s just the smart contract is set up so that with higher prices in the next step the difference is divided between the early participants.

All the project investors receive a guarantee of return of the token at +20% annually: if the tokens’ value will not be equal to “nominal + 20%”, the company will pay the missing funds into personal account of investors. This amount can be used for trade or immediately withdrawn.

And the main thing of the project is the monthly income which receive holders from operating activities. Regular crediting of funds to client’s personal account with a debit card on the brokerage account carries a high commission, but the transfer of cryptocurrencies doesn’t have such a cost. That’s why the company has decided to save 5% monthly from all incoming payments and at the end of the month to transfer them to the holders of the tokens.

LH-Crypto is  the project of the company Larson & Holz  which is broker with a 13 years of history. Why has a successful international broker decided to enter the cryptocurrency market? First of all, it will allow to solve the problem of mutual settlements with other countries, primarily with China, India, Arab countries, where the currency legislation considerably differs from the European one. Second, the “hype” around cryptocurrency is attracting to the market new and new people. Individuals who are interested in increasing their capital and in speculating. It expands the client base. Thirdly, the use of cryptocurrencies allows to avoid the territorial and legal constraints, including lengthy and complex process for obtaining licenses, and the limits of financial regulators will not have such a large value. And finally, the use of cryptocurrency helps to reduce transaction costs in 6 times up to 1%, which will attract more people.

To participate in the ICO LH-Crypto: https://lh-crypto.io

 

Introducing ‘petro’ – A new oil-backed cryptocurrency being launched by Venezuela

In a daring attempt to boost Venezuela’s economy, the country’s president Nicolas Maduro has announced the introduction of a new cryptocurrency which will be backed-up by Venezuela’s oil reserves.

The currency, which is imaginatively called ‘petro’, was announced by the left-leaning leader on Sunday with an emphatic statement of “the 21st century has arrived.”

Critics may point to the lack of specifics in regard to how this cryptocurrency will function, but nonetheless, President Maduro was adamant that it will be a success during this televised statement.

During the broadcast, he added that “Venezuela will create a cryptocurrency” which will be backed by their natural reserves of oil, gas, gold and diamonds.

The president also referred to the US-led sanctions currently in place and how petro will help his country “make financial transactions and overcome the financial blockade.”

The announcement wasn’t met with universal acclaim however, with political opposition stating that such an act will have to overcome copious amounts of red tape before it becomes official.

oil gas
The “petro,” a cryptocurrency backed by oil, gas, gold, and diamond reserves.

This move further indicates that the sanctions towards Maduro’s government that were put in place by Pres. Trump’s administration earlier this year are hurting Venezuela’s economy. Those moves from the USA include sanctions on officials from the country, PDVSA executives and Venezuela’s debt issuance.

The bolivar, which is the current currency in the country, is at a weak point and the country is struggling to move money through international banks.

Optimism regarding President Maduro’s move has been muted, for many reasons, including his poor economic record.

The bolivar has been on a constant slide as of late, with government controls and the over printing of currency leading to a depreciation rate against the dollar of almost 60 per cent during the last month.

Poverty stricken natives aren’t overly positive about this announcement either, as many think that Maduro’s decisions are creating a complete economic bust.

Economist and opposition lawmaker Angel Alvarado told Reuters that his opinion of the president does not amount to much, adding: “It’s Maduro being a clown. This has no credibility.”

Fellow opposition lawmaker Jose Guerra added to the dissenting voices, telling Reuters that he can’t envisage any future for the cryptocurrency.

However, President Maduro has stated that he is trying his utmost to fight for his country in a monetary “war”.

The recent surge in other digital currency’s value (especially Bitcoin) have without a doubt influenced Maduro’s decision to make this move. Relations between Venezuela and the USA will most likely to continue to be tense, as Maduro looks for alternatives to boost his country’s economy.

Block Asset Management launches world’s first crypto fund of funds

Block Asset Management has launched what is recognised as the world’s first cryptocurrency and blockchain ‘fund of funds’.

Led by Manuel E De Luque Muntaner and Kevin Ballard, the firm was founded earlier this year. The team of financial experts contribute over 100 years of experience in a variety of banking, asset, fund and compliance industries.

The fund offers investors hassle free investment across a highly sought after portfolio of cryptocurrencies and blockchain projects which are strategically chosen and have a combined AUM exceeding $500m.

“After a year of global market research, we realised that interest in the blockchain/crypto space is extremely high”, said founder and COO, Kevin Ballard.

“We knew that many funds exist in the crypto space, but most would clearly not pass any comprehensive, serious due diligence. However, relying on Block Asset Management’s team, we successfully completed months of extensive analysis of dozens of funds and eventually approved the best funds for inclusion in our fund”, said De Luque Muntaner, Block Asset Management’s CEO.

Investor demand in combination with early stage adoption of blockchain technology is what Block Asset Managment believe will dramatically increase its portfolios value.

The Fund’s management company, Block Asset Management S.à.r.l., is domiciled in Luxembourg and registered with the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF).