Kik’s Native Cryptocurrency, KIN, Is Now Usable on 12 Mobile Apps

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Kik’s Native Cryptocurrency, KIN, Is Now Usable on 12 Mobile Apps

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Over the past few weeks, 10 new mobile apps that use the native cryptocurrency of the popular Kik messaging app, KIN, were launched. were launched. The cryptocurrency was created last year after Kik held a $98 million ICO.

On these apps, users can spend the token to buy features and even earn KIN for performing tasks. For example, Blastchat is a social networking site that in a way similar to Steemit, rewards users with tokens for posting, and curating content on the platform.

The KIN token was originally launched on the Ethereum network, but was later moved to Stellar so that it could take advantage of zero-fee transactions. There are currently eight Android apps that have integrated the cryptocurrency. These include a social goals app called GoChallenge.me, a mental health one called Vent, and a social tipping one called Kinny.

There are also two new apps being launched for iOS devices. One is Blaschat, an instant messaging app referred to above, while the other one is called Pause For and is set to help users’ productivity.

These aren’t the first apps launched using the KIN token. KIN has previously partnered with beauty app Perfect365, an app that delivers an augmented reality experience to its users, to incorporate rewards on its platform. There’s also the Kinit app, which is “Kin’s rewarding app.” This app allows users to make money for completing tasks, such as surveys and quizzes.

Despite these issues, KIN is running into technical issues. Currently, users cannot deposit or withdraw KIN tokens from the apps, but KIN’s team says that they’re working on it.

Ayelet Laub, product manager for Kin, explains: “the app needs to reveal the user’s public wallet address. We need to figure out how to do it in the easiest way and most user-friendly way,” Laub also commented on the direction KIN is trying to take with the token.

Hodler’s Digest, Oct. 29 – Nov. 4: Rapper T.I., Charlie Shrem Sued Over Alleged Pump-and-Dump, BTC Theft Respectively

 

Top Stories This Week

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

US Rapper T.I. Sued for $5 Million After Alleged Failure of FLik Token

U.S. rapper T.I. is being sued for $5 million by a group of 25 persons who have alleged that the rapper’s promotion of FLiK tokens led to a loss of around a $1.3 million investment. The plaintiffs allege that T.I. and his business partner Ryan Felton promoted the “now worthless securities” on social media, creating a false impression of a “valuable liquid investment.” The lawsuit writes that T.I. and Felton defrauded them by driving the token’s price up with money from the investment, and then dumping the token when the price dropped.

The Winklevii Sue Charlie Shrem for Alleged Theft of 5,000 BTC in 2012

Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss have claimed in a new lawsuit that Bitcoin Foundation founder Charlie Shrem has “stolen” 5,000 Bitcoin (now $31.7 million) from them in 2012. According to a recently unsealed lawsuit, the Winklevii allege that Shrem failed to repay the twins as part of their investment in his extant project BitInstant. Shrem’s lawyer has called the claims “erroneous,” noting that his client will “quickly clear his name.” The judge overseeing the case has “agreed to freeze” some of Shrem’s assets in response to the case.

BTC Wallet Xapo Founder Says Bitcoin’s Current Stage Compares to 1992 Internet

Bitcoin “Patient Zero” Wences Casares, the founder of BTC wallet startup Xapo, said that Bitcoin may take years to become successful. In an interview this week with Bloomberg, Casares said that Bitcoin “may work, it might not work,” noting that the currency is in the early stages of its development, similar to that of the Internet in 1992. Casares gave a rough seven-year timeline for determining whether Bitcoin is successful, noting that if it is, it will become a non-political global standard of value and settlement.

Crypto Exchange and Wallet Coinbase Raises $300 Million in New Funding Round

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase has raised $3 million in its latest funding round, bringing its post-money valuation to about $8 billion. Tiger Global Management reportedly led this recent Series E equity financing round, with participation from Y Combinator Continuity, Wellington Management, Andreessen Horowitz, and Polychain, among others. Coinbase noted that the funds will be used for the purpose of “accelerating” crypto adoption, noting plans to support regulated fiat-crypto trading worldwide, and laying the foundation for supporting “thousands” of cryptos in the future.

Climate Change Report Finds Bitcoin Usage Could Raise Global Temperature by 2 C

A new reported published by climate change scientists has raised warnings about the effects of Bitcoin’s carbon footprint on global environment. According to their research, which is based on the existing data for BTC’s electricity consumption in conjunction with different projections for the crypto’s future adoption, the cumulative emissions of BTC usages would “cross the 2 C threshold within 22 years.” Even if Bitcoin follows a faster adoption path, it could cross that threshold in just ”11 years.” The report notes that while more efficient hardware could reduce BTC’s carbon footprint, one can’t relay on “yet-to-be-developed hardware.”

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Ella Pamfilova

“The word ‘block’ is immediately associated with something closed. In Russia, where a third of the population was held behind bars… Next you have ‘chain’. ‘Block’ and ‘chain’ — it works on a subconscious level,”  — Ella Pamfilova, the head of the Russian Election Commission

Jamie Dimon

“I never changed what I said, I just regret having said it. I didn’t want to be the spokesman against Bitcoin. I don’t really give a sh*t, that’s the point. Blockchain is real, it’s technology, but Bitcoin is not the same as a fiat currency,” — Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan CEO

John McAfee

“[Crypto is] all I’m going to talk about. See, I don’t want to be president. I couldn’t be… no one’s going to elect me president, please God. However, I’ve got the right to run,” — John McAfee, crypto enthusiast

Laws and Taxes

Laws and Taxes

Ukraine Development, Trade Ministry Creates State Policy for Legalizing Crypto

Ukraine’s Economic Development and Trade Ministry announced this week that it has initiated a “state policy” for the classification and legalization of crypto-related activities. According to the ministry’s press release, the purpose of the policy is to “create understandable conditions for conducting activities in the field of virtual assets and virtual currencies,” and to usher in “adoption of the concept of a state policy” for crypto. The policy specifically suggests creating legal definitions for key terms like “virtual currency” (“cryptocurrency”), “virtual assets,” Initial Coin (or Token) Offerings (ICOs or ITOs), cryptocurrency mining, “smart contracts,” and “tokens.”

Brazil’s Tax Regulatory Creates Draft Regulation for Crypto Taxes

The Department of Federal Revenue of Brazil (RFB) wants to receive monthly reports on crypto assets operations, according to recently released draft legislation. In the draft bill, the RFB would require Brazil-based crypto exchanges to send them detailed reports on all crypto-related operations on a monthly basis. The bill also notes that legal entities and individuals living in Brazil would be required to report all transactions with foreign crypto exchanges if they are over than R$10,000 (about $2,700) per month.

Adoption

Adoption

Crypto Investment Firm Greyscale Reaches $330 Million in Revenue

Crypto asset management firm Grayscale Investments Inc. has reported around $330 million in revenue in 2018, according to its third quarter investment report, despite the currently prevailing bear market. In the recently released report, Grayscale notes that they have raised $81.1 million over the last three months, representing an increase of almost 1,200 percent from the same period in 2017. Grayscale writes that this is the strongest calendar year the firm has experienced since the beginning of its activity.

New York Regulator Grants BitLicense to Bitcoin ATM Operator Coinsource

The New York State Department of Financial Services (NYDFS) has granted a virtual currency license, the BitLicense, to Bitcoin ATM operator Coinsource. The regulatory approval means that New Yorkers can use cash to buy or sell Bitcoin using Coinsource’s “Bitcoin Teller Machines (BTMs),” of which there are 40 machines currently deployed across the state in three counties. This is the first BTM operator to receive the BitLicense, and the regulator notes that its decision came following a comprehensive review of Coinsource’s application and requirements for AML and CFT measures.

Morgan Stanley Report Classifies Cryptocurrency as New Institutional Investment Class

A new report from investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley notes that Bitcoin and altcoin have been a “new institutional investment class” since 2017. According to the document, the “surprises” to be seen in crypto in 2018 are a “strong” formation of new funds targeting the nascent sectors, as well as the “growth” of crypto-tied futures. The report also touches on decentralized technology, noting that it makes the world “better.”

Crypto Exchange and Wallet Coinbase Executive Reveals Plans to Add up to 300 Coins

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase may offer as many as 300 more coins in the future, according to an interview with the company’s president and COO. Speaking to Bloomberg, Asiff Hirji said that Coinbase planned on avoiding complex U.S. regulations on crypto tokens by offering more assets to non-residents, noting that the number could jump from its current seven to “200-300” over the next year. Moreover, Hirji noted that the company will not perform an IPO “any time soon.”

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Chinese Retail Giant JD.Com Partners With Tech Institutes for Blockchain Research Lab

Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com will launch a research lab for blockchain in partnership with two technology institutes: the Ying Wu College of Computing at the New Jersey Institute of Technology and the Institute of Software at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (ISCAS). According to the release, the lab aims to develop solutions for efficiency problems and examine new applications and uses cases of blockchain tech, as well as specifically researching consensus protocols, privacy protection, and security in DApps.

Nasdaq to Integrate Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Tech Following Partnership

American software firm Microsoft will integrate its Azure blockchain technology into stock exchange Nasdaq Inc.’s Financial Framework (NFF). According to this week’s announcement, Microsoft will collaborate with Nasdaq to develop a “ledger agnostic blockchain capability” that will allow for operability across multiple ledgers. The release also notes that the new product can facilitate easier buyer and seller matching, management of delivery, and payment and settlement of transactions, as well as allow NFF customers to deploy various blockchain through one common interface.

Belgian-Based Investment Firm Acquires Crypto Exchange Bitstamp

Crypto exchange Bitstamp has been acquired by Belgian-based investment firm NXMH in an “all cash deal” this week. The CEO of Bitstamp told Reuters that the exchange was valued at $60 million in 2016, up from $39 million in 2014. NXMH is a subsidiary of South Korean-based media giant NXC Corp., which bought a 65.19 percent stake in South Korean exchange Korbit last year. NXMH now has an 80 percent stake in Bitstamp, with the CEO retaining his 10 percent ownership interest and staying on as CEO. The exchange noted that it is looking towards “global expansion” with the new deal.

Report: Bithumb Signs Deal With US Fintech Firm to Launch Securities Token Exchange

South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has reportedly signed a deal with American crowdfunding platform SeriesOne in order to open a securities token exchange. A South Korean news outlet was told by its sources about the partnership, with at Bithumb official reportedly adding that the exchange plans to increase its efforts to develop into a worldwide financial firm. The sources also told the news agency that the exchange will be established by SeriesOne in the U.S. during the first half of 2019, with Bithumb to provide investment and the technical support for the exchange’s operations.

Controversial Stablecoin Tether Releases Letter Confirming New Banking Partner

The issuer of cryptographic stablecoin Tether has released a statement this week, confirming that it will now be banking with Bahamas-based Deltec Bank & Trust. Tether had previously been the subject of rumors about its ability to back up its tokens 1:1 with fiat after it parted ways with previous financial institution Noble Bank. This week’s statement, purportedly from Deltec Bank, reads that the USDT in the market are “fully backed by US dollars that are safely deposited in our bank accounts.”

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Berkshire Hathaway Invests $600 Million in Two Fintech Payment Firms

Multinational holding conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, whose CEO and chairman is crypto critic Warren Buffett, has invested about $600 million in two fintech payment firms that focus on emerging markets. The investments are reportedly headed by Todd Combs, one of Berkshire’s two portfolio managers, and go outside the purview of investments normally made by the company. The first is a roughly $300 million stake in the parent company of India’s largest mobile-payments service Paytm, and the second is a purchase of shares in an IPO for Brazilian payments processor StoneCo.

Sequoia USA Participates in $30 Million Funding Round for Israeli Blockchain Startup

Israeli blockchain startup StarkWare Industries has ended a $30 million funding round with participation from Intel Capital and Sequoia USA. The funding round, which was led by crypto hedge fund Paradigm — founded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam — also included Atomico, DCVC, Wing, Consensys, Coinbase Ventures, Multicoin Capital, Collaborative Fund, Scalar Capital and Semantic Ventures. StarkWare Industries develops software and hardware, with applications including transparent privacy in blockchain, increased transaction throughput, as well as off chain computation.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The week has seen continued relative market stability, with Bitcoin at around $6,371 and Ethereum at about $200. Total market cap is at around $208 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Etheera, Mero, and Mindexcoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are YENTEN, empowr coin, RusGas.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

FUD of the Week

CryptoTrader Host Ran NeuNer Rescinds Claim That BTC Will Hit $50K in 2018

Ran NeuNer, the host of CNBC’s CryptoTrader, has retracted his earlier prediction that Bitcoin will reach $50,000 by the end of 2018. Speaking privately to Cointelegraph, NeuNer stated that he changed his prediction due to the recent state of the market, noting that the bear market status and the lack of “good news” moving the market made him lower his expectations. NeuNer had originally tweeted in February of this year that Bitcoin will finish 2018 at $50,000, and has updated it with a new pinned tweet that Bitcoin “will not” finish 2018 at $50,000.

Former US Federal Reserve Chair: Bitcoin Is “Anything But” a Useful Store of Value

Former U.S. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said this week that Bitcoin is “anything but” a useful store of value. Speaking during an interview at the 2018 Canada FinTech Forum in Montreal, Yellen noted that Bitcoin’s failure to be a stable source of value means that it is not a useful currency, adding that it’s “very slow” at payments and has difficulty “because of its very decentralized nature.” Yellen is known in the Bitcoin community due to an incident when a Bitcoin fan held up a handwritten “Buy Bitcoin” during her televised speech on interest rates and reserve policies last July.

“Godfather of ETFs” Says Bitcoin Exchange-Traded Funds Will Not Be Approved Soon

Reggie Brown, the so-called “godfather of ETFs,” said this week that Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will be certified “no time soon.” Browne, who is a senior managing director and head of ETF trading at financial services firm Cantor Fitzgerald, noted during a speech that BTC ETFs will only be approved after the development of a robust regulatory framework in the industry. Browne noted that it is “very difficult” for the SEC to “wrap their heads around a positive approval” due to a lack of data.

Report Finds Lack of Diversity in Ethereum Smart Contracts Could Pose Risks

A report from a group of analysts at Northeastern University and the University of Maryland said this week that a lack of diversity in Ethereum (ETH) smart contracts poses a risk to the ETH blockchain ecosystem. According to the researchers, since they found that most Ethereum smart contracts are “direct- or near-copies of other contracts,” the risk arises if copied smart contract contains a vulnerable or buggy code. The study, which was partially supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation, analyzed Ethereum smart contracts’ bytecodes during its first 5 million blocks over an almost three-year timeframe from the cryptocurrency’s inception in 2015.

American Faces 5 Years in Prison for Operating Unlicensed Business via LocalBitcoins

A U.S. citizen has pled guilty this week in federal court for operating an “unlicensed money transmitting business” through LocalBitcoins.com. Jacob Burrell Campos allegedly admitted selling “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in BTC to more than 1,000 customers from January 2015 to April 2017, meaning that he operated an unregistered “Bitcoin exchange.” According to the court, it is illegal in that Burrell did not register his business operation with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the U.S. Department of Treasury, and failed to apply AML regulations on the sources of his clients’ funds.

Prediction of the Week

Prediction of the Week

Crypto Winter Could Last 12 to 18 Months, Says CEO of Top Derivatives Platform BitMEX

Arthur Hayes, the CEO of major crypto derivatives platform BitMEX, said this week that “based on previous experience,” the low volatility and volume trading climate could continue for “another 12 to 18 months.” Hayes noted that he has been in the Bitcoin space since 2013, and based his current predictions on his experience in the 2013-2015 “nuclear bear market.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

Bitcoin White Paper — 10 Years Since Satoshi’s Vision Was Brought to Life

Cointelegraph celebrates the 10 year anniversary of Satoshi Nakamoto’s release of the Bitcoin white paper with an overview of the white paper’s influence, a brief history of the cryptocurrency, and an interactive quiz to find out how “expert” our readers’ knowledge of Bitcoin is.

Trend of Global Crypto Mining: Despite the US-China Trade War, Activity Surges as Samsung and GMO Enter

As the crypto markets see the fourth worst correction in their nine-year history, the hash power of the Bitcoin network continues to increase. Cointelegraph contributor Joseph Young delves into how crypto mining manufacturing giant Bitmain will compete with the emergence of products from Samsung and GMO into the market, as well as the effects on mining due to the ongoing U.S.-China trade war.

Skirting the Great Wall: The Chequered Saga of Crypto in China, 2018

Part two of Cointelegraph’s series on China and cryptocurrency gives an in-depth analysis of what exactly is going on in China in the aftermath of the country’s ICO ban, and why regulators continue to attempt to curb the rise of crypto trades.

Turkish Police Arrest 11 Suspects in Alleged Hack of Cryptocurrency Wallet Accounts

The Cybercrime Department of the Turkish National Police has arrested 11 suspects in an alleged hack of crypto accounts, with victims reporting more than $80,000 in losses, major Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reported Friday, Nov. 2.

According to the article, 14 individuals have reported to local prosecution authorities that their crypto wallets were hacked with their Bitcoin (BTC) transferred to other wallets. Following the complaints, the Istanbul police launched an investigation against a group of hackers that had allegedly compromised users’ emails, crypto wallets’ accounts data, and passwords.

On Oct. 26, cybercrime unit agents detained 11 people in multiple locations in Istanbul as a result of joint raids with special operations department Harekat police. Ten suspects were taken into custody, with one of them reportedly released on the condition of then remaining under further “judicial control.” Police have also seized from the alleged hackers two fake identity cards, as well as a number of devices allegedly used in the hacks such as 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, 22 memory sticks, and other items.

According to Turkish prosecutors, the amount of stolen Bitcoin is worth around 437,000 Turkish lira, or more than $80,000. The group of attackers allegedly moved the stolen crypto to multiple accounts in an attempt to cover their tracks before subsequently selling it for fiat.

During the investigation, the cybercrime unit identified some suspects by tracking new SIM card numbers registered to crypto exchange accounts by the hackers. Police agents also tracked the suspects who tried to withdraw the stolen assets from ATMs and banks based on records by multiple security cameras. The article says that the investigation is ongoing, with policemen looking for more victims of the hackers.

In August this year, Cointelegraph reported on the Turkish lira’s collapse, triggering more interest by the Turkish people in buying decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). The lira dropped by 50 percent against the U.S. dollar by August 2018, seeing the all-time lows due to geopolitical factors.

On Aug. 22, police in California detained an alleged hacker who stole Bitcoin worth more than $1 million by hijacking cellphones. The attacker, Xzavyer Narvaez, reportedly used the “SIM swapping” method, also known as a “port out scam,” to steal crypto from victims’ devices.

In October, Vice Media-backed U.S. tech news agency Motherboard reported that Oklahoma City authorities arrested a man allegedly considered to be one of the “most infamous” SIM swappers, who had reportedly stolen cellphone numbers and used them in cryptocurrency thefts. The hacker Joseph Harris, 21, is accused of stealing $14 million in crypto from blockchain startup Crowd Machine.

Tron (TRX) Long-term Price Analysis

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Tron (TRX) Long-term Price Analysis

tron-trx-long-term-price-analysis

TRXUSD Long-term Trend – Ranging

Distribution territories: $0.040, $0.050, $0.060

Accumulation territories: $0.015, $0.010, $0.005

At around August 3, the price of TRON’s TRX token entering a ranging position that it has since not been able to get out of, between the $0.03 and $0.02 territories. The cryptocurrency briefly managed to rise above its indicators on two occasions, but remained within the range

Tron, TRXUSD, Cryptocompare chartTron Chart by TradingView

TRX’s price went down to about $0.016 on August 13, and this has been the support line it has been maintaining. Its price has been ranging along the 14-day SMA’s trend line, close to the 50-day SMA.

The Stochastic Oscillators have moved from the oversold zone to point north-east below range 40. This could mean that the market doesn’t have a clear path for the near future. It appears the cryptocurrency will go through ranging movements in the next few days or weeks, until it eventually breaks the territories stated above.

Some believe a bullish reversal may come when TRX gets close to the $0.02 price territory.

The views and opinions expressed here do not reflect that of CryptoGlobe.com and do not constitute financial advice. Always do your own research.

US Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policies May Affect Cryptocurrencies, Financial Analyst Says

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US Federal Reserve’s Monetary Policies May Affect Cryptocurrencies, Financial Analyst Says

us-federal-reserve-s-monetary-policies-may-affect-cryptocurrencies-financial-analyst-says

Robert Leshner, a chartered financial analyst and the founder of Compound, a San Francisco-based firm focused on creating interest rate markets for crypto assets, recently told Fortune that one of the problems with digital currencies is that you cannot earn interest on them.

Backed By Andreessen Horowitz, Coinbase Ventures

Leshner’s response to this was to launch Compound – a company which holds users’ cryptocurrency and pays them a rate of return. Backed by investments from venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, and Coinbase Ventures, Compound lets users deposit their basic attention tokens (BAT), augur (REP), 0x (ZRX), and wrapped Ethereum (WETH) – in order to earn interest on them.

Leshner said his company is planning to add support for other cryptocurrencies in the future – including stablecoins. He thinks stablecoins, which are backed 1-to-1 with USD, are easy to create and there are many crypto traders interested in buying them.

However, Leshner noted that companies issuing stablecoins are actually borrowing money for free from the buyers as they are not paying any interest. These companies are also charging usage or transaction fees when they issue stablecoins.

Leshner, an economics graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, explained that many firms are supplying stablecoins because it’s a lucrative business. As CryptoGlobe reported in September, two regulated stablecoins were launched: Gemini Dollar (GUSD) and Paxos Standard (PAX).

There May Soon Be Over 50 Stablecoins

Since then, many other companies and organizations have announced that they are planning to introduce their own stablecoin. Leshner has predicted there could soon be over 50 actively traded stablecoins in the cryptocurrency market – which would be similar to the situation when many US banks in 19th century began issuing their own version of the dollar.

When questioned about whether the US Federal Reserve would start issuing its own digital dollar, Leshner said it was not something that would happen anytime soon.

Commenting on why there may be strong demand for blockchain-based fiat currencies, as there is currently a huge liquid market for traditional currencies due to the large number of forex traders, Leshner noted:

The advantage of tokenization is it brings transparency and programmability to currency. When dollars are open to blockchain there’s so much more innovation that can occur.

He explained that blockchain-based tokenized currencies have the ability to interact with smart contracts – which gives them more functionality compared to fiat money which is limited to serving as a medium of exchange.

Interestingly, Leshner believes the cryptocurrency market will be affected by the Federal Reserve’s recent decision to increase interest rates. He said:

We’ve always known crypto in an environment of essentially zero or low interest rates. And that’s an environment of easy and loose money where capital has been prolific and looking for returns wherever it was found. We’re finally starting to enter an environment of rising interest rates which crypto has never seen before and it’s going to be potentially challenging to the price of a lot of crypto assets just like it will be for a lot assets in general, including equities.

This means that cryptocurrencies will be impacted by the Federal Reserve’s monetary policies in the foresseable future, according to Leshner

Miners Have Begun Using Asicboost on the Bitcoin Cash Network

On Oct. 22, Bitmain released new firmware for the company’s Antminer mining rigs that enables the use of an optimization known as (overt) version-rolling Asicboost. Since then, Bitcoin Cash mining pools have been using the protocol and 63 Asicboost blocks were mined last week on the network.

Also read: Developers Launch BDIP: A Bitcoin Cash Proposal Process for Decentralized Apps

Six BCH Pools Are Mining Bitcoin Cash With Overt Asicboost Technology

The Asicboost optimization has been steadily making its way into the mining industry and now the protocol is being used on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) chain. So far six mining pools are using the version-rolling Asicboost technology to mine BCH blocks. The operations currently using Asicboost on the BCH chain comprise Antpool, BTC.com, Okminer, Prohashing, Viabtc, and an unknown pool. According to the data website Asicboost.dance, since the Oct. 22 firmware release, both BTC and BCH blocks have seen a significant spike in Asicboost usage. The creator of the data website has built another portal called Cash.asicboost.dance, which measures the metrics of Asicboost used on the BCH network.

Miners Have Begun Using Asicboost on the Bitcoin Cash Network
The use of Asicboost technology on the Bitcoin Cash network covers over 6% of the global hashrate.

Asicboost was once controversial because some individuals assumed the technology was being used covertly. Now that mining operations are overtly using the technology, a slew of mining pools have adopted the protocol in order to improve efficiency. This is because Asicboost can speed up the mining process by a factor of approximately 20 percent by reducing the gate count on mining chips. Essentially, the protocol is also applicable to all types of ASIC chips according to the whitepaper written by Dr. Timo Hanke. Initially, the use of Asicboost had occurred solely on the BTC chain and last week there were 111 version-rolled blocked mined on the BTC network. This accounts for 11 percent of the BTC hashrate and 5.87 exahash per sec (EH/s).

Miners Have Begun Using Asicboost on the Bitcoin Cash Network
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network hashrate (5.1 EH/s) and Bitcoin Core (BTC) network hashrate (41.4 EH/s) on Nov. 4, 2018.

Asicboost Accounts for Over 6% of Total Hashrate

Bitcoin Cash miners are slowly starting to increase usage of the protocol and last week there were 63 version-rolled Asicboost blocks mined on the BCH chain according to the Cash.asicboost.dance website. This means that on the BCH network mining pools have processed 0.23 EH/s or 6.25 percent of the overall hashrate. The pool processing the largest share of Asicboost blocks on the Bitcoin Cash network is Okminer, a mining operation that currently commands roughly 10.3 percent of the global BCH hashrate. The lead held by Okminer is followed by Bitmain’s Antpool and then the mining operation BTC.com.

Miners Have Begun Using Asicboost on the Bitcoin Cash Network
Due to the increase in BCH values, it is more profitable to mine on the Bitcoin Cash chain this weekend.

Overall, the BCH hashrate has increased, but no significant hashrate spikes have been seen since Asicboost started being steadily used on the BCH chain. The hashrate increase is likely correlated with bitcoin cash markets jumping in value, making it more profitable to mine BCH over BTC. On Sunday Nov. 4., it is 4.6 percent more profitable to mine bitcoin cash than bitcoin core. This weekend, as the price of BCH increased, Asicboost came awfully close to touching 7 percent, reaching its all-time high since the mining protocol began being measured on the BCH network.    

What do you think about Asicboost being used on the Bitcoin Cash network? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Images via Shutterstock, Cash.asicboost.dance, Fork.lol, and Coin Dance Cash


Want to create your own secure cold storage paper wallet? Check our tools section.

Bank of America Has the Most Blockchain Patents, But Is It Actually Going to Use Them?

On October 30, Bank of America (BofA) added yet another cryptocurrency-related patent to its collection of more than 50 applications filed within the same field.

The second-largest bank in the US has been leading in the informal blockchain patent race, sidestepping such players as IBM and Alibaba. However, that does not mean that BofA is being bullish — the company has been publicly criticizing cryptocurrencies, relying on patents mostly to appear progressive in the fintech community.

Brief history of BofA’s filing crypto-related patents

The bank filed its first blockchain-related patent back in March 2014, and it was published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) — the agency that awards copyrights on inventions in the country — in September 2015.  Dubbed “Wire Transfers Using Cryptocurrency,” it didn’t mention the word “blockchain” per se, but described a system where funds are sent between accounts using cryptocurrencies’ underlying technology.

It appeared to be the first crypto-related application from a major retail bank in the U.S., and possibly worldwide. It does not seem particularly surprising that BofA was the first among its kind to claim such a patent, given that it was also one of the first banks to initiate coverage of Bitcoin in 2013, when it published a report compiled by strategists David Woo, Ian Gordon and Vadim Iaralov. Entitled “Bitcoin: a first assessment,” the paper argued:

“Bitcoin could become a major means of payment for e-commerce and may emerge as a serious competitor to traditional money-transfer providers. As a medium of exchange, Bitcoin has clear potential for growth.”

In September 2015, the same month BofA was awarded with a crypto-related patent, the financial institution joined R3, a consortium of over 200 members, including various banks, trade associations, and fintech companies, who work towards developing blockchain solutions.

Thus, starting with the “Wire Transfers Using Cryptocurrency” entry, blockchain-oriented patents have been piling up for BofA. In December 2015, the USPTO published ten new entries filed by the bank in July 2014, all of which mentioned the word “cryptocurrency” in the title, and referred to various systems, such as “Offline Vault Storage System,” “Online Vault Storage System,” etc.

The following month, in January 2016, the bank revealed it was preparing to send 20 more blockchain-oriented patent applications to the USPTO office. In an interview with CNBC, Chief operations and technology officer at BofA, Catherine Bessant said:

“As a technologist, the technology is fascinating. We have tried to stay on the forefront. I think we have somewhere around 15 patents, most people would be surprised at Bank of America with patents in the blockchain or cryptocurrency space.”

Eventually, BofA secured the first place in an unofficial patent race — by June 2018, the institution held around 45 live patents (meaning that they are active and have not expired), the largest amount among all companies, according to research from Marc Kaufman, an attorney co-chairing the Blockchain Intellectual Property Council at the U.S. Chamber of Digital Commerce. The U.S. bank bypassed such technology-oriented players as IBM and Alibaba, not to mention its direct competitors — Royal Bank of Canada (RBoC) was the second among all banks, holding only eight patents.  

‘Important to reserve our spot’: BofA’s complicated relationship with crypto-technology

BofA’s efforts in the blockchain domain do not necessarily mean that the company will develop actual products. Nor does it mean that the company is being bullish in regards to all things crypto. Quite oppositely, the U.S. bank has clearly prioritized having a registered technology over actually using it.

In 2016, Catherine Bessant told CNBC that having blockchain-related patents is “very important […] to reserve our spot even before we know what the commercial application might be.” On the CB Insights, Future of Fintech event, in New York in June of this year, she reterieted that comment:

“We’ve got under 50 patents in the blockchain/distributed ledger space […] While we’ve not found large-scale opportunities, we want to be ahead of it, we want to be prepared.”

Notably, those endeavors didn’t prevent the 113-year-old bank from calling Bitcoin “troubling” and uplifting its decision to ban customers from purchasing crypto with their credit cards. Moreover, in its annual report published in February, BofA admitted that cryptocurrencies are a threat to its business model, stating:

“Clients may choose to conduct business with other market participants who engage in business or offer products in areas we deem speculative or risky, such as cryptocurrencies.”

In August 2018, Michael Wuehler, a blockchain specialist at ConsenSys, who previously worked at BofA for more than 11 years, as per his LinkedIn profile, took to Twitter to announce that while his name is listed on “8 of 50” BofA blockchain patents as an inventor, they are “meaningless” from his perspective. Wuehler argued that the patents were filed to attract press coverage and make the bank appear progressive in the fintech space.

Indeed, having a fintech patent does not necessarily imply it will be used in the future. A blockchain patent, like any other patent, is a set of exclusive rights issued by an official authority — a sovereign state or intergovernmental organization — that an inventor or assignee gets in exchange for revealing their invention to the public.

As Bloomberg explains, business-wise blockchain patents “are an essential ingredient for companies looking to reshape the financial services industry or spawn profitable cryptocurrency-related businesses.” Essentially, patents help companies attract investment, protect property rights and collect monopoly profits from other companies using their inventions — and that could be the case with BofA.

BofA’s latest patent filings: from private keys storage to cryptocurrency exchange system

Here are some details of BofA’s blockchain efforts published by the USPTO within the past year. That should provide a clearer picture of how the bank plans on using the technology, at least hypothetically:

Private keys

BofA’s most recent cryptocurrency-related patent award, which was confirmed on October 30, references storage methods for private keys.

Specifically, the filing reads, current opportunities for ensuring private keys remain untampered with are insufficient.

“While many […] devices may provide for acquiring evidence of a security breach (i.e., physical or non-physical tampering with the device and/or the data), such devices do not provide for real-time response to such breaches, such that misappropriation of private cryptography keys is prevented.

“Therefore, a need exists for a secure means for storing private cryptography keys. The desired storage means should reduce the risk of misappropriation of keys due to the keys being stored internally within a computing node that is frequently or, in some instances, continuously accessible via a public communication network, such as the Internet.”

Multiple digital signatures

On September 18, the USPTO shared a BofA patent for adapting multiple digital signatures in a distributed network.

The patent proposes a system for managing data communication from internet-connected devices. The document underlines that “the invention provides automated determination of which devices are communicating to which third-party entities and, in some embodiments, the type of data being communicated to such third-party entities.”

BofA’s proposed system addresses devices within an Internet of Things (IoT) environment, describing how each of devices within the network will communicate data with each other “on an ongoing basis,” while the system would allow a user to “select to prohibit (i.e., block) or limit which data is communicated to which third-party entities.”

External validation

In July, the USPTO published the bank’s patent for a blockchain-based system allowing the external validation of data.

Thus, BofA’s filing proposes using blockchain for tracking resource information and confirming resource transfers, arguing that “a need currently exists for providing a more accurate indication of a user’s financial standing by allowing external validation of data in a process data network.”

The patent describes how the system would record information on the blockchain based on “aggregated information associated with past transfer of resources executed by an entity,” and would update the information on the blockchain with each new transaction activity.

Data storage

In April, the bank’s application for a patent on a blockchain-based storage system with automated data authentication was unveiled. The document was originally filed in October 2016.

In the document, the BofA author describes a blockchain-powered system for authenticating data and providing secured access of said data to service providers. The patent addresses the problem of data transferring and tracking, which it says can be resolved by means of cryptographic keys in a private blockchain:

“Embodiments of the invention utilize a private blockchain to store various types of records to be conveyed to the service providers. In this way, the individual or entity may securely store on the blockchain all records relevant to service providers, then provide the service providers with secured access to said records such that the providers may access only the specific records for which they are authorized, e.g. a healthcare provider may access only the healthcare records on the blockchain.”

The author also outlines disadvantages of conventional methods of records sharing and keeping, such as e-mail attachments, claiming they are sensitive to tampering as “they lack a built-in mechanism for authenticating records.” A blockchain-based system, in turn, would represent an efficient, secure and reliable way to store records and only provide access to authorized parties, the patent concludes.

Cryptocurrency exchange system

In December 2017, BofA was awarded with a patent that outlines a digital currency exchange system. As per the document, the system will allow the conversion of one digital currency into another automatically, with the exchange rate to be determined based on external data feeds.

Under the patent application, the proposed system would gather data from external information sources on the current virtual currency exchange rates and utilize the data to calculate its own optimal rate. Specifically, the filing reads:

“Enterprises may handle a large number of financial transactions on a daily basis. As technology advances, financial transactions involving cryptocurrency have become more common. For some enterprises, it may be desirable to exchange currencies and cryptocurrencies.”

Azerbaijan to Adopt Blockchain-Based Solutions for Its Justice System

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Azerbaijan to Adopt Blockchain-Based Solutions for Its Justice System

azerbaijan-government-looking-to-adopt-blockchain-solutions

Azerbaijan is the next nation in a growing list of those looking to adopt blockchain solutions. The Azerbaijani government has recently shown a keen interest in promoting distributed ledger technology.

The Azerbaijani Internet Forum (AMF) reportedly announced that the nation will begin the implementation of blockchain-based technology on the Ministry of Justice’s information systems and registries.

Blockchain-Based solutions

The chairman of the Azerbaijan Internet Forum, Osman Gunduz, recently announced the news when talking to the Trend news agency.

When talking to Trend regarding the variety of electronic services that could be utilized to implement distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the Ministry of Justice, Gunduz said:

“The agency currently provides over 30 electronic services, and also there are about 15 information systems and registries. The registers of electronic notary, electronic courts; penitentiary service, the information systems of non-governmental organizations, the register of population, etc. can be mentioned. The planned project entitled as ‘Mobile notary office’, which provides for the accumulation of all notarial documents in one case, has seemed interesting.”

Key Elements of Notarization

One of the key reasons why the Azerbaijani government wants to adopt blockchain solutions is the notarization of electronic documents. Other nations and businesses have successfully applied blockchain technology to their registry activities.

The AMF believes that using a distributed ledger can offer transparency to their existing “dated” system that is vulnerable to falsities in regards to registering the Azerbaijani populace.

The government is planning more research into blockchain solutions with the aim of expanding to other areas such as natural resources. The AMF chairman offered a more in-depth outline of their intentions when speaking to Trend:

“The fact that the ministry is interested in the introduction of the blockchain technology attracted attention. It was announced that in the future, the smart contracts will be introduced in the field of public utilities (water, gas and electricity supply). That is, this refers to the switch-over of existing contracts of citizens for utility services to smart contracts, which will ensure transparency and will allow to suppress the cases of falsification in this area. The citizens themselves will be able to independently control all these processes.”

As the Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBS) is currently undergoing modernization in regards to blockchain technology, now is a great time for the government to adopt a more pragmatic attitude to blockchain solutions by integrating them into their own systems, some specualtors claim.

China’s Lufax P2P Lending Platform Eyes Blockchain Technology

Lufax, China’s leading peer-to-peer lending and wealth management platform, has hinted its working on integrating distributed ledger technology (DLT) into its operations to reduce cost and increase transparency, reported The South China Morning Post on November 2, 2018.

Lufax Joining the Blockchain Movement

Per sources close to the matter, Lufax has reportedly declared that it will be integrating blockchain technology into its operations and would replace its existing legacy peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform with one powered by DLT. One of the strongest qualities of the technology is its immutability feature, which makes data stored on it to become permanently tamper-proof.

The CEO of Lufax Greg Gibb, who was present at the Hong Kong FinTech Week event, reportedly made it clear that at a time when transparency has become a significant challenge for the P2Plending industry, coupled with severe regulatory crackdown on the sector, interested market participants can tap into blockchain technology to improve transparency and drastically cut down costs.

At a time when China’s lending platform options are kicking the bucket with each passing day, and 118 firms calling it quits earlier in July 2018 due to the Chinese government’s increased oversight, Gibb says he sees more of the 1,500 operators crashing in the short term.

“The problem for the P2P lending ecosystem, not just in China but globally, is that it is not transparent,” declared Gibb, adding:

“So if we could store all the contract agreements between borrowers and lenders on the distributed ledger, then these become unalterable.”

The official further noted that integrating DLT into the global P2P ecosystem will ensure all players in the industry, including regulators, custodians, and others will have access to unfalsified data regarding all loan contract terms at all times.

Lufax to Use Blockchain Technology for Documentation

In addition to utilizing DLT for secure data storage, Gibb has also revealed that the Ping An Insurance unit will also employ the groundbreaking technology in verifying the eligibility and documentation for accredited Chinese investors.

Gibb explained that the DLT-based solution would function like a digital passport containing all the required information to prove to financial institutions that the bearer is a qualified investor, eliminating the cumbersome need to revalidate all the client’s documents.

Taiwan Passes Law to Crack Down on Anonymous Cryptocurrency Transactions

The Taiwanese government has amended its laws that regulate cryptocurrency transactions. The revisions reportedly give the country’s Financial Supervisory Commission “the authority to crack down on anonymous virtual currency transactions.”

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Amendments Passed

The Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s highest legislative body, on Friday passed some amendments to existing laws aimed at regulating cryptocurrency transactions in the country, Focus Taiwan reported. The publication wrote:

The amendments to the Money Laundering Control Act and the Terrorism Financing Prevention Act give Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) the authority to crack down on anonymous virtual currency transactions.

Taiwan Passes Law to Crack Down on Anonymous Cryptocurrency TransactionsIn particular, “The FSC can now demand that operators of virtual currency platforms, including bitcoin, implement ‘real-name systems’ that require users to register their real names, according to the new provisions,” the news outlet detailed. Banks can now reject crypto exchanges’ transactions that are anonymous; they also have an obligation to report any suspicious transactions to the FSC, the publication added.

According to the amended provisions, non-financial enterprises that violate money laundering rules will be fined more than 50,000 yuan ($7,256) but less than 1 million yuan. In contrast, financial institutions in violation of the rules will be fined more than 500,000 yuan but less than 10 million yuan, Ettoday reported.

Taiwan’s Real-Name System

Taiwan Passes Law to Crack Down on Anonymous Cryptocurrency TransactionsBitoex, a crypto exchange which claims to have 80 percent market share in Taiwan and 300,000 members, told news.Bitcoin.com that the exchange “has implemented the real-name system as of July 2018.”

In addition, its international exchange, Bitopro, which launched early this year “also follows the real-name system when it involves fiat money deposits and withdrawals,” a representative of Bitoex elaborated, clarifying:

Identities and bank verifications are required before purchasing BTC or other cryptocurrencies with New Taiwanese dollars (NTD).

However, the representative noted that “Trading cryptocurrencies could be operated anonymously” if no fiat currency is involved. “For only cryptocurrency transactions such as receiving/transmitting or selling/trading cryptocurrencies, it is not mandatory to submit personal information to the real-name system.”

Taiwan Passes Law to Crack Down on Anonymous Cryptocurrency TransactionsBitoex offers three account levels. Level C requires only an email and a phone number to open an account. Level B needs an ID card, a passport, or a foreign resident card for verification. Level A requires personal bank account information.

The exchange also sells BTC at Family Mart convenience stores. Currently, there are 3,296 locations in Taiwan, according to the chain’s website.

The Bitoex representative explained to news.Bitcoin.com that purchasing BTC at convenience stores requires Level B, real-name verification, emphasizing that “it is not exempt from the real-name system.” The exchange noted:

The real-name system will be enforced when it comes to fiat money deposits and withdrawals.

South Korea is using a similar real-name system implemented in January. However, the country’s financial watchdog does not have the authority to enforce the real-name system on crypto exchanges, therefore adoption has been slow. Furthermore, a Korean district court recently ruled that banks cannot block transactions of crypto exchanges that are not using the real-name system.

Taiwan is also drafting regulations for initial coin offerings (ICOs). FSC chairman Wellington Koo recently revealed that the guidelines are expected to be completed by June next year.

What do you think of Taiwan implementing the real-name system? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikipedia, and Bitoex.


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