【区势早报】美国加州议员提出规范加密货币业务的新法案;德国政府将在2019年中期推出区块链战略

ETH硬分叉后价格稳定,仍在换手储备

2019年3月1日3点53分,以太坊君士坦丁堡硬分叉启动,随后新区块顺利产生。此次风险性较大的升级,行情最终稳定,并未出现恐慌性和方向性的投资选择。综合2月28日凌晨的快速涨跌与今日分叉前后的行情,ETH出现了连续多根长影阴线的现象,量柱升高,价格稳定,符合换手盘整储备的行为。在这样的盘整期,需要关注更为准确的指标,尤其是启动柱、红三兵(连续三个十字星)等打破盘整趋势的显示。需要注意的是,盘整期受其他加密货币的影响较大,要关注其他加密货币,尤其是比特币带来的行情影响。还需要去掉这些临时行为对于连续指标的影响。此外,仍旧需要关注的背景内容是ETH流入的资金量与市值间的比例关系,配合指标综合判断,截止目前,以太坊1小时线量柱减小,各种关键特征在消失。

委内瑞拉记者:委内瑞拉尚未成为比特币国家

据newsbtc报道,纽约时报最近发表了一篇题为“比特币拯救了我的家庭”的文章。对此,委内瑞拉首都加拉加斯的记者José Rafael Peña Gholam撰文反驳了该观点。作者表示,该国“尚未成为比特币国家”,并称:“请不要利用我们的危机来吸引人们关注你的加密活动”。作者声称虽然许多人确实转向比特币,但该国的公民仍然普遍对加密货币感到困惑,并且还不相信该资产类别可作为交换手段。其他人则认为这是一个骗局,甚至缺乏技术基础设施来访问加密货币。总之,作者认为“比特币是该国的救世主”的说法已经被加密货币行业夸大了,委内瑞拉人宁愿更加努力地用其法币赚取收入,并找到其他解决办法来应对政府紧缩政策。

以太坊升级后奖励降低至2ETH左右 前15个区块在5分钟内被打包

据etherscan显示,目前以太坊区块高度已超越7280000,在启动升级之后,以太坊前15个区块在5分钟内被打包。目前区块奖励已降至两个ETH,日减产量随之降低。当前以太坊网络算力为157.539TH/s(+1.63%)、难度为3.00P(+0.86%)、出块平均时间为20.3秒、未确认交易笔数为36189。

德国政府将在2019年中期推出区块链战略

据cointelegraph报道,德国政府的首席执行机构德国内阁透露,该国的区块链战略将于2019年中期推出。在联邦议院议员要求提供信息后,内阁于2月26日对该国金融科技的发展进行了评论。内阁表示,在引入区块链战略之前,他们将进行在线咨询。根据内阁,财政部以及经济事务和能源部正在制定该战略,期望其他相关部委此后也作出贡献。

慢雾区:警惕假冒门罗币分叉的 Monero Rings

据慢雾区消息,需警惕假冒门罗币分叉的 Monero Rings(monero-rings.org),其钱包存在明显的恶意行为,通过空投诱导门罗币持有者在其钱包(myxrmwallet.com)输入助记词或相关私钥,并偷偷上传,以此完成盗币目的。整个攻击的准备工作至少实施了一个月,各方面都做了精心设计,容易被误认为是一个计划长期运营的门罗分叉币,但实际上却是个钓鱼陷阱。慢雾区提醒用户,私钥即身份,需谨慎对待自己的私钥。

美国加州议员提出规范加密货币业务的新法案

据dailyhodl报道,美国加利福尼亚州议会多数党领袖Ian Calderon提出了议会法案1489,将管理加密货币业务活动。该法案类似于纽约州BitLicense,要求企业在该州进行与加密相关的活动时,必须通过审批程序。根据该法案,在进行加密货币业务时,违反规定的行为将处以每日1万美元的民事罚款。在没有许可证的情况下从事此类活动,每日最高罚款5万美元。如果该法案通过成为法律,加密货币业务必须符合有关净值、安全和储备的许可证要求。相关试题可能需要进行检查、合并和数据共享,以保持合规性。

Facebook代币或于今年上半年推出

据纽约时报报道,Facebook正在研究推出一种允许旗下WhatsApp用户发送给朋友和家人的代币。知情人士表示,该项目已经进行了很长时间,并且已经与加密货币交易所就向消费者销售Facebook代币进行了对话。除了美元,Facebook还正考虑将该代币与其他一些外币挂钩。Facebook的员工告诉交易所,他们希望在今年上半年推出该产品。此外,纽约时报称,Signal和Telegram也计划在未来12个月内推出代币。据去年12月消息,Facebook正在开发一种稳定币,供其WhatsApp用户转账。

中国平安与深国仲共建“智慧仲裁” 利用区块链等技术创建纠纷解决平台

据上海证券网报道,深圳国际仲裁院(下称“深国仲”)与中国平安保险(集团)股份有限公司(下称“中国平安”)签署“智慧仲裁”建设战略合作协议。双方将结合自身资源优势,积极开展仲裁信息技术协同革新,充分发挥深国仲的国际公信力和专业能力,利用中国平安在人工智能、区块链、云计算等方面的国际领先技术,构建全球一流的、国际化、智能化、数字化的纠纷解决平台。

泰国SEC:BCH、ETC和LTC被列为加密资产

泰国证券交易委员会在其官网发布声明,比特币现金(BCH),以太坊经典(ETC)和莱特币(LTC)也被认为是加密资产,并可用于进行加密交易。此前的文件中包含比特币(BTC),以太坊(ETH),Ripple(XRP)和Stellar(XLM)。该声明还规定,所列的加密资产不会使其成为法定货币。

微众银行副行长:微众银行将基于区块链技术发展供应链金融

据每经网报道,微众银行副行长兼首席信息官马智涛接受《每日经济新闻》记者采访时表示,微众银行与澳门科学技术发展基金的合作更多是技术方面的合作,并不涉及业务。双方为技术合作,不触碰个人隐私数据。澳门特区对个人隐私保护的要求很高,欧盟GDPR法案对个人隐私也提高要求。因此对区块链而言,要逐步落地、优化基于区块链的可信数据解决方案,澳门是一个非常好的试点。另外他还表示,供应链金融解决了小微企业融资难问题,微众银行将基于区块链技术发展供应链金融,一是该行自己发展核心企业,二是与城市商业银行开展“银银合作”,由微众银行提供基层技术。

本文来源:区势传媒  责任编辑:Lrb
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以太坊进击 内忧外患

文|嚯嚯

编辑|文刀

 

今日凌晨3时52分,以太坊完成了最新升级,进入了开发路线中的“君士坦丁堡阶段”,这也是以太坊向“宁静阶段”(采用PoS权益证明机制)进发的必经之路。

 

在4个改进方案下,升级后的以太坊性能将得到提升,最受外界关注的一点是,此后,该网络的区块奖励将从3ETH减少到2ETH。

 

奖励减少,意味着还在用PoW(工作量证明)机制、靠矿工挖矿来维护网络安全的以太坊,将面临矿工的去留抉择。为暂时留住矿工,此次升级将“难度炸弹”推迟了12个月,以保障阶段性的网络稳定。

 

以太坊的每一步进阶中,都牵扯着开发者、矿工、用户和投资者的多方博弈。

 

去年,随着EOS和波场(TRON)的爆发,以太坊这位公链前辈也暴露出交易速度缓慢、Gas费用高、扩展性差等问题。

 

内部多方博弈,外部市场竞争,奔向“宁静”的以太坊道阻且长。

 

升级“爽约”两次终成行

 

北京时间3月1日凌晨3时52分,以太坊网络成功在第7280000个区块高度完成底层协议的升级。当时以太坊全网算力为157.539TH/s、难度为3.00P。

 

升级后,首个区块由“MiningPoolHub_1”矿池挖出,共包含118笔交易,区块奖励由3个ETH降至2个。

 

截至凌晨4点,ETH报价135.7美元,24小时涨幅0.49%。

 

升级后的以太坊将优化DApp开发的Gas消耗,减少网络对大型智能合约的运算量,还有助于解决扩容问题。当然,最受外界关注的一点是,此后,以太坊的区块奖励将从3ETH减少到2ETH。

 

以太坊在第7280000个区块高度完成升级

 

升级前夕,以太坊谷歌全球搜索指数升至一个月以来的最高点,众多信徒守在屏幕面前围观了“升级现场”。

 

毕竟这场升级已经教人等待的太久。原定于去年11月的升级计划因“代码漏洞”被搁浅;今年1月17日,以太坊升级再次因为安全漏洞而推迟。

 

此次升级消息传来后,交易所、钱包方都提前做好了应对,支持升级。有交易所从2月19日起,就提示用户将ETH资产提前充值,以便协助用户将ETH“同步”为升级后的链上资产。

 

OKEx中文社区发文回答用户能否“得到分叉币”时指出,这是一次几乎没有争议的升级,很大概率上不会产生分叉币,“万一产生分叉币,OKEx将在收到项目方糖果后,分发给用户。”

 

当然,“没有糖果”的结果已出,这一次,以太坊完成了平稳升级。

 

ETH币价走势判断呈两极化

 

作为区块链2.0的代表,以太坊的市值排名仅次于比特币,它的一举一动都牵动着市场神经。升级前后,外界对ETH的币价走势判断也呈两极化。

 

去年11月,以太坊升级首度“爽约”,ETH从月初的200美元跌至月末的118美元,跌幅达41%。今年1月,升级计划再度延迟,币价从月初的135美元跌至月末的109美元,跌幅达19%。

 

ETH两度延迟升级期间,币价跌幅明显

 

直至升级消息再次传来,以太坊的下跌颓势才有所缓解。此前,LinkVC创始人林嘉鹏认为,近期市场信心的提振与以太坊的升级事件有关,ETH的币价最近也从80美元的低点反升到150美元。

 

以太坊升级后减产33%,这也被一部分投资者视作利好,“我不太懂技术问题,但币少了即减少货源,那货价就会上涨,这是最基础的经济学原理。”投资人朱深如此认为。

 

2017年10月,以太坊网路完成拜占庭(Byzantium)升级时,区块奖励从5ETH下调至3ETH,3个月后,ETH上涨至历史高点1500美元,相比升级阶段的300多美元,涨幅高达500%。

 

减产驱动币价上涨的情况,在“老大哥”比特币身上也曾发生。

 

2012年11月28日,比特币首次减产,区块奖励从50个BTC降至25个,3个月后,比特币报价34.5美元,较12月初的12.56美元上涨174%;2016年7月10日,比特币第二次减产,区块奖励降至12.5个BTC,3个月后,币价从676美元涨至729美元,涨幅7.8%。

 

而加密货币分析师Alex Krüger则认为,ETH目前的价格呈现了一种令人不安的趋势。

 

他的担心也不无道理,毕竟历史数据也只是当时市场环境下的反映,而今的加密货币熊市氛围依然浓厚。

 

据Bitfinex2月24日数据,ETH多空比率达3.22。上一次该比率达到这个程度还是去年的11月10日,当时,以太坊币价跌去60%。而历史上ETH多空比率高于3的情况曾出现过8次,每一次的10天后,平均跌幅达16.8%,20天后的平均跌幅更是高达30.4%。

 

内有博弈 外临竞争

 

对于投资者来说,以太坊的减产或许是个“利好面”;而对于一直维护该网络的矿工来说,减产下的区块奖励变少,这是实打实地降了薪。

 

“降薪”现实下,利润压力之下的矿工将会出现“去还是留”的考虑。对此,以太坊升级后,“难度炸弹”延迟了12个月。

 

 以太坊升级后区块奖励2

 

“难度炸弹”是以太坊网络中一个调整挖矿难度的设计,它让网络在计算挖矿难度时,除了根据出块时间和上一个区块难度进行调整外,又加上了一个“每10万个区块呈指数型增长”的设置。

 

这就让当前还采用PoW共识算法的以太坊在挖矿难度上,不仅仅因算力的增加而增大,还会让产生新区块更麻烦。

 

以太坊开发者是故意这么做的,因为这条网络的终极计划是采用更为节能的PoS机制,让话语权和利益的天平,从矿主向用户和投资者的方向倾斜。

 

毕竟,与比特币最初的“电子现金系统”目标不同,以“智能合约”起家的以太坊不仅仅要产生加密资产,它的目标是做一个供用户来搭建应用的底层网络协议。

 

程序开发员王舟(化名)解释,升级更像是社区在为引入PoS机制预热,减产对矿工来说是减薪,这可能在“劝退”部分以太坊矿工,这也不排除一些矿工会谋求到其他PoW机制下的小币种上挖矿来获取利润。

 

PeckShield科技硅谷研发中心负责人Jeff进一步解释,PoW本质上是拼算力,其消耗大量能源一直为人诟病;而PoS的“代币抵押”则可以节约很多能源,“PoW机制的安全是数学性的,要去攻击一个代币必须付出超过51%的算力,而PoS机制的安全性更像是经济学上的,在数学上并没有严格的证明。在PoS机制中,持币大户用自己的币去攻击系统是一件害人害己的事情。”

 

王舟认为,以太坊PoS机制的长远目标在短期内“对矿工不太友好”,但长期看,共识机制的逐步转变将有助于以太坊未来在公链生态博弈中夺回失地。

 

2017年,各类基于以太坊发行的项目横空出世,市场由此赋予它“发币机器”的称号。但好景不长,2018年,随着EOS和波场(TRON)等公链项目主网上线,以太坊这位公链“前辈”暴露出交易速度缓慢、燃料费贵、扩展性差等缺陷。

 

DAppTotal 2月26日数据显示,过去一周,综合对比ETH、EOS、TRON三大公链的DApp生态情况发现,不管是用户总量、交易笔数,还是交易额,以太坊均排在它们之后。

 

时局之下,以太坊奔向“宁静”的步伐正在加紧,“转型”显得迫切。未来,以太坊进击的道路绝不会平坦。

 

对内,这个老牌公链面临着开发者、矿工、用户和投资者之间的多方博弈;对外,它需要区块链技术战场上不断竞争、升级。

 

· “僵尸”交易所生吞投资者80万

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Turks Own More Cryptocurrency Than Any Other European Nation

News

Turks Own More Cryptocurrency Than Any Other European Nation


A couple of surprises to come out of Meltem Demirors’ Twitter account in the last few hours. Firstly, that the CoinShares Chief Strategy Officer and Blockchain Council member speaks Turkish (who knew?). And secondly, that the Turks own more cryptocurrency than any other European nation. (If you consider Turkey a European nation, of course).


Turks Own More Cryptocurrency at 18% of the Country

From what the author could gather from Google Translate, Demirors declares that she is proud to be Turkish, based on the ING findings that 18% of Turks own cryptocurrency. This is much higher than the overall 9% average.

She also pays tribute to the great success of startups and investors in the country. However, there may be a few more reasons why Turkish people are holding onto digital assets.

For one thing, bitcoin may be volatile, but so is the country’s currency, the lira. In fact, even as bitcoin racked up record losses last November, trading volume on Turkish exchanges shot up by 37 percent.

The Turkish lira crisis involving dollar-denominated debt that took place last summer greatly devalued many Turkish families’ life savings. They also saw their pensions and investments significantly affected.

We may not be talking about the likes of Venezuela, but the lira did lose 20% of its value from one day to the next on August 10. Erdogan’s Turkey may be creating the perfect storm for cryptocurrencies.

With a dwindling economy and devalued national currency, it’s hardly surprising that Turkey takes the lead in cryptocurrency ownership. In fact, the anonymous co-owner of Bitcoin.org tweeted about the huge surge in traffic from Turkish investors in August, saying this is how Bitcoin takes over the world:

Turkey Is Ripe For Bitcoin Adoption

Besides the crumbling economy and fluctuating lira, according to computer science professor at Cornell University Emin Gün Sirer, culture plays a large role in the Turkish appetite for bitcoin.

42% Traffic Increase to Bitcoin.org Amidst Lira's Hurtling Price

Not only does the country have a much younger population than the rest of Europe, but they are particularly open to new technology. Moreover, he says that financial schemes with high-profit margins are naturally attractive to Turks. This means the Turks own more cryptocurrency not only as a means of payment but also as a speculative asset.

As for Erdogan, he has not made cryptocurrency illegal in the country. However, he has tried to persuade citizens to convert their dollars into lira, rather than bitcoin. The state religious authority Diyanet also decreed that Muslims should not trade in cryptos.

When Turcoin turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, this gave more fodder for both their arguments. But while the Turkish people are not oblivious to cryptocurrency scams, neither are they blind to the erratic behavior of their government, nor the volatility of their national currency.

So, while Demirors may be right about cryptocurrency startups, it seems there are plenty of other factors steering the Turks towards investing in bitcoin.

Will Turkey become a hotbed for cryptocurrency adoption? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

Analyst: Bitcoin Faces Serious Demand Problem Despite BTC Holding Above $3,800 Support Level

After trading sideways since experiencing some volatility over this past weekend, Bitcoin (BTC) has now established a fresh trading range between approximately $3,800 and $3,900, finding relative levels of support at the former price and resistance at the latter price.

Now, analysts believe that the lack of significant buying pressure at these relatively low prices signals that further downside may be imminent.

Bitcoin Stable Above $3,800, But Faces Resistance at $3,900 

At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading down marginally at its current price of $3,855. Yesterday, BTC dipped to lows of $3,800 before finding some buying pressure that propelled it back up towards $3,900, where it was rejected and pushed down to its current levels.

In the short-term, it is highly likely that this will be a new trading range, and without an increase in trading volume BTC may be stuck between these prices for the foreseeable future.

SalsaTekila, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, spoke about this newly formed trading range in a recent tweet, noting that it is incredibly difficult to profitably trade within tight ranges like this.

“The $BTC range I was speaking of worked out splendidly: both extremes hunted… From here I don’t care what happens, speculate on up or down all you want I won’t counter trade you for the rest of the day… Be back after the daily close,” he said.

SalsaTekila further explained that he expects BTC to shortly see further downside.

“To be fair, that looks like downtrend continuation for now.”

Analyst: Bitcoin’s Lack of Buying Pressure at Current Prices Signals Technical Weakness 

Although Bitcoin has been able to hold strongly above its 2018 lows set in the low-$3,000 region, one analyst believes that Bitcoin’s current lack of strong buying pressure could mean that the cryptocurrency has run out of “dip buyers” and that further downside is imminent.

“Bitcoin failed to hold on to last week’s rebound [above $4,000] and slipped back under this psychologically significant level. If dip buyers were waiting to pounce on these discounts, they would have done so by now,” Jani Ziedins of the CrackedMarket blog explained while speaking to MarketWatch.

Ziedins further noted that the weakness of Bitcoin’s last rebound signals a “serious problem” for the cryptocurrency.

“The latest rebound failing to stick tells us demand is still a serious problem for the cryptocurrency and no one is coming to the rescue anytime soon,” he said.

Bitcoin will likely continue to follow its recent trend of making large price swings after experiencing extended period of sideways trading. If history continues to repeat itself, BTC will likely see increased levels of volatility during the upcoming weekend or into the early-half of next week.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Crypto Exchange Kraken Offers $100,000 Reward for QuadrigaCX’s Missing Funds

Cryptocurrency exchange Kraken has posted a $100,000 reward for the discovery of the major Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX’s missing funds. Kraken announced the offer in a blog post on Feb. 28.

QuadrigaCX has faced financial difficulty following the sudden death of its founder Gerry Cotten in December last year. Since then, Quadriga has not been able to access its cold wallets where it kept most of the assets, because Cotten was apparently solely responsible for the wallets and corresponding keys.

Quadriga purportedly only has CA$375,000 ($286,000) in cash, while it owes CA$260 million ($198,435,000) to its users. Facing insolvency, the exchange has sought creditor protection in Canadian court.

Now, Kraken is offering up to $100,000 in either fiat or digital currency as a reward for tips that could lead to the discovery of the missing assets. Kraken notes in the announcement that it may end the reward program at any point in time.

“All leads collected by Kraken will be provided to the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigaion], RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] or other law enforcement authorities, who have an active interest in this case,” the statement concludes.

As previously reported, Cotten might have stored the exchange’s private keys on paper in a safety deposit box. In an interview on the “True Bromance Podcast” in February 2014, Cotten explained that the best way to keep private keys is to print them off and store them offline in a safety deposit box. Cotten then said:

“Essentially we [QuadrigaCX] put a bunch of paper wallets into the safety deposit box, remember the addresses of them. So we just send money to them, we don’t need to go back to the bank every time we want to put money into it. We just send money from our Bitcoin app directly to those paper wallets, and keep it safe that way.”

In mid February, a post by Redditor dekoze indicated five addresses allegedly associated with Quadriga, noting that the number is just a fraction of the total number of associated wallets. Transactions sent to the addresses roughly equal the amount of BTC Quadriga previously reportedly sent to locked cold wallets by mistake.

Signature Bank to Offer Accounts to Bermuda’s Crypto Startups

Signature Bank of New York will soon offer full banking services to financial technology firms in Bermuda, including crypto startups that have struggled to secure accounts.

In a press release Thursday night, the government of Bermuda announced that Signature would offer U.S. banking services to licensed fintech firms, including 66 startups already incorporated in the country.

When reached by CoinDesk, a spokesperson for Signature Bank confirmed that it would be providing these services.

Companies can apply for services effective immediately, the Bermudan government said.

Premier David Burt said in a statement that the island’s government had been working to “promote Bermuda as the destination of choice for FinTech companies looking for a place to domicile.”

Where others fear to tread

Banks have traditionally been “reluctant” to provide banking services for companies dealing with digital assets, he noted, explaining that there are concerns about running afoul of international regulations. He went on to say:

“Signature Bank’s willingness to consider Bermuda licensed businesses for banking services is a significant vote of confidence in and endorsement of Bermuda’s efforts to create a leading high standard regulatory regime for FinTech business.”

Signature Bank vice chairman John Tamberlane said in a statement that the company was “impressed” by Bermuda’s regulatory framework, and was looking forward to working “with the Government of Bermuda to help promote growth and expansion of the FinTech and digital asset industry in that country.”

Separately, the bank’s CEO and president, Joseph DePaolo, highlighted his organization’s work with Signet, its internal blockchain payment system.

“Signature Bank is one of the few banks in the U.S. that will provide deposit accounts and corporate debit cards to cryptocurrency startups but we are seeing non-crypto businesses signing up as well,” he said.

Bermuda premier David Burt (left) with Binance’s Changpeng Zhao image via Bernews

Leading Cryptocurrency and Finance Companies Answer CFTC on Ethereum

Leading Cryptocurrency and Finance Companies Answer CFTC on Ethereum

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), through its LabCFTC initiative, has published an inquiry towards the end of December 2018 and sought public comments on fintech innovations, and now the results are in from a number of prominent industry figures.

Gain Better Understanding of Ethereum Network

According to an official communication from CFTC, over 30 leading cryptocurrency and financial institutions have so far filed responses to the December 12, 2018, request on crypto-asset mechanics. The watchdog had placed a public appeal for information with the primary objective being seeking an understanding of the Ethereum Network.

The information sought included the similarities and differences between different digital currencies including the “technology, mechanics, and markets for virtual currencies beyond Bitcoin.” As per the request, the public’s response would help the commission advance its mission of maintaining the reliability of the derivative markets besides keeping an eye with the aim of decreasing systemic risks by promoting legal certainty in the field.

The commission stated:     

“The RFI seeks to understand similarities and distinctions between certain virtual currencies, including Ether and Bitcoin, as well as Ether-specific opportunities, challenges, and risks.”

A Bright Future for Asset-Backed Cryptocurrencies

The deadline for submitting responses was set for February 15, 2018, but forms have continued to provide information at least until February 25, 2019, with over 35 institutions responding. Among the leading crypto firms to return were blockchain consortium R3, Coinbase, the Ethereum Foundation, Weiss Ratings, Circle crypto finance company, blockchain tech experts ConsenSys and ErisX to name a few.

Apart from applauding CFTC for their initiative, R3 Director Charlie Cooper gave a bird’s eye view of where he believes cryptocurrencies are headed in 2019. He reiterated his belief that asset-backed cryptocurrencies like the ones pegged to real estate or gold as well as native tokens most likely held the future of the crypto industry.

On his side, Circle Chief Legal Officer Gus P, Coldebella praised the Ethereum network, which supports several cryptocurrencies saying it could contribute to the global tokenization of value. According to Gus, just like the internet has made information transfer easier and accessible, tokenization will make assets more available online and internationally.

Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Brian Brooks addressed the issue of regulations and risks surrounding the Ethereum network. However, he said Coinbase believes that the CFTC’s desire to oversee the Ethereum derivative market could be undermined by the fact that a considerable amount of the trade happens beyond the commission’s jurisdiction.

The initiative by CFTC comes at a time when there are concerns that SEC, by applying archaic rules “to protect investors” is killing innovation since overprotection seems to be doing more harm than good.  However, there is a consensus that while SEC’s approach to cryptocurrencies is legitimate, the U.S can still find a way of regulating the crypto market without killing innovation.

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Indian Authorities Uncover $230,000 Fraudulent Crypto Investment Scheme

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Indian Authorities Uncover $230,000 Fraudulent Crypto Investment Scheme

crime-alert-indian-authorities-uncover-a-200000-fraudulent-crypto-scheme-investigations-underway

Police officials in India have reportedly apprehended Hardik Zadafiya, a local resident who has been accused of being involved in a fraudulent cryptocurrency-related scheme.

According to the Times of India, four other individuals allegedly involved in the crypto-related crime have not yet been arrested. As reported by local news sources, the accused reportedly lured unsuspecting investors into investing Rs 1.64 Crores (appr. $231,000) into a questionable crypto scheme. Although all of the details regarding the financial crime are not yet clear, investigating officers believe the accused may have embezzled a lot more funds from local residents.

Local sources report “an offence of cheating” has been registered by Indian police officials against Ashok Khmabhati, Kalpesh Lakhani, Nikunj Savaliya, Rakesh Mavani, and Zadafiya. In addition to being booked for cheating or financial fraud, the accused have been charged with criminal breach of trust under several sections of the Indian Penal Code.

Promising “High Returns And Commissions”

The five men named in the crypto-related crime report have reportedly been booked under the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (Banning) Act and the Gujarat Protection of Interest of Depositors (in Financial Establishments) Act of 2003. Police officials investigating the matter discovered that the accused allegedly launched a local crypto exchange called Bitstrades – after registering the company in the UK in January 2017.

As mentioned in the incident report, the five named individuals opened business offices in the Indian cities of Mota Voraccha and Puna. At these office locations, the accused had reportedly been offering “high returns and commissions to investors”, local sources said. These allegedly fraudulent schemes were being offered through various local online crypto trading platforms and other websites related to digital assets.

A police officer assigned to the case remarked: 

Majority of investors who lost money in the racket are yet to come forward. We hope that following the registration of the complaint, they will provide details of cheating about the accused to [local authorities].

“Sudden And Prolonged Crash” Warning Regarding Crypto Investments

Other details related to the investigation revealed that the accused had taken 190 investors on tours to Thailand and Singapore – presumably in an attempt to gain their trust.

In early January, Indian authorities warned local residents not to invest in digital assets like bitcoin (BTC) due to the “heightened risk” associated with such speculative investments. The nation’s government said crypto investments weren’t backed by Indian regulators.

An advisory issued by India’s Inspector General of a local police crime branch cautioned that cryptocurrency investments may result “in a sudden and prolonged crash” in which investors could potentially lose all their invested capital.

Report: Swiss Fintech Market Grew by 62 Percent in 2018

The Swiss fintech market grew by 62 percent in 2018, according to a recent study by the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences published on Feb. 27.

The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences undertook an in-depth review of Switzerland’s fintech market for the fourth time. The report dubbed “IFZ FinTech Study 2019” reveals that on a global scale the cities of Zurich and Geneva remain in second and third place for the best cities for fintech, respectively. The fintech sector inside the country grew 62 percent over the previous year.

Per the analysis, Switzerland had 356 fintech companies in 2018, compared to 220 companies one year earlier. The growth is reportedly contingent on fintech distributed ledger (DLT) companies, representing a triple increase in number. More precisely, “of the total of 356 companies, 122 are in Distributed Ledger Technology, 66 in Investment Management, 56 in Banking Infrastructure, 42 in Deposit & Lending, 36 in Payment and 34 in Analytics.”

The research also cites several initial coin offering (ICO) firms in the fintech sector of Switzerland, specifying:

“Overall, a total of $386 million was raised last year from 15 ICOs, a decrease in both the number and volume of this funding. The largest ICO in 2018 was Envion, which received approximately $100 million, followed by Nexo and SwissBorg with $52.5 and $50 million, respectively.”

Number of Fintech companies in Switzerland. Source: The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences

According to a recent report by ICO rating service ICObench, Switzerland became the second top country in terms of the amount of money raised through ICOs in the fourth quarter of 2018, having reportedly raised $238 million.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, the president of the Swiss Crypto Valley Association (CVA), Daniel Haudenschild, declared that the crypto bear market had damaged Switzerland’s position as a global blockchain hub. Haudenschild also noted that “great ideas are being shelved because they can’t find that funding,” further adding that “we need to bridge that by bringing back investors,” and “make Switzerland open and easy for companies to invest in blockchain projects.”

P2P Exchange Hodl Hodl Announces New Prediction Market

P2P Exchange Hodl Hodl Announces New Prediction Market

On Feb. 27, KYC-free cryptocurrency exchange Hodl Hodl announced a new service called Predictions, which will soon be added to the peer-to-peer trading platform. Hodl Hodl believes prediction markets are useful financial instruments within the crypto ecosystem that offer an incentive for those forecasting the specific outcome of an event.

Also read: What Does the Future Hold for Augur’s Prediction Market?

Hodl Hodl Is Adding ‘Predictions’ to Its P2P Multi-Signature Exchange

Peer-to-peer multi-signature trading platform Hodl Hodl will be adding a prediction markets feature this spring. Hodl Hodl is an exchange that doesn’t require KYC verification and utilizes a multi-signature escrow scheme that curbs the possibility of theft and fraud. At the moment, the exchange allows users to trade BTC and LTC, but the founders are considering adding other coins as well. The multi-signature escrow system protects funds during trades by using a P2SH contract, which gives traders the ability to hold keys to funds held in escrow. The latest prediction markets feature will use a similar approach by locking prediction contracts in a 2-out-of-3 multi-signature escrow.

P2P Exchange Hodl Hodl Announces New Prediction Market

Prediction markets are nothing new to the crypto ecosystem. They are used as financial tools that allow participants to create a contract with others and the system rewards the correct prediction after the event has unfolded. For instance, a contract could be created on the outcome of the next U.S. presidential election or someone could attempt to forecast the price of a certain cryptocurrency in 2020. The Augur platform is the leading crypto prediction market which relies on the wisdom of the crowd and its native currency REP. The Hodl Hodl concept utilizes BTC, and its developers claim their implementation “can be called a ‘peer-to-peer’ prediction market.”

“Because each party would lock funds in multi-signature 2-out-of-3 escrow, the oracle, in this case, is going to be sort of distributed: in a perfect case, both parties agree on the outcome, because neither party is able to return the coins locked in escrow unilaterally and, thus, they have nothing to win whatsoever by denying the outcome in favor of the other party,” the developers explained. “In fact, they risk losing their reputation on Hodl Hodl and future prospects for creating contracts.”

The blog post adds:

But even in case of a dispute, Hodl Hodl leaves a chance of interference with its third key, which can be used to sign the transaction in favor of the party, who guessed the outcome — Best part of it is that Hodl Hodl, as always, doesn’t have direct access to the funds and is not actually in possession of bitcoins at any moment.

‘Prediction Markets Do Not Equate to Gambling’

Hodl Hodl further explained that participants will be able to create contracts on things like election outcomes, the price of oil or other assets, and the weather. However, the team will make sure contract conditions are “not illegal or ambiguous.” Offers are pre-moderated, which means the contract creator will have to execute the prediction contract after it’s approved. The founders have detailed that Hodl Hodl’s prediction markets will offer a unique approach to contracts as well, such as offering different odds and a minimum contract volume and offer balance method. For example, the contract’s creator can up the odds by making them 1 to 10 which means the creator locks 1 BTC and the counterparty must lock 10 BTC.

P2P Exchange Hodl Hodl Announces New Prediction Market
A lot of people associate prediction markets with gambling but Hodl Hodl asserts that if contracts and conditions are done in a responsible manner they are a great financial tool.

Hodl Hodl added that they will be informing the public as soon as the prediction markets launch and emphasized that the new feature should not be considered gambling. The developers of Hodl Hodl said that gambling traditionally involves an “instant gratification expectation, fast execution, and randomness.” Whereas the trading platform’s prediction markets will rely on “low-time preference, financial planning, and responsibility.”

What do you think about Hodl Hodl’s prediction markets announcement? Do you think prediction markets and gambling are different or are they the same? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, and Hodl Hodl.


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Jamie Redman

Jamie Redman is a financial tech journalist living in Florida. Redman has been an active member of the cryptocurrency community since 2011. He has a passion for Bitcoin, open source code, and decentralized applications. Redman has written thousands of articles for news.Bitcoin.com about the disruptive protocols emerging today.