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Bitcoin Faces Second Largest Difficulty Drop in History After Latest Adjustment

Bitcoin’s (BTC) mining difficulty saw its second largest drop in history, with a -15 percent adjustment on Monday, Dec. 3, as per data provided by major Chinese mining pool BTC.com.
Bitcoin’s hashing difficulty algorithm is normally adjusted every two weeks to maintain the normal 10-minute block time. It has been adjusted for the second time today since the beginning of a so-called “crypto winter” in mid-November, after which the difficulty in mining Bitcoin has been steadily dropping.
The largest drop in Bitcoin’s difficulty history happened on Oct. 31, 2011, with an adjustment of -18 percent, while another decrease (-13 percent) in mid-October 2011 is the third largest such decrease.
A recent adjustment of Bitcoin’s hashing difficulty was preceded by a massive market drop, with Bitcoin losing more than a third of its price since Nov. 14, according to CoinMarketCap. Financial experts have attributed the market collapse to regulatory pressure, the hash rate war after controversial Bitcoin Cash hard fork, and the “terrible” condition of global markets.
The decrease in difficulty, along with market panic and coin devaluations are forcing the miners to quit. In September, CEO of China-based crypto mining pool F2Pool Shixing Mao revealed data on mining profitability.
According to Mao, the break-even point for Bitcoin was between $3,891 and $11,581, depending on the make and model of equipment being used. At the time of the forecast, Bitcoin was trading around $6,400.
In late November, a week after the massive drop when Bitcoin hovered around $4,300, Chinese miners reportedly started to sell mining machines by weight, as opposed to price per unit. According to an F2Pool post, miners are especially eager to sell the older models, including the Antminer S7, Antminer T9, and Avalon A741, as they have reached their “shutdown price.”
After a mild recovery over the weekend, where Bitcoin managed to stay slightly above $4,000, the world’s top cryptocurrency has collapsed again today, Dec. 3. At press time, Bitcoin is trading at $3,887.09, down 7.22 percent over the 24-hour period.
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Dec-9-2018 03:33:28 PM

Network of Self-Service Kiosks Will Allow Public to Pay Bills and Make Purchases in Crypto

A blockchain-based company has unveiled plans to roll out a global network of self-service kiosks — enabling millions of unbanked people around the world to pay bills, make purchases and access other financial services.
KIBIS says a plethora of services are available through its kiosks. Consumers can pay for gas, water and electricity, book airline tickets and check flight details, subscribe to TV subscription services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, and buy prepaid vouchers for themselves or loved ones. The payment method accepted by the self-service kiosks will be cash and cryptocurrencies in permitted countries. Other payment options will become available in due course.
The platform has partnered with hundreds of mobile carriers, enabling the public to top up their smartphones on demand, and it will also be possible for them to donate to the charitable causes they are passionate about directly from a kiosk. In a bid to help fuel the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies, consumers would also be able to invest in gift cards for crypto exchanges.
A high-throughput blockchain network will be used to process transactions, with an e-wallet payment network set to follow in the future. To ensure KIBIS is able to run at a reasonable scale, a side chain that connects to the Ethereum mainnet is going to be created.
Revenue streams
As well as the income derived from transaction fees, KIBIS says that its kiosks provide two additional revenue streams. An advertising display can be found at the top of each kiosk — and given the footfall that these machines are likely to enjoy around the world, the company is confident that this could create high demand from nearby businesses.
“High efficiency” mining equipment is also going to be embedded within each KIBIS kiosk, with each machine enjoying access to a low-cost source of electricity. Over time, the firm says this will create a large mining pool in countries dotted around the world. A “multi-algorithm mining platform” is going to be used to ensure energy is devoted to mining the most profitable coins at any given period — a move which KIBIS says will “maximize return on investment.”
Self-service kiosks can already be found dotted around the world, including in the United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Russia, the United Kingdom, Azerbaijan and other countries throughout Eastern Europe. These machines will also benefit from the new KIBIS Mining equipment. The company envisages that every kiosk deployed in the coming years — which could be up to 18,000 — will also be fitted with this infrastructure.
Key kiosk developments
The public presale for KIBIS is beginning on Dec. 10, 2018, and this will be followed by a full Initial Coin Offering.
Looking ahead to 2019, KIBIS plans to begin ordering the manufacture of kiosks with built-in mining equipment that will be destined for the United Arab Emirates, as well as signing agreements with the locations where the kiosks will be based. A mining pool is also going to be launched, and development work is due to commence on the firm’s blockchain-based payment processing platform.
Toward the end of next year, KIBIS hopes to begin deploying kiosks in Oman — and start development of the e-wallets its consumers will use, which will boast more than 2,000 services. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are set to follow thereafter.
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Dec-4-2018 10:31:39 AM

Abu Dhabi Bank Reports ‘First’ Blockchain-based Transaction of ‘Sharia-Compliant Bonds’

Al Hilal Bank, based in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced it has completed “the world’s first sukuk transaction” with the use of blockchain technology, Reuters reports Nov. 26.
Sukuk, a legal instrument also known as “sharia compliant” bonds, allows investors to generate returns without infringing on Islamic law.
Reuters notes that Abu Dhabi’s Al Hilal Bank has used the distributed ledger technology (DLT) to “to sell and settle in the secondary market a small portion of its $500 million five-year sukuk,” adding:
“Al Hilal Bank is aiming to transform the sukuk market through embracing blockchain and integrating it into their infrastructure, paving the way for innovative digitized Islamic sukuk.”
According to a spokeswoman for the bank, the deal was worth $1 million, sold by Al Hilal to a private investor. Reuters adds that Swiss-based fintech company Jibrel Network, which has offices in Dubai, participated in the transaction.
Earlier this month, a Swiss startup, dubbed X8 AG, had received an Islamic financial certification from the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) for the company’s Ethereum-based stablecoin, as Cointelegraph reported Nov. 12
Back this summer, the Shariyah Review Bureau had released guidance for Stellar, an open-source platform for distributed payments, to deploy their technology in Islamic financial institutions. Stellar has claimed to be the first distributed ledger protocol to obtain sharia compliance certification, Cointelegraph wrote July 18.
Previously this spring, an Indonesian fintech startup published a report titled, “Is Bitcoin Halal or Haram: A Sharia Analysis,” concluding that Bitcoin (BTC) is “generally permissible” under sharia law, Cointelegraph reported Apr. 12.
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Nov-26-2018 12:55:16 PM

Korea's Largest Power Provider to Use Blockchain for Eco-Friendly Micro Grid

Korea’s largest power provider KEPCO says it will use blockchain and other innovative energy solutions to develop its next-generation micro grid (MG), according to an official press release Nov. 19.
KEPCO is a $15.9 billion market cap corporation in which the South Korean government and state-controlled bank hold a majority stake; it has a “virtual monopoly” over power generation and distribution in the country, according to Asia-focused publication Nikkei.
KEPCO’s new “Open MG” will reportedly harness blockchain and other technologies to improve energy infrastructure, particularly for the local hydrogen economy. To this end, it will focus on decentralization, decarbonization and digitalization, described in the press release as being the three key “trends” driving the future of the energy industry.
As the press release outlines, earlier MGs faced hurdles in providing stable power as they comprised mostly small PVs (PhotoVoltaics, used to generate solar energy), wind turbines (WTs), and energy storage systems (ESS).
KEPCO’s Open MG will draw on an “additional fuel cell” as a power source in order to increase energy self-reliance and efficiency, and without the emission of greenhouse gases, a company official has explained. Using international standard technology, the MG is expected to be more interoperable, thereby preventing “system bottleneck” and fragmentation in the industry.
As per the press release, KEPCO intends to develop the Open MG at full-scale and create the “first” mega-wattage (MW)-scale micro grid in Korea.
As reported last month, KEPCO has partnered with Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, IT service management company Nihon Unisys, and the University of Tokyo on a joint research project into the possible use of blockchain for distributed electricity supply.
In early November, the South Korean government pledged to triple its budget (to $35 million) for developing the domestic blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) industry in 2019.
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Nov-19-2018 04:24:39 PM

Hours After Bitcoin Cash Network Update Begins, Bitcoin ABC Over 10 Blocks Ahead

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network update, which many predicted would lead to a hard fork, began as scheduled today, Nov. 15.
At press time, Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin Unlimited are currently leading Bitcoin SV in terms of both hash rate and number of nodes, according to Coin.Dance. Under the new consensus rules, 41 blocks have been already mined, wherein Bitcoin ABC is 12 blocks ahead.
The update has led cryptocurrency exchanges around the world to suspend BCH trading and withdrawals.
The news about the protocol upgrade has divided the BCH community in two camps as there are two dominating proposals for the implementation of the BCH network in the form of Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision).
Bitcoin ABC stands for “Adjustable Blocksize Cap”, and its proponents argue that the basic structure of BCH is “sound,” and “does not need any radical change”. Proposed changes include “removing software bottlenecks” and enabling node operators to change their block size limit.
Bitcoin ABC is supported by crypto evangelist Roger Ver, while Bitcoin SV supporters are led by Craig Wright, who has previously declared himself to be the mysterious Bitcoin inventor Satoshi Nakamoto. The SV camp promotes radically changing the current BCH structure, where its split is designed to entirely overwrite the network scripts of Bitcoin ABC and increase the BCH block size from 32MB to a maximum of 128MB.
The issue of a BCH upgrade caused a heated dispute in the community; Wright engaged in verbal battles with Bitmain’s co-founder Jihan Wu, who accused Wright of being a Blockstream spy. Wright’s messages to ABC, Roger Ver, and Bitmain have turned into bankruptcy threats and accusations of being engaged in Silicon Road machinations and child pornography.
A continued feud between the crypto communities would have a significant impact on the crypto market in general, while a split caused by a hard fork will affect the entire network.
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Nov-16-2018 04:08:42 PM

Ethereum’s Joe Lubin: Blockchain Will Help to Create More Wealth

Ethereum (ETH) co-founder and ConsenSys CEO Joe Lubin has said that with blockchain, society will move “from a scarcity to an abundance mindset,” in a New York Times (NYT) interview published Nov. 12.
Lubin made his remarks at the NYT’s International Luxury Conference at the Intercontinental Hotel in Hong Kong, which runs Nov. 12-13 and brings together speakers that include the CEO of fashion brand Balenciaga, the president of Alibaba Group, and the CEO of luxury coat producer Moncler.
During the conference, Lubin spoke about how the advancements heralded by blockchain tech could potentially give control back to society, allowing for more individual “agency”:
“We are going to to be more in control of our identity and our agency on these different decentralized networks and I think that’s going to create more wealth [...] more interest in expressing ourselves, and I think there will be more appetite for luxury than less.”
Lubin’s comments last week on the present development of blockchain ecosystems — which he compared to the growth of the Internet — cast some light on his perspective that the technology’s disintermediation and decentralization can help to spur innovation across all levels of society and the economy by “enabl[ing] a self-determined, sovereign identity.”
This summer, Lubin outlined the processes of wealth generation in the new tokenized economy, noting that he has noticed a “qualitative shift in the nature of money” that has moved society towards a world of “global villages.”
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Nov-12-2018 05:00:52 PM

Canadian Bank Set to Launch Uncheckable ‘Deposit Box’ for Cryptocurrency

A subsidiary of Canadian financial institution VersaBank confirmed it had finished beta testing of a “digital vault” for storing cryptocurrency in a press release Nov. 8.
VersaVault, which announced its so-called “digital safety deposit box” in February, is aiming to attract crypto exchanges and funds as clients for the new tool.
The product provides cryptocurrency storage on servers dotted throughout the world, the deposit box element lying in the fact the bank itself can neither brute force the digital ‘boxes’ nor know their contents.
“While many are considering ideas and plans for a digital safety deposit box, we have designed and built it, and are now commercializing a first of its kind service,” David Taylor, president and CEO of VersaBank and VersaVault commented in the press release, adding:
“...The VersaVault will now begin rolling out services to cryptocurrency exchanges and crypto investment funds.”
The move takes the relatively unknown VersaBank along the same trajectory as several players in Europe.
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Nov-9-2018 07:48:18 PM

Mining Giant Bitfury Raises $80 Million in Closed Funding Round as Mining Market ‘Matures’

Bitcoin mining infrastructure provider Bitfury has raised $80 million in a closed funding round, the company revealed in a press release shared with Cointelegraph Nov. 6.
The round, which comes weeks after rumors Bitfury was considering an IPO, was led by European venture capital fund Korelya Capital.
Other participants included South Korean internet giant Naver Group, Asian institutions Macquarie Capital and Dentsu Japan, as well as Michael Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital.
“This private placement will take our corporate governance to the next level, broaden our financial strategic options, and ideally position us for our next phase of growth as the market matures,” executive vice chairman George Kikvadze commented.
Despite the challenging market in 2018 taking its toll on mining manufacturers, Bitfury joinsindustry stalwart Bitmain in mulling an IPO, a trend which is also expanding to other business sectors within cryptocurrency.
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Nov-6-2018 01:53:54 PM

HSBC India Completes Joint Blockchain-Enabled Transaction With India Holding Giant RIL

The Indian subsidiary of major global banking and financial services firm HSBC and India’s holding giant Reliance Industries (RIL) have completed a blockchain-enabled trade finance transaction, Indian business newspaper The Hindu Business Line reports Sunday, Nov. 4.
The blockchain-powered letter of credit (LoC) transaction, reportedly the first of its kind in India, involved export by RIL to U.S. client Tricon Energy, which sufficiently reduced both the time and costs of processing documentation. The new system represents a significant improvement in global export market interactions by bringing all parties together on one platform, The Hindu Business Line notes.
According to the article, the transaction solution has been implemented through the integration of blockchain with an electronic bill of lading (eBL) platform dubbed Bolero. First introduced in November 2016, the Bolero eBL system allows for the issuance and management of electronic bills of lading, as well as enables digital transfers of goods titles from sellers to buyers in a trade.
RIL’s joint chief financial officer Srikanth Venkatachari commented that the new blockchain deployment has demonstrated a significant potential to reduce timelines involved in managing export documentation from the “extant seven-ten days to less than a day.”
Earlier this week, a group of major global banks, including U.K.-based HSBC, BNP Paribas, and Standard Chartered, launched a blockchain platform to address the financing of international trade. The platform, dubbed eTrade Connect, is reportedly able to reduce the time needed to approve trade loan applications from 36 to four hours.
In May of this year, international daily newspaper Financial Times reported on HSBC completing the first global trade finance transaction powered by blockchain. The transaction involved a LoC for U.S. food and agricultural conglomerate Cargill.
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Nov-4-2018 02:58:57 PM

Bitcoin 'Patient Zero' Says BTC’s Current Stage is Like ‘1992 for The Internet’

Bitcoin "Patient Zero" Wences Casares, the founder of Bitcoin (BTC) wallet startup Xapo, said that the seminal cryptocurrency may take years to prove successful, in an interview with Bloomberg Oct. 29.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Casares argued that BTC is an “intellectual experiment,” and it could be several years before it proves successful. “It may work, it might not work,” said Casares, noting that Bitcoin is in its early stages and that “we are in the equivalent of 1992 for the Internet.” However, Casares suggested that the probability of success is still greater than failure.
Argentina-born Casares has been called the “patient zero” of Bitcoin for serving as a catalyst for Silicon Valley’s interest in the seminal cryptocurrency. In 2014, Casares established Xapo, a company that offers a Bitcoin wallet combined with cold storage and a BTC-based debit card.
Casares forecasted that it will take at least seven years to determine whether BTC is successful, and if it does, BTC will become a non-political global standard of value and settlement. Casares stated:
“We need a nonpolitical standard of value and we don’t have one. So a world in which we [see it] is a world [in which] when you ask for the price of Turkish lira, you get a price in bits, when you ask for the price of a barrel of oil, you get a price in bits, when as for the price of the U.S. dollar you get a price in bits.”
Notably, the Bitcoin advocate said that it will not replace fiat currencies as "it does not make sense." He added that the idea that a blockchain can “change the idea of an asset, that already derives its value from a central authority [...] its really nonsensical and does not make any sense.”
Casares has previously proclaimed his vision of BTC becoming an apolitical standard of value. Last year Casares predicted that the price of BTC “will hit $1 million in 5–10 years.”
Regarding blockchain, Casares stated in January that there would eventually come about a single “robust” blockchain to move value globally. Per Casares, the future of crypto lies in the cooperation around a singular, robust blockchain, and in his opinion BTC is the most likely to be the blockchain of choice.
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Oct-30-2018 11:48:03 AM

IBM Study: Most Global Financial Firms Think Central Banks Should Issue Digital Currencies

The majority of global financial institutions surveyed believe that central banks should develop central bank-issued digital currencies (CBDCs), according to a joint study by IBM Blockchain World Wire and the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) released Oct. 25.
The study includes 21 central banks that participated in the OMFIF's research between July and September 2017. The reports notes that participants failed to find a compromise on whether governments should issue their own cryptocurrencies, as well as were divided over the associated processes of managing and accessing those CBDCs, tech news media The Next Web notes.
76 percent of respondents have reportedly expressed uncertainty about the efficiency of distributed ledger technology (DLT) deployments, while most financial institutions surveyed said that they believed that central banks should issue their own digital currencies.
Still, 38 percent of financial institutions in the study are actively exploring and trialling CBDC, while the rest — 62 percent — are reported as completely not active in this field.
Apart from providing statistics on opinions towards central bank-issued digital currencies by global financial institutions, the report also includes a number of approaches to establish CBDCs, as well as offers guidance for institutions on how to manage the associated challenges.
On Oct. 23, a senior executive at U.K.-based bank HSBC Craig Ramsey claimed that both CBDCs and blockchain deployments pose a “great challenge” to existing real-time gross settlement (RTGS) systems.
Last week, the Bank of Japan’s (BOJ) deputy governor Masayoshi Amamiya claimed that CBDCs are unlikely to improve the existing monetary systems, since controlling the economy through CBDCs only works if central banks eliminate fiat money from the financial system.

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Oct-26-2018 04:03:38 PM

Coinbase and Circle Launch USDC Stablecoin With Purported Full Backing in US Dollars

Major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has launched the USD Coin stablecoin (USDC), making it the first stablecoin for trade on the platform, Cointelegraph learned at the Money 20/20 conference Oct. 23. The underlying technology behind USDC was developed collaboratively between Coinbase and blockchain-powered payments technology company Circle.
Coinbase customers in supported jurisdictions can now purchase, sell, send, and receive USDC at coinbase.com and the exchange’s iOS and Android apps. Coinbase notes in the statement that its U.S.-based customers outside the state of New York are able to buy and sell, while customers around the world can send and receive the coin.
Coinbase states that USDC will be coming to Coinbase Pro in the coming weeks and is already supported on Coinbase Wallet, with more jurisdictions to become available in the future. The coin is purportedly 100 percent collateralized with U.S. dollars, which are held in accounts that are subject to public reporting of reserves. At the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas, Coinbase President and COO Asiff Hirji said:
“We are issuing stablecoins backed 1:1 with the U.S. dollar, completely audited, completely transparent. We think this is a key step toward unlocking innovation in crypto.”
A stablecoin is a digital currency tied to another stable currency like the U.S. dollar, and is designed to minimize price volatility. The value of a stablecoin is based on the value of the backing fiat currency, which is held by a third party regulated financial entity.
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Oct-24-2018 09:15:39 AM

Demand for Blockchain Engineers Has Grown 400% Since End of 2017

The average earnings of a blockchain engineer have soared to between $150-175,000 per year, CNBC reported Oct. 21, citing Hired’s 2018 State of Salaries Report.
Far higher than the $135,000 average software engineer salary, the figure puts blockchain engineers in the same pay bracket as artificial intelligence (AI) specialists, as the pace of blockchain recruitment demand gathers pace. The figure is also notably higher than other specialized tech engineering roles; Hired CEO Mehul Patel told CNBC that:
"There's a ton of demand for blockchain. Software engineers are in very short supply, but this is even more acute and that's why salaries are even higher."
Hired, which has reportedly provided data for blockchain roles as of 2017, says demand since then has soared 400 percent, despite the wider cryptocurrency bear market.
CNBC notes the demand is further fueled by the interest of global tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, all of whom are currently advertising for specialists from the emerging sector.
Hired told CNBC that while many job listings are defined under more generic roles such as “back-end engineer,” “systems engineer” or “solutions architect,” these often specify blockchain as a “desirable” skill for applicants.
Coveted knowledge encompasses “networking, database design and cryptography computing skills,” and fluency in the Java, JavaScript, C++, Go, Solidity and Python coding languages, CNBC notes, citing “multiple blockchain engineers” as its source. Patel also noted that a “long-term view” is governing enterprises’ strategy when it comes to recruiting blockchain talent.
According to Hired, the report was compiled to encompass tech workers across thirteen global cities, based on over “420,000” interview requests alongside an optional demographics survey to include age and race data where possible.
Hired’s separate salary comparison tool further reveals that demand for blockchain engineer is highest in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, and London.
An analysis published this August by recruitment firm Robert Walters indicated that the blockchain job industry has seen a sustained uptrend in Asia, while cryptocurrency-specific applications appear to wax and wane with volatile markets.

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Oct-22-2018 04:39:21 PM

Crypto Regulations for UK Could Take Two Years

Jeff Kaufmann, Legal Director at British law firm Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC), said that the introduction of cryptocurrency market regulations in the U.K. could take two years, according to an RPC press release published Oct. 11.
RPC is a London-based corporate and insurance law firm with offices in Bristol, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and staff amounting to 720 people, including over 80 partners and 330 other lawyers. Since 2014 the firm has been named Law Firm of the Year three times.
Kaufmann said that the implementation of crypto market regulations in the U.K. would take about two years, given that proposals in a recent House of Commons Treasury Committee (HM Treasury) report begin to move forward. Kaufmann notes that past precedents show that even minor changes to the current regulatory regime can take years.
Per Kaufmann, the introduction of new regulations would lead to increased involvement of the country’s financial watchdog, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), raising concerns as to whether the FCA has the necessary expertise and funding to regulate the crypto industry.
The regulation of cryptocurrencies is “going to be a difficult and lengthy process,” per Kaufmann, who noted the need to strike a balance “between protecting retail participants and allowing the U.K.’s cryptocurrency market to thrive.” He added:
“The race to establish a workable and regulated regime for cryptocurrencies is surely worth winning as their usage becomes more widespread across Europe and globally. The creation of a cryptocurrency trading hub may also have positive knock-on effects for businesses serving these markets, such as brokers, investment banks, and custodians as well as a potential increase in taxrevenues for authorities.”
In September, the Treasury Committee of the House of Commons called for a resolution to certain issues surrounding digital currency such as listing price volatility, poor consumer protection, the risk of hacker attacks, and money laundering. The Committee also urged the FCA to supervise cryptocurrencies, though presently the FCA is not legally enabled to regulate either issuers of digital assets or crypto exchanges.

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Oct-12-2018 02:41:23 PM

TRON CEO Claims Today’s Update Will Make It ‘200x Faster’ Than Ethereum

“Decentralized internet” protocol TRON’s TRX token surged almost 8 percent Monday, October 8, after CEO Justin Sun claimed its forthcoming update would see it beat Ethereum on speed and EOSon cost.
Odyssey 3.1, the latest version of TRON, will go live at 8pm SGT, Sun confirmed on Twitter as a result of “community consensus.”
The changes include the launch of the TRON Virtual Machine, which will allow developers to test smart contracts before they transfer to the TRON mainnet.
“The TRON Committee function & (Tron Virtual Machine) will go live, marking the start of the Smart Contract Era,” Sun continued in the tweet, stating boldly:
“TRON will be 200x faster vs. ETH, 100x cheaper vs. EOS. dApp developers & users, this one is for you!”
TRON’s fortunes continue to edge upwards as information trickles through about the status of its ‘Project Atlas’ integration with content sharing platform BitTorrent, which it acquired in July of this year.

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Oct-8-2018 04:33:50 PM

Korea’s Largest VC Firm Makes First Investment in Enterprise Blockchain Startup

South Korea’s largest venture capital (VC) firm, Korea Investment Partners (KIP), is investing in its first blockchain startup, TEMCO, according to an October 1 press release.
KIP is known for its investments in high-ranking firms that include Naver — Korea’s largest search engine, as well as owner of the popular Japanese messaging app LINE — and Korean messaging giant Kakao, among others. Both LINE and Kakao have made multiple inroads into the crypto space, with the former launching its own crypto token and exchange, and the latter establishing its own blockchain subsidiary.
According to its official website, TEMCO specializes in supply chain management solutions that use smart contracts on a public blockchain to help enterprises securely track products in an auditable manner, from distribution to eventual consumption. The startup will reportedly launch a token pre-sale in November 2018.
The backing of an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) by KIP comes around a month after Korea’s venture enterprise division controversially decided to place crypto-related business in the same category as organizations that handle bars and nightclub — thus denying enterprises in the space a wide range of benefits, including tax reductions.
Korea, nonetheless, remains a major presence in the crypto space, reportedly having the third-largest crypto exchange market in the world after the United States and Japan. This spring, the South Korean government revealed a positive reorientation for domestic crypto and blockchain legislation, hinting at plans to make domestic ICOs legal again —- the debate over which has continued this summer.
Cointelegraph reported in July that Korean regulators had pledged to introduce new legislation that would be conducive to blockchain investment, the same month as three Korean ministries were said to be working to produce the final draft of a comprehensive blockchain industry classification scheme for the country.
In August, the country’s finance ministry announced it would be investing around $4.4 billion in 2019 to nurture eight sectors of the domestic economy, including the blockchain sector.

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Oct-2-2018 03:41:20 PM

Luxury Watchmaker Hublot Unveils New Model, Available for Bitcoin Only

Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot has unveiled its new watch Big Bang Blockchain in an official announcement. The new model has been released to commemorate the upcoming 10th anniversary of Bitcoin (BTC).
As per Hublot’s release, the 210-piece limited edition can only be purchased with BTC. The number of units symbolises the fact that the number of bitcoins will never exceed 21 million.
To promote and sell the model, Hublot has partnered with Octagon Strategy Limited (OSL) – a major Asian digital asset brokerage which will help process customer data during the pre-sale.
To purchase a Big Bang Blockchain, a customer has to register on a dedicated website. OSL will then confirm the data and send the payment details via email. The new Hublot model will be delivered to its buyers in the beginning of 2019.
The elite Swiss brand has also paid a tribute to blockchain technology, calling it "a revolution in the financial system". Hublot further explained the importance of decentralization:
"By allowing digital information to be distributed, Blockchain technology creates the backbone of a new type of Internet. Well-recognised for its originality, the technology is regarded as one of the most powerful and fastest-growing trading tools, not to mention unlimited possibility of usage in different aspects that will revolutionise various industry norms and trade."
The Swiss brand is not the only one to commemorate Bitcoin's upcoming anniversary. For instance, an art gallery in Paris has announced an exhibition called Bitcoin Art (R)evolution which aims "to show the potential of cryptocurrencies".
According to a press-release, each item at the event can be purchased both with BTC and other cryptocurrencies (Litecoin, Monero, Ethereum).

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Sep-30-2018 03:49:52 PM

Google to Reverse Crypto Ad Ban for Exchanges Advertising in US, Japan

The U.S. tech giant Google is set to update its ad policy in October, reallowing some crypto businesses to advertise on its platform. The company announced this in an official post Tuesday, September 25.
According to the official announcement, starting in October Google will allow registered cryptocurrency exchanges to advertise on its Google Adwords platform, targeting the U.S. and Japanese audiences. The announcement says:
“Advertisers will need to be certified with Google for the specific country in which their ads will serve. Advertisers will be able to apply for certification once the policy launches in October.”
This decision follows an announcement in March that all crypto-related businesses will be banned from buying ads on Google Adwords, described by industry insiders as “unfair” and “troubling.”
To justify its crypto ad ban, Google said that it was protecting its customers from fraudulent offerings, including but not limited to “initial coin offerings, cryptocurrency exchanges, cryptocurrency wallets, and cryptocurrency trading advice.”
Other tech giants, such as Facebook and Twitter have made similar statements in a wave of crypto advertisement bans earlier this year.
Since then, Facebook has reversed its ad ban for pre-approved cryptocurrency firms, while still maintaining a ban on Initial Coin Offering (ICO) advertisement – a move similar to the one made today by Google.
Back in June, during an exclusive interview with Cointelegraph, Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales commented on the attempts to regulate the blockchain and crypto industries, saying: “You can’t ban math. You can’t ban blockchain.”

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Sep-25-2018 06:39:54 PM

US Congressman to Introduce Bills Supporting Blockchain Technology, Cryptocurrencies

U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) is planning to introduce three bills to support blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, according to a press release published September 21.
The three upcoming bills are entitled the “Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology,” the “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act,” and the “Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act.”
The legislation is focused on the support and development of blockchain technology, as well as the establishment of a safe harbor for taxpayers with “forked” digital assets.
The bills would prompt the federal government to provide a “simple legal environment,” and restrict fines against individuals who report “forked” digital assets until the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) presents formal guidance on the appropriate means of reporting. According to Emmer, “taxpayers can only comply with the law when the law is clear.” The representative further commented on the initiative:
“The United States should prioritize accelerating the development of blockchain technology and create an environment that enables the American private sector to lead on innovation and further growth, which is why I am introducing these bills.”
Moreover, Emmer has taken up the position of co-chairman of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a platform for the industry and government collaboration to examine the implications of blockchain and digital currencies. According to the announcement, “the Caucus believes in a hands-off regulatory approach to allow this technology to evolve the same way the Internet did; on its own.”
Earlier this week, U.S. lawmakers called on the IRS to issue clarified and “comprehensive” crypto taxation guidance. The lawmakers argue that while the IRS has proactively continued to remind taxpayers of the penalties for non-compliance with its guidance, its failure to introduce a more robust taxation framework “severely hinders taxpayers' ability” to meet their obligations.
Also this week, Cointelegraph reported that the American National Standards Institute is going to discuss blockchain and Artificial Intelligence (AI) issues at its next Legal Issues and Joint Member Forum. The attendees will reportedly focus on legal and ethical concerns and explore concrete applications of blockchain technology and AI.

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Sep-23-2018 12:42:53 PM

New York University Offers Major in Blockchain Technology

New York University (NYU) has reportedly become the “first” university in the U.S. to offer students a major in blockchain technology, CBS New York reported September 18.
The program will reportedly be provided by the NYU Stern School of Business, which was also a pioneer in offering undergraduate courses in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Professor Andrew Hinkes commented on the new program:
“We hope to establish a groundwork so that the students can understand what’s really happening under the hood, so that they can understand both the legal and the business implications, and prepare them to go out and tackle this new market.”
According to associate professor Kathleen Derose, the educational establishment is expecting large companies to partner within the training program, while “the startups in [fintech] will likely invent the new cool stuff.” Following the increasing number of students interested in the new offer, NYU reportedly doubled its course offerings this school year.
Adam White from cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase said that students “see the development, the birth of a new industry,” adding that “in many ways, we look at things like Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) and blockchain as the internet 3.0.”
Last month, Coinbase released a study, showing that 42 percent of the world’s top 50 universities have at least one class on cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Of the 172 classes reviewed in the study, 15 percent were offered by economics, finance, law and business departments, while 4 percent were in social science departments. The study found that blockchain and crypto-related courses are most popular in the U.S. among other countries.
U.S. students’ interest in crypto is reflected not only in educational programs, but in investing in digital currency as well. As a study conducted by Student Loan Report in March shows, 21.2 percent of college students used loan money to fund a crypto investment, hoping that the upward price volatility in crypto would help pay their debts faster.

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Sep-20-2018 04:39:42 PM
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Google to Reverse Crypto Ad Ban for Exchanges Advertising in US, Japan

Sep-25-2018 06:39:54 PM
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US Congressman to Introduce Bills Supporting Blockchain Technology, Cryptocurrencies

Sep-23-2018 12:42:53 PM
U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) is planning to introduce three bills to support blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, according to a press release published September 21. The three upcoming bills are entitled the “Resolution Supporting Digital Currencies and Blockchain Technology,” the “Blockchain Regulatory Certainty Act,” and the “Safe Harbor for Taxpayers with Forked Assets Act.”

New York University Offers Major in Blockchain Technology

Sep-20-2018 04:39:42 PM
The program will reportedly be provided by the NYU Stern School of Business, which was also a pioneer in offering undergraduate courses in cryptocurrencies and blockchain. Professor Andrew Hinkes commented on the new program: “We hope to establish a groundwork so that the students can understand what’s really happening under the hood, so that they can understand both the legal and the business implications, and prepare them to go out and tackle this new market.”

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