Major American Magazine Time Column Reports About Bitcoin’s Liberating Potential

Bitcoin (BTC) has a substantial liberating potential, American mainstream newspaper Time reports on Dec. 28.

The aforementioned article claims that “speculation, fraud, and greed in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industry have overshadowed the real, liberating potential of Satoshi Nakamoto’s invention.”

According to the article’s author, Bitcoin “can be a valuable financial tool as a censorship-resistant medium of exchange.”

Alejandro Machado, a cryptocurrency researcher at the Open Money Initiative, reportedly said that the fee on a wire transfer from the United States to Venezuela can be as high as 56 percent.

To circumvent such conditions, Venezuelans have reportedly turned to cryptocurrency, receiving Bitcoin from their relatives abroad. The main alternative is to wire money to Colombia, withdraw and bring cash to Venezuela, which according to the article, “can take far longer, cost more, and be far more dangerous than the Bitcoin option.”

Times suggests that Bitcoin is a good way to protect oneself from fiat currency inflation. Venezuela is prime example of that, with the inflation of their native currency projected to top 1 million percent. But there are also other similar examples, like Zimbabwe, where former president Robert Mugabe “printed endless amounts of cash.” But the author points out:

“His successors can’t print more Bitcoin.”

Bitcoin is also, according to the article, a tool to evade mass surveillance in places like China. That being said, as Cointelegraph reported in March, according to U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden, Bitcoin isn’t optimal for avoiding government coercion, and he believes that the world needs a better option.

Times also points out the advantage given by the inability of governments to censor transactions or freeze Bitcoin wallets. In fact, Cointelegraph reported in April that WikiLeaks’ Coinbase account has been suspended due to a term of service violation.

Still, nobody can prevent WikiLeaks from using cryptocurrency wallets where the organization controls the private keys. In fact, WikiLeaks is still accepting cryptocurrency donations and also added support for Snowden’s favorite crypto Zcash in August 2017.

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All Cryptos See Major Losses as Market Hit by Distinctly Unfestive Correction

Friday, Dec. 25 — crypto markets are lacking in Christmas cheer, with many major crypto assets hit with double-digit losses. Virtually all of the top 100 coins by market cap are in the red, as data from Coin360 shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) has plummeted over 9 percent on the day, and is trading at $3,812 as of press time, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index. After bullish growth yesterday, Christmas eve, to break over $4,236, the top coin has been trading as low as $3,755 in the trading hours before press time — an around $500 drop.

Over these past seven days, Bitcoin’s trading pattern has been characterized by high volatility — veering between reclaiming the $4,000 price point and beyond, to dipping back down towards the $3,700–$3,800 range.

While the coin is still a strong 17.2 percent higher than its value at the start of its weekly chart, on the month, Bitcoin is down by around 12 percent.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index

Second-largest crypto by market cap Ripple (XRP) has fared even worse, shedding a stark 15 percent over the 24 hours before press time, according to Cointelegraph’s Ripple Price Index. The asset is currently trading at $0.38 — following an intraweek peak at $0.45 yesterday. On its weekly chart, Ripple is nonetheless a strong 31.5 percent in the green, with monthly losses at a mild 7 percent.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ripple Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) — ranked third by market cap — has lost over 18 percent on the day and is trading at $127 to press time. During yesterday’s mini-rally, Ethereum had broken above $150 — its highest price point in around five weeks.

Ethereum is a bullish 51.5 percent in the green on its weekly chart, and it has inched into green on the month, up by around 5 percent.

Yesterday’s price hike in the context of Ethereum’s 3-month price chart. Source: Cointelegraph’s Ethereum Price Index

Fourth-largest cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is down around 20.7 percent and is trading at $164 as of press time. Having seen astonishing volatility as of late, the coin is around 113 percent up on its weekly chart — and down by around 27 percent on the month.

Newly-forked Bitcoin SV (BSV), currently ranked ninth largest cryptocurrency, is down around 15 percent at $93, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Including BTC, XRP, ETH and BCH, sixteen of the top twenty coins on CoinMarketCap are down by between 10 and 19 percent on the day. Stark losses have hit cryptos such as Litecoin (LTC) — down almost 12 percent at $31.09 — IOTA (MIOTA) — down 14 percent at $0.33 —  and Cardano (ADA), down 16 percent at $0.04.

Dash (DASH) is down by around 16 percent at $82; Ethereum Classic (ETC) is down around 13 percent at $4.72. Privacy-focused altcoins Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC) are down 10.8 and 12 percent, at $50.5 and $61.57 at press time.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is at $128.8 billion as of press time — having hit over $147.8 billion yesterday. It nonetheless remains up from a low of $114.2 billion at the start of the 7-day chart on Dec. 18.

7-day chart of total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Earlier today, news broke that Japanese internet giant GMO Internet Group is quitting the Bitcoin mining hardware sector, after reporting an “extraordinary loss” in Q4 this year, amid the unrelenting crypto bear market.

On a more positive note for adoption, blockchain protocol TRON (TRX) passed one million user accounts this week, even as the token has not been spared today’s blisteringly red markets.

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Crypto Markets See Visible Drop Off as Major Coins Are in The Red

Wednesday, Nov. 8: most cryptocurrencies have seen a drop-off today, with the most visible losses seen by Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ripple (XRP), as data from Coin360 shows. As of press time, the markers are seeing mixed signals, mostly staying in the red.

Market visualization from Coin360

While in the beginning of the week Bitcoin (BTC) was mostly in the green, up almost to 2 percent on the day Monday, Nov. 5, today the major coin is hovering around zero, mostly staying in the red and trading around $6,450 as of press time.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is also about 2 percent down on the day, being traded slightly over $213 as of press time. The coin is seeing some stability after it has regained its second spot, bypassing Ripple (XRP) by market capitalization.

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ethereum Price Index

Ripple (XRP), in its turn, is currently trading at $0.50, dropping as much as 5.6 percent over the day as of press time. As per its weekly charts, the currency has seen its peak on Tuesday, Nov. 6, when the coin temporarily overtook Ethereum as the second largest altcoin.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Ripple Price Index

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $215 billion at the press-time, falling from $219 billion over the last 24 hours. According to daily trading volume, it has also dropped in comparison to yesterday, Nov. 7, hovering around $13.5 billion as of press time.

Weekly total market capitalization chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

18 of the 20 major cryptocurrencies are in the red, with Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP) and NEM (XEM) seeing the biggest drops in last 24 hours according to CoinMarketCap. BCH has lost a distinctive 4.8 percent after almost a week-long growth following its upcoming hard fork, which is backed by major crypto exchange Binance. As of press time, the coin was traded at around $589.

Dash (DASH) is the only crypto to see a slight growth among top 20 coins, up to 1 percent on the day and trading at around $167 as of press time.

Meanwhile, today, Nov. 8, two countries in Asia have called for clearer crypto regulation. The Deputy Prime Minister of Thailand, Wissanu Krea-ngam, urged to lawmakers to amend the existing legal framework for crypto — set in May 2018 — to meet the development of the technology, warning about possible dangers for consumers. In the meantime, South Korea’s lawyers have lobbied the local government to speed up its work and expedite a legal framework for cryptocurrencies as well.

Yesterday, Nov. 7, crypto Twitter saw an extensive discussion in response to William Shatner’s positive tweet about Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin.

The Canadian actor, most known for his role of captain James T. Kirk in Star Trek, posted a thumbs-up emoji tagging Buterin for his 2.5 million followers. Shatner was then drawn into a debate over the ETH network’s decentralization, showing familiarity with ERC standards in his rebuttal to “crypto troll[s].”

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Crypto Markets See Stirrings of Volatility as Major Coins Tip Into Red

Monday, Oct. 29: Crypto markets are seeing the first momentum in a while after a period of marked stability: virtually all of the major cryptocurrencies are in the red today, with some seeing losses of between a 4-6 percent range, as Coin360 data shows.

Market visualization by Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at $6,352 at press time, seeing an almost 2 percent loss on the day according to CoinMarketCap. Having traded sideways throughout the week, the top coin today saw a vertiginous price drop, plummeting from its $6,480 trading range down to around $6,350 in the couple of hours before press time.

Earlier this month, Bitcoin had achieved a 17-month low volatility rate, recording its highest level of stability since mid-2017: the trend had continued over recent weeks, excepting one short-lived spike on Oct. 15.

Volatility and the lack thereof had become a staple on crypto twitter, with prominent crypto commentators quick to underscore Bitcoin’s new quasi-stablecoin status. Senior market analyst Mati Greenspan from eToro joked on Oct. 24: “Hey stock jocks!!! Tell me again how Bitcoin isn’t a stable store of wealth due to extreme volatility…”

As the market returns to its “normal” momentum, Adamant Capital founder Tuur Demeester has today quipped on Twitter, “is there a way to go long Bitcoin volatility? I would if I could.”

On the week, the crypto is now around 2.7 percent in the red: monthly losses are at around 3.4 percent.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Having seen similarly stable trading patterns, Ethereum (ETH) has today also been jolted by negative momentum, sliding steeply down 3 percent on the day to trade around $198, according to CoinMarketCap. Over the past week, the leading altcoin has also been trading sideways, showing only marginally more fluctuations than Bitcoin over the same time frame.

This brings Ethereum to a 3.8 percent loss on its weekly chart; monthly losses are a much starker 14.8 percent.

Ethereum 7-day price chart

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

All of the remaining top ten coins on CoinMarketCap are in the red, except for stablecoin Tether (USDT), which is trading stably again.

The hardest hit top-ten performer is seventh largest coin Litecoin (BCH), down 5.2 percent on the day to trade around $49.22 by press time. EOS (EOS) is down 4.2 percent at $5.17, roughly on par with Bitcoin Cash (BCH), down 4.25 percent at $419.22.

In the context of the top twenty coins, the market picture is similarly bleak, with all assets seeing losses of within a 1-5 percent range. Anonymity-oriented alt Monero (XMR) is the least scathed, losing 1.1 percent over a 24 hour period to trade at around $101.43.

TRON (TRX) is down 4.9 percent at $0.022, IOTA (MIOTA) is down 4.23 percent at $0.456, with Ethereum Classic (ETC) pushing a 4.85 percent loss at $9.12.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies has slid to around $203.6 billion as of press time. Since its interweek peak at $211.1 billion Oct. 24., the market had held around or just below the $210 billion mark for much of the week before today’s tumble.

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies

7-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

In crypto news today, major European cryptocurrency exchange Bitstamp has been acquired by Belgium-based investment firm NXMH. NXMH is a subsidiary of South Korean-based media giant NXC Corp., which bought a 65.19 percent stake in South Korean crypto exchange Korbit last year.

Meanwhile, the operator of Japanese crypto exchange Coincheck, which suffered an industry record-breaking hack this January, has revealed the exchange saw a 66 percent decline in revenue for Q3 2018.

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Major Agriculture Companies Partner to Use Blockchain in Grain Trading

The world’s four largest agriculture companies, commonly known as ABCD, have partnered to digitize international grain trading by using blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies, Reuters reports Thursday, Oct. 25.

ABCD, composed of Archer Daniels Midland Co., Bunge Ltd., Cargill Inc., and Louis Dreyfus Co., states that blockchain implementation could make trading more efficient and transparent, as well as reduce costs. The conglomerate aims to digitize the system that has previously relied on paper contracts, invoices, and manual payments.

According to grain industry news outlet, blockchain and AI will be initially used to automate grain and oilseed post-trade execution processes, which are a highly manual and costly part of the supply chain.

In the long run, ABCD plans to integrate blockchain technology on different levels of the supply chain, including shipping, storage, and customer experience.

As cited by, CEO of Louis Dreyfus Co. Ian McIntosh explained how blockchain could help develop the agriculture industry, noting the technology’s “capacity to generate efficiencies and reduce the time usually spent on manual document and data processing.”

Major food giants across the world have been testing blockchain to improve the efficiency of the supply chain. Louis Dreyfus Co., along with four other parties, conducted its first blockchain-based shipment back in January 2018, sending soybeans from America to China using the Easy Trading Connect (ETC) blockchain platform.

U.S. national milk marketing cooperative Dairy Farmers of America also piloted decentralized solutions among its farmer-members in 48 states, while major Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn used blockchain to track orange juice production.

As per a recent study by Reportlinker, blockchain use in agriculture and food supply chains market will be worth over $400 million in the next five years.

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Major Chinese Tech Magazine Adds Payment in Bitcoin to Show Blockchain ‘Practicality’

Beijing Sci-Tech Report (BSTR), China’s oldest media publication covering the tech industry, has announced it will offer subscriptions payable with Bitcoin (BTC), local media outlet Guangming reported Sunday, September 30.

An evidently rare occurrence from China, were government pressure has forced crypto exchanges and Initial Coin Offering (ICO) operators to halt activities over the past year, BSTR says it wishes to promote blockchain and crypto use through “practical actions.”

“[S]ubscribers can pay subscription fees to the specific bitcoin receiving address of the newspaper to complete the subscription,” Guangming confirms.

The product on offer is an annual subscription to the publication’s ‘Tech Life’ magazine, which costs 0.01 BTC (about $65).

Chinese authorities continue to clamp down on trading and promotional operations related to cryptocurrency, Cointelegraph reporting on fresh efforts to tackle overseas platforms by blocking access to them online in August.

At the same time, owning and investing in cryptocurrency is not officially illegal.

Responding to queries about the BSTR move on social media, Chinese cryptocurrency news commentator cnLedger underlined the fact that by offering a Bitcoin subscription, the publication was not breaking the law.

“Owning and investing in crypto is not banned,” it wrote.

“Otherwise Jihan (Wu, CEO) of Bitmain and Leon (Li, CEO) of Huobi would be among the first ones to get fined/caught. Thousands if not millions would have been arrested already (large amount of OTC tradings).”

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US Tech Firm Eyes Blockchain Supply Chain Solution for Major Chinese Ports

U.S.-based technology company Ideanomics has partnered with the Asia-Pacific Model Electronic Port Network (APMEN) Trade Tech Co. to streamline supply chains with blockchain tech, a press release reports Thursday, September 20.

Together with APMEN Trade Tech Co., Ideanomics aims to leverage blockchain and what it calls “super artificial intelligence” to cut out “layers of middlemen” in port clearance and shipping handling for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation’s (APEC) online port clearance system.

The first instigation of the tools will take place in two major Chinese ports, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the former holding the title of the world’s busiest port in 2017.

The move marks the continuation of a growing trend in the blockchain sector, with a raft of major corporations aiming to disrupt legacy supply chain infrastructure with the technology’s introduction.

In the press release about the Ideanomics and APMEN Tech Trade Co. partnership, Bruno Wu, chairman and co-CEO of Ideanomics, stated:

“We will integrate business data from various partners, establishing a risk control model in cooperation with a single window to provide risk control services for regulatory authorities and enterprises.”

Ideanomics will have a 60 percent stake in the new venture, promising it will list on an unspecified Chinese stock exchange before the end of the year, the press release notes.

As the industry expands, some sources have more recently become skeptical of blockchain supply chain efficiency, cautioning the “hype” that may be associated with the phenomenon.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in China last week, Tradeshift CEO Christian Lanng even went as far as to say blockchain was not suitably “high performance” in its current state to suit such purposes at scale.

“Whenever people say blockchain, I think what they’re really saying is they would like to connect things digitally,” he suggested.

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Shanghai Stock Exchange Partners With Major Insurance Firms to Improve Industry With Blockchain

The Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) and Insurance Asset Management Association of China (IAMAC) have agreed to cooperate on improving the insurance and pension industries with the use of blockchain tech. China Securities Journal newspaper reported on the partnership Monday, August 20.

China Securities Journal wrote that the SSE, the world’s fourth largest stock exchange, was joined by several major insurance industry players, including the IAMAC, Changjiang Pension Insurance Company, Tokyo Maritime Sunshine, and others.

The stated goal of the new group is “to create a new, high-efficiency, low-cost and safer insurance industry” through the use of blockchain technology. The article clarifies:

“The digital transformation of enabling insurance will build a blockchain service platform to solve the bottleneck problem of enterprise innovation. With convenient and efficient application development, flexible deployment mode and visual monitoring and operation platform.”

As Cointelegraph reported July 12, the Shanghai Stock Exchange had revealed its plans to use blockchain in its securities transactions, indicating the increasing level of adoption of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) by larger institutions.

Last week, a major U.S.-based entrepreneurial accelerator Y Combinator announced the launch of its new China-based division to “build a long-term local organization that will combine the best of Silicon Valley and China and create a lot of innovation.”

Earlier this month, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE), which operates the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), has unveiled its plans to build an “open and regulated, global ecosystem for digital assets” in cooperation with Microsoft and others.

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South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges


The South Korean government has announced a new set of tax law amendments. Under this proposal, bitcoin exchanges will no longer be eligible for income and corporate tax deductions currently enjoyed by small and medium-sized businesses. The regulators have also been considering imposing capital gains tax on the sale of cryptocurrencies.

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

Stripping Away Tax Benefits

The South Korean government has announced its proposed Revised Tax Law 2018. In the official statement published Monday, the government wrote, “from next year, virtual currency handling businesses will be excluded from the industries eligible for the tax reduction for SMEs [small and medium-sized enterprises].”

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin Exchanges
The South Korean government announcing 2018 tax amendments.

News1 explained that crypto exchanges “have been considered as venture companies or small and medium-sized businesses for tax purposes until now,” allowing them to benefit from considerable income tax deduction. Citing other favorable tax treatments such as depreciation of assets acquired during the first four years, the publication elaborated:

Under the current tax exemption rules, income tax and corporation tax are reduced by 50% to 100% for five years for business startups, SMEs and venture companies.

Crypto Exchanges to Pay Higher Taxes

South Korea Plans to End Major Tax Benefits for Bitcoin ExchangesAccording to the news outlet, the government has decided to exclude crypto exchanges from the list of entities eligible for SME tax deduction “because the cryptocurrency trading business lacks the effect of creating added value.” The revised tax law will be submitted to the National Assembly and, if passed, will go into effect next year.

Crypto exchanges are currently liable to pay corporation tax of up to 22%, Seoul Finance described, adding that “considering that virtual currency exchanges earned huge amounts of money in the last year and earlier this year, it is estimated that the amount of exemption would be considerably large.” The publication conveyed that under the current setup:

Bitsum exchange, which is estimated to have net profit of over 250 billion won [~US$223 million] last year, should pay 54.4 billion won [~$48.6 million] in corporate tax but it is expected to save 27.2 billion won [~$24.3 million] since it receives 50% reduction.

However, “taxation on the sale of cryptocurrency was not included in the amendment bill…based on the judgment that more research is needed,” the publication emphasized. “The government has been considering imposing capital gains tax virtual currency trading profits since early this year, but no specific taxation bill has come out.”

What do you think of the Korean government proposing to take away tax benefits for crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Korean government.

Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

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Yes, Stablecoins Can Secure Official Audits from Major Firms

“We have nothing to hide,” says Tory Reiss, VP of corporate development at TrustToken. Like the market’s most popular stablecoin, Tether, TrustToken’s TrueUSD is fiat-collateralized. Under this model, each token (in theory) should be backed 1:1 with a corresponding dollar in a related bank account.

This model may not play out in practice as it does in theory, however. In a recent interview with Bitcoin Magazine, Reiss’s comment summarizes the bulk of his answer to our first question: How is TrueUSD different from Tether?

A Different Approach to Fiat-Backed Stability

Unlike Tether, which plays custodian, issuer and representative for all tokens and their congenital funds, Reiss explains that TrustToken has no control over the network’s monetary flow.

“There are a few pretty major components,” he began. “To be honest, the biggest difference — when we started the businesses, we spent a lot of time architecting legal framework and also financial framework in terms of where the funds are held and how they’re held, which was built around removing us, the company, from the flow of funds and protecting all the token holders in a legal manner from us being able to withdraw or access their funds.”

Instead, a combination of smart contracts, escrow accounts and fiduciary partners manage token supply and issuance. TrustToken’s fiduciary partners include the Nevada-based Alliance Trust Company and Prime Trust (which also banks for the stablecoin Stronghold USD), and these firms leverage smart contracts to mint and buy back tokens. Whenever a new user wants to mint fresh TrueUSD, they can wire money to one of these trusts, and once the funds are settled into the trust’s bank accounts, the smart contract mints new tokens and issues them to the user. To redeem tokens, users burn them through a smart contract, and the respective trust then wires the user the corresponding funds.

“We have a dashboard that we’ve built for our fiduciary partners. Only after they’ve received those funds and they’ve settled for 24 hours can those partners go onto the dashboard and mark that transaction as settled to mint new tokens,” Reiss explained. “We act on behalf of the token holder but, as a business, we can’t access those funds.”

This process allows TrustToken to be as hands-off as possible while also providing them with the code-certain protections of smart contracts and the reliability of a central source of liquidity and asset management.

The system is a more complex version of Tether’s own with more working parts. In fact, Reiss suggested that his team viewed Tether as a sort of working model for what not to do, highlighting the need for clear legal and financial safety nets for its users.

“We learned from Tether’s mistakes in the sense that they put none of those legal protections in place. They hold all of their funds in an omnibus account where they can essentially do whatever they please with the money in that account. In our case, we could never preprint TrueUSD or have a disparity between funds in the accounts and tokens on the chain,” he stated.

Tether has come under fire for its printing/issuance practices in the past. Critics have long speculated that Tether does not have parity between the dollars in its bank accounts and on-chain tokens. Researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, even released a report in June of this year that seems to corroborate this suspicion, laying out evidence that suggests that Tether may have been used to artificially inflate bitcoin’s price during 2017’s bull market.

The smart contracts prevent TrustToken or its partners from preprinting TrueUSD without having dollars to back them. Funds have to hit the trust’s bank account and sit for 24 hours before the smart contract will mint new tokens.

Even if the smart contract didn’t police token issuance, TrueUSD’s accounts would, Reiss claimed. If at any point during their professional relationship the token’s auditor found a discrepancy in supply and fiat reserves, the partnership would terminate.

“We have one top-50 accounting partner (Cohen & Company) that is performing attestation. When they look at your books, they look at all of your transactions. And if your account isn’t in line from day zero, they won’t maintain an audit account.”

Reiss believes that, whether Tether won’t submit to an audit for fear of this outcome or has had a relationship terminated because of a discrepancy, this is why the world’s most popular stablecoin has no official audit on record.

“That’s most likely the case why Tether can’t have a true audit partner — but in our case it’s worked in our favor because we have nothing to hide.”

Tether has never submitted itself to an official audit by any certified accounting firm. The company claims that it’s not out of defiance; it’s simply because no firm is willing to take a risk working with a cryptocurrency company given the industry’s stigmatized connection to money laundering, tax evasion and the dark web. An audit by one of the U.S.’s big four (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, PwC and KPMG), the team claims, is especially elusive.

In lieu of an official audit, Tether has conducted a financial review by Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan LLP, a law firm co-founded by former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

The Other Side of the Coin

TrueUSD’s operations tell another story. Not only does Cohen & Company currently conduct audits for the currency, but Reiss indicated in our interview that TrustToken is in talks with two of the big four accounting firms to provide audits in the future.

TrustToken also publishes regular attestations from Cohen & Company’s audits on their Medium blog. When they strike a working relationship with one of the big four, the company plans to publish “live attestations (via a public dashboard),” Reiss claimed.

Throughout the interview, Reiss repeatedly iterated that the company is operating in the open. Furthermore, because TrustToken is also playing ball with regulators, the company claims to have close-at-hand opportunities to expand its services.

“Our project is working entirely with U.S. securities laws and also those in Europe, Asia and South America. We’re aiming to build a compliant system that works within the existing regulatory regime but which hopefully expands access,” Reiss said.

This expansion will look to bring the stablecoin model “to European and Asian currencies this quarter,” he continued, also revealing that the company is “aiming for a half dozen [exchange listings] in the next month or so.” Currently, TrueUSD is offered on Binance, HBUS, Bittrex and Cryptopia, among others.

TrustToken has earned funding from Andreessen Horowitz’s a16z crypto, Foundation Capital and Founders Fund, among others. The company has also pooled talent from the likes of Facebook, Airbnb, PayPal, Google and Goldman Sachs.

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BRICS Summit: Major Banks From Member States Sign MoU on DLT Research

Five major banks from each BRICS member state signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the development of distributed ledger technology (DLT), according to an official press release July 26.

During the 10th International BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, banks from the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa agreed to a joint study of DLT technology like blockchain, “in the interests of the development of the digital economy.” BRICS countries have met annually since 2009 to discuss initiatives for economic, cultural, and political cooperation between member states.

The State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs (Vnesheconombank), the Brazilian National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES), the Export-Import Bank of India, the China Development Bank, and the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) will all participate in the study.

The main focus of the 10th BRICS Summit in South Africa is cooperation in economic development “in the face of the fourth industrial revolution,” according to the press release. Mikhail Poluboyarinov, First Deputy Chairman and a Member of the Board at Vnesheconombank, said of the MoU:

“The current agreement allows the development banks of BRICS countries to study the applications of innovative technologies in infrastructure finance and bank products optimization.”

Earlier this month, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) initiated its own study of blockchain technology, with the eventual goal of integrating it into the bank’s business processes. RBZ governor John Mangudya said that the bank wants to embrace the technology in order to keep up with blockchain banking innovations in other countries.

Banks worldwide are finding a variety of uses cases and applications for the technology.

Last week, Bank of America (BoA) filed a patent for a blockchain-based system that allows for the external validation of data, and the Bank of Thailand (BoT) is considering blockchain tech for cross-border payments and fraud protection.

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Major Chinese Social Network Tianya to Launch Native Cryptocurrency Token

One of China’s top twenty-five websites, social network Tianya Club, announced it was releasing an internal blockchain-based token July 25.

In a blog post, Tianya said its 90 bln Tianyan Tokens (TYT) would function as a kind of rewards system and run in parallel to its existing Tianya Diamond token, which is not cryptographic. 

Provided users have a sufficient number of Tianya Diamond, they will receive TYT, with a total of 80 percent of supply distributed to members. The remaining 20 percent will go towards operational requirements.

“After half a year of research and design, after many rounds of communication with users, the Tianya sub-system based on blockchain technology has taken shape, and will be launched on August 8th for the public,” the platform confirmed in its post.

Speaking about its impetus to create the token, Tianya struck a non-conformist tone.

TYT was a result of the platform “adhering to the spirit of blockchain consensus, co-construction, decentralization, based on blockchain technology to reconstruct the Tianya community ecosystem,” the post states.

While technical specifications about TYT remain undisclosed, the release comes as Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) remain on lockdown in China. As such, beyond its use as a form of status, TYT may not function as a tradeable altcoin.

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Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama


Cryptowhispers explores the wildcatting world of direct denial of service (DDoS) attacks, and why the socially maladjusted tend to flock to that particular vector … especially for coin projects they hate; a popular cryptocurrency trading application executive was involved in a serious car accident on the eve of an anticipated cross promotion at Comic Con; and what would a crypto gossip column be without Twitter drama.

Also read: Philippines Embraces Cryptocurrency: Exchanges Issued Provisional Licenses

Cryptowhispers at Comic Con San Diego 2018

Rumor has it a multibillion dollar smartphone cryptocurrency trading application executive was involved in a serious car accident Friday, July 20th, ahead of a major promotional reveal. The company has been on a tear this year in particular, expanding its offerings while staying hungry enough to try new, innovative marketing.

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama
As far as anyone knows, these two were not paid for their efforts.

Its cross promotion over several days at the Comic Con International San Diego gathering, where an estimated 300,000 cargo-shorts wearing nerds descended upon the city’s convention center and famed Gaslamp District, was set to climax Saturday, early afternoon. The company partnered with Lionsgate to feature two products: the studio’s forthcoming movie and the app’s crypto platform.

Fans were led via social media in an effort to find literal money drops off campus, around San Diego’s downtown. At about 1 am that morning, just hours before the final drop, the very high up trading app executive emailed involvement in the accident and of sustained injuries bad enough to warrant an emergency room visit. That’s right, the executive, while under trauma examination and still at the ER, was sure to apologize for not being able to make the final event. Such dedication might be at least one reason said company is thriving.

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

Crypto Twitter Aflutter as Craig Wright is, well, Craig Wright

Vinny Lingham, voted one of the world’s top CEOs, founder of Gyft and Civic, and a Bitcoin Cash supporter, is the latest to be bounced by Mr. Wright, the controversial once-thought-to-be-Satoshi-but-admitted-he-wasn’t and prolific academic entrepreneur. He’s apparently clearing up follower space. Mr. Wright has also recently excommunicated Vin Armani of CoinText fame. Even prominent Bitcoin Cash developer, Amaury Séchet, has had enough of Mr. Wright’s social media theatre. 

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

With talk in some quarters of how Bitcoin Cash is controlled or centralized, those claims are increasingly becoming more difficult to sustain. BCH proponents are taking polar opposite sides on the coin going forward, and debate seems more of feature than a bug. But it does make trolls very happy. 

Mr. Lingham is taking the latest weirdness in stride, retweeting the spectacle. Mr. Wright has also more recently taken to outright bizarre diatribes against “anarchists,” insisting they had little-to-nothing to do with crypto’s development. Each tweeted rant usually ends with Mr. Wright “not giving a fack,” emphasis mine on the last word to underline his Aussie patois.   

DDoS Attack on Bitcoin Cash Projects is an initial coin offering (ICO) accepting bitcoin cash (BCH). Understanding how, in some quarters, trolls were prone to make incorporating BCH an issue of derision or worse for entrepreneurs, Avinoc gave previously hidden 5% post-deposit bonuses. They also used airdrop promotions, common in the ICO space, whereby the company hatched user missions, tasks, one of which involved promoting BCH and a faucet — a previous tradition in the community is to give away small amounts of BCH to entice folks into downloading a wallet and giving the BCH experience a try.

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

Word got out, and before its latest BCH faucet promotion could commence, the Avinoc site was held up by a direct denial of service (DDoS) attack vector, effectively preventing customers from using the site (now closing-in on 200,000). Rumors are the company relocated entry servers in anticipation of future malicious acts.      

A person familiar with the matter explained the attack lasted at least “a day. The website was down for several hours. Well, not really down, but unreachable. [The company] had another small one yesterday very early in the morning, but [they] were already able to handle that.” CEO Roger Ver voiced exasperation, “The fact [attackers] are willing to do such things shows that their morals are in the wrong place.”

“Everyone [at the company] is a huge Bitcoin Cash fan, but […] it can be dangerous to publicly state this. […] the token contract creation [was purposefully delayed] in the hope to have it working on BCH, but the May hard fork was too little. [The company hopes] that OP_GROUP will be added ASAP [so they] can eventually move [the project] from ETH to BCH,” a personal with firsthand knowledge noted.

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

BTC Trolls Getting Desperate as BCHers Continue to Build

As ICOs go, Avinoc is a compelling idea, at least theoretically. They “have a working product for business aviation since almost 10 years ago. And it is a real competitive advancement for its users. However, the real problem of the Bizav is that is has more than 50% overhead ($150+Billion/year),” a person in the industry detailed. That’s “because there is no unified global data solution. And even the best product is always a competitor to all other solutions. So the only solution to crack that issue is to create something that is not a competitor.” Thus the reason for the company’s “blockchain based data layer. [Permissionless], every competitor can […] integrate it and eventually it will eliminate all the overhead.”

Avinoc is also rumored to have moved servers out of Asia altogether, and to an undisclosed location in “the west.” An anonymous source ranted, “For real, those Core trolls should do something productive with their lives. The world is full of real enemies of freedom, there are plenty of actual real enemies worth to be fighting against.”

Cryptowhispers: DDoS Attacks, Major Exec in Serious Crash, Twitter Drama

Placing the blame at the feet of BTC trolls comes only as an inference. The source has “some experience with regular DDoS attacks on Bitcoin sites, [and] usually one gets an email with some demand. This time we got nothing, so that clearly indicates that the DDoS was not to get a ransom.” This was very personal.

Rumors also include the company being bullish on BCH going forward, even with hater potential at annoyance level. The source insists, BCH is “the real Bitcoin, and frankly ETH is a mess compared to Bitcoin,” and the company sees “a great potential for it in the future.” A mainnet launch is in the works with the current token referred to as “just a placeholder,” as BCH is the company’s go-to.

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What juicy tidbits do you have? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Images via Pixabay, Twitter. 

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Bitcoin Makes Major Headway: CFA Exam Will Now Include Crypto Topics

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies are making serious headway in the financial industry, the most recent sign being the decision by the CFA Institute, which offers the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, a three-level program, to include cryptocurrencies and blockchain to its Level I and II curriculums next year, according to Bloomberg. The material for the 2019 exams will be available in August.

The topics are part of a new section called Fintech in Investment Management. The CFA, based in Charlottesville, Va., added these topics in response to rising interest based on focus groups and surveys.

Crypto Integrates With Finance

Finance has become increasingly integrated with cryptocurrencies on account of the growth of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures are currently traded by trading house in Chicago and at leading financial firms like Goldman Sachs Inc. In addition, more Wall Street professionals are joining cryptocurrency startups.

Cryptocurrencies have taken a hit in 2018 and real-world blockchain applications have been limited, but many observers claim the technologies can make major changes to the global financial system.
Stephen Horan, the managing director of curriculum and general education at CFA Institute, said blockchain and cryptocurrencies are not a passing fad.

The material about blockchain and cryptocurrency will be available next to other fintech topics such as automated trading, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Horan said additional related topics, like the intersection of economics and cryptocurrencies, could ultimately be added to the curriculum.

Practitioners Respond

Bitcoin tax accounting
Prospective CFAs must now have a working knowledge of cryptocurrency.

Kayden Lee, a 27-year-old financial economics student, took the CFA Level I exam last month and is working as an intern fund analyst this summer. He said the blockchain and cryptocurrency material will be helpful to people like himself considering cryptocurrency’s expansion and adoption.

The focus of the material, he noted, is how fintech and blockchain improve, disrupt and unravel certain financial sectors.

The topics will also fall under CFA readings about professional ethics, which is an area some see a need for in the cryptocurrency industry. Numerous crypto projects work in a cloudy legal environment. In addition, a number of ICOs and cryptocurrency trading platforms have been subject to money laundering, theft, market manipulation, and fraud.

A total of 227,031 candidates from 91 nations and territories have registered for the June exams, which marks a record number. Most of the candidates are from Asia, home to a significant amount of cryptocurrency trading. reported that around 45% of bitcoin transactions get paired against the Japanese yen. In addition, cryptocurrency exchanges in Korea are among the largest.

Darius Sit, formerly a BNP Paribas SA bond trader and foreign exchange student now serving as a managing partner at QCP Capital Pte in Singapore, a cryptocurrency trading firm, said additional education is always a good thing.

Also read: Start studying, bitcoin certification is here

Certifications Not Unknown

Cryptocurrency organizations have themselves long offered various types of certification to industry professionals.

In 2014, the Digital Currency Council offered a certification “reserved for professionals who have mastered digital currencies” in the U.S.

That same year, in Canada, the CryptoCurrency Certification Consortium (C4) in Canada announced “Professional” and “Expert” level certification.

Images from Shutterstock

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Major Insurers Take the Plunge to Underwrite Risk in the Crypto Space

Big-name insurers such as AIG, Allianz, Chubb, and XL Group are increasingly tailoring coverage options to protect businesses in the crypto space, Bloomberg reports July 19.

Aon, a major insurance broker that claims to occupy 50 percent of the crypto-insurance market, told Bloomberg the firm is seeing more crypto-specific protections catering to the new industry.

Another broker, Marsh & McLennan, said that 2018 has been “brisk” for crypto-insurers, revealing that Marsh has now formed its first-ever team dedicated to broker policies for blockchain startups.

Bloomberg’s sources say that premiums for crypto-related firms can tally to over fivefold the average coverage costs of a traditional corporate insurance policy, sometimes as high as 5 percent of coverage limits annually. Policies may require “as many as a dozen underwriters” to chip in $5-15 million of protection apiece.

These are high premiums for what are perceived to be high risks, arguably brought into focus at the very beginning of this year with the unprecedented theft of $532 million worth of crypto from Japanese exchange Coincheck.

The big insurers appear reluctant to reveal the extent of the coverage they offer. Bloomberg cites a statement from Chubb that said that the firm will not underwrite insurance for crypto exchanges or wallets. XL also hedged on specifics, saying only that it is “being careful when looking at those risks and analyzing them on a case by case basis.”

While declining to disclose the sum of crypto-related premiums it has taken in so far, American International Group confirmed that the company met with crypto custodians and trading platforms about protection.

Allianz’s Christian Weishuber went on record saying that he thinks “insurance for cryptocurrency storage will be a big opportunity…digital assets are becoming more relevant, important and prevalent…and we are exploring product and coverage options in this area.” Allianz has reportedly begun offering individual coverage for crypto theft in the past year.

Among major crypto industry players, U.S. exchange and wallet service Coinbase reportedly insures funds that are stored in hot wallets — which represent up to 2 percent of customers’ assets — but does not disclose how far its coverage extends.

Notably, the very technology that underlies cryptocurrencies, blockchain, is increasingly being considered as a solution to innovate the insurance industry itself, with Marsh recently partnering with IBM on its first commercial blockchain solution for proofs of insurance.

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