Leaders of G20 member countries have started work on an international cryptocurrency taxation system.
According to Jiji.com, the final text of a document jointly delivered by G20 leaders calls for “a taxation system for cross-border electronic payment services.”
The article then specifies that under current laws, foreign companies that do “not have a factory or other base in Japan” cannot be taxed by the local government. The publication then cites that the G20 leaders seek to “build a taxation system for cross-border electronic services.”
The member states, which gathered this weekend in Buenos Aires, Argentina, are reportedly at work on the system and “will consider the issue during 2019 when Japan will be the president of the summit.” A final version of regulations, after considering proposals from each member state, is reportedly expected to be in place by 2020.
As Cointelegraph reported in October, the CEO of the company behind the cryptocurrency investment app Circle had called for “normalization at the G20 level” of the crypto industry.
In July, France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire also called on the G20 to have a public debate about cryptocurrencies at this weekend’s summit.
Le Maire said that leaders will “have a discussion all together on the question of Bitcoin (BTC)” since “there is evidently risk of speculation.” He then concluded that France needs to “examine this with other G20 members” to see how “we can regulate Bitcoin.”
Bitcoin closes out its worst November since 2011, while total market cap rallies well above year-to-date lows.
Critics are pointing to large energy consumption by the Bitcoin mining industry as a threat to the global climate. However, CoinShares, a digital asset management firm, estimates that about 77.6 percent of Bitcoin mining is done using renewable energy, arguing the harm to the environment is much less than what it is made out to be.
After the mayhem in November, crypto markets are showing the first signs of buying at lower levels. The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies peaked just above $138 billion today, a 20 percent increase over the year-to-date lows of about $115.101 billion.
The markets are unlikely to switch from a downtrend to an uptrend in a short span of time –– we anticipate a few weeks of base building before cryptocurrencies launch a new uptrend. All the virtual currencies will not bottom at the same time and neither will they rally equally higher. Hence, an eye on the chart patterns can help traders enter the outperformers at the right moment.
TRON (TRX) has overtaken Ethereum as the most popular decentralized application (DApp) platform in the world, according to DappRadar, a website that monitors DApp platforms.
TRON’s founder and CEO Justin Sun said that the virtual currency will add privacy features to its network early next year. The company is also establishing a blockchain gaming fund, TRON Arcade, with an investment objective of about $100 million in the next three years.
After TRX stayed in the range of $0.01587681–$0.02815521 for about three months, the bears broke below it last week. The breakdown had a lower target of $0.00844479, but the bulls are attempting to bounce off $0.01089965. Currently, the previous support of $0.01587681 will act as a stiff resistance. If the bulls succeed in rising and sustaining above this resistance, a rally to the 20-week EMA is likely.
The TRX/USD pair has not been able to break out of the 20-week EMA since falling below it in early June. Therefore, if the bulls climb above it and the top of the range at $0.02815521, we can expect the start of a new uptrend. However, if the bears defend the resistance, a retest of the recent lows of $0.01089965 is probable.
Some see Litecoin (LTC) as a failed experiment and they expect the price to fall further. However, others believe that the current fall is a buying opportunity and the digital currency can make a new high in the future. Let’s take a look at what the charts suggest.
The LTC/USD pair has witnessed a massive erosion of wealth in recent months. Currently, the bulls are attempting to bounce off $28, a level not seen since mid-June of last year. The trend is down as the digital currency has failed to hold key support levels throughout the year. There has not been a noticeable bounce for the altcoin since April of this year.
The RSI has also entered into the oversold territory, which increases the possibility of a bounce. The first resistance on the upside is $47.246, above which the recovery can extend to the next resistance zone of the 20-week EMA and $69.279. After such a massive decline, we anticipate the virtual currency to enter into a range and form a base, before starting a new uptrend. If, however, the bears sink below $28, the next support is at $19.752.
NEM (XEM) is the third best performing cryptocurrency in the past seven days, rising closer to 8 percent.
The bears broke below the range of $0.07790717–$0.13125258 on Nov. 24, but could not sustain lower levels. This shows buyers are willing to support the XEM/USD pair at lower levels.
The virtual currency rallied back into the above range on Nov. 28. Currently, both the bulls and the bears are fighting for supremacy. The bulls want to keep the price inside the range, while the bears want to sustain below the range.
If the bulls succeed, it will indicate that the recent breakdown was a bear trap. In such a case, the price is likely to gradually rally back to the top of the range, closer to $0.13. On the other hand, if the bears maintain the price below the range and sink below the Nov. 25 intraday low of $0.06155741, the next support on the downside is at $0.05.
The moving averages are flattening out and the RSI is also climbing closer to 50 levels, suggesting a consolidation in the near term.
Bitcoin (BTC) had its worst November since 2011, as the price fell 37 percent. Such a massive fall in a period of a month shows signs of distress selling by the bulls. Bottoms are generally formed during such periods of capitulation. Will the leading digital currency stage a comeback or sink further? Let’s try to find out.
The BTC/USD pair is trying to find support close to the critical support zone of $3,000–$3,500. This is an important zone that should hold. A break down of this will further damage sentiment and can extend the fall to the next lower level of $1,752. However, we give it a very low probability of occurring.
Usually, after violating a critical support – in this case, $5,900 – the price retests the breakdown level. If that happens, the digital currency can rally back to anywhere between $5,000 and $5,900, though it is difficult to pinpoint the exact level it will reach.
The RSI has reached levels last seen in early 2015, which shows the kind of damage the digital currency has seen this year. We are seeing first signs of buying, but will need to see more to confirm a bottom.
Work has started towards the upgrade of Ethereum (ETH) to Ethereum 1x, which will reportedly improve the network’s usability. The said upgrade might be activated by June 2019. In other news, the citizens of Manila have an opportunity to earn some Ethereum by cleaning up polluted beaches.
The University of Basel, Switzerland’s oldest university, has conferred an honorary doctorate to Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin for “outstanding achievements in fields of cryptocurrencies, smart contracts, and the design of institutions.”
After showing promise through the middle of the year, the ETH/USD pair has turned weak, as it continues to break down at critical support levels. Currently, the bulls are trying to hold the psychological support of $100.
The RSI has reached close to oversold levels, last seen at the end of 2016. This movement suggests that selling has been overdone and a bounce is likely. The first resistance on any rebound will be at $136.12, followed by $167.32.
If the bears turn the digital currency down from one of the above-mentioned resistance levels, and sink it below $100, a fall to $66 is possible. After such a large fall, the price is likely to go through a bottoming process before embarking on a new uptrend.
‘World’s first’ blockchain phone launches, as Sirin Labs outlines plans to bridge the gap between crypto and the mass market.
After months of expectation and one of the top-five biggest ICOs of 2017, on Nov. 29 Sirin Labs has launched Finney, the ‘world’s first’ blockchain smartphone. Yet, even with the endorsement of football legend Lionel Messi and a $157.8 million token sale behind it, the $999 device has stepped into uncharted territory, where its built-in cold storage wallet and DApp ecosystem will have to contend with the dominance of Apple and Samsung — as well as the Exodus 1, a rival blockchain smartphone from HTC.
Most of Finney’s key features had already been announced prior to Thursday’s launch: The smartphone comes equipped with an embedded cold storage wallet that’s physically separate from the main hardware; its Sirin OS is a “Google-certified” mod of the Android operating system; it boasts AI-driven, cyber-threat detection; and it enables the direct exchange of selected cryptocurrencies (Ethereum, Bitcoin and Sirin Labs Token) without the need to use a centralized exchange.
But at its launch event in Barcelona, Sirin Labs provided more concrete details as to its wider aims and expectations for Finney, revealing that the smartphone is just the beginning of its plans to bring blockchain technology to mobile devices.
Most of all, the Israeli company used the launch event to emphasize how Finney is a smartphone that makes blockchain technology more accessible to a mainstream audience and that provides diehard crypto enthusiasts with a more practical way of securely managing their coins.
“This is the most important computer of our generation — smartphone.”
“The Finney phone is a one-stop shop,” declared Sirin Labs’ co-founder and co-CEO Moshe Hogeg during his presentation. “Before the Finney, you needed a ledger, you needed a computer, you needed wallet software and then you needed to go to an exchange, and then you could convert. The Finney does all of this in one phone.”
By having a cold storage wallet, a Token Conversion Service and crypto-exchange apps on a single device, Hogeg affirmed that Finney will take “a huge step forward in bridging the gap between the blockchain economy and the consumer market,” making the world of crypto more accessible to an audience that doesn’t necessarily have the time or inclination to sign up for Kraken or Coinbase on their PCs and then buy a Ledger or Trezor wallet.
Image source: Sirin Labs
Another, more predictable facet of Sirin Labs’ plan to attract a mass market is that Finney comes with all the specs and functionality you’d expect from a 2018 smartphone. The phone has a 12MP (megapixel) rear camera, an 8MP selfie camera, as well as a 6-inch touchscreen, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage memory. This puts it at least in the same league as this year’s iPhone XS, which also has a 12MP rear camera (albeit a dual one), but actually a smaller, 5.5-inch screen, 4GB of RAM and a 7MP selfie camera.
The fact that it boasts performance superiority in several departments here would help make the phone desirable to someone who may have been thinking about buying a separate hardware wallet and an iPhone XS (or Samsung Galaxy S9) — and just as importantly, so too will the ease with which its main features (the hardware wallet and DApp store) can be used.
The process of transactions is quick and painless, involving the physical opening of the wallet (which is slid upward from the top of the phone) and a few taps of its touchscreen, as well as a few taps on the smartphone’s display (e.g. to choose which kind of transaction you want to make). One nice feature is that Finney enables the user to easily compare the addresses and transaction amounts shown in both the wallet’s screen and the phone’s, something which ensures that they won’t end up sending coins to the wrong recipient as a result of a hack or bug.
Yet, Sirin Labs is aiming with Finney to make cryptocurrency more accessible and popular in a number of other ways. First of all, the company famously recruited Lionel Messi to be Finney’s brand ambassador back in 2017, hoping that ‘the GOAT’ and ‘a hacker on the camp’, according to Hogel, would be the best person to make Finney — and crypto — much more visible to a mass market.
Contento de haber estado con los amigos de @sirinlabs hoy en Barcelona para seguir impulsando una mejor seguridad en los dispositivos móviles gracias a la tecnología Sirin OS. #SirinOS #SRN Happy to have been with my friends from @sirinlabs today in Barcelona to continue promoting improved security for mobile devices thanks to Sirin OS technology. #SirinOS #SRN
“I think security and privacy is the number one priority right now. For everybody it’s important, because we have all our content, all our lives on mobile phones […] Privacy is very important now more than ever, because right now there are lots of hackers, and people can steal your identity or your money.”
Added to Messi’s enviable reputation, Sirin Labs revealed that Finney will make crypto more accessible through the smartphone’s dCENTER. Not only does this feature provide users with a DApp store for decentralized, crypto-related applications, but it actually rewards them with SRN Tokens for engaging and spending time with the apps it offers. Moreover, Hogeg claimed that owners can claw back around $300 of the phone’s asking price by engaging with all of the apps available at launch.
The company is referring to this program as ‘Earn and Learn,’ and in conjunction with the outreach-focused concept stores due to open in December in London and Tokyo, it shows how Sirin Labs hopes that the smartphone will serve as a champion for the wider cryptocurrency industry, and not just Sirin Labs itself.
“Our entire concept is to bridge the gap,” Erin Brazilay — Sirin Labs’ Chief Commercial Officer — explained to Cointelegraph. “And as such, we’re going to open concept stores in London and Tokyo and other places. Our stores will be kind of an academy for the blockchain community; all the staff will be trained at the highest level, so people in the community can come and ask questions [about blockchain and cryptocurrency]. So that even someone who is a first-comer can come and get the full understanding of how the technology works. And there is nothing like that in the market.”
Blockchain-focused operating system
The company is also releasing Finney with its own blockchain-focused operating system, Sirin OS, which it ambitiously aims to take beyond its own hardware. “We have decided to develop the Finney, the first blockchain phone that runs Sirin OS. But this is only the beginning of the execution of our vision. Our vision is that every Android-based device would run Sirin OS. We are hoping for other OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to adopt the Sirin OS and join us in the blockchain revolution.”
In other words, Sirin Labs doesn’t simply want to make blockchain phones, but to produce the platform for cryptocurrency and blockchain applications, becoming a kind of ‘crypto Google.’ If it can get a crypto-oriented operating system on, say, a Samsung, Huawei or HTC phone, then it will go a long way in making crypto mainstream, and this is why Erin Brazilay affirmed that Sirin OS is “at least” as important as Finney to Sirin Labs’ longer term strategy: “We need to put a lot of pressure on the OEM side, to convince them to adopt Sirin OS as the standard, de-facto technology to enable their phones to be blockchain-enabled.”
As can be imagined, Sirin Labs is hopeful for Finney’s future. Aiming to ship 100,000 units of the smartphone within one year, it’s already accepting orders for the device on its website — and in January, the phone will also be available to buy via the Amazon Launchpad platform.
Niche segment or mass market?
However, other voices and industry figures are skeptical that the smartphone will have much of an impact outside of cryptocurrency circles. Speaking to Cointelegraph, Gartner’s senior principal analyst, Tuong H. Nguyen, believes that it will appeal mostly to “tech savvy” individuals and “early adopters.”
“I would question the ability for this device to achieve mass market success. The broader question I think you’re asking is ‘what is the appeal/must-have functionality that this ‘blockchain phone’ is providing?’ The storage wallet applies to a niche segment of the mass market. Not only would it be appealing to the few people who own crypto, but it goes a niche deeper by trying to convince these few people they need a phone that specifically does this (put another way, why wouldn’t I buy a phone from a larger, more well-known OEM with tons of features — more than I would likely use — minus the crypto features?)”
Not only does Sirin Labs have to contend with the possibility that Finney might appeal only to a “niche segment” of the market, but it also has more than one competitor in the blockchain-phone sector.
For one, HTC is due to release the Exodus 1 in December — and like Finney, it’s a high-end smartphone that features a cold storage wallet, although it is currently $39 cheaper than Sirin Labs’ offering. And on top of HTC, there’s one other manufacturer of a blockchain phone, Pundi X.
Back in October, the India-based blockchain payment provider announced its very own “XPhone,” a smartphone due in Q2 2019 that can transmit phone calls, texts and mobile data using blockchain nodes, thereby avoiding the need to use centralized mobile networks. And as the company’s vice president, Peko Wan, claimed to Cointelegraph, this ability to provide basic phone services via decentralization makes it more of a blockchain phone than Finney.
“What makes the XPhone unique is that it actually uses a blockchain-based protocol for communicating data, making calls, sending messages and more. That means users communicate with each other securely and independently of a central carrier via nodes. We will stand by the uniqueness of the way in which we have reinvented blockchain for use as a transmission protocol for telephony and data of all kinds. In every sense, we have built a true blockchain phone.”
Regardless of such opinions on whether it is a ‘true’ blockchain phone or not, what is clear is that, with Finney, Sirin Labs has taken an important step for the cryptocurrency industry. Within the space of a year, it has delivered on a massive ICO by releasing a high-performance and secure product that will provide actual utility and value to its users. This is something not many blockchain projects can claim to have done, and while it’s hard to predict just where the future will take Finney and Sirin OS, it can only be a good thing that the crypto industry has finally begun producing gadgets all people can use.
Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 26—Dec. 2: Satoshi Makes a New Friend, Buterin Gets Negative Over Centralized Blockchains
Ohio businesses can soon pay taxes in Bitcoin, while Nasdaq looks ahead to a Bitcoin futures launch.
Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.
Top Stories This Week
Nasdaq Notes Bitcoin Futures Could Launch in Quarter 1 2019, Bloomberg Reports
Major U.S. stock exchange Nasdaq still intends to launch Bitcoin futures, and may do so in the first quarter of 2019, according to “two people familiar with the matter.” Speaking to Bloomberg this week, the two unnamed sources note that Nasdaq has been “working to satisfy the concerns of the U.S.’s main swaps regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], before launching the contracts.” Later in the week, it was revealed that Nasdaq had partnered with U.S. investment firm VanEck to jointly launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products, a move that supports the unnamed sources’ claims.
Ohio Poised to Become First US State to Accept Bitcoin for Taxes
The U.S. state of Ohio is set to become the first state to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a tax payment. According to the Wall Street Journal, the decision will at first only apply to business, but there are plans in place to extend the crypto option to individual taxpayers in the future. Beginning this week, the WSJ notes that all Ohio-based businesses will be able to register to pay their taxes in BTC, which will then be processed through crypto payments service BitPay.
Vitalik Buterin: Blockchain Tech Isn’t as Applicable in Every Industry as People Think
Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin said this week in an interview that the misapplication of blockchain technology in some industries leads to “wasted time.” Buterin noted that although there are a high number of companies that try to establish higher standards and transparency by using blockchain tech, he does not believe that blockchain can be applied usefully in every industry. Buterin specifically criticized the proprietary nature of corporate blockchain projects from tech giants like IBM, noting that crypto and cross-border payments are suitable industries for the technology’s use.
US Securities Regulator Charges Floyd Mayweather Jr., DJ Khaled for Illegal ICO Promotion
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer Khaled Khaled (known as DJ Khaled) for unlawfully advertising Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The SEC found that Mayweather did not disclose receiving payments for promoting three ICOs (including $100,000 from Centra Tech), while DJ Khaled failed to disclose a $50,000 payment from the same crypto startup. In May, Centra’s three co-founders had been formally indicted for running a fraudulent $32 million ICO in 2017.
Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Account Goes Live, Posts One-Word Update
Anonymous Bitcoin (BTC) creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account became active this week, posting a one-word status and adding a Brazilian user to his friend list. The profile, which is associated with an email that had previously been hacked, has been offline since Nakamoto withdrew from online activity in late 2010. The one word post — “nour” — has no obvious meaning: a Google search finds an Urban Dictionary post for “the most loving, affectionate and caring person you’ll ever meet,” while the word also is a transliteration of the Arabic and Ancient Hebrew for “light” or “life.”
Most Memorable Quotations
“I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is they’re saying ‘Hey, we own all the IP and this is basically our platform and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s… totally not the point….” — Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin, speaking out the corporate blockchain projects
“If you’ve got time, it will arise. It will not happen within three months, or one year, but in two to three years, and this is the golden time to be in crypto,” — Tom Lee, major Wall Street crypto bull and co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors
“I do see [Bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency,” — Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, speaking about adding a BTC tax payment option
Laws and Taxes
Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange Receives “Business License” From Regulator
The Liechtenstein Ministry of Economic Affairs has reportedly given a “business license” to professional traders-focused Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX). According to the business, the license is a “milestone” in developing a “fully regulated blockchain ecosystem,” targeting institutional and professional investors. The firm now plans to apply for a Financial Market Authority (FMA) license, as well as other regulators’ approvals to trade security tokens among other offerings.
US SEC Chairman Jay Clayton Reiterates Strict Stance on ICO, ETFs
Jay Clayton, the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), implied this week how the regulator is maintaining its strict stance of Initial Coin Offering (ICO) compliance. In an interview, Clayton noted that there was still a need to conduct public token sales to U.S. customers while following SEC guidelines. Clayton refused to comment on the SEC’s pending decision on whether to allow Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to launch, noting only “we’ve been clear on some of the issues that are of concern to us.”
Malaysia Plans to Create Crypto Regulation by Quarter 1 2019, Says Finance Minister
According to Malaysia’s finance minister, the country will develop regulations for cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) in Q1 2019. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng stated that the country’s regulator, the Securities Commission (SC), had given him the timeframe for the regulations, which will form “part of the SC’s efforts to facilitate alternative fundraising avenues and new investment asset classes.” Also this week, the minister noted that any entity wishing to issue cryptocurrency must defer to the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).
Coinbase Launches Over-the-Counter Trading for Institutional Investors
Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet provider Coinbase revealed this week that they have launched over-the-counter (OTC) trading for institutional customers. In contrast to trading through a crypto exchange itself, OTC crypto trading will allow institutional investors to conduct direct trades between each other. Head of Sales at Coinbase Christine Sandler noted that the decision to open OTC trades came at a time of increased demand for the service from institutional players, who consider leveraging both exchange and OTC business as a “huge benefit” to their customers.
CLSNet Blockchain Payment Netting Service Launches With Big Banking Clients
U.S. forex exchange (FX) settlement giant CLS’ blockchain payment netting service went live this week, with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as some of the initial users of the service, which was built in conjunction with IBM. The blockchain netting service, which is described as the “first global FX market enterprise application running on blockchain in production,” also has “committed” participation from six international entities including the Hong Kong branch of the state-run Bank of China.
Abu Dhabi-Based Bank Completes “First” Sukuk Transaction on Blockchain
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. Sukuk is a legal instrument, also referred to as “sharia compliant” bonds, which allows investors to generate returns without infringing on Islamic law. The sukuk transaction was worth a reported $1 million, sold by Al Hilal to a private investor with the participation of Swiss-based fintech company Jibrel Network, which has offices in Dubai.
Bahrain Finance Training Institute Launches Blockchain Academy
The Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) announced the launch this week of what it claims to be the country’s first “Blockchain Academy.” The BIBF established in Bahrain in 1981 by approval of the Specific Council for Vocational Training, is an unregistered non-profit semi-government entity that provides training in the financial sector. The Blockchain Academy, according to the announcement, is designed to prepare participants to earn the international qualification of Certified Blockchain Professional C|BP and was developed by both the BIBF and Dubai-based training firm MyLearning Key.
Amazon Debuts Two New Blockchain-Related Products
E-commerce giant Amazon has announced the launch of two new blockchain-related services this week: Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) and Amazon Managed Blockchain. QLDB is a ledger database, overseen by a central trusted authority, that will provide a transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable log of transactions, while the Amazon Managed Blockchain can operate with QLDB, allowing users to adjust and manage a scalable blockchain network.
Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships
“Code of Conduct” Association Launched for Crypto by Ten Blockchain, Fintech Firms
Ten financial and technology firms have established an Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) in order to create a “code of conduct” for the cryptocurrency sector. Among the founding members of the organization include Mike Novogratz’s crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, global financial services firm BTIG, fintech firm Paxos — of recently-launched stablecoin PAX — and crypto liquidity solutions provider GSR. The group plans to work with regulators to create “comprehensive standards” for digital asset market participants.
Nasdaq and VanEck Partner to Release “Regulated, Surveilled” Digital Assets Products
Nasdaq, the world’s second largest stock exchange, and the U.S. investment firm VanEck have announced a partnership to launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products together. The partnership, announced via a tweet and then at a New York crypto conference, supposes that the new products would use Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance system, alongside VanEck’s MVIS digital asset pricing indices.
Microsoft Japan and LayerX Partner to Increase Domestic Blockchain Use
The Japanese arm of computer giant Microsoft has partnered with nascent blockchain startup LayerX to “accelerate” uptake of the technology in Japan. LayerX was created in August as a joint project between news curation app Gunosy and advisory service AnyPay, and sees blockchain integration for enterprise, including the application of smart contracts and general consulting. Using Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution, the companies will work together to promote broader applications of blockchain.
ASUS Partners With GPU Mining Platform to Let Users Mine Crypto via Graphics Cards
Taiwan-based tech giant ASUS and GPU mining platform Quantumcloud have formed a partnership in order to allow users to mine crypto via their graphic cards. Per the terms of the partnership, owners of ASUS graphic cards will be able to mine crypto through Quantumcloud software and withdraw earnings using PayPal or Chinese app WeChat. Quantumcloud noted that it doesn’t guarantee profits, and that users need to consider usage costs on their own.
Blockchain Capital Leads Almost $13 Mln Funding Round for U.S. Securities Token Startup
Blockchain Capital has led a $12.75 million Series A funding round for American securities tokens startup Securitize this week. The platform, which enables the issuances of digital securities — or security tokens — of any asset, also had Coinbase Ventures, Global Brain, NXTP, OK Blockchain Capital, and Xpring at Ripple participate in the funding round. Blockchain Capital’s co-founder and managing partner Brad Stephens will join Securitize’s Board of Directors.
Decentralized Exchanges Completes $15 Mln Funding Round with Huobi and OKCoin
BHEX Exchange, a decentralized crypto exchange, finished a $15 million funding round this week with support from major exchanges like Huobi and OKCoin. According to BHEX, the new funding round also included support from Genesis Capital, among others. BHEX’s investment subscription has purportedly attracted over 70 investment institutions, while Blue Helix selected 40 to participate in the first round of investment.
Winners and Losers
The crypto markets are slightly in the green at the end of the week, with Bitcoin trading at $4,128.16, Ripple at $.37, and Ethereum at $116.48. Total market cap is around $134 billion.
The top three altcoin gainers of the week are FREE Coin, Etheera, and RabbitCoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are ZeusNetwork, Cyber Movie Chain, and TRONCLASSIC.
For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.
FUD of the Week
Bitmain Sued for $5 Mln For Alleged Unauthorized Mining at Clients’ Expense
Crypto mining giant Bitmain is facing a class action lawsuit of $5 million that alleges the company mined crypto for its own benefit while its customers’ devices were in the process of setting up. According to the lawsuit, Bitmain is benefitting from the the lengthy “initialization” period that its ASIC [Application-Specific Integrated Circuit] devices need for set up. The plaintiff claims that the company’s ASIC devices are “preconfigured to use its customers’ electricity to generate crypto currency for the benefit of Bitmain rather than its customers.”
US Treasury Adds Crypto Addresses of Two Iranians to Sanctions List Over BTC Ransomware
The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned two Iranians allegedly involved in Bitcoin (BTC) ransomware scheme SamSam, including their Bitcoin addresses in a first for putting crypto addresses on a sanctions list. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against two Iranian individuals, Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, who are accused of exchanging Bitcoin into Iranian rials (IRR) associated with the scheme. OFEC has managed to identify two crypto addresses associated with the alleged Iran-based criminals, with 7,000 transactions in Bitcoin and around 6,000 BTC moved since 2013.
Bulgarian Prosecutors Detain Three Hackers Who Reportedly Stole $5 Mln in Crypto
Bulgaria’s Gendarmerie forces and specialized prosecutors have arrested three hackers allegedly involved in stealing $5 million in crypto this week. According to the investigation, the hackers used new methods and advanced computer skills, including specialized hardware, in the scam. The investigation, which began five months ago, has ended with the police seizing cryptocurrencies worth around $3 million, as well as computers, flash drives, and a hardware portfolio for storage of crypto data.
Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Lost $136 Mln During First Three Quarters of 2018
According to a report from Bloomberg this week, Mike Novogratz‘s crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital has lost $136 million in the first three quarters of 2018. The banks realized and unrealized losses in Q3 amounted to $41 million, and the firm’s share price also dropped to a record low after tumbling 55 percent this month. Galaxy Digital explained the loss by pointing to the falling prices of Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), and Ethereum (ETH), calling the lack of crypto trading volumes a “headwind” to success.
Zug Court Shuts Down Crypto Mining Firm Over Unregistered Initial Coin Offering
The cantonal court in Zug, Switzerland, has shut down cryptocurrency mining firm Envion AG for offering an allegedly unauthorized Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Envion, a Swiss-based off-grid mining company that touts itself as using decentralized, clean energy like hydroelectric and solar to power its mobile mining units, raised around $100 million through its mid-January ICO this year. The funding led to a conflict between the two partners at Envion, resulting in a court trial. This week, the court ruled to liquidate the firm, while noting the complete absence of any auditing function or board.
Prediction of the Week
Civic CEO Believes Bitcoin Will Trade Range-Bound for “Three to Six Months”
According to Vinny Lingham, the CEO of identity management startup Civic, Bitcoin’s (BTC) price will remain range-bound between $3,000 and $6,000 for the next three to six months. Speaking on CNBC’s “Fast Money,” the CEO noted that it is doubtful that the coin will break down the support level of $3,000 since there is “a lot of buying in the short term around that mark.”
Best Cointelegraph Features
Ohio state is looking to become the first in the U.S. to let businesses, and possibly later individuals, to use cryptocurrencies to pay for taxes. Cointelegraph spoke to Ohio’s State Treasurer Josh Mandel, the person responsible for the initiative, about how he sees the state becoming more of a blockchain hub as well.
Last week, Trezor, one of the leading crypto hard wallets, reported that one-for-one copies of their devices had been found, and warned customers to be careful of purchasing Trezors from unreliable sellers. The key difference between the real and fake Trezors? A holographic sticker on the box, which some critics say is too weak as a security measure.
The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork took place on Nov. 15, but the consequences are far reaching. Bitcoin ABC, which was backed by both BCH advocate Roger Ver and Bitmain founder Jihan Wu, ended up winning the allegiance of the majority of exchanges, but Bitcoin SV is far from being dead.
The Japanese Financial Services Agency is introducing new, stricter ICO regulation to protect investors.
According to “informed” sources cited by Jiji, business operators conducting ICOs will be required to register with Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA).
The agency is reportedly planning to submit bills revising financial instruments, exchanges and payment services laws to the ordinary parliamentary session that starts in January.
This action has been undertaken “in view of a number of possibly fraudulent ICO cases abroad” as a way “to limit individuals’ investment in ICOs for better protecting them.”
As Cointelegraph Japan reported last month, the FSA Study Group on Virtual Currency Exchange industry conducted its tenth meeting to discuss ICOs. The tokens emitted during ICOs where classified into three categories: virtual currencies without issuer, virtual currencies with issuer and tokens with issuers that are also obliged to distribute revenues.
According to the report, the first and second token classifications are subject to settlement regulation such as the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act. The third of ICO tokens is subject to investment regulations like the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.