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LG CNS, a subsidiary of South Korean LG Corporation that supplies information technology services, has recently launched its own blockchain-powered service, local Yonhap News Agency reports Sunday, May 13.
LG CNS’ own blockchain platform “Monachain” has been designed to enable blockchain-based logistics in the fields of finance, manufacturing, and communication, according to Yonhap.
One of the main deployments of Monachain provides a digital authentication system, as well as a digital currency, and a digital supply chain management tool. As the local source reports, Monachain enables a new type of identification, a decentralized identifier (DID), that can be used for personal identification and online payments via smart devices.
Monachain also allows users to open a digital wallet and conduct financial operations. According to the report, LG CNS is seeking agreement with domestic banks to bring its digital currency business to a wider audience. A representative of LG CNS commented:
"Even further, Monachain can help business owners boost productivity as the company provides a digital supply chain management system that enables suppliers to manage the entire production processing efficiently."
In May 2017, LG CNS partnered with R3, a blockchain consortium made up of over 200 firms.
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Bitcoin, and the idea of digital cash has taken hold of the banking sector as banks and financial institutions start to experiment internally with blockchains and cryptocurrencies in order to be at the forefront of these technologies.

This, coupled with the fact that government organizations and even global leadership bodies such as the G20 are looking to regulate cryptocurrencies, again give more legitimacy and longevity to the industry.

The latest wave of adoption is now coming from corporations who, traditionally have come to be successful thanks to their centralized domination over different aspects of the market. Microsoft, in the world of computing, are legendary in driving the world to be digital; then there is Amazon, the pioneers of e-commerce.

These companies are in some manner getting forced towards blockchain technology as it has become apparent that this is the future, and even though it goes against their centralized values, they simply cannot miss out.

Microsoft’s entry
Microsoft has always been one of the biggest companies to give Bitcoin its dues. Back in Dec. 2014, content on the Windows and Xbox stores could be bought in Bitcoin, and this was at a time where Bitcoin’s mainstream adoption and appeal was minimal.

This, of course, was merely a nod towards alternative payment methods, and Microsoft being flexible to its customers wants and needs. However since then, and since blockchain has grown, Microsoft has been pushing to be in front of the innovative queue.

Microsoft has obviously identified the power of blockchain and its far-reaching potential for disruptive applications in the world of enterprise business. The company is now developing blockchain applications - which are not that flashy as some of the solutions put forward by startups, but equally practical.

Microsoft is also looking to build platforms on which businesses can grow their blockchain applications upon, such as the Confidential Consortium (Coco) Framework, an Ethereum-based protocol, which falls under Microsoft Azure, the company’s cloud computing arm.

They have also announced that they are looking into plans to integrate blockchain-based decentralized IDs (DIDs) into its Microsoft Authenticator app.

The latest from the computing giant is that Azure has released its blockchain app creation service, Azure Blockchain Workbench, on May 7. Workbench aims to allow businesses looking to create bespoke blockchain apps to speed up the development process by automating infrastructure setup.

Amazon’s own efforts
Both Microsoft and Amazon have similar origins with their founders - Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos - being driven men with revolutionary ideas. Therefore it is unsurprising to see these two companies pushing to be at the forefront of a new technological wave.

Gates may be spouting some pretty negative things about Bitcoin, and Bezos may be under siege to accept the digital currency on Amazon, but despite what the two founders think of the cryptocurrency space, it is becoming clear that the future is conquering the companies.

Amazon revolutionized the e-commerce space and is looking to at least be near to the top of the pecking order when blockchain technology truly takes a hold. Just like in banking, there is a rush to get blockchain figured out and usable before the rest of the competition gets to market.

Amazon is already in a battle with IBM and Oracle with its own “blockchain-as-a-service” offering. The blockchain framework for Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric, which is allowing users to build and manage their own Blockchain-powered decentralized applications, is being developed in different forms by all three.

Essentially, users would be able to create their own blockchain applications via the Amazon Web Services (AWS) CloudFormation Templates tool to avoid time-consuming manual setups of their blockchain network.

Oracle and others also entering the space
Oracle, the world’s second-largest software company, also recently unveiled blockchain products, and will be releasing them over the next two months. Again, it was a similar cloud service built on the open-source Hyperledger Fabric project like Microsoft, and equally similar to IBM’s blockchain service, announced a year ago.

Major companies are also jumping on the blockchain bandwagon in different easy, shapes and forms. Huawei is loading its phones with a built-in Bitcoin wallet;  Samsung revealed that it will use blockchain for managing its global supply chain; Spanish banking group BBVA became the first global bank to issue a loan on a blockchain, and use-cases continue to grow around the world.

Oracle and others also entering the space

Why the blockchain drive?
It was not long ago that people were calling Bitcoin a fad, a scam, and something that will not last for long. Those voices have been silenced somewhat as even banks, one of the biggest detractors of cryptocurrencies, are realizing that they need to be on the forefront of this emerging technology.

The excitement is spreading, and it is creating an arms race even outside banks and the finance sector. Blockchain technology, while intrinsically attached to cryptocurrencies, also has many applications for other sectors. These applications are being explored and evaluated.

Companies like Microsoft, Amazon, Samsung, Huawei, and others, all realize that with all these possibilities, it would be blind to not dive in, and quick.

AWS vice president Jeff Barr explained in a post:

“Some of the people that I talk to see blockchains as the foundation of a new monetary system and a way to facilitate international payments. Others see blockchains as a distributed ledger and immutable data source that can be applied to logistics, supply chain, land registration, crowdfunding and other use cases,. Either way, it’s clear that there are a lot of intriguing possibilities and we are working to help our customers use this technology more effectively.”

Neil Patel, advisor to Kind Ads, a decentralized ad-network that consults companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, reiterates that these major corporations almost have no choice but to embrace blockchain technology as it is being regarded quite openly as the future of technology. Patel told Cointelegraph:

"Microsoft and Amazon have no choice but to focus on blockchain because it is the future. If they don't, they know that it will hurt their growth in the cloud computing space. Just look at Facebook, they see the value in blockchain so much that they moved around their executive team to put the ex president of PayPal on blockchain projects."

Patel’s example above makes mention of how David Marcus, the former president of PayPal and the Facebook executive who has been running the company’s Messenger app, is now assembling a team to explore blockchain technology for the social media platform.

Contradicting ideas
Bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrencies, in general, all continue to split opinions. However, the voices in the detracting camps are becoming quieter, especially if they are just single voices.

Jamie Dimon, the head of JP Morgan, called Bitcoin a fraud and spouted much vitriol about cryptocurrencies - and yet, JP Morgan is building its own blockchain, Quorum. The Head of Microsoft is in a similar situation as he says he would bet on Bitcoin collapsing while his company pushes to be a blockchain leader.




Many of these older viewpoints about how things were done, the centralized control of a sector and the move to monopolize a service, still reside in the likes of Gates and Dimon, but on the company floor, it is a different story.

Blockchain technology is being touted as the future, and it is not just empty words. The amount of money, time and effort being put into blockchain-based research and development by banks and corporations prove there is something more to it than a passing fad.
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Facebook is reportedly “exploring” the creation of its own cryptocurrency, news media outlet Cheddar reported May 11.

According to Cheddar’s anonymous sources, people “familiar with Facebook’s plans,” the social media giant is “very serious” about plans to launch an in-app virtual coin.

The unconfirmed information comes the same week the platform announced that David Marcus, head of its Messenger app, would transfer to heading a dedicated blockchain research group.

Marcus’ appointment to Blockchain operations was immediately conspicuous, the executive previously having worked in the finance sphere for PayPal and subsequently joining US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s board in December 2017.

At the time, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong praised Marcus’ cross-industry background in both payments and mobile communications.

The move nonetheless provides for a curious juxtaposition for Facebook, the platform having banned cryptocurrency-related advertising across its network in January. Also citing “misleading or deceptive promotional practices,” the ban was copied by both Google and Twitter soon after.
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The Supreme Court of India declined to grant an interim injunction against the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) circular banning banking services for companies dealing in cryptocurrency, according to a Twitter post by Crypto Kanoon May 11. Crypto Kanoon is a team of Indian lawyers engaged in crypto regulatory analysis and legal awareness.


11 different representatives from various crypto-related businesses who filed a petition with the Indian Supreme Court seeking an interim injunction against the circular. Court documents confirm that the injunction was denied and the case is still pending. The case will be heard again on May 17.

An interim injunction is a provisional measure sought during legal proceedings, before trial, requiring a party either to do a specific act
or to refrain from a specific act. They are intended to prevent unjust circumstances pending trial.

Last month, the RBI ordered regulated banks and payment platforms to “immediately suspend their services” to companies dealing with digital currencies. The RBI’s statement was met with public outcry as the bank’s move directly affected the interest of a great number of cryptocurrency companies and startups. The circular reads:
“… it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by the Reserve Bank shall not deal in VCs [virtual currencies] or provide services for facilitating any person or entity in dealing with or settling VCs. Such services include maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges dealing with them and transfer / receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of VCs.”
Tech investor Tim Draper warned that the move by RBI could cause a brain drain, in which Indian crypto and blockchain entrepreneurs take their business abroad due to restrictive regulations at home. While Draper approves of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s crackdown on corruption, he called the government's denial of crypto as legal tender “a huge mistake”.

In April, a group of cryptocurrency exchanges in Chile appealed to the courts to fight the decision of the country’s banks to close their accounts. The exchanges Buda, Orionx, and CryptoMarket (CryptoMKT), stated that the banking system in Chile was taking matters into their own hands and that they are “killing the entire industry.”

On April 25, Buda persuaded the country’s anti-monopoly court to order the re-opening of its accounts at two major Chilean banks. The court published the ruling on its website, ordering state bank Banco del Estado de Chile and Itau Corpbanca to re-open Buda’s accounts while the exchange’s lawsuit continues.
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huawei-releases-bitcoin-wallet-in-app-store-pre-installed-on-all-new-smartphones

Huawei Technologies Co., a Chinese multinational communications technology company, has announced that mobile phone users will be able to download Bitcoin (BTC) wallets on new Huawei devices starting Friday, Bloomberg reported May 10.

Huawei is releasing BTC.com’s Bitcoin wallet in its AppGallery app store, which will be pre-installed on all new Huawei smartphones, according to Alejandro de la Torre, vice president of business operations at BTC.com. It will reportedly be the first digital currency app offered on Huawei devices.

Access to apps like BTC.com’s is limited in China as the government blocks Android’s Google Play Store and some parts of Apple’s App Store. While Chinese authorities shut down cryptocurrency exchanges and banned initial coin offerings, people can still own cryptocurrencies. De la Torre told Bloomberg:

“It’s a good opportunity to tap into the Chinese market. The use of cashless payments with apps is very big and the traditional banking system is lacking, so there’s a good use case for crypto payments to grow there.”

In March, it was reported that Huawei is planning to develop a smartphone that will support decentralized applications (DApp) running on blockchain technology. Last year, Huawei shipped 90.9 mln units in the Chinese market, where it enjoys a dominant market share of 20.4 percent. Huawei’s global market share was 11.8 percent in the first quarter of 2018. Jaime Gonzalo, vice president of Huawei’s mobile services said in a statement:

“From our leadership position in China, the tip of the spear of mobile payments, we expect to see massive growth in global cryptocurrency adoption habits in the near future.”

Last month, Huawei announced the launch of a Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform focused on smart contract development, “a high-performance, high-availability, and high-security blockchain technology platform service for enterprises and developers.”

Meanwhile, China is planning to release nationwide blockchain standards by the end of 2019. A dedicated working group has reportedly already begun work on the project.
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Following the recent 3-day downtrend period for most digital currencies, Litecoin is showing signs of potential recovery between $150-151 against the US dollar. Currently, the coin is trading above the $156 resistance level.



The dip can be blamed on the recent criticism from legendary investors such as Charlie Munger and Warren Buffet. Moreover, Bill Gates stated that since the cryptocurrency asset class is not producing anything, people should expect it to go down. He termed it a greater fool theory type of investment and added that he could short it. As such, some potential investors got scared away, but this is just for a short period as most coins have shown signs of potential recovery.

In the past 72 hours, we witnessed a downside move from the $170 pivot level in litecoin price. The coin traded close to the $150 level before buyers appeared to boost it. From the chart below, the coin’s price went as low as $151 before the upside correction started. However, it climbed recently above the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the previous bearish trend from $168 high to $151 low.



The coin was able to break below the support line of the ascending channel and 20-day EMA. However, bulls purchased the dip close to $150 levels and forced the prices back into the channel. Now, a rally above the $168 levels will show strength and it will be possible to move to the $184 level which took place on 6th May.

Additionally, the coin’s price is likely to receive a great boost from the recent Twitter campaigns, #PayWithLitecoin and #LitecoinAcceptedHere. These will build the coin’s awareness and the payment systems will spike Litecoin’s value in the near future. Moreover, according to analysts, the coin may jump as high as $180.
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The sentiment of Bitcoin heading to the moon isn’t going anywhere soon and each and every passing day more crypto experts are coming out to reinforce the belief. The latest statement has been made by experts who are known for their bullish bitcoin predictions. They say Bitcoin will hit $36,000 by end of 2019.
These claims have been made by Fundstrat Global Advisors who are well known for their positive predictions when it comes to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. It’s the second forecast in a week after they predicted the price of Bitcoin was set to peak during the upcoming consensus meeting.
Sam Doctor of Fund start wrote in a report addressing investors on Thursday noting that the value of Bitcoin could be anywhere between the range of $20,000 to $64,000. If this is to be believed, then the top crypto coin has a long way to go given that it’s currently trading at $9,153.
Sam’s prediction is based on the fact that improving cryptocurrency mining economics are in support of price appreciation.
Fundstart says:
“Bitcoin miners verify and process transactions, supporting the network in exchange for mining rewards and transaction fees, We argue that the Price/Miner’s Breakeven Cost multiple has proven a reliable long-term support level, and further, that the likely trajectory of future mining infrastructure growth should underpin Bitcoin price appreciation into year-end 2019.”
The latest call from Fund start comes just three days after Bitcoin bull Tom Lee predicted the price of BTC was set to rally following the upcoming consensus conference that will be held in Manhattan and it’s expected to bring together more than 7,000 industry experts together.
Even though their predictions have varied over time, they have maintained the top crypto coin is set to hit $125,000 by the year 2022.
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Ethereum (ETH) went through another one of its usual valleys before roaring up, settling with a price above $770. ETH grew by 17% net this week, adding another 7% on Asian trading. And just like many other digital assets, in the past month, ETH has pushed off from the lows, moving with a gradual upward trend and volumes returning and becoming more consistent.

However, some see regulatory risks gravely affecting ETH prices. While ETH is active on the Korean markets, it also has significant exposure to US-based buyers through Coinbase. Hence, any actions by the US Securities and Exchange Commission may affect the choice to own Ethereum:

ETH is extremely important and instrumental in owning any tokens - without them, even free airdropped tokens are inactive, requiring gas fees in ETH to transact. Hence ETH may always rely on commanding a price as a utility coin. However, some believe the price may be relatively low, at around $400.

Others are bullish, seeing ETH climb to $1,500 by the end of 2018.

The project itself is one of the most technologically active. The issue of scaling is coming up, and for Ethereum, the solution would be sharing. Recently, Vitalik Buterin sent out a teaser suggesting the sharding solution is closer than expected.



Sharding is a database approach where some transactions are settled on side chains, before being also secured on the main chain. Some compare the approach to bank branches settling their accounts and sending the information to the headquarters. OmiseGo (OMG) will be one of the projects aiming to scale through sharding.

According to the proof of concept by Buterin, shards will be high-capacity chains that will communicate with the main chain through predetermined rules of governance, ensuring the accuracy of the distributed ledger. While the Ethereum blockchain produces a block every minute, sidechains, or shards, may produce blocks every few seconds.

So far, no recipe has been found for scaling a blockchain, which is by definition a slow type of data structure. However, even now, Ethereum handles up to three times the transactions on the Bitcoin network, with up to 25 transactions per second.

Networks that promise hundreds of thousands of transactions per second usually rely on a form of centralization. EOS, TRON, and others, are planning to build a system of verifying servers to verify the distributed ledger.

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The Blockchain initiative B31,  run by several international insurance companies, has announced the formation of the startup B3i Service AG in Zurich, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported on Monday, March 26.
The consortium aims to create a blockchain trading platform for a value-added chain of the entire insurance industry.
The B3i initiative and the newly founded B3i service AG are both backed by the major reinsurers Munich Re and Swiss Re as well as other major insurance companies, such as Zurick, Allianz and Aegon. While the research initiative initially focused on a pilot project to explore the potential use cases of Blockchain technology in the insurance industry, B3i Services AG will now implement the results in a functioning block-based trading system.
The previous pilot project by B3i for the international insurance coverage for natural disasters involved all in all 38 insurance companies and brokers. According to the blockchain initiative B3i the absolute efficiency gain from a full implementation of Blockchain is 30 percent, as stated in a press release on the project.
The formation of B3i Serve AG is no the first use of Blockchain technologies in the insurance industry. Companies such as Deloitte and a group of other insurers had also successfully tested Blockchain for their customer management during a change of provider in November of last year. Also in September 2017, shipping giant Maersk, along with Microsoft, Ernst & Young and a number of insurers, completed a 20-week trial on Blockchain data management for cargo insurance.
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The Litecoin Foundation published a bulletin Monday, March 26, notifying the public about the closure of “LitePay,” a potential Litecoin merchant solution similar to BitPay, and apologizing for “not doing enough due diligence” before promoting the company.

The notice, written by Director of Operations Keith Yong and addressed to the “entire LTC [Litecoin] community,” notes that the foundation is “greatly disheartened that this saga has ended in this way”:

“We are currently working hard to tighten our due diligence practices and ensure that this does not happen again. Litecoin was doing perfectly fine before the promise of LitePay and will continue to do so.  The ecosystem is far bigger than one company and is continually growing with support from many others with market-ready products joining the space and fulfilling their promises to make it easier for the world to use Litecoin.”

Litecoin founder Charlie Lee echoed the foundation’s sentiments in a Twitter post-March 26:




According to the bulletin, the Litecoin Foundation had recently refused LitePay CEO Kenneth Asare’s request for more funding for LitePay, citing a lack of transparency and explanation for how the previous money had been used.

The problems with LitePay had become apparent during an “Ask Me Anything [AMA]” Reddit post by Asare from March 16, where he was unable to provide answers for many of the questions concerning the company’s documentation, which Reddit users requested, the bulletin notes.

Other Reddit users pointed out the “scam” aspects of LitePay’s website: user BrockFukcingSamson had commented that the privacy policy for LitePay was just copied and pasted from Coinbase but added an update that “they replaced ‘Coinbase’ with ‘LitePay’” without changing the text of the policy. As of press time, the two privacy policies have different wording.

In mid-February, Litecoin’s price had jumped 30 percent following LitePay’s Feb. 12 announcement that they would release their merchant service on Feb. 26, a promise that they were clearly unable to keep.

Litecoin has seen a drop in price since the Monday news of LitePay’s closure – although many of the top 100 coins on CoinMarketCap are also in the red. On Sunday, March 25 LTC was trading at a high around $162, and is currently at $144, down around 1.6 percent over a 24-hour period.

Litecoin Charts


Source
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Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex issued a public statement today, March 27, stating that the platform is not going to support the oil-backed Petro (PTR) token, launched by the government of Venezuela this February.




In its blog post on March 27, Bitfinex, the world’s number four crypto exchange by 24-hour trade volume, explained their decision citing the fact that the US had recently banned all US citizens from purchasing Petro, as well as other similar Venezuelan digital currencies that could be introduced in future. The exchange also wrote that it sees the coin as having “limited utility.”

“We have never had plans to include the PTR or similar tokens in the Bitfinex trading platform. In light of the U.S. sanctions and the other clear sanctions risks of dealing in these products, Bitfinex will not list or transact the PTR or other similar digital tokens.”

The Bitfinex team commented that the restrictions are applicable to all customers of the platform, not only US clients. They also relate to all activities on the platform, such as “deposits, financing, trading, and withdrawals.” The platform added that all of its “contractors and employees”, regardless of location, are also prohibited from transacting in the Petro.

Today, March 27, Cointelegraph reported that a Russian government official told reporters the Petro coin had not been offered to pay off Venezuela’s debt to Russia.

Source

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The leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) firm Fujitsu recently announced the opening of its international Blockchain Innovation Center in Brussels, Belgium to explore the technology’s potential applications in all possible areas, according to a  press release published March 21.


In its official statement, Fujitsu claimed that the new center will research and develop Blockchain-based solutions in “sectors of all kinds”, from Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT)-based audits to Blockchain-based voting.

Yves de Beauregard, head of Fujitsu Benelux (Belgium Netherlands Luxembourg), noted growing interest to Blockchain technology among customers and claimed that many DLT-based applications are still unexplored.

“This is just the beginning, as we intend to explore the wider potential use of blockchain in a variety of commercial areas,” Beauregard said.

According to the company’s press release, Brussels was chosen as the location of the Blockchain Center for its "geographical, political, technological and linguistic advantages for international organizations that are considering applications of blockchain technology."

Previously Cointelegraph reported that Japanese Blockchain and cryptocurrency firm Tech Bureau offered its private Blockchain to Belgian company Digipolis, an organization for inter-municipal ICT services for Belgian cities Ghent and Antwerp, as part of “The Blockchain Lab” to provide the more efficient administrative framework for cities.

Source
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ripple-launch-intl-payment-app

Banking group Santander will be partnering with Ripple to release an international money transfer app using Ripple’s Blockchain xCurrent and RippleNet platforms, Business Insider reports today, March 24.

When speaking about the upcoming app release at the International Fintech conference in London yesterday, March 23, Nathan Bostock, the UK CEO of Santander said:

“This spring, if not [sic] one beats us to it, we will be the first large retail bank to carry out cross-border payments at scale with Blockchain technology.”

At the end of January of this year, Ana Botin, the CEO of Santander, had mentioned the app launch in the company’s 2017 earnings presentation, noting that it will be open to Spain, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and Poland.



According to Business Insider, Santander had invested in Ripple in 2015 and 2016. The two companies tested an international payment app with test trials in 2016 that showed that Ripple’s technology concluded transfers in less than a day. The payment app will also be able to show an estimate of the cost of a money transfer.

So far this year Ripple has partnered with MoneyGram to speed fiat settlements, a consortium of 61 Japanese banks for creating an instant domestic payments app, and a South Korean bank for “commercial” international remittances, among others.
source
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The US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a memo March 23, reminding US citizens of the need to report their digital currency earnings on their income tax returns.


The IRS notes that Notice 2014-21 defines digital currencies as property, and they are thus subject to federal property taxes. Those who fail to report their crypto earnings can be “liable for penalties and interest,” and “in more extreme situations [...] criminal prosecution.”


The recent memo highlights the “inherently pseudo-anonymous aspect” of cryptocurrency transactions, which the organization believes may lead some taxpayers to be “tempted to hide taxable income from the IRS.”

In 2017, only .04 percent of customers of personal finance service Credit Karma reported crypto transactions on their tax returns.

source
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reddit-reportedly-removes-bitcoin-as-payment-cites-coinbase-change
Image Source - cointelegraph
Reddit has reportedly removed the option for users to pay for their premium membership program, Reddit Gold, in Bitcoin (BTC) citing an “upcoming Coinbase change”, according to a Reddit post in subreddit /r/btc published March 23.



Reddit user BitcoinXio posted a video of the steps to give another user Reddit Gold, showing that the only payment options are PayPal and credit card.

Reddit user emoney40, a moderator of several subreddits but not /r/btc, commented that the change is due to the Coinbase Commerce change:

“The upcoming Coinbase change, combined with some bugs around the Bitcoin payment option that were affecting purchases for certain users, led us to remove Bitcoin as a payment option.”

Coinbase posted on its Medium page in early March 2018 about retiring Coinbase Merchant Tools in place of Coinbase Commerce, which they acknowledged “may be disruptive to Coinbase Merchant Tool customers.” As of April 30, merchants that used Coinbase Merchant Tools will no longer have access to that product, with May 31 as the final date for the required switch to Coinbase Commerce.

User emoney40 also said that adding BTC back as a payment option is not a guarantee:

“We're going to take a look at demand and watch the progression of Coinbase Commerce before making a decision on whether to re-enable.”

Some Reddit users on the thread commented that they were not using BTC to pay for Reddit Gold anyway, due to the high transaction fees. However, in February BTC transaction fees dipped below the price of Bitcoin Cash (BCH) fees, which had been one of the main talking points of BTC’s competitors.
Source
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xrp-ripple-surpasses-visa-transaction

The progress of XRP (Ripple) happens so quickly that major news gets buried under FUD on a basis of seconds, but XRP transaction speeds have nonetheless surpassed VISA transaction speeds at a rate of more than two-to-one while few were noticing.

Because of recent updates to XRP, the alt-coin can now process 50,000 transactions per second compared to VISA’s 24,000 transactions per second.

The number of VISA transactions per second is publicly available information published at the VISA website portal, which cites testing of transaction speed that was conducted in 2010.

Image source: ripple.com

XRP’s 50,000 transactions-per-second is information available at the Ripple company’s website portal that was updated in July 2017. However, recent XRP potential COBALT updates and system health decentralization improvements promise to further increase the transaction speed/capacity that the altcoin is capable of, as well as improve the safety of XRP transactions.

The improvement of transaction speed improves the likelihood of XRP (Ripple) adoption by the more than 100 banks that have confirmed the trial of Ripple technologies in their systems.

Banks have embraced the Ripple system so frequently that Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse commented in a recent interview that the company would not announce more bank adoption numbers until they reach 200.

For those who are not aware of the difference between the Ripple company and the XRP alt-coin, Ripple is an international financial transaction company whose owners maintain the majority of the XRP alt-coin for business use—HODn XRP to ensure that banks and financial institutions that it conducts business with will have a sufficient amount of XRP to carry out cross-border fiat-to-fiat conversions and other similar uses of XRP that relate to financial transactions.

Although many in the cryptocurrency community interpret this business decision of the Ripple company to HOD their available XRP as an inherent flaw, for the average XRP investor, this decision is a boon since it permanently reduces the amount of the XRP alt-coin that is in circulation any given day in the trading community, and, most importantly, it ensures that the Ripple company can provide a sufficient amount of XRP to its financial partners.

Thus the value of XRP as an artifact and not as a utility increases, and thus the qualities of XRP an alt-coin simultaneously increase in its capacity to bridge artifact value and use-case value.

In the valuation analysis of alt-coins, two valuation systems have emerged. One that acknowledges the artifact value of an alt-coin that is tied to the limited number and the consequent desirability of cryptocurrency—such as the highly limited number of Bitcoin (BTC) that is available and that therefore makes the coin valuable for the simple fact that the number of Bitcoin (BTC) is limited (now at merely 21 million).

The other emerging consideration to the value of alt-coin involves the use-case of cryptocurrency. In this respect to use-case valuation, XRP is considerably in the forefront of most if not all cryptocurrencies because of the adoption of XRP by the financial sector—most notably to date by the Cuallix financial system, an international company that uses XRP to bridge cross-border fiat transactions and payments. Also, however, this use-case valuation is solidified by the Ripple company’s partnership with SBI Holdings, the leading financial service company in Japan. Their subsidiary, SBI Securities, is Japan’s largest online securities company with more than 4 million brokerage accounts.

SBI Virtual Currencies launched in beta on January 30 and is expected to soon launch in real time. The exchange is designed to provide a respected and reliable exchange for both its institutional customers and individual digital asset buyers in Japan. SBI Virtual Currencies will use XRP as the only digital asset supported at launch.

LIMITATION IS GOOD FOR ARTIFACT VALUE

According to statistics available at coinmarketcap.com, the number of XRP in circulation equals approximately 39 billion, having already neared the number of the alt-coin that is available to the public. According to information from the Ripple company, there are 55 billion of the XRP alt-coin that have been placed into escrow, with the allowance that the Ripple company can sell up to a billion per month. However, the Ripple company seems to be HODn its available XRP, and selling only millions of the alt-coin each month and placing the remainder back into a posteriorly-dated escrow, which means that the XRP that is not sold each month is then positioned to be sold at later than the original escrow timeline dates set by the company, decades down the line. Although each month the Ripple company releases some of the alt-coin to fund its business activity, the number that is sold monthly is low.

Thus there are only really about 6 billion XRP available to the general public, plus the few million that the company sells each month to fund its business activities.

SPEED IS DEADLY

Because XRP can process transactions twice as fast as one of the leading credit card companies in the world, and with more than a hundred banks looking at XRP as a potential artifact to execute cross-border transactions, and with most of the XRP that is available to the public now exhausted, the current undervaluation of XRP is self-evident. Look to XRP in the coming years to become the standard of value for alternative currencies, positioned to continue to lead the cryptocurrency world in use-case valuation.

ADVISORY: Some information in this op-ed was used verbatim from industry websites. Other information referenced comes from news reports. I am not a financial advisor and I do not recommend speculating in cryptocurrency. I own some XRP and other alt-coins, but I don’t day trade.
Source 
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The Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (CMIIT) has published a list of objectives to encourage the development and standardization of the technology sector, including Blockchain, according to a document released March 23.

The document begins with an objective to “promote the establishment of […] the National Blockchain Distributed Accounting Technology Standardization Committee” and further states that the committee will recommend standards “in Blockchain reference architectures, data format specification, interoperability, and smart contracts.”


The document also states that the new Committee will promote the creation and submission of standards “going out”, i.e. participating in the establishment of international standards in Blockchain technology.

CMIIT issued another announcement on March 23 stating that the day before, it concluded a forum exploring the use of Blockchain technology in China’s industrial sector. The press release says that CMIIT will continue to explore the topic.

Earlier in March, Cointelegraph reported that the government-backed Investment Association of China (IAC) is planning to create a Blockchain Investment Development Center. According a leaked document, the Blockchain innovation plan involves linking domestic and international resources, as well as investing in Chinese Blockchain projects, attracting foreign investment, and leading international Blockchain forums. According to one Chinese official referring to this document, an international Blockchain summit may be held in China in May 2018.

While the Chinese government has taken a hard line against cryptocurrencies, it appears to be embracing the underlying Blockchain technology. The Bank of China filed a patent in February 2018 for a scaling solution of Blockchain technology systems, while China’s top online retailer, JD.com, announced the launch of a startup incubator to attract foreign Blockchain projects.
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Fundstrat’s Tom Lee has forecasted that Bitcoin’s price will reach $91,000 by March 2020, basing his prediction on a chart that shows Bitcoin’s (BTC) performances after past market dips, Forbes reported March 17.



Lee and Fundstrat used an average of the percentage gained in price after each dip to arrive at the 2020 figure.

The Forbes piece notes that because the chart is based on a logarithmic scale as opposed to the traditional linear-based graph, BTC’s highs and lows are not as distinct.

Lee has been predicting high prices for BTC since its price was below $3,000. In July 2017 Lee had already stated that Bitcoin would hit $55,000 by 2022. More recently, in January of this year, Lee said that BTC would hit $25,000 by the end of 2018.


Lee and Fundstrat also recently released the “Bitcoin Misery Index” in early March, which is described as a “contrarian index’ that lets investors know how “miserable” BTC holders are at the current price.
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ICON (ICX) saw an increase in price after it was listed on Bithumb cryptocurrency exchange.

icon-icx-gains-over-50-on-bithumb
Source - CryptoVest
ICON, the renowned ‘Korean Ethereum’ network, surged 59% this morning following the announcement of its listing on Korean crypto exchange, Bithumb.



After a slow month for ICON, investors will be grateful for the recent announcement as the alt-coin price rose sharply from $2.22 to $3.54 - the highest price we’ve seen for over 2 weeks. Trading volumes have risen by over 211% since the start of the bull run, from $53,143,200 to $165,506,000 - an increase in activity of $112,362,800 in a matter of hours.



Looking into the market activity, the ICX/BTC pairing on Binance equates for over 78.65% of all ICON trades today compared to only 13.92% trading in ETH; clearly demonstrating that a vast majority of the community is favoring Bitcoin at the moment in the recent trending market.

The short-lived pump has already begun to correct back down below $3.30 as the bullish support fell short of pushing the price beyond $4. This is likely due to short-term investors taking profits early and withdrawing positions into more stable assets like BTC, ETH, and BNB.

We could see a second surge later on once the Bithumb community begins to move in on ICON. With over a million users on the platform and it is rated the world’s second largest exchange by daily trading volumes, the new listing spells great news for the ICON project.

That being said, with the current BTC market improving like it is it will be difficult for many alt-coins to hang on to any promising gains today.

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bitcoin-will-replace-dollar-in-10-years
Source - Google

According to Jack Dorsey, a leading entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, Bitcoin will replace the dollar with regards to importance as it becomes the single global currency of the internet in ten years. This follows a move by drooling executives who have invested heavily in bitcoin and other cryptocurrency businesses.

In spite of the recent concerns regarding the price of bitcoin, and its transaction challenges, Mr. Dorsey, the chief executive officer of Twitter and the payments company Square, is convinced that bitcoin will find a solution for these challenges and will be used in purchasing all items.
Bitcoin is the world’s most famous crypto and is best known for its blockchain technology. The coin only exists as strings of computer code in an absolute, distributed digital ledger. Started in 2009, the coin’s price skyrocketed to $20,000, turning some investors into instant billionaires. Consequently, other cryptocurrencies began emerging.
Most investors and evangelists have agreed that ingenious technology brought about by digital currencies may have far-reaching consequences on cybersecurity, which is currently one of the biggest challenges facing the global financial system. As such, achieving a cheaper, more secure payment system mechanism has supplanted Bitcoin’s ambition of replacing dollars.
Speaking of The Times, Mr. Dorsey added that, “the world will ultimately use a single currency, including the internet”. He believes that it will be Bitcoin. As the cryptocurrency become more widely used in payments, it is up to payment processing firms such as square, to ensure that it is accepted in equal measure.
However, it is inevitable for central banks to create their digital currencies and use regulations to tilt the odds to their advantage because if Bitcoin will replace the dollar, this means they would go out of business. The long known history of currency informs us that what private sectors innovate, the governments appropriate and regulates. As such, there is no reason to expect a different fate for virtual currencies. But based on the benefits of Bitcoin and its blockchain technology, such regulations may work to its advantage.