Preparing for the Looming Bitcoin Cash Fork

Preparing for the Looming Bitcoin Cash Fork

Technology & Security On Nov. 15, the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network faces a contentious fork and many BCH users have been wondering what to do with their funds before the consensus changes. In order to address some questions concerning the upcoming fork, news.Bitcoin.com has outlined some of the options available for BCH proponents. Also read: A Look at Bitcoin Replay Attacks and Self-Managed UTXO Protection Pre-Fork Preparations Cryptocurrencies fork from time to time and more often than not, upgrades are usually quite smooth. However, every once in a while some consensus changes can be controversial and ultimately lead to a blockchain split. At the moment the Bitcoin Cash fork planned for Nov. 15 is in dispute, and the two development teams, Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV, have not yet come to an agreement. The two Bitcoin Cash implementations, Bitcoin SV and Bitcoin ABC, have two different ruleset changes that will be incompatible and could lead to a chain split on Nov. 15. After hearing about the fork on social media and cryptocurrency-centric forums, many newcomers have asked if they should prepare for the consensus change, especially when it may result in a split. There are plenty of options available for people who possess bitcoin cash, but in the end, the decision will ultimately differ with each individual and organization. ‘Sit and Wait’ with Custodial and Noncustodial Services Many cryptocurrency veterans who have already experienced a number of disputed consensus changes, especially ones that have led to blockchain splits, will likely tell you to “sit back and wait.” Nobody truly knows the outcome, so basically, the “sit and wait” method doesn’t take much effort. However, there are a couple of things to think about. For example, if you use a noncustodial wallet that gives you the ability to possess your own keys, whether it be a 12-24 word mnemonic phrase or a file, then the “sit and wait” process is considered a safe method by experienced crypto-enthusiasts. No matter what happens, your current funds, as well as any future split coins, will sit while you hold your private keys. People holding BCH in noncustodial wallets should make sure they have backed up their wallets before the fork. If the chain splits, the keys provide access to…

Japan: Tokyo Police Arrest 8 Men Allegedly Involved in $68 Million Crypto Pyramid Scheme

Japan: Tokyo Police Arrest 8 Men Allegedly Involved in $68 Million Crypto Pyramid Scheme

Tokyo police have arrested eight men that are suspected of collecting a total amount of $68.4 million in cash and cryptocurrency using a pyramid scheme, Japanese daily newspaper Asahi Shimbun reports Wednesday, Nov. 14. The suspects claimed to run a U.S. investment company dubbed “Sener,” conducting seminars with foreign speakers. The police report that at least one of the meetings has been recorded, with video uploaded on YouTube. During the seminars, the group of suspects promised monthly returns from 3 to 20 percent for the investments. The suspects also asked the participants to pledge to invite other investors in order to get additional returns. The investigators believe the suspects received cash and Bitcoin (BTC) from about 6,000 people in 44 prefectures, including Tokyo. A group lawsuit was filed at the Tokyo District Court by 73 victims of the fraud, seeking approximately $3.2 million in damages. According to Asahi Shimbun, six men have already admitted to the allegations, while two others deny them. The Tokyo police believe the suspects tried to avoid prosecution by using cryptocurrencies, as they are in a “gray zone,” according to Japanese financial regulation. As explained by Financial Services Agency (FSA), digital currencies are not considered as securities that are under the jurisdiction of current law. However, they can be regulated depending on the structure of the investment, the FSA added. Japan is known for its crypto-friendly stance, which remains relatively unchanged despite the massive hacks on local crypto exchanges Coincheck and Zaif in 2018. The FSA, which issues licenses for crypto exchanges to operate in the country, gave the local crypto industry self-regulatory status in October, certifying the Japanese Virtual Currency Exchange Association (JVCEA) to monitor the space. Furthermore, a Japanese taxation policy committee is seeking to facilitate cryptocurrency tax reporting. In October, the officials held a debate discussing the current legal framework and offering to stimulate a more thorough reporting of cryptocurrency gains.

Crypto Exchange KuCoin Raises $20 Million From IDG, Matrix, Neo Global

Crypto Exchange KuCoin Raises $20 Million From IDG, Matrix, Neo Global

Singapore-based crypto exchange KuCoin has raised $20 million in Series A funding backed by IDG Capital, Matrix Partners and Neo Global Capital. KuCoin announced the funding Wednesday, saying that the three firms had not only invested, but formed partnerships with the exchange in order to bring cryptocurrency to the “masses.” With the funding in place, KuCoin said it now plans to revamp its service, launching “Platform 2.0” probably in Q1 2019. Planned to be “more than a single exchange,” the new offering, it says, will be a “dynamic, secure and malleable” trading platform that will allow KuCoin to scale and add new features. It will also bring on more support staff and expanding to new countries – targeting Vietnam, Turkey, Italy, Russia and all Spanish-speaking countries during Q4 2018. With IDG, Matrix and Neo Global’s assistance, the exchange said it aims to become a global brand in the blockchain industry, claiming five million registered users, currently. “I believe one day everything will function with blockchain technology. And with our newly formed partnerships, we will build on today’s momentum and fulfill this vision,” KuCoin’s CEO Michael Gan said. KuCoin and dollars image via Shutterstock

The $799 Coinmine One Will Look Like an Xbox and Mint Crypto Money

The $799 Coinmine One Will Look Like an Xbox and Mint Crypto Money

Try as startups might, crypto mining hasn’t yet had an everyman device. Smart money, however, is betting that will change at the hands of a new company called Coinmine. Announced Wednesday, the startup is revealing its first product, the Coinmine One, a hardware device aimed at crypto enthusiasts who’d like to earn rewards for mining blockchains – without the need to learn a new technical skill set. Backed by investors including Coinbase Ventures and Arrington Capital, angel investors Balaji Srinivasan (now CTO of Coinbase and a former mining entrepreneur), Morgan Creek partner Anthony Pompliano and Product Hunt co-founder Ryan Hoover also participated in the undisclosed funding. The Coinmine One will retail for $799 and start shipping in mid-December, though the company declined to give a precise date or name a specific goal for sales. Still, CEO Farbood Nivi told CoinDesk in interview that the company believes its mining product has mass-market appeal. Nivi explained: “We think there’s a market for millions, if not tens of millions.” One investor, Chapter One Ventures, explicitly backed the project because it wants to see more ways for everyday people to get involved in supporting cryptocurrency infrastructure. “Coinmine will democratize access to becoming a miner in a fun and approachable way that almost feels like playing a video game,” its founder, Jeff Morris, Jr., told CoinDesk. Digging into the details For $799, the Coinmine One will sport a miner that can generate any one of the following out of the box: ether (ETH) at 29 Mh/sec, monero (XMR) at 900 h/sec, zcash (ZEC) at 320 h/sec and ether classic. With updates next year, it also expects to be able to run a stake for a Bitcoin Lightning node, Dfinity or Filecoin. It uses roughly as much power (120 watts) as a PlayStation 3 during game play and runs at 40 decibels (quiet compared to the cacophony created by other mining products). With a profile like the one above, most people probably wouldn’t be horrified about it being visible in a room that a guest might visit. More importantly, in an effort to make the product as user-friendly as possible, the system will be automatically updated as changes are made on the protocol and as more coins become available. Users will be able…

Bitcoin Sees Volatility as Prices Hit Three-Month Lows and Altcoins Fall

Bitcoin Sees Volatility as Prices Hit Three-Month Lows and Altcoins Fall

Cryptocurrency markets are showing red across the board Nov. 14, as a steep drop in Bitcoin (BTC) ricocheted across major assets. Data from Cointelegraph’s price tracker, Coin360, and Bitcointicker confirms BTC/USD bouncing off support around $6,150 on exchanges, at press time hovering above $6,200 again. Market visualization. Source: Coin360 The dip to $6,150 marks a fresh test of the stability seen in Bitcoin for the past several weeks, the largest cryptocurrency not testing the barrier since mid August. No major events appeared to contribute to the latest declines, with some analysts nonetheless predicting the ongoing bear market would continue into 2019 — longer than many had previously assumed. “Putting together the blockchain view, I suspect the timing for a bottom may be around Q2 2019,” technical analyst Willy Woo, creator of data site Woobull, commented on social media Nov. 13, adding: “After that we start the true accumulation band, only after that, do we start a long grind upwards.” Figures such as Galaxy Digital’s Michael Novogratz and Fundstrat’s Tom Lee had claimed a reversal in Bitcoin’s fortunes would be apparent by Q2 next year as institutional investors began interacting with markets. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin’s wobble had a knock-on effect on major altcoins meanwhile, with Ethereum (ETH) dropping around 3.3 percent at press time to just hold on to support at $200. Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Elsewhere, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) reversed recent gains on the back of speculation over its hard fork, which is due Thursday, Nov. 15. The coin has lost over 10 percent in the past 24 hours, performing the worst out of all assets in the top twenty listed on CoinMarketCap. NEM (XEM) also reversed gains that Cointelegraph had reported on Monday, after Japanese exchange Coincheck resumed trading of the token following its major January hack. XEM’s daily losses so far extend to 8.7 percent.

Official Google Account Hacked in Latest Twitter Crypto Scam

Official Google Account Hacked in Latest Twitter Crypto Scam

An official, verified Twitter account owned by Google has become the latest to be hacked to host a crypto “giveaway” scam. Twitter user @B_u_r_t_o_n spotted the promoted tweet on the account of Google’s productivity and collaboration tools line, G Suite, on Tuesday, and managed to post a screenshot before it was deleted by the tech giant. The tweet had attempted to scam Twitter users via a fake giveaway offer, prompting them to “sеnd frоm 0.1 to 2 BTC tо the address bеlow and gеt frоm 1 to 20 ВTC back!” Google and Twitter have reportedly confirmed the incident and are investigating the matter. “This morning an unauthorized promoted tweet was shared from the G Suite account. We removed the tweet and are investigating with Twitter now,” a Google spokesperson said in a report from Business Insider. A Twitter spokesperson was also quoted as saying that the G Suite account was “inappropriately accessed and that they would continue to closely monitor the situation.” The news marks just the latest instance of a verified Twitter account getting compromised in order to promote crypto scams. Hacks earlier this month saw accounts held by a U.S. lawmaker, a film company and a book publisher taken over to impersonate SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk. The account of major U.S. retailer Target was also hacked for the same purpose on Tuesday. The company tweeted: “Early this morning, our Twitter account was inappropriately accessed. The access lasted for approx. half an hour & one fake tweet was posted during that time about a bitcoin scam. We have regained control of the account, are in close contact with Twitter & are investigating now.” Google image via Shutterstock

The Growth of Security Tokens in 2018

The Growth of Security Tokens in 2018

Crowdfunding 2018 was meant to be the year of security tokens. The number of projects seeking to launch security token offerings (STOs) would mushroom, we were told, and a string of accredited trading venues would emerge where these instruments could be exchanged. The release of two new reports into the STO market provides an opportunity to reflect on whether security tokens have lived up to the hype. Also read: Digital Bank Revolut Surpasses 3 Million Customers The Quest to Securitize the World When the utility token craze took off in 2017, raising billions of dollars through initial coin offerings (ICOs), skeptics predicted that the mania couldn’t last. Many of these so-called utility tokens, it was claimed, were actually securities, and it was only a matter of time until a lettered agency such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission stepped in to call a halt to proceedings. In the event, the demise of the utility token has had less to do with enforcement, and more to do with market conditions that have made it virtually impossible for ICOs to raise funds. A string of underperforming ICOs, including several that were outright scams and others that simply failed to deliver, have blunted public appetite for this fundraising mechanism. STOs have the potential to overcome several of the drawbacks to ICOs, including the regulatory uncertainty. Because security tokens represent a claim to an asset, such as equity, investors have a degree of reassurance that, in the event of the project faltering, they will have legal redress. This contrasts with utility tokens, which are sold on the understanding that they may be worth nothing and that holders have zero claim to any sort of assets. Two new reports from Hashgard and ICOrating.com provide an insight into the health of the nascent security token market. Security tokens made up 6.54 percent of projects in Q3. STOs See Modest Growth in Q3 ICOrating.com reports that STOs saw a steady increase in interest during Q2 and Q3 of 2018. The share of projects offering a security token increased by a slender 1.66 percent in Q3 over the previous quarter, while the number of projects offering utility tokens decreased by 10 percent. One impediment to projects seeking to launch an STO is a shortage of…

Australia: Tax Regulator Warns of Fraudulent Requests for Tax Payment via BTC ATMs

Australia: Tax Regulator Warns of Fraudulent Requests for Tax Payment via BTC ATMs

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has published a warning Nov. 14 about scammers demanding tax payments through Bitcoin ATMs. The post notes that the number of scammers who request payment through BTC has now exceeded those who ask for iTunes giftcards. Kath Anderson, the Assistant Commissioner at the ATO, said this year that the number of scammers pretending to be associated with the ATO in order to request fraudulent taxation payments had increased, asking “Australians to be on high alert for tax scams.” Back in the spring, the tax regulator had previously warned citizens that scammers claiming fake tax debt on behalf of the ATO were demanding tax payment via different cryptocurrencies, as Cointelegraph reported Mar. 16. The ATO’s Assistant Commissioner now voiced concerns that Australians share their personal information with scammers that makes them vulnerable to fraud actors. The Nov. 14 ATO warnings states that Australians have reported over 28,000 scam attempts associated with the ATO since July 1, and have paid nearly $1 million to scammers, who often ask for “unusual” payment methods like iTunes gift cards and BTC. Anderson noted: “That’s just not how we do business […] November is a prime time for scammers as they know lots of people have tax bills to pay. Be wary if someone contacts you demanding payment of a tax debt you didn’t know you owed.” Earlier this fall, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) had already warned citizens on “misleading” Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) and crypto-asset funds targeted at retail investors, Cointelegraph reported Sep. 20. In other crypto scam news this week, Google’s G Suite official Twitter account was reportedly hacked, advertising a fraudulent BTC giveaway to more than 800,000 followers, Cointelegraph wrote yesterday, Nov. 13.

State of Regulation in South Korea: Banks Required to Provide Fair Services to Crypto Exchanges

State of Regulation in South Korea: Banks Required to Provide Fair Services to Crypto Exchanges

On October 30, South Korea’s main financial authority officially cleared banks to work with crypto exchanges for the first time in history, establishing a major milestone for the local cryptocurrency sector. At the state affairs audit, held by both government parties of South Korea to evaluate and track the progress of every government branch and agency under the administration of President Moon Jae-in, Financial Services Commission (FSC) commissioner, Choi Jong-ku, stated that the FSC has cleared banks to work with cryptocurrency exchanges by providing virtual bank accounts. On the digital asset trading platforms of South Korea, every bank account holder is provided with a virtual bank account by the account issuer, in this case a local bank, to provide an instantaneous and efficient system to withdraw and deposit funds. Cryptocurrency investors in South Korea are not required to wait one to five days for deposits and withdrawals to clear, as they can safely store the South Korean won on exchanges by leveraging the security of local banks. Commissioner Choi stated that banks and financial institutions are authorized to provide virtual bank accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges, given that the exchanges have strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems in place that do not allow anonymous accounts and users to trade digital assets. “There exists no issue in banks providing virtual bank accounts to cryptocurrency exchanges. If digital asset trading platforms have KYC and AML systems in place, there is no problem in issuing virtual bank accounts to exchanges.” The approval of banks by the FSC, to open virtual accounts for cryptocurrency investors, is not equivalent to the approval of anonymous accounts. Virtual bank accounts in South Korea refer to replica accounts of bank holders, provided to third party platforms like cryptocurrency exchanges to allow instantaneous deposits and withdrawals. Major milestone for South Korea and local exchanges Throughout the past five years, despite the increase in demand for cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, the government of South Korea has been skeptical towards regulating the asset class and the market because it feared that the implementation of a regulatory framework would come across as an endorsement of the asset class to the public. However, the abrupt increase in the valuation of the cryptocurrency market in late 2017, which…

Bain Capital Backs $2.25 Million Round for Bitcoin Rewards Startup Lolli

Bain Capital Backs $2.25 Million Round for Bitcoin Rewards Startup Lolli

Bitcoin rewards platform Lolli has raised $2.25 million in seed funding from investors including Bain Capital Ventures and Digital Currency Group. Also participating were Version One, Forerunner Ventures, 3K VC, SV Angel, FJ Labs, Gokul Rajaram, Alex Chung, Brian Sugar and others, the firm said Wednesday. Lolli is a rewards platform that allows users to earn bitcoin when they shop at the company’s partner brands. The firm says it now has arrangements with over 500 brands, including Hilton, Marriott, Walmart and Forever 21, that will give users “up to 30 percent back in bitcoin,” its website claims. “We have over a 9 percent conversion rate and have already generated over 6 figures in sales for our merchants,” said Alex Adelman, CEO and co-founder of Lolli, adding that the platform has created a “real use case” for bitcoin. Working via a browser extension (currently, Chrome and Safari only), the platform notifies users when they are on a shopping on a partner site, and assigns the bitcoin rewards at checkout. Users can then spend, save or convert the earned bitcoins to cash later from their Lolli wallet. As for wallet security, Lolli said it uses offline, cold storage to keep its users’ bitcoins safe. Bitcoin image via Shutterstock