Diana, a Blockchain ‘Lunar Registry,’ Attempts to Tokenize the Moon

Diana, a Blockchain ‘Lunar Registry,’ Attempts to Tokenize the Moon

In honor of Neil Armstrong’s “small step,” one company is taking a “giant leap” for blockchain. On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing, Diana, a blockchain startup, is launching a “lunar registry” that attempts to place the lunar surface on a distributed ledger. The project is offering collective ownership of Earth’s only natural satellite through dividing the moon into 3,874,204,892 cells encoded on a blockchain by a 3-word address. Proof of stake in this “cadastral map” is represented by two tokens, dia and mond. Following the launch of the Diana blockchain, the startup also plans to develop a decentralized autonomous organization and eventually an exchange to build an economy around the orbital celestial object. Dia, a native token distributed upon registration, will be exchangeable with mond, intended for transactions. Accordingly, registration costs will increase as more tokens are sold, which will “boost” the value of tokens for market participants and prevent speculation. Fifty percent of the tokens will be made publicly available, while less than 2 percent will be reserved for the founders and development team, and the rest will act as a reserve. Tokens will be held in “noun.verb.noun” addresses. “diana.love.BTS, i.am.yourfather, and amstrong.land.Moon,” are given as possible examples. The project’s white paper quotes Article II of the UN Outer Space Treaty: “Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, is not subject to national appropriation by claim of sovereignty, by means of use or occupation, or by any other means.” Yet, the founders point out this treaty says nothing about “private ownership” or parceling of the solar system, noting that many sovereign nations, like China, and capital-rich corporations, like Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, are gearing up to explore – and perhaps monopolize – humanity’s shared heritage. The project leads think this next-gen space race will inevitably lead to the question of “who owns the moon.” “Given the increased possibility of ownership disputes,” Diana is currently offering tokenized ownership of the visible lunar surface – a chance for everyone to get a slice. As part of the project roadmap, the team hopes to establish a Together Moon Foundation, appoint an international and space expert defense team, and “develop the biz model for Moon possession.” Moon footprint photo via Shutterstock

Cryptokart: Another Indian Crypto Exchange Shuts Down Operations

Cryptokart: Another Indian Crypto Exchange Shuts Down Operations

Founder of Indian cryptocurrency exchange Cryptokart Gaurang Poddar announced that his company is shutting down in a LinkedIn post published last week. In his post, Poddar described the shutdown of the exchange as “difficult, given the hard work we’ve put in” but concluded that overall the experience was positive and that he was proud of the platform and seemed intent on remaining in the field, asking “If you know anyone interested in launching their own exchange, please let me know.” Poddar announced that he was looking for opportunities in product management, and asked anyone who knew about such opportunities to contact him. Poddar launched Cryptokart in 2017, roughly one year and nine months ago. The news comes after Indian crypto exchange Koinex ceased operations in June and in May Coinome — another crypto exchange operating in the country — announced the halt of its services. Both exchanges cited the hostile regulatory environment as the cause of their shutdowns. As Cointelegraph reported last month, Indian lawmakers have reportedly proposed to enforce a 10-year jail term for citizens who deal with cryptocurrencies. The new tough crypto regulation is part of a recently proposed draft bill called “Banning Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill 2019.”

Bank of Thailand Is Open to Discuss Libra, Concerned Over Security

Bank of Thailand Is Open to Discuss Libra, Concerned Over Security

Bank of Thailand governor Veerathai Santiprabhob said that the institution is open to discussing Facebook’s Libra stablecoin with the company, local media Xinhuanet reported on July 19. Per the report, Santiprabhob made his remarks at the Bangkok FinTech Fair on July 19, pointing out that Facebook had already contacted the central bank many times. He also noted that the institution had established a new team to study Libra’s whitepaper, but their analysis will take time. “We are not going to rush into a decision of Libra as yet,” Santiprabhob reportedly said, continuing to emphasize the importance of security: “All kinds of new digital money have been emerging, therefore the Bank of Thailand monitors all and don’t give favoritism to any particular financial service. Security in financial services is the bank’s top priority. It will take time.” Santiprabhob reportedly said that Libra cannot simply replace the Thai baht, concluding that “Libra cannot just step in and replace all currencies and digital money.” As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, Fiscal Policy Office legal officer Sumaporn Manason argued that Libra will likely run up against difficulties entering Thailand as the cryptocurrency does not fall under any local financial legislation currently existing.

Alleged Silk Road Drug Dealer Arrested in the United States

Alleged Silk Road Drug Dealer Arrested in the United States

United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey S. Berman announced the arrest of alleged dark web drug dealer Hugh Brian Haney in a press release published on July 18. Per the release, Haney has been charged with money laundering. He allegedly used cryptocurrency to launder more than $19 million of profits earned selling illegal drugs on the now-defunct darknet market Silk Road. Berman commented to the development: “Today’s arrest should be a warning to dealers peddling their drugs on the dark web that they cannot remain anonymous forever, especially when attempting to legitimize their illicit proceeds.” Angel M. Melendez, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent-in-charge, pointed out that — after Silk Road was closed in 2013 — cyber criminals simply sought other ways to “continue their criminal activities and more importantly launder their illicit digital currency.” Haney was allegedly one of those criminals. Melendez concluded: “HSI special agents employed blockchain analytics to uncover and seize bitcoins valued at $19 million and usher Haney out of the dark web shadows to face justice in the Southern District of New York.” The press release suggests that Haney operated on Silk Road under the pseudonym Pharmville. U.S. law enforcement reportedly made multiple controlled purchases of narcotics, including oxycontin, from Pharmville in 2011 and 2012. Those purchases resulted in a judicially authorized search of Haney’s house in Ohio in 2018. The investigation allegedly exposed evidence that Haney was a high-ranking member or administrator of the Pharmville account. In 2017 and 2018, Haney reportedly transferred his Bitcoin (BTC) proceedings to a cryptocurrency exchange. In correspondence with the exchange, Haney claimed to have obtained his BTC through mining and from individuals he met online. When Haney exchanged his cryptocurrency for fiat currency and moved it into an HSI bank account, the funds were seized pursuant to a judicially authorized seizure warrant from a custodial account at a bank in the Southern District of New York. As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, $515 million in Bitcoin had been spent on illegal activities in 2019 as of the beginning of July, but this only accounted for 1% of total BTC transactions up to that point. In May, German police, along with Europol, shut down servers of a dark-web marketplace…

Virgin Bitcoin — Most In-Demand Crypto That Is Regulated Differently?

Virgin Bitcoin — Most In-Demand Crypto That Is Regulated Differently?

In a world where the global crypto community continues to face a growing number of regulatory hurdles with each passing day, the term “virgin Bitcoin” is starting to become more common among digital currency enthusiasts. However, it is of utmost importance to clarify what this term actually means and the significance it carries.  According to Dave Jevans, the CEO of CipherTrace, virgin Bitcoins are essentially BTC tokens that do not have a transaction (TX) record associated with them. As a result of this, coins lack a defined attribution history, making them extremely useful for money launderers as well as other miscreants looking to mask the source of their illegally procured funds. Not only that, even the recipient typically has no traditional means of verifying the origin of the funds in question since virgin btc cannot be linked with any wallet or other cold storage entity. Also, the Bitcoin blockchain serves as a decentralized ledger that allows anyone to follow the transaction history of a particular token with the touch of a button. For example, each Bitcoin carries with it a cryptographically provable history that contains a detailed record of ownership and transaction data associated with the token. Simply put, if a particular Bitcoin has been used to process even a single illegal activity in the past, all of its subsequent transactions will be tainted. This, according to Jevans, is one of the main reasons why certain cyber-savvy criminals go to such great lengths to launder their cryptocurrencies before putting them to use. Virgin BItcoins on G-20 agenda   With all of the aforementioned information in mind, it is important to consider that, at the recently concluded G-20 summit that took place in Osaka, Japan, the core governing committee agreed to adopt the standards of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) — which are conventionally used in relation to fiat currencies — even for digital assets. On the subject, Cointelegraph spoke with Flex Yang, CEO of Babel Finance, who shared his thoughts on the issue at hand: “When these standards go into effect, interexchange transactions will require transparency regarding senders and receivers of cryptocurrency. This opens doors to a wide berth of scrutiny as regulators probe different ledgers to determine what wallets participated in illicit crypto exchanges,…

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook’s Libra

G7 Agrees on Crypto Action Plan Spurred by Facebook’s Libra

G7 finance chiefs met this week and Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency was high on their agenda. They agreed on several crypto initiatives and fast regulatory responses to projects such as Libra, calling for them to meet the highest standards of financial regulation. Also read: G20 Leaders Issue Declaration on Crypto Assets – A Look at Their Commitments A Call for Urgent Action The G7 finance ministers and central bank governors met in Chantilly, north of Paris, for a two-day conference on July 17 and 18. Other than France, which chairs this year’s meetings, the G7 comprises Canada, Germany, Italy, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. In addition, the European Union has participated fully in the G7 since 1981 as a “nonenumerated” member. At the end of their meeting, the ministers issued the Chair’s Summary of the decisions made. Group photo showing some of the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors who attended the two-day meeting in Chantilly.“Ministers and governors acknowledged that while innovation in the financial sector can bring substantial benefits, it can also entail risks,” the statement reads. “They agreed that stablecoins and other various new products currently being developed, including projects with global and potentially systemic footprint such as Libra, raise serious regulatory and systemic concerns, as well as wider policy issues, which both need to be addressed before such projects can be implemented.” The summary details: Regarding regulatory concerns, ministers and governors agreed that possible ‘stablecoin’ initiatives and their operators would in any case need to meet the highest standards of financial regulation. “Regarding systemic concerns, ministers and governors agreed that projects such as Libra may affect monetary sovereignty and the functioning of the international monetary system,” the Chair’s Summary continues. G7 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors in Chantilly.“On Libra, we had a very constructive and detailed discussion with a very large and shared consensus on the need for action,” a French official told the AFP news agency. After chairing the first day’s meeting, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted by Reuters as saying: The sovereignty of nations cannot be jeopardised … The overall mood around the table was clearly one of important concerns about the recent Libra announcements, and a shared view that action is needed…

Anchorage Chose South Dakota for Its Crypto Custody – Here’s Why

Anchorage Chose South Dakota for Its Crypto Custody – Here’s Why

During a tense Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday, in which Facebook blockchain lead David Marcus was skewered over the social media company’s ambitious Libra project, Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.) started his remarks with a brief announcement: “Mr. Marcus, thanks very much for appearing here before us today. Before I begin my questions, I just want to take a moment to commend the South Dakota Division of Banking for their forward-thinking and willingness to allow for innovation in the digital currency space. Another founding member of the Libra Association, Anchorage, just received permission from the Division of Banking to become a South Dakota chartered trust company.” Observers may have found it odd given the tenor of the hearing, but indeed, Rounds had it right. “Anchorage, which is a Silicon Valley crypto startup,” he said, “has chosen to open its second headquarters in Sioux Falls.” Amidst the fear, uncertainty and doubt hanging over the hearings, Anchorage was improbably enjoying its moment in the sun. The startup recently raised a $40 million Series B on the promise of crypto custody services for institutional investors that are “both more secure and more usable.” Anchorage’s technology avoids the traditional dichotomy of internet-connected hot wallets and offline cold storage in favor of specialized hardware security modules (HSMs). The company’s custom HSMs “will process a given transaction only when certain criteria are met,” according to a company blog post from April. In June, Anchorage also snagged a seat at the table of the Libra Association alongside some of the world’s most powerful brands. (Anchorage investors Andreessen Horowitz and Visa are also founding members of Libra’s initial 28-company consortium.) CoinDesk spoke with Anchorage CEO Nathan McCauley the day after the Senate hearing about why shopping jurisdictions made sense and what the benefits of launching a subsidiary in South Dakota are expected to be. While Wyoming is perhaps the most notable state to court the crypto industry, others have also joined in. Montana passed a crypto-friendly securities law in May. In South Dakota, Anchorage is following in the footsteps of fellow crypto custodian BitGo, which got the green light from state regulators in 2018. Below is an edited transcript of our discussion. The cost of living is among the lowest in the U.S. and there are no income…

Could Donald Trump Ban Bitcoin?

Could Donald Trump Ban Bitcoin?

Noelle Acheson is a veteran of company analysis and a member of CoinDesk’s product team. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. The following article originally appeared in Institutional Crypto by CoinDesk, a free newsletter for institutional investors interested in crypto assets. Sign up here. Bitcoin yet again graced global headlines last week, after the President of the United States, Donald Trump, took to Twitter to declare himself “not a fan” of cryptocurrencies, “whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air.” The ensuing discussion largely celebrated the global attention and the fact that bitcoin is now important enough for one of the most powerful men in the world to make a public statement about it. And the crypto markets seemed to shrug it off, signaling with their relative indifference that they have bigger things to worry about. One potential conversation that has been largely overlooked is how vulnerable bitcoin is to governments the size of the United States. Now that bitcoin has Trump’s attention, will more incendiary statements follow? Will he declare it a “bad idea” that needs “dealing with?” That would not be out of character. The knee-jerk reaction to the possibility of a bitcoin ban is “yeah, just try it.” Many believe that a ban would be unconstitutional. Most insist that, even if passed, it would have no impact. These assumptions are bold, largely unchallenged, and deserve a closer look as they mask confusion over what bitcoin is, and how far the influence of the world’s largest economy reaches. In essence, Trump can try to ban bitcoin. If successful, the ban could have a material impact on the technology’s value. But, he won’t. (Please note that I am not a lawyer, and there are nuances to every interpretation. Also, I hold a modest amount of bitcoin with no short positions and therefore have no interest in spreading FUD. But investors of all types have to be aware of risks, and the real danger lurks in those we don’t even think about.) Code is not speech First, let’s look at how he could do so. Many claim that a ban on using the bitcoin code is a ban on civil liberties. Code is speech, the argument goes, and as such is protected by the…

Full House: Crypto Cards Show a Strong Hand in 2019

Full House: Crypto Cards Show a Strong Hand in 2019

Until recently, cryptocurrency debit cards appeared to fall short of expectations. Despite many failed efforts in recent years, crypto debit cards are enjoying a second wind thanks to a surge in crypto prices over the summer. With some of the crypto world’s biggest names launching crypto debit cards, Cointelegraph takes a look at the latest updates in the burgeoning payments sector.  What are cryptocurrency debit cards and how do they work?  Cryptocurrency debit cards are almost exactly the same as the bank card you carry around every day in your wallet, except for the fact that you can use them to deposit and convert cryptocurrencies. Crypto debit cards represent the transitional stage that cryptocurrencies are currently evolving through. Merchants — for the most part — aren’t ready to accept payments for everyday items and services in crypto, along with the fact that many cryptocurrencies still face issues with transaction time. Consequently, many exchanges only offer the possibility to trade cryptocurrencies for other existing cryptocurrencies, presenting an issue for investors looking to convert their tokens to fiat.  In this respect, crypto debit cards present a happy middle ground for both investors and merchants alike. Payments with a crypto card does not require the merchant to have any technology to accept cryptocurrency payments, as they use the existing Visa/Mastercard infrastructure widely used by businesses the world over. Crypto cards either convert currency seamlessly for the payment or give the user the opportunity to transfer it into a dedicated fiat account for payments.  New Litecoin Foundation partnership rolls out new card The Litecoin Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing and promoting blockchain technology, announced that it has teamed up with Bibox Exchange and the blockchain firm Ternio to roll out its own crypto debit card.  The new card, dubbed “BlockCard,” will be released as a joint venture by the companies and, for the meantime, is restricted to U.S. customers only. According to a post published by the Litecoin Foundation, BlockCard will enable customers to spend cryptocurrency both online and in-store worldwide. It might not come as a surprise that the most prominent cryptocurrency available to service users is Litecoin (LTC). Customers will also be able to use Bibox Exchange’s and Ternio’s native tokens, Bibox Token (BIX) and Ternio (TERN)…

KPMG to Work With Microsoft, Tomia and R3 on Blockchain Telecom Solutions

KPMG to Work With Microsoft, Tomia and R3 on Blockchain Telecom Solutions

Business advisory firm KPMG has partnered with tech companies Tomia, Microsoft and R3 to create a blockchain-based settlements solution for the telecom industry, in anticipation of 5G network services. KPMG announced the partnership and product plans in an official blog post on July 16. As per the report, the planned blockchain solution intends to make use of smart contracts in order to reduce disputes between carriers and mobile operators. Such smart contracts would reportedly include critical information for this purpose, by providing details such as correct rates, destination and bilateral deal information. The upshot, KPMG hopes, is that settlements will become faster and cheaper than they are right now, by eliminating the need for telecom companies to outsource settlements. At present, cross-border and cross-carrier settlements are reportedly a complicated and lengthy process. These settlements can purportedly take weeks to resolve, and are frequently outsourced to third parties due to their complexity.  This outsourcing results in a sizeable cost to customers. The cost of international mobile data roaming fees alone are projected to reach $31 billion in 2022, as per the report. Moreover, these settlement processes are predicted to get more complex with the advent of 5G mobile services, as there will be even more data transmitted by users. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the South Korean telecom organization KT Corporation has already launched a blockchain-based solution on the 5G network. The solution, called “GiGA Chain,” reportedly acts as a security feature for Internet-of-Things devices by safeguarding the devices against cyberattacks.