Opera Browser Operator to Explore New Applications of Blockchain

Opera Browser Operator to Explore New Applications of Blockchain

Opera, provider of a popular web browser, is partnering with with blockchain advisory and financial services firm Ledger Capital to further explore blockchain technology. According to a press release, the strategic partnership sees the two entities seeking new “applications and use cases” for blockchain, as well as “growth opportunities” for the tech within Opera products. Opera is not new to the blockchain space and is notably developing a cryptocurrency wallet that is built into its Android browser. It opened the beta-stage product to the public in July. In September, it added a feature that lets users send crypto collectibles, such as CryptoKitties, directly from the wallet. The firm has also seen investment from bitcoin mining giant Bitmain, which holds a 3 percent stake, accding to its recent’y published IPO prospectus. On the new partnership, Ding’an Fei, managing partner at Ledger Capital, said: “Opera has already taken the lead among the major browsers, with the integration of the innovative crypto wallet and investments from other leading crypto companies like Bitmain. We are looking forward to exploring the next steps in how Opera will leverage its massive ecosystem and technical competencies to create exponential value for its user base and the greater blockchain space.” In July of this year, Opera – which was founded in 1995 in Norway – held a successful IPO and listed on Nasdaq with the ticker OPRA. The firm, which claims “over 300 million users worldwide” says that, as its crypto wallet does away with the need for third-party plug-ins or dapps, it has “lowered the barrier of entry into the web of the future for users and developers alike.” Charles Hamel, product lead for Opera’s crypto wallet, said “Paying with the crypto wallet is like sending digital cash straight from your phone, and we’ve just made it easier. This opens up new possibilities for merchants and content creators alike.” Opera app image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

A Bitcoin Mining Moratorium Was Just Avoided in Montana

A Bitcoin Mining Moratorium Was Just Avoided in Montana

Public officials in Missoula County, located in the U.S. state of Montana, have decided to look into new regulations around cryptocurrency mining rather than seek to ban the activity entirely. As previously reported, miners have been drawn to the region thanks to access to cheap electricity, but local concerns about power rate spikes and noise levels have pushed some residents to call for a moratorium. Many of the recent comments posted online include calls for a moratorium on mining access, citing the prevalence of loud fans and electricity-hungry operations. Now, according to a message posted to the official website for Missoula County after a meeting on September 27, County Commission staff have begun developing specific rules for miners. The message explains: “On September 27, 2018, the Board of County Commissioners continued the public hearing on cryptocurrency mining that began on June 14. At the continuation of the hearing on September 27, following a staff report and public comments, the Commissioners voted not to adopt interim zoning, and instead directed staff to investigate the development of regulations targeting the impacts of concern such as noise, electronic waste, and energy.” According to the Missoulian, some of those present at the  September 27 meeting pushed for a one-year moratorium, while legal representatives for one mining company challenged the ability of local officials to undertake such a step. What shape those rules will take remains to be seen, but the focus on noise is likely to be significant, given the prevalence of that specific complaint in many of the recent comments posted online. Image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

China’s Bitcoin Whale Li Xiaolai Halts Blockchain-Related Investments

China’s Bitcoin Whale Li Xiaolai Halts Blockchain-Related Investments

China’s Bitcoin ‘tycoon’ and serial investor Li Xiaolai will take a hands-off approach to future blockchain projects, he announced on social media Sunday, September 30. In an approach that appeared to take many by surprise, Li, well known as one of China’s rumored biggest Bitcoin bagholders and investors, appeared dissatisfied with fraudulent actors in the blockchain industry that were claiming he was part of their undertakings. “From this day on, Li Xiaolai personally will not invest in any projects (whether it is blockchain or early stage),” his post on Chinese social media network Weibo reads, translated by Chinese tech journal TechNode: “So, if you see ‘Li Xiaolai’ associated with any project (I have been associated with countless projects without my knowledge, 99% is not an exaggeration), just ignore it.” Li was likely referencing similar situations that have resulted in other cryptocurrency industry figures issuing warnings about such fraudulent actors. Since the beginning of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) explosion in 2017 in particular, various well-known names have complained of their names appearing on lists of ‘advisors’ for blockchain projects, when in fact they had no connection. Continuing, Li appeared uncertain, hinting he wished to withdraw from the crypto space entirely, but on a temporary basis. “I plan to spend several years to contemplate on my career change. As for what I’m doing next, I’m not sure just yet,” the post reads. He concluded the post positively, writing “I’m still optimistic about blockchain in the long term.” Both ICOs and cryptocurrency use in China remain forbidden at present, Li nonetheless advocating for the government’s legislative shake-up when it was first announced last September.

The Daily: Fake Volume, Tether Troubles, Bitcoin’s “Inevitable” Mass Adoption

The Daily: Fake Volume, Tether Troubles, Bitcoin’s “Inevitable” Mass Adoption

The Daily Rumors, allegations, and assertions can all be found in today’s news roundup. Specifically, we have rumors of impending trouble with Tether, allegations of another Chinese exchange conjuring up fake volume, and assertions that Bitcoin and blockchain’s mass adoption is “inevitable”. We’ll reveal who made that bold claim, as well as substantiating the others, in this episode of The Daily. Also read: A Guide to Building Your Own Crypto Mining Rig Magical Chinese Trading Volume CER alleges several Chinese exchanges to be producing magical trading volume Like a dog worrying a bone, Crypto Exchange Ranks (CER) has been toiling away at uncovering fake trading volume for months. Much of the suspicious activity it’s unearthed during the course of its meticulous and granular investigation has originated in the East. Its latest target is ZB.com, a Chinese exchange that appears in Coinmarketcap’s top five by reported volume, placing it above the likes of Bithumb and Bitfinex. CER is having none of that, and has torn ZB.com’s claim to shreds in its usual dogged manner. “While analyzing ZB.com, we found definite patterns of unnatural and obviously artificial trade volume performance on 10 out of the top-20 most-traded exchange’s pairs,” reports CER. “Furthermore, we discovered that 4 dash pairs volume on this exchange totaled more than $288m, accounting for 24.58% of the exchange’s total 24h volume and for 80.56% of all dash traded on all exchanges. All of this directly points to the fact that trade volume manipulations are taking place on ZB.com.” The full report is pretty damning. Maltese Prime Minister: Global Bitcoin and Blockchain Adoption “Inevitable” Maltese PM Joseph Muscat is known for his pro-crypto stance, having welcomed major players from the burgeoning cryptoconomy to his island state with open arms. In a recent address to the United Nations General Assembly, the Prime Minister preached ebulliently, espousing his belief that Bitcoin and blockchain will inevitably enjoy mass adoption. “I passionately believe [the] technology revolutionizes and improves systems,” said Muscat. “This is why in Malta, we have launched ourselves as the blockchain island…the first jurisdiction worldwide to regulate this new technology that previously existed in a legal vacuum. Blockchain makes cryptocurrencies [the] inevitable future of money.” Tether’s Bank in Trouble? Noble, the Puerto Rico-based bank whose most famous…

Up 80%: XRP’s September Wasn’t Just Bullish, It Was Record-Setting

Up 80%: XRP’s September Wasn’t Just Bullish, It Was Record-Setting

XRP sprang back to life in September despite a relatively bearish broader market. Over the course of the 30-day period, the price of the world’s largest cryptocurrency, bitcoin (BTC), dipped a modest 5 percent. Most cryptocurrencies succumbed to the same fate, but some were able to pick up a bid. However, none saw bigger gains than XRP, whose performance in September wasn’t just bullish, it was record-setting. On September 21 alone, the price of XRP shot up more than 75 percent and ended the day with its most trading volume ever recorded on the popular cryptocurrency exchange, Bitfinex. Further, the explosive move allowed XRP to overtake ETH as the world’s second largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, a feat it last accomplished in December of 2017.  It should be noted that the surge in price perhaps had some speculative backing. The price run-up in XRP was likely catalyzed by anticipation of Ripple’s upcoming Swell conference scheduled to set off on Oct. 1. The conference is designed to highlight Ripple’s product line and revved up investor interest last year ahead of its inaugural launch. Still, XRP concluded September boasting a near 80 percent month-over-month price increase to cement it as the best monthly performer out of the world’s 25 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.  Monthly Winner XRP Monthly performance: +79 percentAll-time high: $3.70Closing price on September 31: $0.59Rank as per market capitalization: 2 XRP was most productive from Sept 18–22 when its price surged more than 150 percent from $0.27 to a three-month high of $0.69, according to CoinMarketCap. Further, it’s high in market capitalization, $24 billion, helped catapult it above ETH as the world’s second largest cryptocurrency. Monthly Chart Several bullish developments took place on the daily chart over the course of September. On September 18th, price broke bullish out of a large falling wedge pattern, hinting a bullish reversal was soon to be likely. On the cryptocurrency exchange, Poloniex, the price went on to surge 145 percent from its close of $0.31 on September 18 to a high of $0.77 on Sept 21. The surge quickly pushed the relative strength index (RSI) value into overbought territory, indicating the bulls were reaching temporary exhaustion. That said, the RSI has since cooled off and its price formed a bullish pennant very similar to that…

Australian Record Scalability Blockchain: How Crypto Is Stepping Into the Land Down Under

Australian Record Scalability Blockchain: How Crypto Is Stepping Into the Land Down Under

On Sept. 26, Australia’s National Science Agency (CSIRO), an independent Australian federal government agency responsible for scientific research, developed a blockchain network called Red Belly with the University of Sydney. They successfully conducted a pilot test on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) global cloud infrastructure, processing more than 40,000 transactions per second. At 40,000 tx/second, Red Belly is able to process information on an immutable network at a capacity that is 6,666 times larger than the Bitcoin network and about 1,600 times bigger than the Ethereum blockchain network. Ethereum vs. Visa An Ethereum researcher with an online alias CPereez19 calculated the transaction per second capacity of Ethereum to be around 25.346 tx/second, evaluating the block gas limit and transaction cost of the Ethereum network: “The block gas limit [of Ethereum] is 7,999,992 . Transaction costs 21,000 gas (let’s assume nothing else is attached). That’s around 380 transactions per block. With a block time of around 15.03 seconds, as ETH Stats shows, this gives us approximately: 25.346 tx/s.” The 40,000 tx/second capacity of the Red Belly Blockchain surpassed the transaction capacity of the Visa network, which is estimated to be 24,000 tx/second. VisaNet, the base payment network for most of the world’s credit card payments and digital transactions, processes around 150 million transactions on a daily basis. Although the transaction capacity of Visa is significantly larger than Ethereum — by more than 1,600-fold — the total value of payments processed by the two networks on a daily basis do not present that big of a discrepancy. At its peak on January 4, Ethereum processed around 1 million transactions. Currently, according to Etherscan, Ethereum is processing about 500,000 transactions per day, which means Visa is processing a volume that is three-hundredfold larger than that of Ethereum. Even though the transaction capacity of Ethereum is significantly smaller than Visa, the relatively high daily transaction volume of the network demonstrates fairly high user activity. Source: Etherscan.io Ethereum is not that far off from achieving the transaction capacity of Visa, which is highly impressive for a completely decentralized and peer-to-peer (p2p) blockchain network. Previously, Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin stated that the Ethereum network could potentially achieve 1 million transactions per second with second-layer scaling solutions like sharding and plasma. On…

Blockchains Don’t Have to Be Perfect, They Just Have to Be Better

Blockchains Don’t Have to Be Perfect, They Just Have to Be Better

Michael J. Casey is the chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor for blockchain research at MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative. The following article originally appeared in CoinDesk Weekly, a custom-curated newsletter delivered every Sunday exclusively to our subscribers. There’s a moment during almost every presentation I give on blockchain technology’s potential to address trust barriers in supply chains where an audience member asks, “But are we not still trusting the thing/person inputting the data?” I typically reply with: “More or less, yes.” Some see that as contradictory, an invalidation of the argument that blockchains can solve the trust problems that create friction, inefficiency and opacity within the transaction chains that link farmer, miners, parts makers, goods manufacturers, shippers, wholesalers and retailers into our global trading system. Since this is an immutable ledger, they point out, all you’re doing is creating an “immutable garbage-in/garbage-out problem.” It’s a good question and it points to key challenges in making this technology ready for prime time. But this so-called “last mile” problem is also something of a straw man. And if we delve into it, it offers a useful framework for understanding the true power of distributed ledgers generally and of blockchains specifically. First, no one should regard blockchains as promising some kind of “trustless” utopia. No such society can ever exist – and if it did it would hardly be a utopia. The same goes for blockchain ecosystems, even those of bitcoin and other permissionless payment systems whose value exchanges are entirely expressed in a self-contained on-chain native cryptocurrency rather than founded on potentially unreliable off-chain data such as the reports from a factory floor. These vulnerabilities are not only found in the well-documented problems of centralized exchanges and wallets, but also in the computing devices used to manage crypto assets. Users must trust the manufacturers and all other parties that have touched their devices and their internal parts and components before they took ownership of them. Read up about Intel’s Spectre and Meltdown bugs for some insights into how deep this problem goes. This is the nature of the world. Trust problems are everywhere. Period. We’re just fixing a layer, but a vital one So, why even bother with blockchain solutions? The answer: Because while…

North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension Rewards

North Dakota Issues Orders Against Bitconnect, Magma, Pension Rewards

Regulation The securities department of the US state of North Dakota has issued orders against three companies promoting initial coin offerings in the state. They are Bitconnect, Magma Foundation, and Pension Rewards. The investigations are part of Operation Cryptosweep which involves over 40 US and Canadian securities regulators. Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals North Dakota’s Cease and Desist Orders North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler issued cease and desist orders Wednesday against three companies “promoting unregistered and potentially fraudulent securities in North Dakota in the form of initial coin offerings (ICOs),” the state’s securities department announced. The department wrote: The companies that are the subject of the orders are Bitconnect and related companies Bitconnect Ltd. and Bitconnect International Plc., Magma Foundation and related companies Magma Coin and Magma, and Pension Rewards Platform, aka Pension Rewards. North Dakota Securities Commissioner Karen Tyler. The orders are the result of investigations by the department’s ICO task force set up to identify “ICOs and cryptocurrency related investments that pose a risk to North Dakota investors,” the announcement describes. “The effort is also part of Operation Cryptosweep, a coordinated multi-jurisdiction investigation and enforcement effort involving over 40 U.S. and Canadian securities regulators.” In August, the regulators revealed that more than 200 crypto-related cases are being actively investigated, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. The announcement explains that the three companies are not registered to offer securities in the state. However, their websites, which solicit investments for ICOs, are available to residents of the state. In addition, they contain “unsubstantiated claims,” “misrepresentations,” or “several allegedly fraudulent representations.” The Three Companies Bitconnect, Bitconnect Ltd., and Bitconnect International Plc have already been served orders by several states such as Colorado, North Carolina and Texas for “alleged unregistered activity and fraud,” the commissioner detailed, adding: Bitconnect’s website claims that holders of their BCC [token] can receive interest rates of up to 120%…Bitconnect’s claim of excessive interest rates is unsubstantiated and misleading. Magma Foundation, Magma Coin, and Magma are conducting an ICO for MGM token which is allegedly “backed by gold and/or ETFs,” the commissioner noted. The Colorado Securities Division has already issued a cease and desist order to the company. Pension Rewards Platform, aka Pension Rewards, is soliciting investors “for…

Stellar-Based Zero-Fee Decentralized Crypto Exchange StellarX Is Now Fully Launched

Stellar-Based Zero-Fee Decentralized Crypto Exchange StellarX Is Now Fully Launched

StellarX, a Stellar-based zero-fee decentralized crypto exchange has left its beta phase and was fully launched Friday, September 28. The launch was announced in a blog post by Interstellar, the company behind the platform. The exchange, originally announced in July this year, is based on Stellar’s (XLM) universal marketplace. Stellar is an open-source protocol for cryptocurrency to fiat transfers. Its own cryptocurrency XLM is currently the 6th largest, with a market cap of $4.8 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. According to the latest press release, StellarX positions itself as a “real fiat onramp,” as it allows users to deposit U.S. dollars directly from a U.S. bank account. In addition, the exchange shows digital tokens for a number of fiat currencies, such as euro, Chinese yuan, Hong Kong dollar, the British pound, and others StellarX Trading App Interface. Source: StellarX Medium In the blog post StellarX also revealed its plans to add digitized versions of other kinds of assets, such as bonds, stocks, real estate, and commodities. Comparing itself to Robinhood, a major U.S. financial services provider that started offering zero-fee crypto trading in February of this year, StellarX has stressed that using its platform costs the users “nothing.” This is due to the company’s promise to “refund [all network fees].” In early September, Robinhood itself revealed plans to conduct an initial public offering (IPO), claiming that it is undergoing audits by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in order to ensure full regulatory compliance.

A Guide to Building Your Own Crypto Mining Rig

A Guide to Building Your Own Crypto Mining Rig

Mining Cryptocurrency mining has in many respects become an industrialized business. But despite the concentration of hashing power, the increasing difficulty and diminishing returns, in some cases it can still be profitable to mint coins as an amateur miner, probably the most honest way to earn some digital cash. Here’s a guide on how to build a mining rig.   Also read: Iran to Allow Mining Hardware Imports, Cyprus Creates Fintech Hub Is It Late to Get Started With Crypto Mining? The reduced market capitalization of digital assets, in comparison to last year’s all-time highs, has inevitably affected the profitability of cryptocurrency mining. That’s a fact of life but still there’s a number of other factors that can influence the outcome of mining – electricity rates, regulations, hardware prices, and even climate, to name a few. Their weight in the equation may vary significantly in different locations, from one jurisdiction to another. In times when major producers of highly specialized equipment like Bitmain and Bitfury are building ASIC chips and rigs for mining bitcoin with ever-increasing productivity and efficiency, some say crypto mining in homes, basements and garages is a dying hobby. Add to that reports about GPU manufacturers like Nvidia losing interest in the crypto segment of the market, miners in Iceland exploring better opportunities in other sectors and the future of amateur mining starts to look bleak. But that’s not necessarily the case. There are a number of altcoins whose developers continue the struggle to maintain ASIC-resistance. There are many countries where the costs of mining are relatively low – in some parts of Russia, for example, electricity rates are below $0.04 USD per kilowatt. For many enthusiasts around the world at-home mining is not a lost cause, not yet. Many of them can still support the family budget without huge expectations for revenue and profit. Setting up a Home Mining Rig With GPUs Catering to the crypto community, Decenter, a popular Russian platform supported by experts, developers, and investors, has answered many questions asked by crypto enthusiasts. Recently, the information portal published a guide to building mining rigs that encompasses the basic steps to becoming an amateur miner. The outlet has done its best to protect wannabe miners from unnecessary expenses and…