Australia Wants Citizens With Disability to Settle Insurance on a Blockchain

Australia Wants Citizens With Disability to Settle Insurance on a Blockchain

Australia’s federal science agency is working with one of the “Big Four” commercial banks in the country to test a blockchain application aimed to make it easier for citizens with disabilities to settle insurance payments. Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CommBank) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) said in an announcement on Tuesday that the two are testing the proof-of-concept as part of a blockchain project dubbed “Making Money Smart.” The goal is to introduce a blockchain token coded with smart contracts to the country’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) so that participants and service providers can execute payments based on pre-defined conditions, such as who can spend certain funds by what deadline. CSIRO went on to explain that the reason for selecting participants and service providers in the NDIS to run the trial is because participants of the scheme need highly “personalized payment conditions.” “In the NDIS, participants have individualized plans that can contain multiple budget categories – each with different spending rules. The prototype app supports participants to manage their plan by enabling them to find, book and pay for services from NDIS service providers without the need for paperwork or receipts,” the announcement explains. Sophie Gilder, head of CommBank’s blockchain innovation lab, added that the distributed network can share information of NDIS participants across different parties and automate transactions, which gives the government a higher visibility of money flows and helps reduce the costs for service providers. The partners will release a further report for the Making Money Smart project in November, which will detail the designs, benefits, and limitations of the test with suggestions for other future applications. The joint effort is the latest blockchain exploration conducted by the two groups. As CoinDesk previously reported, CSIRO announced it had completed a global test of its own blockchain network that claimed to be able to process 30,000 cross-border transactions per second. The news also follows a recent report that CommBank worked with the World Bank Group to raise $81 million for a bond issued via a blockchain network developed by the bank. Australian dollars 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…

Mischief-Maker Promises to Livestream a 51% Altcoin Attack

Mischief-Maker Promises to Livestream a 51% Altcoin Attack

Altcoins “On Oct 13, 3:00 CDT I will be doing a 51% attack against the cryptocurrency Einsteinium,” began the call-to-arms. As promises go, this one was as bold as it was brazen. The anonymous attacker has promised to assume majority hashrate control of an altcoin to demonstrate how easy the process is. As proof, they’ve not only given fair warning of the attack, but have promised to livestream the event. Also read: You Can Now 51% Attack a Coin for as Little as $500 51% Attacking Altcoins Is Now a Spectator Sport 51% attacks, in which a malevolent attacker gains majority control of a cryptocurrency’s hashrate, and then potentially uses this advantage to fraudulently double spend transactions, have been a recurring motif in 2018. During the course of three months, a string of altcoins were 51% attacked including bitcoin gold and verge, the latter succumbing twice. Now, another scrypt-based coin, einsteinium (EMC2), is in the spotlight after being singled out for attack. The entity responsible, operating under the handle of “piracy1”, has disclosed extraordinarily precise details as to when and how the attack will go down. The reasons stated are to “1. Demonstrate how easy these attacks are for anyone to do. 2. Generally teach people about the nuts and bolts of these attacks and potential mitigations.” For interested parties, a livestream link has been provided, with the action scheduled for 4am EST on October 13. Oct 13, 3:00 CDT (8:00 UTC) I’m doing 51% attacks against real live CryptoCurrencies and explaining the whole process on twitch. https://t.co/JQm34LrvhW — GeoCold (@geocold51) October 8, 2018 Low Hashrate Altcoins Have Become a Joke In selecting EMC2, the aspiring attacker could hardly have chosen an easier target. The altcoin is this year’s third worst performer, down 97% from its all-time high. Devalued PoW coins typically have a hashrate commensurate with their price, making them vulnerable to malicious or bored attackers. The monetary rewards to be derived from 51% attacking a coin such as einsteinium are likely to be negligible. In fact, all indications suggest that the would-be attacker has no interest in attempting to confirm double spent transactions. As a consequence, the attack is likely to cost piracy1 money in renting the necessary hashrate to complete their assault.…

To Scale Bitcoin, Little Improvements Will Need to Go a Long Way

To Scale Bitcoin, Little Improvements Will Need to Go a Long Way

Kaizen. The Japanese word for “improvement,” and as it relates to business, it’s the philosophy of continuous improvement on working practices. And with that as the tagline for the fifth edition of bitcoin engineering conference Scaling Bitcoin, it became a perfect way to summarize what’s happening today among the cryptocurrency’s developer ecosystem. With the scaling debate coming to a head last year – and ending with a group of big block supporting enthusiasts breaking off to form competing cryptocurrency bitcoin cash and bitcoin getting the long-awaited code upgrade Segregated Witness (SegWit) – this year’s Scaling Bitcoin conference just didn’t have the flair that perhaps past events had. What seemed pulled from another piece of the kaizen philosophy – the notion of eliminating waste for a lean business – many of the talks over the two-day conference held at Keio University in Tokyo revolved around little updates that could make a big difference in terms of efficiency of the network. From figuring out what to do with the vast amount of so-called dust (an output with tiny pieces of a bitcoin in them, small enough that the fees for sending eclipse the amount sent) on the network to fine-tuning the lightning network, Scaling Bitcoin seemed to present a much more relaxed and focused  developer community. Jameson Lopp, a bitcoin developer and engineer at bitcoin security startup Casa, agreed. “Most of the presentations were of small improvements that seem fairly likely to be implemented, which is arguably preferable to huge overhauls that promise significant improvements but add a lot of complexity and would be contentious,” he told CoinDesk, adding: “Lots of small improvements add up over time too large improvements.” Still, that doesn’t mean the several hundred developers, academics and Japanese technology enthusiasts in attendance weren’t reminded about the potential of the protocol. During Keio University professor Jun Murai’s opening keynote, he pointed out that in 2000, only 6 percent of the world population was using the internet, but by 2017, more than 54 percent of the global population was online. “When you are developing for the bitcoin scale, this is what you have to see and to think,” Murai said. Sweep up the dust One area of small improvements that several presentations touched on was the massive…

ICO Activity Down 90% This Year, Research Shows

ICO Activity Down 90% This Year, Research Shows

Finance An independent study by Autonomous Research has found that initial coin offering (ICO) activity globally has dropped over 90 percent this year. With the high of about $3 billion in funds raised by token sales at the beginning of this year, September investments were less than $300 million, according to the firm. Also read: 160 Crypto Exchanges Seek to Enter Japanese Market, Regulator Reveals ICO Activity Plummeted ICO activity was significantly down in September, according to a study by Autonomous Research. The firm wrote: Last month saw about $300 million in ICO funds raised, with the month before that revised to a bit over $400 million, a far cry from the $2.4 billion in January of this year. If we include EOS and other chunky private token raises, the highs go to over $3 billion, suggesting that monthly ICO activity is down 90%. Without taking “EOS and other chunky private token” data into account, the amount of ICO funds raised was down 88.53 percent last month from January. Otherwise, the drop reached 90.7 percent. “We’ve scrubbed token offering data from September, and the trend continues generally to be down,” the firm emphasized. Founded in 2009, Autonomous Research is an independent research company offering global investment research in the banking, investments, insurance, finance, and information service industries. Autonomous Next is the firm’s London-based practice focusing on “the impact of technology on the future of finance,” the firm’s website details. Investors Losing Interest in ICOs Autonomous Research noted three reasons that could explain the drop in token sale activity. “First, perhaps investors have devalued the idea of buying a utility token (does nothing yet, legally non-binding), and instead want to buy equity in the same companies,” the firm wrote. By examining “Pitchbook’s data on blockchain and bitcoin venture capital raises,” the firm found: There is indeed a lagged effect in venture as well, with increasing drips of capital, reaching over $1 billion in August 2018. The firm believes that there are two reasons for this observation: “fintech companies like Robinhood and Revolut pivoting into crypto” and “Bitmain trying to vacuum up capital before the public offering.” Security Token Offerings The second factor for the decrease in ICO activity concerns security token offerings (STOs). According to the U.S. Securities and Exchange…

Research: Coinbase U.S. Dollar Volume Hits One-Year Low in Third Quarter of 2018

Research: Coinbase U.S. Dollar Volume Hits One-Year Low in Third Quarter of 2018

In the third quarter of 2018, San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase’s U.S. dollar volumes hit a 1-year low, according to a recent analysis of Diar published October 8. According to the diagram below, in the third quarter of 2018 the U.S. dollar volumes on Coinbase dropped to the lowest level during the past year. Compared to the same period last year, the trading volume of Bitcoin (BTC) is currently slightly higher, around $5.4 billion versus compared to $4.6 billion in 2017. The trading volume of Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC) represents the greatest slump. Source: Diar Performance of another major crypto exchange, Bitstamp, is somewhat better. The trading volume of BTC is around $4.4 billion, while in the same period last year it was at around $4.6 billion. ETH trading volume has risen twice and is currently $669.1 million compared to $322.8 million in September last year. The most significant drop of the year is represented by LTC, with a current volume of $113.4 million against $266.2 million last year. Source: Diar While trading volumes may be low on the exchange, Coinbase has been actively diversifying and expanding its services. Last month, the exchange rolled out a new update called “Coinbase Bundles,” which is designed to simplify cryptocurrency trading. The Bundle consists of five cryptocurrencies supported on Coinbase; BTC, ETH, LTC, BCH, and LTC. Coinbase also announced a new process that will allow it to list more digital assets faster. However, the process refers only to digital assets that are compliant with local law, which means that certain assets listed on the platform may only be available to customers in particular jurisdictions. Last week, Cointelegraph reported that Coinbase is reportedly finishing negotiations that would value the company at $8 billion. Coinbase is purportedly in talks with Tiger Global and its shareholders regarding a possible $500 billion investment. The sources reportedly said that Coinbase would add $250 billion to its treasury, while another $250 million could be slated for buying out existing investors.

Report: Oldest UK Crypto Exchange Coinfloor Laying Off Staff

Report: Oldest UK Crypto Exchange Coinfloor Laying Off Staff

British cryptocurrency exchange Coinfloor is laying off the majority of its staff, news outlet Financial News reported Oct. 8.     Coinfloor is a London-based digital currency trading platform founded in 2013. Coinfloor is reportedly the oldest crypto exchange in the U.K. and is focused on institutional and sophisticated investors. According to CoinMarketCap, Coinfloor’s daily trading volume is around $1 million at press time. Two people familiar with the matter told Financial News that Coinfloor is laying off the greater part of its approximately 40 employees. The exchange’s CEO Obi Nwosu told Financial News that Coinfloor has “seen significant change in trade volume across the market.” Nwosu added: “Coinfloor is currently undergoing a business restructure to focus on our competitive advantages in the marketplace and to best serve our clients. As part of this restructure, we are making some staff changes and redundancies.” Nwosu told Financial News that the exchange has traded $1 billion in Bitcoin (BTC) in the past 12 months. Last month, there were rumors that crypto exchange Kraken was slashing staff in its unit in Halifax, Canada. However, the exchange subsequently denied the rumors, stating that “we can confirm that we are not shutting down any operations in any specific place…” News and rumors of layoffs in the crypto space follow a bearish market this year. In the first quarter of 2018, the crypto market fell following the Bitcoin (BTC) price slump by nearly 70 percent from its mid-December 2017 peak of $20,000. In January, the BTC price dropped to $9,724, which is less than half of where it had been a month previously. In February, BTC was down to $5,922. However, in March, the price broke the $9,000 mark again. At press time, BTC is trading at $6,681, up 1.56 percent on the day and almost 7 percent over the last month, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin Price Index.

Online Automotive Parts Retailer Newparts Now Accepts Bitcoin Cash

Online Automotive Parts Retailer Newparts Now Accepts Bitcoin Cash

Services Online automotive parts store, Newparts, said on Monday that it will start accepting payment in seven cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin core (BTC) and bitcoin cash (BCH). The U.S. dealer, which has a catalog of over one million parts, says cryptocurrency will enable it to expand its international reach. Also read: Nothern Bitcoin, Rawpool Sign Wallet And Mining Deal Buyers Can Now Use Bitcoin Cash to Pay for Auto Spares at Newparts Newparts CEO Dano Ramovich said the new payment method, established in partnership with e-commerce platform Shopping Cart Elite, will help improve access to the company’s auto parts to as many potential buyers as possible, fast. “We decided to allow our customers to pay with cryptocurrency – it opens up our business to international markets and enables us to accept and process transactions more quickly and affordably,” Ramovich said, in an online statement. Newparts joins a growing list of car dealers and other merchants looking to cryptocurrency for payments, particularly BCH. Bitcoin cash offers reliable, fast and inexpensive cryptocurrency transactions when compared to traditional means of sending money. Cars.com, Carbidnow, 6speedonline.com, and Sam Pack’s Five Star Ford have all started to take payment in BTC and BCH, as adoption continues to expand. Newparts hopes to leverage similar characteristics, including the elimination of currency conversion fees and charge-backs, “to pass on even more savings to customers,” it said. “By paying with cryptocurrency, customers around the world now have unprecedented access to Newparts’ wide array of auto parts with lightning-fast transactions that take just minutes to process,” said Ramovich. According to the Coinline bitcoin cash directory of merchants, BCH as a payment method is currently accepted at more than 210 points throughout the world. The greatest concentration of merchants accepting bitcoin cash is Australia, with about 80 points taking payment in BCH. Last week, British brewer Brewdog, said it will allow beer lovers to pay in bitcoin cash and bitcoin when it opens its Canary Wharf outlet on Oct.19.  In Africa, some shops in South Africa and Kenya also take BCH. What do you think about the growing adoption of bitcoin cash in payments? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.  Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Newparts At Bitcoin.com there’s a bunch of free helpful services. For instance, have you…

EU Markets Regulator Examines ICOs to Determine Regulations

EU Markets Regulator Examines ICOs to Determine Regulations

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has announced it is examining Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to determine how they should be regulated, Reuters reported Oct. 8. The ESMA was established in 2011 in Paris, France, with an objective to develop a common rulebook for European Union (E.U.) financial markets and supervise them. The ESMA also works closely with the other European Supervisory Authorities competent in the field of banking (EBA), and insurance and occupational pensions (EIOPA). According to Reuters, the ESMA is assessing ICOs to see how they comply with the existing securities regulations on a “case-by-case” basis, as well as their impact on competition in the fundraising sector. Steven Maijoor, chair of the ESMA, reportedly said that ICOs have had “difficulty” showing their viability and what extra benefits they bring compared with traditional capital raising. Maijoor added: “The subsequent question is what do we do with those ICOs that are outside the regulatory world. We will assess that as a board. We expect to report by the end of the year.” Andrea Enria, chair of the European Banking Authority, said that he considered allowing ICOs to develop without a set of specific E.U. rules but, “This is not working as expected.” “Consumer warnings don’t seem to be sufficiently effective in raising awareness among consumers that there is a lack of safety net for these investments,” Enria added. Earlier this month, the ESMA revealed its 2019 Annual Work Program, where the agency cites a 1.1 million euro program and its objectives for the next year, which include the regulation and supervisory treatment of new financial activities, focusing on fintech and crypto assets. Last month, the ESMA announced its decision to extend its restrictions on contracts for differences (CFDs), including crypto-based ones. The restrictions, which originally came into effect on Aug. 1, will be renewed for another three months on Nov. 1. The agency justified its move with “significant investor protection concern” related to the offering of CFDs to retail clients.

Electron Cash Developer Reveals In-Wallet BCH Fundraiser Prototype

Electron Cash Developer Reveals In-Wallet BCH Fundraiser Prototype

Wallets On Monday, Oct. 8, Jonald Fyookball, the lead developer of the bitcoin cash-centric light wallet Electron Cash, revealed he has developed a crowdfunding module for the Electron Cash wallet. The feature allows anyone to raise funds from within the Electron Cash wallet through a process that uses the Bitcoin protocol’s Sighash flag. Also Read: Rapper Soulja Boy Releases New Single Titled ‘Bitcoin’ Electron Cash Developers Contemplate Fundraising With Bitcoin Cash Sighash Flags The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) developer Jonald Fyookball and the Electron Cash development team have been adding a lot of features to the wallet recently. A few weeks ago news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Electron Cash integration with the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP); a feature that allows wallet users to create BCH-based tokens. Then on Sept. 27, the programmers released improvements to the privacy-centric coin tumbler, Cashshuffle. On Monday, Oct. 8, 2018, Fyookball announced he has developed a proof-of-concept crowdfunding module for the Electron Cash wallet. The software uses the Bitcoin network’s Sighash_All flag process, which enables people to donate fractions of BCH, and none of the transaction inputs will validate until the fundraising goal is met. A few screenshots of the wallet’s new context menu from the UTXO (Coins) tab where you can select a coin to create an Any-One-Can-Pay input. “Bitcoin gives you the ability to do a crowdfunding type transaction through the All/Anyone-Can-Pay Sighash flag,” explains Fyookball on the social media platform Yours.org. “This means a bunch of different people can sign only their own input but for the same transaction output — For example, let’s say I want to fund raise 100 BCH for a project. Individuals can donate 1 BCH, 2 BCH, 0.4 BCH, whatever they wish. None of the inputs will be valid unless the entire 100 BCH is raised,” the Electron Cash developer adds. Fyookball: ‘The Electron Cash Fundraising Proof-of-Concept Needs to be Cleaned Up and Tested Thoroughly’ Fyookball says the Lighthouse.cash project basically performs the same way, but he thought adding the feature to the Electron Cash wallet would be beneficial. At the moment the concept still needs a lot of work Fyookball details. The feature will be added to the light wallet as soon as the programmer is happy with the polished code and application’s usability.…

Mobile SMS Bitcoin Cash Wallet Cointext Expands to Asia

Mobile SMS Bitcoin Cash Wallet Cointext Expands to Asia

Wallets Hong Kong is the first country in Asia to officially be connected by Cointext, a service which enables anyone to send money to mobile phone numbers or Bitcoin Cash addresses without Internet, apps, or accounts. In addition to residents of the Chinese autonomous territory, Israelis and Palestinians also now have access to the service. Also Read: Binance Exchange to Replace Token Listing Fees With Donations Cointext Expands to Asia Cointext, a service which enables cryptocurrency users to transact directly over mobile SMS, has announced today that it launched support for its Bitcoin Cash (BCH) wallet to Hong Kong, as well as Israel and the Palestinian territories (Palestine). “These are important regions for us to connect because they’re financial centers,” said founder and lead developer Vin Armani. “And Cointext gives them a simple alternative to physical cash.” Cointext users access their wallets by sending SMS commands like BALANCE, RECEIVE, and SEND to a local access number. A new wallet is instantly set up the moment the recipient receives a message through the service. Residents in the new countries get a Cointext wallet by texting the word START to their respective numbers (Hong Kong: 85257456744; Israel: 972526230418). Hebrew and Chinese Are in the Works Launched back in March of this year in the US, Canada, South Africa, Switzerland, Sweden, Netherlands, and the UK, Cointext is a full-featured wallet that doesn’t require apps, accounts, passwords or even access to the Internet. The service offers an on-ramp to the cryptocurrency ecosystem for anyone with an SMS-enabled phone. Earlier this month we reported that Cointext has expanded its service to six more European countries. On Oct. 1 the company announced that people can now use the app to send BCH over SMS in Germany, France, Austria, Portugal, Estonia and Czech Republic. Both the Hong Kong and Israel releases have the default messaging in English, but Hebrew and Chinese languages are in the works, the company said. With this latest expansion to East Asia and in the Middle East, Cointext now services a total of 25 countries and supports a total of fifteen languages. What other locations around the world should Cointext expand to next? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Verify and track…