United Arab Emirates to Allow ICOs as Corporate Funding Option

United Arab Emirates to Allow ICOs as Corporate Funding Option

The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) has announced plans to introduce new rules that would permit initial coin offerings (ICOs) as a fundraising method for domestic companies. Intended for introduction in 2019, the new rules would allow firms to raise capital via crypto token sales as an alternative to traditional methods such as IPOs, according to a Reuters report published Monday. The news was revealed by the head of the U.A.E.’s securities watchdog, Obaid Saif al-Zaabi, who said at a seminar today: “The board of the Emirates Securities & Commodities Authority has approved considering ICOs as securities. As per our plan we should have regulations on the ground in the first half of 2019.” Draft rules covering ICOs are already being drawn up by the regulator in conjunction with advisers from outside of the country, Zaabi said, adding that it is also working with stock markets in Abu Dhabi and Dubai to prepare trading platforms for the new digital assets. Reuters indicates that a double-whammy of low oil prices and lackluster equities markets in recent years have dampened IPO activity in the U.A.E. and across neighboring nations. As well as providing a legal basis for ICOs, the country may also draw up a new law to boost the number of IPOs by allowing family owners sell up to 100 percent of firms under their control. The measure is currently awaiting approval from the prime minister’s office, Zaabi indicated. If and when the new ICO regulations come into law, the move would mark the U.A.E. as one of the countries in the world to have brought in a regulatory framework for the blockchain funding method. Malta, for one, recently passed several bills to provide a legal basis for ICOs, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology earlier this year as part of its plan to become a “Blockchain Island.” The island nation’s prime minister recently said in a U.N. speech that cryptocurrency is the “inevitable future of money.” Bermuda, too, is hoping to attract more businesses to the island by providing legislation that would allow initial coin offerings under certain conditions. It has also set up a task force with the remit of boosting cryptocurrency commerce. U.A.E currency image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest…

Salt to Offer Crypto-Backed Loans in 7 Global Markets, 15 More US States

Salt to Offer Crypto-Backed Loans in 7 Global Markets, 15 More US States

News Salt, a cryptocurrency-backed loan service, has announced plans to launch operations in seven new jurisdictions throughout the world, while offering its services in 15 more U.S. states. It will also include litecoin (LTC) among its offerings, while providing more competitive interest rates and removing loan caps. Also read: Bitcoin Price: Wall Street Optimistic, Enthusiasts Pessimistic According to Fundstrat  Expansion into NewInternational Markets Salt revealed it is opening offices in states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington and Texas, bringing the total to 35 overall. It will also launch operations in Brazil, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Vietnam, Bermuda, Puerto Rico and the United Arab Emirates. The move follows the company’s expansion into 20 U.S. states in August, according to a company blog post. The Denver-based startup came to market in an initial coin offering (ICO) in August 2017, during last year’s boom. It is targeting enthusiasts who would rather hold their crypto than sell it into fiat. During an extended bear market, such services might become invaluable, should trends reverse in the future. The company does offer consumer-level loans, but its main focus continues to be acting as a “liquidity provider for large crypto investors including individuals, mining operations, exchanges and other institutions in the blockchain ecosystem,” it explained in a press release. “With a primary goal of serving large clients, (offering) live portfolio valuation, around-the-clock global support, a range of competitive rates, flexible loan terms, and a proprietary custody solution enables it to meet the needs of individuals and businesses alike, making it the ideal loan solution for a wide range of clients.” Critics: Just Another Bank Loans against the US dollar carry interest of 5.99% when below $75,000, with rates doubling for loans up to $25 million. “For loans greater than $25 million, tailored options are available. Loan amounts and interest rates vary by jurisdiction.” Salt also claims to offer “no origination fees, no prepayment fees, no servicing fees, no closing costs,” and since they’re “one of the few companies lending in fiat currency,” Salt can “increase loan access and provide a multifaceted loan service to our customers across the world.” The combined news appears to have moved Salt’s proprietary token, SALT, up considerably. At one point it jumped 55%, with over $20 million…

TRON CEO Claims Today’s Update Will Make It ‘200x Faster’ Than Ethereum

TRON CEO Claims Today’s Update Will Make It ‘200x Faster’ Than Ethereum

“Decentralized internet” protocol TRON’s TRX token surged almost 8 percent Monday, October 8, after CEO Justin Sun claimed its forthcoming update would see it beat Ethereum on speed and EOS on cost. Odyssey 3.1, the latest version of TRON, will go live at 8pm SGT, Sun confirmed on Twitter as a result of “community consensus.” The changes include the launch of the TRON Virtual Machine, which will allow developers to test smart contracts before they transfer to the TRON mainnet. “The TRON Committee function & (Tron Virtual Machine) will go live, marking the start of the Smart Contract Era,” Sun continued in the tweet, stating boldly: “TRON will be 200x faster vs. ETH, 100x cheaper vs. EOS. dApp developers & users, this one is for you!” TRON’s fortunes continue to edge upwards as information trickles through about the status of its ‘Project Atlas’ integration with content sharing platform BitTorrent, which it acquired in July of this year. TRX has nonetheless suffered in the 2018 cryptocurrency bear market, currently trading at around $0.027 per token compared with all-time highs above $0.21.

India’s Federal Bank Is Building a Remittance App on R3’s Corda

India’s Federal Bank Is Building a Remittance App on R3’s Corda

An Indian commercial bank has revealed it is building a cross-border remittance app based on the Corda blockchain platform developed by consortium startup R3. Being built as a so-called CorDapp on the platform, Kochi-based Federal Bank has turned to blockchain startup DigiLedge to develop the app for “faster and cheaper” remittances to India, according to a press release. DigiLedge CEO Mahesh Govind said in the release that Corda brings the benefits of “confidentiality and privacy of business transactions” as well as standardized components that helped speed up the build process. The service, the bank says, is also planned to allow ex-pats to pay for services in their home country directly – for example, allowing them to cover their family’s essential expenses, such as hospital or education costs. With the move, Federal Bank is targeting the major remittance corridors bringing billions into India annually. The release cites World Bank data indicating that Indians living abroad remitted $69 billion to the nation in 2017 “We at Federal Bank have been practicing the philosophy of ‘Digital at the fore and human at the core’ for all our operations. When it comes to serving our [non-resident Indian] clientele, we employ best in class technology to make them feel closer to home. This platform translates into safer, faster and cheaper foreign remittances to India.” The news marks the latest instance of notable enterprises and organizations revealing Corda-based blockchain projects. Just a week ago, a group of Italian banks announced the completion of a trial of an interbank payments app built with Corda. The U.K.’s national land registry also announced early in the month that it was partnering with blockchain company Methods to build a platform – also based on Corda – that will be able to store land registration information and streamline the process for buying or selling properties. Meanwhile, digital security firm Gemalto said in September that it was teaming up with R3 to pilot a new digital identity platform aimed at mainstream users. Counting rupees 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.

Venezuelans Forced to Use Petro Cryptocurrency to Pay for Passports

Venezuelans Forced to Use Petro Cryptocurrency to Pay for Passports

Venezuelans are now being forced to pay for passports with the country’s controversial petro cryptocurrency, a report indicates. According to Bloomberg, Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said in a press conference on Friday that a new passport will cost citizens two petros, an amount worth 7,200 bolivars. With that amount being four times the minimum monthly wage, Venezuelans face an even harder task obtaining their travel documents as they seek to flee the country’s economic and humanitarian crisis, the news source indicates. With the nation having also just announced the establishment of a police force specifically to tackle migration, as Finance Magnates reports, the insistence on petro payments for passports and the increased price point seem aimed to stem the tide of people seeking to flee Venezuela. Despite arriving in pre-sale in February, the oil and mineral-backed crypto token was formally launched by President Maduro last week. In a tweet, he stated (via translation): “Welcome to Petro! It came to strengthen the economic recovery program and to revolutionize the global cryptoeconomy as a new form of commercial, financial and monetary exchange.” Maduro has also pegged the revamped national currency, the sovereign bolivar, to the petro, as reported by CoinDesk. However, with the token being openly used to flout U.S.-led sanctions against the country, President Trump moved to block its use in commerce with new restrictions in March. Just last week, a bipartisan group of U.S. senators even pushed for tighter sanctions against the petro, calling for a ban on U.S. residents providing “software” to the Venezuelan government as part of its efforts to utilize the petro. Seemingly placing all his hopes in the success of the token, Maduro has been making a major drive to force institutions to use the petro. In late August, he ordered banks to adopt the petro, having forced companies to do the same back in March. The nation must also peg pension and salary systems to the cryptocurrency, as was declared in August. Venezuelan passports 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.

Good Money’s Master Plan: A Stealth Bid to Get Celebrities Promoting Crypto

Good Money’s Master Plan: A Stealth Bid to Get Celebrities Promoting Crypto

Can flat abs gurus and mommy bloggers sell the masses on crypto? That seems to be the master plan behind a much-hyped stealth startup by Gunnar Lovelace, the former co-founder of Thrive Market, who plans to redeploy a network of “mega-bloggers” he built up promoting the health marketplace by turning its legion of fitness fans onto crypto. But if Lovelace is open to touting a network of celebrities that includes movie stars, life coaches, cookbook authors and U2 frontman Bono in private, his company has been anything but public since its 2018 founding. Not only does its website contain virtually no information, but talk of the project has only so far seemed to circulate around secret parties strategically placed at major crypto events. Yet, investor documents obtained by CoinDesk reveal what Good Money is really banking on, the idea millennials trust internet personalities more than media or financial institutions. Thus, the central idea is those personalities might be more than willing to monetize that trust. A pitch deck for the company obtained by CoinDesk explains: “Good Money is a millennial mobile-first banking platform with a fiat-crypto interoperability that empowers global citizens to be part of a more equitable and transparent world.” Rumored to be planning a major initial coin offering (ICO) since early 2018, Austin-based Good Money has raised $22 million on an offered $40 million in what appears to be a convertible note according to a September SEC filing. As for the product, it’s effective a mobile crypto wallet that will double as bank, payment system and investment platform (among other things). It also promises to let users decide which socially good causes to devote company profits to. Many of Good Money’s promises will sound familiar to regular readers of initial coin offering (ICO) white papers – fast transactions! low fees! amazing user experience! – but one aspect of Good Money does stand out: its focus on marketing. In a document outlining Good Money’s “Token Ecosystem,” it describes a fundraising plan that ultimately aims to raise $80 million selling GDMY security tokens, or “Good Shares,” tokenized equity in the company. The general public can look forward to a $15 million coin offering (though the token price is to be determined). The founders put in $10…

Binance Exchange to Replace Token Listing Fees With Donations

Binance Exchange to Replace Token Listing Fees With Donations

Exchanges The popular Binance exchange has decide to replace its token listing fees with donations. The move follows a recent wave of strong criticism against cryptocurrency exchanges for the supposedly excessive fees they charge projects. Also Read: Binance Wants to Invest in Africa, Reaches Out to African Projects Donations Instead of Fees The Binance exchange has announced today a major change to its token listing fee policy. The team revealed that: “Starting immediately, and going forward, we will make all listing fees transparent and donate 100% of them to charity.” According to the new policy, leaders of any project will be able to determine their desired fees (donations) themselves. Binance’s charity initiative will then disclose those sums to the public. The company claims it will not dictate any minimum viable donation fees. “A large donation does not guarantee or in any way influence the outcome of our listing review process,” added Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao. 400 BTC per Listing? This move can be seen as part of Binance’s recent drive to push crypto adoption into the philanthropy scene. Back in July of this year the company launched the “Blockchain for Charity” foundation, led by United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Helen Hai in partnership with the president of Malta, with the stated aim of helping the U.N. narrow down its Sustainable Development Goals funding gap. The change can also be seen as a response by Binance to a wave of strong criticism hitting all popular cryptocurrency exchanges this year for the supposedly excessive fees they charge projects, which desperately need such platforms to reach more investors. This issue has been on the mind of the Binance leadership for a while now and Changpeng Zhao has addressed it before. Back in August we reported that the CEO publicly denounced as a liar a project founder who claimed Binance demanded 400 BTC to list a token. How should exchanges decide which tokens to list? Is it legitimate to charge a fee? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s…

China: Man Gets 3.5 Years in Jail for Stealing Train Power to Mine Bitcoin, Local Media

China: Man Gets 3.5 Years in Jail for Stealing Train Power to Mine Bitcoin, Local Media

A man in China has been been sentenced to three and a half years in jail for stealing power from a train station to fuel his Bitcoin (BTC) mining operations, local media outlet The Paper reports October 8. According to court documents released today, the sentencing was served September 13 at the Datong Railway Transport Court in China’s northern Shanxi province. In addition to jail time, the individual, a local named Xu Xinghua, has reportedly been fined 100,000 yuan (around $14,500). Xinghua is said to have stolen electricity from one of the factories at Kouquan Railway back in November and December 2017 to power his 50 Bitcoin miners and three electric fans around the clock. The document states that five of the mining machines were damaged during this period. As of April 2018, Xinghua is said to have successfully mined 3.2 Bitcoin, earning 120,000 yuan (about $17,400) and running up an electricity bill of 104,000 yuan ($15,000). In addition to imprisonment and a fine, the court has ordered Xinghua to cover the cost of the electricity charges and has confiscated his mining equipment, The Paper reports. Charges of a similar nature are not unprecedented in China. In June, a man in China’s Anhui province was arrested for attempting to steal electricity to fund his reportedly “unprofitable” mining operations. The suspect was said to have stolen 150 megawatt (MW) of power to fuel two hundred computers that he used to mine both Bitcoin and Ethereum (ETH) – running a bill of over 6000 yuan ($930) daily. With the country established as a crypto mining superpower due to its abundance of cheap energy and hardware, reports surfaced at the start of this year that Chinese authorities were poised to attempt to quash the industry. A leaked memo from the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) to a top-level government internet finance regulator reportedly stated that Bitcoin miners should make an “orderly exit” from the country due to them sapping “huge amounts of resources and stok[ing] speculation of virtual currencies.” The regulator is said to have subsequently ordered local authorities to wield all available means in their arsenal – including “measures linked to electricity price, land use, tax, and environmental protection” – to pressure miners to cease their operations.

Binance to Disclose Crypto Listing Fees, Donate 100% to Charity

Binance to Disclose Crypto Listing Fees, Donate 100% to Charity

Binance, currently the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, has announced that it will now disclose all cryptocurrency listing fees and donate the funds to charity. According to a company blog post published Monday, token projects seeking to be listed on the exchange will continue to be allowed to propose their own listing fees. The exchange will neither dictate such fees nor impose a minimum pricing level, the post indicates. Notably, Binance said it will donate 100 percent of listing fees to its recently launched charity division, the Blockchain Charity Foundation. In an email to CoinDesk, the exchange added that all the listing fees, that are now effectively donations, will be published on foundation’s website, in a move to increase transparency in the listing process. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao stated in the post that the donation amount is down to the projects themselves and the size does not “guarantee or in any way influence the outcome” of the exchange’s listing review process. The exchange’s charity arm was launched in July to put al least some of its billions of dollars in profits into charity initiatives. The foundation is chaired by Helen Hai, a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. Today’s policy shift also follows recent debate over the murky area of the fees charged by exchanges to list crypto tokens, which are generally not declared. A Bloomberg report in April cited research published by an industry analysis firm which suggested crypto projects could pay anywhere between $1 million to $3 million for addition to major trading platforms. In August, a crypto project CEO claimed on Twitter that Binance had quoted 400 bitcoin in an email as a fee for listing the firm’s asset in August. But Zhao later denied the claim, saying Binance never quoted fees via email. He went on to state at the time: “We don’t list shitcoins even if they pay 400 or 4,000 BTC. … Question is not ‘how much does Binance charge to list?’ but ‘is my coin good enough?'” Binance 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…

Crypto Is More Centralized Than North Korea, Says ‘Dr. Doom’ Economist Roubini

Crypto Is More Centralized Than North Korea, Says ‘Dr. Doom’ Economist Roubini

American Economist Nouriel Roubini has stated that cryptocurrency is more centralized than North Korea in a tweet October 7. New York University professor Roubini, better known as “Dr. Doom” for his alleged prediction of the 2008 Financial crisis, has repeatedly criticized claims that decentralized in cryptocurrency exists. In his tweet today, the Harvard-educated economist again repeated his argument, this time calling crypto’s decentralization a “myth” and provocatively comparing the phenomenon to North Korea: “Decentralization in crypto is a myth. It is a system more centralized than North Korea: miners are centralized, exchanges are centralized, developers are centralized dictators (Buterin is “dictator for life” ) & the Gini inequality coefficient of bitcoin is worse than North Korea.” The so-called Gini index is a measure of distribution, often used to evaluate economic inequality in a particular country or region. Roubini continued his comparison in another tweet several minutes later, claiming this time more specifically that Bitcoin’s (BTC) inequality coefficient was the worst in the world: “Miners, exchanges, developers are centralized […] the inequality coefficient of BTC is worse than North Korea that has the worst inequality on earth. Crypto beats Kim Jong-un in regards to centralization and inequality.” As Cointelegraph reported in May of this year, Roubini called BTC a “gigantic speculative bubble” that “feeds on itself,” calling claims crypto could be decentralized “just bulls**t.” Back in November 2017, he predicted that Bitcoin would “find its end” as more countries establish stricter regulation modelled on China’s current approach to crypto. In August, speaking as a panelist at BlockShow Americas, Roubini attacked blockchain technology, saying that fintech had “zero” to do with blockchain or crypto, arguing that people were doing just fine with traditional, fiat digital payment systems.