Where Roads Can’t Reach, Blockchain Drones Just Might Travel

Where Roads Can’t Reach, Blockchain Drones Just Might Travel

A metal frame with four small and two large propellers – carrying a container the size of a refrigerator – rises into the air with a roar, hovering above an empty road amidst snowy fields. The video was shot on the airfield near the Russian city of Kazan, which is located to the south-east of Moscow, and the machine is a SKYF drone, designed by a team of Russian aviation engineers. According to its makers, the drone can carry up to 880 pounds, travel as far as 220 miles and work up to 8 hours. And everything that happens to these drones is going to be recorded on the project’s own blockchain, SKYFchain. The SKYF team is trying to crack into a rapidly growing ecosystem, with PwC valuing the emerging global market for drones at over $127 billion in 2016. As of today, drones can only carry small objects, but the SKYF team aims to open a totally new market for heavy-duty cargo drones. The idea is that they’ll serve multiple purposes, such as delivering large amounts of cargo, fighting fires and spraying insecticides and fertilizers on agricultural lands. SKYF is a decidedly Russian project. The drones are being produced domestically by OKB Aviareshenia Ltd., a subsidiary of British entity ARDN Technologies. Both entities were founded by the same team of engineers and tech entrepreneurs: Aleksander Timofeev and Ilya Rodin – managing partners of the FPI venture fund – engineers Dmitry Arsentyev, Marat Sabirov and Nail Zinnurov, and others. To financially support the project, the team is holding an initial coin offering (ICO). In February, Skyfdrones Services OU, a company registered in Estonia by Alexander Timofeev, registered the token sale with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Form D (Rule 506(c)) exemption, declaring a goal to raise $30 million. Recently, this plan was adjusted – thus far, the project has managed to raise around $6 million, and they plan to raise some $500,000 more before the end of the ICO. Timofeev told CoinDesk that 45 percent of the funds will be spent on R&D. Trusted delivery According to Ilya Rodin, SKYF’s GR manager, the use of blockchain in this context is aimed at creating a trust layer between stakeholders, including public and private sector interests. “We…

Bull or Bear? How SEC Actions Correlate With Market Prices

Bull or Bear? How SEC Actions Correlate With Market Prices

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. Earlier this week, the cryptocurrency markets slumped: Bitcoin (BTC) lost its $6,500 support, and Ethereum (ETC) dropped well below the $400 mark (rates stand at $6,620 and $319 respectively by the press time). While it’s important to remember that on such a volatile and scarcely regulated market, news might affect the prices to a lesser degree, and the recent drop correlated with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) decision to postpone its verdict on the listing and trading of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) until late September. The SEC has gained the reputation of being a major news-maker in the cryptocurrency field: The watchdog’s decisions toward the market have been associated with a number of price drops and bull runs. SEC deems DAO tokens to be illegal securities When: July 2017 Alleged reaction: Slightly bearish In July 2017, the SEC came through with a major decision, putting its mark of interest on the crypto market. The regulator reviewed the infamous decentralized autonomous organization (DOA) case and concluded that DAO tokens, issued via its Initial Coin Offering (ICO) back in 2016, were in fact securities and hence had to register with the SEC beforehand. By making that move, the SEC effectively showed that many other ICOs, which were abundant during their unregulated, ‘free run’ throughout the 2016-2017 period, might be in trouble as well. In order to determine if an ICO constitutes a security or not, the SEC usually applies the Howey Test — essentially, if a token is marketed as a profit-oriented asset, most likely it will be deemed a security being offered by the agency. However, the watchdog has explained that such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis, as the facts and circumstances of any investment transaction — including economic realities — will determine whether the transaction constitutes the offer of sale of a security. Even though the SEC decided not press any charges that time, it gave a clear signal that the ICO frenzy could be over. Nevertheless, the market barely reacted: While…

Crypto Millionaire Lost 5,500 Bitcoins in Alleged Investment Scam

Crypto Millionaire Lost 5,500 Bitcoins in Alleged Investment Scam

A 22-year-old cryptocurrency millionaire has lost more than 5,500 bitcoins in an alleged investment scam in Thailand that drew public attention due to the alleged involvement of a Thai film actor. According to a media report from Bangkok Post on Monday, a group of Thai people approached and solicited Finnish businessman Aarni Otava Saarimaa in June 2017 for investing in several Thai stocks, a casino in Macau as well as a new cryptocurrency called Dragon Coin. The group touted that upon issuance, the Dragon Coin can be used at the casino, the report said. They also brought Saarimaa to casino in Macau to show the legitimacy of the plan. Saarimaa, who bought into the scheme, transferred a total of 5,564 bitcoins to the group, the report said. Yet having seen no returns at all months after the investment, Saarimaa filed a complaint to Thailand’s Crime Suppression Division (CSD) in January together with his local business partner who believed the investment plan was a scam. The CSD subsequently started an investigation and alleged in the report that the group did not make any investments for Saarimaa but instead liquidated all the bitcoins into Thai baht, which were deposited into seven bank accounts. Although it is unclear when the group sold the bitcoin assets, the CSD said the fraudsters made profits of nearly 800 million baht, or around $24 million. And, following a months-long investigation, the CSD suspected that the Thai film actor Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit was involved in the plan and arrested him last Wednesday. In addition, the CSD alleged that the actor’s sibling Prinya Jaravijit is suspected to be the “ringleader” of the scheme, who had left Thailand for the U.S. via South Korea. The CSD is now working on collaborating with authorities in the U.S. to track down the primary suspect, the report said. Thai baht 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.

Controversial Stablecoin Tether Issues New Batch of USDT Tokens Worth $50 Million

Controversial Stablecoin Tether Issues New Batch of USDT Tokens Worth $50 Million

Tether (USDT) has issued new tokens worth $50 million on August 11, according to block explorer OmniExplorer. In late March, Tether had released 300 mln USDT tokens priced at $1 per token. Over the past 30 days, Tether’s market capitalization lost around $300 million, down from $2.7 billion in mid-July to the current $2.4 billion, according CoinMarketCap. Tether market cap 1 month chart. Source: Coinmarketcap Tether is now in second place after Bitcoin (BTC) in terms of highest daily trading volumes, seeing $4.2 billion in trades a day or 28.16 percent of all crypto trades, while Bitcoin’s average 24-hour trading volume is $5.7 billion, or 38.62 percent. Yesterday, August 11, the price of Bitcoin surged by $300 over the course of just a couple of hours, following a drop to as low as $6,118. As of press time, Bitcoin is trading at $6,357, up just under one percent on the day. Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index Crypto exchange Bitfinex, which is the seventh ranked crypto exchange by 24 hour volume on CoinMarketCap, shares leadership with Tether. Both companies have come under fire for lack of transparency, as Tether’s USDT tokens claim to be backed one-to-one by USD, yet the company has yet to submit to a public audit. On June 13, Tether again faced criticism following a study that blamed the company for Bitcoin price manipulation back in 2017. According to the research, Tether’s transaction patterns show it was “used to provide price support and manipulate cryptocurrency prices.” Later in June, Cointelegraph reported that a law firm working with Tether unofficially confirmed legitimate dollar-backing.

In Rare Decision, ICO Founders Will Delay Crypto Paydays – For a Decade

In Rare Decision, ICO Founders Will Delay Crypto Paydays – For a Decade

In an industry that’s become synonymous with fast cash, patience can be a rare commodity. That makes a little-discussed announcement last week by the Nebulas project, powered by the top 100 cryptocurrency NAS, all the more remarkable. The team behind the protocol, today valued at $64 million, will now voluntarily wait a decade before they can get their hands on the blockchains’ tokens they’ll earn for their labor – seven years longer than they had originally planned. In December, the Beijing-based team raised $60 million in an initial coin offering (ICO) for a general purpose blockchain with additional features that they believe will accelerate development and market adoption. In the original token allocation, 20 percent of the initial supply (or 20 million NAS tokens) were set aside for the team and founders to be gradually released over a three-year period. But based on a blog post published last week, the timelines for the token release are being extended considerably. For the developer team, the start date for the gradual distribution of tokens will be postponed for a year, and for the founders of the network, the token distribution doesn’t start for a full decade. Its a move that’s already winning nods of approval from an industry seeking to develop best practices. Ryan Selkis, founder of the token data source Messari, said that he believes a multi-year vesting schedule should become a standard for new token companies. “The best way to align founder incentives is with vesting schedules – could be time-based, many are starting to do this, or milestone-based,” he wrote CoinDesk. The Nebulas team has also committed to publishing the smart contract address holding the NAS tokens and will contract with a third-party auditor to verify their finances. “We are conscious that the construction and development of Nebulas still have a long way to go. We need to focus on Nebulas developing, including technology and ecosystem,” Hitters Xu, a founder of Nebulas, told CoinDesk. Echoing that, the project’s marketing director, Becky Lu said, “We just want our team to focus on our technical vision.” She continued: “It’s not an easy decision for everyone because the blockchain industry is a very innovative industry and still has a lot of risk. I think that shows our determination.” Ranking dapps…

Microsoft Looks to Trusted Computing for Boosting Blockchain Security

Microsoft Looks to Trusted Computing for Boosting Blockchain Security

Two newly-published patent applications from Microsoft suggest that the software giant is looking at the use of trusted execution environments, or TEEs, within its blockchain offerings. But what exactly is a TEE? According to information gathered from two filings published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Thursday, a TEE is specified to store “a pre-determined type of blockchain or other security protocol code” in a “validation node.” With this kind of data, a “TEE attestation” is able to verify participants of the system who possess matching information held within the node. In blockchain, a node is simply a point of connection able to receive, store and send data within the network. And how all this might prove to be useful is explained in two ways. First, a TEE may assist in the establishment of a “consortium blockchain network.” By setting up the first node of the blockchain to store “a pre-determined membership list” among other pieces of information, a TEE attestation could be used to securely onboard members of the “consortium network.” Second, a TEE may also assist in verifying blockchain transactions on a similar network in which multiple pre-authorized entities must interact. For example, using this process of attestation through programmed TEEs once more, certain encrypted transactions on the network could be processed and confirmed “directly” to the official state of the blockchain without any need for decryption. The patent reads: “In some examples, the entire network accepts the transactions, including chaincode transactions, and blockchain states are directly updated. In some examples, there is no need for a copy of the transaction in order to confirm a block.” Aside from these two use cases, both applications also give mention to the process of TEE attestation in context of a “Confidential Consortium (COCO) Blockchain framework” which would potentially allow more complex systems of verification requiring the consensus of a multiplicity of validation nodes. While these filings were submitted by the licensing arm of the company as early back as June of last year, Microsoft has since began offering blockchain applications through its Azure platform. This month, it was announced Microsoft has updated additional features to the product specifically for clients working off of public blockchains such as ethereum. Tee image via Shutterstock The leader in blockchain news,…

Vietnamese Stop Importing Bitcoin Mining Rigs as Import Ban Looms

Vietnamese Stop Importing Bitcoin Mining Rigs as Import Ban Looms

Regulation Vietnamese businesses and individuals have stopped importing bitcoin mining equipment into the country since the beginning of July, according to the Ho Chi Minh City Customs Department. This follows the government’s efforts to pass a law banning the import of bitcoin mining rigs into Vietnam. Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space Mining Rig Imports Stop Business and individuals in Vietnam used to import a large number of crypto mining rigs into the country. Last year, the Customs Department of Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) cleared more than 7,000 bitcoin and litecoin miners. Meanwhile, the Customs Department of Hanoi imported 190 bitcoin miners and 350 litecoin miners, Vietnam Biz reported Wednesday. According to the HCMC Customs Department, businesses and individuals imported 3,664 crypto miners from the beginning of this year to August 6, most of which were Antminers from China. The news outlet reiterated: According to information from the Customs Department of Ho Chi Minh City, from early July 2018 to now, organizations and individuals have stopped importing mining rigs. According to the publication, four enterprises imported more than 3,000 machines this year; the rest were imported by “individuals and organizations [that] do not have [a dedicated] import tax code.” Viet Nam News added that “according to data from the General Department of Customs, Vietnam imported about 15,600 mining machines from 2017 to April this year.” Mining Rig Import Ban Looming The lack of crypto mining rig imports follows the proposal by the country’s Ministry of Industry and Trade “to suspend the import of cryptocurrency mining machines in a move to improve the management of currency transactions in the country,” the publication detailed. The ministry has gained support from a few other government agencies and the country’s central bank, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV). The ban was proposed because the country’s finance ministry became concerned that crypto mining rigs are “not on the list of goods banned from importation and are not subject to the list of specialised management or unsafe goods, so enterprises are easily allowed to complete the import procedures,” the publication explained, noting: The use of mining equipment for bitcoin, litecoin and other cryptocurrencies in the country is difficult for the authorities to manage. Thus it is easy…

An In-Depth Look at the Cryptocurrency Economy’s ‘Stablecoin’ Trend

An In-Depth Look at the Cryptocurrency Economy’s ‘Stablecoin’ Trend

Finance Back in the early days, cryptocurrency enthusiasts used to laugh at the thought of a stable cryptocurrency pegged to a specific fiat currency like the US dollar. Although nowadays things have changed and the digital currency tether (USDT) captures more cryptocurrency trade volume than most of the leading nation-state issued fiat currencies like the USD and JPY. Moreover, the past year or so more ‘stablecoins’ have been entering the crypto-economy, and some individuals think stablecoins are necessary elements for the future of this technology. Also Read: Wormhole Mainnet and Developers’ Guide Launched The ‘Second Bitcoin White Paper’ Written by JR Willett Unleashes the ‘Stablecoin’ Idea in 2012 ‘Stablecoins’ — whether you hate them or love them they have become extremely popular over the last two years, and tether (USDT) a digital currency that’s issued over the Omni Layer protocol has become a puzzling phenomenon. Asset­-pegged cryptocurrencies started being heavily discussed and written about in 2012 in J.R. Willet’s Mastercoin white paper, and around 2014 the concept really started gaining steam. There have been many attempts to create stable coins that failed miserably at pegging. The cryptocurrency, nubits (USNBT), was supposed to stay valued at one US dollar. Nubits stuck to around a dollar since it launched up until June 9, 2016, and then sunk below that point until September 6, 2016. Again the currency kept stable for a while all the way until March 21, and it hasn’t been able to keep the 1:1 ratio ever since then.     Tether the King of All Crypto-Dollars In November of 2014, Reeve Collins revealed the project ‘Tether’ a blockchain based coin that’s issued using the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network utilizing the Omni Layer protocol. The Omni network can grant and revoke tokens created by metadata embedded in the BTC chain and the project’s prodigal son is USDT. Every USDT issued is allegedly backed by one US dollar and the creators claim all the funds are held in reserves by Tether Limited’s bank. This particular claim is extremely controversial and USDT has been the center of a lot of attention. Nevertheless, tethers have been consistently stable ever since its price was first recorded on Coinmarketcap in February of 2015. The use of tether has become a popular vehicle for…

Stablecoins Gaining Popularity in India to Minimize Central Bank’s Impact

Stablecoins Gaining Popularity in India to Minimize Central Bank’s Impact

News A growing number of cryptocurrency exchanges in India are adding stablecoins such as trueusd (TUSD) and tether (USDT) to their platforms. They are part of the solutions exchanges have come up with in order to minimize the impact of the crypto banking ban imposed by the country’s central bank. Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space Unocoin Adds TUSD Unocoin, one of India’s largest crypto exchanges, announced on Wednesday the addition of TUSD to its crypto-to-crypto platform, Unodax. An ERC-20 token built on the Trusttoken platform, each TUSD is said to be backed by one USD held in reserve which can be redeemed. Unodax currently offers 23 TUSD trading pairs including BTC, BCH, ETH, LTC, and XRP. “The decision [to add TUSD] has been taken to minimise the RBI circular’s impact on cryptocurrency investors and traders,” Inc42 reported. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the country’s central bank, issued the circular banning banks from providing services to crypto companies on April 6. The publication quoted the exchange’s CEO and co-founder, Sathvik Vishwanath, commenting on the addition: After the RBI banned bank transfers for crypto trading and investments, we were looking for the plausible solutions to help our users continue to hodl, without any disruptions and hassles. “With trueusd, we are excited to present our users with a long-awaited stable trading plan for crypto-assets traders on our Unodax exchange,” he continued. “Crypto enthusiasts may use this stable coin as a medium of exchange for other crypto-assets and minimise their risks in a volatile market.” Zebpay Slashes Withdrawal Fee for TUSD Another major crypto exchange in India, Zebpay, added TUSD to its platform earlier this week, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. The exchange also slashed withdrawal fees for multiple currencies. For TUSD, “withdrawal fees are zero till 31st August 2018.” Zebpay wrote: You can now buy, sell and trade TUSD in two trading pairs: TUSD-INR and BTC-TUSD. Wazirx Uses USDT in P2P, Adds TUSD Crypto exchange Wazirx launched an escrowed “P2P” service on July 10 that uses tether to enable users to deposit and withdraw INR in an effort to bypass RBI’s ban. Issued on the Bitcoin blockchain via the Omni Layer protocol, each USDT is backed by one USD that Tether Limited claims is held…

Bears for Crypto, Bulls for ICOs: 2018 Market Positive Statistics

Bears for Crypto, Bulls for ICOs: 2018 Market Positive Statistics

Disclaimer: This article does not contain investment advice or recommendations. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision. The market data is provided by ICObazaar. With the first half of 2018 now past, it is poignant to look back at the last seven months of data on the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market — an important facet of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Some predicted that the explosion of ICOs last year — with many failures and even more scams — would lead to a collapse in this area, but the statistics tell a different story. The ICO phenomenon has followed an interesting path since its real boom, starting around May 2017. There has been growth, there has been regulation — as well as changing of sentiment. 2018 has been significantly bigger for ICOs than 2017, with the most successful month coming in March. The data over the last seven months indicates that ICOs continue raising huge sums of money, despite many thinking of them as scams. Additionally, the number of projects launching month by month are pretty steady, even showing growth. Moreover, the stats suggest that the ICOs in 2018 are aiming for big numbers, with the most popular goals being set between $1 million to $10 million, as well as a significant portion at over $50 million. Understanding the ICO ecosystem’s progression Statistics show a definite spike in ICOs from April 2017, when $218 million was raised in that month alone. The rest of 2017 — until November, that is — ebbed and flowed, as 584 ICOs were raising $2.52 billion. The ICO ecosystem — along with the underlying blockchain technology and digital currency tokens — makes up an important facet of the entire cryptocurrency ecosystem. ICOs are walking their own path in relation to regulation and public sentiment. But they are also affected by positives and negatives in the cryptocurrency markets. Thus, when the SEC ruled that a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) was a security, and when China decided to ban ICOs on Sept. 4, 2017 — many other state regulators started to take note of the financial risks associated with this form of capital raising. When in December the fever pitch was reached by the…