Luxury Watchmaker Hublot Unveils New Model, Available for Bitcoin Only

Luxury Watchmaker Hublot Unveils New Model, Available for Bitcoin Only

Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot has unveiled its new watch Big Bang Blockchain in an official announcement September 19. The new model has been released to commemorate the upcoming 10th anniversary of Bitcoin (BTC). As per Hublot’s release, the 210-piece limited edition can only be purchased with BTC. The number of units symbolises the fact that the number of bitcoins will never exceed 21 million. To promote and sell the model, Hublot has partnered with Octagon Strategy Limited (OSL) –  a major Asian digital asset brokerage which will help process customer data during the pre-sale. To purchase a Big Bang Blockchain, a customer has to register on a dedicated website. OSL will then confirm the data and send the payment details via email. The new Hublot model will be delivered to its buyers in the beginning of 2019. The elite Swiss brand has also paid a tribute to blockchain technology, calling it “a revolution in the financial system”. Hublot further explained the importance of decentralization: “By allowing digital information to be distributed, Blockchain technology creates the backbone of a new type of Internet. Well-recognised for its originality, the technology is regarded as one of the most powerful and fastest-growing trading tools, not to mention unlimited possibility of usage in different aspects that will revolutionise various industry norms and trade.” The Swiss brand is not the only one to commemorate Bitcoin’s upcoming anniversary. For instance, an art gallery in Paris has announced an exhibition called Bitcoin Art (R)evolution which aims “to show the potential of cryptocurrencies”. According to a press-release, each item at the event can be purchased both with BTC and other cryptocurrencies (Litecoin, Monero, Ethereum). Bitcoin originally emerged in 2008, at the height of the global financial crisis, when a white paper authored by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto was published. The white paper, titled “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” was released on bitcoin.org on October 31 – a date that is widely considered as ground zero for BTC, although the first actual bitcoin was mined on January 3, 2009. Over the almost ten years since the mining of the first Bitcoin block, many have proclaimed the cryptocurrency dead – more than 300 times overall, as Cointelegraph reported earlier. However, BTC remains the most…

Bitcoin Group SE Reports Half-Year Profit Surges 300% to $3.85 Million

Bitcoin Group SE Reports Half-Year Profit Surges 300% to $3.85 Million

News German digital currency exchange Bitcoin Group SE reported on Friday a first-half net profit increase of more than 300% to €3.33 million (~$3.86 million USD). The company added 86,000 new accounts of people buying and selling cryptocurrency like bitcoin and bitcoin cash in the first six months of 2018. Also read: Debit Card Issuer Bitnovo Announces Bitcoin Cash Support Bitcoin Group SE Profits 300% Rises on Increased Customer Traffic Bitcoin Group SE today reported its net profit soared 306% to $3.86 million in the first half of the year as more people bought and sold cryptocurrency through the German exchange. A year earlier, profit was at $0.95 million. For the first six months of 2018, Bitcoin Group SE said sales revenues tripled to $6.57 million from $2.1 million in the comparable period a year ago. Operating profit climbed 368% to $5.64 million. German’s only regulated digital currency exchange said about $707.6 million worth of bitcoin was traded on the platform at the end of last year, when the price of BTC peaked at $20,000. But volume “flattened out…due to profit taking”, the company said, and also because of the free-fall in the price of bitcoin during the review period. Bitcoin plummeted about 52% during the first half of this year, falling from $12,968 on January 1 to $6,251 by the end of June. Rapid Customer Growth Bitcoin’s astronomical rise at the end of 2017, coupled with increased mainstream media headlines, have brought public attention to a currency that’s predominantly transacted on smartphones, laptops or desktop computers. Bitcoin Group SE said it added 14,300 new users on its platform every month, bringing a total of 86,000 new accounts for the half-year. Around 753,000 investors are now actively using the exchange to buy and sell crypto, it said. “Despite a stronger correction of the exchange rates, it is evident that many customers find confidence in cryptocurrencies and perceive them as an equivalent alternative to paper currencies,” said Marco Bodewein, managing director at Bitcoin Group SE. Exchanges Seek Expansion Digital currency exchanges are looking for growth in new areas or to consolidate existing positions to help boost revenue and minimize risk from an uncertain regulatory environment in their home economies. Coinbase is to relax its listing requirements, as part of efforts to…

US Lawmakers Ask SEC to Clarify ICO Regulations

US Lawmakers Ask SEC to Clarify ICO Regulations

A group of U.S. lawmakers are asking Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton to clarify when initial coin offerings (ICOs) are considered securities sales. In the letter, Representatives Ted Budd, Warren Davidson, Tom Emmer and Darren Soto, along with 11 co-signers, request that Clayton clarify how it is approaching token sales, saying that “current uncertainty surrounding the treatment of offers and sales of digital tokens is hindering innovation in the United States and will ultimately drive business elsewhere.” The letter continues, saying: “We believe the SEC could do more to clarify its position. Additionally, we are concerned about the use of enforcement actions alone to clarify policy and believe that formal guidance may be an appropriate approach to clearing up legal uncertainties which are causing the environment for the development of innovative technologies in the United States to be unnecessarily fraught.” As such, the letter continues, the lawmakers are asking the SEC to clarify when token sales should be classified as “investment contracts,” whether a token sold as a security can later become a non-security and what tools are available for the “SEC to offer more concrete guidance to innovators.” The letter does not provide a timeline, noting that “such guidance will, reasonably, take time, caution and deep consideration.” As such, the letter says the questions are aimed at providing formal guidance in the long-term. Friday’s letter comes just days after Davidson hosted a forum in Washington, D.C. asking leaders in the cryptocurrency space to express any grievances they had with regulations in the U.S. During the forum, multiple representatives from blockchain startups, cryptocurrency exchanges and venture capital funds emphasized the need for clarity around token sales. While the SEC has, to date, focused on enforcement actions against malicious actors, CoinList general counsel Georgia Quinn noted that these actions have not provided a clear explanation of what is allowable within the U.S. This lack of clarity has pushed businesses to leave the nation outright, said Joyce Lai from ConsenSys. U.S. Congress 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…

BitTorrent to Integrate Tron Tokens in New Incentive Model

BitTorrent to Integrate Tron Tokens in New Incentive Model

Following its acquisition by blockchain startup Tron, peer-to-peer file sharing service BitTorrent will begin incentivizing users by paying them with its cryptocurrency tokens. Tron announced Thursday that its forthcoming Project Atlas would connect BitTorrent and Tron, hoping to make the BitTorrent protocol faster for peers, as well as encourage both new and existing users to run the file sharing protocol for longer periods of time, according to a press release. BitTorrent seeders, or users storing and sharing files being downloaded, will earn Tron’s TRX tokens for remaining online for longer periods of time, as well as for “dedicating more of their bandwidth and storage to ensure that swarms are faster and live longer.” Moreover, users downloading content can pay seeders with tokens as part of this incentive program, the company’s website added. Tron founder and CEO Justin Sun said the move is “the foundation for a new way of content distribution,” according to a statement. He added: “To start, the product will feature faster downloads, more seeds, no mining, and backward compatibility. It is adapted to the world we live in today: mobile, connected, and transparent. We aim to eventually empower all content creators and their communities by eliminating the middleman and enabling content creators to distribute directly to users.” The press release emphasized that because the Tron protocol uses Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS) as its consensus mechanism, users will not be mining the token on their machines. Instead, token rewards will be “based on resources provided.” The move appears to be optional – BitTorrent will still remain free to use, according to the press release. Tron’s announcement comes a month after CoinDesk reported that several employees at BitTorrent had left the company, at least in part due to the direction it seemed to be taking under its new leadership. BitTorrent image via Piotr Swat / 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.

Bitcoin Group SE Reports Half-Year Profit Surges 300% to $3.86 Million

Bitcoin Group SE Reports Half-Year Profit Surges 300% to $3.86 Million

News German digital currency exchange Bitcoin Group SE reported on Friday a first-half net profit increase of more than 300% to €3.33 million (~$3.86 million USD). The company added 86,000 new accounts of people buying and selling cryptocurrency like bitcoin and bitcoin cash in the first six months of 2018. Also read: Debit Card Issuer Bitnovo Announces Bitcoin Cash Support Bitcoin Group SE Profits 300% Rises on Increased Customer Traffic Bitcoin Group SE today reported its net profit soared 306% to $3.86 million in the first half of the year as more people bought and sold cryptocurrency through the German exchange. A year earlier, profit was at $0.95 million. For the first six months of 2018, Bitcoin Group SE said sales revenues tripled to $6.57 million from $2.1 million in the comparable period a year ago. Operating profit climbed 368% to $5.64 million. German’s only regulated digital currency exchange said about $707.6 million worth of bitcoin was traded on the platform at the end of last year, when the price of BTC peaked at $20,000. But volume “flattened out…due to profit taking”, the company said, and also because of the free-fall in the price of bitcoin during the review period. Bitcoin plummeted about 52% during the first half of this year, falling from $12,968 on January 1 to $6,251 by the end of June. Rapid Customer Growth Bitcoin’s astronomical rise at the end of 2017, coupled with increased mainstream media headlines, have brought public attention to a currency that’s predominantly transacted on smartphones, laptops or desktop computers. Bitcoin Group SE said it added 14,300 new users on its platform every month, bringing a total of 86,000 new accounts for the half-year. Around 753,000 investors are now actively using the exchange to buy and sell crypto, it said. “Despite a stronger correction of the exchange rates, it is evident that many customers find confidence in cryptocurrencies and perceive them as an equivalent alternative to paper currencies,” said Marco Bodewein, managing director at Bitcoin Group SE. Exchanges Seek Expansion Digital currency exchanges are looking for growth in new areas or to consolidate existing positions to help boost revenue and minimize risk from an uncertain regulatory environment in their home economies. Coinbase is to relax its listing requirements, as part of efforts to…

Open-Source Club: Monero Dodges Yet Another Attack With Community’s Help

Open-Source Club: Monero Dodges Yet Another Attack With Community’s Help

This week, the developers of Monero (XMR) patched a bug that could allow an attacker to ‘burn’ the funds of an organization’s wallet. The breach was initially revealed by a community member, and XMR developers were quick enough to fix it before any damage was done. Anonymity above all: How Monero works Simply put, Monero (XMR) is a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin (BTC), but with an additional focus on anonymity. It was established in 2014, when bitcointalk.org user thankful_for_today forked the codebase of Bytecoin into the name BitMonero. To establish the new coin, he used ideas that were first outlined in a 2013 white paper called ‘Cryptonote’ that was written by an anonymous personality Nicolas van Saberhagen. Ironically, BitMonero was soon forked itself by open-source developers, and titled ‘Monero’ (which means ‘coin’ in Esperanto). It has remained to be an open-source project ever since. XMR has considerably more privacy properties than BTC: Instead of just being a decentralized coin, Monero is designed to be fully anonymous and virtually untraceable. Thus, XMR is based on the CryptoNight proof-of-work (PoW) hash algorithm, which allows it to use ‘ring signatures’ (which mix the spender’s address with a group of others, making it more difficult to trace transactions), ‘stealth addresses’ (which are generated for each transaction and make it impossible to discover the actual destination of a transaction by anyone else other than the sender and the receiver), and ‘ring confidential transactions’ (which hide the transferred amount). In 2016, XMR experienced more growth in market capitalization and transaction volume than any other cryptocurrency (almost a 2800 percent increase, as per CoinMarketCap). A lot of that growth came from the underground economy. Being an altcoin that is tailor-made for fully private transactions, Monero eventually became accepted as a form of currency on darknet markets like Alphabay and Oasis. Specifically, after being integrated on the darknet in the summer of 2016, its value “immediately increased around sixfold,” according to Wired. “That uptick among people who really need to be private is interesting,” Riccardo Spagni, one of the Monero core developers, told the publication in January 2017. “If it’s good enough for a drug dealer, it’s good enough for everyone else.” Monero’s alleged privacy remains to be a controversial topic, as some suggest…

Japanese IT Giant GMO Launches Zcash Mining Software Client

Japanese IT Giant GMO Launches Zcash Mining Software Client

Japanese internet services giant GMO Internet Inc. has launched a new mining software client designed for mining Zcash (ZEC) on graphic processing units (GPUs). GMO announced the new client, dubbed Cryptknocker, in a news release published September 28. Cryptknocker has reportedly been designed to enable users to mine cryptocurrencies that are based on the Equihash consensus algorithm using commonly-available GPU chips. Unlike more specialized Application-Specific Integrated Circuits (ASICs), GPUs are widely used in many domestic computers. As previously reported, when Zcash’s developers unrolled Equihash – the mining algorithm Zcash, as well as a number of other cryptocurrencies run on – they argued the ASIC-resistant algorithm would work to take transaction verifications out of the hands of a concentrated handful of miners. GMO has today said its new mining software client will be free to download, but that the firm will take a 2 percent cut on any mining profits to offset its development costs. GMO argues that at a “mainstream” individual level, software that enables “efficient calculation processing” is an important factor in successful mining. Cryptknocker is just one of many forays by GMO into the crypto space. The company already runs its own GMO Coin crypto exchange, a major mining operation and has even embraced paying a portion of its staff payslips in Bitcoin (BTC). As today’s news release notes, this summer GMO also unveiled next-generation ASIC chips based on highly-advanced 7nm semiconductor manufacturing technology, which the firm says are scheduled to ship as part of new mining machines by the end of October. This July, GMO launched a new internet banking business that will leverage blockchain as a central part of its technological arsenal, in partnership with GMO Financial Holdings and Aozora Bank. This March, GMO Coin pledged to improve its data security after local regulators identified shortcomings during a cross-industry probe that followed the high-profile $530 million hack of Japanese exchange Coincheck in January. Most recently, the company has announced it will be debuting its Bitcoin-based application for in-game rewards – dubbed “CryptoChips” – this August.

EU Markets Regulator Extends Restrictions on Selling Crypto-Based Derivatives

EU Markets Regulator Extends Restrictions on Selling Crypto-Based Derivatives

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has decided to extend its restrictions on contracts for differences (CFDs), including crypto-based ones. The agency has announced its decision in an official release published Friday, September 28. A CFD is a contract signed between a buyer and a seller, which stipulates that the difference between the current value of an asset and its value at contract time will be compensated by the seller if positive, or by the buyer if negative. According to ESMA’s release, the restrictions, which originally came into effect on August 1, will be renewed for another three months from November 1. The agency has justified its move by “significant investor protection concern” associated with the offering of CFDs to retail clients. As Cointelegraph reported earlier, before the first restrictions were imposed by ESMA, the leverage limit for cryptocurrency CFDs was at 5:1. But since August it is fixed at 2:1, which implies that crypto investors must possess at least half of a contract’s specified volume upon opening it. In January, ESMA issued a Call for evidence which considered a possible interference with digital coin CFDs. The paper stated that the volatility of  cryptocurrency prices raised doubts about sufficient investor protection. In March, ESMA strengthened its requirements for CFDs. “Due to the specific characteristics of cryptocurrencies as an asset class the market for financial instruments providing exposure to cryptocurrencies, such as CFDs, will be closely monitored, and ESMA will assess whether stricter measures are required,” the watchdog explained back then. Other EU regulators have also treated crypto investing with caution. As Cointelegraph reported back in February, the European Supervisory Authorities (ESAs) warned customers that cryptocurrencies are “highly risky” assets that show “clear signs of a pricing bubble.” Different EU countries are seeking ways to approach crypto derivatives. For instance, French stock market regulator urged to regulate crypto assets under EU law and prohibited to advertise them online. Austria also proposed to supervise them using trading rules already in place for gold. And a UK watchdog has required businesses to receive authorization before dealing with crypto derivatives.

Less Than 1 Percent of Pornhub Subscribers Are Paying With Crypto

Less Than 1 Percent of Pornhub Subscribers Are Paying With Crypto

Pornhub has provided a somewhat disheartening figure for the number of users utilizing its recently launched crypto payments options. According to a report from The Next Web Friday, the online porn provider said via an email that less than 1 percent of purchases made on the platform are conducted with cryptocurrency. Pornhub had an average of 81 million visitors per day last year, according to its own figures, which adds up to around 28.5 billion in total. Hence, less than 1 percent could still be a not-so-tiny number. However, the company doesn’t give out the proportion of visitors that actually pay for the paid premium service, as TNW points out. Despite the low take-up figure, the company is staying positive on the potential of the tech, telling the news source: “That being said, we expect to see widespread adoption of crypto and blockchain on our site in the near future.” As reported by CoinDesk, Pornhub first announced it would accept cryptocurrency payments back in April, when it struck a deal with verge to use its token. At the time, the firm said verge was its choice due to the cryptocurrency’s large user base and an online campaign on its forums for it to accept the token. Appealing to the privacy concerns of its users, Pornhub then moved to accept two more cryptocurrencies, tron and zencash (now called horizen), as payment. “Here at Pornhub, it’s important that we cater to our users’ ever-changing payment preferences and, as such, that means accepting cryptocurrencies as a payment method, which provide users with anonymity and security,” Corey Price, vice president of Pornhub, said at the time. In August, Pornhub inked a deal with crypto payments firm PumaPay to integrate with the service, though that is still not live. Pornhub 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.

LINE Announces 5 Dapps in Push to Build Its Token Economy

LINE Announces 5 Dapps in Push to Build Its Token Economy

Messaging giant LINE has officially announced the first five decentralized apps (dapps) to launch on its custom blockchain platform. The company said in a press release Friday that prediction, question-and-answer, product review, food review and location review dapps will launch in the coming weeks as the company works to build up its own token economy. As part of that effort, LINE will also begin offering its link token to markets outside Japan through its BitBox exchange next month, although not within the U.S. The dapps specifically will be called Wizball Overview, which rewards users for answering questions; 4CAST Overview, which creates a prediction market; Pasha Overview, which rewards users for posting product reviews; TAPAS Overview, which similarly rewards users for posting food reviews; and STEP Overview, which incentivizes users to “share their stories of recreational activities and holiday trips.” While the review dapps will be released sometime in 2018, no timeline was provided for for Wizball or 4CAST, both of which remain in beta versions at the moment. Moreover, the latter two are in Japanese only for the moment. The moves are part of a broader effort to build a “co-creation economy,” the company explained. The release added: “The LINE Token Economy concept uses LINE’s internally-developed blockchain network, LINK Chain (mainnet), to build a LINK Ecosystem that aims to flatten the relationship structure between users and service providers to promote co-creation and mutual growth … LINE is preparing to publicly release a development kit in anticipation of third-party services to join the LINK Ecosystem starting 2019 (tentative).” Releasing this kit will allow service providers to join a token economy without need to develop their own blockchain platform, the release added. LINE first announced it would support dapps on its platform in April, when it released a roadmap for its blockchain. The company has since announced newer details of its platform, including that it plans to go live with its LINK token and a scaling solution in December. Line app image via Peter Austin / 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.