Code as a Weapon: Amir Taaki Wants You to Join the Real Crypto Revolution

Code as a Weapon: Amir Taaki Wants You to Join the Real Crypto Revolution

There are many words that could be used to describe Amir Taaki – but today, ambitious is best. The infamous bitcoin developer – known for co-creating Dark Wallet, Darkleaks and OpenBazaar – took the stage during a hackathon he hosted in the wake of the Privacy Enhancing Technologies Symposium (PETS) in Barcelona last week, the same city where he plans to set up his academy of coders, hackers and philosophers dubbed Autonomous Polytechnics. It’s a bit of a shift, about 1,800 miles to the West from Taaki’s earlier idea, which was to build the academy in Greece. But with a toolset focused on anonymity and autonomy, it might make more sense to build the project in the capital city of the autonomous Spanish community of Catalonia. Spending no time mulling over the decision, Taaki took to sketching out his political vision on a dirty whiteboard. In a series of diagrams, Taaki described the evolution of biological cells, the structure of societies and the impact that technology can have on such systems, sparking runaway trends to monopolization, or its opposite — atomization. Tying the latter to the UNIX philosophy, a branch of coder theory that vouches for minimal and modular units of software, Taaki then exposed the upcoming product suite his academy will build. Albeit loose mathematical sequences, the audience could tell the scripts comprised the details of an entire dark machinery, a kind of subterranean web 3.0. Distilling the wide-ranging talk, one attendee quipped, “Plans to anonymize the world.” And while Taaki insisted the details on the whiteboard not be published for fear they be co-opted – “There’s a lack of ideas in this space,” he told CoinDesk – it’s clear the tooling he’s got in mind would be a revolution, which is exactly what he wants. Having left bitcoin development to fight alongside a Kurdish militia in Rojava, an autonomous region in northern Syria, Taaki is hoping to spread that region’s practices of democratic confederalism, a political theory that advocates for small, self-governing communities. “Every revolutionary movement needs to have a technological arm, and we are the technological arm of the democratic confederalist movement,” Taaki told CoinDesk, “This is our objective as an organization, which is using technology for autonomous democracy and the collapse of the system of nation states around…

XRP, Litecoin Fall to Lowest Prices Yet Seen in 2018

XRP, Litecoin Fall to Lowest Prices Yet Seen in 2018

The price of XRP, the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, fell to a new 2018 low on Wednesday. Data from Bitfinex shows the cryptocurrency dropped to $0.35 – seven cents from the previous yearly low of $0.42 in July. Indeed the current price stands at its lowest level since December 12, 2017, days before XRP shot up to all-time-highs over $3 amid a bull run on the crypto market. All told, XRP is now down 89.2 percent over an eight-month period. Driving the trend is likely not only the wider bear market, but bad press for Ripple, the startup most often associated with XRP, and which continues to be bombarded by bad press and investor lawsuits stemming from the coin’s price decline. XRP Daily Chart At press time, the price of XRP continues its downward trajectory – down 11.76 percent over a 24-hour basis according to CoinMarketCap data and down 1 percent on the hour. As a matter of fact, other major names are also flashing red. For example, bitcoin is down 4.86 percent over a 24-hour period after it dropped from its $7,000 support zone on Tuesday. Litecoin Daily Chart Litecoin has also dropped to its lowest point this year, declining 8.78 percent from its previous yearly low at $72.65, making it one of the biggest losers on the day. Other names such as ethereum and eos are down 6.89 percent and 7.96 percent respectively and are showing no signs of a short-term bullish revival. Meanwhile, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies dropped below $250 billion –  an amount traders kept an eye on in hopes of remaining bullish. The Author holds USDT at the time of writing Image via Shutterstock; Charts via TradingView 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.

Crypto Markets Slump Following SEC Bitcoin ETF Delay

Crypto Markets Slump Following SEC Bitcoin ETF Delay

After solid growth to break above the $7,000 mark earlier today, Bitcoin (BTC) saw a loss of around $500 in six hours. At press time, all of the top ten cryptocurrencies other than Tether (USDT) are in the red, according to Coin360. Market visualization from Coin360 BTC is trading around $6,598 at press time, dropping 5.29 percent over the last day and bringing a new weekly low. The decline follows today’s news that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) postponed its decision on the listing and trading of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) to the end of September. Bitcoin’s 24-hour price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index Ethereum (ETH) is suffering a slump, having lost around 6.64 percent in the last 24 hours. The second largest cryptocurrency is trading at $377 at press time, also hitting a new weekly low. Over the month, the ETH price has dropped 23 percent. Ethereum’s 7-day price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index The top ten altcoins are firmly in the red, moving downward from 4 to almost 12 percent. At press time, IOTA, and Ripple (XRP) show the most significant losses, dropping 8.52 and 11.46 percent respectively, followed by Litecoin (LTC) with a loss of 8.5 percent on the day. Among the top twenty coins by market capitalization, Ethereum Classic (ETC) has been hit the hardest, losing over 13 percent in the last 24 hours, and trading at $17.02 at press time. Today, Aug. 7, crypto exchange Coinbase added support for ETC on its Coinbase Pro platform. Yesterday, commission-free crypto trading platform Robinhood listed ETC as well. Ethereum Classic’s 1-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is at $236.7 billion at press time, down almost $15 billion over the 24 hour period. 1-day chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

DEA Agent: Speculators Are Using Bitcoin More Than Criminals

DEA Agent: Speculators Are Using Bitcoin More Than Criminals

Criminals were behind roughly 90 percent of all bitcoin transactions five years ago – a figure that has now declined to 10 percent. That’s according to Lilita Infante, a special agent from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who spoke to Bloomberg about changing trends in the relationship between the cryptocurrency and criminal activity. “The volume has grown tremendously, the amount of transactions and the dollar value has grown tremendously over the years in criminal activity, but the ratio has decreased. The majority of transactions are used for price speculation,” Infante was quoted as saying. Despite the shift from criminal use to investment and trading, though, the total volume of criminal bitcoin transactions has still increased over the years as dark market activity has grown. It’s just that the proportions have effectively swapped, according to Infante. In fact, given this rapid growth in interest for the different use cases of cryptocurrency, U.S. law enforcement has since caught on to the technology to some degree using blockchain technology to trace cases of money laundering and illegal drug trafficking. Even so, Infante maintained that U.S. law enforcement is ahead of the game, telling the publication that “we still have ways of tracking them” and noting that, at least for the time being, the majority of criminal dealings in cryptocurrencies still occur on the public bitcoin blockchain. “The blockchain actually gives us a lot of tools to be able to identify people … I actually want [criminals] to keep using them,” she told Bloomberg. Handcuffs 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.

UK Financial Regulator Warns Investors About ‘Clone Firm’

UK Financial Regulator Warns Investors About ‘Clone Firm’

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned investors about a so-called “clone’ company of investment firm Fair Oaks Capital Ltd., in a statement published Aug. 7. Clone firms are companies that carry out business activities under the pretense that they are a firm registered by the FCA. Almost all legal entities involved in financial services in the U.K. must be authorized or registered by the FCA. In the statement, the FCA outlines a fraudulent company targeting people in the U.K. using registration data of firms authorized by the regulator. The clone, Fair Oaks Crypto, allegedly aims to hoodwink potential scam victims by claiming that they represent Fair Oaks Capital. The FCA provided the contact details of the clone firm, so that potential investors or clients would know to avoid it. The British regulatory agency also suggested that investors check the Financial Services Register before dealing with a firm in order to ensure it is legitimate and operating legally. In May, the FCA opened 24 investigations into cryptocurrency businesses over financial regulatory compliance in order to “determine whether they might be carrying on regulated activities that require FCA authorization.” Generally, the FCA has demonstrated a positive regulatory approach towards cryptocurrencies. Recently, it announced the creation of a global initiative called Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) to improve collaboration between regulators and companies on fintech innovations like blockchain. GFIN aims to consult on various topics, including the regulation of securities and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). In March, the FCA launched a cryptocurrency task force in collaboration with the Bank of England in order to explore ways to regulate and support expanding crypto technologies. Shortly before, the regulator introduced a global fintech regulatory sandbox, that allows for innovative fintech development without requiring a full, strict regulatory process for testing. Last month, the Big Innovation Centre, DAG Global, and Deep Knowledge Analytics released a report, that shows that the U.K. has the institutional and technological resources needed to become a leader in the crypto economic ecosystem within the next few years. While the study considers the blockchain sector to be in the early stages of development globally, it still finds support at the governmental level. U.K. housing minister Eddie Hughes called on the government to prioritize the technology’s…

US SEC Postpones Decision Regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund

US SEC Postpones Decision Regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decision on the listing and trading of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) until September 30, according to an official document released by the SEC August 7. ETFs are securities that track a basket of assets proportionately represented in the fund’s shares. They are seen by some as a potential step forward for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies as a regulated and passive investment instrument. The fund under consideration is powered by investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX, and is expected to list on the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) BZX Equities Exchange. The SEC now has almost two more months to consider a proposed rule change by CBOE Global Markets Inc. that would allow the fund to list.   Today’s notice states that the SEC has received more than 1,300 comments on the proposed rule change to list and trade shares of SolidX BTC shares issued by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust. Per the document, within 45 days of a filing of a proposed rule change, or within 90 days should the Commission deem necessary, the Commission will approve, disapprove, or extend the period of consideration. The document says: “Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,6 designates September 30, 2018, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change (File No. SRCboeBZX-2018-040).” VanEck and SolidX first announced the physically-backed Bitcoin ETF on June 6. As per the SEC filing, the price of each share of the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust is set to $200,000. SolidX CEO Daniel H. Gallancy told CNBC, that the high price reflects the fund’s intention to focus on institutional, rather than retail investors. Last month, the SEC delayed its decision on investment firm Direxion’s application for a Bitcoin ETF until Sep. 21. The regulator also rejected an appeal by Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. (BZX) to list and trade shares of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, originally filed in 2016. The agency cited the largely unregulated nature of Bitcoin markets as the principal reason for refusing the application, stating, “When the spot market is unregulated — there must be significant, regulated derivatives markets…

U.K. Financial Regulator Warns Investors About ‘Clone Firm’

U.K. Financial Regulator Warns Investors About ‘Clone Firm’

The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has warned investors about a so-called “clone’ company of investment firm Fair Oaks Capital Ltd., in a statement published Aug. 7. Clone firms are companies that carry out business activities under the pretense that they are a firm registered by the FCA. Almost all legal entities involved in financial services in the U.K. must be authorized or registered by the FCA. In the statement, the FCA outlines a fraudulent company targeting people in the U.K. using registration data of firms authorized by the regulator. The clone, Fair Oaks Crypto, allegedly aims to hoodwink potential scam victims by claiming that they represent Fair Oaks Capital. The FCA provided the contact details of the clone firm, so that potential investors or clients would know to avoid it. The British regulatory agency also suggested that investors check the Financial Services Register before dealing with a firm in order to ensure it is legitimate and operating legally. In May, the FCA opened 24 investigations into cryptocurrency businesses over financial regulatory compliance in order to “determine whether they might be carrying on regulated activities that require FCA authorization.” Generally, the FCA has demonstrated a positive regulatory approach towards cryptocurrencies. Recently, it announced the creation of a global initiative called Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN) to improve collaboration between regulators and companies on fintech innovations like blockchain. GFIN aims to consult on various topics, including the regulation of securities and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). In March, the FCA launched a cryptocurrency task force in collaboration with the Bank of England in order to explore ways to regulate and support expanding crypto technologies. Shortly before, the regulator introduced a global fintech regulatory sandbox, that allows for innovative fintech development without requiring a full, strict regulatory process for testing. Last month, the Big Innovation Centre, DAG Global, and Deep Knowledge Analytics released a report, that shows that the U.K. has the institutional and technological resources needed to become a leader in the crypto economic ecosystem within the next few years. While the study considers the blockchain sector to be in the early stages of development globally, it still finds support at the governmental level. U.K. housing minister Eddie Hughes called on the government to prioritize the technology’s…

U.S. SEC Postpones Decision Regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund

U.S. SEC Postpones Decision Regarding Bitcoin Exchange Traded Fund

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has postponed its decision on the listing and trading of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) until September 30, according to an official document released by the SEC August 7. ETFs are securities that track a basket of assets proportionately represented in the fund’s shares. They are seen by some as a potential step forward for the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies as a regulated and passive investment instrument. The fund under consideration is powered by investment firm VanEck and financial services company SolidX, and is expected to list on the Chicago Board of Exchange (CBOE) BZX Equities Exchange. The SEC now has almost two more months to consider a proposed rule change by CBOE Global Markets Inc. that would allow the fund to list.   Today’s notice states that the SEC has received more than 1,300 comments on the proposed rule change to list and trade shares of SolidX BTC shares issued by the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust. Per the document, within 45 days of a filing of a proposed rule change, or within 90 days should the Commission deem necessary, the Commission will approve, disapprove, or extend the period of consideration. The document says: “Accordingly, the Commission, pursuant to Section 19(b)(2) of the Act,6 designates September 30, 2018, as the date by which the Commission shall either approve or disapprove, or institute proceedings to determine whether to disapprove, the proposed rule change (File No. SRCboeBZX-2018-040).” VanEck and SolidX first announced the physically-backed Bitcoin ETF on June 6. As per the SEC filing, the price of each share of the VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust is set to $200,000. SolidX CEO Daniel H. Gallancy told CNBC, that the high price reflects the fund’s intention to focus on institutional, rather than retail investors. Last month, the SEC delayed its decision on investment firm Direxion’s application for a Bitcoin ETF until Sep. 21. The regulator also rejected an appeal by Bats BZX Exchange, Inc. (BZX) to list and trade shares of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, originally filed in 2016. The agency cited the largely unregulated nature of Bitcoin markets as the principal reason for refusing the application, stating, “When the spot market is unregulated — there must be significant, regulated derivatives markets…

Study Provides an Interesting Look at Changing Bitcoin Narratives

Study Provides an Interesting Look at Changing Bitcoin Narratives

News Last week Nic Carter, the partner at Castle Island Ventures and co-founder of Coinmetrics.io, published an interesting study that looks at the ever-changing narratives tied to Bitcoin technology. Carter and his fellow researcher Hasufly scraped up a lot of data stemming from Bitcointalk.org posts over the years that highlight some of the community-derived visions of what Bitcoin should be and how these visions have changed over time. Also read: Need Cold Storage? Check Out Bitcoin.com’s Revamped Paper Wallet Generator The Ever-Changing Bitcoin Narratives If you’ve been into cryptocurrencies for a long time you might have noticed the community narratives and visions for Bitcoin have changed over the years. For instance, back in the early days, Bitcoin technology was supposed to eradicate the current banking cartels and remove money from the state’s power as well. At least that’s what the early bitcoiners and cypherpunks said at the time. However, Bitcoin narratives have evolved and lots of Bitcoin proponents now want the central bank’s acceptance and think governments regulating the use of cryptocurrencies will make them a ‘legitimate’ form of tender. Moreover, some people believe Bitcoin should be a store of value much like gold, while others believe Bitcoin was meant to be a fast and cheap peer-to-peer cash system. After researching this topic, Nic Carter published a well-documented study of the ever-changing narratives stemming from individuals and groups who like to tether their own visions to the Bitcoin protocol. Carter and his partner Hasufly used data derived from conversations taking place on the forum Bitcointalk.org over the last decade. “Perhaps the most enduring source of conflict within the Bitcoin community derives from incompatible visions of what Bitcoin is and should become,” explains Carter’s study. In the absence of a recognized sole leader, Bitcoiners refer to founding documents and early forum posts to attempt to decipher what Satoshi truly wanted for the currency. This is not unlike US Supreme Court justices poring over the Constitution and applying its ancient wisdom to contemporary cases. Isolated and Incompatible Visions Carter and Hasufly’s research breaks Bitcoin narratives down to seven sections which includes: “The e-cash proof of concept (the first major narrative), cheap p2p payments network, censorship-resistant digital gold, private and anonymous darknet currency, reserve currency for the cryptocurrency industry,…

Omniex Appoints Former SEC and FDIC Execs to Board of Advisors

Omniex Appoints Former SEC and FDIC Execs to Board of Advisors

Institution-oriented crypto trading platform Omniex has expanded its staff with high profile experts, including former execs of major U.S. financial regulators, according to a press release Aug. 7. Omniex has appointed former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Arthur Levitt and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp (FDIC) chair Sheila Bair as members of the board of advisors. The cryptocurrency trading firm also announced that Maartje Bus, former head of capital markets at Thomson Reuters, has joined Omniex as director of strategic partnerships, while Tom Eidt, former head of KCG’s regulatory affairs was appointed as chief compliance officer and general counsel. Levitt, who was the twenty-fifth and longest-serving chairman of the SEC from 1993 to 2001, claimed that institutional investors need “purpose-built technology to solve the challenges they face today and equipped to handle the hidden obstacles they’ll encounter tomorrow in this new asset class.” Levitt currently serves as advisor to a number of companies such as Mirror, BitPay, Blockchain, PeerIQ and Sofi, previously working as senior advisor to Goldman Sachs and The Carlyle Group. Former FDIC exec Sheila Bair emphasized that the crypto industry is a “revolutionary, global asset class” that is currently in its infancy. She also said that the world is now “on the cusp of regulatory thinking on how to approach and regulate crypto assets.” “Technology like Omniex is designed to address regulators’ concerns about a lack of robust market infrastructure, and will enable institutional investors to manage risk across a wide range of jurisdictions, liquidity sources and crypto-assets,” Blair stated. Having served as chair of the U.S. banking regulator from 2006 to 2011, Bair played a prominent role in the government’s response to the financial crisis of 2008. Earlier in June, Bair claimed that, while cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC) can be a way to improve еxisting monetary tools, she still argued that Bitcoin “has failed miserably as a method of payment.” The former FDIC chair further stated that the Federal Reserve needs to “seriously” consider the relative benefits of issuing its own digital currency. Omniex is an office investment and trading platform for institutional investors. Founded in 2017, the company has raised $10 million in seed funding from investors such as Digital Currency Group, Sierra Ventures, and British hedge fund billionaire…