‘I Don’t Trust Facebook With Anything:’ The World Reacts to Facebook’s Libra

‘I Don’t Trust Facebook With Anything:’ The World Reacts to Facebook’s Libra

Although Libra hasn’t yet officially launched, pundits, politicians, and developers are already weighing in with warnings, celebrations, and memes. US representatives from both sides of the aisle have already chimed in. “Facebook is already too big and too powerful, and it has used that power to exploit users’ data without protecting their privacy,” Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said in a statement. “We cannot allow Facebook to run a risky new cryptocurrency out of a Swiss bank account without oversight.” She’s asked Facebook to stop the project until Congress can understand it further. She is joined by Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown Mark Warner of the Senate Banking Committee and Republican Representative Patrick McHenry. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) told Yahoo Finance it sounds like Facebook is “expanding their monopoly” with its new cryptocurrency project. “We need to see exactly what their specific proposals are, but I’m very concerned about Facebook’s behavior on a range of fronts. I’m concerned about their size, I’m concerned about their anti-competitive conduct, I’m concerned about their rampant violations of privacy,” Hawley said. He even called for an investigation into breaking up the social media giant. “There needs to be an antitrust investigation. I hope one will go forward, but in the meantime, in the immediate future with this consent decree — if it’s just a fine of a few billion dollars, that’s a speeding ticket to Facebook. They need to get serious,” he said. “Name Mark Zuckerberg. Name him, if he has in fact participated in violating consent decree as reports indicate. And let’s consider some tougher penalties, too.” “I don’t trust Facebook with anything,” he said. “Facebook’s new Libra blockchain project has the potential to be a big step forward towards a more global and inclusive financial infrastructure,” said U.S. Congressman Darren Soto, Co-Chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus. “We are encouraged by the possibility of increasing access to mobile and digital payments, which will ultimately benefit our society and become a driver of economic growth. While it is yet unclear how this new technology will be regulated, it is crucial Congress continues to protect consumers and the financial well-being of investors, while simultaneously promoting innovation for these virtual currencies.” “In the Congressional Blockchain Caucus…

Web Server Security Firm Cloudflare Announces Launch of Ethereum Gateway

Web Server Security Firm Cloudflare Announces Launch of Ethereum Gateway

Web server security service firm Cloudflare announced the launch of its Ethereum gateway in a blog post on June 19. Per the announcement, the gateway — which is part of the company’s broader Distributed Web Gateway toolset — lets users “interact with the Ethereum network without installing any additional software.” The system purportedly allows one to access the network and interact with smart contracts through a custom hostname. Furthermore, the new tool can be used in combination with the firm’s Interplanetary File System (IPFS) gateway launched in September 2018: “In conjunction with the IPFS gateway, this allows hosting websites and resources in a decentralized manner.” Cloudflare also notes that while its gateway is centralized, it makes the number of companies offering such services greater, thus increasing the overall reliability of the ecosystem. The company noted that it supports technologies that distribute trust, and that it hopes the gateway will facilitate decentralization. The issue of centralization has previously been raised about Infura, the infrastructure-as-a-service arm of Ethereum-focused development company ConsenSys that allows decentralized app (DApp) developers to deploy their DApps without hosting their own full node. Some have argued that, in using Infura,  developers rely on infrastructure entirely operated by ConsenSys and hosted by Amazon Web Services, which creates a single point of failure.

Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Will Face ‘Regulatory Hurricane,’ Canaccord Analysts Say

Facebook’s Cryptocurrency Will Face ‘Regulatory Hurricane,’ Canaccord Analysts Say

Analysts at investment bank Canaccord Genuity think Facebook’s new cryptocurrency might benefit the world – if regulators allow it. In a note to clients Wednesday, analyst Michael Graham wrote that Facebook’s Libra Network, unveiled on Tuesday, would seemingly benefit the blockchain space, unbanked individuals and (to some “modest” amount) Facebook’s bottom line. However, he highlighted that the project must first receive a seal of approval, or at least no resistance, from national governments worldwide. “Regulatory headwinds could be hurricane force – on one level, governments should appreciate Libra for the boost it might bring to global commerce. On another level, Libra is by far the most credible crypto threat yet to government-sponsored currencies.” Indeed, lawmakers and regulators are already pushing back against the project. In the U.S., Representatives Maxine Waters and Patrick McHenry, respectively the chair and ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, have called for a hearing with Facebook executives to discuss libra, with Waters going as far as to ask Facebook to cease development – at least temporarily. Elsewhere, Markus Ferber, a German member of the European Parliament, said Facebook should not be “allowed to operate in a regulatory nirvana,” while French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the libra cannot become a sovereign currency. Mark Carney, governor of the Bank of England, also weighed in, saying he held an open mind but that the libra should be examined closely. ‘Global good’ Regulatory hurdles aside, Graham appeared to be bullish about both the libra and the effect it may have worldwide. “We see Libra as socially conscientious leverage of the company’s global clout to bring financial inclusion to billions of Earth’s citizens for the first time,” he wrote. As for the libra’s implications for the blockchain space, he noted that Facebook’s goal is to only hold 1/100 of the votes for the Libra Association, the governing council that will make decisions about the protocol. In his view, this is “the right level of centralization.” More importantly, if the libra succeeds, it might validate the blockchain payments model. He went so far as to suggest it may become the most valuable cryptocurrency, writing: “However, if Libra fulfills its ambitions, it could potentially displace bitcoin and other existing digital assets that are primarily used as…

Block.one Paid $30 Million for a Domain

Block.one Paid $30 Million for a Domain

Social networking is so hot right now but is it hot enough to spend $30 million on the domain name Voice.com? Block.one thought so. The blockchain consulting outfit paid MicroStrategy for access to what it calls a “ultra-premium domain name” in order to give their new social network a leg up in adoption. Voice.com is now home to Block.one’s Voice social media service, a blockchain based system that aims to destroy “bot mobs, … data tracking, [and] the shady algorithms behind our feeds.” Block.One has already spent $150 million on the project so another 30 bills is chump change. MicroStrategy is a business intelligence and analytics firm that holds a number of high-profile domain names from the days when companies hoarded domains like gold. Founded in 1989, the company went through multiple pivots including building Alarm.com in 2000. While its primary business has always been consulting, it tried to build a number dot-coms in the 2000s and, like many companies in that era, it owns a stable of unique and desirable domain names including Alert.com, Strategy.com, Speaker.com, and, for some reason, Mike.com. Given the value of a good domain – after all, it was Facebook that captured the world stage and not TheFacebook – $30 million could be considered a bargain. That said, Block.One has a hard road ahead of it if it aims to convince folks to move from the established players. Image by Brady Dale.

Peaceful Warrior Lets You Buy Jewelry With Bitcoin Cash

Peaceful Warrior Lets You Buy Jewelry With Bitcoin Cash

Do you want to show off your support for cryptocurrency and look good doing it? Peaceful Warrior lets you buy jewelry that will do just that, and you can also pay for all items in the store with bitcoin cash, of course. Also Read: How to Invest in Cryptocurrency Without Worrying About Volatility Crypto Lifestyle Brand Crypto-friendly e-commerce platform Peaceful Warrior was launched in March 2019 with the aim of inspiring people to use digital coins for shopping and in order to “help achieve global adoption of cryptocurrencies, used as a mean of exchange.” It is designed to be a lifestyle brand that shows you are dedicated to promoting freedom. The store features jewelry items such as unique necklaces and bracelets, specialty beauty and care products as well as art celebrating women and crypto. It is integrated with Coinbase Commerce, so you will be able to pay with your bitcoin cash (BCH) and a number of other cryptocurrencies as well as Paypal. Earrings sold on Peaceful WarriorThe platform was established by “three passionate women who care about free economy, crypto and living beautiful and balanced lifestyles.” The founders explain they wanted to not only create a place for people to enjoy shopping but also help entrepreneurs interested in accepting cryptocurrency sell their products around the world. If you can’t find exactly what you are looking for on Peaceful Warrior, make sure to check out the Bitcoin.com Store which features, among other things, gift cards for many popular fashion brands. What do you think about shopping on Peaceful Warrior? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. Images courtesy of Peaceful Warrior. 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 Bitcoin.com Markets, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com. Avi Mizrahi Avi Mizrahi is an economist and entrepreneur who has been covering Bitcoin as a journalist since 2013. He has spoken about the promise of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology at numerous financial conferences around the world, from London to Hong-Kong.

Russia to Adopt Crypto Legislation Within Two Weeks: Deputy Finance Minister

Russia to Adopt Crypto Legislation Within Two Weeks: Deputy Finance Minister

Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, will adopt the country’s major crypto bill “On Digital Financial Assets” (DFA) in the next two weeks, according to a local senior finance official. The news was reported by Russian government-backed news agency TASS on June 19. Russia’s deputy finance minister, Alexei Moiseev, revealed that the State Duma is currently considering the DFA, and is expected to adopt the bill in the second reading within the next two weeks. Moiseev added that the authority has approved separate legislation for initial coin offerings, which will be a part of Russia’s law on crowdfunding. Russia will thus have two bills related to cryptocurrencies, the DFA and the law on crowdfunding, Moiseev stated, adding that the DFA is expected to be approved in the version that has been prepared for the second reading. If adopted as expected by the official, Russia’s crypto regulation will come in accordance with the order of the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, who required the state to enforce regulation for the crypto industry by July 1, 2019. Recently, TASS had reported that Russia was postponing the adoption of crypto legislation due to certain terminology requirements from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering, as the bill lacked key terms such as “cryptocurrency.”

‘Hard Core Fund’ Collects 50 BTC to Support Bitcoin Developers

‘Hard Core Fund’ Collects 50 BTC to Support Bitcoin Developers

According to venture capitalist Dovey Wan of Primitive Ventures, finding sustainable funding for bitcoin developers is the biggest challenge facing the ecosystem in 2019. To bridge that gap, she’s helped gather 50 BTC — an amount worth just north of $450,000 at press time prices — that are now up for grabs. Wan partnered with Bitmain alum Pan Zhibiao to create the nonprofit Hard Core Fund in 2018, then started supporting Bitcoin Core contributors Luke Dashjr and Ben Woosley last fall. Woosley told CoinDesk that he sends the fund co-founders an email every month detailing the engineering work he completed, including code review and pull requests on the Bitcoin Core GitHub page. With that information, the fund sends him a small portion of his year-long bitcoin salary. A fresh batch of donations means the fund is now open to applications from more developers. While many contributors have donated anonymously to the fund, known benefactors including entrepreneur Kevin Pan of Poolin and others from China’s crypto ecosystem. “We collected 50 bitcoin,” Wan told CoinDesk. “Right now, you wouldn’t believe it, there are less than 10 full-time bitcoin developers. …We want to fund full-time independent bitcoin developers.” To be fair, it’s hard to say how many people work full time on Bitcoin Core if you include independent research and open source, nonprofit projects like crypto wallets. Several organizations already support open source development, such as Chaincode Labs, Blockstream, MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative, and Square. In the future, Dovey said, she expects companies like Microsoft to support independent developers. Yet while Woosley expressed ample respect for the above-mentioned companies, he said this fund is the “most independent” funding model for bitcoin development that he’s seen so far. “We should be wary of forming a bias, of groupthink,” Woosley said. “Having diverse funding models helps protect us against groupthink on any given topic.” Open for business The fund has no say over what the developers prioritize, although the cofounders are themselves fascinated by updates that relate to the lightning network and fungibility. Instead, the money is distributed based on evidence of past contributions to Bitcoin Core and continued work on any aspect of the project the developer chooses. Prospective applicants can now send their biography information and GitHub profile to Wan’s Primitive Venture…

Internet Security Provider Cloudflare Announces an Ethereum Gateway

Internet Security Provider Cloudflare Announces an Ethereum Gateway

Internet security provider Cloudflare is introducing the Ethereum Gateway to its Distributed Web Gateway toolbox enabling users to interact with the Ethereum network without installing any software. This is part of Cloudflare’s Distributed Web Gateway project to expand the decentralized web ecosystem and enhance its reliability, speed, and ease of use. Instead of downloading and cryptographically verifying hundreds of gigabytes of data — an impossible task for low-power devices and those with low technical barriers to entry — the gateway enables any device with web access to interact with the Ethereum network. This setup will make it possible to explore the blockchain and add interactive elements to sites powered by Ethereum smart contracts. In fact, the gateway gives people the ability to put new contracts on Ethereum with having to run a node, because Cloudflare will take a signed transaction and push it to the network thereby allowing miners to cryprographicaly add it. Despite the value Cloudflare brings to gateway clients, the service is completely free. Nick Sullivan, Cloudflare’s Head of Cryptography, explains that the program “leverages the existing Cloudflare network, which already provides a number of free services.” Sullivan notes it’s too young a system to introduce costs, but there may be revenue opportunities down the line. For now though, the company’s modus operandi is to expand access and utility of smart contracts to the uninitiated. In a sense, Sullivan suggested Cloudflare is doing it for developers and ecosystem at large. “To show computing can be done differently.” “By providing a gateway to the Ethereum network we can help users make the jump from general web-user to cryptocurrency native, eventually making using the distributed web a fundamental part of the Internet,” Jonathan Hoyland wrote in a blog post. Though Cloudflare sees itself as only one access point among “the constellation of gateways that already exist,” meaning that despite the added speed of its backchannel, it will not become a centralized authority on the chain. Currently, newbie visitors to the gateway’s website can interact with an example app, but the ambitious should access the RPC API, where it’s possible to do virtually anything available on the Ethereum network itself, from examining contracts, to transferring funds. Despite ambitions to break down the barriers to distributed computing,…

Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software

Big Four Auditing Firm PwC Releases Cryptocurrency Auditing Software

Big Four auditing firm PwC announced the release of a cryptocurrency auditing software solution in a press release published on June 19. Per the release, the tool newly added to PwC’s Halo auditing suite can be used to “provide assurance services for entities engaging in cryptocurrency transactions.” The firm claims that, with the new addition, the Halo suite permits PwC to provide independent evidence of private-public key pairing (to establish crypto asset ownership), and gather information about transactions and balances from blockchains. PwC further notes that it is already employing the new tool to support audits of clients involved with cryptocurrencies, and assisting companies for which the firm is not the auditor in implementing processes and controls necessary to obtain assurance reports from their auditors. Still, the company notes that the tool is not without its limitations: “Our ability to audit an entity engaged in cryptocurrency activities is very much influenced by our client’s control environment, and at this stage, by the breadth of tokens supported by our Halo software. These considerations will be key when determining whether we are comfortable to accept an audit engagement.” Lastly, it is specified in the announcement that the new addition to the Halo suite supports bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), bitcoin gold (BTG), bitcoin diamond (BCD), litecoin (LTC), ether (ETH), OAX (ERC20 token) and XRP. As Cointelegraph reported at the time, PwC was the top recruiter for blockchain-related jobs on recruitment platform Indeed at the end of March. Also at the end of March, PwC competitor and big four auditing firm Deloitte announced that it was testing data management on the Ethereum blockchain with three Irish banks.

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Is Easily Going to Reach New Highs

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Is Easily Going to Reach New Highs

Fundstrat Global Advisors co-founder Tom Lee said that bitcoin (BTC) could easily reach new highs during an interview with CNBC published on June 18. In his comments, Lee said that bitcoin is becoming the reserve currency of the cryptocurrency space, and noted that it has been worth over the $9,000 price level in only 4% of its history. Then, he declared: “I think bitcoin is easily going to take out its all-time highs.” Before making those price predictions, Lee also noted that Facebook’s Libra project is a validation of mainstream interest in cryptocurrencies. He also stated that he thinks this development “completely destroys this argument that says ‘I believe in blockchain, not bitcoin.” He also expressed his idea that — while he believes libra is going to be one of the dominant stablecoins — other stablecoins will most likely survive: “I don’t think that they are gonna drop in value because most of them are collateralized, I think the ones that are algorithmically stable just might not have the network effect.” When asked whether banks will support libra in the future, Lee noted that the decentralization of finance — while convenient for payment processors — results in a negative return for banks: “One thing to keep in mind: Facebook’s annual revenue per user is probably $50 […] that may be a little high. But an average bank generates close to $1,000 per user, so Facebook has a 20x upside to their customer model if they start doing banking services. […] I can see why banks aren’t really enthusiastic about this.” Earlier today, the head of the United Kingdom’s central bank said Facebook’s new libra cryptocurrency could have genuine use cases if it can conform to regulatory demands. As Cointelegraph reported at the time, Lee had claimed in May that the crypto winter is over.