Craig Wright’s nChain Is Hiring a Lawyer to Protect Its Crypto Patents

Craig Wright’s nChain Is Hiring a Lawyer to Protect Its Crypto Patents

nChain, the company founded by self-proclaimed bitcoin inventor Craig S. Wright, is looking to hire a patent counsel in London to manage and grow the firm’s portfolio of blockchain-related IP. The applicant must be a qualified European Patent Attorney, have a keen interest in bitcoin and blockchain and also possess a first degree in computer science, electronics, physics, or mathematics, the job advertisement states. It goes on to say that the London-based position would conduct “patent drafting” and “global prosecution” for its patents and that the individual would have and “significant responsibility for creating and exploiting commercially valuable IP assets.” Wright, who is best known for declaring himself (without evidence) to be bitcoin’s pseudonymous creator Satoshi Nakamoto, is also a strenuous collector of patents related to the technology. A Reuters report two years ago first connected Wright with a company called EITC Holdings Ltd (which later became nChain), and through which he had filed over 50 patent applications in the U.K. related to blockchain technology. Earlier this month Jimmy Nguyen, chairman of nChain’s strategic advisory board, announced that the firm had filed 666 patent applications. Data provided by the UK Intellectual Property Office shows that EITC has submitted a range of patent applications focused on the technology in recent years, including ones for “implementing logic gate functionality using a blockchain,” an “operating system for blockchain IOT devices” and “methods and systems for the efficient transfer of entities on a peer-to-peer distributed ledger.” The explosion of R&D related to blockchain potentially creates an environment where “Non-Practising Entities (NPEs),” sometimes referred to as “patent trolls,” can thrive simply by seeking and enforcing patent rights. Patent disputes have been described as the sport of kings: expensive and to be avoided. A good example of this was last decade’s smartphone patent wars. There have been no reports of nChain or Craig Wright becoming involved in patent disputes, but it’s clearly part of the job description, which asks for: “The ability to undertake patent drafting, global prosecution, and European opposition matters.” nChain did not respond to requests for comment by press time. Craig Wright image: BBC

Report: Prosecutors Drop Appeal Against Mt. Gox CEO’s Embezzlement Acquittal

Report: Prosecutors Drop Appeal Against Mt. Gox CEO’s Embezzlement Acquittal

Japanese prosecutors have reportedly dropped their appeal to the acquittal of former Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles, The Mainichi reports on March 29. On March 15, the CEO of the now defunct Mt. Gox cryptocurrency exchange was acquitted of charges of embezzlement, but was found guilty of tampering with financial records. According to The Mainichi, prosecutors had initially sought to appeal the acquittal on embezzlement charges, but subsequently decided to let the decision stand. Karpeles was reportedly accused of taking 341 million yen ($3 million) of customers’ money in Mt. Gox accounts and spending it on a software developer and personal extravagances such as a canopy bed. While being acquitted of the aforementioned alleged embezzlement, the Tokyo District Court found Karpeles guilty of mixing his personal finances with those of the exchange in order to conceal the platform’s losses to hackers. He received a two and a half years jail sentence, which he will not have to serve unless he commits another offence within four years. Citing sources familiar with the matter, The Mainichi reports that Karpeles’ lawyers, in their turn, are contemplating whether to appeal the charges of tampering with financial records. Mt. Gox was based in Tokyo and had been providing about 70 percent of Bitcoin (BTC) transactions worldwide before suffering a major cyber attack, which led to its bankruptcy. In 2011, the price of Bitcoin on the Mt. Gox exchange dropped to a record low of one cent due to a security breach. The subsequent collapse of the exchange in early 2014 reportedly led to the loss of 850,000 BTC, valued at roughly $460 million at the time ($3.43 billion at press time). Last week, Nobuaki Kobayashi, Mt. Gox’s trustee, announced that he has finished processing creditors rehabilitation claims and that they will be notified of the results within a few days. Over 24,000 creditors are thought to have been affected by the collapse of the exchange.

IOHK Founder Charles Hoskinson Says Crypto Industry Needs More Interoperability

IOHK Founder Charles Hoskinson Says Crypto Industry Needs More Interoperability

Charles Hoskinson, a founder of IOHK, the firm that developed cryptocurrency Cardano (ADA), said that the cryptocurrency industry needs a “WiFi or Bluetooth moment” in an interview with media outlet Cheddar on March 28. Speaking about the status of the cryptocurrency industry, Hoskinson said that it needs specific standards that will facilitate the development of more interoperability. Per Hoskinson, it will allow communication and information to be traded in an easier way among both digital currency and traditional financial institutions. Hoskinson argued: “What we are seeing is a collection of standards being created [that] will inevitably converge over the next three to five years to create a situation where you can move information and value between all these different systems ー not just Bitcoin to Litecoin to Ethereum to Cardano ー but also your regular bank account.” Hoskinson said that “what we are looking for is the WiFi or Bluetooth moment of our industry. We haven’t quite gotten there yet.” Standard-setting organizations have been expanding and gaining traction recently. Last month, The Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA) — an Ethereum blockchain standards-setting organization with over 500 members — confirmed it will launch a “token task force” in 2019. The group will reportedly focus on the issue of interoperability between different blockchains, as well as contribute to entreprise tokenization and build public confidence in crypto. That same month, the EEA opened a regional office in China, wherein Weijia Zhang, vice president of engineering at blockchain interoperability startup Wanchain, was appointed as the head for the new regional office. Zhang will reportedly be responsible “for supporting the advancement and adoption of EEA’s standards by taking part in local hackathons, workshops, training sessions, and conferences.”

Canada: Ontario Town Approves Pilot Program for Paying Property Taxes With Bitcoin

Canada: Ontario Town Approves Pilot Program for Paying Property Taxes With Bitcoin

The Ontario town of Innisfil, Canada, is now running a pilot program which will enable residents to pay property taxes with cryptocurrencies. The Innisfil Council voted to approve the program on March 27. Per the CBC, Innisfil, in partnership with cryptocurrency payment processing project Coinberry Pay, will allow its residents to pay property taxes in Bitcoin (BTC), wherein the latter will convert cryptocurrency to Canadian dollars and transfer payments to the town. The initiative may reportedly extend support to other cryptocurrencies including Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ripple (XRP) at a later date. Innisfil Mayor Lynn Dollin told the CBC that the new payment pilot showed that the community prioritizes innovation. In 2017, the town of 36,000 launched a tax-subsidized ride sharing program in a partnership with Uber called Innisfil Transit. In the United States, the state of Ohio became the first to allow businesses to pay taxes using Bitcoin. Businesses are allowed to pay 23 different taxes using the crypto through an online portal that was set up by the state treasury office. While the new initiative aims to make it easier for firms to pay their taxes, only two companies reportedly took advantage of the new service last year. In February, lawmakers in the state of California introduced a bill to allow cannabis-related businesses to pay fees and taxes in stablecoins. Assembly Bill 953 would allow the state, city and county tax offices to accept cryptocurrency pegged to a physical asset or a fiat currency from cannabis-related companies seeking to pay their excise or cultivation taxes. The bill has currently been referred to committee. Earlier in March, Cointelegraph reported that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the government’s tax collection service, was reportedly auditing investors in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. The CRA was asking investors to clarify multiple points regarding their crypto investments, such how and through whom they purchased the assets and whether they use cryptocurrency mixing services or tumblers.

New Bitcoinpython Node Is 100X Faster Than Previous Python Libraries

New Bitcoinpython Node Is 100X Faster Than Previous Python Libraries

On March 27, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) fans were introduced to a new BCH full node written in the Python programming language. The project, known as Bitcoinpython, is a modern BCH library whose creator claims it to be the fastest available Python implementation with 100X the speed of its closest competitor. Also read: Menu.cash Allows Diners to Create Table-Specific Orders and Pay With BCH Bitcoinpython: A Fast Bitcoin Cash Full Node Written in Python Over the last year, there’s been an assortment of alternative BCH full node clients released using a variety of different programming languages. On Wednesday, software developer Corentin Mercier announced the launch of Bitcoinpython on Twitter and explained that it was the “fastest and easiest Python library” to date. Python is a general purpose programming language created in 1991 that’s well known for its ease of use. Mercier’s Bitcoinpython documentation explains that the Python nodes for BCH were “pretty bleak” and prior releases had unfriendly APIs and lacked a significant amount of testing and specifications. The developer revealed that he forked the Bitcoinpython code from a library that stemmed from programmer Ofek Lev and he also used Teran Mc Kinney’s Bitcash library upgrade. The Bitcoinpython documentation explains there to be five benefits to the library which includes a robust API, compliance with all BCH improvement protocols, availability for all major platforms, extensive documentation and of course speed – Mercier believes the client is 100X faster than the closest library. “Bitcoinpython is Python’s fastest Bitcoin Cash library and was designed from the beginning to feel intuitive, be effortless to use, and have a readable source code,” the project’s introductory documentation states. Alternative Clients Bring More Blockchain Compatibility The project’s code is open source and available on a Github repository, which describes what the Python written node supports. The specs detail that the node features cold storage keys, 25 different fiat currencies, exchange rate API with optional caching, deterministic signatures, optimal transaction fees, compressed public keys, and it offers standard P2PKH transactions. Bitcoinpython also provides multiple representations of private keys which include WIF, PEM, and DER Mercier also gives credit to Bjarne Magnussen for his Segwit code for BIP143 support as well. The Bitcoinpython release follows the BCH nodes written in Golang and Rust a…

Crypto Gift Cards Can Now Be Used For Reservations on Airbnb

Crypto Gift Cards Can Now Be Used For Reservations on Airbnb

Digital gift cards and mobile phone refill provider Bitrefill has added an option to make Airbnb reservations with cryptocurrency, Bitrefill announced in al tweet on March 27. Per the announcement, customers can now pay for their bookings with Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dash (DASH), Litecoin (LTC), and Dogecoin (DOGE). The card is technically a voucher product, meaning that customers purchase a U.S. dollar equivalent for Airbnb with cryptocurrencies and subsequently receive a voucher code to use on the platform. As such, Airbnb itself does not accept or handle the cryptocurrency.   Currently, the service is only available for United States residents and for stays of less than 28 days. Customers can purchase vouchers in $25, $50 and $100 increments. Bitrefill is a Sweden-based firm that provides crypto gift cards for a number of merchants including Netflix, Hulu, eBay, Amazon and others. Cryptocurrencies have been gradually entering the travel space. In February, Cointelegraph reported that Argentinian state public transport card SUBE (Sistema Único de Boleto Electrónico) can now be topped up using Bitcoin. The initiative is reportedly aimed to give people wider access to “such a revolutionary technology, as Bitcoin.” Last August, the state government of the Australian province of Queensland announced it would issue a grant to a cryptocurrency startup as part of over $8.3 million of innovation funding. The company would purportedly boost tourism to the state by selling travel offers with cryptocurrencies. Conversely, In June of last year major travel booking website Expedia.com stopped accepting Bitcoin as a payment method for hotels or flights, however the service did not comment on the cancellation either on social media or on its website at the time. Expedia first announced it would accept Bitcoin as a form of payment in June, 2014, when it teamed up with leading crypto exchange Coinbase.

Study: 14% of Major Crypto Exchanges Are Licensed by Regulators

Study: 14% of Major Crypto Exchanges Are Licensed by Regulators

Only 14 percent of 216 global crypto exchanges were confirmed as being licensed by regulators, regulatory technology (regtech) startup Coinfirm found in its crypto exchange risk report released on March 27. Coinfirm, а London-based regulatory tech firm for digital currencies and blockchain, studied 216 global cryptocurrency exchanges to outline the key risks that can be associated with each platform, as well as to assist monitors in developing necessary regulatory frameworks. The analyzed exchanges reportedly represent more than 90 percent of global crypto market activity. In the study, Coinfirm evaluated the exchanges into seven categories of risk, including license and authorization, Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance, sanctions, senior public figures, jurisdiction, and negative and adverse media. The study found that 69 percent of exchanges do not have “complete and transparent” CDD and KYC procedures, while only 26 percent introduced AML procedures such as monitoring transactions or recruiting a money laundering officer. Coinfirm also found that 40 percent of analyzed exchanges do not support fiat currencies and conduct exchanges only between cryptocurrencies. Of the remaining 60 percent that do provide fiat exchanges, only 23 percent had full KYC processes that supported both deposits and withdrawals for crypto and fiat currency transactions, the report notes. In the report, Coinfirm provided the average composite risk performance of exchanges in specific jurisdictions, with the low-risk countries including countries such as Australia, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Switzerland, and others. Among the high-risk nations, Coinfirm listed Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Iran, a number of African countries, and others. The United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, India, Saudi Arabia were assessed as medium risk. Average composite risk performance of crypto exchanges by country. Source: Coinfirm Binance exchange, the biggest crypto trading platform by daily trade volumes, was evaluated as a high-risk exchange due to a long lasting period of exposure to anonymous cryptos such as Monero (XMR) and ZCash (ZEC), the report reads. Coinfirm added that the exchange appeared to have been regularly changing jurisdictions, which infers potential regulatory arbitrage. Recently, Binance partnered with  risk management and compliance firm IdentityMind to address data security and compliance measures for Binance’s global operations by enabling IdentityMind’s KYC and AML compliance tools. Earlier today, Binance CEO…

$5 Million in MakerDAO Loans Have Been Liquidated, But Help Is on the Way

$5 Million in MakerDAO Loans Have Been Liquidated, But Help Is on the Way

There’s always a risk in taking out a loan, even more so when you make that loan on a blockchain. That fact is perhaps no better understood than by those building the programmatic lending platform MakerDAO, which, having created the first widely used U.S.-dollar stablecoin on ethereum, the DAI token, is responsible for one of the most groundbreaking decentralized finance applications to date. “The success of Maker and DAI is not only a testament to the innovation happening within the ethereum community, but also to the flexibility and utility of the ethereum platform itself,” said Brian Mosoff, CEO of Ether Capital, who announced an investment of $1 million in MakerDAO tokens two weeks ago. Indeed, it’s widely agreed DAI is becoming a needed source of financial predictability and liquidity in the ethereum economy. “It’s much simpler to hold a stablecoin. It makes the budgeting totally predictable,” explains Lane Rettig, independent core developer and volunteer project manager of ethereum. But unlike most other dollar-backed stablecoins of its kind, the value of DAI doesn’t actually come from the creators of MakerDAO, but rather users that leverage a feature called a “Collateralized Debt Position” (CDP). Users that want to generate new DAI take out a loan by using their own ether as collateral. What’s more, for the entire duration this amount of DAI is in circulation, it’s up to the users – not MakerDAO – to ensure they have sufficient reserves to back its value until the DAI is returned and an accrued fee (currently 7.5 percent) is paid. Only then is the ether held in a CDP released back to a user. It goes without saying that this comes with a considerable amount of risk to the user borrowing DAI, given that sudden drops in ether price may devalue collateral held within a CDP. Should the value of any contract fall below the minimum collateralization ratio of 1.5 ETH to DAI, the MakerDAO system will forcibly liquidate a user’s CDP and sell all staked ether automatically at a 3 percent discount to cover outstanding DAI debt – all this on top of a 13 percent liquidation penalty. To date, software engineer for ethereum research and development startup Decenter Nenad Palinkasevic tells CoinDesk roughly 37,000 ETH – over $5 million –  has been lost due to…

Cannabis, Cryptocurrency and Compliance: One Man’s Quest to Support Unbanked Businesses

Cannabis, Cryptocurrency and Compliance: One Man’s Quest to Support Unbanked Businesses

Ernesto Huerto is the very embodiment of Bitcoin. As the operator of Crypto Space, a physical bitcoin exchange in Los Angeles’ San Pedro neighborhood, Huerto knows more than most about the challenges of running a cryptocurrency business while maintaining banking access and compliance. In a wide-ranging interview, the Crypto Space owner has disclosed the realities of straddling the line that separates centralized and decentralized finance, and the underhand tactics big banks deploy to crush crypto startups. Also read: Japan Approves 2 New Crypto Exchanges – 140 More Interested ‘If JP Morgan Chase Is Listening I’d Like My $100,000 Back’ Ernesto Huerto faces a twin challenge upon awakening each morning: keeping his own business afloat, while doing the same for his clients. It’s not that business is bad – in fact, Crypto Space is booming. Rather, the realities of operating in the cryptocurrency industry mean Huerto is constantly at risk of having the rug pulled from under his feet by the banks. His clients, many of whom operate in the marijuana industry, face the same challenge. Crypto Space is thriving thanks to a series of crypto ATMs installed in multiple locations, and Huerto has found a niche in aiding businesses specializing in medical marijuana and money transmission – all performed legally and by the book. Crypto SpaceOn this week’s Humans of Bitcoin podcast, Huerto tells host Matt Aaron about the struggles he faces in the day-to-day running of Crypto Space, but explains why he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else. The brick and mortar premises, Huerto recounts, “is more like a crypto bank, a place where you can get instant settlement and where we solve people’s problems. They can buy large amounts of crypto and have zero slippage and instant transactions.” The physical lounge forms a laid back spot for like-minded souls to hang out, drink beer and talk about bitcoin and trade cryptocurrencies such as BCH and BTC. But there’s also serious business to be done. In addition to the legal marijuana industry, notes podcast host Matt Aaron, “there are many industries that don’t have bank accounts. Ernesto is building trust in an industry that needs trusts because it’s confusing, and there’s a lot of scams, but he’s thriving because he’s solving the problem…

Road to Consensus: Painless Payments and the Limits of Blockchain

Road to Consensus: Painless Payments and the Limits of Blockchain

We’re talking to experts in the crypto and blockchain space about the future of the industry. You’ll hear from economists, entrepreneurs, developers, and other speakers from Consensus events. Flexa co-founder Tyler Spalding joins host Nolan Bauerle to discuss why vendors should love blockchain payments, even if customers haven’t jumped on board. Register for Consensus at Consensus2019.com Flexa can be found on Twitter at @FlexaHQ Road to Consensus is a production of CoinDesk.