PR: The North American Bitcoin Conference Set to Heat up Miami

PR: The North American Bitcoin Conference Set to Heat up Miami

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release. The North American Bitcoin Conference returns to Miami for its seventh installment. On the 17th and 18th of January, 2019, the entire Bitcoin and blockchain community will converge in Miami for a historical conference aimed at driving cryptocurrency from niche to mainstream. Now in its seventh year, The North American Bitcoin Conference is the longest running and most attended finance conference for the Bitcoin, blockchain and cryptocurrency industries with over 4500 attendees in 2018. Additionally, a key focus of the 2019 conference will be a dedicated Security Tokens track, unpacking the new and exciting world of securities and blockchain technology. Building on the recent successes of conferences this year in Miami, London, New York and Dubai, The 7th Annual North American Bitcoin Conference, as a part of the World Blockchain Forum, will return to sunny Miami with a lineup of over 60 world-class presenters, including technology veterans, and founders of companies which have collectively raised over $18.1 billion in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Past events have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, Fortune.com, Bloomberg, and other mainstream media outlets. The two-day conference will have new things in store for attendees to bring them added value on top of the already stacked speaker and sponsor lineup. As well as brand new Lightning Networking sessions, creative installments and a second track dedicated to digital security tokens, the event will still maintain the focus on investments, successful past and future ICOs, legal implications and regulations, and how decentralization is disrupting not only the banking industry. The first speakers have been announced and include:David Chaum, Inventor of Digital CashDr. Patrick Byrne, Founder of Overstock.com and t0Halsey Minor, Founder of CNETVeronica McGregor, Head of Legal at Shapeshift.ioMatthew Roszak, Co-Founder, BloqCharlie Shrem, Bitcoin pioneerMaja Vujinoc, CEO at OGroupCraig Sellars, Co-Founder, TetherJason King, Co-Founder, AcademyBruce Fenton, President of Atlantic FinancialEpperly Li, Investment Director at BitmainMarco Santori, President of Blockchain.comAndrew Filipowski, Chairman at Tally CapitalSang Lee, President & CEO, DarcmatterAlexa Hefti, Blockchain…

China’s Central Bank Extends Its Regulatory Scrutiny to Crypto ‘Airdrops’

China’s Central Bank Extends Its Regulatory Scrutiny to Crypto ‘Airdrops’

China’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), has widened its scrutiny to include token airdrops, which it characterized as “disguised” Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in its 2018 financial stability report, published Nov. 2. Using by now familiar rhetoric, the report reiterates the bank’s stringently anti-ICO and crypto trading stance, defining the former as “illegal” fundraising, and pointing to the widespread risks of financial fraud and pyramid schemes. Signalling a new area of focus, the report warns that so-called “airdrops” are evading regulation around the public token sale model by issuing free assets to investors. According to the report, airdrops earmark a token reserve and then capitalizing on speculation in the market to inflate the assets’ value and drive their own profits. The bank warns that such initiatives continue to rise in number, despite vigorous attempts to crack down on crypto token issuance in the country, and calls for “early detection” and redoubled vigilance on the part of regulators, alluding to the need for international cooperation to better protect investors. The rest of the document reiterates concerns about crypto companies relocating overseas and using foreign “agents” to invest on behalf of domestic clients in mainland China, as well as warning against fraudulent whitepapers and crypto investment projects masquerading as “blockchain innovation.” The report further refers to suspected market manipulation and violation of anti-money laundering (AML) systems in the crypto sector – warning of the negative societal impact that cryptocurrencies pose due to their use to evade capital controls, international sanctions, and to finance terrorism. According to the bank, as of July 18, 2017 – before China’s ICO ban kicked in – 65 ICOs were completed in China, of which only 5 were launched prior to 2017. During this time frame, the total number of participants in ICOs exceeded 105,000, with cumulative funding hitting around 2.6 billion yuan (about $375.4 million). This, the PBoC states, accounted for 20 percent of ICO financing globally. In addition to its toughened rhetoric and new focus on token airdrops, the bank’s report gives a historical overview of the PBoC’s interventions to date. This spans the bank’s 2013  ‘Notice on Precautions Against the Risks of Bitcoin’ – which defined Bitcoin (BTC) as a virtual commodity that is not recognized as…

Firm Owned by India’s Richest Man Turns to Blockchain for Trade Finance

Firm Owned by India’s Richest Man Turns to Blockchain for Trade Finance

Oil and gas conglomerate Reliance Industries – owned by India’s richest person, Mukesh Ambani – has used blockchain to conduct its first trade finance transaction. According to a news release from HSBC India shared with CoinDesk on Sunday, Reliance Industries has recently executed a “live” blockchain-powered trade finance transaction in collaboration with US-based global chemical distributor Tricon Energy. The end-to-end transaction was facilitated by banking majors HSBC India and ING Bank, Brussels, and carried out on enterprise consortium R3’s Corda blockchain platform, the release adds. The Corda platform was integrated with a platform provided by U.K.-based trade finance digitization firm Bolero International, and was used to issue and manage an electronic bill of lading. Using the blockchain platform, a letter of credit was issued by ING Bank for Tricon Energy USA (the importer) with HSBC India as the advising and negotiating bank for Reliance Industries, India (the exporter), the release explains. A letter of credit is a bank guarantee for a buyer’s payment to a seller. HSBC India’s head for global banking & markets, Hitendra Dave, said: “The use of blockchain is a significant step towards digitising trade. The overall efficiency it brings to trade finance ensures cost effectiveness, quicker turnaround and potentially unlocks liquidity for businesses.” Currently, importers and exporters use paper-based letters of credit to underpin transactions, with each party sending documents either by post or fax. This manual process not only slows the pace of trade, but also increases the costs. The blockchain-powered trade finance platform, on the other hand, is aimed to digitize that process, thereby saving time and cost. “The use of blockchain offers significant potential to reduce the timelines involved in exchange of export documentation from the extant 7 to 10 days to less than a day,” said Srikanth Venkatachari, joint chief financial officer at Reliance Industries. Mukesh Ambani image via World Economic Forum/Wikimedia 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.

No, Bitcoin Isn’t Secretly Messing with the Mid-Term Elections

No, Bitcoin Isn’t Secretly Messing with the Mid-Term Elections

Brian Forde most recently ran for U.S. Congress in California’s 45th district and was the founding Director of the Digital Currency Initiative at MIT. Previously, he was a Senior Tech Advisor in the Obama White House. On the eve of the most important election of our time, we’ve seen what misinformation gets us. Fear of the unknown, fear of change. In these times, we need to be vigilant about how we examine what’s new or different. Hundreds of articles have been written about campaign contributions made with cryptocurrencies — and all too often they get it wrong. Many of these articles are riddled with factual errors, but more distressingly engender fear of something new based on a deep misunderstanding. I know because, during my recent run for Congress, approximately $300,000 of my campaign contributions were donated in cryptocurrency. I wasn’t a fringe candidate who rails against the government. I was a Senior Tech Advisor in President Obama’s White House who wrote the White House memo on Bitcoin and briefed the president on the technology. After leaving the White House, I started the research lab on cryptocurrencies at MIT to help the world better understand this emerging technology and its global impact – and that’s what I seek to do in this article. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions: First, it’s important to understand the scope of campaign contributions made with cryptocurrencies. One article claimed that U.S. Congressional candidates have raised $550,000 in cryptocurrencies since 2014. To put that figure in perspective, the amount is equal to 0.032 percent of the more than $1.7 billion that’s been raised by candidates since the 2014 election cycle.While the amount donated in cryptocurrency is a fraction of one-tenth of a percent of total contributions, the author claims that the scope and threat are large because virtual currencies are used by more than 3 billion people. No, nearly 40 percent of the world’s population does not use cryptocurrencies.The words virtual currencies, virtual money and cryptocurrencies are incorrectly used interchangeably. As a result, we end up with wildly inaccurate information being given in U.S. Congressional hearings and parroted in articles.Virtual currencies are the most expansive name and include products such as airline miles and Starbucks cards. Star Alliance points are…

Ethereum Energy Project Now Powers 700 Households in 10 Cities

Ethereum Energy Project Now Powers 700 Households in 10 Cities

A little-known ethereum project called Lition is quietly helping real German citizens find cheaper energy. Launched earlier this year, Lition is already a licensed energy supplier in Germany with clients in 12 major cities (including Berlin, Hamburg and Munich) who are now using its decentralized energy market. Built on top of the ethereum blockchain, the Lition market connects consumers directly with energy producers big and small. In total, more than 700 households across Germany are now using the decentralized platform to buy their energy, according to the company. In short, Lition is trying to change how global energy works with a concept very familiar to blockchain enthusiasts: “bypassing unnecessary middlemen,” saving its users money on energy. In the case of the households, an energy supplier sells the solar or electric energy (or whatever type they’ve produced) to an intermediary, often a giant, multinational company. Customers then buy energy from that intermediary. The problem is, in the eyes of Lition CEO Richard Lohwasser, these multinational intermediaries have too much influence and don’t give users enough choice in what type of energy they can buy. So, Lition’s solution is to cut them out completely. “Our energy exchange connects customers and producers directly. Producers put their energy on the exchange and then customers can buy it,” he told CoinDesk, adding: “Usually buying directly from producers is limited to energy suppliers that are big corporations. We’re bringing the exchange to the consumer, so consumers can pay for the energy they want.” Cutting out the giants Slicing out the middlemen also cuts costs – and not by a minuscule amount either. According to Lition, this saves customers an average of 20 percent on their utility bills, and increases power plant revenue by up to 30 percent. That’s even though Lition has a strong emphasis on “green energy,” which while better for the environment, is often more expensive. As the app demo shows, Lition users can choose from the categories of wind, solar or biomass, then choose which provider they like the best (which, Lohwasser said is usually just the cheapest option). Once a user finds the energy they want to buy, they make a payment in euros to Lition. Behind the scenes, an ethereum smart contract detects this payment and…

PBoC Looks to Tackle Airdrop Tokens Market in New Clampdown

PBoC Looks to Tackle Airdrop Tokens Market in New Clampdown

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, is looking to clamp down on airdrops – free distributions of crypto tokens. In its financial stability report for 2018, released on Friday, the PBoC said that “disguised” initial coin offerings (ICOs) including airdrops continue to grow in number, despite its previous efforts at cracking down on sales of tokens. For instance, it said, some crypto firms are moving their projects overseas and using agents to invest on behalf of investors from China. Other projects are not issuing tokens in public to directly raise funds, but are rather giving away free tokens while reserving a part of the total supply. These firms then try to use speculation in the secondary market to jack up these tokens’ prices in order to reap profits, the bank added. Giving the statistics, the bank said, there were 65 completed ICOs in China up until July 18, 2017, only five of which were completed prior to 2017. Further, it adds, over 105,000 people participated in the sales, providing total funding of about 2.6 billion yuan ($377.3 million), accounting for more than 20 percent of the sum raised globally in the same period. The central bank said that it needs to remain highly vigilant and to coordinate with other agencies to monitor the crypto industry in order to educate and protect investors. The PBoC has been taking measures against to block token fundraising since September 2017, when it outright banned ICOs. In June of this year, a vice governor of the PBoC issued strong statements against “disguised” ICOs and restated that crypto asset trading is illegal in the country. Then, in August, the China National Internet Finance Association (NIFA), a self-regulatory organization founded by the PBoC, added a “token sales” category to its platform so that public can report on potentially illegal ICOs. PBoC 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.

Miners Have Begun Using Asicboost on the Bitcoin Cash Network

Miners Have Begun Using Asicboost on the Bitcoin Cash Network

Technology & Security On Oct. 22, Bitmain released new firmware for the company’s Antminer mining rigs that enables the use of an optimization known as (overt) version-rolling Asicboost. Since then, Bitcoin Cash mining pools have been using the protocol and 63 Asicboost blocks were mined last week on the network. Also read: Developers Launch BDIP: A Bitcoin Cash Proposal Process for Decentralized Apps Six BCH Pools Are Mining Bitcoin Cash With Overt Asicboost Technology The Asicboost optimization has been steadily making its way into the mining industry and now the protocol is being used on the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) chain. So far six mining pools are using the version-rolling Asicboost technology to mine BCH blocks. The operations currently using Asicboost on the BCH chain comprise Antpool, BTC.com, Okminer, Prohashing, Viabtc, and an unknown pool. According to the data website Asicboost.dance, since the Oct. 22 firmware release, both BTC and BCH blocks have seen a significant spike in Asicboost usage. The creator of the data website has built another portal called Cash.asicboost.dance, which measures the metrics of Asicboost used on the BCH network. The use of Asicboost technology on the Bitcoin Cash network covers over 6% of the global hashrate. Asicboost was once controversial because some individuals assumed the technology was being used covertly. Now that mining operations are overtly using the technology, a slew of mining pools have adopted the protocol in order to improve efficiency. This is because Asicboost can speed up the mining process by a factor of approximately 20 percent by reducing the gate count on mining chips. Essentially, the protocol is also applicable to all types of ASIC chips according to the whitepaper written by Dr. Timo Hanke. Initially, the use of Asicboost had occurred solely on the BTC chain and last week there were 111 version-rolled blocked mined on the BTC network. This accounts for 11 percent of the BTC hashrate and 5.87 exahash per sec (EH/s). Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network hashrate (5.1 EH/s) and Bitcoin Core (BTC) network hashrate (41.4 EH/s) on Nov. 4, 2018. Asicboost Accounts for Over 6% of Total Hashrate Bitcoin Cash miners are slowly starting to increase usage of the protocol and last week there were 63 version-rolled Asicboost blocks mined on the BCH chain according to…

Taiwan Passes Law to Crack Down on Anonymous Crypto Transactions

Taiwan Passes Law to Crack Down on Anonymous Crypto Transactions

Regulation The Taiwanese government has amended its laws that regulate cryptocurrency transactions. The revisions reportedly give the country’s Financial Supervisory Commission “the authority to crack down on anonymous virtual currency transactions.” Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space Amendments Passed The Legislative Yuan, Taiwan’s highest legislative body, on Friday passed some amendments to existing laws aimed at regulating cryptocurrency transactions in the country, Focus Taiwan reported. The publication wrote: The amendments to the Money Laundering Control Act and the Terrorism Financing Prevention Act give Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) the authority to crack down on anonymous virtual currency transactions. In particular, “The FSC can now demand that operators of virtual currency platforms, including bitcoin, implement ‘real-name systems’ that require users to register their real names, according to the new provisions,” the news outlet detailed. Banks can now reject crypto exchanges’ transactions that are anonymous; they also have an obligation to report any suspicious transactions to the FSC, the publication added. According to the amended provisions, non-financial enterprises that violate money laundering rules will be fined more than 50,000 yuan ($7,256) but less than 1 million yuan. In contrast, financial institutions in violation of the rules will be fined more than 500,000 yuan but less than 10 million yuan, Ettoday reported. Taiwan’s Real-Name System Bitoex, a crypto exchange which claims to have 80 percent market share in Taiwan and 300,000 members, told news.Bitcoin.com that the exchange “has implemented the real-name system as of July 2018.” In addition, its international exchange, Bitopro, which launched early this year “also follows the real-name system when it involves fiat money deposits and withdrawals,” a representative of Bitoex elaborated, clarifying: Identities and bank verifications are required before purchasing BTC or other cryptocurrencies with New Taiwanese dollars (NTD). However, the representative noted that “Trading cryptocurrencies could be operated anonymously” if no fiat currency is involved. “For only cryptocurrency transactions such as receiving/transmitting or selling/trading cryptocurrencies, it is not mandatory to submit personal information to the real-name system.” Bitoex offers three account levels. Level C requires only an email and a phone number to open an account. Level B needs an ID card, a passport, or a foreign resident card for verification. Level A requires personal bank account information. The exchange also sells…

Four IDEX Alternatives That Don’t Require KYC

Four IDEX Alternatives That Don’t Require KYC

Exchanges One of the main selling points of decentralized exchanges (DEXs) is that tokens can be traded almost instantly. There’s no lengthy sign-up process and no interminable wait for know your customer (KYC) checks to be performed. But then IDEX, the leading Ethereum DEX, announced that it would be emulating centralized exchanges by introducing KYC. Thankfully, there are still plenty of DEXs that don’t follow this model and have no intention of doing so. Also read: Review: A Side-by-Side Comparison of Decentralized Exchanges Ethfinex Trustless Trustless stands primely positioned to fill the void left by IDEX’s departure from the permissionless trading game. The exchange benefits from the liquidity provided by Ethfinex and Bitfinex, facilitating the trading of ERC20 tokens without the need to undergo KYC. News.Bitcoin.com spoke to Ethfinex project lead Will Harborne to determine whether the company’s Trustless DEX may be forced to go down the same route as IDEX and begin verifying traders. “We will do everything within our power not to introduce KYC on Ethfinex Trustless now or ever,” he explained. “I believe Open Access is one of the core innovations of this space, and what makes cryptocurrencies so powerful, and as an exchange is something we have a duty to protect.” He also pointed out that users of decentralized exchanges already undergo a greater degree of scrutiny than their centralized counterparts, pointing out that “using Ethfinex Trustless, it is genuinely impossible to successfully obscure the source of a person’s funds: every transaction is visible and recorded forever on the blockchain. The trail of funds is linked, and unbroken, from the user’s Ethereum address at the time of acquisition of funds, to final disposal.” Openledger DEX Openledger DEX Openledger’s DEX is a little different in that it isn’t Ethereum-based – instead it’s built around Bitshares. This yields a number of benefits, including the ability to trade assets like BTC and EOS, which are paired with the bitshares token, in a decentralized fashion. Like Ethfinex Trustless, Openledger DEX has some way to go before it can reach IDEX’s trading volume, but it’s got a number of attributes in its favor. In addition to boasting a clean and intuitive trading platform, the exchange benefits from a range of stablecoins developed by Openledger that are…

Turkish Police Arrest 11 Suspects in Alleged Hack of Cryptocurrency Wallet Accounts

Turkish Police Arrest 11 Suspects in Alleged Hack of Cryptocurrency Wallet Accounts

The Cybercrime Department of the Turkish National Police has arrested 11 suspects in an alleged hack of crypto accounts, with victims reporting more than $80,000 in losses, major Turkish newspaper Hürriyet reported Friday, Nov. 2. According to the article, 14 individuals have reported to local prosecution authorities that their crypto wallets were hacked with their Bitcoin (BTC) transferred to other wallets. Following the complaints, the Istanbul police launched an investigation against a group of hackers that had allegedly compromised users’ emails, crypto wallets’ accounts data, and passwords. On Oct. 26, cybercrime unit agents detained 11 people in multiple locations in Istanbul as a result of joint raids with special operations department Harekat police. Ten suspects were taken into custody, with one of them reportedly released on the condition of then remaining under further “judicial control.” Police have also seized from the alleged hackers two fake identity cards, as well as a number of devices allegedly used in the hacks such as 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, 22 memory sticks, and other items. According to Turkish prosecutors, the amount of stolen Bitcoin is worth around 437,000 Turkish lira, or more than $80,000. The group of attackers allegedly moved the stolen crypto to multiple accounts in an attempt to cover their tracks before subsequently selling it for fiat. During the investigation, the cybercrime unit identified some suspects by tracking new SIM card numbers registered to crypto exchange accounts by the hackers. Police agents also tracked the suspects who tried to withdraw the stolen assets from ATMs and banks based on records by multiple security cameras. The article says that the investigation is ongoing, with policemen looking for more victims of the hackers. In August this year, Cointelegraph reported on the Turkish lira’s collapse, triggering more interest by the Turkish people in buying decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). The lira dropped by 50 percent against the U.S. dollar by August 2018, seeing the all-time lows due to geopolitical factors. On Aug. 22, police in California detained an alleged hacker who stole Bitcoin worth more than $1 million by hijacking cellphones. The attacker, Xzavyer Narvaez, reportedly used the “SIM swapping” method, also known as a “port out scam,” to steal crypto from victims’ devices. In October, Vice Media-backed…