Crypto News From Asia: Sept. 9–15

Crypto News From Asia: Sept. 9–15

In this week’s selected cryptocurrency- and blockchain-related news from Cointelegraph Japan, government and industry officials secured important appointments, while new data shows the popularity of cryptocurrencies and their favored uses in Japan and China.  Expert: Bitcoin is most commonly used for remittances in China On Sept. 11, Cointelegraph Japan reported that Sunny Wang, Japan’s representative of Chinese cryptocurrency fund Longmen Capital, said that the most common application of Bitcoin (BTC) in China is for international remittances. Wang said it is easier and cheaper to conduct remittances with Bitcoin, adding that cryptocurrencies have broken a barrier normally guarded by banks and traditional financial institutions.  He also noted that the United States–China trade war and depreciating renminbi has been a net positive for Bitcoin adoption, as investors look to find a safe haven in the volatile economic climate.  Crypto-positive finance minister retains his post Japanese Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Taro Aso will continue to serve in his current role. Following a cabinet reshuffle on Sept. 11, the Japanese government announced that Aso would continue to lead the Finance Ministry and the country’s financial watchdog organization, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).  Aso has previously been praised in the media as one of the more open-minded ministers in the G7 in regard to cryptocurrency. The minister has stressed that regulators need to take swift action in responding to the Libra stablecoin proposed by Facebook. Libra is an alarm clock, says Japanese FSB committee chairman Ryozo Himino, the International Financial Deputy Counselor and the first Japanese Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Financial Stability Board recently attended a roundtable on Facebook’s Libra project. At the meeting, which was held by the FSA, Himino said that Libra has served as a metaphorical alarm clock that has awakened central banks and regulators to the possible effects of cryptocurrencies.  Japan: yen-equivalent of Bitcoin holdings exceeds XRP Recent data from the JVCEA (Japan Virtual Currency Exchange Association) shows that the yen-equivalent of Bitcoin holdings in Japan have outstripped those of Ripple’s XRP token since April. However, the number of XRP owned is increasing as the altcoin bear market continues. XRP is currently promoting partnerships with major American remittance companies. JVCEA states that MonaCoin (MONA) is the third most popular coin in…

Hodl Hodl Wants You to Clone Its Bitcoin Exchange

Hodl Hodl Wants You to Clone Its Bitcoin Exchange

Hodl Hodl plans to make its software freely available so anyone can launch their own version of the peer-to-peer bitcoin exchange. Announced Saturday at the Baltic Honeybadger conference in Riga, Latvia, the plan is, in part, a recognition that Hodl Hodl’s business model is vulnerable to regulatory crackdowns. “History teaches us that if a government wants to shut you down, it will,” Hodl Hodl CEO Max Keidun told CoinDesk. Open-sourcing the code for its smart contracts, which Hodl Hodl intends to do sometime next year, is a way to deal with the threat, Keidun said, explaining: “Let’s imagine, our domain gets blocked — some activist would be able to just take the code from Github, fork it and launch something new.” Already, people in Africa, Asia and Latin America have reached out to the company, asking about such an opportunity, he said. “Peer-to-peer is something emerging markets, in particular, are interested in.” Rare breed Hodl Hodl is a rare animal in the 2019 crypto world: as a matter of principle, it focuses on bitcoin (the only cryptocurrency that the company’s founders trust), it doesn’t do know-your-customer (KYC) checks and it has no plan to start. Why not? “Because we don’t like three-letter abbreviations,” Hodl Hodl’s CTO, Roman Snitko, joked in a slide for his presentation to the Riga conference. In all seriousness, Hodl Hodl is averse to holding the sensitive personal information that financial institutions are mandated to collect from customers under global anti-money-laundering (AML) regulations. “We think KYC/AML does more harm by exposing law-abiding users to fraudsters and criminals,” Snitko told CoinDesk. “The information and documents users upload to exchanges has been stolen many times in the past. It also does very little to prevent actual money laundering and criminals from using those services. They always find ways.” Yet regulators across the globe are tightening the screws on the industry to identify the parties to transactions. Most notably, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an intergovernmental body, has directed its member countries to make exchanges collect and store information about who their customers trade with. Winds of change Hodl Hodl’s founders believe they don’t have to identify customers because the exchange never takes custody of users’ funds. Rather, it lists offers to buy or sell…

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

At Least 19 Central Banks Give Way to Monetary Easing As Economy Slows

In a coordinated fashion, more than 18 central banks worldwide have or plan to cut interest rates, sparking a domino effect of monetary easing. It’s been 10 years since the world has seen central planners orchestrate such harmonization in an attempt to save the economy from a deep recession. Also Read: Money and Democracy: Why You Never Get to Vote on the Most Important Part of Society A Large Number of Central Banks Slash Interest Rates Economists have been saying for a while now that the global economy is headed for a severe wakeup call that could be worse than 2008’s financial crisis. The news started heating up at the beginning of 2019 and more than half of U.S. economists from the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) said they believe an economic downturn is coming by 2020. Financial forecasters think in the midst of a macroeconomic storm from elections, trade wars between the U.S. and China, and a no-deal Brexit that it’s only a matter of time. Tumultuous geopolitical events have caused the world’s central banks to awaken from their slumber and start slashing interest rates. As the end of the year draws near, many central banks have started a rate cut frenzy. Usually, when the economy is consistent and considered ‘strong,’ central banks keep interest rates higher. On the other hand, when the economy doesn’t look so hot, central banks cut rates so smaller financial institutions can borrow at a better rate. The concept is derived from Keynesian economics, the economic theory of total spending in order to stave off inflation. The goal of interest rate cuts is so the smaller hive of banks below the central banks can give the savings from better rates to consumers. However, instead of trickling down to the people, the excesses usually stay with the wealthy. While keeping the hard assets to themselves, the banking cartel also starts to lend at an alarming rate. They don’t care if individuals and organizations don’t pay up and they know they will have to deal with delinquencies and foreclosures. At the end of the day, all those issues just give the bankers another way to pillage hard assets like homes, land, boats, cars, and anything people can’t afford. Unfortunately, this…

XRP Fork Unlikely to Succeed, Ripple Continues to Face Angry Investors

XRP Fork Unlikely to Succeed, Ripple Continues to Face Angry Investors

The threat of an XRP fork is looming over Ripple, the San Francisco-headquartered startup behind the third-largest asset on the cryptocurrency market.  Twitter user @Crypto_Bitlord, who has over 100,000 followers and claims to own XRP, is rallying XRP investors disappointed with the token’s performance to split from the original ledger due to Ripple’s alleged XRP dumping. The plan follows a moderately popular Change.org petition submitted by the same Twitter persona titled “Stop Ripple Dumping,” which has amassed more than 3,500 signatures over the last four weeks.  Crypto Bitlord’s comment to Cointelegraph shows that his plan largely appears to be a trolling scheme and has yet to take a concrete form. Nevertheless, there are other angered XRP investors out there, and they are taking Ripple to court. XRP dumps: Not necessarily the main factor behind the token’s performance, but one that has enraged some investors The situation started to escalate in early August, when Crypto Bitlord penned the Change.org petition. “The only logical explanation is that Ripple are dumping on us. And not small amounts either. Literally billions,” he wrote, addressing the potential reason behind the XRP’s lackluster performance in 2019. The token has shed more than 20% of its value this year, while eight of the other 10 largest coins are enjoying moderate or — in the case of Bitcoin (BTC) — major gains. Ripple’s quarterly reports confirm that the company has been selling high amounts of XRP tokens to both fund its operations and invest in various firms that have the potential to stimulate the XRP ecosystem’s growth. Most recently, the company has tapped PNC, the United States’ eighth-largest bank, for its blockchain-powered cross-border payments solution, xCurrent. Currently, RippleNet — the wider global payments network formed by Ripple — has over 200 members, namely banks and payment providers. Related: PNC Bank Using Ripple XCurrent — Is Interest in Blockchain Rising? Ripple is estimated to own about 60 billion of the 100 billion XRP created (the entire token supply, which has been fully premined). At this point, just under 43 billion XRP are in circulation, as Ripple has been releasing 1 billion tokens from its escrow service each month. The company has reportedly locked up a total of 55 billion XRP in a series of…

Crypto News From Brazil: Sept. 9–15 in Review

Crypto News From Brazil: Sept. 9–15 in Review

Brazil has seen another tumultuous week in the cryptocurrency industry. Several courts are going after crypto companies accused of being pyramid schemes, the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) stated that crypto exchanges need authorization from local authorities, while a former Brazilan soccer star has become an ambassador for a newly launched cryptocurrency.  Here is the past week of crypto and blockchain news in review, as originally reported by Cointelegraph Brasil. Rio de Janeiro court orders Unick Forex to pay $28,500 to client A court in Rio de Janeiro has ordered supposed investment scheme Unick Forex to pay $28,500 to a client who filed a lawsuit against the company for a delay in platform withdrawals and moral damages. According to the article, the presiding judge granted a default judgment, which means Unick Forex, an alleged Bitcoin (BTC) pyramid scheme, did not show up in court to defend its case. São Paulo State Court of Justice in search of virtual assets of alleged pyramid scheme The State Court of Justice in Sao Paulo has made a block request to several Bitcoin trading companies such as Bitcoin Market and Atlas Quantum. The courts are in search of virtual assets that belong to Miner, which is considered to be another financial pyramid scheme. The judicial block was requested by a customer who was unable to retrieve his funds from the Miner platform, which is accused of operating a fraudulent scheme that claimed to invest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies promising very high returns.  Financial regulator says crypto platforms need authorization from municipalities On Sept. 10, the CVM stated that companies or individuals who raise funds from third parties for investment in cryptocurrencies need authorization from local municipalities. The CVM added that, although Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies do not have a defined status in the country, crypto investments “can be understood as securities and, as such, require an opinion from the local authority, even if the investment offer is ‘crypto-to-crypto’.” Former Brazilian soccer player Roberto Carlos promotes casino cryptocurrency Former soccer player Roberto Carlos emerged this week as an ambassador for the new casino cryptocurrency LUCK from online gambling company LUCKY.io. The soccer star visited Malta to promote the newly launched  cryptocurrency. The five-time world champion said: “Blockchain games are a…

Libra Confident, France Angry, Domino’s BTC Prize: Hodler’s Digest, Sept. 9–15

Libra Confident, France Angry, Domino’s BTC Prize: Hodler’s Digest, Sept. 9–15

Top Stories This Week Facebook’s crypto launching in H2 2020, says Libra Association chief The head of the not-for-profit driving Facebook’s Libra digital currency has said he is confident that seemingly endless regulatory difficulties can be ironed out — paving the way for the token to launch in the second half of 2020. Bertrand Perez’s comments came on Thursday — the same day French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire warned “we cannot authorize the development of Libra on European soil.” He fears that the stablecoin puts monetary sovereignty of European Union nations at risk, with American lawmakers equally concerned that Libra could undermine the U.S. dollar. Another bone of contention lies in how the Libra Association is set to be headquartered in Switzerland. This prompted the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority to stress it is open to international cooperation and oversight regarding how it regulates the network. EU needs own digital “EuroCoin” to compete with Libra, says France Assurances from the Libra Association and Swiss regulators seemed to do little to placate Le Maire. By Friday, the minister was urging his European counterparts to consider its own “public digital currency” that could challenge Libra. More detailed discussions on this idea are set to take place next month — but a lack of dog pictures, selfies, memes and relatives falling out over politics may make an EU-led initiative less of a tempting proposition. Speaking in Helsinki, Le Maire also took the opportunity to warn the trading bloc that a fresh approach is needed to regulating cryptocurrencies at an EU level. The finance minister warned limbo over whether they should be treated as securities, payment services or currencies must be resolved through the creation of a robust and common framework. Bitcoin hash rate to hit a milestone 100 quintillion for the first time There was feverish excitement in some quarters of the Bitcoin (BTC) community this week, with the world’s dominant cryptocurrency irresistibly close to breaking hash rate records. Data suggested that BTC was heading for 100 quintillion hashes per second for the first time in history. This metric refers to overall levels of computing power involved in processing Bitcoin transactions — with greater levels of power meaning the network is more secure and profitable. Analysts such…

Top-5 Crypto Performers: ATOM, EOS, ETH, DASH, TRX

Top-5 Crypto Performers: ATOM, EOS, ETH, DASH, TRX

Facebook’s Libra continues to face opposition from lawmakers and central banks around the world. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that Europe should consider a European public digital currency to counter the Libra. German Christian Democratic Union parliamentarian Thomas Heilmann said that the grand coalition in Germany has agreed that it will not allow “market-relevant private stablecoins.”  However, Bertrand Perez, the director general of the Libra Association, stated that the company will satisfy all regulatory requirements and that Libra might launch in the second half of 2020. He said that Libra does not aim to create new money supply, hence, it will not destabilize the fiat currencies that are a part of its basket. United States Treasury Undersecretary Sigal Mandelker has said that terrorist organizations and their supporters are looking at new ways of raising and transferring funds to evade tracking by law enforcement agencies. She stressed the need to establish a system that will prevent illicit finance in crypto for the United States to work with governments to ensure that “non-compliant networks and fintechs do not survive.”  With sustained pressure from regulators, let’s take a look at this week’s top performers and see what their charts project. ATOM/USD Cosmos (ATOM) has been a huge outperformer in the past seven days as it has risen over 34%. The rally has helped it climb back into the top-20 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Can it continue its stellar run or will it give up some of its recent gains? Let’s analyze the chart.   Due to a short trading history, we are analyzing the daily chart on the ATOM/USD pair. It hit a lifetime low of $1.9101 on Sept. 5, from where the recovery has been strong. This shows that bulls have used the dip to buy aggressively. After more than an 80% rally within 10 days, the price has now reached the previous support-turned-resistance of $3.6043.  The recovery might face some resistance at this level but once it is crossed, a move to $4.4389 and above it to $5.7961 is possible. The moving averages are on the verge of a bullish crossover, which indicates a likely change in trend.  Any dip from current levels is likely to find support at the upsloping 20-day EMA. Our bullish…

Bull Bitcoin Joins Blockstream’s Liquid Exchange Network

Bull Bitcoin Joins Blockstream’s Liquid Exchange Network

Liquid, a second layer tech for bitcoin created by Blockstream, just onboarded another crypto partner. The sidechain for faster BTC payments now has around 30 members, including Bitfinex, BITMex, OKCoin, and other exchanges, with the total of $900,000 moving around on the network, Blockstream’s chief strategy officer Samson Mow told CoinDesk. Now Canadian bitcoin exchange Bull Bitcoin is joining the platform. The new partnership will allow the users of Bull Bitcoin to interact with other exchanges on the network. Tentatively scheduled on the early 2020, the integration of Liquid tech into Bull Bitcoin’s operations will require some effort from the exchange’s tech team, Bull Bitcoin CEO Francis Pouliot said. “We’re making sure we have this backup layer. We want to make sure bitcoin succeeds, and this is our way to participate in strengthening the network,” Pouliot told CoinDesk. As a part of the partnership, Bull Bitcoin is going to issue its own asset on the Liquid network: Canadian dollar-pegged token dubbed L-CD, which is supposed to be used as the exchange’s voucher for buying bitcoin. Image of Bull Bitcoin co-founders Dave Bradley and Francis Pouliot with Blockstream CSO Samson Mow by Anna Baydakova for CoinDesk

Kaleido’s Enterprise Clients Can Now Transfer Tokens In Complete Privacy

Kaleido’s Enterprise Clients Can Now Transfer Tokens In Complete Privacy

Kaleido’s software-as-a-service blockchain solution will now offer an advanced privacy protection service. At the Ethereal Summit Tel Aviv 2019, on Sunday, the company announced a partnership with QEDIT, a developer of privacy technology for enterprise blockchains. Through this partnership, the firm will allow clients to shield sensitive information through zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) cryptography when trading tokenized assets in their marketplace. While the technology is broadly applicable, it has particular utility in the energy and financial sectors. The company has worked with established brands including T-Mobile, Sony, Fox, and UnionBank to build blockchain networks. “Tokens aren’t just about crypto anymore, they’re a digital construct of real world assets,” Kaleido CEO Steve Cerveny told CoinDesk. “They have a shared state [assets that can function on multiple platforms] and need to move from one party to another. In many cases you would want to obfuscate some amount of information.” While transactions remain legible on the blockchain and verifiable by network participants, “observers cannot see who sent what, or how much, or to whom,” Cerveny said. ConsenSys-backed Kaleido assists large organizations move from blockchain pilots to production. The latest integration removes the friction from experimenting with the emerging privacy tech. Further, the network is private and permissioned, meaning that organizations themselves will determine which information will remain publicly available. To use the service, firms will register their wallets, sign up for the native zero knowledge token transfer service, transfer their assets to a shielded account, then press a button that leads to a “dark room” to make private trades. QEDIT’s solution was developed by the data scientists behind zk-SNARK proofs. Cerveny concluded: “Enterprise tokens are still nascent, but many firms are coming around to how powerful these things are to share state. We’re bullish tokenization will be universally applicable.” Kaleidoscope image via Shutterstock

ConsenSys Announces Codefi Project to Boost DeFi Adoption

ConsenSys Announces Codefi Project to Boost DeFi Adoption

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin is going all-in on decentralized finance (DeFi) applications. “Ethereum is a shared execution space and we should also be building things that synergize,” Lubin said during a press conference at Ethereal Tel Aviv on Sunday, Sept. 15. To that end, Lubin announced that his Brooklyn-based venture studio, ConsenSys, would enter the DeFi ecosystem with a new product suite, Codefi. While Lubin said he doesn’t personally own governance tokens for the ethereum-centric loan system MakerDAO, he declined to comment on whether they are a part of the ConsenSys portfolio. Either way, Lubin described DeFi systems like MakerDAO and Uniswap as some of the industry’s most important developments. “I’ve always supported that project,” Lubin said of MakerDAO. Lex Sokolin, co-head of global fintech at ConsenSys, told CoinDesk the Codefi software suite could be compared to Twilio or Stripe, serving businesses that need to process payment data. “As ConsenSys has matured, it’s finding its business model,” Sokolin said. “This is us putting a flag in the ground about what we want to be doing in the market.” The product suite includes four parts: data, networks, assets, and payments. Although the company is still yet to announce specific revenue goals or clients, it’s clear ConsenSys wants to serve enterprise customers by processing cryptocurrency payments, fiat payment information using blockchain systems and API access for a wide range of enterprise use cases. Stepping back, there are already several ConsenSys-incubated startups offering such services, from Infura to BlockApps. This new software suite is strictly in-house, meaning the revenue generated stays with ConsenSys proper. Across the board, the conglomerate has struggled since 2018 to find revenue models that match its research costs and rampant growth. As CoinDesk previously reported, the company projected a $100 million burn rate for 2019. Codefi will eventually be a core pillar of the ConsenSys business model, after it spends this initial phase targeting and onboarding enterprise clients. “There have been many spokes [startups] and projects that have tried to build things, they did the pioneering work. ConsenSys has learnings from them,” Sokolin said, adding that ConsenSys leadership noticed a divide between startups’ products and enterprise clients’ needs. Ecosystem synergy “There are a series of smart contracts and workflows and capabilities that everyone needs.…