Banking compliance consultant Simon Lelieveldt, who has worked for the DNB and as a Dutch financial historian, said the two entities are trying to be proactive and not repeat past mistakes. Regulators are under pressure from critics who say lax oversight, particularly concerning the Netherlands largest bank, ING, led to the 2008 collapse. ING received a €10 billion government bailout, an amount it eventually paid back with interest.
One month on, a Redditor who “lost” 4 Bitcoin (BTC) on the Lightning Network has published advice based on his experience. In a thread posted to the r/Bitcoin community on Dec. 1, Redditor ZipoTm revealed that the Lightning community had given him “huge support” by helping him to save his coins, with most of them now recovered. Don’t Panic, WAIT As reported, the Lightning Network is a second-layer solution to Bitcoin’s scalability limitations, which works by opening payment channels between users that keep the majority of transactions off-chain, turning to the underlying blockchain only to record the net results. In his post, ZipoTm gave details of the five successful steps he had taken to recover most of his funds. The first involved, where possible, the cooperative closure of the channels that have funds on seed, with the next 4 entailing various force-closures and unilateral measures to shut down the still-open channels: “Step 1: coop-closed channels with funds on seed Step 2: remote force-closed channels with perCommitPoint in channel.db Step 3: remote force-closed channels where we have to ask peers for the perCommitPoint Step 4: try with SCB [static channel backup]again with remaining channels Step 5: still open channels, try force-closing with old stat” By way of additional advice, ZipoTm counseled users seeking to force-close channels to always do this manually, channel by channel, and when their node is fully synced. He highlighted the usefulness of creating static channel backups, or SCBs, each time after opening a new channel and safeguarding the associated 24-word seed. Lastly, he warned not to panic but to wait after each step and to thoroughly research how the system works before using it to send significant amounts of BTC. Code of ethics This fall, Cointelegraph reported that Keith Mali Chung — the co-founder and president of African blockchain firm Loopblock Network — returned almost $80,000 worth of Bitcoin that had mistakenly been sent to his wallet.
A data scientist at India’s prestigious Vellore Institute of Technology has outlined a method for how to purportedly predict crypto prices in real-time using a Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) neural network. In a blog post published on Dec. 2, researcher Abinhav Sagar demonstrated a four-step process for how to use machine learning technology to forecast prices in a sector he purported is “relatively unpredictable” as compared with traditional markets. Machine learning for crypto price prediction has been “restricted” Sagar prefaced his demonstration by noting that while machine learning has achieved some success in predicting stock market prices, its application in the cryptocurrency field has been restricted. In support of this claim, he argued that cryptocurrency prices fluctuate in accordance with fast-paced technological developments, as well as economic, security and political factors. Sagar’s four-step proposed method involves 1) collecting real-time cryptocurrency data; 2) preparing the data for neural network training; 3) testing the prediction using the LSTM neural network; 4) visualizing the results of the prediction. As software developer Aditi Mittal has outlined, LSTM is an acronym for “Long Short-Term Memory” — a type of neural network that is designed to classify, process and predict time series given time lags of unknown duration. To train his network, Sagar used a dataset from CryptoCompare, making use of features such as price, volume and open, high and low values. He provides a link to the code for the complete project on GitHub and outlines the functions he used to normalize data values in preparation for machine learning. Before plotting and visualizing the results of the network’s predictions, Sagar notes he used Mean Absolute Error as an evaluation metric, which, he notes, measures the average magnitude of the errors in a set of predictions, without considering their direction. Sagar’s visualization of his cryptocurrency predictions in real-time using an LSTM neural network. Source: towardsdatascience.com From the markets to outer space Beyond market predictions, the convergence of new decentralized technologies such as blockchain with machine learning has been gaining ever more traction. As reported this fall, NASA recently published a listing for a data scientist role, singling out cryptocurrency and blockchain expertise as “a plus.” The agency — whose primary function is the construction and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft and…
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Bitcoin’s (BTC) 2020 block reward halving continues to generate mixed opinions regarding price performance, as one analyst suggests its impact will be next to nothing. In a tweet on Dec. 1, Jason Williams, co-founder at digital asset fund Morgan Creek Digital, said that unlike many others, he believed markets would not move as a result of the halving next May. Williams: BTC halving will be “non-event” “Bitcoin halving in May 2020 won’t do anything to the price. It will be a non-event,” he summarized. Bitcoin’s block reward halving will reduce the amount of BTC paid to miners for each block from 12.5 BTC to 6.25 BTC. As Cointelegraph reported, the event is broadly expected to become a catalyst for a bull market. Analysts diverge over when the reaction might take place — opinions range from several months before the halving to several months after it. At the same time, as statistician Willy Woo noted two weeks previously, Bitcoin’s current position marks a sharp contrast to the bullish setup to its previous two halvings. 2020, he concluded, will be a “unique” first for Bitcoin. Others, such as mining giant Bitmain’s CEO Jihan Wu, share Williams’ lack of excitement. Cointelegraph also released an alternative outlook for Bitcoin over the halving. Rumors abound over “unique” halving The multitude of factors that could potentially influence the halving’s effect has even led to disagreements within the same small group of market participants. Anthony Pompliano, a fellow Morgan Creek Digital co-founder well-known for his Bitcoin advocacy, previously implied that at $7,200, BTC/USD has yet to benefit from the halving. “The Bitcoin halving is not priced in,” he tweeted on Nov. 10. At the time, BTC/USD traded at around $8,750 — 20% higher than at press time. According to a historically accurate Bitcoin price model, meanwhile, the long-term impact on the halving is all but assured. By 2022, the Stock-to-Flow tool predicts, BTC/USD should have jumped to over $100,000. The model’s creator, PlanB, doubled down on the figure in October while acknowledging that its accuracy may not last beyond the next few halving events.
Meanwhile, Luke Dashjr, veteran bitcoin coder, argued on Twitter that there are other aspects of mining centralization that still need to be addressed. For example, the fact that only a handful of companies produce mining hardware, the computers made specifically for producing bitcoin, is also a grave threat to decentralization.
With little else to go on, traders put their faith in the charts. They say to themselves, and anyone else who will listen, that classical technical analysis would tell us right now that the price of bitcoin is about to break a lot lower — like, in the next week or so, because this candle chart looks like this, and that candle chart looks like that; in other words, you should wait a little longer before you go back into your accumulation phase. Even Big Chonis acknowledges there are limits to TA’s usefulness, or at least its application. In his Twitter feed, he says, he tries to point out “notable things,” or patterns that he sees in the charts. But he acknowledges that he’s not quite as prolific with the price predictions: “You’re right in saying that you’re not seeing me say buy, buy, buy, sell, sell, sell all the time, because it’s all subjective.”
Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin has declared his solidarity with Virgil Griffith, the American citizen arrested for his blockchain educational activities in North Korea. In a tweet posted on Dec. 1, Vitalik shared a link to a blog post penned by blockchain firm CEO Enrico Talin, which had appealed directly to the Ethereum co-founder to start a petition in support of Griffith. “Let’s not have another Aaron Swartz martyr in our hands,” Talin had written, in reference to the hacker and political activist who killed himself in 2013 ahead of a high-profile federal trial. Buterin: “geopolitical open-mindedness is a *virtue*” Griffith, a 36-year old U.S. citizen living in Singapore, was arrested at the Los Angeles International Airport on Nov. 29 and is set to be charged with conspiring to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA). The U.S. Department of Justice has accused Griffith of providing “highly technical information to North Korea, knowing that this information could be used to help North Korea launder money and evade sanctions.” Griffith is alleged to have illegally traveled to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to deliver a conference presentation — entitled “Blockchain and Peace” — on cryptocurrencies and blockchain. In declaring his support of Griffith, Buterin prefaced his arguments by disclosing a “conflict-of-interest” insofar as Griffith is a friend of his. He also underscored that the Ethereum Foundation had provided no assistance to his trip and was not affiliated with Griffith’s personal decision — one that, Buterin claims, “many counseled against.” This notwithstanding, he wrote: “Geopolitical open-mindedness is a *virtue*. It’s *admirable* to go to a group of people that one has been trained since childhood to believe is a Maximum Evil Enemy, and hear out what they have to say. The world would be better if more people on all sides did that.” Buterin further states that he does not believe Griffith gave the DPRK “any kind of real help in doing anything bad” — having only purportedly delivered a presentation based on already publicly accessible, open-source software. “There was no weird hackery “advanced tutoring,” Buterin contends, further arguing that “Virgil made no personal gain” from his visit. Community ambivalence Buterin’s arguments met a mixed response on Crypto Twitter, with some pointing to Griffiths’…
Advocates say there are many issues beyond currency volatility where crypto and blockchain could make a difference. Aside from remittances and currency volatility, financial inclusion is another hot-button topic in Africa. Research from the World Bank suggests that many of the world’s 1.7 billion unbanked are on the continent, while 2 in 3 adults in sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to a bank account. In some ways, Africa is better prepared for a move to crypto than other continents. Mobile money has already been a key driver in reducing the numbers of unbanked adults, and the World Bank says the continent is home to all eight countries where more than 1 in 5 adults solely rely on a mobile-only account. Given how many consumers are already open to using this technology, crypto exchanges and wallets that offer fully functional apps for mobile users are set to benefit immensely. Blockchain is also showing plenty of promise. As a recent Cointelegraph article explained, stakeholders in the region say distributed ledger technology will be instrumental in solving long-standing developmental issues and unlocking much-needed economic growth. Nigerian politicians believe that blockchain will drive the world’s fourth industrial revolution, and, for the first time, Africa has the opportunity to have a seat at the table. Fintech companies across the continent are growing substantially. Hotspots include Cape Town, where the number of startups being established has risen 23%, and Nairobi, where there has been a 28% rise. There is also hope that blockchain technology can help bring around dramatic improvement to the infrastructure in Africa. In Nigeria, companies are working together to see whether blockchain can be implemented in a push to make the nation’s roads safer. The West African nation of Sierra Leone has been working on the development of a blockchain-based ID system for its citizens amid hopes it could enable financial institutions to verify identities and build credit histories in a way that wasn’t possible before. Uganda has also teamed up with a blockchain startup to clamp down on the supply of counterfeit drugs nationwide, with reports suggesting that up to 10% of prescriptions result in fake medicine.
Cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex now controls the largest decentralized exchange (DEX) on blockchain network Tron (TRX), official reports state. Confirmed by Tron CEO Justin Sun on Nov. 29, Poloniex will now operate TRX Market under the new name “Poloni DEX.” Poloniex ‘acquires’ decentralized exchange The move comes a month after Poloniex itself spun out from owner Circle to form a new exchange that addressed regulatory problems in the United States. According to Sun, Poloniex “acquired” TRX Market, while it remains unknown what changed hands and what financial value the deal generated. “To maintain the development of TRXMarket over the long term, the team has accepted an acquisition offer from Poloniex and will rebrand with the new name Poloni DEX, becoming a decentralized exchange under Poloniex. The official website has now changed to poloniex.org,” an accompanying blog post from Poloniex issued on Nov. 27 reads. TRX Market functions as a non-custodial exchange that does not require users to store funds in a centralized wallet. TRX briefly reacts Sun’s wording nonetheless appeared to confuse social media users. Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at fellow trading platform eToro, quizzed Sun about how a notionally decentralized entity could possibly be placed under another entity’s control. Poloniex meanwhile promised long-term beneficial effects for Tron as a result of the takeover. “This acquisition is bound to be a very significant move for the TRON ecosystem, signaling the exchange sector’s trust and recognition of TRON,” the blog post claims. As of press time, TRX/USD had come down from its modest boost following the announcement, shedding around 2% in the past 24 hours. As Cointelegraph reported, Sun hit the headlines earlier this week after pledging a $1 million donation to a fund specifically designed to fight negative publicity of cryptocurrency businesses. The idea came from Changpeng Zhao, CEO of exchange Binance, following a well-publicized tussle with local industry media outlet The Block.