Marks Jewelers Now Accepting Bitcoin Cash for Payments

Marks Jewelers Now Accepting Bitcoin Cash for Payments

Services U.S. jewelry retailer Marks Jewelers has started accepting payments in cryptocurrency, including bitcoin cash. Shoppers can now pay for luxury goods such as fine diamonds, watches and engagement rings using BCH and seven other digital currencies. Also read: Report: Emerging Markets See Sharp Growth in Cashless Transactions Retailer to Cut Costs withLow BCH Transaction Fees In addition to BCH, the company is now accepting payments in cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether. “This will allow us to make our fine jewelry available to the global market while paying lower fees and avoiding chargebacks,” Joshua Rubin, director of marketing at Marks Jewelers, said in an online statement. Marks Jewelers is already one of the biggest jewelry retailers in the U.S. market. But Rubin said that the new payment methods, established in partnership with e-commerce platform Shopping Cart Elite, will help to expand access to its jewelry range for buyers throughout the world. The Pennsylvania-based company, which has sold diamonds and jewelry for 35 years, said that the removal of currency conversion charges will help it cut costs. It wants to pass those savings over to jewelry shoppers in the form of lower retail prices. Cheaper Than Credit Cards Marks Jewelers joins a growing list of jewelry retailers, including Samer Halimeh New York and Reeds, that are starting to accept payments in cryptocurrencies such as BCH. Bitcoin cash offers fast, reliable and inexpensive transactions compared with traditional means of sending money. For example, credit and debit card providers generally charge fees that are as much as 3.5 percent of every transaction. That compares with transaction fees of around $1 or less for cryptocurrency-based purchases, regardless of the amount of each transaction. According to Coinline, which provides a directory of merchants that accept payments in bitcoin cash, more than 210 retailers throughout the world now handle transactions in the cryptocurrency. Australia is home to the greatest concentration of merchants that welcome BCH as a form of payment, with about 80 locations in total accepting it. What do you think about using cryptocurrencies such as BCH to pay for retail goods? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its…

Armenian PM Attends Launch of Mining Farm Claiming to Be One of ‘World’s Largest’

Armenian PM Attends Launch of Mining Farm Claiming to Be One of ‘World’s Largest’

The opening ceremony of a new mining farm touting itself as one of the “world’s largest” was held in the Armenian capital Oct. 18, according to a report by local platform News Armenia. The Armenian Prime Minister and other top officials were reportedly in attendance. The new mining farm is reportedly a joint venture by major Armenian conglomerate Multi Group, founded by oligarch and politician Gagik Tsarukyan, and controversial international mining firm Omnia Tech. Tsarukyan is the founder of Tsarukyan Alliance, which represents the second biggest parliamentary bloc in the Armenian Parliament, having sealed over 27 percent of the vote in the country’s 2017 elections; he is also reportedly a “key” business partner of former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan. Multi Group employs over 25,000 people through its various subsidiaries, according to News Armenia. Aside from Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Tsarukyan, the event is reported to have been attended by numerous international businessmen, with Tsarukyan representing the event as drawing guests “from almost forty countries,” and further quoted by News Armenia as saying that: “This is an important step towards the development of the information technology sector, especially since representatives of foreign business circles are planning to meet with government members to find out the possibilities of new and more ambitious investments in the Armenian economy and expanding the base of cooperation.” News Armenia reports that around $50 million has been invested in the creation of the new mining farm, which is said to currently have 3,000 Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) mining machines, and a planned capacity of 120,000 in future. The report further states that “Omnia is the owner of equipment used in farms” belonging to prominent cloud mining firm Genesis Mining. It continues to allege that “Omnia provides Genesis with mining equipment and finances its servicing.” This latter point is highly controversial given that  in 2017, Omnia was accused of misappropriating the Genesis brand name and falsely claiming to have an association with the high-profile firm; Genesis has repeatedly refuted this representation, clarifying that Omnia had simply purchased hashpower from the firm and was a customer, but without any official partnership or substantive business ties. In May of this year, Omnia was further accused of operating a pyramid scheme by security researcher…

North Korean Hacking Group Lazerus Stole $571 Million in Cryptos: Report

North Korean Hacking Group Lazerus Stole $571 Million in Cryptos: Report

North Korea’s infamous hacking group, dubbed Lazarus, has managed to steal over half a billion dollars in cryptocurrencies, a report indicates. According to an article published Friday by The Next Web, the coming annual report from cybersecurity vendor Group-IB sets out that Lazarus was behind 14 hacks on crypto exchanges since January 2017, reaping a massive $571 million from the attacks. The news backs up claims from officials in South Korea, who said in February that North Korean hackers likely stole tens of millions of dollars’ worth in cryptocurrencies in 2017. As reported by CoinDesk, the country’s National Intelligence Service  said that phishing scams and other criminal methods methods had yielded tens of billions of won in customer funds. Authorities were also probing whether the same hackers were behind the January hack of the Coincheck exchange, which saw over $500 million in cryptocurrency taken – though Lazarus wasn’t specifically mentioned. More generally, Group-IB also indicates that $882 million in cryptocurrency has been stolen from exchanges in total from 2017 to 2018, according to a summary of the report obtained by the tech news source, . The security provider said the number of attacks targeting crypto exchanges is likely to rise further, with hackers of more traditional financial institutions such as banks being drawn to the space seeking big gains. The summary also looks at the methods used by hackers in order to carry out their attacks, saying spear phishing, social engineering and malware are the most widespread tools of the illicit trade. TNW cited the report as saying that spear phishing – targeting individuals or organizations with malware delivered via an email attachment – is the “major vector of attack” on enterprise networks. It adds: “After the local network is successfully compromised, the hackers browse the local network to find work stations and servers used working with private cryptocurrency wallets.” Furthermore, says Group-IB, hackers have made off with 10 percent of the funds raised by ICO platforms since early 2017, with phishing the most common means of attack. Group-IB reportedly says that over-keen investors have been rushing to participate in token sales without paying sufficient attention to their security, often falling foul of tricks such as fake websites. For example, one such fake targeted would-be investors in the major ICO launched by…

Sia Network Releases Hard Fork Code to Block Crypto Mining Giants

Sia Network Releases Hard Fork Code to Block Crypto Mining Giants

The sia blockchain network has released the formal code for an imminent hard fork that will block miners using hardware produced by Bitmain and other major manufacturers. David Vorick, founder and CEO of Nebulous – the for-profit firm behind the $239 million distributed storage protocol – announced the release of code version 1.3.6 in sia’s official channel on Discord Tuesday, reminding miners that the hard fork will be activated on Oct. 31. “All users who want to stay on the Sia network need to upgrade prior to the hard fork date. All major exchanges will be participating in the hard fork,” Vorick said. As CoinDesk reported, after a year of debate, the sia blockchain community decided to enact a hard fork early in October. After activation, the new code will ensure only application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) processors designed by Nebulous subsidiary Obelisk can be used to mine the network for block rewards. As a result, other ASIC miners, including those made by industry giants like Bitmain and Innosilicon, will become blocked from the sia blockchain at the end of this month. Bitmain launched its AntMiner A3 product in January specifically targeting the network’s token siacoin, as well as adding support for siacoin on its mining pool, AntPool. In his Tuesday post, Vorick said the new code also included major updates to resist Sybil attacks – which create fake identities to exploit a network – and “other methods that could be used to manipulate a host unfairly into the top ranks.” For miners who do not wish to align with the hard fork, sia’s network developers are also offering an alternative upgrade, version 1.3.5. Released alongside version 1.3.6, the alternative also fixes detected security issues, but omits the hard fork portion of the code. “The only difference between v1.3.5 and v1.3.6 is the activation of the hardfork, meaning that users can safely upgrade to v1.3.5,” Vorick wrote. Stop sign image via CoinDesk 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.

Third Largest Crypto Exchange Huobi Opens Deposits for New ‘Stablecoin Solution’ HUSD

Third Largest Crypto Exchange Huobi Opens Deposits for New ‘Stablecoin Solution’ HUSD

Singapore-headquartered cryptocurrency exchange Huobi announced the creation of what it calls a “stablecoin solution” in a blog post Friday, Oct. 19. Set to go live from Friday, the project, known as HUSD, will consist of Huobi’s own stablecoin asset which investors can use as an go-between to interact with four USD-backed stablecoins currently listed on the exchange. Specifically, Huobi will accept and store Paxos Standard (PAX), True USD (TUSD), USD Coin (USDC) and Gemini Dollars (GUSD), giving users a balance in HUSD as a kind of aggregator of all four. According to Huobi’s post, users can then cash out the same stablecoin they deposited or select from any of the other three. HUSD will also be tradeable against other cryptocurrencies, beginning with controversial stablecoin Tether (USDT), followed by Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Commenting on the project, Huobi said it would expand it to cover other stablecoins in future. “We will keep a close watch on new stablecoins that appear on the market and optimize the HUSD standards,” executives wrote: “We look forward to more stablecoins being involved in the HUSD system.” Huobi announced the listing of the above four USD-backed stablecoins earlier this week, following a similar move by OKEx. Huobi is currently the third largest crypto exchange globally by daily trading volumes, seeing about $416 million in trades on the day to press time.

US Marshals Service Announces Auction of 660 BTC

US Marshals Service Announces Auction of 660 BTC

Featured The United States Marshals Service (USMS) has announced an auction of 660 BTC that is scheduled to take place on Nov. 4. Under the auction rules, interested participants must formally identify themselves to the USMS and submit deposits of $200,000. Also Read: Trump Tariffs to Impact Chinese Mining Hardware Manufacturers USMS to Auction Forfeited BTC in Seven ‘Blocks’ The auction is scheduled to take place across two “series” and seven “blocks.” The “Series A” portion is set to comprise six individual auctions of 100 BTC each, while the “Series B” round will involve a single auction for the remaining 60 BTC. The bitcoins were confiscated from undisclosed parties in various federal criminal, civil and administrative cases, with many of them forfeited to the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Bidder registration will open at 8:00 a.m. EDT on Oct. 22 and is scheduled to close at noon EDT on Oct. 31. Bidders will not be permitted to view competing bids and will not be able to change the value of their bids after submission. Deposits to Be Returned to Ineligible Bidders The USMS is scheduled to notify all prospective bidders of their eligibility to participate in the auction process by no later than 5:00 p.m. EDT on Nov. 1. Applicants who are deemed to be ineligible to participate in the auction will have their deposits returned to them. The deposits of participants whose bids are not selected as winning bids will also be returned. In addition, the USMS states that “bids that are contingent on financing terms of any kind will not be considered.” In addition, it requires that “all bids must be made in U.S. dollars.” Winning Bidders Expected toPay BTC Transfer Fees The USMS will retain the deposits of the winning bidders and credit them toward their purchases. Winning bidders who fail to finalize their transactions will forfeit their deposits, as long as the USMS is not at fault. The USMS also notes that “any transfer fees associated with the transfer of the bitcoins will be paid by the buyer.” However, buyers will be given the chance to choose the fees that are charged in the transfers. The USMS will start to return deposits to auction participants as soon as…

Invest in Gold and Crypto Petro, Venezuela’s President Tells Public in Fresh TV Plug

Invest in Gold and Crypto Petro, Venezuela’s President Tells Public in Fresh TV Plug

The president of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro called on workers to save in gold and state-run cryptocurrency Petro during a salary shake-up he announced Thursday, October 18, local news portal Noticiero Digital reports. In a television broadcast, Maduro said that “in the coming weeks,” workers would begin receiving bonus payments “based on” Petro, rather than extant fiat currency, the Sovereign Bolivar. Since receiving its formal launch, Petro has continued to garner suspicion from multiple sources both within and outside Venezuela, criticism stemming from its alleged backing from a state oil company with larger debts than the cryptocurrency’s market cap. The tenuous situation led to an investigative piece by technology publication Wired in August describing it as a “scam on top of another scam.” Unfazed, Maduro said the new bonus scheme represented payments “as it should be,” while also requesting viewers to turn to gold and Petro for their savings. “I call on workers to invest a part of their bonuses in the gold savings plan, come here, legally, you will have your legal certificate, invest it in Petro to strengthen the family economy,” he said. The announcement comes the same week Maduro authorized six alleged cryptocurrency exchanges in Venezuela to begin offering Petro trading. Those involved have already attracted scrutiny themselves, with one, Cryptia, appearing to have zero trade volume for its existing assets Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Dash (DASH) and Ripple (XRP). In August, Maduro had mentioned Petro’s forthcoming use as a unit of account for salaries.

Bitcoin’s Price Breaks Through Key Support As Stocks Go South

Bitcoin’s Price Breaks Through Key Support As Stocks Go South

Bitcoin (BTC) has dropped out of the tight trading range seen recently, paralleling losses in the U.S. stock markets. The leading cryptocurrency, which was trapped in a triangle pattern (narrowing range) above $6,400 yesterday, looked set for a breakout. However, the bullish technical setup failed and BTC found acceptance below the triangle support of $6,430 at 17:30 yesterday, possibly due to risk aversion in the U.S. equities – the S&P 500 opened on a negative note Thursday and closed with a 1.4 percent loss. That argument has merit as bitcoin and the S&P have correlated on and off for almost a year, each taking turns as the leading indicator. Of late, the S&P 500 index has been leading the BTC market by 12 hours or more. At press time, BTC is changing hands at $6,380 on Coinbase, representing a 1.19 percent drop on a 24-hour basis. The triangle breakdown witnessed yesterday may have emboldened the bears. So far, however, the downside has been restricted around $6,350 Hourly Chart As seen in the above chart, the 50-, 100-, and 200-hour exponential moving averages (EMAs) have turned lower in favor of the bears following the range breakdown. Further, the stacking order of the 50-hour EMA below the 100-hour EMA, below the 200-hour EMA is a classic bear signal. Therefore, a drop to $6,230 could be in the offing. BTC and S&P 500 chart The above charts show: BTC has likely carved out a classic bottom around $6,000. Since June 2016, the S&P 500 has repeatedly found buyers around the 200-day MA. As a result, the dips to or below the MA have been short-lived. If the index finds acceptance below the 200-day MA, then the risk aversion will likely worsen and that could push BTC below the all-important level of $6,000. So, it seems safe to say that $6,000 and the 200-day MA line on S&P 500 are key levels to watch out for in the near-term. View The triangle breakdown has opened the doors to $6,230 (key support zone as per the hourly chart). A move above $6,435 would invalidate the bearish setup. S&P 500’s sustained move below the 200-day MA could be considered a warning that BTC is about to break below $6,000. Disclosure: The author holds no…

Tether ‘Didn’t Do a Great Job on Transparency,’ Claims Investor Mike Novogratz

Tether ‘Didn’t Do a Great Job on Transparency,’ Claims Investor Mike Novogratz

Stablecoin Tether (USDT) should create more “transparency” about its operations, cryptocurrency investor and entrepreneur Michael Novogratz told Bloomberg Oct. 18. Speaking in an interview, Novogratz, whose Galaxy Digital investment company is active in the cryptocurrency space, said he favored alternative stablecoins pegged to the U.S. dollar with known U.S. banking connections. “I think Tether didn’t do a great job in terms of creating transparency,” he told the publication discussing Tether’s offshore activities. “The concept of stablecoins makes sense,” Novogratz nonetheless countered, singling out the Winklevoss twins’ Gemini Dollar, which launched in September. Tether has found itself at the source of controversy this week after volatility caused it to lose its long-time USD peg. At press time, USDT traded around $0.975, at one point dropping as low as $0.91. The problems came while cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex, the CEO of which is also CEO of Tether, faced insolvency rumors, which executives subsequently denied. In the intervening period, large amounts of Bitfinex’s USDT holdings have been transferred to Tether’s Treasury, leading to fresh suspicions over the exchange’s buoyancy. Commenting on data from digital asset investment bankers Element Group Thursday, CNBC Cryptotrader host Ran Neuner concluded that Bitfinex had “lost a lot of customers.” According to the data, Binance is now the number two largest USDT holder, with fellow exchanges Poloniex and Huobi also owning more than Bitfinex.

Crypto Exchange Huobi Now Lets Users Swap Between 4 Different Stablecoins

Crypto Exchange Huobi Now Lets Users Swap Between 4 Different Stablecoins

Huobi, the Singapore-based cryptocurrency exchange, has just launched a new solution that enables users to switch between different types of fiat currency-pegged cryptocurrencies, or stablecoins, in event of market fluctuations. Announcing the solution, called HUSD, at a press conference on Friday, the firm said Paxos’ PAX, TrustToken’s TUSD, Circle’s USDC and the Gemini exchange’s GUSD tokens are being supported initially. Previously, users that deposited, say, GUSD, were limited to taking out GUSD or converting it to a non-pegged cryptocurrency such as bitcoin. Using HUSD, though, they can deposit one of the four stablecoins and withdraw a different stablecoin of their own choice. Huobi’s chief operating officer, Robin Zhu, further explained that HUSD is not itself a stablecoin or protocol, but rather, a medium that facilitates exchange between the different stablecoins. For instance, if a user deposits 10 PAX to the exchange, the user’s account will be credited with 10 HUSD. When withdrawing these assets after trading, the user can choose to withdraw, say, 10 GUSD, which will be drawn from the pool of GUSD that other users have deposited to the platform. However, whether the user can withdraw all their assets in a single stablecoin depends on there being sufficient supply in the pool. Zhu said he expects the platform could potentially run into a situation where a stablecoin may not have a big enough pool to cover all withdrawal requests. “In those circumstances, we will buy back these stablecoins from their issuers into the pool,” he said. As such, Huobi will not list trading pairs for every stablecoin it supports against major crypto assets such as bitcoin and ethereum. Instead, the company will open trading pairs for HUSD against those cryptos in the coming weeks. Notably, the most established stablecoin to date, tether (USDT) – one that has been at the center of rumors over the reliability of its U.S.-dollar peg – is not included in the pool. Instead, Huobi will open a trading pair for HUSD against USDT on Oct. 22. Zhu explained that the primary reason for that is due to concerns over whether USDT can meet its compliance requirements. He said: “Tether doesn’t have a reliable and regularly released auditing report to prove its U.S. dollar reserve.” As CoinDesk reported in June,…