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E-Commerce on Demand: Crypto-Based Site With 50,000 Products Offers Delivery in Two Hours

A decentralized marketplace offering e-commerce on demand has launched with 50,000 items, enabling shoppers to have products delivered in less than two hours.

A decentralized platform offering “e-commerce on demand” is launching, and says it has the ambition of enabling shoppers to have online orders delivered in less than two hours — with food shopping arriving at their door in 30 minutes.

Buying.com says its service will initially be available across six zip codes in New Jersey, providing customers with a choice of more than 50,000 items. A center in the town of Mahwah is going to monitor the platform’s progress, and the startup has bold ambitions to roll out across the state and nationwide in the months that follow.

Customers can make their orders through the Buying.com website, and the company says that apps for Android and iOS are in the process of being approved by the app stores. Two other apps have also been completely developed for drivers, enabling them to fulfill orders quickly and with precision.

Buying.com says the launch of e-commerce on demand comes nine months ahead of schedule, and it describes the service as the company’s “holy grail.” Over time, it aspires to become a household name, a crypto alternative to the online behemoths offering same-day deliveries.

Benefiting businesses

Buying.com says it wants to enable businesses at all stages of the e-commerce supply chain — retailers, distributors and suppliers among them — to pool their orders together so they can satisfy minimum order quantities and enjoy greater discounts on a product’s price. Not only does this help keep profit margins healthy, but it also enables businesses to offer compelling discounts to shoppers — better insulating them against online giants.

From the consumer’s perspective, Buying.com hopes that its app will enable the public to access items “from a much wider range of suppliers than is currently available in the centralized e-commerce market,” and access better bargains than they can now.

New technology

The company is hoping to “develop the world’s first vertically integrated blockchain platform,” and wants to drive engagement from shoppers by offering a limited number of “high-quality discounts and promotions” on a daily basis. These deals are also going to be targeted toward users based on their interests and previous purchases and will be time-limited to help boost sales from consumers eager to snap up a bargain.

Through its platform, “social sharing” will be incentivized, meaning the number of deals made available on social networks will increase as Buying.com gains exposure.

Buying.com added: “We will ultimately level the playing field for existing e-commerce stores, allowing them to compete with the likes of Amazon, Walmart and other major retailers. The app serves both as a business-to-business and business-to-consumer platform, harnessing the power of the masses to offer direct product pricing on millions of goods.”

Buying.com is available here

Localizing shopping again

Localization is a big emphasis for Buying.com, and the platform says that consumers will be more willing to spend their hard-earned cash with small businesses in their area if they can offer the same pricing and convenience as online behemoths.

To enable hyperlocal deliveries to take place within two hours, the company is doing away with the notion of expensive, centralized warehouses that stymy the flow of products and increase costs. This would be achieved by paying the owners of empty spaces — such as garages and storefronts — to become “distribution nodes,” creating a dependable network where small businesses can store their stock and drop it off to shoppers quickly.

The platform also hopes to tackle some of the other issues that have been blighting the industry, such as the chargebacks that cost retailers billions. Its Prime-Protect technology gives merchants access to an escrow service, in which funds are released when a customer receives their item and is happy with their purchase.

A sale of BUY tokens is currently taking place. As well as being used for making purchases and paying micro-distribution centers and deliverers, these tokens will serve as a reward mechanism for shoppers.

Over time, Buying.com plans to integrate two million products into its platform.

Learn more about Buying.com

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Report: Coinbase Hires Amazon Web Services Veteran to Develop Staking Solutions

Major United States crypto exchange Coinbase has reportedly hired a veteran of Amazon Web Services to develop staking and governance solutions for its crypto custodial services.

Major United States crypto exchange and wallet service provider Coinbase has reportedly hired a veteran of Amazon Web Services to develop staking and governance solutions for its crypto custodial services. The news was reported by The Block on March 4.

Citing an alleged internal memo, the report claims that Luke Youngblood — formerly a principal solutions architect at AWS — has been hired to develop new staking and governance products, which will reportedly “provide Coinbase Custody clients with the ability to interact seamlessly with crypto-networks while maintaining the utmost security of their assets in Custody.”

As of press time, Youngblood’s LinkedIn profile has not been updated to reflect the new reported appointment.

Again omitted from his LinkedIn, Youngblood is also reportedly the founder and chief technical officer (CTO) of crypto firm Blockscale, as well as being apparently involved in Tezos meetups and the Tezos Stack Exchange, a Q&A forum for the Tezos blockchain project.

There, a user registered as Luke Youngblood responded to questions related to Tezos’ “baking” system, which allows token holders to delegate their staked funds to a “baker” to generate block rewards.

As previously reported, staking solutions more broadly refer to mechanisms whereby proof-of-stake (PoS) investors have the potential to earn a form of “interest” on their holdings.

This works by investors depositing tokens as collateral (“staking) in a digital wallet, which functions as a node that engages in a competition to validate blocks on the network. Unlike proof-of-work (PoW), which uses mining, some have argued that such PoS systems can thus provide participants with an alternative source of revenue amid the crypto market slump.

At press time, neither Coinbase nor Tezos have responded to Cointelegraph’s request for comment.

Last month, Coinbase CEO and co-founder Brian Armstrong outlined what he he believes to be four common misconceptions about crypto custody solutions, particularly in regard to (PoS)-based cryptocurrencies such as Tezos, as well as hot and cold wallet storage systems.

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Report: QuadrigaCX Wallets Have Been Empty, Unused Since April

Ernst & Young has released its third report in QuadrigaCX’s creditor protection proceedings, revealing that its cold wallets have long been empty.

Big Four audit firm Ernst & Young (EY) released its “Third Report of the Monitor” in the creditor protection proceedings of Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX on March 1.

Within the report, the audit firm has identified six separate crypto wallets that were used primarily to store Bitcoin (BTC), the cryptocurrency most used on the platform. Apart from one inadvertent transaction of Bitcoin amounting to nearly $500,000, there have been no deposits in the wallets since April 2018. Furthermore the report states:

“To date, the Applicants have been unable to identify a reason why Quadriga may have stopped using the Identified Bitcoin Cold Wallets for deposits in April 2018, however, the Monitor and Management will continue to review the Quadriga database to obtain further information.”

In early February, the exchange filed for creditor protection when — after the death of its founder Gerald Cotten — it lost access to the cold wallets and corresponding keys, that ostensibly held the assets owed to various clients. Since then, the exchange, the court, EY and investigators have been navigating a convoluted process to ascertain where the funds went.

Today’s report also states that, within the course of its investigation, EY has discovered 14 user accounts that “may have been created outside the normal process by Quadriga” and that “[i]t appears that the Identified Accounts were created under various aliases.” The report continues:

“…the Identified Accounts were internally created without a corresponding customer and used to trade on the Quadriga platform. [EY] was further advised that deposits into certain of the Identified Accounts may have been artificially created and subsequently used for trading on the Quadriga platform.”

The monitor has also been trying to secure transaction and account balance data from the platform, which is stored on the cloud by Amazon Web Services, however:

“Due to the account being a personal account in the name of Mr. Cotten, AWS has indicated that it is unable to provide the Monitor with access to the AWS Account to permit a copy of the data that it is hosting to be secured.”

Earlier this week, cryptocurrency exchange Kraken offered a $100,000 reward for tips that could lead to the discovery of QuadrigaCX’s missing funds. The reward can be collected in either fiat or digital currency. Kraken stated, “All leads collected by Kraken will be provided to the FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigaion], RCMP [Royal Canadian Mounted Police] or other law enforcement authorities, who have an active interest in this case.”

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Swiss Blockchain Hackathon in June Includes Partnerships With PwC, Amazon Web Services

Switzerland will host the Swiss Blockchain Hackathon in June 2019, with the partnership of major firms like PwC.

Switzerland will host the Swiss Blockchain Hackathon later this year in a bid to help companies find real-life applications of blockchain technology, according to an announcement published on Feb. 27.

The three-day event is reportedly organized by Switzerland’s six leading blockchain and IT organizations — Trust Square, Bitcoin Association Switzerland, CV Labs, Crypto Valley Association (CVA), Swiss Blockchain Federation and swissICT —  and will take place from June 21 to June 23, 2019.

Per the announcement, the hackathon is designed to facilitate the deployment of blockchain across a wide range of industry sectors and help find the technology’s tangible applications and business models. The event reportedly aims to attract around 200 industry players both from Switzerland and other countries.

Major tech and finance companies are partnering with the event including Accenture, Agroscope, Six Digital Exchange, Amazon Web Services, Blockfactory, Cardano, PwC, and others.

Switzerland has established itself as a cryptocurrency and blockchain-friendly country, with its global hub for virtual currencies known as the “Crypto Valley” in the canton of Zug. According to the annual “State of European Tech” report from technology investment firm Atomico, the “Crypto Valley” was ranked the fastest-growing tech community in Europe.

Recently, the president of the CVA, Daniel Haudenschild, declared that “we need a change in our laws and [sic] that requires more interaction with lawmakers and regulators. We need to make Switzerland open and easy for companies to invest in blockchain projects.” He also noted that the crypto bear market damaged Switzerland’s position as a global blockchain hub.

Last December, the Swiss Minister of Finance, Ueli Maurer, indicated that instead of a specific blockchain or cryptocurrency legal framework, Switzerland should tweak existing laws to allow for the new technology and its financial application. The government reportedly expects to propose changes to six laws, including the civil code and bankruptcy law, this year.

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Bitcoin’s Price Will Go Below $3,000, Anthony Pompliano Tells Mainstream Media

The Morgan Creek Digital Assets founder says that short term, Bitcoin has “lower to go” than its current levels of around $3,800.

Bitcoin (BTC) still has “lower to go” despite its bull run to above $4,000 last week, Morgan Creek Digital Assets founder Anthony Pompliano told CNBC on Dec. 26.

Speaking in an interview, Pompliano, who is also a frequent markets commentator on social media, became the latest figure to claim Bitcoin markets will only bottom out when the price drifts below $,3000.

“Short term, I actually think we have lower to go,” he told the network.

In November, Pompliano had predicted a plunge to $3,000 for BTC/USD, which subsequently occurred earlier this month.

Since then, prices across the crypto markets have taken off, with Bitcoin hitting its monthly high of almost $4,300 before correcting downwards to circle $3,782 at press time. Some altcoins gained much more, with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH) more than doubling their respective USD values in days.

Asked whether Bitcoin’s price was “correlated” with traditional or FAANG (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google) stocks, Pompliano denied both assertions.

Like cryptocurrencies, FAANG stocks have tumbled in 2018, with traditional stocks following over the Christmas period.

“I definitely agree there are some psychological components at play as the stock market pulls down,” Pompliano continued, noting Bitcoin’s correlation with the S&P 500 was “zero” and “near zero” with the dollar index.

Last week, veteran trader Tone Vays warned that a close below the 50-month moving average would take Bitcoin down to at least $1,300, the high point of its bull run in 2013.

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Why Bitcoin, Ethereum and the Entire Crypto Market Are Down in Value

An opinion article on why the market is falling down

The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Cointelegraph.com.

The way I see it, investors in 2017 — and specifically in Q4 — wanted to buy Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) for the sole purpose of exchanging it for specific ICO tokens they wanted to invest in. The buyers of Bitcoin and Ethereum did not want to own Bitcoin or Ethereum. They wanted to buy the newly issued initial coin offering (ICO) tokens, but they needed to buy Bitcoin and Ethereum as a short way to get what they ultimately wanted. The owners of Bitcoin and Ethereum did not want to sell. They were watching the price of their holdings increase, so why would they? They were also believers in Bitcoin and Ethereum. So, in a “bid-ask world,” the price went up.

Then, those startup companies that completed their ICOs became whales, which began — as a group — to unload their tokens in December and January, thereby flipping the dynamic of the huge demand for Bitcoin and Ethereum to all sellers of Bitcoin and Ethereum. After the New Year’s hangover faded, the startups needed to exchange their crypto for fiat in order to pay engineers and build their startups.

Then, it was a run-on-the-bank panic. Pressure from the United States regulators in Q3 and Q4 of 2017 resulted in a slowing and near total halt of ICOs by early 2018. After that, ICOs either stopped or radically slowed. New token issuers began to accept fiat without the need to pass through Ethereum, which killed more demand and left only sellers and “hodlers” and no buyers. In a “bid-ask world,” the market tanked. An interesting dynamic of the current market is that the prices of all cryptocurrencies are highly correlated to each other. Just look at the price of any token on CoinMarketCap, and you will notice a perfect correlation among the prices of most of them. Bitcoin and Ethereum go up and down together, and most other tokens are correlated in the same way. It shouldn’t be that way, but without any banks analyzing and reporting on these startups — the way they do for Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. — that’s the way it is for now. So, Bitcoin can raise or drop the price of your token, but it now appears that gravitational pull works in both directions.

In 2018, something else developed. It became clear that all of these funded ICOs were not diligenced by real tech experienced angels or VCs — they were mostly not tokens you would really want to invest into. Previously, all of these coins were correlated to the rising price of Bitcoin and Ethereum, but now it is dragging them down. They are all correlated, and the big section of the overall market cap is sinking the ‘crypto ship’ in general.

Why Bitcoin, Ethereum and the Entire Crypto Market Are Down in Value

What will happen is that all of these weak startups will eventually be flushed out, and we will be left with some decent and even amazing companies. Today, the consumer retail investors of Southeast Asia and around the world are no longer gambling and throwing cash at the latest ICO to pitch at some blockchain event — or at least not at the volumes of Q4 2017. It used to be 20 percent institutional (VC) investors and 80 percent retail. Now, it’s 80 percent institutional investors, if not more. It makes sense to me that, if strongly branded VCs like a16z, Pantera Capital and 7BC.VC invest into a startup from their wide funnel of investments after conducting VC-grade due diligence, consumer retail investors will want to invest — following the VC’s lead in jurisdictions where this complies with local securities law (or, in the U.S., if the startup filed an S1, Reg A+, etc.).

Now is the time for the arrival of experienced VCs to raise real VC funds, generate large volumes of deal flow, process that deal flow with fully centralized and decentralized teams qualified to conduct proper due diligence, fund the best ones, as well as help these portfolio companies execute and manage investor risk via diversification and portfolio construction. We have seen a return to sane equity funding — and not just for tokens. Investors now own equity and tokens. Some “pure play” decentralized cases require only tokens — but again with real, old-school due diligence — before just throwing money around. We are also seeing a return to market valuations, rather than a team of high school dropouts seeking a $50 million or $100 million pre-money valuation without ever having met a payroll or accomplish any substance prior to getting that kind of valuation.

The new companies to be funded in 2019 — and to be listed in 2019, 2020 and 2021 — will be far better on average than the 2017 cohort, resulting in a rebound in the market. Experienced VC-backed entrepreneurs are now working on blockchain startups, which means the population of management teams has evolved beyond the original Bitcoin anarchists.

Bitcoin itself is resilient, proven by its survival of multiple Mt. Gox-type events and numerous up-and-down cycles. The long-term curve for Bitcoin is up and to the right. After the infamous coins run out of cash and disappear, the market will become much more robust. Many of the managers became delusional due to their experience of traveling the world and completing their ICOs, thinking that BTC and ETH would only go up and up while failing to exchange enough of their crypto for fiat. Not only did they have startup risk, but they foolishly added FX (foreign exchange) risk.

So, the good news is that these weak, never-should-have-been-funded startups will run out of cash sooner than expected, because their crypto is worthless when converted to fiat than they thought at the time they completed their financings. The flushing out of these coins currently weakening the market will drive the market up. Today, startups exchange their crypto into fiat the moment they get it.

Why Bitcoin, Ethereum and the Entire Crypto Market Are Down in Value

I also predict that we will see a few killer startups take off and generate mass adoption, which will bring mainstream users into the crypto world and — in a gravitationally correlated world — this will lift the tide of the entire market. We will probably see some video game become a huge sensation — like Angry Birds — or something that will drive the adoption of a token. I expect to see something else come along that no one ever thought of — like Skype — that everyone begins to use, which will pull huge populations into the crypto world, as the value will just simply be there.

It is imperative that all businesses move onto the blockchain so that no party can tamper with the numbers of how many “widgets” were sold or with who gets paid what. All business, government and health care data should be on the blockchain — and pretty soon, it will be unacceptable without it to enter into a business agreement and trust the other party to tell you how many widgets were sold in China, the U.S. or Africa. Once these business transactions or elections are on the blockchain and no one can tamper with the data, all sides can trust each other. The big picture here is that the market will see a major rally and long-term trend up and to the right.

2019 might be an excellent time to invest in a blockchain-focused VC fund or invest into blockchain startups taking on-board lessons from top-performing VCs that have a strong entrepreneur-experienced investment team with experience in achieving top-quartile venture capital IRR performance and cash-on-cash performance.

This article originally appeared on Andrew Roman’s LinkedIn page. The text was edited and condensed.

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XRP Transactions via Apple’s Siri Are Now Possible Thanks to an Independent Developer

XRP continues to cement itself as a multipurpose cryptocurrency with enough merits to be the most important altcoin in the market. A few days ago, an independent developer known on Twitter as xRpTo_O managed to develop an iOS implementation that allows users to send XRP with simple voice command.

iOS jailbreak and development scene has been a bit quiet lately; however, this has not stopped some developers from joining their passion for cryptocurrencies with the creation of software to facilitate the lives of users beyond what official apps have to offer.

In a video, the user communicates with Siri through voice commands in a natural way and sends 0.5 XRP to a user that Siri found in its database.

Although the video only shows money transfer, the developer has been adding several features over time. The app establishes a communication link between Siri and XRP TipBot making the app much more functional with every new release.

Ripple, Apple, and Alexa: The Big Giants Have Not Yet Given Their Thumbs Up to Hands-Free XRP Tipping

Although neither Ripple nor Apple are directly involved in the development of this app, its creation is a sign of the growing interest of the community in this cryptocurrency. While on previous occasions some critics of Ripple’s philosophy claimed that XRP did not have the necessary properties to be considered a true crypto, the recent increase in the number of users and the software developments that are being achieved to boost the use of XRP in everyday life are a sign that Ripple is successfully finding a space within the community.

The announcement comes one month after Nixer achieved a similar implementation in which he managed to integrate such service with Alexa.

However, despite the efforts of the developer, shortly after his submission, the application was denied by Amazon:

Right now, Ripple’s token is the second cryptocurrency in terms of global market cap, with a capitalization of $12,236,145,454. The token has suffered the same bearish run of the whole crypto market but actually, the gap between XRP and ETH has been increasing almost at a daily basis

The post XRP Transactions via Apple’s Siri Are Now Possible Thanks to an Independent Developer appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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How Crypto Incentives Work, Explained

Crypto platforms are taking innovative approaches when it comes to incentivization, but what does it mean for miners and the people who use these services?

Where do loyalty programs fit in?

This marketing tool has been suffering issues for years.

In the non-crypto world, consumers are overwhelmed by the number of schemes offered by retailers and are disappointed by the rewards. Blockchain projects are hoping to inject some innovation into this sector by offering schemes which are meaningful to shoppers.

The startup behind Elipay — Eligma — says its approach involves a universal loyalty scheme. Instead of carrying around a wallet full of cash and credit cards, consumers will be able to shop and receive rewards from a plethora of merchants in one place. The tokens that customers earn can then be used for further shopping or for receiving the benefit of discounts on goods and services. This also has the potential to deliver a boost to merchants who have been struggling to compete with online giants such as Amazon, as they can offer compelling deals to drive repeat customers.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

Can tokenizing services help boost investment in crypto companies?

Potentially, as one of the biggest ways to incentivize crypto users is to create utility.

One of the biggest challenges for many crypto startups out there is that they hold crowd sales for utility tokens, but it is not clear whether or not they will be able to satisfy the public’s demand that the tokens be used in exchange for goods and services.

To incentivize the public to embrace cryptocurrency, there need to be clear benefits in using this new form of payment in the first place — offering something that they would not be able to find somewhere else.

Shopping is something we all do every day, and old habits die hard. When it comes to incentivization, it is necessary for crypto startups to think outside of the box in order to encourage the public to try something new. Systems for mobile payments with crypto at offline and online stores such as Elipay are addressing this challenge by offering shoppers cashback in the form of crypto tokens whenever they make a purchase. This solution was to create a network of retailers at which people can spend their assets without converting them back to old-fashioned currencies.

Does proof-of-stake (PoS) offer any advantages over PoW?

One could argue that PoS provides a double incentive.

Here, the onus changes to “staking,” where miners have a better chance of being chosen to add a block to the chain — and hence get rewarded — depending on how many coins they possess. As well as being motivated to invest in a platform and support a currency to increase their profitability, there are the rewards to think about on the horizon.

Although it has addressed some of the issues inherent in the PoW protocol — namely the extraordinary costs involved with mining, which can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars a day — it does deliver its own disadvantages. For example, PoS does run the risk of monopolization, where a few validators rich in coins end up receiving the lion’s share of the rewards.

All of this said, PoS does inoculate a platform against a so-called “51 percent attack” — as such an attack would likely devalue the digital currency which the validators themselves own. In a PoW scenario, miners can reap rewards even if they don’t own the asset involved. Again, it just goes to show that incentives in the crypto world can present themselves in many ways.

How is proof-of-work (PoW) an incentive?

Miners are rewarded, but the costs are high.  

Proof-of-work — known as PoW — sees miners compete to become the first person to solve mathematical puzzles using their computation power. Miners who beat their rivals to the punch are then rewarded in the form of cryptocurrency, and major networks — including Bitcoin and Ethereum — use this consensus algorithm.

Fans believe that PoW delivers an array of benefits. First off, it insulates a platform against denial-of-service attacks. Additionally, it puts miners on more of a level playing field, and decision making on a network does not hinge upon their wallets. Instead, they should be willing to splash out on hi-tech machines that can be very expensive to run.

How are blockchain marketing tools incentivizing users?

They promote a sense of community and inclusion within a platform.

Cutting out the middlemen has tumbled fees, and many startups are using this to their advantage. In addition to cheaper services compared with their mainstream rivals, they are luring in users through revenue-sharing schemes that give everyone a slice of the profits. This encourages loyalty to a platform and drives participation. Miners and validators — the people who make transactions run smoothly on the blockchain — are also getting rewarded through the contributions they make to a network, and crypto enthusiasts with expertise are being incentivized to uncover security flaws through bounties or to embrace new coins through airdrops.

Blockchain platforms are also helping brands connect with consumers directly, eliminating the middlemen who act as a conduit and distort the message. From an advertising perspective, the power is now also in the hands of the shopper. The public is being given opportunities to be paid in tokens when they are exposed to advertising, and they can decide which data about them is used for this purpose. It ultimately helps brands target their products more efficiently, giving them greater value for money.

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Hodler’s Digest, Nov. 26—Dec. 2: Satoshi Makes a New Friend, Buterin Gets Negative Over Centralized Blockchains

Ohio businesses can soon pay taxes in Bitcoin, while Nasdaq looks ahead to a Bitcoin futures launch.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Top Stories This Week

Nasdaq Notes Bitcoin Futures Could Launch in Quarter 1 2019, Bloomberg Reports

Major U.S. stock exchange Nasdaq still intends to launch Bitcoin futures, and may do so in the first quarter of 2019, according to “two people familiar with the matter.” Speaking to Bloomberg this week, the two unnamed sources note that Nasdaq has been “working to satisfy the concerns of the U.S.’s main swaps regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission [CFTC], before launching the contracts.” Later in the week, it was revealed that Nasdaq had partnered with U.S. investment firm VanEck to jointly launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products, a move that supports the unnamed sources’ claims.

Ohio Poised to Become First US State to Accept Bitcoin for Taxes

The U.S. state of Ohio is set to become the first state to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a tax payment. According to the Wall Street Journal, the decision will at first only apply to business, but there are plans in place to extend the crypto option to individual taxpayers in the future. Beginning this week, the WSJ notes that all Ohio-based businesses will be able to register to pay their taxes in BTC, which will then be processed through crypto payments service BitPay.

Vitalik Buterin: Blockchain Tech Isn’t as Applicable in Every Industry as People Think

Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin said this week in an interview that the misapplication of blockchain technology in some industries leads to “wasted time.” Buterin noted that although there are a high number of companies that try to establish higher standards and transparency by using blockchain tech, he does not believe that blockchain can be applied usefully in every industry. Buterin specifically criticized the proprietary nature of corporate blockchain projects from tech giants like IBM, noting that crypto and cross-border payments are suitable industries for the technology’s use.

US Securities Regulator Charges Floyd Mayweather Jr., DJ Khaled for Illegal ICO Promotion

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer Khaled Khaled (known as DJ Khaled) for unlawfully advertising Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). The SEC found that Mayweather did not disclose receiving payments for promoting three ICOs (including $100,000 from Centra Tech), while DJ Khaled failed to disclose a $50,000 payment from the same crypto startup. In May, Centra’s three co-founders had been formally indicted for running a fraudulent $32 million ICO in 2017.

Bitcoin Creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Account Goes Live, Posts One-Word Update

Anonymous Bitcoin (BTC) creator Satoshi Nakamoto’s P2P Foundation account became active this week, posting a one-word status and adding a Brazilian user to his friend list. The profile, which is associated with an email that had previously been hacked, has been offline since Nakamoto withdrew from online activity in late 2010. The one word post — “nour” — has no obvious meaning: a Google search finds an Urban Dictionary post for “the most loving, affectionate and caring person you’ll ever meet,” while the word also is a transliteration of the Arabic and Ancient Hebrew for “light” or “life.”

Most Memorable Quotations

Most Memorable Quotations

Vitalik Buterin

“I don’t understand this deeply, but the detail that jumped out at me is they’re saying ‘Hey, we own all the IP and this is basically our platform and you’re getting on it.’ And like, that’s… totally not the point….” — Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin, speaking out the corporate blockchain projects

Tom Lee

“If you’ve got time, it will arise. It will not happen within three months, or one year, but in two to three years, and this is the golden time to be in crypto,” — Tom Lee, major Wall Street crypto bull and co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors

Josh Mandel

“I do see [Bitcoin] as a legitimate form of currency,” — Ohio state Treasurer Josh Mandel, speaking about adding a BTC tax payment option

Laws and Taxes

Laws and Taxes

Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange Receives “Business License” From Regulator

The Liechtenstein Ministry of Economic Affairs has reportedly given a “business license” to professional traders-focused Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX). According to the business, the license is a “milestone” in developing a “fully regulated blockchain ecosystem,” targeting institutional and professional investors. The firm now plans to apply for a Financial Market Authority (FMA) license, as well as other regulators’ approvals to trade security tokens among other offerings.

US SEC Chairman Jay Clayton Reiterates Strict Stance on ICO, ETFs

Jay Clayton, the chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), implied this week how the regulator is maintaining its strict stance of Initial Coin Offering (ICO) compliance. In an interview, Clayton noted that there was still a need to conduct public token sales to U.S. customers while following SEC guidelines. Clayton refused to comment on the SEC’s  pending decision on whether to allow Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to launch, noting only “we’ve been clear on some of the issues that are of concern to us.”

Malaysia Plans to Create Crypto Regulation by Quarter 1 2019, Says Finance Minister

According to Malaysia’s finance minister, the country will develop regulations for cryptocurrency and Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) in Q1 2019. Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng stated that the country’s regulator, the Securities Commission (SC), had given him the timeframe for the regulations, which will form “part of the SC’s efforts to facilitate alternative fundraising avenues and new investment asset classes.” Also this week, the minister noted that any entity wishing to issue cryptocurrency must defer to the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Adoption

Adoption

Coinbase Launches Over-the-Counter Trading for Institutional Investors

Major U.S. crypto exchange and wallet provider Coinbase revealed this week that they have launched over-the-counter (OTC) trading for institutional customers. In contrast to trading through a crypto exchange itself, OTC crypto trading will allow institutional investors to conduct direct trades between each other. Head of Sales at Coinbase Christine Sandler noted that the decision to open OTC trades came at a time of increased demand for the service from institutional players, who consider leveraging both exchange and OTC business as a “huge benefit” to their customers.

CLSNet Blockchain Payment Netting Service Launches With Big Banking Clients

U.S. forex exchange (FX) settlement giant CLS’ blockchain payment netting service went live this week, with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as some of the initial users of the service, which was built in conjunction with IBM. The blockchain netting service, which is described as the “first global FX market enterprise application running on blockchain in production,” also has “committed” participation from six international entities including the Hong Kong branch of the state-run Bank of China.

Abu Dhabi-Based Bank Completes “First” Sukuk Transaction on Blockchain

Al Hilal Bank, based in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced it has completed “the world’s first sukuk transaction” with the use of blockchain technology. Sukuk is a legal instrument, also referred to as “sharia compliant” bonds, which allows investors to generate returns without infringing on Islamic law. The sukuk transaction was worth a reported $1 million, sold by Al Hilal to a private investor with the participation of Swiss-based fintech company Jibrel Network, which has offices in Dubai.

Bahrain Finance Training Institute Launches Blockchain Academy

The Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF) announced the launch this week of what it claims to be the country’s first “Blockchain Academy.” The BIBF established in Bahrain in 1981 by approval of the Specific Council for Vocational Training, is an unregistered non-profit semi-government entity that provides training in the financial sector. The Blockchain Academy, according to the announcement, is designed to prepare participants to earn the international qualification of Certified Blockchain Professional C|BP and was developed by both the BIBF and Dubai-based training firm MyLearning Key.

Amazon Debuts Two New Blockchain-Related Products

E-commerce giant Amazon has announced the launch of two new blockchain-related services this week: Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB) and Amazon Managed Blockchain. QLDB is a ledger database, overseen by a central trusted authority, that will provide a transparent, immutable, and cryptographically verifiable log of transactions, while the Amazon Managed Blockchain can operate with QLDB, allowing users to adjust and manage a scalable blockchain network.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

“Code of Conduct” Association Launched for Crypto by Ten Blockchain, Fintech Firms

Ten financial and technology firms have established an Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) in order to create a “code of conduct” for the cryptocurrency sector. Among the founding members of the organization include Mike Novogratz’s crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, global financial services firm BTIG, fintech firm Paxos — of recently-launched stablecoin PAX — and crypto liquidity solutions provider GSR. The group plans to work with regulators to create “comprehensive standards” for digital asset market participants.

Nasdaq and VanEck Partner to Release “Regulated, Surveilled” Digital Assets Products

Nasdaq, the world’s second largest stock exchange, and the U.S. investment firm VanEck have announced a partnership to launch a set of “transparent, regulated and surveilled” digital assets products together. The partnership, announced via a tweet and then at a New York crypto conference, supposes that the new products would use Nasdaq’s SMARTS Market Surveillance system, alongside VanEck’s MVIS digital asset pricing indices.

Microsoft Japan and LayerX Partner to Increase Domestic Blockchain Use

The Japanese arm of computer giant Microsoft has partnered with nascent blockchain startup LayerX to “accelerate” uptake of the technology in Japan. LayerX was created in August as a joint project between news curation app Gunosy and advisory service AnyPay, and sees blockchain integration for enterprise, including the application of smart contracts and general consulting. Using Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) solution, the companies will work together to promote broader applications of blockchain.

ASUS Partners With GPU Mining Platform to Let Users Mine Crypto via Graphics Cards

Taiwan-based tech giant ASUS and GPU mining platform Quantumcloud have formed a partnership in order to allow users to mine crypto via their graphic cards. Per the terms of the partnership, owners of ASUS graphic cards will be able to mine crypto through Quantumcloud software and withdraw earnings using PayPal or Chinese app WeChat. Quantumcloud noted that it doesn’t guarantee profits, and that users need to consider usage costs on their own.

Funding Rounds

Funding Rounds

Blockchain Capital Leads Almost $13 Mln Funding Round for U.S. Securities Token Startup

Blockchain Capital has led a $12.75 million Series A funding round for American securities tokens startup Securitize this week. The platform, which enables the issuances of digital securities — or security tokens — of any asset, also had  Coinbase Ventures, Global Brain, NXTP, OK Blockchain Capital, and Xpring at Ripple participate in the funding round. Blockchain Capital’s co-founder and managing partner Brad Stephens will join Securitize’s Board of Directors.

Decentralized Exchanges Completes $15 Mln Funding Round with Huobi and OKCoin

BHEX Exchange, a decentralized crypto exchange, finished a $15 million funding round this week with support from major exchanges like Huobi and OKCoin. According to BHEX, the new funding round also included support from Genesis Capital, among others. BHEX’s investment subscription has purportedly attracted over 70 investment institutions, while Blue Helix selected 40 to participate in the first round of investment.

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are slightly in the green at the end of the week, with Bitcoin trading at $4,128.16, Ripple at $.37, and Ethereum at $116.48. Total market cap is around $134 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are FREE Coin, Etheera, and RabbitCoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are ZeusNetwork, Cyber Movie Chain, and TRONCLASSIC.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

FUD of the Week

Bitmain Sued for $5 Mln For Alleged Unauthorized Mining at Clients’ Expense

Crypto mining giant Bitmain is facing a class action lawsuit of $5 million that alleges the company mined crypto for its own benefit while its customers’ devices were in the process of setting up. According to the lawsuit, Bitmain is benefitting from the the lengthy “initialization” period that its ASIC [Application-Specific Integrated Circuit] devices need for set up. The plaintiff claims that the company’s ASIC devices are “preconfigured to use its customers’ electricity to generate crypto currency for the benefit of Bitmain rather than its customers.”

US Treasury Adds Crypto Addresses of Two Iranians to Sanctions List Over BTC Ransomware

The U.S. Treasury Department has sanctioned two Iranians allegedly involved in Bitcoin (BTC) ransomware scheme SamSam, including their Bitcoin addresses in a first for putting crypto addresses on a sanctions list. The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) took action against two Iranian individuals, Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammad Ghorbaniyan, who are accused of exchanging Bitcoin into Iranian rials (IRR) associated with the scheme. OFEC has managed to identify two crypto addresses associated with the alleged Iran-based criminals, with 7,000 transactions in Bitcoin and around 6,000 BTC moved since 2013.

Bulgarian Prosecutors Detain Three Hackers Who Reportedly Stole $5 Mln in Crypto

Bulgaria’s Gendarmerie forces and specialized prosecutors have arrested three hackers allegedly involved in stealing $5 million in crypto this week. According to the investigation, the hackers used new methods and advanced computer skills, including specialized hardware, in the scam. The investigation, which began five months ago, has ended with the police seizing cryptocurrencies worth around $3 million, as well as computers, flash drives, and a hardware portfolio for storage of crypto data.

Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital Lost $136 Mln During First Three Quarters of 2018

According to a report from Bloomberg this week, Mike Novogratz‘s crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital has lost $136 million in the first three quarters of 2018. The banks realized and unrealized losses in Q3 amounted to $41 million, and the firm’s share price also dropped to a record low after tumbling 55 percent this month. Galaxy Digital explained the loss by pointing to the falling prices of Bitcoin (BTC), Ripple (XRP), and Ethereum (ETH), calling the lack of crypto trading volumes a “headwind” to success.

Zug Court Shuts Down Crypto Mining Firm Over Unregistered Initial Coin Offering

The cantonal court in Zug, Switzerland, has shut down cryptocurrency mining firm Envion AG for offering an allegedly unauthorized Initial Coin Offering (ICO). Envion, a Swiss-based off-grid mining company that touts itself as using decentralized, clean energy like hydroelectric and solar to power its mobile mining units, raised around $100 million through its mid-January ICO this year. The funding led to a conflict between the two partners at Envion, resulting in a court trial. This week, the court ruled to liquidate the firm, while noting the complete absence of any auditing function or board.

Prediction of the Week

Prediction of the Week

Civic CEO Believes Bitcoin Will Trade Range-Bound for “Three to Six Months”

According to Vinny Lingham, the CEO of identity management startup Civic, Bitcoin’s (BTC) price will remain range-bound between $3,000 and $6,000 for the next three to six months. Speaking on CNBC’s “Fast Money,” the CEO noted that it is doubtful that the coin will break down the support level of $3,000 since there is “a lot of buying in the short term around that mark.”

Best Cointelegraph Features

Best Cointelegraph Features

Ohio to Accept Tax Payments in Crypto — Setting the Standard for Future?

Ohio state is looking to become the first in the U.S. to let businesses, and possibly later individuals, to use cryptocurrencies to pay for taxes. Cointelegraph spoke to Ohio’s State Treasurer Josh Mandel, the person responsible for the initiative, about how he sees the state becoming more of a blockchain hub as well.

Trezor One Wallets Forgery Reveals New Techniques Used to Steal Crypto

Last week, Trezor, one of the leading crypto hard wallets, reported that one-for-one copies of their devices had been found, and warned customers to be careful of purchasing Trezors from unreliable sellers. The key difference between the real and fake Trezors? A holographic sticker on the box, which some critics say is too weak as a security measure.

ABC vs SV: Assessing the Consequences of the Bitcoin Cash War

The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork took place on Nov. 15, but the consequences are far reaching. Bitcoin ABC, which was backed by both BCH advocate Roger Ver and Bitmain founder Jihan Wu, ended up winning the allegiance of the majority of exchanges, but Bitcoin SV is far from being dead.