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Steve Wozniak Co-Founds Blockchain-Based Energy Saving Firm in Malta

Steve Wozniak has co-founded a company in Malta, which will reportedly use blockchain technology to save energy.

Steve Wozniak, co-founder of American tech giant Apple, has invested in a new blockchain-based company headquartered in Malta. Wozniak is now the co-founder of energy efficiency company Efforce, according to a report by Maltese news daily The Malta Independent on July 18.

Wozniak co-founded the company alongside Jacopo Visetti, who — according to his LinkedIn profile — works in the renewable energy and environment sector. According to this page, Visetti co-founded Efforce in January, 2018 — approximately one year and seven months ago. 

According Efforce’s LinkedIn page, the company provides the first blockchain-based platform focused on investing in energy efficiency, with its stated goal “to be recognized as the first and main platform in the world for tokenized energy savings.”

As per the report, Wozniak recently spoke about Efforce at the pre-launch for the Delta Summit, which is a blockchain conference held in Malta. 

Wozniak reportedly spoke about how he thinks blockchain will be a great boon to decreasing the public’s environmental impact without requiring people to change their habits. Wozniak also spoke on the local government’s pro-blockchain attitude as key to Efforce’s decision to launch in Malta.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Wozniak also co-founded a blockchain investment project in October 2018. He founded the venture capital fund EQUI Global to support investments in blockchain solutions.

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Bitcoin (BTC) Shining, Apple Downgraded as European Stocks See Red

Bitcoin BTC Apple

The value of major world equities is on a free fall, due to the effects of the global trade war.  The expected hefty cuts on US interest rates have further spooked investors, slowing investments. Health-care and Tech shares like Apple have been most affected. BASF, the German Chemicals giant, is raising the alarm as its shares sank by 5 percent.

In contrast, Bitcoin is on a steady climb, and analysts are predicting a further steeper rise ahead. Bitcoin, however, is not the only digital asset in the limelight. Litecoin, Ethereum, and other altcoins are surging ahead too. Bitcoin is up more than four-fold in short six months while BCH, ETH, and LTC are registering impressive gains over the same time frame.

World
Trade in Turmoil

BASF has blamed the China-US trade war and the global economic slump for its woes. However, it is not the only German business in trouble. Deutsche Bank‘s shares tumbled by 9.4 percent in two days after its 18,000 employee job cuts announcement. Besides, Apple’s shares have been downgraded, and the S&P 500 is still slipping.

According
to analysts, the US business cycle is experiencing a downturn. In addition, forward-looking
indicators such as global trade and global PMIs are in contraction territory.
According to a Morgan Stanley analyst,
“companies have begun cutting their 2019 profit forecasts, citing the trade
conflict as a reason.”In the UK, things are not looking any better as the
no deal Brexit shadow looms.

Presently,
analysts are awaiting the results of the Fed Chairman’s grilling by Congress on
Wednesday. There is hope, however, that the relaunch of the trade talks between
China and the US might begin to ease sentiments. There, nevertheless is
skepticism on the outcome as both parties take rather hard-line stances on
their differences. 

Amongst
commodities, factors such the tensions in the Middle East coupled with the
trade dispute, have forced oil prices into a dip. The pressure brought on by
the Iranian nuclear program row has not helped much. OPEC and its allies are,
however holding up the prices to prevent any further declines. 

Bitcoin
and Crypto Are Shining

Just like Bitcoin, gold’s values have been on the rise as panicky investors seek safe haven assets. The Chinese under US trade sanctions are, for instance, purchasing more Bitcoin. Andy Brenner, the International Fixed Income at National Alliance Securities head, notes the sharp divergence between BTC’s recent performance and the Yuan. He says:

 “If you were in China and you wanted to diversify, it would seem logical that Bitcoin would be a short term alternative. While we do not see the direct flows of who is buying bitcoin, we can see that the bid for bitcoin in this latest run has coincided with a big downtick in the value of the Chinese Yuan versus the dollar.”

Crypto enthusiasts are waiting the day that Bitcoin replaces fiat in payments. Due to its volatility, the digital asset still has developments to undergo before this level of mass adoption is achieved.

In the meantime, it has taken its place as digital gold. Billed as the ultimate store of value, the cryptocurrency’s price movement has a low correlation to the traditional markets. In a low-interest rate environment, Bitcoin and gold emerge as the alternative assets of choice.

The post Bitcoin (BTC) Shining, Apple Downgraded as European Stocks See Red appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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IRS Allegedly Hopes to Make Tech Giants Release User Crypto Activity

The Internal Revenue Service hopes to require tech giants such as Google and Microsoft to silently share crypto-related activity by users: Report.

The United States’ Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is allegedly considering requiring tech giants to report on crypto activity by users, according to a presentation reportedly from an IRS presentation and provided by a Twitter user on July 9.

According to the documents shared, the IRS hopes to use Grand Jury subpoenas on firms such as Apple, Google and Microsoft to check taxpayers’ download history for crypto-related applications.

Known as Crypto Tax Girl, Laura Walter, certified public accountant and crypto tax specialist, tweeted the presentation, which was allegedly for agents in the IRS’s Criminal Investigation division.

Citing the document, Walter concluded that the tax authority is conducting exhaustive research into detection of criminal tax evasion cases involving crypto. As such, the IRS is considering carrying out interviews, open-source and social media searches, as well as electronic surveillance, the expert noted.

Startlingly, the 181-page document reads:

“Grand Jury Subpoena should be considered for Apple, Google, and Microsoft for the Subject’s complete application download history. Each application’s function should be explored to determine whether or not the application can transmit, or otherwise allow, transactions in bitcoin.”

As Walter emphasized, the presentation envisions that IRS agents ensure that taxpayers are not notified about the obtained information regarding their use of cryptocurrencies to prevent detrimental to the investigation. 

Cointelegraph notes that the IRS has not confirmed the authenticity of the presentation’s origin.

According to the documents provided, the IRS is hoping to serve subpoenas to check data from accounts in banks and Paypal for connection with crypto transactions. Additionally, the tax authority is considering reviewing social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter to find and record publicly available cryptocurrency addresses.

Concluding the thread, Crypto Tax Girl wrote:

“There is a ton of other information in there about crypto in general, tracing transactions via the blockchain, limitations of the blockchain, etc. but what you need to know is that the IRS is working HARD to identify criminal tax cases involving cryptocurrency.”

As previously reported, the IRS currently considers cryptocurrencies property. In late 2018, an advisory committee of the IRS expressed its intent to provide additional guidelines for the taxation of crypto transactions.

Recently, Cointelegraph reported on Singapore’s plan to exempt cryptocurrencies that are intended to function as a medium of exchange from Goods and Services Tax (GST).

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How Blockchain Could Decentralize the Music Industry

How big tech curbed freedom of expression ahead of the Tiananmen Square anniversary.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Our guest authors invite readers to discuss the most polemic, ambiguous and debatable topics within the cryptocurrency, blockchain and fintech industries.

If you want to become our guest author and be published on Cointelegraph, please send us an email at contributor@cointelegraph.com 

“History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, 

but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” 

— Maya Angelou

Thirty years after the Tiananmen Square protests, the Chinese government is still working to remove any trace of the event from its cultural history. 

Earlier this month a music fan wrote, “I don’t dare to say it, nor do I dare to ask” on a popular Chinese online forum in regard to the disappearance of Li Zhi, a Chinese musician who dared to speak out on social issues and democracy in his songs. 

Three months ago, Li’s tour was unexpectedly canceled, his social media accounts went offline and his entire discography was scrubbed from China’s music streaming platforms. This involuntary “ghosting” isn’t isolated: The Chinese government has been cracking down on artists and activists like Li in preparation for the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests that took place on June 4, 1989. It’s reported that China’s Communist Party has detained dozens of activists and artists who have mentioned the atrocities of that massacre.

It’s no surprise that the Chinese government has never acknowledged that day or the thousands of civilians who were shot and killed at the hands of its army. This isn’t uncommon for countries with one-party systems and regimes that want to control information. But while it attempts to erase the collective memory of the Tiananmen protests, artists and activists like Li are fighting to remember — to ensure that something so dark would never take place at the hands of a governing body again. 

Tech giant censorship

Unfortunately, tech giants in the United States fundamentally aid in the disenfranchisement of creators like Li — and therefore, in the suppression of democracy. In the early spring, Hong Kong Free Press reported that Apple Music had removed Hong Kong-based singer Jacky Cheung’s song for its reference to Tiananmen Square: 

“The youth are angry, heaven and earth are weeping/ How did our land become a sea of blood?/ How did the path home become a path of no return?” 

Pro-democracy singers Anthony Wong and Denis Ho have also been removed from Apple Music in China. The Apple App Store removed applications from its Chinese offering that discussed the Tiananmen Square protests, including The New York Times, Radio Free Asia and Tibetan News. Twitter recently refused to approve an emoji marking the 30th anniversary of the protests. Microsoft and LinkedIn steer clear of talking about their policies in China with the media. You get the picture. 

The tech industry has failed artists like Li Zhi, Jacky Cheung, Anthony Wong and Denis Ho by aiding in the suppression of information and free speech. 

If the U.S. is truly a nation that values democracy, freedom, and humanity — the technology industry should wield its power to combat censorship. 

Centralized vs. decentralized services

Right now, music services cannot — and will not — protect the voices of artists worldwide, because the interests of the powerful will almost always win over those of creators on centralized services. That’s why we must put the power back in the hands of the people by using decentralized services and blockchain technology. 

Because companies like Apple Music are centralized, they must comply with local regulations to remain operational, however unjust that regulation may be. This means they rapidly and readily succumb to the pressure of censors of many kinds, including one-party states like China. Creators don’t have any say in how their content is used or whether it stays available at all. This is true because it’s playing out right before our very eyes. 

The next generation of music services should use technology like blockchains to combat censorship. Decentralizing the control of music distribution and content ownership gives artists, fans and community members the freedom to express themselves and interact directly with one another on their own terms. With no central authority — a government or corporation — a decentralized network can protect controversial creators from being silenced. Meanwhile, centralized services like Apple Music are required delist content when told to; with decentralized control, nobody would be capable of this — Li Zhi’s music would never have been taken down and the history of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests would never be erased. 

Use cases

This isn’t just a dream or a manifesto. Companies and projects are already using blockchain to solve some of the music industry’s biggest issues. My company, Audius, is a decentralized music-sharing protocol and the first to deliver a social music experience that directly connects artists and fans. Open Music Initiative is using blockchain to identify music creators so they can receive their deserved royalty payments. Smackathon, a competition created by Pitbull, is working to bring the top decentralized streaming services to music. 

Music on blockchain

So, what exactly does music on the blockchain mean? What would the industry look like? It will be a decentralized community of artists, fans and developers sharing and defending the world’s music in accordance with the following principles:

  1. Decentralization: Members of the network will operate it, maintaining control of their data. With no central authority, it will be censorship-resistant, secure and community-driven. 
  2. Open-source: Anyone can contribute ideas, build new clients or features, or host nodes on the network.  
  3. Aligned incentives: Everyone who contributes value is fairly compensated. 

Musicians will be able to generate immutable and time-stamped records of their creative works, making content ownership publicly verifiable and unchangeable. With a network that is decentralized, content-addressed and secured by a blockchain, content cannot be tampered with. If a creator elects, their content will remain live forever.

Content moderation will be community-driven, with disputes being resolved by a jury of peers on the network. For example, this arbitration system could resolve claims of piracy or determine revenue shares for derivative content. No government intervention or centralized entity will be able to call the shots on what can and can’t be taken down in the way they do today to silent dissenting voices. 

It’s time we protect vulnerable creators with censorship-resistant technology. Let’s enable artists to distribute what they like, when they like, to whom they like — making it impossible for a government to decide which content can and cannot be listened to by its citizens.

What effect do you think blockchain will have on the music industry? How do you feel about big tech removing artists from their platforms to comply with governments like China?  Let us know what you think in the comment section below.

While Cointelegraph fully supports the right to free speech, Cointelegraph reserves the right to exclude comments that it believes to be objectionable, offensive, disrespectful or otherwise inappropriate.

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Crypto Exchange With 2 Million Users Launches Apps for Apple and Android Devices

A crypto exchange with more than 2 million users has launched apps for Android and iOS — and now plans to become a major player in the pan-Asian region.

crypto exchange that claims it has amassed more than 2 million registered users in the space of four months has released new apps for Android and Apple smartphones.

As well as supporting transactions in a multitude of cryptocurrencies, Bitsdaq says its app offers real-time updates on movements in the markets — and enables users to make withdrawals and deposits quickly. The software is currently available in English, simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese.

With the crypto exchange market growing increasingly congested, Bitsdaq says many platforms have been suffering from poor levels of platform security, inefficient liquidity, disappointing customer service and low internationalization — putting consumers at risk of losing their hard-earned assets.

The company has the aspiration of becoming the best exchange in the pan-Asian region, boasting features including margin trading, futures, spot trading and anonymous instant exchange. Bitsdaq notes it “has hundreds of coins listed now.”

According to the team, it has a thriving community of more than 100,000 on Telegram — and the exchange claims that the web traffic it receives is healthy, too. It cites SimilarWeb data suggesting that its service attracts 11.4 million monthly visits — putting it in third place compared with Binance and Coinbase.

Partnerships and launches

In recent weeks, Bitsdaq has unveiled a series of strategic partnerships designed to expand the ways its community can use their cryptocurrencies. One such development came in May, when the exchange struck an agreement with Spend.com. The alliance means that Bitsdaq users can now acquire a virtual Visa card that enables them to spend their crypto at millions of destinations worldwide, including anywhere where Google Pay and Apple Pay are accepted.

Bitsdaq is available here

Ricky Ng, the founder and CEO of Bitsdaq, said at the time, “This partnership will combine the strengths of Bitsdaq’s exchange infrastructure including user resource, cutting edge tech on blockchain and industrial scale production capacity worldwide, especially in Asia.”

Another strategic partnership saw Bitsdaq receive investment from the United States-based Consensus FinTech Group. The company believes that this tie-up will “create a major competitive advantage in the market” and unlock new opportunities for investors, entrepreneurs and developers alike — representing another milestone in its goal to enhance liquidity and make the cryptocurrency ecosystem more mature.

Moreover, at the beginning of May, the team established a strategic partnership with NGC, a Shanghai- and Singapore-based for-profit licensed fund management company.

At the same time, Bitsdaq was listed on the Chinese currency market and information platform MyToken.

Helping crypto startups

This all comes as Bitsdaq prepares for the first project to debut on its Launchpad service. Known as BQQQ, the company’s native token will serve as a trading pair against other cryptocurrencies, the team says. The company claims BQQQ will become “one of the vital cryptocurrencies for initial exchange offerings (IEOs) of small and medium-sized blockchain startups” — adding that those who hold this token will get priority access when new projects launch. The team notes that users will be able to subscribe to the BQQQ IEO on Bitsdaq Launchpad from June 9 to June 11.

According to Bitsdaq, Launchpad has already attracted significant levels of attention in the marketplace, with “hundreds of projects” reportedly applying for the opportunity to hold their IEO on the platform.

Setting out its vision in a recent white paper, Bitsdaq said, “We aim to be the pioneer that’s leading the blockchain industry to the next generation with our well-rounded IEO service platform.”

Ricky Ng, who founded Bitsdaq last year, is a serial entrepreneur who co-founded a digital advertising company listed on America’s Nasdaq exchange. He is also the chairman and founder of i-House.com, billed as one of the first blockchain real estate platforms in the world.

Learn more about Bitsdaq

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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‘Crypto’ for ‘Cryptography’: How Justified Is the Exuberance Around Apple’s Developer CryptoKit?

As Apple unveils its new cryptographic framework, experts weigh in on its relevance to the cryptocurrency industry.

Yannick Sierra, security engineering and architecture manager for Apple, opened up the cryptography session at the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference and presented the CryptoKit with these words:

Welcome to the bitcoin session! (Laughter in the room). Kidding — welcome to Cryptography and Your Apps session!

This opening quote ended up being the only reference to cryptocurrencies or blockchain throughout the entire presentation of CryptoKit — Apple’s new framework for app developers designed to simplify building security-enhancing cryptographic functionality. Sierra’s joke was likely in recognition of how eagerly the crypto community anticipated the event, as well as the launch of the new toolkit in general.

Despite the heightened expectations that many cryptocurrency enthusiasts harbored, the presentation itself was hardly a ringing announcement of Apple’s newfound openness to blockchain. It turned out to be what it was always meant to be: a hands-on rundown of the new developer tool — with use cases, implementation tips and chunks of code on the slides. Still, what can the crypto industry make of this new release, and does it have anything to do with Apple’s stance on cryptocurrencies?

Great expectations

In the electrified air of the allegedly unfolding blockchain arms race between the world’s major tech powerhouses, cryptocurrency aficionados are hanging on every word these companies say that could be interpreted as endorsement of blockchain technology and its applications. With the 2019 Worldwide Developers Conference underway, vigilant inhabitants of crypto Twitter spotted an unannounced addition to SF Symbols, Apple’s native icon set. Among 1,500 configurable symbols, developers can now leverage four different versions of the bitcoin icon:

Needless to say, the move has been interpreted as an instance of mainstream validation, which followed a similar symbol-ic step by Microsoft. And then, crypto media went abuzz over yet another promising development, as it became known that Apple is poised to present a set of cryptographic developer tools.

For a wishful eye, there was little doubt that all the recent tidbits were pieces of the same puzzle: The company is ready to embrace crypto! After years of contentious relationships, marked by two occasions of Coinbase being dropped from App Store and an effective ban on mining on Apple devices, even small steps were seen as welcomed news.

Bullish comments on CryptoKit’s significance for the cryptocurrency space began to surface. Alejandro Machado, co-founder of Open Money Initiative, told The Block that cryptocurrency developers will capitalize on the new feature that CryptoKit offers: the capacity to leverage iPhone’s secure enclave — a hardware pocket disconnected from the processor — to reach the level of security comparable to that of hardware wallets. TrustWallet founder Viktor Radchenko concurred in a widely circulated tweet:

Forbes’ Billy Bambrough summarized the enthusiastic vibe by calling CryptoKit’s rollout “Apple’s first carefully measured steps into bitcoin and crypto.”

“Duct tape solution”

As it happens, not everyone was immediately ready to hop on the bandwagon. Blockchain developer Ronald Mannak countered the growing bullish sentiment with a series of tweets, deconstructing what CryptoKit is and what it is not. Mannak argued that the new tool is about cryptography, not cryptocurrency, and as such, it has nothing to do with Apple’s stance on crypto and blockchain.

With some improved functionality, CryptoKit is good news for developers but not “the game changer” for the broader crypto space, as compatibility of its affordances with Ethereum and other blockchains remains limited.

Blockchain video blogger Ivan Liljeqvist (Ivan on Tech) projected the same narrative when he spent the first few minutes of his recent stream dwelling on the difference between “cryptography” and “cryptocurrency” and suggesting that “hodlers” should not get overly excited about everything that has “crypto” in it.

He contended that CryptoKit doesn’t look like “how most cryptocurrencies are laid out today,” and it is “not designed for crypto, not having crypto use cases in mind,” citing potential issues with key retrieval and backup from the secure enclave. However, he admitted that one could still build a cryptocurrency on CryptoKit, although it would require a “duct tape solution.”

The basics of what we have

Which of these two perspectives better reflects reality? To answer this question, having a cold-eyed look at CryptoKit and the context of its emergence wouldn’t go amiss.

Apple CryptoKit is a framework that comes with the iOS 13 update. It is built on top of CoreCrypto — Apple’s native cryptographic library. Previously, iOS developers who wished to implement cryptographic operations had to rely on the library called Common Crypto, written in the language Objective-C. As much of the software development on iOS these days occurs in a different language, Swift, this discrepancy proved inconvenient: Unable to use the library directly in Swift, programmers had to spend time on writing wrapper frameworks to make use of it.

CryptoKit, written in Swift, takes care of the issue. It will allow a hassle-free implementation of cryptographic operations such as using public-key cryptography to create and evaluate digital signatures, perform key exchange and use generated symmetric keys to authenticate and encrypt messages. As per Apple’s documentation, the new framework “automatically handles tasks that make your app more secure.”

At the “Cryptography and Your Apps” session, Apple engineers presented major types of prospective use cases: protecting data on a device, protecting credentials and keys, sharing data across devices and users, securing network connections, and verifying remote parties. Sounds like a great privacy-enhancing tool for smartphone users — but where are cryptocurrencies in this picture?

For one, there is potential room for wallet functionality, as many blockchain experts already observed. Sergey Bolshedvorsky, senior iOS developer with Voxpopme, explained:

“The new framework will provide easy-to-use and efficient options for hashing, key generation, key exchange and encryption for developers. All these operations are essential for building cryptocurrency wallets. […] CryptoKit allows to store private keys in the secure enclave which will hugely increase the protection of these keys and allow for secure public-key cryptography. Current documentation suggests that developers will not have direct access to private keys, therefore these are going to be securely protected and stored on a device.”

At the same time, Bolshedvorsky admits, the tool is not perfectly cut out for cryptocurrency-related applications beyond wallets, yet offers a wide array of uses beyond crypto:

“The current implementation of CryptoKit does not support secp2561k1 curve used by Ethereum and other blockchains, therefore it has a limited applicability for cryptocurrency applications at the moment. Support for these algorithms can be added in future updates, but it is not clear when it will happen. CryptoKit brings easy-to-use cryptography to all applications and it does not limit itself to crypto-related applications.”

Founder and CEO of Zerocracy, the creator of cryptocurrency zold, echoes this idea but points to some of CryptoKit’s less obvious implications for the crypto space. Yegor Bugayenko said:  

“Despite the expected market reaction that connected CryptoKit with blockchain and bitcoin, it has nothing to do specifically with those cryptocurrencies. CryptoKit will simplify data encryption and decryption operations, which are used in many other areas, including backups, secure emailing and messages, password generation, and many others. However, natively implemented data encryption algorithms will definitely boost the development of mobile nodes for new lightweight and non-PoW cryptocurrencies, providing millions of iPhone and iPad users with mobile access to microtransactions in the future.”

Industry reaction

Overall, blockchain experts outside of the developer community view CryptoKit’s arrival as welcomed news. While some consider it a manifestation of Apple’s long-anticipated turn toward crypto, others celebrate increased data security and privacy that the new tool is expected to bring about.

Dave Hodgson, director and co-founder of NEM Ventures, the venture capital and investments arm of the NEM blockchain ecosystem, believes that CryptoKit will add to the momentum of mainstream adoption:

“The latest move by Apple is further evidence that blockchain is gaining more mainstream adoption, and it follows a similar release by Samsung and other key players in the space. CryptoKit will allow developers to focus on building a greater user experience without having to divert resources to highly technical areas. An analogy would be GPS on smart phones – allowing Uber to focus on its Consumer app. If you couple CryptoKit with the Apple Sign In announcement, several interesting use cases present themselves and we hope to see other vendors offering similar tools for Android and Windows in due time.”

Matt Branton, chief technology officer of a stablecoin project called Neutral, is largely on board with this optimistic view:

“The increasing interest in blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies among large enterprises signals wider mainstream adoption, in which traditional and emerging industries will continue to overlap. Apple’s plans to unveil the new tool, CryptoKit, which will feature in iOS 13, reveals a promising mission from a traditional tech giant to support growing consumer demand for higher security standards through cryptography. This trend of consumers striving for higher security standards has extended to the digital asset realm, with more and more market participants demanding higher levels of stability and reliability.”

Mateusz Tilewski, co-founder and CTO of blockchain network company Concordium Group, prefers to think of the new cryptographic developer package as a response to the need for higher-quality cryptography in consumer-oriented apps:

“The majority of hacks can be attributed to faulty cryptography design and implementations, so access to quality crypto-utilities is directly correlated to the security of an app. As one of the biggest companies in the world, it is no surprise to see Apple implement proven and stable standards in their kit.”

Overall, while the community’s initial enthusiasm with regard to CryptoKit may be somewhat overblown, in the long run, however, it should further the cryptocurrency movement’s strategic objectives. Although its capacity right now to usher a tidal wave of mobile hard wallets remains controversial, it is upon the developers to test whether it could be an efficient way to move forward. In addition, wider implementation of cryptographic data security solutions means not just better data protection for consumers, but also potential collateral systemic benefits for crypto, including but not limited to the potential rise of mobile-based cryptocurrency nodes.

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Apple to Unveil ‘CryptoKit’ Cryptographic Developer Package at Upcoming Conference

The tech giant is eyeing making its apps more cryptographically secure at the behest of developers.

Apple will target cryptographic developer tools at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2019, the company revealed in the event program for June 5.

During a session scheduled for Wednesday at the ongoing event, titled “Cryptography and your Apps,” Apple will unveil a new tool dubbed “CryptoKit,” which will debut as an update in iOS 13.

CryptoKit will focus primarily on developers, allowing them to build in more security functionality for apps with better support.

“System frameworks encrypt both data at rest and data in transit in a transparent way for you. This functionality is available by simply setting an attribute. However you may want to do more to protect your users’ data,” the event description reads. It continues:

“CryptoKit is a new Swift framework that makes it easier and safer than ever to perform cryptographic operations, whether you simply need to compute a hash or are implementing a more advanced authentication protocol.”

The ongoing WWDC comes as social media users keep an increasing eye out for any hint Apple is changing its somewhat hands-off approach to the cryptocurrency industry itself.

Small moves, such as in-app SF symbols — those compatible with Apple’s San Francisco font — now including a bitcoin (BTC) logo, did not go unnoticed by commentators this week.

Last month, meanwhile, cryptocurrency wallet Spend integrated Apple Pay functionality, allowing users to fund contactless mobile payments with any one of around 20 cryptocurrencies.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak himself started a dedicated blockchain VC fund last year.

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Crypto Mining App Honeyminer Now Available on MacOS

New Jersey-based crypto mining startup Honeyminer has made its mining app available for Macintosh computers.

New Jersey-based cryptocurrency mining startup Honeyminer has made its mining app available on the Apple Macintosh operating system, the firm announced in a blog post on May 9.

The Honeyminer app runs in the background, using the central processing unit (CPU) and graphics processing unit (GPU) of users’ computers for mining bitcoin (BTC). The startup claims to include app features such as mining while users’ computer is idle, an activity log with current mining statistics, currencies, and hardware utilized, and withdrawals, among others.

While Honeyminer is expanding its offerings, other crypto mining services have reduced their capacities, or shuttered altogether following last year’s bear market.

Another cryptocurrency mining service, Coinhive, announced its closure in February, as the project had reportedly become economically inviable. Coinhive reportedly had to shut down its services amidst a 50% decline in hash rate following the last Monero (XMR) hard fork.

As reported yesterday, Chinese cryptocurrency mining giant Bitmain’s hashrate had noticeably dropped in the past 30 days. Per the data analyzing the hashrate of all Bitmain-owned hardware, updated once every 30 days, the SHA256 hashing algorithm — which is used in the bitcoin mining network — has dropped from 1,692.35 quadrillion hashes per second (PH/s) in March to 237.29 PH/s as of the beginning of May.

Meanwhile, cryptocurrency mining firm Argo Blockchain said it expects a break even in May, and outlined its intention to continue to expand its mining infrastructure as hardware prices become cheaper. The company expects that 1,000 units of Bitmain Z11 miners that came into production on May 2 will improve gross margin during the second quarter of 2019.