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Facebook Seeks Blockchain Talent for Five New Company Roles

Facebook has listed five new blockchain-related jobs on its careers page within the past three weeks.

Facebook has listed five new blockchain-related jobs on its careers page within the past three weeks, two of which were first listed Dec. 5 and 6.

The positions currently open for applicants are two software engineer roles, a data scientist post and a data engineer — all full-time roles at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

In the job description for blockchain engineer at the Facebook Blockchain Data Engineering team, the ad characterizes the position as “technically” and “intellectually challenging” work, which “will have massive global impact.”

The most recently-listed role — Product Marketing Lead for the Facebook blockchain team — outlines that the team is “fundamental” to the company’s “mission” of problem solving and community building, and specifically in “exploring the opportunity the blockchain will bring.“

While the precise details of Facebook’s planned or extant blockchain initiatives are kept under wraps, the ad for “Data Scientist, Blockchain” indicates that:

“We’re exploring areas of interest across all facets of blockchain technology. Our ultimate goal is to help billions of people with access to things they don’t have now — that could be things like equitable financial services, new ways to save, or new ways to share information.”

The ad for the two “Software Engineer, Blockchain” roles indicate that blockchain specialists joining the existing Software Engineering (Infrastructure) team would help to build the “large distributed components that run Facebook,” which need to scale to serve “millions of requests per second,” and to do so “with sub-second latency and in a fault tolerant manner.”

Preferred qualifications include “Experience with distributed computing (Hive/Hadoop)” (for the role of “Data Scientist, Blockchain”) and coding experience in a range of languages such as “C, C++, Java, C#, Perl, PHP, Hack and/or Python” (“Software Engineer, Blockchain”).

In early May, the head Facebook’s messaging app Messenger David Marcus — who has been a board member of major United States crypto exchange Coinbase as of December 2017 — announced the company had set up a group “to explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”

In July, Facebook’s Director of Engineering of three years, Evan Cheng, joined the blockchain team to fulfil a parallel role dedicated to exploring the technology’s applications.

As reported this October, the average earnings of a blockchain engineer have soared to between $150-175,000 per year, 400 percent higher than in 2017, according to Hired’s 2018 State of Salaries Report. Hired’s report cited demand fueled by the interest of global tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, all of whom are currently advertising for specialists from the emerging sector.

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Exploring the Chances of a facebook Cryptocurrency

The past few days has seen several publications and crypto enthusiasts notice that the popular social media giant of facebook has advertised 5 job vacancies related to blockchain technology. The open positions are all based in the company’s headquarters of Menlo Park, California, and are as follows:

  • Data Scientist, Blockchain
  • Data Engineer, Blockchain
  • Software Engineer, Blockchain
  • Software Engineer (University Graduate), Blockchain
  • Product Marketing Lead

A screenshot of facebook’s career page with the 5 job openings has been provided below.

What Could They Be Building at facebook?

The last job opening in the list is for ‘Production Marketing Lead’. The facebook career’s page goes on to explain the type of role the successful candidate will be doing.

Our blockchain team is fundamental to that mission and we are seeking an experienced leader to build and manage a new product marketing team focused in exploring the opportunity the blockchain will bring.

This person will be responsible for creating our product strategy for developers and consumers, managing our product go-to-market plans and coordinating a cross-functional team to bring great solutions to connect the community.

Another aspect of the job opening is that its minimum qualifications requires the preferred candidate to have experience with payments or the blockchain.

History of facebook and Crypto

The facebook platform has had a tumultuous history with cryptocurrencies and blockchain products. The site had placed a blanket ban on all crypto and blockchain related advertisements for fear that some were using the platform to advertise scams. The ban took effect in January this year.

The ban was lifted by June and many speculated that the team had noticed the revenue potential of such advertisements. The company however put in place a screening process for projects willing to advertise on the social media platform.

Chances of A facebook Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Platform

Given the progressiveness and drive for technology evident in the team at facebook, it is only natural to assume that  the idea of a cryptocurrency on a facebook blockchain network has crossed their minds.

Back in August, we saw facebook’s blokchain boss, David Marcus, leave the board of Coinbase to avoid a ‘confict of interest’ between the two firms. There was also rumors in the crypto-verse that Stellar (XLM) and facebook were ironing out a partnership.

With the firm’s vast data centers, creating or integrating an existing blockchain network would not be a problem. Integrating nodes in these facilities would be easy as one, two, three.

Conclusion

The new job openings at facebook have all pointed towards the social media giant doing more than just using blockchain technology. With over 2 Billion active monthly users, facebook cannot ignore the fact that such a user base can use a native cryptocurrency for the following purposes:

  • Pay for subscriptions on the social media platform
  • Pay for ads not to be displayed on their news feed
  • Rewarding users for CPU usage (mining)
  • Tipping rather than just liking posts
  • Paying business ads on the platform
  • Expanding its already existing marketplace to allow it to transcend international borders
  • Launching a crypto wallet with exchange services
  • Micropayments fused with cross-border transactions

What are your thoughts on the recent job openings at facebook related to blockchain technology? Do you think they could be working on a cryptocurency? Please let us know in the comment section below. 

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any additional opinion herein is purely the author’s and does not represent the opinion of Ethereum World News or any of its other writers. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available. Thank you.

The post Exploring the Chances of a facebook Cryptocurrency appeared first on Ethereum World News.

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Blockchain-Based E-Commerce Platform to Help Merchants Open Shops Without Startup Capital

A startup e-commerce ecosystem is turning to blockchain to help businesses become more operationally efficient, while enabling billions of users on social media “to generate income with ease.”

TIPO says it has identified three major problems facing the e-commerce market today. According to the company, many of the platforms currently dominating the industry are too focused on buying and selling when there are many other services that can benefit merchants and their loyal customers. Plus, while online payments have continued to rise, market share is yet to reach its true potential. Lastly, businesses are wasting time and money through “suboptimal logistics and warehousing operations.”

Looking towards the vast user bases enjoyed by the likes of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, TIPO argues that most visitors to such platforms haven’t been able to grasp their “limitless” monetization potential – nor have the businesses trying to reach them. As an example of how this platform wants to help everyday social media users make money, TIPO says they would be able to become sales agents for the manufacturers and merchants of products they have purchased and loved. Resultantly, they are paid money for referring their favorite items – be it a hat or a pair of shoes – to friends.

TIPO also hopes to offer advantages to every other stakeholder in e-commerce. While merchants would find it easy to open their very own shop without the need for a large amount of startup capital, the people who buy their products would get the chance to negotiate the best prices, receive tokens for their loyalty, and benefit from blockchain-based tracking methods which are designed to reduce the rates of counterfeit or fake products in the marketplace. In a nod to affiliate marketing, social media users would be paid every time someone clicks on a merchant’s link they have shared. Finally, the businesses shipping the products would also be able to reduce the risk of being given fake orders – and benefit from tools enabling them to “schedule [the] shipping time and route early and efficiently.”

Optimizing payments

According to TIPO’s white paper, e-commerce businesses have been struggling to hit the happy medium between giving users the freedom to make payments online while ensuring that merchants are paid promptly. TIPO aims to remedy this by offering “fast and immediate transactions even during weekends or holidays” and ensuring retailers receive funds as soon as customers successfully complete a transaction. This is going to be achieved through TPO tokens.

The startup is also hoping to help other small e-tailers by reducing their shipping costs and helping the high cost of sales and marketing to tumble substantially.

TIPO acknowledges that its concept can be achieved without blockchain, but argues this technology offers several benefits. For example, buyers and merchants are given the chance to rate each other, and there’s a “guarantee” that payments are processed accurately and on time, with a transaction history that’s immutably recorded. Shoppers can also benefit from healthier discounts and benefits by locking up their TPO tokens.

The future forecast

TIPO is holding an initial coin offering in several stages. A private sale concludes on Sept 20, with a presale taking place from Sept 12 to Oct 9. Finally, the ICO itself will run from Oct 10 to Nov 10.

Development on the TIPO project began in June 2017, with web development starting in August 2017 and Android development in January of this year. Work will commence on an iOS version of the platform in October, paving the way for TIPO to be released in beta come January 2019. By March 2019, it hopes to offer artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning functionality.

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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Why Japan’s Biggest Messaging App Line Decided to Create Its Own Crypto

On Aug. 31, Line, Japan’s most widely utilized messaging app with more than 200 million active users, revealed the launch of its own cryptocurrency called LINK.

Upon its announcement, Line immediately listed LINK on its digital asset exchange BitBox, which it launched back in July of this year.

Uniquely, as Cointelegraph reported, Line has decided not to conduct an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to raise a significant amount of capital in exchange for the distribution of its token. Instead, Line utilized a mechanism called ‘airdrop’ to give users LINK as compensation for utilizing products within the Line ecosystem.

Essentially, LINK is a token that is designed to increase the adoption of decentralized applications (DApps) deployed by the Line development team by incentivizing users accordingly based on their activity on the Link blockchain network.

In the near future, the Line team revealed that it will release DApps and services related to content, commerce, social, gaming and exchange — all of which will rely on LINK as the main payment method.

In concept, Link is similar to EOS, ADA and Ethereum in the sense that it powers DApps and a wide range of services offered by its network of blockchain platforms.

Line’s story

In 2011, Japan was hit with the fourth deadliest earthquake in history. The Tōhoku earthquake, with a recorded 9.1 magnitude, led to more than 20,000 deaths. The Japanese economy was hugely affected by the 30-foot tsunami that triggered a nuclear meltdown of the Fukushima Daichi plant.

At the time, NHN Japan, a subsidiary of South Korea’s search engine operator Naver, envisioned the deployment of a messaging network that was independent of the cellular network so that families and friends could communicate in periods of crisis.

Line was launched in June of 2011, three months after the earthquake, garnering 50 million users within a 12-month period. It is said that Line surpassed Facebook in growth rate, as Facebook needed three years to secure 58 million users.

Since 2011, Line has continued to lead initiatives to assist families and households affected by natural disasters. In late 2013, Line utilized its revenues generated from stickers and emoticon sales to donate $500,000 for hurricane relief in the Philippines.

NUMBER OF MONTHLY ACTIVE LINE USERS

Line’s initial interest in crypto and blockchain

The Japanese messaging giant initially disclosed its intent to focus a large portion of its resources and developer capacity to blockchain development on April 20, 2018, at the 2018 Dev Week conference held in Seoul, South Korea.

At the time, Line chief technology officer Euivin Park discussed the future of IT in front of the company’s 1,000 developers and engineers, as well as the long-term development roadmap of Line that will allow the messaging app to evolve into an all-in-one communications platform.”

During the conference, Park placed heavy emphasis on blockchain technology, stating that the Line umbrella will continue to accelerate the process of creating a blockchain-based tokenized economy that operates on top of a Line-specific blockchain mainnet.

“But Line also will go even further, with plans to support accelerating the development of DApp services outside of the Line platform and develop its own blockchain mainnet in the near future. To achieve this, Line is actively setting up developer bases and speeding up talent acquisition in other regions, as well as adding to Unblock and Blockchain Lab in Korea and Japan.”

While Line has been based in Japan throughout the entirety of its existence, its parent company is Naver — South Korea’s largest search engine. Due to its connections with Naver and South Korea-based internet companies, Park disclosed that two blockchain labs will be set up in South Korea and Japan, with the intent of collaborating with local blockchain projects in the two countries in order to speed up the deployment of a stable blockchain mainnet.

Strategic partnership with Korea’s largest blockchain network to deploy DApps

Naturally, the establishment of Line’s first blockchain lab in Seoul led to the conglomerate cooperating with several blockchain projects created by entrepreneurs and developers based in South Korea. In May, Line officially secured a strategic partnership with ICON, the largest blockchain project in the country (based on market valuation), creating a joint venture called Unchain to develop DApps based on the Link blockchain network.

In May, through an official announcement, the ICON team stated that it had formed a joint initiative with Line due to the shared vision between the two projects in creating a transparent and secure, tokenized economy that incentivizes users based on their contribution to the ecosystem.

The ICON team further emphasized that to streamline the process of DApp adoption, a large network and ecosystem of users is necessary. Considering the 200 million active user base of Line, the ICON development team said that the integration of a blockchain by the Line ecosystem would result in a wider and faster blockchain adoption:

“Unchain will create a blockchain ecosystem fueled by a token economy, where the users are rewarded for their contributions to the network. DApp services discovered through ICON and Unblock, a subsidiary of Line dedicated to blockchain research and to accelerate DApp projects, will be integrated with Unchain.”

In an interview with local publications, Unchain CEO Lee Hong-kyu stated that Line was interested in the interoperability benefits of the ICON network and the team’s technical capabilities. Similar to most next-generation blockchain networks, the ICON blockchain is designed specifically to support many blockchain networks in a single, unified protocol — a structure that is similar to Ethereum’s Plasma scaling solution in the way that many blockchain networks rely on each other to process information in a more efficient manner.

The partnership with ICON allowed Line to speed up the process of DApp deployment and, eventually, the creation of its own cryptocurrency, as the conglomerate garnered all of the technologies and development teams required to sustain a blockchain network.

But, as Line CTO Park said in April, the establishment of the Line blockchain mainnet is only the first step toward the actual initiative of the messaging giant, which is to create a tokenized economy — wherein users are compensated for all sorts of contributions, like content creation, social media presence, digital asset exchange and gaming.

In the years to come, the Line developer community will have to actively develop DApps and various blockchain solutions to ensure that its ecosystem can remain sufficient for hundreds of millions of global users.

Viability and practicality of Line’s independent cryptocurrency

A small portion of the cryptocurrency community questioned the viability and necessity of LINK, the native cryptocurrency of the Link blockchain network, at this stage of development.

In its official announcement, Line CEO Takeshi Idezawa disclosed the intent of the company to create an ecosystem of DApps that will be easy to utilize on a daily basis but did not offer a specific use case of Link, at least in the short-term:

“Over the last seven years, Line was able to grow into a global service because of our users, and now with Link, we wanted to build a user-friendly reward system that gives back to our users. With Link, we would like to continue developing as a user participation-based platform, one that rewards and shares added value through the introduction of easy-to-use DApps for people’s daily lives.”

According to The Verge, in the months to come, users will be able to use LINK to purchase stickers and webtoons on the platform, before the primary use case of the token shifts to become the main incentivization and transaction method of the Line ecosystem.

Image Caption: Physical store of Line characters and stickers in Seoul, Photograph taken by Line Friends, official merchandise distributor of Line

Unlike open-source apps — like Telegram, Line, KakaoTalk and others — for-profit messaging apps have built-in marketplaces that sell stickers, emojis and themes to users. In the foreseeable future, Line expects LINK to be used for small purchases — like the aforementioned items — and, as its DApp and blockchain ecosystem grows, LINK is expected to have a more profound impact on Line.

Line could have utilized existing cryptocurrencies — such as Ether, EOS or Cardano’s ADA — as the primary method of incentivization. But, the Line team explained that the long-term strategy of the company has been to create a blockchain network built from scratch that is specifically designed and structured to facilitate DApps applied to the Line messaging platform.

Based on its partnership with ICON and its decision to create its own blockchain network, it is likely that the core infrastructure of the Link blockchain network will evolve around scalability and multi-chain protocol.

A highly scalable, multi-chain protocol would allow the Link mainnet to process more transactions than other public blockchain networks, similar to VeChain and WaltonChain — two Internet of Things (IoT) blockchain protocols that have implemented their own unique consensus algorithms to maximize the transaction capacity of their blockchains.

Facebook’s potential blockchain launch rumors, stance of WeChat

In May, around the same period in which Line started to explore the blockchain sector, sources close to Facebook revealed the social media conglomerate has been considering the launch of its own cryptocurrency that could be utilized by billions of its users worldwide.

However, speaking to Cheddar, David Marcus — the former vice president of Facebook Messenger who was asked to lead a team of 12 developers in a division focusing on blockchain development — said that Facebook is looking into ways that can leverage the potential of the blockchain.

“Like many other companies, Facebook is exploring ways to leverage the power of blockchain technology. This new, small team will be exploring many different applications. We don’t have anything further to share,” Marcus said, adding that payments in crypto are expensive due to scaling issues and that the company will only consider adding cryptocurrencies onto its platform once it is cheap and efficient to send digital transactions:

“Payments using crypto right now [are] just very expensive [and] super slow. So, the various communities running the different blockchains and the different assets need to fix all the issues, and then, when we get there someday, maybe we’ll do something.”

While the stance of Facebook and Marcus on cryptocurrency integration was made clear through his interview, rumors around a potential cryptocurrency launch by Facebook intensified when Marcus left the board of Coinbase, the world’s largest cryptocurrency brokerage and wallet.

Last month, Coinbase stated that Marcus had left the company’s board to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest and, in a statement provided to Business Insider, Marcus said that the establishment of the 12-developer blockchain team at Facebook led him to resign from his position as a board member.

In the past several months, almost every major messaging application, from Line to Facebook, disclosed their interest in utilizing blockchains or integrating cryptocurrencies to their platforms, apart from one messaging platform: WeChat.

As China’s most frequently utilized messaging app, with nearly a billion users — fivefold the active user base of Line — WeChat has not shown any interest in integrating cryptocurrency or leveraging the blockchain to improve the usability of its platform, primarily due to the Chinese government’s encouragement to ban everything related to cryptocurrencies.

More than that, as Cointelegraph reported last week, WeChat has cracked down on cryptocurrency businesses and publications on its platform, permanently suspending the accounts owned by major cryptocurrency-related ventures that utilize WeChat to spread information about the cryptocurrency sector.

ICO regulation in Japan and South Korea

Kakao, the largest internet conglomerate in South Korea — which operates KakaoPay, KakaoTaxi, KakaoStory, KakaoStock and KakaoTalk, all under the Kakao banner — with nearly 90 percent dominance in every sector it operates in, also announced its plans to release a cryptocurrency earlier this year.

But, the initiative of Kakao was shut down by the Financial Services Commission (FSC), which publicly stated that Kakao is not permitted to conduct a token sale inside or outside of South Korea:

“Even if there is no prohibition on cryptocurrency or digital asset trading, there is a possibility that it [Kakao ICO] may be regarded as fraud or multi-level sales according to the issuance method. Since the risk is very high in terms of investor protection, the government has a negative stance on the ICO.”

Since then, regulatory frameworks around ICOs and cryptocurrency trading in both Japan and South Korea have significantly improved, and the positive change in cryptocurrency regulation may have contributed to the early launch of Line’s native cryptocurrency, LINK.

It is possible that, as regional governments — like South Korea’s Jeju Island — enable ICOs and token sales, Kakao will pursue its previous plan of a token sale and a cryptocurrency launch, directly competing against Line and Naver, the messaging app’s parent corporation.

The active blockchain development division in Facebook led by Marcus, who has been involved in the cryptocurrency sector for many years, could also lead to Facebook, Kakao or others exploring the potential of leveraging blockchain technology, which may place Line in direct competition with the global market’s largest social media platforms.

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Chinese Crypto Bans on WeChat Accounts, Events, and Exchanges: What Happened and Why

This week, the government of China has cracked down on crypto-related WeChat accounts, blockchain events and digital asset exchanges, solidifying its negative stance on cryptocurrency trading and the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market.

WeChat ban and PBoC’s warning against ICOs

On Aug. 22, Cointelegraph reported that WeChat, China’s biggest messaging app that has over 1 billion active monthly users, banned the accounts of cryptocurrency investors, users and businesses.

At the time, Lanjinger, a local financial media outlet, reported that the accounts of Deepchain, Huobi News, Node Capital-backed Jinse and CoinDaily were suspended or taken down permanently, as they violated its policy entitled “Interim Provisions on the Development of Public Information Services for Instant Messaging Tools” by promoting ICOs and cryptocurrency trading.

While CoinDaily confirmed that its WeChat channel with more than 100,000 subscribers was suspended by WeChat, Leonhard Weese, the president of the Bitcoin Association of Hong Kong, said to Cointelegraph that many accounts — destined to have been temporarily or permanently suspended — were actually taken down due to other sensitive subjects outside of crypto:

“They got blocked for talking about the vaccination scandal, not because of crypto. We find this counterintuitive, but reporting on scandals like that is far more sensitive than talking about crypto or doing crypto. I expect them to have their accounts reinstated in a week or a month.”

Expert argues WeChat ban is unrelated to crypto

In late July, the Chinese medical industry was involved in a major scandal after the country’s main drug industry watchdog released its findings that accused two pharmaceutical firms of developing inferior vaccines and deceiving local regulators.

Specifically, Changsheng Biotechnology was said to have released falsified data on the sale of more than a quarter million ineffective diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus vaccinations, as Fortune reported.

Weese argued that, given the magnitude of the scandal in China and the global medicine sector, it is more likely that apart from the case of large-scale cryptocurrency accounts like CoinDaily, Deepchain, and Huobi News, most of the accounts that were banned by WeChat were involved in spreading misinformation about the scandal.

But, as one WeChat official confirmed to Lanjinger, the Chinese government vowed to take a stricter approach in cracking down on ICOs and token sales, and Chinese social media platforms will continue to shut down the accounts of individuals and businesses that are utilized to promote and advertise ICOs in the Chinese market, which were banned by the government in late 2017.

“[Accounts were permanently shut down for being] suspected of publishing information related to ICOs [initial coin offerings] and speculations on cryptocurrency trading,” the official said.

In a statement obtained by South China Morning Post (SCMP), the Huobi team denied that the ban of its account was related to the government’s restriction of cryptocurrency, but rather by the “broad action targeting industrial media” by WeChat.

Facebook blockchain initiative to affect China relationship?

In July 2018, Facebook, which was banned in China in 2008obtained a license to operate an office in China. The social media conglomerate has opened a $30 million subsidiary called Facebook Technology in Hangzhou to finance emerging startups and technology-related initiatives.

“We are interested in setting up an innovation hub in Zhejiang to support Chinese developers, innovators and start-ups,” Facebook told Verge in a statement.

Given the rumors around Facebook wanting to introduce its own cryptocurrency to the global market, it remains unclear whether Facebook’s supposed idea of integrating cryptocurrencies or launching its own blockchain platform could impact its current relationship with the Chinese government.

Chinese social media platforms like Baidu and WeChat have not seen any rumors in both domestic and international cryptocurrency communities regarding cryptocurrency and blockchain-related initiatives, possibly to avoid any conflict with local financial regulators.

PBoC issues warning against ICOs

On Aug. 25, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the central bank of the country, issued a warning against ICOs, firmly declaring that raising funds through token sales is illegal in the country. The PBoC and local financial authorities added in an official announcement that it was difficult to track and monitor transactions made through ICOs, even if the token sales are done domestically.

“The funds for these illegal activities are mostly overseas, and supervision and tracking are very difficult.”  

The PBoC further emphasized that, while the country has encouraged the development and commercialization of blockchain technology, ICOs cannot be considered to be legitimate operations or developments on the blockchain. The document reads:

“Such activities are not really based on blockchain technology, but rather the practice of speculative blockchain concepts for illegal fundraising, pyramid schemes and fraud. The main features are as follows:

  1. Risk of illegal activities, unregulated overseas markets and inability to track or monitor transactions made in ICOs.
  2. Deceptive, opaque and concealed fundraising methods, relying on celebrities and influencers to manufacture hype around investments to tempt investors.
  3. Illegal operations like profit-generating pyramid schemes and creating Ponzi schemes by describing them as ‘financial innovations.’”

Sheng Songcheng, an adviser to the People’s Bank of China, also confirmed to state-owned publication ce.cn that the government has decided to strengthen its ban on ICOs, banning public accounts, channels and communication platforms utilized to spread information about token sales.

Rise of OTC trading, Alipay takes notice

In December of last year, during the peak of the cryptocurrency market, when the combined valuation of all of the digital assets in the market totaled at $900 billion, China’s National Committee of Experts on Internet Financial Security — a government-backed research group — reported that the volume of the over-the-counter (OTC) Bitcoin market was rapidly increasing.

“Over-the-counter trading is booming. This warrants further attention,” the researchers said.

At the time, speaking to South China Morning Post, biggest mainstream publication in Hong Kong, Weese said that Telegram has been the go-to platform for large OTC trades due to the connections between local financial authorities and the operators of WeChat, but that a small portion of investors were still using the Chinese messaging platform. Weese explained:

“Telegram is very popular for large, over-the-counter trades. While WeChat is used by the less paranoid.”

Operators of various cryptocurrency exchanges and OTC platforms — including Tidebit — confirmed the rise in activity in the Bitcoin OTC market, stating that investors who could no longer trade within the Chinese market have started to explore peer-to-peer alternatives to invest in the asset class.

This week, Alipay — the most widely utilized fintech platform in China, with a 90 percent market share and a $150 billion market valuation — formally banned OTC trading on the Alipay network, preventing users of the Alipay mobile app to initiate transactions for Bitcoin or digital asset purchases.

Red Li, a cryptocurrency researcher and the founder of Chinese cryptocurrency community 8BTC, revealed that Alipay has begun the process of shutting down accounts involved in OTC Bitcoin trading, most likely due to the government’s request for banks and financial networks to shut down all possible payment channels that could be used to send funds to cryptocurrency trading platforms.

A rough translation of the statement released by Alipay disclosed the intention of the company to permanently ban any account that is reasonably suspected of funding Bitcoin exchanges to invest in the cryptocurrency space.

With the prohibition of OTC cryptocurrency trading by Alipay, the only channel that is left for local investors to allocate funds into the cryptocurrency market is the Hong Kong cryptocurrency exchange market.

Given that investors in China still send millions of dollars to Hong Kong shell companies’ bank accounts to purchase multi-million dollar properties on the Hong Kong real estate market, the possibility of investing through Hong Kong digital asset trading platforms with local bank accounts still exists.

But, due to the country’s strict capital controls and the government’s newly implemented initiative to track down savings and brokerage accounts utilized to evade taxes, it could become even more difficult to send money out of China to overseas markets.

Ban of crypto events

This week, Binance — the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume — had to cancel a cryptocurrency-related event in Beijing on August 23, as the government announced a ban on commercial blockchain conferences and meetups.

The local government of the Chaoyang District in Beijing revealed that it has informed hotels and other large-scale venues in the country that they are not allowed to host events that are related to cryptocurrency and blockchain, as part of its larger initiative to completely crackdown on ICOs and distributed fundraising.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, a Binance spokeswoman said that she was not aware of the closure of the event because the exchange hosts many events across the world.

“We have so many meetups around the world, and [they] may be canceled due to any reason.”

The People’s Daily, the publication operated by the Communist Party, reported that so-called venture capital-backed media outlets in China have made a significant fortune by creating hype around ICOs, but it is unsure whether the publications will be able to continue promoting ICOs in the long term. The publication could lead investors to believe that local authorities may target independent media outlets that promote ICOs in the months to come.

“These ‘media’ outlets have made huge fortunes in the speculative waves of cryptocurrencies, but due to their nature, it’s doubtful how long their barbaric growth can keep on going.”

Conclusively, in the past two months, the government of China has allocated the majority of its resources to strengthening its ban on cryptocurrency trading and the ICO market.

Given the censorship practiced by WeChat, Alipay and other platforms, along with Beijing’s ban on crypto events, it is likely that the country will see a decline in the adoption of blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development, which is ironic, as China has spent more than $3 billion in funding blockchain projects this year.

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Online ID Control: Blockchain Platforms vs. Governments and Facebook

We’re living at a time of unprecedented concern over identity. Fears abound that our personal data is being abused by distant third-parties, while this data has become more valuable to us at a time when our identities and the identity politics we base around them have become more central to our lives. It’s in this context that blockchain technology has appeared, and while its application beyond cryptocurrencies is still limited, protecting our online identities and data more securely looks set to be one of its most central applications.

In its most basic outline, the use of blockchains in the area of securing personal data is simple: Our data is stored in encrypted form on a decentralized network, and we can grant other parties access to (some of) this data by the use of our private keys, in much the same way that using our keys allows us to send cryptocurrency to someone else. By virtue of this basic framework, blockchain tech promises to place control over our data back in our hands, at a time when Facebook and other technology giants have been abusing and misusing it. And seeing as how crypto-giants such as Coinbase have recently moved into the area of decentralized ID, it would seem that it already has strong backing and support within the cryptocurrency industry.

However, as sound as this all is in principle, there are a variety of challenges — some technical, some commercial — that have to be overcome before blockchains can be used at scale to secure personal data. The companies working in this area are all approaching these problems from different angles, yet it would appear that in solving them, a (partial) departure from the ideals of ‘complete’ decentralization is necessary.

And even when the technical challenges are all surmounted, there will still be the issue of weaning people off platforms such as Facebook, which — thanks to the profits of centralization — can afford to offer the public an enticingly ‘free’ and polished service.

Control and privacy

Alastair Johnson, CEO and founder of e-commerce and ID platform Nuggets, Johnson understands the pitfalls of storing masses of ID data in centralized siloes all too well.

“Today, the reality is that individuals do not control their personal data in any meaningful way. On average, a person has personal data — in the form of payment card details, home addresses, email addresses, passwords and other personal details — spread over roughly 100 online accounts. They can access this data but they do not own it.”

By contrast, the use of blockchain tech grants newfound control to the user, who will be empowered to share their ID data only with the parties they approve. This is achieved primarily through the utilization of “decentralized identifiers” (DIDs), as explained by the Sovrin Foundation, which is building a blockchain platform aimed at providing individuals with “self-sovereign identity” (i.e. an ID they can take with them from platform to platform). As it notes in its white paper, “decentralized identifiers” (DIDs) not only encode information that identifies someone as, say, female, Asian, 35, and living in France, but they also circumvent the need for a centralized authority to verify ID claims.

“A DID is stored on a blockchain along with a DID document containing the public key for the DID, any other public credentials the identity owner wishes to disclose, and the network addresses for interaction. The identity owner controls the DID document by controlling the associated private key.”

In other words, a protocol for a suitable blockchain is created, users register their ID data on this blockchain, and then use their private keys to decrypt this data for chosen parties. This is the kind of system also employed by Nuggets, although in its case it’s referred to as “zero-knowledge storage,” since no one else knows what your data says about you. And it’s also the system being worked on by Coinbase, which on August 15 announced its acquisition of ID-focused startup Distributed Systems. Having purchased the San Francisco-based company for an undisclosed fee, it will now develop a decentralized login system for its own crypto-exchange platform that will enable users to retain ownership of their ID credentials.

“A decentralized identity will let you prove that you own an identity, or that you have a relationship with the Social Security Administration, without making a copy of that identity,” it wrote in its press release.

With such a setup, there’s little chance of a Cambridge Analytica-style scandal where data gets shared with unwanted groups or individuals, while it also grants unprecedented power to the individual user, who’s likely to be treated with much more respect by companies now that his data is in such scarce supply. As explained by Johnson, this provides a vast improvement over the current stage of affairs.

“[Personal data] is stored and controlled in a series of centralized databases controlled by institutions such as retailers, marketing companies, utility companies and data reporting companies. In order to make purchases online, individuals simply authorize these different bodies to connect the different pieces of information they hold in order to authorize a transaction.”

However, while the individual user is currently dependent on hundreds of different companies to store and transmit his/her data in order to gain access to the services, the introduction of blockchain technology completely reverses the balance of power. Johnson shares with Cointelegraph:

“Blockchain-based solutions flip this model on its head, so that individuals can store and control their data associated to a digital identity. It is not stored in the centralized databases of third party organizations, it can be stored on the blockchain in a decentralized network. With the individual controlling their data in this way, they are then in full control to ideally not have to share or store anything by using attestations, tokens or references and share it only if and when they choose to do so.”

Yet, this is only the tip of the iceberg, as using blockchain tech to confirm who we are furnishes many additional benefits beyond user control. For one, it heightens privacy, since with many of the platforms being proposed, our ID credentials won’t even be revealed to those parties and organizations requiring their verification.

This is enabled via the use of zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs), a cryptographic method that can prove a claim without actually sharing the data (‘knowledge’) through which the claim is proven. ZKPs are being implemented by Sovrin and are also planned for use by such startups as Civic, Verif-y, and Blockpass. By using them, these companies will make the process of ID verification simpler and more efficient, while opening up the possibility of storing biometric ID on the blockchain. They’ll spare organizations that verify our IDs the headache of having to securely store personal data after validating it, which in turn eliminates a potential vulnerability, given that these organizations would have normally kept any data they received on a centralized database.

And while not all decentralized identity platforms will employ ZKPs, others will still make use of functionally similar methods. For example, SelfKey harnesses a technique it describes as “data minimization,” which “allows the identity owner to provide as little amount of information as possible to satisfy the relying party or verifier.” This sidesteps the need to develop advanced technologies such as ZKPs, although it raises questions as to what is meant by ‘minimal.’ SelfKey writes that “claims can be signed in a way whereby one could choose to disclose only a minimum of information.” But without a more formal specification of “minimum” and “choose,” it’s conceivable that such functional approximations of ZKPs might end up revealing more data than some users would want.

Security

Aside from providing greater user control and privacy, blockchain-based platforms for verifying ID are more secure than their centralized counterparts. This is because, being distributed among multiple nodes, they won’t suffer from having a single point of failure like traditional ID systems — e.g. government databases, social networks. As such, one or two nodes of a blockchain can become inactive and users will still be able to use it, while the encryption involved prevents any publicly available data from being gleaned for sensitive info.

By removing the single point of failure, decentralized ID platforms make a large, Yahoo! style hack nigh-on impossible. Instead of being able to penetrate a centralized database that houses all user information in a single location, attackers will have to obtain the private keys for every individual on a one-by-one basis, something which is extremely unlikely in practice. Alastair Johnson agrees:

“The major benefit of a decentralized ledger of personal data over a centralized database is the security against hackers that it provides. We’re all familiar with the major data breaches that have occurred in recent years, such as that at Equifax in 2017. These centralized databases act like magnets to hackers who often only need to take advantage of a single vulnerability to either take them down or extract data from them.”

By contrast, decentralized ledgers aren’t so sensitive to cyberattacks. “The hijacking of a single node will not disrupt the ongoing functioning of the ledger, as the other nodes can continue to operate without the compromised node’s involvement and the network requires consensus to prove the blocks.”

Security is part of the reason why the Indian government, for example, is turning to blockchain for its AADHAAR database — the world’s biggest biometric ID system, containing the records of over one billion people – as the country has been the victim of repeated hackings over the past year.

With such a revamped platform, there will be a variety of security benefits. The transparency and immutability of blockchains would mean that users are able to see when their data has been accessed and by whom, thereby providing a deterrent to any would-be hacker. Similarly, this transparency and immutability can be violated only in the unlikely event that a bad actor assumes control of 51 percent of the blockchain’s nodes, which in theory would enable to access data and then erase the corresponding records of this illegitimate access.

AADHAAR currently isn’t blockchain-based, while a comparable project from the government in Dubai to use blockchain-based ID at the international airport is still under construction. However, one government-led ID system than does use distributed ledger technology (DLT) right now is in Estonia. Its KSI (Keyless Signature Infrastructure) Blockchain forms the backbone of various e-services, including e-Health Record system, e-Prescription database, e-Law and e-Court systems, e-Police data, e-Banking, e-Business Register and e-Land Registry.

Once again, the use of the KSI Blockchain provides greater transparency than previous systems, since it detects when user data has been accessed and when it has been changed. And as the e-Estonia FAQ explains, it’s much quicker than traditional platforms in detecting misuses of data:

“[It] currently takes organizations […] about seven months to detect breaches and manipulations of electronic data. With blockchain [solutions] like the one Estonia is using, these breaches and manipulations can be detected immediately.”

Not only are breaches capable of being detected immediately or quickly on a blockchain-based ID system, but they’re more likely to be detected more quickly than with a centralized platform due to their public and continuous access to scrutiny from a wide range of armchair experts and professionals alike, as highlighted by PolySwarm CTO Paul Makowski in a December blog post on decentralized threat intelligence:

“Geographically diverse security experts proficient at reverse engineering or capable of providing unique insight will be able to exercise their knowledge from the comfort of their own home or wherever (and whenever) they choose to work.”

Standardization, interoperability

At the present moment in history, the world’s digital identity systems are siloed off from each other, separated in a way that forces people to create new accounts and new data for virtually every digital service they use. This causes personal data to proliferate to dangerous levels, making data breaches and cybercrime much likelier. For instance, the cost of identity theft reached $106 billion in the United States alone between 2011 and 2017, at a time when the average consumer has a staggering 118 online accounts (at least in the United Kingdom, where data was available).

Blockchain-based digital ID systems offer a way out of this. While most chains are currently cut off from each other, standards for sovereign digital identity are being devised by the Digital Identity Foundation (DIF) and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Similarly, a number of startups are building interoperability platforms connecting separate blockchains together, including Polkadot, Cosmos and Aion. By working to achieve an ecosystem in which the standards of one identity platform are accepted by all other platforms that require ID verification, such organizations could dramatically reduce the amount of personal data people need to produce. Instead, users would create an account with one blockchain-based ID service, which they’ll then use to register with a host of other services and systems.

INFOGRAPHICS

Never Stop Marketing CEO Jeremy Epstein said in a December blog:

“Interoperability standards free up capital and time to drive value. What’s more, it offers the possibility to pool security (making the whole system more robust against attack) and enable trust-free transactions across chains.”

Blockchain interoperability is still a nascent field, and different organizations are pursuing different approaches to it. However, to take one example, Polkadot is aiming to achieve interoperability via its “heterogeneous multi-chain,” which has three fundamental components. These are “parachains,” which are in fact the individual blockchains being linked together, “bridges” that connect each parachain to the Polkadot network, and then the Polkadot network itself, which is a “relay chain” of the various parachains being connected.

Other routes to interoperability diverges from this, with Cosmos achieving inter-chain communication via use of the Tendermint consensus algorithm, and with the Aion network monetizing interchain transactions. However, assuming that an interoperability platform receives universal adoption within the blockchain ecosystem, users would find that they’ll have to register their personal data only once. From then on, they’ll be able to provide other platforms with ID attestations securely and quickly, all without having to reveal any of their data to the companies and services they use.

Scaling toward a new kind of blockchain

The benefits promised by blockchain-based ID systems — control, security and standardization — are all appealing, yet questions remain as to how feasible such systems are and how long we’ll have to wait for them to be released in fully functioning form. Added to this, there’s also the worry that — for all the improvements offered by blockchains — as a society we may still remain wedded to ‘traditional’ online services and the organizations responsible for them, which may actively resist the adoption of decentralized platforms that enable us to keep data to ourselves.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest issue with regard to feasibility is that of scalability, so often the achilles heal of many a crypto-based project. Given that an ID service should — by definition — be able to serve millions of people, any blockchain that forms the basis of such a service has to be significantly scalable. Yet, so far the most popular blockchain for decentralized applications (DApps) — Ethereum — was almost brought down by a popular video game last year, CryptoKitties. This is why most of the platforms mentioned above aren’t built on any of the most well-known blockchains, but rather on proprietary ledgers, some of which don’t meet the conventional definition of a decentralized blockchain.

For example, Enigma is a “decentralized computation platform” that has been designed for use with identity verification, among other things. As described in its white paper, it solves the scalability problem by delegating all “intensive computations to an off-chain network.” This network also stores all the user data, while the blockchain itself merely stores “references” to this data. In other words, Enigma’s platform isn’t really a blockchain — and while its off-chain network is still distributed (although each node sees separate parts of the overall data), this isn’t decentralization in the way that, say, the Bitcoin blockchain is.

Something similar could be said for other ‘blockchain-based’ ID platforms: Estonia’s KSI Blockchain isn’t a full-fledged blockchain that uses asymmetric key cryptography, but rather a Merkle tree-based ledger. Meanwhile, the Sovrin network achieves consensus via a limited set of “validator nodes,” arguably making it less decentralized than certain other blockchains. Together, what such tradeoffs reveal is that, if an ID platform is to be scalable (and also private), it needs to be less distributed in certain areas — and arguably less secure as a result. But more importantly, from a practical viewpoint, it also needs to redefine and adapt just what a ‘blockchain’ is, since the most familiar chains currently aren’t up to the task of securing and communicating our personal data on a massive scale.

Vested interests

This is why even the most advanced projects have roadmaps that extend beyond 2020, since a viable ID platform requires a new kind of distributed ledger that squares the need for cryptographic transparency with the need for individual privacy. And even if any of the platforms above reach this goal anytime soon, they will have another massive hurdle to clear: the dominance of existing arbiters of identity, including social media giants like Facebook, as well as national governments.

Governmental initiatives

For instance, the U.K. and Australian governments have been investing millions in building their own centralized ID verification systems in recent years, making it unlikely that they’ll easily give way to a decentralized alternative. Likewise, the idea of Facebook overhauling itself with a truly decentralized platform — where users keep their personal data a secret — is, well, frankly unthinkable, seeing as how the social network reaps billions in annual profit from selling our data to the highest bidder. It’s also widely used to identify people online, so it’s unlikely that it will give up its dominance to blockchain-based platforms easily.

That said, a small number of national and state-based governments (e.g., Singapore, Illinois) have been trialling blockchain-based ID systems. In addition, figures within the burgeoning crypto-ID industry are hopeful that public and private organizations alike will either be forced to decentralize or will fall by the wayside.

“When you operate a centralized system that provides your organization with control and allows you to benefit from this position, it’s understandable that you might be resistant to change,” says Alastair Johnson. “But when there is a penalty if this information is breached in the form of fines, loss of share price and cost of recovering the situation and all the PR damage that comes with a breach, businesses will start to see that the model has to fundamentally change.”

A key driver of this change could be public sentiment, which has already been shifting in the wake of the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal. “The blockchain provides clear benefits for customers in terms of control over personal data and digital identities and I expect the public recognition of this to move from an early adopter cohort to an early majority in the near future,” Johnson says. “From the other side, I expect organizations that have already experienced breaches in their centralized databases to be amongst the most willing to adopt blockchain-based solutions, as they seek to rebuild trust with consumers.”

It could be argued that slick, free-to-use, ad-based services such as Facebook will always be more attractive to the average user — a view strengthened by the fact that Facebook reported a 13 percent year-on-year increase of users in April, despite its recent loss of younger users in the wake of the aforementioned data harvesting scandal. However, Johnson believes that a gradual sea-change in attitudes is underway.

“The ‘Delete Facebook’ movement is one sign of change, as is the continuing scrutiny that the tech giant is being put under by American and European authorities. People are starting to wake up to the fact that their personal data is valuable. Not only could blockchain help them to monetize it for themselves, it will also eradicate the kinds of costly personal data loses that I have experienced myself.”

And even if blockchain technology is still largely unproven outside the domain of cryptocurrencies, it will start winning converts as soon as it demonstrates its superiority to previous systems when it comes to privacy and security.

“Right now, there may be hesitation to adopt decentralized platforms, but its common sense that personal information should be owned and controlled by the person, and because of this it will prevail.”

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You Can Now Tip Using Tron (TRX) on Twitter, Further Boosting Crypto Adoption

Social media tipping used to be the arena for the cryptocurrencies of XRP, Reddcoin (RDD) and Nano (NANO). But Tron (TRX) has made an entry into the social media tipping space and aims at changing it in a big way as shall be elaborated briefly.

In the case of XRP, you can tip a user in the social platforms of Reddit, Twitter and Discord. Reddcoin (RDD) on the other hand has a far wider reach with users being able to tip on Twitter, Reddit, Telegram and most recently, Youtube. For the cryptocurrency of Nano (NANO), you can tip on Discord, Reddit and Twitter.

So How Do You Tip on Twitter using TRX?

Tipping on Twitter using TRX has been made possible using @GoSeedit. A good video has been uploaded on Youtube by Crypto Guy in ZA explaining everything. The video can be found below.

[embedded content]

Setting up for Tipping using @GoSeedit

Let us recap on how we can do it using @GoSeedit

  1. Visit GoSeedit.io
  2. Click on ‘Login’ to log in with your twitter account
  3. Make sure you ‘Authorize’ GoSeedit to use your account
  4. Once your have your wallet ready, you can send a tip by replying to a twitter message in the following format: +(amount) @goseedit for example, +20 @goseedit
  5. Another option is to tip directly using the twitter handle of the user you want to tip. The format is as follows: @(username) +(amount) @goseedit  for example, @John +20 @goseedit

More instructions can be found in the screenshot below courtesy of @WOLFOFMYST

More information on GoSeedit

The fact that you can tip on Twitter using XRP, RDD, NANO and now TRX, is proof positive evidence that cryptocurrencies are further gaining adoption in day to day activities in social media networks. Rather than just liking and retweeting a valuable tweet, you can now appreciate the user more with a tip. As a result, we will see more and more users thriving to create worthy content on the social media platforms in a manner that will invoke some sort of revenue.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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Cryptos See Widespread Green, But Total Market Cap Remains Close to 3-Month Low

August 12: Crypto markets are seeing solid gains today in a fresh attempt at recovery following recent losses.

Bitcoin (BTC) dominance –– or the percentage of total crypto market cap that is Bitcoin’s –– is continuing to see a 2018 record-high percentage, at close to 50.9 percent. After the leading coin decoupled from the wider market yesterday –– holding its gains while other cryptos floundered –– healthy growth has today been distributed across virtually all of the major cryptocurrencies, as Coin360 data shows.

Market visualization from Coin360

Market visualization from Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is trading at around $6,310 at press time, up a strong 3.45 percent on the day, according to Cointelegraph’s Bitcoin price index. The top coin has seen a 24-hour high of $6,455, but has failed to break through $6,500 resistance, trading sideways within the $6,300-400 range for most of today. Having dipped briefly down to a low around $6,209, Bitcoin has recovered in the couple of hours before press time to hold just above the $6,300 price point. Weekly losses remain at about 10 percent, while on the month Bitcoin is up around 1.42  percent.

Bitcoin’s 24-hour price chart

Bitcoin’s 24-hour price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Bitcoin Price Index

Ethereum (ETH) is currently trading around $322, up  a solid 5.31 percent on the day. After plummeting as low as $306 in evening trading hours yesterday, the altcoin saw a strong push upwards to test the $330 mark. These fleeting attempts to break to a higher price point failed to hold, and the altcoin has since retraced towards the $320 mark. Ethereum’s losses on its weekly chart are at a little over 20 percent, with monthly losses heftier still, at almost 25 percent.

Ethereum’s 24-hour price chart

Ethereum’s 24-hour price chart. Source: Cointelegraph Ethereum Price Index

On CoinMarketCap’s listings, all of the top 25 crypto assets by market cap are seeing a healthy flush of green, with gains on the day pushing as high as around 5-6 percent.

Among the top ten coins by market cap, Stellar (XLM) and  Litecoin (LTC) are up the most, both seeing almost 6 percent growth on the day.

Although a Facebook spokesperson yesterday denied  rumors that the social media giant had been considering a potential partnership to build a Facebook variant of a Stellar blockchain, the asset is nonetheless riding positive momentum, which has been particularly strong on the XLM/USD chart.

Stellar’s 24-hour price chart

Stellar’s 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Another leading performer among the top ten coins is anonymity-oriented altcoin Monero (XMR), in 10th place by market cap, up almost 4 percent and valued around $93.66 at press time.

Among the top twenty coins by market cap, IOTA (MIOTA), number 11th, is up 4.44 percent and is trading at $0.54 at press time. As seen across the crypto markets, the altcoin is still down on its weekly chart, but has seen a burst of upwards momentum as of evening trading hours August 11.

IOTA’s 24-hour price chart

IOTA’s 24-hour price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Still within the context of the top twenty ranked coins, NEO and Tezos (XTZ) are seeing stronger-than-average growth, both up around 4 percent.

As noted, for the second day running, Bitcoin’s share of the total market cap is above 50 percent and is pushing 51 percent at press time. BTC dominance has been consistently on the rise as of mid-May, while the second-ranked crypto, Ethereum, has seen a downtrend on the month in terms of its total market cap share, down to around 15 percent today.

3-month chart of cryptocurrencies by dominance

3-month chart of cryptocurrencies by dominance. Source CoinMarketcap

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is around $214.7 billion at press time, close to its lowest levels on the three-month chart, only hitting lower points in the past two days, and up slightly from yesterday’s low around $207 billion. As compared with $410.6 billion in mid-May, the market is coming bearishly close to a 50 percent decline.

3-month chart of the total market capitalization

3-month chart of the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies from CoinMarketCap

Alongside retail and institutional HODLers, crypto miners are feeling the pinch of the protracted bear market. Analysts have this week forecast that graphic processing units (GPU) manufacturing giant Nvidia will see a decline in its revenue from sales of crypto mining hardware, which had accounted for over 9 percent of overall revenue in its 2018 Q1 report.

Meanwhile, the director of the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) this week revealed that the agency has seen a surge in filings of crypto-related Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), which now reportedly exceed 1,500 in number per month.

This rising figure was presented as a positive indicator, with the director emphasizing that compliance with regulatory obligations is increasingly important given that “harm can be done with devastatingly increasing speed, breadth, and obscurity in the digital world.”

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Stellar (XLM) is Inches Away From Edging out EOS from the Number 5 Spot

On July 19th, Charlie Lee, the creator of Litecoin (LTC), congratulated Stellar (XLM) on passing LTC’s marketcap and edging it out from the number 6 spot according to coinmarketcap.com. Charlie stated the following via Twitter:

Congrats to Stellar on passing Litecoin’s marketcap. That said, it really doesn’t make sense to compare marketcaps of coins that are “printed”, b/c they have an inflated marketcap. Maybe I’m old school, but I only care about decentralized mineable coins.

Since then, XLM has retained the number 6 spot as can be seen in the screenshot below.

XLM firmly in the number 6 spot. Source, coinmarketcap.com

Doing the math, XLM need only be valued at $0.2464 to surpass the current market capitalization of EOS. This value could become a reality due to the following factors that has put XLM ahead in terms of market momentum.

Potential listing on Coinbase

On July 13th, the team at Coinbase informed the crypto-verse that it was exploring the addition of 5 digital assets on its platform. They include Cardano (ADA), Stellar (XLM), Basic Attention Token (BAT), ZCash (ZEC) and Ox (ZRX). Given the fact that a similar announcement – made in June – considering the listing of Ethereum Classic (ETC) actually materialized, then there is a high chance that the group of 5 will be added on Coinbase. Once this happens, the only way is up for XLM.

facebook Rumors 

On Friday, August 10th, a story broke that Stellar had partnered with the social media giant known as facebook. The rumors had hinted that the two firms would work on the creation of a Stellar-based blockchain solution for facebook. The latter company has since denied the partnership rumors but the question still lingers in the crypto-verse.

The IBM factor

The Stellar foundation and IBM have been in a solid partnership for quite sometime now. Notable collaborations include the following:

In conclusion, the Stellar project and coin seem to have a lot going for them in the past few months. These developments will most likely result in XLM edging out EOS from the number 5 spot. Another possibility is XLM ending up surpassing XRP and claiming the number 3 spot.

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to give financial advice. Any opinion herein should be taken as is. Please carry out your own research before investing in any of the numerous cryptocurrencies available.

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