Norges Bank has released a report suggesting it might one day launch a digital currency as citizens continue to turn away from physical money.
Rural banks in the Philippines are looking to adopt ConsenSys’ Kaleido blockchain platform in bid to boost financial inclusion.
Lightspeed Venture Partners is set to become the latest addition to Silicon Valley’s growing interest in blockchain endeavors. The top-tier VC firm is now explicitly investigating how to create a new cryptocurrency investment project. Lightspeed has a specific focus on investments centered on enterprise technology, consumer, and cleantech markets. As such, cryptocurrencies fits into its investment philosophy. Despite the considerable interest in the plan, the firm has yet to decide on a suitable mechanism with which to carry out the project.
Reclaiming its Position at the Peak of Silicon Valley
Lightspeed was the clear leader in terms of cryptocurrency investments by prominent VC firms around 2013. Over the years, the company’s influence appears to have waned, but there is a renewed desire to recover some of that spark.
The consensus is that cryptocurrency will be the driving force for the next era of digital innovations. As a result, Lightspeed, under the guidance of Aaron Batalion, is making concerted efforts to increase the company’s spectrum of involvement in the crypto market. For starters, Lightspeed recently backed the Basis ICO which raised $133 million.
According to a company spokesperson:
“We’ve been making many investments in the fintech space over the past several years, including Affirm, Blockchain, Basis and more that are unannounced. Blockchain-based technologies are a huge area of interest for us, and we have partners focused on this. In terms of a dedicated crypto fund, we have nothing to announce at this time.”
No Roadmap to Crypto Investments for VC Firms
There is a lack of consensus as to what means the company will use to achieve the crypto investment objective. The firm is reported to be considering three different approaches. Each one offers its pros and cons and, in the end, the firm must decide on the one that works best.
- Option number one involves creating a crypto fund within the larger Lightspeed fund pool. This approach will require a lot of internal and external evangelization efforts. The firm will have to publicize the message of its crypto investment fund. This method has been employed by numerous firms when investing in tech products. The appeal of this option lies in the fact that it offers some protection from the volatility of the crypto market.
- The second option is the creation of an entirely new fund dedicated to crypto investment. This approach is already being used by Andreessen Horowitz and some other major Silicon VC firms. However, there are reports that not many in the company favor this method.
- The final approach being considered is the creation of a breakaway company backed by Lightspeed. Batalion, the chief proponent of the plans, might step down from his position at the company to establish this cryptocurrency investment startup. According to company sources, Lightspeed is committed to financing an entity created by Batalion.
As institutional investors grow more and more eager to enter the crypto market, it will be interesting to see the differences in approach. For the sector overall, these attempts are indeed a positive sign despite bitcoin’s drop below $8,000 at time of press.
The post Lightspeed Ventures Set to Launch a Crypto Investment Fund appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
Vitalik Buterin has suggested experimenting with quadratic voting, a governance model furthered by Dr. Glen Weyl, on the ethereum platform.
The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has released guidance to American exchanges and clearing houses who list cryptocurrency derivatives, such as bitcoin futures. The statement comes at a time when large finance sector players are making moves in the cryptocurrency space and planning to offer new derivatives products.
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CFTC Wants to Aid Participants in the Crypto Derivatives Market
The advisory statement issued by the CFTC’s Division of Market Oversight (DMO) and Division of Clearing and Risk (DCR) departments, provides guidance on the listing of what the commission calls “virtual currency derivatives contracts.” Currently, bitcoin futures are the only cryptocurrency derivative available in the U.S., and were approved for trading by the CFTC with the CME, CBOE, and TD Ameritrade last December.
CFTC Director Brian Bussey said in a statement:
“CFTC staff is providing this information, in part, to aid market participants in their efforts to design risk management programs that address the new risks imposed by virtual currency products. In addition, the guidance is designed to help ensure that market participants follow appropriate governance processes with respect to the launch of these products.”
The value of cryptocurrency futures contracts are based on prices on crypto exchanges, which are, by-and-large, unregulated with little transparency provided by their operators. In order to ensure that the futures contracts are not subject to manipulation or price distortion, the CFTC wants the derivative exchanges to conduct surveillance on their crypto counterparts by enacting real-time monitoring.
This includes setting up arrangements whereby data such as trader identity, prices, volumes, times, and other information from the crypto exchanges are available to the derivatives exchanges at all times. This places a burden on the derivatives exchanges, but the CFTC thinks that is warranted, “given the nature of the underlying spot market.” In other words, crypto exchanges are suspect in the eyes of the commission.
The Troubled History of Many Crypto Exchanges
While the list of crypto exchanges suffering irregularities and hacks is long and dates back at least to Mt. Gox in 2014, some recent examples include Japanese exchange Coincheck, which was hacked for around $400 million USD worth of NEM (XEM), and South Korean exchange Upbit, recently raided by authorities due to allegations of fraud (with investigations ongoing).
On the even shadier end of the crypto exchange ledger is the infamous BitGrail, the ultimate graveyard of millions of dollars worth of Nano (XRB), operated by the widely loathed Francesco Firano.
Not all crypto exchanges have had problems, however, and some are working to be compliant with regulators. The American Gemini exchange last month said it will be using technology from NASDAQ to monitor itself for manipulation. This is exactly what the CFTC is hoping will happen, and it’s not surprising that CBOE bitcoin futures contracts use Gemini to determine bitcoin prices.
Other countries, like Japan, are establishing new laws and moving ahead with self-regulation in order to prevent future problems. Korean exchanges have similarly created a self-regulatory body (with Upbit opting out). Yet, due to the global nature of cryptocurrencies, national regulations have their limits. Some exchanges like Binance skirt national laws by changing jurisdictions and moving operations multiple times. Others, like Bitfinex, who have historically resisted regulation, have begun moving towards complying with some national rules.
New Entrants Into Crypto Space Coincide With Increased Regulation
The new guidance comes at a particularly busy time in the crypto space, as major financial institutions such JP Morgan are beginning to make aggressive plays. Goldman Sachs is
India could soon impose goods and services tax (GST) on many digital currency transactions, a report indicates.
Canada based blockchain technology company Decentral Inc. announced the launch of its next endeavor, dubbed “Decentral project.” Decentral Inc. is the company responsible for the multi-platform cryptocurrency wallet Jaxx. On May 16, 2018, they unveiled three new launches that included Jaxx Liberty, the Decentral Unity token and two new pieces of hardware.
Founder Anthony Diiorio made the announcement on board the Cornucopia Majesty, a cruise after-party post the conclusion of Consensus 2018. “The Decentral Project is our vision for the future. For the past four years, Decentral has been working toward a paradigm shift where users gain control of their digital assets and their digital lives,” said the founder.
In the presence of over one thousand partners of Decentral Inc., Diiorio took the opportunity to announce his most ambitious plan yet. He hopes that the project will help make the company a leader in blockchain technology.
“Our core objective of Decentral Project is to empower the ecosystem with unparallelled tools, enabling the masses to take control of their digital lives.”
The first announcement involved Jaxx Liberty which will be released on July 1, 2018. The company said that Liberty will be a gamified experience for users to engage with the Decentral platform. Users will be rewarded with Unity tokens for completing specific tasks which can then be used for accessing features over the platform.
Revamped Jaxx Wallet 2.0
The Jaxx wallet will also be undergoing some rather significant changes. At the backend, the wallet will support more tokens, while the interface will experience a major revamp and include technical charts, graphs, live trading prices and allow users to create a portfolio holding. The team believes that these steps will help in making the wallet more user friendly, which will, in turn, drive up the total number of users on the platform.
The company announced that it aims to scale to ten million active users a month from its current figure of 750,000 users. Through an animated video, founder Anthony Diiorio said, “[the revamped wallet] will offer a simplified means of explaining technologies, the projects, different coins and tokens in an objective, meaningful way.”
Decentral Unity as Native Coins
Decentral Unity will become the official digital coin of the Decentral platform and is expected to work both, as a loyalty rewarding system as well as for Jaxx Liberty and all other products. Diiorio said “With the implementation of the Unity token, Decentral hopes to blur the line between the digital and real-world interactions of millions of people.” He further added:
“It has always been our mission at Decentral to pioneer the new internet of value, and we plan to achieve this by providing our users with the tools to get them there. We believe that Jaxx Liberty, and the Unity token, in particular, will be key tools in that toolbox.”
Decentral was founded in 2014 by Anthony Diiorio, who previously helped co-found Ethereum. The company went on to create Jaxx Wallet, a cryptocurrency wallet that supports several blockchains and computing platforms. Decentral also help launched the world’s first bitcoin ATM in Toronto.
The post Jaxx Liberty and Unity Token Unveiled by Decentra at Consensus Afterparty appeared first on BTCMANAGER.
China has prosecuted nearly 100 individuals said to be involved with locally operating the OneCoin cryptocurrency scheme.
Steemit has recently announced that they have surpassed 1,000,000 users. The content platform is also ecstatic with the user activity the platform is receiving, regarding transactions over a 24 hour period, daily visitors, and unique accounts.
Steemit Has More Transactions Than All Other Crypto’s
The Steem (STEEM) blockchain now processes over one million transactions conducted daily, more than all other blockchains combined. These transactions are done from 60,000 unique accounts interacting with the network daily, and Steemit.com has in excess of 250,000 unique visitors every day.
These statistics don’t count the numerous DApps that interact with Steem’s blockchain, which also offer large user bases.
(Source: Steemit Production)
How Does Steem Stack Up Against Ethereum?
In Steemit’s blog post, they compare these figures against Ethereum’s in terms of addresses and transactions. While Ethereum has significantly more addresses, at 33,000,000 unique addresses, the comparison isn’t entirely apples to apples.
It’s very common for Ethereum users, like many other cryptocurrency users, to create a new address for every transaction, sent or received. In fact, this is a common privacy practice and many services will auto-generate new addresses for you.
Steem users will typically only have one account as the platform is a stake-based system. Reputation is given by other users for influence, which can’t be bought or transferred. Therefore, Steem’s number of unique addresses is more accurate to the real number of users.
Steem then takes a look at Cryptokitties, Ethereum’s most active application. As of May 16, 2018, it had 2,777 events. eSteem, a mobile app for Steem, averaged around 9,300 transactions over a seven day period.
While that does show Steem’s activity is three times greater than Ethereum’s, using these statistics, the facts don’t paint a complete picture. Steem’s market cap is approximately $800 million, while Ethereum’s is $70 billion. Steem may have a more active application, but Ethereum has hundreds of ICOs and tokens built upon its blockchain.
Crypto Only Getting Bigger from Here
Steem quotes a Cambridge study in the blog post, stating that there is anywhere from 2.9 to 5.8 million unique active users of cryptocurrency wallets. This number is expected to increase exponentially, and Steem looks to capture a large portion of new users with its real-world projects.
“As the only protocol on top of which entrepreneurs are building applications that ‘real people’ can use, Steem is also helping to legitimize the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole.”
Steem is optimistic about the future, with more developers creating applications on Steem every day. The positive feedback loop the platform has created will allow growth to beget further growth, making Steem a thriving social platform.
Slowly but surely, bitcoin contributions are growing on both sides of the aisle in U.S. politics. Accordingly, one congressional candidate in California is now catching heat in an opponent’s attack ad for accepting bitcoin donations. The attack is seemingly the first of many as election seasons are poised to foster pulpy mischaracterizations of the original cryptocurrency.
Back in February, Bitsonline noted how bitcoin donations, though still a meager trickle, were on the rise in the arena of American politics by both Republicans and Democrats.
As such, it was only a matter of time before the bipartisan “race-to-the-bottom” art of attack ads caught such growing bitcoin use in its crosshairs.
Now, then, that first bitcoin-based political attack is upon us. That’s per Motherboard reporter Daniel Oberhaus, who obtained a screenshot of a new attack ad against crypto-friendly Californian congressional candidate Brian Forde.
Forde’s retweet of Oberhaus’ article and the screenshot.
Devised by the campaign of Dave Min, who is vying against Forde for the Democratic nomination to represent California’s 45th congressional district, the ad portrays Forde’s received bitcoin donations in a hyper-stereotypical light.
Context of the Ad
Forde, a former leader of MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative and adviser to the Obama White House on crypto-assets, began accepting political contributions in bitcoin after a former MIT colleague refused to donate in fiat.
Since then, the candidate has raised thousands of dollars worth of BTC and now welcomes donations in ether, too.
Forde’s donation page – both BTC and ETH accepted.
Min’s attack ad focuses in on Forde’s embrace of cryptocurrencies, with its narrator linking bitcoin trading as pure speculation and arguing the crypto’s supporters “oppose cracking down on drug deals and human trafficking.”
In responding to the ad, Forde’s indignance was clear, remarking that Min was partaking in a cheap shot that misrepresented what his supporters stood for:
“These comments about my supporters are sensationalist, wildly inaccurate, and in line with my opponent’s lack of understanding of the technology. If they were speculating they wouldn’t have donated to my campaign in Bitcoin. They didn’t HODL, they donated to my campaign in Bitcoin because they believe in the technology.”
First of More to Come
With bitcoin in its crosshairs, Min’s attack ad certainly won’t be the last.
That’s due to the nature of American politics. In recent years, many observers have noted the increasingly unsportsmanlike nature of intra-party and inter-party attack ads in the U.S. political arena.
In other words, everyone’s going for the jugular in campaign season — Democrats vs. Democrats and Republicans vs. Republicans during the primaries, and then the consolidated sides against one another during general election season.
To this end, making spurious, over-hyped insinuations is the name of the game when it comes to trying to link your political opponent, whoever they may be, to scandal. Almost anything goes — even if ridiculous under scrutiny.
Min’s bid was and is to make it seem like Forde is turning a blind eye to what amounts to a rampantly immoral caricature of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. But that’s just what it is — a caricature. Linking every bitcoiner to crime is obviously untenable.
But, like I said above, it’s not about being tenable. It’s about kicking up as much dust as you can and causing your opponents a headache with whatever rock you can chuck.
Alas, the bitcoin attack ads are surely just beginning as crypto sees rising use in political contributions. And these attacks will