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10 of the Best Telegram Crypto Channels

October 16, 2019 |

10 of the Best Telegram Crypto Channels

Telegram’s token might have received short shrift from the SEC, but its messaging app has been embraced everywhere by everyone. 300 million users attest to the success of Pavel Durov’s end-to-end encrypted platform, which has become a mainstay of the crypto community. On the rare occasions when Telegram experiences an outage, there is a discernible dip in cryptosphere chatter. The rest of the time, crypto Telegram is a hive of activity. Here’s a selection of what it has to offer.

Also read: Tax Guide: What Crypto Owners Should Know

Telegram Is Alive and Well in 2019

In 2018, following a short-lived flirtation with Slack and Discord, the cryptosphere set up camp on Telegram, where it’s been embedded ever since. If crypto Twitter is for serious discourse, thought leadership and occasional mud-slinging, crypto Telegram is for more ephemeral – but no less vital – discourse: trading, accessing market data, catching up on industry news and sharing dank memes by the sticker set.

And then there’s the token sales of course, for it wouldn’t do to forget them. Even in the post-ICO era, the rules of IEO engagement mandate a healthy Telegram following for crypto projects. Their Telegram channels serve as a focal point for updating the community on projects, token sale dates and bounty campaign opportunities.

10 of the Best Telegram Crypto Channels

Token sale monitoring service ICOspeaks has assembled a shortlist of the most popular Telegram crypto channels. It includes a selection of leading cryptocurrency news and exchange feeds, in English and Russian. To that list can be added the following channels which provide a snapshot of what crypto Telegram has to offer.

ICO Drops

A lot of the prominent Telegram channels have “ICO” in their name as a hangover from 2018, despite their content being far broader these days. ICO Drops is a case in point. It still covers token sales, but its most valuable content touches upon general industry news: Bakkt; custodial solutions; SEC enforcement. Its accompanying infographics provide a tl;dr for those who don’t have the time to read full articles.

ICO Analytics

ICO Analytics falls into the same boat as ICO Drops, but it’s not just another clone: the quality of this channel’s research speaks for itself. If you’re looking for figures on token sale ROIs, exchange token performance and other metrics, you’ll find it here, neatly packaged into bar graphs and charts.

10 of the Best Telegram Crypto Channels

Cointrendz

One for the swing traders, Cointrendz provides a steady stream of updates on which cryptocurrencies are breaking out. Or pumping, as it’s better known. If your strategy involves following the volume and skimming what you can off the top, Cointrendz has got you covered. Cryptonomia does a similar job.

News.Bitcoin.com

It’s a given that you’ve got to shill your own channel in a round-up of this nature, so here’s ours. A stream of all the articles that get published on news.Bitcoin.com. Click ‘em if you like the look of the preview snippet. If you don’t, don’t. For pure Bitcoin Cash news, meanwhile, the unaffiliated and aptly named Bitcoin Cash News will hit the spot, while Spanish speakers should check out Crypto Noticias.

The Crypto Room

All of the channels up until now have been read only, which is fine for absorbing information, but when you want to interact you need to hit up a discussion channel that’s open to anyone. There’s a plethora of candidates to choose from, but for focus and flow (some channels are so popular they move too fast), The Crypto Room gets it about right.

Best Telegram Bots

It’s not just the people that make crypto Telegram so essential: it’s also the bots – the benevolent ones at least. Telegram bots can perform a host of useful functions, from displaying wallet balances to providing price alerts and facilitating crypto swaps directly within the app. Always perform due diligence on the team behind a Telegram bot before admitting it to your channel, though, just in case it’s doing more than passively responding to your commands. Popular bots and automated services include Tokenstats, @Cryptowhalebot, @tracktxbot, @Cryptocurrencyalertingbot, and @buttonwalletbot.

10 of the Best Telegram Crypto Channels
Button Wallet lets you send and receive crypto in Telegram

Botje11

Everyone’s got their favorite crypto chart reader, a guru who appears to have the ability to sift through the tea leaves on Tradingview and predict where the market’s headed. Yours probably isn’t Botje11, but he’s a good example of what Telegram chart diviners do: provide solid analysis, couched in just enough disclaimers to retain their credibility whatever way the needle moves next.

10 of the Best Telegram Crypto Channels

Binance Research

The research arm of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange is arguably one of its strongest divisions. Binance Research is right up there with Bitmex Research and Coinmetrics for the quality of its original reporting, and its Telegram channel is filled with deep dives and fun factoids.

Rekt Plebs

The anti-trading channel, Rekt Plebs will teach you what not to do. In short, don’t buy shitcoins.

What are your favorite crypto Telegram channels? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post 10 of the Best Telegram Crypto Channels appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Street Artist Pascal Boyart Helps Venezuelan Creators Earn Crypto

October 16, 2019 |

Street Artist Pascal Boyart Helps Venezuelan Creators Earn Crypto

Crypto-passionate street artist Pascal Boyart, well known in the space for being the first artist in his style to affix Bitcoin QR codes to his work, is now helping Venezuelan muralists and creators earn crypto. The Paris-based “Pboy,” also famous for hiding BTC in his graffiti-meets-classic-art murals, has teamed up with local organization Satoshienvenezuela, creating a tutorial for up-and-coming creatives in the volatile nation.

Also Read: Europol Predicts Rise of ‘Criminal’ Crypto Exchanges in Digital Underground

Subversion and Survival

Thanks perhaps to the subversive nature of crypto, the world of permissionless digital money and the world of art have, in a sense, always gone hand in hand. Pascal Boyart embodies this unique nexus in his works, which feature classic themes clashing with modern issues in compelling fashion. The painting he used to hide his “Bitcoin puzzle,” for example, riffs on the classic Eugène Delacroix work “Liberty Leading the People,” with the goddess of liberty herself depicted as leading the modern yellow vest protest movement.

The politically charged nature of Pboy’s art lends itself naturally to consideration of other human beings in similar unrest and crisis, and especially artists who need funding for their works. Teaming up with the Satoshienvenezuela community, Pboy has just released a tutorial breaking down step-by-step how street artists in the economically embattled South American country can earn crypto from their art.

Street Artist Pascal Boyart Helps Venezuelan Creators Earn Crypto

The English version of the article, entitled “Tutorial: How to receive Bitcoin donations on your Street Art pieces,” is a highly detailed breakdown of Pboy’s methods for affixing QR codes to his art. He writes:

For 2 years, I’ve receive more than $ 12500 (1.20 bitcoin) on the QR codes affixed to my frescoes. These donations, which are like a form of crowdfunding, have brought me a lot in my creative process. It helped me finance my projects: buy some much needed equipment and subsequently gave me a breath of freedom for my creations.

Pboy is not pretentious or presumptive at all in his tutorial. He starts from step one, detailing for complete newbies how to make a bitcoin wallet, save the seed phrase, and create a unified Bitcoin presence on one’s various social media. Boyart goes on to outline two options for affixing Bitcoin QR codes to a work: a rather straightforward print and paste job, and a more complicated (but much more interesting) stencil and spray paint approach.

Street Artist Pascal Boyart Helps Venezuelan Creators Earn Crypto

The piece culminates with a cheerful “Good luck and good creation!” and includes an FAQ section with questions like “Why use Bitcoin?” Pboy notes that “The money you receive is 100% in your possession because you are the unique owner of your private key (recovery phrase, or “Seed”), unlike other centralized means of payment (Banks, Paypal, Kickstarter, Patreon…), Bitcoin works without a third party. It is decentralized.”

The Creative Power of Crypto

As news.Bitcoin.com has reported previously, cryptocurrency is proving to be a valuable asset in the battle against poverty, hunger and inhumane political dominance in Venezuela. With artists like Pascal Boyart, charity initiatives like Eatbch and decentralized, P2P trading platforms like local.Bitcoin.com, what a government may mandate matters much less, as there is now a money that doesn’t have to be approved by an untrusted third party to be spent. So, in the name of the goddess of liberty, many artists and crypto enthusiasts alike are wishing innovators like Boyart godspeed and happy Satoshi-inspired subversion of the powers that be.

What are your thoughts on Boyart’s work? Let us know in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, fair use.


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The post Street Artist Pascal Boyart Helps Venezuelan Creators Earn Crypto appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

October 16, 2019 |

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Telegram, the most popular messenger in the crypto community, is facing challenges surrounding the launch of its TON blockchain. Following an intervention by the U.S. securities regulator, a court hearing on the sale of the native gram tokens is scheduled to take place a week before the network was expected to go live.

Also read: More Nations Join the Club of Crypto-Friendly Jurisdictions

NY Court to Review SEC Complaint Against TON

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced last week it had obtained a temporary restraining order for Telegram’s allegedly unregistered coin offering. According to the lawsuit filed by the SEC, the Court for the Southern District of New York will review the case against the messenger’s ICO on October 24.

Telegram’s anticipated initial coin offering (ICO) was conducted privately last year raising $ 1.7 billion from the sale of 2.9 billion tokens. The commission says investors based in the United States have purchased GRM tokens worth approximately a quarter of that amount, or around $ 425 million. Two entities, Telegram Group Inc. and its subsidiary TON Issuer Inc. were mentioned in the complaint.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Secondary sales have been held before the coin’s upcoming public release date, which the SEC views as illegal fundraising through an unregistered offering of digital tokens. In one of them, early investor Gram Asia offered to sell its rights to grams on the Japanese exchange Liquid this summer at $ 4 a token. Private investors paid $ 1.33 a piece in the second token offering round last spring.

Gram is the native token of the Telegram Open Network (TON), a blockchain that will facilitate smart contracts and decentralized applications. It also aims to provide the users of the instant messenger, over 300 million according to some estimates, with a new digital payment system. Each one of them will get a TON wallet.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

The gram token will be used to pay for services provided by the applications built on the platform. These will include decentralized data storage, TON-based domain names registration, and privacy-oriented features and systems designed to bypass censorship. Grams will be available for external use as well and will be traded on digital assets exchanges like other cryptocurrencies.

SEC Lawsuit Likely to Postpone Gram Launch Date

The legal uncertainty accumulated since the SEC announcement has thrown a shadow over the project’s future. In correspondence to investors, TON developers explained they were surprised and disappointed by the regulator’s sudden crackdown, which came after Telegram tried for over a year to acquire the SEC’s position on the offering.

The team is now considering different ways to address the commission’s move and the options include a delayed start. Another possible scenario is to launch a cropped version of the project by the end of the month, as already promised to TON investors. Yakov Barinsky, head of the Russian crypto investment company Hash CIB, commented via Russian media outlet Tass:

My estimate is that TON will be launched with some kind of limited functions and, possibly, the Gram [token] will be blocked. In other words, the protocol will not let the holders transfer Gram between their accounts.

Barinsky emphasized that legal risks will be a key factor determining the launch date. In the press release dated October 11, Steven Peikin, co-director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, stressed that “We have repeatedly stated that issuers cannot avoid the federal securities laws just by labeling their product a cryptocurrency or a digital token.”

The messaging service has been accused of seeking to obtain the benefits of a public offering without complying with established disclosure responsibilities. Some of its features allow users to communicate privately and regulators fear they won’t be able to know who has invested in gram or trace their future transactions.

Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale

Telegram owes its popularity among crypto enthusiasts to the encrypted messaging service it offers. The app was launched in 2013 by the Russian-born entrepreneur Pavel Durov, now Telegram CEO, and his elder brother, programmer and mathematician Nikolai Durov. They are also the founders of Vkontakte (VK), which is the most popular Russian social network.

Pavel was dismissed as VK chief executive in 2014 after he reportedly refused to share users’ information with Russian law enforcement. He has since left the country and sold his Vkontakte stake. Moscow imposed a ban on Telegram and tried to restrict access to the app for similar reasons. Durov’s company rejected a request to hand over its encryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

What do you think will happen with Telegram’s TON blockchain and the gram token? Share your expectations in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The Local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post Telegram Awaits Court Hearing on SEC Case Against Its Token Sale appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Bitcoin’s Smallest Unit ‘Satoshi’ Added to Oxford English Dictionary

October 15, 2019 |

Bitcoin's Smallest Unit - 'Satoshi' Added to Oxford English Dictionary

Oxford University Press published its recent quarterly report which revealed the term ‘satoshi’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) database. The word represents the “smallest monetary unit in the Bitcoin digital payment system,” according to the definition.

Also Read: The Fed Plans to Inject $ 60 Billion per Month Into the Economy

Satoshi, the Smallest Unit in Bitcoin, Added to the Oxford Dictionary

Digital currencies continue to gain mainstream acceptance and the ecosystem’s associated words and terminology have been incorporated into our everyday lives. Oxford University Press recently published its October 2019 update which added a string of new words to the OED database. Words like “Chillax,” “Whatevs,” “Manhattanhenge,” and “Ambarvalia” made it into the OED’s library of terms. Cryptocurrency supporters have noticed the word “satoshi” has been added to the Oxford dictionary as well. The OED database defines the term satoshi as: “The smallest monetary unit in the Bitcoin digital payment system, equal to one hundred millionth of a bitcoin.”

Bitcoin's Smallest Unit 'Satoshi' Added to Oxford English Dictionary

Bitcoin’s divisibility was decided by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and each bitcoin is equal to 100 million satoshis. Then in 2010, an individual called Ribuck proposed that one-hundredth of a bitcoin should be called a satoshi in honor of its creator, but a few months later he changed this proposal to the one hundred millionth unit. Since then, the word has caught on with the community and people use the word often and pluralized while also shortening it to sat or sats.

Bitcoin's Smallest Unit 'Satoshi' Added to Oxford English Dictionary

For years, digital currency enthusiasts have tried to attach a symbol to the unit ‘satoshi’ but no design has become widely adopted yet. Although a few people in the crypto community have used an S-like symbol to represent the smallest unit. The OED database also uses an example sentence with the word Satoshi which reads:

There are talks on colored coins, which is nothing but an implementation of Ripple on top of Bitcoin, using satoshis.

Bitcoin's Smallest Unit 'Satoshi' Added to Oxford English Dictionary

Named After the Pseudonymous Developer of Bitcoin

Oxford’s recent addition follows a number of other terms used within the cryptoconomy like “Miner,” “Bitcoin,” “Blockchain,” and “Cryptocurrency.” The word Bitcoin was added to the OED in 2014 and it defines the term as: “A type of digital currency in which a record of transactions is maintained and new units of currency are generated by the computational solution of mathematical problems, and which operates independently of a central bank.” Investopedia called Bitcoin the “2017 Term of the Year” and the word was also the second most Googled word that year. The word ‘satoshi’ does trend very well on Google at specific times, but only when it applies to the Bitcoin inventor’s monicker, not the smallest unit of currency.

The OED announcement takes note of the sat’s origins, writing that the smallest monetary unit “is named after Satoshi Nakamoto, the—probably pseudonymous—developer(s) of Bitcoin.”

What do you think about the Oxford dictionary adding the word satoshi? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Oxford, OED, Bitcoin Wiki, Wiki Commons, Fair Use, and Pixabay.


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Europol Predicts Rise of ‘Criminal’ Crypto Exchanges in Digital Underground

October 15, 2019 |

Europol Predicts Rise of ‘Criminal’ Crypto Exchanges in Digital Underground

Is the current industry landscape, where centralized exchanges dominate cryptocurrency trading volumes, about to change in the coming years? Europol predicts that international regulatory demands for identity verification on established venues will push privacy concerned traders into so-called ‘criminal’ services in the digital underground.

Also Read: Berlusconi Admins Disappear — Darknet Users Rush to Find Alternatives

Europol Investigates Cyber Crime of the Future

The European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), formerly known as the European Police Office and Drugs Unit, recently released its 2019 annual assessment of the cybercrime threat landscape. The report focuses on the potential impact of future technological developments such as artificial intelligence (AI) and quantum computing on cybercrime, and also dedicates a section to what it defines as the criminal abuse of cryptocurrencies.

The agency notes that cybercrime investigators report that cryptocurrencies continue to pose challenges for law enforcement. Additionally, “Crypto investigations are now a core part of daily business for law enforcement. As a result, investigators require training to ensure they have the appropriate skills to handle such investigations.”

Cryptocurrencies play an essential role in the underground economy according to Europol’s findings. They are used for most “criminal to criminal” (C2C) payments on darknet forums and marketplaces. In addition to C2C payments, many attackers demand payment from victims for attacks such as ransomware or DDoS extortion by cryptocurrencies. The agency complains that such criminally obtained funds, while already inherently challenging to trace, are often further laundered through mixing services, which serve to obfuscate the financial trail.

Europol Predicts Rise of ‘Criminal’ Crypto Exchanges in Digital Underground
Europol headquarters at the Hague, Netherlands

The most apparent development with regard to crypto, according to the report, is that attacks and frauds which historically targeted other payment systems or fiat currencies have now been adapted to incorporate cryptocurrencies. As such, Europol now routinely sees malware and phishing targeting crypto-investors and companies, and new frauds, such as investments frauds related to cryptocurrency. It speculates that such approaches may be more successful due to the lower levels of knowledge potential victims are likely to have about these new types of assets.

Cryptojacking remains an issue but the activity appears to have peaked in 2018 and decreased throughout 2019, partially due to the shut down of Coinhive, the most popular mining script, in March. The report explains that the preferred cryptocurrencies were those that are suitable with CPU or GPU mining, and that are difficult to trace. Monero ticked both boxes, and was thus the first choice for this type of activity. Although these incidents could have affected many, the damage per victim is typically low and therefore it is rarely reported.

While Europol previously reported a shift towards more privacy focused cryptocurrencies such as monero, zcash and dash, it now says BTC still remains the currency of choice for criminal use. The main developments regarding this trend are on darknet markets, several of which also accept XMR, or in some cases trade in it exclusively.

Digital Underground Exchanges Are Coming

In July 2018, the 5th EU Anti-Money Laundering Directive (AMLD5) entered into force. With 18 months to transpose the new regulations into national legislation, Europol expects all EU member states should adopt the recommended legal regime by the end of 2019. One of the key changes proposed by the directive was the regulation of virtual currency platforms (crypto exchanges) and custodian wallet providers (services where the company holds its users’ private keys). Such entities will be required to apply full customer due diligence, thereby completely identifying their clients, and to report any suspicious transactions to financial intelligence units.

Europol Predicts Rise of ‘Criminal’ Crypto Exchanges in Digital Underground

Europol fears that while this new legislation may capture a significant proportion of cryptocurrency users, those using hardware or software wallets, or trading via other peer-to-peer exchange systems, can still operate largely anonymously. Similarly, users of privacy-oriented cryptocurrencies such as dash and monero — until they choose to interact with a centralized exchange or add their coins to a custodian wallet provider — can also remain private. How the community will react to these developments remains to be seen. However, Europol predicts it is likely we will see the rise of ‘criminal exchange services operating on the digital underground,’ exchanging fiat and cryptocurrencies outside the regulated sector.

The report concludes that law enforcement must continue to develop knowledge on how to track and seize crypto assets. Additionally, “Law enforcement must continue to build trust-based relationships with cryptocurrency-related businesses, academia, and other relevant private sector entities, to more effectively tackle issues posed by cryptocurrencies during investigations.” Despite the gradual implementation of AMLD5 across the EU, the agency asks investigators to be vigilant concerning emerging cryptocurrency conversion and cashout opportunities, and to share any new information with Europol.

What do you think about the predictions from Europol regarding the development of the digital underground ecosystem? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Bitcoin Is a Weapon for Free Speech in the Face of Government and Corporate Censorship

October 15, 2019 |

Bitcoin as Free Speech Money: Government and Corporate Censorship Shows the Value of Financial Sovereignty

The latest skirmishes in the bruising trade war between the U.S. and China have led to the unlikely politicization of the NBA. But how did the views of a basketball executive become such a political football? And what does China’s ideological commitment to censorship say about the value of free speech and of free speech money, as bitcoin is sometimes known?

Also read: Berlusconi Admins Disappear — Darknet Users Rush to Find Alternatives

US-China Censorship Spat Highlights the Value of Free Speech

The Communist Party’s gangsterish demands on private companies is nothing new, but the recent decision by Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to tweet support for pro-democracy protestors amid bedlam in Hong Kong quickly exposed just how fragile the notion of ‘free speech’ really is. In the face of opprobrium from Beijing, Morey’s climbdown, augmented by groveling input from Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and NBA spokesman Mike Bass, was pitiful to behold. But it hinted at the wider problem of gutlessness among companies that have provoked the ire of the Chinese government.

Bitcoin Is a Weapon for Free Speech in the Face of Government and Corporate Censorship
American leftists see an offensive frog. The Chinese see an offensive bear.

Basic Rights and Backdoor Entry Points

A curated list of companies that have kowtowed to Chinese censorship requests, maintained on Github, is damning. As well as the NBA, the roll of shame includes Apple, Marriott, Nike, ESPN, several of the world’s largest airlines like British Airways, Qantas and American Airlines, and Versace. With trade talks between the US and China underway in Washington, the specter of censorship, while not on the agenda, will loom large over proceedings.

Bitcoin Is a Weapon for Free Speech in the Face of Government and Corporate Censorship
Some of the US companies to have self-censored.

Both nations have a lot to answer for as far as free speech, privacy, money and other basic human rights are concerned. China’s persistent assault on freedom seems more flagrant, but the U.S. – and, for that matter, other western nations – hardly cover themselves in glory. Attorney General William Barr recently squeezed major tech companies to provide government agencies with backdoor entry points for encrypted devices and software. It remains perfectly legal for citizens throughout the world to be fired by their employer or interrogated by customs for something they’ve said on social media – even when it occurred years ago.

Who Watches the Watchers?

Edward Snowden’s exposè of rampant state surveillance shows that when it comes to assembling a digital panopticon that’s always watching, the Americans are even more ruthless than the Chinese. At least in China you can see the cameras observing you; there’s no such courtesy when the U.S. agencies activate your webcam and start recording.

Speaking of surveillance and its insidious incursion into people’s lives, the Washington Post just reported that more than 400 police departments across the U.S. have entered into surveillance partnerships with Amazon’s camera-enabled doorbell company, Ring. It’s yet another way in which the government is utilizing tech, while co-opting big business to bear down upon civil rights and liberties.

Bitcoin Is a Weapon for Free Speech in the Face of Government and Corporate Censorship

In the modern world, digital freedom is everything. The bulk of our lives now unfold online: our conversations, our financial transactions, our very identities. What we are witnessing, increasingly, is free speech being smothered via the deplatforming of certain voices and an attempt by governments to introduce regulatory oversight on financial transactions which goes beyond ensuring proper taxation, but – under the guise of crime prevention – impinges upon privacy at a fundamental level. When governments seek to blunt-force encrypted devices and software, it requires a stupefying level of naivety to assume that their motivation is cracking down on kiddie porn.

Value and dignity exist in an internet where speech, financial autonomy and other basic rights are not controlled by government agencies or international conglomerates. Where our private data is not commoditized and sold to the highest bidder, and where we have the right to lives that are not the object of constant and unforgiving scrutiny.

Bitcoin Is a Weapon for Free Speech in the Face of Government and Corporate Censorship

The Value of Free Speech Money

Avoiding inference from third parties in the form of censure (deplatforming) and restriction of speech are basic desires shared by all digital citizens. This is why, when the topic of censorship and governmental overreach rears its head, Bitcoin isn’t far behind. Being able to process payments on the internet without permission or risk of confiscation is a privilege that provokes a desire to exercise the same level of freedom in other realms. To harness fully open source, secure and private systems of expression that are immune to the tentacles of power.

If the convergence of state and corporate interests continues unchecked, we are all imperilled; Chinese, American, or otherwise. Seized bank accounts, stolen information, frozen assets and ever greater attempts to stifle free speech and freedom of association will become the norm, and not just for those existing on the fringes, but for the masses. Is it any wonder that protestors harness technology to combat the might of the state? Tools such as PGP, Bitcoin, and decentralized networks allow individuals to conduct their affairs without permission from any bank, corporation or government.

A Time for Reckoning

While the summit in Washington is focused on matters such as trade imbalances and intellectual property violations, at an individual level we have bigger questions to ask of ourselves. Are we prepared to endure online censorship and a veritable onslaught on our civil liberties? Or are we willing to fight for an internet that does not function as an arm of the state but as an open platform for the free exchange of ideas and value? A censorship-resistant internet benefits everyone. It also benefits Bitcoin, for where there’s free speech, there’s demand for free speech money.

Do you think free speech and financial sovereignty as provided by Bitcoin are interlinked? Let us know in the comments section below.

Op-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the Op-ed article. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the content. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any information in this Op-ed article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.

The post Bitcoin Is a Weapon for Free Speech in the Face of Government and Corporate Censorship appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case to November

October 15, 2019 |

Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case to November

The Supreme Court of India on Tuesday once again postponed hearing the case against the crypto banking restrictions by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The central bank has replied to crypto exchanges’ representation as directed by the court, which was supposed to resume hearing the case today.

Also read: RBI Ban Stops Indian Police From Cashing Out Seized Crypto

Supreme Court Hearing Rescheduled Again

The Indian supreme court was scheduled to resume hearing the arguments against the banking restrictions by the RBI today, Oct. 15. According to the court order issued earlier this month, the case was to be listed “top of the board,” which gave the Indian crypto community hope that the case would move forward today.

However, Indian news portal Crypto Kanoon reported that the case was listed as item number two in courtroom number five today. “Since three judges bench has assembled today in Court no. 5,” the news portal detailed:

The court could not hear the case and adjourned the hearing to 12th November 2019.

Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case to November

In previous hearings, only two judges heard the crypto case, and usually the same judges would continue to hear the case. Whenever a three-judge bench is assembled, the likelihood of the supreme court hearing the crypto case diminishes.

RBI Ban and Government Regulation

The central bank issued a circular in April last year banning financial institutions from providing services to crypto businesses. Prohibited services include “maintaining accounts, registering, trading, settling, clearing, giving loans against virtual tokens, accepting them as collateral, opening accounts of exchanges dealing with them and transfer / receipt of money in accounts relating to purchase/ sale of VCs [virtual currencies],” the RBI explained.

Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case to November

The ban went into effect three months later and banks closed the accounts of crypto exchanges, forcing some of them to close down local exchange operations. A number of industry stakeholders immediately filed writ petitions to challenge the ban.

After multiple delays, the supreme court began hearing the case in detail on Aug. 8, with the petitioners extensively challenging the central bank’s power over crypto. The RBI ban has also affected the Indian police. The Pune city police department was unable to cash out its seized crypto from a Ponzi scheme due to the ban.

The Indian government is still deliberating on a draft bill submitted by an interministerial committee (IMC) in February. The bill, which seeks to ban all cryptocurrencies except state-issued ones, was made public on July 23. However, the Indian crypto community believes that the bill is flawed and has been campaigning to convince lawmakers to reexamine the IMC recommendations.

Do you think the Indian supreme court will hear the crypto case on Nov. 12? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Did you know you can buy and sell BCH privately using our noncustodial, peer-to-peer Local Bitcoin Cash trading platform? The local.Bitcoin.com marketplace has thousands of participants from all around the world trading BCH right now. And if you need a bitcoin wallet to securely store your coins, you can download one from us here.

The post Indian Supreme Court Postpones Crypto Case to November appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Diversified Crypto Fund Receives FINRA Regulatory Approval

October 15, 2019 |

Diversified Crypto Fund Receives FINRA Regulatory Approval

Grayscale Investments has received regulatory approval to publicly quote shares of its diversified crypto fund. The product, which is the firm’s only diversified offering, invests in five main cryptocurrencies. In addition, the firm offers nine single-asset investment funds, some of which are also quoted publicly.

Also read: 7 Crypto Exchange-Traded Products Now Live on Swiss Bourse

Fund Gains FINRA Approval

Digital currency asset manager Grayscale Investments announced Monday that shares of its diversified crypto fund have been approved for public quotation by the U.S. Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), a government-authorized nonprofit organization that oversees U.S. broker-dealers. Shares of Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund (DLC) will be quoted under the symbol GDLCF on OTC markets. The company stated:

This marks the introduction of the first publicly-quoted security in the U.S. deriving value from a diverse selection of digital currencies.

Diversified Crypto Fund Receives U.S. Regulatory Approval
Grayscale Digital Large Cap Fund’s holdings per share as of Oct. 11.

DLC is an open-ended fund which “provides exposure to the top liquid digital assets through a market cap-weighted portfolio,” the firm described. As of Sept. 30, its components were a basket of five cryptocurrencies: 80.3% BTC, 9.9% ETH, 5.8% XRP, 2.2% BCH, and 1.8% LTC. The fund aims to cover 70% of the crypto market, and its components are reviewed on a quarterly basis. It currently has $ 15.7 million in assets under management and 3,194,900 outstanding shares.

The fund has been offered as a private placement to accredited investors since February last year. “Shares created through DLC’s private placement become eligible to sell into the public market after a statutory one-year holding period under Rule 144 of the Securities Act,” the firm clarified.

Single-Asset Funds

Besides the aforementioned diversified product, Grayscale offers various single-asset investment funds that provide exposure to BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, ZEN, LTC, XLM, XRP, and ZEC. As of Sept. 30, the firm managed approximately $ 2.1 billion in assets.

Diversified Crypto Fund Receives U.S. Regulatory Approval
Grayscale’s single-asset investment funds.

Grayscale clarified that DLC is its fourth publicly-quoted investment product available to all investors with access to U.S. securities. The others are Bitcoin Trust (OTCQX: GBTC), Ethereum Trust (OTCQX: ETHE), and Ethereum Classic Trust (OTCQX: ETCG). Other investment funds are available to institutional and individual accredited investors.

None of the funds are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which has yet to approve the first bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF). Last week, the commission rejected the last high-profile proposal it was evaluating, which was filed by NYSE Arca Inc. for the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF. Earlier this month, Cboe BZX Exchange Inc. withdrew its proposal for the Vaneck Solidx Bitcoin Trust, which is now offered under Rule 144A.

What do you think of Grayscale’s crypto funds? Let us know in the comments section below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Bitcoin.com does not provide investment, tax, legal, or accounting advice. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Grayscale.


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The Fed Plans to Inject $60 Billion per Month Into the Economy

October 14, 2019 |

The Fed Plans to Inject $  60 Billion per Month Into the Economy

On October 11, the U.S. Federal Reserve explained that it would inject more easing into the economy by purchasing Treasury bills at an initial $ 60 billion per month for the next two months. The purchasing rate could decrease or increase, but the central bank expects the easing plan to last until at least Q2 2020. Further, Fed chair Jerome Powell and his partners have also stressed they don’t want the media to call the purchasing plan another QE.

Also Read: Money and Democracy: Why You Never Get to Vote on the Most Important Part of Society

The Fed Approves Purchasing $ 60 Billion Worth of Treasury Securities per Month but Don’t Call it QE

The Fed told the press on Friday that it plans to continue to buy vast sums of securities in order to stimulate the U.S. economy. The move follows the two interest rate cuts and the printing of $ 128 billion when the Fed repurchased Treasury securities from specific repo agents last month. The new printing scheme involves another $ 60 billion per month from now until the end of November, but the buying will not stop until the second quarter of 2020. The central bank explained that the number of purchases planned for after November will be announced on the ninth of every month. The $ 60 billion a month put toward Treasury bills will be occurring alongside large scale repurchase agreements. The New York branch of the Fed has been in charge of the repos and claims repos will continue until the end of 2019. The Fed hasn’t purchased Treasury securities in this manner since 2012, when it printed roughly $ 85 billion per month.

The Fed Plans to Inject $  60 Billion per Month Into the Economy
Fed chair Jerome Powell.

Back then the central bank had no issues calling the process quantitative easing (QE), which is basically the act of purchasing large-scale asset in order to bolster the faltering economy. Powell and his staff are adamant about telling the press that the current easing is not another QE program even though the Fed is purchasing assets at a very large scale. The Fed wants the public to believe this just because the central bank is only purchasing Treasury bills and not things like bonds and mortgages. Neel Kashkari, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis said: “It’s not a change in our policy stance.” He stressed that the central bank’s number of Treasury purchases will depend on “how much demand for dollars grows.” The current method of easing “gives [the Fed] a lot of flexibility,” Kashkari explained.

The Fed Plans to Inject $  60 Billion per Month Into the Economy
Jerome Powell and colleagues dont want the media calling the latest easing “QE.”

Central Banks Like the Fed Cannot Solve the Problems They Created

Many economists believe the Fed’s latest round of easing tactics pretty much meets the definition of QE and some people believe the central bank’s schemes are dangerous. Daniel Lacalle, author at Mises Institute, recently explained how profoundly destructive the monetary easing and repo crisis is to the economy. Lacalle’s essay details that sudden repo lending spikes are not unusual when it comes to the Fed’s operations, but the fact that it takes days to normalize is very unusual. “[It’s] even more unusual to see that the Federal Reserve needs to inject hundreds of billions in a few days to offset the unstoppable rise in short-term rates,” Lacalle insists. “Because liquidity is ample, thirst for yield is enormous and financial players are financially more solvent than years ago, right? — Wrong,” the author writes. Lacalle’s paper adds:

What the repo market crisis shows us is that liquidity is substantially lower than what the Federal Reserve believes, that fear of contagion and rising risk are evident in the weakest link of the financial repression machine (the overnight market) and, more importantly, that liquidity providers probably have significantly more leverage than many expected.

The Fed Plans to Inject $  60 Billion per Month Into the Economy
Expanding the balance sheet.

Safe-Havens and Collateral Damage

Ever since the monetary easing started the Fed has wanted to steer clear of associating it with the tools used to battle the economic crisis ten years ago. Laura Rosner, a co-founder of Macropolicy Perspectives told the press that the Fed “wants to keep QE as something special.” “I don’t think they want to send a signal that things are bad,” Rosner added. However, central banks worldwide have said the global economy is quite volatile and runaway inflation and lack of liquidity got the best of them. The Fed’s first interest rate cuts didn’t work at all and rates on repurchase agreements jumped considerably in mid-September. After the Fed revealed its plan last week, safe-haven assets like cryptocurrencies and precious metals saw their values rise. Many people believe the central planners will not be able to save the economy and are seeking refuge in harder assets. Mises Institute’s Lacalle concludes his editorial by saying the current central banking crisis tells us one thing:

The collateral damage of excess liquidity includes the destruction of the credit transmission mechanism, disguising the real assessment of risk and, more importantly, leads to a synchronized excess in debt that will not be solved by lower rates and more liquidity injections.

What do you think about the Fed’s latest easing tactics? Do you think people will continue to seek a safe-haven in cryptocurrencies and precious metals? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Bloomberg, Wiki Commons, Fair Use, Pixabay, and Yahoo Finance.


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Berlusconi Admins Disappear — Darknet Users Rush to Find Alternatives

October 14, 2019 |

Berlusconi Admins Disappear — Darknet Users Rush to Find Alternatives

The darknet marketplace Berlusconi Market has been reportedly down for more than two weeks, according to users who patronize the hidden website. The outage has led many to believe the market administrators exit scammed with all the funds. While others speculate that government agents have infiltrated Berlusconi Market as there are no signs of the underground market coming back online anytime soon.

Also read: Darknet Markets Are Thriving Despite the Mysterious Death of Dread

Exit Scam or Bust? Speculation Grows as Berlusconi Market’s Lights Start to Flicker

Over the last few years, many darknet marketplace (DNM) participants have realized, and sometimes in an unfortunate way, that DNMs come and go. For instance, during the first week of July 2017, the hidden marketplace Alphabay went offline and the DNM community assumed it was an exit scam. However, Alphabay was actually taken down by global law enforcement and no one knew Alphabay was seized because the authorities were busy operating the Hansa market undercover. Things were good for a little while as Dream took the reigns for quite some time but the massive DNM recently bit the dust in April. In fact, DNM participants have been noticing the lights of their favorite markets flickering a lot more lately with Wall Street Market going under and last month’s Dread outage. This month, Berlusconi Market is purportedly the next to fall as the DNM has been reportedly offline since September 22.

Berlusconi Admins Disappear — Darknet Users Rush to Find Alternatives

Berlusconi Market (BM) customers and vendors have been scrambling for new avenues and alternative markets on forums. BM, with its 300,000 users, was recently one of the most popular DNM in existence since the recent DNM shake-ups this year. On social media and forums, lots of people assume BM admins exit scammed which means they ran off with vendor deposits (vendors pay a minimum deposit to sell) and customer deposits in escrow as well.

Berlusconi Admins Disappear — Darknet Users Rush to Find Alternatives

The website darknetstats.com says that BM is “partially up” and added: “Berlusconi is having captcha problems since yesterday. Users aren’t able to access the market. The market has suffered from the same problem in the past due to DDoS attacks. We are trying to contact Berlusconi admin and will update the status soon.” However, darknetstats.com visitors commenting don’t seem to think BM will be returning. “How can someone ever trust a market again if BM can also do this?” a person asked. Another individual said they lost contact with vendors and the possible exit scam cost him a few grand. A BM vendor was upset he paid the $ 250 vendor cost and had to “compete with many stupid ads and spammers.”

Berlusconi Admins Disappear — Darknet Users Rush to Find Alternatives

Possible Connection to the German Cyberbunker Investigation

There are people that said they had issues getting past BM’s captcha screen and can’t go further than that page when visiting the original onion address and mirrors. On October 4, the @dark.fail Twitter account tweeted that it suspected one of two possible scenarios in regard to BM’s recent outage. “Berlusconi Market, the second-largest darknet drug marketplace with over 300,000 users, has not heard from their admin in over two weeks — It’s safe to say that they ran with the money, or they have been arrested,” dark.fail said. “The timing roughly coincides with ‘CyberBunker’s’ takedown.”

Berlusconi Admins Disappear — Darknet Users Rush to Find Alternatives

On September 27, seven individuals were arrested in western Germany for hosting a DNM server. According to reports at the time, the raid on the data center in Germany “involved hundreds of officers” and year-long investigations with multiple law enforcement agencies.

Did Europol Secretly Take Down Berlusconi Market?

Another source says an individual from the Italian darknet community informed him that all the Berlusconi Market admins were arrested in Italy. “The person claims that the arrest of ‘g00d00’ in May led to the recent arrests,” the operator of the @darknetlive Twitter account disclosed. “G00d00 had access to Berlusconi Market’s private key at the time of his arrest,” darknetlive stressed. “‘Hugbunter’ also noticed that the market had changed the key after the news of the arrest became public.” The tweet thread further detailed that the informant told him that Europol took control of Berlusconi Market on September 22. The Twitter account concluded by saying that there are reasons he believes the information is “more credible than the usual FUD.”

For now, lots of users have been flocking to markets like Cryptonia, Grey Market, and Empire but those operations have been turbulent as well. For instance, a few people have been reporting they had login issues with Empire and the market’s products have increased significantly in price according to regular visitors. Individuals who cant access BM are also questioning whether or not they should join Empire or another marketplace as one user writes: “I’m sketched out since Berlusconi was taken down.” Another person asked r/darknet visitors if Empire was exit scamming too, but patrons explain “it might just seem that way because Empire staff seems nonexistent.” If the Berlusconi Market disappears for good as people expect, then frequent regulars will have no choice but to scope out alternatives.

What do you think about Berlusconi Market? Do you think admins exit scammed or do you believe it was infiltrated by global police? Let us know in the comments below.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation of an offer to buy or sell, or as a recommendation, endorsement, or sponsorship of any products, services, or companies. Neither the company nor the author is responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in this article.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Berlusconi Market, Reddit, Twitter, and Pixabay.


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