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Venezuela Picks FX Platform to Auction Petro ‘Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency’

March 7, 2018 |

Venezuela Picks FX Platform to Auction Petro 'Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency'

Venezuela has chosen a platform on which to auction its “oil-backed cryptocurrency”, the petro. While the country’s National Assembly has repeatedly declared this new currency illegal, the Venezuelan government will proceed with the auction of the petro on the country’s official foreign exchange platform.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Auction Platform Selected

The vice president of Venezuela, Tareck El Aissami, announced on Tuesday during the National Council for Productive Economy’s meeting held at the White Palace in Caracas that:

Venezuelan cryptocurrency ‘el petro’ will be auctioned through the Complementary Floating Market Exchange Rate System (Dicom) for the development of the Bolivarian Economic Agenda (AEB).

Venezuela Picks FX Platform to Auction Petro 'Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency'Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright explained that Venezuela’s Dicom system “allows the sale and purchase of foreign currency (typically, United States dollars) in exchange for local currency.” This process is done through foreign currency auctions “administered, regulated, and directed” by the Committee of Foreign Currency Auctions, which the firm described as an “internal instrumentality of the Central Bank of Venezuela (BCV).”

Venezuela Picks FX Platform to Auction Petro 'Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency'
Venezuela’s vice president, Tareck El Aissami, speaking on Tuesday.

Aissami also reaffirmed that the sale phase of the new currency will conclude on March 20 when buyers will receive “a special discount”.

Petro Auction and Legality

Venezuela Picks FX Platform to Auction Petro 'Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency'In his speech on Tuesday, Aissami explained that the auction of the petro “will facilitate the national productive sector” so they “can buy and sell raw materials, capital goods, pay for services,” as well as participate in technological development through the cryptocurrency.

The vice president added that the petro is going to be Venezuela’s “international powerful currency above the dollar”. He detailed:

You can buy petro with a discount and that discount can be registered as part of your assets…if you have dollars, euros or any exchangeable currency, we exchange it for petro and that petro is recognized as part of your assets and so you can raise your capital.

Meanwhile, the National Assembly has reiterated that the petro is still illegal. Deputy Francisco Sucre pointed out that “Oil fields are national goods and cannot be given as collateral.” He insists on declaring the public offer of the petro null and fraudulent.

Meanwhile, deputy Alexis Paparoni stated that the petro is not a cryptocurrency, asserting that “It is a strategy to generate treasury resources to keep stealing money from Venezuelans.” The opposition-led parliament already declared the issuance of the new currency null and void earlier this year, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

What do you think of the petro being auctioned using the Dicom system? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Venezuelan government.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Venezuela Picks FX Platform to Auction Petro ‘Oil-Backed Cryptocurrency’ appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission Suspends Mining Scheme

March 7, 2018 |

Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission Suspends Mining Scheme

Brazil’s Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) recently suspended the operations of mining investment scheme, Hashbrasil. The CVM has accused the company of violating securities laws by conducting an unregistered public offering.

Also Read: Chinese Altcoins Can’t Stop Failing

Hashbrasil Suspends Operations After Warning From Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission

Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission Suspends Mining SchemeThe Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission has suspended solicitations from mining investment scheme, Hashbrasil – accusing the company of violating securities regulations.

Last week, the CVM released a statement asserting that Hashbrasil and the company’s operator, Mr. Leonardo Janiszevski, were “publicly offering […] an investment opportunity related to quotas in [a] Bitcoin mining investment group, using [an] appeal to the public for the conclusion of contracts that may be included in the legal concept of [a] security.”

As such, the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission has mandated the “immediate suspension of any offer of securities or collective investment contracts related to” Hashbrasil, stating that the company conducted “a public offering without registration,” and that Mr. Janiszevski is “not authorized to engage in any activities on the securities market.”

Brazilian Securities Watchdog Targeting Cryptocurrency Sector

Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission Suspends Mining SchemeOn March 1st, the day after the publication of the CVM’s determinations, Hashbrasil posted on Facebook stating that the company had temporarily suspended operations in response to the regulator’s comments. According to a rough translation, the company’s website currently states “Due to CVM Resolution 790 […] Hashbrasil suspends the offer of new VPS hirings for data processing temporarily,” however it adds that “The VPSs of our current customers are in full operation, and our support as well.”

The Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission has recently demonstrated an increasing willingness take regulatory action targeting the cryptocurrency industry. In January, the securities regulator announced that local investment funds are prohibited from purchasing cryptocurrencies – owing to a CVM determination that cryptocurrencies are not legally considered to comprise financial assets.

The CVM threatened that should Hashbrasil continue to operate in defiance of the regulator’s determinations, Mr. Janiszevski will incur a daily fine of $ 5,000 BRL (approximately $ 1550 USD).

What do you think of the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent determinations with regards to the cryptocurrency sector? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, cvm.gov.br


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

The post Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission Suspends Mining Scheme appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Retirement Custodian Bitira Offers Insured Multi-Cryptocurrency IRAs

March 7, 2018 |

Retirement Custodian Bitira Offers Insured Multi-Cryptocurrency IRAs

The cryptocurrency retirement account firm Bitira has announced the launch of two new features added to its business model, which includes fully-insured cold storage accounts and a variety of new cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin cash, ethereum, and more.

Also Read: Japan’s SBI Holdings Claims 40% Stake in Hardware Wallet Company

Digital Asset Retirement Funds

Retirement Custodian Bitira Offers Insured Multi-Cryptocurrency IRAsBitira is a “self-directed” individual retirement account (IRA) that provides investors control over their digital currency investments, but a custodian handles some of the account administration. Self-directed IRAs require a certified custodian that carries out the investor’s orders. This week Bitira has added insurance to their accounts with a consumer protection policy managed by Lloyd’s of London. Alongside that, digital IRA customers will receive data breach insurance with a Cybersecurity Policy from Hiscox. The company states that cryptocurrency investment funds at Bitira are also kept in cold storage and protected with multi-signature technology.

“All assets held in storage are fully insured through an all-risk policy from Lloyd’s of London, the world’s leading provider of specialized asset insurance,” explains Bitira’s website. “Additionally, assets are protected during the transaction, against any internal cases of fraud or theft, by a second policy from Lloyd’s of London.”

Proprietary Security Precautions and Compliance

Bitira’s digital currency specialist Jay Blaskey says, “Simply put, Bitira is the best and only solution for current and future digital currency IRA investors that want it all – options, low cost, flexibility and the highest level of security,”

Our new set of proprietary security precautions were necessary to facilitate the addition of the most in-demand altcoins within our service. Not only are we able to offer customers the largest variety of cryptocurrencies for placement in an IRA, but we’re also able to provide them with peace of mind that their investments are protected by the market’s most stringent security controls.

In addition to the insurance and the cold storage and multi-signature security solutions, Bitira has added a slew of cryptocurrencies for investors to choose. Bitira accounts now provide bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), ethereum classic (ETC), litecoin (LTC), and ripple (XRP) investments. The retirement company explains the entire custodial process is compliant with the Cryptocurrency Security Standards (CCSS). The standards include globally accepted security practices and methodologies aimed at keeping digital asset investments safe. Bitira is not the only digital currency retirement fund management service in the industry. Bitcoin IRA also offers self-directed BTC, BCH, LTC, XRP, and ETH retirement accounts.   

Retirement Custodian Bitira Offers Insured Multi-Currency IRAs
Bitira’s cryptocurrency choices.

Although the process is not mandatory, Bitira says the company is registered as a Money Services Business with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (Fincen) as well. Bitira says that cryptocurrency interest has been trending and individual retirement accounts offer other benefits like tax incentives and educated custodians that help manage your assets.

“Interest in the cryptocurrency market has hit a fever pitch in recent months. There are many factors potential investors must weigh alongside the immense benefits offered by digital currency IRAs, not the least of which are considerations around security,” Andy Klein, Bitira’s director of strategic planning added.  

What do you think about Bitira offering insurance and multiple cryptocurrency retirement investment vehicles? Let us know your thoughts about crypto IRAs in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, and Bitira’s website. 


At news.Bitcoin.com all comments containing links are automatically held up for moderation in the Disqus system. That means an editor has to take a look at the comment to approve it. This is due to the many, repetitive, spam and scam links people post under our articles. We do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

The post Retirement Custodian Bitira Offers Insured Multi-Cryptocurrency IRAs appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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New Study Looks at the Cost to Mine BTC Across the Globe

March 7, 2018 |

New Study Looks at the Cost to Mine BTC Across the Globe

Just recently the firm Crescent Electric Supply Company conducted a study that showed the cost of mining one single bitcoin in each state in the U.S. Since then the company’s subsidiary business Elite Fixtures took the research further by charting the cost to mine a single bitcoin in each country across the world.

Also read: New Plant to Assemble Mining Rigs in Belarus

The Cost to Mine a Single BTC Throughout 115 Different Countries

Many people are very interested in how cryptocurrency networks function, and a lot of people are especially curious about bitcoin mining as far as cost and where concentrations of miners reside. So the company Elitefixtures.com decided to conduct a study which mapped the cost to mine one single BTC throughout a vast majority of countries located within the globe. Elite looked at data across 115 different countries based on average electricity rates found in government data.

Elite then used the statistics from the Bitmain produced Antminer S7, the S9, and Canaan Creative’s Avalon 6. Then the firm calculated the number of days it would take to mine a single coin based on BTC difficulty throughout January of 2018. The Elite research team measured the cost of electricity and amount of power needed to produce one coin. According to the firm’s study, a single Antminer S9 consuming 17,773.344 kilowatts would need to mine for 548 days at peak performance to mine a single BTC. Canaan’s Avalon 6 would take 2194 days to produce one coin Elite details.

New Study Looks at the Cost to Mine BTC Across the Globe

South Korea and Other Regions Show Mining BTC is Unsustainable

The company’s research reveals some interesting statistics on the most expensive and cheapest nation states to mine BTC. South Korea is the most expensive according to Elite’s figures as one single coin would cost $ 26,170 using the country’s power rates. Other areas in the world where it is really too expensive to mine bitcoins includes Solomon Island, Niue, Bahrain, and the Cook Islands.

New Study Looks at the Cost to Mine BTC Across the Globe

 

Miners Thrive in Areas Like Venezuela and China  

Venezuela is the cheapest country to mine a BTC ($ 531 USD per coin) alongside countries with a lot of government subsidization for electricity resources. China is the 17th cheapest nation-state as it only costs 3,172 USD to mine a single bitcoin there. Other countries where the cost is super low for bitcoin miners to produce coins include Ukraine, Myanmar, Tobago, Uzbekistan, and Trinidad. Russian mining is cheap according to Elite’s data as it costs $ 4,675 to mine a single coin in Russia. Just a hair above that is the U.S. the 41st cheapest region to mine BTC with an average of $ 4,758 per coin. But some states in the U.S. are much cheaper to mine BTC like the cheapest state Louisiana which costs $ 3,224. However, in Hawaii its $ 9,483 per coin to mine BTC on the island.

New Study Looks at the Cost to Mine BTC Across the Globe

It goes to show there are definitely regions across the globe where it’s very cheap to mine BTC but on the other hand there are areas where it’s not sustainable at all. With these types of metrics, its likely cheaper areas around the world will continue to see large concentrations of miners unless their government doesn’t approve the activity.

What do you think about Elite Fixture’s study? How much does it cost to mine a single BTC in your country? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Bitmain, Elite Fixtures, and Crescent Electric Supply Company 


Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com.

The post New Study Looks at the Cost to Mine BTC Across the Globe appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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One in Three Cryptocurrencies Is Currently Unspendable

March 7, 2018 |

30% of All Cryptocurrencies Are Currently Unspendable

Cryptocurrencies are speculative instruments, their price predicated upon future prospects rather than current reality. As a consequence, many of them don’t qualify as outright currencies – at least not yet. While the likes of bitcoin, bitcoin cash, and ethereum can be freely spent on desktop and mobile, dozens more are barely usable outside of crypto exchanges, and in some cases have been that way for years.

Also read: If Your Crypto Doesn’t Have a Mobile Wallet It’s Not Really a Currency

Spendable Cryptocurrency: Coming Soon

As everyone knows, cryptocurrencies are traded speculatively. When you buy monero on an exchange, you’re paying a price that is based less on its usefulness today, and more on what it could be worth in the future, should mass adoption of cryptocurrency occur and privacy coins prosper. There’s nothing wrong with that: most assets are subject to a prolonged period of price discovery before the market settles on a value. That’s why dot coms that have yet to turn a profit can be valued in the billions. As Eric Wall put it in his recent trading column:

The investment information you are looking for is not anywhere to be found in the charts. Rather, it’s in one’s ability to understand and visualize the future of [the cryptocurrency] market.

Cryptocurrency speculation is natural. In fact, such behavior is healthy, as it drives eventual adoption. But sooner or later, you might want to do something with the cryptos you deem as keepers, like move them off an exchange, spend them, or gift them to friends. And that’s where you start to run into problems. To gain an insight into the spendability of cryptocurrencies, news.Bitcoin.com set out to answer a simple question: How many of the top 100 cryptocurrencies can be sent to friends and family?

Mom rocks an iPhone, little bro has an Android, and dad, for some strange reason, only uses a desktop. To pass this test, a cryptocurrency must be capable of being sent and received on all three devices.

30% of Cryptocurrencies Fall Short

30% of All Cryptocurrencies Are Currently UnspendableAs it stands, 30 out of the top 100 cryptocurrencies fail this test. (If the sample size were to be extended, the failure rate would rise further.) That doesn’t mean they’ll always be that way; some are still relatively new and are under active development. But others, such as verge, syscoin, and bytecoin, have been on the go for years, and are still no closer to securing an iOS wallet – or even an Android one in some cases. Then there’s IOTA, whose iOS wallet has been delayed for months, but is finally close to release. Whether it’s stable enough to prevent coins disappearing into the twilight zone, until they’re forcibly reattached to the tangle, remains to be seen.

In addition to recording the number of cryptocurrencies that lack a stable desktop or mobile wallet, news.Bitcoin.com calculated the average age of these projects: two years and one month. Of these, 53% lack an iOS wallet, while the remainder lack an Android and/or stable desktop wallet. For recording purposes, any ERC20 token was deemed mobile-compatible, even though many ethereum-based projects lack their own dedicated mobile wallet. A number of altcoins with their own blockchain have yet to receive proper mobile support, but Freewallet has done the honors for Android users, with varying degrees of success.

30% of All Cryptocurrencies Are Currently Unspendable

Verdict: Must Do Better

Having a mobile wallet isn’t the holy grail of cryptocurrencies, and many of the coins in the top 100 aren’t designed as outright currencies. But for them to be usable in whatever purpose they’ve been assigned – utility token; security; equity – they need to work reliably on desktop and mobile. For so long as users are downloading beta wallets from Github repositories, the cryptocurrency revolution will remain on ice. Only once cryptos become easily spendable, with a velocity to match, will real progress have been made. Store of value or medium of exchange, it makes no difference. 70% of cryptocurrencies currently pass the test. 30% must do better.

Do you think mobile compatibility is important for cryptocurrencies, or is it unimportant at this stage? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Why not keep track of the price with one of Bitcoin.com’s widget services.

The post One in Three Cryptocurrencies Is Currently Unspendable appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Coinbase to Launch its First Crypto Index Fund

March 7, 2018 |

Coinbase to Launch its First Crypto Index Fund

Popular US cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced today the launch of its first ever index fund. Global Digital Asset Exchange (GDAX), which is owned by the San Francisco-based retail exchange, will provide to its accredited investors the option of buying the lot, all assets, weighted, into one financial product.

Also read: Québec Premier: We’re Not Really Interested in Bitcoin Mining

Coinbase Launches Index Fund

Bitcoin? Bitcoin cash? Ethereum? Litecoin? Why not all four! “We’re seeing strong demand from our customers and the market generally for a passive investment management product…but we’re finally seeing demand so that’s why we’re just launching now,” Coinbase’s Reuben Bramanathan explained to Reuters.

“We’re excited to announce Coinbase Index Fund,” the company announced. The fund “will give investors exposure to all digital assets listed on Coinbase’s exchange, GDAX, weighted by market capitalization. If a new asset is listed on the exchange, it will be automatically added to the fund.”

Coinbase to Launch its First Crypto Index Fund

GDAX is Coinbase’s professionals-geared exchange, allowing for more traditional stock-like choices such as market, limit, stop, and margin orders. Coinbase proper, on the other hand, serves more than 13 million retail customers who’ve often claimed it to have been their first foray into crypto, buying and selling. Currently four digital assets are listed and paired, Bitcoin core, Ethereum, Bitcoin cash, and Litecoin. It remains the biggest crypto company on the globe, and is valued at over one and half billion dollars.

“We are seeing new investors coming to the market because they see an asset that is not correlated and outperforms, but they don’t know which ones to buy,” Mr. Bramanathan told Business Insider.

A Long Tradition on Wall Street

Index funds were popularized for Wall Street in the 1970s by John C. Bogle, founder of the veritable Vanguard Fund. Theories abound about the efficacy of fund managers and their ability to at least match broader markets and beat inflation. Minus fees and the perverse incentive to jump in and out of positions, index funds would be considered a conservative investment bet. Buy a weighted percentage of the entire class, across classes, whatever, and sit back and hope for the long-term best. Poorer performers might be mitigated by higher, the theory went, and though an investor would not see the massive booms she would also not suffer from hellish busts.

“Index funds,” the company continues, “have changed the way that many people think about investing. By providing diversified exposure to a broad range of assets, index funds enable investors to track the performance of an entire asset class, rather than having to select individual assets. We’re excited to give our customers the ability to invest in the potential of blockchain-based digital assets as a whole.”

Coinbase to Launch its First Crypto Index Fund

Coinbase Index (CBI) reportedly weights by market capitalization Bitcoin core at 62%, Ethereum 27%, Bitcoin Cash 7%, and Litecoin 4%. It’s possible to get a rough sense of its potential value by simulating the index on Tradingview, typing each in the ticker bar (which as of this writing reached almost $ 7K). 

The company cautions, “At this stage, investing in Coinbase Index Fund will only be available to US-resident, accredited investors. We’re working on launching more funds which are available to all investors and cover a broader range of digital assets.” Investors are encouraged to sign up, get onboarded, but it appears CBI won’t be up for a few months due to awaiting legal clarification from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Google of Crypto

According to its paper on methodology, “New digital assets created through blockchain forks or airdrops will not be added to the index unless and until they are listed on GDAX. Each new asset must, in its own right, satisfy the criteria in the GDAX Digital Asset Framework and be listed on GDAX in order to become a constituent asset of CBI.”

Coinbase has given provocative interview answers of late, claiming to want the title “Google of cryptocurrency,” with emphasis on storming previously uncharted markets. For now, the company joins Bitwise, which has ten cryptos in its index, and the Crypto20.

Given the chance would you invest in a crypto index fund? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Pixabay, Coinbase.


At news.Bitcoin.com all comments containing links are automatically held up for moderation in the Disqus system. That means an editor has to take a look at the comment to approve it. This is due to the many, repetitive, spam and scam links people post under our articles. We do not censor any comment content based on politics or personal opinions. So, please be patient. Your comment will be published.

The post Coinbase to Launch its First Crypto Index Fund appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Grayscale Launches Crypto Investment Trusts for BCH, ETH, XRP, and LTC

March 7, 2018 |

Grayscale Launches Crypto Investment Trusts For BCH, ETH, XRP, and LTC

Grayscale Investments has announced the launch of four new single-asset cryptocurrency investment trusts for bitcoin cash, ether, litecoin, and ripple. The company already manages three other single-asset crypto trusts for bitcoin, ethereum classic, and zcash, in addition to a recently-launched crypto large-cap fund.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

Grayscale’s Four New Crypto Trusts

Grayscale Launches Crypto Investment Trusts For BCH, ETH, XRP, and LTCGrayscale Investments announced on Tuesday the launch of four new investment products: Bitcoin Cash Investment Trust, Ethereum Investment Trust, Litecoin Investment Trust, and XRP Investment Trust. Michael Sonnenshein, the company’s managing director, commented:

We remain focused on product creation and will continue to launch more single-asset and diversified products to provide exposure where investors are looking for it.

In an interview with Bloomberg, he reiterated that “There will be more offerings coming from the Grayscale family this year,” adding that some will focus on single currencies while others may hold several coins.

Grayscale Launches Crypto Investment Trusts For BCH, ETH, XRP, and LTCEstablished in 2013 by Digital Currency Group, Grayscale Investments had $ 2.1 billion in assets under management as of February 28. Prior to today’s announcement, the company was already managing three other cryptocurrency trusts: Bitcoin Investment Trust, Ethereum Classic Investment Trust, and Zcash Investment Trust.

Furthermore, Grayscale announced the launch of its Digital Large Cap Fund last month which invests in BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, and LTC. The company’s founder and CEO, Barry Silbert, commented at the time, “We’re excited to further expand the universe of Grayscale’s product offerings as interest in the digital currency asset class continues to grow.”

Investing in Grayscale’s Crypto Trusts

Each Grayscale trust’s investment objective is for its shares to reflect the value of the cryptocurrency it holds, “as determined by reference to the Tradeblock index for each digital asset at 4:00 p.m. New York time, less each Trust’s expenses and other liabilities,” the company explained.

Grayscale Launches Crypto Investment Trusts For BCH, ETH, XRP, and LTCAccording to Grayscale’s website, each of the four new trusts has an annual fee of 2.5%. At inception, the BCH trust has $ 6.26 million in asset under management, the ETH trust $ 30.73 million, the LTC trust $ 495,519, and the XRP trust $ 490,487.

These trusts are private placements, available only to accredited investors, as defined by Rule 501(a) of Regulation D of the U.S. Securities Act, Grayscale detailed, adding that they do not currently operate a redemption program.” In accordance with Rule 144 under the same act, the company further noted that:

Each Trust’s shares are subject to a one-year holding period…before they can be resold without restriction.

Do you think many investors will be interested in Grayscale’s new investment trusts? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Grayscale.


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More Belarusians Search “Crypto”, Question “Legalization”

March 7, 2018 |

More Belarusians Search “Crypto”, Question Legalization

Interest towards cryptocurrencies in Belarus has increased significantly in the past year. Topics related to bitcoin, mining, and blockchain have been popularized by media. Belarusians are searching for more crypto information online, but there are some key questions search engines are unable to answer: Will ordinary citizens benefit from the upcoming legalization? Are they going to be able to receive salaries and pay bills in bitcoin? Concerns are growing that Decree №8 may simply turn Belarus into a “crypto-offshore”.

Also read: New Plant to Assemble Mining Rigs in Belarus

Cryptocurrency Searches Spike in Belarus

Politically and economically isolated from the West, Belarus has been labeled “Europe’s last dictatorship”. However, last year Minsk made a strategic decision to embrace crypto, surprising many of its critics. In December, President Lukashenko signed Decree №8 to legalize cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, and smart contracts. It enters into force on March 28 and introduces tax breaks and other incentives for crypto-related activities until 2023, in order to develop the local digital economy.

More Belarusians Search “Crypto”, Question LegalizationInterest towards cryptocurrencies in Belarus spiked last summer, when searches like “what is bitcoin?” and “what is blockchain?” increased substantially, according to the Russian search engine Yandex. By December, cryptocurrency topics climbed up to third place in its Belarusian statistics. Questions like “where can I get bitcoin?” have also contributed to that result. In January, Belarusians were typing “cryptocurrency” into the search bar 45 times more often than a year ago.

Queries regarding opportunities to earn money from crypto-related activities have also increased, Naviny reports. Phrases like “mining farm on credit” and “mining at home” are submitted much more often. Questions about mining hardware have jumped 20-fold since last year. Belarusians are also asking where they can buy “cheap cryptocurrency” and want to know the current rate of bitcoin. ICO-related searches have increased five-fold, with people interested in projects and opportunities.

All questions about crypto earnings have increased significantly in January after the signing of the presidential decree “On the development of the digital economy”. Experts and journalists, however, have been wondering whether Belarussians will be able to “monetize” the hype.

Is There a Catch-22 in Decree №8?

As news.Bitcoin.com reported, the presidential decree entitles companies and individual entrepreneurs to perform operations with tokens and cryptos. To do that, they have to register as residents of the Belarus High Technologies Park (HTP). Private individuals will be allowed to convert cryptos to fiat, using services provided by “crypto-platforms” registered there. However, at this point it seems no one can tell if ordinary Belarusians will be able to spend cryptos in stores or pay for their summer trip in bitcoin. “The issue of regulating cryptocurrency circulation is really relevant. Jurisdictions react differently – some allow it, others ban it, but very few ignore it,” financial analyst Vadim Yosub told Belapan news service, noting that the stance of Belarusian authorities in that respect is not very clear.

More Belarusians Search “Crypto”, Question Legalization

Reading Decree №8, one can find a subparagraph numbered 2.2., which states that “natural persons” (private individuals) have the right to possess tokens and, taking into account the specifics established by the Decree, perform the following operations: mining, storage of tokens in virtual wallets, acquisition and exchange for other tokens, and sale of tokens for Belarusian rubles, foreign currency, electronic money. They can also donate and bequeath tokens. Still unclear: will Belarusians be able to receive their salaries in crypto and pay their bills in bitcoin?

Annex 1 provides definitions for terms used in the presidential decree. Its paragraph 4. defines cryptocurrency as “bitcoin, other digital sign (token), used in international circulation as a universal means of exchange”. Paragraph 6. says that purchases and sales of tokens by residents of the Republic of Belarus are to be conducted in Belarusian rubles. Does that mean cryptos will be accepted as legal tender in Belarus after the legalization?

It is also unclear whether foreign companies can register as residents of the Tech Park directly or whether they should establish a local entity. The latter is more likely true, as paragraph 3. in Annex 3 states that “legal entities and individual entrepreneurs of the Republic of Belarus” may register as residents of the High Technology Park. To do so, they should submit the required documentation and carry out, or plan to carry out, one or more of the listed activities.

Banks Advised to Abstain from Crypto Deals

Decree №8 also states that “cryptocurrency operators” must set up local bank accounts to offer exchange services. According to Belarusian media, authorities have prepared a supplementary document describing the principles of interaction between banks and crypto-platforms. Preliminary reports suggest that the “operators” will be classified as “high risk” clients of the banking system. The National Bank has already said that “cryptocurrencies are not reliable assets” and warned commercial banks against cryptocurrency operations.

“Cryptocurrencies are not based on assets, but on electricity spent for their acquisition. Monetary authorities understand that and treat them with caution,” a source familiar with the position of the central bank told Belapan. He added that all necessary measures will be taken to prevent conversion of cryptocurrency in order to cash out proceeds from illicit activities, as that may lead to international sanctions and blacklisting.

More Belarusians Search “Crypto”, Question LegalizationTaking into account the lukewarm attitude of the National Bank towards cryptocurrencies, commercial banks are not too eager to participate in cryptocurrency exchange operations. “Banks are advised to abstain from deals on the crypto market”, a “top-manager” told Belapan, remaining anonymous. Тhe legalization of cryptocurrencies and their circulation may end up being nominal, local media ponders.

Belarussians are really curious to know whether they will be able to freely buy and sell cryptocurrencies. “Many are interested in the mechanism of conversion – question number 1 we are being asked”, said Vitaly Koleda, IT specialist who took part in a panel discussion at the XIX Assembly of Business Circles of Belarus last week. Lawyers participating in the event also confirmed they were receiving many similar queries after the signing of the “digital economy” decree.

“The decree does not define and does not give legal status to cryptocurrencies,” says Oxana Sachkovskaya, Deputy Head of the Department of Digital Technologies at the Head Office of the Payment System. She points out that it is not clear who will be responsible for regulating their circulation in the country. Opinions have been expressed that the implementation of Decree №8 without additional regulations for the whole crypto sector, may turn Belarus into a “crypto-offshore” zone. “Тhere are concerns that this may lead to sanctions usually imposed on offshore companies,” financial analyst Vadim Yosub said, quoted by Navyni.

With more questions than answers, ordinary Belarusians may soon ask Yandex “What does legalization really mean?”

Do you expect Belarusian authorities to expand the legalization of the crypto sector to allow using cryptocurrencies as means of payment? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. 


Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com.

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The Curious Case of ‘Cobra Bitcoin’: The Peculiar Anon with a Lot of Power

March 7, 2018 |

The Curious Case of 'Cobra Bitcoin': The Peculiar Anon With a Lot of Power

The controversial owner of the web portal Bitcoin.org and Bitcointalk, an anon named ‘Cobra Bitcoin’, has been a popular subject within the cryptocurrency community lately. It’s strange that a person who nobody really knows has so much control within the BTC community, and lately his messages have been very cryptic, even making some believe his accounts have been compromised.

Also Read: Japan’s SBI Holdings Claims 40% Stake in Hardware Wallet Company

Who Is This Cobra Character?

The Curious Case of 'Cobra Bitcoin': The Peculiar Anon With a Lot of PowerThere are a few characters within the bitcoin space who are anonymous but have enormous amounts of control over certain aspects within the bitcoin space. For instance, there is Theymos, the co-owner of Bitcoin.org, and Bitcointalk who helps operate those sites with Cobra Bitcoin. (Theymos also controls r/bitcoin and the bitcoin wiki page). Cobra was first introduced in a Github update over three years ago as the co-owner of Bitcoin.org alongside Theymos. Since then his commentary and Bitcoin.org Github requests have been very contentious.

A few tendentious discussions Cobra has brought up over the years include kicking Coinbase off the website’s recommended business list when they said they would support an alternative software client other than Bitcoin Core. Cobra has asked the community and fellow Bitcoin.org team members to change certain statements Satoshi Nakamoto made in the Bitcoin white paper. He’s asked the community to change the Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm as well, among many other controversial subjects. Cobra is not a software developer, but he is mentioned as a contributor to Core’s scaling roadmap. Moreover, there is very little information about Cobra, as Bitcoin.org’s Whois records are protected by Whoisguard, and the owner’s identity remains private.

The Curious Case of 'Cobra Bitcoin': The Peculiar Anon With a Lot of Power
An infographic about Cobra’s recent statements on bitcoin cash.

Cobra’s Cryptic Statements

The Curious Case of 'Cobra Bitcoin': The Peculiar Anon With a Lot of PowerRecently, Cobra started a Twitter account and Medium blog that allow him to be a lot more vocal towards specific issues within the bitcoin community. He has written many times that bitcoin is centralized by mining entities, explicitly talking about Jihan Wu and Bitmain. The Bitcoin.org co-owner suggests an immediate change to the PoW algorithm as a solution. Back in November of 2017, he hated bitcoin cash and said it was centralized by one developer and two other men.

“Bitcoin cash is a cancer on bitcoin that we need to cure ourselves of,” Cobra said that month.        

However, in December he said that BTC and BCH communities should form some sort of “truce and peace”, even telling core supporters not to use the phrase ‘Bcash.’ In late January of 2018 Cobra said to his Twitter followers that he was upset that Bitcoin.org removed the “cheaper fees” description on the website because BTC fees were not cheap. Finally, on March 5, Cobra appears to have switched sides entirely by supporting bitcoin cash. He now says the digital asset has a much better chance of competing against the Lightning Network (LN) strategy.  

“Increased my holdings of Bitcoin Cash today,” Cobra explains to his Twitter followers.  

There was a long need for a blockchain good for payments, that makes certain tradeoffs to achieve that, and I think from a UX point of view, Bitcoin Cash has much better chances of winning the upcoming payments war than LN.

No Matter What Side You’re On, It’s Hard to Trust a Snake

Many Core supporters are very skeptical of Cobra’s words lately, as he doesn’t seem to be supporting their ideological battle as he did in the past. Some Core proponents believe that Cobra’s Twitter handle or identity, in general, has been compromised. Furthermore, bitcoin cash supporters also don’t know what to think of this anon character who used to hate BCH, but is now suddenly stocking up his BCH holdings. Whatever the case may be, Cobra has been a man of mystery for quite some time, with a lot of power at his fingertips.

What do you think about Cobra and his comments lately? Let us know what you think about this mysterious character in the comments below.


Images via Twitter, Github, and Reddit. 


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Chinese Altcoins Can’t Stop Failing

March 7, 2018 |

Chinese Altcoins Can't Stop Failing

Every country produces its share of underperforming altcoins. They’re called shitcoins for a reason. But China has a track record for creating altcoins that are shittier than most. The country has spawned a slew of talented developers, and has made a huge contribution to cryptocurrency adoption and innovation as a whole. But when it comes to altcoins, China’s wither and die at a phenomenal rate. The question is, why?

Also read: NEO Is Either a Raging Success or a Total Disaster

Big Trouble in Crypto China

During bull markets, checking your portfolio every five minutes is unavoidable. It’s addictive: swipe down to refresh and you’ve gained another $ 500. During bear markets, the opposite is true; it’s possible to go days without checking, because it’s easier to hide the pain than open your Blockfolio and discover how far underwater your bags are. If you did buy into any Chinese ICOs in the last three months, or purchased any Chinese altcoins, there’s a good chance they look like this:

Chinese Altcoins Can't Stop Failing

And this:

Chinese Altcoins Can't Stop Failing

And this:

Chinese Altcoins Can't Stop Failing

And this:

Chinese Altcoins Can't Stop Failing

And this:

Chinese Altcoins Can't Stop Failing

And this:

Chinese Altcoins Can't Stop Failing

Altcoins are in a bear market right now, but there are bear markets and then there’s total collapse, and Chinese altcoins have capitulated on a grand scale. There’s something all six of those coins – deep brain chain, red pulse, alphacat, trinity network credit, the key, and qlink – share in common aside from an Asian connection: all were launched as NEO ICOs. For reasons that aren’t immediately clear, NEO projects have been doing really badly. They’re not the only Chinese coins to have gone belly up – we’ll get to that later – but they’re among the most notable failures. How did this happen?

Something Rotten in the State of NEO

Chinese Altcoins Can’t Stop Failing
Every trader has their share of heavy alt bags to carry

NEO’s came in for a lot of stick lately, so much so that the project was forced to break its silence to fend off the worst of the criticism. When it comes to the failure – thus far – of the projects to have launched on its blockchain, NEO can be absolved of blame. It’s not NEO’s fault that investors don’t seem to believe in the long-term fundamentals of RPX and DBC and virtually every other token on the Chinese blockchain. In fact, the only NEO ICO that has yet to fail is Zeepin, probably because it’s only a month old. The remainder – ONT, IAM, and NRV – are too new to have been listed.

Every ICO launchpad has its share of failures; ethereum failed straight out the gate thanks to the debacle that was The DAO. But for every DAO, there was a 0x or a BAT, ERC20 tokens that proved to have longevity and a tangible use case. All NEO’s NEP-5 tokens are good for is as millstones around the neck of unfortunate traders. There’s still time for these Chinese projects to recover, and when altcoin season returns, they surely will to some extent. Right now though, it doesn’t look pretty, and it doesn’t augur well for the prospects of other NEO ICOs. In fairness, many of this year’s ICOs have similar charts; NCASH (another Chinese project, this time an ERC20) is also looking glum. DBC and RPX are spectacularly bad though.

Why Are Chinese Altcoins Failing so Hard?

It’s difficult to make sweeping statements about an entire nation without resorting to crude stereotyping. The following observations apply to a segment of Chinese cryptocurrencies, but should not be taken as an indictment on them all. Nor are these problems limited to Chinese coins. From a western perspective, one of the biggest impediments to investing in Chinese projects is an informational one. Due to the language barrier, coupled with the limited digital footprint of many Chinese entrepreneurs, performing fundamental analysis of projects is hard – a lot harder than it is in the U.S. or Europe.

This is exacerbated – and sometimes abetted – by unscrupulous Chinese projects making unprovable claims about major partnerships. It’s very hard to verify these, causing investors to pile in, only to get burned when the promised partnerships fail to materialize. As exhibit A, consider Internet Node Token:

Chinese Altcoins Can't Stop Failing

INT has no NEO connection, but has fared just as badly as every other Chinese altcoin featured here. In January, INT was shilled heavily by a number of respected Twitter traders who thought they’d uncovered a diamond in the rough. It turns out to have been more of an unpolished turd, and those traders have now cut their losses and quietly distanced themselves from the project. Another Chinese problem is that many of the NEO ICOs have some sort of AI connection, and AI claims are very hard to verify. How do you tell what’s real and what’s vaporware?

The final major issue affecting Chinese altcoins concerns counterfeiting and plagiarization. The country’s burgeoning fake goods industry is worth billions – and so is the market value assigned to its ersatz altcoins that are little more than shameless knock-offs. Again, this isn’t just a Chinese problem – spotting fake team members and plagiarized white papers is a trans-national game – but China has produced more than its share of copycats including Tron.

Leave Your Sentiment at the Door

Crypto trading is a cold game in which there’s no place for emotions. It doesn’t matter that a number of Chinese blockchains are performing well, or that some of the best ethereum scaling solutions and most promising layer-two projects are emanating from the east. All that matters is that, statistically speaking, if you invest in a Chinese token, you stand an above average chance of getting rekt. Given the difficulty of distinguishing the meritorious projects from the scams, investors may conclude they’re better off seeking their fortune elsewhere.

Do you think Chinese altcoins are unfairly castigated here, or do you agree that they typically make for poor investments? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, and Coincodex.


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