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| February 22, 2019

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Lull in French Protests Offers Macron a Brief Respite

December 28, 2018 |

A lull in the yellow-vest protest movement has given French President Emmanuel Macron some breathing room to try to repair his battered image and insulate his pro-business agenda from further demands.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe

Pete Davidson makes brief ‘SNL’ appearance hours after cryptic Instagram post

December 16, 2018 |

Pete Davidson made a brief appearance on “Saturday Night Live” hours after his alarming post on Instagram, in which he wrote, “I really don’t want to be on this earth anymore.”
FOX News

A Brief Introduction to Voluntaryism for Crypto Neophytes

November 17, 2018 |

A Brief Introduction to Voluntaryism for Crypto Neophytes

The blockchain space appeals to freethinkers, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. Many of these iconoclasts practice voluntaryism, although a philosophy which new entrants may have not heard about. This is because they entered into the ecosystem from the financial realm, and their sole focus has been on accumulating more wealth. This is a shame. The impetus for cypherpunks to build encrypted technologies arose from a spirit of sovereignty – not just moneymaking schemes. 

Also read: Nvidia Misses Q3 Revenue Target as Cryptocurrency Slump Weighs on Business

What Is Voluntaryism?

Sovereignty denotes a yearning for absolute individual independence. It means many people involved in crypto prefer to live freely, without having to genuflect before someone who claims to rule them; before some king, politician, or governing apparatus. This is the crux of voluntaryism.

A Brief Introduction to Voluntaryism for Crypto Neophytes

Voluntaryists believe all human relationships and interactions should be as consensual as far as possible. They place the notion of “consent” as the North Star of reasoning within the conduit of ethical thinking.

Consent means no human has the moral right to coerce or force another human being into acting against their volition. If someone uses force to sate their whims, that action would be considered immoral and unjust.

In some ways, this philosophy marches in perfect lockstep with the golden rule to treat others the way you wish to be treated. No one wants to be forced into behaving a certain way. No one wants to be harmed or mistreated. Everyone wants to act on their own will, without having to capitulate to others while under duress.

The Barbarian’s Paradigm

By virtue of their philosophy, voluntaryists do not believe government is a moral institution. The organization is at odds with voluntaryist philosophy. Government is non-consensual by nature. Every law, edict, and regulation is effectively a threat of violence against peaceful people. No one automatically consents to government laws. A law is an enforced mandate.

For instance, if someone disobeys a law, a costumed officer will attempt to issue them a ticket or arrest them. If that person moves to defend themselves from that act of aggression, the officer will murder them if necessary.

All government officials disregard consent. They issue or enforce laws regardless if everyone agrees. Therefore, coercive government is the barbarian’s paradigm for social order; it is uncivilized, violent, hysterical, and revels in cultism. It’s sadistic to the extent people are indoctrinated from birth to believe this paradigm of violence is synonymous with “civilization.” In reality, it is uncivilized barbarism writ large on the soul of men.

Logical Conclusion: Anarchism

Without doubt, this means the voluntaryist is an anarchist. Since governments operate without consent, they can never be an acceptable organization within the context of voluntaryist philosophy. Anarchism is thus the logical conclusion of voluntaryism. A Brief Introduction to Voluntaryism for Crypto Neophytes

However, most people hear the word “anarchy” and they lose their cool. Images of picturesque horror scenes rife with explosions, corpses and gore galore erupt in colorful crescendo via their mind’s eye.

They panic and reject the term ‘anarchy’ as a synonym of disorder. They view anarchy as a form of Lovecraftian madness palatable only to fringe academics, disillusioned teenagers, and bohemian punk rockers with cockney accents.

In reality, anarchy just means “without rulers.” It means no person or group has the right to rule over the rest of humanity. It does not imply bloodshed, bazookas, and bombs.

Edward Abbey said, “Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.”

Bedfellows: Voluntaryism and Blockchain

It is no surprise the first technologists to think about using ciphers to ensure privacy and anonymity were voluntaryists. They were anarchists: crypto-anarchists. They built the architecture of technological anarchism, and they were heavily influenced by voluntaryist philosophy. From day one, they sought to use computational tools to generate more freedom.

Timothy May, the godfather of decentralized-encrypted technology, wrote his Crypto-Anarchist Manifesto while under the influence of Rothbardian thinking. May genuinely believed the ethics of voluntaryism. He set the tone for all future developments, including the creation of Bitcoin and all its anarchic features.

Rekindling the Flame of Freedom

To this day, charlatans with dollar signs in their eyes have eroded the voluntaryist vision of the crypto-anarchists. Instead of seeking to erase the barbarian’s paradigm, they focus on the sexual magnetism of “moon” and “Lambo.”

This is why internalizing the voluntaryist-anarchist roots of the crypto ecosystem A Brief Introduction to Voluntaryism for Crypto Neophytesis essential. Understanding this history will pave a path to a beautiful new world, and encourage people to embrace the purpose of the technology. It will help abolish government and put an end to the insanity of this uncivilized world. The voluntaryist mindset will act as a compass toward mass adoption and inspire true love of blockchain. In the process, it will rekindle the flame of freedom.

Are you familiar with voluntaryism? Do you still believe voluntaryism is important for the creation of novel technologies? 


Images courtesy of Twitter and Shutterstock


OP-ed disclaimer: This is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support views, opinions or conclusions drawn in this post. 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.

 

 

 

 

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CNN

CIA director set to brief Trump on Khashoggi as President fumes

October 25, 2018 |

CIA director Gina Haspel is set to brief President Donald Trump on the investigation into the death of Jamal Khashoggi on Thursday, as the President increasingly expresses frustration with the Saudi response and the country’s crown prince vows “justice” for the journalist’s killers.
CNN.com – RSS Channel – World

California and 7 other states file amicus brief in Corinthian Colleges lawsuit

October 11, 2018 |

California and seven other states have filed an amicus brief in support of a lawsuit brought against Education Secretary Betsy DeVos by former Corinthian Colleges students who allege the department is unfairly denying student loan debt relief to students of the now-defunct for-profit school system.


L.A. Times – Business

Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and Posts

August 11, 2018 |

Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and Posts

Financial software developer Intuit has been awarded a patent for processing BTC payments via SMS and we’ve covered the details in today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief. Also in The Daily, Brave browser plans to enable BAT tips for tweets and Reddit posts, cryptocurrency is projected to constitute 5 percent of the portfolios of US investors next year, and in Thailand, a famous actor has been arrested for an alleged crypto investment fraud.

Also read: Ledger Adds Coins, Okex Launches Coinall, Exmo Partners with Mistertango

Intuit Awarded Patent for BTC Payments via SMS

California-based company Intuit, a financial software developer, has been awarded a patent for processing bitcoin core (BTC) payments via text messages (SMS), according to a filing published by the US Patent and Trademark Office on August 7. The patent that outlines a system to transfer BTC funds by sending text messages on smartphones was filed back in 2014. According to its abstract:

The method includes receiving, by a payment service, a payment text message comprising a payment amount and an identifier of a payee mobile device, validating the payment text message based on a payer balance of a virtual payer account maintained by the payment service for the payer […] transferring, in response to creating the virtual payee account, the payment amount from the virtual payer account to the virtual payee account […].

Despite the prolonged consideration of the patent application, Intuit has been continuously developing its crypto-cash payment solutions in the meantime. Earlier, the company announced it had reached a partnership agreement with the payment provider Veem to build a system for processing international cryptocurrency payments.

Brave Browser to Enable Tips for Tweets and Posts

Brave, the privacy-oriented web browser that supports opt-in ads and crypto payments between users and website publishers like Twitchers and Youtubers, is now planning to expand its service to Twitter and Reddit. The startup intends to introduce support for the two platforms in the fourth quarter of this year, according to an announcement quoted by CNET.

Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and PostsTo take advantage of the tipping system, which uses Brave’s basic attention token (BAT), users have to enable the payments in the browser. Then, if another Brave user decides that a tweet or a post is worth rewarding, they can send a BAT tip. “The model will be tipping – a user likes a tweet and can give BAT to the tweeter, and optionally tweet back that he tipped,” the company explained. The mechanism for Reddit users will be similar.

Brave is essentially trying to redefine how online advertising works. Its browser is blocking ads by default and people’s attention is rewarded with tokens. BAT payments can be made between users, publishers and advertisers. The opt-in system allows anyone who sees a Brave-placed ad to get a portion of the revenue from the advertiser. Brave claims to have more than 20,000 verified publishers and 3.25 million monthly active users who can send and receive BAT tips. The Brave browser project was funded through an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) and launched by Mozilla co-founder Brendan Eich.

Crypto Expected at 5% of US Investments in 2019

Despite declining prices of most cryptocurrencies amidst a continuous bearish trend in crypto markets this year, a new survey has found that digital coins are becoming a permanent part of many investment portfolios in the US, decreasing the dominance of traditional instruments such as stocks, bonds and real estate. The authors of the study have detected a growing desire among US investors to get exposed to cryptos, considered by many to be the next big asset group.

Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and PostsThe Harris Poll survey, conducted on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), has established that cryptocurrencies will represent 5 percent of the investments of those 35 percent of Americans that consider themselves investors or plan to invest in 2019. At the same time, Exchange Traded-Funds (ETFs), which have received much attention in the crypto space recently, account for 8 percent of the projected investments.

The study has attempted to assess the knowledge and awareness of cryptocurrencies among active investors in the United States. According to the published results, their levels remain relatively low with almost half of the respondents admitting having little or no understanding of the matter. “Cryptocurrency appears to be foreign to many investors. The survey found that nearly half of U.S. adults (48 percent) are not familiar with Bitcoin, Ethereum, or Litecoin,” the AICPA commented on the findings.

Thai Actor Arrested for Alleged Crypto Investment Fraud

Bitcoin in Brief: Crypto Payments via SMS, Coin Tips for Tweets and PostsPolice in Thailand have arrested Jiratpisit “Boom” Jaravijit, a famous Thai actor, for his alleged participation in a fraudulent crypto-investment scheme. According to local media reports, he lured a foreign national into investing 797 million baht (~$ 24 million USD) in digital currency. Mr. Jiratpisit, who was apprehended on Wednesday after the Thai Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant in July, has been also charged with collusion in money-laundering.

The actor is one of seven suspects who allegedly committed the crime, The Bangkok Post reported. Law enforcement officials said they acted after receiving a complaint that the accused had defrauded the foreigner into sending them the money in bitcoin (BTC). The fraudsters assured the person the funds would be used to buy shares in companies that had invested in the Dragon Coin digital currency. The investor, identified as the Finnish national Aarni Otava Saarimaa, met the suspects in June, 2017. The Thai actor has denied the charges.

What are your thoughts on today’s news tidbits? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Make sure you do not miss any important Bitcoin-related news! Follow our news feed any which way you prefer; via Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, RSS or email (scroll down to the bottom of this page to subscribe). We’ve got daily, weekly and quarterly summaries in newsletter form. Bitcoin never sleeps. Neither do we.

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Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Phones, Spy Games, Binance CEO vs Vitalik

July 12, 2018 |

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Phones, Spy Games, Binance CEO vs Vitalik

In today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief we cover the development of two upcoming crypto phones, the involvement of cryptocurrency in cyber spy games, and why the Binance CEO came out against Etherum-founder Vitalik Buterin. We also cover the latest case of cryptojacking, this time inside a popular video game client.

Also Read: Malta-Based Company Launches New Euro Backed Stablecoin, EURS

Crypto Phones

New details about two upcoming blockchain phones have come out in recent days. HTC, the Taiwanese company which is developing Exodus, has announced it is partnering with Cryptokitties to incorporate the game in its mobile devices. “This is a significant first step in creating a platform and distribution channel for creatives who make unique digital goods,” the company stated. “Mobile is the most prevalent device in the history of humankind and for digital assets and dapps to reach their potential, mobile will need to be the main point of distribution. The partnership with Cryptokitties is the beginning of a non fungible, collectible marketplace and crypto gaming app store.”

Sirin Labs, which is designing the Finny in Israel, has revealed that the final design of the device contains a “Safe Screen”. The standalone screen that functions on dedicated firmware is meant to independently verify that wallet transactions are being sent to the correct addresses, allowing users to verify they’re not being tricked by malware or hackers. Zvika Landau, Co-CEO, said: “We’ve been working around-the-clock to provide our users with a multi-layer cyber protection suite to guard them against network attacks, host attacks, and malware fishing. The secured layers, combined with our revolutionary “Safe Screen” and the ultra-sleek design, enable us to offer our users comprehensive levels of cyber protection. This truly remarkable combination of protection, software, and the design of the phone, cohesively transforms the mobile environment into one that is secure enough for cryptocurrency transactions.”

Spy Games

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Phones, Spy Games, Binance CEO vs VitalikAnd in other news from Israel, authorities have revealed the arrest of a 38-year-old man who tried to sell stolen software code for $ 50 million in cryptocurrency on the dark web. The man was an employee of the cyber espionage firm NSO Group and allegedly decided to steal the highly sensitive material after he was called for a hearing, which is a preliminary step before getting fired. The company, which officially provides “authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime,” is mostly known for developing the Pegasus iPhone spyware which was called the “most sophisticated” smartphone hack ever when it was publicly discovered. State Attorney’s Office stated that “the accused committed these crimes out of greed, despite knowing, even if he shut his eyes from seeing it, that his crimes might damage state security and lead to the collapse of a firm employing 500 workers.”

CZ Defends Centralized Exchanges After Vitalik Slam

A few days ago we reported that Vitalik Buterin has expressed a deep hatred for the particular business model at the heart of the current crypto trading ecosystem. “I definitely hope centralized exchanges go burn in hell as much as possible,” he said. A particular issue the Ethereum founder raised was how the centralized platforms can extract up to $ 15 million from projects that want to list their ICO tokens. Now, Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZ) has responded to publicly defend his industry. CZ core argument is that without centralized exchanges the field will develop ten times slower and will be ten times smaller. He additionally attacks the claim that decentralization is always better.

League of Legends Cryptojacking

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Phones, Spy Games, Binance CEO vs VitalikGarena, an Asian consumer Internet platform which distributes the game League of Legends among others, has acknowledged that its client in the Philippines has been infected with the Coinhive crypto miner after gamers exposed the matter on Reddit. The company stated that: “there was an unauthorized modification of the League of Legends PH client lobby where a certain javascript code was inserted. This code performs blockchain mining on affected computers, which consumes CPU resources from these computers. Apart from increased CPU usage, extensive analysis from our security engineers has determined that there is no other impact on affected computers. Our security engineers have removed this javascript code and ensure that all users, including those who were previously affected, will no longer encounter this issue. We treat security matters with utmost priority and sincerely apologize for this incident, and for the inconvenience you have experienced.”

What do you think about today’s news tidbits? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

The post Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Crypto Phones, Spy Games, Binance CEO vs Vitalik appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Bitcoin in Brief: Exchanges Expanding, Brave Adds Tor, Tether ”Double Spent”

June 29, 2018 |

Bitcoin in Brief: Exchanges Expanding, Brave Adds Tor, Tether Double Spent

If you thought that only proof of work coins were susceptible to double spending attacks, you haven’t met tether. The world’s ninth largest crypto by market cap and second largest by volume is meant to be a haven in a sea of uncertainty, but even it’s not immune to jiggery-pokery, as we’ll learn in today’s Bitcoin in Brief.

Also read: Japanese Economist Explains Why Another Bitcoin Price Surge Is Unlikely

How to Have Your Dollar Peg and Spend It

Bitcoin in Brief: Rebuilding EOS and Double Spending TetherIf you were told that another cryptocurrency had been double spent, you’d probably guess it was a low hashrate PoW coin, not USDT. By rights, it ought to be impossible to double spend tether, but that’s what happened on June 28 according to one Chinese cybersecurity firm. Someone sent 694 tether to an exchange and was credited for the deposit due to a certain field value pertaining to the transaction being altered. An Omni dev (whose blockchain tether operates on) has since confirmed this did occur, but was the fault of the exchange for poor integration, rather than a flaw in tether itself. Still, the news has prompted at least one exchange, Okex, to issue reassurances that its exchange is safe from this bug.

Tether’s most prominent critics have long asserted that the company doesn’t have enough US dollars in the bank to cover the amount of USDT in circulation. If rampant double spending starts to occur, they’ll be right.

Big Exchanges Get Bigger

Community-Focused Exchanges with Proprietary Tokens Are ProsperingThe last 72 hours has witnessed a flurry of activity from the world’s leading cryptocurrency exchanges, who have have been expanding aggressively – except for the ones who’ve been retreating. Kucoin has announced it is ceasing its operations in Japan, following other platforms such as Binance out the door. The country’s FSA has been ramping up pressure on non-licensed exchanges to stop trading in Japanese territory, and the pressure has paid off. Rather than ruffle feathers, major exchanges have been beating a dignified retreat.

Elsewhere, though, crypto exchanges have been actively expanding, including Uganda of all places, where Binance has just announced the launch of a fiat-crypto platform. It’s offering zero trading fees for the first month and giving away 10,000 BNB tokens to sweeten the deal for new signups. In the UK, meanwhile, Coinbase is apparently set to start introducing GBP deposits and withdrawals within the coming weeks. The exchange recently partnered with the UK’s Barclays bank.

Brave Adds Tor Browser Tabs

Brave, the web browser with opt-in ads, which recompenses viewers with its native BAT token, is that rare thing: a crypto project that actually has users. 2.8 million of them in fact, which is pretty impressive given the hegemony of Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. On Thursday, the latest version of  the Brave browser was updated to include optional Tor private browsing tabs. This makes it possible to enjoy anonymity without the need to launch a standalone Tor browser.

Bitcoin in Brief: Rebuilding EOS and Double Spending Tether

Deanonymizing Zcash Transactions

While Brave users are gaining a degree of anonymity, a number of zcash users are losing theirs. A new report from Motherboard reveals how individuals who purchased hacking tools from the Shadow Brokers in 2016 could now be identified. Researchers at the University College London have been examining zcash transactions and traced the movement of some of the coins associated with the Shadow Brokers to a crypto exchange. Zcash has previously faced criticism for not enabling anonymous transactions by default, making it theoretically easier to deanonymize those who have enabled private sending.

Crypto Exchange Ranks Goes Live

Bitcoin in Brief: Rebuilding EOS and Double Spending TetherCrypto Exchanges Ranks (CER), a new platform that rates exchanges according to their liquidity, security, volume, and other metrics is now live. We reported on the platform a couple of weeks back, when it was in beta. The project was developed by Hacken, who explain the rationale behind it in a blog post to celebrate the launch.

Finally, Block.one seems to have acknowledged royally screwing up its launch of EOS. In an effort to redress some of these sins, it’s returning to the drawing board and redrafting its constitution. If only members of the crypto community had tried to warn Block.one that freezing accounts and forcing sovereignty on blockchain users wasn’t the way to go. Oh wait, they did.

What are your thoughts on today’s stories in Bitcoin in Brief? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Bitcoin in Brief: Exchanges Expanding, Brave Adds Tor, Tether ”Double Spent” appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: New Patents, Research Centers and a $300M Fund

June 26, 2018 |

Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: New Patents, Research Centers and a $  300M Fund

While short term investors and speculators might not be in the best of shape right now, the long term development of the ecosystem is still advancing on pace. Companies and institutions are continuing to invest time and money for furthering cryptocurrency research as can be seen by the stories featured in today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief.

Also Read: Alleged Fraudster Arrested in China Over $ 15M Mining Hardware Con

Preventing the Next Mt. Gox

Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: New Patents, Research Centers and a $  300M FundNchain, the BCH-focused R&D firm, has announced the issuance of its second patent by the European Patent Office, entitled “Determining a common secret for the secure exchange of information and hierarchical deterministic cryptographic keys.” This Deterministic Key Generation technique is said to provide for improved secure communication between a pair of nodes, while being able to keep their private keys secret. The company explains that it has already been using the technique as part of its work with SBI BITS in Japan, the subsidiary of SBI Holdings, and that its publicly available SDK offers the patented technique for any developers that need it.

Nchain CEO, Jimmy Nguyen, stated: “The Deterministic Key Generation technique will help prevent Mt. Gox-type hacks of cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets. But its potential use cases are far greater as the digital world grows with increased digitisation of assets, cloud storage of data, newer methods of digital communication, and the anticipated explosion of Internet of Things devices. The invention can provide significant security benefits for any situation in which sensitive data, assets, communications or controlled resources need to be secured.”

Stanford Research Center

Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: New Patents, Research Centers and a $  300M FundA new Center for Blockchain Research has been founded by leading computer scientists at Stanford University. The center will be headed by professors Dan Boneh and David Mazières, and faculty will also include Alex Aiken, David Dill, John Mitchell, Tim Roughgarden and Joe Grundfest. It is meant to help scientists develop best practices for the field as well as create courses to help future students.

Prof. Boneh commented: “Blockchains will become increasingly critical to doing business globally. Stanford should be at the forefront of efforts to improve, apply and understand the many ripple effects of this technology.” Prof Mazières added: “Blockchain massively lowers the barriers to creating tradeable, digital assets. It allows individuals who don’t know each other, or even trust one another, to make irreversible transactions in a whole variety of fields in a safe and secure way.”

New $ 300 Million Crypto Fund

Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: New Patents, Research Centers and a $  300M FundAndreessen Horowitz, the Menlo Park headquartered venture capital firm, has announced the launch of a16z crypto, a new $ 300 million venture fund that will invest in crypto companies and protocols. The fund will be led by Katie Haun, a former US DoJ federal prosecutor who worked on the Silk Road case which seats on the board of directors at Coinbase as well as taught cybercrime and cryptocurrency at Stanford Law School.

Chris Dixon, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, stated: “We are long-term, patient investors. We’ve been investing in crypto assets for 5+ years. We’ve never sold any of those investments, and don’t plan to any time soon. We structured the a16z crypto fund to be able to hold investments for 10+ years. We have an ‘all weather’ fund. We plan to invest consistently over time, regardless of market conditions. If there is another ‘crypto winter,’ we’ll keep investing aggressively.” Regarding possible investment targets he added: “We are focused on non-speculative use case. We want services powered by crypto protocols to be used by hundreds of millions and eventually billions of people. Crypto tokens are the native asset class of digital networks, but their value is driven by the underlying, practical uses cases.”

What do you think about today’s news tidbits? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Verify and track bitcoin cash transactions on our BCH Block Explorer, the best of its kind anywhere in the world. Also, keep up with your holdings, BCH and other coins, on our market charts at Satoshi’s Pulse, another original and free service from Bitcoin.com.

The post Bitcoin in Brief Tuesday: New Patents, Research Centers and a $ 300M Fund appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Chief Strategist Quits Bitfinex, Cryptos Climb Capitol Hill

June 25, 2018 |

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Chief Strategist Quits Bitfinex, Cryptos Climb Capitol Hill

In today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief, “U.S. person” Phil Potter, Chief Strategy Officer at crypto exchange Bitfinex, is departing the company as it pivots away from the United States. In America, the Supreme Court mentions Bitcoin and cowrie shells in the context of money. On Capitol Hill, congressmen have been warned to disclose their crypto holdings, while a Republican Rep. calls for “light touch” ICO regulations.

Also read: This Week in Bitcoin: McAfee Backs Off, Crypto World Cup and the Mystery of 21e8

Chief of Strategy Leaves Trading Platform Bitfinex

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Chief Strategist Quits Bitfinex, Cryptos Climb Capitol HillPhil Potter, the Chief Strategy Officer of Bitfinex, is leaving his post at the exchange, Reuters reported quoting both him and the company. Potter will be replaced by Chief Executive JL van der Velde, Bitfinex announced. Speaking of new opportunities he did not specify, Potter stated:

As Bitfinex pivots away from the U.S., I felt that, as a U.S. person, it was time for me to rethink my position as a member of the executive team.

Bitfinex, currently the fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange by trading volume, is owned by a company based in the British Virgin Islands. The platform offers traders the opportunity to buy and sell cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin and ether. In April, Bitfinex also introduced trading for 12 altcoins.

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Chief Strategist Quits Bitfinex, Cryptos Climb Capitol Hill

The exchange shares management with Tether Limited, the company that issues the Tether token (USDT) which, according to its developers, is pegged to the U.S. dollar. The claim, however, has been contested by critics who doubt the company holds $ 1 USD in reserve for every minted coin.

According to a research paper by the University of Texas, Tether may have been used to manipulate the price of bitcoin last year – an allegation that Bitfinex rejects. An investigation opened by the U.S. Justice Department into possible manipulations is believed to be one of the main reasons for the recent crypto market losses.

US Supreme Court Mentions Bitcoin

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Chief Strategist Quits Bitfinex, Cryptos Climb Capitol HillSince the announcement of the US DOJ probe, several other interesting developments have been reported in the U.S. In a ruling not directly related to cryptocurrencies, the Supreme Court of the United States mentioned Bitcoin, arguably for the first time. The dissenting opinion in the Wisconsin Central Ltd. v. United States case, authored by Justice Stephen Breyer, puts forward the first cryptocurrency as an example of how views regarding money are changing over time.

The case is centered on a taxation dispute stemming from the government’s assertion that the railroad company’s stock option payments to its employees represent “money remuneration” and should be taxed, while Wisconsin Central and its workers claim the opposite. The majority opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, supported the company’s view in a 5-4 vote stating that stock options were not money and could not be subject to taxation under the Railroad Retirement Tax Act of 1934.

However, the dissenting opinion, authored by Breyer and backed by three of his colleagues, argued that the stock options were in fact money remunerations. Justice Breyer specifically refers to Bitcoin, stating that “[…] what we view as money has changed over time. Cowrie shells once were such a medium but no longer are […]; our currency originally included gold coins and bullion, but, after 1934, gold could not be used as a medium of exchange […]; perhaps one day employees will be paid in Bitcoin or some other type of cryptocurrency […]. Nothing in the statute suggests the meaning of this provision should be trapped in a monetary time warp, forever limited to those forms of money commonly used in the 1930’s.”

US Congressmen Advised to Disclose Crypto Holdings

The members of the House of Representatives will have to disclose information about their investments in bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The obligation covers holdings of more than $ 1,000 in US dollar equivalent, according to an announcement issued last week by the Committee on Ethics of the congressional lower house. The “Memorandum to All House Members, Officers and Employees” reads:

In particular, the Committee has determined that with respect to financial disclosure, cryptocurrencies will be treated as an “other forms of securities” and are therefore subject to reporting both on a financial disclosure filer’s annual Financial Disclosure Statement (FD Statements or Statements) and on Periodic Transaction Reports (PTRs) throughout the year.

The Committee also recommends, “due to the evolving nature of cryptocurrencies,” that anyone with questions about digital currencies or intentions to participate in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) contact the Committee for guidance prior to investing. In addition, House members are now obliged to report, within 45 days, any transactions with crypto assets, again in excess of $ 1,000 USD, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Congressman Calls for Light ICO Regulations

Speaking of crypto investments and the Capitol, a call was issued last week to adopt a “light touch regulatory framework” for the young crowdfunding industry. In an interview with CNBC, Rep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) said: “We want to make sure that the United States’ capital markets stay strong and vibrant, and one of the ways to do that is to provide regulatory certainty.”

Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Chief Strategist Quits Bitfinex, Cryptos Climb Capitol HillDavidson, who is a member of the House Financial Services Committee, said lawmakers have been working with representatives of the industry, including regulators, to determine how regulations should be shaped in order to drive capital. He also noted that “right now there are concerns that there is a regulatory arbitrage going on” and that “everything starts looking as a security to a securities’ regulator.”

The congressman also shared concerns that without coherent regulations the ICO sector in the U.S. may end up being regulated by a disparate patch of court rulings. “We want to protect that market,” Warren Davidson emphasized.

What are your thoughts on today’s Bitcoin in Brief topics? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Make sure you do not miss any important Bitcoin-related news! Follow our news feed any which way you prefer; via Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, RSS or email (scroll down to the bottom of this page to subscribe). We’ve got daily, weekly and quarterly summaries in newsletter form. Bitcoin never sleeps. Neither do we.

The post Bitcoin in Brief Monday: Chief Strategist Quits Bitfinex, Cryptos Climb Capitol Hill appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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