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| April 26, 2018

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Most of Trump’s merchandising empire has faded

April 20, 2018 |

Before he ran for office, Donald Trump made millions of dollars by selling his name to adorn other people’s products. There was Trump deodorant. Trump ties. Trump steaks. Trump underwear. Trump furniture. At one time, there was even a Trump-branded urine test.

Now, almost all of them are gone.


L.A. Times – Business

Time ‘Most Influential’ List Includes Youngest Honoree

April 19, 2018 |

Time is out with its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, and the unnumbered list includes President Trump, of course. Ted Cruz wrote the accompanying blurb , explaining that Trump “is a flash-bang grenade thrown into Washington by the forgotten men and women of America.” Sure,…
Newser

Most Britons Won’t Support a Crypto Issued by the Bank of England Says Poll

April 19, 2018 |

Most Britons Won’t Support a Crypto Issued by the Bank of England, Poll

Almost two thirds of British people would not support a cryptocurrency issued by their central bank, according to a survey. Pollsters also found that the majority of Britons have already heard of bitcoin, however, a third of the respondents admitted they would be more likely to invest in cryptocurrencies if they were regulated.

Also read: Bank of Japan Turns Back on State-Issued Cryptocurrency

Brits Want Regulated Cryptos, Not Centralized Coins

The survey has indicated a rising awareness about cryptocurrencies in the United Kingdom. The majority of Brits – 93 percent – now say they have heard of bitcoin, compared to 91 percent in January of this year, and 80 percent in November 2017.

Most Britons Won’t Support a Crypto Issued by the Bank of England, PollThe online poll, conducted by D-CYFOR, also found that Britons wouldn’t trust a government-backed crypto, as reported by the Daily Express reported. 60 percent of the interviewed said they would not support the Bank of England in introducing its own digital coin.

British people remain cautious and generally pessimistic about the future of cryptocurrencies. More than 60 percent of those surveyed expect a decrease, or even a collapse in the value of bitcoin over the next six months.

The results come in contrast to those from another survey conducted earlier this year. It found that more than half of financial professionals in the UK, who have invested in cryptocurrencies, intend to buy more digital coins this year.

The pollsters also asked participants if they would consider investing in other cryptocurrencies, besides bitcoin. Fourteen percent said they would put money into Bitcoin Cash (BCH), 20 percent would invest in Ethereum, followed by Ripple with 6 percent, and Litecoin at 5 percent.

About a third of the respondents said they would be “more likely” to invest in cryptocurrency if the government in London regulated the crypto sector.

Central Bank Digital Money – A Dying Prospect

The attitude of the British public towards the idea of issuing a state-backed cryptocurrency is not an isolated sentiment. Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, has recently spoken against the prospect of releasing a central bank digital coin. Carney is also a critic of bitcoin, claiming that the leading decentralized crypto has failed on the traditional aspects of money – store of value and medium of exchange.

Most Britons Won’t Support a Crypto Issued by the Bank of England, PollOther central bankers have voiced concerns with regards to centralized, government-backed cryptocurrencies. This week, the Bank of Japan’s Deputy Governor, Masayoshi Amamiya, said that digital currencies issued by central banks may have a large impact on the traditional financial “two-tier” system – in which the central bank allows direct access to its accounts only to a limited number of entities, such as private banks. A centralized crypto would affect their “financial intermediation” role by granting households and businesses direct access to central bank accounts, he warned. Mr. Amamiya’s remarks indicated that the Bank of Japan has no immediate plans to issue its own crypto.

Earlier this month, a high-ranking official from the Swiss National Bank expressed similar concerns. According to the member of the SNB’s governing board Andrea Maechler, state-issued digital money would make it easier for account holders to withdraw their funds, if they felt a bank was in difficulties. A government-backed crypto would deliver scarcely any advantages and is not necessary to ensure efficient cashless payments, she noted. Maechler thinks that cryptocurrencies are less risky than any version issued by a central bank.

What do you think about centralized, state-controlled cryptocurrencies? Would you invest in a government-issued digital coin? Tell us in the comments section below.  


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Brookings.


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The post Most Britons Won’t Support a Crypto Issued by the Bank of England Says Poll appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to Crypto

April 16, 2018 |

Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to Crypto

Chinese traders in Moscow’s huge wholesale bazaars have become the most active buyers and sellers of cryptocurrency in the Russian capital. The retail turnover there is estimated at almost $ 10 billion a month. Authorities say that most of it is converted to cryptocurrencies and sent back to China where it‘s exchanged to yuan.   

Also read: Cryptocurrency Is the Main Income for 12% of Russian Crypto Users

Crypto Flows Considered Easier To Track than Cash

The three largest bazaars in the Russian capital, “Moskva”, “Sadovod”, and “Food City”, make about ₽600 billion rubles each month (~$ 10 billion). That’s almost a quarter of the retail turnover in the Russian Federation. Practically none of it is deposited in bank accounts, according to Yuri Polupanov, head of the Central Bank’s Financial Monitoring and Currency Control Department. 90% of the businesses there are owned by Chinese merchants and producers, he said during the Thomson Reuters Forum in Moscow, RBC reported.

The retail centers have become pioneers in crypto trade. Russia’s Centrobank believes that Chinese traders convert most of their revenues to cryptocurrency and send it back home, where it is exchanged to yuan. Financial authorities have learned that crypto exchange bureaus are also operating there. Polupanov said that some of them are registered as financial services providers. Inspectors have found discrepancies between their accounting reports and the data gathered remotely by the CBR.

Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to Crypto
Food City, Moscow

There is no point in denying that cryptocurrency is used in wholesale and retail trade, thinks Elina Sidorenko, head of a working group at the Duma tasked with assessing crypto circulation. “It’s no secret that Chinese merchants are using cryptocurrencies through anonymous wallets. But as soon as they are defined legally in the civil code, these financial flows will be easily controlled. It’s easier to track them than cash,” she said.

Sidorenko believes the situation will improve in a few years. If the central bank has evidence of illegal crypto-fiat exchange, it should give it to the Prosecutor’s Office, she added. Elina Sidorenko noted that illegal activities in these bazaars are not a new phenomenon. Violations of immigration laws and crimes related to laundering of illicit proceeds are flourishing there, she said, admitting: “We should’ve dealt with all that long time ago.”

Relics from The ’90s

The story of improvised retail bazaars and flea markets in Russia dates back to the breakup of the Soviet Union. Many of them were set up in the capital in the ‘90s. They have been targeted by authorities since the early 2000’s. Trade there is often unregulated and untaxed. Government inspectors have found multiple violations of sanitary and fire safety standards, customs and migration regulations.

Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to CryptoIn the summer of 2009 Moscow authorities closed down the “Cherkizovskiy” bazaar, which was one of the biggest. Russian police found 6,000 containers of contraband worth an estimated $ 2 billion. The newer trade centers “Sadovod” and “Moskva” are now major wholesale markets for clothes and shoes, while “Food City” is the main food distribution center. The volume of retail trade in the Russian capital has been estimated at more than $ 72 billion dollars in 2017. The monthly turnover is between $ 5.5 and $ 7.8 billion. It reaches $ 49 billion USD a month on national level.

Cryptos like bitcoin have been gaining popularity in Russia, where 12% of crypto users now claim cryptocurrency is their main source of income. Two draft laws regulating the crypto sector have been introduced in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament. The bill “On digital financial assets” legalizes activities like initial coin offerings and mining. A second draft aims to amend the civil code in order to legalize the use of “digital money” in payments. It’s still unclear whether the circulation of cryptos will be allowed in the country. Recently, Russian media reported that a new crypto exchange bureau is now buying and selling bitcoin for cash in Moscow.

Do you think regulating cryptocurrencies will minimize their use for illicit purposes? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Food City.


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The post Chinese Merchants in Moscow Convert Most of Their Cash to Crypto appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

TMZ

‘Shark Tank’ Star Praises A-Rod for Not Blowing Fortune Like Most Athletes

April 14, 2018 |

Alex Rodriguez ain’t no dumb jock — he’s a legit business mogul who should be a ROLE MODEL for pro athletes who wanna STAY rich after their playing days are over … so says Kevin O’Leary.  The “Shark Tank” star says he was REALLY…

TMZ.com

Theranos reportedly lays off most of its remaining employees

April 12, 2018 |

Embattled blood testing firm Theranos Inc. reportedly has laid off at least 100 employees, a move that reduces its headcount to two dozen or fewer.

Citing unnamed sources, the Wall Street Journal reported that the layoffs at the Newark, Calif., company were a desperate attempt to preserve cash…


L.A. Times – Business

‘One of the Most Influential Figures in Stand-Up’ Has Died

April 11, 2018 |

Mitzi Shore, owner of the Los Angeles club the Comedy Store and one of the most influential figures in stand-up for more than four decades, has died. Spokeswoman Jodi Gottlieb released a statement from the club announcing Shore’s death on Wednesday. She was 87. No cause was given, but her…
Newser

World’s 5 Most Unequal Countries on Same Continent

April 5, 2018 |

Inequality was embedded in South African culture through its apartheid system. Nearly a quarter century after its end, the country still has a long way to go. “Inequality is high, persistent, and has increased since 1994” in South Africa, which is the most unequal country in the world when it…
Newser

Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Nano Ledger Most Popular Holiday Purchase in This US State

April 2, 2018 |

Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Nano Ledger Is the Most Popular Holiday Purchase in Nevada

Americans are known around the world for their love of over-the-top holiday shopping. But recently at least some have actually made a smart and sensible purchase around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In fact, people in Nevada acquired so many Ledger Nano wallets, to better protect their cryptocurrency holdings, it became the most bought item in the state during the holidays.

Also Read: Cobinhood Delists Six Tokens Susceptible to Pump and Dump, Limits Tether Pairs

Bitcoin – the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Nano Ledger Is the Most Popular Holiday Purchase in NevadaIn a recently published analysis, which identified the top selling items in every US state, it was found that the bitcoin hardware wallet Ledger Nano was the most popular holiday purchase in Nevada. The cryptocurrency security-enhancing tool has been able to beat out gadgets such as Amazon Fire tablets as well as daily necessities which were more popular in other states.

The research was conducted by personal shopping assistant app, Earny, using data from more than 100 million online purchases between November 1st, 2017 and February 1st, 2018. The app directly monitors users’ email inboxes for receipts to find price drops and thus was able to get cross-industry data held separately by many individual online shopping websites such as Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Zappos and more.

Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Nano Ledger Is the Most Popular Holiday Purchase in Nevada

Why Nevada?

Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Nano Ledger Is the Most Popular Holiday Purchase in NevadaLedger was founded in 2014 by a team of eight and now employs 82 people in San Francisco, Paris and Vierzon. The company, which says it is already profitable, claims to have sold over one million cryptocurrency hardware wallets across 165 countries. In January 2018 it raised $ 75 million (EUR 61 million) in a Series B funding round, led by venture capital fund Draper Esprit.

The research does not give an indication as to why Nevada is the American leader in hardware wallets purchases, but one possible reasons is that the state offers more interesting spending opportunities for bitcoin holders. For example, earlier this year we reported about a Las-Vegas strip club where patrons can pay by scanning QR tattoos with wallet addresses the dancers wear on their naked bodies.

What makes Nevada a top market for bitcoin hardware wallets? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Earny.


Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

The post Bitcoin Hardware Wallet Nano Ledger Most Popular Holiday Purchase in This US State appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Most Privacy Coins Aren’t That Private

March 29, 2018 |

Most Privacy Coins Aren’t That Private

Privacy coins are meant to be private. That’s their raison d’être. Strip away the privacy, and they simply become altcoins, and dangerous ones at that, with the potential to deanonymize their users and expose their secrets. A number of recent reports have cast doubt on the privacy features offered by coins such as zcash and monero.

Also read: Mandela’s Golden Hands Sell for $ 10 Million in Bitcoin

There’s Safety in Numbers

Zcash is a controversial coin for a number of reasons such as its “founders reward” that sees 20% of all coins mined in the first four years go to stakeholders. The technology that enables zcash private transactions, zk-Snarks, is widely used by privacy coins within the same family such as zclassic, zencash, and bitcoin private. The trouble with zcash, as far as privacy advocates are concerned, is that shielded (i.e private) transactions aren’t enabled by default. In fact, 85% of all zcash transactions are public, and some zcash wallets don’t even support private transactions.

Most Privacy Coins Aren’t That Private
The number of shielded zcash transactions has been dropping gradually.

The fewer people who opt for anonymity, the easier it becomes to deanonymize the ones who are. That’s why a network such as Tor becomes more effective the more people who use it. There’s safety in numbers, and without shielded transactions enabled by default in zcash, it makes those who voluntarily select this function automatically look suspicious to anyone monitoring web traffic, such as the three-letter agencies.

The Snowden leaks revealed that the NSA targets and stores encrypted web traffic, reasoning that if someone’s gone to the bother of encrypting their email, they must have something to hide. If Google were to encrypt Gmail by default, it would automatically fill the sub-sea cables tapped by the NSA with so much indecipherable data as to remove all suspicion associated with using encryption, rendering attempts at studying its metadata meaningless. The zcash team has spoken of its desire to have all transactions shielded by default eventually, though the words “which we hope will someday become the norm” suggest they’re in no hurry to make it happen.

Most Privacy Coins Aren’t That Private
Privacy is a scarce commodity

Optional Anonymity Is No Anonymity

Data consistently shows that when privacy must be enabled, most people will go with the default setting. In addition to 85% of all zcash transactions being public, 69% of all zclassic transactions are also unshielded. It’s the same with verge, a privacy coin whose privacy features have been repeatedly called into question, and which is rarely used for private transactions.

zk-Snarks, the technology which provides anonymity for the z-family of coins, is reliant on a trusted setup which requires that the coin’s creator has not retained a master private key. While there is no reason to suspect the development teams of doing so, the whole point of cryptocurrency is that it’s trustless, removing the need to rely on the goodwill of others. The obvious solution for anyone wishing to transact anonymously is to use a coin such as monero that enforces privacy by default, but even that’s not without its problems.

Monero Is Not Immune From Privacy Concerns

Most Privacy Coins Aren’t That PrivateConcerns about the ease with which zcash users could theoretically be deanonymized have persisted for some time. Monero has largely been immune from similar criticism, but a new research paper takes aim at the deep web’s favored privacy coin. In An Empirical Analysis of Traceability in the Monero Blockchain, researchers from institutes that include MIT expose the vulnerability in transactions made before the coin’s privacy tech was upgraded to add Ring Confidential Transactions. Even with its new privacy features, researchers were still able to spot the real coin from the spoof coins used to mask the transaction 45% of the time.

Peeling Away the Privacy

“Privacy is a Prerequisite for Human Rights” reads the title for Chapter 6 of Wendy McElroy’s book The Satoshi Revolution, being serialized on news.Bitcoin.com. In it, she writes:

For Satoshi, the transparency of the blockchain was not only salutary but it also allowed for genuine privacy—a privacy that rested on keeping the public key anonymous and never linking it to a true identity. In other words, protecting a True Name was the privacy. And the first line of protection for a True Name was the use of anonymity, pseudonymity, or polynymity (multiple personas).

In the same chapter, McElroy quotes from Satoshi, who explained that with bitcoin “The public can see that someone is sending an amount to someone else, but without information linking the transaction to anyone. This is similar to the level of information released by stock exchanges, where the time and size of individual trades, the “tape”, is made public, but without telling who the parties were.”

Most Privacy Coins Aren’t That PrivateFor a while this system worked well, with those who desired bitcoin’s pseudonymity able to do so separating their public persona from their wallet address. In time, bitcoin started to become more regulated, meaning that the only way to purchase coins was through an exchange which required submitting an email address and name, and eventually full KYC. At the same time, blockchain mapping tools were being developed that made it easier for law enforcement to assign virtual identities to real world ones, which was one of the factors attributed to the arrest of Ross Ulbricht.

As monero’s Riccardo Spagni conceded to Wired, “Privacy isn’t a thing you achieve, it’s a constant cat-and-mouse battle.” Pretty good privacy is the most that can be expected for now: enough to provide anonymity in the here and now, but perhaps not enough to thwart a three-letter agency with the tools and determination to identify a specific user. Using privacy coins such as monero and zcash is still preferable to having no privacy at all. But they should not be relied on to completely anonymize transactions. The blockchain lives forever, and should exploits or vulnerabilities for these coins be discovered, every transaction ever conducted could be at risk.

What’s your favorite privacy coin and why? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Most Privacy Coins Aren’t That Private appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News