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The web’s favorite crowdsourced encyclopedia has just edited its own behavioral guidelines. Wikipedia’s “Conflict of interest” (COI) page outlining etiquette for its 140,000 active editors now includes a reference to cryptocurrency. If you’re editing pages about crypto, the mere act of owning cryptocurrency may preclude you from doing so.
Wikipedia Is Conflicted on Cryptocurrency
According to Wikipedia, any external relationship its contributors hold – including a relationship with cryptocurrency – could present a conflict of interest. Its COI page states:
Any external relationship—personal, religious, political, academic, legal, or financial (including holding a cryptocurrency)—can trigger a COI. How close the relationship needs to be before it becomes a concern on Wikipedia is governed by common sense. For example, an article about a band should not be written by the band’s manager, and a biography should not be an autobiography or written by the subject’s spouse.
On the one hand, these guidelines make a lot of sense, but on the other, they create a paradox as the people most knowledgeable about a particular Wikipedia page are those with a strong personal interest in its subject matter. It’s hard to see how owning bitcoin, for example, should bar an editor from being able to update the Bitcoin page. With smaller, more controversial cryptos however (think IOTA or Verge), there’s greater potential for a COI to emerge. It’s easy to envisage a scenario, for instance, in which a passionate editor may decide to censor or exclude negative news about their favorite cryptocurrency.
Partisanship Is a Persistent Threat on Wikipedia
Certain Wikipedia pages attract an abnormally high number of edits, often because the subject is controversial or prone to attracting mischief-makers. In extreme cases, this can lead to a page becoming fully or partially locked to prevent anonymous editors from distorting the truth or inserting their own agenda. Wikipedia is notorious for its edit wars in which opposing camps attempt to control the narrative. One such page to have fallen prey to this is Bitcoin Cash. Its talk page notes that “There have been attempts to recruit editors of specific viewpoints to this article” to address this.
Anyone can create a Wikipedia account and become an editor. To date over 33 million ‘Wikipedians’ have done so, of whom almost 140,000 are active. This army of volunteers performs an essential job, updating, proofing, and fact-checking millions of entries. Given the complexity of verifying the legitimacy of Wikipedia’s 5.6 million English articles, verifying that all its editors don’t have a conflict of interest is impractical. As the Bitcoin Cash page demonstrates, even when an editor doesn’t own a particular cryptocurrency, it doesn’t always prevent them from being tempted to tamper.
Do you think owning cryptocurrency should bar a Wikipedian from editing a cryptocurrency page? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Wikipedia.
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This week News.Bitcoin.com carried the breaking story alleging employees of giant Northern European bank Nordea were being forbidden by company policy from owning or trading cryptocurrency. Since publication, a bank employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, forwarded evidence the large institution is indeed going ahead with such plans.
Nordea Bank Whistleblower
Word spread 12 January 2018 on Twitter Nordea Bank “forbids all their employees (at least in Sweden) to stop owning and trading $ btc and other crypto currency. This applies to secretaries, IT personal [sic], cleaners and any bank staff employed by the company. Is it legal even?,” asked Twitter user @samisin.
Nordea Bank AB has more than half a trillion dollars in assets, and is one of the largest banks in Northern Europe. Its alleged move against employees’ cryptocurrencies were not all that surprising when placed in the backdrop of the bank’s executive team’s disparaging public comments. Executives have long worried about cryptocurrency and its lack of regulation, and more recently complained about the fact bitcoin was allowed to exist without jumping through all the hoops of the traditional banking system, referring to the phenomenon as “a joke.”
Bitcoin’s value, however, is exactly that: it could not have existed if brought through the regular cartel channel of state-backed banks such as Nordea. Its precise reason for being is to defy minders and bureaucratic middle persons, landing in the hands of ordinary, uncredentialed and unlicensed peoples.
After News.Bitcoin.com published the story, a whistleblower came forward with documentation on the assurance of anonymity.
According to memorandums obtained by News.Bitcoin.com, a decision by Nordea’s board was made 13 December 2017. The message’s import was to affirm no employees of the bank were allowed to trade bitcoin nor other cryptocurrencies. When queried about what to do with crypto already held by employees, an answer was not immediately forthcoming.
Trade Union Might Take Up Cause
The memos were pulled from Yammer, a social networking site used by some businesses for private communication. Its network is open by invite only.
A second communication from the bank further outlined coming policy: The ban will be effective late February due to “its highly speculative nature, including high investment/volatility risk, and the related tax evasion and money laundering risks,” the source details. New rules also include how unless “otherwise stated, the rules set forth in this section apply to all transactions. Therefore, it is irrelevant whether they are carried out on [a personal] account, on behalf of a Closely Related Person, a customer, the Group, or on behalf of another party within or outside the scope of work,” the memo reads.
Furthermore, “No Employee, Service Provider or Tied Agent at the Group may: Conduct trading in Bitcoins and other Cryptocurrencies.” Exemptions are being provided for if investments “in financial instruments manufactured by Nordea linked to cryptocurrencies. Further, the prohibition does not cover minor investments in cryptocurrency made by employees in product development roles who have a work-related reason to do so, and where the respective Head of the BA/GF has pre-approved the investment following consultation with Group Compliance,” the bank explained. There appears to also be “special circumstances” clause as well.
When the anonymous source was asked about employees’ feelings on the matter, “Regarding the workers, as far as I know many care and think this policy is way to far reaching when it comes to their right to own whatever legal property they wish, and therefore complaints have also been made to the union Finansförbundet,” we were told.
As a result of “complaints by employees,” the 33,000 member trade union Financial Sector Union of Sweden, Finansförbundet, representing bank employees, is reportedly set to discuss a formal response during an internal meeting this Tuesday, 16 January 2018.
What are your thoughts about bank prohibiting employees from owning bitcoin? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Pixabay, Twitter, Finansförbundet.
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A giant Northern European bank, Nordea, has allegedly enacted a company policy which forbids its employees from owning or trading in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. The bank’s current executive team have a long history of on-the-record skepticism toward bitcoin.
Also read: Banks in India Block Crypto Accounts
Nordea Bank Allegedly Forbids Employees from Owning Crypto
The once Swedish bank Nordea Bank AB, now headquartered in Finland (home of its largest shareholder) has reportedly forbade all of its employees from owning or trading in bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. The alleged move might not be a surprise to long-term watchers of the bank and its executive team.
Chairman Björn Wahlroos’ opinions on bitcoin go back to at least 2014, and he lamented then the decentralized currency’s supposed anonymous properties and its lack of inflation — two aspects most enthusiasts cherish. More recently, Nordea’s President and CEO Casper von Koskull dismissed bitcoin altogether, calling it “a joke.”
Mr. von Koskull explained, “If you somehow allow that to live without controls, then, given the billions we spend on financial regulation as a financial system, I mean, I think it’s actually a joke that you then just let something like bitcoin live. I don’t get it – it’s absurd.”
Joke or not, it’s evidently too hot for the bank’s employees. Nordea is listed on three exchanges and has over a thousand brick and mortar branches serving more than a dozen countries. It boasts nearly twenty million customers, retail and corporate, and has another over five million online users. Its market capitalization is nearing half a trillion dollars.
In a tweet, @samisin wrote, “Nordea Bank forbids all their employees (at least in Sweden) to stop owning and trading $ btc and other crypto currency. This applies to secretaries, IT personal, cleaners and any bank staff employed by the company. Is it legal even?” Commenters railed against the notion, citing violations of basic rights.
In some professional circles, such as journalism, it’s often assumed a conflict of interest to own or have financial stake in that which a company or employee is presumed to have objective contact. New York Times writer Nathaniel Popper has outright refused to own bitcoin so as to not appear tainted in his coverage. Famously, JP Morgan Chase through its CEO Jamie Dimon threatened to “fire” anyone even suspected of dabbling in bitcoin. For bitcoiners, however, there is a glaring double standard.
Does Mr. Popper not use fiat currency? And if so, using his ethical logic, wouldn’t that make him biased toward government paper and against bitcoin? It’s easy to get caught in traps like these, especially when it is just a pretense or only perverse virtue signalling. Banks have long fretted about cryptocurrency and its “risky” and “speculative” nature. But even those concerns fall rather flat when one considers deals these same banks are engaged.
For example, Nordea was just involved in what’s known as a “capital relief deal,” which ironically pushes risk on investors (in this case to almost 10 billion USD) in loans. This is also known as “synthetic securitizations,” and they function to lessen the amount of reserves banks must have on hand against losses. Nordea was headlong in the deal until it abruptly pulled out altogether.
“Nordea dropped those plans as it embarks on an overhaul to eliminate 6,000 jobs,” Bloomberg reported. Clearly shredding thousands of jobs goes to the bank’s concern about employee wellbeing.
On the brighter side, those former Nordea employees might now be able to own bitcoin.
What is your experience with banks and crypto? Let us know in the comments below.
Images: Pixabay,Twitter, Nordea.
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For the price of one millibit – or a thousandth of a bitcoin – you can buy 700 verge or 1,300 reddcoin. These microcap coins lack bitcoin’s luster, but they do have two things in their favor: there’s a lot of them and they’re ”cheap”. Priced out of being able to afford a whole bitcoin, many first-time investors are setting their sights lower.
Expensive Bitcoin or Cheap Altcoins?
As experienced traders will aver, the best time to buy altcoins is when bitcoin is stagnating. When bitcoin is rocketing or plummeting, the altcoin markets tend to suffer, as money flocks into BTC or back into fiat. In the last few weeks, however, as bitcoin has moved sideways, altcoins have soared. At times, every single cryptocurrency in the top 100, save for bitcoin, has been in the green, as altcoin markets, which have been starved of attention for months, have enjoyed an influx of capital.
Established altcoins such as litecoin and monero have fared well amidst the flood of new money, but it is the smaller priced coins that have benefited the most. The biggest winner this month, up a staggering 3,600%, is verge, but tron (1,600%), and reddcoin (1,450%) have also prospered. What’s telling is that despite their astronomical gains, none of these coins costs more than 4 cents.
Newcomers to the cryptocurrency space are faced with a quandary: to spend months chipping away until they finally acquire a whole bitcoin (assuming it doesn’t rise faster than they can buy) or to snap up a cheap coin and become an instant thousandaire.
“I’m a completist,” one cryptocurrency trader told news.Bitcoin.com. “It actually bugs me seeing fractions of a coin in my Blockfolio [cryptocurrency app]. This might sound silly, but it just looks better seeing hundreds of coins in there. Buying tiny pieces of a bitcoin is quite demoralizing, because you’re spending a lot of dollars, but your BTC balance is barely moving.”
A Wild Doge Appears
Perhaps the biggest indicator that cheap coins are en vogue is the return of doge. It’s had a bumper month, gaining 475%, and is currently the only coin left on Bittrex trading for less than 100 sats. The meme coin has eased past that threshold several times this week, and is currently trading at around 98 sats. Once doge permanently moves into three figures, it will signal the end of cheap coins on major exchanges.
Cheap is the New Expensive
The number of people who own at least one bitcoin is estimated to be less than one million, though the exact number is hard to determine due to the fact that many holdings are stored in pooled exchange wallets. What is indisputable is that the vast majority of cryptocurrency investors will never own a whole bitcoin. The beauty of bitcoin is that it can be divided into 100 million parts, so there’s plenty to go round. For $ 14, you can own one millibit – or 1,000th of a bitcoin.
The trouble is, no one talks in millibits. Nor do they talk about owning 0.0001 of a bitcoin. Discussing small quantities of bitcoin is downright awkward. Moreover, in cultures that pride themselves on status symbols, particularly in the east, owning a whole bitcoin is something to aspire towards.
Given the security baked into every bitcoin, enforced over the course of half a million blocks, there’s a case for saying that the world’s leading cryptocurrency is fairly valued. In fact many of bitcoin’s proponents believe it to be underpriced. From a psychological perspective, however, having a wallet loaded with 1,000 coins sounds a lot better than one containing .0001. It’s a vanity thing, but it’s also a practical thing, for it’s not just the price of bitcoin that’s turning many would-be investors away: it’s also the price of sending it.
Because a store of value can be transferred just as efficiently using doge or reddcoin, cheap coins are finally starting to provide a tangible use case – even if the end goal is to convert back into bitcoin. Throw in the prospect of ridiculous gains, should your chosen altcoin moon, and it’s no wonder that cheap is the new expensive.
Why do you think sub-$ 1 coins have been faring so well lately? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinmarketcap and Coincodex.
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The post Faced With Never Owning a Whole Bitcoin, Investors Are Turning to Altcoins appeared first on Bitcoin News.
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