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| December 12, 2018

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Trump-appointed panel wants Postal Service to raise shipping rates. That would hit Amazon

December 5, 2018 |

President Trump’s administration is recommending the U.S. Postal Service raise prices for shipping packages, a move that would hit online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc.

A Trump-appointed commission on Tuesday released recommendations for the rate increase, which an administration official said…


L.A. Times – Business

Federal Reserve will keep raising interest rates when and only when it’s right, Powell says

November 28, 2018 |

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome H. Powell is under pressure from President Trump and investors to slow interest-rate hikes, but that pressure doesn’t seem to be swaying him. In a speech Wednesday, he noted that rates remain historically low and reiterated that the central bank will continue raising…


L.A. Times – Business

Crypto Detectives Project Rates and Investigates Suspicious ICOs

November 20, 2018 |

Non-Profit Project Investigates and Rates Suspicious ICOs

An online platform created in Russia has set a noble goal of making the cryptocurrency industry safer for investors. The project investigates initial coin offerings (ICOs) that have raised suspicions and performs the due diligence for free. A report about each ICO is then published containing а summary of the findings and a conclusion about the project’s nature.

Also read: Crypto Experts From Sanctioned Countries to Receive Training in Crimea

Coin Offerings Under Surveillance

The Crypto Detectives portal examines the whitepaper and website of a project that’s been included in its “Under Surveillance” list. The established business model, applied marketing strategy and legal structure of the company conducting the token sale is placed under a magnifying glass.

The platform checks the social media accounts and Slack channels used by the startup and verifies whether its team members are real persons. Investigators look for online activity including media appearances and interviews.

Crypto Detectives Project Rates and Investigates Suspicious ICOs

The market segment in which the ICO project is positioned are analyzed with the help of external experts. The final report is also based on a study of the competition in the sector and the economic viability of similar tokens that have been issued by other projects.

Anyone can suggest a new investigation by filling out an online form on the Crypto Detectives’ website, providing their name, phone number and email address, along with a short description of the case and other information relevant to the request.

Red, Yellow and Green Projects

The platform claims it does not conduct its investigations in order to blackmail startups and it does not produce custom-made reports. The authors admit their conclusions reflect their subjective opinions but note they are ready to revise them if provided with information refuting the findings. They also say they are ready to support good projects that plan to conduct ICOs.

Crypto Detectives Project Rates and Investigates Suspicious ICOs

The crypto detectives point out that they care about the interests of investors in the cryptocurrency industry. Through a partnership with another company, LT Solutions, they also offer legal advice to investors and provide legal support to people who have lost money in fraudulent schemes including ICOs, cryptocurrency trading platforms and crypto-lending programs.

The surveyed projects are classified according to the results of the investigations and assigned an alert rating which can be green, yellow or red. A table shows if the crowdfunding is completed or ongoing and provides links to the projects’ websites and whitepapers.

A Couple of Examples

Crypto Detectives has so far investigated and rated over a dozen ICOs. Among them is Wi Fi Global, which has been tagged with a red alert indicating the project is dangerous for potential investors. The business idea behind its token sale has been plagiarized from another Russian project with a similar name – World Wi-Fi. It aims to build a decentralized wifi system that allows users to connect to otherwise locked wifi networks anywhere in the world, free of charge. The expenses will be covered by advertisers, while the owners of the wifi devices will get a share of the revenues for allowing guest users to access the web through an additional secured public network created for them.

Crypto Detectives Project Rates and Investigates Suspicious ICOs

The Wi Fi Global project, however, has been exposed as an outright scam. It turns out neither of the names on its management team belongs to a real individual. The ICO has no reputable advisors and it hasn’t issued the promised ERC20 token, WT. At the same time, its online marketing has been very aggressive, with pages and pages of posts and comments on crypto forums. Crypto Detectives’ conclusion is clear: “Trust us, there is no chance you’ll ever get anything from this project. These are thieves and rogues.”

The Russian detectives have designated another ICO called Bloom as a “green” project. It plans to create a global decentralized credit scoring system with a number of useful applications and features, from credit history manager to credit risk calculator. Three of the project’s four co-founders have been roommates at Stanford and its advisors are legitimate representatives of the industry, including for example Joeu Krug, co-founder of Augur. Bloom is also partnering with other projects like Ethland, Lendoit and Everex.

“Although the project is in its early stage, the ‘dream team’ behind it, and the fact that it’s well elaborated, suggest that it will be successful … Stanford rules,” Crypto Detectives concludes.

What do you think about the Crypto Detectives project? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Crypto Detectives.


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Bitcoin News

As rates and tuition rise, America’s student loan debt crisis could get much worse

October 18, 2018 |

While Wall Street and President Trump tout news of a booming stock market and low unemployment, college students may be quick to roll their eyes. The improved economy has yet to mean higher wages for graduates already struggling to pay down massive debt, let alone ease the minds of students staring…


L.A. Times – Business

Mortgage rates rise to a seven-year high

October 15, 2018 |

The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is nearing 5%, following a surge this week that put borrowing costs at their highest level since 2011, according to Freddie Mac.

The sharp increase in mortgage rates — to 4.9% this week, from 4.71% last week and 3.91% a year ago — stems from the same…


L.A. Times – Business

Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity Rates

October 14, 2018 |

Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity Rates

The outcome of a court case in Russia may affect the popular practice of cryptocurrency mining in basements and garages. According to a recent ruling, a church in Irkutsk must pay higher electricity rates for installing and running mining hardware on its premises. ‘Grace’, the religious organization of the local evangelical community, has been taking advantage of lower prices offered to private consumers to mint digital coins. However, the region’s utility company says it should pay more because of the excessive energy consumption.   

Also read: Despite Setbacks Crypto Wages Still an Option for Russians, Poll Finds

Church Mines Cryptos, Wants Cheaper Electricity

Home crypto mining, still popular in parts of Eastern Europe where private consumers and some organizations enjoy preferential, subsidized electricity rates, may take a hit following a court ruling in Russia, a country with vast energy resources which often remain unutilized. A protestant church in Irkutsk Oblast, a region in the Siberian Federal District, has been accused of mining cryptocurrency and asked to pay its electricity bills at higher rates, those applicable to corporate entities and industrial enterprises, because of what has been deemed an excessive power consumption.

Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity RatesThe ‘Grace’ evangelical community claims it was not using the servers found on its premises for crypto mining. The religious organization has already paid the higher bills for the period between May and August 2017 but has since turned to court to request a refund for the surcharge of 1.1 million rubles ($ 16,600). The Irkutsk Regional Arbitration Court has recently turned down its claim against the local utility company, Irkutskenergo, and ruled that ‘Grace’ owed the money after all.

The church has most probably used the discovered hardware to mine cryptocurrency. Irkutskenergo says its electricity consumption suddenly spiked in May, last year and reached 2 million kWh in the months through August, RT reported. The church trustees said they needed the energy for heating and to power printing equipment used to copy religious materials. However, the judges noted that the period in question was in the summer and quoted data reflecting the consumption of much larger temples and printing houses in the region for comparison.

Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity RatesWhen Irkutskenergo inspectors visited ‘Grace’ they found a server room on the second floor of the building occupied by the evangelical community and determined that it was designed for cryptocurrency mining. They claimed the excessive consumption was endangering the power supply for the whole neighborhood. The Irkutsk Arbitration Court agreed with their conclusion and ruled that the charged amount for the electricity was reasonable. It stated that “the claimant carried out activities related to ‘bitcoin mining’, which obviously did not pertain to religious activities.”

Illegal Mining Farm Found in Avtovaz Plant

The mining church, just like many digital asset enthusiasts, has been benefiting from subsidized electricity rates. In Russia and other countries in the region, energy is cheaper for private individuals and other categories of consumers like NGOs, including religious organizations. According to Irkutskenergo’s website, these customers pay 1.22 rubles per kWh during daytime and 0.70 rubles at nights ($ 0.018 and $ 0.010).

The court ruling does seem a bit arbitrary as even if the church consumed more than usual, it should still be entitled to a preferential rate. The case could potentially have negative repercussions for home crypto mining in Russia, in general. Many ordinary Russians are taking advantage of the lower electricity prices for their households to make a digital buck or two with GPU rigs installed in their houses, basements, and garages. Raising the rates would actually stimulate illegal mining.

Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity RatesThere have been a number of cases of much larger mining facilities powered by stolen electricity. An illegal bitcoin mining farm was discovered this spring in an abandoned factory in Orenburg. More recently, mining equipment was found in the control room of one of the assembly workshops of Avtovaz, the largest Russian car manufacturer. An employee had plugged the specialized hardware into the plant’s grid. The hardware was in operation since last November burning at least 600,000 rubles ($ 9,085) worth of electrical power to mint coins at an estimated value of 1.2 million rubles ($ 18,170). More cases like these are to be expected if Russian authorities clamp down on home mining.

Do you think amateur crypto miners should pay higher electricity rates? Share your thoughts on the subject in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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The post Church Mining Cryptocurrency Told to Pay Higher Electricity Rates appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Bitcoin News

Trump’s complaint that the Federal Reserve was ‘going loco’ on interest rates is just plain crazy, analysts say

October 12, 2018 |

The stock market tumbled Thursday for a second-straight session — a combined loss of nearly 1,400 points by the Dow Jones industrial average — and President Trump has been quick to finger the culprit:

The Federal Reserve, headed by his handpicked chairman, Jerome H. Powell.

“We have interest rates…


L.A. Times – Business

Stocks end mixed as interest rates take a pause

October 10, 2018 |

U.S. stock indexes ended Tuesday nearly where they began, as interest rates let off the accelerator following their sharp rise last week. But the modest moves for indexes masked some roiling underneath.

Raw-material producers plunged on worries that inflation and weaker demand are eating into their…


L.A. Times – Business

Banks Brace for Downside of Higher Rates

October 8, 2018 |

Banks have enjoyed a profit boost from rising interest rates over the past couple of years. But now those higher rates could turn into a drag.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia

Rising Interest Rates Push Stocks Lower

October 5, 2018 |

Global stocks are closing lower Thursday as interest rates in the US continued to rise, the AP reports. Internet and technology companies took some of the worst losses. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note rose further after hitting a seven-year high on Wednesday. Google parent company Alphabet slumped 2….
Newser