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Stocks shook off an early wobble on Wall Street on Tuesday, finishing modestly higher and extending the market’s gains into a fourth week.
Solid earnings from Walmart encouraged investors to bid up other retailers and consumer goods companies. Communication services firms, banks and home builders…
The Dow Jones industrial average surged more than 400 points Friday as renewed optimism over trade talks between the U.S. and China put investors in a buying mood.
The rally marked a turnaround from a day earlier, when disappointing holiday sales data led to a modest sell-off. Friday’s gains helped…
Alphabet posted sustained revenue growth in the fourth quarter, the latest indication of strong financial results in the technology world despite mounting public pressures.
WSJ.com: US Business
Exxon, Chevron and Shell shrugged off a plunge in oil prices in late 2018 and posted some of their biggest annual profits in years.
WSJ.com: US Business
California’s job market finished 2018 on a strong note, as payrolls continued to grow despite concerns over a volatile stock market, a continuing trade war with China and fears of a possible U.S. recession.
The state added 24,500 net jobs in December, just short of November’s rise of 25,700, according…
The strong U.S. economy wasn’t enough to give many mall-based retailers a strong year-end boost, as Macy’s and others posted tepid holiday sales, fueling a selloff in retail stocks.
WSJ.com: US Business
An Indian cryptocurrency exchange, which is now live in 45 countries, reports that it is “seeing immense enthusiasm and buyer activity in Venezuela,” a spokesperson for the exchange told news.Bitcoin.com. Compared to other countries, “Venezuelans are looking more at the longer-term yield of bitcoin.”
Live in 45 Countries
Indian cryptocurrency exchange Instashift is now live in 45 countries. After launching in India and Canada in February, the exchange began to roll out service in a slew of countries in November, offering support for 45 fiat currencies. A spokesperson for the exchange told news.Bitcoin.com on Thursday:
Presently, in the 45 countries we have launched [in], we are seeing immense enthusiasm and buyer activity in Venezuela … Venezuelan users were on a buying spree.
“We partnered with [a] few good local sellers,” the spokesperson said, confirming that his exchange plans to add “another 45 countries by April 2019.” Other than Venezuela, “We see demand from Panama, Thailand, Nigeria, Romania, Cameroon, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Ukraine,” he detailed.
The 45 countries that Instashift is live in are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Cameroon, Canada, Central African Republic, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Ghana, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Republic of Congo, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, Uganda, Ukraine, the U.K., the U.S., Venezuela, and Vietnam.
Citing similarity to Localbitcoins, the spokesperson claims, “As we are [a] pure peer-to-peer exchange with an instant coin conversion feature, there is no specific licensing for it at the moment.”
Strong Demand in Venezuela
The spokesperson shared with news.Bitcoin.com that, compared to other countries, “Venezuelans are looking more at the longer-term yield of bitcoin.” He elaborated, “Venezuelans, in general, are of the thought that cryptocurrency is a safe haven to keep their store of value rather than keeping it in their own currency where inflation is peaking at the top.” Furthermore, he described that “awareness amongst the crypto-communities” in many of the 45 countries “is quite low” compared to Venezuela.
Venezuelans can buy and sell over 120 coins on the Instashift platform. In addition to purchasing cryptocurrencies with the sovereign bolivar, the spokesperson pointed out that “it’s interesting to note they are using USD as well,” elaborating:
They are buying only BTC at the moment … [we] have not yet found any user seeking altcoins … [our] volume in Venezuela has been roughly growing 5-7% daily.
“We have more than 500 users there driving this volume,” he added, noting that Instashift uses the liquidity from major exchanges such as Binance to execute its “flip” orders. Flip is the exchange’s near-instant coin conversion service. “You can flip in under two seconds,” he claims.
On Localbitcoins, the BTC trading volume for Venezuela has also been growing significantly.
What do you think of the demand for BTC in Venezuela? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Instashift, and Coin.dance.
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The committee charged with providing recommendations for the regulatory framework surrounding cryptocurrencies in India is reportedly evaluating the legalization of the asset class under strong regulation. According to a recent report, “There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal.”
Legalizing With Strong Riders
An article published by the New Indian Express on Wednesday claims that the second inter-ministerial committee appointed to discuss the country’s stance on cryptocurrencies is not completely convinced of outlawing the asset class and is looking to legalize it under strong regulation.
The committee is headed by the Department of Economic Affairs’ secretary, Subhash Chandra Garg. It consists of officials from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology. An unnamed official was quoted by the publication as saying:
We have already had two meetings. There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders. Deliberations are on. We will have more clarity soon
Spirits Are High Despite Uncertainty
This news comes almost a year after the country’s finance minister, Arun Jaitley, declared during a speech in February that the Indian government “does not consider cryptocurrencies as legal tender or coin” and vowed that the government would take all the necessary measures to “eliminate the use of these assets in financing illegitimate activities.”
Jaitley’s comments echo similar remarks by the RBI. The central bank issued a circular in April, giving all banking institutions under its control a three-month window to close all ties with cryptocurrency companies.
The banking ban imposed by the RBI has influenced cryptocurrency trading behaviors in India. Exchange-escrowed peer-to-peer (P2P) trading volumes have reportedly soared in the months following the decision, indicating that the Indian people’s desire to use and hold cryptocurrencies has not been entirely dampened by the ongoing regulatory uncertainty.
Although the government of India has yet to announce a formal stance on the matter, the Indian crypto community remains optimistic that the government will end up lifting the ban and will formulate positive regulations in the upcoming months. The next meeting of the committee is scheduled for January 2019.
What do you think will be the outcome of these meetings? Will the Indian government embrace cryptocurrencies and lift the ban? Let us know in the comment section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Bitcoin historians will recollect that the early cryptocurrency pioneer Hal Finney was a person who believed in life extension and chose to be frozen in cryopreservation. Now a recent report shows that a good number of well-known blockchain advocates are also convinced that an ‘extropian-like’ technology may extend the lives of humans in the future.
Also read: China Now Ranks 34 Crypto Projects
Cryptocurrency Supporters and the ‘Ultimate Goal’
Cryptocurrency enthusiasts and believers in life extension go hand in hand these days, according to a report by Breaker columnist Julia Herbst. The chief science officer of SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence), Aubrey de Grey, talked with Herbst about the relationship between an extropian philosophy and blockchain technology proponents. Extropians are futurists who believe in the philosophy of life extension through improving technology. News.Bitcoin.com recently reported on how Hal Finney, the man who received the very first bitcoin transaction, was a devout extropian. The British biogerontologist de Grey explained in his interview that many other blockchain luminaries have donated to SENS research, which studies and develops regenerative medical therapies.
In the early 2000s, Michael Novogratz donated to the organization and the Pineapple Fund gave SENS $ 2 million in BTC last year. Moreover, the inventor of the Ethereum network, Vitalik Buterin, donated $ 2.4 million to SENS. The regenerative medical therapies organization raised another $ 4.1 million in cryptocurrencies this year in addition to the Pineapple Fund donation. “I’m not in this to do science for the sake of doing science,” de Grey detailed in his interview with Herbs. “I’m in it for the ultimate goal,” the SENS founder adds. The biogerontologist further revealed that a few anonymous donors have given SENS $ 1 million per individual and other cryptocurrency personalities are also long-term donors.
According to the report, a few anonymous members of the digital currency industry have also donated to the Alcor Life Extension Foundation and its cryonics research. On Aug. 28, 2014, Hal Finney’s body was taken to Alcor and he was the company’s 128th patient. Hal paid for his cryogenic process “through a combination of life insurance and bitcoins donated by admirers,” explained Alcor at the time. In another instance of the strong relationship between crypto-advocates and the philosophy of life extension, the entrepreneur Brad Armstrong donated $ 5 million in cryptocurrencies this year to Alcor Research and dedicated the gift to Hal Finney’s memory.
Furthermore, the inventor of cryptographic hashing, Ralph Merkle, is also a big life extension and cryogenics believer. Merkle’s Wikipedia page calls him a “researcher and speaker of cryonics.” Herbst detailed that Merkle has known a few crypto-advocates who have donated to cryonics and explained he has also helped raise funds for Alcor. Another member of the Alcor Foundation is the cryptocurrency magnate Robin Hanson, who believes future generations will be able to unfreeze him after the cryogenic process. In fact, Hanson thinks it will be very easy in the future and stated; “[Future generations] won’t have to try really hard — If they have to try really hard, they probably won’t.”
What do you think about blockchain enthusiasts and their relationship with the philosophy of life extension? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Images via Shutterstock, and Pixabay.
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Walmart posted higher quarterly sales, continuing a run of solid growth as the world’s largest retailer taps into online shopping and a robust U.S. economy ahead of the busy holiday season.
WSJ.com: US Business