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French President Emmanuel Macron appointed several cabinet ministers in an attempt to stabilize his government and stem a decline in public support for his push to overhaul France’s economy.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
Chinese authorities said Interpol President Meng Hongwei is under investigation for violations of the law, days after his wife reported him missing to French authorities.
WSJ.com: What’s News Europe
Back in April of 2016 news.Bitcoin.com reviewed the Openbazaar platform the first day the marketplace launched. Since then the application has come a long way with many updates, new features, and the platform most definitely has more users. This week we decided to give the Openbazaar 2.2.5 client a test run and see how much has been improved.
Testing Out the Openbazaar Client 2.2.5
If you are into cryptocurrencies you’ve likely heard about the open source marketplace called Openbazaar. The project has been around for a couple of years now and has greatly improved since we first reviewed the platform back in 2016. Since then the application has added a native wallet, cryptocurrency trades, Tor integration, better search engines, and more. We decided to give Openbazaar’s 2.2.5 version a test to see all the latest features and see what kind of wares are lurking in the corners of this decentralized e-commerce portal.
The first thing we did was download the Openbazaar 2.2.5 client for the Mac operating system but the program is also available for Windows, and Linux as well. With a good internet connection, the download doesn’t take long at all (about 100MB) and the installation is fairly quick as well. After the install is complete, we load up the program and Openbazaar asks the user to agree to the terms of service. Following the agreement page, the platform asks the user to set up a default cryptocurrency wallet and the user has to choose between three digital assets. The choices include bitcoin core (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), and zcash (ZEC) and at the moment you cannot change this setting later.
Users are then asked to set up a profile where you register a name, add an optional description, an avatar, your location, and local currency. From here you can set up your store; which probably should be customized with a description of the wares you are selling, pictures, shipping address, moderation preferences, and of course the pricing of your listings. Users can also follow certain vendors and people can follow your store as well. Openbazaar also has notifications of new followers, but notifies users of order status details as well.
The Native Wallet and Search Engines
Another area to check out is the wallet section where it shows the funds available and the latest transactions. The wallet can send and receive and also includes a network fee toggle located in the advanced section. In the advanced section, a user can also synchronize the wallet’s transactions and show block data for debugging purposes. Other than that, the wallet is pretty basic like a traditional desktop client and does not offer any more frills.
During the review, we decided to focus on what we could find throughout the listings of Openbazaar’s vendors rather than set up a store. Back when we first looked at Openbazaar in 2016, listings were far and few between and most of the products only catered to crypto-enthusiasts. That’s all changed now as the searching features have been greatly improved and there are a bunch of vendors selling wares using the platform. Openbazaar comes with two default search engines called OB1, and Blockbooth. You can add another provider for Openbazaar manually entering the URL address too. Depending on which search engine you choose, there will be a variety of different listings on each one.
Thousands of Items for Sale Including a Slew of Black Market Products
Using the OB1 search engine, there are many items for sale including skateboard wheel bearings, stickers, old WWII metals, watches, green tea, books, handmade items, toys, electronics, and more. Listings can also be filtered by accepted currencies (BTC, BCH, ZEC), the seller’s ratings, by different moderators, adult content, whether or not its a physical or digital good, and even the condition of items. OB1 has around 1077 listings and Blockbooth has 7619 products for sale at the time of writing. As mentioned above, there are other providers as well that offer even more products if you know the vendor’s URL.
There have been a few articles recently showing how people are finding illegal drugs on Openbazaar and during our visit, we found some vendors. Now on the OB1 search engine you won’t find any drugs, but using the Blockbooth search engine, lots of listings will pop up. For instance, you can find LSD blotter tabs, multiple varieties of Kush and Sativa-flavored cannabis flower, THC oil cartridges, MDMA/Molly, Columbian cocaine, and more. You can also find a slew of pharmaceutical, natural and legal drug vendors as well. If you happen to parlay with chemical calisthenics and you want to order some of these products you probably should use Tor and a VPN.
A Decentralized Marketplace, Crypto-Exchange, and the Ability to Overcome Obstacles Centralized Darknet Markets Face
Moving around and searching Openbazaar is fairly intuitive and operates very much like a social media application mixed with Ebay. Most of the features that have been added to the platform have improved the application greatly since we first tested Openbazaar two years ago. It would be nice to have a wallet that accepts more than one cryptocurrency in the future or at least offer the ability to change the default currency.
Under the hood, Openbazaar makes the process of buying and selling decentralized by offering moderators, escrow, and both multi-signature and Ricardian contract technology. As far as the illegal drug vendors, they may have more of an advantage over their competitors on centralized darknet markets like Dream, and or the Point Marketplace (T•chka). This is because not only do vendors on Openbazaar have access to Tor, a VPN, and the ability to use zcash, the platform also relies heavily on the Inter-Planetary File System (IPFS) making it much harder for global law enforcement to take down.
Openbazaar’s Biggest Challenge: Gaining a Significant Network Effect of Users
Another advantage Openbazaar offers is the ability to swap cryptocurrencies on the platform. Simply searching for cryptos shows a wide variety of digital assets to trade and Openbazaar doesn’t charge a fee for the swaps. This gives Openbazaar users the ability to trade without KYC and again you can use Tor and a VPN.
As far as the setbacks Openbazaar faces, the challenge will be gaining more users, moderators, and vendors. The network effect of gaining a huge user base will be a difficult task for Openbazaar to achieve, but the same could be said for cryptocurrencies. Further, the two innovative ideas would likely fuel each other in the future. The network effect will be the company’s biggest uphill battle going forward as finding the right business model to make money from the marketplace will be the easiest part.
What do you think about Openbazaar? Have you used the application? What do you think about Openbazaar gaining mainstream adoption in the future? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comment section below.
Images via Pixabay, Openbazaar, and Jamie Redman.
Disclaimer: Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the mentioned company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com and the author 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 content, goods or services mentioned in this article.
The post Under the Tent: A Look at the Latest Openbazaar Marketplace Software appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Officials are investigating whether Yale illegally discriminates against Asian-American applicants.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia
More than a dozen government officials, including former central bank governor and his deputy, have come under investigation in Liberia after $ 104 million of newly printed banknotes vanished from the state purse. Liberia has issued a travel ban to Milton Weeks, the ex-Central Bank of Liberia chief, his deputy Charles Sirleaf, son of former president Ellen Jonhson Sirleaf, and several others pending the investigation.
Liberia Enlists FBI, IMF To Help Recover Missing Funds
The Liberian government has enlisted the United States of America and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to assist in the investigation of L$ 16 billion (roughly US$ 104 million), which disappeared from state coffers.
This comes as the West African country on Wednesday barred at least 15 people, including former central bank governor Milton Weeks and Charles Sirleaf, son of the former president, from leaving the country pending the investigation.
According to the Liberian Observer, President George Weah’s administration approached the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), Treasury Department and the IMF seeking assistance in the ongoing probe, to “adequately account for all flaws of monies printed and brought into the country between 2016 and 2018.”
Liberia’s Justice Ministry indicated that the investigation is critical to the formulation and implementation of a credible and robust monetary and macroeconomic policy in the years ahead.
The missing cash – the equivalent of nearly 5% of Liberia’s Gross Domestic Product – was ordered by the Central Bank of Liberia from printers in Sweden, China, and Lebanon but is yet to be traced after a series of shipments.
Liberia does do its own mint.
Records show that the money went missing between November 2017, toward the end of former president Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf second term in office, and August this year.
‘We Know Nothing About Missing Money’
Milton Weeks, who claims ignorance over the missing millions, says that he’s fully co-operating with police investigations.
“I have been invited to come and assist with the investigation and I’m doing that, I myself want us to get to the bottom of this to understand where the allegation is coming from,” he is quoted as saying.
Ex-president Johnson-Sirleaf said the investigation was baseless, designed to soil her reputation and those with whom she served.
“It is most unfortunate that the government of Liberia would give false information that wickedly impugns the reputation of past officials and by extension the country itself,” she told African news site FPA.
The Information Ministry on Thursday insisted that newly minted Liberian banknotes entered the country through the Roberts International Airport and the Freeport of Monrovia, from where they vanished.
The Ministry says President Weah was “never in the know of the money being brought into the country, something (which) is very strange.
Liberian officials have a history of stealing public funds. Charles Taylor, the jailed former dictator who was forced out of office in 2003, is believed to have stolen or diverted nearly $ 100 million of his country’s wealth, leaving it the poorest nation on earth, according to a close review of government records by United Nations team of experts.
A 2013 report in the New York Times revealed how Taylor stole government money to buy houses, cars, and sexual partners.
Do you think cryptocurrencies can help to prevent theft of public funds in Africa? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock
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The post Ex-Liberia Central Bank Chief Under Probe for Missing $ 104M, State Seeks FBI Help appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Some of Brazil’s biggest banks have come under investigation for alleged monopolistic tendencies in the trade of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The Administrative Council for Economic Defense, a transparency and competition body, accuses the financial institutions shutting down accounts of brokers trading cryptocurrency without merit.
Banks Probe To Fish Out Monopolistic Practices
The Administrative Council for Economic Defense (CADE) said on September 18 that it had started a probe of six of Brazil’s biggest banks for alleged malpractice in the trade of cryptocurrencies.
According to a report by Reuters, the Brazilian transparency and competition body is looking into allegations of “monopolistic practices” within the cryptocurrency industry “that could be limiting the action of brokers.”
“In fact, the main banks are imposing restrictions or even prohibiting … access to the financial system by cryptocurrency brokerages,” CADE is quoted as saying.
Banks under investigation include Banco Santander Brasil SA, Banco Bradesco SA, Banco do Brasil SA, Itau Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Inter and Sicredi, the report says.
Brazil is a groundswell of cryptocurrency activity in Latin America. The number of people trading bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency has soared from a few dozen thousands two years ago, to about 1.4 million today. More than $ 2.4 billion worth of bitcoin was traded in the country last year, up from just $ 160 million in 2016.
In January, the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission stopped local investment funds from buying digital coins because “cryptocurrencies cannot be qualified financial assets.”
The Commission, however, made a U-turn immediately after, allowing for indirect ownership, meaning Brazilians could buy into crypto-related investment funds. Even politicians are talking about bitcoin. A candidate for the presidential election set for next month is already talking of legalizing bitcoin.
Bank Accounts Closed Down Arbitrarily
The Brazilian Association for Cryptocurrency and Blockchain (ABCB) complained to CADE that “banks were abusing their power as financial players by closing accounts of brokerages trading in bitcoin.”
Banks denied the charge, saying “that the accounts were closed because of the absence or lack of client data that is required by law to prevent money laundering,” Reuters reported.
Our contact in Brazil told news.bitcoin.com that “many banks are closing (crypto) exchange accounts with no explanation.”
Do you think that the Brazilian banks are acting fairly? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coin 2001
The Bitcoin universe is vast. So is Bitcoin.com. Check ourWiki, where you can learn everything you were afraid to ask. Or read our news coverage to stay up to date on the latest. Or delve into statistics on our helpful tools page.
The post Brazil’s Biggest Banks Under Investigation For Monopoly In Cryptocurrency Trade appeared first on Bitcoin News.
Mary Kay Letourneau’s husband is being forced to cut back on the partying … ’cause the plea deal in his DUI case calls for him to tone down his alcohol and cannabis consumption. Vili Fualaau pled guilty to reckless driving and, as…
Academics at Beijing Normal University recently compiled a report ranking how “socially responsible” Chinese celebrities are, and China’s highest-paid actress , Fan Bingbing, received a 0% rating—which would be eyebrow-raising enough, except that Fan has also gone missing. The BBC reports the 36-year-old X-Men actress, model, and singer hasn’t been…
One of China’s largest conglomerates intends to sell off the vast majority of overseas investments it made in recent years, including shedding its entire stake in Deutsche Bank AG.
WSJ.com: What’s News Asia