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There are perks to working for Blockstream, aside from having to answer to Samson Mow. Developers for the Bitcoin Core software company are alleged to earn up to $ 850K per year thanks to a “stock option” that sees them paid 20% of their salary in BTC. That BTC is pegged at the price bitcoin was at in 2014, meaning that employees are paid around 85 BTC annually as part of their salary, a bonus of around $ 700K at current prices. That’s according to a new website called Cashbleed that claims to lift the lid on Blockstream’s salary structure.
Blockstream and the Reputed Golden Handcuffs Deal
Technically speaking, Blockstream employees could walk away from the company any time they want. In practice, there is no incentive to do so thanks to a salary option in which 20% of their wage is payable in BTC, perennially capped to the price it was at in 2014 when the firm was founded. That’s according to Cashbleed.com, a controversial website registered in the last 48 hours that makes some back of the envelope calculations and some bold claims.
The website describes the arrangement as a “scheme” that is ongoing, making it “very difficult for investors to get a return on their investment.” Blockstream, responsible for such Bitcoin Core technology as Segwit and Liquid, has raised $ 101M over three rounds from the likes of AXA and Mosaic Ventures. Cashbleed ventures: “Suppose an engineer was hired at $ 150,000 a year, and an extra 20% of their salary was paid as a bonus on top in Bitcoin. 20% of the salary would be $ 30,000. Blockstream then pays that amount in BTC assuming a price of $ 350/BTC. $ 30,000 / $ 350 = ~85 BTC to the employee, worth roughly $ 700,000.” It continues:
In effect the employee earns $ 850,000 a year. The salaries of senior executives are likely to be higher than this modest amount for an engineer.
The site came to light after Bitcoin.org owner Cobra tweeted a link to Cashbleed.com, writing in withering terms of how “Blockstream’s employees have been paying themselves grossly inflated salaries, despite the company’s lack of success with any real products.”
Allegations Receive a Mixed Response
Reaction to the allegations has been mixed, with Blockstream acolytes leaping to the company’s defense, while others have blanched at the sky-high salaries staff are allegedly entitled to. “So what?” shrugged one commenter. “They negotiated to be paid in the currency of their choice and it’s appreciated in value against USD. They took both the upside and downside risk.” “I would be pretty pissed if the company I worked for rescinded a stock option agreement after 5 years just because the stocks became 22x more valuable,” defended another Blockstream supporter. “If they purchased the BTC for the purpose of satisfying employee compensation packages the BTC isn’t even theirs to begin with.”
If the alleged pay structure is broadly accurate, it may be so generous as to threaten Blockstream’s sustainability, according to Cashbleed. The website claims: “These obscene salaries are quickly depleting Blockstream’s Bitcoin reserves. We estimate the company won’t be able to survive more than a year of operation without raising another round of investment.”
On Subreddit forum r/btc, most commenters took aim at the source of the news, Cobra, with one instructing: “There is no evidence, it’s all made up. No sources, no nothing, just made up numbers and theories. Don’t fall for the snake’s tactics. Next week he’ll be back to praising Blockstream and bad mouthing BCH like he always does. He just wants a paycheck from Blockstream.”
Cobra is an enigmatic character who is known for his fierce and often contradictory opinions. In the past year, for example, he has oscillated between support for bitcoin core and bitcoin cash. Regardless of the veracity of the allegations, if Cobra was looking to cause a stir, he succeeded. On crypto Twitter, the debate rumbles on about one of the most controversial companies in Bitcoin and its controversial antagonist, Cobra.
Do you think these allegations about Blockstream are true? Let us know in the comments section below.
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Did you know you can verify any unconfirmed Bitcoin transaction with our Bitcoin Block Explorer tool? Simply complete a Bitcoin address search to view it on the blockchain. Plus, visit our Bitcoin Charts to see what’s happening in the industry.
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Did you get a 7% raise last year? Congratulations, yours was in line with what CEOs at the biggest companies got. But for chief executives, that 7% was roughly $ 800,000.
Pay for chief executives at S&P 500 companies rose to a median of $ 12 million last year, including salary, stock and other compensation,…
Facebook says it removed 2.19 billion fake accounts in the first quarter of the year—a total nearly as high as the number of monthly active users. About 1.2 billion accounts were taken down in the last quarter of 2018, Engadget reports. The company said in its Community…
Los Angeles County set another record in tourism, with visitors sparking $ 36.6 billion in economic impact in 2018, a 4.9% increase over the previous year.
The Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board released a report showing that the record 50 million visitors to the county last year spent $ 23.9…
General interest in cryptocurrencies is not what it used to be during the all-time highs of 2017 and established companies in the industry have been rethinking their priorities. Entrepreneurship in the crypto space, characterized by ingenuity and optimism, remains strong however. This is shown by the fact that dozens of businesses and individuals in the U.S. have filed for crypto-related trademarks this year.
Giants Fascinated by Crypto Again?
For a while it seemed the times when large corporations were competing to apply for patents and trademarks for crypto and blockchain products had passed. But towards the end of December, South Korean electronics manufacturing giant Samsung registered a trademark in the U.K., Samsung Crypto Wallet, which gave credibility to the rumors about the upcoming integration of a digital currency wallet into its new flagship smartphone.
Then recently, footwear and sportswear manufacturer Nike filed for a trademark called “Cryptokicks.” The application was submitted to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 19 and covers a number of products and services related to cryptocurrencies. Some of the listed items refer to a marketplace for buyers and sellers of digital currency assets and an online retail store featuring footwear and clothing.
Other large companies that have previously applied for crypto-related patents and trademarks include globally recognizable names such as Mastercard, Amazon and Walmart. In most cases, however, the products and services mentioned in the filings are yet to be developed and introduced to the market. At the same time, many small businesses and individual entrepreneurs who file for crypto trademarks and patents actually rely on them to build their business. In other words, they don’t do it ‘just in case.’
Crypto Services to Be Offered Under New Trademarks
Despite the effects of the ubiquitous crypto winter, the growing number of applications for trademarks containing the word “crypto” is undoubtedly a positive sign. Some of the entries registered with the USPTO may provoke laughter: “In Crypto We Trust” is an educational service, “Crypto for Idiots” is a podcast project with similar intentions, “Cuts for Crypto” is a men’s grooming service, “Middle Finger Money” is a new coin, and “Crypto Vodka” is self-explanatory. Others represent products and services that will increase competition in the industry and provide more use cases for cryptocurrencies.
For example, Wyer or Finclusive are brand names of software products that will facilitate the acceptance of crypto payments and the processing of digital asset transactions. Stasia is the trademark of a platform for cryptocurrency exchange and brokerage services. An application has been filed by Laborx, an Australian company that has developed a hiring service supporting pay-as-you-work crypto salaries instead of monthly fiat payments, and Celsius is the name of the platform for saving, lending and borrowing digital coins.
According to the Patent Office’s database, dozens, if not hundreds, of applications for crypto trademarks have been filed with the USPTO since the beginning of the year. Some of them have already been approved and registered. Among them is Somee, an Internet-based censorship-resistant social network, which promises to build a community that will control the distribution of its private data. Another one is Net Element, which is a platform for processing payments with credit cards and cryptocurrencies. How many of these new trademarks will prove successful on the market remains to be seen.
Do you think the growing number of new crypto trademark applications indicates that businesses feel optimistic about the future of the industry? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock.
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Chinese superstar actress Fan Bingbing is back in the spotlight for the first time in almost a year, after she abruptly dropped out of sight in the wake of a massive tax evasion scandal.
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Over the last few years, South Korea has become a hotspot for cryptocurrencies and the region captures a large amount of the world’s digital asset trade volume. A survey published on April 20 by the Korea Financial Investment Association shows that the average South Korean cryptocurrency trader has increased their crypto holdings by 64.2% over the last year.
South Korean Crypto Investors Increase Holdings
The South Korean news outlet Arirang Daily News revealed the results of a new survey conducted by the Korea Financial Investment Association (KOFIA). The self-regulatory organization’s poll surveyed 2,500 South Korean residents who invested in cryptocurrencies like BCH, ETH, and BTC. Surveys help bolster KOFIA’s goal of ensuring fair trading practices are taking place and enables them to monitor South Korea’s capital market and financial investments. The results of the survey stemmed from a poll taken in December 2018 and the examination reveals 7.4% of the 2,500 individuals surveyed said they own digital currencies. Moreover, South Koreans between 25 and 64 years old who had purchased cryptocurrencies over the last year invested more than $ 6,000 on average.
The $ 6,000 average is up two-fold since the organization’s last survey. Interestingly, Arirang’s report also details that older individuals in South Korea were more inclined to invest in cryptocurrencies stating that the most common buyer was in their 50s or older. The second set of surveyed traders who participated in buying more cryptos last year were between 30 and 40 years old. It seems the crypto winter didn’t stop South Korean optimism for digital assets as the average local trader increased their crypto holdings by 64.2% in the past 12 months. The 7.4% who professed to own cryptocurrencies is also up from the year before when the last poll recorded only 6.4% of investors, which indicates traders are a touch more positive this time around.
The Last Few Months Indicate a Resurgence of South Korean Interest in Cryptos
In 2017, cryptocurrency markets were extremely popular among South Korean traders and numbers that year definitely outshone the recent KOFIA poll published this week. According to another survey, one third of South Korean workers were crypto investors in 2017 but the average investment was less at $ 5,260 per investor. Another difference between then and now was the amount of younger (20s and 30s) South Korean investors was about 80% of the respondents polled. At the time, the South Korean won captured a third of the world’s crypto trade volume in 2017 behind the USD and JPY. Today the currency is still usually a top five trading pair, according to data from sites like Coinlib.io and Cryptocompare.
The recent KOFIA survey shows positivity has increased despite the regulatory crackdowns and a hack that occurred on one of the most popular South Korean trading platforms. South Korean traders have been dealing with much stricter crypto regulations, six cryptocurrency-related bills that were submitted to the National Assembly last December, and Bithumb dealt with a hack that saw the loss of $ 18 million last March. However, since the cryptocurrency price trend reversal over the last two months, South Korean interest in trading digital assets is growing strong once again. During the first week of April, local traders in South Korea dealt with a ‘Kimchi Premium,’ which saw traders paying more money for cryptos compared to the average global exchange rates. Moreover, trade volumes on Localbitcoins in South Korea have surpassed 2017’s all-time highs during a few weekly periods in February, March, and April 2019.
What do you think about the increase of cryptocurrency holdings by South Korean investors? Let us know what you think about this recent survey in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Twitter, and Coin Dance.
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The Coachella festival has wrapped up for 2019, and this year, perhaps the biggest Coachella headline of April had nothing to do with music. Instead: puppy dumping. As has been reported at NBC News and pretty much everywhere else from coast to coast , a woman in Coachella, Calif., was caught…
Tesla CEO Elon Musk expects to start converting the company’s electric cars into fully self-driving vehicles next year as part of an audacious plan to create a network of robotic taxis to compete against Uber and other ride-hailing services. The vision sketched out Monday during an event at Tesla’s Silicon Valley headquarters requires several leaps of faith — something that the zealous investors and consumers who view Musk as a technological genius often are willing to take. “It sounds like a pipe dream that he’s selling people,” said Raj Rajkumar, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University.
The simplest way to benefit from a rising market is to buy an index fund. But if you buy individual stocks, you can do both better or worse than that. For example, the Cairn Energy PLC (LON:CNE) share price is down 22% in the…