Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in Bitcoin

Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in Bitcoin

Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in Bitcoin

Authorities in the state of Wisconsin have discussed the adoption of guidelines regarding cryptocurrency contributions to political campaigns, as requested by the Libertarian Party. Other states, like California, have urged politicians not to accept bitcoin donations. Kansas is the only state prohibiting such contributions. The Federal Election Commission allows crypto donations to campaigns for federal office. 

Also read: Majority of US States Have Taken a Stance on Bitcoin and Blockchain

Libertarians: The Question Is Not “Whether” but “How”

The Wisconsin Ethics Commission held on Tuesday a public hearing on a request from the state’s Libertarian Party regarding the adoption of guidelines for crypto contributions to political campaigns. The party’s chairman, Phil Anderson, wants to know how such donations would be counted toward the limits set by the state in dollars.

Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in Bitcoin“Digital currencies, such as bitcoin, litecoin and ethereum, are more and more widely accepted as currency and as stores of value,” the libertarian said, quoted by the La Crosse Tribune. “The Chicago Board Options Exchange offers a futures market for bitcoin. Corporations and governments are weighing in on not ‘whether’ to address cryptocurrencies, but ‘how’,” Anderson wrote in the request.

David Buerger, staff counsel for the commission, admitted he is not yet aware of any instances in Wisconsin in which cryptocurrency contributions to state campaigns were given or accepted. Libertarians are among the stronger supporters of bitcoin. The idea of a decentralized cryptocurrency, not controlled by a central authority or bank, is in line with their political views and opposition to government control over the national currency.

During Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners suggested that if digital currencies were counted as a monetary contribution, crypto donations would be subject to the $100 limit applicable to cash contributions. Larger donations must be made by a credit card or a bank check.

Only One State Prohibits Crypto Donations

The question of cryptocurrency contributions to political campaigns is one of many crypto-related issues that have been addressed differently in each state. For example, California has issued a warning against such donations. The Fair Political Practices Commission in the Golden State urged campaigns not to accept digital coins because their transactions are considered “virtually impossible to trace”. Last year Kansas became the first state to ban bitcoin contributions. According to its ethics commission, cryptocurrency is “too secretive”.

Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in Bitcoin

Most US states have adopted some crypto regulations according to a recently published report by the Brookings Institution. The attitude towards cryptocurrencies, however, varies significantly between different jurisdictions. On national level, crypto contributions to campaigns for federal office were approved by the Federal Election Commission. In 2014 FEC said they should be treated as “in-kind donations” and “noncash items”.

Politicians Taking Bitcoin

The popularity of bitcoin among American politicians seems unaffected by recent market volatility. A growing number of political candidates are accepting cryptocurrencies to fund their campaigns. Republican Andrew Hemingway, the youngest gubernatorial candidate in New Hampshire, was the first to do so in 2014, as reported by CNBC. Hemingway, also a tech entrepreneur, said he decided to accept crypto contributions after many of his supports asked if they could donate bitcoin.

Wisconsin Mulls Guidelines for Campaign Contributions in BitcoinAustin Petersen, Republican candidate from Missouri, received 24 bitcoin contributions while running for Senate. He is also the beneficiary of the largest crypto donation worth $4,500. Democrat Patrick Nelson, running for Congress from New York, is accepting cryptocurrency contributions through the payments provider Bitpay. “We’re a 21st century campaign and as such we embrace new technologies like bitcoin,” he tweeted. Democratic candidate for Congress Brian Forde of California and Republican Kelli Ward running for the Senate from Arizona are also taking bitcoin donations.

The first candidate for the White House to do the same was Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who ran for the Republican nomination at the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Paul has in the past stated that the US government should adopt a “hands off” approach to controlling money. His campaign accepted bitcoin donations worth up to $100. That’s the maximum amount for individual contributions in cryptocurrency, as set by the Federal Election Commission.

What do you think about bitcoin contributions to political campaigns? Share your views in the comments section below.  


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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SEC Charges Third Centra Co-Founder With Fraud

SEC Charges Third Centra Co-Founder With Fraud

SEC Charges Third Centra Co-Founder With Fraud

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced that Centra Tech Inc. co-founder, Raymond Trapani, has been charged with fraud charges resulting from the SEC’s investigations into Centra’s controversial $32 million USD initial coin offering (ICO). Mr. Trapani is the third and final Centra co-founder to be charged for having a role in the ICO.

Also Read:16 Regulated Crypto Exchanges Unveil Plans to Restore Public Trust in Japan 

“Mastermind” Centra Co-Founder Charged for Involvement With “Fraudulent” ICO

SEC Charges Third Centra Co-Founder With FraudRaymond Trapani, a co-founder of Centra Tech Inc., has been charged by the SEC for his involvement in “a fraudulent scheme related to Centra’s 2017 ICO.” Last year, Centra made headlines after enlisting celebrity endorsements from Floyd Mayweather and DJ Khaled. The other two co-founders of the company, Sohrab “Sam” Sharma and Robert Farkas, were charged by authorities earlier this month for their involvement in the distribution of “CTR Tokens” to investors.

An amended version of the SEC’s complaint claims that Trapani was the “mastermind of Centra’s fraudulent ICO,” with an SEC press release alleging that “Centra [was] marketed with claims about nonexistent business relationships with major credit card companies, fictional executive bios, and misrepresentations about the viability of the company’s core financial services products.”

The SEC also accuses Mr. Trapani and Mr. Sharma of “manipulat[ing] trading in the CTR Tokens to generate interest in the company and prop up the price of the tokens.”

SEC Charges Trapani Charged for Violating Securities Laws

SEC Charges Third Centra Co-Founder With FraudThe amended complaint charges Trapani with violating the anti-fraud and registration provisions of U.S. federal securities laws, with the SEC seeking “permanent injunctions, the return of allegedly ill-gotten gains plus interest and penalties, as well as bars against Trapani prohibiting him from serving as a public company officer or director and from participating in any offering of digital or other securities.”

Robert Cohen, the Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Cyber Unit, stated “We allege that the Centra co-founders went to great lengths to create the false impression that they had developed a viable, cutting-edge technology,” adding that “Investors should exercise caution about investments in digital assets, especially when they are marketed with claims that seem too good to be true.”

In a parallel action, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has also sought criminal charges against Trapani.

Text Messages Evidence Fraudulent Intent

SEC Charges Third Centra Co-Founder With FraudThe SEC has indicated that text messages shared between Centra’s co-founders nakedly evidenced the fraudulent intent of the defendants.

The SEC has made public a text correspondence sent to Mr. Farkas and Mr. Trapani from Mr Sharma in response to a cease-and-desist letter from a bank demanding that Centra remove all references to the institution in their marketing materials, in which Mr. Sharma told his colleagues “[w]e gotta get that s[***] removed everywhere and blame freelancers lol.”

According to the SEC, Mr. Trapani also requested that Mr. Sharma “cook [him] up” a fraudulent document whilst the company was seeking to get CTR tokens listed on exchanges under misleading pretexts. Mr. Sharma replied to the request with “Don’t text me that s[***] lol. Delete.”

Do you think that the actions of projects like Centra indicates that the ICO sector is in need of regulation to protect investors, or should the onus be placed on the consumer to identify trustworthy companies and protect themselves? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Centra.tech


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Source: Bitcoin.com

Cryptocurrency Infused Islamic Microfinance Fund Launches in Central Java

Cryptocurrency Infused Islamic Microfinance Fund Launches in Central Java

Cryptocurrency Infused Islamic Microfinance Fund Launches in Central Java

This week the firm Blossom Finance announced the open enrollment for an Islamic microfinance fund that will accept multiple cryptocurrencies such as BCH, ETH, and BTC. Investors will focus on socially responsible opportunities, and receive profit sharing from Blossom’s network of microfinance partners in the province of Central Java, Indonesia through a partnership with the PBMT Ventura.

Also read: Five Reasons Why Bitcoin Cash is About to Win Big

Cryptocurrencies, Microfinance, and Central Java

News.Bitcoin.com recently spoke with Matthew Martin, the CEO of Blossom Finance about the launch of Blossom’s new cryptocurrency infused microfinance fund. Blossom enables international investors a commercial return on microfinance institutions that are aimed at reducing poverty. The company partners with ‘BMT’ (Baital Mal wat Tamwil) model institutions that focus on solving social issues and creating self-sustaining businesses. Now Blossom is partnered with PBMT Ventura, an Indonesian Islamic microfinance firm, and plans to publicly launch a cryptocurrency microfinance fund.

Cryptocurrency Infused Islamic Microfinance Fund Launches in Central Java
Blossom CEO Matthew Martin and Managing Director of PBMT Ventura Jamil Abbas pose with members of BMT Al Huda’s management and staff after a meeting in Wonosobo, Central Java, Indonesia.

The funds raised will be utilized to bolster micro-businesses and traditional market sellers to meet the increased demand during the upcoming Ramadan holiday, Blossom details. In order to participate, investors will have the option to invest with Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ethereum (ETH) via Blossom’s US Delaware based fund; the fund will also accept USD investments.

“We’ve spent the last few years developing a network and making key partnerships in Indonesia. Our partnership with PBMT — which is a fully licensed venture capital company in Indonesia — allows us to help some of the best microfinance institutions in the world,” Martin explains to news.Bitcoin.com.

We’re truly inspired by the work these teams are doing in Central Java, and we’re thrilled to open up the fund to public investment.

Cryptocurrency Infused Islamic Microfinance Fund Launches in Central Java
The BMT Tamzis team poses in their “batik” uniforms after a meeting with Blossom Finance in Wonosobo, Central Java, Indonesia.

Gradually Putting the Loan Sharks Out of Business

Blossom’s fund will focus exclusively on microfinance solutions that adhere to the BMT model. BMT branches offer commercial financing, community-based savings, and encourage the growth of local businesses. Financial products BMTs provide traditionally serve the ‘under-banked’ citizens and businesses that fall below conventional bank thresholds, Blossom details.

“We’re huge proponents of the BMT model in Indonesia. When you go around with one of these BMT agents into the community, and you see the relationship between the agent and the cooperative members, you begin to understand that this model is something special – it’s a totally different model of banking unlike anything in the conventional banking realm” said Martin. “The loan sharks hate this model because it’s gradually putting them out of business.”

Cryptocurrency Infused Islamic Microfinance Fund Launches in Central Java
A traditional morning market seller and BMT member in Sukorejo, Indonesia. Blossom’s fund invests in many market sellers like this via the BMT network, which provides financial services to Indonesia’s working class.

Blossom’s Recent Islamic Finance Bitcoin Research Paper Bolsters the Microfinance Fund That Aims to Help Traditional Market Sellers

The news follows Blossom’s in-depth research analysis that shows bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies meet the Islamic definition of money under Shariah rules and that it’s permissible for Muslims to use. Because of this, the firm’s fund will be a first of its kind that enables BTC, BCH, and ETH acceptance for those who adhere to the Islamic finance doctrines. “What we do is truly global by nature, so naturally it makes sense to leverage the world’s first truly global currencies,” Martin emphasizes to news.Bitcoin.com. “We use bitcoin and ethereum to transfer money globally more cheaply and quickly than the banks can do it — And we get much more competitive exchange rates this way.”

Investing in Blossom’s microfinance fund helps traditional market sellers to earn an honest living by supplying food and necessities for daily life — Muslims should focus on productive, real-world economic activity – not merely playing with exchange rates and fluctuation.

What do you think about Blossom’s Islamic microfinance solution that accepts bitcoin and ethereum? Let us know in the comments below.


Images via Matthew Martin, and Blossom. 


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Source: Bitcoin.com

James Bond-Like Villain in $2 Million Bitcoin Heist Caught in Amsterdam

James Bond-Like Villain in $2 Million Bitcoin Heist Caught in Amsterdam

James Bond-like Bitcoin Villain in $2 Million Heist Finally Caught in Amsterdam

Amsterdam police have announced the re-arrest of Sindri Thor Stefansson. He was initially arrested days ago in Iceland in connection with a bitcoin hardware mining caper that included 600 computers worth $2 million. In a James Bond-like villain move, after his first capture he managed to escape, reportedly hitching a ride on a plane carrying Iceland’s prime minister.

Also read: Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: ICO Scares Investors with Ghost Prank

Bond-Like Bitcoin Villain Re-Arrested

Mr. Stefansson, after have absconded, wrote to a popular online site to plead his case. “I simply refuse to be in prison of my own free will,” he explained to Frettabladid, “especially when the police threaten to arrest me without explanation. I’m not trying to say that it was the right decision to leave, I really regret it…I didn’t expect an international arrest warrant to be issued against me, as I was legally free to leave, and believed it was out of the question that I would be labelled a fugitive. I would never have done this if I didn’t believe I was a free man.”

James Bond-like Bitcoin Villain in $2 Million Heist Finally Caught in Amsterdam
Sindri Thor Stefansson shown on CCTV while at large

It’s something straight out of a movie. Media outlets are claiming Sindri Thor Stefansson to be a “mastermind”. He, at the very least, was implicated recently in a major crime for the country of Iceland: $2 million in computer mining hardware is missing, believed to be part of an elaborate theft conspiracy, involving a gang of 11 others including Mr. Stefansson’s wife.

Mr. Stefansson escaped what local press refers to as “low-security” confinement after first being arrested. He was held in Sogn, an open prison 59 miles from the country’s international airport (95 km). It’s so loose it doesn’t have a fence, and detainees can even surf the net.

Thought He Could Avoid Capture Indefinitely

The mastermind slipped out through a window. He somehow later made it to the airport, procuring a flight boarding pass under an assumed name (though he paid with his own debit card), and managed to put himself on a flight to Sweden carrying Iceland’s prime minister, Katrín Jakobsdóttir. He wasn’t discovered missing by guards until well after the plane was airbound. An international warrant was soon issued for Mr. Stefansson.

James Bond-like Bitcoin Villain in $2 Million Heist Finally Caught in Amsterdam
Downtown Amsterdam

The Big Bitcoin Heist, as it has been tagged on the frozen island, involved bitcoin mining rigs grabbed in conjunction with four data center break-ins. Iceland has become a magnet for crypto miners due to relatively cheap electricity and its cold climes, helping the notoriously overheated instruments cool as they mine.

Mr. Stefansson’s unorthodox public letter while on the run insisted he could remain elusive to authorities for “as long as I like”. Dutch police disagreed, arresting him downtown without incident and are presently arranging for his extradition back to Iceland. 

Do you think bitcoin mining rigs present a lucrative target to thieves? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. Dutch police.


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Source: Bitcoin.com

Angellist: Number of New Crypto Job Listings Doubled in the Last Three Months

Angellist: Number of New Crypto Job Listings Doubled in the Last Three Months

Angellist: Number of New Crypto Job Listings Doubled in the Last Three Months

Angellist, a popular website that allows startups to raise money from angel investors, has revealed data about new crypto job listings on its platform. The company details the hiring needs of companies in the crypto space and what jobs are in demand.

Also read: Russian Regulators Draft Law to Restrict Crypto Mining, Payments, and Token Sales

Crypto Job Listings Doubled

Angellist: Number of New Crypto Job Listings Doubled in the Last Three MonthsAngellist revealed its new crypto job listing statistics last week. Citing that even though the price of bitcoin has dropped 60% since December of last year, the company wrote:

In the last 3 months, the number of new crypto job listings has doubled.

Angellist: Number of New Crypto Job Listings Doubled in the Last Three Months

Angellist is a U.S. website created in 2010 for startups, angel investors, and job-seekers looking to work at startups. In July 2013, the company partnered with Crunchbase, an online tech company database owned by Techcrunch. Since 2015, the site has allowed startups to raise money from angel investors.

What’s Behind Crypto Hiring Boom

Angellist: Number of New Crypto Job Listings Doubled in the Last Three MonthsAngellist explained the driving forces behind the crypto job boom.

Firstly, “the price run-up of bitcoin and ethereum in 2017 is attracting more people into the space for the first time, and the level of interest from the investor community is also at a record high.” The second factor is the ICO boom.

Successes of startups in raising millions have attracted others to raise money in the same way. “For example, the team behind Filecoin recently broke the record for the largest ICO in history, raising $257M to build a decentralized file storage system,” Angellist elaborated, noting:

The large sums of money going into the cryptocurrency space, from ICOs, to VC financings, and the price appreciation of bitcoin and ethereum, has led to a hiring boom at cryptocurrency startups.

The company emphasized, “as cryptocurrency companies are growing, raising larger amounts of money at higher valuations, so are their hiring needs for finding top talent,” adding that over $3 billion was raised using token sales in March alone.

In Demand Jobs

Not only “experienced engineers who’ve worked on cryptocurrency projects are in high demand, but so are talented engineers with an interest in blockchain technologies,” the company detailed, noting:

There are also open positions needing to be filled in marketing, business development, operations, customer support, and other job functions that don’t require a technical background. Similar to any other high-growth startups, cryptocurrency companies need to hire at job functions across the entire organization, and fast.

What do you think of the rapid rise in the number of job listings in the crypto space? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Angellist.


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Source: Bitcoin.com

Vinny Lingham Interview: Scaling, Securities and Bitcoin Extremism

Vinny Lingham Interview: Scaling, Securities and Bitcoin Extremism

Vinny Lingham Interview: Scaling, Securities and Bitcoin Extremism

One of bitcoin’s leading luminaries, Vinny Lingham has an opinion on everything and an uncanny ability to sense market movements, earning him the moniker of Bitcoin Oracle. News.Bitcoin.com caught up with the serial entrepreneur to get his thoughts on bitcoin cash, Lightning Network, token models and more.

Also read: Five Reasons Why Bitcoin Cash is About to Win Big

Vinny Lingham on Regulation

Vinny Lingham Interview: Scaling, Securities and Bitcoin ExtremismOn April 20, over 1,000 delegates gathered at the Fairmont in Santa Monica for Start Engine’s ICO Summit 2.0. The event began sharply at 8:30am, with Vinny Lingham the most recognizable figure on a panel titled The State of ICO Regulation. Afterwards, news.Bitcoin.com sat down with the Civic founder for a chat about dual token models, blockchain scaling, and the acrimony that’s riven elements of the bitcoin community.

The overarching message to emerge from the summit was that most tokens are securities, and following the regulatory route – likely Reg A+ – is the only way to avoid SEC censure. “If the price of something is determined by its ability to deliver an investment return then it’s a security,” acknowledges Vinny. Belatedly accepting that many, if not most, ICO tokens may fall into that category, a number of projects have opted for a dual token model, one a utility, the other a dividend. Vinny Lingham is not a fan of this setup however, opining:

People will raise money by whatever way they possibly can [even] if it means bending the rules, changing the system, and unsuspecting people will wind up putting up the money to buy it. But just because you can raise money in a certain way doesn’t mean you should.

Like most of the delegates at the Start Engine conference, he’s convinced that the industry is headed towards securities, complete with the full regulatory compliance that brings, venturing: “I think security tokens will outpace utility tokens by a mile in the next three years”. A month previously, in a blog post titled The Value Trap Dilemma, he wrote: “If you’re building a utility token, it has to have real utility — if you’re just using it to raise money, then it’s a security.”

Don’t Fear the SEC

On the same day that news.Bitcoin.com spoke to Vinny Lingham, details were emerging of the SEC-led complaint against Centra, including allegations of the ICO’s founders pumping the price and creating fake team members. When asked whether there’s likely to be further subpoenas in the token space, Vinny responds: “There will definitely be some. They’re going after the most egregious people.” He doesn’t believe that escalating SEC activity could impact on all U.S.-based token projects, though, including his own Civic, adding “I sleep very well at night, I don’t worry about the next day waking up and [receiving a subpoena]”.

Vinny was tight-lipped about future developments for Civic other than to confirm there are “lots” on the way, some of which will emerge at the Consensus summit on May 14-16 in New York. He gives short shrift to the string of identity-based projects that have emerged since Civic, referencing a recent tweetstorm he composed on the topic, and proclaiming: “If you ask someone what are the top companies in the [identity] space, Civic will always come up number one. And there’ll always be a different number two.”

Vinny Lingham Interview: Scaling, Securities and Bitcoin Extremism

Vinny Lingham Interview: Scaling, Securities and Bitcoin Extremism

Vinny Isn’t Struck by Lightning

When conversation switched from the token economy to bitcoin, Vinny predictably had a lot to say about BTC, BCH, and the scaling methods attempted by both sides. There’s a tendency for proponents (or “maximalists” as the more devout are sometimes branded) to fall on one side of the divide rather than straddle the fence. Vinny Lingham is much more measured, seeing the merits in both strands of bitcoin, whilst remaining broadly supportive of the approach taken by Bitcoin Cash.

The South African entrepreneur isn’t a fan of the elements that are “too extreme” and encourages both camps, Cash and Core, to “exercise some restraint”, particularly when it comes to asserting which brand of bitcoin is the true bitcoin. A day after talking to news.Bitcoin.com, he shared the following tweet:

Vinny Lingham Interview: Scaling, Securities and Bitcoin Extremism

When asked whether he believes a sizeable Bitcoin Core contingent are pinning all their scaling hopes on Lightning Network (LN), Vinny agrees vigorously. “It is the panacea for them right now. Lightning is a big thought experiment which is in code right now and is not proven. How much money is in Lightning – less than $100k? There’s nothing there.” While acknowledging the effort that has gone into developing LN he says:

Lightning, maybe it works, maybe it doesn’t. The point is, you’re going from something that’s proven, that can scale [increasing the block size], at least to some degree, versus something which is unproven [LN] and it may not be able to scale, and we’re pinning our hopes on it. It’s very impractical.

Place Your Bets! Bitcoin Core Lightning Network Fails to Complete Basic Transaction“I think Segwit’s got some flaws in it,” says Vinny at one stage, before asserting that in the short to medium-term it makes more sense to increase the block size, venturing that “There’s no real centralization risk with [increasing the BTC block size to] two megabytes. There’s no centralization there and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid. Let’s say the number of nodes that could afford to run in the long-term dropped by around 2%, that’s not going to create centralization.”

Decentralization Isn’t Everything

On the topic of decentralization, and the sacrifices that must be made to increase the speed of new blockchains, Vinny predictably has a lot to say:  

EOS is one where there is a trade-off, it’s more centralized, but it’s not very centralized. I think there’s a balance you can get. Like, how many nodes is enough [to ensure decentralization]? That’s the real question and no one can give me an answer…Is it a billion? Give me a number, any number.

He agrees that new blockchains are still years away from needing to fulfil the half a billion transactions a day they purport to offer, adding: “That’s exactly my point. We’re nowhere close to the usage of needing to worry about it. Instead of kicking the can down the road and worrying about it later, we’re trying to deal with this now and it’s not an issue right now.”

Vinny Lingham Interview: Scaling, Securities and Bitcoin ExtremismThe interview concludes with Vinny reflecting a sentiment that is expressed multiple times during the course of the summit by investors, lawyers, and entrepreneurs: that the token economy is “such a dynamic space you’re basically just guessing what [governments and regulators] are gonna do next.”

The Bitcoin Oracle has been proven right about many things, but when it comes to figuring out regulators, even he’s in the dark.

Do you agree with Vinny Lingham that certain elements within the BCH and BTC communities are too ‘extreme’ in their views? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter, and Vinnylingham.com.


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Source: Bitcoin.com

Half of the ICO Money in Russia Went to Pyramids

Half of the ICO Money in Russia Went to Pyramids

Half of the ICO Money in Russia Went to Pyramids

Russian ICOs attracted a total of $300 million last year but half of the funds went to financial pyramids, according to the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain. The organization that represents the crypto community in the country is now working on an ICO standard to help investors distinguish real projects from fraudulent schemes. Russian ICOs account for 10% of global volume.

Also read: Russia’s Supreme Court Overturns Decision to Block Bitcoin Website

Russia Expects Up To $1.5 Billion from Coin Offerings

At least $150 million dollars raised by Russian ICOs in 2017 were collected by pyramids, RACIB revealed, while announcing a plan to fight financial fraud in token sales. The initial coin offerings with Russian participation account for 10% of the global market, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported. The association expects Russian projects to attract $1-1.5 billion USD in 2018.

This is some serious money and the Russian crypto community believes the country should take advantage of it. Two major factors can influence negatively these investments and RACIB is actively working on both fronts. Excessive regulation may force Russian companies to seek jurisdictions with a more favorable climate for crypto business. The association already warned about that in a report addressed to President Putin. RACIB is also preparing an “ICO standard” to help investors distinguish real ICOs from fraudulent schemes.

Half of the ICO Money in Russia Went to Pyramids

A startup conducting a coin offering will be judged by several criteria, including the credibility of its team members, Izvestia reported. RACIB will verify if the company has a website with information about previous projects. The association will check for a white paper and a roadmap for the ICO. Startups will be expected to announce a minimum rate of return of the investments.

The ICO standard is part of efforts to introduce a level of self-regulation and will not be included in the upcoming legislation. Two bills regulating the crypto sector have been filed in the State Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament. The draft law “On digital financial assets” legalizes various crypto activities, including initial coin offerings. Another bill aims to amend the civil code in order to regulate the use of “digital money” in payments and protect investors’ rights and interests.

Authorities Agree, Some Self-Regulation Is Necessary

The chairman of the parliamentary Financial Market Committee, Anatoliy Aksakov, shares the view that the ICO sector should regulate itself to a certain extent. The proposed legislation covers token sales only in general terms, he noted. The details can be introduced through self-regulation, the lawmaker added.

Some Russian experts believe that only “qualified investors” should have access to initial coin offerings. “Citizens can lose money not only because a project might be fraudulent, but also because they don’t understand cryptocurrencies very well,” says Teimuraz Vashakmadze from the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration. Investments in tokens can be highly risky, he warns.

Half of the ICO Money in Russia Went to PyramidsClear and transparent self-regulation by market participants will help minimize fraud in this sector thinks Igor Nikolaev, Director of the Institute of Strategic Analysis at FBK Grant Thornton. However, he is unsure if that will help the market at all. Nikolaev says that the potential of digital currencies is limited due to the reluctance of central banks to recognize them as means of payment.

The State Duma has already accepted the bill “On digital financial assets”, which was also reviewed by the Cabinet of Ministers. This draft, along with the amendments regulating the use of cryptocurrencies, should be adopted by early summer, probably in time for the football World Cup. Russia is expecting $2 billion dollars from fans visiting the country. Part of the money is likely to come in the form of crypto payments.

Do you think self-regulation is an appropriate mechanism to fight financial fraud associated with ICOs? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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Source: Bitcoin.com

Bitcoin Miners Unaffected by Price Decline — Hashrates Spiked Exponentially

Bitcoin Miners Unaffected by Price Decline — Hashrates Spiked Exponentially

Bitcoin Miners Unaffected by Price Decline — Hashrates Spiked Exponentially

Despite the multitude of headlines declaring that bitcoin mining was becoming unprofitable over the last four months, the hashrate between both Bitcoin Core (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) networks has exploded. At the moment both SHA-256 proof-of-work (POW) powered protocols have been maintaining more than 35 exahash per second, becoming one of the most powerful computational systems in the world.

Also read: Play Music on Jukebox.cash – a Bitcoin Cash Infused Global Playlist

BTC Mining Hashrate Unphazed by ‘Crypto Winter’

There has been a massive decline in fiat value for nearly all cryptocurrencies represented within the digital asset universe during the 2018 ‘Crypto Winter.’ During this time, researchers and pundits have declared that when BTC/USD prices dipped below $8K, mining was allegedly unprofitable in some regions. However, as far as blockchain data is concerned mining has grown exponentially even during the last four months when BTC prices found new lows. This year pools such as BTC.com, Antpool, Slush, and Viabtc have increased their hashrates considerably. A factor possibly due to new semiconductors and innovations in mining technology.   

Today the BTC global hashrate is 30 exahash per second. Over the last four months even when the price declined hashrate increased.

Over the last seven days, BTC miners have held a fairly consistent 30 exahash per second. From December 2017 up until April 2018, the BTC chain’s hashrate has increased significantly. According to estimates, Chinese mining pools make up most of the BTC hashrate (80%) as eight of the top ten pools are based in China.

Chinese mining pools make up more than 80 percent of the BTC global hashrate.

The top five pools command close to 75 percent of the global BTC hashrate with BTC.com taking the cream of the crop. BTC.com now captures 28.9 percent of the BTC hashrate today, with Antpool’s 15.2 percent following behind. There are a total of seventeen known mining pools pointing their resources at the BTC chain and one unknown operation controls 10 percent of the network.

Bitcoin Cash Hashrate Explodes

The Bitcoin Cash network has also increased its hashrate significantly as well, as BCH miners are now processing between 3.6-5 exahash per second. Just a few months ago the BCH hashrate was between 0.5-1 exahash per second. At the time of writing due to the 60 percent bitcoin cash price increase, it is 1.7 percent more profitable to mine BCH than to mine on the BTC chain. Presently the Bitcoin Cash Difficulty Adjustment Algorithm (DAA) is operating at 14.8 percent of BTC’s difficulty. March and the month of April were the biggest hashrate spikes for BCH since the DAA was fixed last November.

A side-by-side chart of BTC and BCH hashrates. BCH is represented in purple while the orange trendline is BTC.

BCH has roughly thirteen known mining pools and 2-3 unknown mining operations pointing their resources at the chain. The biggest BCH mining pools over the last seven days include BTC.top, Viabtc, BTC.com, Antpool, and Bitcoin.com. Over the last week, the 2-3 unknown mining pools have captured 31 percent of the BCH network hashrate. Roughly 60 percent of the BCH global hashrate stems from China, as bitcoin cash has a more diversified spectrum of countries within its hashrate distribution.

Bitcoin Cash mining pool hashrate distribution over the last seven days and 24-hours.

The Entire Cryptocurrency Ecosystem Has Seen Hashrates Spike

Overall there is a lot of computational power directed at both of these two networks, and they eclipse the entire landscape of 1500+ other digital asset hashrates. Although the processing power for those cryptocurrencies has increased as well over the last four months. Since January 2018 until now, the Ethereum network’s hashrate has grown immensely during the ‘Crypto Winter.’

Nearly every PoW cryptocurrency’s hashrate has spiked over the past four months.

The same thing for the Litecoin network, as its hashrate has exploded during its 4-month price downswing. This trend has taken place across nearly every single cryptocurrency that uses a POW-type of consensus algorithm. Most all of the cryptocurrency hashrates worldwide have spiked considerably this past January through April 23, 2018. It’s safe to say all these theories of miners shutting down machines soon, and ‘losing their shirts’ is pretty far fetched.

What do you think about the hashrate explosion between BTC and BCH and all the other currencies over the last four months? Let us know your thoughts about this subject in the comments below.


Images via Shutterstock, Fork.lol, BTC.com, Blockchain.info, Coin Dance, and ETHscan.io.


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The post Bitcoin Miners Unaffected by Price Decline — Hashrates Spiked Exponentially appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

If You’re a Wikipedia Contributor, Owning Cryptocurrency May Be a Conflict of Interest

If You’re a Wikipedia Contributor, Owning Cryptocurrency May Be a Conflict of Interest

If You’re a Wikipedia Contributor, Owning Cryptocurrency May Be a Conflict of Interest

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.

Also read: Telegram Urges Paper Airplane Protest, Pussy Riot Activist Arrested

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

If You’re a Wikipedia Contributor, Owning Cryptocurrency May Be a Conflict of InterestCertain 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.

If You’re a Wikipedia Contributor, Owning Cryptocurrency May Be a Conflict of Interest

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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The post If You’re a Wikipedia Contributor, Owning Cryptocurrency May Be a Conflict of Interest appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com

India Divided on Whether to Ban Crypto Use

India Divided on Whether to Ban Crypto Use

India Divided on Whether to Ban Crypto Use

As India works on the bill to regulate cryptocurrencies, each government department has its own opinion on whether to ban the use of crypto, including bitcoin. The Finance Ministry, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Income Tax Department, and the Special Investigation Team have voiced their opinions on the upcoming bill.

Also read: Russian Regulators Draft Law to Restrict Crypto Mining, Payments, and Token Sales

No Consensus Among Regulators

India Divided on Whether to Ban Crypto UseIndia is preparing a bill on the regulation of cryptocurrency. “The bill has been drafted and consultation has been started with the concerned agency,” the Navbharat Times reported last week. The news outlet quoted sources explaining that the regulators are divided on whether to ban the use of cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

“The finance ministry is in favor of regulating [cryptocurrency],” sources said. The Income Tax Department, on the contrary, is not in favor of regulation, the news outlet conveyed, and quoted sources explaining:

The regulation of virtual currency is almost impossible and it promotes the use of black money.

India Divided on Whether to Ban Crypto UseThe RBI “is also not in favor of banning virtual currencies,” but sources pointed out that “the current form of the bill proposes to ban virtual currency businesses.” However, there may be exemptions for “issuing crypto tokens in exchange for assets.”

Meanwhile, the Indian Special Investigation Team (SIT) “wants to ban the use of bitcoins” after discovering at least four cases where the digital currency was used to pay for drugs, the Sunday Guardian reported. The SIT comprises of officials from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax Department.

India Divided on Whether to Ban Crypto UseThe SIT has previously asked the ED, NCB and the Income Tax Department “to take adequate measures to prevent the use of cryptocurrencies,” the publication noted, adding that the Team “has called for a second round of meetings to be held in Delhi next month, where the officials from all the aforementioned agencies will review the use of cryptocurrencies.”

Experts Say Crypto Ban Not Very Feasible

The debate is also taking place in the private sector. Sarvesh Tyagi, a Delhi-based cyber law expert, told the Sunday Guardian that “it is doubtful that the SIT will succeed in banning the use of cryptocurrencies. Ban is not a solution. We need a regulatory authority.” She elaborated:

A blanket ban on the use of cryptocurrencies is not a very feasible solution as drug smuggling is a big problem, and in most cases, these transactions have nothing to do with use of cryptocurrencies.

Crypto Businesses Fight Back

The RBI announced earlier this month for banks and payment gateways under its control to stop providing services to businesses dealing in cryptocurrencies. “Banks have already sent notices to exchanges,” Sathvik Vishwanath, CEO of a leading Indian exchange Unocoin, told news.Bitcoin.com.

India Divided on Whether to Ban Crypto UseThe RBI allows banks “about 3 months of time to end the relationships” with crypto businesses, he noted, adding that crypto companies “will be attempting to challenge the [RBI] order” in the Supreme Court as a consortium.

One company, Kali Digital Eco-Systems, has already appealed to the High Court in Delhi against the recent RBI crackdown. The company is behind the upcoming crypto exchange called Coinrecoil.

On Sunday, the company announced that Delhi High Court has accepted its petition against the Indian regulators, adding that:

Hon’ble High Court of Delhi has issued a notice to the Reserve Bank of India, the Union of India through Secretary, Ministry of Finance and GST Council. The next hearing in this case is on May 24, 2018.

What do you think of the Indian regulators’ divided opinions on how to regulate cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Indian government.


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The post India Divided on Whether to Ban Crypto Use appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Source: Bitcoin.com