YouTube Bans Drive Cryptocurrency Fans to Decentralized Alternatives

YouTube’s crypto policy has driven crypto enthusiasts to look for decentralized alternatives that are uncensored and provide incentives to their users.

In recent years, Google-owned video-sharing platform YouTube deleted and banned an array of cryptocurrency-related channels. The platform’s policy has driven cryptocurrency enthusiasts to look for decentralized alternatives to YouTube, which allow users to skirt censorship and even incentivize them with their own tokens.

In a YouTube video published on April 1, a channel dubbed Bitcoin for Beginners reviewed some of the decentralized YouTube alternatives. When choosing the most relevant platforms, the channel host took into account their usability, track records and user interface as major criteria.

Among the most popular decentralized video sharing platforms, the author noted LBRY, Bitchute, BitTube, PeerTube and Dtube. 

Censorship-resistance and incentives

LBRY has a community-controlled blockchain protocol and enables users to mine library credits and send them as tips to various creators. However, it is not easy to find good content as the platform doesn’t lay out popular or trending videos before you start following a channel.

Launched in 2018, BitTube allows users to overpass censorship thanks to InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). BitTube appears to be more entertaining as it offers livestreams, games, groups, and other options. Moreover, the platform has a reward system, wherein it rewards creators and viewers based on the time watched, and provides two privacy tokens.

Bitchute claims to use a peer-to-peer WebTorrent technology, however, the service still can delist content as it comes from their centralized servers. Also, most of the content is heavily political. 

Another platform called DTube is built on IPFS and the STEEM blockchain and rewards its users with DTC tokens, which gives them an ad-free option. The last platform mentioned, Peertube, was launched in 2015 and is based on the WebTorrent technology. Peertube features P2P video sharing.

Calling for a mass migration to alternative platforms

In a bid to stand up to Google for censoring cryptocurrency-related content across its platforms, the crypto community started a petition in early March. The so-called #ForkGoogle memorandum accuses the tech giant of waging “campaigns of suppression against Bitcoin and blockchain industry for years.”

#ForkGoogle calls for the crypto community to boycott Google’s services and migrate to alternative decentralized platforms like blogging platform Steemit and open-source browser Brave.

In recent years, Google-owned video-sharing platform YouTube deleted and banned an array of cryptocurrency-related channels. The platform’s policy has driven cryptocurrency enthusiasts to look for decentralized alternatives to YouTube, which allow users to skirt censorship and even incentivize them with their own tokens.

In a YouTube video published on April 1, a channel dubbed Bitcoin for Beginners reviewed some of the decentralized YouTube alternatives. When choosing the most relevant platforms, the channel host took into account their usability, track records and user interface as major criteria.

Among the most popular decentralized video sharing platforms, the author noted LBRY, Bitchute, BitTube, PeerTube and Dtube. 

Censorship-resistance and incentives

LBRY has a community-controlled blockchain protocol and enables users to mine library credits and send them as tips to various creators. However, it is not easy to find good content as the platform doesn’t lay out popular or trending videos before you start following a channel.

Launched in 2018, BitTube allows users to overpass censorship thanks to InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). BitTube appears to be more entertaining as it offers livestreams, games, groups, and other options. Moreover, the platform has a reward system, wherein it rewards creators and viewers based on the time watched, and provides two privacy tokens.

Bitchute claims to use a peer-to-peer WebTorrent technology, however, the service still can delist content as it comes from their centralized servers. Also, most of the content is heavily political. 

Another platform called DTube is built on IPFS and the STEEM blockchain and rewards its users with DTC tokens, which gives them an ad-free option. The last platform mentioned, Peertube, was launched in 2015 and is based on the WebTorrent technology. Peertube features P2P video sharing.

Calling for a mass migration to alternative platforms

In a bid to stand up to Google for censoring cryptocurrency-related content across its platforms, the crypto community started a petition in early March. The so-called #ForkGoogle memorandum accuses the tech giant of waging “campaigns of suppression against Bitcoin and blockchain industry for years.”

#ForkGoogle calls for the crypto community to boycott Google’s services and migrate to alternative decentralized platforms like blogging platform Steemit and open-source browser Brave.

Global Finance Authority Urges U.S. to Step Up Crypto Regulation

Crypto

Even with the coronavirus outbreak, 2020 still seems to be the year where crypto will become seriously regulated.

Case in point: At the end of March, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) explained in its latest report on the state of compliance in the U.S. that it is lacking proper crypto regulation.

FATF Urges U.S. to Follow Its Crypto Guideline

Over the past few months, many of the world’s largest economies have fallen into line regarding cryptocurrency: South Korea passed a bill to more properly regulate cryptocurrencies, Hong Kong is strengthening its Anti-Money Laundering (AML) enforcement, and much more.

Much of this action has been related to the FATF, the global agency whose purpose is to reduce crime enabled through financial systems, crypto included. Last year, the consortium advised all members to follow a guideline it revealed regarding cryptocurrency, which would require the mandatory collection of user data by crypto exchanges and service providers for large transactions.

According to the March report from the FATF, the U.S., while “largely compliant” with the guideline, is not there yet, with there remaining “minor deficiencies”:

It is not entirely clear whether the current approach is sufficiently risk focused, especially since only 30% of all registered CVC [convertible virtual currencies] providers have been inspected since 2014.

The White House Sees It As a Threat

While these “deficiencies” exist, there are signs that the White House and the rest of the government are focusing on crypto as a serious threat.

Earlier this year, the White House budget proposal for the fiscal year of 2021 suggested returning the United States Secret Service — which actually enforces many financial crimes in America — to the jurisdiction of the Treasury.

The budget proposal suggests that this move will “create new efficiencies” in how the Service investigates potential criminal acts enabled by “digital assets and will “prepare the Nation to face the threats of tomorrow.”

Shortly after this budget was proposed, Steven Mnuchin, the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, said that the Treasury will soon roll out “significant new requirements” for cryptocurrencies and their respective service providers.

These moves may be expedited by the allegation by the U.S. Department of Justice that Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro used cryptocurrency to “further illicit criminal activity,” including a purported cocaine trafficking ring run by many Venezuelan officials.

Crypto Adoption Is Coming

As moves have been made to reduce the amount of crime enabled through cryptocurrency, there’s also been a concerted push by American politicians to make the cryptocurrency usable.

Representative Paul Gosar in March unveiled the “Crypto-Currency Act of 2020” whose premise is:

By providing much-needed regulatory clarity about cryptocurrency, we will make it easier for businesses, institutions, and everyday Americans to participate in this growing industry. No more murkiness, uncertainty, or confusion.

The controversial politician explained that this bill is absolutely necessary for America’s primacy in innovation, before adding that there’s no way America should be sitting on the sidelines when it comes to cryptocurrency, for digital assets offer “a way for forgotten and oppressed people to participate in the global economy.”

Also, Representatives continue to promote the adoption of the Virtual Currency Tax Fairness Act of 2020, which would solve the primary issue of tax in spending cryptocurrency for day-to-day transactions, ensuring that small crypto transactions would be exempt from capital gains taxes.

The post Global Finance Authority Urges U.S. to Step Up Crypto Regulation appeared first on Blockonomi.

Crypto Exchange Giant Binance Confirms CoinMarketCap Acquisition

Coinmarketcap

Crypto exchange behemoth Binance has officially acquired CoinMarketCap (CMC) — the most popular cryptocurrency trading data provider in a move that has sent tongues wagging in the industry. The news confirms earlier reports of Binance looking to purchase CMC for $400 million.

Some pundits in reaction to the development question whether the CMC acquisition by Binance will be healthy for the competitiveness of the crypto exchange market at large. CMC becomes the latest high-profile purchase by Binance as the company continues to pursue an aggressive expansion plan.

Binance and CMC Announce Success of Acquisition Deal

In a blog post published by CMC on Thursday (April 2, 2020), both companies acknowledged the acquisition deal with Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao electing not to provide specific details about the purchase amount. Reports from earlier in the week put the figure in the $400 million ballpark.

Following the deal, the pseudonymous CMC founder and CEO’s Brandon Chez steps down from running the business with the company’s Chief Strategy Officer Carylyne Chan stepping in as interim boss. Commenting on the development, Chez remarked:

“I believe that of all the teams in the space that could acquire CoinMarketCap, Binance is one of the very best options. They are a team that have shown, time and again, that they care about their users and will do the best for them, even in the most challenging of times… I am thrilled to be passing the baton on to Carylyne and the CoinMarketCap team to continue fulfilling my original vision of showcasing the crypto revolution.”

Since its creation in 2013, CMC has gone on to become the most popular cryptocurrency website and is the top-ranked crypto website according to Alexa rankings. The platform has come under some scrutiny in recent times for allegedly promoting scams like Bitconnect and not doing enough to combat wash trading and spoofing by errant crypto exchange platforms.

Worries of Crypto Exchange Market Monopoly

Given CMC’s popularity in the crypto trading scene, its acquisition by Binance has led some pundits to highlight the potential for the latter to enjoy certain unfair advantages over its competitors like Coinbase.

With CMC recording close to 40 million visits in February 2020 alone, some commentators say Binance might be able to capture a significant portion of CMC’s internet traffic via targeted banner ads on the data provider’s website.

CMC’s new interim CEO, Chang responded to these concerns in a letter to its users stating:

“CoinMarketCap will continue to be run independently, as an independent entity, from Binance. Decisions will be made according to the best interests of CoinMarketCap, meaning that we will continue to develop products and services that benefit CoinMarketCap users, and continue working with partners and customers in a way that benefits them and brings the greatest value to them.”

According to Chang, CMC will maintain transparency in its listing process for crypto projects as well as other exchanges.

Binance Unrelenting in Rapid Expansion Drive

At the start of the year, Binance CEO Zhao told users that the platform was pursuing two major acquisition deals as the company continues its rapid expansion.

Back in 2019, Binance acquired Indian crypto exchange platform Wazir X while creating fiat on-ramps for multiple national currencies despite a $40 million Bitcoin (BTC) hack in May 2019.

Following issues regarding unclear regulations in the U.S., Binance created a separate trading platform for crypto traders in the country at a time when others were either geofencing or moving their operations overseas.

As previously reported by Blockonomi, the company has established a research institute in Shanghai, China focused on blockchain technology research.

The post Crypto Exchange Giant Binance Confirms CoinMarketCap Acquisition appeared first on Blockonomi.

Bithumb Global Launches Margin Trading for Bitcoin and Ether Pairs with Tether

Bithumb Global, the international platform of South Korea’s top crypto exchange, has rolled out margin trading with 5x leverage for Bitcoin and Ether trading pairs with Tether.

Bithumb Global, the international platform of South Korea’s top crypto exchange, has rolled out margin trading with 5x leverage for Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) trading pairs with Tether (USDT).

In an announcement published on April 2, the exchange revealed the service would be available on its website and app. It will, however, be restricted for traders living in jurisdictions where margin trading is prohibited or capped — as, for example, with Japan.  

Leveraged trading gains traction in the industry

Margin trading enables traders to use borrowed funds in order to increase their potential profits, yet it is a high-risk strategy, as it can equally compound losses where unsuccessful. 

Many platforms and regulators therefore advise, or intervene, against retail traders engaging in leveraged trading — often restricting the option to accredited or institutional investors.

Briefly hinting at this, Bithumb Global urges traders to keep their strategies “appropriate” to their financial situation, in light of the “significant risks” they are courting. 

In late March, major crypto exchange Binance announced it was delisting FTX leveraged token pairs, just weeks after launching the products. In this case, the exchange reported that retail traders did not appear to understand the tokens and appeared to be holding rather than trading them, counter to their specific design.

Binance — like OKEx and others — offers high leverage on derivatives such as futures, where complexity and liquidation risks need to be carefully navigated.

In January, the 12th-largest crypto exchange Bitstamp partnered with crypto-friendly Silvergate Bank to trial leveraged Bitcoin trading, restricting the pilot to select institutional clients. 

Yesterday, the National Internet Finance Association of China accused overseas crypto exchanges of intentionally shutting off their systems or staging outages to trap and liquidate leverage traders during times of peak volatility.

Nationwide Lockdown: Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Signups and Trade Volumes Increase

Nationwide Lockdown: Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Signups and Trade Volumes Increase

India is currently under a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak. News.Bitcoin.com talked to executives of local cryptocurrency exchanges to find out the impact of the lockdown on cryptocurrency trading. They revealed that more people are actually trading cryptocurrencies on their platforms since the lockdown began.

Also read: IMF Declares Global Recession, 80 Countries Request Help, Trillions of Dollars Needed

More People Trading Cryptos Since the Lockdown

The Indian crypto community has been rebuilding ever since the supreme court lifted the RBI ban. Then, in response to the covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on March 25 a 21-day nationwide lockdown — the period which ends on April 14.

Nischal Shetty, CEO of local crypto exchange Wazirx, shared with news.Bitcoin.com about the impact of the lockdown on cryptocurrency trading on his platform. He said, “we’ve seen a spike in the number of people trading on Wazirx ever since the lockdown,” adding:

Signups have increased greatly since the banking restriction was lifted but a further 25% increase in signups since the lockdown.

Nationwide Lockdown: Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Signups and Trade Volumes Increase
Some Indian cryptocurrency exchanges have experienced increased trade volumes since the nationwide lockdown began.

Another Indian crypto exchange, Coindcx, is seeing a similar trend. CEO Sumit Gupta shared with news.Bitcoin.com that his exchange witnessed 10 times growth in the first week after the supreme court lifted the RBI ban. As for the effect of the nationwide lockdown, he said: “Post the lockdown situation, we are witnessing the continuation of signup growth and the rate of growth is consistent on a daily basis.” Gupta continued to share that “the number of daily trading volumes and user activity (crypto and INR) deposits on the Coindcx platform are also consistent with respect to before lockdown,” asserting:

This shows that crypto is still largely uncorrelated compared to traditional asset classes which are significantly affected due to these crises.

Nationwide Lockdown: Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Signups and Trade Volumes Increase
Wazirx CEO Nischal Shetty explained that people have more time on their hands to search online for crypto-related information during the nationwide lockdown. Some of them ended up trying crypto trading for the first time.

During the supreme court hearing against the banking restriction imposed by the central bank, it was reiterated that cryptocurrency is not illegal in India. Moreover, the Indian government is said to be discussing a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies in India with the central bank instead of an outright ban.

Attracting New Crypto Investors

Since the supreme court ruled in favor of cryptocurrency against the central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), a growing number of Indians have become interested in cryptocurrency trading. Referring to the nationwide lockdown, Shetty opined:

Since people have more time on hand, they’re spending time researching online and coming across crypto-related articles. That leads them to finally on Wazirx in order to buy their first crypto.

Just before the nationwide lockdown announcement, Wazirx and global cryptocurrency exchange Binance launched a $50 million blockchain fund that aims to invest in startups and projects in the Indian crypto ecosystem. Binance acquired Wazirx in November last year and recently announced its acquisition of Coinmarketcap. Meanwhile, Coindcx scored funding from several major venture capitalists, including Bain Capital, Polychain Capital, and Bitmex owner HDR Global Trading.

What do you think of India’s increased crypto trade volume since the lockdown? Let us know in the comments section below.

The post Nationwide Lockdown: Indian Cryptocurrency Exchanges See Signups and Trade Volumes Increase appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Google Chrome Leads the Pack, but Privacy-Oriented Browsers Gain Traction

Privacy-oriented web browsers are making a serious dent in the user base of various mainstream surfing platforms like Chrome, Safar and others.

In recent months, big-name players like Google and Apple have been going the extra mile to showcase their privacy features to the world. However, as most people are now aware, these multinational companies have business models that are centered around collecting and aggregating the data of their customers. 

In this regard, growing interest in privacy-first browsers like Brave clearly suggests a collective increase in internet users’ concern over how their personal information is being accumulated, stored and utilized on a day-to-day basis.

Individuals all over the globe have become so accustomed to using free search, chat, video and other web services that they rarely understand the repercussions, especially in terms of how they are sacrificing their privacy. The Facebook–Cambridge Analytica scandal, along with other data hacks, has shed light on the potential nefarious uses of data collection. 

Expounding his views on the matter, John Jefferies, the chief financial analyst at the crypto and blockchain forensics firm CipherTrace, told Cointelegraph that privacy concerns make users shift to decentralized platforms and privacy-oriented browsers, adding:

“The topic of online privacy is even more relevant now that millions more people are working remotely due to work-from-home orders in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. It is incumbent upon virtual video and web communications platforms to convey data collection, privacy practices, and security options so that remote workers understand the implications of relying on these tools for virtual meetings in which sensitive information is discussed and frequently recorded.”

The top web browsers in the market today

Chrome

Despite the criticism Google has faced in recent years for indulging in various user data distribution malpractices, the company’s Chrome web browser is still by far one of the most used internet surfing platforms in the world today. However, despite all of this negative backlash, Jun Hao Tan — the senior vice president and co-founder of the Zilliqa blockchain platform — believes that it would be misguided to disregard the efforts that big-name companies are implementing in relation to their browsers. 

Tan opined that one can actually argue that many of today’s mainstream browsers have started employing even more stringent privacy-preserving enhancements in the face of data privacy regulations. For example, Google Chrome recently announced that it would be phasing out third-party cookies by 2022 and has proposed a “Privacy Sandbox” with more privacy-oriented application programming interfaces for advertisers to consider for the future. Tan further added:

“When it comes to decentralization and embracing open-source software, Chrome or to be more specific, Chromium — Google’s open-source browser software project — ranks highly. In fact, Chromium has since then been adopted by many other browsers such as privacy-oriented blockchain-based browser Brave and a newer version of Microsoft Edge. However, as Chrome is led by a commercial company there may be conflicts of interest.”

Firefox

Similarly, other mainstream players like Safari and Firefox have also been making notable advancements when it comes to blocking third-party cookies by default, as well as preventing websites and advertisers from engaging in cross-site tracking of their users’ web movements.

According to W3Schools’s browser use statistics, Mozilla Firefox is one of the most loved web browsers in the world today. In fact, many consider Mozilla's introduction of Firefox as a key driver for why open-source browsers have increased in popularity over the years. 

Talking about the utility of this platform, Anna Tutova, the CEO of the crypto consulting agency Coinstelegram, told Cointelegraph that she personally is a big fan of Firefox because it offers a high level of security while also providing its users with a host of advanced features, such as pop-up blocking, a private browsing mode, as well as protection against fingerprinting, tracking, and malware and phishing attempts.

A somewhat similar outlook is shared by Caleb Chen, an author for Private Internet Access’s Privacy News Online blog. He told Cointelegraph that many of the extensions and add-ons that are freely available with Firefox have made it quite easy for users to access parts of the decentralized internet. Even when it comes to crypto integration, he pointed out that Firefox presents its users with a whole host of cryptocurrency wallets that can be installed with a few clicks, either as extensions or add-ons.

Opera

Opera is a highly popular web browser that has been able to amass a truly global following in recent years. Additionally, on March 30, Opera became the first major surfing platform to grant users access to decentralized web pages through its partnership with Unstoppable Domains.

Among traditional browsers, it is by far one of the most advanced in terms of crypto integration, since the company recently launched a blockchain browser called Opera Touch that comes with its very own built-in crypto wallet. 

Providing his insights regarding the privacy and security potential of Opera, Ankit Bhatia, the CEO of Sapien Network — a democratized social platform built for user privacy and customizability — told Cointelegraph that Opera’s recent integration of the InterPlanetary File System protocol has been a big step forward when it comes to maximizing individual privacy. Technically speaking, IPFS is a protocol and peer-to-peer network for storing and sharing data through the use of a distributed file system.

Charles Hamel, the head of crypto at Opera, told Cointelegraph that Opera’s vision from the very beginning has been to take care of its users’ data privacy and security. On the subject, he added: “For this reason, even if you aren’t accessing the decentralized web, you can use our built-in VPN or tracker blocker to protect yourself.” Similarly, commenting on the steps the company has been taking in regard to crypto-enabled technologies, Hamel pointed out:

“The first challenge to the mainstream adoption of blockchain technologies we saw and fixed was: a lack of user-friendly wallet solutions or browsers which would provide native blockchain support. We have solved this problem with our native Crypto Wallet, built into the browser (mobile and desktop). The second one was the difficulty of obtaining crypto. We have also fixed that by providing seamless crypto wallet top ups in our browser.”

With that being said, some critics have pointed out that since Opera is a Chinese-based company, there may be certain privacy-related issues that spring up in the future, especially with the Asian powerhouse’s pro-censorship stance.

Brave

Just a few years ago, the name Brave would not have elicited any response from internet users. However, according to recent data, the privacy-oriented web browser has now surpassed the 10 million monthly active users mark. In fact, according to a tweet published on April 1 by the company’s head of marketing, Des Martin, the browser’s user tally increased by more than a million people in March alone. Not only that, the platform has also been able to consolidate a creator pool of about 340,000 individuals, thereby leading many experts to believe that Brave has now entered the mainstream.

When it comes to an internet-surfing platform that provides users with a healthy mix of privacy and decentralization, many experts believe that Brave is a highly palatable option. As an open-source browser, Brave not only blocks malicious advertisements and trackers but also rewards publishers through its native Ethereum-based Basic Attention Token (BAT) that powers its blockchain-based digital advertising ecosystem. In addition to all this, the browser also comes with a crypto wallet that accommodates a whole host of popular digital assets, such as Ether (ETH), Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC).

In regard to why the market has responded so positively toward Brave, CEO and co-founder Brendan Eich told Cointelegraph that over the past couple of years, he has seen a privacy wave that has fueled the growth of various privacy-oriented apps. He noted: “More and more users are becoming aware that once their data is harvested by the cloud, they lose ownership and control.” However, he did concede that despite onboarding new users, retention is a key challenge, adding:

“So we keep innovating and improving on Chrome compatibility with much greater than Chrome performance due to Brave’s shields. This translates into larger circles of adoption, and also into more partnerships and ecosystem growth. As more and more decentralized apps grow and collaborate, a new landscape will represent a viable alternative to the current broken model.”

Related: Brave New World: Browser Challenging Google for the Future of Privacy

Commenting on the browser’s growing popularity, Tan pointed out that one of the key reasons why Brave has been able to capture the attention of the masses is because it recently joined the AdLedger consortium, which has many leading advertising and media giants as members, including Publicis, GroupM and IBM. Not only that, HTC also recently selected Brave as the default browser for its blockchain smartphone, Exodus. Tan further added:

“Brave is also lauded for its emphasis on speed, largely enabled by its ‘ad-stripping’ strategy which means it downloads comparatively less content from websites than any other mainstream browser on the market today.”

On the subject, Billy Rennekamp, the grants manager for the Interchain Foundation — an organization that seeks to advance the use of open, decentralized network technologies — told Cointelegraph that the team behind Brave has done a great job maximizing its browser’s ability to block ads and web trackers, as well as in offering its users access to the Tor network.

Safari

At one point in time, Apple’s Safari was one of the world’s most widely used internet browsers. However, the platform has in recent years lost a lot of its users to other more efficient options, such as Firefix, Chrome, Brave and others. In fact, Safari was initially known for its ability to block third-party cookies by default, thus preventing websites and advertisers from engaging in cross-site tracking of user behaviors online.

That being said, Safari is a close-source project — only the WebKit portion of the platform is open-source based — and thus its overall capacity to provide users with certain decentralization and privacy-related features is quite constrained.

Tor

Over the last decade or so, Tor’s global popularity seems to have increased dramatically. For starters, it is one of the most privacy-oriented browsers that one can make use of today. It not only prevents third-party trackers from keeping tabs on an individual’s surfing habits, but it also automatically clears one’s cookies and data history. 

Furthermore, from a technical standpoint, Tor encrypts an individual’s traffic three times using three different nodes, all of which are decentralized and operated by volunteers. Each node peels away only one layer of encryption, so the full message cannot be accessed by an individual operator. All of this, however, results in slower surfing speeds.

Unfortunately, the Tor network has some dark associations with it as well, especially since the browser has been used by miscreants to access a whole host of darknet marketplaces where it is possible to acquire and trade illegal items, such as drugs, firearms, etc. 

Status

An up-and-coming name in the world of decentralized web browsing, Status has been gaining widespread traction among users looking to secure their digital data in the easiest manner possible. Status offers users a three-in-one platform that includes a messenger, crypto wallet and Web 3.0 browser. Speaking on the technological capabilities of this software, Rennekamp stated:

“I think Status has made privacy and decentralization core to their offering as a crypto product and it shows. Mostly through their work on Vac, the open protocol for decentralized and encrypted chat, but also through their support of the Ethereum Name Service.”

He further pointed out that the team behind Status recently launched its first public release, Whisper, which is an open protocol for decentralized and encrypted chat that was developed by blockchain auditor and Solidity developer Dean Eigenmann.

MetaMask extension

While not a pure browsing application in and of itself, MetaMask is a browser extension that is fully compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Brave and Opera. Additionally, the add-on also comes with a native crypto wallet that is extremely popular among digital currency owners worldwide. 

Simply put, MetaMask provides users with one of the simplest and most secure ways to connect with various blockchain-based applications.

Will the future of internet browsing be privacy-oriented?

Despite big-name companies like Google continually pushing the narrative that they are looking to maximize the privacy of their users, the situation appears to be the exact opposite, especially since smaller players like Brave have been able to amass a large following in recent years.

In this regard, it seems as though there is a shift in market perception taking place when it comes to individual privacy and security, such that more and more people are beginning to move from centralized web browsing services like Microsoft Edge to more decentralized and transparent ones. On the issue, Bhatia said that he does not believe Google when it talks about prioritizing privacy, adding:

“I hope Brave and Opera make enough noise about their privacy features. There’s a strong potential to change perceptions about privacy and how users view their web browsers. Brave’s growth trajectory means there’s room for a major private browser in the market.”

And while Rennekamp believes that Google will most likely maintain a lead within the market segment, players like Brave and Opera have the potential to push the conversation in a more privacy-oriented direction. Similarly, Chen also believes that as time goes on and people become more tech savvy, their preference for transparent, auditable and incorruptible (decentralized and distributed) internet tools will slowly but surely grow.

Crypto Gazette Cryptocurrency-Oriented Publication Gives Away Ten Ledger Nano X Devices To Lucky Readers

Crypto Gazette is showing gratitude to supportive readers via a Ledger Nano X Giveaway that’s just around the corner. At the end of April, the online publication will be gifting ten lucky readers a Ledger Nano X cold wallet to keep their crypto safe.

Crypto and the blockchain have been gaining increased interest from people all over the world, and the crypto industry is on the right path towards the mainstream adoption of digital assets and their underlying tech. In the middle of the global crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, Bitcoin and crypto are expected to show their true advantages over fiat money and the traditional financial system. The disruptive emerging industry has tremendous potential, and it’s set to revolutionize the financial industry and mankind’s future.

Bitcoin was born from an economic recession, and during the current world crisis, it will withstand potential financial collapse. More people understand the power of the new digitized industry, and they are migrating towards Bitcoin and crypto as a new safe haven.

Crypto Gazette April Nano Ledger X Giveaway

Crytpo Gazette online publication has been guiding its readers through the revolutionary industry and spent a lot of time and effort building the website to provide users with the info they need to succeed in the crypto space and remain updated on all relevant issues. 

Now, the online publication shows gratitude to its readers for years of support and prepares a big Ledger Nano X giveaway scheduled for the end of April.

Here are the simple steps to enter the contest:

  • Tweet about the Crypto Gazette Ledger Nano X 
  • Follow Crypto Gazette on Twitter
  • Enter your e-mail address

“We are giving away 10 Ledger Nano Xs, which will help people secure their cryptocurrency. The winner will be chosen at random via e-mail once it’s confirmed they tweeted, followed and subscribed, most importantly we need your e-mail to notify you if you’ve won or not,” Crypto Gazette announces on the official website.

Keep your crypto safe on Ledger Nano X

The Ledger Nano X cold wallet is one step ahead of other hardware wallets that can be found on the market these days. The device’s high capacity for digital assets mixed with the Bluetooth connectivity make the wallet a true powerhouse for managing digital assets. 

One of the main advantages of Ledger Nano X is that it can keep users’ funds safe from hackers – the hardware wallet provides the highest level of security and safety, essential elements for all crypto holders. 

Despite the neverending battler between the hot and cold wallets, the latter ones always turn out to be superior in terms of safety and essential features. 

Make sure to take this unique chance to win and enter the Crypto Gazette Ledger Nano X Giveaway Contest now. Good luck! 

About Crypto Gazette

Crypto Gazette is a website that’s been born from the passion for crypto industry and it offers news broadcast in real-time, along with analysis on the crypto market, the latest news about the financial markets, major political and economic events, exchange rates and stock exchange quotations. The website is working hard to be one of the most transparent and objective go-to places to get the latest news with a focus on results and flawless data processing as primary targets. 

Crypto Gazette is a Google News Approved Website. 

About Ledger Nano X

The next level hardware wallet: securely manage your crypto, anywhere you go. The Ledger Nano X combines ease-of-use and flexibility while ensuring the highest standard of crypto security.

CryptoGazette Website: www.cryptogazette.com

Follow CryptoGazette on Facebook: www.facebook.com/cryptogazettenews/?ref=py_c

Keep up to date with CryptoGazette on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cryptogazette

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Bitcoin Price Will Double in 6 Months, Says Billionaire Investor

$100k bitcoin price 2021
Attention those who are trending toward the bearish. According to billionaire investor Mike Novogratz, Bitcoin will double in the next six months and retest the old highs of $20k by the end of the year. Mike Novogratz Says ‘This Is the Year for Bitcoin’ Speaking to CNBC’s Closing Bell last night, as the DOW closed up 534 points, Novogratz was encouragingly bullish on Bitcoin. He pointed out that, for the first time, high-net-worth individuals and hedge fund investors are getting into Bitcoin. He said: This is the year for Bitcoin – if it doesn’t go up now, I’m not sure when it will "This is the year for bitcoin," says @novogratz, and if it doesn't go up now, "I might just hang my spurs." pic.twitter.com/KbUQfMzzEI — CNBC's Closing Bell (@CNBCClosingBell) April 2, 2020 Novogratz also points to the fact that Bitcoin is a hard asset and that we are starting to see real flows into it. He briefly brought up the trillions of dollars in quantitative easing that’s going on and how untenable that situation is. Money doesn’t grow on trees. Right now, it feels like we crossed the Rubicon where everyone feels money grows on trees…  I don’t think the FED’s doing the wrong thing it’s just that we’re going to debase the value of fiat. When asked for hard numbers, he said that Bitcoin should at least double within six months. If it doesn’t, he may just “hang up (his) spurs.” Sudden About Turn on Previous Predictions? As a major investor in the space, the Galaxy Digital CEO is historically bullish on Bitcoin. He was among the first to confirm a new bull market just under one year ago and predicted that BTC would reach a new all-time high in 2019. However, after the brutal sell-off two weeks ago, Novogratz told Anthony Pomliano in an interview that crypto adoption would likely suffer a setback of 12-18 months due to investors needing fiat. But, that was so two weeks ago and before the U.S. Congress approved a $2TN coronavirus stimulus deal. That may have bolstered the stock market, but as Novogratz pointed out, it will eventually debase fiat. As more and more people wonder where all the “helicopter money” is coming from, now’s the time for Bitcoin to shine. Do you agree with Mike Novogratz’s bullish outlook on Bitcoin in 2020? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock, CNBCClosingBell

Institutional Trade Volume Hits Local High as Bitcoin Jumps over $7,000

Futures linked to the bitcoin market experienced a spike in their volumes this Thursday as the cryptocurrency’s spot rate broke above $7,000. Crypto statist Skew highlighted that trading activity on CME’s and Bakkt’s bitcoin derivatives marketplaces surged by up to $595 million and $27 million, respectively. The move uphill left CME’s open interest as high as $217 million. On Bakkt, meanwhile, the value of outstanding futures contracts topped near $9.3 million. “CME and Bakkt both with strong showings yesterday, the largest volume since Mar 16th,” tweeted Skew on Friday. BTCUSD Futures volume spikes on the day the pair crosses above $7,000 | Source: Skew Return of Big Players to Bitcoin Analysts treat Bitcoin Futures’ statistics as a gauge to measure institutional interest in the emerging Bitcoin industry. The higher the Open Interest gets, the more it confirms bitcoin as a matured asset class. It shows more and more people are betting on bitcoin’s future price. While CME settles the bets in paper money, Bakkt offers to do the same via bitcoin. That creates real demand for the cryptocurrency. Matt Hougan, the global head of research at crypto asset management firm Bitwise, treated the Thursday’s volume spike as a signal to bitcoin’s growing demand among big market players. He stated on the day: “Today is the first day in a while that CME bitcoin futures volume has significantly exceeded Coinbase bitcoin trading volume, an early signal that institutions may be starting to look at crypto again.” Interesting to see CME bounce back. Over a longer time period, institutions appeared to be sitting on the sidelines in March during the heightened vol as spot volumes were > than CME futures. pic.twitter.com/KDbEXa7SIs — John Todaro (@JohnTodaro1) April 2, 2020 Deflation The statements appeared as the global economy continued to suffer losses amidst the fast-spreading Coronavirus pandemic. The US central bank and government earlier announced a plethora of stimulus packages to safeguard the economy, which includes a near-zero interest rate and a $2 trillion worth of cash injection. Bulls for a long time have projected the economic aid as a slow poison for the US dollar. As the pandemic spreads, the greenback is likely to trend higher. But its over-supplied nature could cause massive inflation in the long run, a scenario that typically leads investors to put part of their money in deflationary assets, such as Gold. The Fed's balance sheet exploded by $557.3 billion in the last week to $5.812 trillion. More shocking, money supply surged by $436.1 billion. In the past two weeks, the Fed's balance sheet is up by $1,143.4 trillion, fourteen months of QE3, and money supply is up $606.2 billion. — Peter Schiff (@PeterSchiff) April 2, 2020 Bitcoin appears as an alternative to gold, the most typical risk-off hedging asset against fiat-induced inflation. The cryptocurrency has a limited supply cap of 21 million units. Speculators believe its growing demand could lead the price towards $100,000 per token in the coming years. Weekly Federal Reserve Update: $550 billion printed this week. That's 5x annual gold production (before shutdown) or 4.5x the entire market cap of bitcoin. This isn't going to stop until political and economic leaders adopt a philosophy of money. — Roy Sebag (@roysebag) April 3, 2020 The spikes in CME’s and Bakkt’s daily volume and open-interest somewhat proves that bitcoin’s safe-haven narrative is not dead. The cryptocurrency remains up by about 82 percent from its year-to-date bottom below $4,000. That shows there is adequate demand for it among investors who want to protect their fiat-enabled savings from central banks’ inflationary practices. Since you are here… Take advantage of the trading opportunities with Plus500 Risk disclaimer: 76.4% of retail CFD accounts lose money.

Mike Novogratz May ‘Hang His Spurs’ if Bitcoin Doesn’t Hit $20K in 2020

Mike Novogratz, CEO of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital, admitted that he might give up on Bitcoin if its price does not hit new highs in 2020.

As cryptocurrency markets have been edging up over the past two weeks amid multiple sell-offs on the mainstream market, the crypto community has become even more bullish on the price of the major cryptocurrency, Bitcoin (BTC).

Mike Novogratz, CEO of crypto merchant bank Galaxy Digital and a well-known Bitcoin bull, has once again reiterated his bullish stance to the biggest cryptocurrency, predicting that Bitcoin should retest its $20,000 highs by the end of 2020.

In an April 2 interview with CNBC’s Closing Bell, Novogratz also expressed his confidence that Bitcoin’s price should at least double before October 2020.

While Novogratz delivered yet another bullish prediction for Bitcoin, this time, the prominent crypto advocate admitted that he might give up on Bitcoin if its price does not hit a new all-time high in 2020:

“This is the year of Bitcoin and if it doesn’t go up now by the end of the year, I might just hang my spurs.”

Novogratz’s new Bitcoin prediction comes amid some recovery on crypto markets as Bitcoin rallied up to $7,200 on April 2 after dropping to as low as $3,600 earlier in March. As of press time, Bitcoin is trading at $6,989, up over 4.6% over the past 24 hours at press time, according to Coin360.

Novogratz loves making predictions

This is not the first time that Novogratz made an optimistic prediction about Bitcoin. In fact, Novogratz is known for making some inaccurate Bitcoin price forecasts alongside major industry bulls like Tim Draper and John McAfee

Last year, the Galaxy Digital CEO argued that institutional interest would push the Bitcoin price back to $20,000 before the end of 2019.

Maker Foundation To Start Its Dissolution in Two Years

The Maker Foundation will start transferring the governance power and risk management capacity to the community in the next few years. As the first step, it will release an initial draft of the new governance paradigm for the community to vote on. Following the delivery of multi-collateral Dai (MCD), the next step and the ultimate goal of the Foundation is to make MakerDAO

A Sign of Adoption: Line Says 62% of its Exchange Users Are New to Crypto

Chat app operator Line says that 62% of its Bitmax crypto trading platform users have no prior experience in cryptoasset trading. Bitmax is accessible from the Line chat app, which Line says has 83 million users in Japan. App users can access the exchange via a tab, and can also redeem points acquired through using other Line services on Bitmax. In a press release,

Wells Fargo Advisors Named in Crypto Fraud Case

crypto wells fargo
Three cryptocurrency traders allegedly scammed over 100 investors through a Ponzi scheme that generated over $35 million, according to victims who formed an entity to represent them. Interestingly, the trio worked for reputable banks and institutional firms, including Wells Fargo Advisors and NYSE. Former Wall Street Executives Operated Alleged Crypto Scam Q3 Investment Recovery Vehicle, which represents the defrauded investors, initiated the federal securities fraud action in Florida last month. It accuses three individuals of organizing a scheme referred to as Q3, which attracted victims with a fake winning trading formula. The crypto scam was led by a trio that included James Seijas, who worked as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo Advisors until March 2019, Michael Ackerman, a former New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) institutional broker, and surgeon Quan Tran. The recovery vehicle has been assigned the complaints of at least 20 victims, though the total number exceeds 100. It said that similar accusations against Ackerman have already been voiced in a US Securities and Exchange action, a US Commodity Futures Trading Association action, and a criminal wire fraud and money laundering indictment. As per the recovery vehicle, Q3 founders attracted investments by social media channels like Facebook. They promoted their fraudulent scheme in a doctors’ group on the site. Potential victims were told that they could use their funds for crypto trading. The recovery vehicle explained: The founders claimed, fraudulently, that the investments would be used to trade cryptocurrency using a proprietary and wildly successful algorithm developed by Ackerman. Two Wells Fargo Entities Named in the Complaint Besides the trio, the recovery vehicle named two more individuals as part of the plot, including Seijas’ wife Donna Seijas, who acted as a managing partner of Q3, and Steve Saunders, the VP of operations for Skyway Capital Markets. The list of defendants includes two Wells Fargo entities and three Q3 entities. The recovery vehicle claims that over 100 individuals and entities were defrauded. It seems that less than $10 million or even less than $5 million of their investments were used for crypto trading. The rest of about $20 million were used by defendants for own purposes. Wells Fargo, which by the way prohibited customers from buying Bitcoin and other crypto-assets, has been regularly surrounded by scandals these years. Besides the $3 billion fake account scandal, the bank has been accused of violating the ERISA rules and informing clients about risks related to inverse exchange-traded funds (ETFs). Before working for Wells Fargo, James Seijas held various positions at Fidelity Investments, Barclays, and Bank of America. How often have you observed crypto trading ads on social media? Share your experience in the comments section! Image via Shutterstock

Huobi Charity to Distribute $50,000 in Native Tokens in Indonesia

Huobi is launching a charity initiative to support Indonesia’s fight against coronavirus.

Huobi’s charity arm has announced an initiative to distribute aid to assist Indonesia’s fight against COVID-19.

Huobi Charity will distribute aid in partnership with the Indonesia-China Association of Economic, Social and Cultural Cooperation (ICAESCC) to make monetary contributions, donate medical supplies, and leverage blockchain technology to assist healthcare organizations.

Huobi launches coronavirus charity initiative in Indonesia

To provide immediate relief, Huobi Charity will donate roughly $50,000 in Huobi Token (HT) to ICAESCC for the purchase of medical supplies for hospitals.

Ciara Sun, Huobi Group’s vice president of global business, emphasized that the coronavirus pandemic is impacting “everyone in every corner of the world, regardless of industry, socioeconomic status, or nationality.”

On March 31, Indonesia closed its borders to foreigners after a study released by the University of Indonesia warned that the country could see 240,000 deaths by the end of April if no action is taken. The study estimated that varying degrees of intervention could reduce the number of deaths to between 12,000 and 48,000.

“For the sake of the healthcare workers on the front lines and the millions of lives at risk, we need a concerted effort so we want to invite the broader blockchain and crypto communities to join us in our fight against COVID-19,” Sun added.

Huobi Indonesia builds online donation portal

Huobi’s Indonesian subsidiary has also developed an online portal for fiat and crypto donations to ICAESCC.

Huobi Indonesia is slated to work with ICAESCC to administrate and promote the platform, and distribute medical supplies. The portal is available in English, Chinese, and Indonesian.

Huobi Charity plans to launch a similar initiative in New York — which now has more than 83,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Huobi doubles down on Indonesia

Indonesia is the fourth-most populous country in the world and boasts the largest economy in Southeast Asia.

Huobi Indonesia is one of just three national subsidiaries operated by Huobi Global, alongside exchanges targeting South Korea and Russian respectively.

Despite producing relatively low trade volume when compared to Korea and Russia, Huobi Charity’s initiative highlights the importance of the Indonesian market to the exchange.

Huobi Indonesia comprises the second-largest Indonesian exchange by volume — generating roughly $2.25 million in trade from 29 pairings over the past 24 hours.

Top Crypto Exchange Binance Hints at Launching Bitcoin Options Trading

Top crypto exchange Binance has hinted that it will soon be launching Bitcoin options trading.

Top crypto exchange Binance has hinted that it plans to launch Bitcoin (BTC) options trading. 

Two tweets — via the exchange’s official handle and CEO Changpeng Zhao (“CZ”) — posted on April 3 revealed “testflight leaks” and a screenshot of an apparent prototype for trading BTC/Tether (USDT) options contracts:

Tweet

Source: @cz_binance official Twitter handle, April 3

“Notice anything new”?

Binance’s performative social media “leak” revealed options trading support as one of the items on a “what to test” list, which included other products that have previously been officially announced, such as the Binance Card issued by Visa.

As a popular derivative that enables traders to hedge against asset price swings in either direction, an options contract offers the chance to purchase either a right to buy (a call option) or sell (a put option) a given asset at a specified “strike price.” This strike price is determined on or before the contract’s expiration date.

In response to a request from Cointelegraph, a spokesperson from Binance declined to comment.

Bitcoin options rolling out in 2019–2020

In October 2019, Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group said it was expecting to see high demand in Asia for its own forthcoming options product for Bitcoin futures, first announced in September.

In December, Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange OKEx launched Bitcoin options trading for a select group of traders ahead of public launch in January 2020.

Brazilian Regulators Create DLT Platform for Screening Politicians

Four Brazilian financial regulators are teaming up to aggregate data using blockchain technology to streamline the screening of politicians and corporations.

Four of Brazil’s financial regulatory institutions are collaborating to build a streamlined blockchain-based data-sharing platform to perform background checks on political representatives and corporations.

The platform, dubbed PIER, was developed by Brazil’s central bank Banco Central do Brasil (BCB). The platform saw initial participation from the BCB, the Brazilian private insurance superintendent, and the local securities regulator to inform its database. 

Brazil’s social security supervisor is set to soon participate in the program too. The Brazilian government is also contemplating incorporating data collected by the country’s judiciary, trade boards, and international financial bodies into the PIER system.

Brazilian regulators use DLT to streamline data

Daniel Bichuette, the deputy head of the BCB’s financial system organization department, describes the streamlining of inter-departmental data as “drastically reducing" the time to evaluate the financial background of an entity.

Institutions querying the PIER database are able to quickly access data "from punitive processes and restrictions from companies and administrators,” an entity’s “history of performance in the financial system” — including technical capacity and organization conduct, and “information on the participation of individuals and legal entities in the share capital and shareholding control.”

Adalberto Felinto da Cruz Júnior, the executive secretary of the central bank, described the partnership as having been a “particularly fruitful” endeavor that has paved the way for “important synergies” between the participating regulatory authorities.

Blockchain technologies reduce opportunities for corruption

Eduardo Weller, a software specialist with the BCB stated that using distributed ledger technology for PIER allows the use of “a decentralized, tested technology, whose native functionalities mean that there is no need to build the system from scratch.”

Weller emphasizes that digital signatures guarantee the “authenticity of messages exchanged"; the “integrity of data recorded,” and “eliminates a single point of failure [and] central entity that can defraud data.”

PIER has undergone roughly two years of development, having first been revealed by the central bank in June 2018.

Bitcoin Futures Volumes Hits 2-Week High as Buyers Pile Back Into BTC

Interest returns to Bitcoin products as one company CEO says that BTC price is “just getting started” by challenging $7,000.

Bitcoin (BTC) is capturing investor attention once more as futures markets hit their highest volume since markets crashed below $4,000.

According to data from monitoring resource Skew, April 2 saw the best performance from non-exchange operators of Bitcoin futures since March 16.

CME, Bakkt show fresh growth

CME Group posted $347 million in volume for Thursday, while smaller competitor Bakkt saw $12 million for its physically settled futures and $7.7 million for its cash product.

The uptick followed two weeks of lackluster performance. Investors had panicked last month after a downward spiral unraveled across Bitcoin markets, sending the price as low as $3,600 in a matter of hours. 

Since then, price-performance has recovered, on Thursday hitting around 93% versus the March bottom as BTC/USD reached $7,170.

CME, Bakkt Bitcoin futures 1-month charts

CME, Bakkt Bitcoin futures 1-month charts. Source: Skew/ Twitter

Investor confidence has returned in record time, despite the ongoing uncertainty afflicting traditional markets over coronavirus. Analysts believe that Bitcoin initially suffered from the epidemic as investors sold funds to cover losses in stocks and elsewhere.

For some industry participants, current price action at $7,000 was just a foretaste of what is to come.

Jonathan Leong, co-founder and CEO of trading platform BTSE, said he was “bullish” on the future. He summarized on Twitter:

“#Bitcoin showing extraordinary resilience in what could possibly be the worst economic crisis yet, and it's just getting started!” 

Putting money where it counts

Even Bitcoin skeptics continued to pour scorn on the highly controversial government response to the economic impact of coronavirus

Since the United States Federal Reserve injected a record $6 trillion of liquidity into the economy and said that it has “infinite” money, the spotlight has increasingly focused on the idea that fiat currency is a zero-sum game.

Bailing out loss-making or unsustainable business sectors, such as airlines, with worthless money, was thus the start of a never-ending cycle, gold bug Peter Schiff warned.

On Friday, Schiff wrote:

“Giving airlines money to keep workers employed they no longer need is not only a waste of taxpayer money, but it leads to a miss-allocations of labor resources, and a less efficient and competitive American airline industry that will be in constant need of future bailouts.”

Chinese Regulator Accuses Crypto Exchanges of Fraudulent Volumes

A Chinese financial regulator has warned domestic investors that off-shore cryptocurrency exchanges engage in manipulative practices.

The National Internet Finance Association of China (NIFA) warned investors that cryptocurrency exchanges located outside of the country are engaged in manipulative practices on April 2.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC)-affiliated regulator cautioned investors that many off-shore exchanges wash trade to fake trade volume and engage in underhanded tactics to liquidate leverage traders.

NIFA cites an internal analysis of cryptocurrency markets that found more than 40 crypto assets produced trade volumes exceeding 100% of their total market capitalization, while a further 70 cryptocurrencies saw daily trade activity equal to more than 50% of their market cap.

The regulator states it has identified “massive trading volumes“ for numerous crypto assets despite many markets exhibiting a “relatively low price and small market values.”

NIFA accuses crypto exchanges both of tampering with volume data and operating bots to wash trade in a bid to create the illusion of “false prosperity.”

NIFA accuses exchanges of liquidating leverage traders

Further, NIFA accuses exchanges of intentionally shutting off their systems or staging outages to trap and liquidate leverage traders during times of peak volatility:

“After tricking investors into investing in crypto, some exchanges will manipulate the market through a range of trading techniques to take the investors’ assets.”

The regulator asserts that many of the exchanges fled off-shore after the PBoC’s crackdown on crypto exchanges in 2017. 

NIFA states that the exchanges evade authorities by frequently changing website domain names and server addresses, and by using a combination of online and offline transactions to obfuscate capital flows.

Binance takes cautious steps in China

Binance was one of the exchanges that left China in 2017. During November 2019, rumors that Binance may be seeking to open an office in China began to circulate

In March, Binance Academy launched a blockchain research institute in Shanghai — comprising the establishment of Binance’s first base of operations in China in over two years.

In January, Binance Charity committed to purchasing $1.4 million in medical supplies that would be donated to more than 300 hospitals and medical organizations in Chinese provinces at the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic — likely gaining goodwill with the central government.

Bitcoin And Altcoins Trend Turns Bullish

Yesterday, we saw a positive price action, resulting in more upsides in bitcoin price above the USD 6,850 and USD 7,020 resistance levels. BTC/USD even climbed towards USD 7,250 before correcting lower. The price is currently (08:30 UTC) rising and it seems like it could revisit the USD 7,250 level in the near term. Similarly, many major altcoins are trading in a bullish trend, including ethereum,

Ripple Co-Founder Chris Larsen Makes Full Recovery From COVID-19

Chris Larsen, co-founder of Ripple, has made a full recovery from COVID-19, and called on other recovered patients to donate blood for antibody therapies.

Ripple co-founder and executive chairman Chris Larsen has made a full recovery from COVID-19. In a tweet on April 2, he thanked those working on the frontline against the virus, and also called for recovered patients to donate blood for use in antibody transplants.

Larsen had not publicly shared the fact that he had been diagnosed with COVID-19. The majority of the crypto-community only discovered the truth when he posted his tweet, accompanied by a picture of himself wearing a facemask giving a thumbs-up gesture. 

Chris Larsen

Recovered patients can still help the sick

Despite his recent recovery from the illness, Larsen was keen to encourage others who have recovered to help those still suffering by donating blood.

The blood of those who have successfully fought off the disease contains antibodies. Through a blood transfusion, these can help very ill patients to fight off the virus, even before they start to produce antibodies of their own.

Chris Larsen co-founded Ripple and was CEO of the company until stepping down in November 2016. He currently serves as executive chairman on Ripple’s board of directors.

After the cryptocurrency bull run in late 2017, it was suggested that Larsen’s Ripple stock-holdings could have propelled him to the position of the world’s richest man. Larsen and his wife, Lyna Lam, now dedicate a significant amount of time and money to philanthropic efforts.

Ripple Labs Co-Founder Recovers From Coronavirus

chris larsen ripple
With all the media attention on the shortage of hospital beds and medical supplies, it’s not often that you hear an uplifting headline. Well, crypto community, chin up. Ripple Labs Chairman Chris Larsen has made a full recovery from COVID-19. And he’s encouraging others who have to donate their blood. Chris Larsen Makes a ‘Full Recovery’ Posting on his Twitter last night, Larsen thanked everyone on the front lines who had helped him recover. He also asked others who had recovered to consider donating their blood too. It seems that recovered patients could help those who are fighting the virus as their blood now contains antibodies. Thank you to everyone on the frontlines keeping us safe – am truly grateful to report that I’ve made a full recovery from #COVID19. If you’ve recovered from the virus, please consider donating your blood to help with antibody transplants: https://t.co/icm06Et5fr pic.twitter.com/331Mjv43Z6 — Chris Larsen (@chrislarsensf) April 2, 2020 His announcement provoked a flurry of response and–for once–for Crypto Twitter, almost all of solidarity. After all, whatever your stance on Ripple Labs or XRP, we’re all in together when it comes to fighting COVID-19. One o f the first people to reply was Tron’s founder Justin Sun. He simply said: Stay strong, stay safe Having a high-profile member of the crypto community talking about the disease brings it home to many. Tom Hanks may have made it real for the general public but as far as we know, the Ripple Labs exec Chairman is the first major crypto personality to recover from COVID-19. Lots in the Pipeline for Ripple Labs As some of his followers pointed out, it’s just as well Larsen has made a full recovery. There is still so much to do when it comes to Ripple Labs. And the company continues to forge new partnerships using its RippleNet technology to speed up remittances and bank transfers around the world. The latest of such have been in the Southeast Asian market. Ripple Labs recently teamed up with Thai fintech DeeMoney and Thailand’s oldest bank SCB. Well done, Chris for making a full recovery, now, as one follower said: Happy that you made it out so well Chris. Now launch the rocket ship Are you shocked to hear Chris Larsen caught the coronavirus? Add your thoughts below! Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @chrislarsensf

Revolut Fast-Tracks User-Wide Crypto Support Due to Global Economic Upset

Digital banking app Revolut has rolled out its crypto services for all standard users, saying it is widening access earlier than planned due to the global economic crisis.

Digital banking app Revolut has rolled out its cryptocurrency services for all standard users, saying it is widening access earlier than planned due to the global economic crisis.

In an email to users on April 1, the United Kingdom-born fintech announced that cryptocurrency accounts and trading — previously reserved from Premium and Metal tier users of the app — are as of now available for all standard users, at a 1.5% flat fee per trade.

A warning “right now”

Amid the unprecedented economic turbulence sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, Revolut cautions its users that “we are starting to see quantitative easing and currency devaluation happening again right now,” adding:

“We had planned to make this official later this year, but in light of recent events, we’ve decided to give all Revolut customers the opportunity to explore different ways of diversifying, including through crypto, right now.”

Revolut’s head of crypto Edward Cooper noted that the impetus for crypto's creation was sparked, in part, by the fallout of the 2008 financial crash —  an era marked, as now, by an economic recession, fiat currency volatility and the rise of quantitative easing (QE).

While controversial, QE — the large-scale buying of government bonds by central banks — has become a routine monetary tool for crisis management post-2008.

QE is intended to lower yields (interest rates) on the bond market in order to encourage spending by making it cheaper to borrow money, thus providing a stimulus for growth in the economy. 

Critics of QE are prevalent in the crypto industry — though they are by no means limited to it. 

Caitlin Long, the founder of the United States’ first crypto-native bank, Avanti Bank and Trust, has responded to the Federal Reserve’s 2020 pledge to continue the policy, claiming that:

“The last vestige of #capitalism [has] died in the U.S. [The] Fed’s monetization U.S. debt is now unlimited. Nationalization of US capital mkts — a process started in 1968 — is now complete. This result was predictable (virus was just trigger).”

Revolut’s journey with crypto 

As reported, Revolut had first rolled out support for Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC) in late 2017, later adding XRP

By February of this year, the app had grown to become one of Europe’s most valuable fintech firms. Last month, Revolut launched in the U.S. — though initially without crypto support.

In an email to Cointelegraph, Dave Hodgson — co-founder and director of NEM ventures — said that while Revolut’s broadening of support for crypto represents “a positive step for the industry”:

“It would be encouraging to see Revolut (and others) fully adopt the crypto philosophy 'not your keys, not your coins' and not assume that all users want a custodial solution.”

While fees for standard users of the app’s crypto feature will initially have parity with Premium and Metal users, at 1.5%, the flat fee for standard users will rise to 2.5% in May.

Revolut will also be making gold trading available to standard users by the end of this month.

Analysis: Bitcoin Could be Headed to $1,000 Amid Unexpected Liquidity Crisis

Since Black Thursday, which saw Bitcoin bottom at $4.6k on the day, the number one cryptocurrency has since been range-bound with strong resistance at the $6.8k level. Although it’s been able to post definite gains since that recent low, some analysts expect to see a further breakdown as the knock-on effects of the pandemic wreak havoc on the global economy. Bitcoin Under Pressure in the Near Term From Wider Economic Factors At present, Bitcoin is trading at $6.3k, having posted a 2% loss over the last 24-hours. It’s much the same with the rest of the high-caps, with only Ether and XRP posting minute gains. Over the last three weeks, Bitcoin has faced strong resistance at $6.8k. With rejections on four separate occasions occurring at this level. Bitcoin daily chart with 50-day and 200-day MA. (Source: tradingview.com) On top of which, the coming months look extremely bearish for Bitcoin. That’s according to Intuit Trading, whose Elliot Wave analysis shows we are currently in a downswing during the corrective (lettered) phase. This puts BTC at a deep retracement on the wave-c leg, with £1k incoming by late November. Image from Intuit Trading Intuit Trading attributes this scenario to worsening economic conditions. Whereby the crisis deepens, and more people lose jobs, and asset valuations continue to tumble, meaning the flight to cash will accelerate. “This includes people who hold cryptocurrencies. Crypto is not immune to a liquidity crisis… until liquidity comes back into the market en mass, BTC will likely head towards $1000 by November.” Is This Game Over For BTC? Despite that, it’s important to note that Intuit Trading is still long term bullish for the future of Bitcoin. Indeed, based on the above scenario playing out, post-2022 is expected to be a strong bull run period. “This is by no means a death sentence for BTC or cryptocurrency and will simply be the largest correction ever experienced. On top of this, the recent stimulus-response may well be another critical factor in favor of Bitcoin in the long term. Recent actions by governments and central banks have seen unprecedented levels of stimulus implemented. Sadly, mainstream media outlets continue to skip over the implications of injecting trillions of dollars into the global economy. But one figure, who’s unafraid to speak his mind, is John McAfee. He took to Twitter recently to share his crypto prediction by saying the stimulus-response will cause hyperinflation. Which, in turn, will benefit cryptocurrency, in particular privacy coins, as people scramble to safe havens. How will Covid-19 affect the economy, and specifically… Crypto?—– The Quarantine will play havoc with the global economy and Fiat currencies will approach hyperinflation. Crypto will be a safe haven – particularly Privacy coins like Monero, Safex, Apollo, etc. — John McAfee (@officialmcafee) March 30, 2020 And while Bitcoin has been in the firing line of late, it’s important to note that these are extraordinary times. That being said, the central banks have played their hand, it’s now a question of whether Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, can live up to their fundamentals in the long term.

Bitcoin “scamwick” creates trail of destruction; leads to $50m in liquidations

After rallying from the lower-$6,000 region earlier today, Bitcoin bulls stepped up and propelled the benchmark cryptocurrency up to highs of $7,300 in what ultimately proved to be a fleeting movement.

The rejection from this level has led BTC to reel back into the upper-$6,000 region, with this movement leading a significant amount of open positions on the crypto trading platform BitMEX to be liquidated.

It also led to the formation of what analysts are describing as an “ugly” 4-hour candle, which suggests that the crypto’s mid-term outlook may be gloomy.

Bitcoin forms massive “scamwick” in the fleeting movement to $7,300

It has been a volatile past few hours for Bitcoin, with the crypto racing to highs of $7,300 before finding itself caught within a downtrend that has since led it to its current price of $6,750.

This movement resulted in what appears to be a highly bearish four-hour candle, with the rejection at these highs being a sign that the cryptocurrency’s buyers still remain weak.

Josh Rager – a prominent crypto analyst – explained that a daily close below $6,800 could be a dire sign for Bitcoin’s mid-term trend, potentially opening the gates for significantly further downside.

“BTC 4 hr candle is ugly right now. Closing below $6800s wouldn’t be pretty – would like to see reclaim and hold previous December range above $6900. Price came down and tapped $6700 support, we’ll see if price can push back up from here – daily close still hours away.”

Bitcoin Crypto
Image Courtesy of Josh Rager

It’s important to keep in mind that Bitcoin is still trading up from daily lows of roughly $6,200, meaning that it may still be able to close a neutral or slightly bullish daily candle if buyers are able to support it around its current price level.

Today’s turbulence created nearly $50 million in hourly liquidations on BitMEX

One byproduct of today’s volatility has been a significant number of position liquidations on popular cryptocurrency trading platform BitMEX.

According to data from Skew – a research and analytics platform – the total hourly liquidations for the time in which this fleeting pump to $7,300 and subsequent retrace occurred totals at nearly $50 million.

Bitcoin BTC
Image Courtesy of Skew

For perspective, this marks a massive climb from the total hourly average seen throughout the past several days, which is currently at $1.9 million.

If today’s volatility becomes commonplace in the days ahead, it is likely that this average will post a notable climb.

The post Bitcoin “scamwick” creates trail of destruction; leads to $50m in liquidations appeared first on CryptoSlate.

Blockchain Is Not a Panacea for Finance, Says Russian Bank Official

The CBR’s first deputy governor has said that blockchain has found application in letters of credit and guarantees, but has not yet become a "universal solution."

The Central Bank of Russia’s (CBR) first deputy governor has said that blockchain technology is not the "universal solution," many promised it would be five years ago.

In an interview with Euromoney on April 2, Olga Skorobogatova took a deep dive into the bank’s initiatives, sandboxes, and experiences with blockchain deployment. 

Following three years of experimenting with the Masterchain platform — a local blockchain-based network for transferring valuable financial data like mortgage accounting — Skorobogatova said, “Blockchain is a great fit for things like letters of credit and guarantees because it is essentially a technology of trust.”

However, she further added that blockchain is not the cure-all that many believed it would be:

“I remember being told by some tech companies back then: ‘Olga, in five years everything will be powered by blockchain, there will be no other technologies.' I responded that this technology would work in cases when it would create additional value but not as a substitution for everything. Time has proven me right.”

But what about cryptocurrencies?

Skorobogatova said she does not believe in cryptocurrencies as a means of payment as they pose major risks for customers. She noted cryptocurrencies’ high volatility, lack of guarantee for savings, and usage in money laundering as major threats.

The deputy governor noted that the central bank is in talks with other regulators on the issue of global stablecoins, stating that, at this point, stablecoins raise more questions than answers.

The CBR has flirted with the idea of a national digital currency, which Skorobogatova questions as well:

“For me, the big question is if there is any added value in using central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) – for the economy, for individuals and for businesses. Clearly, people want fast digital payments, but this can be implemented with a national fast payments platform. What can CBDCs bring to the table? So far, no one in Russia or elsewhere has been able to give a convincing answer or even to explain the difference between electronic payments and CBDCs.”

Russia’s recent approach to crypto and blockchain regulation

Meanwhile, Russia has postponed its bill “On Digital Financial Assets” yet again. Anatoly Aksakov, chairman of the Russian State Duma Committee on Financial Markets and chairman of the National Banking Council at the CBR, admitted that previous delays in the bill’s adoption were caused by disagreement on the new asset type between local authorities.

Aksakov said that the central bank opposed the legalization of crypto while the State Duma advocated some crypto initiatives.

On March 24, the Ministry of Economic Development of Russia reportedly prepared a draft law that would allow the testing of cryptocurrency and blockchain developments within a special regulatory sandbox.

Is Blockchain Necessary? An Unbiased Perspective

Blockchain is an amazing technology, but there are pros and cons to its mass adoption. Let’s have a look at both perspectives.

Yes, that’s the question we are asking today. Is blockchain technology necessary? The answer is tricky. To arrive at the conclusion takes an unbiased perspective. Bankers and people in the stock market will tell you that it’s the epitome of evil. Blockchain engineers and enthusiasts will tell you it’s the future of the world. The government, as usual, will be indecisive.

Both are overly eager in their opinions, and both are unfortunately wrong. Blockchain is wonderful and revolutionary, no doubt there. But it has some very serious cons that are underplayed by people supporting blockchain. It also has excellent pros underplayed by its critics.

To the enthusiasts, I contextually quote Ian Malcolm from Jurassic Park:

“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

To the critics, I contextually quote J.P. Getty (a terribly frugal person, in my opinion):

“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy.”

We’re done with fancy quotes. Time to move on. Coming back to blockchain, the tech was created to make cryptocurrency easier to manage, and it is an excellent technology.

A mini blockchain explanation

To those who still do not understand what blockchain is, I’ll give you a simple example.

A blockchain is a continuous line of data “blocks.” Think of a single block in blockchain as a digital Lego piece and the organization using it as a kid’s daycare place. The Lego piece is available for use to everyone for whatever they want to create. It is ever-present and ever-useful. It is accessible. The Lego piece can be attached to other Lego pieces to create masterpieces of art.

A blockchain works similarly. Singularly, it’s just some encrypted data. Each data block together can create masterpieces of data available whenever a user wants. Just like Legos, that singular piece is hard to break, overpower or destroy. It’s a pain in the foot. You know, because they destroy you when you step on them. Okay! I’m done with the puns.

They can be extremely useful. Combined with machine learning, blockchain can single-handedly make the entire banking industry obsolete. Blockchain can be used scientifically for complex mathematical calculations and help with complex problems in physics. It can help forward gene therapy. To be honest, blockchain can theoretically go full Star Wars. That brings me to the first con — never go full Star Wars. Didn’t work out well for anyone.

Discussions on blockchain’s various applications

  • The democratic angle:

I’ve seen some enthusiasts argue how blockchain is the “epitome of democracy.” It allows everyone access to the same data and it’s fair. To this, I have a single counterpoint: Imagine if Google made their servers public or your 401k balance was made public to the world. How would that affect things? Privacy and secrecy are important things. Most of all, keeping data out of other people’s hands is also necessary.

You may not do much with it, but the greatest threat faced by the modern world is a lack of privacy. It’s already getting to a breaking point. People are long since annoyed by targeted marketing and Cambridge Analytica remains a huge example of how bad things can be. Facebook is almost constantly under fire and Google has followed right behind on a breadcrumb-scattered trail of lawsuits. Blockchain, unregulated, can make humanity’s struggle with deteriorating privacy even worse.

Unregulated blockchain is a nightmarish scenario come true. However, how do you regulate blockchain? How do you put laws in place for a technology whose capabilities we barely understand? By the time we learn of its capabilities, it may be too late to affect change.

  • The banking angle:

Bankers hate blockchain. It’s obvious why they would; the greatest advantage of blockchain is that it cuts down on costs, only requiring infrastructure costs. No transaction fees, no maintenance charges, nothing. Effectively, blockchain makes banking obsolete, and honestly, I feel it should. The banking industry has remained unchanged over millennia. It is an integral part of society whose mismanaged monetary transactions have incited myriad wars.

Unfortunately, the banking industry is in a pathetic state. Bankers have too much power, control and streams of revenue. It needs to topple. It’s a legacy system, and the pain points of this system haven’t changed since the days of Venetian merchants. There is so much abuse of power involved, and the fact that it is legal paints a grim picture.

For example, the man who invented the credit card never wanted interest rates to go over 8%. Today, banks on average charge from 12% to 18% not including transaction, processing and various other fees.

Blockchain can destroy and recreate this system. However, this brings us to the greatest chink in blockchain’s armor: This transformative process is expensive and decentralized. Hate it if you want, but a decentralized system is hard to control. Decentralizing banks means facilitating illegal activities like money laundering, illegal purchases and so on. It is never a good thing. 

  • The analysis angle:

I have mentioned above that blockchain combined with machine learning is good at analysis. Just two words: Cambridge Analytica.

Blockchain makes it easier for similar stuff to happen. What’s worse is you won’t be able to blame anyone. Blockchain’s data integrity makes it so that everyone is responsible. So, if one part of the network messes up, everyone is compromised.

Similarly, stock market firms are using blockchain for insane investment schemes with unrealistic returns. This can lead to massive stock market crashes and overvaluation of stock to unprecedented levels.

  • The Utopia angle:

Unlimited access to data can also be a wonderful thing. Imagine that you want to know what your cereal contains. No more secrecy, the answer is right there in your data store. A simple search and you know. Supply chains, fair trade and ethical consumerism are attractive opportunities. Blockchain can create an online utopia if done right. The access to information is an interesting prospect.

For example, imagine an app made with an app builder software backed by blockchain. The blockchain would help make it faster to create apps making the app development process easier for everyone to use. Widgets and plugins would be available in the form of the universally available data blocks. Adapting to new changes becomes easier. This can be similarly applied to any business process. There can potentially be block chains for everything.

  • The anonymous angle:

Blockchain can make you anonymous. Anonymity is the need of the hour. Imagine voting anonymously, with governments and candidates not knowing who’s voting who. It is a wonderful thing. Similarly, maintaining freedom of the press in sensitive areas becomes easier. Anonymity is what made the internet popular, and it is likely to take it ahead.

Verdict

So, if you ask again, “Is blockchain necessary?” — the answer is: “Yes. But with certain limitations.” 

The coupling of blockchain and machine learning should be restricted. Yes, that limits its usability but sometimes taking a step back is a good thing, especially when it comes to data. After all, we don’t really have a good track record of managing data.

An overhaul in the banking industry and a step toward ethical consumerism are all good things that blockchain brings for us. However, it would be better to take it slow. I do see that the slow and steady way is not happening, as rapid adoption is under progress. Rushing into blockchain doesn’t have a good end.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Abhinav Girdhar is the founder and CEO of Appy Pie. Abs has a cumulative experience of over 10 years in the world of technological development and entrepreneurship. His in-depth knowledge of mobile app development technology and his sharp observations offer valuable contributions to the blog. His areas of expertise are SEO, trends in the mobile app world, and the latest innovations in artificial intelligence and machine learning. He has a passion for fitness and likes to get his daily dose of endorphins from a run and a strenuous session in the gym.

Nexo – a Savior in the Times of Financial Uncertainty

After a general slowdown, the global economy has now suffered a secondary blow due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic which forced a lot of businesses to temporarily suspend operations or stick to minimum capacities. As more people fall sick and cities go on lockdown, the working capital available for individuals or companies to function has decreased significantly and as the world starts returning to normalcy, there will be a huge need for liquidity. While the current situation is causing unfortunate, adverse effects on thousands of households and enterprises, there are also many investors and corporations that are unlikely to go bankrupt in the coming days as many will have substantial assets and investments to keep themselves afloat. Even so, managing cash flow for day to day operations can turn out to be a challenge, one which platforms like Nexo are excellently equipped to assist clients in overcoming. Nexo is a well-known blockchain company that issues Instant Crypto Credit Lines using digital assets as collateral. Nexo’s Instant Crypto Credit Lines: Fiat Credit Backed by Crypto to Help You Meet Your Funding Needs Nexo offers fully-automated instant flexible credit lines, issued against collateralized digital assets. It is one of few platforms with completely insured accounts that allow customers to borrow in various fiat currencies while earning a daily compounding interest on idle assets. In fact, in the past few months, Nexo further strengthened its offering by opening its gold-backed credit lines (PAXG Instant Crypt​o Credit Lines)​ to its full range of clients. The company has continuously shown its support for tokenized gold by purchasing $5 million worth of PAXG,  the premium institutional-grade gold-backed tokens from the Paxos Trust Company. PAXG-backed Crypto Credit Lines come with an added benefit for those who invest in gold by allowing users to borrow against their gold and other assets when in need of cash, without having to sell their investments. The entire process is underpinned by blockchain technology thus ensuring the full transparency and reliability of all of Nexo’s services. Some further advantages of the Nexo platform include an industry-leading borrowing rate that starts from just 5.9% APR along with high levels of flexibility allowing users to withdraw sums ranging anywhere between $500 to $2 million with bigger amounts available on request and no fees whatsoever.  All custodial assets are insured for $100 million dollars through Lloyd’s of London and held in cold storage in bank-grade Class III vaults through leading audited crypto custodian BitGo. Currently, the platform offers credit lines in more than 40 different fiat currencies across over 200 jurisdictions. While the NYDFS regulated PAXG tokens make it easy for anyone to acquire, pledge and trade gold digitally, with Nexo’s PAXG-backed credit lines offer a wider range of options for users more inclined towards investing in traditional safe-haven assets like gold, including providing them with instant liquidity while at the same time allowing them to retain ownership of their gold. The Value of Nexo’s Services in the Upcoming Months: Making the Most out of Bitcoin Halving The upcoming ​halving event​ on the Bitcoin network has increased the expectations of the entire blockchain community, as the event may drive the flagship cryptocurrency’s value to new highs. In such a crucial time, those HODLing Bitcoin would rather prefer to keep the digital currency instead of selling it to meet their capital requirements. In such circumstances, Nexo offers the best alternative where the HODLers don’t have to lose ownership of their assets and yet have access to the much-needed liquidity: the Instant Crypto Credit Lines. By opting for a credit line against their crypto, crypto-investors can use the value of their Bitcoin without having to sell it leaving them free to invest in further assets and benefit for the upside potential of their current holdings. Image by Aravind kumar from Pixabay