General Motors patent uses blockchain to improve navigation maps, potentially for semi-autonomous driving systems.
Major car manufacturer, General Motors, or GM, has filed a patent application for a continuously updating navigation map system. The system would use blockchain to integrate data from vehicle sensors and build a reliable map for autonomous vehicles.
According to the filing, which was submitted on Oct. 1, 2018 and published on April 2, 2020, existing maps are “difficult to keep dynamic without incurring large costs.”One potential reason for this is that most maps are maintained through specialized vehicles, whose reach will necessarily be limited to just a few specific sections of the world.
General Motors’ solution is to distribute the process to many vehicles, which would collect data about their surroundings through sensors as they simply drive around.The real-time data would be compared with a discrepancy detector, which analyzes the existing maps.
Any difference is transmitted to a blockchain network that holds all the map data. The “candidate transaction” is then validated if other vehicles report a similar change. The patent suggests that the network would be maintained by vehicles and mining nodes located in data centers.
The system was likely developed for GM’s “Super Cruise” feature, which provides a semi-automated driving experience on some luxury models. Unlike competitors from Tesla, the system relies very heavily on navigation maps, which is why it can only be used on “supported” roads.
Distributing the map generation process would likely speed up the manufacturer’s efforts to cover the majority of the roads in the U.S.
The patent reveals that one of the benefits of the system is distributing the map generation process and allowing multiple vendors to contribute to a single map. This is likely the reason why it implements blockchain.
Automotive industry and blockchain
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, General Motors is one of the more prolific car manufacturers in the blockchain sector. In October 2019, it was one of the five car manufacturers testing a blockchain-based payment and identification system for vehicles.
Its finance arm invested into a blockchain startup in June, in an effort to curb auto financing fraud.
The manufacturer also patented another blockchain-based communication system in December 2018, which would help different entities communicate with autonomous cars.
Bitcoin has seen strong gains since the coronavirus triggered sell-off occurred in mid-March but the drop may bring unexpected changes to the mining industry.
This week the price of Bitcoin (BTC) surged more than 15%, reaching a high at $7,200 before pulling back into the $6,800 range. Despite the recovery, Bitcoin still has a way to go in order to reach the $8,000 level seen before the coronavirus-triggered selloff on March 12.
The drop had several consequences on the Bitcoin network. Having reached the $3,800 price range, the accentuated drop forced some Bitcoin miners to throw in the towel and shut down their operations due to mining becoming unprofitable.
As miners have hosting and electricity fees to keep up with, often relying on the short-term yields of their equipment, the price led to the biggest difficulty drop since 2011. However, it seems like the coronavirus and the steep drop in the value of Bitcoin may have affected some regions more than others.
Chinese miners go dark
As was recently reported by the Chinese publication Securities Daily, more than 40 established mining operations have been forced to shut down as a large number of Antminer S9s, an older generation of Bitmain’s popular Antminer products, have become unprofitable. An industry insider told the publication that “roughly 2.3 million Antminer S9s have been shut down since March 10,” according to data from F2pool.
This drop in the price of BTC seems to have affected Chinese miners the most due to the amount of S9s and old-generation equipment that have become unprofitable to keep using. Electricity prices for miners in China range from $0.03 to $0.05 per kilowatt-hour. Even for miners with electricity at median rates of $0.04 per kWh, miners need Bitcoin to be at $5,136 to be profitable.
Matt D’Souza, the CEO of Blockware Solutions, told Cointelegraph:
“The drop was several old generation rigs going unprofitable. If you monitor the pools. Many of the Asian pools lost hash, not the American pools. That signals it were machines in the East that shut down, not North America. It was old gen equipment out East. It was ultimately the price of Bitcoin dropping and machines becoming unprofitable and forced to shut off.”
Impact of coronavirus on China-based miners
Not only has coronavirus affected miners indirectly through its effect on the price of Bitcoin — and just about every other asset class — the pandemic has also affected the area more broadly and made machines harder to come by as supply chains have been disrupted. D’Souza explained:
“I think COVID has influenced hash rate drop because it has disrupted global supply chains. So miners are not getting rigs quick enough. The difficulty adjustment was much greater because next-gen rigs have been delayed due to COVID-19.”
The pandemic has also had a considerable effect on the secondhand market for mining equipment, which has always been a well-known subset of the mining industry. Wu Tong, the deputy director of the Blockchain Commission within China’s Ministry of Commerce, has already observed this first hand. He recently told Securities Daily:
"Under the influence of the epidemic, the difficulty of maintaining, renewing and continuing production of mining machines has further increased, and the 12.04 price plunge has put many mining machines on sale. The tide of mining machine selling has already occurred, and the average selling price of each mining machine is 30%–50% lower than before the Spring Festival."
Why miners may move away from China
China has been the market leader when it comes to mining for a long time, with studies showing it collectively controls a majority of the Bitcoin hash rate. China’s dominance is owed mainly to the country’s low electricity prices and leading manufacturers, such as Bitmain and Ebang.
These conditions not only allow more advanced Bitcoin mining operations to access new generation equipment quickly and cheaply but also for smaller operations to make use of old equipment for longer and acquire it at lower prices.
However, as Bitcoin continues to mature and gain interest among investors, other countries may have a different set of characteristics that make it more viable for mining.
Pros and cons of mining in the East
Countries like Venezuela that have even cheaper electricity and other subsidized energy sources often end up receiving old mining equipment like the aforementioned Antminer S9. But the price is not the only factor, as internet speeds also give countries like the United States an edge.
Higher purchasing power and the ability to raise capital may allow new miners in Western countries to access new-generation machines and to stay ahead of the curve. This is the case with Blockware Mining, which has kept its 180 petahash per second mining operation up and going despite higher electricity prices in the U.S.
Moreover, the Chinese government has not shied away from its dislike of cryptocurrency and Bitcoin mining. The country has a track record of cracking down extensively on exchanges and many illegal mining operations. The U.S., on the other hand, has been ahead of the curve when it comes to regulating the cryptocurrency industry, which may prove to be a decisive factor in the future.
It has certainly proven to be so for companies like Bitmain and Ebang, which have submitted listing applications to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange but have not heard back.
A pivotal moment for mining
Overall, it’s possible that we may see a shift in the mining industry, especially with moments like the halving and the ongoing pandemic.
The hypothetical decentralization of the industry would be welcome, as many have expressed concerns when it comes to the centralization of Bitcoin mining. But for now, China continues to take the lead.
The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk. You should conduct your own research when making a decision.
Blockchain-based digital identity is becoming mainstream with banks, financial organizations rise to the adoption challenge.
Digital identity solutions are on the rise as consumers seek security and accessibility in a digitized world. A new report from 360iResearch shows that the global digital identity market is expected to have reached about $37 Million by the end of 2025. As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc, this number could grow even larger.
Unsurprisingly, the trillion-dollar banking industry has already expressed interest in digital identity solutions. For example, Everest, a blockchain-based digital payments provider, has recently formed a partnership with BRI Remittance, a subsidiary of one of Indonesia’s largest banks. Everest has been collaborating with BRI to offer bank users a blockchain-based digital commerce platform that will allow Indonesians and Europeans to easily exchange value across international borders.
Bob Reid, the CEO and co-founder of Everest, told Cointelegraph that BRI Remittance’s digital commerce platform is already being implemented and will officially launch in the second quarter of this year. Reid noted that the goal of the project is to ensure that remittance transfers between Europe and Indonesia are settled within 24-hours — the time it usually takes for domestic wire transfers to be completed. Sending money across international borders could take up to five days in some cases. Reid added:
“The partnership is expected to drive business within the Indonesia–Europe corridor and afford Indonesians and Europeans the opportunity to seamlessly execute exchange of value across international borders.”
This is important, as Indonesia’s $11 billion global personal remittance market has more than doubled since 2005, with remittances between Indonesia and Europe representing more than $500 million. Moreover, with a population of 275 million people and a trillion-dollar economy, Indonesia arguably still lacks the digital infrastructure needed to provide value exchange between identity-verified individuals.
How can blockchain solve this problem?
Everest has integrated blockchain into BRI’s banking system to provide users with a digital identity, known as an “EverID.” According to Reid, the Everest Platform is built upon two private, permissioned Ethereum blockchain networks.
The “identity chain” allows BRI users to share certain elements of their identity, such as their name, address and income. This information is required to ensure Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering verification. A user’s identity is then linked directly to a digital account, called an “EverWallet,” which contains Everest’s CRDT token. Reid explained:
“A CRDT token is a digital voucher used to capture the sender’s selected identity elements, like KYC/AML, or 5AMLD in the case of Europeans, along with foreign exchange transactions. The tokenized voucher is stable and can be conditional, programmable ‘money’ to ensure that it can only be spent on, for example, paying bills or food.”
Reid noted that once a user is on-boarded to the EverWallet in Europe, remittances can easily be sent to Indonesia. The same wallet can also be used for banking, peer-to-peer payments and cryptocurrency transactions, as everything is connected to a verified digital identity.
Moreover, since transactions take place across a blockchain network, each payment is tracked with a user’s associated identity. Smart contracts are also leveraged to ensure transactions adhere to legal requirements within the participating jurisdictions.
Why a digital commerce platform is important for Indonesia
BRI Remittance’s executive director, Gigieh Perkasa, told Cointelegraph the company was looking for a partner that could provide a combination of identity compliance, transaction tracking and use of tokenized stable vouchers. Perkasa noted that money transfers, especially those being made by migrant workers and SMEs, account for a large portion of the bank’s remittance business. According to Perkasa, BRI recorded $8.8 billion in remittance transactions in 2019.
According to the European Commission, the European Union is Indonesia’s third-largest trading partner. However, it’s been noted that remittances sent by migrant workers in Indonesia have yet to create a lasting impact on the local economy.
Silvia Mila Arini, a researcher at Singapore-based think-tank Asia Research Institute, stated in an article, “Money sent by workers is generally used to meet daily needs and to fund education and the needs of children.”
Douglas Borthwick, the chief marketing officer of INX, a crypto exchange, told Cointelegraph that identity management is key to all banking activities and that a digital solution could provide a number of benefits both for users and financial markets:
“Legacy banking systems have trouble following basic identification information, such as the identification of final beneficiaries for securities and cap-table ownership of companies. Blockchain is the perfect technology for both private and institutional investment banking, and it has the promise of changing the identity management dogma with real-time ownership transfer settlements and other important identification management related ‘relics.’”
Borthwick further noted that while INX plans to enable regulated trading of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH) and Ripple (XRP), the exchange has been working with several major banks to provide solutions for investment banking with advanced digital identification management features. He said: “This is still in its early days, but we see this as one of the key factors to the success of the rise in digital assets in the financial markets.”
Digital identity for banking is beneficial
Digital identity solutions will not only disrupt the remittance market in countries like Indonesia but will also create benefits globally, especially as the coronavirus pandemic continues. Julie Esser, the senior vice president of communications of CULedger, a credit union service organization, told Cointelegraph that digital identity for the banking industry is more important than ever before. She said:
“As concerns over the coronavirus pandemic began to spread, credit unions started closing their lobbies, urging members to use alternative ways to access their accounts — becoming a digital credit union overnight. The volumes in these ‘open’ channels have skyrocketed.”
CULedger currently provides 11 United States-based credit unions with a digital identity solution called MemberPass, powered by the Sovrin Network’s blockchain platform. Borthwick also commented that the coronavirus crisis is likely to cause a global movement toward digital money and assets, adding:
“Identity management will become central for authorizing transactions and keeping procedures and records in order. Nothing that swipes or is separate from a ‘collective’ hive brain will be sufficient to support the wide range of identity profiles all of us will need to live in the digital age of online commerce, banking, information gathering, personalization, communities and more.”
The cryptocurrency market has gone through a bullish impulse that saw many cryptos rise substantially, including Ethereum. Now, on-chain metrics reveal that Ether could face significant resistance ahead.
Volatility is back and Ethereum benefits from it
Ethereum started off Q2 on the right foot. The smart contracts giant jumped over 13 percent from a monthly open of $132.6 to recently reaching a high of $150. In the last few hours, ETH retraced 5 percent, which is a clear sign that realized volatility is back to its “pre-Black Thursday” level, according to Skew.
The crypto derivatives insights provider maintains that from a short-term perspective, the degree of variability in the returns of Ether went back to the levels seen before the March 12 crash. However, implied volatility, which represents the market’s view of the probability of changes in a given asset’s price, remains higher. This could indicate that market participants are still “wary of possible tremors.”
Indeed, the Crypto Fear & Greed Index (CFGI) continues sensing extreme levels of fear among market participants. This fundamental indicator evaluates the emotions and sentiments from different sources, such as volatility, market momentum, social media and other datasets, and crunch them into one simple number.
Since the beginning of March, the CFGI has been hovering below a value of 17 indicating that “extreme fear” reigns the cryptocurrency market.
Although sizable opportunities are usually presented in times of uncertainty, IntoTheBlock’s “Global In/Out of the Money” reveals that almost 80 percent of all the addresses holding ETH are losing money. Meanwhile, only 10.5 percent of addresses are “in the money.” This could be the main reason why there is growing concerns over a further downturn.
Nonetheless, the In/Out of the Money Around Current Price (IOMACP) indicator suggests that there is significant support ahead. The machine learning and statistical modeling firm reveals that over 2 million addresses bought more than 9 million ETH at an average price of $130. This important demand barrier could prevent Ethereum from a steeper decline.
If the bulls manage to take back control of Ether’s price action, they would have to be able to break the strong resistance around $153. The IOMACP indicates that approximately 400,000 addresses bought nearly 3.2 million ETH around this price level. Moving above this supply wall would likely allow this cryptocurrency to surge towards $180 since there is not any major resistance in-between.
Time will tell whether Ethereum will thrive during the ongoing global pandemic. The fact that the buying power behind it is at all-time highs due to investors flying to stablecoins adds credence to the bullish outlookt, affirmedGlassnode.
It’s tough times ahead for BCH as Bitcoin.com prepares to work on a skeleton team. Just five days before the halving, the platform has allegedly fired half of its staff.
Bitcoin.com Lays Off 50% of Workforce
There’s been a ton of speculation leading up to the Bitcoin Halving over what will happen if the price doesn’t recover. In fact, after the savage sell-off last month that hammered all markets, the Bitcoin network adjusted its mining difficulty from 16.55TN to 13.91TN on March 26.
Bitcoinist reported last week that many miners began to move away from Bitcoin Cash to mine BTC instead. It seems that the miner capitulation from its network may have affected BCH badly.
Its price may be following a similar recovery right now in line with the leading cryptocurrency, but its creators and advocates aren’t sending out very bullish signs.
Tech professional network Candor compiled a list of companies that are either freezing hiring due to the coronavirus or that have actively laid off staff. According to its findings, not only is Bitcoin.com freezing on hiring but it has actually axed half its team.
Tough times for CEO of $BCH, @rogerkver.CEO of Bitcoincom left, they're going for a "leaner" approach but according to a report on https://t.co/Sh1m9AaQIB they've fired 50% of the staff.Lets hope that he is forced to sell the bitcoin domain that he's using to scam people soon. pic.twitter.com/CLK0HdRz5l
— WhalePanda (@WhalePanda) April 3, 2020
Bitcoinist was able to reach out and speak to sources familiar with the matter. They confirmed that the numbers sounded accurate.
Work in the Time of Coronavirus
It should be noted that Bitcoin.com isn’t the only company to be trimming costs. Bitfury is apparently also letting employees go and Ripple has currently imposed a hiring freeze.
Drastic times call for drastic measures. However, a downscaling of such magnitude doesn’t bode well for any company–not least one that is a protocol as well. Bitcoin Cash may be bigger than Bitcoin.com and larger than Roger Ver. But with miners already jumping ship before the BCH halving and such grim news to come out of this camp, the future of BCH looks a little uncertain.
What do you make of the Bitcoin.com lay-offs? Add your thoughts below!
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @WhalePanda
Sea-bound computer programmer John McAfee offers $500 in DAI for best original post-quarantine photograph.
Famed altcoin advocate, John McAfee, has put up a $500 reward in the Ethereum based stablecoin, DAI, for the best original photo taken in the midst of the coronavirus lockdown.
The sea-bound computer programmer asked for pictures of vacant highways and cities from people who are still able to leave their homes for essential supplies and activities. McAfee tweeted:
“Those able to leave your homes during quarantine ... (to buy food or get medical care, etc.) ... Take photos of interesting aspects of your vacant cities, highways, etc. $500 in DAI crypto paid for the best photo (Chosen by @theemrsmcafee next week) Just drop photos here:)”
Submissions began to flood McAfee’s feed within minutes of the tweet. One Twitter user posted this pic of a herd of goats prowling around a quiet neighbourhood:
(Source: Twitter, @freethemkitties)
Another user exemplified the extent of the coronavirus lockdown with this picture of a vacant Grand Central Station in New York during rush hour.
For all of its revolutionary potential, Bitcoin remains a work in progress. Its long, and often contentious development has been the subject of immense debate among both supporters and critics. Several emerging steps along its march to completion will soon become game changers on the move toward mass adoption.
SCALABILITY IS A PRIORITY
Increasing network capacity is crucial for Bitcoin’s long-term success. Finding a workable scaling solution has been by-far the most difficult and contentious challenge faced by Bitcoin advocates.
The adoption of Segregated Witness (SegWit) enabled the creation of the Lightning Network (LN), which in theory solves the scaling problem. However, LN use has been anaemic since its launch. Apps and wallets that use the protocol are not user friendly, and it remains more of a novelty than a core function of the platform.
This fact may soon change as the network grows. Presently, daily transaction levels are low enough for all to easily move on-chain without help from the LN. Bitcoin will begin to see problems once daily volume is roughly double what it is now, which is all but certain to happen. At that point fees and slowing confirmation times will make using the LN far more attractive.
There are other scaling solutions in the works as well. Liquid, promoted by Blockstream, is growing rapidly. In fact, as Longhash recently pointed out, more Bitcoins are tied to Liquid than the LN at the time of writing:
The Lightning Network is a much hyped improvement for Bitcoin. But recently, the amount of BTC held on the Liquid sidechain surpassed BTC held in public Lightning Network channels. Analysis: https://t.co/iIiSvyX19T @kyletorpey
— LongHash (@longhashdata) March 26, 2020
BITCOIN PRIVACY FEATURES WILL BE EMBRACED
Critics have long derided Bitcoin for lacking true privacy, as every transaction can be tracked on the chain. Many altcoins, such as Monero, Zcash, and Dash seek to solve this shortcoming through a variety of obfuscation features.
Bitcoin developers have been hard at work on this issue for several years. One solution, known as bulletproofs, uses what are known as “zero knowledge proofs.” These enable senders and receivers to prove that they know the value of a transaction without revealing how. Thus, transactions can be sent and confirmed privately.
Other ways to ensure private Bitcoin transactions are also under development. It remains too early to know which will become the standard, yet there is little doubt that the flagship cryptocurrency will soon enable fully confidential use. How this will tie in with future international regulations however, remains to be seen.
CROSS CHAIN FUNCTIONALITY WILL OPEN NEW DOORS
The ability to move blockchain assets across the various platforms has long been a major goal of crypto developers. Various incarnations of this ability have been worked on over the years, the most notable of which are Atomic Swaps.
Perhaps the strongest demand is to create functionality between Bitcoin and Ethereum. In fact, Vitalik Buterin recently tweeted about this issue:
We should put resources toward a proper (trustless, serverless, maximally Uniswap-like UX) ETH <-> BTC decentralized exchange. It's embarrassing that we still can't easily move between the two largest crypto ecosystems trustlessly.
— vitalik.eth (@VitalikButerin) March 24, 2020
Among the most promising is the Nerve network, which is part of the Nuls ecosystem. The Nuls technical team has just released a whitepaper that outlines how Nerve will enable a degree of interoperability between Ethereum and Bitcoin. Cosmos and Polkadot are two other platforms also working on similar projects.
The most important takeaway from these developments is the fact that Bitcoin is far from complete. Many changes will soon dramatically increase its functionality and potential for use on a mass scale.
What do you think is Bitcoin’s most important development going forward? Add your thoughts below!
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @VitalikButerin @longhashdata
In efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, governments are imposing stringent restrictions on movement, including social distancing and a national lockdown. They are also finding efficient ways of tracing and tracking contact once an infection has been verified.
The ability to track and trace infections for public health has emerged as one of the single most important
Three cryptocurrency traders allegedly scammed over 100 investors in a Ponzi scheme.
Three alleged cryptocurrency traders ran a Ponzi scheme which scammed more than 100 investors for over $35 million, according to a lawsuit filed by an entity formed by the victims in a federal court of Florida, United States.
According to an announcement published on April 2, Q3 Investment Recovery Vehicle, who represents defrauded investors, accused the trio of alleged crypto traders of cheating victims by promising them a winning trading formula.
Former NYSE and Wells Fargo workers among the accused
The federal securities fraud case names three individuals as the primary perpetrators of the scheme. They include James Seijas, who worked as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo until March 2019, Quan Tran, a surgeon, and Michael Ackerman, who was a New York Stock Exchange institutional broker. These three are thought to have appropriated money from at least 20 victims who relayed their complaints in the court.
The Q3 Recovery Vehicle stated the following:
“The founders claimed, fraudulently, that the investments would be used to trade cryptocurrency using a proprietary and wildly successful algorithm developed by Ackerman.”
Less than $10 million was used for crypto trading
According to the complaint, less than $10 million “and possibly less than $5 million” of the collected investments were used for virtual currency trading. Meanwhile, the defendants allegedly misappropriated at least $20 million for their personal use.
The recovery vehicle claimed that between August 2017 and December 2019, all funds were collected to finance the Ponzi scheme, including posts on a doctor-centric Facebook group.
Donna Seijas (wife of James Seijas) and Steve Saunders, who was the vice presidents of operations for Skyway Capital Markets LLC, are also mentioned in the complaint.
Tornado.cash has been an early and promising prospect in Ethereum’s advancing privacy arena.
Its potential? To be a solution anyone can use to make anonymous Ethereum transactions in a non-custodial manner, meaning users would maintain control of their funds every step of the way.
However, due to the security trade-offs and the financial stakes around a rising project like Tornado, the tool isn’t entirely non-custodial yet — its admins could still materially exert control over the system if put under duress, for example.
“The dirty secret of Tornado Cash is that it is controlled by a multisig, and the trusted setup was done on a single machine,” SpankChain CEO and MolochDAO grassroots Ethereum funding group founder Ameen Soleimani said in a recent proposal to fund $40,000 toward a new Tornado trusted setup ceremony.
Such a ceremony would set up the parameters of a new non-custodial version of Tornado in a verifiable way, and the good news for the project and for Ethereum in general is that funding proposal did pass. The passage kicked off work on an audit by NCC Group Security Services, an auditing firm recommended to Soleimani by Zcash pioneer Zooko Wilcox.
Toward Better, More Secure Privacy
This will set Tornado on a trajectory to fulfilling its full potential, Soleimani has said:
“The objective is to perform a legit trusted setup, then ditch the admin multisig and lock the contract open, so we have privacy on Ethereum until the heat death of the universe or the end of time, whichever comes first.”
Notably, the NCC audit of the new Tornado trusted setup codebase comes after MolochDAO facilitated a prior $10,000 proposal aimed at optimizing the user interface and design of the ceremony.
As for the newly approved funding, it’s put Tornado on course to be fully decentralized in short order. In responding to criticism that the tool has previously been hailed as non-custodial when it wasn’t, Soleimani separately noted:
“I’ve never called it safe yet, pretty sure the team advertises it as ‘highly experimental.’ In less than 1 month it will be legitimately decentralized though.”
A Win for MolochDAO
Actualizing better privacy on Ethereum is a major point of need for the platform and frankly for blockchain projects in general. Tornado has been an early star in Ethereum’s young horizon accordingly, but it’s needed help getting across its finish line potential-wise faster.
To that end, MolochDAO’s $40,000 grant was hugely helpful — surgical, conducted fleetly and with focus for something that is extremely consequential for the Ethereum community on an indefinite basis going forward.
As such, the episode shows in stark fashion just how much of a force for good that the MolochDAO group can be in the Ethereum ecosystem.
The organization was first launched in early 2019, and since then it’s gone on to fund thousands of dollars of grants toward dozens of Ethereum projects. Its funding of the Tornado trusted setup audit is hardly the group’s first consequential efforts, then, but it may very well go down as some of its most important and long-lasting work when all is said and done.
Ethereum is itself a flexible platform, so the blockchain’s flexibility combined with the privacy offered by Tornado can eventually prove to be quite a dynamite combination.
For insance, consider the coming bitcoin-pegged tBTC Ethereum token, which is slated to launch in a few weeks and will bring a trustless version of the OG cryptocurrency into Ethereum’s DeFi arena. In the future, it’s possible that Bitcoiners will be able to most effectively “mix” their bitcoins atop Ethereum using solutions like Tornado.
Moreover, that’s just one contemporary example out of many possible ones. At this point, it seems hard to overstate the utility of a mature Tornado project all things considered.
A new and promising version of bitcoin is coming to Ethereum’s growing decentralized finance ecosystem, and the team building it is pushing full steam ahead upon securing fresh funding.
On Thursday, April 2nd, Thesis — the crypto venture studio guiding the Keep network, which will power the coming bitcoin-pegged tBTC Ethereum token — announced it closed its second fundraising round to the tune of $7.7 million. The first came in 2018, when the firm raised $12 million from the likes of Andreessen Horowitz and Polychain Capital.
Notably, this new round was led by major cryptoeconomy fund Paradigm, which is spearheaded by Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam, and also had participation from other industry heavyweights like Fenbushi Capital and Collaborative Funds.
“Building a bridge that allows Bitcoin to interact with DeFi makes a lot of sense, and tBTC is a credible attempt to do exactly that,” Ehrsam said.
That “credible attempt” just got even more credible then, as a considerable portion of Thesis’s new war chest is set to go to funding tBTC development efforts. This is significant since both tBTC and the Keep protocol that underpins the novel token effort are slated to launch as early as later this month, so showtime is nearing.
The Rise of tBTC
Back in February, Thesis founder and chief executive officer Matt Luongo revealed tBTC — which is set to be trustless — had been launched on Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet.
The news made waves because the advancement brought the prospect of a trustless version of bitcoin built atop Ethereum closer than ever. There are a handful of other bitcoin-pegged ERC20 token projects besides tBTC, but most of them have non-trivial trust implications. The bitcoin that back the Wrapped Bitcoin (WBTC) token are custodied by BitGo, for instance, whereas tBTC will non-custodial.
This non-custodial design is powered by technology called threshold signatures, which allows users to effectively deposit bitcoin to thereafter receive the minting of an equal sum of tBTC. This will all be done in decentralized fashion, with no middlemen needed.
The arrival of tBTC is thus significant because it marks the arrival of a trustless version of bitcoin in Ethereum’s promising DeFi sector, meaning more people will now be able to put their bitcoin to use on Ethereum in decentralized lending projects and beyond. It makes both bitcoin and Ethereum more useful, in other words.
Moreover, tBTC will also be notable because its redemption process is facilitated by Ethereum smart contracts and not a centralized company. This will allow for the integrity of tBTC’s supply to be readily verifiable, as the token project’s specification explains:
“The goal of tBTC is the creation an ERC-20 token that maintains the most important property of Bitcoin — its status as “hard money” […] The ability to trade scrip for its backing deposit freely is what distinguishes a backed currency from fiat money. The supply of tBTC is always backed by an equal number of reserved BTC. This means for every token in circulation, 1 BTC has been removed from circulation.”
Now Open Sourced
Another thing that sets tBTC apart from the competition is its trustless signing implementation via the Keep codebase was just open sourced last month, which is unprecedented.
“Keep’s complete open-sourcing makes tBTC the first and only BTC bridge with an open source permissionless signing implementation,” Thesis’s engineering lead Antonio Salazar Cardozo said at the time.
That open sourcing marked a good step forward in general, as it demonstrates the project’s commitment to transparency and gives other DeFi builders the ability to advance new tech toward new ends.
There is plenty of room for multiple bitcoin-pegged tokens atop Ethereum, to be sure. But tBTC, its tech, and its builders seem to have what it takes to be made for the long haul and non-trivial adoption.
MakerDAO, an automated lending dApp, has become the most successful project yet in Ethereum’s rising decentralized finance sector. That’s largely thanks to the Maker Foundation, a non-profit organization that’s served as an early and apt steward of the dApp and its stablecoin, the Dai.
However, Maker Foundation’s leadership knows they will eventually have to step back for Maker and Dai to achieve real decentralization and fully actualize. The training wheels eventually have to come off, as it were, and Maker’s community must then step forward to take command of the steering.
Notably for DeFi, that time is now on the horizon. MakerDAO founder Rune Christensen used the project’s April 2nd governance meeting to chart a path to the Maker Foundation being formally dissolved in the years ahead and to having its responsibilities transitioned to a “self-sustaining,” community-run decentralized autonomous organization (DAO).
The 3 Pillars of Change
During that meeting, Christensen argued that a transition away from the Maker Foundation to a self-sustaining DAO would depend on three main pillars.
The 3 pillars of a self sustaining MakerDAO:
Elected Paid Contributors: experts hired directly by the protocol
Maker Improvement Proposals: formalized processes for decisions and operations
Vote Delegates: an ecosystem of "protocol politicians" that makes MKR voting easier
The first of those elements was “Elected Paid Contributors,” which would be specialists employed by MakerDAO’s community to carry out the key duties the Maker Foundation has been responsible for to date. Some of these EPCs will be organized on “domain teams,” e.g. a risk team or a marketing team, that will have unique authorities.
How these EPCs will work and operate still needs to be formalized, Christensen said, and beyond that the Maker Foundation will also need to effectively off-board its knowledge base to contributors to come.
The second of Christensen’s pillars dealt with Maker Improvement Proposals, or MIPs, which will be used to formalize governance decisions. The first 13 of these MIPs will be published next week and will get discussions going as to how the Maker community should proceed.
Lastly, the MakerDAO founder said vote delegation would also be huge for the DAO going forward. Voters already use the MKR governance token to make key decisions, but vote delegation hasn’t yet been possible.
Soon such delegation will be, though, and that dynamic will undoubtedly give rise to so-called protocol politicians: figures who vote on behalf of a faction based on a given political platform. For example, a person who wants many new collateral types approved in the Maker ecosystem could delegate their votes to a like-minded, more involved protocol politician.
Accordingly, vote delegation will probably lead to a few things, like larger amounts of MKR being used in votes and the development of a multipolar political arena wherein differing factions can keep each other in check and actualize truly decentralized governance. As Christensen explained on April 2nd:
“If Maker becomes a global actor, it is unavoidable that there will be a lot of political proxy wars of public figures fighting against each other for influence. That dynamic is always gonna happen. We just need a system that is resilient enough to deal with these non-optimal behaviors.”
MKR Auctions Successful
Christensen said the events of March 12th, or Black Thursday, has hastened the need for the Maker Foundation to work toward dissolution and prepping the wider Maker community for that major development.
Black Thursday was indeed Maker’s most challenging day yet, as ugly markets and acute liquidation anomalies left the lending system with some $5 million worth of protocol debt.
The good news for Maker is that debt was finally completely covered this week, albeit by emergency MKR auctions that inflated the MKR supply.
Accordingly, the episode provides an early and prime example for the kinds of crises that a fully decentralized MakerDAO ecosystem must be prepared to weather in the future.
Decentralized prediction market platform Augur, one of oldest projects building on Ethereum, is nearing in on its much anticipated “v2” upgrade.
Augur, which allows users to permissionlessly bet on the outcome of events using its REP token, first launched on the Ethereum mainnet in July 2019 after being kickstarted by a $5.5 million REP initial coin offering in 2015.
The project’s forward momentum has continued alas, as on Thursday, April 2nd, its builders announced they were eyeing June 2020 as their target launch window for the project’s v2 roll out. The development comes after the Augur team published their v2 whitepaper back in November 2019.
Major Changes Coming
The upgrade will be a significant one, not only because the additions and changes it will bring to the Augur platform but also because of the way it will be facilitated. That’s because Augur’s REP smart contract isn’t pauseable, meaning a new and entirely different contract must be deployed to bring v2 about.
This dynamic requires “a manual opt-in migration of REP … aka, an opt-in hard fork,” the Augur team has previously explained. As such, in their April 2nd v2 announcement post, Augur’s builders noted that they were working to finalize the details around the coming token migration:
“When v2 is deployed, all current token balances must be migrated to a new REP token contract. We will soon be sharing details for exchanges and individuals to manage the migration process, so please hang tight.”
Beyond the token migration, the coming upgrade will also notably change the platform and REP in big ways.
For one, v2 will allow markets to be denominated in the stablecoin Dai, as previously only ETH-denominated markets were possible and thus were subject to the volatility of the ether price. Moreover, in v2 invalid markets will be tradeable, meaning users will be able to bet “Yes,” “No,” or “Invalid” on market outcomes. This wasn’t possible in v1.
Additionally, the major upgrade will see the REP token shift to being an ERC-777 token after having been just a straightforward ERC-20 token in v1. The new token standard will allow REP to have more advanced capabilities while remaining backwards compatible.
Ahead of the transition, Augur has set a cut-off date of May 15 for its v1 markets.
The Uniswap Factor
Another major element of Augur v2 is how it will be integrated with the decentralized exchange Uniswap’s own coming v2 upgrade, which is also slated to come out shortly.
Per this integration, Augur will rely on Uniswap “as as a decentralized oracle and price feed,” Augur’s builders have explained before. In their latest announcement, those builders said much of Augur v2’s work was already completed and that they would be tracking Uniswap’s impending upgrade to get the timing right.
“We are in communication with the Uniswap team and will gauge their launch situation to determine the best course forward,” Augur said.
Between Augur’s and Uniswap’s advancements, then, it looks like the DeFi space is definitely doing some big leveling up this year.
Where Does Augur Go From Here?
According to decentralized finance tracker site DeFi Pulse, Augur is the 20th largest DeFi project at the time of this article’s writing.
With v2 arriving, Augur is set to become considerably more useful and practical. It seems likely that this new utility will help attract new users to the platform, which in turn could translate to Augur climbing the DeFi charts some.
Of course, this isn’t to say that v2 will make Augur explode up the charts overnight. But it seems within reason that over time the upgrade might give Augur the momentum it needs to climb a few positions on DeFi Pulse. Only time will tell for now.
The Federal Reserve’s balance sheet just hit a new record, increasing to a massive $5.86tn. This is thanks to fresh new liquidity aimed to prevent markets from crashing during the coronavirus pandemic. As investors wonder what the end effects will be on fiat, Bitcoin breaks $7,000.
Federal Reserve Balance Sheet Breaks Records
According to Reuters, the US Central Bank’s balance sheet has ballooned by a massive $1.5tn in just three weeks since efforts to avoid economic catastrophe kicked in. Just to give that some context, that figure is the equivalent of more than one-quarter of the size of the entire country’s economy before the crisis hit and:
It will certainly grow larger in the weeks ahead as the Fed keeps piling on assets and the economy likely shrinks.
In a bid to keep markets functioning, the central bank is applying quantitative easing like never before. It is gobbling up mortgage bonds, Treasury securities, and other assets like a game of Pacman. Among its new purchases, Treasury holdings rose to $3.34tn from $2.98tn.
The central bank is also ramping up the use of its liquidity swap lines. These enable foreign central banks to exchange their local currencies for dollars. This figure rose from $348.5 billion to $206.1 billion in just one week.
Shortly after the U.S. Congress signed a $2tn coronavirus stimuli package, ex-presidential candidate Andrew Yang commented:
Where did we get $2 trillion? The American people are catching on.
— Andrew Yang (@AndrewYang) March 26, 2020
But that was a whole week ago. Now, with the balance sheet nearing $6tn and more spending sprees on the horizon… is fiat headed to the brink of collapse?
Bitcoin Time to Shine
Many economists have warned about the bubble-like economy being on the brink of recession. However, no one predicted that the coronavirus would be the needle that would prick it.
The only choice governments may have is to increase their monetary supply. However, what will be interesting to watch is what happens at the end of the crisis.
After all, the same types of measures were taken in the 2008/9 crisis and the left-over increase in money supply went into asset classes. This time around the money is so much more. It’s possible that another stock market boom begins… But it’s also likely that this will lead to a round of defaults, currency devaluation, and significant inflation.
No one wants Bitcoin to benefit off the back of global suffering. But let’s not forget that Bitcoin emerged out of the ashes of the last global financial meltdown and now people have an alternative.
As billionaire investor Mike Novogratz pointed out yesterday, now, more than ever is Bitcoin’s time to shine as a hard asset that doesn’t debase.
As the Fed’s balance sheet mushrooms out of control, Bitcoin breaks $7k. It looks as if the smart money is already catching on.
What do you make of the Federal Reserve’s latest balance sheet figures? Add your thoughts below!
Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @AndrewYang
Under the guise of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments may target our civil liberties, and cryptography could become the technological protector of our rights.
Even with all the looming uncertainty surrounding the global COVID-19 pandemic, system security needs to remain at the forefront of companies’ planning.
Businesses around the world are shutting down under local, state or national decrees as COVID-19 fears bring caution regarding public gatherings. Unsurprisingly, hackers have used the unprecedented opportunity of chaos and panic to probe weaknesses in information technology systems. One of those systems happened to be the United States Department of Health and Human Services, making the act even more egregious, considering the circumstances.
But the problem extends beyond hackers and threats to companies and individuals. During times of crisis, civil liberties also come under threat, and cryptography often provides a shield against unwarranted encroaches by the government.
So, whether you’re a business worried about paying server and security costs during this economic turmoil or an individual protecting your digital assets, cryptography can serve you well.
Hackers will continue to be opportunistic
It’s an unfortunate byproduct of crises, but hackers can wield social, economic and financial chaos for their gain.
For example, hackers launched a distributed denial of service attack against the Department of Health and Human Services last month in a bid to slow down the COVID-19 response. The current narrative makes the hack seem distinctly malicious in its effort to make the pandemic response slower, but there is likely more to the story.
The surging number of cases and by extension the hoarding of medical data under a consolidated government system presents an opportunity for hackers to abscond with sensitive information. Moreover, when emergency responses elicit rapid reactions, much of the system’s security may be a patchwork of protocols not backend tested thoroughly.
For example, cases being uploaded from the field — such as hospitals, makeshift testing centers, etc. — to government servers that aggregate and display current COVID-19 metrics may contain serious security flaws due to the rapidity of their development. Applications developed by small teams to assist doctors in times of crisis may also not follow security standards, specifically the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — commonly referred to as HIPAA — compliance laws, which are esoteric and outside the scope of most technology-focused engineers.
Hackers, looking for medical data that can be sold at a high value on black markets, likely view this as a gold mine. The hacking incident against the Health Department is probably not the first, nor will it be the last, of ongoing attempts to infiltrate prominent security systems.
Cryptography provides a useful layer of defense against such intrusions. Masking medical data identifiers and other sensitive information is possible with a variety of cryptographic standards available today. Many projects in the crypto sector explicitly focus on financial applications, but the cryptographic modules for protecting and verifying sensitive data translate to other industries, such as healthcare, very well.
That’s not to say that cryptography is a panacea to the ongoing fallout of COVID-19. In some cases, governments are covertly using the dilemma as a method to subvert encryption entirely, such as is occurring in the U.S.
Government surveillance covertly gaining favor among amid crisis
Hidden behind all of the headlines about the Federal Reserve interest rate, the S&P 500 tanking and COVID-19 cases was a proposed legislation effort that has profound consequences on the field of cryptography.
Known as the EARN IT bill, U.S. Congresspeople have proposed a bill that would effectively grant the U.S. government the ability to access “any digital message.” The bill would create a consortium of law enforcement agencies headed by the Justice Department that would institute a standard verification mechanism for any digital message. If the message does not use the standard “verification” of the government’s technology to authenticate the message, then the sending/receiving parties can be sued into oblivion.
Concerning cryptography, this is a disastrous bill. The proposed document cleverly avoids the explicit use of the word “encryption,” but its language indicates that cryptography would become illegal, as all messages cannot be private between two counterparties. The government gets a backdoor.
Encryption would become illegal by default because it preserves privacy and authentication of a message between two parties, preventing the ability of a third party to snoop on the message’s contents.
The bill is still in its early stages, but it shows, once again, that governments do not approve of widespread encryption use among the public. Whether it be the Clipper chip scandal of the 1990s or the subversive move by Congress that is masked by a national crisis, the government’s efforts are persistent.
Fortunately, cryptography — which is empirically just math — does not adhere to the caprices of hackers, governments or opportunities to subvert its influence. The grassroots encryption movement started by cypherpunks and bolstered by the crypto community has spread the technology to an extent that is unlikely to fade away at fiat decree.
For businesses enduring the turbulent COVID-19 situation, don’t forget to account for your security during these vulnerable times. As individuals, remember that cryptography is your friend in protecting your civil liberties during a public health crisis.
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.
Dr. Huang Lin is the co-founder and CTO of Suterusu, a project developing trustless privacy technology. He holds Ph.D. degrees in applied cryptography and privacy-preserving distributed systems from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and the University of Florida. He has worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne on applied cryptography for genomic privacy and blockchain-based data monetization.
Since 2016, 1xBit has been operating its online gambling platform that has been growing rapidly as the cryptocurrency space has taken off. It is constantly innovating to try to become the best offering in the crypto gambling space.
There is a great selection of different game types, with the selection within each of these categories also being extensive. There are more than 20 different cryptocurrencies that you can use through 1xBit, providing you with a great level of flexibility and anonymity.
As well as being an online casino, there is also a live dealer casino and a sportsbook that you can check out.
This 1xBit review takes a deep dive into each respective section of this offering to see where it shines and what areas are potentially lacking. This will allow you to determine if 1xBit is a good fit for you and your needs.
While sports betting appears to be more of a central focus for 1xBit, there is also an extensive casino offering.
For slots players, there are thousands of different video slots to check out. Many of the biggest titles in the space today are on offer, with new games being added on an almost daily basis.
All different types of slots can be played, such as 3D slots, classic titles and jackpot slots. You have many of the best game developers supported through 1xBit, such as Oryx Gaming, Evolution Gaming, AWG, RTG Slots, Spinmatic, Playson, Betsoft and Pragmatic Play.
You can quickly filter through games by their popularity, developer or game type. The games are all played through your browser and the gameplay is smooth and seamless. For fans of jackpot slots, there are many different options, with fan favorites such as Jazzy Fruits being on offer.
There are even some games that have seven-figure jackpots for a lucky player to win. All of these games can also be played for free if you do not want to put your money on the line. You can even play four of these games at the same time.
There are also other popular casino games on offer. You have a few dozen different roulette variants to check out, with some of the more niche options being Turbo Roulette and 3D European roulette.
There are dozens of different blackjack variants on offer, such as multi-hand and double exposure three-hand variants. Baccarat fans have more than 30 options to check out, one of the most extensive offerings you will see on any online casino.
Other types of popular game types you can check out through the 1xBit offering include bingo, keno, drop & wins, casino poker games and Sic-Bo. There really is something for everyone in terms of this casino offering.
1xBit Live Casino
Live dealer casino gameplay has become very popular in recent years. 1xBit has been embracing this trend and offers an extensive live dealer offering.
There are live dealer tables from many different software developers, such as Evolution Gaming and Pragmatic Play. When you enter into the live casino section at 1xBit, you will quickly see the different game types on offer.
Each given variant will showcase on the surface the betting limits that are in place, so you can quickly find a limit size that suits your preferences. Each game type has an impressive amount of different variants and live dealer options.
You can decide on what geographical region you want to play in for example. All of the streams are of HD quality and allow for an immersive experience. There are betting limit options for absolute beginners and high rollers alike.
The main game categories for the 1xBit live casino offering include blackjack, roulette, baccarat, casino poker, jackpot games, Sic-Bo, Monopoly Live, Over/Under and a variety of other niche games. Overall, you cannot go wrong with the 1xBit live dealer casino experience, being one of the best around in the space today.
1xBit Sports Betting
There is a comprehensive sports betting offering at 1xBit. Every major sport is well-catered for. You will find markets for even more obscure sporting events. Each of the major sports will have a massive selection of different markets whether you are looking at futures betting or placing bets on specific games.
There is a live betting section that allows you to place bets on a multitude of different markets while the game is ongoing. Many of the different sporting events can be live-streamed through the platform. There is also an interface that showcases the action in real-time for that given event.
The odds are generally pretty good when compared to other platforms. If you want to cut your losses or cash out your winnings early during the middle of a given sporting event, you have the cash-out option. There is also a sports betting exchange for those people who are inclined.
One of the areas of the 1xBit sportsbook that is garnering a lot more attention as of late is the esports section. This is an area that a lot of online gambling platforms are focusing on more and more as the sector’s popularity is exploding.
There are usually a few dozen different markets for you to bet on for a given esports match. All of the leading esports are on offer for betting purposes. There is also live betting for these events.
Overall, this is a sportsbook that ticks most of the boxes you could wish for as a sports bettor.
Additional 1xBit Offerings
There are a few different aspects of the 1xBit online gambling offering. The 1xGames section is another way for you to play a variety of self-developed casual casino games.
Oftentimes, there are special cashback offers built into this offering. There are countless niche games such as Dominoes and Yahtzee that you can play in this section.
You can also partake in the online sports betting pools through the Toto section. This offers jackpots for a range of different sports and esports.
There is also a binary options aspect to the offering, as well as a selection of popular online lotteries, such as Powerball and Mega Millions.
Finally, there is a range of virtual sports that you can try out when there is a lack of actual sporting events taking place. Overall, this is one of the most comprehensive collections of random types of games and offering that you will find with a crypto casino.
If you are signing up for a 1xBit account for the first time, then there is a welcome bonus offer that you can avail of.
To receive this offer, you will need to create an account and then deposit at least 5 mBTC or an equivalent sum in a different cryptocurrency. You will be able to avail of deposit bonuses for each of your first four deposits.
Your initial deposit will be matched 100%, up to a max bonus of 1 BTC.
Your second deposit is matched 50% up to 1 BTC,
Your third deposit matched 100% up to 2 BTC
Your fourth deposit is matched 50% up to 3 BTC.
Therefore, you can earn up to 7 BTC in bonus funds if you max out these offers.
Before you can cash out these funds, you will need to meet the wagering requirements. You need to wager the deposit amount at least 40 times inside of 30 days of making the respective deposit.
If you make another deposit while you have not yet wagered the bonus funds from the previous deposit, you will not be entitled to any more deposit bonuses.
There are certain types of games that will not contribute 100% to wagering requirements. For example, you cannot meet wagering requirements at all by playing live dealer casino games.
Overall, this is a decently sized welcome bonus offer with wagering requirements that are somewhat achievable and about standard for the sector.
Regular Promotions and Loyalty Program
There are also promotions for existing 1xBit customers. These will often change, keeping things fresh. You will find different offers for casino games and sports betting products. For example, for sports betting bonuses, you will get insurance on your bets, price boosts, cashback offers and free bets.
For casino games, there will often be free slots spins, bonus funds given to you to use for certain games and cashback bonuses. There is a great variety of promotions that will keep you interested in the long-term when it comes to the 1xBit offering.
There is a VIP cashback program in existence on 1xBit. This will see you earn loyalty points when you play certain games. One of the main exceptions is that you will not earn any loyalty points when you are playing 1xGames. There is a tiered system as part of this program, with the perks increasing the higher the tier level you reach.
The rate at which you earn points will also increase with the greater the level you reach. You will be able to redeem points for cashback when you hit certain levels. There are also other types of rewards that you can receive as part of this loyalty program.
As 1xBit is mainly a crypto casino, it will not come as a surprise that there are many different crypto options open to you when it comes to funding your account.
When it comes to depositing funds to your 1xBit account, there are 68 different crypto exchanges that are linked to 1xBit. This figure will vary depending on what country you are residing in.
This will allow you to quickly exchange fiat into crypto if you need to do so or to quickly transfer from your e-wallet to your 1xBit account. Most of the main exchanges are on offer.
While 1xBit does not charge any fees for conducting deposit and withdrawals some of the exchanges may have their own fees that you need to consider in addition to the network fees.
For most of the exchanges, there will be a minimum required deposit of 1 mBTC. Most of them also do not have a cap on the max amount of funds that you can add to your 1xBit account.
The cryptocurrencies catered for on the site are:
Usually, it will take less than three hours for these funds to be credited to your online gambling account. There is currently no way for different players on 1xBit to transfer coins to one another.
The withdrawal process is very similar to that of adding funds to your account, with similar caps being in place. Withdrawals will often be processed in less than an hour, which is ideal.
Overall, 1xBit only focuses on crypto transactions as opposed to a lot of other crypto casinos that also offer fiat transaction options.
As 1xBit is predominantly a crypto-based online gambling platform, the goal is to allow you to play the best online casino games and have access to the optimal betting options while doing so in an anonymous manner.
There is no need for you to provide excessive information when signing up for an account. You simply can choose a username and a password and you will normally be good to go, having the ability to use a dummy email address.
You do not have to inform that platform about your home address or full name for example.
All transactions will, of course, be tracked through the blockchain and the process of conducting transactions through 1xBit is pretty straightforward. The online gambling platform is part of the Curacao government’s licensing and oversight regime. The best in firewall and SSL encryption technology is used at 1xBit to make sure that account funds are protected.
If you have any issues or concerns about the security of 1xBit, you can get in touch with the security department via email and have your concerns eased. If you wish, you can add two-factor authentication onto your account to give it an extra layer of security.
If you want to place bets or play casino games while you are on the go, there is a mobile app for 1xBit that caters for both iOS and Android users.
These apps can be downloaded in a matter of seconds and allow you the flexibility that comes with mobile gambling. The library of games is effectively the same on the mobile offering, with everything being optimized for the smaller device.
The navigation system is very easy to use, with the search filters and categories being your friend when you are searching for particular types of games. If you don’t want to download an app, you can also place bets through your mobile device’s web browser on the 1xBit platform.
The 1xBit desktop platform is nicely designed, with a sleek color scheme allowing the text to really pop out from the background. Each respective category of gambling is well able through the menu system. This means that you are not wasting time trying to find certain aspects of a given offering.
The filtering system is one of the best around. For casino games, you are able to add certain games into your favorites so you can quickly find them the next time that you are playing.
There is also a recently played games feature that showcases the games you have played in the recent past. You can also narrow down the games offering by the specific type of game you are looking for or by using the search bar to find specific titles.
You can also see sections that showcase the most popular games on the platform, as well as the newest arrivals.
The process of playing casino games is very smooth, with the graphics general being very good. As there are so many different developers, you can find a certain game style or aesthetic that suits your eye and focus on these games.
The live dealer casino has HD quality streams that make it feel like you are actually sitting at the casino table in the flesh. The sports betting section is very clearly laid out and the process of placing bets using the bet slip couldn’t be easier.
The live betting interface is very smooth and you have access to all of the info or data you could need when betting on a given sports event live. The process of making transactions is seamless and will only take a matter of minutes to do.
The site speed as a whole is good, allowing you to navigate the platform with ease. There is a handy system also where you can quickly change the language of the site, the odds settings, check your account statistics and update your account balance.
If you have any questions or queries about the 1xBit offering, there is not really an FAQ section for you to check out. In the footer of the website, there are useful links that will help resolve a lot of issues or questions you may have. Otherwise, you can get in touch with the 1xBit support team that works around the clock.
You can send them an email for more detailed issues or you can use the live chat feature to get instant feedback for more simple requests and issues. The response times for the emails is usually within 24 hours of having sent it. There are also a number of social media accounts showcased on the website that can also be contacted.
As you have seen, 1xBit is one of the best crypto casinos and sports betting platforms in the space today. It ticks all of the boxes a gambler could ever want when it comes to the range of different types of gambling on offer.
There is great depth to each of these sections also in addition to the expansive range of game types. Slots players, sports bettors, table game fans and many other gambling fans will fall in love with what 1xBit has to offer.
The offering is almost unparalleled when it comes to online gambling platforms.
There is a welcome offer in place that covers your first four deposits with appropriate bonuses and the platform is always running exciting promotions for its existing players.
The loyalty program also comes in handy if you are planning on playing a lot on the 1xBit site. The desktop and mobile sites are both nice and fast and easy to use.
Conducting transactions is easy, with many exchanges and cryptocurrencies being offered. 1xBit takes your security seriously and allows you to gamble online in an anonymous manner.
Overall, you will be hard-pressed to find a better crypto gambling platform than 1xBit.
The European Commission sees some specific uses for blockchain technology in coordinating communication between member states, fostering crypto innovation.
The head of the digital innovation and blockchain unit at the European Commission (EC), Pēteris Zilgalvis, explained the concise benefits of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in an interview to The Banker, a subsidiary of the Financial Times. In the interview, published on April 3, Zilgalvis talked about the benefits and challenges of the technology.
According to him, blockchain provides a powerful framework for data sharing, something that can't be done by normal databases:
“We think that it presents an excellent technology for situations where different stakeholders need to collaborate but, due to competition or legal reasons, they do not want to or are unable to share a single database.”
He added that blockchain is not “the solution for everything,” but there are applications such as document certification, self-sovereign identities and regulatory reporting, where DLT is “30% to 80% more efficient.”
Sharing data between members of a group
The distributed nature of blockchain is especially useful in the context of the EU, where it provides a way of coordinating data between member countries without sending it to a central location in Brussels or Luxembourg.
This is the rationale behind the European Blockchain Services Infrastructure, which aims to bring public services into a pan-European context. One of the potential uses of EBSI is connecting European banks in terms of their regulatory reporting, for example by sharing client data gathered in their anti-money laundering efforts.
Zilgalvis noted that this is a bigger challenge than it may seem, as banks are reluctant to do so due to concerns about competition and user privacy regulations.
The European blockchain effort is finding more issues with the political aspect rather than technological, as Zilgalvis revealed:
“The biggest challenge is governance. The best use cases for blockchain are where it is not one enterprise or entity but many. Thus, governance is important.”
On the technology side, efforts are being made to improve scaling, consensus mechanisms and privacy.
Blockchain and crypto
Unlike some other governments, namely China, the European Union’s blockchain efforts are also coupled with a relaxed stance on cryptocurrencies, according to Zilgalvis"
“We haven’t made any moves to prohibit anything, which stands against the stereotype of ‘if it moves, Europe regulates it.’”
He added that crypto is regulated through the same principles as any currency and that any future changes will be “very much done in a ‘pro-innovation’ spirit.”
European countries are indeed traditionally open to crypto, with recent examples of favorable treatment being found in both France and Germany.
The European Central Bank is also pushing for issuing a “digital Euro” in response to Libra and similar worldwide initiatives. Zilgalvis, while noting that this is not EC’s area of competence, urged the bank to determine the advantages and risks of the proposal. He added:
“Obviously for the EC, and the EBSI initiative, it would be easiest for us to use the euro in our blockchain infrastructure rather than another digital currency or cryptocurrency.”
The past few days have been positive for Bitcoin, as the flagship cryptocurrency continues to recover from the major correction last month. There is no shortage of analysis supporting further price gains, yet one critical piece of data stands out as very positive.
BITCOIN POISED TO CROSS A MAJOR THRESHOLD
Analysts Pierre has observed that Bitcoin is on the verge of crossing the 4-hour 200 day moving average. This price action may sound overly technical, yet it is a crucial link in better understanding Bitcoin’s market strength. Pierre has tweeted:
One hour to go for bulls to reclaim H4 200 EMA, still running the show here.
FYI last time we reclaimed it was on Jan 5th, and only lost it on Feb 25th
Would be an encouraging sign for bulls, but still a lot of fight to win this area. I guess another crazy day for us.#Bitcoin https://t.co/kHlnSAo6AP pic.twitter.com/7JgT2Zsxap
— Pierre (@pierre_crypt0) April 3, 2020
Bitcoin last moved above the 4- hour 200 moving average on January 5th, after which its value jumped 27%. In fact, it was during this period that Bitcoin broke USD $10k for the first time in months. Thus, crossing this line is yet another indicator that investors are feeling comfortable about the price moving forward.
The same phenomenon has happened in years past. For example, Bitcoin’s notable increase that began last April was also preceded by crossing the 4-hour 200MA. Also, there are many incarnations of the moving average, all of which have a solid track record of predicting price gains.
THE PRICE IS MOVING UP, BUT CAN IT HOLD?
Yesterday, Bitcoin broke $7k for the first time since the March crash, yet quickly corrected as profit taking moved in. Now that the price is inching back up, crypto advocates appear optimistic moving into the weekend.
It is worth noting that whereas another major correction appears unlikely, price volatility remains all but certain. The crypto market may be recovering, yet the global economy continues to shrink. Most experts now predict a recession has begun that could last months, if not years. How such a scenario could impact the blockchain space is uncertain.
Unemployment numbers are the most troubling, as workers need disposable income in order to purchase Bitcoin. For now the sell off for quick cash seems to have abated, yet it could happen again should the work stoppages and furloughs continue.
The good news is that a series of factors are coming together that all indicate a healthy market recovery. Much has been made of Bitcoin’s impending block halving, which is expected to cause a price surge. Also, the devaluation of fiat currencies by central banks should draw investors to crypto as well. In fact, all other issues notwithstanding, this time of year tends to see prices move up.
Are you excited about Bitcoin crossing above the 4-hour 200MA line? Add your thoughts in the comments below!
Images via Shutterstock, @pierre_crypt0
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.
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.
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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.
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