Walmart Canada Launches Largest Blockchain for Supply Chain Management Ever

Walmart Canada has just announced what it describes as the world’s “first enterprise full production blockchain solution launched at a large scale mission-critical function”. The network will allow for information sharing and collaboration between 70 third-party trucking companies serving the company.

The blockchain system has been a collaboration between Walmart Canada and DLT Labs. It will be reportedly increase efficiency, reduce costs, and allow for easier budgeting and planning for the company’s logistics wing.

Walmart Canada Rolls Out Massive Supply Chain Blockchain

According to a press release published earlier today, the Walmart Canada blockchain is the largest such application of the technology ever for the logistics industry. It will be used to not only track deliveries, but also verify transactions, and automate payments between the company and the 70 trucking companies it works with. It will serve Walmart’s 400 retail stores across Canada.

The company expects to have on boarded all of the trucking companies it works with by February, 2020. Those working at various points of the supply chain can then use a web portal and streamline mobile application to interact with the blockchain system.

Senior vice-president of logistics and supply chain at Walmart Canada, John Bayliss, commented on the new system:

“This new dynamic and interactive blockchain technology platform is creating complete transparency between Walmart Canada and all of our carrier partners… Blockchain is enabling a material advance in our smart transportation network.”

Bayliss added that the platform would drastically improve efficiency in logistics and would allow for not only financial savings but would reduce the firm’s environmental footprint too.

The new system is a collaboration between Walmart Canada and DLT Labs. The Toronto-based blockchain startup’s CEO, Loudon Owen also provided comment on the newly-launched system:

“DLT Labs is delighted to partner with such an extraordinary organization to bring the world’s first and largest blockchain solution for industry into production… Just as the Roman’s concept, ‘dictum meum pactum’ (meaning ‘my word is my bond’) was fundamental to building trade, this product creates a secure digital handshake using blockchain to renew trust and efficiency in global trade.”

Although NewsBTC has reported on similar systems by other large companies in the past, the new blockchain network from Walmart does appear to much grander in scale. The company says its 8.75 million square feet of distribution centres are routinely visited by over 4,500 associates and drivers. The system will eventually connect them all. Given the expanse of the new network, the company is expecting the automated of data collecting and management will result in massive financial savings.

 

Related Reading: Bitcoin Network Metrics Flail as Price Drops Under $9,000: Pain to Come?

Featured Image from Shutterstock.

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OneCoin Co-Founder Pleads Guilty, Faces up to 90 Years in Jail

Ignatov signed a plea on Oct. 4 and faces up to 90 years in prison for money laundering and fraud charges.

Konstantin Ignatov, co-founder of alleged crypto scam OneCoin, has pleaded guilty to participation in the multi-billion dollar fraud. According to a BBC report on Nov. 14, Ignatov signed a plea on Oct. 4 and now faces up to 90 years in prison. The news was made public on Nov. 12, the BBC says.

After being arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in March 2019, Ignatov pleaded guilty to several charges, including money laundering and fraud. While facing up to 90 years behind bars, he has yet to be sentenced and will reportedly not face further criminal charges for his role in OneCoin, except potential tax violations.

OneCoin raised $4.4 billion in Ponzi scheme

As previously reported, OneCoin is known as a major crypto exit scam alongside famous crypto scam BitConnect.

Founded in 2014, the Bulgaria-based firm remains fully operational to date despite investigators’ allegations that it raised 4 billion euro ($4.4 billion) in a Ponzi scheme, according to the BBC.

Ignatov speaks against his sister and OneCoin co-founder Ruja Ignatova

Additionally, Ignatov has reportedly provided more details against his sister and OneCoin co-founder Ruja Ignatova, also known as “cryptoqueen.” While testifying in the trial against Mark Scott, who allegedly helped launder nearly $400 million via OneCoin, Ignatov told the court that his sister obtained a passport and tickets to Austria and Greece from her home in Bulgaria.

Ignatov said that Ignatova regarded OneCoin’s critics as “haters,” and was afraid that somebody close to her was going to give her up to the FBI. Ignatov also said that he had hired a private investigator to find Ignatova, adding that he had not spoken to her since she disappeared.

Finding Ignatova

As reported by Cointelegraph, Ignatov testified on Nov. 6 that after his sister fled, security personnel who accompanied her told him that she had met with Russian speakers. Matthew Russell Lee, founder of investigative journalism-oriented publication Inner City Press, said that Ignatov’s sister informed him that she had the support and protection of an unnamed "rich and powerful" Russian citizen.

The Ripple Drop: Highlights From the Inaugural UBRI Connect and Xpring Hackathon

This episode of The Ripple Drop features discussions from Xpring’s Interoperability Hackathon and the inaugural UBRI Connect conference, both held at the University of California, Berkeley. 

Xpring’s Interoperability Hackathon
The night before UBRI Connect, Hackathon participants had the opportunity to be one of the first developers to work with and experience Xpring’s new developer platform. Hacking until 5 a.m., Berkeley Computer Science (CS) students and developer teams from around the world, built new applications leveraging the XRP Ledger and Interledger protocol (ILP).

The night before UBRI Connect, Hackathon participants had the opportunity to be one of the first developers to work with and experience Xpring’s new developer platform. Hacking until 5 a.m., Berkeley Computer Science (CS) students and developer teams from around the world, built new applications leveraging the XRP Ledger and Interledger protocol (ILP).

The developer platform offers a set of tools, services and programs that makes it easier for developers to send and receive payments in any currency, across any network. According to the SVP of Xpring, Ethan Beard, the platform helps remove the pain and friction from integrating money into apps. 

“What we set out to do with Xpring was to build tools for developers and enable them to easily tap into the power of the digital asset XRP and ILP,” said Beard. “We want to make it simple to add money into their app, no matter where their app is or what programming language they’re using.”

Beard explained that when developers previously worked on the XRP Ledger or ILP they would need to write dozens of redundant lines of code to access the technology. With the new software development kit (SDK), that burden is lifted.

“Previously a developer had to write 100 lines of javascript for example, in order to just do a simple transaction on the XRP Ledger,” Beard explained. “Now, using this SDK, an IOS developer who writes in Swift can actually use ten lines of code and do the exact same thing.”

The winners of the Hackathon did just that by leveraging the new SDK to build a powerful app using ILP. Undergraduate students from Berkeley’s Blockchain at Berkeley Club, Ayoush Aggarwal and Eric Hou, built a transfer payment solution that leverages QR codes and the power of Interledger to send money and avoid the friction they experienced using popular apps like Venmo.

“The first thing is privacy. [Apps can submit user data] into social media, which we find concerning given that we don’t have a stake in that data,” said Aggarwal. “The second thing is that money isn’t really ours, because it’s on Venmo’s servers. So we wanted to use venmo to solve those two problems.”

Hou explained that using ILP and QR codes allowed their new app to have almost universal accessibility across platforms and devices, while maintaining the privacy of each user.

“Since everything is based on QR codes, any device that has a QR scanner can use the app,” said Hou. “So when you scan this QR code there is a secret there and the website will go ahead and parse that secret and handle it automatically.”

UBRI Connect
In October, the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) had its first annual conference, UBRI Connect. The event brought together UBRI participants from around the world to share their research and discuss new projects being started in blockchain, digital assets and FinTech.

Faculty and students from 40 universities and over a dozen countries convened at the Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley. 

According to Senior Manager of University Partnerships, Lauren Weymouth, the event came at the request of the initiative’s participants who wanted to connect and learn what other schools were working on.

“We received a lot of good feedback that they not only wanted to collaborate with Ripple, but they wanted to be collaborating with each other,” said Weymouth. “So we formed this academic convening so we could get everyone together in one space.”

The event kicked off with a keynote by Ripple CTO David Schwartz and the formal announcement of Xpring’s new developer platform tools.

In addition speakers from UBRI-sponsored universities, speakers from Xpring partner companies such as Forte, Coil, SendFriend and more took to the stage to share the work they’ve been doing.

Critically, the event allowed participating universities to get together and share the new curriculum, courses and research they’ve done in the last year. 

UBRI Connect 2020 is already on the horizon and will take place in London at the University College of London next fall.

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This article was originally published on: The Ripple Blog on 

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US Crypto Investors May Need To Consider Amending Past Tax Returns

Tax law surrounding crypto assets is currently convoluted and confusing, even despite Congress demanding the IRS clarify the law, and the IRS taking steps to provide more clarity to crypto investors in the United States.

However, given some recent comments from an IRS official regarding like-kind exchanges, crypto investors based in the US may want to consider going back and amending their tax returns to ensure they comply with the law.

IRS Clarifies Law Surrounding Like-Kind Exchange

Ever since Facebook unveiled its Libra cryptocurrency, the United States government and its many branches of government office have taken notice of the young, wild-west-like crypto industry, and the assets traded within it.

Related Reading | Confusing U.S. Tax Laws Lead to $5 Billion In Unrealized Crypto Losses 

Concerns over the disruption of the current monetary system, its use for illicit crimes like money laundering or terrorist funding, and more, have caused the US government to crack down on the crypto market.

It’s also caused the IRS to suddenly take more interest in crypto assets, and have updated tax forms to include if a taxpayer owns crypto assets – to ensure they aren’t missed on tax returns. Confusion remains around uncommon aspects of the industry, such as airdrops, but the IRS has finally begun to clarify the law in important areas.

According to a recent statement by IRS Associate Chief Counsel Suzanne Sinno, the office’s policy regarding like-kind exchanges never applied to cryptocurrencies.

Wikipedia says that a “like-kind exchange under United States tax law, also known as a 1031 exchange, is a transaction or series of transactions that allows for the disposal of an asset and the acquisition of another replacement asset without generating a current tax liability from the sale of the first asset.”

Like-kind exchanges that fall under a 1031 exchange include personal property such as vehicles, or even livestock. The law, however, is clear that it doesn’t include stocks, bonds, notes, or “other securities or evidences of indebtedness or interest.”

Crypto Investors Should Speak To a Tax Professional

Cryptocurrencies, according to Sinno, do not fall under the 1031 exchange tax code and would need to be reported on income taxes.

Prior to 2018, the common belief across the cryptocurrency community was that like-kind exchanges didn’t need to be reported, and thus any trades of Bitcoin into another crypto asset like Ripple, for example, did not need to be specifically reported – only when crypto was traded for cash.

The IRS claims it will be focusing its crackdown on individuals who haven’t reported their crypto taxes at all, and not those that have made mistakes in reporting. But because many crypto investors may not have reported like-kind exchanges, it could put them into the former category.

Related Reading | Overwhelming Majority of Bitcoin and Crypto Investors Refuse to Report Taxes 

Crypto investors who failed to report like-kind exchanges prior to 2018 or at all, would be wise to speak to a tax attorney or accountant to understand their risk exposure, and if filing an amended tax return is suggested.

Filing an amended tax return could result in a taxpayer owing back taxes on crypto trades, especially during the 2017 bull run, however, it is likely a small price to pay compared to the fines and potential jail time for failing to properly report income taxes.

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Pornhub Suggests Crypto Payments After Paypal Censors Model Payouts

On November 14, the leading adult video sharing site on the internet, Pornhub, revealed that payment processor Paypal has blocked the company’s live performer payouts. In a blog post written on Thursday, Pornhub recommended alternative payments like writing a check or using the digital currency verge.

Also read: Walk Like Nakamoto: 7 Anonymous Personalities in the Crypto Space

Paypal Blocks Pornhub’s Live Performer Payouts — Crypto Advocates Suggest Accepting More Digital Currencies

The adult entertainment web portal Pornhub is having issues with the payment processor Paypal. Pornhub has revealed Paypal has blocked model payouts for live performers who leverage the site’s platform. The company announced the issues using Twitter and a blog post that describes what payment methods are offered for live models. “Our currently available payment methods are Paxum, check, verge cryptocurrency and direct deposit,” explains Pornhub’s post. The adult site also explains in the notice that in order to accept verge (XVG), models need to obtain an XVG accepting wallet. On Twitter Pornhub wrote:

Urgent: Paypal has stopped all Pornhub model payouts. If you had PayPal as your payout method please change to direct deposit/SEPA, or payment by check in your settings.

Pornhub Suggests Crypto Payments After Paypal Censors Model Payouts

After the Twitter announcement and blog post, the price of XVG saw a small rise in value but the cryptocurrency is down 2.5% today and 9.4% for the week. In response to Pornhub’s Twitter post, many crypto community members used the opportunity to ask the company to accept more digital currencies like BCH, BTC, and ETH. One BCH supporter wrote: “Bitcoin Cash is there to help you and your customers.” “All models should contact Brenna Sparks to help them accept crypto payments,” another person tweeted.

For years now many cryptocurrency advocates have proposed that the adult industry combines forces with the crypto industry. Last spring Pornhub started accepting XVG but also told the public it would also accept ZEC and TRX. Since adding verge to the payment support list, reports detailed last year that only 1% of purchases are made using XVG and the other alternatives (ZEC, TRX) are not yet supported.

Financial Incumbents Have Been Blocking the Adult Industry for Years — Censorship-Resistant Money Is Needed

Paypal and other major credit card companies have been blocking sex workers and applications that help them get paid for years now. In 2014, the porn star Teal Conrad was banned from Paypal immediately after a slew of other adult industry stars were also barred from using financial institutions like Chase. A few users on Twitter mentioned that Pornhub should have fought harder against SESTA/FOSTA, a U.S. Senate and House bill that became law on April 11, 2018. “Gee, if only Pornhub used their massive budget to lobby against SESTA/FOSTA and fight for credit card companies to stop putting pressure on apps to ban sex workers maybe this wouldn’t have happened,” a user replied to Pornhub’s Paypal blockade tweet on Thursday.

Digital currency advocates have been slowly penetrating the adult industry to a degree and a few porn stars have promoted crypto on various occasions as well. According to a market research report created by the adult film studio Vogov, around 470 adult video sites have exposure to digital currencies. In the overall scheme of the massively lucrative porn industry, that doesn’t even scratch the surface. As more pressure from financial incumbents rises against the adult industry, the friction may push other leading firms and performers toward censorship-resistant cryptocurrencies.

What do you think about Paypal blocking Pornhub’s live performer payouts? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.


Image credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Pornhub, and Twitter.


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Walmart Canada Rolls Out Blockchain-Based Freight and Payment System

Walmart Canada has launched an automated blockchain-based network designed to improve freight and payment processing.

Walmart Canada — the retail giant’s Canadian branch — has rolled out an automated blockchain-based network for freight tracking and payments management, according to a Nov. 14 press release.

The new system, which was developed in collaboration with blockchain company DLT Labs,  is designed to improve freight and payment processing, enabling users to automatically trace deliveries, verify transactions and handle payments and reconciliation.

Integration with each company’s legacy systems

The release further states that the network can be integrated with a business’s legacy system and “manages, integrates and synchronizes all the supply chain and logistics data in real time, aggregating the data between Walmart Canada and its fleet of third-party trucks on a shared ledger.”

John Bayliss, senior vice-president of logistics and supply chain at Walmart Canada, noted the efficiency of blockchain technology when handling massive loads of inventory:

“This new dynamic and interactive blockchain technology platform is creating complete transparency between Walmart Canada and all of our carrier partners. Blockchain is enabling a material advance in our smart transportation network, with expedited payments, extensive cost savings and other benefits among our supply chain. Moreover, this degree of improved efficiency represents a powerful platform for us to continue to reduce our environmental footprint and continue our leadership in environmental sustainability."

While some retail giants adopt blockchain, others have doubts

Walmart has demonstrated a proactive approach to the implementation of blockchain in its internal processes. Recently, it announced that it would use blockchain technology to track its Indian-sourced shrimp to select locations of Sam's Club retail stores in the U.S.

In August, Walmart submitted a patent application for a drone communication system that is based on blockchain technology. In essence, the vehicle-to-vehicle communication system between unmanned drones would relay messages, mesh communications networks and allow machines to be aware of each others’ location and bearing.

However, there are some that claim that the biggest hurdle facing the blockchain systems being adopted by food retail giants such as Walmart and Nestlé has nothing to do with the technology itself. Craig Heraghty, agribusiness leader at  PwC, argued that blockchain gives an “illusion of traceability” to supermarket chains and consumers, given that while the data record itself may be tamper-proof, physical points of entry are not necessarily foolproof.

Dallas Mavericks CTO: Crypto Payment Option Still ‘A Cottage Industry’

The CTO of the Dallas Mavericks said that the pro basketball team’s cryptocurrency payment option is not yet widely used by its fanbase.

The Dallas Mavericks pro basketball team’s cryptocurrency payment option has not yet caught on with the majority of fans, the team’s chief technical officer said in a recent interview. 

As sports business-focused media outlet Front Office Sports reported on Nov. 14, Mavericks CTO David Herr said that the team wants to provide its fans with a more flexible way to purchase tickets and merchandise, thus enabling them to pay with cryptocurrencies. However, Herr pointed out that the demand for such an option is still very low, saying:

“[Users] are pretty low, I don’t want to say infancy, but it’s a select group of people using it [...] We did some research, heard some discussions and conversations and one comment was it’s still complicated to 99% of the population. Until it’s more widely accepted, it’s a cottage industry or a neat way to pay.”

As previously reported, the Mavericks became the second NBA team to accept Bitcoin (BTC) as a means of payment for match tickets and merchandise in mid-August. The team uses cryptocurrency payment processor BitPay to process their fans’ Bitcoin payments.

Herr said that the novelty of paying in cryptocurrency was part of the decision to introduce the payment option, stating, “We want to provide cool things for the fans and crypto was in response to some requests we’ve had.”

Sports adopting crypto and blockchain

Professional sports teams in various leagues and sports across the world have begun to dabble in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. In mid-October, the Sacramento Kings — the first NBA basketball team to adopt cryptocurrencies — partnered with creator of Ethereum-based Kaiju toys, CryptoKaiju, to launch crypto-collectibles. The collaboration followed the news that the team was launching a blockchain-powered rewards program within its gaming app Call the Shot.

In Germany, FC Bayern Munich became the latest football club to announce blockchain-based merchandise for fans, following a partnership with Stryking Entertainment to produce digital collectibles of its players.

China Walks Back Hardline Media Rhetoric Toward Crypto and Blockchain

With Chinese President Xi Jinping recently showcasing support for blockchain, local media is seemingly changing its sentiment toward crypto.

Earlier this week, a story published by Chinese state-run media outlet Xinhua featured some pro-Bitcoin comments that referred to the flagship digital currency as being the world’s “first successful application of blockchain technology.”

This latest endorsement comes against the backdrop of China’s stringent anti-crypto stance, wherein the country’s lawmakers implemented a blanket ban on its local cryptocurrency exchanges as well as initial coin offerings back in 2017.

The aforementioned Xinhua article takes a balanced approach toward crypto tech, outlining the history of Bitcoin’s development and its overall evolution. It starts off by asking readers the question “Does BTC present the global finance industry with an inevitable trend as far as future currency development goes or is the digital asset just another ‘tulip’ hype?” 

The piece then proceeds to describe the core tenets of blockchain and how such a decentralized, immutable and trustless technology can be used to facilitate value transfers in a completely peer-to-peer manner. Additionally, it also covers other relevant aspects related to crypto such as mining, digital scarcity and pseudonymity.

However, similar to most Western media coverage of cryptocurrencies, the piece then starts to devolve into a sweeping tirade of how Bitcoin is mostly being used by criminals and other nefarious individuals to facilitate black market and darknet transactions — a notion that has been debunked several times over in the past. Not only that, but Xinhua’s writing staff also goes on to highlight the volatility of Bitcoin, citing its lack of central backing as being one of its core weaknesses.

The global crypto community weighs in

To better assess the implications of China’s apparent change of heart toward blockchain tech and Bitcoin, Cointelegraph reached out to Matvey Voytov, the chief marketing officer of Waves, a private blockchain solution designed to compete with existing DLT platforms. He believes that China is likely to become the most active blockchain market in the world, as it looks to spend $2 billion on projects by 2023. Voytov further added:

“You can’t ignore Bitcoin as being the most successful case of a value transfer system built on blockchain as well as the fact that Chinese investors control a significant part of today’s global bitcoin operations. Still, it doesn’t mean that in the near future China will change its stance on the trading of cryptocurrencies that are not under their control.”

Similarly, Peter Somerville, head of node and developer relations for blockchain platform Elixxir, told Cointelegraph that he too is quite optimistic about the future of crypto and blockchain in China. He pointed out that owing to the country’s massive 1.4 billion strong population, there will always be a huge appetite for real-world crypto and blockchain use cases in the region. 

Additionally, he believes that since the Chinese tech community has played a meaningful role in the development of the industry from its very inception, the local market will soon change its mode of operation from a phase of hype and speculation to laying greater emphasis on projects that seek to innovate and build platforms in order to promote general adoption of these technologies.

Lastly, Andre Szykier, the chief technology officer Bitcoin ATM operator Blockchain BTM, told Cointelegraph that with China is seemingly committed to creating a gold-backed security token offering with a stated reserve of 13,000 tons — similar to what Russia has proposed for the ruble. 

On the topic of Chinese-owned media outlets appearing to tone down their erstwhile stringent opposition to things like Bitcoin mining and speculative cryptocurrency trading, Szykier made an observation that gambling is a fundamental characteristic of social behavior in China, adding that, “Since the government has gone forward in creating a ‘social score’ to reward or punish behavior in the country, cryptocurrency speculation falls into this area.” Szykier concluded:

“By controlling the buy/sell activity they can identify and control participants. How this affects the top tier individuals with very large wealth is TBD. The future of retail commerce in China is heavily mobile with ease of interchange between various payment systems highly advanced. By making paper/coin payments a smaller part of retailing, the government can monitor their citizens more closely and perhaps impact their social score.”

Has local sentiment toward crypto changed in China?

In order to gauge whether local sentiment toward crypto and blockchain technology in China has actually changed since the 2017 blanket ban came into effect, Cointelegraph reached out to Alex Lam, CEO and co-founder of digital asset services platform RockX. 

In his view, the Chinese government’s ban — which, at the time, was in response to an increasing amount of unregulated crypto market activity taking place within the country — ended up bringing digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum to the attention of many who had not heard of them before:

“In my opinion, the 2017 ban led to no big change in people’s perception of cryptocurrency technologies.”

It is no surprise that China, as well as a host of smaller countries, were initially fearful of BTC and blockchain technology for their disruptive potential. However, since China was recently threatened with sanctions and tariffs, the local regime moved to realize that the U.S. dollar and the SWIFT monetary system were being used against it as weapons of war and attrition. 

Where is China heading in terms of adoption?

The crypto-friendly media reports are now showing that China is truly working toward its goal of widespread blockchain adoption at a rapid pace, and that the country is gearing up for some big changes in the coming few years following President Xi Jinping’s call for adoption. 

To gain further insights on the matter, Cointelegraph asked Max Pertsovskiy, head of growth at Waves, to comment on whether or not he believes blockchain adoption will continue to increase throughout China in the coming few years. 

On the subject, he noted that China’s plans have instigated a fire under all potential stakeholders around the globe, as the race for blockchain supremacy is now on:

“I believe that over the next decade, nothing will shape the texture of the global economy as the jostling for leverage between China and the United States will. While there are many benefits to central bank digital currencies, the obvious impetus for CBDC was the Libra. China wants to both increase the international reach of the RMB and prevent the spread of the Libra.”

Similarly, Ben Golub, CEO of cloud storage platform Storj Labs, is also of the belief that China’s apparent change of heart toward crypto-related technologies could be a sign for bigger things to come for the industry as a whole. Golub told Cointelegraph that China is likely to broaden the lead in blockchain relative to the U.S.:

“Until the SEC rolls out more clear guidelines related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain, the US market will continue to stagnate."

Multiplayer Issues Blight Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition Launch

Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition launched today. Players are unable to join, create, or play multiplayer games. Xbox and Forgotten Empires are aware of the issue and are working on a fix. Today hasn’t been the kindest to Microsoft. After The Witcher 3 joining the Xbox Game Pass leak earlier, the multiplayer component of […]

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50DMA: Bitcoin Price Facing Dangerous Retest Of Moving Average

The leading crypto asset by market cap, Bitcoin, has had a confusing year thus far. The cryptocurrency started the year at extreme lows but later exploded back up 350% to $14,000, before falling nearly 50% down to $7,300.

The asset’s third-largest 24-hour gain brought the crypto asset back through the 200-day and 50-day moving average, but was rejected above $10,000 and is once again in free-fall mode. The drop has taken Bitcoin back down to the 50DMA, where the asset is currently retesting it as support – something that one crypto analyst says is very dangerous.

Bitcoin Price At An Impasse: Bull or Bear Market Soon To Be Decided

Bitcoin is at a critical junction, and is either correcting from a strong rally before going on a full bull run or is about to enter the next phase of the bear market. The days ahead will determine the trend for the coming months, as the asset inches closer to its halving.

Related Reading | Bitcoin Price: Reclaiming Important Moving Average Could Lead to Retest of Highs 

The price action has been difficult to gauge which side the market is leaning – bullish or bearish. A breakdown from a massive, multi-month symmetrical triangle turned the market bearish, but a powerful news-driven rally following Chinese President Xi Jinping’s nod of support for blockchain technology caused the asset’s price to surge, causing an epic short squeeze and setting a record for the asset’s third largest one day gain.

The explosive move took Bitcoin back above the 200-day moving average, as well as the 50-day moving average – two moving averages that recently death crossed.

But that powerful spike may have only been a bearish retest of former support turned resistance, and Bitcoin is once again falling, breaking back below the 200DMA, and is now facing a “dangerous” retest of the 50DMA.

Danger: 50-Day Moving Average Must Hold as Support

According to a chart shared by one crypto analyst, Bitcoin was above the 50DMA throughout the entire 2019 rally, until it began to correct, and the asset fell below – but traded closely to it. It wasn’t until September when Bakkt launched to much disappointment, where a sell the news event drove the price of Bitcoin down to the low $8,000 range.

Bitcoin is now back in the $8,000 range, where it is retesting the 50DMA as support. If it fails to hold as support and breaks down below it, it could be a long time before the first-ever cryptocurrency resumes its uptrend and gets back above it and the other critical moving average, the 200DMA.

Related Reading | Crypto Market Death Cross Inches Closer, Will The Bear Market Return?

In October, the two moving averages crossed one another, forming what’s called a death cross, signaling to investors and traders that the crypto-asset would likely see continued downside. Analysts argue that the China news-driven rally was really just coincidental timing of a whale taking advantage of an overly bearish market, and causing a violent short squeeze.

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Uncharted Movie Casts Mark Wahlberg and Gamers Are NOT Happy

Mark Wahlberg is set to join the Uncharted movie as Sully. Fans of the gaming franchise aren’t happy with the film’s casting. Sony is doing an origin story instead of adapting one of the games. Sony Pictures is moving forward again with an Uncharted movie adaptation, and fans might actually get something good out of […]

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OKEx Launches USDT Margined Futures with High Leverage and Great Risk Management Systems in Place

Trading on OKEx just became even more exciting following the inclusion of USDT-Margined Futures on the platform. The new virtual derivative product went live today, following an earlier successful simulation that started on November 5, 2019. The new USDT-Margined Futures is available with attractive leverage levels ranging between 0.01x to 100x.

According to OKEx’s statement, the BTC/USDT futures product will be quoted and settled in USDT while the contract face value is set at 0.0001 BTC. With this instrument, traders can now aim to profit from the performance of USDT by longing or shorting the position based on whether the cryptocurrency’s price is increasing or decreasing in the market. The BTC/USDT futures on OKEx will be available for trade round the clock, with a daily settlement process that is set to happen every day at 8:00 UTC.

Speaking about the simulation carried out for BTC/USDT futures, CEO of OKEx Jay Hao said “The simulation of our USDT Futures Contract was very successful, and we received positive feedback from traders in the OKEx Community. At OKEx, we’ve developed a safe, reliable, and stable environment for cryptocurrency trading and strive to offer new services based on our customers’ interests. We’re excited to add USDT linear contract to our Futures market and next on the Perpetual Swap market to meet the interests of out growing international user base.”

The OKEx USDT Futures Contracts comes with its own set of advantages and some of them are listed below.

  • The OKEx USDT Futures is a linear contract that doesn’t need the traders to hedge the margin risk of inverse contracts.
  • Known for high efficiency and low-cost, traders don’t have to deal with the hassle of switching between cryptocurrencies while trading this particular instrument.
  • It is comparatively stable, which reduces the risks induced by the volatility of collateral’s price for future contracts and simpler calculations.
  • Like all OKEx instruments, the USDT Futures also come with an intuitive trading experience which is similar to spot trading with additional leverage. Users can easily master this type of trading system.

Further, OKEx has also adopted an enhanced risk management system for derivatives. The Mark Price system helps avoid huge fluctuations and unusual liquidation events. Similarly, the Tiered Maintenance Margin Ratio (TMMR) System is designed to avoid liquidation of large positions and its after-effect on market liquidity. There is also Forced Partial Liquidation Mode built-in which eliminates market impact caused by large number of liquidated orders.

While the USDT-margined futures market is currently available with BTC market, OKEx will be including support for other major cryptocurrencies like EOS, ETH, LTC, BCH, XRP, ETC, TRX and BSV in the near future.

More information about the OKEx Futures with USDT Margin Trading is available here.

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‘Unknown Fund’ to Donate $75M in Bitcoin to Crypto, Anonymity-Focused Startups

An anonymous organization calling itself Unknown Fund is planning to contribute $75 million in Bitcoin for the promotion of anonymity and protection of personal data.

An anonymous organization dubbed “Unknown Fund” is planning to give away $75 million in Bitcoin (BTC) to startups that are focused on anonymity and the protection of personal data.

In a press release on Nov. 13, the organization — which consists of “ordinary, anonymous people from different countries” —  said it will donate the money to startups which support the idea of anonymity and specifically operate in such fields as the protection of personal information, tools of anonymity, cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

Fighting the misuse of people’s personal data

The idea behind the donations is to fight the manipulation of people by politics, social media networks and other parties who collect individuals’ personal data, which Unkown Fund says has proved to be an “amazing and frightening” tool.

The project supposedly started on 4chan, an anonymous English-language imageboard, and claims to have the support of hacktivist group Anonymous, which it cites as saying:

“Now the main goal of large corporations is to collect as much information as possible about the personal lives of people, and then use it for their enrichment. And they do a great job of it by making ordinary people get poorer. We are ready to fight for change and protect people."

The Unknown Fund argues that the deployment of blockchain technology and digital currencies could help protect people’s rights and freedoms, and eventually develop a new environment with a trustworthy monetary system.

Blockchain in personal data protection

Many industry players have questioned blockchain’s ability to ensure personal data protection. Speaking with Cointelegraph in August, Timothy Paolini, a board member at NYU Blockchain, stated:

“Blockchains are built around the principles of decentralization, removing the single point of failure risk (think Equifax servers) and cutting out unnecessary third parties by establishing a more direct, peer-to-peer network. This also maintains your privacy and control of your data from third-party apps as data rests at the protocol instead of the application layer.”

Deirdre K. Mulligan, an assistant professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Information, argued that blockchains do not inherently protect your identity, as they can be manipulated by their architects to be centralized and non-anonymous. Mulligan stated:

“Companies can exert a lot of control over how they design an application, through its architecture, default settings, what it communicates in its privacy policies, and what it does in practice. The value for a consumer concerned about her privacy would depend on the blockchain application and the kind of data collected and processed by it.”

Global Gold Survey Tells 5 Important Things About Bitcoin Adoption

There are five points that speak to us about the world’s most popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin (BTC) and crypto in general in a global survey by the World Gold Council (WGC), the market development organization for the gold industry. The new consumer research report encompasses opinions of 18,000 people, across the world, including China, India, North America, Germany

XRP Down 16% Since Swell, Can Price Recover?

XRP drops 16% since swell, can price recover?

Ripple’s XRP not only failed to rally during the highly anticipated Swell conference this year, but actually sank by 16% shortly after. But can the price recover, or will see the asset slump even further? 


XRP Eyes $0.25 in Current Trend

The XRP market price is among the few to mark double-digit drop since the start of 2019, extending the losses to around 30%. The asset has promised use cases and utility, but this failed to support trading interest.

XRP so far has struggled to hold even above the $0.30 mark. The conference also did not offer new optimism on XRP. Currently, the coin’s use case is still uncertain, as Ripple Net became the unified Ripple product where the coin may be used optionally.

XRP traded at $0.27, on relatively small volumes of about $1.7 billion per day. The asset lost some of its support as Korean traders abandoned highly active speculation, and the coin was left to find new markets.

In 2019, Ripple’s token repeated previous periods of almost no price movement. But in the past however, the asset jumped spectacularly from sub-penny prices, causing a huge commotion. Now, outlandish predictions are not entirely abandoned on social media, and the Ripple community is strong as ever.

The potential for large amounts of XRP to dump on the markets has remained one of the biggest problems standing in the way of the asset’s future price prospects.

The other reason for Swell’s failure was that all eyes were also on Stellar (XLM), which appreciated fast to $0.083. The Stellar Development Foundation also burned 55 million of its tokens with the aim of lowering inflation of XLM production, and setting a fixed supply for the coin.

The XRP price moves may see the coin sink as low as $0.25, based on the current trend.

Coinbase Card Gives Hope for New Demand

The asset is still in a relatively short-term price slide, and a bullish recovery is certaintly possible. XRP has shown the $0.30 price range is achievable even after sharper drops. Currently, the price levels for altcoins are showing surprising stability, even without an outright “altcoin season”. There may also be reasons to pick up the token at lower prices.

But the biggest boost to XRP potential for recovery is the addition of XRP to Coinbase Card. The new mode of payment, a VISA card for spending crypto assets, targets 29 European countries. With the relatively accessible and stable price of XRP, the asset is ideal for storing value while allowing liquid spending.

XRP is also concentrated on ZB.com, making it possible for upward price pressures coming from a single exchange. Around 30% of all XRP volumes are boosted by the pairing with Tether (USDT), potentially aiding a new period of price discovery.

What do you think about the chances of XRP to regain ground? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @RipplePandaXRP @RitizSapkota1 @OhNoCrypto @CryptoBull2020 @Brumdogmillion

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Short Of The Century: $15 Ethereum Possible If Monthly Fails To Close Bullish

Ethereum is among the crypto assets still vastly below its former all-time price, with a long way to go before it recovers the lofty prices set back at the height of the crypto hype bubble.

According to one crypto trader, Ethereum’s downfall may not be complete, and if the current monthly candle cannot close above former support turned resistance, as low as $15 Ethereum may be possible.

Ethereum and Its Fall From Grace

Ethereum is a unique crypto asset that’s not at all similar to Bitcoin or other payment cryptocurrencies. Instead, Ethereum is designed for smart contracts, allowing developers to code on the protocol and create their own decentralized apps, or even other cryptocurrencies as ERC-20 tokens.

Related Reading | 33 Cent Ethereum and $100 EOS, What’s Going On At One Crypto Exchange? 

During Bitcoin’s meteoric rise and the crypto hype bubble, Ethereum went on its own powerful, parabolic rally, driven largely in part by the initial coin offering boom. As the hype surrounding the emerging crypto market spilled into the mainstream public, investors eager to get in on the ground floor of projects promising to be the next Bitcoin were lured into funding ICOs, and loading up on new, unproven crypto assets that lacked utility or use cases.

In the end, the bubble burst, and initial coin offerings began being targeted by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and the trend has all but disappeared completely.

The resulting deflating bubble, not only crushed the hopes and dreams of crypto investors who were sold promise that never materialized into anything, but it also sucked the value out of projects with real value, such as Ethereum itself.

The crypto asset’s price tumbled from an all-time high of over $1,400 per ETH, to under $100 as its recent bear market low.

Short of the Century: From $200 to $15 ETH

However, Ethereum’s free-fall may not be over, points out one crypto trader, who says that if Ethereum can’t close a monthly candle above former support turned resistance, the number two crypto asset by market cap could fall to as low as $15 per ETH.

Ethereum was rejected from monthly resistance at $365, causing the crypto asset to fall back below monthly support at $198.

The crypto asset has spent the last few months trying to get above the critical support level, but thus far has failed to hold. If a third consecutive monthly candle closes below the support turned resistance, the next major monthly support level lies all the way down at $15.

Such a fall from current prices would represent a 99% decline and would be crushing for Ethereum investors who have already watched the price decline as much as 86% from its previous all-time high.

Related Reading | Altcoin Analyst Claims Ethereum Is Overpriced Despite 85% Decline From ATH 

If Ethereum does drop to $15, the crypto market would be in dangerous shape. It would also require a 9,500% increase from $15 to return to its previous all-time high.

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Platform Allows Crypto and Forex to Be Traded Anonymously

A new finance platform says it enables cryptocurrencies and forex to be traded anonymously with up to 1:500 leverage.

CryptoRocket notes its state-of-the-art platform is suitable for traders of all experience levels — from newbies who are executing trades for the first time, all the way through to veterans who make use of advanced features and analytical tools to execute their strategies to perfection. Automatic trading from third-party providers is also supported, enabling pre-planned strategies to be instantaneously deployed when the desired conditions are met.

Mobile trading is available via iOS and Android apps, meaning users needn’t confine themselves to their laptops. The freedom to complete trades whenever and wherever they are ensures lucrative opportunities are never missed.

Trading with leverage

The maximum leverage offered through CryptoRocket depends on the type of financial asset being traded. While stocks can be traded at a ratio of 1:20, this increases to 1:100 with futures and crypto, 1:200 with energies and indices, and 1:500 with metals and forex. Leverage gives traders the opportunity to enter into larger trades while contributing a smaller amount of capital — and although this can result in higher returns, it is also worth considering that there is the potential for magnified losses too.

CryptoRocket emphasizes it aims to empower traders by giving them the ability to select the leverage they would be comfortable with on a sliding scale. This can be especially useful when a trader is dealing in a particularly volatile assets such as cryptocurrencies — with major assets such as Bitcoin (BTC) regularly experiencing unexpected  increases and declines in market value, often in a matter of minutes.

Generally, higher leverage is recommended for those who have extensive experience in closing out trades profitably. This approach is also often adopted by traders who are using a strategy that revolves around small price fluctuations, such as scalping.

“A transparent trading experience”

CryptoRocket says that its main motivation is delivering a simple, transparent trading experience for each and every one of its users. This is achieved through lightning-fast execution speed, tight spreads between bid and ask prices, and competitive rates that compare with the best that the industry has to offer.

According to the company, “institutional-grade liquidity” has been secured from some of the world’s top investment banks, in addition to transparent liquidity providers.

Demo accounts are provided to ensure that new CryptoRocket users can fully get to grips with the intuitive platform before they begin to trade with their own capital. Customer support is also provided via live chat on the platform’s website, meaning step-by-step assistance in setting up a new account is available if needed. To ensure that this process is as realistic as possible, the prices presented on the demo platform are identical to those on offer on the live interface.

Deposits on CryptoRocket can either be made in BTC, wire transfer or via credit and debit card. No minimum deposit amounts are required in order to open a new account on the platform — nor is there a limit on the amount of accounts an individual user can have. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored article

The post Platform Allows Crypto and Forex to Be Traded Anonymously appeared first on NullTX.

OKEx Expands Derivatives Line With Tether-Margined Bitcoin Futures

OKEx adds usdt margined bitcoin futures

Malta-based, OKEx, which describes itself as ‘the world’s largest futures cryptocurrency exchange’, has just expanded its product offering, to include Tether-Margined Bitcoin Futures. The launch follows a successful simulation period, which began on Nov 5.


Advantages Of Using Tether

The new BTC/USDT futures product is a virtual derivative, quoted and settled in Tether. It has a face value of 0.0001 BTC, and traders can long or short a position, with leverage from 0.01 to 100x. But why trade with Tether over BTC/USD futures… or even Bakkt’s Bitcoin settled futures?

OKEx lists a number of advantages in its press release. Firstly, as a linear contract, it claims there is no need to hedge the margin risk of an inverse contract. Also, trading in Tether removes the need to switch between fiat and cryptocurrencies, improving efficiency and reducing cost.

OKEx claims that the trading experience is also more intuitive, making it easier for users to master. It describes the system as ‘similar to spot trading, with the addition of leverage’.

The Future Of OKEx Futures

Following the successful simulation period, OKEx CEO, Jay Hao, said that he had received positive feedback from traders. However, he claimed that this was just the beginning for Tether-backed futures products.

At OKEx, we’ve developed a safe, reliable, and stable environment for cryptocurrency trading, and strive to offer new services based on our customers’ interests.

Following the addition of the USDT linear futures contract, there are plans to add the pairing to OKEx’s perpetual swap market. Other cryptocurrencies, such as EOS, ETH, LTC, and BCH will also launch on the USDT-margined futures market soon.

World’s Largest Futures Cryptocurrency Exchange?

OKEx claimed over $2.4 billion of crypto derivatives was traded in just 24 hours back in March, leapfrogging BitMEX, and knocking it off the top spot.

However it has also faced accusations that up to 90% of claimed spot-volume was wash-traded. This even led CEO, Hao, to put up a 100BTC bet, that he could prove that at least 10.1% of the exchange’s volume was real.

Because of course, 89.9% of volume being wash-traded would be fine.

What do you make of the new Tether-margined Bitcoin futures? Add your thoughts below!


Images via Shutterstock

The post OKEx Expands Derivatives Line With Tether-Margined Bitcoin Futures appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

The U.S. Housing Market Bubble Races Toward a Crash as Foreclosures Jump

Foreclosures in the U.S. housing market spiked in October. The jump in foreclosure data seems surprising at first as mortgage rates are low. Home price growth has been outpacing wage growth, which is pricing buyers out of the market and creating the situation for a potential crash. Week after week, data pointing toward a U.S. […]

The post The U.S. Housing Market Bubble Races Toward a Crash as Foreclosures Jump appeared first on CCN.com

Former ECB President’s Statement Shows Bitcoin Does Have Impact on the Economy

While many enthusiasts offer a bullish assessment of the future of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and the ways it can be used to replace or supplement fiat currency, the coins have received mixed reactions from central banks across the globe.

Now, former European Central Bank (ECB) president Jean-Claude Trichet has slammed cryptocurrencies — including Facebook’s Libra project warning that Bitcoin is “not real” and not the future of money.

“I am strongly against bitcoin, and I think we are a little complacent,” said Trichet, speaking during a panel discussion at Beijing-based media group Caixin’s annual conference last weekend.

ECB’s Crypto Concerns

Bitcoin

Bitcoin is not real, and any purchase amounts to speculation, says ECB’s ex-chief as he pours cold water on cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin price soared in the first six-months of this year only to stall amid concerns lawmakers and regulators could be poised to crackdown on the nascent industry. Speculation surrounding these issues does impact price, and being that the industry is barely 10 years old, volatility is to be expected.

But Trichet is apparently unable to see past the short-term, going so far as to call the world’s leading digital coin — one with a $155 billion market cap — “unhealthy:”

“[Bitcoin] itself is not real, with the characteristics that a currency must have. Even if [the cryptocurrency] is supposed to be based on underlying assets, I am observing a lot of speculation. It is not healthy.”

One does have to wonder why Trichet is so worried about digital coins like bitcoin: earlier this year the ECB released a report stating that in their current state, cryptocurrencies pose no tangible impact to the “real economy:”

“Crypto-assets do not fulfill the functions of money and, at the current stage, neither do they entail a tangible impact on the real economy nor have significant implications for monetary policy. The very low number of merchants that allow the purchase of goods and services with bitcoins indicates no influence of the most prominent crypto-asset on price-setting,” the report read.

Alternatives to Bitcoin

In an increasingly digitized world, there are alternatives to fiat currency that aren’t, strictly speaking, cryptocurrencies. Trichet prefers what’s called the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) created by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose value is pegged to the US dollar, the euro, the pound sterling, the renminbi, and the yen.

The world may be moving away from physical coins and notes, but that path may not be in the direction of cryptocurrency and bitcoin. “We are already in a domain which has much less physical currency,” he said. “Whether we are in a domain where that will be replaced with crypto? I have doubts there.”

Other central bank leaders have different ideas. Speaking to fellow policy makers earlier this year, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney outlined his vision for the international economy, saying the USD’s position as the world’s reserve currency must end, and that some form of global digital currency would be a better option.

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Litecoin Correction Causes Serious Bearish Action, Why Further Pullback is Likely

  • LTC broke out of a channel to a new descending wedge after dropping below $61 price levels earlier today.
  • The price rejection at $66 price levels has made Litecoin stay under a bearish pressure since the weekly opening.
  • Litecoin may gain bullish momentum if the price can reclaim $61, which appeared to be a critical confluence zone for the market.

Litecoin has witnessed a lot of price reductions over the past three days due to a significant correction which is making the bears gain control of the market.

However, a bullish step back is expected for LTC, once it climbs back above $60 price level, although the $61 resistance is an essential level for the next bullish phase on the hourly chart.

Litecoin (LTC) Price Analysis

Following November 10, rejection at $66, Litecoin has remained in a downward range. The latest bearish scenario has caused LTC to trade inside a descending wedge, but the price is now sitting on the lower boundary of the wedge.

Therefore, a retracement could be underway to the upper boundary of the wedge at $60. A break above the wedge could allow the bulls to regain control of the market. This could bring the next resistance levels at $62, followed by a decent rally to $64.6 resistance levels.

Litecoin is currently holding near support at $58. This support could become weak if we continue to witness a devastating price drop.

However, we may need to keep an eye on the $57 and $56 supports in the next swing low. Additionally, Litecoin is still showing a bullish sign on the daily chart.

Litecoin to Enter the Bullish Trend

The market structure looks bullish on the higher time frame, but, the lower time frame is currently suggesting a bearish mode for Litecoin.

Meanwhile, the last three days’ downward direction is just a sign of a small pullback on the daily chart. We can expect a bullish continuation in the next couple of days. Otherwise, we may continue to see a decline until Litecoin finds vital support for a rebound.

Litecoin price

Source: Tradingview

Technical Indicator Reading:

Hourly RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for Litecoin has dropped to the extremely oversold region but has recovered a bit to the 30 levels.

Hourly MACD (Moving Average Convergence and Divergence) – The MACD for Litecoin is currently negative to show a bearish momentum

Key resistance levels: $60, $62, $64.6

Key support levels: $58, $57, $56

The post Litecoin Correction Causes Serious Bearish Action, Why Further Pullback is Likely appeared first on NewsBTC.

The Witcher 3 Leak Proves Xbox Game Pass Is About to Get Even Better

The Witcher 3 is coming to Xbox Game Pass. The news was leaked ahead of today’s Inside Xbox at X019 broadcast. The addition further entrenches Xbox Game Pass as the best subscription service on the market. An advertising blunder has confirmed that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is joining the roster of Xbox Game Pass […]

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Ledger Vault Secures $150 Million Crime Insurance Policy for Digital Assets

Ledger Vault, the custody arm of hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger, has procured a crime insurance policy that covers digital assets.

Ledger Vault, the custody arm of hardware wallet manufacturer Ledger, has procured a crime insurance policy developed with broker and risk advisory firm Marsh and insurance company Arch Insurance Limited.

According to an announcement on Nov. 14, the Ledger Vault platform now provides its users a customized crime insurance program for cryptocurrencies for up to $150 million. The program applies to third-party theft of the master seed and private keys, secure transmissions of the master seed fragments, and insider Ledger employee theft caused by collusion.

Commenting on the new offering, Demetrios Skalkotos, global head of Ledger Vault, explained: 

“The policy also covers the clients’ onboarding process, their personal security devices and the secure encrypted communication channel that is established when using the Vault platform. This unique policy is a true end-to-end solution that gives our customers the flexibility to both store and move funds without compromising on security and governance.”

Insurance offerings for crypto grow

As more money enters the cryptocurrency sector, investors are looking to digital asset insurance policies in order to cover losses due to possible thefts or accidents.

Indeed security research firm CipherTrace has previously estimated that more than $4 billion worth of cryptocurrency was lost through theft and fraud in 2019.

Cardiff-based cryptocurrency insurance startup Coincover launched a cryptocurrency insurance offering in September. Coincover reportedly monitors the wallet at all times and issues warnings if it observes suspicious activity. 

Ledger Vault’s tech is adopted at other institutions

Previously, Cointelegraph reported that Estonia-based crypto exchange Rokkex integrated its trading platform with Ledger Vault to secure its crypto assets.

In May, news broke that Canadian cryptocurrency broker Voyager Digital planned to integrate Ledger Vault’s multi-authorization cryptocurrency wallet management system into its trading platform with the aim to increase its overall cybersecurity.

Treasury Yields are Falling Again While Dow Ignores the Risks

U.S. Treasury yields extend their slide on Thursday; 10-year yield hits 1.82%. Trade-deal uncertainty continues to cloud investors’ decisions. Although the yield curve is no longer inverted, markets are still worried about the economy. U.S. government bond yields tumbled on Thursday, extending a weeklong slump over concerns that the United States and China are further […]

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Ohio Crypto Program Hits a Snag, Attorney General Finds It Illegal

US State of Ohio Crypto Program Hits a Snag, Attorney General Finds It Illegal

The Attorney General of the U.S. state of Ohio has assessed the state’s crypto program and concluded that it is a legal violation of state law. The state’s former treasurer skirted the law to launch a website that allowed 23 types of tax payments in cryptocurrency ahead of other states.

Also read: US State of Ohio Accepts Bitcoin for 23 Types of Taxes

Ohio’s Crypto Program Violates State Law

The U.S. state of Ohio made headlines last year when it began accepting cryptocurrencies for 23 types of tax payments. The crypto program was launched by former Treasurer Josh Mandel before he left office. He set up the Ohiocrypto.com website, operated by the treasurer, to allow tax payments in cryptocurrencies through Bitpay. In January, Mandel was succeeded by Robert Sprague as the state treasurer.

Last month, an internal review raised some legal issues regarding the Ohiocrypto website and the State Board of Deposit proceeded to request the opinion of Attorney General Dave Yost regarding whether Ohiocrypto.com is a financial transaction device subject to the requirement of R.C. 113.40. Sprague shut down the state’s crypto program pending Yost’s opinion.

Ohio Crypto Program Hits a Snag, Attorney General Finds It Illegal
Ohiocrypto.com on Nov. 14.

After evaluation, Yost wrote a letter to Sprague on Nov. 5 declaring his legal assessment of the situation. Noting that “No other statute gives the treasurer authority to use Ohiocrypto.com to collect state taxes,” Yost wrote:

I conclude that Ohiocrypto.com is a financial transaction device, and that it cannot be
used without first being approved by the Board of Deposit.

This means the treasurer must obtain approval from the State Board of Deposit before using the website to collect state taxes. The deposit board has three members: the treasurer who also serves as the chairman of the board, Auditor of State Keith Faber, and Yost. With the attorney general’s legal opinion, the board will now decide what to do about the program. However, at press time, no meeting has been scheduled to discuss this matter.

Ohio Crypto Program Hits a Snag, Attorney General Finds It Illegal
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that “Republican Attorney General Dave Yost found then-Treasurer Josh Mandel skirted state law when he launched the Ohiocrypto.com website last year for business tax payments.” The publication added that Dave O’Neil, a spokesman for Yost’s office, clarified that “the opinion on Ohiocrypto.com was advisory in nature, so it would not be appropriate to refer it to law enforcement, despite the finding of a legal violation.”

Paying Ohio Taxes Via Bitpay

When former Treasurer Mandel launched the crypto program in November last year, he said that Ohio was the first state to accept tax payments via cryptocurrency and that it would help the state become a leader in embracing blockchain technology. However, the program did not take off. Sprague recently revealed that, in the 10 months that the website operated, fewer than 10 businesses chose to pay their taxes using cryptocurrency.

Ohio Crypto Program Hits a Snag, Attorney General Finds It Illegal
Ohio Treasurer Robert Sprague

Yost explained in his letter that taxpayers wanting to pay in cryptocurrency on Ohiocrypto.com did not pay the treasury directly and at no point did the state treasury actually hold digital coins. Yost, who became Ohio’s 51st Attorney General in January after serving as the 32nd Auditor of State, detailed:

The former treasurer contracted with a third-party company, Bitpay Inc., to process the payments. The taxpayer paid Bitpay in cryptocurrency. Bitpay settled the payment, converted the payment to U.S. dollars, and then paid the treasurer in U.S. dollars.

He added that Bitpay charged a fee for its service which was passed on to taxpayers, noting that payments were ultimately settled using an automated clearing house process between Bitpay and a bank account maintained by the treasurer.

What do you think of Ohio’s crypto program and the state attorney general’s assessment? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the state of Ohio.


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Cardano vs EOS: Who is Really ‘Superior’?

Cardano vs EOS: Who is really superior?

Weiss Ratings surprised and divided the crypto community, by stating Cardano (ADA) is a project superior to EOS. This is a far cry from China’s belief, who still ranks EOS as #1 on its CCID ranking while Cardano sits way down at #31. 


Weiss Crypto Ratings Bullish on Cardano

Weiss Crypto Ratings admitted that ADA is yet to be used for its intended smart contract functionality. But the comparison against EOS heated the discussion. While some agreed wholeheartedly with the assertion, many argued that Weiss rating is becoming a mouthpiece for elevating ADA over EOS.

The Cardano network turned two at the end of September, but it is still a long way off of becoming a platform coin to displace Ethereum (ETH). Cardano has gone through multiple testnet stages, but ADA remains a relatively unused coin which does not see many transfers.

ADA has also not started proper staking, with another testnet proposed as the solution. The new Shelley testnet is supposed to start distributing ADA awards for the first time, though for now, there is no deadline for the mainnet launch.

The Cardano project aims to differentiate itself by using Haskell to build its code base. The other difference from EOS is a proposed consensus mechanism, known as Ourobouros. But the mechanism is not yet in place, as proof-of-stake is still incomplete and only happens through basic wallet staking. Once this feature goes live, it will be much easier to evaluate which platform is better.

China Still Backs EOS

China continues to favour EOS as the leading cryptocurrency project in the market, based on a number of factors including basic tech, creativity and applicability. Bitcoin is surprisingly much further down on the list at 11, while Cardano sits all the way in #31 position.

While EOS hosts an entire ecosystem of tokens and distributed apps, the Cardano network for now only produces blocks with few transactions. Thus, ADA remains a speculative asset until further development stages are completed.

EOS has received its share of criticisms too however, especially after the recent EIDOS token minting event, which took over network resources. Also, many of the dApps built on the EOS network are simply gambling or gaming projects, not to mention the platform continues to suffer from serious governance issues.

As it stands, it’s difficult to accurately compare the two projects, and will remain so until Cardano has fully launched.

Where do you stand on the Cardano vs EOS debate? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter @Weisscrypto @dkhanevich

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IRS: Like-Kind Tax Exemption Has Never Applied to Crypto Transactions

The like-kind exchange tax exemption has never been applicable to crypto, an IRS official said.

The like-kind exchange tax exemption is not applicable to cryptocurrency transactions, according to the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

An official at the IRS Office said that U.S. taxpayers have never been authorized to postpone paying tax as part of the like-kind exchange principle even before the 2017 tax overhaul, Bloomberg Tax reports Nov. 13.

Suzanne Sinno, an attorney in the IRS Office of the Associate Chief Counsel, delivered her remarks on U.S. crypto taxation at the American Institute of CPAs conference this Wednesday in Washington. According to the report, Sinno worked on recent IRS cryptocurrency guidance that was issued in October.

Like-kind exchange exemption can defer tax payments on the gain of a sale

Under U.S. tax law, a like-kind exchange, also known as a 1031 exchange, is an asset transaction that does not generate a tax liability from the sale of an asset when it was sold to acquire a replacement asset. 

While it was clear that taxpayers could not claim crypto-to-crypto sales as like-kind after 2018, the rules governing transactions previous to the 2017 overhaul were unclear.

Based on the new announcement by Sinno, U.S. taxpayers have never been authorized to apply the like-kind exchange principle to crypto-to-crypto trades in order to postpone paying tax on the gain of a sale.

Promotional airdrops are still tax-free, for now

The news comes after the IRS issued guidelines for tax reporting regarding cryptocurrency airdrops and hard forks on Oct. 9. The new rules say that those who receive new currency in a hard fork need to report the assets to the IRS as gross income. While the IRS distinguishes hard forks from airdrops, the agency has reportedly not yet decided whether promotional airdrops should be treated as taxable.

Coinbase, Kingdom Trust, Regal Assets Jointly Offer Crypto IRA and 401(K) Accounts

Crypto exchange Coinbase, custodian Kingdom Trust and investment firm Regal Assets have jointly begun offering crypto IRA and 401(K) accounts in the United States.

Major American crypto exchange Coinbase, asset custodian Kingdom Trust and alternative assets investment firm Regal Assets have begun offering cryptocurrency-based individual retirement and 401(K) accounts in the United States.

An individual retirement account (IRA) is an investment account that enables an individual to save money for retirement in a tax-deferred way, while a 401(K) represents a qualified retirement savings plan offered by an employer.

In a Nov. 13 press release, the firms said that the new offering will give investors access to more than 30 digital currencies in the industry directly through Coinbase, with insurance protection provided by British insurance firm Lloyd’s of London. The parties released their Bitcoin (BTC) IRA with $200 million in insurance protection.

Tyler Gallagher, CEO of Regal Assets, said that clients “make all the decisions themselves when it comes to digital asset selections and allocation, but do have the option of guidance by connecting with their dedicated account manager." 

Currently, the product supports major coins such as BTC, Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), XRP, Stellar (XLM), EOS, and Tezos (XTZ), among others.

Adoption of crypto in retirement savings plans

Last month, Los Angeles-based Bitcoin IRA partnered with digital asset lending firm Genesis Capital to offer investors the opportunity to earn interest on cryptocurrency and cash holdings. Bitcoin IRA has reportedly provided digital asset IRAs since 2016 and processed over $350 million in investments, onboarding 4,000 clients.

In a study by investment platform eToro earlier this year, 45% of respondents expressed interest in allocating cryptocurrency in their 401(K) retirement savings plans, and 74% of digital currency traders would like to receive that option from their 401(K) plan providers.