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What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a digital crypto-currency with no single point of failure due to its decentralized peer-to-peer architecture. The source code is publicly available and changes to the reference Bitcoin client are made via concensus within the community. Advantages of Bitcoin include irreversible transactions (i.e. no possibility of chargebacks as with credit cards), pseudo-anonymous, limited and fixed inflation, near instant transactions, multi-platform, no double-spend and little to no barriers to entry and more. It was created by an anonymous person known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Find out more at WeUseCoins.com.

Bitcoin Latest News

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Posted on 25 February 2018 | 7:45 pm

This 11-year-old just wrote a book on bitcoin that hopefully a kid can understand - CNBC


CNBC

This 11-year-old just wrote a book on bitcoin that hopefully a kid can understand
CNBC
Given the run-up in prices last year, when bitcoin surged almost 17-fold, Courey wasn't sold on the currency as an investment. But knowing that his son was looking for sources of "passive income," Jeff Courey, Andrew's dad, convinced him to write and ...

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 4:23 pm

Uzbekistan to Legalize Bitcoin and Support Developers - Bitcoin News (press release)


Bitcoin News (press release)

Uzbekistan to Legalize Bitcoin and Support Developers
Bitcoin News (press release)
The central bank in Astana indicated it had no intentions to ban digital coins, as news.bitcoin.com reported. Uzbekistan has another important advantage that could potentially increase the country's prominence in the crypto world. It placed third in a ...

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 4:05 pm

Nearly Half of 2017's Cryptocurrency 'ICO' Projects Have Already Died - Fortune


Fortune

Nearly Half of 2017's Cryptocurrency 'ICO' Projects Have Already Died
Fortune
Last year was without a doubt the Year of Bitcoin, as exploding interest in cryptocurrency fueled a massive market runup. As if that wasn't enough excitement, some speculators took the further leap to investing in cryptocurrency projects through a ...

and more »

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 12:42 pm

How The US Government Handles Its Massive Stash Of Bitcoins - Investopedia (blog)


Investopedia (blog)

How The US Government Handles Its Massive Stash Of Bitcoins
Investopedia (blog)
The tussle between the federal government and bitcoin has generated numerous headlines over the years. That fight is surprising, especially when you consider the U.S. government is one of the largest holders of bitcoins. The bitcoins are typically sold ...

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 9:18 am

Culprits Apprehended In Alleged Icelandic Bitcoin Miner Theft - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Culprits Apprehended In Alleged Icelandic Bitcoin Miner Theft
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Icelandic information technology service Advania has confirmed with their security footage that the police have apprehended the right two men for the three burglaries at data centers in Iceland last December and January, local news outlet Visir ...

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 6:29 am

New Bitcoin Embassy Opens in the United States - Bitcoin News (press release)


Bitcoin News (press release)

New Bitcoin Embassy Opens in the United States
Bitcoin News (press release)
A mooted Bitcoin Embassy is the first of its kind, since an early attempt in New York City, for a bitcoin gathering place. It was American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) Editorial Director Jeffrey Tucker who had a revelation of sorts to ...

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 5:31 am

Northern Ireland Property Developer To Accept Bitcoin As Payment Option - Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)


Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)

Northern Ireland Property Developer To Accept Bitcoin As Payment Option
Cointelegraph (Bitcoin, Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News)
Hagan Homes, one of Northern Ireland's biggest residential property developers, will now be accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment method, the Belfast Telegraph reported Feb. 22. Jamesy Hagan, the managing director of Hagan Homes, said there is both an ...
Largest Irish Residential Property Developer Building Homes for BitcoinBitcoinist

all 3 news articles »

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 4:49 am

What to Look for in ICO Terms and Conditions

If investing in an ICO, it is imperative to review the T&Cs, not just the white paper. Here's what to be on the lookout for.

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 4:15 am

How ICOs Can Protect Buyers from Phishing Attacks

The excitement surrounding ICOs has left investors vulnerable to phishing attacks, diminishing the reputation of the new investment mechanism.

Posted on 25 February 2018 | 3:30 am

Riot Blockchain Gets Hit by Another Shareholder Lawsuit

Riot Blockchain Gets Hit by Another Shareholder Lawsuit

After changing its name to Riot Blockchain in October to include the word “blockchain,” the public company watched its stock skyrocket from $8 a share to more than $38 during a cryptocurrency rally at the beginning of the year.

The first significant problem was the company did not have any real focus on blockchain technology. Before October, Riot was known as Bioptix, a maker of diagnostic machinery for the biotech industry. The company also changed its ticker symbol to RIOT from BIOP.

Another problem was that key shareholder Barry Honig got caught with his hand in the cookie jar, selling off a big stake of his shares at $38 per share after the name change.

On February 22, 2018, law firm Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP announced it was filing a class-action lawsuit against Riot. The complaint charges Riot, along with Honig and company CEO John O’Rourke and CFO Jeffrey McGonegal, with securities violations.

Specifically, the charges claim that despite its lack of blockchain expertise, Riot changed its name to generate investor enthusiasm to further an insider scheme that would allow Riot’s controlling shareholders to dump their stocks at grossly inflated prices.

At least two other lawsuits have been filed against Riot and its principals, charging them with securities violations and false and misleading statements.

These lawsuits follow a scathing investigation into Riot by CNBC on February 16, 2018, that raised questions about the company’s business model and Honig. In the wake of that report, shares tumbled 33 percent to $11.46. It is likely these class-action lawsuits may be the first of many to come against Riot.

Shady Activities

On October 4, 2017, Riot adopted its new name and headed off in a radical new business direction, announcing it was going to invest in and operate blockchain technologies with a focus on Bitcoin and Ethereum. The company had no previous business in blockchain technology, yet in press releases, Riot portrayed itself as a seasoned player in the space.

“At Riot Blockchain, our team has the insight and network to effectively grow and develop blockchain assets,” said Riot’s then-CEO, Michael Beeghley, in a statement at the time.

The company has a history of questionable activities. In December, Riot began purchasing cryptocurrency mining equipment. But rather than purchasing from the manufacturer or other suppliers, the company paid more than $11 million for equipment worth only $2 million by purchasing it through a newly formed shell entity.  

Honig is also charged with exercising outside influence over the company’s business operations. Beginning in April 2016, long before the company changed its name to Riot, Honig began purchasing shares in the company. By December 2016, he had become the company’s largest shareholder, owning more than 11 percent of the company. He used that influence to nominate several new directors to the board, including O’Rourke.

In addition to insider selling after the name change, other worrying signs about the company included: Riot lost two auditing firms in just one year, and two annual stockholder meetings were postponed at the last minute. Also, some of Riot’s business deals involved investors who had worked on similar deals together in the past, raising questions about the company’s governance.

“All Aboard”

Riot is not the only company to have jumped onboard the rename-your-company  “blockchain” bandwagon. Several other companies have also rewritten their names to cash in on the blockchain and cryptocurrency craze.

In December, the Long Island Iced Tea Corporation, a New York–based company that makes iced tea, rebranded itself as “Long Blockchain.” Its company shares rose 300 percent as a result. In January, legacy photography company Kodak announced the launch of KODAKCoin, a “photo-centric” cryptocurrency for photographers, and its stock went up 80 percent within hours.

Lawsuits like the ones now piling up against Riot stand as a reminder that a name change is not enough — a company needs real blockchain experience and technology and a solid business plan behind it before adding “blockchain” to its name.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 8:47 am

Will Lightning Help or Hurt Bitcoin Privacy?

As the reality of faster, cheaper bitcoin payments approaches via the Lighting Network, concerns are spreading about the privacy it will offer.

Posted on 24 February 2018 | 5:00 am

Week in Review for February 23, 2018: Sidechains, Stings and Venezuela

Week in Review

In the past week, news from Venezuela was at the forefront, where crypto mining is way up due to cheap electricity. But their stab at launching their own crypto, the Petro, is not looking like a great plan so far.

Good news in regulation, however, is coming from the state of Wyoming as the House unanimously passed two pro-blockchain bills, with five more in the pipe.

On the technological front, researches think they have solved a big part of the “sidechain” puzzle and have published a detailed paper called “Non-Interactive Proofs of Proof-of-Work.” 

Here are some of the headlines from this past week in the Bitcoin and blockchain space.

Featured stories by Amy Castor, David Hollerith, Erik Kuebler and Aaron Van Wirdum

Sidechains: Why These Researchers Think They Solved a Key Piece of the Puzzle

Bitcoin was the original blockchain that everyone knew about, but new ones are being created all the time, with hundreds currently available. At issue is if you want to use the features offered on another blockchain, you have to buy the tokens to use it. A technology looking to change all that is called “sidechains.”

Blockchain researcher Aggelos Kiayias and researcher Dionysis Zindros released a paper in October 2017 called “Non-Interactive Proofs of Proof-of-Work” (NiPoPoW), introducing a critical piece to the sidechains puzzle that had been missing for three years. A sidechain is a technology that allows you to move your tokens from one blockchain to another, use them on that other blockchain and then move them back at a later point in time, without the need for a third party.

IOHK CEO Charles Hoskinson is confident it can be done. “We can definitely do that,” he said. “We can definitely have a NiPoPoS [non-interactive proof of proof-of-stake]. The question is how many megabytes or kilobytes is it going to be? Can we bring it down to 100 KB? That is really the question.”

Bitcoiner Faces Charges After Selling BTC to an Undercover Cop

On February 9, 2018, officials from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrested Morgan Rockcoons (aka “Morgan Rockwell” or “Metaballo”), CEO of Bitcoin, Inc., and an entrepreneur behind several other Bitcoin startups, at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Rockcoons was charged with money laundering and operating an unlicensed money transmitting business, according to court records.

According to those records, Rockcoons allegedly exchanged 10 bitcoin (worth about $9,200 at the time) for $14,500 in cash from an undercover law enforcement officer at the beginning of 2017. It is alleged that Rockcoons was told in advance that the cash came from the manufacture and distribution of “hash oil,” which contains a federally controlled substance. This is what led to the charges of money laundering.

Since his arrest, Rockcoons has been tweeting and emailing his innocence and asserting that he was entrapped, in addition to refuting many aspects of the court records. He is actively seeking donations to pay for his legal fees, which he expects to be between $150,000 and $300,000

Wyoming House Unanimously Approves Two Pro-Blockchain Bills

The Wyoming House of Representatives voted unanimously to pass two blockchain-oriented bills — HB 70 the “utility token bill” and HB 19 the “bitcoin bill” — sending them to the State Senate for consideration. HB 70 defines utility tokens as neither traditional money nor securities; HB 19 exempts cryptocurrency from the 2003 Wyoming Money Transmitters Act (passed in the state before Bitcoin’s invention in 2008).

Wyoming Blockchain Coalition co-founder and 22-year Wall Street veteran Caitlin Long explained, “There are already bitcoin miners setting up shop because of [Wyoming’s] cheap electricity, no income tax and no franchise tax.” Wyoming aims to set the standard for blockchain-friendly regulation in the U.S. and to become a hub for blockchain-based innovation with these two bills. The Wyoming House of Representatives is also reviewing bills HB 101 and HB 126 in the House and SF 111 in the Senate.

Venezuela’s On-and-Off Love Affair With Cryptocurrency Mining: It’s Complicated

The economic recession has been active in Venezuela for more than a decade, with inflation of the Venezuelan bolivar (VEF) exceeding 650 percent, and gross domestic product (GDP) contracting 12 percent in 2017. Falling oil prices in 2014 have exacerbated the economic depression in the country; however, it is oil that has catalyzed Venezuela’s current cryptocurrency boom.

Because the government subsidizes electricity to the point where it costs almost nothing, people are able to run three Antminer S9s running at a cost of about 30 cents per month. These miners will generate about one bitcoin every 10 months, thus providing an alternate method of generating income in the impoverished nation.

“There must be tens of thousands of people mining in Venezuela,” said Randy Brito, founder of the nonprofit website BitcoinVenezuela.com. Bitcoin is the most commonly mined cryptocurrency because it was the first, and LocalBitcoins also gives bitcoin an advantage because it does not trade other cryptocurrencies; it is able to operate more safely than other local exchanges because it’s not based within the country.





This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 6:05 pm

Bitcoin Price Analysis: Bitcoin Faces Pivotal Support as Bulls Exhaust Buying Pressure

Bitcoin Price Analysis

After seeing a rally to the $11,000s, bitcoin has managed to pull back to the $9,000 range and has left many bullish investors confused. The initial bullish rally seemed promising as it broke the macro, descending channel that governed much of the market over the last two months:

Figure_1.jpgFigure 1: BTC-USD, 6-Hour Candles, Descending Channel

The breakout of the descending channel (red dotted channel) gave hope to many bullish investors as it seemingly signaled the end of the downtrend and perhaps the beginning of a sustained bullish reversal. The volume was increasing and the price was pushing full steam ahead. However, after a few days of strong bullish movement, the price took a sharp turn downward and broke the governing channel that outlined the bullish rally from the $6,000s:

Figure_2_30mins.jpgFigure 2: BTC-USD, 30-Min. Candles, Bullish Channel

As noted in the previous BTC-USD market analysis, there was a possible distribution trading range (TR) under way, and I mentioned that a breakout above the TR was likely. However, if the market managed to break out and return back inside the TR, that would possibly mark the beginning of a sustained move downward:

Figure_3.jpgFigure 3: BTC-USD, 30-Min Candles, Distribution TR

Yesterday, the market saw a strong push below the TR, where it managed to find a bottom around the $9,600 range. After finding a local bottom, the market returned to the TR from the bottom side and was ultimately rejected from the TR, marking a possible last point of supply (LPSY) for the TR. Currently, the market is hovering just below the TR and is on the tipping point of breaking strong support. If we manage to break the strong support around the 38% retracement values (shown in Figure 3), I expect to see widespread capitulation that will lead to a return to the bearish channel shown in Figure 1. It is entirely possible that we could see a return to the TR once more, so I’m not ruling out the possibility of a short-term bullish rally.  However, I have very little hope at the moment for a resumption of the macro uptrend.

If we manage to push new lows, I expect to find support in the low $9,000s as this marked the breakout of the current, failed rally. From there we will have to reassess the market conditions, but for now, I have very little confidence in a bullish continuation.

Summary:

  1. After a strong uptrend, and after a breakout of the bearish descending channel, the market saw a strong pullback.
  2. The strong pullback marks a potential distribution trading range on the 30-minute candles.
  3. New lows may be in store for bitcoin as it decides whether the bulls are too exhausted to keep the buying pressure aloft.

Trading and investing in digital assets like bitcoin and ether is highly speculative and comes with many risks. This analysis is for informational purposes and should not be considered investment advice. Statements and financial information on Bitcoin Magazine and BTC Media related sites do not necessarily reflect the opinion of BTC Media and should not be construed as an endorsement or recommendation to buy, sell or hold. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 5:26 pm

New York Lawmakers Open to Revisiting the BitLicense

Two New York state senators held a roundtable Friday on the controversial BitLicense regulation, and said legislation to reform it may come soon.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 2:00 pm

Austria Planning New Regulations for Cryptocurrency, ICOs

Austria is drawing up cryptocurrency regulations, using as a model existing rules for the trading of gold and derivatives.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 12:00 pm

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Bringing Renewable Energy to the World Using Blockchain Technology

Bringing Renewable Energy to the World Using Blockchain Technology

Modern energy services are vital to human well-being and to a country’s economic development, yet according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), globally 1.2 billion people lack access to electricity. It’s thought that around 95 percent of these people are in either sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia, with 80 percent in rural areas.

Ethereum-based platform ImpactPPA is attempting to turn on the lights using the power of the blockchain.

Selected as one of the top three most promising ICOs at this year’s North American Bitcoin Conference, ImpactPPA aims to disrupt renewable energy to finance and accelerate global clean energy production by decentralizing and tokenizing energy generation through power purchase agreements (PPAs). To achieve this, the platform is using blockchain technology, smart contracts and its energy protocol, the SmartPPA.

The project white paper describes how, right now, energy financing and distribution is bottlenecked by large, centralized NGOs and government agencies that have established an unwieldy financing system that can take years from proposal to product implementation.

The SmartPPA is the lynchpin of the new system and permits anyone, anywhere, to create a proposal for a project of any size. Even though ImpactPPA will allow users worldwide to access clean energy on a mobile device, the platform is primarily focusing on the emerging economies in the world.

Speaking to Bitcoin Magazine, ImpactPPA CEO Dan Bates explained that the current funding process with centralized NGOs is “too cumbersome and costly for many developing nations,” leaving many countries and their populations with limited access to power.

“ImpactPPA’s use of the blockchain and the crowd dramatically changes this paradigm, tapping into the vast potential of the socially minded impact investor and concerned citizen, looking to benefit the well-being of others while mitigating climate change,” he said.

As a company that has already been working in the traditional renewable energy (wind and solar) space for over 10 years, with projects on the ground in 35 countries, ImpactPPA’s platform is now ready to deploy with the blockchain component.

According to Bates, the team has more than 200 megawatts in discussion for PPAs around the world that they expect to begin executing within the next six months. Through its pay-as-you-go model for power, ImpactPPA is providing the most remote and underserved populations the chance to rapidly fund and deploy clean energy solutions that improve their quality of life, giving users the chance to purchase and consume energy on an as-needed basis.

“There is great need for our solutions in rural Africa as well as island nations like Puerto Rico and Haiti, which have been affected by hurricanes, just to name a few examples,” said Bates. “But as a company, we are interested in working everywhere and anywhere there is a need for power.”

ImpactPPA is currently working with the Haitian government and local partners to provide power to 42 of their coastal communities that have been left without power since Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The platform is planning on working with NGOs in the future too.

Delivering this energy to smart meters that are connected to the blockchain allows for government, utility companies, businesses or individuals to decentralize the flow of power while using the best of the blockchain to ensure trust and security of the power generated and transmitted, Bates explained.

Built on the Ethereum platform, ImpactPPA will sell its asset-based MPAQ token to enable projects, typically microgrids, to be quickly deployed.

“MPAQ token holders will be able to review and vote on proposed projects for funding by the company, giving the token-holding community a voice in the conversation about which projects should be funded,” Bates said.

ImpactPPA expects to begin its MPAQ token sale on April 22, 2018, coinciding with Earth Day, for funding projects currently in the pipeline.

It will also sell a GEN Credit to be used by consumers of the electricity generated by the renewable energy systems. It is priced in kWh and is determined by the PPA that it is attached to. Bates added that 30 percent of all net profits from implemented PPAs will be credited toward the platform’s GEN Pool. On a quarterly basis, and as long as the GEN Pool has a value of at least $100,000, ImpactPPA will use the accumulated GEN Pool to repurchase MPAQ tokens.

“It is this GEN Credit that will be exchanged by end users, buyers or proxies for the energy created by the renewable energy systems delivered to fulfill the SmartPPAs,” said Bates. “It is used to insure delivery of energy, manage storage devices, create interconnected data networks, and enable new economic models for the millions upon millions of people who will be positively impacted by the access to power.”

For Bates, the platform will deliver positive social impact in any form.

Energy begets an improved quality of life, education and self-empowerment, but energy is just the beginning for ImpactPPA.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 11:29 am

Ethereum Governance 'Not That Bad' Says Buterin Amid Fund Debate

During an ethereum core developer meeting Friday, Vitalik Buterin argued the protocol's governance isn't functioning poorly, it's just misunderstood.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 11:00 am

Nano Goes Giga in Down Week for Crypto Prices

The majority of the top 25 cryptocurrencies are reporting losses on a weekly basis, but the nano token has bucked the trend.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 7:00 am

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High Stakes: Ethereum's Fight Over Lost Funds Explained

Ethereum is facing what might be its biggest tech crisis in some time, with developers split over whether software changes should recover lost funds.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 6:30 am

Telecoms Blockchain Group Touts Demo Success, New Members

Several multinational telecoms firms have joined the Carrier Blockchain Study Group to advance blockchain use cases in the industry.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 6:00 am

Bank of China Moves to Patent Blockchain Scaling Solution

Bank of China has filed a patent application for a process it says is better able to scale blockchain systems.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 5:00 am

Bitcoin Is Back Over $10K, But Rally Looks Weak

Bitcoin is witnessing a minor corrective rally today, but longer-term gains may be elusive, according to price chart analysis.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:45 am

Japan's Exchanges Report 669 Cases of Suspected Crypto Money Laundering

Japan's police agency has said hundreds of cases of suspected money laundering were reported from domestic cryptocurrency exchanges in 2017.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 3:21 am

SEC Advocacy Director Says Crypto Investors Shouldn't 'Flip A Coin'

A new SEC blog post advises potential cryptocurrency investors to do their research prior to buying a token.

Posted on 23 February 2018 | 12:00 am

Report: Mutual Funds Could Save Billions With Blockchain

Shifting to a distributed, blockchain-based infrastructure could bring huge financial benefits to the asset management industry, research indicates.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 10:00 pm

Tezos Foundation Reorganizes, Gevers Steps Down

Tezos Foundation Reorganizes, Gevers Steps Down

After months of infighting between the organizers of Tezos, a blockchain project currently in development, and the Tezos Foundation, a Swiss nonprofit that controls the project’s pursestrings, the two remaining original members of the Foundation have “voluntarily” resigned. This means that since December, the entire three-person board has been replaced.

According to an announcement by the Tezos Foundation, Johann Gevers, the former president of the Foundation, has stepped down and will be replaced by Ryan Jesperson, a Tezos project contributor.

Diego Olivier Fernandez Pons also stepped down and will be replaced by Michel Mauny, a senior researcher at Inria, the French company that developed OCaml, the programming language Tezos is written in.  

Another board member, Guido Schmitz-Krummacher, resigned in December “because he was frustrated with the infighting, which was consuming a lot of his time,” according to Reuters. He was replaced by Lars Haussmann, head of accounting firm Haussmann Treuhand AG, on January 31, 2018.

Infighting

Tezos, a blockchain project aiming to compete with the likes Ethereum and Cardano, was co-founded by Kathleen and Arthur Breitman. In an uncapped initial coin offering (ICO) put forth as a “fundraiser,” the project raised $232 million worth of bitcoin and ether in July 2017. Those funds, which ballooned in value to around $1 billion due to this year’s rally in cryptocurrencies, were put in the control of the Tezos Foundation.

The Breitmans, who retain ownership of the Tezos code through Dynamic Ledger Solutions, a Delaware-based company, have been fighting to get rid of Gevers since October. At that time, the Breitmans’ lawyer sent a 46-page letter to the two other members of the Foundation (Schmitz-Krummacher and Fernandez Pons, at the time), accusing Gevers of “self-dealing, self-promotion and conflicts of interest” and calling for his prompt dismissal.

According to reports, the dispute originated a month before, when Gevers drew up a compensation package for himself, which the Breitmans claimed was excessive and not properly disclosed. It’s likely that the event also acted as a signal to the Breitmans that in setting up the Tezos Foundation, an organization that was supposed to operate completely independently of Dynamic Ledger Solutions, they had put too much control in the hands of too few people.

On October 18, 2017, in a blog post, Arthur Breitman proposed a solution to the power struggle, which involved setting up Tezos AG, a subsidiary of the Foundation that would have its own budget and allow Dynamic Ledger Solutions to operate with less oversight. The Breitmans also proposed increasing the number of people on the Tezos Foundation board from three to seven.

Since October, Gevers had kept relatively silent on the matter until January 28, 2018, when he published a blog post (archived) outlining steps for how the Foundation would push forward with the launch of the platform. (He later deleted the post.)

“I am glad to announce that the Foundation has regained access to banking services, which  —  due to the controversy surrounding the Tezos project  —  had been suspended since October 2017,” he wrote. “This allows us to continue with our top priority, which is to build an operational team that can execute the Foundation’s mission.”

In another interesting turn of events, a few days later, in an attempt to overthrow the Tezos Foundation, community members backing the Breitmans launched an alternative Swiss foundation dubbed “T2.” Wall Street Journal reporter Paul Vigna described the move as “not unlike shareholders in a corporation proposing a new board of directors because they like the CEO more than the board.”

Listed among T2’s seven founding members were Jesperson and Mauny and Olaf-Carlson Wee, CEO of cryptocurrency investment fund Polychain Capital, an early Tezos backer.

Lawsuits

The infighting, in addition to delays in the launch of the network and a holdup on funds, led to other complications. Since October, at least four class-action suits have been filed against Tezos on behalf of contributors accusing the project of selling securities.

When the project was launched, the Breitmans portrayed the tokens as a donation to the project, but some contributors believed they were investing in a cryptocurrency that would go up in value like bitcoin. Those contributors were given vouchers for tezzies, the native token that will operate on the Tezos platform once it launches; but until the project launches, they are unable to redeem their tokens.

The changeover in board members of the Tezos Foundation may be a sign that good news is on the horizon. At the recent Cyber Days conference at the UCLA Blockchain Lab, Kathleen Breitman hinted the platform would be launching in a few weeks.  

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 2:53 pm

Government of Spain Considers Blockchain-Friendly Regulations

Government of Spain Considers Blockchain-Friendly Regulations

The government of Spain is preparing blockchain-friendly legislation including possible tax breaks to attract companies in the emerging blockchain technology sector, Bloomberg Politics reports.

“We hope to get the legislation ready this year,” said MP Teodoro Garcia Egea, who is preparing a comprehensive cryptocurrency-related bill. “We want to set up Europe’s safest framework to invest in ICOs.”

Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales are one of the latest blockchain-related hot trends and have permitted several companies to raise tens and even hundreds of millions of dollars in a short space of time, bypassing the need for prior regulatory approval.

ICOs can be very appealing to speculators because the value of a successful token can rise spectacularly, but regulatory agencies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the U.S., are beginning to clamp down on token sales, claiming that crypto-tokens are equivalent to company shares traded on the stock market. According to the SEC, some ICOs are essentially Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), and should be subject to similar regulations for the protection of investors.

At the same time, too much regulation could stifle innovation and push promising blockchain-based firms to relocate to less restrictive jurisdictions offshore. According to Garcia Egea and the Popular Party, the ruling political party of Spain to which the lawmaker belongs, it’s in Spain’s interest to attract and keep those firms, and, therefore, the country should adopt a blockchain-friendly regulatory approach.

Garcia Egea added that the bill in preparation was inspired by existing blockchain-friendly regulatory frameworks such as those that enable the Crypto Valley in Switzerland. It could include ways to attract investment in blockchain technologies, such as a threshold below which a cryptocurrency investment wouldn’t need to be reported to the regulator, and specific regulations to make it attractive for entrepreneurs to use a blockchain to carry out initial coin offerings, or ICOs, as a financing tool.

As shown by a series of recent posts (in Spanish) published in his personal website, Garcia Egea wants to introduce a whole range of emerging technologies in the Spanish economy, including digital administration, cybersecurity, 3D printing and blockchain technology.

For example, Garcia Egea supports the Alastria consortium focused on the establishment of a semi-public, permissioned national blockchain infrastructure and digital identity system.

“Smart contracts, ensuring the traceability and unchangeability of specific information, raising funds through ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), etc. is possible through this new network [Alastria],” said Garcia Egea (translated by this writer).

“The time has come to establish a legal framework for individuals and firms to execute [smart-contract based] financial transactions in a protected and secure way, using the best available technology,” added Garcia Egea. “This will not only provide legal security to financial investments done through this channel, but it will also place Spain in a privileged position to attract capital, talent and future-oriented projects, and an ecosystem upon which to build the future of the internet of value.”

It seems likely that, if Garcia Egea and the Popular Party manage to convert their vision into law, Spain could become one of the few crypto-havens in the Eurozone, which could result in many innovative technology developers and ICO operators relocating to Spain.

Find out more about cryptocurrency regulation around the world in our feature, Cryptocurrency Regulation in 2018: Where the World Stands Now.



This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 9:38 am

Bitcoin drops below $10000 again, hitting lowest in a week - CNBC


CNBC

Bitcoin drops below $10000 again, hitting lowest in a week
CNBC
There were fears of an outright ban in that major market for bitcoin but new measures announced were less strict than investors had anticipated. The price of bitcoin has roughly halved since its climb to almost $20,000 in December. The cryptocurrency ...

Posted on 22 February 2018 | 7:32 am

Korean Regulator Tips Cryptocurrency Prospects Back Toward “Normalization”

Korean Regulator Tips Cryptocurrency Prospects Back Toward “Normalization”

On February 20, 2018, investors saw signs of yet another directional shift in South Korea’s regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies. According to Reuters, Choe Heung-sik, the governor of South Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS), told reporters, “The whole world is now framing the outline (for cryptocurrency) and therefore (the government) should rather work more on normalization than increasing regulation.”

The head of the FSS has wrestled with cryptocurrency regulation and the lack of legislation on the industry for some time. He stated in November 2017 that “supervision [of cryptocurrency exchanges] will come only after the legal recognition of digital tokens as legitimate currency.”

Choe also warned of a bitcoin bubble in December 2017 that paired with another warning that month, when he stated, “All we can do is to warn people as we don’t see virtual currencies as actual types of currency, meaning that we cannot step up regulation for now.”

The FSS, which has been spearheading the government’s regulation of cryptocurrency trading as part of a larger task force, has had an uphill battle in the face of Korean officials’ variable attitudes to the burgeoning industry. While the FSS-led taskforce set the nation’s first official rules around cryptocurrency trading on December 13, 2017, uncertainty around issues of taxation and regulation of the exchanges remained.

January brought even less certainty to the peninsula as South Korea’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges were raided by police and tax agencies on January 10, 2018, kicking off a week of contradiction by top Korean officials that precipitated a market-wide meltdown known as “Red Tuesday” on January 16, 2018.

Choe then had to state at a parliamentary hearing on January 19, 2018, that one FSS employee was being investigated “on suspicion that he or she traded a digital currency” ahead of the government’s announcement of toughening its stance on cryptocurrency trading. At the same hearing, the Office for Government Policy Coordination also disclosed a probe into two officials for alleged profiteering on government information after the events of Red Tuesday.

Korean officials rounded off the month of January by announcing on January 23, 2018, that anonymous accounts would be banned from trading cryptocurrencies as of January 30, 2018.

Merely three weeks after the ban on anonymous accounts took effect, Choe seemed to suggest rosier regulatory prospects for the cryptocurrency industry. These statements of normalization came only days after the sudden death of Jung Ki-joon on February 18, 2018. Jung, a 52-year-old man who led economic policy for the Office for Government Policy Coordination and was instrumental in spearheading the January crackdown, died of “unknown” causes in his home, though initial reports suggested that he’d had a heart attack.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

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