Following many months of consistent downturn, Bitcoin has finally been able to form its first green candle on its monthly chart. Despite this, BTC is continuing to trade sideways today, and has continued to struggle to break above $3,900 after experiencing increased levels of volatility last weekend.One analyst is quick to point out that Bitcoin has not incurred any major volume increase over the past month, despite its climb in price.Bitcoin Forms First Green Monthly Candle in Eight MonthsAt the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up marginally at its current price of $3,880. Last weekend, BTC soared to highs of $4,200 before losing steam and quickly retracing to lows of $3,800, where it found some levels of support.Recently, Bitcoin has been experiencing increased levels of volatility on the weekends, so it is a strong possibility that the cryptocurrency will break either above, or below, its recently established trading range between $3,800 and $3,900 as the markets head into the weekend.Although there hasn’t been any significantly positive price action over the past week, it is important to note that BTC has formed its first green candle on the monthly chart in eight months, which means that February did prove to be a good month for the crypto.SalsaTekila, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, spoke about this new development in a recent tweet, noting that this is the first green monthly candle since July of 2018.“$BTC monthly is about to close as a bullish engulfing on volume increase, the first green monthly candle since July 2018.”$BTC monthly is about to close as a bullish engulfing on volume increase, the first green monthly candle since July 2018.— SalsaTekila (JUL) (@SalsaTekila) February 28, 2019The same analyst also explained that he believes Bitcoin will now face resistance around the mid-$4,000 region, while further establishing the low-$3,000 region as a strong level of support.“Bulls did it, this is my new chart. Leaning bullish above green monthly block. Red box is the big resistance to watch, it’s confluent with monthly. No position, would expect some chop / green test.”/2 Bulls did it, this is my new chart. Leaning bullish above green monthly block. Red box is the big resistance to watch, it’s confluent with monthly.No position, would expect some chop / green test.$BTC pic.twitter.com/wPF6FjONCi— SalsaTekila (JUL) (@SalsaTekila) March 1, 2019Despite Price Gains, BTC has Not Incurred Significantly Greater Trading Volume in FebruaryAlthough February has proved to be a positive month for Bitcoin’s price, it is important to note that the cryptocurrency has not incurred significantly greater trading volume over the past four weeks.Josh Rager, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, recently spoke about the lack of volume despite the price increases, also noting that he believes BTC is currently forming a rising wedge pattern on the weekly chart.“$BTC Weekly Chart… I don’t trade patterns, but if I did – this looks like a rising wedge with the weekly candle bodies over the past few weeks… Besides the pump followed by dump last week – no true volume increase with the increase in price over the past month.”$BTC Weekly ChartI don’t trade patterns, but if I did – this looks like a rising wedge with the weekly candle bodies over the past few weeksBesides the pump followed by dump last week – no true volume increase with the increase in price over the past month pic.twitter.com/OXpjReImcX— Josh Rager 📈 (@Josh_Rager) February 28, 2019As the weekend nears, if history repeats itself the entire cryptocurrency markets will begin to experience increased levels of volatility.Featured image from Shutterstock.
Archives for March 1, 2019
When the Federal Reserve conducts stress tests to measure risk in the U.S. financial markets, it may study “extraordinary” events like a “collapse in the Bitcoin market.”
Indeed, the U.S. central bank has recognized Bitcoin as potentially being a “salient risk” to the market at-large.
Since the 2009 Great Recession, the Federal Reserve has been constantly on the prowl for detecting where the next economic meltdown might occur. Congress and the Obama Administration passed the Dodd-Frank Act, which made it a law for the Fed to run these stress tests moving forward.
According to a new policy rule for the Federal Reserve, studying historical patterns is not enough to figure out where the next market panic might break out. Instead, the central bank is heeding recommendations to “consider extraordinary shocks, such as a war with North Korea, the collapse of the Bitcoin market, or major losses caused by trader misconduct.”
According to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System’s newest Final Rule:
Similarly, a commenter expressed support for the incorporation in the stress test of shocks unlike those already experienced, since firms should be prepared to withstand events beyond those already endured. The commenter recommended that the Board consider extraordinary shocks, such as a war with North Korea, the collapse of the Bitcoin market, or major losses caused by trader misconduct, in its scenarios.
The current policy statement states that it may be appropriate to augment scenarios with salient risks, as approaches that only look to past recessions or rely on historical relationships between variables may not always caputre current risks to the economic environemnt.
Where appropriate, the Board intends to continue augmenting the scenarios with risks it considers to be salient.
Since it started conducting stress tests, the Fed has studied the possibility of failure in the corporate sector and the U.S. housing market, a rapid slowdown in China’s growth, dramatic changes in oil prices, major economic contraction in the euro area, and “stresses” in emerging economies.
Once the Fed starts to monitor Bitcoin, it’s really not that far of a jump for the U.S. central bank to get involved in that market.
WHY IT MATTERS
And I sincerely believe with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies; & that the principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.
I think what populists need to explain is how the dollar has stayed so strong on international markets when USD holders in the country are simultaneously losing purchasing power over time.
Congress ultimately has the power to issue currency and not the Fed, because Congress wrote the Fed into existence at the request of the J.P. Morgan (the man) and other industrial barons with the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. It was actually designed for the express purpose of lending money to banks in the private-sector.
Moving the ball back to Congress creates obvious difficulties given the present legislative environment in which sabotage, bad faith negotiations, and a whole lot of grandstanding take priority over results. It’s plausible shifting this responsibility back to the Congress would be worse for inflation than the Fed, since principals would be strapped to two- and four-year horizon electoral incentives. And every incumbent in Congress tends exhaust all the tools at their disposal in an attempt to hold power.
Development on $3.3 billion cryptocurrency EOS has slowed to an absolute crawl, and it’s not the only smart contract platform where GitHub commits have plunged in recent months.
Major Crypto Blockchains See Reduced Commits
If we consider the holiday month of December, where it is well-known that development virtually everywhere slows down, there are still two full months (November and January) of good developer time to account for. Of more than 4,000 commits in the past 12 months, only 114 took place in the past three months on EOS.
Ethereum and Tron also saw declines, though not as extreme.
None of the three blockchains were among the most active in terms of development – at least according to CryptoMiso.
Insolar is by far the most active development team, with some Ethereum-linked projects represented as well. Raiden and 0x, both scaling solutions for Ethereum, have a high degree of development by comparison to the vast sea of blockchain platforms. Interestingly, Aelf continues its rapid development. A progress report from earlier this month gives positive signs for the community.
If you expand the table to the past nine months, instead of the past 3, EOS ranks #9. This chart illustrates the decline in developer activity:
EOS Developer Count Steady Despite Plunging Commits
More than 100 EOS contributors had over 2,700 commits approved in the past nine months. The past three months? 114 by more than 100 contributors. At the very least, the number of developers working on EOS hasn’t declined.
The news follows concerns that EOS blocks are oversized. Apparently, the chain is so large now that many node operators no longer want to run “full history nodes,” which can be crucial for some aspects of EOS development. EOS is a different animal altogether when it comes to blockchains, having an “arbitration court” that can reverse fraudulent transactions.
When looking at the outside of GitHub development, the number of commits on a punch card might seem the most important figure. In fact, a single commit can change one line or every file in the codebase.
It’s possible that the EOS development team has changed its policy about pushing commits, choosing to “squash” changes together and release updates on a more consistent schedule. The sustained number of developers would indicate that development is actually ongoing, but perhaps the methodology of publishing changes has been altered.
It’s also possible that the decline in developer activity is attributable to the crypto winter. Last year, before the start of the crypto winter, several early company members left Block.one, the primary developer of EOS.
Ernst and Young (EY), the court-appointed monitor for QuadrigaCX, has finally provided blockchain addresses for the ailing crypto exchange’s cold, or offline, bitcoin wallets.
And aside from $400,000 worth of bitcoin that was accidentally sent to the cold wallets in early February, they are empty, meaning $100 million of the cryptocurrency is still missing.
EY released its third report on Quadriga late Friday, outlining the progress it has made since first being appointed monitor at the beginning of February. While certain details in the report were already public, such as EY’s progress getting third-party payment processors to transfer fiat holdings back to Quadriga, until now the audit firm had steadfastly refused to provide much information about its search for the exchange’s missing cryptocurrencies.
To recap, Quadriga announced at the end of January that it owed its customers nearly $200 million in both cryptocurrencies and fiat, with crypto making up the bulk at around $137 million. These cryptocurrencies were inaccessible, the company said, as deceased founder and CEO Gerald Cotten reportedly kept the bulk of the exchange’s holdings in cold storage, and only he controlled the private keys to its accounts.
Before Friday, neither Quadriga nor EY released the cold wallet addresses, prompting speculation that perhaps they do not exist.
Now, for the first time, EY has officially identified six bitcoin cold wallet addresses that it says Quadriga used. Five were previously identified by independent researchers after the exchange automatically transferred 103 BTC in what was termed a “platform error.” On Friday afternoon, the total balance of these five wallets was 104 bitcoin, or about $400,000.
The sixth address EY released contains no bitcoin holdings, though 31 BTC ($118,000) were transferred out from the wallet on Dec. 3, just days before Cotten’s death.
That means 26,350 bitcoin (worth about $100 million) owed to customers was not in these cold wallets. According to the report:
“The Monitor has made inquiries of the Applicants as to the reason for the lack of cryptocurrency reserves in the Identified Bitcoin Cold Wallets since April 2018. To date, the Applicants have been unable to identify a reason why Quadriga may have stopped using the Identified Bitcoin Cold Wallets for deposits in April 2018, however, the Monitor and Management will continue to review the Quadriga database to obtain further information.”
EY did not indicate if there might be other bitcoin cold storage wallets aside from the six published Friday. Nor did it identify the cold wallets holding ether, litecoin, bitcoin gold or any of the other coins the exchange listed.
Cold wallets aside, some $21,000 CAD ($16,000 USD) have been deposited in the form of various cryptocurrencies to Quadriga’s hot, or, online, wallets since its initial filing on Jan. 31. EY is working with Quadriga to determine who has been depositing funds to the exchange’s hot wallets, and a recommendation as to what to do about the situation will be presented later.
QuadrigaCX may have held accounts on at least 14 different crypto exchanges, the report said.
EY has reached out to these exchanges, and to date, four have responded. At least some of these exchanges confirmed that Cotten or Quadriga held accounts, and one has transferred a “minimal” amount of cryptocurrency to EY.
The report did not specify which exchanges these were.
Some of the cryptocurrencies previously held at the identified bitcoin cold wallets were provably sent to exchanges, EY said. While “it is not possible to ascertain with absolute certainty from public information who the owner of an address is,” existing tools can confirm that certain exchanges own specific addresses.
That being said, EY added that “its investigation into the exchange accounts is at a preliminary stage,” adding:
“At this point, the Monitor has not been able to determine the source of the deposits into any of the exchange accounts or where the cryptocurrency was transferred to. Efforts are underway to attempt to preserve and recover any Quadriga cryptocurrency, if any, located at other exchanges.”
Cotten appears to have set up an account with Amazon Web Services to store Quadriga data on, as did Jose Reyes, the owner and operator of two of the payment processors Quadriga used. According to the report, AWS told EY that it could not provide any further information as Cotten used a personal account for the platform.
As such, EY is asking for a court order to compel AWS to provide access to both it and Quadriga.
In particular, the monitor is looking for accounting records or some sort of ledger which can verify the accounts and balances that Quadriga controlled. So far, the company has gained access to some user account balances and transaction information.
“The Monitor believes it is imperative that a copy of the Quadriga Platform Data is backed up and secured with the Monitor as soon as possible. The Platform Data will assist the Monitor’s ongoing investigation into Quadriga’s business, affairs and potential assets that may be recoverable for the benefit of the Applicants’ stakeholders,” the report said.
EY will support Quadriga’s push to appoint a chief restructuring officer, which Jennifer Robertson – Cotten’s widow and the executor of his estate – requested in a previous court filing. Robertson said she does not have the necessary experience to assist EY with its crypto investigations and that she has been disparaged in “online commentary.”
Further, EY also agrees that extending the stay of proceedings implemented to protect Quadriga from investor lawsuits by 45 or 60 days “is appropriate.”
On the other hand, Miller Thomson and Cox & Palmer, the two Canadian law firms appointed as representative counsel to represent the exchange’s creditors, are requesting that only a 30-day extension be granted, as well as the right to amend or vary the initial order.
EY believes that granting one of the requests would be proper.
Miller Thomson separately issued a notice to affected users which included a call for applicants to serve on the committee of affected users “which will provide information to and instruct representative counsel” during the proceedings.
Interested creditors must apply by March 8.
Creditors who do not wish to be represented by the two law firms must opt out by April 29 by filing a separate form.
An early Bitcoin investor and self-confessed libertarian has built the first “seastead” with his BTC profits. For those who do not know, a seastead is a floating home designed to stay in international waters, thus allowing its inhabitants to live outside of the laws of any nation.According to the first part of a short documentary series dedicated to the building of the seastead, it was supposed to launch on the tenth anniversary of the Bitcoin network going live. However, intense storms around Thailand meant that the date had to be postponed until last month.A Floating Home Built with BitcoinChad Elwartowski and Nadia Summergirl have become the first two reported individuals to permanently cast of the shackles of land and the laws enforced on it in favour of a life on the open sea. The pair have built the first seastead with help from Ocean Builders, a start-up dedicated to helping individuals move their lives to the ocean.The couple have financed the building of their floating home using money made from early Bitcoin investments. The structure cost them around $150,000, which was actually $30,000 more than they originally budgeted for. It measures six metres square and is octagonal in shape. The pair’s new home is spread across two floors.According to a report in Reason, Elwartowski had previously explored other avenues to satisfy his cravings for a truly free life. These included “Free State Project, Libertarian Party elections, and the Ron Paul campaign.”Meanwhile, Summergirl is equally passionate about the idea. She says she was sick of hearing people talking about the concept of building floating communities whilst no one was actually going through with it. The Thai-born woman was also happy that the first project of its kind was happening close to where she grew up:“I just want to get seasteading happen for real. I want to make it happen here in Thailand.”Elwartowski and Summergirl’s new home has been out at sea since early February. The pair say they are continuing to commute back and forth to land for now though. They still have various commitments that need tying up before they hit the open waves for good. A recently purchased commuter boat should help them speed up their permanent relocation, however.Elwartowski states that the couple has made no effort to seek approval from the Thai government for their new home. He commented:“We have been keeping under the radar so far, but we follow all the laws of Thailand so it’s as if we’re just living on a boat in the water as far as they’re concerned…. All we expect from the Thai government is that they follow international law. We will be doing the same. But Nadia and I aren’t doing anything we can’t do on land.”You can learn more about Elwartowski and Summergirl’s story in the first instalment of a four-part documentary below. It was produced by Seasteading Institute to promote the concept:Thanks to its lack of central authority, Bitcoin found early favour amongst libertarian circles keen to create communities outside of the laws of national governments. NewsBTC has previously reported on the Floating Island Project off the coast of French Polynesia and Liberland between Serbia and Croatia. Related Reading: Puerto Rico: Future Blockchain Utopia?Featured Image from Shutterstock.
JPMorgan’s controversial blockchain token might not be a real cryptocurrency, but researchers say it could help spark concrete crypto adoption.
Binance Argues JPMorgan’s Dubious Crypto Project Will Spur Real Adoption
In a new article from Binance Research, one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges deems JPM Coin a “stepping stone” toward mass adoption. By exposing large clients to a private blockchain structure, JPMorgan will indirectly increase interest in the wider crypto industry.
“The rise of this third generation of stablecoins may only be an intermediate stepping stone for cryptocurrency mass adoption. Stablecoins running on private blockchains will contribute to increasing awareness of the rest of the blockchain and cryptoasset industry in the long run.”
The question they set out to answer, whether or not JPM Coin can disrupt the stablecoin market, comes back as “very unlikely.”
“It is very unlikely that JPM Coin will disrupt the existing stablecoin industry in the near term owing to its permissioned, private nature. Currently, stablecoins issued by banks are designated to serve a specific purpose and as a result, do not directly compete with the existing stablecoins.”
Will JPM Coin Be Made Available to Regular Chase Users?
The query follows Jamie Dimon’s flirting with the idea that JPM Coin might become a household item, as opposed to an esoteric product used by a small percentage of institutional clients for cross-border transactions. Dimon said of this possibility:
“JPMorgan Coin could be internal, could be commercial, it could one day be consumer.”
However, as CCN’s Josiah Wilmoth noted, the JPM Coin website specifically states they have no existing intention to issue it to the public. The token is currently unavailable to everyday consumers.
JPM Coin reminds one of “E Coin” from USA’s “Mr. Robot” series. The “cryptocurrency” was used as a means to settle transactions within the bank’s massive holdings.
“Overall, the two projects appear to have different focuses and potential applications in the short term. While there is currently no direct overlap on the functionality of the two initiatives, future developments on the reach of JPM Coin outside of its existing closed network will determine to what degree Ripple and JPM Coin will compete.”
Garlinghouse said of JPM Coin:
As predicted, banks are changing their tune on crypto. But this JPM project misses the point – introducing a closed network today is like launching AOL after Netscape’s IPO. 2 years later, and bank coins still aren’t the answer https://t.co/39EAiSJwAz https://t.co/e7t7iz7h21
— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) February 14, 2019
JPM Coin: Largest Stablecoin?
If we categorize JPM Coin as a stablecoin, it takes very little effort for it to be the largest. As Binance writes:
“Based on J.P. Morgan’s position as one of the world’s largest banks, even a small portion of total assets locked as fiat collateral for JPM Coin could make the institution the largest stablecoin issuer on a blockchain measured by circulating supply and total market cap.”
JPMorgan moves up to $6 trillion in assets daily. The total market capitalization for all stablecoins is well under $3 billion. If JPM Coin represents just 1% of JPMorgan’s daily average, it more than doubles the market.
But it’s not a stablecoin in the same respect that Tether or TrueUSD are. It’s not available to traders all over the world, nor even people outside of JPMorgan’s top client list. It’s not something you can take and redeem for Bitcoin. It, therefore, has no actual net effect on the stablecoin market. The purpose that existing stablecoins serve is not affected by the issuance of JPM Coin.
Following Coinbase’s decision to list XRP – the cryptocurrency commonly associated with Ripple – many analysts and investors alike questioned whether or not there was an element of insider trading associated with the listing. The concerns come after the exchange faced similar criticism back in late-2017, when investors accused the exchange’s employees of profiting off of the listing of Bitcoin Cash onto the platform.Now, one analyst claims that XRP’s daily chart may point to the fact that it is a highly manipulated market, which he believes may end badly for investors in the cryptocurrency.Ripple Separates Themselves from Coinbase ListingIt has long been known that Ripple has tried on multiple occasions to get XRP listed on Coinbase, as the additional trading volume incurred from a listing on the exchange would undoubtedly make XRP significantly more liquid.A listing on Coinbase would also decrease the chances of manipulation, as it is more difficult to manipulate cryptocurrencies with higher average trading volume than it is to manipulate those with low average trading volumes.A Bloomberg report from April of last year claimed that Ripple was offering large financial incentives to exchanges that would list XRP, with Coinbase being one such exchange that was offered incentives in exchange for listing XRP.According to the report, Ripple told Coinbase that it would loan the exchange more than $100 million worth of XRP in order to allow users to instantly trade the asset.Despite this offer, Coinbase declined to pursue it, and has now apparently listed the cryptocurrency on their own accord.In a recent tweet from Miguel Vias, the head XRP markets at Ripple, he spoke on behalf of the company, claiming that Coinbase’s decision to list XRP was their decision alone, and that the exchange was not offered any incentives to list the crypto.“We’re happy to go on the record. Coinbase’s listing of XRP (also, not ‘our token’) was Coinbase’s independent decision – we did not give them anything to make it happen,” he noted.We’re happy to go on the record. Coinbase’s listing of XRP (also, not “our token”) was Coinbase’s independent decision – we did not give them anything to make it happen. https://t.co/xTVvACqsQa— Miguel Vias ⚡ (@miguelvias) February 27, 2019Could XRP Markets Be Increasingly Manipulated Post-Listing? Following the listing earlier this week, Coinbase’s CEO Brian Armstrong responded to allegations that his company, or its employees, engaged in insider trading of XRP just prior to its listing with a laughing face emoji in a since-deleted tweet.brian_armstrong deleted after 10 minutes pic.twitter.com/xgBXqUm5po— Crypto_Deleted_Tweets (@CryptoDeleted) February 25, 2019In the time since the listing, XRP has surrendered nearly all of the price gains it incurred prior to the listing, which is leading some analysts to view the cryptocurrency’s price as being highly manipulated.Peter Brandt, a renowned trader and analyst, told his nearly 260k followers that XRP’s daily chart has “all the earmarks of a manipulated market,” which could ultimately spell trouble for the crypto’s investors.“The $XRP daily chart has all the earmarks of a manipulated market. Manipulated markets historically have not ended well for the bag holders,” he noted.The $XRP daily chart has all the earmarks of a manipulated market. Manipulated markets historically have not ended well for the bag holders. pic.twitter.com/1tU75qYNnv— Peter Brandt (@PeterLBrandt) March 1, 2019Despite this, others were quick to fire back, with Crypto Joe, a popular figure within the XRP Twitter community, responding to the tweet, claiming that manipulation is standard in the crypto markets, and that XRP is creating utility regardless of its price action.“Newsflash: Crypto markets are manipulated. Took a while for you to figure that out. You think Bitcoin is any different? Difference is, $XRP is set for enterprise utility that will hopefully erase significant manipulation in the future. Very little others can say the same,” he said.Newsflash: Crypto markets are manipulated. Took a while for you to figure that out. You think Bitcoin is any different? Difference is, $XRP is set for enterprise utility that will hopefully erase significant manipulation in the future. Very little others can say the same.— Crypto Joe (@Dave_Jonez_02) March 1, 2019XRP has been able to climb slightly today and is currently trading up over 3% at its current price of $0.323.Featured image from Shutterstock.
Cutting-edge blockchain ATM prototypes are being rolled out in Saudi Arabia with a unique take on granting users access to funds. The ATMs use biometric scanners to scan the face of each account holder as part of a five-factor authentication process secured by a blockchain app being used by the largest ATM provider in the Middle East.
Biometric Facial Recognition With Blockchain
Face-scanning verification has the potential to make PIN codes obsolete. Source: CCN / Conor MaloneyThe ATMs are the result of a partnership between Alhamrani Universal (AU) and blockchain mobile-identity platform ShoCard. The five-factor authentication process includes facial scanning, the ShoCard ID, a QR code, session IDs, and timestamps among other certification methods aimed at thoroughly vetting and verifying each user.
The system does away with the traditional method of memorizing four-digit PIN codes in an effort to combat the ever-present threat of credit card fraud, which is made all too easy with the simplistic PIN system and a thriving black market for credit cards.
Dark Web Credit Card Fraud
In the past, the PIN system was simple but perfectly functional. However, the rise of the dark web and its bustling black marketplaces for weapons, drugs, hacking tools, and credit cards has for years outpaced the rudimentary measures in place to prevent fraud.
A study by Gemini Advisory showed that 60 million credit cards were compromised last year and sold on the dark web in the US alone. Credit card details are obtained in a number of ways, from hacking major company databases to phishing scams, CCN reported. Each card can then be sold on the dark web for anything between $10 – $450 depending on the spending limit.
Buyers can purchase the credit card details, for making digital purchases, or a more-coveted physical clone of the card, which can be used to take out thousands of dollars in cash from ATMs.
The latter is far more difficult to trace, as a user simply needs a PIN and to cover their face when withdrawing cash from an ATM that may be thousands of miles away from the original copy of the cloned credit card. Through five-factor biometric authentication, this method of cloning cards and withdrawing small fortunes is impossible and essentially rendered obsolete, allowing banks and financial service providers to catch up with dark web criminals at last.
The prototype being launched by AU, which controls over 50% of the market share of ATMs in Saudi Arabia, is designed to be bank-agnostic, communicating information across any number of institutions and providers.
The ATMs use blockchain technology to confirm the identity of each user without actually accessing the database of their bank. ShoCard tech is designed to protect user privacy during the authentication process, allowing for true-digital signature with non-perishable audit trails, transaction authorization, and frictionless login with no username or password required.
Check out our latest blog! Excited to introduce geo-location and facial images for true-biometric authentication https://t.co/o6tM7jNPaJ
— ShoCard, Inc. (@getShoCard) August 7, 2018
Still in testing, the ATMs will be launched shortly and should put a halt to in-person card fraud at any ATMs equipped with the technology according to Armin Ebrahimi, CEO of ShoCard.
The ShoCard solution will solve the issue of card fraud at ATMs that continues to plague banks and consumers. It fits nicely into existing ATM technology, which usually already has a camera installed, and makes the customer experience as seamless as possible. At the same time, it utilizes blockchain technology to protect individuals’ identity while confirming the information that banks need to verify that a withdrawal is legitimate.
Tariq Abdat, CEO of Alhamrani Universal, stated that the innovation was part of a wider national movement to digitally transform the nation of Saudi Arabia.
We’re delighted to be working with ShoCard to develop a blockchain-based biometric ATM that will play a major role in helping to reduce fraud for consumers. Digital transformation is a key pillar of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 and collaborating with trusted technology partners such as ShoCard allows us to offer solutions that meet ever-growing demands for innovations.
Cryptocurrency exchange Binance is hoping to boost the number of people testing its upcoming decentralized exchange (DEX) platform by giving away $100,000 in tokens.
Announcing the news on Twitter on Friday, Binance CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao said:
“To test the hell out of @Binance_DEX, we are giving away roughly $100,000 USD equivalent, in REAL $BNB, as reward for our testnet trading competition.”
The initiative, he said, would help the exchange launch the mainnet, or live version, of Binance DEX more quickly.
According to Binance’s website, the funds will be made available as prizes in a simulated trading competition kicking off next Thursday.
Exchange users who hold at least one Binance Coin token (BNB) in their account will be eligible to participate in the event. Each account can register up to 20 Binance Chain addresses and will receive 200 virtual BNB tokens for each address to use as starting funds for the competition.
The firm noted that the Binance Chain testnet will be reset before 08:00 UTC on March 7, clearing all existing asset balances. Once complete, trading for the competition will commence.
Binance is dividing the competition into two different events, with prizes in BNB for each.
Firstly, there’s the “Token Competition for Healthy Price Volatility,” which will see users compete to issue and list tokens on the testnet.
“The addresses that own tokens will be ranked in terms of the sum of each token price’s volatility over every five-minute interval on the ‘Token’/BNB trading pair during the competition period,” the exchange says.
There are three prizes up for grabs, ranging from 1,000–3,000 BNB.
Secondly, there an “Absolute Return Competition” event that will be ranked according to the absolute returns users achieve with their trading strategies on specific tokens. This one offers 20 prizes ranging from 50–1,000 BNB.
The BNB token is trading at just over $11 at press time, according to CoinMarketCap data.
Binance announced on Feb. 20 that the DEX was open for public testing, allowing users to create wallets and interact with the trading platform’s interface. At the same time, it revealed a blockchain explorer for the testnet of its Binance Chain network, which supports the DEX.
Binance image via Shutterstock
Details have been leaked regarding Facebook’s plans to launch its own subscription service, á la Patreon – and the numbers involved should terrify creators.
While Patreon takes a 5% cut from content creators who use its service, Facebook apparently has plans to charge as much as 30%. Meanwhile, the accompanying terms and conditions reveal the kind of draconian practices that Bitcoin and cryptocurrency were set up to circumvent.
Facebook’s Patreon Competitor Might Grift 30% from Creators
As revealed in this Twitter thread by Matt Saincome, founder of Hard Times, Facebook reached out to him to offer early access to a new ‘fan subscription’ product. Straight away, Matt and his editors noticed this little snippet among the terms and conditions:
“Facebook may in the future change these Terms such that Facebook keeps a revenue share of up to 30%. We will give 30 days’ notice of any such change.”
If you think that’s bad, then wait – it gets better. Facebook also has the right to introduce new users to your account at their discretion – sometimes at discounted rates for the customer, and sometimes for free. In these cases, the content creator eats the cost. More from the thread:
“Facebook reserves the right to offer discounted and free trials for fans from time to time in our discretion, whether to incentivize Subscription sign-ups or otherwise. Where we do so in relation to your Fan Subscriptions, your revenue share will be reduced accordingly.”
For anyone who has spent the last few years digging through cryptocurrency and blockchain whitepapers, reading about this kind of blasé exertion of centralized authority should be quite disconcerting.
Facebook Assumes Worldwide License for Personal Data
And, of course, as with all centralized internet services, big data has a role to play in Facebook’s proposed competitor to Patreon. The following excerpt as relayed by Saincome reveals that your private data will be licensed to Facebook, to be used even when you leave the service:
“If you are allowing us to access any data, content, or other information in connection with your use of Fan Subscriptions (collectively, “Supplemental Data”), then you grant us (and our affiliates) a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use such Supplemental Data. This license survives even if you stop using Fan Subscriptions.”
This is hardly a surprise given Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s long history of controversies regarding the willy-nilly use of users’ private data.
Patreon is Already Dying: Bitcoin is Waiting in the Wings
In December of 2018, Patreon grabbed headlines for all the wrong reasons when it started banning popular political commentators and internet personalities – usually those to the right of the political spectrum.
At the turn of the year, prominent Canadian intellectual Jordan Peterson publicly abandoned Patreon and set up a Bitcoin address in its place. At the time, I suggested the Patreon debacle represented a prime case for decentralization and hailed Bitcoin as the final nail in the coffin of the subscription service.
Patreon’s 5% fee looks positively charitable in light of Facebook’s proposed 30%; however, both platforms have a long history of censorship, and this excerpt from Patreon’s terms of service shows that Patreon has always held ultimate veto power:
“We can terminate or suspend your account at any time at our discretion. We can also cancel any pledges and remove any content or rewards at our discretion. These terms remain in effect after your account is disabled.”
Patreon is Blockbuster – Bitcoin is Netflix
The only reason Patreon is still operating is that cryptocurrency hasn’t hit the mainstream. Anyone can set up a donation service just by posting their public keys in the relevant place; at the end of blog posts, under YouTube videos, in e-books, on LinkedIn, or on Twitter. The possibilities for independent monetization are endless. Even smart contracts can be used to trigger automated events such as patron rewards.
From this vantage point over here in the crypto space, Facebook’s plans seem laughable. Copying Patreon at this point would be like Netflix copying Blockbuster back in the late 2000’s – and adding a 30% premium onto DVD rentals just for the hell of it.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not represent those of, nor should they be attributed to, CCN.