In a report published earlier today, the Finance Committee of France’s National Assembly has stated that it would be appropriate to ban all cryptocurrencies focused on providing greater anonymity to the user. The committee went on the write that such cryptocurrencies posed heightened risk of various financial crimes.The rest of the report was not at all damning to the wider blockchain and cryptocurrency space. It states that greater understanding of the technology and the ways it is being applied were required by regulators.Could France Ban Anonymous Cryptocurrency?As part of the report published today focusing on blockchain technology and its application in cryptocurrency, the president of the Finance Committee of France’s National Assembly has stated that it would be appropriate to ban all cryptocurrencies that enhance privacy for the user.As reported by Forbes, Éric Woerth writes in the introduction to the document:“It would also have been appropriate to propose a ban on the dissemination and trade in [cryptocurrencies built] to ensure complete anonymity by preventing any identification procedure by design… This is the case for a certain number of [cryptocurrencies] whose purpose is to bypass any possibility of identifying the holders. To date, regulation has not gone that far.”Woerth makes it unclear how far such a ban on anonymity-focused cryptos would extend. He makes no differentiation between those that are private by default, such as Monero, and those that feature optional privacy. As highlighted by the Winklevoss twins listing Zcash at Gemini last year, such coins are largely thought to be more palatable for financial regulators.Could France’s National Assembly try to ban privacy coins?Also as part of the introduction to the document, Woerth states some of the issues presented by the rise in cryptocurrency use. These include: money laundering, tax evasion, and fraud, as well as threats to the environment posed by mining. Later in the report, the committee does note that cash remains the most common method for financing criminal activity.France Not Hostile to All CryptoDespite a clear distaste for privacy-enhancing cryptocurrencies and their potential connection to criminal activity, the report does not take a hostile approach to the rest of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology – only aspects that seek to hinder law enforcement’s ability to police financial crimes.Wroeth goes on to comment on the importance of understanding and differentiating between different applications of the technology:“The distinction between the different uses of [cryptocurrencies] must continue, to establish a finer and more precise regulation protector of the general interest, as well as the private interest of the entrepreneurs of this domain.”The report concludes by stating that greater efforts should be made to regulate crypto’s on-ramps and advocates the forming of an international regulatory framework. Related Reading: France’s Yellow Vest Bank Run: Could it be Bullish for Bitcoin?Featured Images from Shutterstock.
Archives for March 6, 2019
As the new Lightning network (LN) protocol continues to take the Crypto-Twitterverse by storm, it’s taking at least one new app with it, as the tipping and micropayment app Tippin.me catches on like wildfire. Founder Sergio Abril told Bitcoin Magazine he is “overwhelmed” by the interest and support he is receiving from around the world.
Struck by the potential success of the new Lightning network protocol, Abril created Tippin.me three months ago as a way to enable Lightning micropayments without a user having to set up an LN node.
Abril told us he is getting more than 200 new users a day, 14,100 new users as of March 6, 2019.
The goal of Tippin.me is to make the Lightning network easier to use, by giving users a simple, custodial web wallet to receive and manage small amounts of bitcoin for tips and micropayments.
To use it on Twitter, users need only download an application extension to Chrome or Firefox, register, and sign in with their Twitter account. From there, they can share a QR code with fellow tippin.me users to receive tips through the Lightning network.
“I realized that micro payments could be huge with Lightning Network, but there were still some obstacles that made tipping hard. You needed to be online to get a tip, you needed to generate an invoice every time. It needed to be easier, it needed to be way simpler, and certainly something more appealing. And that’s how Tippin started,” Abril told Bitcoin Magazine.
Since its launch, Tippin.me has sent out 16,500 tips and generated 195,000 invoices. Abril told us that when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted about Tippin.me recently, 35,000 people visited his site in one day.
How Does It Work?
When you sign up at Tippin.me, a small web custodial wallet is created there, linked to your Twitter username.
With the browser extension installed, a Lightning icon will show up in your tweets along the bottom, appearing after the reply, retweet, like and message symbols.
When the Lightning icon is clicked, a QR-code will appear and you can scan it with your new bitcoin wallet. (The process of retrieving a proper QR code for that user is handled automatically by the extension itself.)
Cashing out tips is done from the Tippin.me dashboard.
Security Is “Top of Mind “
As the Bitcoin space weathers another storm, security is again top of mind. we asked Amber D. Scott, CEO of Outlier Canada, whether she would feel comfortable with a Tippin.me wallet.
“The risk, as I see it, isn’t because the Tippin.me wallets require certain information to be revealed publicly. It’s in part due to the custodial nature of the tool, and in part due to its novelty. Tippin.me is still in Beta mode, so there are some risks to users as the system has not yet been battle-tested and there is a greater chance of bugs.”
Abril told Bitcoin Magazine that the amounts involved are small so this takes some pressure off, but he is still very mindful of security concerns.
“I decided to show a disclaimer at the sign up screen on Tippin since day one, to make sure that nobody was holding a big amount. I know that this sign could hold people back, but Tippin was just a side project, a fun experiment, and I didn’t want people to risk too much.”
“The truth is that anything could happen, but as long as you don’t keep your bitcoins in there, and do cashouts regularly, you will be OK. Also, let’s not forget that we are talking about small tips, usually just cents.”
Promoting Lightning and Bitcoin
Asked if the recent bear market had shaken his faith in Bitcoin, Abril said:
“Despite the current market situation, I think that nothing has changed. Bitcoin is the natural evolution of money, and it will happen sooner or later. It’ll keep on growing no matter what.
“But we need to make it easier to use if we want to speed up the process. We need to simplify everything to push adoption. A lot. And that’s why I decided to build Tippin.me.”
“It’s a fun way to play with lightning,” said Coin Center Communications Director Neeraj Agrawal. “Small applications like these are good for onboarding. It got me to finally install a mobile lightning wallet.”
Asked about the timeline for taking Tippin.me out of beta, Abril noted:
“I hope to have a viable gold product within weeks … The truth is that the Lightning Network is still in Beta as well, and that’s one of the reasons I decided to hold on and stay in this phase (If Lightning Network can fail, so [can] Tippin, which is built on top of Lightning Network… So I didn’t want to risk). Luckily, LN (Lightning Network) is maturing very fast, and the system I’m building is really solid already, so things could change soon!”
Want to experiment with Lightning payments on Tippin.me? Join in on Tuesdays for Bitcoin Magazine’s #LightningTrivia events to win some sats and tickets to the Bitcoin 2019 Conference in San Francisco. Follow @bitcoinmagazine.
The internet was set ablaze when rumors began circulating that Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S10, may potentially support cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum via a Blockchain Keystore application.
Several crypto media outlets have reported that Japan’s Mizuho, the country’s largest bank, and dozens of others are launching a blockchain product. According to Quartz, however, these reports are false in the extreme: J-Coin has nothing to do with cryptocurrency or even blockchain in general.
J-Coin: Definitively Not a Cryptocurrency
Rather than a blockchain product, the J-Coin initiative is an effort to modernize Japan’s economy. Roughly 4 in 5 transactions in Japan happen with cash, which puts it far behind the rest of the world in terms of electronic payment adoption. In nearby China, Tencent’s WePay, a QR-code based system which integrates with the user’s bank account and allows them to instantly pay for goods, is very commonly used. Nothing is more common than AliPay, however, which has over 700 million users out of China’s more than 1 billion residents.
Several factors contribute to the low adoption rate of electronic payments in Japan. First off, negative and low interest rates have likely encouraged the Japanese to hoard their cash. Secondly, the country has one of the lowest crime rates in the world – people are more comfortable carrying around cash. Lastly, the Japanese population is older than most – only Monaco has a higher median age than Japan’s 47. Digital payments and smartphones are more popular among younger people.
Just an Effort to Instigate Electronic Payments
The government of Japan has an interest in modernizing the economy in preparation for the summer Olympics happening in Tokyo next year. They’re pushing banks and merchants to help in this endeavor.
But a yen-based stablecoin issued by the major banks of Japan? Not happening.
As often happens in the crypto space, zealots bit onto a small piece of information and took off with it. The statements of Mizuho’s representatives to the mainstream media probably didn’t help. In one case, a bank official told CNBC that a yen-pegged digital currency platform was happening. When we think of digital currency platform, we think blockchain.
Still, the bank never said it would be launching a blockchain product or a stablecoin. It said it would be creating a digital payments network. The end result is to be J-Coin. It’s a native answer to Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, Android Pay, AliPay, WePay, or whatever pay. It’s all the same idea – traditional banks still handle the payments, and a middleman extracts a fee for the convenience.
Cryptocurrency is not always the most efficient answer to moving money. Sometimes all you need is a more responsive and immediate ledger system. Centralized coins, while they raise ire among cryptocurrency enthusiasts, certainly have their place in the space. JPM Coin’s function, for instance, is to move money internally across borders. The savings for the bank can’t be understated, and the hope is that Binance’s assessment is correct – greater interest in blockchain will result.
Bitmain has made available a new 96KHS ASIC miner for Bytom (BTM) called Antminer B7 as a successor of their Antminer B3 ASIC from about a year ago that was offering just 780 H/s mining hashrate with 360 Watts of power usage. After the release of the B3 ASIC last year the development of a much faster GPU miner for Bytom’s Tensority algorithm began and currently most recent GPUs are delivering quite good hashrates for BTM mining. The new Bitmain Antminer B7 ASIC is going to put out a more serious competition however for anyone interested in minig BTM.
The new Bitmain Antminer B7 ASIC is currently only available on the Chinese website of Bitmain and promises 96 KHS hashrate with just 528 Watts of power usage, so tough competition for GPUs in term of hashrate and power usage. The price of the new Antminer B7 ASIC miner is currently set at 9900 Chinese Yuan or a little less than $1500 USD, but ordering the device to Europe or US can easily bump the price to over 2K. When you look at the current low profit numbers however you may very quickly decide not to invest in these new ASIC miners however…
The most recent version of the fastest NBMiner 21.0 GPU miner for Bytom (BTM) is capable of delivering about 3.4 KHS for a single GTX 1070 Ti, 5 KHS for a single GTX 1080 Ti and 11.5 KHS for GTX 2080 GPUs according to the official information from the developer. This means that a 8x GTX 2080 GPUs mining rig would be needed in order to deliver hashrate similar to that of the Antminer B7, but it will end up significantly pricier and with higher power usage.
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Tron price could edge higher, down 3.6 percent in the last week.Fundamentals and technical factors favor bullsTransactional volumes low. Any spike in volumes may see TRX close above 3.1 centsCraig Wright thinks Tron is a scam that will dump hard. Nonetheless, candlestick arrangement favors bulls. Besides, recovering Bitcoin (BTC) prices often drive altcoin prices higher further cementing our stand that there is an undervaluation of Tron (TRX).Latest Tron (TRX) NewsFundamentalsAll along, even in one of the longest and brutal crypto winter, Tron figureheads remain determined. A couple of updates and partnerships later, it is increasingly becoming clear that Justin Sun and the Tron foundation are undeterred and eyeing the dominance prize.Like Ethereum, the Tron Network had a hard fork as they prepare for institutional investors from BitGo. However, this has been their goal all along. Tron is a successful smart contracting platform. Furthermore, it is a fan favorite in social media circles.#TRON will launch 3.5 hard fork upgrade on 2/28. New Features: 1. multi-sig and acct mng, institution ready 2. Dynamic energy adjustment to real-time network performance 3. 50% up performance & res usage 4. Better VM safety, events server for Dapps. Go! #TRX $TRX— Justin Sun (@justinsuntron) February 24, 2019It may be incensing for Craig Wright, a Bitcoin maximalist who claims that he has the tools to decipher ZCash and Monero’s privacy.
However, for Tron puritans, they are inching closer to their objective despite sliding to tenth in the market cap rankings.
since when did better technology matter in crypto anyway. especially when you have coins like $TRON who have nothing but alot of marketing and can achieve notable market price success still
— cryptosatoshi (@cryptosat284) March 5, 2019
Surprisingly, Tron (TRX) performance is dismal and lagging other assets. In the top 10, the high supply coin is down 3.6 percent from last week’s close and stable on the last 24 hours. If anything, this is not what we expected because candlestick arrangements, as well as recent fundamentals, favor Tron (TRX) bulls.
Despite this glitch, it is likely that prices will recover and edge higher as set by the price action of late Feb. Note that price action in the daily chart points to demand and as long as prices are trending above 2.1 cents or Jan 14 lows, there are high chances that Tron (TRX) will rally towards 3.1 cents and 4 cents in the short-term.
Founding our optimism is yesterday’s resurgence that concluded a three-bar reversal pattern off the bull break-out level. All the same, we need confirmation of yesterday’s high-volume bull bar. It is after when prices close above yesterday’s high is when aggressive traders can buy on dips with first targets at 4 cents. On the reverse side, any close below Mar 5 or Jan 14 lows, will nullify this projection.
Our anchor bar is the high-volume bull bar of Feb 4. Even though trade ranges are tight, volumes are high. For trend resumption, we need prices to close above 2.5 cents—our bull breakout level. It will be perfect if that is at the back of high volumes exceeding averages of 11 million. However, the real deal will be a breakout above 3.1 cents accompanied by high volumes above 42 million.
Children’s non-profit organization UNICEF is in talks with the government of Kyrgyzstan to leverage blockchain technology to provide Internet access to every school in the country.
“We are at the early stages of exploring a blockchain-based solution for the Project Connect initiative in Kyrgyzstan where the government is working with UNICEF and the private sector to connect every school in the country to the Internet and provide access to information and opportunity to all young people,” Munir Mammadzade, deputy representative for UNICEF Kyrgyzstan, told CoinDesk this week.
As part of a broader, ongoing initiative called Project Connect, UNICEF aims to engage over 1,500 local schools in Kyrgyzstan and explore the use of a blockchain-based solution for improving and monitoring Internet connectivity levels.
At present, Project Connect has already mapped Internet connectivity levels for over 150,000 schools across the globe. Of these, 1,560 schools are based in Kyrgyzstan – for which close to half are identified as having either no Internet connectivity or simply no data on the matter.
All this work is happening on “an accelerated, crazy crypto timeline,” according to lead personnel of UNICEF Ventures Chris Fabian, who told CoinDesk that “the blockchain piece” of Project Connect would come over the course of the present year.
“Right now, we’re still at a very early modular stage, doing the mapping, getting the connectivity piece and figuring out the accounting,” said Fabian.
“You can easily see where the blockchain layers would come in … If you want to pay as a donor – government or company – for a whole section of the country to come online, wouldn’t you rather do that in a way that is authentic and real and accountable as opposed to just sending money somewhere and hoping two years later that something happens?”
Fabian said blockchain could also help “improve the monitoring of the quality of Internet in schools and other vital facilities,” emphasizing that the potential for distributed ledger technology “as accounting, management and monitoring” was, in his opinion, multi-faceted.
A sneak preview
Giving a sneak preview of some of the blockchain tools that could be used to help facilitate UNICEF’s plans, Fabian pointed to two blockchain startups that recently received $100,000 each from the UNICEF Innovation Fund last December.
The first, called Utopixar, is a Tunisian startup building a blockchain platform that “enables communities to issue, distribute, and exchange their own impact tokens,” as stated in a blog post from December.
These impact tokens would be gifted to individuals and groups addressing social and environmental challenges in the community (such as Internet connectivity) that can, later on, be redeemed in the form of currency or discount vouchers.
The other startup called W3Engineers is a Bangladesh-based web application development and consulting firm that according to Fabian is “specifically looking at how to parcel out a gigabyte.”
In other words, the team is looking at how to dynamically allow individuals and businesses to purchase and sell units of digital information, which would be particularly relevant to the process of pricing the costs of internet connectivity as it relates to Project Connect.
“As with all of our blockchain work, we are working through prototypes, failures and learnings,” said Fabian.
Just last year, UNICEF launched a charitable donations website that mines cryptocurrencies to raise funds for vulnerable children worldwide. The initiative currently reports close to 28,000 donors.
Yurt in Kyrgyzstan image via Shutterstock.
Ripple (XRP) prices consolidation, likely to print above 40 centsChangpeng Zhao supports XRP, says it is a utility until decided otherwiseQ1 2019 transactional volumes low averaging 184 millionCandlestick arrangements coupled by recent fundamentals places Ripple (XRP) at an advantage. As a result of this, it is likely that XRP will increase driving prices above key resistance levels at 40 cents. Once that prints out, there will be little resistance for upsides and that places realistic targets at 60 cents.Ripple Price AnalysisFundamentalsPerhaps as a show of support, Changpeng Zhao has reaffirmed his support of XRP. Grappling with centralization claims as well as accusations that the third most valuable coin by market cap is a security, the Binance CEO is indifferent.
Maintaining that the market has been generally supportive of the currency despite pending lawsuits, he continues to ooze confidence that XRP will be part of Binance until after the US SEC announces that the coin is security.
All in all, it appears as if the general sentiment is shifting from averseness to risk-taking if we conclude recent events. Roughly two weeks ago, CoinBase—a significant exchange in the US said they would be offering the coin pairing it against BTC and fiat.
The reception was well as XRP expanded, reversing losses of Feb 24 which is what investors needed. With exchanges showing support for XRP, it goes on to say they are confident of the coin’s categorization and optimistic that when all is said and done, regulators will eventually classify the currency as a utility not subject to their rules.
For a better perspective, the weekly chart presents a better picture. From the chart, it is evident that prices are mainly consolidating. Apart from that, Ripple (XRP) prices are moving inside Week ending Sep 23, 2018, high low.
As our trend-setting bar, the failure of sellers to conclusively reverse those gains places bulls at a pole position. We shall continue maintaining a bullish outlook as long as prices trend above 30 cents and most crucially 25 cents.
In light of these considerations, our previous XRP/USD trade plan will be valid. Triggers are at 34 cents, and if prices snap back to trend as they align with late Sep 2018 bulls, it is likely that XRP will clear 40 cents and even retest 80 cents by mid-Q2 2019.
A standout bar in this time frame is Week ending Nov 25 bear bar. It has high volumes—770 million against 655 million averages. At current levels, averages are at 184 million. Therefore, for trend confirmation and consequent reversal of those losses, participation levels must spike, pumping prices above 40 cents as losses of Nov 2018 are wiped out.
CISCO’s Austin McBride delivered a shocking report at this week’s RSA Conference in San Francisco which claims that 22% of all crypto mining traffic comes from college campuses. Perhaps more interesting, CISCO found that 62% of all crypto mining traffic comes from the US. This is a shift from past years when Asian miners dominated the Bitcoin space.
Free Energy: Students Mine Bitcoin With An Edge
CISCO’s Umbrella product harvests such data. Umbrella helps large organizations monitor inbound and outbound traffic, including for suspected cryptocurrency traffic where it’s banned. When analyzing cryptocurrency traffic, they found that the top two sources are energy/utilities companies and college campuses.
McBride believes that since the traffic is “quite distributed,” lots of college students are probably running their own Bitcoin mining rigs, rather than through concerted efforts. Clearly, people living in college dorms are not responsible for their energy bills.
“You leave [the mining rig] running in your dorm room for four years, you walk out of college with a big chunk of change. So you can run your mining rig in your dorm or school library and not worry about those costs eating into your mining profitability.”
Minus the cost of the rig, it’s 100% profit – in cryptocurrency, at a time in many people’s lives when they don’t have to worry about other expenses, either. Will we see a large influx of enthusiasts as they graduate? Unfortunately, there’s no sign-up page besides Google search interest and traffic to websites like CCN.
Energy Sector Likely Rife With Cryptojacking
The thrust of McBride’s research focuses on the security of organizations, however, rather than the make-up of crypto mining. Thus, McBride notes that a lot of this mining traffic may be coming from infected PCs, especially at large organizations. He says:
“Some of the systems that run our grids and other utilities are purpose build and do not get software and hardware updates as frequently as a Mac or PC would. So, there is more of a potential for vulnerabilities being unpatched for some time and this makes it an attractive target.”
It would be interesting if energy companies intentionally diversified into cryptocurrency mining. They have a low overhead on the cost of electricity and a typical surplus thereof. There would be a distinct advantage over traditional mining outfits.
Universities likely sponsor at least some of the mining for research purposes. Many colleges have some form of crypto research initiative, MIT chief among them.
On the other hand, public sector workers have a long history of getting into trouble for mining crypto on the public dime. People in most major countries, from the US to China, have faced repercussions for mining using public resources. Easy access to free electricity is too tempting for those technically inclined enough to set up a mining rig, it seems. Like most criminal activity, for every person caught there are probably dozens who go under the radar.
Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase purchased controversial Italian software services provider Neutrino for $13.5 million (€12 million), a copy of a legal document dated February 15, 2019, and shared with Bitcoin Magazine reveals. The hard numbers of the acquisition were previously unknown.
The document leak comes after a week of turbulent developments following the February 19 acquisition. Community members, namely Block Digest podcast member Janine, began to raise ethical concerns stemming from the company’s shared past with Hacking Team, an Italian, man-in-the-middle software provider whose malware and spyware has been linked to human rights and privacy abuses around the globe.
This revelation invoked strong reactions among some community members, eventually manifesting in the #DeleteCoinbase movement. Coinbase ultimately buckled under the mounting pressure, announcing that it would be parting ways with Neutrino staff with ties to Hacking Team. Per the deal, Neutrino would “continue to operate as a standalone business based out of [Coinbase’s] London office,” meaning CRO Marco Valleri, CTO Alberto Ornaghi and CEO Giancarlo Russo were originally slated to stay on as executives until the severance.
Marco Valleri and Alberto Ornaghi were both founders of Hacking Team, and Neutrino’s CEO, Giancarlo Russo, joined Hacking Team in 2004 as COO. At their new company, each executive held 22 percent of its shares — in capital allocation, $5,650 each (€5,000). The other 33 percent of shares, valued at $8,500 (€7,500), was held by 360 Capital, a French-Italian venture capital firm registered in Paris which invested $565,000 (€500,000) in the project in April 2017.
The document says that Coinbase agreed to purchase “the units of the respective total ownership representing the entire share capital of the Company.” Proportional to their shares in Neutrino, from the acquisition, Ornaghi, Russo and Valleri will each receive $2,951,792.91 (€2,608,916.11), while 360 Capital will receive $4,993,401.86 (€4,413,374.16). On the day the contract was signed, the acquisition’s notary paid each executive $487,045 (€430,471) and 360 Capital $4,055,107 (€3,584,071). The remaining $8,332,534 (€7,364,637) was transferred to a Credit Suisse trust account associated with the company, though it’s unclear how or when the remaining capital will be disbursed to the former shareholders.