Ripple price is under pressure below the $0.3150 and $0.3200 resistance levels against the US dollar.The price is struggling to stay above the $0.3100 support and it could decline sharply.There is a major bearish trend line in place with resistance at $0.3140 on the hourly chart of the XRP/USD pair (data source from Kraken).The pair could decline sharply once there is a break below the $0.3110 and $0.3100 support levels.Ripple price seems to be moving into a bearish zone against the US Dollar and bitcoin. XRP/USD is likely to revisit the $0.3000 support before it could start a solid rebound.Ripple Price AnalysisRecently, we saw a slow and steady downside correction in ripple price from the $0.3200 resistance against the US Dollar. The XRP/USD pair declined below the $0.3180 and $0.3150 support levels to move into a short term bearish zone. There was also a close below the $0.3150 support and the 100 hourly simple moving average. The recent decline found support near the $0.3100 level and later the price started an upside correction.The price recovered above the $0.3120 level and the 50% Fib retracement level of the recent decline from the $0.3182 high to $0.3103 low. There was a push above the $0.3135 level, but the price faced a strong resistance near the $0.3150 level. The stated $0.3150 level was a support earlier and now it is acting as a resistance. Besides, the price failed to clear the 61.8% Fib retracement level of the recent decline from the $0.3182 high to $0.3103 low.More importantly, there is a major bearish trend line in place with resistance at $0.3140 on the hourly chart of the XRP/USD pair. The trend line is close to the $0.3150 resistance and the 100 hourly SMA. Therefore, it won’t be easy for buyers to clear the $0.3140 and $0.3150 resistance levels. If they succeed, the price may grind higher towards the $0.3200 resistance area. On the other hand, a continuous failure to clear the $0.3150 resistance could result in a sharp decline.Looking at the chart, ripple price seems to be positioning for a fresh drop below the $0.3100 support level. Once there is a clear break below $0.3100, the price is likely to drop towards the $0.3065 support, followed by $0.3040. However, in the mentioned case, the price is likely to revisit the key $0.3000 support area.Technical IndicatorsHourly MACD – The MACD for XRP/USD is currently gaining momentum in the bearish zone.Hourly RSI (Relative Strength Index) – The RSI for XRP/USD dipped below the 50 level and it is currently near 40.Major Support Levels – $0.3100, $0.3065 and $0.3040.Major Resistance Levels – $0.3140, $0.3150 and $0.3200.
Archives for March 19, 2019
If you believe Craig S. Wright is Satoshi Nakamoto, you can no longer follow him on Twitter. He is no longer on Twitter. Sources have confirmed this. All 10,000+ tweets have been deleted. The man is probably a ghost of his former self. The trolls have really done a number on him. Or have they? Perhaps it was on the advice of lawyers.
After all, Wright has said he will sue everyone who calls him a fraud. A Twitter thread emerged in which dozens of people did exactly that:
Craig Wright says he will sue anyone who calls him a fraud.
Is Craig Wright a fraud?
Craig Wright is a fraud.
Craig Wright is not a fraud.
— dark pill (@DanDarkPill) March 17, 2019
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Wright wasn’t on that thread. There is a high likelihood that he’s actually blocked most of the people commenting there.
Who Will Prop Up The Popcorn Industry Now?
As a reporter, I follow him pretty closely.
He’s a millionaire, after all. He’s definitely been in Bitcoin a long time, as evidenced by the serious lawsuit against him. But is he Satoshi? Part of me hopes not.
I want Satoshi to retain his anonymity. The second Satoshi becomes a person, there’s a risk that Bitcoin becomes a security.
That’s only one reason why it’s better Satoshi stay beyond the grave, of course. The international banking cartel would surely whack him.
I’ve read that Satoshi was in fact an American citizen. I hope for his own sake he’s not here anymore.
Even since 2008, things have gotten worse and worse. As the song goes: he gave us all a protocol this world had never seen. And it pissed off a lot of bankers and money printers.
There’s always the chance he was a passable programmer with a passable knowledge of cryptography who’d read a few papers from the early 1990s and had an interest in disrupting the financial system. Satoshi doesn’t have to be a genius.
But he’s probably not Craig S. Wright.
Just Be Happy Being A Millionaire, Craig
All the same, as a journalist and full-time spectacle creator, it’s sad to see Craig go off Twitter.
Like Donald Trump, he couldn’t resist the urge to make ridiculous statements on Twitter. He recently spoke of being able to deanonymize Monero users. The most advanced cryptographers in the world struggle with such security research.
So Craig Wright is off Twitter. For now. He’ll found, as I did ten years ago, that you can’t get your old account back. He’ll have to come back as @realCraigWright or something when the urge strikes him too hard.
The chances of him carrying out all these lawsuits are slim. After all, Craig, what’s the point? If you’re not a fraud, you’re definitely not “100.” Satoshi was a quiet man, that much we know. He was excited by Bitcoin, something he built on the ideas of others which he cited. Satoshi would never use Twitter.
Blockchain Extremists Are The Detriment To Blockchain Enthusiasts
I’d prefer all the extremists just get lost.
If you think that 50 years from now there will be one blockchain and it will be called Bitcoin or Bitcoin SV or Bitcoin Cash, you are wrong.
If you think there will be one smart contract platform and it will be called Ethereum or Tron or EOS, you are also dead wrong.
This technological force is only shaping itself now. Developers are fickle in their loyalty. Solidity writers can work as well on Tron as they can Ethereum, and vice versa. Each have drawbacks and benefits, and the same goes for the various types of Bitcoin.
Therefore, the reasonable bet is that they will all exist, in “competition” with several new implementations, serving a new way of life. Much like the Internet now has a zillion providers. It’s not how you get online, it’s what you do when you’re there. It’s not how you blockchain, it’s what you do with your blockchain.
Resting on completely invented laurels like “got to BTC first” is probably a solid strategy to achieve financial ruin. If Bitcoin was actually a religion, those who say there can only be one are clearly the Osama bin Ladens of the movement.
ETH price continues to face a strong resistance near the $138 and $140 levels against the US Dollar.The price failed to gain strength above the $139 level and remained below the $140 pivot.Yesterday’s key bearish trend line is intact with resistance near $138 on the hourly chart of ETH/USD (data feed via Kraken).The pair remains at a risk of a sharp decline towards the $133 support before it could bounce back.Ethereum price is trading below important resistances against the US Dollar and bitcoin. ETH must break the $138 and $140 resistance to avoid a sharp downside reaction in the near term.Ethereum Price AnalysisRecently, we saw a downside correction in ETH price below the $140 and $138 supports against the US Dollar. The ETH/USD pair tested the $135 support level and later started consolidating in a range. It recovered a few points above the $136 level and the 100 hourly simple moving average. There was also a break above the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last drop from the $141 high to $135 low. However, the price faced a strong resistance near the $138 and $139 levels.Sellers defended the 50% Fib retracement level of the last drop from the $141 high to $135 low. More importantly, yesterday’s key bearish trend line is intact with resistance near $138 on the hourly chart of ETH/USD. Therefore, there is a strong resistance formed near $138. A proper close above the trend line could push the price towards the $141 resistance area. Once there is a follow through above the $141 swing high, the price may continue to rise towards the $144 and $145 levels.On the other hand, if buyers fail to gain strength above the trend line and $139, there could be a sharp decline. An immediate support is near the $135 level. However, in the mentioned bearish scenario, there are chances of a fresh weekly low near the $133 or $132 support. If there are more declines, the price could head towards the key $129 support area.Looking at the chart, ETH price is clearly trading near a crucial juncture below $138 and $139. A continuous failure to gain bullish momentum above $138 is likely to result in a bearish reaction. Sellers are likely to take control below $135 and the price may move into a short term bearish zone. The key supports to watch are $133 and $129.ETH Technical IndicatorsHourly MACD – The MACD for ETH/USD is currently flat in the bearish zone.Hourly RSI – The RSI for ETH/USD recently dipped below the 50 level with a bearish angle and tested the 40 level.Major Support Level – $135Major Resistance Level – $138
- BlockFi’s interest-yielding deposit accounts, launched in beta in January and fully live this month, have attracted more than $35 million in crypto. Most of it is being lent to institutional borrowers.
- BlockFi’s terms of service give the company significant leeway over how it uses depositors’ funds and what interest rate it can pay them. This flexibility is needed for the company to grow fast, CEO Zac Prince says.
- Institutional investors borrow crypto at individualized terms, at interest rates from 4 to 12 percent, and BlockFi can call in the loans at any time.
- When crypto prices move dramatically, BlockFi manages risks by making borrowers put up more collateral or selling some of it.
- BlockFi is planning to roll out new products every six months and raise more capital.
BlockFi wasn’t the first lending startup in the cryptocurrency market, but it’s likely the one getting the most attention these days — including some heat from community members.
While it was founded in 2017, and began making fiat loans with crypto collateral in January 2018, the company was thrust into the spotlight earlier this month when it officially launched an interest-bearing deposit account. Seemingly too good to be true, the product entices investors with returns of up to 6.2 percent annually for holding their bitcoin or either.
So far, the product seems to be gaining traction. According to CEO and founder Zac Prince, users have already deposited more than $35 million worth of crypto, around 80 percent of it in bitcoin, into their interest-bearing accounts since beta testing began in January. Of that, $25 million, was gathered after the March 5 launch.
Yet skeptics almost immediately began looking under the hood.
For example, lawyer Stephen Palley noted that, while BlockFi is advertising 6.2 percent, according to the product’s terms and conditions page, the company can modify the rate at its discretion. Others pointed out that, as the deposits won’t be insured as they would be at a bank, “your upside is limited to 6.2 percent whereas your downside is 100 percent” if BlockFi fails.
Wall Street veteran Caitlin Long noted that by depositing their crypto with BlockFi, people expose themselves to a form of counterparty risk: “I didn’t see disclosure on that,” she wrote, adding that by rehypothecating clients’ funds – that is, lending out collateral – BlockFi may be exposing itself to legal challenges in some U.S. states.
Given the controversial yet clear market interest in this product, CoinDesk sat down with Prince to talk about the company’s policies, how BlockFi’s business works, and, most importantly, how it manages risk.
Lending fiat, borrowing crypto
BlockFi is currently offering two products to retail customers: cryptocurrency-backed loans and crypto-funded interest accounts. With the loans, the customer borrows U.S. dollars for one year at 4.5 percent interest, depositing bitcoin, litecoin or ether as collateral. They can only borrow up to 50 percent of what the pledged crypto is worth at the time.
Meanwhile, with the interest account, the customer deposits bitcoin or ether with BlockFi so that the asset can accumulate interest (denominated in crypto) every month. As mentioned, BlockFi is advertising a 6.2 percent annual compound interest rate for such accounts, which is two to three times better than a U.S.Treasury bond or a U.S. bank saving account yield.
But again, the terms and conditions explicitly say that the interest will be calculated by BlockFi at its discretion.
When asked if there is any benchmark BlockFi uses to determine the interest rate (the way, for example, a bank might take into account an index like LIBOR when setting the rate on a loan), Prince answered simply: “No.”
The absence of any formula allows BlockFi to flexibly change the rate and make it more attractive to potential users, he said, explaining that for now, the product doesn’t make money:
“The rate is a combination of the market and customer acquisition costs. This product will be for some amount of time, probably for for 3 to 18 months, a loss leader. We are OK with losing money for a while. If it was purely formulaic we probably wouldn’t have enough control to make sure it’s attractive enough to a large amount of people to hit our customer acquisition targets.”
To grow its user base quickly, BlockFi is planning to roll out new products every six months and to raise more capital. (It has already done several venture funding rounds, the largest one – led by Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital – raising $52.2 million.)
“We believe that we will be able to continue raising venture capital supporting the growth and at a certain point down the road [when] we’re a much bigger company, maybe we’re a public company, then we can say: ‘Ok, we turn to profit now.’ We anticipate being able to raise larger and larger amounts of venture capital for a while, at least for the next couple of years.”
…and lending crypto, too
The third thing BlockFi does, without advertising it to the retail market, is lend crypto to financial institutions. “We don’t really think of it being a product,” Prince said. “We think of this as of something we need to do to be able to deliver our product to our core customer, which is retail.”
This third element is what allows BlockFi to earn crypto that can be used to pay interest to its retail depositors. (The fiat loans are in a separate bucket, funded from the venture capital BlockFi raised.)
Most of the $35 million in deposits gathered is being lent to institutional borrowers: of every deposit, a bigger part goes to the lending business and a smaller part stays as a reserve, but the exact ratio is not disclosed.
Gemini Trust, founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, was chosen to handle custody for BlockFi’s clients, as well as the moving of crypto from the depositors to the institutional borrowers — BlockFi itself doesn’t hold the cryptographic private keys controlling the funds, Prince said.
Currently, BlockFi’s borrowers mostly belong to two groups, he said: people trading bitcoin futures and traditional financial institutions – in particular, proprietary trading firms and market makers.
The terms on which institutions borrow crypto vary on a case-by-case basis, Prince said. The interest rate can be between 4 and 12 percent, and the fiat collateral (which can be denominated in stablecoins, either the Gemini dollar or the Paxos Standard) can be between 110 and 150 percent of the loan amount. The relationships with borrowers are governed by individual ISDA agreements (the standard document governing over-the-counter derivatives transactions, made famous by the bestseller and movie “The Big Short“).
The term of the loan can vary, but BlockFi reserves the right to call in the loan with one’s week’s notice — the same amount of notice a depositor can give to withdraw crypto. This clause ensures the company will always have enough crypto to meet withdrawal requests, according to Prince.
So what happens when crypto prices move significantly (as they often do)?
When the price goes down, clients’ collateral will shrink, too, and the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of the loans will rise from 50 percent to a higher number. On the other hand, if prices soar, institutional crypto borrowers will find their loans much more expensive to pay back. But according to Prince, BlockFi has taken several measures to mitigate these risks.
For the fiat loans, if at some point the amount of cash a retail client borrowed becomes equal to 70 percent of the collateral instead of 50 percent, to return to a safer LTV ratio, BlockFi will contact the client and give them 72 hours to either pay back the loan, add more collateral or take no action. Choosing the third option means BlockFi will sell a part of the collateral on an exchange or through an OTC desk, use it to pay down the loan, and get the LTV “back into the safe zone,” as the terms and conditions page puts it.
The same mechanism works for institutional investors that borrow crypto: if the price of bitcoin goes up, and what they borrowed ends up costing more relative to the amount of cash collateral, BlockFi will contact them and ask them to add more cash. If the bitcoin price hits a certain preset level, which also varies from borrower to borrower, BlockFi can use the collateral to buy bitcoin and close out the loan.
The terms for institutions, again, are highly dependent on the level of trust a particular client has. As Prince put it:
“If, say, JP Morgan wanted to borrow a million dollars from us, we probably wouldn’t need to take any collateral.”
Plus, the loans are structured so that if need be, BlockFi can chase after the deeper pockets behind a borrower. “We’re making sure that we have passed through to a parent entity if we’re facing a subsidiary, in terms of a default,” Prince said.
Legal and regulatory
In case the borrower defaults, taking them to court won’t be a problem, Prince believes.
“The legal structure we use to lend someone crypto is no different than we would use, say, to lend somebody USD secured by Japanese yen,” he said.
As for regulatory compliance, BlockFi is a licensed lender in the states that require this — the cash loans are now available in 47 U.S. states.
“The biggest state we don’t support is Nevada because it requires you to have an office in the state, which isn’t something we plan on doing in the near term,” BlockFi’s director of marketing Brad Michelson told CoinDesk. He wouldn’t name the other two excluded states.
As for the interest accounts, they are available worldwide, except the states of New York, Connecticut and Washington and in any countries sanctioned by the U.S., the U.K. or the E.U.
BlockFi doesn’t hold a New York State BitLicense, which explains why it lends but won’t take deposits there.
“For the crypto loans, we don’t believe we need a BitLicense,” Prince said. “For the interest accounts, we don’t believe we need one either, but our opinion on that is not strong enough for us to offer it here.”
The fine print
The terms and conditions on BlockFi’s website say that the company “will lend, sell, pledge, rehypothecate, assign, invest, use, commingle or otherwise dispose of funds and cryptocurrency assets to counterparties, and we will use our commercial best efforts to prevent losses,” affording the lender significant leeway over its use of clients’ funds.
Further, users waive their rights to obtain a paper copy of the contract, file a class action against BlockFi or request a jury trial. The company also can change the terms at any time and it’s the user’s responsibility to review them “from time to time.”
Prince explained that what is described in the terms is just the real risk to a crypto investor, plainly stated.
“There is this conundrum that you’re put in: you have to be really, really careful in terms of what your agreement says to protect your company, because crypto is in this regulatory grey area,” he said. “The Catch-22 is you have lawyers, you disclose any risk, you’re trying to protect your company from the regulators, but that means you need to write stuff like this.”
“Scams don’t write stuff like this.”
As for rehypothecation, which Long and others consider antithetical to bitcoin’s promise, Prince argues it’s essential for the nascent crypto market to grow. One of the benefits of rehypothecation, he explained, is that it allows intermediaries to reduce trading fees and enable short selling.
“If you don’t have a market that goes both ways, you can’t find the true price of an asset. Rehypothecation is the major component enabling that,” he said.
At the end of the day, any investment is risky, and BlockFi is just being forthright about it, Prince argued, concluding:
“Read a risk disclosure of, say, an IPO, and maybe in the end you say: ‘This is the scariest thing ever, I’ll never invest in a stock again in my life!’”
Image of BlockFi’s CEO Zac Prince by Anna Baydakova for CoinDesk
Canadian regulators have frozen the assets and activities of a blockchain firm and instructed investors to step forward. The AMF (Autorité des marchés financiers) issued a statement described as a “call to investors” regarding the company in question, Laboratoire Blockchain Inc, as well as three affiliated individuals.
Following the recent announcement that the Canadian federal government is auditing dozens of Bitcoin users, Quebec province is cracking down on activity in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries.
Laboratoire Blockchain Inc
The French-Canadian blockchain firm stands accused of violating securities laws. Three men are named in the injunctions: Jonathan Forte, Benjamin Forte and Nicolas Barbasch-Bouchard.
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The three defendants are prohibited from promoting and transacting in securities as per the initial court injunctions, and are also unable to legally sell off or exchange any existing cryptocurrency funds, mining hardware, or related equipment or assets. The equivalent of an asset freezing, the move indicates potentially heavy penalties.
The Financial Markets further ordered the company to remove all online promotional materials advertising the company on Facebook and other social media platforms and websites to prevent further investment activity.
Investors Issued April 1st Deadline
The AMF notes that it is currently conducting an investigation into this case. The regulator asks all people who invested money in Laboratoire Blockchain Inc or by using the services of any of the defendants to contact Sarah Abi-Khalil via 1 877 525-0337, 2644, not later than April 1, 2019.
The AMF asked investors to contact them by April 1st, but it is unclear what the exact goal of this is. First and foremost, it’s likely that the regulator simply wants to collect information in the firm being investigated.
Fundraising and advertising methods will come under sharp scrutiny, as the language used to describe the exact nature of the investment is important. The company marketed itself as providing blockchain solutions, and though the exact sum raised is undisclosed, it seems that Labatoire Blockchain may have offered what amounts to a portion of the company’s value in cryptocurrency in exchange for initial investment.
Unlike utility tokens which perform a key function in a cryptocurrency platform, this amounts to selling securities, is a highly regulated activity.
Investors Could Be Held Liable
How blockchain may ramp up your liability exposure: The rise of blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies have triggered an explosion in securities litigation, a lawyer specializing in the field said last week during a webinar on the insurance… https://t.co/2DTwgxWEk3 pic.twitter.com/wFjzpSDRZY
— Canadian Underwriter (@CdnUnderwriter) August 21, 2018
It’s still unclear in many countries whether the investors, as well as company teams, can be held liable for non-compliant securities transactions in cases such as these.
While no doubt the three men facing injunctions are in hot water should they be found non-compliant, the issue has been a major concern to the more forward-thinking ICO investors over the past two years as the lack of clarity in cryptocurrency regulation continues to hamper progress.
Québec Shuns Crypto Miners
Ok will check it out and share. Sounds like a great event! The AMF authorities in Québec have a very bleak regard for #blockchain mainly because of the mining. #cryptoinvestsummit https://t.co/kgi5BI7vqn
— Dave Vineberg (@DaveVineberg) March 19, 2019
The French-Canadian province was in the news earlier this month when the government stated that the cryptocurrency mining industry did not offer value. The government did so to clarify that it was not interested in offering low-cost rates to miners through local hydro-electric facilities, denying a petition to create such an initiative.
Hydroelectric power is a cost-effective and renewable way to mine cryptocurrency. However, the government, whether due to the current crypto winter or a distaste for the industry in general, declined. Recently the hydroelectric utility provider, Hydro-Québec, stated that it would have to turn down certain crypocurrency operations requests for power due to an inability to keep up with demand.
Bitcoin (BTC) has now firmly planted itself in the low-$4,000 region and appears to be increasingly building relative levels of support at the ever-so-important psychological price of $4,000. Despite this, the cryptocurrency still faces resistance levels around $4,200, which may prove to be a difficult price level to break above.Although $4,000 was only turned into a region of support recently, one prominent analyst is now claiming that this is a key level that BTC must hold above, as a drop below would open the gates to significantly further losses.Bitcoin Gains Some Upwards Momentum After Trading Sideways Around $4,000At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading up just under 1% at its current price of $4,060. BTC has thus far been able to find some levels of stability at its current price, but earlier this month it experienced a sharp rise, followed by a plummet, that validated $4,200 as a strong level of resistance.DonAlt, a popular cryptocurrency trader on Twitter, recent shared his thoughts on Bitcoin’s current price action, noting that he’s expecting a “big move” soon, with an upwards price target set at around $4,500, and a lower target set at $3,500.“$BTC update: Watching paint dry is more exciting than watching this. I think we’ll be getting a pretty big move soon. If it’s to the upside I’d expect 4.5k~ If it’s to the downside I’d expect 3.5k~ I’d much rather short an up move or long a down move than trade here,” he explained.$BTC update:Watching paint dry is more exciting than watching this.
I think we’ll be getting a pretty big move soon.If it’s to the upside I’d expect 4.5k~
If it’s to the downside I’d expect 3.5k~I’d much rather short an up move or long a down move than trade here. pic.twitter.com/NwhMcWXqqM— DonAlt (@CryptoDonAlt) March 19, 2019DonAlt further explained in a separate tweet that he sees increased tests of both resistance and support levels as equating increased weakness of those levels, which may be the reason why BTC finally broke above $4,000 – as it was pushing up against this price level for several weeks – and may also mean that it is imperative that bulls do not let BTC sit at $4,000 for too long.“Most people become more and more confident the more often support/resistance holds. For me it’s the opposite, more tests equal increasing weakness. Buyers/Sellers can only buy/sell so much until they run out,” he explained.Most people become more and more confident the more often support/resistance holds.
For me it’s the opposite, more tests equal increasing weakness.
Buyers/Sellers can only buy/sell so much until they run out.People that are certain something will happen usually end up broke.— DonAlt (@CryptoDonAlt) March 19, 2019Analyst: $4,000 a “Life or Death” Price Point for BitcoinWhen considering DonAlt’s comment regarding the gradual weakening of both support and resistance levels, it becomes apparent that $4,000 will likely continue to be an important price for the cryptocurrency in the long-term.Naeem Aslam, the chief markets analyst at Think Markets U.K. recently spoke to MarketWatch about the importance of this price level, notably calling $4,000 a “life or death” price region for crypto traders.“Since Dec. 14, 2018, there have been several battles between bulls and bears at the price level of $4K. In each. bulls have lost the war because after the first attack at the $4K level the bears have been able to gain enough strength to push the price back below this critical mark,” he said.Traders and analysts alike will gain greater insight into how Bitcoin responds to being above this price level as the week continues to drag on.Featured image from Shutterstock.
Many critics of Bitcoin often argue that its four occasionally five-figure price point is entirely unjustified based on the lack of BTC use in retail. However, over the years, plenty of companies have attempted to nurture the gradual adoption of cryptocurrency by offering to accept payment for goods and services in different digital assets.Two of the latest names on this ever-growing list are the multi-award-winning Swiss online retailer Digitec Galaxus AG and Phoenix-based electronic components supplier, Avnet. Those unimpressed by a possible lack of instant recognition of either company can take comfort in the fact that the pair’s combined annual revenue last year was over $18.39 billion.Greater Bitcoin Acceptance Means Greater Bitcoin UtilityThe latest two major companies to declare support for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for products or services announced the addition of the revolutionary payment methods earlier today. Avnet proudly displayed a link to a short article detailing their decision to go crypto on the home page of its website.To facilitate the service, the US electronics supplier will be working with cryptocurrency payment service provider BitPay. For now, the cryptos accepted will be just Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).Also today, Swiss retail giant Digitec Galaxus AG, owner of both the Digitec and Galaxus online marketplaces, announced that it too would be accepting cryptocurrency payments. Instead of using BitPay as a payment processor, the firm will be working with Coinify.Users of either the Digitec or Galaxus marketplaces can now shop using a fairly comprehensive list of cryptocurrencies, consisting of Bitcoin, both brands of Bitcoin Cash, Ether (ETH), XRP, Binance Coin (BNB), Litecoin (LTC), Tron (TRX), OmiseGo, and NEO (NEO).The expansion of payment methods across the two platforms was announced via Digitec’s Twitter account and accompanying media post:Mehr Informationen zu diesem Thema findest du in unserer Medienmitteilung: https://t.co/A2RhWEFCMn— digitec (@digitec_de) March 19, 2019According to a report in FXStreet, Oliver Herren, the CIO and co-founder of Digitec, had the following to say about today’s Bitcoin acceptance announcement:“Cryptocurrencies are fascinating and could become a relevant means of payment in e-commerce. We would like to support this development.”Cryptocurrency Acceptance Continues to Grow Around the WorldAs previously reported, cryptocurrency acceptance is surging around the world. Since 2013, the number of businesses accepting Bitcoin or other cryptos has grown by 702%. However, in the parts of the world for which Bitcoin and other cryptos hold the most promise, acceptance amongst retailers continues to remain low.By far the lion’s share of instances of companies accepting cryptocurrency are from the so-called “developed world”. However, those with access to a plethora of established and relatively trustworthy banking services are much less in need of the permissionless, non-governmental value-transfer-networks offered by Bitcoin and other cryptos than those living in places where banking resources are rare. Although large online retailers accepting digital currency is certainly positive for the space, previous examples, like that of OverStock.com, highlight that it takes more than big retailers accepting crypto to get folks to actually use it. Related Reading: Bitcoin Acceptance: The Changing Face of Mainstream Media CoverageFeatured Image from Shutterstock.
People use virtual private networks for a variety of reasons, privacy chief among them. A virtual private network is a good way to mask your location to websites you visit. For people in countries where governments censor content and content providers – including companies like Google and Facebook – must comply with their demands, a VPN is essential to experience the actual internet.
Crypto and VPNs: A Harmonious Relationship
Global crypto exchange giant Binance has announced that it will be helping to facilitate the sale of Bitcoin in Australia at real-world locations. The trading venue stated that crypto users would be able to get exposure to the number one digital asset in more than 1,300 newsagents across the country.The news highlights the exchange’s commitment to expanding the number of fiat gateways to the cryptocurrency economy. However, details of the purchase process might mean that the service is used less people than many of those braying for the fall of government-issued currencies would like.Binance Lite Becomes the Firm’s First Fiat-to-Crypto On-Ramp in AustraliaThe new service being launched by the global exchange giant will be called Binance Lite. It represents first time the hugely successful yet relatively new cryptocurrency trading venue has managed to open a fiat-to-cryptocurrency service in the nation of Australia.According to a report in The Next Web, the exchange’s Chief Finance Officer, Wei Zhou, stated the following of the its latest move:“Binance Lite Australia further expands digital currency adoption by providing easier ways to buy [Bitcoin]… Australia has been at the forefront of blockchain innovation, and we hope Binance Lite Australia can play a role to help further this cause.”The decision by Binance to work with Australian newsagents has a lot in common with the plan, announced last year, to allow French tobacco shops to sell vouchers for Bitcoin purchases, much like they do for pay-as-you-go mobile phone top ups.However, in order to remain compliant with Australia’s financial regulations, those wishing to use Binance Lite must first register for the service. This requires a full account verification process (KYC/AML) meaning that the service will be less appealing to those wishing to preserve financial privacy.Once this step is complete, the customer can buy Bitcoin at any one of more than 1,300 newsagents across the nation. A full map of locations offering Binance Lite, provided by Binance Labs, is featured below:Binance: Making the Right Moves to Promote Crypto Adoption WorldwideAs one of the largest trading venues in the cryptocurrency industry, Binance has been right at the forefront of promoting cryptocurrency adoption around the world. Already in 2019, the now-Malta-based exchange has announced a couple of initiatives to help make taking up positions in crypto easier than ever.The first of these was the news that the main Binance global exchange would begin to accept credit card payments in January. Such an extension to accepted payment methods is obviously a net positive for the space since it offers people an additional way to buy digital assets. However, investing in Bitcoin, Ether, Binance Coin, or any other highly volatile and speculative asset on credit is certainly not recommended.Elsewhere, Binance is working towards delivering on one of the most often-repeated, unofficial goals of Bitcoin – to bank the unbanked. The exchange opened Binance Uganda in October of last year. It has since seen massive numbers of accounts opened, which is certainly encouraging for adoption on the largely-unserved-by-crypto African continent.According to Medium post, Binance also has plans to open a fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore at a for-now undisclosed date. Related Reading: Is Largely Unbanked Africa Primed for Bitcoin Adoption?Featured Image from Shutterstock.
In the most recent episode of Into the Ether, Vitalik Buterin appears to discuss all things Ethereum. One of the subjects that came up was the Ethereum governance model. Eric Conner asked Buterin about on-chain governance models, and his thoughts on how Ethereum’s governance stacks up against them.
Current Governance Model Underrated: Vitalik Buterin
Buterin says that the current Ethereum governance model works pretty well, considering the problems it has guided the protocol through.
I actually think that Ethereum governance is under-rated at this point. Because it’s not something that we can attach a cool name to and advertise. And honestly, moderation is a less exciting pitch for people than either on-chain votes, maximum coin holder engagement, or on the other hand immutability. We as a community have never tended to go for extremes. But in reality, on the one hand people complain about governance as a process. But on the other hand, in terms of concrete outcomes that Ethereum governance has achieved, it’s done really well.
It’s implemented the issuance reductions. The issuance reductions seem to be something that most people tend to agree with. […] When there was a crisis back in the year 2016 DOS attacks, it managed to implement, roll, stack out, test and roll out a hard fork all within a time span of 6 days. That’s not something we want to repeat but it’s clearly something we can do if we really wanted to.
When there was a Constantinople bug, it managed to delay the fork within a few hours. It is achieving the things that you might reasonably want a governance of a protocol to achieve, which is to make changes people want and not make changes people want. The one thing that it’s not achieving is dispute resolution or fund recovery or things in that category. And the other thing it’s not achieving is decentralized funding of public good projects.
Not Interested in Arbitration
He goes on to say that both of these things can lead to more harm than good. In the context of dispute resolution and fund recovery, he says you’re opening up a “Pandora’s box.” Where can you draw the line if transactions lose immutability? He also says that decentralized funding of public good projects is easily gameable – in an anonymous context, how can you delineate between a wealthy Ethereum holder or someone that’s legitimately trying to do good?
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Later in the episode, Buterin talks about privacy in Ethereum. He says that he currently is working on a patch that will make it harder to determine if the same wallet is interacting with multiple decentralized applications. The host claims that he uses a different Ethereum wallet for every dApp he uses, as a way to protect his privacy. They both agreed that privacy is paramount for Ethereum’s long-term viability.
When it comes to funding development of Ethereum, Buterin stands behind his push to allow wallet developers to charge a 1 gwei fee per transaction made through their software. He says this will raise $2 million per year, which is a lot more than nothing. Looking at other possibilities to fund development long-term, he says there is only one option: “some kind of inflation funding.”
Inflation Funding as a Last Resort
If everything ends up being insufficient, pretty much the only option is some kind of inflation funding. I’m cautiously watching Zcash as an alternative. The Zcash community has very similar values to Ethereum in a lot of cases, but they are willing to be more aggressive in somewhat more centralized decision making. […] It is deciding where 20% of the Zcash inflation pool is going. And so far it’s been going to Zcash foundation and other developers. And I know that they’re interested in doing other things. I would be opposed to something that goes straight into some centralized organization. I would personally be in favor of something like that, but instead pumping the funds into something like Gitcoin.
The other major takeaway from the interview is that Buterin views the current size of the Ethereum blockchain to be a serious bottleneck issue moving forward. He considers only two scaling solutions to be viable as regard the size of the blockchain.
One involves changing the way that smart contracts exist to a “stateless” model. The other is charging smart contracts rent when they conduct a storage-based transaction. However, he says the latter option has a serious vulnerability to attack. Motivated parties could attack the new model by generating a lot of storage-inducing transactions.