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IOST Opens Node Applications, Introduces Voting System, and Launches Final Testnet

Major achievement for IOST

On 20th December, 2018 in San Francisco, the $40M VC-backed IOST announced their node election process while releasing their final testnet (mainnet in Q1 2019): two big milestones in a bear market. Backed by Sequoia China and listed on 10+ major exchanges, IOST wants to execute the best blockchain — replacing ETH with better speed and scale. They’ve designed major improvements to DPoS while avoiding the power consolidation that effectively ruined EOS. By aligning incentives so that voters are motivated to choose legitimate candidates, IOST has the potential to emerge as one of the true challengers to ETH in 2019.

Terry Wang, CTO of IOST said, “To increase the number of nodes and speed of the IOST network, we’re inviting organizations and individuals to apply to be Servi Node candidates.  projects like EOS have suffered because a small number of ‘super nodes’ control the network. We’ve designed a unique voting system that combats the centralization of power, where the rich get richer. The election of our nodes is based on our proprietary Proof of Believability (PoB) mechanism. This means hundreds of different nodes may be selected to participate in the committee every day. This results in a highly decentralized version of DPoS. Instead of a fixed, small number of ‘super nodes’ who control the network, hundreds, if not thousands of different nodes on the IOST network will be producing and validating blocks. The system becomes even more dynamic as a result of voting changes.” 

A host of interesting features

Key features of the system include that the committee rotates once every 10 minutes in the IOST network. Due to the Servi clearing mechanism, hundreds of different nodes may be selected to participate in the committee every day. While this design ensures decentralization of the block production process and fairness throughout the network, it does not compromise the benefits of a DPoS system that enables high scalability and throughput speeds. This next generation consensus mechanism solves the biggest challenges of current blockchain systems with regards to centralization and power consumption.

Benefits of becoming a node candidate include Servi node rewards. Servi nodes get a share of the yearly IOST reward pool. Invitation rewards. After becoming a candidate, you may get 30% of fees incurred by the users you invite into the network. This includes account creation, iRAM, and iGAS.  Estimated cost of running a node is around $10K USD per year.

Bitsdaq Launching Asian Digital Asset Trading Platform Powered by Bittrex

An interesting partnership

On January 15th, 2019 in Singapore, Bitsdaq launched an Asian Digital Asset Trading Platform powered by Bittrex.  This will provide customers in Asia a reliable and robust exchange with a secure, advanced and reliable platform and extensive selection of digital tokens. The aim of this platform is to reach cryptocurrency cusomers across the Asia region.  Customers can pre-register for an account on Bitsdaq’s website.

Bittrex was founded in 2014 and provides real-time trade execution, dependable digital wallets and industry-leading security practices.  It was founded by three cybersecurity engineers and it is a U.S.-based digital asset trading platform.  The company aids the blockchain industry by incubating new and emerging technology, fostering innovation and by driving transformative change.

The partnership between Bitsdaq and Bittrex will give customers in Asia access to a large selection of digital assets thus increasing the adoption of blockchain technology globally.  This includes the assets available on both Bittrex and Bittrex International platforms.  The partnership combines the vision and expertise of Bitsdaq’s innovative team based in Asia and Bittrex’s global leadership in the blockchain industry.  This will give them deep insight into the local markets.

Looking forward to new markets

Ricky Ng, Bitsdaq’s Chairman and CEO said, “We are honoured to bring Bittrex’s extensive cryptocurrency options to the Asia market. It takes a unique combination of advanced technology and financial expertise to launch an efficient, reliable and secure platform for trading digital assets in Asia. We found the ideal partner to help provide a safe environment for our customers and the entire community.”

The Bitsdaq platform provides solutions and opportunities for customers who would like a larger choice of digital assets on a reliable and secure platform.  It is a secure platform operating in Pan Asia and it is built on Bittrex’s cutting edge trading technology.  To ensure that it works smoothly for international customers after landed, the new platform will undergo a multi-week evaluation period.

Operating in the Asia region

It will be giving users one of the best trading platforms in the Asian region and the potential to access global markets and it will also oversee management of the new trading platform.  It will provide customer support and look after customer operations and compliance as well as offer marketing, customized development and sales.

Bill Shihara, Bittrex CEO said that Bitsdaq will utilize the best practice KYC and AML processes.  He stated that, “Bittrex is powering the blockchain revolution through strategic global partnerships that are using our proprietary technology to launch advanced, secure and reliable digital asset trading platforms in multiple countries. Through this partnership, Bitsdaq customers will have access to a dependable, cutting-edge trading platform with an extensive selection of digital tokens, and Bittrex will continue to fulfill our mission of promoting adoption of blockchain technology around the world.”

The company, Bittrex International operates within the regulatory framework established by the European Union and Maltese Government, including the Malta Virtual Financial Assets Act.  It is a secure, reliable and advanced digital asset platform built on Bittrex’s cutting-edge trading technology.  The company will apply to the Malta Financial Services Authority to become a regulated Virtual Financial Asset exchange. It’s mission is to be the driving force in the blockchain revolution.  This will help to increase adoption of this innovative technology globally.

 

 

viaggiare in giappone con i

G20 call for crypto taxation

The G20 meeting took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina recently, and this saw the G20 leaders call for the taxation of cryptocurrency.  A final version of regulations for a document jointly delivered by G20 leaders called for “a taxation system for cross-border electronic services”. Is expected to be in place by 2020.  This will be in line with Financial Action Task Force (FATF) standards.

Brent Jaciow, Head of Blockchain Affairs at music data tracking platform, Utopia Music, commented:

This is a huge step in the right direction for the industry. Providing regulatory oversight and a framework for how to think about owning, investing, and the taxation of the asset class allows larger entities to seriously evaluate the space. Without the exact knowledge of the above, these entities would remain on the sidelines. Much like global capital markets, there is nothing large corporations fear more than uncertainty, especially as it relates to legal status and taxation.

The development of international standards to regulate new technologies, such as cryptocurrencies, is a necessary step for the cryptocurrency market to evolve. Without having regulatory oversight and a defined framework for taxation and reporting, there is no way larger entities will enter the space for fear of regulatory backlash. The potential hurdles caused by increased regulation are small in comparison to the benefits of mainstream adoption of distributed ledger technologies and cryptocurrencies.

Crypto taxation

Robertas Višinskis, Founder of Mysterium Network, an open source, not-for-profit foundation focused on security and privacy, and the world’s first decentralised VPN blockchain project, commented:

It is exciting to see that some of the most powerful countries in the world recognise not just the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies and new technologies, but also the importance of having international standards to regulate them.

This will be a challenge given the different ways some of the G20 member states have started to regulate crypto assets. China has tough regulation around cryptocurrencies, but welcomes investment in blockchain, whereas the UK is yet to release any laws or regulations surrounding cryptocurrencies.  However, overall, the G20 calling for the taxation of cryptocurrency is an important step in the widespread adoption of cryptocurrencies, and will continue to help the evolution of the market. Regulation will help to filter out bad players in the market, and build trust in blockchain and cryptocurrency projects.”

 

 

Tron decentralizza il web

Tron Cryptocurrency ‘Just Garbage’

Stellar executive lashes out against Tron

Tron Cryptocurrency  is  ‘just garbage’  according to StellarRippleMt. Gox, and e-Donkey co-founder Jed McCaleb.   Jed McCaleb created Stellar when he moved away from Ripple due to personal differences.  However, he feels that the crypto market is doing well.   He said that it’s “way way up” even if it’s had some turbulence over the course of 2018.

McCaleb stated that it is “wild to watch” the way that capital is invested in crypto projects.  Things will begin to smooth out with a reduction in market capitalizations and token prices.  Considering that Tron has outperformed Ethereum, McCalbe has certainly picked an interesting project to poke at.  However, he offered no explanation why he thinks that Tron is “just garbage”.

In general Stellar has been “poorly” marketed according to McCaleb and he did not think that people knew what it was.  McCaleb stated: “ I don’t think they do. We’ve done a pretty poor job of marketing it and telling the world what Stellar is about. I think they have a vague notion that it’s for payments, but I don’t think they know the details and the real power of it. We’re hoping to change that in 2019, but it’s a process.”

Lack of knowledge hampers investment in crypto

Research has shown that many people have no idea of what Bitcoin or blockchain are all about, let alone Stellar.  The majority of them have no interest in blockchain banking offerings and the market is still very much in developmental stages.  The end of 2018 shows that Bitcoin has been hailed as the worst possible investment choice.  Although Ripple has consistently outperformed Stellar on news of business partnerships and integration with banking systems all over the world, Stellar still remains a top-10 crypto by market capitalization.

When Jed McCaleb and people from Ripple Labs felt that the mission of the company was moving too far away from their vision, they decided to develop Stellar. McCaleb was later faced with a lawsuit for dumping his Ripple.  With an average of 42 transactions an hour, Stellar’s blockchain facilitated 1,024 transactions on December 30th.  Ripple facilitated 396,354 and Tron processed 2,845,490 transactions on the last day available, December 21st, and Bitcoin did 267,463 on the 30th.  2018 has been a year in which Bitcoin has been hailed as the worst possible investment choice.

Beam is now available to the public

Innovative Privacy Solution

On January 3rd, 2019 Beam was officially launched in Valletta, Malta and is now available to the general public.  Beam is a part of Mimblewimble that will enormously change the privacy and the utility of cryptocurrency for the better.

Monero and Zcash are privately-oriented cryptocurrencies which were born to secure the clients’ anonimity.  However, although these currencies have strong privacy features, many of their features are not private and not scalable either.  With Beam the utility of storage-of-value and payment cryptocurrency is increased.  Confidentiality and scalability are major necessities for the mainstream adoption of digital assets.

Alexander Zaidelson, CEO of Beam said: “Sovereignty over one’s own information is a basic human right, and applies to all aspects of life, and especially to  financial transactions. Everyone, from the largest institutional investors to the individual cryptocurrency holder, should have the right to decide on what to disclose and to whom, including the right not to disclose anything to anyone, because fundamentally everyone is entitled to the sovereignty of their own assets.  With Beam, we are enabling that sovereignty by building upon the foundations of Bitcoin with an incredible new technology called Mimblewimble.”

Harry Potter On The Blockchain

Mimblewimble is a new blockchain protocol and is a reference to a spell in the Harry Potter universe that stops people from spilling secrets.  Mimblewimble and additional features will be used in the project to offer privacy to users transacting their network.

Beam was created to accommodate both the traditional user as well as the novice user and maintains the distributed ledger.  It also allows for decentralized validation of any transaction, no actual information about sender, receiver or transaction amount can be obtained from it by an observer.  As financial institutions seek a deeper dive into blockchain, they bring along their customers.  The systems are constantly being updated due to their popularity.

The Mimblewimble blockchain size is expected to be 3-10 times smaller than that of Bitcoin.  For the purpose of accounting and tax purposes, users will be able to turn on opt-in auditibability in the future.   Now that Beam has been launched, the confidentially and scalability of Bitcoin and Ethereum has already been reassured.

 

 

 

 

Cameroon Separatists Launch AmbaCoin

Another Crypto Currency For The Unbanked?

What is AmbaCoin?  AmbaCoin (AMBA) is a new sovereign cryptocurrency which has been launched by a separatist government in Cameroon’s semi-autonomous English-speaking southern region of Ambazonia.  More than 20,000 AMBA tokens have been bought out of a total supply of 100,000,000 available in the pre-ICO sale.  1 AMBA is worth $0.25 and the AmbaCoin is being considered as the official currency of the “Federal Republic of Ambazonia”.  Therefore the AMBA has become the second cryptocurrency experiment.  The first one was the Petro of Venezuela and this was born out of the need to raise funding and revitalise a struggling economy by a government which was as yet unrecognised.

AmbaCoin is very similar to the Petro of Venezuela as well as the fact that it caused a socioeconomic upheaval in its creation.   AmbaCoin is also an asset-backed cryptocurrency, just like the Petro.  Just like the Petro it is currently unclear how the natural resources and projected earnings that give it value will be quantified and calculated.  It is also unclear how the resources will be harnessed because the Cameroonian military still maintains control of Southern Cameroon.

A Coin Similar To The Petro

The AmbaCoin, just like the Petro, comes with a new national fiat currency and makes promises whose fulfilment are unclear. An excerpt from the AmbaCoin whitepaper reads:

“[AmbaCoin] investors will be able to recoup their investment in the same way as investors can benefit from the acquisition of treasury bonds and bills. As large numbers of people in the Ambazonian diaspora seek to invest in the country, they will be able to recoup their investment with handsome interest far beyond that available from treasury bonds and bills. At the same time, investors will have the unique and privileged opportunity to help put a nation back on track after the decades of misfortune as a marginalised people within Cameroon.”

Since there is a genuine street-level demand in the region for money that is not controlled by Cameroon’s Francophone central government, the project cannot be dismissed mainly because there it has a large investor base of as many as 2 million people.   There are however criticisms of AmbaCoin economically and technically.  Chris Anu, the separatist government’s Secretary of State for Communications and IT, has shared the information on Facebook that paper bond notes representing AmbaCoin tokens are also being prepared ahead of the proposed launch.

 

venezuela e bitcoin

Venezuela adopts Dash

Venezuela looking for alternatives to its currency

Local people in Venezuela are adopting Dash as their daily transactions as it is a functioning solution that is easy to use.  Alejandro Echeverría, co-founder of the Dash Help, Dash Merchant Venezuela and Dash Text says that it is simple to use and solves the peoples’ payment problems.  However, according to a dash merchant listing site, DiscoverDash, in less than a year there are 2,427 merchants listed as accepting dash. And that figure is continuing to increase.

The national Venezuelan bolivar is expected to achieve a one million per cent inflation by the end of the year.  In fact, it has already reached absurd levels of inflation to the tune of six-figures as the people of Venezuela turn to accessible cryptocurrencies like Dash.

Most importantly, Alejandro Echeverría stated: “The dash movement is spreading and growing fast in Venezuela. First it was food trucks and small family businesses that started to adopt dash for payments, now we’re attracting more established businesses.”  Echeverria is adamant that he would like all Venezuelans to have access to a strong currency which they can use for payment as well as for storing for value.  In Venezuela the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting inflation to hit one million% this year.  Caracas is set as the initial focus for the Dash foundation.

Venezuela adopts Dash: a Three Stage Process

The process is being undertaken in three stages: finding merchants, getting Dash into peoples’ hands and incentivising mass consumption.  This strategy is being called “Strategy for Adoption”.  The gold is to reach 10,000 merchants in 2019 and at the same time promote Dash transactions.

“Just like banks have their support centres to help their clients, dash has its own,” said Echeverría. “It is the first support center of a crypto in the world and in my humble opinion is one of the killer features of dash, because no other crypto provides support to its users in this way.”

Since its December 2017 highs, the cryptocurrency line Dash has devalued 90% however, most imporatntly it is still flourishing.  However it is a stellar success when compared to the bolivar’s expected one million percent inflation by EOY. Current support rests at $60.85 [Bitfinex] on the 4-hour chart, with resistance set by the 55-EMA at $76. The crypto asset is now looking to continue its upward trajectory above $78 to confirm a bullish bias after having established a higher low at $67.

 

Horizen Launches Flagship Application Digital Wallet

Horizen Continues to Innovate

Launched in May 2017, Horizen is a technology platform that provides privacy and control of their digital footprint. It is working towards the day when anyone will be able to build privacy-based applications on the Horizen Platform and generate income from them.  Horizen is the leading-edge platform which enables real-life uses beyond the ZEN currency.  It also enable private chat with others and users to publish information and go anywhere on the web with total privacy.  In this manner, Horizen will bring thousands of services offering people the freedom and everyday utility they crave.

On December 17th, 2018 in New York, Horizen released Sphere by Horizen, which incorporates unprecedented features in a cryptocurrency wallet, including secure messaging between users and the ability to toggle between light and full clients.  This is a highly-secure cryptocurrency wallet with unique features, that give users even greater control over their sensitive data and transactional information.

ZenCash rebrands to Horizen with new Sphere wallet

Co-Founder and President of Horizen, Robert Viglione, said: “The mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrencies relies heavily on the industry’s ability to simplify the technology for everyday use. As an easy-to-use, state-of-the-art wallet, Sphere by Horizen is a significant milestone toward achieving that goal. It also improves access to key privacy-focused applications of the Horizen platform, such as ZenChat. We firmly believe that everyone deserves the right and ability to protect their digital identity. With the launch of Sphere by Horizen today, the community can leverage unique features with cutting-edge security to take greater control of their digital identities “.

Sphere by Horizen is available on desktop, and allows users to switch between a full or light client or use a web client. This will enable for sending, receiving, and storing ZEN and serves as the launching point for services that use ZEN for transparent and shielded transactions. If a user loses their account, they can restore their cryptocurrency funds.

Gustavo Fialho, Horizen User Experience Director said: “Sphere by Horizen drastically improves on current standards for the user experience of cryptocurrency and blockchain applications without sacrificing technological innovation or security. The application will act as universal point of access for node operation, cryptocurrency storage, private communications, and peer-to-peer payments, markedly simplifying access to services on the ZEN blockchain. We look forward to continually develop new features to bolster Sphere by Horizen, including a multi-currency wallet, MultiSig support, human-readable addresses, and the ability to manage secure and super nodes on the platform. ”

Crypto activities during 2018

First Networking Party

On the 9th January the Crypto Networking Party gave a strong start to the new year and included heads of the largest Russian banks and top-level companies with the support of vmeste1000.ru and Qiwi.com.  The following topics were discussed at the party: regulation, volatility, ICO’s and security in relation to crypto being used in the real world.

The guest speakers were Sergey Solonin –  Qiwi founder, Kir Kelevra – the renowned Crypto trader and Waves platform advocate, Vladimir Demin – Vnesheconombank expert, Mikhail Chobanyan – founder of KUNA, Ivan Tikhonov – CEO of Bits.media and Kirill Ivkushkin – Sberbank representative.

This Crypto Summit during SXSW was held between the 12th and 13th March in Austin, Texas. A conference entitled “New Girls on the Block” was held on the first day where some of the most successful and inspirational ladies of the blockchain and fintech spaces were invited to share their knowledge and experiences.  Selected crypto startups took part in an ICO pitching session and presented their projects to a panel of judges and investors on the second day of the summit.

Delta Summit in Malta

The CryptoFriends Delta Night was held on the 3rd October where they partnered up with the Delta Summit.  A panel discussion entitled “Malta, A small Island Nation, with Global Ambition” was discussed.  This was chaired by Rachel Wolfson who is a journalist from Bitcoin Magazine, Forbes, the Bad Crypto Podcast and the Merkle.  This included the entrepreneur, fintech expert and advisor to the Maltese government, Dr. Abdalla Kablan and the Hon. Silvio Schembri, the Maltese Junior Minister for financial services, digital economy and innovation.

Malta Blockchain Summit

The Malta Blockchain Summit was held between the 1st and 2nd November.  This was organised by the founder of Sigma iGaming Malta, Eman Pulis. The summit  brought together 7,000 representatives of the blockchain community from around the world. A  two-day blockchain hackathon and ICO pitching session was organised during the summit. The hackathon winner was the team “Blockchain Charity Lottery”.

On the 6th December Art decentralized – The World of Distributed Masterpieces was held.  This event was held during the Miami Art Week where a conference on the relationship between art and the blockchain was held. Entrepreneurs, artists, investors and collectors all got together to analyse how the blockchain together with cryptocurrency, disrupted this 64 billion dollar market. The CryptoFriends team is especially attracted by the sphere that is contemporary art.

Colorado clamps down on ICO’S

The Colorado State Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) has handed out four more cease and desist orders to ICOs. Jared Polis, an Amercian politician, entrepreneur and philanthropist who is the Governor-elect of Colorado, is making a huge impact already on the blockchain and crypto scene in Colorado. He was elected Governor of Colorado in 2018. With the help of DORA, he is cleaning up the states crypto scene in order to prepare it for the sweeping regulations.  This raises the tally of ICOs issued with cease and decease order to eighteen this month alone.

Jared Polis is a member of the Democratic Party and a former member of the Colorado State Board of Education.  He is among the wealthiest members with a personal net worth estimated at nearly $400 million.  Cease and desist orders have been sent out by DORA to Global Pay Net, Cred (doing business as Credits LLC), CrowdShare Mining and CyberSmart Coin Invest. The latter has robots that invest on Bitmex with secret algorithms for profit gaining.

Scam ICO in Colorado

This scam ICO scene was taken very seriously by Colorado. While not all of the firms issued with cease and desist orders are scams, some could have fines pending or may be unregistered insecurities.  Most ICOs are usually sold out and attract millions of dollars in exchange for a handful of tokens.  Colorado is certainly trying its best to clean up the ICO scene, it needs to be more thorough in what it calls a scam.

DORA issued four cease and desist orders earlier this month and at least one of them has claimed to have never received anything at all.  PinkDate has said that it has never received such an order and it has even been suggested that the cease and desist order was issued because PinkDate did not have an address. Can you have a cease and desist order issued against you for not having an address?

Some of the firms which have not been registered as a security in the state are in fact being labelled as scams and are being issued with cease and desist orders. The Autorite’ des Marche’s Financiers (AMF), in a bid to clean up the ICO scene, is creating a legal framework that will ensure a UCITS for ICOs. Other European countries, apart from France, are hoping that this system will be adopted.  Before investing in an ICO, always do your research.