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Indian Government May Issue its Own Fiat Cryptocurrency

Indian Government May Issue its Own Fiat Cryptocurrency

September 19, 2017 · 6:30 am

Beleaguered by so-called ‘black money’ and tax evasion, the Indian government is planning to issue its own fiat cryptocurrency according to recent news reports.


Stronger Regulations

It’s been almost a year since the Indian government decided to take harsh measures against “black” money and tax evasion. On November 18, 2016, the Indian government removed their two highest value banknotes from circulation, effectively removing 22 billion banknotes from the country’s monetary system.

With many people fearing for their savings, they resorted to cryptocurrencies in order to preserve their funds. This caused a huge trading volume spike for cryptocurrencies in India. Now, Indian regulators fear that more capital will float out through Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. According to an article by Business Standard, the Indian government is currently working on a legal framework that will properly regulate digital currencies like Bitcoin.

Governments and Cryptocurrencies

The report is also suggesting that the central bank of India may introduce its very own cryptocurrency. A partner at Nishith Desai Associates, Vaibhav Parikh, said following regarding the current situation:

I won’t be surprised if the government comes up with its own cryptocurrency because banks are trying blockchain as a technology and to make blockchain work it would need some cryptocurrency. Since it doesn’t trust Bitcoin it may come up with their own currency.

RBI Executive Director, Sudarshan Sen, commented further on the potential of a government-issued cryptocurrency:

Right now, we have a group of people who are looking at fiat cryptocurrencies. Something that is an alternative to the Indian rupee, so to speak. We are looking at that closely,

The Indian government isn’t the only one that is planning to issue a national cryptocurrency. According to Investopedia, the Chinese national bank is also planning to introduce its own cryptocurrency. After the recent crackdown on cryptocurrency exchanges in China, many experts believed that this would be the end of cryptocurrencies in China. But this crackdown may come necessarily as Chinese authorities are planning to introduce further regulations for initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency exchanges.

What are your thoughts on an Indian fiat cryptocurrency? Do you think that it could replace Bitcoin in India? Let us know in the comments below!


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Bitcoin – The Millennial Retirement Nest Egg

Bitcoin – The Millennial Retirement Nest Egg

September 18, 2017 · 4:00 pm

With a surge in the popularity of cryptocurrencies among the youth, many are now investing in Bitcoin with a view to saving for retirement. This shift away from traditional retirement is well illustrated by the success of a company called Bitcoin IRA, which allows investors to buy Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies using their IRA or 401(k) accounts.


Bitcoin Over Banks

What was once a vision is not now far away from being a reality. The world looks set to embrace a future of a cashless society thanks to the stunning impact of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies. While mainstream celebrities like Floyd Mayweather and Paris Hilton are now lapping it up, there remains a small yet hugely loyal cryptocurrency community – one that has seen the revolutionary power of Bitcoin and the like.

Most of these users are from the young generation that is disillusioned with the legacy social and financial institutions that have frankly betrayed them, be it the church, the government, or banks. Student loans leave them in a never-ending spiral of debt, and the tanking economy leaves them jobless. Add a culture of heavy spending owing to the rise of consumerism to the mix, and you have a recipe for disaster.

It would make sense, therefore, that saving for retirement has become a thing of the past for many millennials. The loss of faith in oppressive status quo systems has further been confounded by ever-rising inflation which renders fiat currency useless, as is the case in Venezuela. Cryptocurrencies, specially Bitcoin, have benefited from this due to their decentralized nature which eliminates a lot of the problems associated with state backed fiat currency.

Millennials To HODL?

Early adopters of Bitcoin have made a killing and there is an ever-increasing realization within the Bitcoin community that they are sitting on a gold mine. Those who mined or backed it in its nascent years are now bonafide millionaires, acquiring riches that will last a lifetime. With Bitcoin gaining adoption and momentum in several countries and getting embraced by Wall Street by the number, millennials are looking at it the way their predecessors one looked at gold.

A lot of young techies are living solely off of cryptocurrencies and shunning banks altogether. What is interesting now is that millennials are turning to Bitcoin to plan for life after retirement.

Roshaan Khan, a 20-year-old senior at Virginia Commonwealth University who made a 40% return on his cryptocurrency investments, told Forbes:

All of my net worth is in cryptocurrencies because I see them as the best way to escalate my ability to be financially secure and pay off my student loans. I like the idea of decentralization, the fact that there’s a lot less corruption and political ties. That idea appeals to me … Not having to go through banks. Having financial control over our lives again. Maybe it’s because I’m just getting my feet wet, but it excites me more than anything else.

Khan is not the only one; people from various backgrounds and fields are putting all of their eggs in their crypto-basket. A 24-year-old musician from Norway might not have much in common with a tech-worker in Silicon Valley, but there are plenty such young people around the world who are connected by their crypto-destiny: pulling off the incredible act of investing and living solely off cryptocurrencies. By treating them as a small part of a diversified portfolio, cryptocurrencies can fill the high risk, high return segment.

Like any investment, there always is that chance that it might crash completely, but there is also the chance that it takes the world by storm and keep growing exponentially. For young people, the risk of failure is low because they have plenty of years to make up for it. With a glass half full outlook on life, taking a chance on Bitcoin has the potential to completely change one’s life.

Bitcoin IRA

While there are many skeptics who refuse to advocate Bitcoin as a long-term investment tool, most recently JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon, it hasn’t deterred tech entrepreneurs from collaborating with their financial counterparts to launch crypto-focused investment tools. First movers always have a higher chance of sustainable success and it is no wonder that cryptofunds – think mutual funds for cryptocurrencies with big market caps – are making waves by combining the new and old guards of the financial world.

With the retirement strategies of millennials changing, companies are having to rely on technology to attract younger investors. One such company, Bitcoin IRA, allows users to invest in Bitcoin and Ethereum using their IRA or 401(k) accounts. Users can also invest in an IRA or a Roth IRA with Bitcoin just like any traditional IRA.

It seems that the people have spoken: Bitcoin has taken its first baby steps towards replacing fiat currency for long-term saving purposes.

What do you think about using Bitcoin as a retirement investment tool? Do you think it is better to treat it as a long-term investment asset or as liquid currency? Would you invest in a cryptofund or Bitcoin IRA in lieu of fiat currency? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Unsplash/Jay Castor



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Mixed Messages Fly as JP Morgan Posts Job Ad for Blockchain Technician

Mixed Messages Fly as JP Morgan Posts Job Ad for Blockchain Technician

September 18, 2017 · 12:45 pm

JP Morgan reveals they are looking for a “Technical Project Execution Manager – (Blockchain) Distributed Ledger Technology” despite a very recent vehement attack on Bitcoin, which originated the very blockchain technology the financial services giant seeks to adopt.


 

In a move that many are finding ironic, if not downright hypocritical, JP Morgan is on the hunt for an experienced blockchain technician. The job posting comes just days after CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin “a fraud” – the same fraud whose core open source technology the company has appropriated.

The job listing on JP Morgan’s website reads:

The Blockchain Center of Excellence (BCOE) leads efforts for applications of distributed ledger technology (DLT) within J.P. Morgan. We are exploring Blockchain use cases and piloting solutions across business lines.  We are active in the Blockchain ecosystem: developing technology, investing in strategic partnerships, and participating in industry consortia.

Bitcoin to the Rescue

It is no secret that big banks are heavily investing in blockchain technology, however, part of Bitcoin’s success is in how it has rewarded miners for building and maintaining a decentralized blockchain infrastructure which is essential to security, while also making the system accountable to everyone.

Bitcoin was born as a response to poor financial management after the largest banks, including JP Morgan, contributed to the 2008 world financial crash, leaving a pressing need for a better system. It is no coincidence that Bitcoin came to fruition in the same year when the world was looking for alternatives, Bitcoin was presented.

Jamie Dimon’s Blockchain History

Jamie Dimon

Dimon’s recent anti-Bitcoin diatribe is hardly a new position for the JP Morgan CEO.  During an appearance on CNBC’s coverage of the World Economic Forum meetings in February 2016, he made his feelings about Bitcoin quite clear:

Bitcoin the currency, I think, is going to go nowhere […] There is nothing behind a Bitcoin, and I think if it was big, the governments would stop it…

At the time of Dimon’s pronouncement, the price of Bitcoin was somewhere in the neighborhood of $400. Four short months later the cryptocurrency nearly doubled in value to $780 and by December 2016 had reached the then-unprecedented value of $1200. Since then, the value of Bitcoin has continued to climb, reaching its all-time high in August of this year at just under $4980. From this perspective, it is easy to see why one former JP Morgan executive told Dimon to STFU about Bitcoin.

Do you think that JP Morgan is sending mixed messages? Is it hypocritical to reject Bitcoin while embracing the core technology that it is built upon? Let us know in the comments below?


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Floyd Mayweather Fights in Bitcoin’s Corner

Floyd Mayweather Fights in Bitcoin’s Corner

September 17, 2017 · 3:30 pm

Boxing champion Floyd Mayweather has been spotted spending Bitcoin in California’s Beverley Hills proving that despite the coins recent bad press, that Bitcoin really has legs.


Floyd Mayweather caused more buzz in the cryptocurrency world when he posted a photograph of himself on Facebook and Twitter proudly sporting a Titanium Centra Card in a Beverly Hills shoeshop a few days ago.

Titanian Centra is a debit card for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocurrencies. They are raising funds via an ICO, which is due to launch in 28 hours (at the time of writing) which according to their website promises to:

Allow real-time conversion of all supported cyrptocurrencies to give the user the ability to spend their assets in real time anywhere in the world that accepts Visa or Mastercard.

Floyd Mayweather’s Recent ICO Endorsements

This is not the first time that Floyd Mayweather has taken to social media in order to promote and speak out about Bitcoin, ICO’s and other cryptocurrencies. He posted on Instagram and tweeted the following just last month in the lead-up to his infamous and potentially final boxing bout with Connor Mcgregor:

Other ICOs he has promoted in the past were for sporting event and finance predicting company Stox and the Hubii Network. The Stox ICO raised $33 million dollars in just 34 hours and the Hubii network, a media tech and content company, hopes to raise $50 million with their ICO.

Other Celebrity Bitcoin Endorsements

Gwyneth Paltrow, Steve Wozniak, Sir Richard Branson and Paris Hilton have all previously spoken out about their interests in the world of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. The Woz admitting that he uses Bitcoin where he can, such as for hotels, whereas Paltrow is actively advising and mentoring Bitcoin entrepreneurs.

As the list of Bitcoin-endorsing celebrities grow, will we start to see increased trust and interest from a more mainstream audience of potential investors?  Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Twitter, Instagram, Wikimedia Commons



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South African Pick n Pay is Testing Bitcoin Payments

South African Pick n Pay is Testing Bitcoin Payments

September 17, 2017 · 2:15 pm

The second largest supermarket chain store in South Africa, Pick n Pay, recently started testing Bitcoin payments at its stores.


Bitcoin payments at Pick n Pay

In the recent years, Bitcoin has become a more and more popular payment method for many retail stores worldwide. A recent announcement by the payment software development firm, Electrum, described the recent Bitcoin payment test that conducted at a selected Pick n Pay store. The software integration would easily allow consumers to buy their groceries at Pick n Pay with Bitcoin. Dave Glass, MD at Electrum said following in a statement:

We’ve worked closely with PnP for several years as a key technology provider. Our mission is to support innovative enterprises like Pick n Pay, and together we use the advanced Electrum software-as-a-service technology to move quickly on new opportunities, whilst at the same time delivering the best possible shopping experience,

While Electrum provided the fitting cloud-based transaction system, the South African based blockchain startup Luno, provided the necessary blockchain infrastructure for the POS system.

The video above demonstrates how users can pay at the counter with Bitcoin. The cashier scans the items which the user has selected, then the cashier chooses Bitcoin as payment form and finally, the user scans the QR code where they send their bitcoins to.

Wide Integration of Bitcoin Payment

The South African based Pick n Pay stated that they are very excited to offer the Bitcoin payment option:

As a result of this groundbreaking innovation project, for a limited time customers at Pick n Pay’s campus store have been able to use the Bitcoin cryptocurrency to purchase groceries and services,

Jason Peisl, who is an Executive at Pick n Pay also stated following about the Bitcoin integration:

At Pick n Pay one of our key values is to embrace change and encourage innovation and leadership. To deliver on that promise we are constantly working with our technology partners to find ways in which we can deliver valuable, innovative services to our customers,

Although the news seems to be very exciting for Bitcoin users, Pick n Pay doesn’t have a definite date for full Bitcoin integration for its stores.

What are your thoughts on the bitcoin payment integration of Pick n Pay? Do you think more people will buy their groceries with Bitcoin?


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Bitpocalypse? Bitcoin Price Plunges as Chinese Exchanges Close

Bitpocalypse? Bitcoin Price Plunges as Chinese Exchanges Close

September 15, 2017 · 7:00 am

Major Chinese exchanges BTCChina and ViaBTC have announced they will shut down operations causing Bitcoin price to plunge as OKCoin and Huobi are expected to follow. 


ICO Crackdown

The recent days have been very interesting for cryptocurrency traders worldwide. On September 4, news emerged that Chinese regulators banned all Initial Coin Offerings that are based in China.

The report from the People’s Bank of China stated that no individual or organization may longer raise funds through ICOs. Authorities argue that these measures are necessary in order to protect users from fraudulent ICOs that steal funds from investors.

China’s Approach to Regulating Crypto

Apparently, the ICO ban was just the start as cryptocurrency exchanges are also going to be regulated. On Thursday, BTCChina, one of the largest Chinese exchanges publicly announced that it would close its exchange on September 30.

According to a recent tweet, Chinese regulators have also demanded from all cryptocurrency exchanges to choose a date to close their operations.

The above tweet from Blockstream CSO Samson Mow seems to confirm that Huobi and OKCoin will close their operations today. ViaBTC has also announced today that it will close its operations on September 30. The exchange advised its users to withdraw all their assets before September 30.

Bitcoin Price: Blood in the Streets

The cryptocurrency market was heavily affected by the recent news from China. Bitcoin price dropped from its all-time-high of $5,000 to today’s price of above $3,000, a staggering drop of 38.78%.

But Bitcoin wasn’t the only cryptocurrency that was affected by this news. Ethereum, which is widely used for ICOs, also dropped from its all-time-high of $400 to today’s $206.

In contrast, the whole market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market dropped from a recent all-time high of $176 billion to $103 billion, effectively wiping $73 billion from the market.

Will the shut down of Chinese exchanges be permanent? et us know in the comments below!


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2017 Blockchain Global Summit – Shape The Future

2017 Blockchain Global Summit – Shape The Future

September 14, 2017 · 8:00 pm

The BitKan “2017 Shape the Future” Blockchain global summit has changed its location, it will now be held in Hong Kong instead of Beijing and will take place later this month on September the 20th and 21st. Tickets for the event are still available to purchase.


BitKan has changed the location of their “2017  Shape The Future“summit from Beijing to Hong Kong, where it will now be held in the Grand Hyatt Hotel where it will run from September the 20th until the 21st. Tickets start at 1888 RMB. Anyone with tickets to the Beijing event will still be entitled to use them in Hong Kong.

BitKan ,founded in 2012, have seen the development of the Chinese Bitcoin industry since the coins early days. After 5 years of growth they now have a global user base numbering in the millions. They provide useful digital currency news, OTC trading, Bitcoin wallets, mining pool monitoring and more. The company is devoted to promoting the concept of Bitcoin and the block chain within the mass media.

The “Shape the Future” Global Summit

The event will provide a platform for guests and companies to introduce the latest Bitcoin technology and products associated with Bitcoin as well as bringing their individual vision of a Bitcoin future. BitKan state that they will have over 80 guests from top tier companies, with an audience of 800 including over 200 key influencers in the media world.  Speakers include Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu, the CEO of bitcoin.com Roger Ver, John McAfee and CEO of Huobi Lin Li. The schedule has day one labelled as “Shape The Future Summit”, with day two labelled as “Blockchain Tech Sessions”. For a full, up to date line up of the guest speakers, see the Bitkan website.

The Bitcoin Documentary

The event will also see a screening of the Bitcoin “Shape the Future” documentary which witnesses the history of BTC in China. Starting from Satoshi Nakamoto’s paper in 2008, it will chart how BTC has evolved into a 40 billion USD digital asset. It will focus on what has happened over the last 9 years of Bitcoin development and the role that China has played within the BTC industry.

Have you got your tickets? What do you think of the lineup? Let us know in the comments below?


Images courtesy of BitKan, Shape the Future

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Ex-JP Morgan Executive tells CEO to: “STFU about Bitcoin”

Ex-JP Morgan Executive tells CEO to: “STFU about Bitcoin”

September 14, 2017 · 1:00 pm

Earlier this week CEO of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, called Bitcoin a “fraud”. Ex-JP Morgan executive, Alex Gurevich, advised the current CEO to “STFU about Bitcoin”.


Bitcoin a Fraud?

In a recent conference in New York the current CEO of the banking firm JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, called the cryptocurrency Bitcoin a “fraud”. According to Dimon:

[Bitcoin is] only fit for use by drug dealers, murderers and people living in places such as North Korea.

He also added:

If you were in Venezuela or Ecuador or North Korea or a bunch of parts like that, or if you were a drug dealer, a murderer, stuff like that, you are better off doing it in bitcoin than US dollars. So there may be a market for that, but it would be a limited market.

The boss of Americas biggest bank also said that he would fire any JP Morgan trader that traded with Bitcoin. After the news about Dimon’s comments emerged, the cryptocurrency market reacted with a harsh price decrease of Bitcoin from $4700 to today’s $3571. Other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum and Litecoin also lost significant value.

“STFU about Bitcoin”

Shortly after Dimon’s comments, an Ex-JP Morgan executive, Alex Gurevich, tweeted about Dimon’s comments and told him to “STFU about trading $BTC”. Gurevich’s tweet received a lot of attention from the cryptocurrency and Bitcoin community worldwide.

Many analysts and experts in the cryptocurrency community believe that the current Bitcoin market isn’t a fraud, and some even believe that the current valuation of Bitcoin is still too low.

Nope. Bitcoin is not a fraud.

Many Bitcoin investors and believers think that Bitcoin is not in a bubble state. Yesterday, the famous founder of McAfee Antivirus, John McAfee, said in a TV interview that Bitcoin is NOT a fraud. He explained:

I’m a bitcoin miner. We create bitcoins. It costs over $1,000 per coin to create a bitcoin. What does it cost to create a U.S. dollar? Which one is the fraud? Because it costs whatever the paper costs, but it costs me and other miners over $1,000 per coin. It’s called proof of work.

There clearly is no doubt that the Bitcoin valuation was affected by all these comments, but there are many analysts who believe that this is a necessary price correction after the drastic price raise that Bitcoin had earlier this year.

What are your thoughts on Jamie Dimon’s comments about Bitcoin? Do you think that Bitcoin is a fraud and a bubble? Let us know in the comments below!


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ICO Problem – What’s Next for Startups and Investors

ICO Problem – What’s Next for Startups and Investors

September 14, 2017 · 9:45 am

Initial Coin Offerings have scarcely been out of the news lately. A number of high profile scams, bans, and regulatory plans have seen them eating up column inches. But where does that leave the genuine value startups and those wishing to invest in them?


The Background

An ICO in its most basic form is used as a tool for finding backers to raise funds for new blockchain projects. A company will pre-sell a coin (or token) for use within the ecosystem of a final product, in order to finance the creation of that ecosystem.

Unfortunately, some ICOs fell victim to scammers, causing investors to lose their money. In addition, many companies simply offered coins for coins sake, having no further value to backers other than speculative price rise. These essentially behaved like thinly veiled securities, and quite rightly attracted the attention of regulatory authorities.

Thus we have the SEC, the MAS, BOC and who knows how many other acronymous agencies in a panic.

The Good News

This is for the benefit of the entire industry. Genuine startups do not want to fall foul of the law. Their founders do not want to risk a hefty fine or prison sentence. Investors do not want to spend their money on an ultimately worthless token. The attention of the regulators should weed out the bad players.

Other than China’s outright ban, the message seems to be fairly clear and consistent. An ICO in its truest form will not fall into the category of securities. As long as the token has value other than a speculative one, it should not be subject to regulation.

ICOBox Provides Solution for Unregulated ICO Market

How to Be Sure

Many companies are contemplating holding an ICO and they need regulatory certainty to be able to feel comfortable with their decision.
Eric Ly – co-founder of LinkedIn and ICOBox advisor

A number of ICO advisory services are springing up to support startups and empower investors. One such service, ICOBox, is developing and end-to-end ICO process with an innovative way to do just that.

On top of their paid ICO advisory service, they will also offer a way for companies to hold an ICO if they don’t even have the capital to fund that. They are accepting applications from underfunded start-ups, which they will pre-vet and then put forward to their ICOS token holders.

Ultimately, the token holders will vote on which projects should go forward to the formal ICO stage. ICOBox will finance these offerings using the funds amassed through ICOBox’s own ICO.

All Systems Go

All Systems Go!

With the right legal advice, startups (outside of China at least) should be able to confidently navigate the process. If an ICO is used as originally intended then there is no reason that it shouldn’t be plain sailing.

And with services like ICOBox, investors can take heart in the fact that they are more likely to avoid the pitfalls which have beset some projects so far.

The emergence of full-service ICO advisory platforms will help address the quality issues surrounding ICOs
Keith Teare – co-founder of TechCrunch and ICOBox advisor

Do you think advisory services like ICOBox will help investors make more informed decisions about where to invest their cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments below.


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North Korea Suspected of Hacking South’s Bitcoin Exchanges

North Korea Suspected of Hacking South’s Bitcoin Exchanges

September 13, 2017 · 3:00 am

US based Security researcher FireEye claim that the rising price of Bitcoin in tandem with the increasing international sanctions imposed upon North Korea have lead the rogue country to seek Bitcoin hack attacks as an alternate, low cost way of helping finance the state.  


FireEye make the claims in a report published Monday on their website, stating that they have been observing actors they believe to be North Korean of origin. These actors have begun directing their focus on banks and global financial systems, something, the FireEye researchers claim that is outside the traditional forms of cyber espionage they observe as being associated with the country. The report states,

With North Korea’s tight control of it’s military and intelligence capabilities It is likely that this activity was carried out to fund the state or personal coffers of Pyongyang’s elite, as international sanctions have constricted the Hermit Kingdom.

South Korean Bitcoin Exchange Attacks

South Korean Bitcoin exchanges have become the target of Spearphishing attacks. These attacks are distinguished from general phishing attacks by virtue of being specifically targeted against specific individuals and these attacks have been observed by FireEye since potentially April of this year – attacks which have targeted multiple exchanges.

The first in April affected 4 wallets on the Yapizon South Korean Bitcoin exchange, and a further three took place in May and July.  The South Korean exchange “Yapizon” lost more than 3,800 Bitcoins and although no evidence been discovered to implicate North Korea in that attack, it is suggested by FireEye that the others were.

“North Korea’s Office 39 is involved in activities such as gold smuggling, counterfeiting foreign currency, and even operating restaurants,” alleges the report.

North Korea Suspected of Sony Hack

North Korea is increasingly being implicated as being behind a number of large scale and public hacking cases. Most notably North Korea was the prime suspect behind the Sony hack in 2014, which exposed emails including information regarding star salaries.

The hackers, who went under the moniker “Guardians of Peace”, demanded that the fictional comedy film “The Interview” dealing with the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un be withdrawn from release. United States intelligence officials, after evaluating the software, techniques, and network sources used in the hack, alleged that the attack was sponsored by North Korea. North Korea has denied all responsibility.

Is North Korea a convenient Fall Guy, or are increasing sanctions to blame for a rise in the nation states cybercrime activities, specifically targeting Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below.


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