Strategic Partnership Announced Between TokenPay and Litecoin Foundation

Strategic Partnership Announced Between TokenPay and Litecoin Foundation

In May 2018, TokenPay Swiss AG joined with WEG Bank in Germany. The former attained a 9.9 percent stake in the bank, along with the option to purchase as much as 90 percent, pending regulatory approval. On July 10, 2018, that 9.9 percent stake has been transacted to the Litecoin Foundation in exchange for a marketing and technology service agreement that could greatly benefit TokenPay.

Under current German banking laws, a business cannot own more than 9.9 percent of any bank without legislative support. Should TokenPay earn the approval it needs, the company will purchase the rest of the bank’s shares and use its network to add several hundred thousand customers to its new debit card solutions platform by the end of the year.

Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, TokenPay CEO Derek Capo explained, “We are building an entire ecosystem that includes merchant services, banking, escrow, gaming, e-sports, employments services, etc., where we have entire control of the vertical integration needed to lower costs, but also control our destiny. Litecoin is a top-five blockchain in the world, and boasts more than one million followers worldwide, which helps increase the chances of TokenPay’s ecosystem to succeed.”

TokenPay describes itself as “Bitcoin on steroids.” A decentralized and self-verifying payment platform project, TokenPay incorporates cryptographic technology along with security and privacy features to create the company’s token, TPAY. The company also boasts shares in both banking and asset management institutions.

Founded in 2011 by tech entrepreneur Charlie Lee, the Litecoin Foundation is based in Singapore as a nonprofit organization designed for promoting and building blockchain applications. The power and speed of the Litecoin blockchain also allow for lower fees and faster transaction speeds when compared to Bitcoin.

The partnership will give TokenPay access to Litecoin’s many users, who will now have the opportunity to trade and sell TPAY, as well as enroll in the company’s debit card services. Litecoin, on the other hand, will benefit from TokenPay’s banking connections to potentially integrate its blockchain network into further legitimate monetary establishments.

Lee commented, “This partnership is a huge win-win for both Litecoin and TokenPay. I’m looking forward to integrating Litecoin with the WEG Bank AG and all the various services it has to offer, to make it simple for anyone to buy and use Litecoin.”

Both companies will focus on specific aspects that are critical to the growth of the joint venture, including the TPAY cryptocurrency and its blockchain and the TokenPay multisignature transaction engine, which will boost payment speeds.

Dr. Jorg E. Wilhelm, head of the supervisory board of TokenPay Swiss AG, stated, “Our ecosystem consisting of the TPAY blockchain, WEG Bank, TokenSuisse and Litecoin Foundation provides us with a tremendous opportunity regarding merchant solutions, along with a strong and diverse customer base for our crypto debit card business. The tangible reality of bridging the gap between the old and new world is electrifying.”

Capo said he is also looking into developing partnerships with additional crypto-based companies like Verge.

“This is the beginning of the impact TokenPay is going to have in the blockchain industry,” he said. “We have a lot more projects and deals to work on, and we feel we have barely scratched the surface. Having partners like Litecoin with us is going to make the chance of success higher than it [was] yesterday.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

This content was originally published here.

Bitcoin is too hot for criminals. They’re using monero instead

How to buy and sell Bitcoin

How to buy and sell Bitcoin

Bitcoin is becoming too hot for criminals so they’re switching to more obscure cryptocurrencies such as monero, according to European law enforcement officials.

Just as bitcoin has skyrocketed in value and popularity, so has the attention given to the digital currency by law enforcement agencies, making it a less attractive method of payment in the criminal world.

Europe’s top law enforcement official — Europol executive director Rob Wainwright — tweeted Tuesday that there will be a “progressive shift in 2018 towards criminal use of cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin.”

That shift makes it “more challenging for law enforcement to counter,” he added.

Experts say bitcoin is becoming too mainstream, and therefore too risky, for criminals.

“The fact that bitcoin is constantly in the spotlight makes it more valuable for investors, but certainly less valuable for its earliest fans — criminals — giving rise to interest in other alternative cryptos designed to avoid tracking,” said Daniele Bianchi, assistant professor of finance at Warwick Business School.

The number of cases where criminals have been identified through bitcoin tracing is increasing, according to Europol. Companies such as Elliptic and Chainalysis specialize in tracking bitcoin transactions, linking them to companies and individuals, and they work closely with law enforcement agencies.

cryptocurrency criminals

Bitcoin may be challenging to track, but each transaction provides investigators with information that can lead them to the IP addresses of the computers sending and receiving the payment, the amount of bitcoins transferred and a timestamp, according to a Europol spokesperson.

That could be enough to identify those behind the transactions.

“This is, however, not true for some cryptocurrencies, which purposefully make the transactions hidden,” the spokesperson added.

Europol highlighted several cryptocurrencies it says are growing in popularity among criminals: monero, ethereum, dash and zcash.

According to Europol data, bitcoin used to account for roughly 90% of the cryptocurrency market until 2016. It now stands at 36%.

Monero, which was launched in 2014, offers even higher levels of privacy than bitcoin. Its technology makes it impossible to attribute transactions to any particular user or IP address.

Europol said monero is being accepted on several darkweb markets and has already been used in a ransomware attack.

Monero is currently trading at around $400 a piece. It was worth just $16 a year ago.

Bianchi explained that monero units are indistinguishable from one another, meaning that every unit of the currency can be substituted by another.

“This makes monero different from public-ledger cryptocurrencies, where [IP] addresses previously associated with undesired activity can be blacklisted and refused by network members,” he added.

CNNMoney (London) First published January 3, 2018: 12:32 PM ET

This content was originally published here.

Hodler’s Digest, October 22-28: US SEC Mulls Over Bitcoin ETFs, While Bakkt’s BTC Futures Inch Closer To Approval

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

US SEC Releases Memorandum From Meeting Over Bitcoin ETF Proposal

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has published a memorandum from a meeting about the Bitcoin exchange-traded-fund (ETF) proposal from VanEck and SolidX that included EC Commissioner Elad L. Roisman and his counsels Dean Conway, Matthew Estabrook, and Christina Thomas, along with representatives from SolidX, VanEck, and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE). The memorandum outlines the parties’ arguments over the regulators decision to disapprove SolidX’s previous ETF application, specifically the failure to comply the section of the Securities Exchange Act over the prevention of fraud and manipulation.

Crypto Exchange Coinbase And Circle Launch USD Stablecoin

Cryptocurrency exchange and wallet Coinbase has now launched the USD Coin (USDC) stablecoin, which was developed in collaboration with Coinbase and crypto finance company Circle. Coinbase users in the supported jurisdictions can now trade in USDC at Coinbase.com, as well as the iOS and Android apps. According to Coinbase, USDC will soon be supported on Coinbase Pro. The coin is reportedly 100 percent collateralized with U.S. dollars.

New York Regulators Approves Coinbase’s Crypto Custody Offering

The New York State Department of Financial Services authorized Coinbase’s wholly-owned subsidiary Coinbase Custody Trust Company LLC to add a range of custody services for virtual currencies, including Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, Ripple, and Litecoin. Coinbase had launched its custody services in July, with the aim to bring in institutional customers and able to store large amounts of digital currency.

NYSE Parent Company Announces BTC Futures Launch Date On Bakkt Platform

The Intercontinental Exchange, the parent company of the New York Stock Exchange, announced a Dec. 12, 2018 launch date for Bitcoin futures on its Bakkt platform this week. According to the release, ICE will list Bakkt Bitcoin (USD) Daily Futures Contracts for trading starting in December, and the product will be physically-settled and cleared by ICE Clear U.S., Inc. Also this week, an unnamed source told a tech outlet that ICE’s Bakkt crypto platform could get approval as soon as the first week of November.

Indian Crypto Exchange Detained For Unregistered Bitcoin ATM

Harish BV, the co-founder of Indian cryptocurrency exchange Unocoin, was held in custody this week shortly after setting up an allegedly unregistered Bitcoin ATM in Bangalore. Harish BV reportedly installed the ATM kiosk at a mall together with fellow Unocoin co-founder Sathvik Viswanath. According to local Indian media reports, Harish BV was detained because the ATM did not receive permission from the state, and was dealing with crypto outside of regulations.

Most Memorable Quotations 

Young Dirty Bastard

“I look forward to delivering even more music that would make Dad proud,” — Young Dirty Bastard, speaking about the Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s estate’s upcoming release of O.D.B. Coin

“The minister’s statement was clear: Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India. He did not say ‘illegal tender.’ There’s a huge difference. It means you bear the risk of your investment and there’s no regulation for the industry,” — Sathvik Viswanath, co-founder of Indian crypto exchange Unocoin

Laws And Taxes

Spanish Crypto Investors Could Face Mandatory Reporting Of Crypto Holdings For Taxes

Spain this week approved a new draft law that could require cryptocurrency investors to report their crypto holdings for tax purposes. Finance minister María Jesús Montero said that the new measures would apply to all Spanish citizens, even if they are currently living overseas. The draft bill specifically would requires both the identification and the balances of each investor’s virtual currencies. If the latest draft becomes approved as law, virtual currency holdings would need to be included in Spain’s “notorious” tax reporting structure known as the 720 form.

Taiwan Plans Initial Coin Offering Regulation To Be Issued By June 2019

The current chairman of Taiwanese finance regulator, speaking at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan Finance Committee, said that the country plans to release ICO regulation by June 2019. According to the chairman, “the more we regulator, the more this new economic behavior wanes.” Despite the chairman’s statement on ICO regulation, Taiwan does not have any plans on “curbing the creativity and productivity associated with cryptocurrencies” provided they do not constitute securities.

New York Judges Throw Out Class Action Lawsuit Against Nano Developers

A class action lawsuit brought on by a crypto investor against the development team of altcoin Nano was dismissed by a New York judge this week. According to court documents, the lawsuit alleged that the developers had lured him to trade in Nano on a platform that lost hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of the cryptocurrency. The lawsuit had asked that Nano do a “rescue fork” to return investors’ missing money. However, in the dismissal, the judge notes that the case had lacked merit.

Coinbase Lawsuit Over Insider Trading Of BCH Dismissed

A U.S. district judge has dismissed the lawsuit over alleged insider trading against crypto wallet and exchange Coinbase during its launch of Bitcoin Cash support last year. The lawsuit alleged that Coinbase employees had benefited from insider trading in the process of adding support for the altcoin. However, the judge noted that the plaintiff didn’t have a sufficient legal basis for his claims in the complaint, and dismissed the class action without prejudice.

US Tax Agency Advisory Committee Asks For Additional Guidelines For Crypto Transactions

An advisory committee of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has asked the agency to provide more guidelines for the taxation of crypto transactions, according to a 2018 general report. In 2014, the IRS had issued commentary specifically concerning digital currencies, with the recommendation that they be treated as property. However, the advisory committee has brought up several questions surrounding crypto taxation, including whether crypto can be considered as a “specific foreign financial asset.

Adoption

Visa Plans Quarter 1 Launch Of Blockchain-Based Digital Identity System

Visa is planning to release its blockchain-based digital identity system for cross-border payments in the first quarter of 2019. The system, called Visa B2B Connect, support a blockchain-based solution for financial institutions to securely process cross-border payments by tokenizing sensitive business data and creating a unique cryptographic identifier for transactions. The solution will use a Hyperledger Fabric framework, along with Visa’s “core assets.”

Report Finds Demand For Blockchain Engineers Has Grown 400 Percent Since 2017

Hired’s 2018 State of Salaries Report has found that demand for blockchain role has risen by 400 percent since the end of 2017. According to the report, the average earnings of a blockchain engineer has soared to between $150-175,000 per year. This salary puts blockchain engineers into the same category as artificial intelligence specialists, as the need for blockchain-able engineers increases. CNBC notes the demand is further fueled by the interest of global tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, all of whom are currently advertising for specialists from the emerging sector.

Sony Creates Contactless Cryptocurrency Hardware Wallet

Japanese technology firm Sony’s research arm announced this week that it had created a contactless cryptocurrency hardware wallet that utilizes IC smart card technology to communicate with the Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency network. According to the developers, the wallet’s advantages lie in dispensing with the need to attach the wallet to a device with a USB, the current industry standard.

Oracle Announces Suite Of Blockchain-Based Software For Supply Chain Management

Oracle Corp., a software development company, has announced the release of a suite of blockchain-based software-as-a-service (Saas) applications based on its Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service. Oracle’s new product is designed to increase the traceability and transparency through supply chains. The new product, called the Oracle Blockchain Applications Cloud, includes four apps: Intelligent Track and Trace, Lot Lineage and Provenance, Intelligent Cold Chain, and Warranty and Usage Tracking.

Binance’s Fiat-Crypto Exchange Goes Live In Uganda

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange, has officially launched its fiat-to-crypto exchange in Uganda this week. Binance Uganda has launched its live trading, enabling users to buy Binance and Ethereum with local fiat currency Ugandan shillings. This week’s announcement also noted that Binance Uganda is the “first step” to the expansion of crypto exchange markets for a “more inclusive ecosystem that will involve fiat currencies.

Mergers, Acquisitions, And Partnerships

China’s Largest Newspaper To Launch Blockchain Lab With Tech Firm

The official newspaper of the Communist Party of China’s venture capital wing has made a deal with Shenzhen-based technology company Xunlei Limited. According to the agreement, People’s Daily Online and the tech firm will create a laboratory for “technology innovation” at the People Capital’s Blockchain Research Institute. In addition to blockchain research, the partners will also create a “high-level industrial service platform” for organizing seminars, as well as promote and identify startups in the blockchain industry.

Largest Port In Europe Partners With Dutch Bank, Samsung For Blockchain Shipping Tests

The port of Rotterdam, the largest port in Europe, has announced a partnership this week with Dutch bank ABN AMRO and the IT subsidiary of Samsung to test blockchain use for shipping. The trial, according to Samsung SDS, will focus on shipping containers from an unnamed factory in Asia to the port of Rotterdam. The experiment will officially start in January, and the results will be announced in February.

Johnny Depp Partners With Crypto-Powered Social Entertainment Platform

U.S. actor and producer Johnny Depp has partnered with crypto-powered social entertainment platform TataTu in order to create and produce film and digital content together. The content will be produced by the Infinitum Nihil film production firm owned by Depp, who will be collaborating with TaTaTu founder Andrea Iervolino. TaTaTu, which launched in May of this year, aims to combat illegal piracy and improve transparency for rights holders, as well as to assist high-quality brand advertising by using distributed ledger technology (DLT).

VeChain, Republic Of Cyprus Sign MoU For Blockchain Development

Singapore-based blockchain platform VeChain Foundation, the U.S. blockchain startup CREAM, and the national investment partner of the Republic of Cyprus have signed an MoU for blockchain development and its use cases. According to their agreement, the parties will collaborate on national level investment strategies, using blockchain-powered economies and promoting blockchain technology, particularly in the field of financial services.

Funding Rounds

Government-Owned Holding Firm Subsidiary Invests In Binance Singapore Expansion

Vertex Ventures, a subsidiary of Singapore-based government-owned investment company Temasek Holdings, has announced an investment in crypto exchange Binance to support its expansion into Singapore. The investment is a joint effort between Vertex Ventures China and Vertex Ventures Southeast Asia and India, and will support Binance’s plans to create crypto-fiat services throughout South Asia. Wei Zhou, CFO at Binance, said in the release that the exchange “look[s] forward to building up the blockchain ecosystem and working with all stakeholders in Singapore to support continued innovation in the local fintech space.”

Overstock’s Medici Ventures Announces Investment In Decentralized Social Networks

Medici Ventures, Overstock’s venture capital subsidiary, has invested an undisclosed Series A investment in Minds, Inc., a decenetralized social network. Minds, founded in 2011, is a social network platform that rewards users with crypto for their activity online. According to the press release, Minds has adopted the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Manila Principles as the platform’s Digital Bill of Rights in order to “ensure freedom of speech” for its users.

Winners And Losers

Bitcoin is remaining stable this week, trading at around $6,473, with Ethereum at around $204. Total market cap is currently at around $208 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are PrimeStone, HappyCoin, and Paypex. The top three altcoin losers of the week are CJs, EPLUS Coin, and Etheera.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD Of The Week

$50 Million Australian ICO Shuts Down, Cites Regulatory Requirements

Australian crypto startup Global Tech Exchange (GTE) has ceased the operations of its ICO — which had a fundraising goal of $50 million — citing the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) requirements. The firm had gained popularity after being endorsed by Michael Clark — a former Australian cricket captain and national celebrity. As of press time, the reasons behind the ICO’s closure have not yet been publicly commented on.

Head Of Indian Nonprofit Trade Organization Calls Cryptocurrency “Illegal”

The president of India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) said this week that cryptocurrency is “illegal” and asked businesses to obey the law. Speaking to a local news outlet, the president said that the illegality of crypto is the result of the government’s apparent failure to keep up with innovation. While cryptocurrency is actually currently legal in India, the Reserve Bank of India banned the country’s banks from servicing crypto-related businesses in July.

Thai SEC Issues Warnings About Investing In Nine Unregistered Tokens And ICOs

The Thai Securities and Exchange Commission has issued a warning about investments in nine digital tokens and ICOs, which have reportedly not been registered. According to the Thai SEC, the regulator has initiated an investigation into digital tokens and ICO investments promoted on social media platforms, and have found nine where the product was not authorized. The Thai SEC notes that as the digital assets and ICOs do not have the SEC’s official approval, investors should be aware of associated risks of investment.

Coinbase Lets Fifteen Staff Members Go, Sources Report

Major U.S. cryptocurrency exchange and wallet Coinbase has let “at least” fifteen staff members go after hiring 250 this year, according to unnamed sources speaking to Yahoo Finance. The crypto company confirmed the layoffs, noting that their hiring practices moving forward would only allow for employees to be hired into Coinbase offices. One source told Yahoo that “people here are pretty upset about it, and so far senior leadership is handling communications poorly.”

Hong Kong-Based Crypto Exchange OKEx Delists 50+ Trading Pairs

Cryptocurrency exchange OKEx will delist over 50 trading pairs — not the coins themselves — that reportedly have weak performance. According to the exchange’s announcement, the exchange will halt the trading of more than 50 pairs at 6:00am on Oct. 31, 2018 CET, warning users that they should cancel their orders of the affected pairs from the platform. Andy Cheung, Head of Operations at OKEx, said that “as leaders, we are responsible for promoting a robust ecosystem […] We need to take action on those underperforming tokens now.”

Best Features

Iceland’s Farmers Have A Cunning Plan To Solve Crypto’s Energy Crisis

Wired speaks to math teacher Krista Hannesdóttir about her innovative crypto mining strategy in Iceland: she pays farmers for the use of their excess geothermal energy for running mining equipment. While the crypto mining scheme is relatively small — she makes around £7,876 (about $10,107) in Ethereum each month — they have to keep it on the down low in case the question of its legality could threaten the subsidies farmers receive for geothermal energy use.

Anybody Want Bitcoin Futures? Anybody?

Bloomberg Business looks at the role of Bitcoin futures in the market, from the initial hype in the fall and winter of last year, to current day realities of CBOE and CME trading around a combined 9,000 contracts a day. In comparison, CME traded over 18 million contracts daily in Q2 for oil, gold, and interest rates. However, even with the low daily trading rate, the BTC futures are “probably considered statistically one of the more successful products, both out of the gate and with the growth in the first six months.”

This content was originally published here.

Hackers infect Facebook Messenger users with malware that secretly mines bitcoin alternative monero

Cybercriminals are using  Messenger to infect computers with malware that mines cryptocurrency. 

Security researchers the Trend Micro cyber security firm said “Digmine” is targeting as many machines as possible, in order to earn monero – an alternative to bitcoin – for its creators 

It could also help cyber criminals completely take over a Facebook account, the researchers added. 

The bot was detected by cyber security firm Trend Micro, which says “Digimine” is designed to look like a video file.  

Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum and all other major cryptocurrencies crash

It only works when it is spread via the desktop version of Messenger, on Google Chrome. If you open it through Messenger on another platform, such as a mobile phone, Digmine won’t function as it is supposed to. 

However, it can still be considered very dangerous. As well as having the potential to let hackers take over your account, it can also slow your computer down and use your Facebook account to target your friends.

“If the user’s Facebook account is set to log in automatically, Digmine will manipulate Facebook Messenger in order to send a link to the file to the account’s friends,” the researchers said. 

“The abuse of Facebook is limited to propagation for now, but it wouldn’t be implausible for attackers to hijack the Facebook account itself down the line.”

Security experts recently told The Independent that bitcoin’s rapid recent rise in value might be making unsuspecting computer users more vulnerable to hackers.

It has led to more and more machines being secretly infected with malware that is designed to help cyber criminals “mine” for cryptocurrencies.

“The increasing popularity of cryptocurrency mining is drawing attackers back to the mining botnet business,” said Trend Micro. 

“And like many cybercriminal schemes, numbers are crucial — bigger victim pools equate to potentially bigger profits. The fact that they’re piggybacking on popular platforms such as social media to spread their malware is unsurprising.”

11 useful Facebook features you didn’t know existed

11 useful Facebook features you didn’t know existed

    • Clean up your News Feed

      Most of us are Facebook friends with some people we don’t actually care about, and there are several ways to keep their updates off your News Feed. The easiest option is to head to the column on the left and open News Feed Preferences. From here, you can prioritise friends, unfollow friends, refollow friends you unfollowed in the past and even block specific apps.

    • Change ad preferences

      You can view a list of everything Facebook thinks you’re into and tinker with your ad preferences. A lot more information is displayed on the desktop site than the app, so we’d recommend doing this on a computer. Just open Settings and select Advert Preferences.

    • Manage notifications

      You can get notifications about pretty much anything on Facebook these days, and that can be seriously irritating. Choose what you do and don’t want to be notified about by going into the Settings menu and selecting Notifications. You might be surprised by the number of sections you have to trawl through.

    • Save data

      Facebook automatically plays videos in your News Feed, and that’s a problem if you aren’t on a generous data plan. You can change this by going to Videos in the Settings menu and disabling autoplay. On the app, there’s feature in the left-hand column called Data Saver, which also does this, but reduces the size of pictures too.

    • Reorder your News feed

      You can choose to order the updates that appear in your News Feed by time or importance. Just hit the three buttons next to News Feed Preferences on the Facebook site and choose between Top Stories and Recent Stories.

    • Download your data

      Facebook lets you download all of the immense amounts of data it has on you, including the posts you’ve shared, your messages and photos, ads you’ve clicked on and even the IP addresses that are logged when you log in or out of the site. It’s a lot of information, which you’ll want to get your hands on if you decide to quit the social network.

    • Find nearby places

      Nearby Places is actually a really handy tool, which lets you quickly find and research things like restaurants, hotels, museums and nightlife hotspots around you. It lives in the left-hand column, and also shows useful information like customer ratings, prices and distance.

    • Find free Wi-Fi

      Similarly, Find Wi-Fi is ideal for when you’re bored, running low on data or lost. It shows you all the places in your vicinity that offer free Wi-Fi, so you can head over and either relax or get some work done.

    • Save things for later

      Facebook’s ideal for killing time, but every now and again you’ll stumble across something you’re interested in right as you need to put your phone away. Fortunately, you can save posts for later by hitting the arrow in the top-right corner and selecting the Save option. Everything you save goes straight to the Saved section in the left-hand column.

    • Control tags

      When people tag you in posts or pictures, they don’t have to automatically appear on your profile. You can switch on Facebook’s Review Tags feature by going to Settings and Timeline and Tagging.

    • Delete your account

      To permanently delete your Facebook account, you need to head to Facebook’s Delete Account page. The site can take up to 90 days to process account deletion requests, but once your account’s gone, it’s gone. You can deactivate your account instead, by going to Security and Login in the Settings menu.

    The researchers the malware has infected people in South Korea, Vietnam, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Venezuela, but “it’s not far-off for Digmine to reach other countries given the way it propagates”.

    They have alerted Facebook to the malware. 

    The social media giant said: “We maintain a number of automated systems to help stop harmful links and files from appearing on Facebook and in Messenger. If we suspect your computer is infected with malware, we will provide you with a free anti-virus scan from our trusted partners. 

    “We share tips on how to stay secure and links to these scanners on facebook.com/help.”

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    This content was originally published here.

    Canada trialing use of Ethereum blockchain to enhance transparency in govt funding – National

    The Canadian government has launched a trial to explore the use of  technology in making government research grant and funding information more transparent to the public.

    For the trial, the National Research Council (NRC) is using the Catena Blockchain Suite, a Canadian-made product built on the Ethereum blockchain, to publish funding and grant information in real time.

    When the NRC creates or amends a grant, the pertinent information is stored on the Ethereum blockchain, and posted on an online database that Canadians can peruse.

    READ MORE: Federal government exploring ‘blockchain’ technology to boost innovation economy

    “Blockchains provide the ultimate in transparency and trust, making this technology a brave new world for organizations that strive to conduct transparent business,” the NRC said in a blog post.

    “These are early days yet, but the experiment is expected to provide constructive insight into the potential for blockchain technology and how it may be used for more open and transparent function of public programs.”

    What is the Ethereum blockchain?

    As the NRC website explains, “On the simplest level, blockchains are public ledgers that record transactions shared among many users. Once data is entered on a blockchain, it is secure and unalterable, and provides a permanent record.”

    The high level of security comes from storage of data in encrypted blocks that are decentralized, or stored on a network of computers around the world. This combination of encryption and decentralization ensures that data is practically impenetrable.

    The most well-known manifestation of blockchain technology is Bitcoin, a digital currency that stores all transactions and amounts on a decentralized public ledger. But while Bitcoin’s meteoric rise has garnered it much hype, its utility pales in comparison to Ethereum.

    WATCH: Bitcoin 101 for Canadians: a beginner’s guide to the digital currency

    Whereas Bitcoin is a digital currency, Ethereum is an entire blockchain-based platform whose operations are fueled by the cryptocurrency token Ether. Ethereum’s usefulness stems from its ability to run smart contracts, which are coding operations that make it possible to exchange money or data in a transparent and secure manner.

    READ MORE: Bitcoin’s profitability dwarfed by cryptocurrency rivals Ripple, Ethereum

    The Ethereum platform even comes complete with its own programming language, allowing developers to build applications and services that use its blockchain. The Catena Blockchain Suite, built by Ottawa-based company Bitaccess, is one such application.

    How is the NRC using the Ethereum blockchain?

    Every time the NRC gives a grant to a company or individual, it shares that information with Bitaccess, which stores the data on the secure and tamper-proof Ethereum blockchain. Individual grant information is then posted online.

    Canadians can peruse grant information by monetary value, date, recipient and region. They can also verify grant information by clicking on the Transaction ID link, which takes them to the unique transaction listing on the online Ethereum transaction database Etherscan.io.

    As of Saturday, Jan. 20, the biggest grant listed on the database was an $11,849,901 contribution to an industry R&D project at Ryerson University.

    READ MORE: Quebec poised to become bitcoin mining hub as China cracks down on energy-sapping miners

    The initiative should come as music to the ears of Ethereum’s 23-year-old Russian-Canadian inventor Vitalik Buterin.While much of the talk surrounding the rise of cryptocurrencies has centred on their profit-making potential (the value of the Ether token has risen by over 10,000 per cent in the last one year), Buterin, who invented Ethereum in 2015 aged 19, has been keen to stress the larger mission behind the technology — his website and Twitter timeline frequently refer to the use of Ethereum to distribute power and trust among the masses, rather than focus them on traditional power brokers such as government and banks.

    Ethereum’s inventor Vitalik Buterin speaks during the TechCrunch Disrupt 2017 event in San Francisco, California, U.S., Sept. 18, 2017.

    David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    On one occasion, he shared an article discussing the use of Ethereum by the UN and European Union to monitor refugee populations and funding, while maintaining that the use of the technology by governments doesn’t necessarily run contrary to the aim of decentralization.

    In November, Buterin tweeted out a poll asking his half a million followers to vote on which institutions they would most like to see adopt blockchain storage.

    With 44 per cent of the vote, the “government” option easily won out.

    This content was originally published here.

    Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, cryptocurrency prices fall on January 16

    bitcoinMarkets Insider

    • The 10 biggest cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation are falling on Tuesday morning.
    • Declining Japanese and South Korean trading volumes blamed for spooking the market.
    • Cryptocurrencies surged in 2017 but have been marked by volatility so far this year.
    • Meanwhile, independent financial advisor deVere plans to launch a crypto app.

    LONDON — The 10 biggest cryptocurrencies by market capitalisation are plunging on Tuesday morning, with all suffering double-digit percentage losses.

    Bitcoin fell as much as 14% in early trade, breaking through both $13,000 and $12,000 levels, but has recovered slightly since then. The decline appears to have spooked the market, with other coins selling off in at the same time.

    Here’s the scoreboard as of 10.30 a.m. GMT (5.30 a.m. ET) and per Markets Insider:

    1. Bitcoin is down 12.9% against the dollar to $11,860.01;
    2. Bitcoin Cash is down 17.3% to $1,971.70;

    Cryptocurrencies have experienced a volatile start to 2018 after a huge rally last year.

    Increased regulatory scrutiny from South Korea has dampened sentiment in the sector. Mati Greenspan, an analyst at trading platform eToro, said declining volumes from Japan and South Korea appeared to be behind Tuesday morning’s sell-off.

    Crypto prices in these markets typically carry a premium, which pushes up average prices globally. Traders in these Asian markets are generally buyers too, meaning that a tailoff in activity could create a big mismatch in buyers and sellers.

    “The volumes have been declining steadily both in Japan and South Korea over the last few days,” Greenspan told Business Insider. “This morning, the combined volume from these two top cryptotrading countries dropped below 30%. Looks like they’re tired of overpaying for cryptos and waiting for the market to even out.”

    Neil Wilson, a senior analyst at ETX Capital, said in an email on Tuesday morning: “Bitcoin faces a regulatory crunch sooner or later and increasingly we see signs of this starting to bite following South Korea’s tentative plans to ban trading on cryptocurrencies and China’s move to shutter mines. Latest developments suggest more regulatory pressures.

    “China is said to be targeting websites and mobile apps that offer exchange-like services, in a bid to block access to platforms that deliver centralised trading on cryptocurrencies. In addition to developments in China, South Korean Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon reiterated on Tuesday that the government is actively considering an outright ban on crypto trading.”

    Elsewhere in the cryptocurrency space, deVere Group, an independent financial advisor with $12 billion under advisement, announced plans to launch its own cryptocurrency app. DeVere Crypto will let people store, transfer and exchange five major cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin and ethereum.

    DeVere’s CEO and founder Nigel Green said in a statement: “Traditionalists who declare cryptocurrencies ‘a fad’ are akin to King Canute trying to command the tides of the sea to go back.

    “DeVere Crypto is designed to meet the growing need and want to store and transfer cryptocurrencies. It’s meeting the evident demand.”

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    This content was originally published here.

    Institutional Finance Update: Leveraging Digital Technologies, Using Blockchain for Climate Action and Sustainable Development

    5 September 2018: Discussions in recent months have explored how emerging technologies such as blockchain and digitalization processes could serve the implementation of the SDGs and the Paris Agreement on climate change. In August, the World Bank launched a blockchain-operated US$110 million bond, with potential impacts on carbon market trading. Other multilateral institutions have stressed the potential of digitalization technologies for sustainable development. The UNFCCC issued a report that assesses financing climate technology entrepreneurship and actions needed to support overcoming specific challenges in developing countries.

    UNFCCC Urges Support for Climate Action through Climate Technology Incubators and Accelerators

    Innovation can speed up and scale up national efforts to address climate change. But how can innovation be supported to the point that positive social and environmental impacts can be realized, especially in developing countries? This question is addressed in a report by the UNFCCC Technology Executive Committee (TEC), the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) titled, ‘Climate Technology Incubators and Accelerators.’ The report identifies the need for finance for entrepreneurial activities, and strengthened support systems, along with enhanced linkages to climate technology markets.

    With government support, incubators offer entrepreneurs a physical location and a range of services, including business, marketing, technical and networking, for a few years. They also link entrepreneurs to sources of finance and investment. Accelerators, traditionally more focused on high technology, offer entrepreneurs mentoring, peer review and skills transfer for a shorter period of a few months, in exchange for taking a small percentage shareholding in the resulting venture.

    The report notes that, of an estimated 2,000 technology incubators and 150 accelerators worldwide, only a limited number, fewer than 70, are climate technology incubators and accelerators, of which only 25 are in developing countries. The report outlines existing challenges for innovation in climate technologies, which are largely capital intensive and of a risky nature. In addition, developing countries lack access to non-dilutive low-cost capital. To overcome these challenges, the report presents a list of key actions in the areas of: supporting developing countries in building and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems to unlock financing; crowding in private finance and developing financial instruments that reduce risks and opportunity costs for local public and private financial institutions; and exploring new incubation models aiming for financial sustainability. [Climate Technology Incubators and Accelerators] [SDG Knowledge Hub Update on Executive Summary of the Report]

    Using Blockchain Technology for Climate Action and Sustainable Development

    Earlier this year, expert discussions on the use of blockchain technology to improve carbon emission and clean energy trading, climate finance flows, and monitoring and reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions took place during the Bonn climate talks in May. In July, UNFCCC Collaboration Centres for the Latin America and the Caribbean Region and the Regional Platform for Low Emission Resilient Development Strategies (LEDS LAC) continued discussions by holding a webinar, in Spanish, on how blockchain technology is driving global climate action in Latin America. [UNFCCC Press Release] [LEDS LAC Webinar (in Spanish)]

    GCF provides financial support to Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Commission, the country’s National Designated Authority.

    The World Bank issued bond-i, a two-year US$110 million bond fully managed using the blockchain technology. The launch followed from an Innovation Lab assessment on the impact of blockchain and other disruptive technologies for development, specifically in areas such as land administration, supply chain management, health, education, cross-border payments and carbon market trading. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is the lead manager of the bond. [World Bank Press Release]

    IDB Supports Digitalization of Ecuador’s Electric System

    The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) approved a US$100 million loan to help Ecuador improve the reliability of its electric system. The loan is for a 25-year term, with a 5-year disbursement period, a 7.5-year grace period and a LIBOR-based interest rate. Ecuador will use the loan to implement projects that aim at strengthening national transmission and distribution systems, including through equipment renewal and digitalization.

    The funds will also support projects to boost environmental waste management capabilities and institutional strengthening to improve energy prospecting and analysis. In addition, some of the finance will help implement a Gender Action Plan for the electricity sector, including actions to reinforce gender equality in the areas of policy formulation and project planning, generation and management. [IDB Press Release]

    Advancing Clean Energy in India through Capital Investment and Partnerships

    The most important challenge in the rooftop solar photovoltaics (PV) sector is investment support through concessional funding sources, according to a joint study by PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt Ltd, India, and Climate Investment Funds (CIF). The report titled, ‘Rooftop Solar PV in India: Looking Back, Looking Ahead,’ presents experiences in the rooftop solar PV sector from China, Germany and the US, and assesses India’s growth potential in the sector. Specific attention is given to market evolution in these countries, their respective target markets, business models and financing instruments, as well as key challenges. The report concludes by outlining projected scenarios for India’s rooftop solar PV sector and capital investment required to support its growth. [Rooftop Solar PV in India: Looking Back, Looking Ahead] [CIF Press Release]

    The US-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) initiative signed on Tata Cleantech Capital Limited (TCCL), a joint venture between Tata Capital and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), as a new partner to finance and deploy high impact development projects that support clean energy access in underserved regions in India.

    USICEF is a partnership between the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and a consortium of foundations. It provides project preparation support to catalyze long-term debt financing for distributed solar power from a range of financial institutions. Climate Policy Initiative (CPI), which serves as the Program Manager of USICEF, leverages public and philanthropic funds to catalyze private investment in distributed clean energy in India. [CPI Press Release]

    Leveraging Digital Technologies for Development in Asia-Pacific

    During the Digital Development Forum 2018, held at the Asian Development Bank (ADB) headquarters in Manila, Philippines, the Bank announced that it will deliver integrated solutions in the areas of smart cities, e-government and e-commerce, while implementing digital reforms within the institution itself. ADB reported on projects already underway with a focus on reliable information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, skilled human resources, and enabling policies and regulatory environments. [ADB Press Release]

    GCF Supports Climate Action in Pacific, Bhutan

    During its Second Structured Dialogue with the Pacific, held in August in Pohnpei, Micronesia, GCF strengthened partnerships with key stakeholders in the region.

    Pacific island countries have successfully engaged with GCF, with nine projects approved to date, as well as 19 readiness projects supporting the capacity of countries to respond to the climate change challenge. Countries in the region have also submitted an additional 18 projects for consideration in future GCF Board meetings. At the Dialogue, countries presented the goal of submitting 64 additional project proposals. [GCF Press Release]

    The Government of Bhutan and the GCF scoping mission convened a number of meetings, including a national structured dialogue, aimed at identifying ways for climate finance to help bolster national climate action.

    Bhutan is developing its 12th five-year plan to strengthen, among others, its progress on low-emission and climate-resilient development. For this task, Bhutan is using the GCF country programme, which summarizes a climate action agenda and planned activities with the Fund. GCF provides financial support directly to the country’s National Designated Authority (NDA), the Gross National Happiness Commission. Bhutan is receiving US$400,000 in GCF readiness support to assist its engagement with the Fund. GCF is also in the final stages of approving a US$3 million National Adaptation Plan (NAP) for Bhutan, with a focus on the water sector.

    The SDG Knowledge Hub publishes monthly climate finance updates, which largely focus on multilateral financing and cover, inter alia, mitigation and adaptation project financing news and lessons, institutional events and news, and latest developments in carbon markets and pricing. Past climate finance updates can be found under the tags: Finance Update: Climate Change; and Finance Update: Sustainable Energy.

    This content was originally published here.

    How private is Monero (XMR)? Focus on privacy coins – Crypto Recorder

    The discussion surrounding privacy oriented coins is not slowing down anytime soon. These coins ensure that user activities are not only hidden from the public eye but also untraceable. Governments are aware of privacy-focused coins and to be frank, most of them do not like this idea at all. Cryptocurrency exchanges in Japan have been delisting privacy coins in order to avoid conflict with the regulatory body in the country, the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

    The number of anonymous coins continues to increase in the cryptocurrency industry. Users are slowly becoming aware that most blockchains leave their transactions and details online to be viewed by any interested party. However, some people would rather have these details away from the public not because they are running illegal activities but they feel safe knowing that no one is tracking their operations. It is unfortunate that anonymous coins first became a preferred option for criminals. The situation tainted not only privacy coins but also other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (BTC). The crypto industry is slowly but steadily redeeming itself from this criminal notion.

    Anonymous coins like Monero (XMR) cryptographically hide the number of coins that a user sent, received or owns. They are untraceable and cannot be linked by using transaction history via the blockchain. They also ensure fungibility by making sure that all the coins are of the same value and are mutually interchangeable. In addition to that, they are decentralized in a way that all the nodes on the protocol have equal powers as well as control and no authority single-handedly creates the currency. Other privacy-focused coins in the industry include Dash (DASH), Zcash (ZEC), and Verge (XVG) among others.

    Monero (XMR)

    Monero is said to be cryptographically anonymous by default. This is because it utilizes various privacy features. Significantly, stealth address and the ring confidential transactions (RingCT) are top on the list of the features that make Monero private.

    Stealth Addresses

    On the Monero protocol a user can receive payments via a single address. However, the blockchain ensures that links between the user’s address and other people addresses are non-existent. This complex process employs what is known as stealth addresses. In this case, a random one-time address is automatically developed for every transaction done by the sender. This means that all the payments sent to a user are directed to unique addresses on the protocol. In the end, there are no links to other addresses on the blockchain and the recipient remains masked from public scrutiny.

    Ring Signatures come in handy in a situation where the recipient of the coins moves the funds. Ring Signatures mask all the outputs on Monero blockchain ensuring untraceability to the original sender. The outputs are grouped in other transactions on the protocol, this obfuscates the transactions that are being sent and in turn creating a situation of plausible deniability.

    Ring Confidential Transactions (RingCT)

    This technology was introduced by Monero (XMR) in January of last year. It was an improvement of the ring signatures. The new improved version included confidential transactions that cryptographically hide the amount of funds being sent but at the same time, verifying the transaction amount. The details of the transaction remain concealed. Read more on ring confidential transactions (RingCT) here.

    At the time of writing Monero is trading at $135.84 following a 12.75% jump in the last 24 hours. XMR/USD recently traded below $100.00 but found a support at $80.00 before the bulls entered. Monero (XMR) is currently testing $140 but supported at $120 and $95.00.

    This content was originally published here.

    Top 5 Crypto Performers Overview: Stellar, Bitcoin Cash, Cardano, Dash, Monero

    The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

    The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

    The crypto markets are showing the first signs of bottoming out. Most cryptocurrencies are well above their yearly lows and are starting new uptrends. Every bull phase has a new set of leaders. Therefore, it is important to note the digital currencies that are pulling the market higher, as these are the ones that are likely to outperform during the move upwards.

    Bitcoin’s (BTC) dominance continues to drop gradually since reaching a high of about 57.80 percent in mid-September. This shows that the market participants are loading up on altcoins. However, a new bull phase cannot start without support from the leading cryptocurrency.

    The good news regarding Bitcoin is that it has stopped falling and is gradually moving higher. Its volume topped $11 billion over the 24-hour period on March 15, a level not seen since April 25 of last year. This shows that market participants are gradually turning bullish on the leading cryptocurrency.

    As the crypto universe emerges from its prolonged bear phase, there will be periods when Bitcoin will lead and other times when altcoins will lead. So, traders should change their strategy accordingly.

    XLM/USD

    Stellar (XLM) is the best performing major cryptocurrency of the past week. It rallied on the back of favorable news, as Coinbase Pro announced support for Stellar on March 13. This move will likely eventually lead to full support on Coinbase’s other platforms. The appointment of Denelle Dixon, former chief operating officer at Mozilla, as the CEO and executive director of Stellar Development Foundation also served as bullish news.

    Additionally, IBM’s push to create a stablecoin targeting blockchain-powered cross-border payment solutions for banks involves a partnership with the altcoin in the form of Blockchain World Wire. The question is, can this adoption and development-based rally continue or will it hit a roadblock ahead? Let’s take a look at the charts.

    The XLM/USD pair is in a downtrend. Both the moving averages are still down and the RSI is in the negative zone. Currently, it is attempting to pullback from the lows, which will face resistance at $0.14861760 and above it at the downtrend line.

    We are yet to see a higher high and a higher low being formed, which will indicate that the downtrend is over. Therefore, for long-term investors, we don’t see any reliable buy setups yet. If the pair turns down from the 20-week EMA, it will again attempt a breakdown to new lows.   

    BCH/USD

    Bitcoin Cash (BCH) was the second-best performer for the week, rising about 15 percent. Though there was apparently no specific news driving prices higher, the digital currency has a history of vertical rallies and waterfall declines. Let’s see where it goes from here.

    After many small range weeks, the BCH/USD pair is looking to move up. The current move is likely to carry it to the 20-week EMA, which is just below the horizontal resistance of $239. If the bulls succeed in breaking out of $239, we anticipate the pair to pick up momentum and rally to $400. The digital currency has a history of sharp rallies; hence, the target might surprise to the upside.

    Contrary to our assumption, if the cryptocurrency turns down from $239, it might extend its stay in the range for a few more weeks. It will turn negative if the bears sink the price below $105.

    ADA/USD

    Cardano (ADA) announced this week that it will be one of the founding members of the  European Commission’s International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications. The association is an effort to identify the improvements blockchain technology can bring to various industries and formulate a common approach for the European Union.

    The ADA/USD pair has been range bound between $0.036815 and $0.051468. We like it when a digital currency forms a large basing pattern after a prolonged downtrend. Previous attempts to breakout or breakdown of the range did not find any takers.

    Currently, the bulls are trying to breakout of the range once again. The 20-week EMA is just above this level, which might also act as a roadblock. If the digital currency scales above the 20-week EMA, we anticipate a quick rally to $0.082952 and above it to $0.094256. Therefore, traders can buy on a weekly close (UTC time frame) above $0.051468 and keep a stop loss of $0.0350.

    Opposite to our expectations, if the digital currency turns down from the current levels, it will extend it stay in the range for a few more weeks. A breakdown of the range will be a negative sign that can result in a retest of the lows, below which the downtrend will resume.

    DASH/USD

    Dash (DASH) has been making huge inroads in Venezuela as the citizens look at various available avenues to deal with the unstable Bolivar and foreign sanctions, which threaten to derail SWIFT, Visa and MasterCard services. Dash Text has come up with a charity system that is devoid of any human third-party intervention. The donations are directly distributed among the pool of recipients. In other news, Equicex Group, the provider of privacy-focused debit cards, has decided to integrate Dash, which increases the options available for Dash users.

    The DASH/USD pair continues to trade between $56.214 and $103.261. The bulls are attempting to push prices above the resistance of the range. The 20-week EMA is placed just below $103.261 levels. We expect the bears to defend this resistance. If the price turns down, then the consolidation will stretch out for a few more weeks. The trend will turn negative if the bears sink the digital currency below the range.

    Conversely, if the bulls succeed in breaking out of the overhead resistance, it can move towards the next levels of $175 and $224. Aggressive traders can buy a breakout and weekly close (UTC time frame) above $103.261. The initial stop loss can be kept at $56 that can be quickly raised if the price moves northwards or fails to build upon gains following the breakout.

    XMR/USD

    In Monero (XMR) news, the altcoin completed a hard fork on March 09 that will help improve its privacy, security and ASIC resistance. Following the update, the hash rate of the Monero network plunged by about 90 percent from 1.14Gh/s to 162.14Mh/s. Additionally, two new Monero trading pairs were added by top global exchange Binance. Given these developments, the cryptocurrency came out this week as the fifth best performer. Can it improve upon its performance?

    The bulls are attempting to carry the XMR/USD pair above the resistance of the range at $60.1470 and the 20-week EMA at $62.50. If successful, a quick rally to $81, followed by a move to $114.840 is probable. The long-term target is $150.

    Traders can buy on a close above $62.5 and keep a stop loss of $38, which is just below the bottom of the range. As the price moves higher, we would suggest trailing the stops higher to reduce risk.

    On the other hand, if the price turns down from the overhead resistance, the virtual currency will remain range bound for a few more weeks. The trend will turn negative on a breakdown of the current range.

    Market data is provided by theHitBTC exchange. Charts for analysis are provided by TradingView.

    This content was originally published here.