Nigeria’s Union Bank Reportedly Warns Against Crypto Transactions

The Union Bank of Nigeria has reportedly cautioned against transactions in cryptocurrencies, according to a letter allegedly sent to its users and published Nov. 26 by Nairaland, an online community targeted at Nigerians.

Nairaland, the largest Nigerian online community with over 55 million Internet users, has published a letter reportedly from the Union Bank, which cited the Central Bank of Nigeria “advising that cryptocurrency is not a legal tender in Nigeria and has cautioned against transacting in them.” It also states:

“In order to guarantee the security of our customers’ funds, Union Bank will monitor accounts being used for cryptocurrency transactions and may impose restrictions including closure of such accounts.”

The Union Bank of Nigeria is commercially run, with its assets totaling $4.1 billion as of 2018. As of press time, the bank did not respond to a request for confirmation about the authenticity of the letter.

Back in this spring, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), a Nigerian financial agency, had already warned its citizens against cryptocurrencies, as “various government agencies in Nigeria have cautioned citizens on the new form of money,” including the CBN, as Cointelegraph reported Mar. 24

Meanwhile, last week, the presidential candidate of Nigeria’s leading opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar promised “to speed up the economy positively through blockchain and cryptocurrency,” Cointelegraph wrote Nov. 25.

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UAE’s Al Hilal Becomes First Islamic Bank to Issue Bond on Blockchain

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A state-owned financial institution in the United Arab Emirates, Al Hilal Bank, has made history by becoming the world’s first Islamic bank to execute a Sukuk (Sharia-compliant bond) transaction on a blockchain.

In a secondary market deal, Al Hilal Bank used blockchain technology to resell and settle a portion of a US$0.5 billion Sukuk issued two months ago and scheduled to mature in September 2023. According to the CEO of Al Hilal Bank, Alex Coelho, integrating DLT into Sukuk deals will make the transactions safer while ensuring compliance with Islamic law.

“The advantages of using smart contracts range from safer transactions with robust Shariah compliance, to the unlocking of new opportunities,” said Coelho in a statement.

Additionally, smart Sukuks will enhance efficiency during transactions and cut the overhead costs that are incurred during issuance and settlement.

World Bank’s US$73 million bond

world bank blockchain

While Al Hilal is reportedly the first Islamic bank to execute a Sharia-compliant bond transaction on the blockchain, it is not the first time that a regular bond has been settled on a blockchain. In late August, the World Bank settled a two-year bond worth US$73 million on the Ethereum network.

The Bretton Woods institution picked Australia’s largest bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, as the sole arranger of the bond which was dubbed BONDI – Blockchain Operated New Debt Instrument. The World Bank issued the bond, which was priced at a 2.251% yield, with a view of raising funds from public investors and investing in development activities in emerging nations.

Austria’s Bond Auction

Less than two months ago, Austria raised more than one billion euros in a bond auction whose notarization took place on the blockchain. According to Austrian special-purpose bank, Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG, the use of blockchain technology enhanced the security of the transaction and consequently engendered confidence in the bond auction process.

“Blockchain technology offers great potential for increasing efficiency and ensuring the quality of bank processes. Therefore, we have been dealing with this topic intensively for some time now and have already tested several prototypes. Starting the real operation on behalf of OeBFA is a pleasing and logical next step,” an executive at Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG, Angelika Sommer-Hemetsberger, said, as CCN reported at the time.

Earlier this year, Russian banking giant Sberbank and telecommunications firm MTS transacted the country’s first commercial bond on the blockchain. The bond worth approximately US$12 million was placed on a proprietary blockchain platform that based on Hyperledger Fabric, a DLT application associated with the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger consortium.

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French Regulators, Central Bank Distance Themselves From Tobacconists’ BTC Retail Plans

French stock market regulator, the Autorite des Marches Financiers (AMF), has jointly issued a warning with the country’s central bank and French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR) recalling the risks associated with “speculative” crypto assets. The warning was posted as a press release on the AMF official website Nov. 26.

The three entities’ joint announcement has been issued in explicit response to recent news that France’s tobacco federation, the Fédération des Buralistes, had obtained permission to sell Bitcoin (BTC) at tobacconists as of January 2019. The AMF, ACPR, and Banque de France have today firmly stated that:

“[We] recall the risks associated with investing in speculative [crypto] assets, which are not well adapted to the profiles of unsophisticated private investors […]. Purchase, sale and investment in Bitcoins are currently carried out outside any regulated market.”

As previously reported, the Fédération des Buraliste partnered with local cryptocurrency wallet provider KeplerK on plans to roll out Bitcoin vouchers — in denominations of 50, 100 and 250 euros — for sale across over 4,000 small tobacco retailers in France.

While media reporting indicated the initiative had been greenlighted by the ACPR, which acts under the auspices of the Banque de France, the central bank at the time adamantly refuted the claims.

Today’s announcement stresses that the entity using the trade name KeplerK, which reportedly “has a capital of 50000 euros […] does not have any authorization or approval by a French or foreign authority, and is not likely to provide any guarantee to the customer base.”

It continues to clarify that KeplerK “must not be confused with companies approved in France such as Kepler Cheuvreux or Kepler capital markets, which have no connection with this activity.”

Last December, the governor of the Banque de France issued a robust warning against the high risks of Bitcoin investments, and the AMF has added multiple crypto-related sites to its investment blacklist on at least two occasions.

In September, nonetheless, the watchdog received new legal powers to grant licenses to companies that run Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), in a move that was presented as a bid to “attract investors from all over the world.”

Positive developments have continued this month, with the Finance Committee of the lower house of the French parliament adopting amendments to a tax bill that ease taxes on cryptocurrency sales.

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Abu Dhabi Bank Reports ‘First’ Blockchain-based Transaction of ‘Sharia-Compliant Bonds’

Al Hilal Bank, based in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has announced it has completed “the world’s first sukuk transaction” with the use of blockchain technology, Reuters reports Nov. 26.

Sukuk, a legal instrument also known as “sharia compliant” bonds, allows investors to generate returns without infringing on Islamic law.

Reuters notes that Abu Dhabi’s Al Hilal Bank has used the distributed ledger technology (DLT) to “to sell and settle in the secondary market a small portion of its $500 million five-year sukuk,” adding:

“Al Hilal Bank is aiming to transform the sukuk market through embracing blockchain and integrating it into their infrastructure, paving the way for innovative digitized Islamic sukuk.”

According to a spokeswoman for the bank, the deal was worth $1 million, sold by Al Hilal to a private investor. Reuters adds that Swiss-based fintech company Jibrel Network, which has offices in Dubai, participated in the transaction.

Earlier this month, a Swiss startup, dubbed X8 AG, had received an Islamic financial certification from the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) for the company’s Ethereum-based stablecoin, as Cointelegraph reported Nov. 12

Back this summer, the Shariyah Review Bureau had released guidance for Stellar, an open-source platform for distributed payments, to deploy their technology in Islamic financial institutions. Stellar has claimed to be the first distributed ledger protocol to obtain sharia compliance certification, Cointelegraph wrote July 18.

Previously this spring, an Indonesian fintech startup published a report titled, “Is Bitcoin Halal or Haram: A Sharia Analysis,” concluding that Bitcoin (BTC) is “generally permissible” under sharia law, Cointelegraph reported Apr. 12.

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Malaysia’s Finance Minister Says Crypto Issuance Must Defer to Central Bank

Malaysian Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has stated that any entity wishing to issue cryptocurrency must defer to the country’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM). The minister’s comments were reported by local English-language daily broadsheet the New Straits Times (NST) Nov. 26.

The finance minister outlined his stance in response to a question from parliamentary member Dr Tan Yee Kew of the country’s ruling People’s Justice Party (PKR). Dr. Tan reportedly inquired into which measures were being taken to assess the risks cryptocurrencies may pose for the financial system and local fiat currency.

As the NST notes, Dr. Tan’s question came in the context of a project for a government-backed cryptocurrency, dubbed Harapan Coin, that is soon due to be presented before the central bank and Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

The Harapan Coin claims to be the world’s first political fundraising platform deploying cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Last week, a Malaysian Member of Parliament urged the government to implement crypto regulations before moving forward with the plans for the coin.

As previously reported, BNM initially planned to issue a directive to regulate the use of cryptocurrencies in early 2018, after several months of preparations.

Guan Eng responded to Dr. Tan’s question by urging caution, stressing that the systemic impact of cryptocurrencies on financial stability is still being examined, and that all entities considering  cryptocurrency issuance are subject to the regulatory line of the central bank:

“I advise all parties wishing to introduce Bitcoin (style) cryptocurrency to refer first to Bank Negara Malaysia as it is the authority that will issue the decision on financial mechanism. It is not that we wish to obstruct [cryptocurrency] as we are keeping an open-mind. But it is still subject to existing laws. Do not try to do something without guidelines from Bank Negara and commit something against the law.”

As NST further reports, Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad revealed on Nov. 13 that all paperwork had been readied to pitch the Harapan Coin project before BNM and the presidential council. The proposal has drawn sharp criticisms from multiple civic and political actors, with civil society group Centre for a Better Tomorrow (Cenbet) accusing the government of being “overly eager” to launch into “trendy but untested schemes.”

In February, the country passed legislation requiring crypto exchanges to fully identify traders after the implementation of new central bank’s anti-money laundering (AML) legislation. The NST’s report today refers to further comments from the finance minister that outlined Malaysia’s struggle with illicit monetary outflows, across the spectrum of income, customs and tax duty evasion, smuggling, illegal capital outflows, and more.

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Central Bank Does Not Endorse Plans for Tobacco Shops to Sell Bitcoin

France’s tobacco federation, the Fédération des Buralistes, has obtained permission to sell Bitcoin (BTC) at tobacconists from January 2019, privately owned French radio network Europe 1 reported Nov. 21.

In a deal with French cryptocurrency wallet provider KeplerK, beginning early next year, up to 4,000 small shops will sell Bitcoin vouchers that customers can then exchange for cryptocurrency on KeplerK’s website when they open a wallet.

BTC will be available in denominations of 50, 100 and 250 euros and will subsequently roll out to remaining outlets.

According to Europe 1, it was the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR), an independent authority which operates under the auspices of France’s central bank, that greenlighted the project.

After the announcement, however, the Bank of France itself issued a statement denying any such plans had its blessing.

“Contrary to what was asserted this morning […] without prior verification, no such agreement has been signed with the aim of allowing Bitcoin sales by tobacconists,” the AFP quotes the institution as saying, adding:

“In addition, no such deal is either being envisaged or under discussion.”

Europe 1 commented that the ACPR had had “no choice” but to approve the sales due to the rate at which cryptocurrency was entering mainstream consumer consciousness.

France has delivered mixed messages on cryptocurrency at state level, calling for international regulatory efforts, while the country’s “Monsieur Bitcoin” Jean-Pierre Landau has said overregulation would deliver a “three-pronged danger.”

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Peru’s Central Bank Says Cryptocurrencies Are Risky Due to High Volatility

Peru’s central bank has reacted to the recent crypto markets collapse by warning about the high volatility of digital currencies on its Twitter Friday, Nov. 16.

In its recent post, the Peruvian central bank included Bloomberg graphics on Bitcoin’s (BTC) price from December 2017 to mid-November 2018. The picture is followed by a statement:

“Cryptocurrencies are not supported by central banks and pose risks due to the high volatility in their price, fraud cases and their possible use in illicit activities. Bitcoin’s price fell 56% as of October 2018, and has lost an additional 13% percent in November.”

According to Spanish language crypto outlet Criptonoticias, Peru is not currently developing any type of crypto regulation. However, in September 2017, the country’s Superintendency of Banking and Insurance (SBS) joined the blockchain-related R3 consortium to conduct research on the technology and study its possible implementation in Peru.

Moreover, the number of crypto traders in Peru has been steadily growing throughout 2018. According to data provided by crypto statistics website Coin Dance from LocalBitcoins, the year started with roughly 17 BTC being traded weekly in Peru, but by late September the amount has reached almost 150 BTC per week.

The amount of BTC traded weekly in exchange to the national fiat, Peruvian sol. Source: Coin Dance

The crypto markets have recently seen a drastic drop off since Wednesday, Nov. 14, with BTC dipping below $5,000 for the first time in 2018 and other major cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin Cash (BCH), losing up to half of the price. Today, Nov. 20, BTC has hit its lowest mark since October 2017, falling to $4,237 at one point in the past 24 hour period.

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a Stablecoin Gets Sharia Certified, the IMF Considers Central Bank Digital Currencies

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

Swiss Crypto Firm X8 AG Receives Islamic Finance Certification for Sharia-Compliant Stablecoin

Swiss-based fintech firm X8 AG has received a certification from the Shariyah Review Bureau (SRB) for its Ethereum-based stablecoin. According to the X8 director and co-founder, the ETH-based crypto asset is backed by a basket of eight fiat currencies and gold, allowing Islamic advisors’ concerns over excessive volatility and speculation to be assuaged. The debate whether crypto can be Sharia-compliant has focused on their compatibility with the Islamic prohibition on sheer monetary speculation.

IMF’s Christine Lagarde: Central Bank Digital Currencies Could Have Legitimate “Role”

The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, said this week that the international community should look into endorsing central bank issued digital currencies (CBDCs). Lagarde, despite being “not entirely convinced” of the concept of crypto more generally, stated the case for countries to issue government-backed tokens or similar assets in a speech. The comments came a day after the IMF published a dedicated report on CBDCs, examining what it views as the pros and cons of the financial tool.

Aftermath of Bitcoin Cash Fork Cause Expensive “Hash War” Between Camps

This week’s Bitcoin Cash (BCH) hard fork has led to a so-called “hash war,” resulting in mining at a hefty loss on both sides. BitMEX Research tweeted that “although the ABC SV split is entertaining, we estimate that SV miners are burning $280,000 per day mining the SV chain.” On the other side, BCH ABC miners are estimated to be making even larger losses than the SV camp. BitMEX Research estimated these numbers based on SV miners using Bitmain’s Antminer S9 machines, their ability to sell SV coins at the current spot market price ($100 at the time of the tweet), and energy consumption costs of 5 cents per/kWh.

Blockchain Protocol EOS’ Decentralization Questioned After Transactions Reversed

Blockchain protocol EOS had questions raised about its decentralization again this week as evidence emerged on Reddit that appeared to show a moderator reversing transactions which had already been confirmed. According to screenshots posted on the site, a dispute over a phished EOS account was referred to an EOS “arbitrator,” who then reversed the transactions without the owner’s permission, citing the EOS constitution for the actions.

US Man Fined $1.1 Million Over Fraudulent Bitcoin, Litecoin Schemes

U.S. citizen Joseph Kim of Phoenix, Arizona has been sentenced to 15 months in jail and fined $1.1 million for the misappropriation of Bitcoin (BTC) and Litecoin (LTC) from several people. The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has found that Kim defrauded his employer of about $601,000 worth of BTC and LTC into his own accounts in 2017. After Kim was subsequently fired, he reportedly then defrauded private investors to return the funds to his employer, luring around $545,000 worth of crypto from five individuals before losing the funds in a high risk bet.

Most Memorable Quotations

“Any time there are hard forks things tend to trade weird and strange, so I think people are trying to take some risk off the table,”— Meltem Demirors, CSO of CoinShares   

“Few remember that Satoshi embedded the genesis block with a Times headline from January 2009 about U.K. banks’ bailout. In more ways than one, Bitcoin is the evil spawn of the financial crisis,”  — Benoit Coeure, executive board member of the European Central Bank (ECB)

Laws and Taxes

Judge Rules in Favor of Canadian Bank in Case With Crypto Exchange 5k

A judge has ruled in favor of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) in the court case involving a $19.6 million disputed sum between the bank and Canada’s largest crypto exchange QuadrigaCX. On Oct. 8, the exchange reported it had difficulties accessing its funds since january, when CIBC froze five accounts belonging to the exchange’s payment processor, Costodian Inc., and its owner, Jose Reyes over its purported inability to identify the funds’ owners. This recent court decision hands the disputed sum into the custody of the Ontario Superior Court so the court can identify the owner of the money.

Ripple Lawyers Suggest Moving Ongoing Securities Lawsuit to Federal Court

Lawyers representing payment startup Ripple in its current securities lawsuit are attempting to move the case to a U.S. federal court, a move that one legal commentator described as “tactical brilliance.” The court records confirm the application to move the case, which would potentially allow the outcome to prove that its XRP token is not a security under U.S. law. In the filing, litigation partner Peter Morrison noted that the case meets the requirements needed for the move to take place.

Malaysian MP Asks Gov’t to Develop Crypto Regulations Before Approving Political Funding Coin

A Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) has asked the country’s government to develop comprehensive cryptocurrency regulations before going further with the Harapan Coin (HRP) crypto project. The project claims to be the world’s first political fundraising platform, with the aim of raising money for the opposition party in Malaysia and potentially becoming an official currency. The MP said this week that it was important to have appropriate crypto regulations before they are used to finance political campaigns and initiatives.

Ohio Congressman Plans Draft Bill to Let ICOs “Sidestep” Securities Laws

Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson made clear plans this week to introduce a bill that would allow Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) to “sidestep” U.S. securities laws. The Republican congressman for the 8th district of the state of Ohio wants to propose a bill that would categorize ICOs as products, rather than securities, at both the federal and state level. The referred-to bill would reportedly “eliminate” the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) oversight of the industry.


Major Swiss SIX Stock Exchange Lists World’s First Multi-Crypto ETP

Switzerland’s main stock exchange, the SIX Swiss Exchange, announced this weekend that it would list the world’s first multi-crypto-based exchange-traded product (ETP) next week. The ETP will be backed by Swiss startup Amun AG, will be listed under index HODL, and will track the five major cryptos: BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, and LTC. The Amun AG index will be managed by the German index unit of investment management firm VanEck. Each crypto will have a certain market share within the upcoming ETP, with Bitcoin accounting for around half of the ETP’s assets.

Microsoft Introduces Cloud-Based Azure Blockchain Development Kit

U.S. software corporation Microsoft has announced the release of a serverless blockchain-powered Azure development kit, dubbed the “Azure Blockchain Development Kit.” The kit reportedly improves the capabilities of Microsoft Azure’s Blockchain Workbench, with features like off-chain identity and data, monitoring, and messaging application programming interfaces (API) in a format that can be used to develop blockchain-based apps. The announcement also notes that the release will focus on core objectives like “connecting interfaces, integrating data and systems, and deploying smart contracts and blockchain networks.”

Bank of America Receives Patent for Storing Clients’ Crypto in Enterprise Accounts

Major U.S. bank, Bank of America, has won a patent for a system that allow enterprises to store customers’ crypto deposits. The filing outlines several different interactions between clients’ crypto holdings and an enterprise account, with one setup allowing the enterprise account to conduct transactions on the customers’ behalf, debiting and crediting the account as appropriate. The document also touches on fiat-crypto conversions, outlining a system for determining optimal exchange rates for an “essentially simultaneous” conversion.

Chinese Insurance Giant Ping An, Sanya City Gov’t Build “Smart City” With Blockchain

One of the world’s largest insurance corporations, China’s Ping An Insurance Group, has signed an agreement with the Sanya municipal government to build a “Smart City” backed by blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and cloud computing. The cooperation on financial investment and “Smart City” construction will play a role in the major strategic urban development in China.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

South Korean Messaging App Kakao, Stablecoin Tether Partner for Blockchain Payment System

Major South Korean Internet conglomerate and service provider Kakao Corp (which own messaging app KakaoTalk) and new stablecoin Tether have partnered to develop the latter’s blockchain-based payment system. The new agreement will apply the former’s blockchain platform tech Klatyn, of Kakao subsidiary Ground X, to a blockchain-based payment system. The cooperation plans to work on enhancing “core requirements for payment services, such as speed, stability and reliability.”

ETH-Payment Platform OmiseGo, Singapore Ride Hailing App Partner for Blockchain Tech

Ethereum-based payment platform OmiseGo and blockchain protocol Mass Vehicle Ledger (MVL) have announced that they will work together to research blockchain technology. The two companies will develop a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) to test whether the decentralized OMG Network could work for MVL’s data record-keeping system, recording data collected from TADA on the OmiseGo platform. OmiseGo and MVL will also collaborate on further technical and research cooperation on possible blockchain applications in TADA’s services.

Electronics Firm Bosch Partners With IOTA for New IoT Data Device

Engineering and electronics manufacturing giant Bosch has partnered with IOTA, with plans to integrate its new data collection Internet of Things (IoT) device with the decentralized IOTA Data Marketplace. The new connectivity device, Bosch XDK (Cross Domain Development Kit), is “a programmable sensor device and Internet of Things prototyping platform” that also works as a sensor node solution. The device will combine sensor, data storage, and network technologies to allow users of all programming level to collect real-time data and sell it on the IOTA marketplace.

Major Spanish Telecoms Operator and IBM Partner to Manage International Call With Blockchain

Spanish telecommunications firm Telefónica has partnered with IBM in order to apply blockchain tech to managing international mobile phone call traffic. Telefónica, the seventh largest telecom company in the world by market cap, is valued at $51 billion according to Forbes. The partnership is aimed at streamlining certain Telefónica business processes, including the reliability and transparency of information registered from various network when routing international calls. The telecoms company will use the IBM Blockchain Platform to track each international call and data such as origin, destination, and duration.

German Holding Company Bitcoin Group SE Acquires 100% of Investment Bank Tremmel

Bitcoin Group SE, a German holding company, has acquired a 100 percent stake in investment bank Tremmel Wertpapierhandelsbank GmbH. Bitcoin SE operates what is reportedly the county’s only regulated crypto exchange, Bitcoin Deutschland AG ( With the acquisition, the crypto holding will now obtain the use of Tremmel’s banking license, allowing the company to “significantly expand” its crypto-related offerings and operate ATMs for cryptocurrencies in Germany.

Funding Rounds

Hong Kong Crypto Exchange KuCoin Raises $20 Million in Funding Round

Hong Kong-based international crypto exchange KuCoin closed a Series A funding round this week worth $20 million. The round was led by IDG Capital, Matrix Partners, and Neo Global Capital, and the exchange noted that the funds will go towards the release of KuCoin’s 2.0 platform as well as expansion into new markets.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets have taken a hit this week, with total market cap around $185 billion, Bitcoin trading around $5,599, Ripple at $0.52, and Ethereum at $176 by press time.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are ZeusCrowdfunding, GoHelpFund, and Coupecoin. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Etheera, Vivid Coin, and Olive.

Top three altcoin losers of the week:

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

FUD of the Week

“Crypto Hangover”: Nvidia’s Q3 Results Show Lack of Demand for GPU Crypto Units

American GPU manufacturer Nvidia released its third quarter earnings this week, showing a lack of demand for Nvidia’s GPU’s among crypto miners. The crypto frenzy late last year brought the prices for Nvidia gaming cards up, but with the bear market, the prices have not decreased quickly enough to attract customers waiting for more affordable cards, according to the Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang. Huan told Reuters that the “crypto hangover lasted longer than we expected.”

Analysis: Bear Market, Declining Hashrates Makes Mining ETH Not Profitable

A report from U.S.-based global trading and tech firm Susquehanna has found that mining Ethereum (ETH) using a graphics processing unit (GPU) is no longer profitable. The analysis shows that profit per month for ETH miners using GPU rigs is now $0 as of Nov. 1, as opposed to the $150 per month in July 2017. Susquehanna notes reasons for the decline in profit include Ethereum’s falling price, but adds that in July 2017, miners profit was $147 even as ETH traded roughly around its current price.

Official Google G Suite Twitter Account Reportedly Compromised to Promote BTC Scam

The official Twitter account of Google‘s G Suite appeared to tweet a Bitcoin (BTC) giveaway scam this week to its more than 800,000 followers. The tweet in question asked its followers to participate in a fraudulent 10,000 BTC giveaway, also announcing that Google’s G Suite now accepted crypto as a means of payment. Tech news outlet The Next Web later reported that the account was compromised through a third party marketing app that was authorized to post content on G Suite’s behalf. The scam also targeted major U.S. department retailer Target.

WSJ Report: SEC Opened Probe Into Erik Voorhees, Crypto Loans Firm Salt Over Token Sale

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had opened a probe in February against crypto loans company Salt Lending Holdings, which was once associated with crypto industry stalwart Erik Voorhees. The probe involves whether Salt’s 2017 $50 million token sale constituted a noncompliant securities offering and Voorhees’ potential involvement, which could break laws as he has effectively been prohibited from raising money in private markets after a SEC settlement in 2014.

US SEC Imposes “First” Civil Penalties Against Two ICOs for “Unregistered” Securities

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has levied civil penalties on two Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) this week over their failure to register their token sales. CarrierEQ Inc. (Airfox) and Paragon Coin Inc. both reached settlements with the SEC, agreeing to “return funds to harmed investors, register the[ir] tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the Commission, and pay penalties” of $250,000 each. Both of the firms conducted token sales last year following the SEC’s warning that ICOs could be considered as securities offerings.

Prediction of the Week

Bloomberg Analysts Predict BTC Price Fall As Low As $1,500

Bloomberg Intelligence analysts have predicted this week that Bitcoin “has further to fall,” noting that the coin is “no longer boring.” Hedge fund founder Travis Kling told Bloomberg that he “didn’t sleep well” in response to the recent Bitcoin Cash hard fork, adding that it could affect the entire crypto market.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Why Did Crypto Market Experience a $27 Billion Wipeout? Experts Discuss Factors

After the market saw several cryptocurrencies hitting new year-to-date lows, Cointelegraph looks at some of the reasons behind the $27 billion “wipeout.”

Opposing Bitcoin ABC and Bitcoin SV Factions’ Debates Grow Heated as the Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork Draws Closer

This week saw a volatile market amidst the Nov. 15 Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which divided the community into two “warring” factions: Roger Ver’s Bitcoin ABC and Craig Wright’s Bitcoin SV (Satoshi’s Vision).

Skirting the Great Wall, Part Three: The Paradox of Cryptocurrencies in China

In the third part of Cointelegraph’s series on Chinese cryptocurrency regulations (read part one – here, and part two – here), the article looks at the People Bank of China (PBoC)’s crypto regulatory interventions, as well as the role of China’s judiciary in cases involving crypto.

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Industrial-Scale Adoption of Blockchain Likely in 1-2 Years, Says CEO of Russia’s Largest Bank

Industrial-scale adoption of blockchain technology will surge in the next year or two. That’s the prediction of bitcoin advocate Herman Gref, the CEO of Sberbank — Russia’s largest bank and the third-largest bank in Europe.

Gref said the hype surrounding blockchain has waned a bit, but its many uses will be applied in the near future. In other words, blockchain has moved beyond theory and is ready to be put into practice.

“The hype surrounding the technology has passed, and it has entered a stage of industrial development,” Gref said via Tass. “The technology will take a year or two to be applied on an industrial scale.”

Gref: Blockchain Will Be Commercial In 2019

Gref reaffirmed the outlook he detailed in February 2017, when he predicted that blockchain will be commercial in 2019, as CCN reported.

At the time, Gref noted that a special working group headed by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov was exploring the plausible deployment of blockchain technology across “virtually all industries” in Russia.

Herman Gref has been a vocal opponent of the Russian government’s crackdowns on virtual currencies, saying crypto is a “great technology.”

Gref has urged Russian authorities to be patient with decentralized currencies by not banning bitcoin or promulgating harsh anti-crypto regulation until its uses are better understood.

That said, Gref does not believe that cryptocurrencies will replace fiat money in today’s centralized financial system, as CCN reported.

Governments Cling To Centralization

In October 2018, Gref expressed skepticism about the near-term future of crypto, saying it could be another decade before it gains mainstream adoption.

“Do I see a great future in cryptocurrency? Not yet, as the state will not give up its centralized role, it will not allow cryptocurrencies,” Gref said via Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

Gref said a 10-year timeline for mainstream acceptance is more realistic because the industry is still in its infancy.

“I’m optimistic about 10 years,” he said. “Maybe 10 years will be visible beyond the horizon, but so far it’s not likely that any state is ready to part with the centralized money-supply model.”

It Could Take Years For Crypto To Succeed

Herman Gref’s cautious outlook on bitcoin mirrors that of Argentine entrepreneur Wences Casares, the founder of bitcoin wallet Xapo.

Xapo — which claims to store $10 billion in bitcoin across five continents — is backed by crypto evangelist Mike Novogratz and LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman.

Casares, who has been dubbed bitcoin’s “Patient Zero” for his role in boosting crypto’s profile in Silicon Valley, said it could take 7 to 20 years to know for sure if bitcoin will be successful. And that’s OK.

Casares, a serial entrepreneur who’s on the board of PayPal, said crypto is a robust “intellectual experiment” that could fail — but it probably won’t.

“We could find something in 10 years that renders the system worthless,” Casares said. “It’s more likely that will not happen. At this point, the chances of success are better than the chances of failure.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Central Bank Doesn’t Plan to Issue Its Own Cryptocurrency

The Central Bank of Azerbaijan (CBA) does not plan to issue a state-backed cryptocurrency because of the “great risks,” English-language Azerbaijani news outlet AzerNews reported Nov. 15.

Alim Guliyev, the first Chairman at CBA, underlined that since digital currencies “come with great risks,” the CBA is not intending to launch a central bank issued digital currency (CBDC) any time soon. Guliyev, who sees such financial instruments as “risky and dangerous,” added that he believes money laundering is the prime goal of cryptocurrencies.

An Israeli independent study group set up by the governor of the Bank of Israel came to a similar conclusion while exploring possibilities of issuing CBDCs, overall not recommending that the country’s central bank to issue its own token, Cointelegraph reported Nov. 7.

Back this summer, the Bank of Finland released a study, entitled “The Great Illusion of Cryptocurrencies,” calling cryptocurrencies not real currencies but instead “accounting systems for non-existent assets,” Cointelegraph wrote Jul. 2.

Earlier this fall in Azerbaijan, the chairman of the Azerbaijani Internet Forum revealed the government’s plans to implement blockchain technology and smart contracts in the country’s legal system and “in the field of public utilities (water, gas and electricity supply),” Cointelegraph wrote Nov. 2.

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