Mayor of Chicago: Facing Financial Crisis, Crypto Adoption is Inevitable

According to a report in Forbes, Rahm Emanuel, the Mayor of the City of Chicago, has stated that he sees crypto adoption as inevitable. He bases his outlook on the growing appeal of Bitcoin and other digital assets in an increasingly unstable geopolitical world.
Emanuel posited that financial crises, like that currently being experienced in Venezuela, would eventually force people to opt out of fiat currency just to survive.
He’s “Gotta Learn About It” But Emanuel is Refreshingly Grounded When it Comes to Crypto
The Mayor of Chicago gave his outlook on crypto during a meeting held to debate the city’s growing fintech industry on March 18. In response to a question from the audience, he stated that he felt cryptocurrency adoption was an inevitability, however, a timeline for such a great shift from current monetary norms would be anybody’s guess.
After admitting that he really was not an expert on the field, the mayor stated:
“Nation states are falling apart or receding. City states are emerging, so the political structures we all grew up under are changing. One day, somebody’s going to figure out – whether that’s Argentina, ten years from now, five years from now – how to use cryptocurrencies to stay alive when their facing a financial crisis, and then you’re going to find out that this moment has arrived.”
Although lacking explicitness in his response, Emanuel appears to be alluding to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies giving populations a means to “opt-out” of a national economy. Those living in nations where governments mismanage finance to such a degree that inflation spirals out of control – Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Turkey, in recent years – can elect to store their wealth in digital assets, the value of which is not correlated to any entity, government or otherwise. Although wildly volatile, Bitcoin has proved more stable over short periods than numerous national currencies numerous times over its ten year existence.
In economies suffering hyperinflation, huge stacks of cash are worth next to nothing.
Another audience member later asked Emanuel about his overall thoughts about the crypto asset and blockchain space. Again, the mayor reiterated that the industry was not his forte but added:
“The trend lines are affirmative for its future. I don’t know if that’s ten years, and I don’t know if that’s 20 years, but it’s affirmative. I don’t know what it is. I know it’s an alternative way to trade, and therefore, I gotta learn about it, and I gotta be honest, as mayor, it’s not the top 100 things I would have to learn about.”
Chicago the Crypto Hub?
With its history steeped in finance, a crypto-curious mayor, and a hive of high profile companies, including Coinbase offices, setting up shop there, Chicago is fast becoming a cryptocurrency hot spot in the US. Recently, the city also received an additional 30 Bitcoin ATMs taking the total number of units in the city centre up to a relatively impressive 184 according to CoinATMRadar.
Until recently, the city also hosted two of the most over-hyped but high-profile Bitcoin trading products – BTC futures contracts were offered by both the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the CME Group. However, following the recent announcement that the CBOE was halting Bitcoin futures for an undisclosed period of time, that number has fallen to one.
 
Related Reading: Why Bitcoin Market May Be Better Without CBOE Futures Contracts
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Will Lightning Network’s Latest Feature Help Bitcoin Achieve Mass Adoption?

Lightning Labs, one of the major contributors to the Lightning Network, has announced the alpha launch of a new feature coming to the second layer micro-payments solution on top of the Bitcoin network. Lightning Loop, as the update is called, aims to address current issues surrounding channel capacity limits with regards to some of the early applications of the technology.
Until Lightning Loop, once a user’s channel reached maximum capacity, it could accept no more payments. Obviously, for businesses hoping to use Bitcoin’s Lightning Network as a payment method, such interruptions in service are unwelcome.
Lightning Loop: Making Bitcoin Payments Easier to Receive Using Lightning
The alpha launch of the first stage of Lightning Loop was announced by Lightning Labs earlier today via Twitter and an accompanying blog post. This initial phase of the update is being referred to as Loop Out.
The idea is that users can offload Bitcoin from their Lightning Channel and back on to the main chain, freeing up the maximum channel capacity to receive additional payments, whilst keeping the channel open.

Announcing the alpha release of Lightning Loop, a non-custodial service that makes it easier to receive #bitcoin on Lightning.
With Loop, users can get inbound capacity and withdraw from Lightning while keeping channels open.
Read more and try it out: https://t.co/KoAXDm9JFl
— Lightning Labs (@lightning) March 20, 2019

To illustrate how Loop Out will make Lightning Network more useful for merchants, Lightning Labs used a Bitcoin-relevant analogy revolving around a pizza shop choosing to accept Bitcoin via the Lightning Network. Since such a business presumably has takings larger than its outgoings, eventually its payment channels reach capacity and the shop will no longer be able to receive transactions. However, using Loop Out, the shop can continue selling pizza since it can now send funds back to the main chain and free up space for new payments in its channels.
Additionally, Loop Out will allow new users to the network to have an initial receiving capacity, rather than relying on others to open channels with them. This will supposedly make it easier for those new to the network to receive Bitcoin.
First Loop Out, Then Loop In
As mentioned, Loop Out is just the first of two proposed updates addressing the issue of channel capacity restricting economic activity on the Lightning Network. The second will be called Loop In and will allow payments to be made to Lightning Channels from exchanges and other on-chain sources. This means that a user can stay connected to their payment channels, even after they have depleted the entire balance of all their open payment channels through spending.
Further details about Loop In can be found on Lightning Labs’s GitHub repository.
A Big Year for Lightning Development
Despite still being very much in its formative period, Lightning Network has already made great leaps forward in 2019. The Bitcoin payments network once again received high profile attention from the likes of Jack Dorsey, Circle and Twitter CEO, as a publicity generating “Lightning Torch” was sent to him.

Cool example of #BitcoinTwitter experimenting on the Lightning Network.
Torch received, now passing along to @starkness! #LNtrustchain https://t.co/YVMAv62fCN
— jack (@jack) February 5, 2019

The long-term Bitcoin bull was also impressed by the work of the developers behind the Tippin browser plug-in that allows Twitter users to send micro payments to one another as a tip for strong content. Such a hive of development and excitement around the project has allowed the network to quickly swell to a total capacity of over 1,000 BTC and almost 7,500 nodes at the time of writing.
No doubt today’s news of additional functionality coming to the Lightning Network will excite Dorsey, who was one of Lightning Labs’s major financial backers last year.
 
 
Related Reading: Buy Pizza With Bitcoin! Crypto Twitter Enamored With Lightning Network App
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Big Day for Bitcoin Acceptance: Crypto Welcomed at Multi-Billion-Dollar Pair of Retailers

Many critics of Bitcoin often argue that its four occasionally five-figure price point is entirely unjustified based on the lack of BTC use in retail. However, over the years, plenty of companies have attempted to nurture the gradual adoption of cryptocurrency by offering to accept payment for goods and services in different digital assets.
Two of the latest names on this ever-growing list are the multi-award-winning Swiss online retailer Digitec Galaxus AG and Phoenix-based electronic components supplier, Avnet. Those unimpressed by a possible lack of instant recognition of either company can take comfort in the fact that the pair’s combined annual revenue last year was over $18.39 billion.
Greater Bitcoin Acceptance Means Greater Bitcoin Utility
The latest two major companies to declare support for Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for products or services announced the addition of the revolutionary payment methods earlier today. Avnet proudly displayed a link to a short article detailing their decision to go crypto on the home page of its website.
To facilitate the service, the US electronics supplier will be working with cryptocurrency payment service provider BitPay. For now, the cryptos accepted will be just Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).
Also today, Swiss retail giant Digitec Galaxus AG, owner of both the Digitec and Galaxus online marketplaces, announced that it too would be accepting cryptocurrency payments. Instead of using BitPay as a payment processor, the firm will be working with Coinify.
Users of either the Digitec or Galaxus marketplaces can now shop using a fairly comprehensive list of cryptocurrencies, consisting of Bitcoin, both brands of Bitcoin Cash, Ether (ETH), XRP, Binance Coin (BNB), Litecoin (LTC), Tron (TRX), OmiseGo, and NEO (NEO).
The expansion of payment methods across the two platforms was announced via Digitec’s Twitter account and accompanying media post:

Mehr Informationen zu diesem Thema findest du in unserer Medienmitteilung: https://t.co/A2RhWEFCMn
— digitec (@digitec_de) March 19, 2019

According to a report in FXStreet, Oliver Herren, the CIO and co-founder of Digitec, had the following to say about today’s Bitcoin acceptance announcement:
“Cryptocurrencies are fascinating and could become a relevant means of payment in e-commerce. We would like to support this development.”
Cryptocurrency Acceptance Continues to Grow Around the World
As previously reported, cryptocurrency acceptance is surging around the world. Since 2013, the number of businesses accepting Bitcoin or other cryptos has grown by 702%. However, in the parts of the world for which Bitcoin and other cryptos hold the most promise, acceptance amongst retailers continues to remain low.
By far the lion’s share of instances of companies accepting cryptocurrency are from the so-called “developed world”. However, those with access to a plethora of established and relatively trustworthy banking services are much less in need of the permissionless, non-governmental value-transfer-networks offered by Bitcoin and other cryptos than those living in places where banking resources are rare. Although large online retailers accepting digital currency is certainly positive for the space, previous examples, like that of OverStock.com, highlight that it takes more than big retailers accepting crypto to get folks to actually use it.
 
Related Reading: Bitcoin Acceptance: The Changing Face of Mainstream Media Coverage
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Will the Binance Move into Aussie Newsagents be a Boon for Crypto Adoption?

Global crypto exchange giant Binance has announced that it will be helping to facilitate the sale of Bitcoin in Australia at real-world locations. The trading venue stated that crypto users would be able to get exposure to the number one digital asset in more than 1,300 newsagents across the country.
The news highlights the exchange’s commitment to expanding the number of fiat gateways to the cryptocurrency economy. However, details of the purchase process might mean that the service is used less people than many of those braying for the fall of government-issued currencies would like.
Binance Lite Becomes the Firm’s First Fiat-to-Crypto On-Ramp in Australia
The new service being launched by the global exchange giant will be called Binance Lite. It represents first time the hugely successful yet relatively new cryptocurrency trading venue has managed to open a fiat-to-cryptocurrency service in the nation of Australia.
According to a report in The Next Web, the exchange’s Chief Finance Officer, Wei Zhou, stated the following of the its latest move:
“Binance Lite Australia further expands digital currency adoption by providing easier ways to buy [Bitcoin]… Australia has been at the forefront of blockchain innovation, and we hope Binance Lite Australia can play a role to help further this cause.”
The decision by Binance to work with Australian newsagents has a lot in common with the plan, announced last year, to allow French tobacco shops to sell vouchers for Bitcoin purchases, much like they do for pay-as-you-go mobile phone top ups.
However, in order to remain compliant with Australia’s financial regulations, those wishing to use Binance Lite must first register for the service. This requires a full account verification process (KYC/AML) meaning that the service will be less appealing to those wishing to preserve financial privacy.
Once this step is complete, the customer can buy Bitcoin at any one of more than 1,300 newsagents across the nation. A full map of locations offering Binance Lite, provided by Binance Labs, is featured below:

Binance: Making the Right Moves to Promote Crypto Adoption Worldwide
As one of the largest trading venues in the cryptocurrency industry, Binance has been right at the forefront of promoting cryptocurrency adoption around the world. Already in 2019, the now-Malta-based exchange has announced a couple of initiatives to help make taking up positions in crypto easier than ever.
The first of these was the news that the main Binance global exchange would begin to accept credit card payments in January. Such an extension to accepted payment methods is obviously a net positive for the space since it offers people an additional way to buy digital assets. However, investing in Bitcoin, Ether, Binance Coin, or any other highly volatile and speculative asset on credit is certainly not recommended.
Elsewhere, Binance is working towards delivering on one of the most often-repeated, unofficial goals of Bitcoin – to bank the unbanked. The exchange opened Binance Uganda in October of last year. It has since seen massive numbers of accounts opened, which is certainly encouraging for adoption on the largely-unserved-by-crypto African continent.
According to Medium post, Binance also has plans to open a fiat-to-cryptocurrency exchange in Singapore at a for-now undisclosed date.
 
Related Reading: Is Largely Unbanked Africa Primed for Bitcoin Adoption?
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Is Crypto Trading Volume Really Being Faked to the Tune of $13.8 Billion?

According to a report conducted by crypto trading information portal The Tie, a huge percentage of cryptocurrency trading volume is suspicious. Estimates were arrived at using average website visits versus reported trading volume and comparing this figure those found at the digital asset industry’s most reputable exchanges.
Using this methodology, The Tie have argued that as much as 87% of the reported trading volume at crypto exchanges could be fraudulent and that real trading volume might be as low as $2.1 billion.
Report: Up to 87% of Crypto Exchange Trading Volume Might be Fake
The Tie reported their findings in a lengthy Twitter thread and accompanying Google Document.

1/
Cryptocurrency exchange trading volume investigation
Our team set out to determine whether volumes reported on cryptocurrency exchanges were genuine.
Thread Follows:
The data: https://t.co/w3bILdQ2Yw pic.twitter.com/V6nmi6hGx8
— The TIE (@TheTIEIO) March 18, 2019

The crypto trading information firm’s report focused on the top 100 digital asset trading platforms by reported monthly volume. The study used the trading volumes reported by Coinbase Pro, Poloniex, Kraken, Gemini, and Binance to try to come up with an accurate representation of trading volume per visit to each exchange website. The Tie reasoned the following with regards these choices:
“We selected these exchanges because of large usage among institutions, reputation within the market, and because their web viewership appeared consistent with their reported trading volumes.”
The reported trading volume was divided by the number of times each website was visited. The average of the five exchanges was taken, resulting in the figure $591 traded per visit.
The Tie then did the same calculation on each of the remaining top 100 exchanges by monthly trading volume and found that many exchanges had suspiciously high volume per visit figures – DOBI Trade, for example, worked out at a massive $356,625 per visit.
The study went a step further and multiplied the $591 average trade per visit with the website viewing figures found at Similar Web for the 100 exchanges. The Tie were careful to acknowledge that this methodology neglected API or mobile application trading – one of a few flaws with the study.
It found that 59 percent of crypto exchanges had 10 times greater reported volume than was expected if they had a similar volume per visit as the control group. An even greater number of the exchanges were more than double what would have been expected at 75 percent.
The Tie concluded its Twitter report by stating that if each of the exchanges on the list share the same volume per visit as Gemini, Coinbase Pro, etc., then the current total trading volume across the top 100 exchanges would be just $2.1 billion – a far cry was from the reported $15.9 billion. It added that an estimated 87% of crypto exchange volume seemed suspicious based on the study.
The Tie acknowledged additional limitations to the study to those mentioned above:
“There were limitations to this report including some of the aforementioned, but the point of the exercise was to show those exchanges that appear most suspicious and to start a greater conversation around wash trading, transaction mining, and liquidity.”
The study has been favourably responded to thus far on Twitter. One user offered convincing reasoning as to why exchanges might be so keen to fake trading volume, arguing that being at the top on comparison sites such as Coinmarketcap was a large marketing incentive:

Exchanges will continue to fake their volume as long as they are ranked by trading volume on CoinMarketCap or other crypto comparison sites. I recently ranked exchanges by the depth of their orderbook and it resulted in a completely different ranking.https://t.co/EhszivgxSm
— Christian Ott (@footballelixir) March 18, 2019

 
Related Reading: What’s Driving The Bitcoin (BTC) Rally Past $4,000? Factors and Trends
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UK Thieves Target Bitcoin ATM in Smash and Grab

According to reports in UK news publication Northampton Chronicle, a Bitcoin ATM located in a grocery store has been targeted in the Northampton area by thieves in a brazen robbery. A group of three individuals are wanted in relation to the offence.
During the incident, one of the trio threatened a shop keeper with a machete, whilst another smashed the Bitcoin ATM from the wall with a sledgehammer. The authorities are still to disclose the financial value of the robbery.
UK: Armed Robbers Make Off With Bitcoin ATM
The Bitcoin ATM robbery allegedly took place at around 20:30 on the evening of Tuesday, March 12. The local police constabulary did not report the incident until earlier today, however.
According to statements from the authorities, three individuals arrived at a branch of a Costcutter convenience store on the evening in question. One of the trio waited outside, whilst the other two entered the premises. Wielding a curved machete, one of the pair threatened the shop assistant. Meanwhile, the second used a sledgehammer to forcibly dislodge the shop’s Bitcoin ATM from the wall.
Seemingly only interested in the exchange terminal, the three swiftly left the scene with the unit. They are reported to have fled down Haines Road and then Euston Road.
According to a spokesperson for the local police force:
“All the men wore face coverings and gloves. The one with the machete is described as wearing a black balaclava, black puffer parka jacket, blue jogging bottoms and light coloured trainers. The man with the sledgehammer wore a black balaclava, grey/green puffer style parka jacket, black jogging bottoms and black trainers. The third man wore a grey puffer style parka jacket and had a grey face covering.”
Police are currently appealing for any witnesses or individuals with knowledge of the Bitcoin ATM robbery incident to contact them with any information. They can contact the Northampton Police on its non-emergency line, +101.
No Bitcoin Stored in this Machine Overnight…
As mentioned, there is no indication as to how much the trio of robbers made off with. However, based on knowledge of the current UK cryptocurrency market, it cannot have been a great deal. Earlier this month, NewsBTC reported on a survey of UK consumers’ knowledge of digital assets. The results showed that just three percent of those asked had ever invested in crypto and of that number, only around half had ever spent more than £200 on digital assets.
These findings, coupled with the huge commissions often charged by Bitcoin ATMs that discourage their use, suggest that the reported robbery of the Bitcoin ATM might not have been as profitable as the trio initially expected. Evidently, those involved in the incident did not act with the same level of sophistication as the recently reported Calgary criminal gang who targeted Bitcoin ATMs during 2018 to the tune of $145,000.
Perhaps the Northampton robbers were labouring under the same misguided pretences as those who supposedly attacked the Bitcoin ATM in the Tweet below…

When technology is ahead of burglars. Someone stole a Bitcoin ATM and tried to pull coins from there. Bitcoin is the safest method of transaction #entrepreneur #payoutday #vancover #london #bitcointrader #bitcoin #ATM #bitcoinnews #bitcoininfo #bitcoin #traders #trader pic.twitter.com/OPJUiIQNUI
— Alexander .F. Peterson (@Alexand23230564) March 13, 2019

 
Related Reading: Are Bitcoin ATMs Driving Adoption, Criminality, or Consumerism?
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Tom Lee of Fundstrat: Bitcoin Bulls to Return in 2019

Tom Lee of Fundstrat Global Advisors has once again given cryptocurrency market predictions. The long-term Bitcoin bull stated earlier that sentiment will once again turn positive during 2019.
Lee draws on technical, macro, and fundamental indicators to make these conclusions. However, we all know that he has been wrong on more than one occasion when it comes to Bitcoin price.
Tom Lee: Bitcoin Cash “Fork Wars” Terrible for Investor Confidence
Tom Lee, the co-founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors appeared earlier today on a CNBC segment titled, “Futures Now”. There, he was asked about his outlook for the Bitcoin (BTC) and general cryptocurrency markets.
Lee opined that 2019 was a year of “repair” for BTC. He stated that the Bitcoin Cash hard fork and the subsequent “fork wars” as he refers to threats made by Craig S. Wright to 51% attack the Bitcoin ABC side of the split out of existence had been massively detrimental for investor confidence.
During the so-called “fork wars”, the price of Bitcoin dropped steeply from the low $6,000 range it had held for many weeks down to just above $3,000. Lee therefore expects this range to serve as massive resistance on the way back up.
However, the BTC optimist did highlight multiple positive factors that he believes will allow the market to soar when sentiment does finally improve. These included previous macro headwinds – the fact that the dollar performed so well in 2018, for example; infrastructure improvements – the launch of Fidelity’s custody solution and the Bakkt platform; and finally, technical indicators – Bitcoin price is now comfortably bouncing along the 200 day moving average.
The upcoming launch of various crypto products from multi-trillion-dollar Fidelity has many excited.
The conversation then turned briefly to Venezuela. Lee pointed out that people there were starting to use cryptocurrency thanks to the hyper-inflated bolivar:
“Turmoil is causing adoption to grow.”
Lee: JPM Coin is No Competition for Bitcoin
When going through the various positive factors that would boost the Bitcoin price when sentiment finally improved, Lee mentioned the launch of digital currencies by some of the planet’s largest financial institutions and companies. This prompted a question about whether such centralised digital assets posed a threat to Bitcoin’s value proposition. The research analyst replied that he did not think that it represented competition and that Bitcoin would remain at the centre of the digital currency universe:
“It’s not a threat to Bitcoin because it doesn’t offer upside but it probably makes other stable-coin projects less useful… Bitcoin is essentially starting to look like a reserve currency for digital currencies in general.”
Finally, Lee was pushed for a timeline for market sentiment to improve. The Fundstrat co-founder stated that he felt it needed perhaps five or six months more to recover from the plunge into the $3,000-4,000 range, which he attributes to the Bitcoin Cash fork last year.
It is worth remembering that Tom Lee has been spectacularly wrong about BTC price predictions in the past. He spent most of 2018 calling for BTC to exceed its previous all-time high set at the end of 2017. This, of course, never happened. His new outlook appears more measured by contrast and the analyst has been aloof from giving precise figures this time round too.
 
Related Reading: Analyst: Bitcoin Is a Bull, High Possibility of $5,000 by May
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QuadrigaCX Prompts Regulators to Move: Will Canada Clampdown on Crypto?

The QuadrigaCX debacle that has gripped the crypto space so far this year has evidently not gone unnoticed by Canadian financial regulators. In a consultation paper, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) appealed for the input of various crypto market participants to help with a proposed regulatory framework to address investor protection in the space.
The paper seeks input on areas including custody, asset verification, price determination, and market surveillance. All comments regarding the paper must be submitted by May 15.
CSA and IIROC Seek Input on Crypto Regulatory Framework
Canadian regulators have been spurred into action following the recent QuadrigaCX case in which the CEO of a Canada-based crypto exchange supposedly died with the only access to the company’s funds in cold storage. After various twists and turns in the narrative, including allegations of “fake death mafias” and the missing crypto never being there to begin with, those QuadrigaCX customers that have lost out due to the fiasco are still no closer to having their money returned.
Presumably in response to this (or at least accelerated by it), IIROC and the CSA published a joint consultation paper earlier today seeking members of the cryptocurrency community to comment on a range of issues that would potentially impact upon how the space is eventually regulated.
The paper goes by the catchy title of: “Joint Canadian Securities Administrators/Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada Consultation Paper 21-402 Proposed Framework for Crypto-Asset Trading Platforms”. It proposes that crypto exchanges be required to be registered as marketplaces, investment dealers, or both. This will depend on the nature of assets traded at the platform, as well as other considerations.
In a summary of the paper, CSA Chair and President and CEO of the Autorité des marchés financier, Louis Morisset, is reported to have said:
“Platforms have told us that a tailored regulatory framework is welcome as they seek to build consumer confidence and expand their businesses across Canada and globally.”
The CEO and President of IIROC, Andrew J. Kriegler added:
“The emergence of digital and crypto assets continues to be a growing area of interest for regulators, investors and marketplaces – and, together, securities regulators are taking steps to deepen our understanding of this area.”
He went on to state that it was important to adapt to technological innovations such as cryptocurrency and that regulations should be tailored to “unique business models”. Yet he asserted that maintaining investor protection was also paramount to the role of regulators.
The paper goes on to state that both the CSA and IIROC are keen to work with international regulators and welcome discourse on a variety of different approaches.
From the wording on the crypto consultation paper, despite the fact that hundreds of millions of dollars are currently in limbo thanks to the mismanagement of QuadrigaCX’s custody solution, it still seems that Canada’s lawmakers are keen to nurture the ever-growing digital asset industry, rather than clampdown hard on it. The kind of tailor-made regulatory approach that it calls for is certainly encouraging for the future of the space.
 
Related Reading: After QuadrigaCX Fiasco, Another Shady Bitcoin Exchange Surfaces in Canada
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Bitcoin Miners Explore Renewable Energy and Power Recycling

The narrative that Bitcoin uses as much electricity as [insert small nation’s name here] annually is almost as tired as “tulip-mania” or comparisons to the “dot-com bubble” at this point. Yes, the Bitcoin network is power-hungry but that hardly tells a full picture of its environmental impact.
Around the world, there are examples of Bitcoin miners coming up with innovative ways to get more out of their mining units; whether through recycling excess energy or powering them with off-grid renewable energy resources.
Is Bitcoin Fuelling a Drive Towards Renewable Energy Resources?
According to a post on the Bitcoin subreddit, one Bitcoin miner has been forced to turn to solar power in light of the dwindling profitability of mining for Bitcoin during the bear market. The original poster, Candese, states that not only is solar energy harnessed through panels the cheapest form of power available to them, but the savings made on taxes and through not having to transfer power from the grid are expected to be as much as 75%.
Crypto mining operations require lots of electricity. This has drawn criticism.
These savings have actually made the series of S9 Antminer units profitable to run, despite dwindling prices and them being now dated Bitcoin mining hardware. Candese responded with the following to one of many questions about the setup:
“They are actually not profitable when running on the grid. I’m also getting a battery to be able to run 24/7, that’s the next phase.”
However, solar electricity powering the miners is not the only energy-saving measure being used by the environmentally-conscious Redditor. Canese says that thanks to a fairly sizeable collection of hardware (including the S9s, a few servers, and Casanode) being used at the undisclosed location “in a cold country” there is no need to use heating on the property. Since the basement stays at an ambient 7 degrees around the year, air conditioning to stop the computer equipment from overheating is also superfluous to requirements.
Bitcoin Mining Going Green?
The example of Candese’s solar powered Bitcoin mine with recycled heat energy is not the first of a Bitcoin mining operator experimenting with the idea of putting excess energy from the high-power computer chips to use elsewhere.
Back in 2017, NewsBTC reported on the pair of Russian entrepreneurs who managed to create a heating system in a Siberian cottage powered by Bitcoin miners that, at the time, was generating profits of $430 each month. The property makes use of cheap hydroelectric power and, given the climate of its location, the heat created from the  units is much-needed during the nine months each year that central heaters are an absolute-must.
Similarly, there was the story of the Czech entrepreneur who wanted to extend the tomato growing season by using energy from his mining operation to heat his crop.

Who would imagine that mining cryptocurrencies and agriculture can work together? The first batch of cryptomatoes is ready to be harvested. We are using the excess heat for the tomato greenhouse and it is working:-) pic.twitter.com/U7qqKTshqO
— Kamil Brejcha (@KamilBrejcha) March 10, 2018

Finally, the dropping of cryptocurrency prices during the ongoing bear market has forced large scale miners to address their own energy consumption. This has driven many to explore renewable, clean energy resources, rather than rely on electricity produced by fossil fuels. Examples of mining relocating to small industrial towns in parts of Canada known for their abundant cheap hydroelectric power show a clear drive towards greater efficiency in the an industry criticised for its supposed wastefulness.
 
Related Reading: Research Associate: Conversations Around Bitcoin and Energy Have Been Oversimplified
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Calgary Police Seek Information About Suspects in $145k Bitcoin ATM Scam

An unnamed Bitcoin ATM provider serving the Canadian market was scammed last year across a number of the nation’s cities. Police are now seeking information regarding four suspects believed to be involved in the fraud.
The four men are believed to have taken around US$145,000 from the machines over the course of 10 days in 2018. According to reports, this was made possible by quickly cancelling transactions before the Bitcoin ATMs targeted could process them.
Four Suspects Hit Bitcoin ATMs Over 10 Days Across Multiple Cities
Calgary police are looking for help identifying four individuals suspected of being involved in the defrauding of a series of Bitcoin ATMs across cities in Canada. The four suspects are believed to have made a total of 112 fraudulent transactions in Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Sherwood Park, and other locations. The total amount generated by the scam is just over US$145,000.
The dates of all the transactions fall between September 16, 2018, and September 26, 2018. According to a report in Canadian news publication CBC, just less than half the attacks on Bitcoin ATMs took place in Calgary.
A Bitcoin ATM is the general name given to a machine, often found in a place of business, that accepts fiat deposits in exchange for Bitcoin. In many but not all cases, users can also sell Bitcoin to the machine in exchange for local currency. The popularity of Bitcoin ATMs has exploded in recent years with many more units appearing worldwide – particularly in large US cities.
The four suspects in the Canadian Bitcoin ATM scam are believed to have figured out of a way to cancel transactions before they were fully processed by the provider of the units. This essentially gave them the value of the deposit in both crypto and fiat.
CCTV footage of the four suspects has been provided by Calgary police, with assistance from authorities in Ontario and Manitoba. The pictures were published in CBC, along with a statement from the Calgary police that speculated that the four suspects have “deep knowledge or interest in cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and/or blockchain technology.”
Below is an image of each of the four suspects:
Each of the four suspects in the Bitcoin ATM fraud is believed to have targeted a different area.
According to reports, each of the four suspected of defrauding Canadian Bitcoin ATMs targeted a different area. The left-most individual in the above image is believed to have focused on Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Hamilton. The next two are thought to have targeted Calgary and Winnipeg respectively. Finally, the right-most face belongs to the individual suspected of defrauding Bitcoin ATMs in Sherwood Park.
The Calgary Police Service is being assisted in its investigation by authorities from Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, and Halton. The CPS requests that anyone with any information that could lead to the identification of one or more of the individuals pictured above contact the force’s non-emergency phone number on +1-403-266-1234, or to submit information through Calgary Crime Stoppers. 
 
Related Reading: Are Bitcoin ATMs Driving Adoption, Criminality, or Consumerism?
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Ripple Announces $100 Million Blockchain Gaming Fund with Forte

The company behind the XRP digital currency has announced plans to integrate blockchain technology with video gaming. To facilitate development on the project Ripple will be working with Forte, a startup founded this year and backed by Coinbase Ventures, Battery Ventures, and other prominent Silicon Valley investors.
Amongst other things the goal of the project will be to bring greater efficiency to in-game marketplaces using blockchain technology. The current methods used by players to trade in-game assets are often legally questionable and sales take place using third-party services such as eBay.
Ripple to Move into the Gaming Industry
Broadening their horizons beyond strictly the financial sphere, digital currency company Ripple has announced intentions to move into the video gaming industry. The firm behind the divisive XRP currency has announced that it will be working with San Francisco-based Forte to pursue the development of marketplaces to allow for the sale of scarce digital items found in many games.
As part of the effort to move into gaming, Ripple has announced a $100 million fund. This will be distributed to game developers of titles with more than 50,000 active users. According to a report in Fortune, a senior executive at Ripple’s Xpring development department, Ethan Beard, stated that these payments would be made in XRP and could be millions of dollars each.
Beard went on to comment on the integration of blockchain technology with video games:
“Video games have long been quick to adopt new technology, from console to the PC to mobile. Now, blockchain will help game designers who’ve had a hard time facilitating an economy that can serve all types of players.”
Games like World of Warcraft lack built-in marketplaces to trade rare items.
The premise of a marketplace for trading digital items within a game has already been tried a few times previously but with little lasting success. Perhaps most famous was the example of CryptoKitties, a collectable game built on the Ethereum network in which players had to collect digital cats.
The game proved highly popular initially and some of the rarest felines traded for thousands of dollars. However, it also served to highlight the shortcomings of the Ethereum network itself. At the height of CryptoKitties’s popularity, the number of transactions associated with the game contributed heavily to a huge transaction backlog at the end of 2017.
Former Facebook executive and current Chief Platform Executive of Forte, Brett Seyer, had the following to say about taking the idea demonstrated by CryptoKitties steps further:
“CryptoKitties introduced what a blockchain could do. It showed the benefit of having a public record of transactions people could trust, and how an in-game economy is well suited to blockchain.”
A similar effort was made by Major League Baseball. The professional sporting association created MLB Crypto last year. However, like CryptoKitties, it has remained niche owing to technical barriers to entry associated with running Ethereum dApps.
Examples such a CryptoKitties and MLB crypto provide reasonable proof-of-concept but being entirely one dimensional in gameplay, they lack the kind of widespread appeal of more popular existing titles. We can infer from the fact that Ripple has mentioned would-be recipients of shares of the $100 million developer fund need to have active user bases that it will be targeting established franchises for blockchain integration, rather than attempting to build games from the ground up. This could see another widespread use case for the much-hyped technology.
 
Related Reading: Can Ethereum’s ERC721 Standard Reshape the Blockchain Gaming Industry?
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Facebook’s “Crypto” Currency Expected to Add Up to $19 Billion in Revenue

According to a client note issued by Barclay’s internet analyst Ross Sandler, Facebook’s launch of its own digital currency could yield billions in additional revenue for the firm. The social network has been reportedly developing its own stable-coin, although precise details of the project remain limited.
Sandler estimates that the launch of “Facebook Coin” could add as much as $19 billion in revenue by 2021 and “change the story for Facecbook shares.”
Could Facebook’s Digital Currency be a Boon for the Social Network?
In the note issued today and originally reported by CNBC, Sandler gave both an upper and lower estimate of the opportunity presented by the launch of the new digital currency. Whilst not quite the almost $20 billion upper estimate, the internet analyst’s conservative reckoning was still an impressive $3 billion over the same two year period.
Sources reported by the New York Times claim that the social network plans to initially make its stable-coin available through its instant messaging application, WhatsApp. However, Facebook itself is yet to detail the project.
Sandler believes that the launch of a digital currency will give the company huge opportunity to grow. The Cambridge Analytica scandal last year impacted Facebook’s share price negatively. Sandler commented that the addition of an alternate revenue stream provided by offering payments is “sorely needed at this stage of the company’s narrative.”
The analyst went on to note that the inclusion of a native payment method would allow for more premium content appearing on the site. He then speculated on the nature of the eventual digital currency:
“Based on our checks, the first version of Facebook Coin may be a single purpose coin for micro-payments and domestic p2p money transfer (in-country), very similar to the original credits from 2010 and Venmo today.”
During the client note, Sandler also drew attention to the social network’s previous efforts to launch a digital currency. In 2010, the company issued its first attempt at a form of electronic cash – “Facebook credits”. The profitability of this early scheme was questionable and it was ultimately shelved, however.
Sandler notes that the current effort into the payments space by Facebook is much more grandiose than that previous. He highlighted this with mention of the team of blockchain specialists being assembled at Facebook – amongst them, David Marcus, the former president of PayPal.
However, the Barclays analyst did admit to one or two challenges looming for the social network. He noted that “Facebook coin” would need to prove itself as more useful than existing methods of payments. This, if well-executed, should help the multi-billion-dollar company inspire greater investor confidence following the issues it faced in 2018.
Finally, Sandler speculated on the future. He stated that he could see the social network “eventually” getting into remittance payments and consumer lending.
Crypto Community Divided on “Facebook Coin”
The potential launch of Facebook’s digital currency has divided the opinion of the crypto space. Some believe that it represents a major milestone for general adoption and that billions of people could be about to be turned on to crypto:

Mark my words, if Facebookcoin (or Zuckbucks) is actually listed on crypto exchanges and is made accessible to 2.5 billion people, we’re in for a helluva ride.
— Jeremy Gardner (@Disruptepreneur) February 28, 2019

Meanwhile, legend of the crypto community Andreas Antonopoulos commented at length on many of the issues with such centrally-issued digital tokens in a video he posted to Twitter:

When Facebook launches a coin, many people will use these candy-colored financial surveillance systems.
The question is, what will you use? https://t.co/qQWAtw0OF1
— Andreas M. Antonopoulos (@aantonop) March 1, 2019

 
Related Reading: Don’t Count Facebook’s Crypto Or JPM Coin Out, They Could Boost Bitcoin
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US Marshals to Dispose Bitcoin, Will Whales Buy Cryptocurrency at Auction?

The US Marshals Service is appealing for help disposing of seized or forfeited cryptocurrency. The government body is looking for firms to provide feedback on appropriate methods to store, liquidate, or potentially return Bitcoin and other cryptos involved with financial crimes.
A request posted on FedBizOpps details a potential position with the US Marshals for the respondent most suited for the role. Duties will include secure custody services for a range of digital assets, as well as the ability to auction those seized by the service.
US Marshals Anticipate More Bitcoin Seizures to Come
Clearly expecting to be dealing with a lot more in the way of confiscated cryptocurrencies, the US Marshals Service has issued a request for digital asset firms to provide it with information regarding best practices when it comes to safe storage and eventual disposal of cryptos.
The government body is hoping the information it gleans from responses will help it to make a more informed decision as to which company to work with regarding seized digital currencies in the future.
The request is vague in its expectations from firms. It states that the service cannot be sure of the volume of digital currency it might expect its eventual contractor to deal with. The US Marshals write:
“The contractor shall remain capable of taking custody of all types and quantities of virtual currency without limitation, throughout the performance of this contract. This includes both coin and token types of currency.”
The US Marshals need help storing, disposing of, and returning seized cryptocurrency involved with financial crime.
Understandably, the US Marshals service is a bit clearer with its security requirements. Digital wallets used must be secure against “theft, human error, system failures, and acts of God.”
The US Marshals eventual contractor must also also have the ability to exchange crypto for physical cash. This might involve its trade for more recognised virtual currencies or disposal by way of sealed-bid auction. Additionally, the request notes that return of digital assets to rightful owners will also be necessary from time to time.
Those wishing to respond to the request must do so before March 19.
Will Bitcoin Whales Be Hungry for Seized Crypto Once Again?
Previously, such government auctions have been used by large buyers of Bitcoin to gain greater exposure to the asset class.
American venture capitalist and perma-Bitcoin bull Tim Draper picked up large quantities of Bitcoin during both the first and second of the Silk Road auctions of 2014. The billionaire managed to secure over 29,000 BTC the first time around and a further 2,000 in the subsequent auction. The venture capitalist recently revealed that he paid $14 over the then asking price for each coin in the first lot.
There was reasonable interest in the first of the two selloffs, with 45 participants submitting bids. However, this waned considerably by the second auction and a fifth of that number took part.
Several subsequent sales have been held by the US Marshals service. The Bitcoins sold were seized based on their involvement in a variety of different crimes.
If the US Marshals services finds the right firm to help it dispose of its confiscated Bitcoin, such auctions would likely be held more regularly and could become an efficient way for big buyers to get exposure to Bitcoin and other crypto coins.
 
Related Reading: US Marshals Offer Over 650 Confiscated Bitcoins for Auction
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The Million Dollar Bitcoin Club and its Uber-Bulls

As the “crypto winter” extends and prices seem have once again resorted to an all-too-familiar sideways trading range, there is nothing quite like a shot of hopium to rekindle potentially dwindling passions. With that in mind, here are some of the most flamboyant Bitcoin price predictions of recent years.
Is a $1 Million Bitcoin Really Possible? This Lot Think So…
Of course, it should go without saying but Bitcoin price predictions should not be taken as investment advice. The figures quoted below are often based on Bitcoin (BTC) assuming the role of existing monetary technologies humanity already uses (gold, major payment networks, etc.) This is obviously anything but a dead certainty. Regulatory hurdles, technological challenges, and competition are amongst the most likely contenders to halt BTC’s rise to prominence.
That said, a bit of wild Bitcoin price speculation never hurt as anyone – as long as you’re not going to bet the house on it…
No list of the most outlandish Bitcoin price predictions would be complete without mention of John McAfee. The anti-virus software developer famously stated that he would butcher his own manhood and eat it live on TV if BTC does not reach $1 million by 2020. This was actually a revision of a previous bet of similar terms, only with a $500,000 target.

When I predicted Bitcoin at $500,000 by the end of 2020, it used a model that predicted $5,000 at the end of 2017. BTC has accelerated much faster than my model assumptions. I now predict Bircoin at $1 million by the end of 2020. I will still eat my dick if wrong. pic.twitter.com/WVx3E71nyD
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) November 29, 2017

McAfee recently reaffirmed his commitment to his one-sided, high-stakes bet with allusion to Jesse Lund’s $1 million Bitcoin price prediction, detailed below.

People are waking up to the fact that Bitcoin will be $1,000 000. But when? "Someday". "Maybe 5 years". "WIthin a decade". I'm the only one giving you a hard date: Dec 31st, 2020.https://t.co/rst3BcypFz"will-be-1-million-someday-says-jesse-lund-vp-of-blokchain-at-ibm.html
— John McAfee (@officialmcafee) February 22, 2019

Lund is the next member on our list of BTC uber-bulls. The head of blockchain development at IBM has stated that Bitcoin will indeed hit $1 million. His prediction is more measured that McAfee’s since BTC will allegedly break seven figures at some point in the next decade:
“I have a long-term outlook. It goes back to that discussion about the utility of the network at a higher price. I see Bitcoin at a million dollars someday. I like that number because if Bitcoin’s at a million dollars, then the Satoshi is on value parity with the US penny.”
Co-founder of recently-revamped crypto exchange BTCC Bobby Lee is another of Bitcoin’s most bullish. Just after the height of the 2017 bull market, he stated that within the next 20 years, he thought Bitcoin would reach that seemingly preposterous figure of $1 million:
“Right now it’s 10,000, it will go 100,000 and then 200,000, 500,000… Half a million, that’s going to be a milestone and then eventually it will cross $1 million for Bitcoin.”
More recently, Lee has speculated that a third-of-a-million dollar Bitcoin might be possible before the end of 2021.

One more coincidence: If the next #bitcoin rally (in 2021?) does indeed reach $333,000, that’ll bring Bitcoin’s price to roughly that of #Gold, at $7 trillion each!#BitcoinGoldFlippening https://t.co/LNDayQIW2z
— Bobby Lee (@bobbyclee) December 8, 2018

All these Bitcoin price predictions are put to shame, however, by Tyler Jenks of Lucid Investments. On his YouTube Channel, HyperWave, the seasoned investor is short-term bearish, long term raging bull.
Jenks believes that the BTC price is following a pattern he has identified in numerous other markets throughout history. He has named it “hyper wave”.
The rational behind his hellishly pessimistic short term price prediction of around $1,000 is that Bitcoin must first return back to the line it was following prior to the 2017 price explosion. He refers to this line as “phase one of the hyper wave”. It could then resume more sustained growth, or go parabolic once again.
Longer term, Jenks believes that the ever-worsening global debt crisis could force Bitcoin to be adopted as a world reserve currency. The veteran investor also states that gold could serve a similar function in global economics, as it has previously. However, his overall message is that fiat must go. This is the rational of his undetermined, long-term BTC price prediction of $10 million per coin or more.
 
Related Reading: A $1 Million Bitcoin: Is It a Reckless Speculation or an Inevitable Reality?
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Still Early For Bitcoin: Most UK Consumers Can’t Define Cryptocurrency

A pair of surveys has found that over two thirds of British consumers do not even know what cryptocurrency is. Meanwhile, less than 2 percent have ever bought crypto for more than £200.
Unsurprisingly, as one of the centres of global finance, London leads the nation in self-proclaimed cryptocurrency understanding. However, actual use in either retail or investment remains low.
UK’s Cryptocurrency Use Remains Low
A pair of surveys conducted by the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a follow up to an earlier joint report by the Bank of England, HM Treasury, and FCA into cryptocurrency have been published today. The first was conducted by Revealing Reality and asked 31 cryptocurrency investors of their buying habits, motives, and attitudes towards digital assets.
The second, by Kantar TNS, asked a sample of 2,132 UK consumers about their knowledge of digital assets and if they had ever bought any cryptocurrencies.
The results showed that only 27 percent of the sample claimed to have insight into cryptocurrency. Understandably, the UK’s capital, London – being a centre of global finance – fared marginally better in overall crypto knowledge with 29 percent of the respondents from the city claiming to grasp the topic.
Perhaps more interesting for those that think they have missed the proverbial boat on Bitcoin and other digital assets, only three percent of those surveyed stated that they had ever bought cryptocurrency. Of that number, around half had only spent £200 or less.
According to the findings of the studies, some who had invested in digital assets had done so purely on the hope of “getting rich quick”. Around half of those investing in cryptocurrency said they were most hopeful about Bitcoin (BTC) long-term. Meanwhile, a third favoured Ether (ETH).
Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s strategy and competition executive director, stated of the findings:
“The results suggest that although crypto assets may not be well understood by many consumers, the vast majority don’t buy or use them currently…Whilst the research suggests some harm to individual crypto asset users, it does not suggest a large impact on wider society.”
He added that those deciding to invest in such “complex, volatile products” should not be surprised if they lose all their money.
Still Early Days for Bitcoin and Crypto
The findings of the recently published FCA survey support the opinion of several thought leaders in the cryptocurrency space. Some have drawn comparisons to Bitcoin’s entire market capitalisation versus the net worth of the richest folk in the world:

Richest men in the world:
Jeff Bezos $112BBill Gates $90BBuffett $84BArnault $72BZuckerberg $71B
Bitcoin's entire marketcap is only $68 billion. That's less then these five individual people's net worth.
We're so early it's laughable.
— Alec Ziupsnys (@AlecZiupsnys) February 28, 2019

Meanwhile others focused more on the technology itself and its opportunity to grow with second layer scaling solutions like the Lightning Network, which has rapidly grown in size since its launch last year:

This is where Bitcoin LN is right now according to @Excellion: the early days like dial-up internet!
Stick around and you’ll be glad you held on to your $BTC when 99% of the world didn’t know/believe in it. pic.twitter.com/fCs9HdkRwm
— Baymax [₿TCŁTC] (@LTC10K) March 6, 2019

Finally, others are clearly playing the longest of long games…

2017: "early Bitcoin adopters just got lucky. It's unfair!"
2037: "early nation-states adopting Bitcoin as currency just got lucky. It's unfair!"
2237: "early interplanetary confederations hoarding massive bitcoin reserves as war-chest just got lucky. It's unfair!"
— Francis Pouliot ₿ (@francispouliot_) March 1, 2019

 
Related Reading: Bitcoin Acceptance: The Changing Face of Mainstream Media Coverage
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