Tom Lee Expresses Fear On Whether Trump will Ban Bitcoin

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee has shared his biggest fear on Twitter recently which involved the Presidents ban on Bitcoin.
With the hearings regarding the upcoming Facebook cryptocurrency, Libra finishing up, members of the Trump administration have moved their concentration onto Bitcoin and cryptocurrency as an asset.
Both hearings saw several regulators openly voice their opinion that Libra should never be allowed to launch. Even more in regards to the United States Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin made media noise when he told CNBC’s Squawk Box segment that the government intends to bring in some very strict regulations on cryptocurrencies to ensure they don’t become “Swiss-numbered bank accounts”.
For investors, these rumours brought up some mixed opinions and emotions with some being fearful in regards to the government generated FUD which could leave a severe mark on what could be the start of a bull market.
Lee’s Biggest Fear
The head analyst at Fundstrat, Tom Lee has shown his concerns over the past few days in that the mainstream coverage Bitcoin is seeing at the minute could expose it to the fury of Donald Trump. Lee says that the value of bitcoin is more than likely to remain volatile until political events are making headlines again. 

Through Twitter, he states:

“Washington and media coverage of Crypto and #bitcoin is turning into ‘too much of a good thing’ because might push @realDonaldTrump towards escalation. 
– NEED Brexit, China trade war, Euro banks back in headlines. 
– Bitcoin choppy until then. 
#BTFD
#cryptowinter over”

Lee is a big believer that the current coverage of Bitcoin is turning into “too much of a good thing” and he advised that more Bitcoin beneficial chatter in regards to the UK’s exit of the European Union, otherwise known as Brexit.
Although it is unlikely, Trump could sign a bill to ban Bitcoin and crypto transactions. It might be a bit of a stretch for that to happen though as the President only stating that he wasn’t a fan of Bitcoin. It seems a bit extreme to ban such a thing, but then again, he is the president of one of the biggest countries in the world…
Source: Crypto Daily

France Whitelisting Firms That Follow New ICO Regulations

Facebook’s Libra may have had the spotlight for the past month or so but while that whole debacle continues, let’s see what Europe is doing with cryptocurrencies. Specifically, let’s take a look at what France has been doing recently. 
La France has been getting its head down recently and is getting ready to approve the first wave of cryptocurrency companies thanks to new legislation.
These new rules mean that the crypto firms will voluntarily abide by a regulatory framework that requires them to pay tax, provide consumer protection and meet capital requirements. 
These new rules are to be implemented later in the month.
For businesses that follow the rules will receive approval from the nation’s Financial Markets Authority (AMF) and will essentially be whitelisted.
Anne Marechal, the executive director of legal matter at France’s Financial Markets Authority has said, “France is a precursor. We will have a legal, tax and regulatory framework. We are discussing with about four potential ICO organizers.”

The authorities are also reportedly in talks with more crypto exchanges, custodians and so on, so more could be on their way. 
The cryptocurrency rules for France and ICO-backed businesses became official earlier in 2019 following the PACTE (Action Plan for Business Growth and Transformation) which was adopted by the nations national assembly back in April.
 On top of this, these ICO’s and new firms won’t be your typical unregulated affairs that were seen in the unexpected surge at the end of 2017. Consumers will especially be receiving further protection over their investments under the new rules.
Digital currency companies operating under the legislation will have to be legally registered France, provide an investor prospectus, safeguard any assets offered and work with the anti-money laundering and terrorist financing regulations.
As reported by TNW:

“France is one of the more progressive nations when it comes to tackling cryptocurrency regulatory issues and is seemingly never afraid of getting stuck in.”

The nation recently flexed its position in the G7 – Group of Seven – body to create a new subsidiary to look into how central banks can make sure cryptocurrencies adhere to money-laundering and consumer protection rules.
Source: Crypto Daily

Crowdfunding Campaign Announced by BTCPay Server for Non-Profit, Tor Project

The open-source payment processor, BTCPay server has recently announced a Bitcoin crowdfunding campaign for the non-profit organisation, the Tor Project. 
Despite being founded in the mid-90s, the Tor Project became a non-profit organisation in 2006 but the next step for the project is Bitcoin. 
People will now be able to donate Bitcoin to the campaign via the BTCPay portal or contribute through ‘onion’, which can be accessed by using the Tor browser. Keeping in mind that Tor is a non-profit organisation, the project utterly depends on donations from users in order to run its operations.

Announcing #BitcoinForTor, a crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds for the @torproject 🧅💚https://t.co/gRAj2E8BZt 👈🔗Please spread the word and donate! Funds go directly into Tor Project wallet. On-chain or via the #LightningNetwork ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/Pucg2vD1jT
— BTCPay Server (@BtcpayServer) July 15, 2019

The crowdfunding campaign has set its minimum soft cap goal at $10k. As of 16th July, the campaign has raised more than $8,500 in donations, achieving just under ninety percent of its goal with almost 200 donators. the campaign is set to end on July 30th, so make sure you get your donations in ASAP!
As reported by Be in Crypto:

“In the crowdfunding portal, BTCPay notes that the funds received from the campaign will go directly to the Tor Project’s cryptocurrency wallet, with no fees or intermediaries involved. It also thanked Ledger, the company that makes cryptocurrency hardware wallets for sponsoring the crowdfunding event with a limited edition engraved hardware wallet.”

The first crowdfunding campaign from the project happened in 2015 which raised more than $200,000 from around 5,000 donors, so if the protocol can beat that this time, it will be a big milestone.
Source: Crypto Daily

Ripple’s David Schwartz Believes Uber & Amazon Should Adopt XRP For Payments

The chief technology officer at Ripple, David Schwartz recently sat down at the recent WeAreDevelopers conference which took place in Berlin where he said some of the globe’s biggest companies are able to benefit from the use of crypto and other digital assets.
Schwartz went onto talk about Ripple’s work with the numerous financial institutions and banks which improve the speed and cost of cross-border transactions.

“If you’re a Seagate or an Amazon or an Airbnb or an Uber, these companies all make large numbers of small payments. Amazon has thousands of merchants that they make payments to. Uber, if you’re in the Philippines and you’re a driver and you need money for milk, Uber would love you to drive for them and buy milk right that day.
But they need efficient payments. They need payments that are as reliable as email for that to happen. And that doesn’t exist. And each of these companies employs literally hundreds of people just in their payments division. And if you imagine if you ran a payment company, you would love to go to any of these new corporates and say, ‘Hey! Fire your hundreds of payment people. We’ll do all your payments.’ But there’s nobody who can do that.”

The CTO of Ripple has said that he believes XRP is in a position to fuel a payments revolution because of its speed and low transactions fees.

“We came up with what’s technically a form of federated Byzantine agreement that we call consensus that’s faster and cheaper than proof-of-work. And the result is that XRP is a decentralized digital asset not connected to any jurisdiction, that moves more quickly and more cheaply than Bitcoin. And I would argue that it’s also more censorship-resistant and has some of the decentralization properties that we want. And that’s resulted in low cost, low fees and high transaction volume with low latency…”
“Ripple has built an enterprise payment network on these principals. It consists of three products. One to process real-time payments. One is sort of like the browser to send payments. And one to provide on-demand liquidity.
Financial institutions use xCurrent to make and receive payments, xVia to initiate payments and xRapid to provide cross-border liquidity. And this is a real network. This is a point-to-point network. It’s not a central server like Swift or PayPal. This is a decentralized network where financial institutions interact with each other through protocols that are not centrally controlled.”

According to Schwartz, regulation and education are the two largest obstacles that stand in the way of mainstream adoption when it comes to using cryptocurrency payments. 

“The biggest obstacle that we’ve found is the legal environment. Enterprises are not ready for a trustless system that’s proven by mathematical algorithms. They have customers who might get their credentials stolen. They might want to go to court. One of the biggest things that we had to do to revolutionize enterprise payments was to come up with a set of rules so that legal agreements can be negotiated with just a couple of redlines rather than a 40-page contract beginning to end of how to handle every possible failure…
So today, our customers use digital assets to settle payments immediately where that makes sense, and they use more conventional means where that makes sense, but they enjoy the benefits of end-to-end messaging, multi-hop and the various things that a multi-standard can provide. We think that digital assets and interledger payments can build that internet of value.”

Source: Crypto Daily

South-Korean Blockchain Firm, ICON Announces New Fee Sharing System 

You may have heard of ICON, the South Korean blockchain project which has just announced its ‘Fee 2.0’, the new transaction fee system of the ICON Network. 
As Fee 2.0 has been published on the ICON mainnet, users can now access ICON dApp services more conveniently without paying transaction fees.
All users of the dApps had to pay cryptocurrency fees starting from their initial uses of services in the past. With this, dApps could be only used by those holding a specific amount of cryptocurrency and therefore presented a challenge in the sense that customers had to bear the burden of creating a wallet and buying cryptocurrency.

The Fee 2.0 system has been created in order to fix this problem in order to resolve this inconvenience and significantly reduce the fees incurred in using and operating dApps.
Fee Sharing and the Virtual Step
Writing on the Fee sharing feature, the ICON Foundation wrote a blog post on Medium, stating:
“Fee Sharing is a feature that enables DApp service operators to have the choice to pay transaction fees on behalf of the service users. This gives users access to ICON DApp services without any transaction fees.

In terms of User Experience (UX), the burden of creating wallets and purchasing cryptocurrencies to pay fees has been a major hurdle for those who want to use DApps. DApp operators have also often faced difficulties in attracting more users into their services and expanding due to such factors. The lack of improvements in user experience has often been pointed to as the biggest hurdle for mass adoption of DApps.”

The so-called virtual step is also being integrated in line with fee-sharing in order to reduce the burden of dApp operators who need to pay fees on behalf of the service users. 
The South Korean blockchain firm state:

“ICON has designed Virtual Step as a means of reasonably offsetting the fee burden on DApp operators. If DApp operators deposit ICX to their own SCOREs for a certain period of time, this deposit action will generate Virtual Steps that can be used to pay transaction fees.”

The virtual step is generated every month in line with the quantity of ICX deposited and the duration of the deposit period.
Source: Crypto Daily

Alleged Draft Of India’s Bitcoin Ban Leaked Online

The rumours of India proposing to ban cryptocurrency have been floating around the space for a while now and they may have just been confirmed after the Indian blockchain lawyer Varun Sethi posted an alleged first draft of the proposed bill. 
The bill, called “Banning of Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies” proposes to ban or heavily restrict all cryptocurrency-related activity in the nation and a draft of the bill has apparently been leaked. 
You can check out the alleged draft of the bill here.
Crypto Crosshairs
Whether this draft is real or not, it seems that India has crypto in its crosshairs for foreseeable future. 
According to a report from the Economic Times in April 2019 mentioned that the bill had already been examined by a committee of representatives from the Department of Economic Affairs, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Central Board of Direct Taxes, as well as other regulatory entities.

As reported by the recently revived CCN, “the committee held the view that there has already been an unnecessary delay in taking action against cryptocurrency. This bill if passed will make all crypto related activities including mining and trading illegal in the country, with offenders risking jail time of up to 10 years.”
A part of the report reads:

“No person shall mine, generate, hold sell deal in, issue, transfer, dispose of or use cryptocurrency in the territory of India.”

With already strict crypto regulations in place, this isn’t the first time that the government will be blamed for planning to rid crypto and digital assets completely.
The only positive thing about the bill seems to be that the government is hoping to bring in its own stablecoin. The draft doesn’t ban the use of distributed ledger tech and blockchain either but only if it is used for educational purposes. 
If India does go ahead to ban cryptocurrencies it will be a big loss for the market. Unfortunately, there won’t be much that the community could do either. Hopefully, India’s government will turn down the bill but who knows what the future holds.
Source: Crypto Daily

Apollo 11’s Computer System Being Used in an Attempt to Mine BTC

We have quite an unusual article today as we start by taking you back to a time before Bitcoin, in 1969 when Neil Armstrong became the first man to land on the moon in the Apollo 11 alongside Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins. This is considered one of the greatest achievements of mankind, even to this day, almost half a century after Armstrong took that first step onto Tranquility Base and the lunar surface.
Now you may have heard people say that the technology they had in 1969 was less than what is in our smartphones today, which is very true. 
The Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC) was the main computer for controlling the navigation and path for the now illustrious event.
The latest iPhone processor is estimated to run at about 2490MHz over 100,000 times more than the Apollo 11’s which performed operations at around 0.043 MHz.
Fast forward to today, a team of computer historians have recently got their hands on one of the original AGCs and managed to bring it back to life.
One of the team members, Ken Shirriff has decided to see if the computer could be used for more modern means, mining Bitcoin.

The process will involve generating trillions of random numerical sequences until the right one is found, which results in a block being successfully mined.
Shirriff succeeded in getting the AGC to run a Bitcoin mining program but he said that it would take “4×10^23” seconds on average for it to actually find a block.
Now according to the Mirror, this is about a billion times as long as the whole age of the universe, which is believed to be 13.8 billion years old according to scientists.
In other words, it would take longer than a hundred generations to mine a single block of Bitcoin.
In a blog post, Shirriff said:

“The Apollo program cost 25.4 billion dollars as of 1973, equivalent to about 150 billion dollars today. 
The current market cap of Bitcoin is 200 billion dollars, so if NASA had been mining Bitcoins, they could have paid for the whole Apollo program and still had money left over.
One flaw in this plan is the Apollo Guidance Computer’s low performance, since mining a block would take much more than the lifetime of the universe.”

Source: Crypto Daily

Bitcoin Now An Official Issue For 2020 Election

Last week, Donald Trump posted a few tweets which blew up on crypto Twitter as the 45th President said that he isn’t a fan of Bitcoin and the gang. Now, this whole fiasco has brought up an interesting topic for what is to come in the 2020 elections.
Now even though he claims to not be a fan of virtual currency, the community should be thanking Trump for bringing up such an issue as it is now officially going to be a talking point in the 2020 election.

I am not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies, which are not money, and whose value is highly volatile and based on thin air. Unregulated Crypto Assets can facilitate unlawful behavior, including drug trade and other illegal activity….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
You can see the rest of the Twitter thread here, as Trump goes onto talk about Facebook’s Libra and makes for an interesting read into the Presidents thought process on crypto. 
Funnily enough, the President caused Bitcoin to surge just a little following the tweets at the end of last week. 

The tweets from Trump are believed to be a good sign for cryptocurrency in the long-term as the CEO of Circle Jeremy Allaire said that this is “possibly the largest bull signal for [Bitcoin] ever.”
A lot of crypto enthusiasts tried to persuade Trump over to the Bitcoin side. The CEO of Coinbase, Brian Armstrong said in response to the Presidents words:

“Achievement unlocked…First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win. We just made it to step 3 y’all.” 
The senior analyst at eToro, Mati Greenspan said, “Even though Donald says he’s not a fan of Bitcoin, the fact that he’s mentioning it at all is hugely bullish for the entire crypto market.” 

It will be interesting to see how the issue of Bitcoin is raised during the 2020 elections but only time will tell to how Trump will deal with it when at the podium.
Source: Crypto Daily

Dr. Doom Replaces Bitcoin Hatred with Facebook Hate

The well-known Bitcoin hater, Nouriel Roubini – AKA Dr Doom – seems to have moved on from the leading cryptocurrency as he is now aiming his hate towards Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency, Libra. Following the announcement of the upcoming stablecoin, Roubini said that Libra is blockchain “blockchain in name only”.
Money Grabber
On top of this, the New York University economics professor argued that Facebook’s cryptocurrency was only designed as a money grabber for the social network to up profits. He goes on to say that Libra is a “monopoly scam” given that Facebook has billions of users all across the world.
Responding to a tweet from CoinDesk, Dr Doom said:
“It will start as a private, permissioned, not-trustless, centralized oligopolistic members-only club. So much for calling it “blockchain”. Like all “enterprise DLT” it is blockchain in name only and an monopoly to extract massive seignorage from billions of users. A monopoly scam”.
In another tweet, the economist warned of Facebook “ridiculous chutzpah” designs. According to him, the social network intends to use Libra to become the central bank of the whole world.

In a tweet from last month, Roubini said:

“At a time when Big Tech is coming under sharp legislative scrutiny coz of serious anti-trust concerns and all govs, even the US, want to crack down on these monopolies Facebook wants to become the monopolistic Global Fed without even a bank license. What a ridiculous chutzpah!”

Before claiming that Facebook was a ‘monopoly scam’ or ‘ridiculous chutzpah’, Dr Doom warned of the risk factor associated with Facebook’s cryptocurrency. Potential users of Libra from the United States might be turned off by a cryptocurrency that’s also linked to relatively unstable currencies from emerging markets, as an example.

“Also as FB Coin linked to a basket of currencies there is significant currency risk for users whose main currency is dollar or euro or any other. Most consumers are local and think/pay local and dont want currency risk related to using a coin that is a basket of global currencies”.

So will Facebook’s Libra coin just be a cash cow or will it be a respectful project with real long-term goals? Only time will tell but hopefully, it will be the latter. Not only would it bring in some well-needed legitimacy to an emerging industry but it could see an influx of more enthusiasts and investment.
Source: Crypto Daily

A Time Of Plenty For Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency news is all over the place right now. Bitcoin is price shoots up, Facebook is releasing the Libra token, and unsurprisingly, John McAfee wants to build Cuba a native cryptocurrency.
Success despite uncertainty
However, the inherent volatility of cryptocurrency remains a driving force in the digital asset market. It is a force that is facing management from various regulatory bodies, both national and international. In an effort to protect consumers from the potential to lose everything, from hack or from market crash, government agencies are hoping to ensure that cryptocurrency trading follows the rules they have set out for financial transaction safety.
There is a long way to go in this regard. Countries like the United States and Canada are basically dragging their feet. Other countries, such as Iran, Bangladesh, and Bolivia, have banned cryptocurrency altogether. Still others are toeing the line between legal and illegal. China, for example, has issued a ban on banks dabbling in cryptocurrency. Yet the country remains the world’s largest bitcoin trading market.
All these issues aside, an exciting rash of new exchanges are hitting the market, offering fresh, new investment platforms and opportunities to take advantage of a very positive, possibly even bullish, market.
The good
Existing exchanges are adding new features to their service offerings. Popular cryptocurrency exchange KuCoin just announced the launch of a derivatives trading platform. Reports state the new offering will allow trading with up to 20x leverage. The goal is to make pricing fair and more competitive.
KuCoin plans to provide insurance protection with full transparency. The insurance will be backed by an auto-deleveraging system in the event that insurance funds prove insufficient to cover losses.
Other major exchanges are also making progress. Binance Singapore just launched. It has already seen major growth, and fully intends to drive a major cryptocurrency market in Singapore.
The great
Meanwhile, new, sleek, and shiny cryptocurrency exchanges are literally flooding the market with unique, never-before-imagined capabilities and features.

BQT is one such exchange. The acronym stands for Better, Quick, Transparent. It is a complete platform offering a wide variety of functionality, some standard, some revolutionary.
The BQT platform offers convenient, yet typical features such as an interactive, flexible trading environment within its trading platform. It also offers a secure and flexible wallet. A hedge fund is coming soon.
Beyond these convenient, yet standard features, BQT has some pretty unique functionality. First, the platform offers an educational component. Dubbed BQT University, it is open to anyone wishing to start a career in blockchain, or simply to learn more about what they are invested in. This is pretty great for the blockchain world.
Additionally, the BQT platform is truly interactive, not just amongst traders, but also within the greater blockchain community. Of its 43 pairs, one is the Binance native coin, BNB. In other words, rather than trying to compete with what ought to be its biggest competitor, BQT is creating a cooperative environment, leveraging the options of exchanging cryptocurrencies.
The not so good
High-frequency trading (HFT), a popular but controversial entry point for many fiat traders, has made its way into cryptocurrency markets. Using a process called colocation, whereby client servers are placed in the same geographic location or cloud as the exchange, HFT clients gain the ability to trade from 70-100 times faster than the average trader. 
Gemini is the largest name in the business offering colocation. Gemini has plans to open another colocation option soon in Chicago. 
But the cryptocurrency exchange giant certainly isn’t alone in its endeavors. According to Singapore-based exchange Huobi, some of their individual clients trade up to 800,000 times per day.
While HFT is not everyone’s cup of tea, some claim that it provides previously unseen benefits to the market as a whole. Matthew Trudeau, CSO at another HFT trading platform, ErisX, sees the proliferation of HFT trading as a symbol of positive growth, stating:

 “This phenomenon has occurred in other asset classes as trading has become more electronic and more automated. Market makers and arbitrageurs are able to trade more efficiently, which improves price formation, price discovery and liquidity. Arbitrage opportunities may become fewer and more fleeting, which is a sign of a more efficient and maturing market.”

The future
Regardless of regulatory changes or the success or failure of major cryptocurrency endeavors such as Libra, the rapid growth and expansion of trading platforms of all sorts is fantastic news for the overall market. Cryptocurrency is not just here to stay. It is here to succeed.
Source: Crypto Daily

Bank Of England Governor Says Libra Has Several Issues It Needs To Fix Before Launch

The governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney has recently said that people need to be aware of the problems that Facebook is attempting to fix with its upcoming stablecoin, Libra. Despite the downsides of the project Carney spoke on the recently announced cryptocurrency at the Financial Stability Report press conference earlier this week on 11th July.
Carney said:

“It’s way too expensive to do domestic payments. It’s way too slow, and that hurts consumers and businesses. It stifles innovation, and it’s far too expensive to send money cross-border, and there are huge financial inclusion issues related to that and costs related to that. So, while we are trying to address all these issues, we have to absolutely acknowledge the problem that they’re trying to solve. And if it’s not this, we’d better have some answers for what else it is.”

Despite this, Carney is a big believer that because of the sheer scale of project Libra, it has to be near perfect from the get-go in order for it to be released at all. At least, he means this from a financial security viewpoint.

“It’s either successful or it isn’t. If it’s successful, it becomes systemic, because it would involve a very large number of users. And if you’re a systemic payment system, it’s 5-sigma. You have to be on all the time. You can’t have teething issues. You can’t have people losing money out of their wallets … The standards are in a different zip code — to use the American term.”

The governor didn’t stop there though as he listed several other problematic areas that Libra needs to address. Some of these issues include “basis risk, rebalancing risk, managing underlying assets, facilitating anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism” are some of the areas that need to be looked into before the stablecoin is launched.
Carney isn’t the only government official to comment on Libra with the United States Federal Reserve chairman recently making similar comments on the stablecoin. Jerome Powell said that the reserve doesn’t have “have plenary authority over cryptocurrencies as such,” but he does claim that the reserve still has “significant input into the payment system.”
Source: Crypto Daily

Brazil’s Coffee Giant Announces New Cryptocurrency To Help Farmers & Suppliers

This might be old news to some of you but most of the world’s coffee is grown is actually grown in Brazil. In fact, one-third of the world’s coffee comes from the country which makes it the biggest producer of coffee on earth. Now, coffee farmers from Brazil that help you start off your day are just about getting ready to use a new cryptocurrency that would be backed by coffee suppliers.
Brazil’s biggest arabica coffee cooperative announced the launch of a new blockchain based virtual currency that would be tied to coffee suppliers and therefore allowing farmers to carry out their daily expenses through the new crypto being dubbed ‘coffeecoin’. The coins can be exchanged for goods in a digital marketplace which is backed by Minasul’s store of crop nutrients, machinery and other products.
Located in one of the biggest arabica-coffee cooperatives, Minas Gerais, Minasul’s latest crypto venture of the cooperative is a joint effort for its digitalisation project that includes selling coffee beans through mobile transactions.

The president of Minasul, Jose Marcos Magalhaes spoke in a recent interview with Global Coffee Forum in Campinas city where he revealed that the firm is preparing to launch the currency later in the month. This will aid the coffee farmers buying new products such as fertilisers or needed equipment for the farms. In addition to this, farmers will be able to use the digital coin to buy non-farm products such as food and cars.
The firm’s president went on to say that the issuance of the new digital coin will depend on the current and future of coffee production as he states:

“As much as 30% of the current harvest is eligible for exchange, 20% of the next crop, and 10% for the season after that. Allowing this type of digital financing will reduce costs for the cooperative and growers because it won’t require registration though a notary’s office.”

This new venture is exciting for the adoption of the industry but only time will tell to see what the global impact of it will be.
Source: Crypto Daily

NEAR Protocol Raises $12.1 Million To Further Development & Mainnet

The minds behind the NEAR protocol, have announced this week that they have finished an oversubscribed $12.1 million funding round led by Metastable and Accomplice and with participation from Electric Capital, Amplify Partners and Pantera Capital.
On top of this, other recognisable gains include ACapital, Coinbase Ventures, IDEO Colab Ventures, Multicoin Capital and Ripple’s Xpring. 
This new round of funds will be used to recruit further development in order to speed up the development of additional tooling and to launch the NEAR protocol mainnet with the aim of linking up adoption with decentralised applications. 
Getting NEARer
There are two main factors that have prevented some of today’s smart contract platforms to reach that all precious mainstream adoption and that is usability and scalability. A few examples of current platforms include EOS, TRON, Ethereum and even bitcoin, which is very well on its way to mainstream adoption but not just yet.
The NEAR Protocol makes decentralised applications as easy to build and use as a traditional web app whilst achieving an international scale by using a novel sharding approach and a consensus mechanism which is dubbed Nightshade.

“NEAR provides predictable costs for applications and gives developers tools at the protocol level that typically must be added on later, including meta transactions, contract-based accounts, and gas fee rebates.”

The team at Near is comprised of competitive programming champions and veterans from multiple tech firms like Google, Niantic (Pokemon Go) and Facebook. 
On top of the business side having a lot of experience in building and scaling technical startups, the team has three gold medalists, an ICPC world champion and several finalists.
The co-founder and CEO of Near, Alex Skidanov has said this:

“Assembling a world-class development team and creating the technology is really just the first step—the next is launching a global movement that puts blockchain technology in the hands of the developers and entrepreneurs who will carry it to consumers everywhere via the apps and businesses they create.”

The beta program was recently launched and provides specific support to a select cohort of projects that will launch their apps with the platform later in the year.
Source: Crypto Daily

Facebook’s Calibra Launch in India “Not Possible At This Time”

A government official from India has recently expressed his discomfort with Facebook’s upcoming stablecoin, Libra. Just days after this, the social network suggested that it doesn’t have any plans to offer Libra or its digital wallet, Calibra, in what could have been its biggest market.
A spokesperson from Facebook has said that India’s ruthless anti-cryptocurrency stance – and potential ban – is the main reason they are staying away from the country.

“As you may know, there are local restrictions within India that made a launch of Calibra not possible at this time.”

Private Crypto 
News surfaced earlier this week that India’s Economics Affairs Secretary Subhash Garg had indicated that the stablecoin was unlikely to get a go-ahead from the government. Garg argued that Libra would more than likely meet the same treatment as other cryptocurrencies.

Since the start of last year, India has taken several steps which have had an impact on the nation’s cryptocurrency space. In fact, in 2018 the Reserve Bank of India ordered banks under its regulatory ambit not to offer their services to crypto-related businesses. This had an impact of forcing crypto firms to either cease operations, scale back or move abroad.
At the end of last month, India’s Bitcoin exchange Koinex shut its doors before it even hit its second-year milestone. This came after other exchanges including Zebpay which shut down last year at the end of September.
Even though the Korean exchange hasn’t announced any plans to launch operations overseas. Zebpay has been able to stay afloat by relocating to where it is currently headquartered in Malta, AKA blockchain island.
Speaking on the proposed piece of legislation which would ban all cryptocurrencies and making mining, buying, selling or even holding illegal, the CEO and co-founder of Koinex, Rahul Raj said this:

“…a proposed piece of legislation called the ‘Banning of Cryptocurrencies and Regulation of Official Digital Currencies Bill 2019’ has created enough FUD in the Indian crypto trading community to result into a sharp decline in trading volumes and instil a clear discomfort for all the law-abiding citizens of this great nation.”

Source: Crypto Daily

Russia’s Potential Crypto Ban Might Not Be As Bad As You Think

The Head of State Duma Committee on the financial Market revealed that Russia’s digital Financial assets law has been practically agreed upon however, it could be delayed to autumn because the authorities were unsuccessful in reaching a concrete agreement on how Bitcoin and altcoins should be dealt with in the nation.
Pushed Back 
Anatoly Aksakov has announced that Russia’s digital financial assets law has been essentially agreed upon but it sounds like it isn’t a 100% done deal just yet. Nevertheless, the regulation could be adopted later in the year.
As reported by Tass and roughly translated, Aksakov said:

“Most likely, [we will transfer] to autumn. The crowdfunding law, perhaps, will go in spring [in spring session], it is now closer to agreement. And with the CFA [digital financial assets] it is not clear yet. assets, and now it is almost agreed.”

The Chairman of the State Duma Committee has said that the delay of the law’s adoption is a result of the State Duma’s inability to reach common ground in deciding the fate of cryptocurrencies in Russia.

Bans
Earlier in the year, back in March, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin ordered the country’s government to tighten up the adoption of federal laws that will help regulate cryptocurrencies before 1st July this year.
Aksakov said that even in the case of a ban on crypto, Russians will still be able to purchase the digital assets via foreign means. He also said:

“The law on the Central Federal Agency should decide whether we will prohibit cryptocurrencies as an exchange tool in Russian legislation. That is, there will be no exchange points, stock exchanges that will work with cryptocurrencies. What is a cryptocurrency. Then there is a fork: we prohibit in Russia to organize the infrastructure for the purchase and sale of cryptocurrencies, or allow it.”

If cryptocurrency did get banned in Russia, it would be a big step back for the industry. Hopefully, things won’t turn out that way but who knows what the future holds.
Source: Crypto Daily