HTC’s Blockchain Lead: Bitcoin is to Facebook Coin, JPM Coin as The Internet is to Intranets

Token2049, a recent crypto conference in Hong Kong, saw some of the biggest names in Bitcoin and blockchain congregate. NewsBTC was lucky enough to snag Phil Chen, a world-renowned technologist and the head of HTC’s blockchain division, for a quick interview.
We discussed his team’s phone, the Exodus One, and his thoughts on recent developments in the cryptocurrency space.
What’s Up With HTC Exodus’ Blockchain-Friendly Phone?
NewsBTC: Can you tell the NewsBTC audience about what HTC Exodus is doing?
Phil: The HTC Exodus is one of the first blockchain phones. But, I think it is the only phone that empowers users to own their private keys — which I think is a foundational principle of the decentralized web. If everyone owns their private keys, then you own your Bitcoin. If you don’t, well, you don’t. The Exodus is built on that foundation, as we give users that same architecture to own their digital identity, personal data.
NewsBTC: Is there a thirty-second pitch for why people (common consumers) should own an Exodus over, let’s say, an Apple iPhone or Android?
Phil: People that don’t care about their privacy?
NewsBTC: Yeah, I guess there’s been a surge in people trading in their personal data and rights for convenience.
Phil: If you’re starting from where people don’t care about their privacy, just convenience, I would argue that they would care about it if they knew how their data was being used, and how it was being sold. There’s a very moral movement around this. When you don’t own your crypto assets or data or identity, there is something fundamentally wrong about that. If there’s a sovereign identity that is you — things that you’ve created, attributes or characteristics that describe you —  that you don’t own, there’s something entirely wrong, especially because we are this far into the information age, and there’s no concept of digital property — what is yours, what is mine.
So the way we are trading these small conveniences in exchange for these micro invasions of privacy, and what is your digital property has major ramifications to many things, even to democracy. So there’s no quick answer to this, unfortunately, if you were to not care about privacy. In that case, that wouldn’t be my target audience for the Exodus. My audience would be those who are concerned about this or are concerned about what is being collected, what is sold, and who it is sold to. These people would have likely read the book 1984 to understand the issues with all this.
Related Reading: Why Crypto Is So Important For Privacy With HTC Exodus’ Phil Chen
NewsBTC: How has this so-called “crypto winter” been treating the Exodus team? Has it been hard for your blockchain team to innovate in these conditions?
Phil: It’s actually a lot better, to be honest. There are many facets and reasons why people come to crypto. You, for example, found out about Bitcoin by buying digital goods. And I would say that most people in crypto are interested in speculation in tokens. But there’s another class, which I am in, this being those who are generally interested in the technology and how it will fundamentally rearchitect the internet. From this speculation and token side, it’s a winter. But because of that, I don’t need to answer those questions about the price of this or that coin. To be frank, prices have nothing to do with what we are doing.
NewsBTC: Crypto is all about skin in the game. And when I checked your website (Exodus then only accepted Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and Binance Coin) during the December Bitcoin drop, your phones were selling for the equivalent $400. How have those low prices affected your business?
Phil: At $400, everyone was buying these phones. At the end of the day, this is a top of the line HTC smartphone. It’s premium. It has the best specs you would find in any other 2018 model, so at that price, it was selling quickly.

Sooooo…. is anybody going to tell @HTC about how cheap they're selling their Exodus 'blockchain- and crypto-friendly' phones at now? They were listed at a flat rate of 0.15 $BTC and 4.78 $ETH – ~$900 at the time. Now that's a mere $400-500… #justbearmarketthings pic.twitter.com/ChbcZgcl9Z
— Nick (@_Nick_Chong) December 7, 2018

NewsBTC: What is the endgame for the Exodus team? Do you envision a world where blockchain technologies and applications are the norms, or?
Phil: The endgame is to get every person with a smartphone to start owning their identity on their phone, all the data they use on their phone, and empowering them to connect to all the crypto networks.
Bitcoin Adoption In The Mainstream
NewsBTC: What do you think of the whole Samsung S10 “Blockchain Keystore” product?
Phil: First of all, I think that bigger manufacturers coming in[to crypto] is a good thing. To me, it isn’t clear if they’re really empowering the users to own their key. It sounds to me like they aren’t doing that. It sounds to me that they’re more like a custody solution rather than a system that allows people to really own their keys. Then the other surprising fact that I don’t like is that they don’t natively support Bitcoin. I don’t really understand that. I think that the Samsung S10 should be irrelevant for the Bitcoin crowd. But not supporting Bitcoin is a huge statement, it was definitely intentional.
NewsBTC: The weird thing about this is that their marketing material showed images of Bitcoin. So why have that, right?
Phil: It must have been intentional. To me, whether you are a Bitcoin maximalist or not, Bitcoin is so fundamental to this movement. Bitcoin represents being open, censorship-resistant, neutral, what have you. To me, that are the fundamentals of crypto networks. And we pride ourselves with that. One of the Exodus’ wallpapers is a Genesis Block and the Exodus Phone. We definitely see ourselves as an extension of the Bitcoin movement, and that’s why we have many homages to it in our design. I think it is a fundamental part of what we are doing here.
NewsBTC: In the same realm of mainstream adoption, what do you think of the rumors that Starbucks is looking into Bitcoin? And what do you think of the Lightning Network?
Phil: I’m super excited about Lightning. I’m super excited about layer two solutions on Bitcoin. Elizabeth Stark of Lightning Labs is an advisor to Exodus. It’s a hard technology and problem to solve, but we are working to make that a reality. More and more merchants accepting crypto as payment will make this industry much more interesting, and allow it to grow much faster.

NewsBTC: What are your thoughts on centralized, non-blockchain-based cryptocurrencies, like JPM Coin, Facebook Coin? Changpeng Zhao from Binance argues that it will be instrumental in driving adoption, do you agree with that?
Phil: I liken it to intranets. So companies used to have an intranet, which means a surveyed, permissioned, secure internet. That’s how I see these coins. When you issue a private coin, it’s the intranet compared to the internet. Which one is more interesting? So, I’m not too excited about that. We would all agree that in the future, we will move into a world where there is a cashless society, meaning everything becomes digital, crypto, coins. The problem is if you believe the Bitcoin peer-to-peer way of digitizing transactions and money or the centralized version. This will happen. It is already happening in China with WeChat Pay and things of that nature. But we’re going into a digital, cashless payment future, and which route are we going to take? JPMs are one centralized, permissioned way, and Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with similar characteristics are the other.
NewsBTC: So there is no room for both types?
Phil: No, there is room for both. But the problem is that these projects are fundamentally surveyed capitalism, and Bitcoin is neutral, borderless, censorship-resistant. These are fundamentally antithetical to each other. But can they both exist at the same time? Probably, and they probably will. But can they exist meshed together? Probably not. But there could be a world in which people pay with privacy coins, like Monero, ZCash, etc., Bitcoin, and centralized assets, like JPM Coin, Facebook Coin. But in the end, they are all antithetical.
NewsBTC: Do you see institutional involvement in this sector as against Bitcoin’s decentralized nature? You have Fidelity with their custody product, do you like that?
Phil: I do like that. I do want to see more and more institutions also have custody solutions like that. Again, it’s fundamentally antithetical to what Exodus stands for though, as we want everybody to hold custody of their own keys, data, and crypto. So if you set it up where institutions are holding custody, I like it right now because it’s better than having corporations that own having our data do that. Fidelity doing custody is good. Telecom operators, yes. But Facebook, no, no.
NewsBTC: What is the primary thing holding back crypto & blockchain adoption right now?
Phil: One is key management — making it simple for people to manage their own keys. If it’s one single thing, it would be key management. But payments is another one, making it easy for payments. There need to be more peer-to-peer apps. There are many infrastructural problems that need to be solved, in that the networks themselves are simply not ready, whether it be consensus or governance issues that haven’t been figured out just yet.
Related Reading: Exclusive: What Litecoin Founder Charlie Lee Thinks Will Drive Crypto Adoption
NewsBTC: What do you think of the statement ‘Long Bitcoin, short the bankers’?
Phil: Long Bitcoin, short the bankers? I believe that. That’s why we are doing this, that’s why I’m building the Exodus, and that’s why we are in this industry. Having the Genesis Block on the Exodus phone is perfect for that statement.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
The post HTC’s Blockchain Lead: Bitcoin is to Facebook Coin, JPM Coin as The Internet is to Intranets appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New feedNewsBTC.com

Why Crypto Is So Important For Privacy With HTC Exodus’ Phil Chen

Believe it or not, privacy has been classified as a fundamental human right by the United Nations. However, with the rise of the Internet, this seeming right has been breached time and time again, as consumers continually trade their precious information for what they see as improvements — however incremental — in their quality of life. Decentralized technologies, whether it be Bitcoin, blockchain-based smart contracts, crypto assets, or otherwise, give users an opportunity to opt-out of Silicon Valley’s and worldwide governments’ ceaseless thirst for copious amounts of data.
Related Reading: Professor and Author Argues That Blockchain Represents a New Kind of Trust
NewsBTC was lucky enough to sit down with Phil Chen, HTC’s Crypto Chief Officer, to talk about privacy in our society, and how his team’s brainchild, the Exodus One smartphone, fits into this whole dilemma. Believe us, it’s quite the dilemma.
Phil Chen — Courtesy of EnGadget
1984 — Not Too Far Off From Reality
In 1949, dystopian sci-fi novelist George Orwell released 1984 — a book that depicts a society predicated on control through authoritarianism and the collection of data, data, and more data. While what Orwell writes about is fantastical and, honestly, scary to imagine, Chen hints that our very world is looking more and more like Oceania, 1984‘s foreboding setting. And the crypto insider isn’t exactly wrong.
Over recent years, Facebook has been absolutely rocked by jaw-droppingly disastrous data scandals, some of which have perpetuated the long-standing “#deletefacebook” movement. In March of 2018, political consulting group Cambridge Analytica was revealed to have tapped into the personal data of millions of consumers’ Facebook accounts. What made this even worse was the fact that Cambridge harvested this data without the explicit consent of their victims.
Little is known about the exact political and societal consequences of the underhanded move, but Facebook claims that the consulting firm managed to glean into the lives of 87 million American profiles. In this case, “big data” really was big. And Chen tells us that this gut-wrenching case of a widespread invasion of privacy could have had severe ramifications, “even to democracy.”
Even if companies do not wish to overtly infringe on consumers’ data privacy, security breaches have become commonplace. While crypto hackers — like North Korea’s Lazarus Group — target value in the form of Bitcoin and other digital assets, other black-hats have begun to set their sights on consumer data. Lots of it. The fact of the matter is, this data is important, thus making it expensive on black markets.
Late last year, a hacker group managed to hack into the servers of Huazhu Hotels Group, an accommodation giant in China with over 3,800 locations across the mainland. The data the attacker managed to garner tallied to a reported 141.5 gigabytes in size, and contained data, including personal ID information, phone numbers, email addresses, birthdays, and home addresses, of 130 million guests.
This fracas, of course, is just the tip of the iceberg though. Across the pond, Equifax, a company whose operations effectively rely only on data security and data processing, saw the personal details (Social Security numbers, addresses, full names, etc.) of approximately 145.5 million of its American, Canadian, and British clients get exposed by hackers.
To be frank, it would be a pain to list debacles of a similar nature and caliber that have occurred over the past ten years — as this issue is omnipresent and harrowing. As HTC’s Phil explains:
“I would argue that [consumers] would care about privacy if they knew how their data was being used, and how it was being sold. There’s a very moral movement around this. When you don’t own your crypto assets or data or identity, there is something fundamentally wrong about that… especially because we are this far into the Information Age.”
A Quiet Revolution. 
There’s hope, however. The Equifax and Cambridge Analytica imbroglios led to a mostly quiet revolution in the realm of privacy and data security, forcing millions to rethink how they act on the internet — what services they use, how they manage privacy settings, and so on and so forth.
Even technology giants have taken steps to mitigate further data breaches. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has recently shared that he is looking to push his purportedly now-crypto-friendly firm to provide users with enhanced security and safety through encrypted services and other privacy-conscious offerings.
PayPal, more recently, made an investment in Cambridge Blockchain (not to be confused with the other Cambridge), a startup centered around facilitating the secure transfer of confidential data through a ledger-based system. Representatives of the fintech firm tell media outlets that it is looking to harness Cambridge’s crypto-esque technology to potentially allow its millions of global users to take control of their own data. And that is exactly what Phil Chen wants to see and is actively pushing for in his day-to-day.
Crypto To Play A Key Role
HTC Exodus is established on the raison d’etre of expanding on the concept of “being your own bank” through Bitcoin through technical architecture, giving users the ability to own their own digital identity.
While the device’s private key system is currently relegated solely to the secure storage of crypto assets, like Bitcoin and Ethereum, Chen envisions a world where you can finally own “a sovereign identity that is you — things that you’ve created, attributes or characteristics that describe you.” This vision sounds a tad nebulous — hard to grasp for common Joes and Jills — but the Exodus team is continually trying its hand at moving closer to this altruistic world, where “digital property — what is yours, what is mine” is a bonafide, respected, and widely-adopted topic. 

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, HTC revealed that Exodus One’s hardware could be used in tandem with the native crypto wallet on the mobile Opera browser. While this venture seems innocuous and simple enough, Chen explains that this partnership is “significant,” in that it allows users to utilize Ethereum decentralized applications with a private key that isn’t owned by a third-party wallet, but by themselves, and by themselves only. Exodus’ partnership with Opera marks the first time that users can sign into a third-party service “using a digital identity that you can own.” Gone are the days that every bit and byte of your data and online identity were out of your control.
This may sound insignificant, but this little-known integration truly exemplifies the importance of crypto assets and blockchain technologies in the push for privacy. There is currently no other innovation or technological advancement in the world that allows users to rapidly take charge of their own finances and data, all within a soon-to-be interoperable ecosystem, created for a global audience.
Unfortunately, development on this front of the crypto industry has been slow, as industry stakeholders have focused their efforts on products meant to satisfy speculators. But, with time, capital, and enough catalysts, data privacy and security could quickly become one of blockchain technology’s most tantalizing real-world use-cases.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
The post Why Crypto Is So Important For Privacy With HTC Exodus’ Phil Chen appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New feedNewsBTC.com

UTrust’s CIO On What Will Drive Bitcoin Past $20,000 Once Again

Filipe Castro is a long-time Bitcoin fanatic that decided to run with a dream, founding leading crypto startup UTRUST alongside a partner. At Token2049, NewsBTC got a chance to sit down with Filipe to discuss a number of subjects, including his thoughts on adoption, a possible bottom in the value of cryptocurrencies, and how his firm is moving towards becoming the PayPal of this industry.
There’s A Bitcoin Downturn, But How Are Fundamentals?
NewsBTC: All right. So, NewsBTC editor Joseph Young argues that by many measures, this crypto winter has exceeded expectations. You have Fidelity’s Bitcoin custody coming out, Starbucks potentially looking into accepting BTC, and all the infrastructure plays that are looking to bolster public awareness. Do you think that this bear market is better than the last?
Filipe: A lot more is being developed right now than in any of the previous bear markets, that’s for sure. Especially in terms of infrastructure projects towards mainstream adoption. We’re much further ahead in this winter than the last. Unfortunately, that has not been reflected in the price. This being despite many companies including ourselves actively working on infrastructures. But this technology benefits adoption in the long-term. And in the short-term, it impacts the speed and reliability of networks. Then again, this hasn’t been translated to price action. This part is very puzzling to me. From an outside perspective, I look at this market and say that there’s never been a better opportunity to jump in. You might say, ‘maybe we haven’t reached the bottom’. I don’t know. But, from a macro perspective, I would say yes, we are at that pivotal moment. Or at least we are near that moment.

I think many investors were worried about a full-fledged crypto bear market because developer activity, market interest, and the rate of building [infra] often drop massively.
This bear market, so far, has exceeded expectations. Companies are building and expanding very rapidly.
— Joseph Young (@iamjosephyoung) March 12, 2019

NewsBTC: What do you think of the recent news about Starbucks potentially accepting Bitcoin within the next 12 months? Or Kroger, an American retail brand, looking into the Lightning Network?  
Filipe: I think it’s entirely possible. Again, there are clear advantages in digital currencies as a means of payment. All the tech giants are probably exploring it. I don’t know about other initiatives that aren’t public. But, they’re certainly exploring those possibilities. We have speculation about Facebook Coin or other coins associated with other ecosystems. There are clear advantages in tokenization. So in the next 10 to 15 years, you will pay for your Starbucks latte with crypto. I don’t know which digital currency you will use, but you will have the option of this being with crypto. That’s where we are headed — higher. We want more options for consumers, more ways to attract a younger audience, and better mediums to connect and reach more consumers, especially in ways where there are less intermediaries and chargebacks. So there’s a cost saving there too. It’s a win-win for both the customer and business.
NewsBTC: Stepping back a bit, what exactly got you into crypto?
Filipe: So here’s a funny story. My co-founder and I actually first met online. Back in 2012, we went to the same forums, but we didn’t know each other. We only knew each other by a nickname. So, we ended up meeting during a conference in mid-2017, and we found out we knew each other. And that’s where we recognized this problem in the industry, leading to the creation of UTRUST. So that was an odd thing having someone you’ve been talking to for years join you in the creation of a company. BitcoinTalk was a good place in the old days to build relationships. Now, the only place where you can build such things is at conferences like this.
NewsBTC: You mentioned earlier that you think we are nearing a bottom. How do you expect for the Bitcoin price to play out over the next year? Do you think the halving will push the market higher?
Filipe: Again, I’m not sure about future prices. I think it’s analogous to the stock market, where no one can fully predict the S&P 500, for instance. By the same token, no one can forecast the future of the price of gold. But, I think that Bitcoin has very similar financial attributes as a commodity to gold. So from a practical standpoint, I think we will go up. But this could be over the next year, two years, or five years. Regardless, my conviction is that we are going to surpass the previous all-time highs in a five to ten-year horizon. Again, it may not be this year. But looking at fundamentals, we are going there.

Maybe it will trade sideways for the next six months and then have a large bump. Maybe next week there will be a huge bump. But you can never anticipate that type of price action. Over the last few months, the technical developments and fundamental developments should have increased the value of cryptocurrencies. But it didn’t. Maybe there’s something preventing that. Maybe there’s something creating an artificially low price of entry. But again, if you look at fundamentals, every single indicator could signal lower prices.
Becoming The PayPal of Crypto
NewsBTC: Months ago, Litecoin creator Charlie Lee argued that the crash in the Bitcoin price has helped him build in this downturn. How has UTRUST been affected by the downturn, if at all? And, do you think that this crypto winter has been beneficial for you guys or not?
Filipe: It hasn’t been beneficial to anyone in the industry, companies and investors alike. But there have been side benefits from the overall winter, in that it washed away and continues to wash away many of the not so reputable projects. And that ended up clearing a bit of the market. In terms of UTRUST, no. Our business model is independent of the price of any token. From our token, UTK, yes. All tokens are price related in some way to the price of Bitcoin. But for most other points, like our main business model and drive, no. Not at all. 
NewsBTC: How has Switzerland been treating you? Has it been a nice environment from a regulatory standpoint?
Filipe: Yes, it has. I only have good things to say about Switzerland. It has been at the forefront of the regulatory environment, not only for ICOs but for tokens in general. Even for tokens being used beyond utility, security, and also payments. Its framework, along with the regulators themselves, is very open, even if things are not very clear or understood. They are very proactive and take a friendly approach with newcomers and startups. You can do things here that would require active enforcement in other regions. But with Swiss regulators, they are rather approachable. There are clear guidelines on what you can and cannot do, making it much easier to start a business here. I think that the clarity that Switzerland shows should be emulated in other regions. Singapore, too, is also very, very good in terms of a regulatory framework. But in the end, Switzerland has been at the forefront.
Filipe Castro
NewsBTC: I know you guys are trying to become the PayPal of crypto. How has that been going?
Filipe: So yes, we’re working on that for sure. On the merchant side, it’s a bit complex. But, us being the Paypal of crypto is a fair analogy. Our business is quite similar to that of PayPal. We want to work with lots of people and many chains to add them to our platform and ecosystem. We aren’t fully decentralized. We link different chains through open-source components that act like different fiat currencies. And we are working with merchants to bolster mass adoption. Because right now, there aren’t many outlets where I can spend crypto. But we’re working on it. This is complicated though, as we are working with a very traditional, risk-averse ecosystem.
A lot of the crypto terminology here has been scaring them. These are businesses that act on predictable revenues. They want stability, meaning that they don’t want to understand a lot of these new ecosystems — a new financial world. And so there’s a lot of evangelization work, not only on the tech side, but creating good relationships so they can trust us, crypto, and the broader ecosystem.
To establish a relationship with merchants, we have to say that ‘hey guys, if you add multiple cryptocurrencies, business will be as usual. You will receive your U.S. dollars, Euros, etc. just like with your current system, but you will have access to a wider pool of customers.’ So it totally makes sense from a business standpoint. But they’re still very risk-averse about directly accepting cryptocurrencies. So merchants trying to directly accept BTC or another cryptocurrency has historically failed spectacularly. So what they want is a provider that can deal with the complexities of current and future chains. They want a provider that can cash crypto out into their bank account. And they want a provider that can deal with the technicalities of everything on the other side. They want to say, ‘you guys deal with it’. It’s as simple as that.
NewsBTC: So do you have anything in the pipes that you can tell us about?  
Filipe: A lot of exciting things actually. Just recently, we completed our accelerator program in one of the top VCs in San Francisco – 500 Startups. We did a demo day presenting to run 700 investors in the valley. We are preparing to launch our platform, but I can’t give you a specific date. We are really close to launching a platform though. So stay tuned.
One of the keys to drive adoption and prices is leveraging partnerships to boost the ecosystem. A healthy market needs usability, in that price speculation and prices alone done mean success. With traditional finance, you have stocks, derivatives and all of that, but you also have payments, like cross-border transactions with fiat. And we need that. I think that as a community and as an ecosystem, we have been focusing a bit too much on the bumps in prices instead of the use cases that will drive massive adoption. But this network effect will actually power the price side too, ensuring that the next bump will be even higher than the previous one. This, of course, is in my humble opinion.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
The post UTrust’s CIO On What Will Drive Bitcoin Past $20,000 Once Again appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New feedNewsBTC.com

Exclusive: What Litecoin Founder Charlie Lee Thinks Will Drive Crypto Adoption

After Vitalik Buterin’s stellar keynote about Ethereum 2.0, NewsBTC got the rare chance to sit down with Charlie Lee, a Coinbase director of engineering-turned Litecoin founder. The crypto pioneer told us all about his thoughts on how this ecosystem is developing, along with Litecoin’s plans for global dominance.

Related Reading: Exclusive: Why Tron CEO Expects Bitcoin, Crypto Assets To Rally In 2020
Charlie Lee’s Crypto Insights
NewsBTC:  A few months ago, you told CNBC Fast Money that the downturn in the crypto market has allowed you and the Litecoin Foundation to properly build out your product. Does that still hold true today?
Charlie: Yeah. So my point there is that when prices aren’t going up like crazy, there are definitely fewer distractions. This means that it’s a good time for people to keep their heads down and start to work on getting other products live. Just recently, we’ve been working hard on trying to add more fungibility into the Litecoin protocol. So what we’re looking at now is doing a MimbleWimble extension block upgrade for Litecoin. So we’re doing a lot of research into that about how we could make such an implementation in a safe way. We want more fungibility and privacy in the Litecoin ecosystem.
NewsBTC: How has this crypto bear market compared to ones in the past?
Charlie: Well it’s been pretty similar. One thing about this bear market, even though it’s been over a year now, is that it hasn’t been as bad for people. The drop is similar percentage-wise. But during the last bear market, I remember it got to a point where people just didn’t think that it was going to come back. People just weren’t optimistic about the price at the time. Now, I think we haven’t gotten to that point yet, and maybe we might not go there this time, which will be great. But I wouldn’t be surprised if there are more sell-offs, or if it takes a lot longer to climb out of it. It could be another year or so. But who knows? It’s hard to predict these things.
NewsBTC: So you made crypto history when you purchased a stake in WEG Bank a few months back. How has that been playing out so far?
Charlie: It was actually like almost a year ago that that deal happened. We have a 9.9% stake in the bank, meaning we have some influence. The bank is kinda creating crypto products. So they’re kind of approaching it from a different direction of starting with a regulated bank, then pivoting to give us merchant processing and stuff like that. So the first step has been great. Next is supporting crypto companies with bank accounts. Then, lastly, you want to add crypto wallets, along with storing fiat in normal accounts for crypto companies. What would be cool is allowing people to store U.S. dollars at a bank and cryptocurrencies too.
But eventually, there will be merchant processing and other crypto solutions. It’s going slowly because banks move slowly due to regulations. That was to be expected, but it’s going well. I don’t have anything really to announce right now, but I’m excited about what is to come in the future.
NewsBTC: So you guys joined hands with Ben Askren from the UFC. Did you see values align between the UFC and cryptocurrencies?
Charlie: It wasn’t quite a partnership with Ben. He’s a huge proponent of cryptocurrency, and he also understood Litecoin very well. Ben understands the need for sound money. He also said he supports Litecoin, so members of our community actually donated to him over 100 LTC for his previous fight. And he was very thankful for that. And he wore a Litecoin t-shirt for a few of his interviews. We also had the Litecoin logo on the UFC mat there, which brought us a lot of exposure and drew a lot of new people into this space. I think there’s an intersection between the cryptocurrency community and combat sports fan. It’s a unique opportunity for us to expand the adoption of Litecoin through that.

Pumped for @LTCFoundation to sponsor me for UFC 235! @SatoshiLite @johnkim77 #ltcwestcoast #ltceastcoast pic.twitter.com/oV0bzey2XA
— Ben Askren (@Benaskren) January 15, 2019

NewsBTC: What is one thing holding back crypto adoption as it stands?
Charlie: I’ll tell you two things. One thing is volatility. Because crypto prices are so volatile, it’s hard for people to actually use it, meaning adoption is hampered. Volatility is kind of a chicken and the egg type scenario. Once there is adoption, volatility will decrease, meaning more adoption. So it’s a slow process for that to work for us to overcome that. The second thing that’s kind of preventing us from getting a lot of adoption is user experience of storing your own money.
Securing your own money is hard. There’s always a tradeoff between security and usability. So people are using exchanges to store their coins because they can’t do it themselves. It’s easy, but then you hear all the stories about exchanges getting hacked. And that really hurts adoption. So probably, we just need to work on having better, easier solutions that allow people to store their own money. That’s the whole problem really. So I think usability and user experience is really important, albeit it’s something that is hard to solve.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
The post Exclusive: What Litecoin Founder Charlie Lee Thinks Will Drive Crypto Adoption appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New feedNewsBTC.com

Exclusive: John McAfee talks about his Presidential run, Federal Cryptocurrency, Calvin Ayre and more

In an exclusive interview with AMBCrypto, John McAfee, vocal cryptocurrency proponent, and former computer programmer, spoke about his upcoming presidential run, campaign promises that would affect the cryptocurrency world, the online Twitter battle with Calvin Ayre and more.
McAfee began by talking about the likelihood of mainstream politics embracing cryptocurrencies. He stated that it was not likely, saying that if any future U.S. Presidential candidate introduced a cryptocurrency, it would be federally regulated.
A candidate for the highest office in the United States, McAfee, does not have any real intentions of actually becoming the President. His main aim through his run is to promote decentralized currency and further its adoption.
Running on the Libertarian party ticket, McAfee stated that neither the Democratic nor the Republican party will ever truly embrace the notion of cryptocurrencies. He added that if they did, it would be for ‘Big Brother’ to track the activities of its users. McAfee’s advice to the virtual currency community was to use a privacy-centric cryptocurrency instead.
He said,
“Neither will fulky (fully) embrace it. Both will attempt to issue a Fedreral (Federal) Cryptocurrency that, i promise, will be a tracking mechanism for users. Just don’t usr (use) it. Use a privacy coin instead.”
The very essence of decentralized currency is to take away financial power from centralized authorities, and give it to the masses, he said. McAfee added that this would be ‘too much power’ to the people, which is why politicians are keeping their distance from virtual currencies.
His comments come days after Jay Clayton, the Chairman of the SEC, cited different reasons for the hesitation in granting a Bitcoin ETF. Clayton stated that the reason the SEC was on the fence about approving Bitcoin ETFs, was the market’s vulnerability to manipulation and high volatility of cryptocurrencies. His main intention was to protect investors, and if that was not sufficiently viable, there would be no publicly traded cryptocurrency.
McAfee had previously called Clayton a ‘m**h*r f*c*er,’ demanding a debate with the chairman. In June 2018, he asked his followers to send the chairman a “flood” of emails, calling for the debate. However, McAfee was unsuccessful in his effort.
He tweeted,
Source: Trading View
His ill-will for the SEC did not stop there. After the SEC indicted DJ Khaled and Floyd Mayweather in December 2018 for not disclosing payments received for promoting an ICO, McAfee called the regulatory authority a “corrupt, puss filled, bile dripping abscess.” He said,
Source: Trading View
When asked about Universal Basic Income [UBI] as a core campaign promise, and whether it could be mobilized through cryptocurrencies, McAfee said that “did not believe” in UBI. A handout of a certain dollar value to every citizen in America did not follow the principle of the “Survival of the Fittest,” according to McAfee.
In his own words,
“I Don’t believe in Universal Basic Income. Life is, and always has been, a battle if the “Fittest.” People have to work, risk. experiment, attempt, suffer hardships, learn, accept, adapt. It can be no other way if our species is to survive.”
Many Presidential candidates have previously raised the notion of UBI, most notably Andrew Yang, the Founder of Venture for America, whose core campaign pledge is UBI. Yang, although an admirer of the blockchain technology, had previously said that cryptocurrencies “have gotten ahead of themselves.”
Back in November 2017, McAfee predicted that the top cryptocurrency would reach $1 million, by the close of 2020. McAfee had added that he would ‘eat his d**k,’ if the prediction did not materialize.
Source: Trading View
When asked if the May 2020 halving would affect his decision, he said,
“The halving will help my prediction.”
John McAfee had also spoken about Bitcoin Cash [BCH]. During the latter’s hardfork in November 2018, McAfee took the side of Roger Ver and Jihan Wu-backed Bitcoin Cash ABC, stating “You have my sword and my loyalty.” With respect to Craig Wright’s claim of being the real Satoshi Nakamoto, McAfee said,
“It’s utter nonsense.”
John McAfee also spoke about the terrible tragedy in Christchurch, and had this to say about the debate on gun laws,
“If everyone in the Mosques had been armed, the death toll would have been minimal. An armed society is the only safe society. And armed societies are the most polite in the world as we learned from the “wild west” period in America. Everyone was armed.”
The post Exclusive: John McAfee talks about his Presidential run, Federal Cryptocurrency, Calvin Ayre and more appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

Dr Doom Does it Again: Bitcoin and Crypto People Are Arrogant Zealots and Fanatics

In another scathing attack on Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies Nouriel ‘Dr Doom’ Roubini has labeled individuals involved in crypto and blockchain as total zealots and fanatics about this new asset class.
The Mother and Father of All Bubbles
In an interview with the CFA Institute Roubini was quite aptly labeled as a ‘perennial permabear’. He is known for calling out bubbles, most famously the housing bubble leading up to the global financial crisis. He has also labeled crypto as the mother and the father of all bubbles adding;
“But to me, the whole crypto space is one of assets that are not really money. They’re not really a currency. They’re not a scalable means of payment. They’re not as stable in terms of store of value.”
While the price action of Bitcoin and its brethren has behaved like a bubble in the past 18 months one has to look at the bigger picture to see that Roubini is clearly barking up the wrong digital tree here. Yes, Bitcoin is down 80% from its all-time high but it is also up 225% from this day two years ago, March 8 2017 when BTC traded at $1,200. That is not how bubbles behave.
The venting went on as Dr Doom vehemently displayed his distaste for this asset class and all who are involved in it.
“Well, I engage on Twitter and I also have attended many of these crypto or blockchain conferences. I met some of these individuals, and I must say I’ve never seen in my life people who on one side are so arrogant in their views, who are total zealots and fanatics about this new asset class,”
He added that those people were also completely ignorant of basic economics, finance and money. It would be interesting to see if Roubini had the same views about those that invested in the dot com boom and bought Netscape stock, for example, when they launched the IPO at $28. The shares surged to $175 by the end of 1995 and some of the biggest gainers from that period were investment bankers who clearly did have a grasp of economics.
Roubini added that the start of internet was a bubble with a lot of dot coms going bust but it kept growing, adding the billions of people used it and it changed the world. Again, what he fails to see is that crypto is still in this very early phase with virtually no adoption yet – the capacity for growth is as big as the internet was back in the 1990s and the institutions are clearly showing interest this year.

Nouriel Roubini: The Mother and Father of All Bubbles https://t.co/kgDwFnY5Jp
— Nouriel Roubini (@Nouriel) March 7, 2019

The ranting continued and one could almost envision the blood pressure rising;
“The ratio between arrogant and ignorant is astounding — I have never seen such a gap in my life. These are fanatics. Some of them, like criminals, zealots, scammers, carnival barkers, insiders who are just talking their book 24/7.”
As if in ‘gloat mode’ for correctly predicting that a bear market would follow a huge bull run, Roubini’s venomous rhetoric towards this industry appears to be stemming from some deep personal loathing of it and the people involved in the nascent technology. Nothing more, nothing less.
Image from Shutterstock
The post Dr Doom Does it Again: Bitcoin and Crypto People Are Arrogant Zealots and Fanatics appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New feedNewsBTC.com

Ankr, powering the cloud for the next decades to come, soon to be listed on BitMax.io

Bitcoin [BTC], the very first digital currency often referred to as the king of the cryptoverse, has been recognized as a revolution ever since its inception. Interestingly, along with the idea of a digitalized and decentralized economy, the coin’s underlying technology, Blockchain Technology has gained a lot of traction across the globe.
Several industries including leading government are looking into the use-case of the blockchain technology and working towards implementing it all the sectors. More so, one of the key industries the blockchain is going to disrupt noted to be the cloud storage industry.
The introduction of blockchain to cloud storage industry is going to be marked as a significant revolution as it is the reckoned to be the pioneering sector in this internet generation. From individuals to companies and governments, everyone avails the services offered by this industry. Moreover, companies such as Amazon and Microsoft are currently thriving in the world because of their cloud computing services.
In general terms, Cloud computing services refer to providing computer system resources over the Internet on-demand. This service is the most-sought-after one because it reduces the operating cost, increases efficiency, and paves the path for faster innovation.
This service is mainly categorized into three types: enterprise cloud service, dedicated to a single entity, public cloud service, available for several enterprises, and hybrid cloud service, a mixture of both public and enterprise. And, the three main services provided are Platform as a Services [PaaS], Serverless Computing, Software as a Service [SaaS], and Infrastructure as a Service [IaaS].
The most common resources offered over the internet by cloud computing services are servers, computation power, storage, database, software, networking, intelligence, and analytics. Despite its vast advantages, the industry also has several drawbacks, limiting it from reaching its full potential.
One of the main drawbacks of this sector is that it is filled with centralized players. This factor comes across as concern because of the control these entities have over individuals data. This is also a raising question, especially with the recent revelation of Facebook’s abuse of personal data has cast a doubt pertaining to one’s ownership of their data, and more importantly privacy protection.
In addition, these centralized entities have the power to monitor the data stored and even disclose to third parties. The other pressing issue of centralized cloud computing services is that they create the perfect honeypot for hackers and malicious players as most of the data is connected to one single point.
These are exactly the key factor that will be tackled with the help of blockchain technology. Along with driving its efficiency to a whole new level, blockchain also adds a huge value in terms of privacy, security, and scalability. And, one such project working towards bringing the best of both the worlds is Ankr.
Ankr is blockchain based distributed cloud computing network, providing serverless infrastructure for the business application. The project is dedicated to leveraging idle computing resources in data centers and other devices. The main goal of the project is to “provide a smooth on-hand experience for cloud users and minimize the switching cost to integrate Ankr’s DCCN into their solutions.”
Unlike any other project in the space, the main aspect of Ankr makes energy consumed for wasteful computation into a profitable. Ankr paves the path for cheaper and more accessible computing power to users as it adopts a Sharing Economy model. With this model, users can monetize their devices computing power on a public and private cloud at a given time.
Ankr is container-native, supports container orchestration and confederation cross clusters and cross data centers to automate application deployment, scaling, and management in any personal device or commercial resource provider. The DCCN platform uses multiple-master-multiple-slave architecture.
The masters include the marketplaces and schedulers, and the slaves include all kinds of resource providers, usually data centers and personal devices. Core product components include service discovery, load balancing and routing, API gateway, autoscaling and self-healing, scheduler and job management, marketplace, configuration management, metering and telemetry, logging and metrics. Moreover, Ankr provides all the computational services that match to those offered by centralized technology companies such as Amazon and Google for a much cheaper price, adding along the benefits of blockchain technology to it.
Blockchain is heavily leveraged in the product too. All the usage data and transaction data will be recorded in the block, which means it will be easy to verify and back tracking and prevent from manipulation. Data predictive analytics based on blockchain data helps create Ankr user account reputation system.
Code-is-low will replace the traditional Service-level Agreement [SLA]. Blockchain-based contract functionality will be used by Ankr cloud Marketplace platform, which matches the buyers and sellers using advanced matchmaking algorithms for trading computing resources and applications. Ankr’s native blockchain is also an alternative method for data centers to communicate with messages. Ankr cloud platform is trying to reduce unnecessary data center communications.
Ankr cloud provides five levels security for cloud platform,

OS virtual isolation
Host Security
Service communication security. Ankr cloud uses certificate-based service-to-service policy for segmentation and encryption.
Configuration security. Ankr cloud uses cryptographic identity for dynamic configuration update and limit resource for each identity.
Container application security. Users need to put deposits or stake for its own applications. The damages will be restricted to the resource’s users have already paid for.

AMBCrypto reached out to the project heads to gain more perspective on the project:
Team member names in picture team: [left to right] 1. Chandler Song, CEO 2. David P. Anderson, Creator of BOINC, Advisor to Ankr 3. Stanley Wu, CTOWhen did you come across the blockchain and cryptocurrency space? What was your first impression when you first heard of it?
Chandler Song, fellow Ankr Co-founder, and our CEO, actually sparked my interest in the blockchain. Chandler was one of the early members of Blockchain at Berkeley, a student organization focused on blockchain innovation with the first undergraduate university-accredited blockchain course, Blockchain Fundamentals. This was the first step in Chandler’s interest in the blockchain, and in turn, my own journey.
We first experimented with crypto during our time at college, back in 2014, when Bitcoin was still hovering in the hundreds. From then on, having come from a more traditional financial background, I realized that banking systems are primarily determined by human decision-making, and the introduction of blockchain would be able to bring about a new way of trust due to its nature as a decentralized entity. At the core of it, while blockchain remains in its early days, the immutability and trust in the code will cement it as the future of trust.
What drove you to create Ankr Network? Could you tell us the reason you choose to provide cloud computing solutions instead of opting for other services?
It’s an interesting story, actually. Amazon is the common thread between us three founders.
Ankr CTO and Co-founder, Stanley Wu was one of the early engineers for Amazon Web Services and a Tech Lead at Amazon for over 10 years while Ankr CEO and Co-founder, Chandler Song worked with Stanley at Amazon.
While I was heavily exposed to AWS from a user-perspective – As a finance and statistics student I dealt a lot with machine learning, using AWS amounted to a few thousand dollars. While this was a considerable sum for a college student, I was convinced by my first-hand experience that this was a lucrative business that was worth looking into, with a higher margin that placed it ahead of its retail counterpart.
If you look at distributing or decentralizing something that already has a thin profit margin to start with, it becomes significantly harder to do so, as in the case of a cloud where there is a big pie to share. The aim of a distributed cloud system is to make it cheaper, and it is our firm belief that utilizing idle cloud resources will be the way forward.
Why did Ankr choose to introduce blockchain to cloud computing instead of launching itself as a centralized cloud computing firm?
We wouldn’t call ourselves at this moment of time decentralized network. What we will be trying to achieve, is distributed network first. It is running almost like a decentralized company, but the core focus we have right now is to enable the distributed network to mash together with the cloud.
Recently, we’ve partnered up with Telefonica, which is one of the largest European telecommunications company. They have lots of idle resources. What we’re able to do is to mash together their resources with public cloud resources to provide together a cloud for potential clients and our platform is about lunch in just one or two days. And we’re all very excited about having the initial contributor to the platform.
Blockchain, we think is an extremely important part of the distributed computing platform, because you know the promise of blockchains is that is truly in trust. I think this is the future for distributed computing, and the blockchain part is an extremely important part of our offering.
What are the key differences you think is between centralized and decentralized cloud computing, in terms of challenges?
There are a lot of difficulties for distributed computing company. We have already seen, you know, many companies in the space, we actually know many of the projects, for eg., Golem from Poland. A lot of companies are trying to do this, but the challenges that people face are essentially the following.
Firstly, if you’re only focused on personal computing, we’re not going to be able to have enough resources, and it’s not as stable as it is compared to the centralized cloud. The way we think about it is that we are a little more enterprise focused and compared to some of the other distributed computing company, so that we can potentially first, knock down the supply side problem so that we can have relative stability. That’s basically our first challenge.
The second biggest challenge is the type of the work a distributed compute platform can do versus a centralized platform.
We are currently working with a video compression company, and they’re going to be one of our first three clients. They have spent a lot of money on AWS, and we are working with them to develop a solution to cut their costs down a whole lot. We’ve currently focused more on computing other tasks that are definitely in the pipeline and in the future, we would look to work with other distributed computing or distributed storage companies.
I think the true challenge is the stability of the supply of the compute network. I think we are on the right track to tackle them one by one.
What, according to you, are the major obstacles in cloud computing solutions provided by centralized firms? How do you think Ankr network will eradicate these obstacles by introducing decentralization?
At this point in time, it’s important to note that Ankr is not yet fully introduced as decentralization, but instead distributed and utilizing otherwise idle resources. We see ourselves bringing value to a market with untapped potential, evident in the many data centers that have low utilization rates. The US, for instance, has on average 25-35% utilization, and it is often lower in some cases. As an aggregator of idle resources, we provide a cheaper, more accessible, and a much more efficient alternative.
While we certainly cannot achieve everything AWS purports to do, we are committed to excelling at our chosen niche and have our attention focused on computing resources. To that end, we are also currently working with pilot clients across different industries, with an emphasis on compute functions.
In the blockchain and cryptocurrency space, at present, there are several cloud computing services available such as Siacoin. What sets Ankr Network apart from them and could you tell us a little about the platform’s key features that would promote its adoption?
Yes, there are several cloud computing services within the industry, however, each has a slightly different focus and offering. Siacoin, as you mentioned, is centered around decentralized storage, while Ankr focuses on decentralized compute. While there are other decentralized compute companies in the industry such as Golem and iExec, their architecture – and proposition – is slightly different.
Ankr is first and foremost focused on enterprise adoption, recognizing the state of idle resources within companies as it relates to inefficient inventories. We had previously launched a testing platform back in October 2018 and found that the result of 600 people contributing their computing resources formed a highly unstable network, and this marked our transition to enterprise usage.
An appreciation for the amount of waste and under-leveraged systems in the corporate ecosystem has led Ankr to focus on streamlining and bringing efficiencies in line for companies, and this is the biggest difference that marks Ankr apart from our competitors.
Shifting beyond a myopic comparison, it is perhaps more important to look at the unique strengths of each model and their own architecture. The blockchain space has been throwing out elaborate terms and exciting promises of late, but at the end of the day, it will be those who can go to market, produce a viable product, and attract partners and users, that will prove their worth. An excellent example is WeChat – when users use the application, they care only about the utility, and not the underlying technology supporting it.
AMBCrypto also reached out Ariel Ling, the CEO, and Co-Founder of Bitmax.io about her opinion on the cloud computing project and the reason for their partnership.
First of, could you tell us about your experience in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space?
I’m a new member of the blockchain space. My team and I have a very traditional Wall Street background. I have actually got more than 18 years of experience in terms of  Wall Street, crossing boundaries of our top tier investment banks, doing strategic planning, business development, financial risk management and implementation across major trading asset classes at several top global banks.
The main reason is a bit similar to what Ryan’s vision and the objective was for his venture encore. What we’re looking at is really looking at the current state of the crypto, in terms of the trading market structure as well as the regulatory developments. We do think there is a quite a bit of future developments, where we can definitely lend our expertise to in terms of improving the efficiency, the transparency, as well as a lot of the product innovation.
How do you like the shift from centralized space to a decentralized space?
When it comes down to the digital asset, it’s very nice. So the industry itself it’s at an early stage of development form, you know, full of opportunities as risks and promises. And from a blockchain technology. So, again, as I said, I’m very pleased to have a chance to work with Ryan’s Ankr, to look into his project, to help the success of this project because blockchain from a technology perspective right now is kind of like Internet in the 1990s.
So there’s a lot more development to be done and more innovation, and also there are a lot more business transformation yet to take place. And it’s very exciting. And that’s why we think, you know, that makes sense for us to work with such you know pioneer venture like Ankr; particularly at the moment we are really looking at how we can take the distributed clouding and blockchain technology to actually transforming or optimizing, some of the existing industry that is dominated by, you know, like AWS and some other the mature players in a cloud computing.
I do think this is very similar to what we are trying to do, in terms of leveraging our expertise in the algorithmic quant trading, and trying to enhance the market structure, or at least make some effort, right?
Could you brief us about your opinion on Ankr network?
One of the key things we’re very proud of is really the quality of top client services as well as our very innovative trading platform. When we’re looking at what our users, what our clients want, a lot of them is really about coming down to quality projects. So we’re not one of those exchanges which just randomly list a whole bunch of, tokens or projects. We actually have a pretty strict listing requirement in order to identify the very high-quality project for our users.
And so far, we’ve already listed five industry star project in the last several weeks and then a couple more, including Ankr and all of them, but when we are looking at it when we evaluate, it is based off where we came from – I come from traditional finance. So we’re not looking at all projects as a random investment opportunities. It is almost a combination of, basically a very traditional finance evaluation perspective, as well as how the market develops in that regard.
So there are a couple of parameters, that we are always looking at from project evaluation:

has a viable profitable business model;
a growing use user base;
strong community support
various solid reputable funding source.

So when we assessed Ankr and when I initiated discussions with Ryan back in December, almost three-four months back. What we’re looking at is the partnership – where it’s going, you know, how the project paves a huge way for the futures. So we want to know each other well and look at the product itself from a business model perspective. I’ve definitely thought and it is quite interesting the way that they are looking at the overall network computing space.
Their angle is fairly, established and comprehensive from a revenue model perspective. Right. And just in the common sense, how they’re taking the idol cloud computing power and optimizing it is actually very common sense driven, meaning how you drive the efficiency, how you optimize the network. This is something every single firm I’ve been with, at different six different investments, is struggling with.
I think from what they’re approaching, it’s a fairly viable business model, and it makes sense. And, then from a second point about growing your space and I’ve also been spending a lot of handling with Ryan, Chandler, and the team. I’ve known that just before this partnership, that he had very established players and, they’re working very closely with them on the prototype of their product development. So there’s definitely a growing appetite for their product.
And, then from a strong community support perspective, I think they have done a fantastic job managing meetup across the globe, especially in Asia, where there is a lot more activity for users. And, from the user training perspective, that they’ve done quite successfully in a meetup in Korea, in China and in different parts of the dynamic marketplaces. I’ve definitely noticed their community has been growing, and there is a telegram group, we chat group. It’s a pretty solid use community. We’re also looking at what their backers are and who actually provided their initial funding. And then, a lot of them are pretty top tier VCs in the crypto world. We actually share one exactly same, same VC, DHVC.
These are the four criteria with which, we have done our due diligence and spent a lot of time getting to know them to know their product, their community. So we’re pretty comfortable. This is a pretty high-quality project.
And I think from a vision perspective, that the partnership makes sense. They’re striving for transparency, efficiency, as well as transformational efforts to a very matured industry, as it is a very similar thought process with us.
The post Ankr, powering the cloud for the next decades to come, soon to be listed on BitMax.io appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

BitGrail exchange declares bankruptcy after almost a year of announcing $195 million loss

The year of 2018 has been a very volatile year for the cryptocurrency market. The year witnessed a majority of the coins hitting its highest value in terms of price and, at the same time, slump to its lowest value. Along with this, the year also saw several altcoins rise to fame in the space. The most notable event apart from the volatility of the market is considered to be the hacks that took place throughout the year. Well-known exchanges such as Coincheck fell prey to hackers, losing millions of customers’ funds.
BitGrail, an Italian cryptocurrency exchange, was one such platform that was compromised in early 2018. The exchange lost almost $195 million worth of customers’ cryptocurrencies. The exchange rose to fame as it became one of the major platforms to trade Nano aka RailBlocks. It was the very same cryptocurrency the exchange ended up losing to the hackers, as the Founder, Francesco Firano, revealed that 17 million Nano tokens were stolen by hackers.
The announcement of the hack was soon followed with speculation that this was a premeditated act and that the exchange had been planning an exit scam for quite some time. Even the Nano team expressed their doubts on the whole situation. In an official statement, the team had stated:
“We now have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the Nano Core Team and the community regarding the solvency of the BitGrail exchange for a significant period of time.”
On January 21, 2018, after almost a year of announcing that the exchange was compromised to an attack, the firm has now declared bankruptcy in their official telegram channel. Additionally, when asked about the bankruptcy on Twitter, the CEO, Francesco said that it is “confirmed”.
Bitgrail declaring bankruptcy | Source: Discord
PaddyThePriest, a Redditor said:
“This is good news for Nano as far as I can see. Lays the blame for the hack at Bomber’s feet. Also shuts his lying mouth once and for all.”
Darkrender7, another Redditor said:
“If nano rockets upward like bitcoin did… it very well could turn out that he’ll be able to pay everyone back in fiat and make off will millions from selling the rest of the nano at the new high market price. Thats what’s going on mark and Mt. Gox”
The post BitGrail exchange declares bankruptcy after almost a year of announcing $195 million loss appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

Mati Greenspan Exclusive: Centralization in Bitcoin [BTC] and XRP, portfolio management and more

In the last part of the AMBCrypto Exclusive with Mati Greenspan, the market analyst discussed the degree of centralization in each popular coin ecosystem, such as XRP and Bitcoin [BTC]. He also talked about the correct way to carry out an investment allocation in one’s portfolio.

According to Greenspan, decentralization is not black and white; rather, it is actually a field of gray. He also suggested than Bitcoin, by far is the most decentralized of the crypto-assets. Adding to the statement, he said that Satoshi Nakamoto is no more around, he does not have a say, he is not able to lead the project, therefore, it is the entire community who needs to agree when making a developmental change. He explained:
“Now that can be a good thing, it can also have its negative sides so as we saw with Bitcoin Cash [BCH]. Some of the BTC community wanted to take it in a different direction and increase the block size, some of them moved off to do a different thing. And that basically left Bitcoin as its decentralized organization.”
He also opined that Bitcoin Cash [BCH], being a decentralized asset has more centralization than Bitcoin as the leadership is clearer in the ecosystem.
When asked about the nature of XRP, Greenspan mentioned it as the most centralized crypto-assets among its fellow coins. This, he propagated is due to the presence of the Ripple Labs that leads the development of the asset.
“XRP is one of the most centralized and also the most decentralized as they claim. But it is the most centralized because you have Ripple Labs which is really the leader of the development of this specific asset.”
Switching the topic to the bear-market and its recovery, the market expert advised that this is a great time for the investors sitting on the sidelines. According to him, this is the time to build a portfolio and understand the risks to allocate investments correctly.
The post Mati Greenspan Exclusive: Centralization in Bitcoin [BTC] and XRP, portfolio management and more appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

Mati Greenspan exclusive: XRP, Litecoin [LTC], Dash [DASH], portfolio diversification and more

In the second part of the AMBCrypto Exclusive, Mati Greenspan, the Senior Market Analyst at eToro answered a few questions on the state of XRP and its progress on the market front. He also discussed the possibility of the Litecoin [LTC] come back in the market if the ecosystem continues to progress and make significant developments.

When asked about XRP and if it is safe to invest in, he stated that XRP is still considered as a high-risk asset. According to him, there are several factors that are standing in the way of mass adoption. He further revealed that Ripple released a report that mentioned that the project is only 25% likely to succeed in the long-term. He also explained:
“So we need to take that into account. So yes, if it does end up becoming the standard for global payments, then certainly, it stands a lot to rise in value, even in a very short amount of time. However, when you’re thinking about an overall portfolio, you don’t want to risk too much of your equity that is only a 25% chance of coming to pass.”
Regarding Litecoin, Greenspan had conducted a comparative analysis wherein he found that the coin is currently undervalued in the cryptocurrency market, considering its daily transaction volume and usage. He stated that Litecoin actually does have a lot of adoption, strong community, network value and transaction volumes, something that a lot of other, newer crypto-assets do not have.
On being asked about his favorite altcoin and the recent Twitter poll conducted by him, he stated that he is bullish on the top coins, such as Bitcoin [BTC], XRP, Ethereum [ETH], Dash [DASH] and EOS. Furthermore, the market analyst suggested:
“I’m mostly bullish on most of the top ones: Bitcoin, XRP, Ethereum, EOS, Dash. So these are the ones I believe strongly in. Now obviously, we have to be diversified but when you have the part of high-risk assets in your portfolio, you can diversify even further.”
The post Mati Greenspan exclusive: XRP, Litecoin [LTC], Dash [DASH], portfolio diversification and more appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

Exclusive: Mati Greenspan discusses Bitcoin [BTC] bottom, market crash and more

In an exclusive interview with AMBCrypto, Mati Greenspan, the Senior Market Analyst at eToro answered a few questions on the Bitmain crisis, Bitcoin price and the bear market.

According to the market expert, digital assets are high-risk investments, wherein neither the BTC bottom nor a bull market can be precisely speculated at present. Furthermore, he stated that a lot of market progress is often based on the future adoption of digital assets.
Regarding the Bitcoin crash that occurred during the Bitcoin Cash [BCH] hash war, Greenspan explained that the hard fork could merely be a side story in the crypto-chaos. He added:
“I do believe that […] the real reason for the decline was a technical breakout. The fact that it went below $6,000, which is a very strong psychological barrier was broken, something that created a lot of fear, and on top of that you had the Bitcoin Cash hard fork and there were also several other stories at the time which were interpreted as bad news that certainly caused negative sentiment in the market.”
When asked if BTC has already hit market bottom, he stated that crypto-assets are high-risk investments and it is indeed possible that the market may go down further.
He also mentioned that the $3,000 BTC support level is being heavily tested, which if broken could certainly lead to lower support levels that can be pointed out. Moreover, Greenspan shared that many analysts have called out support level figures as low as $2,000 and $1,500.
The post Exclusive: Mati Greenspan discusses Bitcoin [BTC] bottom, market crash and more appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

Interview: Stephen Innes Says Crypto, Bitcoin to “Grind Higher” Over Next Decade

Just two weeks ago, “cross-asset trader” Stephen Innes, head of Pacific-Asia trading at Oanda, took to Bloomberg TV to convey his thoughts on late-2018’s crypto market tumult. After his short guest appearance on the network, he was quickly classified as a Bitcoin (BTC) bear, due to his expectation that the popular digital asset could fall below $2,500. Yet, through the medium of Twitter direct messages, Innes tells NewsBTC he has been duly misclassified, explaining that “mainstream media often latches” onto a single statement or sentiment, and paints commentators on the back of an inflammatory sole remark. The Singapore-based Oanda trader has claimed that contrary to popular belief, he actually holds a bullish outlook on BTC for the long-term.
NewsBTC: Not three weeks ago on Bloomberg TV, you called out a number of bearish catalysts, namely regulation, affecting the Bitcoin price. Keeping these factors in mind, how are you playing the crypto markets today?
“I respect the crypto space greatly, but any a cross-asset class, delta (the act of comparing price fluctuations of an asset/asset class) trader like myself is very sensitive to changes in the value of an asset. Again, it would be foolish not to respect and support crypto, yet there an opportunity to catch some downside over the short-term, due to the confluence of negative drivers that are getting discussed every day (Bitcoin Cash hard fork, growing regulatory qualms, fears of crypto-related hacks). I trade extreme-edge views, which seldom offer up a pleasant or happy narrative. Whether it’s hammering prone emerging market currencies, or tapping into crypto’s short-term vulnerabilities, for me, it’s all about playing the hand that is dealt.”
NewsBTC: What is holding back Bitcoin from global adoption today? 
“One thing that plays out very negatively in crypto is government regulation and intervention, as it takes away from that anonymous persona, which I think was at the heart of the crypto movement. But, regulation is a necessary move to bring crypto onto the Main Street (Bay Street, Wall Street, etc.), so that big investment houses will start offering crypto offerings to clients, specifically as a legitimate asset class.”
With this comment, Innes is touching on a pertinent issue, as there remain a countless number of average Joes waiting on the sidelines of the cryptocurrency stadium, solely due to the fact that they haven’t seen Wall Street hotshots make an all-in foray into Bitcoin. However, this could be slated to change, as Fidelity, Nasdaq, Intercontinental Exchange, along with a multitude of other household names are on the verge of launching crypto-related products that may likely spark some form of Main Street adoption.
NewsBTC: Can cryptocurrencies succeed without a blessing from regulatory entities (ex. approval of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF))? 
“A regulatory blessing is one thing, but full acceptance from Wall street behemoths would be fantastic. Their lobby power for a Bitcoin ETF is extremely powerful. And such a vehicle would be a massive boost to sentiment. It only takes one, and they will all follow like sheep.”
As made apparent by the recent U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s delay on its ruling on VanEck, CBOE, and SolidX Partners’ Bitcoin ETF application, a blessing from the prominent financial regulator isn’t likely to come crypto’s way in a short timeframe. Yet, if one of America’s world-renowned banks or financial institutions were to put its name behind such a fund, the chance of a Bitcoin ETF getting a regulatory green light would improve drastically. But, as stated by Oanda’s Innes, a single crypto-friendly “behemoth” in and of itself could catalyze Wall Street’s “full acceptance” of cryptocurrencies.
NewsBTC: What gives a cryptocurrency value in your eyes? Do hashrates, network value, or (potential) use cases come into your playbook? 

“Network hashrates continue to increase, in spite of the steady decline in cryptocurrency prices. But, the computing (mining) end isn’t my forte… But, from a trader’s perspective, just because it might cost you $150 to dig a rabbit out of a hole, doesn’t necessarily mean the rabbit is worth $150. This is very much an old-school view. But dinosaurs, such as myself, are creatures of habit.”

Innes is presumably commenting on and rebutting the controversial theory that Bitcoin, classified as a commodity as many, is dictated by the break-even cost of mining/minting/creation. While Ari Paul, the managing partner of BlockTower Capital, recently estimated that the break-even cost of mining (not taking ASIC degradation into account) ranges from $2,500 to $4,500, which intriguingly lines up with BTC’s current valuation, Innes made it clear that he isn’t a subscriber to this method of asset valuation.

NewsBTC: And of course, I would be remiss not to ask the million-dollar question. So, where do you see Bitcoin in five to ten years? Do you see it as a global store of value, a digital currency used on a day-to-day basis, or something else entirely?
“I think cryptocurrencies will grind higher over the next ten years, and it’s not because of the buy orders from the nerdy libertarian cult, it will be because blockchain technology will be embraced. Eventually, investors will want to invest in the stock of companies associated with blockchain, and this will provide a solid footing for cryptocurrencies. While we expect BTC to appreciate, potentially posting explosive returns, given the emotional nature of retail investors, no one is all too sure. But I remain guardedly optimistic that BTC could trade above $10,000 some time in the the next five years.”
Stephen Innes’ comments given to NewsBTC have been slightly edited for clarity and readability. 
Featured Image From Shutterstock
The post Interview: Stephen Innes Says Crypto, Bitcoin to “Grind Higher” Over Next Decade appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New feedNewsBTC.com

VJ Angelo, CEO of Cryptoindex Talks About Their Mission

Cryptoindex is making waves by creating a platform that is on par, or even better than the standard indices that are currently available for conventional financial assets. We asked VJ Angelo, the company’s CEO to get a clear picture of their vision and what they are attempting to achieve by attaining that vision.
Q: Cryptoindex seems to be on a mission to create an index similar to S&P100, Dow Jones, NASDAQ Composite and more, but in the cryptocurrency industry. How is it going to benefit the market and how do you compare it with the mainstream market indices?
A: It is very important for any product that wants to be a part of a financial services solution to provide familiar tools that can be used to evaluate the market. Indices are a key factor in that toolbox.
We aren’t necessarily trying to replicate those indices. However, we are looking to provide a similar service relevant to our market sector. It’s important for Crypto to be independent of the old world yet use the lessons learned there.
Q: Apart from Cryptoindex, other players are also trying to create their own versions of the crypto-market indices. Is there really a need for it?
A: Yes. The market needs to become more professional and more easily understood. Indices are an invaluable source of reference information for people looking to trade or enter the Crypto market in any form. Information and analysis on multiple coins are costly and time-consuming, and Index dramatically reduces both.
In the event there is some form of product created to trade that references the index, it further reduces the cost of both trading and analysis, also reducing the risk by diversifying it for the participant.
Q: How is Cryptoindex different from other similar products?
A: We have a number of differences including the number of coins. By creating an index of 100 coins we have both diversified the risk and added an opportunity for greater profits.
Crypto has changed dramatically from an investment into a blockchain based project for a Cryptocurrency and much more into a Fintech crowdfunding opportunity. With so many varied projects available, it is important to include as many as possible that could suddenly become both successful and profitable.
Q: You are not new to the financial system.  Can you tell us more about yourself, and your work in the past?
A: I have spent 34 years in the financial markets usually working on new and innovative ideas and products. 6 Years ago I left the trading floor to start a regulated exchange, launching Index based futures in a new format. That project resulted in partnerships with Deutsche Boerse Eurex, Societe Generale and a number of other major financial institutions.
I have now applied the knowledge and lessons learned through that project onto Cryptoindex.
Q: What made you create Cryptoindex and where do you think the global financial system is heading, and from where?
A: The global financial system is showing all the signs of entering some very difficult times, possibly challenging the turmoil of the financial crisis. While Crypto is going through a difficult period right now, a big shock to the financial system putting the major financial institutions into trouble again could see Crypto as a good store of finances for individuals.
Should a major payments provider adopt the ability to pay for goods and services via a card or number of cards, the attraction will become greater.
The reasons for creating Cryptoindex were the same as those described in the above questions
Q: Tell us more about the Zorax Algorithm which is supposed to be the brain of the Cryptoindex system.
A: Zorax is a very sophisticated algorithm that can scrape and process vast amounts of data continuously and learn how to interpret the information. Given the parameters it is working on, it can then make well-informed decisions, which in the past, only a human would be able to make. The decisions will eventually become the full process of the index criteria. In the early days as it learns there will be some oversight.
Q: Who else is working with you on this project?
A: We have a large team of professionals in each of our fields. All of which have a lot of experience in their chosen professions. We have traders from the financial markets, coders and mathematicians with experience in building trading programmes for the FX markets, Quants, and ex-traders from the Fixed Income markets and people with knowledge and experience of creating and deploying financial market indices.
Q:  The company has started a token sale process with CIX 100 as the nest coin. What will be the role of CIX 100 in all this?
A: The CIX 100 is a utility token and our tool to help ICO participants to transition into the more regulated world that is coming fast. The utility of the token is its use to purchase data and services from our platform, some of which are very valuable to observers and participants in the crypto market.
We are adding three key factors to the token that are part of the transition. First, when the ICO participant purchases services from the platform, we will value the token at the current market index price. Second, the token will be free to trade on a number of exchanges we are currently in discussions with. We will encourage the token to be relevant to the Index price. Finally, we are partnered with a fund that will, as part of its strategy, offer a purchase facility of the token again at the then current index price.
So the CIX100 while still a utility token, we have spent a lot of time and money on getting the right approach and legal opinions on this matter also remains a useful tool to track the index price.
Q: How much are you intending to raise with the token sale, and what will the funds be used for?
A: We have a soft cap of $3m USD and a hard cap of $$37m USD. The funds will be used for operational expenses however as the platform is already built and nearly ready to launch the majority will be used in reserves to underpin the value of the token to the index through the fund.
Q: A project of this scale needs some partners. Have you entered into any partnerships so far and what are its benefits?
A: We are in discussions with a number of partners and will make announcements soon, one of the early stage partners is London Derivatives Exchange Limited (LDX).
Q: Can you give us a peek into what’s happening behind the scenes, in terms of technical and business development and future roadmap?
A: We are exploring a number of aspects including additional indices and adding derivatives based on the various indices. We will continue to develop the various aspects of the business.
Q: Anything else you want our readers to know?
A: This project is unique in its approach to the development of the ICO/Crypto markets. It will play a vital part in the changing landscape of the way crypto is used and developed in the coming months and years. As the market is brought into the more traditional financial services style of regulation and trading, tools like this will be a key part of helping the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies as an everyday form of finance both retail and professional.
 
The post VJ Angelo, CEO of Cryptoindex Talks About Their Mission appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New feedNewsBTC.com

Ethereum [ETH] is a powerful platform if it figures out global synchronization, says ex-Google CEO

Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google and Executive Chairman at Alphabet, one of the most influential technology executives in the world, recently spoke at a live event hosted by Village Global, an early-stage venture capital. At the event, Schmidt gave his insights on blockchain and expressed his views on whether it was overrated or underrated and said:
“In the public format it [Blockchain] is overrated but in its technical use it is underrated.”
Blockchain, as a concept, is highly overrated in the public format because some speculators relate it to the boom of Bitcoin in 2017, which gave blockchain the spotlight. Blockchain is underrated because it has a lot of use-cases that are not being implemented yet.
The former CEO said that blockchain is a great platform for Bitcoin and other currencies as it’s being used for private banking transactions where people don’t trust each other. He explained that the use-cases for Blockchain that we are developing are the tip of the iceberg. He said:
“The most obvious example being the capability of Ethereum. And if Ethereum can manage to figure out a way to do global synchronization of that activity, that’s a pretty powerful platform. That’s a really new invention.”
Recently, Metamask announced, in a tweet, the launch of Ethereum private browser, Metamask 5.0. The main feature of the browser is that it allows users to interact between all Ethereum-based websites. Metamask also mentioned that this new feature would not be ideal in terms of users’ privacy as it would expose the Ethereum address of the user to the public.
Ethereum, also known for its smart contracts and wide adoption, recently lost its second spot and slumped to the third rank as XRP overtook it during its recent rally on November 6. Although XRP enjoyed its position briefly, Ethereum regained its position a few minutes later.
The post Ethereum [ETH] is a powerful platform if it figures out global synchronization, says ex-Google CEO appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

Bitcoin [BTC] will gain mass adoption after it solves scalability and privacy challenges, says Litecoin [LTC]’s Charlie Lee

In a recent podcast interview, Charlie Lee, the founder of Litecoin, addressed Bitcoin’s scalability problems while talking about the mass adoption of cryptocurrencies.
Charlie Lee said that Bitcoin succeeded because it brought in the notion of decentralization to life through Distributed Ledger Technology and that is why every other form of digital currency failed. DLT would allow the user to have full control of the money without the interference of the authorities.
Lee felt that Bitcoin was revolutionizing when he was introduced to it and he thought it was worth more and believed that it would revolutionize money. Although Bitcoin [BTC]’s price had increased exponentially last year, Lee believes that Bitcoin has a long road ahead of it before it becomes real money. There is still a lot of problems with Bitcoin; it needs more scaling and privacy and that there is “definitely a lot of work ahead of us”.
Although Bitcoin’s price had shot up to $20k and down to $6.5k, it has not received much adoption from institutional investors until very recently. Lee said that more people need to be exposed to Bitcoin, adding that it is happening with institutional players like ‘Fidelity, the Bakkt exchange’ stepping into the cryptocurrency market and that it gives more access to buy into the asset class.
Speaking more about Bitcoin’s adoption Lee says:
“Moving forward when LN becomes more flushed out and the UI gets better and easier for people to get on to the lightning Network, we will see more usage as the fees go down and the transaction becomes instnat.”
Bitcoin is unlike other forms of money that allows people to transfer money to any part of the world as it is not censored. Lee said that it was hard to move money before Bitcoin. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies allow users to control their money, unlike fiat money.
The post Bitcoin [BTC] will gain mass adoption after it solves scalability and privacy challenges, says Litecoin [LTC]’s Charlie Lee appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto