Petro [PTR]: Venezuela files complaint against US sanctions at the WTO; calls it ‘discriminatory’

Venezuela has been fighting consistently against US sanctions before the World Trade Organization [WTO], which included the one imposed against its controversial cryptocurrency, Petro, amongst many others.
The Venezuelan government filed a complaint to the WTO last month, which was recently published, and it states various actions taken by the US recently. It claims that the US is interfering on Venezuela’s rights under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade [GATT], which was signed in 1994, and the General Agreement on Trade in Services [GATS]. The complaint states:
“The United States has imposed certain coercive trade-restrictive measures on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the context of attempts to isolate Venezuela economically.”
Venezuela had announced the development of a cryptocurrency, Petro, in 2017 and the launch of the same took place in 2018. The cryptocurrency has since been in use in various industries on orders by their President, Nicolas Maduro.
However, this did not go down well and has seen pushback from the US lawmakers, who have criticized the cryptocurrency. The cryptocurrency faced more resistance from the President of US, Donald Trump, who signed off on an executive order targeting Petro in March 2018.
Venezuela’s government claimed that these sanctions by the US are discriminatory coercive trade-restrictive measures. The complaint also claims that the Venezuelan financial services and financial suppliers receive “less favorable” treatment in comparison to other WTO nations.
The Venezuelan government notes that these measures are violating the Article II:1 of the GATS, that stated that no member nation will treat another member less favorably than any other nation, reported Cryptoscanner. The complaint submitted also states that:
“Furthermore, inasmuch as digital currencies originating in the United States are not subject to the same prohibitions as Venezuelan digital currencies, the United States is according less favorable treatment to Venezuelan financial services and service suppliers than to like domestic financial services and service suppliers, in violation of Article XVII:1 of the GATS.”
Article XVII:1 states that the nations part of WTO will not treat financial services and service suppliers of other nations less favorably than they treat such providers in their own country. As per Reuters, the US has 60 days to respond to the complaint filed by Venezuela. If the US fails to respond to this, Venezuela can ask the World Trade Organization to decide upon the complaint.
The post Petro [PTR]: Venezuela files complaint against US sanctions at the WTO; calls it ‘discriminatory’ appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

Crypto Ecosystem Needs to Evolve as Coinbase Censors Accounts

The entire premise set in motion by Satoshi Nakamoto ten years ago was one of a decentralized peer to peer currency beyond the control of governments, banks and mega corporations. Fast forward to 2019 and we have yet to achieve that goal as banks are still controlling the inflow and outflow of fiat to crypto, and huge exchanges are still controlling user accounts.
Coinbase Censoring Merchant Accounts
They don’t come much bigger than Coinbase which has set itself us as the standard and king of crypto exchanges. In the early days the exchange was seen as a good thing for the industry providing a relatively easy on-ramp for laypeople to get into crypto. Today it has grown in size and wealth beyond imagination and rules the realm with an iron fist.
A quick Google search will return thousands of results on complaints about Coinbase and frozen or closed accounts, and lost funds from disgruntled users and the company does not rank very well on review websites. A few days ago reports emerged that Coinbase had started censoring accounts beginning with the merchant account of social media platform Gab’s founder Andrew Torba.

As predicted: the on ramps and off ramps (exchanges) are going to start censoring not only companies, but also individuals. @coinbase has now banned both Gab's merchant account and Andrew Torba's personal account.
Decentralized exchanges are the future.
— (@getongab) January 4, 2019

According to Gab is a platform that welcomes those that have been banned my mainstream social media. This has caused it to be on the wrong end of stick from payments providers such as PayPal, BitPay and now Coinbase. Granted, Gab had a merchant payment account which a decentralized exchange cannot help or facilitate.
The problem lies in US policy which forces companies to practice suppression and censorship. This is partly why so many other exchanges and crypto companies refuse to deal with US customers, that and the fact it has one of the harshest personal tax laws on the planet. Thirdly is the ever increasing cost of covering subpoenas as pointed out by Kraken;

Peek at our Compliance team's 2018 Transparency Report. You can see why many businesses choose to block US users. Cost of handling subpoenas (regardless of licenses) is quickly becoming a barrier to entry. Inquiries up 3x YoY.
— Kraken Exchange (@krakenfx) January 5, 2019

The land of the free appears to be the complete opposite and censorship laws run deep. This is not the first time the crypto industry has run up against American policy, in April last year the merchant account of Wikileaks was closed by Coinbase at the behest of the government.
Decentralized exchanges will be the answer for individuals but are not the solution for merchant accounts. Organizations may need to form their own body and method of financial exchange to free themselves from states that wish to oppress them. Relying on crypto exchanges such as Coinbase is evidently not the way forward.
Image from Shutterstock
The post Crypto Ecosystem Needs to Evolve as Coinbase Censors Accounts appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

No, Governments Can’t do a Better Job Developing Crypto

Would a state-backed cryptocurrency be better than its decentralized counterpart? International media has already rolled out their opinions on the matter. It’s a YES-IT-CAN.
The opinions find their inspirations in comments made by Christine Lagarde last week. The head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that a government-backed cryptocurrency would eliminate the issues of trust that have clogged the decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
New York Times reacted to the IMF chief’s remarks, calling it “a hopeful sign for digital tokens,” while predicting it could “have a chilling effect on existing, nongovernmental tokens.” The Guardian offered its editorial space to a long-time Bitcoin critic and economist Nouriel Roubini to further his plan. He outright called cryptocurrencies worthless when compared to central bank digital currencies (CBDC).
“If a CBDC were to be issued, it would immediately displace cryptocurrencies, which are not scalable, cheap, secure, or [actually] decentralized,” Roubini claimed.
Missing Links
The comments mentioned above appear at a time when the cryptocurrency market cap has plunged by more than 70 percent since its all-time high. It has allowed critics to jump to the conclusion that decentralized digital currencies, mainly Bitcoin and Ethereum, have no intrinsic value, that they are highly speculative unlike central-bank issued fiat money. Yet, critics have ignored the whys and whats that prompted the launch of decentralized assets at the first place. They have been unable to respond to how Federal Reserve stimulus programmes, secret bailouts, and money production have destroyed the value of the US Dollar.
Their focus has turned more towards proving Bitcoin as a sugar-coated false promise of a financial revolution while ignoring the very bads of the existing financial system. Economy believes that an asset has value when it checks scarcity and utility. The US Dollar lacks scarcity, for its supply is governed by a centralized body called Federal Reserve. There is no check on how many dollars would get printed, allowing insiders to manipulate a greenback-backed market on their whims.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a set cap of 21 million tokens. Its supply is governed by mathematical algorithms, meaning no corrupt human involvement would be able to topple it. As far as the use-cases are concerned, Bitcoin has been constantly looked at for its potential of becoming a store-of-value asset like Gold, while being constantly considered for settling cross-border payments despite its price volatility.
The critics then say that bitcoin has no intrinsic value. But even gold and paper money suffers from the same stigma. According to the World Council, only 15 percent of the global Gold supply is used in industrial applications. The rest goes into making bars, bullions, and jewelry – mainly because people trust they have value.
Trust is the Only Factor
The launch of Bitcoin was a response to a global financial crisis in which – let’s accept it – banks had f***ed up the economy. The digital currency – more or less – follows the philosophy of the Austrian Monetary Theory. According to it, money can be sound only when its supply is limited. It believes that money should not be controlled by the state. These facts are missing from the reports and opinion pieces of anti-Bitcoin economists.
The Federal Reserve and central bankers believe that only they have the right to print money. Bitcoin is only a beginning towards breaking the myth. As long as the central banks do not innovate and protect people against currency inflation – as evident in the case of Zimbabwe and Venezuela – there is no chance they would be able to outrun crypto. People need to trust their banks, but mainstream media and economists are avoiding a broader discussion.
The next financial crisis should bring more evidence to the theory. No rush.
The post No, Governments Can’t do a Better Job Developing Crypto appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

SEC Orders Airfox and Paragon to Return Millions to Investors on ICO Registration Violations

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has settled charges against two cryptocurrency companies which were accused of violating ICO securities offering registration rules.
Both firms, Carrier EQ (Airfox) and Paragon Coin sold digital tokens in ICOs in 2017 after the regulator’s official stance on the ICO. Some crypto fundraisers can be considered securities offerings, according to its DAO Report of Investigation.
Airfox and Paragon Settle Charges with SEC for ICO Registration Violations, $250 in Penalties
As part of the settlement, both cryptocurrency companies will return funds to harmed investors, register the tokens as securities, file periodic reports with the Commission, and pay $250,000 in penalties.
Neither one has admitted or denied the findings made by the SEC, but they have consented to the orders.
Carrier EQ (Airfox), a firm which facilitates the transfer of mobile airtime, data and currency, as well as payments for goods and services, raised $15 million from selling over a million AirTokens on October 2017.
The company had closed its $6.5 million ICO pre-sale weeks earlier than scheduled. The Boston-based blockchain company intended to use the money to develop a micro-loans program and expand abroad to emerging markets.
Paragon Coin, which focuses its blockchain platform on the cannabis industry, raised approximately $12 million worth of digital assets to work toward legalization of cannabis and implement its business plan.
Related Reading: Crypto Week in Review: SEC Fines EtherDelta, Binance to Attract Institutions
The funds would be used to make supply chains more efficient and manageable, increase transparency regarding the origin of seeds and produces, as well as allowing payments between different parties.
These are the Commission’s first cases imposing civil penalties solely for ICO securities offering registration violations. Airfox and Paragon Coin failed to register their crypto fundraisers pursuant to the federal securities laws nor did they qualify for an exemption to the registration requirements, Stephanie Avakian, co-director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division, said in a statement.
“We have made it clear that companies that issue securities through ICOs are required to comply with existing statutes and rules governing the registration of securities. These cases tell those who are considering taking similar actions that we continue to be on the lookout for violations of the federal securities laws with respect to digital assets.”
Munchee was the Commission’s first non-fraud ICO registration case. The visual review and social networking app for food failed to register with the financial watchdog, but stopped its offering before delivering any tokens and promptly returned proceeds to investors.
The company was seeking to raise up to $15 million from thousands of investors ‎to develop an iPhone app for restaurant meal reviews. The SEC did not impose a penalty or include undertakings from Munchee.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
The post SEC Orders Airfox and Paragon to Return Millions to Investors on ICO Registration Violations appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

Cryptocurrency Markets Find Stability as US Elects Multiple Pro-Crypto Politicians

The cryptocurrency markets have found stability following a period of large gains, with Bitcoin trading steadily in the $6,500 region and altcoins trading sideways. The stability comes after an important mid-term election cycle in the United States, in which multiple pro-crypto and pro-blockchain politicians were elected into public offices.
At the time of writing, Bitcoin is trading at approximately $6,520, up just over 1% over a 24-hour trading period. Bitcoin is still trading in the middle of its long-established trading range, which has proven on multiple occasions to be between $6,200 and $6,700.
Bitcoin fell into this aforementioned range in early September, following its gradual move to $7,400 and its sharp drop to $6,200. Since then, BTC has bounced between the top and bottom of this range, only briefly breaking through it in mid-October when its price temporarily went above $6,800 before falling back into the range.
Over the past couple of weeks, Bitcoin’s price action has further affirmed that this is in fact a powerful trading range, as its price rebounded quickly after it dipped into the $6,200 region in late-October.
Altcoins Profit Immensely from Bitcoin’s Stability
Although this type of low volatility is a new thing for many cryptocurrency investors who are used to seeing massive swings, it has proven to be advantageous for many altcoins that have posted massive gains over the past week.
XRP is one such altcoin that has had a very successful week, currently trading up 20% from its weekly lows of $0.446. XRP posted the majority of its gains in the past couple of days, sharply rising from $0.464 on November 5th to highs of $0.557 on November 6th. It has since stabilized at its current price of $0.53.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is another altcoin that has had a good week, trading up nearly 50% at $620 from its weekly lows of $420. BCH’s massive price rise, which first began on November 2nd, is the result from an upcoming hard fork event, which is scheduled to occur on November 15th.
Mid-Term Elections Positive for Cryptocurrency Markets
Another factor that could contribute to the stability of the cryptocurrency markets is the results of yesterday’s mid-term elections, in which multiple pro-cryptocurrency and pro-blockchain politicians were voted into public office.
Jared Polis (Democrat) was one such politician who was elected to serve as the Governor of Colorado. In the past, Polis has expressed his interest in cryptocurrencies, and has gone as far to state that he would ardently defend Bitcoin during his tenure as a U.S. Representative in Congress.
Another example of a pro-crypto politician that won a major mid-term election was Gavin Newsom (Democrat), who was elected to serve as the Governor of California. Newsom was one of the first politicians to accept Bitcoin donations for his campaign in 2014 and has notably said that he supports the progression of technology.
It is unclear what impact these politicians will have on the adoption of cryptocurrencies as both technologies and means of payment.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
The post Cryptocurrency Markets Find Stability as US Elects Multiple Pro-Crypto Politicians appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

U.S. Midterms: Bitcoin-Friendly Politicians Elected in Colorado, California

To many crypto savants, the modern political scene, which promotes centralization and censorship in some cases, is far from a topic of importance. But, as Tuesday’s U.S. midterm poll results have started to roll in, the ears of cryptocurrency enthusiasts have metaphorically perked up, as it was unexpectedly divulged that pro-Bitcoin/crypto politicians have been sworn into office in the nation’s highest levels of government.
Pro-Bitcoin Jared Polis & Gavin Newsom Elected As U.S. Governors
Amid the mainstream media’s coverage of the U.S. midterms, which has become the western world’s flavor-of-the-month, key details important to crypto advocates have slipped far under the radar. But, Francois Pouliot, a Quebecois-Canadian Bitcoin proponent, has sought to change this, doing his utmost best to raise his digital voice over a clamoring crowd of commentators.
On Tuesday night, Pouliot, a self-proclaimed “skin-in-game Bitcoin entrepreneur,” took to his Twitter page, which sports 40,000 dedicated followers, to announce that Colorado’s Jared Polis (Democrat) has been elected into Congress via the democratic process.

Congratulations to early Bitcoin advocate @jaredpolis on being elected Governor of Colorado!
"Polis said that he will use his powers in Congress to fight against any attempts by the government to enact policies that restrict the growth of bitcoin" – 2014
— Francis Pouliot (@francispouliot_) November 7, 2018

So why does this pertain to crypto? Well, Polis, who is arguably one of the most progressive governors in America’s political environment, has long been a fan of cryptocurrencies and is open to aiding the asset class on a regulatory stage.
In an exclusive interview with CoinDesk just months before 2014’s midterms, the Boulder, Colorado native explained that he would do everything in his power to hamper anti-Bitcoin policies, whether it be through rallying against governmental agencies or touting the benefits of crypto assets. Furthering this sentiment, speaking from the point of view of an innovator, Polis added that “it’s about time” for cryptocurrencies to rise to prominence.
And in spite of the relative age of this interview, the politician’s pro-crypto views have persisted well into 2018, even to this day. In February of this year, NewsBTC reported that the Colorado governor requested for Congress to draft a guideline for crypto holding disclosures. Although this could be seen as an anti-crypto move, especially considering that this industry values pseudonymity, at the time, the lawmaker claimed that the growing legitimacy of crypto necessitated the body to take appropriate action.
Regardless of the fallout caused by his request, the bottom line is that Polis is seemingly poised to tackle Congress’ crypto issues head-on.
Pouliot, following up on his aforementioned tweet, issued another message just half-an-hour later, making it apparent that Polis isn’t the only Bitcoin-friendly politician to be voted in as a governor.
Gavin Newsom (Democrat), one of the first politicians to open his war chests to accept Bitcoin (BTC), has been elected as California’s new governor.

Congratulations to early Bitcoin adopter @GavinNewsom on being elected Governor of California!
"I should promote the technology ever so subtly by saying I'll accept bitcoin in the campaign". "I'm ready for it". "But how the hell do I explain it to anybody?" – 2014
— Francis Pouliot (@francispouliot_) November 7, 2018

Considering that California is a hotspot for innovation, with the Bay Area and Silicon Valley being world-renowned for its proclivity for all things tech (crypto included), Newsom’s office could catalyze the widespread use of blockchain technologies and crypto assets in the region.
In 2014, Newsom, remaining cautiously optimistic on Bitcoin, claimed:
“I should promote the technology ever so subtly by saying I’ll accept bitcoin in the campaign… I’m ready for it, but how the hell do I explain it to anybody?”
Although two is far from a crowd, and Newsom’s acceptance of BTC donations is far from all-in, these governors could be the match that sparks regulatory change in favor of crypto assets. But for now, there’s going to have to be a waiting game, as seldom have politicians kept all their promises, especially those made in a bid to garner voter traction.
Featured Image from Shutterstock
The post U.S. Midterms: Bitcoin-Friendly Politicians Elected in Colorado, California appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

FCC Chairman Admits Antiquated Regulation May Hurt Emerging Blockchain Technology

Aijt Pai, U.S. FCC Chair, has said it’s a challenge to level the playing field between emerging technologies, including blockchain, and not disadvantage any of them.
US Telecoms Regulator Studies How to Evolve Blockchain
The chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – the government agency in charge of regulating radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable – told the Indian Express there might be a need for expanding the ambit of a telecom regulator to include the evolving tech.
“So one of the challenges is to figure out how we find a level-playing field that promotes investment and innovations for all these firms without disadvantaging any one of them. The second issue is that these are very dynamic industries and one can foresee in coming decades – things like artificial intelligence, machine learning, blockchain, quantum computing will have significant impact on how communications networks operate.”
While not having jurisdiction over these firms yet, the FCC is studying the matter and “how should [their] thinking about regulation evolve” as emerging technologies gain impact on the space. “No time ever has been more challenging than the 21st century”, he added.
In the United States, convergence has made a lot of the regulatory structure antiquated, Pai argued, adding that the Communications Act, which the FCC administers, was first developed in 1934 and subsequently amended in 1992 and 1996.
“That Act still contemplates that wireless service is separate from regular telephone services, which is completely separate from cable service, which is separate from satellite service. When it comes to broadband, all four industries are vigourously competing.”
The FCC chair, who was directly appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, came to the limelight for his attempts to roll back net neutrality, which restricts internet service providers from arbitrarily controlling bandwidth access to specific websites and apps.
The issue may threaten the cryptocurrency ecosystem as, without net neutrality, an internet service provider, which is owned by a conglomerate decides to absorb an exchange, they can charge users extra or toggle down speeds.
Restricted access to cryptocurrency exchanges may result in lower industry growth, trading volumes, and digital currency market prices. New operators will face more difficulties entering the market and Bitcoin miners may also see profitability decline with higher rates for nodes or even bans from internet service providers.
In February 2018, the FCC issued a Notification of Harmful Interference to a New York-based Bitcoin miner who was ordered to turn off his mining rig – Antminer S5 Bitcoin Miner – for interfering with T-Mobile’s wireless network.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
The post FCC Chairman Admits Antiquated Regulation May Hurt Emerging Blockchain Technology appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

SEC Establishes FinHub to Engage Public on Cryptocurrencies

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has announced the launch of the Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub) to promote public engagement on fintech-related issues and initiatives, including blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.
SEC Launches FinHub Portal in Connection with the Issuance of Its DAO Report
FinHub, which replaces several internal working groups at the SEC, includes other areas involving the financial markets sector, including automated investment advice, digital marketplace financing, and artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Acting as a portal for industry and the public, FinHub will publicize information regarding the agency’s initiatives and create a forum focusing on blockchain and digital assets, according to a press release.
To be led by Valerie A. Szczepanik, senior advisor for digital assets and innovation and associate director in the SEC’s division of corporation finance, FinHub will also serve as liaison to other domestic and international regulators regarding cryptocurrencies and other issues, according to the entity chaired by Jay Clayton.
“The SEC is committed to working with investors and market participants on new approaches to capital formation, market structure, and financial services, with an eye toward enhancing, and in no way reducing, investor protection,” he added. “The FinHub provides a central point of focus for our efforts to monitor and engage on innovations in the securities markets that hold promise, but which also require a flexible, prompt regulatory response to execute our mission.”
The new SEC portal, FinHub, was established in connection with the issuance of DAO Report on July 25, 2017. The document defined ICO tokens as securities, which caused great concern for many players in the crypto space as they prepared to launch their own initial coin offerings. The SEC has also made it clear that the token sales during the ICOs don’t qualify as crowdfunding.
“SEC staff across the agency have been engaged for some time in efforts to understand emerging technologies, communicate the agency’s stance on new issues, and facilitate beneficial innovations in the securities industry. By launching FinHub, we hope to provide a clear path for entrepreneurs, developers, and their advisers to engage with SEC staff, seek input, and test ideas”, said Szczepanik.
The portal invites public input on matters such as fund innovation and crypto holdings, blockchain applications, and the listing of of VanEck SolidX Bitcoin Trust shares. The financial watchdog has been conservative regarding the entry of Bitcoin ETF applications.
By August, the SEC denied nine applications from ProShares, Direxion, and GraniteShares via three recently published documents.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
The post SEC Establishes FinHub to Engage Public on Cryptocurrencies appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

The US-China Battle of Global Supremacy Enters Cryptocurrency Industry

China and the USA have been competing with each other in every field to gain global dominance. The same competition seems to have entered the cryptocurrency industry as White House, understanding China’s Bitcoin Dominance is now backing Ripple Labs.
Its BTC vs XRP as two global superpowers look at a crypto world
China is, by far, the undisputed world leader in bitcoin mining — with Chinese mining pools controlling more than 70% of the bitcoin network’s collective hash rate, the measuring unit of the processing power of the bitcoin network.
Many in the bitcoin and cryptocurrency industry have expressed concern about how much control this gives China over bitcoin, with the Beijing-based Bitmain Technologies mining more than half the world’s bitcoins creating an oligopolistic to near monopoly situation.
While China’s dominance is fairly visible, the United States doesn’t want to stay behind in this race. According to the reports coming in from the White House, it appears U.S. president Donald Trump’s White House is also worrying about China’s bitcoin dominance and Ripple Labs executive, are suggesting the U.S. administration is interested in ripple (XRP) adoption to offset China’s bitcoin strength.
Ripple Lab’s chief strategist, Cory Johnson, was quoted saying in a wide-ranging interview with crypto-focused magazine Breaker that
“The White House, in particular, seems to be thinking about what it means to have 80% of bitcoin mining taking place in China and a majority of ether mining taking place in China,”
“When you look at XRP, there is no mining, so from a foreign-control aspect or from an environmental aspect, XRP is a very different beast. And in conversations we’ve had with the administration, they seem to get that and think that might matter.”
China manufactures most of the world’s bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining equipment and its massive mining farms are supported by the country’s cheap electricity prices, giving it dominance in bitcoin while for Ripple, Ripple Labs controls 60% of the ripple supply and the XRP tokens don’t require any mining. This situation of Bitmain’s dominating control over Bitcoin’s mining and Ripple’s majority control over XRP has received a lot of criticism from the industry as these being centralized in hands of few. A lot of experts believe that this war of the US vs China may intensify the centralization issues as both global superpowers would want to control these cryptos.
But according to Weiss Rating’s latest tweet Ripple’s XRP is more decentralized. The tweet says Ripple is moving towards decentralization whereas the open-to-everyone model of Proof-of- Work mining resulted in oligopolies instead of decentralization it promised to create.

China’s #BTC dominance worries Trump’s White House, pushing it toward XRP. The open-to-everyone model of PoW mining resulted in oligopolies instead of decentralization it promised to create. #XRP is moving towards decentralization, while BTC seems to be doing the opposite.
— Weiss Ratings (@WeissRatings) October 16, 2018

The attention and backing the crypto curries are getting from respective global giants could do amazing news for cryptocurrencies but concerns over-centralization and control still looms. One can only wait and watch how these countries play out their moves to gain supremacy in global as well as crypto worlds
Who will win this battle of cryptocurrencies – China or the USA? Do let us know your views on the same.
The post The US-China Battle of Global Supremacy Enters Cryptocurrency Industry appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Europe Surpasses US and Asia in Cryptocurrency Token Sales

Europe is rapidly becoming the world’s cryptocurrency hub, with a significant amount of EUR funding being directed into cryptocurrency projects.
So far this year, the value of token sales in Europe is close to exceeding that of Asia and the U.S. combined.
Fabric Ventures, a venture capital fund investing in blockchain and decentralized network projects, released a report detailing the possible reasons behind the surge in European ICO funding in 2018.
It cited positive regulatory revelations, the separation of economies in the European Union, and increasing development activity.
According to the report, in 2018 alone, ICO fundraising in Europe is approximately $4.1 billion, nearly double that of the $2.3 billion that has been raised so far in Asia, and significantly more than the $2.6 billion that has been raised in the United States.
Friendly Regulation Beginning to Take Form 
One major factor behind increased global ICO funding in 2018 is an increasing amount of “do-no-harm” regulation, especially from European countries.
The report notes that in Asia, ICO funding may be slightly hampered by the fact that regulatory authorities in Hong Kong and Singapore, two major Asian cryptocurrency hubs, are defining cryptocurrencies as security products, which subject them to greater regulatory scrutiny.
This is compared to multiple nations in the European Union, which are quickly gaining ground as cryptocurrency hubs due to incredibly light and non-restrictive regulations.
European Nations Accounting for Significant Amount of ICO Funding
The report specifically explains that Gibraltar and Malta, two of the EU’s smallest nations, are drawing a significant amount of ICO funding, totaling at approximately $300 million.
Despite their widely-known status as “crypto nations,” they are still behind larger nations, which are pulling the majority of the European ICO fundraising weight.
So far in 2018, $490 million has been raised in the U.K., who is slightly behind Switzerland, which has raised $556 million in ICOs this year. Lithuania has also secured its place as a cryptocurrency hub, raising $271 million so far this year.
The report also notes that the increase in European ICO fundraising can also be attributed to a strong project formation in Europe, with most notable cryptocurrency projects locating themselves in a handful of major European cities.
“While an increasing number of countries strive to attract crypto projects by creating a regulatory ‘sandbox’, the majority of founding teams and developer talent remain Europe-based. London, Zug, Berlin, and Tallinn are just a handful of cities leading Europe with robust blockchain talent. It comes as no surprise that these cities have historically been hubs for attracting top fintech startups,” the report explains.
According to ICO fundraising tracker, CoinSchedule, 2018 has been a great year for ICO fundraising despite the cryptocurrency bear market, with a total of 889 ICOs raising over three times as much as what was raised in 2017.
Featured image from Shutterstock.
The post Europe Surpasses US and Asia in Cryptocurrency Token Sales appeared first on NewsBTC.
Source: New

Europe Leading the Crypto Race with Favourable Regulations & Top-Notch Talent

In the ICO market, Europe is beating the US and Asia by implementing favorable regulations in order to become the hub of this new technology along with a vast talent pool in terms of developers.
Europe leading the “Token Sales”
European countries are in the dominant position when it comes to cryptocurrencies. About $4.1 billion of “token sales” this year belongs to Europe in comparison to $2.6 billion in the US and $2.3 billion in Asia.

The latest report “State of the Token Market” by Fabric Ventures notes,
“While an increasing number of countries strive to attract crypto projects by creating a regulatory ‘sandbox’, the majority of founding teams and developer talent remain Europe-based. London, Zug, Berlin, and Tallinn are just a handful of cities leading Europe with robust blockchain talent. It comes as no surprise that these cities have historically been hubs for attracting top fintech startups.”
Out of all the Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), 42 percent were the successful ones while majority that is 58 percent have been the failures that either reported a full refund of token sale proceeds or failed to disclose the data on fundraising completion.

Talent pool
According to the report, favorable regulation and talent in the form of developers are behind this boom.
With about 5.5 million developers, as per Stack Overflow, Europe is in a good position in terms of talent in comparison to 4.4 million in the US. Furthermore, it has twice as many STEM PhDs as the US. The report states,
“…with this wave that’s democratizing access to capital, the technical talent doesn’t need to migrate to the US to raise venture capital and build global companies. As a result, the value created by founders coming from different corners of Europe has significantly outraced any other geographic region: $4.1bn has been raised by European projects in 2018 alone – versus $2.3bn in Asia, and $2.6bn in the US.”
Regulatory favourableness
France will not “miss out on the blockchain revolution,” as openly stated by France’s Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire, and is planning to become the global hub for ICOs.
Moreover, the UK Chancellor has announced a crypto asset task force while Switzerland has already issued a clear regulatory framework. Additionally, smaller countries like Malta and Liechtenstein are moving ahead with open regulatory approaches to become global hubs for cryptocurrencies and decentralized networks.
The report shares,
“Throughout European countries, a competitive race has begun to provide the most founder-friendly & forward thinking regulatory environment for decentralized networks and their native crypto-assets.”
The report also takes the nature of European “city-states” another reason as “As a continent made of 50 vastly different countries, Europe is accustomed to working in distributed teams as well as building with a global outlook.”
Diverse and multinational teams are the way to go as every budding company in Europe knows the way to avoid the small domestic economies is to spread internationally.
The post Europe Leading the Crypto Race with Favourable Regulations & Top-Notch Talent appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

US-China Trade War Hit with Biggest Rounds of Tariffs, Goldman warns of Bear Market & $Trillion Loss

The US-China trade war got crazier as the new US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports and China’s retaliatory move came into effect today. According to the Goldman report, things are going to get worse where the market cap can be expected to lose $6 trillion. The US stock market is already starting to feel the effect of tariffs today. Now, what role Bitcoin and crypto will play here.
Fresh wave of tariffs hit both sides today
Currently Bitcoin and crypto market is showing some deep reds. However, if we take a look at world level, chaos is only growing bigger and noisier as the ongoing trade war between the US and China just got even more severe.
The trade war between the two biggest economies has taken a turn for the worse as China retaliated with 5 and 10 percent tariffs on US goods. The Chinese local media channel accused the US of engaging in “trade bullyism” and further reported:
“It has brazenly preached unilateralism, protectionism, and economic hegemony, making false accusations against many countries and regions, particularly China, intimidating other countries through economic measures such as imposing tariffs, and attempting to impose its own interests on China through extreme pressure.”
The US tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese imports and the retaliatory move by China comes into effect from today.
Goldman Sachs Warns of Dire Consequences
Now, Goldman Sachs analyst has stated in its research note that all of China’s goods and services might be subject to tariffs soon:
“Following President Trump’s threat of further escalation, we now think the probability that all imports from China will ultimately be subject to tariffs has risen to 60 percent.”
However, Trump is working with other trading partners viz. Mexico, Canada, and Europe reducing trade tension there. But tariffs will only lead to a rise in price that means,
“The effects on inflation are clearer: The measures announced to date look set to push up U.S. core [personal consumption] inflation by around 0.1pp, and about twice that if the next round of China tariffs materializes.”
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO), the global trade is coming off its high growth rate. Moreover, this year growth continued despite trade tension but it might not be the case further on, as per the Goldman data.
A few days ago only, the chief strategist of Goldman, David Kostin has warned of a bear market and loss of more than $6 trillion in market cap with S&P dropping 25% if the US levies 10% tariffs on all imports.
Earlier in June, Barclays has evaluated that the earnings would reduce 10% as costs spike and corporate profits drop, should the US impose 10% tariffs on all global imports.
Also, read: US-China Trade War gets Messier, Pound Hits 11 Month Low- Cue for Bitcoin?
Trade war will only intensify further, more tariffs coming to next year
The Wall Street is already expected to take a hit as today these tariffs get into effect. US futures stock indexes though moderately, are lower as a result. It has been suggested the sentiments from US equity futures will bleed onto Wall Street.
Meanwhile, there seems to be no silver lining on the horizon as it is expected that more tariffs will be imposed as Trump has warned of a 25% rise from 2019 start unless a deal is stricken between the two countries.
What could it mean for Bitcoin & crypto market?
As this trade war intensifies, the traditional stock market will be taking a hit along with currencies. Moreover, the trade war also fuels the impending market crash coming in 2020. With the traditional market taking a severe hit, it is a possibility Bitcoin and crypto market would be actively seen as the alternative investment option and hedge against this crisis.
Countries with high inflation and devaluing currencies are already turning to Bitcoin and cryptos. Moreover, a number of Wall Street giants and institutional interest have entered the crypto market. So, we just might see more money coming into the market.
The post US-China Trade War Hit with Biggest Rounds of Tariffs, Goldman warns of Bear Market & $Trillion Loss appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Ripple official: China to overtake USA in Fintech investments, become a global leader in finance

On 12th September, a video of the CATO Summit called Fintech Unbound 2018 emerged online wherein many experts from the fintech industry and regulatory bodies sat together to discuss issues related to the remittance sector. Here, Gerry Tsai, the Fintech Director at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Ryan Zagone of Ripple gave their insights on regulations and advancements brought by blockchain in the remittance industry.
On the efforts made by several companies towards exploring blockchain frameworks and Distributed Ledger Technology to better the fintech industry, Tsai stated that he is enthusiastic about the innovation.
However, he also pointed out that a lot of these innovations in the fintech space, especially in the domestic sphere are not necessarily oriented with new infrastructures. Instead, they are focused on user experience and efficiency to make the existing payments’ realms more accessible. Therefore, he said that it is essential to recognize that there is a huge room for advancements within the existing financial systems.
Next, the moderator narrowed down the subject to discuss the position of the US regulatory authorities in the global regulatory scenario. Ripple’s Director of Regulatory Relations took his turn to speak more on the matter. He quoted a previously stated statement in an earlier panel discussion about ‘certainty being a prerequisite to adoption’.
He then talked about the dependency of fintech on blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the next generation. In his words:
“I do think what we’re seeing now is a recognition that blockchain and crypto will play a key role in the next generation of infrastructure for financial services. And countries now recognizing there’s potential to be a leader there so they can become a global capital finance. “
He also cited the examples of multiple countries that are ahead of the USA in the adoption as well as in terms of the work culture in the blockchain sector. He specifically named London as having more people that are working in fintech than in New York. The UK has also overtaken HongKong, Singapore and Australia combined in terms of blockchain worker population, stated Zagone.
“Their fintech growth has been astounding, and it is domestic growth but foreign companies are moving there because the environment is so much more workable. It’s not easier. There are still high bars and strict rules but it’s flexible and workable to allow innovation to happen.”
Secondly, he quoted China as an example wherein he stated that China’s VC investments in technology are to eclipse that of the US for the first time in history. According to the regulatory expert, China is focusing on building financial services, leading the country on the path of becoming a global capital of finance, surpassing the US.
The post Ripple official: China to overtake USA in Fintech investments, become a global leader in finance appeared first on AMBCrypto.
Source: AMB Crypto

Bitcoin all Bottomed Out? Signs Indicating Price Could Head Higher

Bitcoin hit this month’s lowest still $6,151 which according to the experts mean it is all bottomed out. With altcoins and a majority of the crypto market in the green and making substantial gains along with dollar bulls being exhausted and emerging markets’ currencies’ taking a hike, the crypto market might also rise further.
Bitcoin inching closer to $6,600, so, we bottomed?
After over a week of price dump, the crypto market is in the deep greens. The entire market is currently surging with substantial gains except for a very few. Bitcoin has been slowly making its upward ascend, having reached $6,430 at the time of writing. Today’s Bitcoin trading range has been $6,355 to $6,596 which is also constantly moving up. However, as altcoins also rose, it caused BTC dominance to slip a bit to 56.2%.

As Bitcoin is constantly rising, could it mean it is all bottomed out? If experts are to be believed, it looks like we are.
“I think we put in a low yesterday,” says Michael Novogratz, the founder of Galaxy Digital LP, a crypto-focused merchant bank calling out a bottom in the crypto market. In his Tweet he shared:

This is the BGCI chart…I think we put in a low yesterday. retouched the highs of late last year and the point of acceleration that led to the massive rally/bubble… markets like to retrace to the breakout..we retraced the whole of the bubble. #callingabottom
— Michael Novogratz (@novogratz) September 13, 2018

Also, Ran NeuNer shared another point as well:

Received these Coinbase numbers from @BarrelProtocol yesterday. They suggest that we may have seen the bottom. Withdrawals seem to have bottomed inflows on the way up. It’s not a confirmation but certain a good sign.
— Ran NeuNer (@cryptomanran) September 14, 2018

However, despite Morgan Stanley’s entry to the crypto market, not everyone is in favor of this as Jani Ziedins of CrackedMarket believes since we got another lower-high, “next lower-low is just around the corner”.
“The trend is most definitely lower. but each bounce is still a selling opportunity. The worst is still ahead of us,” wrote Ziedins.
Also, recently, Willy Woo, crypto analyst shared on Twitter: “Prep for it. Our most probable path is to break below 5800 support and some free fall. Whether we bounce for another oscillation or fall through here is TBD. The next support is 4900, which should slow the drop, but 4400 is the next real line of defence. Completes the 3rd cat.”
Crypto market makes a great recovery, are we going higher?
Majority of the market is making gains and not just of small amount but pretty substantial ones. A selected few coins are spiking 30 to 40 percent but numerous coins are surging over and about 10 percent.
Moreover, 2nd largest cryptocurrency Ethereum (ETH) that lost severely is yet again above $200. Also, market sentiments are heavily dependent on the Bitcoin price movement. As per the trend, long-term bears seem to be exhausted that brings an optimistic price momentum. If Bitcoin goes above $8,500 that has been July high, we could be long-term bullish.
Also, read: Bitcoin Hits $6,500 while Altcoins “Exploding” with Gains as Experts Say Cryptos to Rally
Dollar bulls in exhaustion, emerging markets in focus
Looks like, risk appetite of the investors might also be making an appearance that could go for the Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies that are considered risky assets. The reason could be the US and China trade war getting to the negotiable table, Dollar taking a hit and emerging markets’ currencies’ surging.
The Dollar dipped with the reduced trade tensions and weaker than the expected inflation data (0.2% instead of 0.3%) of US. Meanwhile, emerging currencies like the Mexican peso and South African rand registered gains, and confidence in Turkey’s lira restored as central bank hiked the policy rate.

Also, MSCI Emerging Markets currency index also got a boost and just last month, Tom Lee has shared both markets are running in parallel to each other. For now, looks like we might be seeing more greens at least in the short term.
The post Bitcoin all Bottomed Out? Signs Indicating Price Could Head Higher appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape

Million Dollar Question/Tension Rises Again as US Judge Rules ICOs under Securities Law

The US Judge has ruled a fraudulent ICO promoter case to be covered under security law. If this becomes a precedent for future cases, this can stifle the growth of the crypto market.
Fraud ICO covered under securities law
In the ruling of the case against a fraudulent ICO promoter, a federal judge rules that Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) can be covered under the securities law. The criminal case in question has been against Maksim Zaslavskiy who has been defrauding investors by promoting numerous ICOs via two of his companies. REcoin is one of the ICO scams which was marketed to investors as being backed by diamond assets and real estate when in actuality it didn’t.
Zaslavskiy’s lawyers pled for a dismissal in the grounds of ICOs being currencies and not securities but Judge Dearie refused. An excerpt from the hearing states:
“He [Zaslavskiy] argues that the securities laws are unconstitutionality vague as applied. The Government, meanwhile, asserts that the investments made in REcoin and Diamond were “investment contracts,” and thus “securities,” […] and that these laws are not unconstitutionally vague.”
Bloomberg quoted a lawyer at Chapman & Cutler LLP, Gregory Xethalis who has specialization in crypto-related issues:
“It demonstrates that you can’t rely on an argument that the law is insufficiently clear and put your head in the sand. It’s saying that operating in a grey area will not bar the court from hearing cases that allege securities laws violations in ICOs.”
Another excerpt from the ruling states:
“Zaslavskiy’s contrary characterizations are plainly insufficient to bypass regulatory and criminal enforcement of the securities laws. Because the indictment is sufficient under the Constitution and the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, and because the law under which Zaslavskiy is charged is not unconstitutionally vague as applied, Zaslavskiy’s motion is denied. The case will proceed to trial.”
However, this ruling by no means is a final word as the ultimate decision rests with the jury. But Judge Dearie’s ruling in this case that ICO is covered under security law can potentially impact the ICO and crypto market at large and could also become a precedent for future cases.
Also, read: Bitcoin Stable, Altcoins Falling Hard Meanwhile Joseph Lubin says “There’s so much Growth Ahead”
Curbing the market potential & growth
A few months back, this year itself, US SEC chairman Jay Clayton has said that SEC won’t be bending any rules for digital assets stating:
“We are not going to do any violence to the traditional definition of a security that has worked for a long time. “There’s no need to change the definition. A token, a digital asset, where I give you my money and you go off and make a venture, and in return for giving you my money I say ‘you can get a return’[;] that is a security and we can regulate that. We regulate the offering of that security and regulate the trading of that security.”
He has also shared at that time:
“If you have an ICO or a stock, and you want to sell it in a private placement, follow the private placement rules. If you want to do any IPO with a token, come see us.”
If regulators move in guns blazing without understanding and ease would end up stifling the crypto market. It needs to be maintained that growth is not jeopardized.
If tokens are indeed recognized and treated as securities, it would lead to barriers to entry as even the wallet and exchange providers would have to get themselves registered. Moreover, it would also present an obstruction to the Investors to make entry and investment into this industry.
In its nascent stage, a free market would help the crypto industry to grow unrestricted. So, it is essential that authorities focus on the underlying technology these tokens and coins are built on and ensure the market is running smoothly along with consumers’ protection.
The post Million Dollar Question/Tension Rises Again as US Judge Rules ICOs under Securities Law appeared first on Coingape.
Source: CoinGape