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Slovenian City Unveils World’s First Public Bitcoin Monument

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Slovenian City Unveils World's First Public Bitcoin Monument

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The Slovenian city of Kranj has inaugurated what it claims to be the world’s first public Bitcoin monument. A roundabout in Slovenia’s fourth largest city now hosts a large ‘B’ in the center that connects two roads at Kranj’s city center.

Also Read: Soon There Will Be More Bitcoin Investors Than Stock Traders in Indonesia

Slovenian Roundabout Becomes Tribute to Bitcoin

The Slovenian city of Kranj recently unveiled a public monument to bitcoin and blockchain technology, of which it claims is the first in the world. The monument was financed by major bitcoin exchange Bitstamp, and blockchain software company 3fs.

The three-tonne metal sculpture is situated near Kranj’s courthouse, approximately 20 miles from the city’s capital. The circle surrounding the bitcoin ‘B’ has a diameter of roughly seven meters. The statue was created by artists Selman Čorović and Aleksander Frančeškin.

The mayor of Kranj, Bostjan Trilar, told reporters that the bitcoin ‘B’ was chosen as the design for the monument by the cities citizenry, stating “We asked citizens on our Facebook page to decide what to place in the new roundabout and this was one of the first ideas we received… Kranj has a lot of companies dealing with high technology.” Mayor Trilar added that many of the city’s inhabitants are “tightly connected to modern technology companies, some of them have been successful precisely with the blockchain technology and we thought it was right to honor them.”

Slovenia to Create Favourable Business Climate for Blockchain and Crypto Companies

Slovenian City Unveils World's First Public Bitcoin MonumentIn a press release, the Kranj municipality stated: “We’re sending a message to the world that emphasizes our openness to digitization, susceptibility to the use of new technologies and hospitality towards progressive thinking.”

Last month, Slovenian officials promised to work alongside local companies operating in the distributed ledger technology sector in order to “educate the public on the benefits and the opportunities that the innovative technology brings.”

Following a recent meeting hosted by Viberate that was attended by Slovenian prime minister, Miro Cerar, distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based start-up Insurepal published a blog post indicating the government’s desire to create a “favorable” business climate for DLT businesses. “We have called for regulation that would assist blockchain projects with existing financial limitations and allow us easier recruitment processes. The government has agreed that it will provide us with more favorable conditions in due time,” the company stated.

What do you think of Kranj’s new bitcoin monument? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Korean Regulator Warns Kakao’s ICO Abroad Could Violate Crypto Regulations

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Korean Regulator Warns Kakao's ICO Abroad Could Violate Crypto Regulations

Regulation

Responding to media reports that South Korean internet giant Kakao plans to raise funds using an initial coin offering (ICO) abroad, the country’s financial regulator reportedly warned that the ICO could violate current cryptocurrency regulations.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

ICOs Abroad Could Still Violate Korean Laws

Kakao Corp, which operates the country’s most popular chat app, Kakao Talk, plans to raise funds through an ICO overseas as well as issue its own Kakao coin, according to local media reports.

Korean Regulator Warns Kakao's ICO Abroad Could Violate Crypto Regulations
Choi Jong-ku.

At a press conference held at the government building in Seoul this week, the chairman of the Korean Financial Service Commission (FSC), Choi Jong-ku, described his department’s assessment of Kakao’s situation. “Although there were media reports that Kakao and Kakao Pay are planning to raise funds through ICOs abroad, financial authorities have not confirmed this fact,” the Korean Financial Daily reported. Choi emphasized, “No funding has been confirmed.”

He reiterated that “current laws [in Korea] do not prohibit ICOs from abroad,” but pointed out that “it is highly likely to violate current legislation,” the news outlet conveyed. Citing that Kakao is a major shareholder of Kakao Bank, he explained that the company’s ICO overseas “will lead to the problem of credibility of Kakao Bank.” The chairman was further quoted by No Cut News saying:

Even if there is no prohibition on virtual currency, there is a possibility that it may be regarded as…[similar to] fraud or multi-level sales according to the issuance method…Since the risk is very high in terms of investor protection, the government has a negative stance on the ICO.

Kakao Says No Official Plans for ICO Yet

The Korean Economic Daily quote a Kakao official saying on Friday:

We have not yet officially released plans for the ICO…As far as the ICO of Kakao is concerned, there is nothing to be determined.

Korean Regulator Warns Kakao's ICO Abroad Could Violate Crypto RegulationsMeanwhile, the news outlet reported that a message pre-selling the Kakao coin has already been distributed through social media, which Kakao calls “an obvious fraud.”

An official of the company explained that the internet giant has been preparing for a blockchain platform business, emphasizing that “Virtual currency is inevitably required to activate the platform, but the development schedule is not yet known.”

While South Korea has already banned ICOs in the country, “there is no clear regulatory basis because the relevant legislation does not pass the National Assembly,” Sedaily detailed. “ICOs are likely to be fraudulent, multi-level…depending on the method of issuance,” Chairman Choi was quoted asserting, adding that:

In the case of ICOs in Korea, there is a problem in domestic law and there is a high risk from the perspective of protecting investors.

What do you think the Korean regulators will do if Kakao goes through with an ICO overseas? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Ukraine to Legalize Crypto Mining as Economic Activity

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Ukraine to Legalize Crypto Mining as Economic Activity

Economy & Regulation

The government in Kiev has taken concrete steps to legalize cryptocurrency mining. Ukraine’s Minister of Economy has ordered several ministries, agencies, and the National Bank to prepare the documents necessary to include mining in the state register of economic activities.

Also read: Ukraine’s Financial Watchdog Clarifies Stance on Cryptos

Easing the Pressure on the Crypto Community

Ukraine’s legislature does not seem to be in a hurry to adopt new crypto legislation, but the executive power in Kiev has taken matters into its own hands. At a meeting on Thursday, the Minister of Economic Development Stepan Kubiev ordered several other departments and agencies to do what’s necessary to include cryptocurrency mining in the state classifier of economic activities.

The ministries of economy, finance, justice, energy, the agency responsible for the e-government and the Ukrainian statistical service should prepare a draft document to amend the register. The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) and the Security Service (SBU) have also been invited to participate. Kubiev was quoted in a press release as saying:

By adding the crypto mining sector to the classifier, we will bring it out of the shadow economy and collect more budget revenues.

The Minister of Economic Development pointed out that the legalizing of the mining industry may reduce the outflow of qualified IT professionals from Ukraine. Stepan Kubiev believes the measure will also ease the pressure on the crypto community in the country.

The Rada Is Lagging Behind the Government

The initiative of the Economic Ministry is by far not the first attempt to legalize a crypto-related activity in the country. Cryptocurrencies were discussed during a cybersecurity meeting in January. The National Security Council set up a working group tasked to finalize regulations pertaining to the circulation of digital coins and the taxation of crypto transactions.

Ukraine’s Cyberpolice unit has also called on government institutions to either legalize cryptocurrencies, or ban them. The country’s justice minister Pavel Petrenko has stated that cryptos, like bitcoin, should be brought into the legal field. The State Financial Monitoring Service has already announced its official position on cryptocurrency matters.

Ukraine to Legalize Crypto Mining as Economic ActivityUkraine’s parliament, however, has not made any significant progress towards adopting the necessary legal framework. Three drafts have been introduced in the Verkhovna Rada since October. The first bill defines cryptocurrency as property that can be exchanged for goods and services. The second draft law states that cryptos are financial assets. A third, supplementary bill amends the tax code to introduce tax exemptions for profits and incomes from crypto trading and mining. Some reports in February suggested that Ukrainian legislators may separate crypto mining and cryptocurrencies in the new legislation.

According to the latest information on the website of Ukraine’s legislature, Finance Minister Olexandr Danilyuk was expected to discuss the bills on the circulation and stimulation of cryptocurrencies with members of the Finance and Banking Committee. The announcement of the hearing was published on February 7, however, no details were released after that.

Do you think legalizing crypto mining before cryptocurrencies are regulated is a good idea? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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Since Embracing Bitcoin, Robinhood App Value Jumps to $5.6 Billion

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Since Embracing Bitcoin, Robinhood App Value Jumps to $5.6 Billion

Featured

In just three years, Robinhood Financial LLC has exploded. It gained traction as a free stock trading smartphone application (app). At the start of this year, they announced incorporation of bitcoin and ether trading, using free trades as a loss leader to gain customers. The model seems to be working, as the Wall Street Journal is reporting the startup will soon be valued over 5 billion USD.

Also read: Québec Premier: We’re Not Really Interested in Bitcoin Mining

Robinhood Booms with Crypto

It’s a daring business model. Sell trades to market makers, collect interest on users’ escrowed cash, and essentially give away free trades of stocks and cryptocurrencies. Then, hope a significant number of users opt for deluxe services, such as the ability to borrow or to trade after formal hours for a nominal subscription fee.

News.Bitcoin.com reported two months ago how Cofounder Vlad Tenev explained, “Cryptocurrencies have become the first foray into investing and financial services to a large number of people. Now it’s become more and more clear [that bitcoin is an] investing asset. We will connect to many exchanges, up to a dozen or more, over the next several months. We want to break even on this business, not to profit from it. We view this as an opportunity to expand our customer base and give our customers more access to functionality.”

Since Embracing Bitcoin, Robinhood App Value Jumps to $5.6 Billion

Within days of its crypto announcement, Robinhood was flooded with requests to the tune of over one million people — a one-third gain in users. By late February of this year, the app had grown to over four million users. “Over the past few weeks,” the company boasted, “we’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm towards Robinhood Crypto and are excited to contribute to the cryptocurrency community in a meaningful way. Together, we reached four million users and well over $100 billion in transaction volume on our brokerage platform, leading to over $1 billion in commissions saved in equity trades. With the release of Robinhood Crypto, we’re continuing our mission of making the financial system work for everyone, not just the wealthy.”

This week, the Wall Street Journal learned the company is “set to be valued at about $5.6 billion in a new funding round, according to people familiar with the matter, a fourfold increase in just one year that reflects the stock-trading app’s soaring popularity among millennials.” Investors in the latest round of funding the startup include DST Global, which only a year ago “valued the company at $1.3 billion.” According to the Journal, DST is set to throw 350 million USD at the smartphone app company this time around.

Since Embracing Bitcoin, Robinhood App Value Jumps to $5.6 Billion

The Power of Crypto

The company’s current valuation, three times that of a year ago, gives Robinhood a very good chance at becoming a major player in the future of retail online trading markets. As the Journal details, “The exploding valuation puts Robinhood among the top 15 highest-valued private technology companies in the U.S., representing an ambitious bet by investors that the firm can capture a sizable piece of the financial-trading market.” 

Analysts might be smitten with the company due to its user demographic. It’s well known millennials are smartphone literate and centric, and they’re among cryptocurrency’s biggest boosters. And at that age range, many cannot afford the onboarding of traditional brokerage houses, who have also been wary of crypto, positioning the likes of Robinhood as highly forward-looking. The hope is the app will be a popular gateway for the younger set, and as their incomes and savvy grow so will the company.  

Since Embracing Bitcoin, Robinhood App Value Jumps to $5.6 Billion

It is also safe to reason giving more users the chance to dabble in crypto is meaningful in the company’s recent surge. It could potentially prove an appetite well worth trying to meet in the coming years for a variety of retailers. And, of course, commission-free trades are always a crowd pleaser.

Will you use apps like Robinhood? Let us know in the comments!


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PR: HIREMATCH, Creator of the World’s First Blockchain Job Recruitment Platform, Burns 22,200,000 Million Tokens

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HIREMATCH - Blockchain Job Recruitment Platform,

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

SUNNYDALE, CA. – HIREMATCH.IO, creator of the world’s first Blockchain job recruitment platform, announced today that it would burn 22,200,000 million tokens (22%) of the total 100,000,000 total tokens, rather than returning them to the company.

“The market has responded very positively to our decision to destroy any unsold tokens, It was the right thing to do, to honor the commitment of early contributors,” says Armando Pantoja, HIREMATCH’s chief architect. “We’re very excited about the outlook for HIREMATCH and its token and a larger market adoption and Use.”

HIREMATCH.IO made the resolution in response to requests from its large community of investors. HIREMATCH.IO stated that the destruction of these tokens is the fairest and most rational way to honor the commitment of early contributors to the ICO by eliminating a potential flood of tokens in the marketplace.

HIREMATCH.IO has sold nearly 30 million HIRE Tokens during its crowdsale. Proceeds from the sale will be used to develop and market HIREMATCH.IO’s blockchain-based recruitment platform.

“The (HIRE) token is a game changer for the recruiting industry, and it will be a big win for our recruiters, the global recruiter community, and anyone who offers a product or service centered on the job market,” Michael Woloshin, president and CEO of Recruiter.com said. “The coin will allow recruiters, HR managers, and job seekers to transact placement fees in real time around the world. This creative application of cryptocurrency to the recruiting industry will help bring a new level of transparency and trust to business partners and platform providers.”

The company’s mission is to make jobs more accessible and affordable by streamlining and automating the recruitment process. Using smart contracts and the company’s HIRE token, HIREMATCH.IO incentivizes API users called “Agents” to create server applications, websites and mobile applications to find, verify and submit candidates to job, HIREMATCH.IO is also creating a great opportunity for employers and recruiters to find the absolute best talent to fill open jobs.

“Crowdsourcing the hiring process should increase the creative and competitive spirit of people all over the world, enabling them to solve big problems as well as small ones. By tokenizing and decentralising the recruitment process, HireMatch.io shall effectively lower the resource acquisition cost and create a more democratic and freer job market.” says Chad Kettering, HIREMATCH’s chief marketing officer.

Aspiring to be the Uber of the recruitment industry, HIREMATCH.IO has partnered with Recruiter.com, one of the biggest recruitment sites in the world to be the first “Agent” to find talent for open positions placed through the HIREMATCH.IO platform.

For more information please see: http://www.hirematch.io. Or join the HIREMATCH conversation on https://t.me/Hirematchico.

About HireMatch: HireMatch has a mission to revolutionize and disrupt the recruitment industry by improving the quality of current job marketplaces, reducing costs across the board, and increasing the liquidity and availability of talent. Via our (HIRE) token, we will implement a democratization of the job market. By using and applying this platform, agents will receive rewards in the form of (HIRE) tokens, giving power back to the people and shifting it away from large corporate job boards. Our ultimate goal isn’t to compete directly with other cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, but rather to provide a solution and support for the current complicated payment structures within the job board and recruitment industries.

Contact Email Address
armando@hirematch.io
Supporting Link
http://www.hirematch.io

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

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France Warns of 15 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Investment Platforms

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France Warns of 15 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Investment Platforms

Regulation

The French financial regulator has issued a warning and published a list of 15 unauthorized cryptocurrency exchange and investment platforms. These companies keep marketing to the French public despite the agency’s warnings.

Also read: Japan’s DMM Bitcoin Exchange Opens for Business With 7 Cryptocurrencies

France Warns of Unauthorized Crypto Platforms

France Warns of 15 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Investment PlatformsThe Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) issued a warning on Thursday regarding cryptocurrency platforms that have been blacklisted by the agency. The AMF is France’s stock market regulator, an independent public body responsible for safeguarding investments in financial instruments and other savings as well as maintaining orderly financial markets.

France Warns of 15 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Investment PlatformsAlong with the warning, the agency published a list of 15 cryptocurrency companies, which, it says, are “unauthorized companies proposing atypical investments without being authorized to do so.” Examples of such investments are “Diamonds, rare earths, wine or ‘crypto assets,’” the AMF wrote, adding that it has been providing a list of unauthorized diamond investments platforms since July of last year. In December, it decided to add “other miscellaneous assets” to this list, which includes “companies proposing to invest in ‘crypto assets’, some of which are presented as cryptocurrencies.”

Recently, Belgium’s Financial Services and Markets Authority (FSMA) also issued a similar warning, listing 19 cryptocurrency platforms that it had received complaints about and show signs of fraud. Like FSMA, the AMF emphasized that its list is neither complete nor exhaustive of all platforms that do not comply with the country’s regulations.

Approval by AMF Required

The addition of cryptocurrency platforms to AMF’s list is in accordance with “Law No. 2016-1691 of 9 December 2016 on transparency, the fight against corruption and the modernisation of economic life (the ‘Sapin II’ law),” the regulator explained, adding that:

Consequently, no offer [of miscellaneous assets] can be directly marketed in France on without prior allocation by the AMF of a registration number.

France Warns of 15 Unauthorized Cryptocurrency Investment PlatformsThe regulator says that the 15 companies it has listed “keep advertising and/or marketing to the French public” despite “the warning of the AMF regarding this new regulation.”

They are akj-crypto, bank-crypto, bcoin-bank, bit-crypto, boursebitcoin, crypteo, cryptobankweb, crypto-major, cryptopartnersinvest, crypto2.bnd-group, crypto.private-finances, ecs-solutions, ether-invest, krakenaccess, and minedecrypto.

Safety Investing Guidelines

The AMF also reminds investors of various safety guidelines before investing. “No advertising materials should make you overlook the fact that high returns always involve high risk,” the regulator began, adding that investors should:

Learn as much as you can about the company or intermediary trying to sell you a product (authorisation/certification, company history, location of head offices, etc.)…only invest in a product you understand.

In addition, the regulator urges investors to ask themselves “how, and by whom, the purchase price or selling price of the advertised product is set, and find out the precise terms and timeline for selling the product, especially in cases where the product invests in an asset class with low liquidity.”

What do you think of France warning and publishing a list of unauthorized crypto platforms? Let us know in the comments section below.


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Peter Thiel Is Long on Bitcoin, a “Deeply Contrarian Investment”

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Peter Thiel is Long on Bitcoin, a

Featured

Paypal. Facebook. Linkedin. Yelp. Those are just a few of the companies billionaire venture capitalist Peter Thiel had an early financial hand in helping bloom. His fiscal judgement is often sought, and Mr. Thiel was keynote guest at The Economic Club of New York’s luncheon hosted by Maria Bartiromo, where he was asked his latest thoughts about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.

Also read: Québec Premier: We’re Not Really Interested in Bitcoin Mining

Peter Thiel Remains Long on Bitcoin

Bitcoin’s price might be bottoming, and the entire mainstream business world is touting its demise, but billion investor and contrarian Peter Thiel remains constant: “I would be long on bitcoin,” he stated in an informal question and answer discussion with Maria Bartiromo at the august Economic Club of New York. King Abdullah, III, Mikhail Gorbachev, Herbert C. Hoover, John F. Kennedy, Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill have graced its luncheons, which these days are usually in the Grand Ballroom at The Plaza Hotel on 5th Avenue, New York City.

During a sprawling, many topic conversation at about the halfway mark of an hour session, Ms. Bartiromo reminded Mr. Thiel of their prior talk and his views on bitcoin, views widely credited with sending bitcoin’s price rocketing. She emphasized his telling her the world’s most popular cryptocurrency was misunderstood and that it was a “big opportunity.” She wondered if his enthusiasm remains.

Peter Thiel is Long on Bitcoin, a

“I’m not exactly sure,” Mr. Thiel attempted to clarify, “whether I’d encourage people to run out, right now, and buy these cryptocurrencies. The technology that people like to talk about is the blockchain technology. I am somewhat skeptical about how that translates into good investments.”

He then proceeded to compare the decentralized currency with an age-old store of value. “The one use case of cryptocurrency, of a store of value, may actually have quite a bit of a ways to go. I would be long bitcoin, and neutral-to-skeptical of just about everything else at this point…with a few possible exceptions. The question about something like bitcoin is whether it can become a new store of value. The thing it would replace is something like gold. I’m not talking about a new payment system. It’s too cumbersome to use for payments, for day-to-day transactions. The analogy it’s like bars of gold in a vault that never move. It’s a hedge of sorts against the whole world falling apart or something. There’s about 200 billion dollars worth of bitcoin, there’s 8 trillion dollars worth of gold. Many of the things that make gold attractive, would also apply to bitcoin; and many of the objections people have to bitcoin would also be objections to gold: it’s this weird currency that’s not backed by any government (same thing is true of gold), it’s not clear what the intrinsic value of bitcoin is (same thing is true of gold),” Mr. Thiel explained.

Money Is a Bubble That Never Pops

On the charge bitcoin is a bubble, Mr. Thiel reasoned, “It may well be a bubble. And most bubbles are unstable and end. One of my friends has this line, ‘Money is the bubble that never pops.’ So if [bitcoin] is money, it is bubble-like. The value of money comes from often the sort of social thing. You’d like to have a hundred dollar bill because everybody else would like to have a hundred dollar bill. If everyone decided a hundred dollar bill was worthless, you might not want to have a hundred dollar bill anymore. There is this bubble-like aspect to money, but it is one that can be quite stable. Even if bitcoin is bubble-like that doesn’t necessarily rebut it in this core use case for a store of value.” Peter Thiel is Long on Bitcoin, a

He took the opportunity to discuss the broader crypto market’s Wild West aspects. “There are all these elements that remind me of ‘99-2000, that make me nervous: people playing fast and loose with the ICO rules, just like with the IPOs and the dot com bubble. You have the crazy promoter-type people where the people who exaggerate beat the people with the normal plan. And then they get beaten by the people who exaggerate a lot. There are a lot of very crazy, unhealthy dynamics. At the same time, it still strikes me as deeply contrarian. One thing that is very different from the dot com bubble in the late 90s is there are virtually no Wall Street analysts, no Wall Street banks that are pushing this in any way whatsoever [… Bitcoin and cryptocurrency] has been missed in New York City, it’s been missed, even more shockingly, in Silicon Valley. It is a technology that has emerged in this fairly distributed way.”

Ms. Bartiromo pressed Mr. Thiel why he so favors bitcoin. “My view is that there is going to be one cryptocurrency that will be the equivalent of gold. The one, all else being equal, that you should be bet on is the biggest one. Gold continues to be gold because it’s the main asset class. It could be replaced by silver, but that doesn’t seem to be happening. There is a chance Ethereum could beat bitcoin. There is a chance some of the others have better features. Most likely you bet on bitcoin.”

And Ms. Bartiromo ended her line of questioning by asking what a lot of people are secretly wondering. Since the price of bitcoin has come down so radically, is Mr. Thiel buying more? He immediately gave his disciplined, cracked smile, declining to answer in specifics. However, in a surreal moment, considering the venue and its history, Mr. Thiel gave a brief explanation of Hodl and its quirky origins, and the assembled audience could be heard chuckling. “Maybe there is a 50 to 80 percent chance that it ends up being worthless. Maybe there’s a 20 to 50 percent chance it ends up worth a lot more. Probability weighted, it’s good.”

[embedded content]

What do you think about Mr. Thiel’s latest thoughts on bitcoin? Let us know in the comments!


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Wirex to Launch Cryptocurrency Debit Cards in Asia During Q2 2018

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Wirex to Launch Cryptocurrency Debit Cards in Asia During Q2 2018

Wallets

Being able to easily find places to shop with bitcoin is a crucial step for actual adoption. While not really using the cryptocurrency as it is intended to, topping up debit cards with bitcoin allows spending your holdings while bypassing the need for merchants to learn a new payment system and just use the same old methods they are used to. With Wirex card spending coming back to Asia, bitcoin investors in the region will soon have another such option for something other than just trading.

Also Read: Coinbase Granted E-Money License by UK’s Financial Conduct Authority

Asian Bitcoin Cards

Wirex to Launch Cryptocurrency Debit Cards in Asia During Q2 2018London-headquartered bitcoin wallet and card company, Wirex has revealed it will launch contactless debit cards for spending money that has been loaded from cryptocurrencies and its first ever multi-currency accounts for speedy exchange between bitcoin and fiat (SGD, GBP, EUR, USD) in Asia during the second quarter of 2018. Wirex Cards in Asia are said to offer 3D Secure support for safe online payments as well as physical and instantly available virtual debit cards.

Wirex has offices in Tokyo and Singapore, and last year received a $3 million investment from Japanese institutional investor, SBI Group. As such it is not surprising it will focus on further expending its offering in the world’s most populated continent, beginning with Japan and Southeast Asia.

Making Bitcoin Spending Easier

Wirex to Launch Cryptocurrency Debit Cards in Asia During Q2 2018Last week Wirex launched debit crypto cards for its customers in the European Union. The new cards were made available in the UK since March 8, and the roll out for other EU countries is to last until the end of May. The company believes that phasing-in delivery by regions ensures a stable and secure service globally.

Pavel Matveev, the company’s CEO, said: “Wirex is bringing to Asia the first ever multi-currency accounts and cards for spending cash converted from cryptocurrencies, making everyday purchases much simpler. Our cards are great for transactions in stores, buying goods online or withdrawing money from ATMs. We were the first to bring such cards to the world and now we’re the first to bring multi-currency accounts with new contactless debit cards to Asia. We’re pleased to let our Asian customers know here that cryptocurrency spending just got much easier.”

Are bitcoin debit cards a good tool for mainstream cryptocurrency adoption? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Bitgrail to Refund Hack Victims with Newly Created BGS Tokens

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Bitgrail to Refund Hack Victims with Newly Created BGS Tokens

Featured

Bitgrail has denied responsibility for the recent hack that saw the theft of 17 million XRB, or Nano, in comments made in a Telegram group for victims of the hack. Despite rejecting responsibility for the incident, the exchange states that it will “voluntarily” refund users through the creation and issuance of BGS tokens.

Also Read:Three South Korean Crypto Exchanges Raided for Diverting Funds 

Bitgrail Operator Denies Responsibility for Hack

Bitgrail to Refund Hack Victims with Newly Created BGS TokensA document prepared by the operator of Bitgrail, Francesco “The Bomber” Firano, has been the subject of widespread reporting, following its dissemination to members of a Telegram group comprised of victims of Bitgrail’s hack.

A translated summary of the document has been made available by the Telegram group, as Mr. Firano apparently “did not want […] the whole doc[ument]” shared. The release of the translated document was approved by Mr. Firano.

The summary states that Bitgrail “plans [to] reopen soon,” adding that the date on which it will re-launch “will be announced soon.” The document also asserts that Bitgrail “still sees themselves as not responsible for the theft and therefore they believe they have no obligation to refund stolen coins”.

Bitgrail to Refund Users with BGS Tokens

Bitgrail to Refund Hack Victims with Newly Created BGS TokensBitgrail states that “on reopen […] all non-nano funds will be available and withdrawable, nano balance will be set to 20% of what it was before.” In order to repay the remaining 80% of nano balances, Bitgrail states that it will “voluntarily” introduce a new token called BGS (Bitgrail Shares), which will be distributed to victims of the hack. Bitgrail claims that it will then purchase back the BGS tokens at a rate of “$10.50 USD” per token, with purchases set to take place at the end of each month. The summary states that Bitgrail will use half of its monthly profits to conduct the purchases.

Participation in the company’s “voluntar[y]” refund comes with a stipulation, however, as customers of the “platform after reopen will [be] requir[ed] to sign a “waiver of all rights for legal action.”

Exit Scam Speculation Continues

Bitgrail to Refund Hack Victims with Newly Created BGS TokensBitgrail has been subject to accusations that the hack it experienced may have comprised an inside job. The tiny Italian cryptocurrency exchange apparently existed for the primary purpose of facilitating the trading of Nano, formerly Railbocks, which languished in relative obscurity before making gains of 17,500% at the end of 2017.

Critics of Bitgrail have pointed to persistent difficulties reported by users of the small exchange in attempting to withdraw funds during the period leading up to the hack, with many suggesting that Bitgrail’s hack may have been a cover for an exit scam.

The Nano team have sought to distance themselves from Bitgrail and Mr. Firano, last month stating “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.”

What is your response to Bitgrail’s proposed creation and issuance of BGS tokens? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


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Token Airdrops Are Taking Off Despite Legal Concerns

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Token Airdrops Are Taking Off Despite Legal Concerns

Crowdfunding

They say you get nothing for free in this life, but tokenized projects running airdrops would beg to differ. You can now get a whole lotta crypto assets for free – hundreds of them in fact – simply for signing up and following some social channels. What started as a novelty has become the norm, with a vast number of ICOs now earmarking a portion of their tokens for free distribution. Questions remain though about the legal status of airdropped tokens in an age where anything related to crypto risks being labeled a security.

Also read: Crypto Influencers Is a Who’s Who of Crypto Twitter

Airdrops Are the New Faucets

In bitcoin’s earliest days, faucets were used to distribute the cryptocurrency. Fractions of a bitcoin were given away on tap, back when BTC was cheap enough to send in small amounts and bits were worth buttons. Anyone who claimed those free morsels back in the day and held onto them will have eventually came into possession of some extremely valuable cryptocurrency. Today, airdrops are the faucets of the token economy. These freely dispensed tokens aren’t worth much – if anything – but there’s a small chance that one day they might be worth something.

At the Crypto Investor show in London last weekend, glossy flyers promoted an after-party with “free drinks + airdrop”. Come for the prosecco, stay for the tokenized revolution. Such is the prevalence of airdrops that an entire cottage industry has sprung up to promote them and inform crypto holders of the latest ones worth catching. Prominent Twitter traders compete to top the referral leaderboard for airdrops, whereupon they will be rewarded with yet more tokens. Everyone’s clamoring for free tokens right now, even though no one’s sure whether they’ll ever have any utility or market value.

Token Airdrops Are Taking Off Despite Legal Concerns

Get Your Airdrops While They’re Hot

For new entrants to the cryptocurrency scene, airdrops provide a way to get some points on the board, or rather some tokens in the portfolio. The very act of claiming them is enough to teach beginners the basics of wallet use and receiving crypto. The problems these projects purport to solve also provides a primer on the weird and wonderful world of crypto. Such is the prevalence of airdrops, they now have a dedicated Bitcointalk forum thread, dedicated Telegram groups and, in Airdropalert, a website that promises you need “never miss a free crypto airdrop again!”

Most of the tokens awarded are ERC20s, though other blockchains have also caught on; NEO for example recently distributed ONT via an airdrop. Just like an ICO tracker, Airdropalert filters offers based on upcoming/active/past. Tokens currently up for grabs include Boutspro, Yee, Sofin, and Aelf. Giving away tokens is easy in the early stages of a project, when they’re literally worth nothing. The trick is getting the airdrop community to start using these tokens on the platforms they were designed for. If that occurs, and the project reaches critical mass, the tokens should rise in value, and then everyone will be a winner. Or so the theory goes.

Token Airdrops Are Taking Off Despite Legal Concerns

There’s No Such Thing as a Free Lunch

While the legal status of tokens has attracted a lot of scrutiny recently, little has been said about airdrops. Does the act of giving something away for free mean it is free from securities laws and other regulations affecting cryptocurrency? Probably not. As Tokendata recently noted: “While airdrops can make economic sense…we’ve seen some ICOs revert to airdrops because they believe that: Airdrops reduce the regulatory footprint in terms of securities laws…Airdrops increase a project’s valuation instantly”.

Tokendata then goes on to explain that airdrops are still subject to securities regulations. The problem is that airdrop claimants aren’t obliged to undergo KYC, as ICO participants now routinely are. If it were necessary to submit documents for verification, suffice to say the airdrop business would fold overnight. People are always up for free stuff, but force them to jump through too many hoops and they’ll walk away. But should the SEC come after an ICO further down the line, and it emerged that 5% of their tokens were in the hands of unknown investors, there could be trouble.

Blockchain advisor and investor Oliver Isaacs opined: “The attraction with airdrops is natural, as they have the potential to rapidly onboard users and create an engaged community virtually from day one. ICOs need to be careful to be seen to issuing airdropped tokens for the right reasons though, and not as a means of circumventing securities laws.”

The truth is, no one knows for sure where regulations are going to lead the crypto economy, both in the U.S. and the rest of the world. Tokens may or may not be commodities, securities, or some new asset class that’s yet to be defined. But whatever they are, doling them out like confetti could be a recipe for regulatory trouble should these tokens attain value. Cryptocurrency users won’t care about this stuff – they’re only there for the free tokens after all – but it’s something ICOs should carefully consider. One cease and desist order and the entire airdrop racket could come tumbling down.

Do you think airdrops are a good means of creating a community and do you believe there’s a chance these tokens could be labeled securities? Let us know in the comments section below.


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