Indian Pressure on Cryptocurrency Market Backfires

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has explicitly prohibited regulated entities from doing business with any companies dealing in virtual currencies. Last week’s decision raised concerns regarding a full ban on cryptocurrencies, which is not true. The jolted market fears Bitcoin and altcoins will face a drop in traded volumes in India, but that may also turn out to be false. India’s Cryptocurrency Market Adapts to RBI’s Pressure Reasons of consumer protection, market integrity, and money laundering, have led India’s central bank to ban the use of cryptocurrencies by regulated firms. The RBI expressed its discomfort with Bitcoin in 2017 and the Finance Ministry of India had likened those assets to Ponzi schemes and said that their use “as part of the payment system” would be eliminated. As the RBI forces that hand, banks in India are emailing their customers to let them know they no longer allow their debit and credit cards to be used to purchase or trade in cryptocurrencies. Crypto-industry professionals point fingers at government authorities and bankers for the witch hunt, while admitting that it would be better to work within the regulated framework instead of ring-fencing. A less politically correct approach was given by an Indian cryptocurrency exchange professional who chose to stay anonymous: “This isn’t really a big surprise, but it is definitely stupid. The government has been after us, and the bank guys have been after us. They’re doing all the fraud in the world, but they say that Bitcoin is only for illegal uses. In January, the banks froze our accounts, the Income Tax guys froze us for a couple of days, and there have been social media attacks to scare people away from crypto. We’re all figuring out how we can work, but Bitcoin is not illegal”. Siddharth Devnani, co-founder of SoCheers, told Gadgets360: “This notice is almost like a full ban on these exchanges. Peer to peer sites and some other groups exist which will take over this vacuum and many more platforms for trading will be created which will be under the radar or offshore. These will be completely unregulated causing even further possibilities of security failures, fraud, and money laundering. Wouldn’t it be in the government and the citizens’ interest to regulate the existing exchanges, and ensuring full KYC (know-your-customer) and AML (anti-money laundering)? Meanwhile, industry players within the crypto-space are drawing up contingency plans including moving overseas. BFX Coin and Al Kasir Group are planning to move their business to Dubai. Prashant Many, head of BXF Coin will be cutting its workforce size and sent an internal communication to his staff: “Our operational offices have started in Dubai & Georgia. Operations will also commence soon by May 2018.” The market usually adapts to all kinds of forces. The RBI pressure is unlikely to end the cryptocurrency market in the country. India Coin (INDIA) is up by 280.90% today. Image Courtesy of Shutterstock The post Indian Pressure on Cryptocurrency Market Backfires appeared first on NewsBTC.

The Year of Decentralization: Which Platforms Are Making the Most Difference?

Although 2018 has been a weird year for cryptocurrencies, it is proving to be a boom for the blockchain. It has received several high-level endorsements from government and industry officials, and it seems to be gaining traction as a feasible solution to many of our most pressing problems. In an interview with Fox Business, SEC Chairman, Jay Clayton, said that he “loves this technology.” His comments support the overwhelmingly positive conclusions drawn by the 2018 Join Economic Report composed by the U.S. Congress. Meanwhile, industries continue to line up behind blockchain technology believing that it can revolutionize and upgrade their current, centralized systems. It’s these sentiments that led Tapscott CEO, Don Tapscott, to conclude that blockchains “could revolutionize the world economy.” This year, there is a pervading perception that decentralization, tokenization, and smart contracts can make just about anything better. Just follow the money. CoinSchedule, which tracks all ICOs and the amount of money raised from each initiative, discovered a surprising trend this year. Collectively, 2017 was a record year for ICOs, the technical process that launches a new decentralized platform. However, the first three months of 2018 have seen ICOs raise 35% more than the total from all of 2017. In other words, this year has been a stampede of decentralized companies that are launching compelling platforms. Some projects are rising above the noise. They are distinct because of their industry impact, transformative services, and compelling vision. To be sure, these are just a handful of the industry-changing blockchain initiatives that are setting the tone this year. They are representative of the innovation and creative change being instituted by the blockchain. HomeLend: Crowd Source Your Next Mortgage The mortgage industry is a trillion-dollar industry that can feel all-encompassing. After all, everyone needs housing. However, this industry is bogged down by outdated methodologies and inadequate technologies that slow the process and hinder is growth. This is especially true for the millions of millennials who are struggling to attain their first mortgage. Homelend decentralizes the mortgage industry and uses the blockchain’s tokenized assets and smart contracts to implement quick and efficient data transfers. More importantly, Homelend crowdsources the mortgage process by allowing anyone to serve as a lender and by enabling borrowers to tap into a previously unexplored lending source. This platform could not be timelier. Nearly a decade after a real estate bubble incited the great recession, The Wall Street Journal is declaring a new housing crisis: a shortage of homes and loans for first-time buyers. Homelend can address half of this problem, and it’s essential that they do. Sirins Labs: Cell Phone for the Blockchain Age Sirin Labs issued a digital currency, the SRN token, that’s being used to fund the first cell phone for the blockchain and crypto age. The initiative, dubbed the Finney Project, aims to create a $1,000 smartphone that includes many of the features that crypto enthusiast requires. The device has a 5.5” screen 65GB storage, 6GB of RAM, and built-in cold storage for digital currencies. At $1,000, the Finney Smartphone is comparably priced to other top-of-the-line smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy line. The phone runs on a variation of Android’s operating system, so it’s the hardware that genuinely sets the device apart. Customers receive a 20% discount if they use the SRN token to purchase the device. ARK: Connecting Disparate Blockchains In their 2018 tech trends report, research and consulting firm, Deloitte, identified blockchain interconnectivity as a necessary next step for blockchain proliferation. ARK is creating a platform that aims to create a vast ecosystem of connected blockchains. Their platform caters to blockchain users, developers, and startups that can benefit from quick and easy connections to other blockchain services. Their native blockchain boasts eight second block times, and their open sourced technology stands to improve through continued exposure. Their platform has been around since 2016, which makes them veritable veterans in the crypto space. As a result, they have a plethora of strategic connections including CoinCentral, Yahoo Finance, NewsBTC, Forbes, and CoinTelegraph. There are so many compelling platforms launching right now, and it’s difficult to choose just three. However, these platforms represent, in different ways, the innovation and possibility that’s burgeoning with these initiatives and others like them. The post The Year of Decentralization: Which Platforms Are Making the Most Difference? appeared first on NewsBTC.

Manufacturer Holds Cryptonight ASIC Firesale after Monero Hard Forks

Mining hardware manufacturers have begun selling Cryptonight ASIC miners for next to nothing after privacy-centric cryptocurrency Monero carried out its threat to adopt a hard fork to maintain ASIC resistance. Last week, Monero activated its semi-annual hard fork, an update that included an alteration to its instance of the Cryptonight Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm. This The post Manufacturer Holds Cryptonight ASIC Firesale after Monero Hard Forks appeared first on CCN

UK Crypto Regulations Could Lure Startups From Europe

The UK are expected to reveal their own cryptocurrency regulations later in 2018. Earlier today, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that they’d be collaborating with the UK Treasury Committee, as well as the Bank of England in drafting a discussion paper on various aspects, risks, and opportunities presented by cryptocurrencies. Can Positive Future Legislation Attract Startups Away From Europe? Although they do not currently have scope to regulate cryptocurrencies, the FCA stated in their announcement today that the topic of digital currencies was becoming increasingly hard to ignore globally. They also claimed that they were planning to respond to an earlier Treasury Committee inquiry. The report the three bodies draw up could have an impact on any regulations going forward. At present, cryptocurrencies are entirely unregulated in the UK. However, in recent months, greater strides towards some form of legislation governing the space have been made. Back in February, the UK Treasury Committee began to explore digital currencies and blockchain technology. According to the government body, the goal of the inquiry was to investigate how protection could be provided to investors, consumers, and businesses, whilst simultaneously encouraging innovation. This latter point is particularly important given the political context in which Britain currently resides thanks to their decision to leave the European Union by the end of next March. Cryptocurrencies therefore present an opportunity to attract new businesses and industry to the UK in the wake of “Brexit”. Financial regulation expert from UK law firm Kemp Little, Jacob Ghanty, told the Independent: “At a high level, there is pressure on the UK authorities to develop a comprehensive strategy towards crypto, as sooner or later the EU will develop its own approach meaning there will need to be compelling reasons for crypto firms to locate in the UK.” Ghanty was careful to highlight the risks that investors faced in an entirely unregulated space and that these too would form a crucial part of any rules that emerge from the discussion paper. When it comes to regulation, there is great division within the cryptocurrency space. Some believe that regulations are needed to bring “legitimacy” to digital currencies. Others are of the mindset that digital currencies cannot be effectively regulated and that state “legitimacy” is meaningless for a system that exists without needing permissions from regulators. Meanwhile, some believe that government intervention can only serve to stifle innovation. For them, foolish investors who get burned in ICO scams like that promoted by heavyweight boxer Floyd Mayweather deserve to lose out. This approach naturally allows for the greatest innovation within cryptocurrency but is often criticised for hurting those who behave unwisely with their funds and encouraging scam artists. From the FCA announcement, it appears that the UK will attempt to nurture innovation whilst protecting users. How this approach fares remains to be seen. Image Courtesy of Shutterstock The post UK Crypto Regulations Could Lure Startups From Europe appeared first on NewsBTC.

Declare Cryptocurrency Gains or Losses, South Africa Tells Taxpayers

South Africa’s tax agency has told taxpayers that cryptocurrency-related income will fall under normal tax rules and may also be liable for capital gains tax. The South African Revenue Service (SARS) has reminded taxpayers that the onus is entirely on them to declare cryptocurrency gains or losses as part of their taxable income. Crypto-related gains The post Declare Cryptocurrency Gains or Losses, South Africa Tells Taxpayers appeared first on CCN

Canada Bartering Platform Launches BTZ for 200,000 Users

Toronto-based online-bartering market Bunz is launching its cryptocurrency Bunz Trading Zone (BTZ) to its own established community of 200,000 users on April 9. Canada Bartering Community of 200,000 Users to Trade With BTZ Coin As it gets into the cryptocurrency game, Bunz will provide 1,000 BTZ to each member so they can exchange with one another for goods and services at over 100 merchant partners. The company believes BTZ will be helpful in building stronger communities and making city living easier, its core values. Sascha Mojtahedi, Chief Executive Officer of Bunz, said: “You can use it in a simple and elegant way. We know the technology works, but we haven’t really seen a viable use case that the mass market can get behind. I think we’re going to be the first example of that.” The community of over 200,000 users will feel motivated to trade more often with a commonly accepted currency to fall back on when a true trade just isn’t in the mix. Users will be able to send and receive BTZ with anyone on the Bunz app, redeem the coin for products and services, and enjoy the flexibility and security the company provides. “You have to be able to reward people with cryptocurrency that they’ve earned as a result of their passive involvement in the network and then enable them to use it with their peers and merchants. It gives us the room to create new models that people may not have thought of”, Mojtahedi continued. Bunz was founded by fashion-design graduate Emily Bitze as a private Facebook group in 2013. It quickly grew through word of mouth and expanded beyond Facebook, with a website and app launched in 2016. The platform has completed over a million transactions and there are approximately 2.3 million items currently on offer worldwide. Mojtahedi told Canadian newspaper The Global and Mail that the addition of BTZ serves is more of an enticement to get people using Bunz than an attempt to introduce a form of monetization. While its revenue model remains a secret, the company will not be taking a cut of BTZ transactions. Toronto merchants accepting BTZ include Drake General Store, The Fifth Pubhouse, and Tiny Record Shop. Kate Chippindale, senior manager of marketing and business development at Drake Hotel Properties, said: “They were a good partner in making it not seem scary. This is the right way for us to try and explore something like this. It encourages a different kind of customer to come and shop with us.” Image Courtesy of Shutterstock The post Canada Bartering Platform Launches BTZ for 200,000 Users appeared first on NewsBTC.

The 2018 Year of Cryptocurrency Challenge – Week 13

At the beginning of 2018, I wrote an article outlining a New Year’s resolution that I thought could help boost cryptocurrency adoption and awareness in 2018, as long as enough people were doing it. Last week was the twelfth installment of my challenge. Since then, I’ve filed my taxes – which required an at-length conversation with a tax professional about cryptocurrencies – and I realized just how insane the current tax code in the US is for cryptocurrency. TRY TO SPEAK TO AS MANY PEOPLE ABOUT CRYPTOCURRENCY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN As we all know, every time you use a cryptocurrency in the US, it is considered a taxable event, so every transaction needs to be reported. Not only is this annoying, but the IRS has provided little clarity on the matter, and many tax professionals are left baffled when people like me come into their offices. This year, I chose to have someone else review my taxes prior to sending them in, just to be sure. However, it became apparent once I started presenting my Form 8949 worksheet that they didn’t really know how to handle it. “Are you a day trader?” was something multiple people in the office asked me. They didn’t understand why a brokerage had not provided me with a consolidated 1099 for these “trades”, and I had to repeatedly explain the P2P nature of cryptocurrency. In the end, we worked it out, but I left realizing just how much more work cryptocurrency communities need to do in both educating people and pressuring governments for more sensible cryptocurrency tax policies. I work out of a WeWork every now and then. I ran into some of the community managers there (they take care of the building and plan events for members) who asked what exactly cryptocurrency was. They had heard so much about it recently, but were mostly focused on the price – and its recent correction. Again, much of my conversation was focused on shifting the crux of the discussion to the technology and away from the price. They ended up being really impressed by the idea of responsibility being placed back on the individual. I ended up sending them a link to Andreas Antonopoulos’s YouTube channel so they could watch someone more eloquent than myself explain it further. LEARN SOMETHING NEW ABOUT CRYPTO This week, I learned about a delightful program to make reporting taxes on crypto really easy. I used and it actually gave me a lot of really interesting insights into my cryptocurrency activity this past year, in one consolidated place. Not to seem like I’m shilling it (I promise this isn’t paid promotion, I’m just a data geek), it was really interesting to get this kind of breakdown, and know that I can access these reports next year too. Again, hopefully the IRS will adopt more reasonable tax laws such that we won’t need things like to report Dogecoin dust transactions. BE GENEROUS – GIVE AND USE YOUR COINS This week I gave away the paper wallet of Doge that I’d received from the Shibe Mint (from which I bought some physical, precious metal Dogecoin). It wasn’t much, but I think I’m just exhausted from the idea of having to report many transactions next year on my taxes. I think this fatigue will pass soon, though. Did filing crypto transactions on your taxes also take a bit out of you? Otherwise, how goes your challenge? Tell us on Twitter or in the comments below!

Skychain and WELL Are Joining Forces to Build the Future of Digital Healthcare

Skychain, an infrastructure project for healthcare artificial intelligence, and WELL, a global marketplace for telemedicine, are joining forces to build the future of digital healthcare! WELL is globalizing healthcare and overcoming national borders to directly connect physicians, psychologists, and other health professionals to patients worldwide. Skychain provides an open infrastructure based on blockchain to make it as easy as possible to develop, train, and use healthcare AI systems. The telemedicine market is estimated to reach $113 billion in 2025, and the healthcare AI market is going to reach $200 billion in a few years. Here’s how WELL and Skychain can work together: When a patient requests telemedicine services, WELL, which is both a video communication platform and a payment gateway, will connect the patient to a medical professional. The doctor can ask the patient to provide some medical examination results (X-ray, CT, MRI, blood tests, etc.) and use them to make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment. The patient can also request the medical examination results to be analyzed by artificial intelligence. In that case, they will be sent to Skychain, whose AI systems will provide their suggestions to help the doctor make a more accurate final diagnosis. In a recent public test, a few artificial neural networks running on a Skychain prototype system have easily beaten some highly experienced doctors (see “Skychain vs Doctors Competition”). On average, the doctors made twice as many diagnostic errors as the neural networks did. For example, when diagnostic radiologists analyze X-ray lung images, they miss early lung cancer in 70 percent of cases. Unlike flesh-and-blood doctors, deep neural networks miss that medical condition only in 20 percent of cases. There are thousands of examples like that in healthcare. Medical errors are the third leading cause of patient death in the United States. They also result in huge economic costs for patients and insurance companies – hundreds of billions of dollars a year! Skychain and WELL are building two infrastructures for artificial intelligence and telemedicine, which will complement each other to dramatically improve the accuracy of early medical diagnostics. Skychain provides an open infrastructure based on Blockchain 4.0. Its key features are ultra-fast transactions thanks to the proof-of-stake principle (master nodes will be used instead of miners), smart contracts that lock up diagnostic AI systems, and two core AI infrastructure marketplaces: a data marketplace as a service for AI deep learning and an AI marketplace. That kind of infrastructure enables market participants to create blockchain joint ventures. As for the healthcare AI market, Skychain will reduce diagnostic neural network training costs by a factor of 10, dramatically improve the accuracy of medical diagnostics, and make diagnostic services both easily available and very affordable. Skychain potentially can be used for many different purposes. But in the first few years, it is going to focus exclusively on healthcare, which is one of the most promising AI application areas: The healthcare AI market is going to reach hundreds of billions of dollars in several years, and possibly $1 trillion in 15 years! To learn more about Skychain, follow the link: WELL is a decentralized global healthcare network based on the Ethereum blockchain and smart contracts. WELL intends to disrupt the conventional healthcare models by allowing patients located anywhere in the world to easily get remote diagnoses or second opinions from a select group of the best medical professionals, and, if necessary, get ready for in-person treatment. WELL allows patients to take control of their care delivery: at home with concierge (personal assistant) services or anywhere in the world with telehealth services. Giving patients control helps everyone since patient engagement translates into better outcomes and reduces overall care costs. To learn more about WELL, follow the link: Skychain ICO Skychain started selling its tokens on February 26, 2018. Until the soft cap is reached, they can be bought at a 25% discount. Eventually, the tokens will be converted into Skychain’s internal currency, Skychain Global Coin (SGC). The post Skychain and WELL Are Joining Forces to Build the Future of Digital Healthcare appeared first on NewsBTC.

People Trust Satoshi Nakamoto More than US Federal Reserve: NYSE Owner

International Exchange Inc. (ICE), the owner and operator of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is keeping an eye on the nascent cryptocurrency trading markets. Speaking with Bloomberg, Jeffrey Sprecher, ICE’s chief executive, said that it is imprudent to discount cryptocurrencies and that he won’t rule out the possibility of launching cryptocurrency future contracts on The post People Trust Satoshi Nakamoto More than US Federal Reserve: NYSE Owner appeared first on CCN

As Cryptocurrency Regulation Tightens, Malta Remains a Safe Haven for Service Providers

Regulation in the cryptocurrency industry is always a hot topic. It seems most of these developments are forcing companies to relocate to more crypto-friendly countries. A lot of companies are currently contemplating the move to Malta, which is quickly becoming a very popular place for cryptocurrency firms. Malta is Quite Appealing There are a few different reasons why Malta is so appealing to Bitcoin companies. The region is rather open-minded when it comes to regulating this industry. Its focus on blockchain and cryptocurrency is positive overall and allows for innovation. Several firms are actively looking to move to Malta due to regulatory pressure in their home country. The government of Malta is also quite keen on improving upon this trend. According to a Tweet, the country sees this interest by cryptocurrency firms as a major economic achievement. Binance has already relocated to this European country, which has gained a lot of media attention. Other economic achievements include a low unemployment rate and highest economic growth in the EU. [email protected]'s #Economic achievements in #March'18 | #Crypto #cryptocurrency leader @binance moving to #Malta, historic #surplus sustained, @SPGlobalRatings confirms A Rating, as MT hits highest economic growth in #EU while ranking 2nd lowest for #unemployment … and more — Government of Malta (@MaltaGov) April 2, 2018 All of these aspects make the island nation all the more appealing to all kinds of firms. It now seems dozens of cryptocurrency companies are looking to set up shop in Malta. Doing so is rather simple, compared to dealing with requirements in other countries. Making it more accessible for companies to set up an office in Malta is an example other countries should pay attention to a swell. The Mass Migration to Europe Albeit Europe is relatively quiet on the cryptocurrency regulation front, that seems to work in its favor. If this trend keeps up, things will undoubtedly get very interesting for both Malta and the EU as a whole. With other countries cracking down on blockchain and cryptocurrency, someone has to take the lead. In the last 2 weeks, I am aware of 20+ large cap crypto projects confirm establishing/moving/investing in Malta. There are probably more that I am not aware of. Let's build a healthy and vibrant blockchain economy in Malta. — CZ (@cz_binance) April 5, 2018 Harsh action is taken in China, India, and other select regions. All of these countries would rather curb cryptocurrency use altogether. Even though this new form of money allows for innovation, governments also see it as a threat. Regulating this industry has proven to be very difficult. In fact, all it does is force companies to relocate. This is why Bitfinex is moving to Switzerland, and Kakao may host its ICO outside fo Korea. How all of this will play out in the long run, remains to be seen. It seems evident the appeal of Malta will not diminish anytime soon. Other countries may show a positive approach in this regard as well. For now, any negative regulatory development is often met with positive news at the same time. A harsh approach to cryptocurrency does no one any favors right now. Whether or not things will improve in countries like China and India, remains uncertain. Image Courtesy of Shutterstock The post As Cryptocurrency Regulation Tightens, Malta Remains a Safe Haven for Service Providers appeared first on NewsBTC.


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New way to ‘see’ objects accelerates the future of self-driving cars

ITHACA, N.Y. - Researchers have discovered a simple, cost-effective, and accurate new method for equipping self-driving cars with the tools needed to perceive...