Firm Hopes to Fight Crypto Ad Ban With ICO Website Designed For Companies and Consumers

A website that tracks initial coin offerings (ICOs) says its platform can help crypto startups reach potential investors amid a recent clampdown on advertising imposed by some of the biggest players in Silicon Valley.

Facebook fired the starting pistol at the end of January by declaring it will start banning ads for cryptocurrencies and ICOs which deploy “misleading or deceptive promotional practices.” Last month, Google announced it was updating its Financial Services policy- meaning no crypto-related ads will be accepted from June. Twitter then followed suit and said it was motivated by user safety.

ICObazaar says the ban is impeding exciting projects at a time when the market is flourishing, with fledgling businesses losing access to one of the cheapest ways of reaching the public at large.

These “new challenges” in advertising come as investors struggle to navigate opportunities amid regulation concerns, but ICObazaar argues trackers like its own bring compelling advantages for consumers and companies alike.

Benefits of ICO trackers for businesses

The company says crypto startups which use an ICO tracking website to publicize their offering have a greater chance of ensuring that only accurate information makes its way to prospective investors. This is because every project has the chance to submit details about their crowdsale to the platform directly.

Although the latest restrictions on advertising by internet giants caused jitters in the crypto markets, ICObazaar argues that using niche websites could be more effective in yielding results, in part because dedicated investors are likelier to visit specialized platforms. By contrast, traditional campaigns through Internet giants can be seen by millions of people, even though just a small percentage might be interested in making a financial commitment.

Finally, many ICO tracking websites independently rate the projects on their platforms and a good score can improve their standing and result in greater levels of investment. The company says these advantages can be obtained at a “reasonable price.”

Goal to help consumers find viable ICOs

For prospective investors, ICObazaar claims its platform can prove invaluable because of how it performs due diligence to determine whether ICOs are viable. The company says this is achieved through the use of expert analysis on past, current and future offerings, as well as reviews from engaged and impartial investors who use the website regularly.

The website says it wants to alert users to the most trusted and promising crowdsales as determined by their peers, helping reduce the risk that someone will risk their capital on a fraudulent project.

Every listed project is accompanied by a rating in five areas, with the highest score being five: the team, the project’s website, their idea and white paper, media and community, and technical implementation. An independent expert provides a sixth rating using their own criteria. The best rating that can be achieved by an ICO is AAA- representing an investment-grade opportunity with a “reasonable potential to return profit.”

Projects can also be categorized as speculative, high-risk and default. The lowest score is D, and visitors to ICOs with such a poor rating are warned these startups are “major investment red flags” with flaws in their business model and a “minimal chance that projects will develop profitably.”

Crunching the numbers on ICOs

According to ICObazaar’s website, more than $1.7 bln has been pledged in ICO campaigns to date with more than 90 crowdsales taking part over the past month. The ICO which broke the most records was Status Network, an open-source messenger and browser allowing users to interact with Blockchain-based apps running on Ethereum.

ICObazaar says its goal is to guide cryptocurrency holders to successful initiatives, making its platform “perfect” for businesses seeking input from informed investors.

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

Bitcoin Price Increases by 4%, Eyes Move to $7,000 as Market Gains $19 Billion

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Over the past 24 hours, the cryptocurrency market has gained $19 billion, from $248 billion to $257 billion, as major cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and Ethereum recovered from their recent losses, as bitcoin price rose 4%.

Bitcoin’s Rise

On April 6, the bitcoin price fell from $7,000 to $6,500. Traders were anticipating a potential drop to the yearly bottom at $6,000, as bitcoin price remained at the $6,000 mark for several hours before rebounding to $6,600. If the bitcoin price had not rebounded from that level and sustained the $6,500 mark, the price of bitcoin could have dropped to the $6,000 mark.

However, as time passed, bitcoin started to demonstrate some buy volumes, and it picked up momentum on April 7. Eventually, within a 24-hour span, the bitcoin price increased from $6,500 to $6,950.

The 15-minute candle chart of bitcoin on April 6 evidently showed the end of its corrective rally from $6,600 to $7,500, which could have been key to bitcoin’s short-term recovery towards the $8,000 region. In the upcoming days, bitcoin could eye the $8,000 region if it can rise back again to $7,500 and test the $7,800 level.

Throughout today, bitcoin has shown some signs of recovery, and if this rally takes bitcoin to the $7,000 region, it is likely that bitcoin could eye the $7,500 mark, as it had earlier this week.

Generally, the market has also become optimistic towards the entrance of institutional investors in the cryptocurrency space. In December, investors expected a wave of retail traders to enter the bitcoin sector through the bitcoin futures market. But, volumes on the bitcoin futures market have been virtually non-existent, and the demand from institutional investors from the west has been a disappointment.

This week, George Soros and Soros Fund, a fund founded by the legendary $8 billion investor, announced that it is preparing to trade cryptocurrencies, as Bloomberg reported. Over the past three months, several large hedge funds like Fortress have exited the space. If new capital comes into the market in an extremely volatile period like this, it could help bitcoin to recover from its previous losses.

“Adam Fisher, who oversees macro investing at New York-based Soros Fund Management, got internal approval to trade virtual coins in the last few months, though he has yet to make a wager, according to people familiar with the matter. A spokesman declined to comment,” read Bloomberg’s report.

Ontology

Since April 4, Ontology has been the best performing alternative cryptocurrency against bitcoin. WIthin a three day span, the value of Ontology has nearly doubled against bitcoin on Binance, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange. Several altcoins such as ICON have also performed well against bitcoin, leading to excitement within the cryptocurrency space.

Still, although several altcoins have outperformed bitcoin in the past few days, it is uncertain whether the altcoin season will arrive in the short-term. SInce January, bitcoin’s dominance over the cryptocurrency market has intensified, and it will likely increase as new capital flow into the space.

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Another One Bites The Dust: Texas Orders Allegedly Fraudulent Crypto Investment Program To Cease And Desist

The Texas State Securities Board has sent an Emergency Cease and Desist letter on April 5 to Mark J. Moncher, the Millionaire Mentor University, and several other connected players to stop selling unlicensed securities and defrauding investors in an allegedly fraudulent complex cryptocurrency trading and medical marijuana investment scheme.

Two of the other respondents named in the letter, Estrada Trucking and Capital Cash, as well as Moncher, are accused of offering promissory notes that are considered unlicensed securities for a California-licensed, unnamed marijuana growing operation. Moncher and the Millionaire Mentor University, or the Freedom Financial Club, have also been accused of purposefully suggesting that Texas residents defraud credit card companies.

Investments in the cryptocurrency trading program associated with Moncher apparently offered an 8 percent weekly returns on investments, with an investment minimum of $2000 and sign up fee of $150 that both had to be paid by either credit or debit card.

The crypto trading program would provide investors with an invoice stating that they bought a “gold Seiko watch which [they] will never get,” as “protection in the event somebody runs away.” In the case of a bad investments, investors were suggested to report to their credit or debit card company that the watch never arrived and receive their money back.

The cease and desist order notes that the respondents involved the crypto trading program purposely attempted to hide the cryptocurrency aspect of the investment, citing them as saying, “We really don’t want to portray this as an investment in crypto because then you’re opening yourself up to a can of worms.”

The respondents also failed to disclose that Moncher is a convicted felon who served 57 months for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, as well as not disclosing the risks associated with cryptocurrency investments, like market volatility and potential for hacking.

Texas has had a run of cease and desist letters to crypto-related businesses since the beginning of this year, with alleged Ponzi scheme Bitconnect ordered to stop selling “unlicensed securities” in Texas in early January and asking an allegedly “scam” related cryptocurrency bank to leave the state. More recently in mid-February, Texas regulators sent a cease and desist letter to Leadinvest.com, citing the selling of unlicensed securities and overall “[threatening] immediate and irreparable harm.”

Moncher’s Millionaire Mentor University website is still active by press time.

Central Bank Digital Currency Could Go Live This Year: R3 Research Director

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A form of central bank issued digital currency (CBDC) could go live this year, according to Antony Lewis, R3 director of research, cash and CBDC strategy, speaking on panel of experts at the Deconomy conference this week at the Walkerhill Hotel in South Korea.

All panelists speaking on “Industry Evolution Through Distributed Ledger” were hopeful that CBDC will be launched for select financial institutions.

Lewis believes that blockchain technology will be used by select financial institutions.

Central Banks Voice Support

“We have had conversations with central banks who have mandates to fix certain payment problems, and one solution they look to is a blockchain type of platform,” Lewis said, according to a report posted by Korea Coin on YouTube.

Lewis said this does not mean consumers will have a new payment choice that functions like bitcoin or Ether. Instead, Lewis predicted that only select financial institutions would use such a cryptocurrency to start.

Such a system would likely even be used in situations such as disaster recovery, he said.

“Don’t make your secondary (decentralized) system look like your primary (centralized) system,” Lewis said. Otherwise, if a primary system goes down in an attack, the attackers would only need to play the same trick.

“Then it’s not resilience, it’s just another IP address to attack,” he said.

Application To Commercial Banking

Panelist Stanley Yong, global CBDC lead at IBM and a former CBDC researcher at Singapore’s central bank, agreed that a blockchain system will eventually be best applied to commercial banking and was hesitant about its application to consumers.

“If it issues cryptocurrency to millions and billions of citizens, it will have to hold all these individual accounts, which inherently increases the market and credit risks,” Yong said.

Also read: R3, 22 member banks develop instant cross-border payments platform

Central Banks Have Specific Role

Panelist Ian Grigg, a financial cryptographer, said it might not even be the fundamental role of central banks to issue a retail CBDC.

The Bank of England, for example, supports the deposit of commercial banks, Grigg said. Hence, directly issuing a cryptocurrency to the public could undermine existing commercial banks’ deposit base, ultimately impacting the loan market, he said.

The Bank of International Settlements previously stated that a CBDC could give rise to “higher instability of commercial bank deposit funding.”

The panelists were hopeful that blockchains will replace existing banking technology.

Yong went as far as to state such systems are “due for retirement.”

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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EOSIO’s Dawn 3.0 Platform Added To Github, Claims Blockchain Interoperability

Open source software publisher Block.one pre-released its scalability-focused Blockchain platform EOSIO Dawn 3.0 on Github yesterday, April 6, according to an EOSIO Medium post.

Dawn 2.0 had been released in December of last year, and the most current pre-release of Dawn 3.0 this April 6 is noted as a “major milestone on the road to EOSIO 1.0,” which reportedly will be released in June.

Earlier this month, Block.one and German fintech incubator FinLab AG announced a partnership for developing EOS software with $100 mln of funding.

EOSIO’s Medium post writes that that “we think we have achieved” the goal for inter-Blockchain communication, which they describe as the “the ultimate scalability feature — the holy grail — that the industry has been searching for,” to be “as secure as intra-chain communication between smart contracts.”

Dawn 3.0 contains many new features that “were not even contemplated in the original EOSIO White Paper,” most notably the capability to “accelerate throughput without hard forking changes” through parallel computation, the “ability to implement a light client as a smart contract,” the implementation of context free actions whose validation computation can be “pruned from replay,” and the addition of a new resource rate liming system.

The Medium post continues by reporting one of Dawn 3.0’s “most significant features,” which is a user-configurable delay for various actions that will allow a user to know they have been hacked before a hacker’s transaction goes through, because the delay broadcasts the transaction to the Blockchain for whatever amount of time chosen before it can be applied.

EOSIO can be used without tokens in private and permissioned Blockchains, has a .5 second block interval, and uses a “hello world” contract development that contains only “a few simple lines of code.”

The Medium post ends with encouragement to EOSIO public network to “operate as many chains as necessary to meet user demand,” in order to create the “maximum possible network effect around a single token and leverage the trust and security of economic incentives created by high-market capitalization tokens.”

Other Blockchain scalability projects in the crypto ecosystem include PHANTOM, a scalable BlockDAG – an alternative structure to Blockchain protocol – which was introduced in an academic paper in early February.

Cofound.it Former Head of Global and Veteran Blockchain Investor Join Tip Blockchain Advisory Board

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This is a paid-for submitted press release. CCN does not endorse, nor is responsible for any material included below and isn’t responsible for any damages or losses connected with any products or services mentioned in the press release. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned in the press release.

Toronto, Canada -Tip Blockchain, a Canadian company building the first indexed and searchable blockchain, announces two new members of their advisory board.

As the former head of global operations at decentralized crowdfunding platform, Cofound.it, David Sabo has experience helping blockchain startups successfully become high growth companies.

Carl Nunez has been a cryptocurrency investor for several years and has an in-depth knowledge of the crypto-economy and links to other major blockchain projects.

David and Carl join Jasper Hellman – CMO of Envion AG which raised over $100 million in their recent ICO, and Benoit Morelli – Head of Product of Gimli Project, as the newest additions to the expanding advisory board of Tip Blockchain.

Tip Blockchain is working on solving the problems people face in using cryptocurrency for day to day transactions via innovative decentralized solutions. They are creating a blockchain based ecosystem consisting of decentralized apps with features like user-friendly usernames as addresses instead of cryptographic hashes, search and discovery of other users by their usernames, and a cryptocurrency point of sale system for merchants.  The entire ecosystem is built upon the Tip blockchain – a fully indexed and searchable protocol, the first of its kind, allowing the attachment of metadata to accounts and transactions. Find out more about the project and their upcoming token sale on their website and social media channels.

Website: https://tipblockchain.io/

Telegram: https://t.me/TipBlockchain

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/tip-blockchain-network

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TipBlockchain

Medium: https://medium.com/tipblockchain

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tipnetworkio/

Reserve Bank of India Considers Central Bank-Issued Digital Currency

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced that it is looking into issuing its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), after a meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), according to a Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies released Thursday, April 5.

RBI has established an inter-departmental group to investigate the potential advantages and feasibility of its CBDC, which will submit its findings in a report in June 2018, the statement says.

“Technological innovations, including virtual currencies, have the potential to improve the efficiency and inclusiveness of the financial system,” RBI Deputy Governor B P Kanungo told The Times Of India Thursday.

The Reserve Bank’s inquiry into a CBDC emerged even as it announced it was prohibiting all regulated entities from providing services to any users, traders or holders of cryptocurrencies, as Cointelegraph reported yesterday.

RBI’s position — pro state-issed cryptocurrency and anti decentralized cryptocurrency — represents a broader trend among international central banks as they move in to police the digital frontier.

One solution to central banks’ potential concerns like money laundering is the co-optation of Blockchain tech by the institutional behemoths themselves, as Kanungo himself emphasized yesterday:

“We recognize that the Blockchain technology has potential benefits for the financial sector and we believe that they should be encouraged to be exploited for the benefit of the economy.”

As early as 2016, the Bank of England and the People’s Bank of China explored the idea of issuing their own digital currencies, with over 90 central banks worldwide that same year investigating DLT tech. In 2017, the Bank of Canada published extensive research into the benefits of CBDCs, and already in the first months of 2018, banks in Malaysia, Taiwan, Poland, Switzerland, among others, have all made news with inquiries into the use of Blockchain systems.

Earlier this week an R3 researcher stirred a Deconomy panel in South Korea with his prediction that wholesale CBDCs would see real-world implementation in 2018.

Fundstrat’s Tom Lee: Bitcoin Price Set to Rise In Late-April After Tax Day

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Bitcoin prices will probably climb after April 17, when Tax Day in the United States is over. That’s what Fundstrat co-founder Tom Lee, a noted bitcoin bull, predicts.

Lee said the recent drop in bitcoin’s price amid a flurry of sell-offs was partly caused by investors rabidly trying to sell off their cryptocurrency holdings to avoid paying taxes on them.

Bitcoin’s price has plunged below $6,700 today from its peak of $19,000 in December 2017. The top cryptocurrency by market cap has been decimated during the past few weeks amid an avalanche of negative news, including crypto advertising bans by Twitter and Google.

Email distribution platform MailChimp also joined the fray, banning cryptocurrency and ICO ads, citing the need to prevent “scams, fraud, phishing, and potentially misleading business practices.”

bitcoin price btc

But Lee said the selling pressure will ease up once Tax Day passes. He estimates that U.S. bitcoin investors owe about $25 billion in capital-gains taxes for 2017, thanks to BTC’s soaring prices last year. Accordingly, the Internal Revenue Service has been trying to collect taxes on those crypto gains.

“The $25 billion would represent 20% of capital gain tax receipts (payments) to Treasury, which explains why the IRS cares so much about collecting crypto taxes,” Lee said in a note. “Total receipts for capital gains should hit a record $168 billion (for income tax year 2017), exceeding the $137 billion of receipts in 2007.”

Lee: Selling Pressure Will Wane

Tom Lee believes the selling pressure on bitcoin and accompanying price drops will calm down once Tax Day passes.

“Selling pressure for bitcoin should be alleviated after April 15th,” Lee said. Tax Days falls on April 17 this year because the 15th is a Sunday.

However, Lee cautioned that cryptocurrencies could remain under pressure if governments step up regulatory scrutiny.

“Regulatory headline risk is still substantial. And sentiment remains awful, as measured by our bitcoin misery index, which is still reading misery.”

It’s true that Lee’s Bitcoin Misery Index recently plunged to its lowest level since 2011. But that’s actually good news for crypto fans, because the misery index is a contrarian index. That means the lower it falls, the better a time it is to invest in BTC.

Good News! Bitcoin Misery Index Tanked

Lee said when the Bitcoin Misery Index drops below 27, bitcoin sees its best 12-month performance. Last month, the index was at 18.8 on a scale of 100. That’s abymal, which for Lee signals that it’s a good time to buy.

Lee said the last time the misery index cratered to such lows was in November 2012, September 2016, and January 2015. In each instance, bitcoin’s price climbed the following month, he said.

Here’s Fundstrat’s Tom Lee making case for bitcoin HODL-ing on CNBC:

[embedded content]

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UK’s Financial Regulator Releases Guidelines For Dealing In Crypto Derivatives

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published a statement requiring businesses to seek authorization for dealing in cryptocurrency derivatives on its website Friday, April 6.

The statement clarifies that trading, transacting and advising on cryptocurrency derivatives is an activity which falls under the “Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID 2),” which was introduced as a part of the EU’s Jan. 2018 financial reforms.

The FCA stipulates that although cryptocurrencies are not considered currencies or commodities that require regulation, derivatives referring to cryptocurrencies or ICO tokens are capable of being “financial instruments,” and thus fall within its regulatory perimeter.

The FCA includes 3 examples of crypto derivatives: futures, contracts for differences (CFDs), and options.

CFDs based on crypto-assets track the price of the underlying asset and allow investors to borrow money for their bets in order to chase high leverage returns. Importantly, they do not need to own any of the cryptocurrency itself.

In late March the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) strengthened requirements for crypto-backed CFDs, citing the high price volatility of cryptocurrencies as its main concern.

The FCA’s position echoes that of another European regulator, the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF), earlier this year, which likewise sought to clarify the definition of derivatives after online crypto trading platforms began offering binary options, CFDs, and Forex contracts.

Beyond Europe, Bitcoin futures are a popular derivative making inroads into the world of regulated finance, with banks such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs both clearing futures contracts for some clients after their launch on derivatives exchanges CME Group (Dec. 2017) and CBOE (Jan. 2018).

Vitalik Buterin Continues to Troll Tron over Whitepaper Plagiarism Allegations

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April Fool’s Day is over, but Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin is not quite finished poking fun at blockchain startup Tron over longstanding plagiarism allegations.

Responding to a post from Tron Founder Justin Sun listing seven reasons why the project — which has still not yet received a mainnet release — is better than Ethereum, Buterin added a reason that Sun neglected to mention: they are more “efficient” at whitepaper writing.

The context for this job extends back to January when, as CCN reported, Tron found itself immersed in a plagiarism scandal related to its whitepaper. The English-language version of the document appeared to have relied heavily on other whitepapers — including those drafted by IPFS and Filecoin — but included no citations.

At the time, Sun declined to respond to the accusations directly and suggested that it was the fault of the volunteers who translated it into English from the original Chinese version.

Sun sidestepped the allegations once again during the present exchange, though he thanked Ethereum for inspiring him to create a “better decentralized platform” and invited Buterin to review the Tron source code at the project’s Github repository.

Notably absent, however, was anything resembling either an admission or a denial that Tron plagiarized its whitepaper, though the statement that “we…are more than white paper writing” perhaps betrays the truth of the matter — or at least the fact that Sun would likely wish the whole saga would blow over.

Indeed, this was not the first time this week that Buterin took a jab at Tron over plagiarism allegations.

On Sunday, Buterin deployed several April Fool’s Day pranks, including one not-so-subtle post on the Ethereum Foundation blog announcing the creation of an “official Ethereum stablecoin” called World Trade Francs.

But though obviously a prank, nearly everyone missed a subtler joke that Buterin had hidden in the post. To wit, a significant portion of it had been copied-and-pasted from Tron’s website.

Featured image from Flickr/TechCrunch.

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