Canadian City Calgary Launches a Digital Currency to Boost Local Economic Activity

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Calgary has become the first Canadian city to launch a digital version of its local currency.

Known as the Calgary Digital Dollar, the digital currency will be used exclusively in the City of Calgary located in Alberta Province and will operate alongside the federal currency, the Canadian Dollar (or the loonie as it is popularly referred),

Initially reported by the Global News, the launch event of the Calgary Digital Dollar was officiated by the finance minister of Alberta province, Joe Ceci.

As the forebearer of the Calgary Digital Dollar, the Calgary Dollar is an initiative of the city, small business enterprises, and nonprofits. Since 1996 when the Calgary Dollar first became available, the complementary currency has been used to assist local businesses by ensuring that what is generated in the local economy remains within the ecosystem. Businesses in the city are obliged to accept at least 10% of payment in the digital currency or as much as 100%.

Promoting Local Enterprise

During the launch event, Ceci expressed hope that the digital currency would continue to boost local businesses:

“I don’t mind seeing things happen locally and people making money. It’s a lot of fun to meet people and barter and exchange.” said Ceci during the launch. “[The Alberta government] supports the work of Calgary Dollars in every way.”

The Calgary Digital Dollar cannot be purchased or cashed out in the same manner as cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. One of the ways of earning the digital currency is taking surveys or referring new users. The digital currency can also be obtained by posting ads aimed at selling, trading or bartering goods or services on the Calgary Dollars website or via an app and paying for the service using Canadian dollars.

Users will then get a certain amount of the digital currency as rewards which can consequently be used to pay transit tickets, grocery purchases and other goods and services. Additionally, the digital currency can be donated to Take Action Grants which funds local community projects. The City of Calgary also accepts Calgary Dollars as payment for license costs.

Orania’s E-Ora

The Calgary Digital Dollar is similar to a digital currency known as the E-Ora which was tested this year by South Africa’s Orania community. Pegged to the South African rand, the E-Ora is issued by the Orania Chamber of Commerce just like its forebearer the Ora and is meant for exclusive use in Orania, a town of around 1,600 people.

Some of the advantages of the E-Ora as CCN reported in July include reducing the cost of transactions:

“It is basically electronic cash that will be moved from wallet to wallet with every transaction without the commercial banks standing in the middle. In this way friction and cost is removed from the transaction. Both consumers and retailers will save between three and five per cent per transaction.”

Calgary image from Shutterstock.

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UK Parliament Member Suggests Making Bitcoin a Payment Option for Local Taxation System

A conservative member (MP) of the United Kingdom’s (U.K.) Parliament has said that making payments to local authorities and utility providers with Bitcoin (BTC) should be possible. The MP’s statements were reported by local news outlet Express.co.uk on Dec. 10.

The article notes that Eddie Hughes, a member of the U.K. Parliament for the Walsall North constituency, described himself as a “crypto enthusiast with amateur knowledge.” He notes that blockchain gets a lot of attention and members of the parliament “have a duty to understand it.”

Hughes further explained that he recently met with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which accepts cryptocurrency donations, and that the encounter made him think:

“What’s to stop us [from] being able to pay council tax and other bills with Bitcoin?”

Those declarations come shortly after, as Cointelegraph reported at the end of November, the United States state of Ohio announced that businesses will be able to pay their taxes in Bitcoin.

Praising Ohio’s new BTC tax payment option, Hughes said in relation to the U.K.’s crypto stance:

“You’re either ahead of the curve or you’re behind the curve, and our country is in an interesting position right now — we need to be seen as a progressive country.”

The recent crypto market crash has reportedly eased the pressure on U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority to create “hasty” new crypto regulation. According to Reuters, the previously urgent need to create regulation had raised the risk of a heavy-handed approach that could potentially damage the industry.

Now that the crash has happened, officials have indicated that they will take more time to ensure a more balanced legal framework.

During a cryptocurrency-themed conference in London, Gillian Dorner, deputy director for financial services at Britain’s finance ministry, said that this is an opportunity “to take the time to look at that in a bit more depth and make sure we take a proportionate approach.”

SFOX Posits Factors Behind November Crypto Volatility in Recent Report

SFOX, an institutional crypto trading platform, recently released a comprehensive, data-packed analysis on the possible causes of the volatility in the cryptocurrency space over the month of November.

The report, which SFOX released on their website, covers a large amount of raw data, looking at factors such as price fluctuation on a day-to-day basis and trading volume. With the data, SFOX presents arguments on the overall volatility of various prominent cryptocurrencies, and their methodology includes the volatility of the S&P 500 and gold for comparison.

A press release shared with Bitcoin Magazine claims that there are “four factors that contributed to November’s wild ride.” Not only was the “market uncertainty leading up to the Bitcoin Cash fork” a huge point of uncertainty for the space, but the “hash war” between Bitcoin Cash ABC (now recognized solely as Bitcoin Cash) and Bitcoin Cash SV also led to the current instability.

These analyses seem supported by the data that SFOX gathered, as the Bitcoin Cash volatility seems far-and-away to have the highest volatility of the cryptocurrencies studied in the report. ETH, LTC and BTC also showed a steady increase in volatility over this period, but the S&P 500 and gold markets remained consistent by comparison.

The value of cryptocurrencies has become as volatile now as it was during the beginning of the 2018 crash in February, so it should come as little surprise that the data reflects this relationship with regular stocks. Still, the report details many of the most significant events leading up to this volatility spike on a day-by-day basis, specifying exactly where the volatility began to increase.

Specifically, the report hones in on the days preceding the Bitcoin Cash chain split as exacerbating volatility. It also details the SEC’s dual prosecution of Paragon Coin and Airfox and Jay Clayton’s speech at the 2018 Crypto Invest Summit as drivers of this volatility.

The report concludes with a section on important upcoming events in December that may have an impact on the industry’s volatility, as well as some specifics on the math behind the findings. It should be noted that the report signals December 12, 2018, as the date of Bakkt’s future launch, though the potential launch has been rescheduled for January 2019.

SFOX will continually release new monthly reports on volatility in the space, the report concludes.

Bitcoin Mining Giant Bitmain Closes Israeli Branch amid Market Woes

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With the bitcoin price trading more than 80 percent below its all-time high, not even Bitmain, the world’s largest cryptocurrency mining firm and the crypto industry’s most valuable company, has been immune from the slaughter.

According to Israeli business publication Globes, the China-based Bitmain has closed Bitmaintech Israel, the development center it set up two years ago in Ra’anana. All 23 employees at the office will be laid off, and Bitmain VP Gadi Glikberg, who headed the center up, will also depart the firm.

Bitmain blamed the layoffs on the prolonged cryptocurrency bear market that began at the turn of the year and worsened with each passing month. Per the report, Glikberg told employees:

“The crypto market has undergone a shakeup in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”

While Bitmain’s core business involves developing and manufacturing cryptocurrency mining equipment, the firm’s office in Israel had focused its efforts toward developing the Connect BTC mining pool and the artificial intelligence (AI) technology used in Bitmain’s “Sophon” project.

The decision to close its office in Ra’anana represents a stark reversal from July when Bitmain was reportedly seeking to triple the size of its Israeli development center, which at the time had 15 employees.

However, in addition to the general decline in cryptocurrency prices, Bitmain has also reportedly faced headwinds from poor business decisions that continue to weight on its balance sheet as it grinds toward its long-planned initial public offering (IPO), for which it filed registration documents earlier this year. The firm also recently underwent a significant shakeup on its board of directors.

CCN has reached out to Bitmain for confirmation and will update this article upon receiving a reply.

Featured Image from Shutterstock

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Major South Korean City to Build Blockchain-Enabled Virtual Power Plant

South Korea’s government will spend 4 billion Korean won (KRW) (about $3.5 million) to set up a blockchain-enabled virtual power plant (VPP) in the city of Busan. The development was reported by South Korean newspaper Yonhap News Agency on Monday, Dec. 10.

Busan, South Korea’s second most populous city after Seoul, has announced that the city administration has selected a project to support an innovative energy industry in the region by building a VPP based on a citizens-shared blockchain.

The project will be reportedly represented at the national competition in 2019 hosted by the largest electric utility in South Korea, Korea Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO).

By its definition, a virtual power plant is a cloud-based distributed power plant that integrates the idle capacities of multiple energy resources in order to optimize power generation.

The recently announced blockchain-powered VPP project is set to aggregate such power sources as Busan area factories and public facilities of energy storage system (ESS), as well as solar power plants.

The project was reportedly proposed by the city of Busan, as well as major local companies and institutions including Pusan National University (PNU), energy management firm Nuri Telecom, Busan City Gas and real estate firm Korea Industrial Complex Corporation.

The city of Busan has already been actively developing and promoting blockchain technology, according to Korean crypto-focused news agency TokenPost.

Earlier this year, Yoo Jae-soo, the Minister of Economic Affairs in Busan and former director general for financial policy at the Financial Services Commission (FSC), reportedly held a meeting to discuss the establishment of a special zone in the city in order to build a friendly environment for the development of the blockchain and crypto industry.

In June of this year, South Korean governmental agency, Industry-SW ICT Convergence Association (WICA), also revealed plans to establish a blockchain center in Busan modeled on Switzerland’s Crypto Valley. According to the plan, the South Korean version of Zug’s Crypto Valley is set to be located at Haeundae, an affluent and touristic beachfront space in eastern Busan.

Earlier today, the country’s second-biggest commercial bank, Shinhan Bank, launched a blockchain-based initiative within the internal processes of the institution in order to reduce the number of human errors in record keeping.

GShare Helps to Expand Adoption of MGO Tokens

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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.

MobileGo team claim their products are being developed to meet the needs of both gaming community and blockchain enthusiasts.  

Starting today beta-testing of MobileGo brand-new product is available for everyone. What is it and why is it worth attention?

What is GShare?

GShare is a special tool for earning GShare Gold. To make a long story short, it converts your computer power into GShare Gold coins. From some point of view, it is ‘mining’, with the only difference –  GShare Gold is not cryptocurrency. GShare Gold is a soft currency to bring new possibilities to gamers, expand existing and also open doors to the world of the blockchain, by saying that we mean earning MGO tokens using Gshare Gold. GShare Gold is earned without any extra efforts, the user just needs to run the app, press the ‘Start’ button and that’s it. User is already in, earning GShare Gold while playing his favorite games, working or doing whatever he wants to. Later on, this GShare gold coins can be used on esports platform to participate in tournaments and win MGO tokens. GShare is interesting news not only for gamers. GShare is believed to write a new page in the history of social impact as well. So not only gamers can benefit from using GShare platform by earning MGO tokens for victories, but, people who want to make difference in this world, would be able to participate in socially important activities using GShare Gold. But first things first.

How to use GShare Gold earned with GShare

GShare Gold can be used on esports (competitive) platform that is also available for public tests from now. You can use GShare Gold as a tournament entry fee and earn even more with just personal gaming skill, and not only GShare Gold but the MGO tokens as well. The platform beta-version is already live and ready to use. The platform has been developed especially in such a way that no matter of skill level everyone, even people new to esports can find decent competitors and spend some good time playing, be victorious and claim his prize in MobileGo tokens. MobileGo team claims that soon GShare gold would also gain adoption in many other spheres. It is being said that GShare Gold will be accepted on social activities platforms to unite non-indifferent people which desire to change the world and make it a better place, which sounds quite intriguing.

How is GShare useful for MobileGo?

The holders of MGO have another cause for excitement. MGO is being accepted as a payment method in both Xsolla Pay Station and esports platform, which makes its adoption even more massive. The key moment is that players who used GShare Gold to enter the tournaments on esports platform and showed their best play and won, can claim their victory bounty in MGO, so MobileGo token has all chances to become desired by numerous gamers around the globe.

Facebook Seeks Blockchain Talent for Five New Company Roles

Facebook has listed five new blockchain-related jobs on its careers page within the past three weeks, two of which were first listed Dec. 5 and 6.

The positions currently open for applicants are two software engineer roles, a data scientist post and a data engineer — all full-time roles at the company’s headquarters in Menlo Park, California.

In the job description for blockchain engineer at the Facebook Blockchain Data Engineering team, the ad characterizes the position as “technically” and “intellectually challenging” work, which “will have massive global impact.”

The most recently-listed role — Product Marketing Lead for the Facebook blockchain team — outlines that the team is “fundamental” to the company’s “mission” of problem solving and community building, and specifically in “exploring the opportunity the blockchain will bring.“

While the precise details of Facebook’s planned or extant blockchain initiatives are kept under wraps, the ad for “Data Scientist, Blockchain” indicates that:

“We’re exploring areas of interest across all facets of blockchain technology. Our ultimate goal is to help billions of people with access to things they don’t have now — that could be things like equitable financial services, new ways to save, or new ways to share information.”

The ad for the two “Software Engineer, Blockchain” roles indicate that blockchain specialists joining the existing Software Engineering (Infrastructure) team would help to build the “large distributed components that run Facebook,” which need to scale to serve “millions of requests per second,” and to do so “with sub-second latency and in a fault tolerant manner.”

Preferred qualifications include “Experience with distributed computing (Hive/Hadoop)” (for the role of “Data Scientist, Blockchain”) and coding experience in a range of languages such as “C, C++, Java, C#, Perl, PHP, Hack and/or Python” (“Software Engineer, Blockchain”).

In early May, the head Facebook’s messaging app Messenger David Marcus — who has been a board member of major United States crypto exchange Coinbase as of December 2017 — announced the company had set up a group “to explore how to best leverage blockchain across Facebook, starting from scratch.”

In July, Facebook’s Director of Engineering of three years, Evan Cheng, joined the blockchain team to fulfil a parallel role dedicated to exploring the technology’s applications.

As reported this October, the average earnings of a blockchain engineer have soared to between $150-175,000 per year, 400 percent higher than in 2017, according to Hired’s 2018 State of Salaries Report. Hired’s report cited demand fueled by the interest of global tech giants such as Facebook, Amazon, IBM and Microsoft, all of whom are currently advertising for specialists from the emerging sector.

‘Illegal Financial Activity’: PBoC Deputy Governor Warns Against STOs in China

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Security token offerings (STO) – essentially initial coin offerings which are backed by tangibles such as a company’s revenues, profits or assets – are now officially banned in China.

This emerged after the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) deputy governor, Pan Gongsheng, warned those issuing STOs that they were violating the law.

“The STO business that has surfaced recently is still essentially an illegal financial activity in China. Virtual money has become an accomplice to all kinds of illegal and criminal activities,” Gongsheng told an internet finance forum in Beijing, according to the South China Morning Post.

‘Ban Saved China’s financial Sector’

Additionally, Gongsheng stated that ICO issuers were suspected of conducting illegal fundraising, committing financial fraud and of being Ponzi schemes. The PBoC deputy governor also noted that had Beijing not cracked down on ICOs starting in September last year, the country’s financial sector would have greatly suffered. Prior to the crackdown, around 80% of the ICO financing and cryptocurrency transactions globally took place in the world’s most populous country.

This comes about a week since another Chinese official warned against STOs, according to Chinese media outlet Caijing. Earlier this month, the head of Beijing’s Municipal Bureau of Finance, Huo Xuewen, told a wealth management forum that STOs were illegal while warning of harsh repercussions for their issuers:

“The ICO (initial coin offering) model is getting left behind for a new concept called STO. I want to issue a warning to anyone considering running an STO in Beijing. Don’t do it in Beijing – it is illegal. You can only engage in such activities with the approval from the government.”

One Year Since the Ban…

Before the latest warning from a senior PBoC official on STOs, China’s central bank had also cautioned investors about three months ago on the risks and dangers associated with initial coin offerings and cryptocurrency trading.

In a public notice issued by PBoC’s Shanghai branch on the first anniversary since a blanket ban on ICOs was placed, China’s reserve bank reiterated its warning on the risks associated with the crowd fundraising method while noting the success of the ban:

“[T]he global share of domestic virtual currency transactions has dropped from the initial 90% to less than 5%, effectively avoiding the virtual currency bubble caused by skyrocketing global virtual currency prices in the second half of last year in China’s financial market.”

While China is firmly in the ‘blockchain not bitcoin’ bandwagon, the PBoC has also recently expressed some reservations about the technology. Last month, the PBoC’s research unit called for the strengthening of supervision of speculative investments and financing in the blockchain industry. In a working paper, the research bureau of the Chinese central bank claimed that blockchain technology was overhyped and a sober measured view needed to be taken towards the tech while urging that functions of distributed ledger technology not be exaggerated.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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Bitmain Closes Israeli Blockchain Development Center Citing Crypto Market Conditions

Chinese crypto mining giant Bitmain is closing its development center in Israel and firing local employees, Israeli business news outlet Globes has learned Monday, Dec. 10.

Bitmaintech Israel — founded in 2016 to explore the use of blockchain technology, work on the Connect BTC mining pool and develop the infrastructure behind Bitmain’s artificial intelligence (AI) project Sophon — will close this week. All 23 employees will be fired, the Globes reports.

Gadi Glikberg, head of the Israeli branch as well as Bitmain vice president of international sales and marketing, is also leaving. The Globes reports that Glikberg linked the closure to the recent crypto market collapse:

“The crypto market has undergone a shake-up in the past few months, which has forced Bitmain to examine its various activities around the globe and to refocus its business in accordance with the current situation.”

Bitmain is also currently facing two lawsuits. The first one, a class action lawsuit of $5 million focused on unauthorized mining, was filed in the North District Court of California against Bitmain’s United States– and China-based entities.

The second suit was purportedly filed against Bitmain, Bitcoin.com, Roger Ver and the Kraken Bitcoin Exchange. The case alleges that the defendants jointly used unfair methods and practices to manipulate the BCH network for their benefit.

In early December, Israel has seen a crackdown on unreported crypto earnings. According to local business newspaper Calcalist, Israeli tax authorities opened tax accounts for hundreds of Israelis who allegedly concealed cryptocurrency related revenues. As cryptocurrencies are treated as a financial asset in Israel, they are subject to a 25 percent tax for private investors.

EOS Surges 16% Over the Weekend, Eyeing Extended Gains

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Despite the criticism it is receiving for being a pseudo-decentralized blockchain project, EOS is performing exceptionally well on the trading front.

The EOS/USD rate during the weekend noted more than 16% surge. The upside action came in continuation of a strong bounce back from the 1.546-fiat level on Friday. The combination of Friday and weekend price actions marked a circa 40% rally for EOS, during which market cap added over $400 million in profits.

There are no substantial factors that claim a role behind the ongoing EOS rally. True, the coin has made into the Coinbase list of could-be-added crypto assets, but there are also 29 other coins that have made into the same list. But they have not displayed any aggressive upside actions like EOS. XRP, for instance, is mentioned in the Coinbase list but its 24-hour adjusted price performance, according to CoinMarketCap.com is +0.16% (at press time).

On Monday, the EOS/USD rate is hinting a correction action, however. The pair established a higher high during its uptrend towards 2.192-fiat, following which it underwent a sharp pullback. Nevertheless, the bearish jerk is well within the range the technicals are establishing for the pair. It could, therefore, go ahead for a reversal action, to continue its uptrend further. Let’s have a look at the chart below to understand it better.

EOS/USD 1H CHART | SOURCE: BINANCE, COINMARKETCAP.COM

The EOS/USD in trending inside a near-term ascending channel, forming higher highs and higher lows. The pair has just reversed from its upper trendline, derived after connecting the recent swing highs. It is now targetting the lower trendline to the downside for a potential pullback action. The sentiment is pretty bullish near-term and is also signaling profitable opportunities for day traders.

That said, traders can open a long position when EOS/USD reaches the lower trendline and exit the trade when the pair touches the upper trendline. Similarly, traders can also open a short when EOS/USD reaches the upper trendline and exit the trade when it the lower one comes into its range. A stop-loss order placed just below the opening position and against the direction of the price action should maintain the overall risk management of the trade.

Then, there is a breakdown/breakout scenario that should be considered. If EOS/USD breaks above the upper trendline while riding on a notably increase volume, then opening a long position towards, in our opinion, 2.5-fiat would make sense. Similarly, if the pair breaks below the lower trendline, then opening a short position towards the 50-period moving average on a 1H chart timeframe could prove profitable.

In the meantime, traders should watch out for $2-range for a potential reversal action as well. It’s only a psychological barrier.

Click here for a real-time EOS price chart.

Featured Image from Shutterstock. Charts from TradingView.

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