Russia’s Finance Minister Confirms Upcoming Bitcoin Regulations

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The Russian Ministry of Finance has prepared a sweeping regulatory law that will cover many facets of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin in Russia.

In an interview with state-owned television broadcaster Rossiya 24 over Christmas, Russia’s finance minister Anton Siluanov confirmed the ministry’s draft law on a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. The regulation, as expected, will cover bitcoin mining rules, taxation laws for adopters and guidelines for exchanges selling cryptocurrencies.

As reported by Russian news source TASS, Siluanov stated:

The Ministry of Finance has prepared a draft law, currently under consideration, which will determine the procedure for issuing, taxing, buying and circulation of cryptocurrency.

In conjunction, the Ministry of Finance is also reportedly preparing amendments to Russian legislation toward the broader regulation of new financial technologies and digital payments.

The developments are a remarkable contrast to legislation proposed by Russia’s Finance Ministry as recently as March 2016. At the time, the ministry proposed a 7-year prison sentence for bitcoin adopters and users.

Earlier in September, Siluanov called for the Russian government to accept and understand “that cryptocurrencies are real.”

“There is no sense in banning them,” Siluanov said at the time, “there is a need to regulate them.”

The new laws, in its draft, is expected to be submitted to the State Duma (the lower house of the Russian Parliament) tomorrow before its anticipated adoption sometime in March 2018. The new laws were fast-tracked by authorities following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mandate to develop regulations for cryptocurrencies, mining and initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The amendments to existing Russian laws to recognize cryptocurrencies will also aid in the prepping for the launch of Russia’s own national cryptocurrency – the CryptoRuble.

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Bitcoin Boasting Strong Recovery After Post-Dip Volatility

On Friday Dec. 22, in the midst of pre-holiday bustle, the cryptocurrency market was awash in red. Altcoins lost up to 40 percent, and Bitcoin was close behind, suffering a 30 percent drop and reaching as low as $11,833 a coin. In a single day, the total cryptocurrency market cap decreased by more than $200 bln.

Just days before on Dec. 17, Bitcoin reached a record high of $20,078 and leading up to the crash Bitcoin price had been hovering between $16-17,000.

What followed was several days of volatility. Just 24 hours after the frightening dip, the market saw a notable bounce back. The recovery, however, was not stable and was quickly followed by another dip leading into Christmas day.  

Since then, however, Bitcoin has been gaining steadily and has fully recovered its pre-dip heights, trading at an average of just over $16,000 at press time.

BCH

Total market cap, which also spiked and then dipped again over the weekend, has been steadily growing since Monday. At press time total market cap also showed an almost full recovery, at $606 bln.

BCH

Many Bitcoin investors saw Friday’s dip as the perfect chance to buy up more of the leading cryptocurrency at a “discounted” price.

Others pointed out that the overall market correction around the New Year is nothing new, and noted that corrections like the one on Friday are actually just what the market needs.

300-Member Strong Ethereum Enterprise Alliance Launches Three Working Groups

Ethereum Enterprise Alliance Working Groups
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The Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) has launched three working groups in digital identity, energy and multiplatform interoperability to create and deliver specific advancements in those fields using Ethereum technology.

With over 300 members since its launch in February 2017, the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance is now the world’s largest blockchain consortium. The working group, whose members include the likes of Intel, Microsoft and Mastercard, is a collective of companies and Ethereum development startups – even governments – uniting to leverage open-source Ethereum technology for enterprise blockchain solutions.

In an announcement recently, the EEA has now added three specific member-driven working groups in digital identity, multiplatform interoperability and energy, bringing to the total number of working groups and committees within the consortium to 17.

“Identity, energy and multiplatform interoperability are three areas where EEA members see real advantages to using Ethereum technologies in 2018,” explained EEA founding board member Jeremy Millar. “Working groups allow them to innovate, test new ideas and stay competitive.”

Elaborating further, the Digital Identity Working Group will focus on researching the role of Ethereum blockchain technology in developing a digital identity taxonomy that can be implemented throughout the tech sector.

The Energy Working Group will delve into defining blockchain standards for Ethereum applications in oil and gas, refineries, trading, utilities, mining and other use cases within the energy industry. The group will also develop the necessary infrastructure for the widespread implementation of Ethereum tech in the energy space.

Lastly, the Multi-Platform Working Group will cast an eye and dye on making the Ethereum platform available and usable across multiple operating systems and physical hardware. The ultimate goal? To make the Ethereum blockchain platform universally adoptable, whatever the platform may be.

“EEA’s member-driven working groups focus on solving the real-world challenges of deploying and using Ethereum in the enterprise,” Millar added. “The output of the working groups is a key component of EEA’s mission and active participation is something our members find valuable to their businesses.”

The three new working groups join the recently launched Legal Industry Working Group – a collective of 14 law firms and academic institutions working to educate the legal industry about the advantages of blockchain technology.

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After BlockShow: How Achain’s Fork Theory Has Worked in Real Life

It’s been less than a month since Achain introduced its Fork Theory at BlockShow Asia 2017. The project has recently released light-speed ABitcoin (ABTC) and the global cloud computing service token Acute Angle Coin (AAC).

Achain is the public Blockchain platform that allows users of any skill level to issue tokens, smart contracts, create applications and Blockchain systems. Its fork theory is a bold attempt at gearing the current forking technique towards an end goal of technological innovation instead of just financial profiting, lifting Blockchain industry from mutual exclusiveness onto the air of open collaborations. This system would require a process of requesting, approving and executing through mutual agreement of participants. The newly created sub-chain will have its consensus method, data storage and block capacity available for free customization.

How did it begin

On Nov. 23, Achain founder Tony Cui posted on BitcoinTalk Forum to unveil the basic framework of the freshly designed Fork Theory on chain-split. Cui’s purpose of this posting was
to gather public feedback in preparation for his keynote which was later presented at BlockShow Asia 2017.

The posting included several bullet points highlighting the main aspects of the theory. According to Cui, a development such as this is made necessary by the abiding concern of technical qualifications restricting Blockchain accessibility to mass commercial marketplaces. Tony Cui commented:

“How could new developers quickly develop secure Blockchain applications? And where could they even start to find their first customers?”

Inspired by the recent trends of Bitcoin forking, Cui’s theory proposed a coexistence of a main chain and several sub-chains derived from the main. The former is committed to the basic Blockchain infrastructure, while the latter could be customized to the various needs of their applications.

The theory

Achain’s Fork Theory is a company’s bold attempt at gearing the current forking technique towards an end goal of technological innovation instead of just financial profiting. To new
developers of future Blockchain applications, it solves the problem of their initial lack of customers, since the sub-chains inherit the reservoir of existing users directly from the main
chain database. Furthermore, it avoids disruptions of communications, as all information and value exchange will be shared among all chains following a universal VEP 1.0 (Value Exchange Protocol). Finally, the theory requires the type of forking – whether hard or soft – to be considered according to the scenarios required by each application and be voted on by the wide majority of the Achain community.

ABitcoin, approaching the Speed of Light

ABitcoin was forked at the height of 498888 at BTC on Dec. 12 and will initiate forking at 1498888 at ACT on Jan. 12, 2018. It inherits Achain’s DPoS consensus algorithm and features light-speed contracts of mega-level TPS with 0.00001 USD transaction rate. Oriented to the technological future, ABitcoin strives to integrate concepts of AI, Big Data, game industry and the Internet of Things in Blockchain application and fully protect against quantum attacks by 2019.

Having improved the operation rate and network huff-and-puff movement performance of smart contract, ABitcoin represents a Blockchain+ platform that runs free of barrier. By the end of 2018, it will complete automatic discovery and organization of clusters to improve concurrency rates.

The smart contract platform will be launched in January 2018. BTC holders will obtain ABTC following a ratio of 1:100, and ACT holders following 1:1.

Acute Angle Cloud: IaaS experience powered by Blockchain

Acute Angle Cloud is a globally distributed IaaS platform. Its cloud computing service platform encompasses Acute Angle PC, Acute Angle Chain and IPFS system. The project plans to achieve its goal through Acute Angle Chain, Acute Angle Cloud 1.0 and Acute Angle Cloud 2.0.

Acute Angle PC was launched on its official website on Dec. 12th. It is a universal host based on IPFS P2P hypermedia protocol storage and Acute Angle Chain digital assets management. And it can formulate reward system for all the users according to smart contract. It significantly differs from Xunlei’s previously released device OneCloud. Acute Angle PC functions as a genuine PC, which means that mining will be automatically implemented once the users boot into the system. Its digital currency Acute Angle Coin can be gained through sharing idle disk space and bandwidth, providing its users with an efficient private mining experience.

Victor Gao, founder of Acute Angle Cloud, has 17 years of experience in PC, intelligent hardware product definition and development, supply chain production and brand marketing
management. He shows optimism of building with Achain a new ecosystem of the Blockchain community and promoting the advancement of human information technology in the service of society.

Achain’s Founder Tony Cui remarked that Blockchain has reshaped current business scenarios, removed unnecessary middleware and optimized the efficiency and cost of the entire
transaction. Achain’s technical philosophy and structure root from the perspective of smart contracts, which neatly fits into the Acute Angle Cloud’s program and vision.

Japan’s Biggest Financial House MUFG Prepares to Secure Bitcoin Adopters

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Japan’s largest financial group, MUFG, is preparing a service that will secure bitcoin adopters’ holdings against any failure or losses suffered by the cryptocurrency exchanges they use.

In what could be the first trust service of its kind anywhere in the world, the Mitsubishi UFJ Trust is preparing to offer bitcoin holders a service wherein their bitcoins are placed in a trust, separate from their cryptocurrency exchange’s assets. Japan has emerged among the world’s largest bitcoin trading markets despite the seismic collapse of Mt Gox in 2014, once the world’s largest bitcoin exchange.

In the event of any failure, mishandling or wrongdoing by the exchange’s operator, the security of holders’ bitcoins will be guaranteed by the trust bank. Mitsubishi UFJ Trust, a member of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, has already applied for the relevant patent protection, the Nikkei reports.

Bitcoin traders will need to opt-in for the service while trading at exchanges, allowing Mitsubishi UFJ Trust to monitor their accounts. The trust bank will reportedly flag suspicious activity and examine pending transactions. “A late-night sale of a huge amount of bitcoins, for instance, would get flagged for inspection instead of being processed immediately,” an excerpt from the report explains.

Mitsubishi UFJ trust will maintain logs of users’ transactions that used to guarantee will be ‘used to guarantee the safety of holders’ bitcoins’ in the event of any operator-based incident leading to losses. However, holders will not be secured from losses against price volatility.

While the service will entail a fee for users signing up with the financial giant, “customers will feel peace of mind knowing that a trust bank is managing their assets,” explained Noriyuki Hirosue, CEO of Tokyo-based bitcoin exchange.

The trust bank’s service will only be available to bitcoin traders at launch, tentatively in April 2018. Notably, the asset management service will only take shape after Japan’s Financial Services Agency – the country’s financial regulator and watchdog – recognizes cryptocurrencies as an asset akin to real estate or securities that can be placed in a trust.

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Bitcoin Mining Can Power Neuroscience, Says Matrix Chief AI Scientist

At this year’s BlockShow Asia, Yangdong Deng, chief AI scientist of Blockchain startup Matrix, explained how inserting Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the Blockchain ecosystem would make it possible to use Bitcoin mining computational power for scientific innovation.

According to Deng, the current computing power being used in Bitcoin mining operations is 8.23×10²² floating point operations per second (FLOPS for short), while the total computing power in the world is 1.2×10²³ FLOPS. According to these calculations, Bitcoin mining is consuming 17 percent of total global computing power, justifying the frequent accusations that Bitcoin mining is wasteful.

Matrix is seeking to reinvent mining algorithms by including AI into the equation through a Bayesian mining system that utilizes a Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithm (MCMC). Because these computations function similarly to traditional mining functions, they work well for Bitcoin mining.

As Deng argues, using AI, the computing power used to verify transactions on the Bitcoin network can be leveraged for other uses outside the world of cryptocurrencies.

One example he gave his scientific research — a brain network simulation requires approximately 1018 FLOPS, while a complete human metabolic network simulation requires 1025 FLOPS.

According to Deng, other important non-crypto use cases that require massive computing power are chemical reaction simulations, medical diagnoses and complex finance modeling.

Intel recently filed a patent for a Blockchain-based system that also works to harness the energy used in cryptocurrency mining for scientific development – in this case particularly for genetic sequencing.

The BlockShow Asia conference this November included a number of innovative projects in addition to Matrix. 1,500 entrepreneurs and experts gathered at the event in Singapore to share and discover the latest developments in the industry.

Better Late than Never? Bitcoin Segwit2x Scheduled for December 28th

Segwit2x Bitcoin hard fork
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Last week, the Segwit 2x team indicated in a CCN press release that they were planning to move forward with their proposed hard fork in the coming weeks.  Now, Segwit 2x lead developer Jaap Terlouw has confirmed on the project’s website that the team will finally execute the fork on December 28th.

Originally scheduled for November, the development team cancelled the fork amidst controversy and schisms in the community.  In an official statement, the team recognized that they had “not built sufficient consensus for a clean blocksize upgrade at this time,” foregoing the fork in an effort to “[keep] the community together.”

The project’s updated roadmap now lists December 28th as the set date for the fork, and in his recent announcement, Terlouw confirmed these developments:

“Our team will carry out the Bitcoin hard fork, which was planned for mid-November,”

Arguing that “[c]ommission and transaction speed within the Bitcoin network has reached extraordinary values,” Terlouw believes that “[i]t is almost impossible to use it as a means of payment.”

In hopes of fixing these issues, the Segwit 2x fork will reduce block times to 2.5 minutes and increase block size to 4MB.  

‘Tis the Season to be Forking

Bitcoin already forked four times this year, giving us Bitcoin Cash in August, Bitcoin Gold in November, and Bitcoin Diamond and Super Bitcoin in December.  All of these currencies marched into the scene with their own scalability, privacy, and mining centralization solutions.  

Shockingly, this list doesn’t even begin to touch the unvetted forks rumored for the coming months, which includes Bitcoin God (yes, really), Bitcoin Silver, Bitcoin Uranium, Lightning Bitcoin, and Bitcoin Cash Plus.

Unlike these unconfirmed forks, however, it seems certain now that Segwit 2x will join the forked fold. For months, only “trading of [2x] futures has been carried out on some exchanges,” according to Terlouw, the most notable being HitBTC.  Including HitBTC, Binance, GDax, and BTCC have confirmed their support of the fork.

Come forking day, Jaap Terlouw promises “that all BTC holders will receive not only B2X in the ratio of 1 to 1, but also a proportional number of Satoshi Nakamoto`s Bitcoins as a reward for their commitment to progress.”

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Startups are Innovating in Knowledge-Sharing Space, Adding Financial Incentives

Incentives make the world go round. Everyone knows this, but not everyone acts on this information properly. When you look how a lot of websites are set up, it often isn’t very easy to figure out how or why everything works so well.

For example, with Wikipedia, who would have guessed that millions of people would contribute to the formation of the world’s most comprehensive encyclopedia without being paid? This works completely opposite to what most informed people would expect of the world, yet Wikipedia’s business model is based on free usage and free contributions.

Applying that a little further, there are websites like Quora, Survey Monkey and Stack Overflow that depend upon questions being answered for free. These contributions can come from those with specialized knowledge, or just people who have the spare time and are willing to answer some questions based on their goodwill.

The current way of managing platforms

The main thing about these platforms is they operate based on the goodwill of the contributors. Most people don’t have the time or willingness to write out long answers to questions or to answer surveys, but there are the rare few who see value in sharing their knowledge and helping others. Right now, these platforms depend upon these people to function properly.

Thinking about things from a purely economic standpoint, the lack of funds being directed towards the labor in these ecosystems is a sign of inefficiency. By adding the proper incentives into the system, it would increase the quality and quantity of the content being contributed. It is likely that many more people would be willing to contribute to a platform where they didn’t feel like their time and knowledge was being exploited with zero rewards to them.

Another factor here is the attention being given by readers. Attention is as limited as labor is, and it is important to factor this scarcity into the design of a platform. For every viewer on the platform, there is the desire to find relevant information in a timely manner. Creating incentives makes this possible by eliminating the content with the least utility and ranking the rest of the content.

Potential changes to the business model

Google’s competitive advantage is its ability to get the most relevant information in front of its users in a timely manner. People are willing to bet their time that Google will be the most efficient way to find information because of its past history of delivering on that promise.

The website Steemit has been working to make a social media platform that works more like Google. The goal is to reward users who contribute great content by having a reward pool of tokens. As a result, the quality of posts has increased, which improves the user experience and adds value to the overall platform.

Building on these ideas, Qurito is another Blockchain-based company which is going to change the way questions, surveys and polls are conducted. By using a token-backed incentive system, it will soon be possible to facilitate the flow of rewards to users who add value by inputting their knowledge into the global network of Qurito.

What will Qurito change?

For many people, this will become a great way to monetize their spare time and use the knowledge they have already accumulated. They get rewarded for their minor contribution and feel good about how they have used their time.

There will be downsides with a method like this; there is no denying it. A lot of the top experts who contribute on websites like Quora are doing so to add value to the world, not to make money. If the system was commercialized to place more of an emphasis on the money-making aspect, they might lose interest.

The other obvious downside is many people won’t be willing to pay to have questions or surveys answered. In this way, you can assume that the free models will remain, so it will not cost money to post a question. Being an entirely free service, in future Qurito will be able to propose answers of higher quality, speed and accuracy for a fee.

The people who are willing to pay to receive answers are going to find their curiosity satisfied way more quickly. Ideally, there will be lots of platforms like this in the future that are able to capitalize on the unmet needs of markets that are currently operated for free, and the result will be a sharp increase in the quality of contributions on the platforms.

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.

ZFX Token Fuels Investor Experiential Learning

Common thinking suggests that investment markets are against you. 

This includes stocks, mutual funds and, of course, cryptocurrency. It’s in these sectors where unfair market advantages such as investors with better access to information and high-frequency trading are among the barriers that the average everyday trader is facing. This is why over half of investors lose money during their first year of investing. 

But one project believes there is a better way forward. ZFX Token, created by ZeroSumMarkets — a purveyor of peer trading foreign exchange (FX) competitions — aims to do that by revolutionizing the retail trading experience. In balancing the playing field by giving users a way to learn, test and compete against other traders, ZeroSum mitigates many of the trading fee barriers and market forces that hinder retail trader success. 

This innovative model is predicated on rewarding participants for their inherent skills as traders. It does this by eliminating trading fees and access to unfair advantages commonly seen in the FX world. In reducing costs, unfair algorithms, risks of trust and preferential access to information, ZeroSum opens up windows of possibility for retail traders to learn, experiment and compete against peers — and earn while doing it. 

In short, ZeroSum is a live ecosystem where FX traders compete head-to-head in skill-based competitions. No trading fees. No high-frequency traders. No algorithmic trading.

The ZFX Token fuels the ecosystem by serving as the conduit for exchanging and extracting monetary value from these fantasy competitions.  

Built on the Ethereum blockchain, the tokens are designed to be highly transferable. It’s here where the ZeroSum platform aims to be the platform for all blockchain prediction markets competing against the likes of Augur and others in this nascent niche. Through the enabling of third-party application programming interface (API) support, a sentiment engine and the opportunity to create competitions tied to a data feed, the opportunities are immense. 

This ZFX tokenized model was seeded by a number of Wall Street traders who together brainstormed ideas about how to teach retail trading investors the tricks of the trade. They applied the concept of fantasy football to the world of trading so that both new and experienced traders could practice, learn and compete against one another. It’s designed to function as a peer-versus-peer platform, where winners of each competition take home real money. (ZFX tokens can be sold on the market for USD or other currencies.)

This concept, which has been in development since 2016, currently has thousands of active users who have tested it in beta. Over $300,000 of seed capital was initially raised for platform development and the beta launch. 

ZeroSum fantasy trading is experiential in the sense that users can participate without risking a ton of capital for FX trading or for cryptocurrency. By way of example, an otherwise reluctant newbie may see it as a way to test new investment strategies or try new options. For these reasons, it’s a great way to get started for those unfamiliar with the deeper nuances of the industry. 

The Road Forward

The ZeroSum fantasy trading target market consists of FX, stock, cryptocurrency and retail investors in the U.S., primarily in Chicago and on the East and West Coasts. Three emerging trends are informing this path ahead: 

  1. FX markets continue to move the most amount of money per day.
  2. Cryptocurrency markets are highly volatile and will get more so as institutional investors pour into the space (through futures trading, options trading and more).
  3. Educating investors through a hands-on approach, where they can test, try and learn — without having to invest a lot of money or spend huge amounts on FX or cryptocurrency trading fees.

ZFX aims to become the fundamental means of exchange for fantasy competitions of any type that have a reliable data feed. Think FX competitions, stock trading competitions, weather prediction competitions, traffic prediction competitions — literally anything that has a reliable and accurate data feed will be possible.

The ZFX token sale is scheduled to begin January 3, 2018. This will allow further development to take place in terms of the platform, including more trading competitions as well as a sentiment data feed to find alpha signals. It is expected that the token will be listed on exchanges shortly thereafter. 

Included is a token bounty program where participants can earn up to 75 million ZFX tokens. It allows users to participate interactively and earn entries for every new participant they bring into the program.

Click here for more information and to sign up.

Note: Trading and investing in digital assets is speculative and can be high-risk. Based on the shifting business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should not be considered investment or legal advice.

Strategist Tom Lee Boosts Bitcoin Price to $20,000 in Mid-2018

Bitcoin price all time high
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Tom Lee, co-founder of Fundsrat Global Advisors, the only major Wall Street strategist covering bitcoin, sees a silver lining in bitcoin’s current fallout and has raised his bitcoin price target from $11,500 to $20,000 for mid-2018,.

Lee said bitcoin’s intrinsic value has increased over the last month due to the growth of new bitcoin wallets, and that Fundsrat is buying bitcoin as the price has dropped, CNBC reports.

A Forecast 37% Price Jump

The revised target represents a 37% jump from the $14,600 price on Coinbase on Friday afternoon. Bitcoin fell 47% to $10,400 in the morning from its record $19,800 last Sunday. Bitcoin price is back above $15,000 today amid an ongoing recovery.

Fundstrat projects unique IP bitcoin wallet addresses will increase 50% by mid-2018 while user activity will rise 10% from present levels, Lee said. Lee has raised his mid-2018 projection twice since late November, when he raised it from $6,000 to $11,500. He initiated the $6,000 projection in August.

Bitcoin has surged nearly 1,900% this year, even with Friday’s steep decline.

Also read: Bitcoin a good bet for millennials, says bullish strategist Tom Lee

Speculative Activity Noted

Lee said there is a parabolic/speculative price activity taking place with bitcoin that he considers unhealthy, but he is not surprised bitcoin is currently selling off. The surge in the past few weeks was partly responsible for the increase in bitcoin wallets, as was speculation.

Lee said $11,000 is becoming a support price for bitcoin. The next downward support levels are $10,131, $7,918 and approximately $7,000.

Lee maintained his $25,000 bitcoin price target for 2022 based on the Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC) over-the-counter price moving from $1,300 to $2,200. GBTC’s price has jumped more than 1,500% to $1,900 this year. Lee, who was J.P. Morgan Chase’s chief equity strategist from 2007 to 2014 before helping to launch Fundstrat, became the first widely followed market strategist to focus on bitcoin’s price back in July. He is now Fundstrat’s managing partner and research head.

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