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Cosmos Soars 27% Upon Binance Listing, Crypto Community Raves

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By CCN.com: ATOM, the native crypto asset of the highly anticipated Cosmos blockchain network, has been listed by Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange.

ATOM rises by more than 27 percent in the past 24 hours (source: coinmarketcap.com)

Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, said that the development team behind Cosmos refused to communicate with exchanges regarding listing opportunities but Binance proactively listed it due to its support of the project.

“Here is a project that refused to even talk to an exchange about listing (and we have a good relationship with their tech guys), but we list it anyway. Good tech wins!” said Zhao.

What is Cosmos and why is the crypto community excited?

Cosmos is a proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain network that prioritizes interoperability. If rolled out successfully, users on Cosmos will be able to swap tokens between various blockchain networks and communicate with users of other cryptocurrencies on the blockchain.

Once the so-called “validators” on the Cosmos blockchain network agree to activate the “Inter-Blockchain Communication (IBC) protocol, Cosmos will be able to operate as a platform that allows users to interact with other major blockchains.

Previously, Zaki Manian, the director of Tendermint Inc, the company behind Cosmos, said in an interview with CoinDesk:

In proof-of-stake, the costs and rewards [of the system] are internal. So, we had to come up with a very sophisticated system of distributing rewards, of distributing the speculator taxation system, of punishing people for malicious behavior, of punishing people for going offline. All of it has to be internal to the system and that’s why proof-of-stake is such a significant engineering feat over proof-of-work.

As a PoS blockchain network, Cosmos is expected to compete amongst the likes of top PoS blockchain protocols such as Cardano and EOS over the long run.

Immediately after the listing of Binance, which comes after the release of the live Cosmos software in March, the price of ATOM increased by 27 percent against the U.S. dollar.

The optimism towards Cosmos comes from the fairly active usage of the Cosmos SDK by many projects such as Binance Chain, e-Money, Loom, Sentinel, TruStory, and Terra within less than a month since the launch of the Cosmos software.

Does interest in Cosmos show rising confidence in the market?

Cosmos is a project at its infancy and it is still in an early phase in development. Hence, it remains unclear whether it could continue to evolve into a promising blockchain project and become one of the most valuable projects in the global market.

The rising interest in an early stage project like Cosmos indicates that the confidence of investors in the long-term outlook of the cryptocurrency industry, at least investors in the crypto market, is noticeably recovering.

Investors are divided on the necessity of PoS blockchain protocols like Polkadot and Cosmos that focus on interoperability and whether the use cases brought on by interoperability are compelling enough to sustain the growth of a blockchain project.

Linda Xie, the co-founder at Scalar Capital, said that she expects the early use cases of blockchains like Cosmos to be asset transfer. Token swaps done on the blockchain in a decentralized manner would provide investors control over their funds at all times.

“I see early use cases being asset transfer (largely on Cosmos) and making it easier for people to start their own chain by leveraging pooled security (slightly more with Polkadot). Whether most of these chains should exist is a different story,” Xie said.

The overall positive stance towards emerging projects with ambitious plans and visions from investors suggest that the sentiment around the cryptocurrency market is improving amidst a 16-month bear market.

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Scam Alert: Bitconnect ‘2.0’ Claims Binance Listing for July Launch

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The return of notorious cryptocurrency ponzi scheme Bitconnect is closer than ever, its mysterious organizers claim after revealing a July launch date.


Bitconnect: Unapologetically Fraudulent

A fresh tweet from the Twitter account of the so-called ‘Bitconnect 2.0’ May 18 confirms the scheme is set to debut – again – on July 1.

Not only that, but true to the style of deception for which the original Bitconnect became known, a fake exchange partnership has already surfaced.

The owner of the Twitter account added prospective investors can purchase tokens on major cryptocurrency exchange Binance – when in fact this is simply a lie.

“Welcome everyone back to Bitconnect 2.0[.] We will launch Bitconnect2.0 on July 1st,” the post reads.

Despite claiming further information is available on its ‘official’ website, the social media activity remains the only hint of the impending plans. The site consists only of a sign-up form for updates, a countdown timer and a duplicate of the Twitter feed.

Beyond the assumed launch date, however, the operations of the latest incarnation of Bitconnect remain a mystery.

As Bitcoinist reported, the original Bitconnect – ostensibly an exchange and lending platform – crashed in January 2018 after it became sufficiently known the company was fraudulent.

Formerly something of celebrity meme in the crypto space, thanks mostly to events speaker Carlos Matos, the mood turned sour as Bitcoin came off its all-time highs of $20,000.

Investors saw the value of their Bitconnect tokens drop to virtually nothing in minutes, with cryptocurrency industry figures lamenting that those without experience were still easy targets for scammers.

Criminal proceedings followed, yet it remains unclear whether Bitconnect 2.0 has any relation to its predecessor beyond sharing a name.

A Scam To Rival OneCoin

On social media, reactions overwhelmingly focused on issuing warnings not to interact with the scheme, even if it should succeed in offering new tokens. Others noted the Bitconnect.io domain name will expire before the alleged launch date.

Binance and CEO Changpeng Zhao (known as CZ) have yet to comment on the Twitter account’s claims of a partnership.

bitconnect

Another entity meanwhile is attempting to gather members for a Bitconnect community on messaging platform Discord, participants already numbering close to 500.

Bitconnect’s resurgence comes in line with the renaissance seen throughout Bitcoin and altcoin markets. Equally poetic is the timing following on from the ‘death’ of fellow ponzi scheme OneCoin, the founders of which spent years accruing around $4 billion.

Now subject to legal action, OneCoin nevertheless succeeded in fooling the public to hand over huge amounts of money, despite warnings from various governments and associated watchdogs.

What do you think about Bitconnect 2.0? Let us know in the comments below!


Images via Shutterstock

The Rundown

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Embattled OneCoin Denies Multi-Billion Dollar Ponzi Scheme Allegations

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By CCN: OneCoin execs are sick of being called a Ponzi scheme. Allegations of ripping off churches are false too, they claim.

In a lengthy letter to the Samoa Observer, the cryptocurrency-powered marketing company defended itself against what it considers to be false allegations

OneCoin takes issue with news articles that were used by the Central Bank of Samoa (CBS), which fueled the Ponzi scheme narrative. The CBS has issued clarifications about the information it received about OneCoin’s operations.

Denying Pyramid Scheme Allegations

The pyramid scheme allegations stem from a case in which OneCoin was charged with encouraging people to invest and promising a profit. In March, the FBI arrested OneCoin player Konstantin Ignatov based on allegations that he was one of several masterminds behind a multi-billion dollar crypto pyramid scheme.

OneCoin has faced fines and criminal actions around the world – particularly in India, where 22 promoters have already been charged. Meanwhile, China has also levied charges against OneCoin promoters, while several central banks have issued warnings, CCN reported.

That’s not the worst of it. OneCoin was said to be targeting individuals through churches as part of its Ponzi scheme.

OneCoin: Media, Banks, and Everyone Has It Wrong

OneCoin’s letter published by the Samoa Observer calls out the CBS for using incorrect information. The company charges that the central bank erroneously used information from the New Zealand Financial Intelligence Unit (NZFIU).

They want to “ensure the legitimacy and objectiveness of the information presented in the mass media” by clearing up “this obvious misunderstanding.” According to the statement:

“Let it be clear that neither OneCoin nor OneLife companies have organization, representation or employees in Samoa and New Zealand. No one has authority to act or make statements on company’s behalf in Samoa and New Zealand.”

In its defense, the company claims it’s not a Ponzi scheme because “OneCoin is a centralized, closed-source cryptocurrency.” They go on to cite anti-money laundering (AML), know-your-customer (KYC) and Combating the Financing of Terrorism (CFT) standards. They state: “Based on that it is much more compliant than decentralized ones.”

The Central Bank’s Unconvincing Response 

The CBS issued a clarification notice about OneCoin, but it leaves much to be desired in debunking the allegation that OneCoin is a Ponzi scheme, saying:

“Recent queries have sought why these OneCoin promotions and workshops were only banned recently. CBS had recently amended its Anti-Money laundering laws at the end of June last year. These amendments brought the Promoters of Digital (Crypto) Currency under our Regulatory oversight. Only then were we able to issue notices that any cryptocurrency promotion/ workshop required CBS approval.

As solace, it states:

“Please rest assured that the role of the Central Bank is not to prohibit businesses or cryptocurrency investments; our role is to facilitate and ensure that all the proper processes have been met and that our people are well protected from losing their hard earned money.”

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Up 55%: NEM (XEM) Defies Crypto Snooze as Week’s Biggest Gainer

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By CCN: The crypto market took a breather from its bull run this week, with Bitcoin slightly departing from its recent year-to-date peak. However, NEM has been defying this mini-correction mood to gain over 55 percent since Monday, according to Coinmarketcap data.

Thus, NEM, whose coin is trading under the ticker XEM, has been the best performer of the week among the top 100 coins. On Thursday, it jumped about 50 percent in less than six hours, hitting a daily peak at $0.108, which is the highest level since November 2018.

The surge allowed it to enter the top 20 league and currently stop on the 19th position. NEM is now trading at $0.087 at a market cap of $791 million as at 11:00 AM UTC.

NEM Holders to Spend XEM via Apple Pay and Samsung Pay

On Thursday, NEM caught investors’ attention with a tweet that announced the collaboration with Zeux.

The industry might be oversaturated with countless less relevant partnerships whose main purpose revolves around marketing. However, at this time, the news has some substance, as Zeux is a fintech firm that operates a digital payment wallet app that allows users to spend with merchants through Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

The London-based company will fully integrate XEM on May 23.

NEM Foundation co-founder Jeff McDonald commented on the partnership, noting that the utilization of XEM as a payment option was a major step for the blockchain network.

However, this is not all, XEM price also benefits from the gradual launch of its version 2.0 blockchain engine, called Catapult, and the update of its website, which suggests a positive dynamic at NEM Foundation.

NEM’s Catapult Update is Catapulting XEM

NEM is making further steps towards adopting its blockchain engine update, referred to as Catapult. The new version will host several smart contract plugins and features that will eventually become an integral part of the NEM blockchain network. The new plugins touch upon bulletproof digital asset creation, advanced account systems, decentralized swaps, and business logic modeling.

At the end of March, the team presented the roadmap and vision for Catapult. According to the roadmap, the public release of the update will take place after the end of the third quarter.

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NEM Foundation admitted that it struggled financially at the start of 2019, but managed to reorganize and target a new path, also thanks to the developers and community. Now the teams behind NEM are heavily relying on Catapult.

The update and recent partnerships have helped NEM to forget the Coincheck hack, in which $530 worth of XEM had been stolen from the Japanese exchange platform.

Will the Rally Continue?

Right now, NEM’s bullish movement finds support in the positive sentiment in the crypto community. While it’s challenging to estimate the next stop for XEM from this position, we can assume that everything will depend on the implementation of the Catapult update and whether the market will perceive it as a relevant innovation.

On Tuesday, NEM introduced catapult feature updates on namespaces and mosaics, which are said to make the blockchain network more convenient and intuitive.

Earlier on Saturday, NEM presented the Catapult mobile wallet development roadmap, which reveals that the mobile wallet will be ready in about 23 weeks from now.

To conclude, NEM price is currently tightly linked with how Catapult is adopted, with the community now trying to figure out whether NEM has the potential to become a major player again.

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Bitcoin Price Surges: BTC Breaks 8,100

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Bitcoin’s price has continued to extend its recent rally to a price level beyond $8,000.

At 21:30 UTC today, the price world’s largest cryptocurrency rose as high as $8,195 on Coinbase, marking a 17.4 percent or $1214 increase during today’s trading session.

In the past 24 hours alone, Messari data reveals more than $27 billion worth of bitcoin was traded across exchanges, whereas $2,1 billion was traded solely on the 10 exchanges Bitwise Asset Management identified as the only exchanges reporting honest volume figures.

While vigorous, today’s development is not an anomaly. In fact, bitcoin’s price increases have been aggressive for much of 2019 and rose more than $1000 dollars once again just two days ago.

In the past 90-days alone the cryptocurrency has increased 127 percent in price, nearly 60 percent of which was accrued in the last 30 days alone, Messari data reveals.

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bitcoinbullcryptoclarified-700x400

The USD value of most cryptocurrencies are seeing notable increases as a result of bitcoin’s rebound, including the likes of Binance Coin (BNB) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) both of whom are reporting double-digit 24-hour gains.

That said, bitcoin’s percent share of the capitalization of the total cryptocurrency market is now a 60 percent – its highest since Dec. 11, 2017 according to Coinmarketcap, and a sign its growth is outpacing the rest of the broader market.

History repeating?

Interestingly, a very similar and parabola shaped price increase like the one bitcoin has just witnessed occurred at the end of the previous bear market in 2015.

As can be seen below, bitcoin’s price trend entered a parabolic rise after reaching a low of $198 on Aug. 25, 2015 followed by a  near 150 percent increase before temporarily topping out at $499 on Nov. 4th of that year.

Indeed, history seems to be repeating itself, or at least rhyming, as bitcoin’s market has once again entered a parabolic structure having increased nearly 150 percent from its most recent low of $3,128 set on Dec. 15, 2018.

Disclosure: The author holds several cryptocurrencies. Please see his author bio for more information. 

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Flexa Co-Founder Semi-Teases Adding Litecoin to Crypto Payment App

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By CCN: Most of crypto land celebrated when Flexa and Gemini partnered to deliver digital currency-fueled micro-payments to merchants. Spedn will let consumers shop at major stores including Nordstrom and Lowe’s and pay with crypto across bitcoin, ether, Bitcoin Cash, and Gemini Dollar. But one crypto influencer was left out of the celebration – Litecoin Creator Charlie Lee. That’s because Litecoin was noticeably absent from the list of coins that the Spedn app supports.

Lee tagged Flexa Co-Founder Trevor Filter in a tweet rallying followers to agree that the “app should  let us pay with Litecoin at Whole Foods, Gamestop, and thousands of other merchants!” Filter retweeted the message with a mysterious response saying that “retweets don’t equal endorsements…or do they?” That left Crypto Twitter to speculate that the fifth-biggest cryptocurrency would be the next coin to make the list.

Litecoin Is Basically Bitcoin Junior

Litecoin Vice President of Nationwide Merchant Solutions Jon Moore couldn’t agree more. He tweeted:

“The reason Litecoin should be added to Flexa is because #PayWithLitecoin is all about spending and supporting merchants that accept LTC!! It has nothing to do with tech, it’s about sound money, freedom, and supporting crypto adoption.”

Litecoin is meant to be a lot like bitcoin, only faster and eventually more private. The Litecoin team doesn’t seem to mind being the silver to bitcoin’s gold. The LTC price has nearly tripled year-to-date while bitcoin has only doubled.

A Whopping $90 Million Was Spent on Credit Card Processing Fees Last Year

If any app so far has the ability to usher in mainstream adoption of crypto, it’s Flexa’s Spedn. Not only do they make it easier for users to spend crypto as a currency but they slash fees for retailers that suffer from a huge pain point of credit card fees, costs that ultimately trickle down to shoppers. According to crypto exchange Gemini, which was founded by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss:

“Retailers spent $90 billion on credit card processing fees in 2018. This was almost entirely passed onto customers.”

Litecoin Is MIA

The way Spedn works is investors load BTC, ETH, BCH, GUSD (and maybe one day LTC) onto the app. Consumers continue to own the crypto in the app until they spend it. Not everyone is a fan of the fact that the funds are stored on the exchange.

To spend, users must display a code that gets scanned at the point-of-sale, and the transaction is completed. Retailers don’t take on any volatility risk thanks to Gemini.

“They custody and insure all the funds that are deposited within the app,” stated Flexa Co-Founder and CEO Tyler Spalding in a Yahoo Finance interview.

Flexa and Gemini have done all the work and have the power to dramatically lower fees for merchants. But in order for crypto’s use case as a currency to increase, consumers must begin spending bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, ether, and Gemini Dollar via the Spedn app in stores. And eventually perhaps Litecoin, too.

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