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How Catalonia Powers up Independence with Blockchain Technology

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When we think about the most blockchain-friendly hubs in the world, the likes of Malta, Japan, and Gibraltar often springs to mind. However, a new player is gearing up to make a challenge of its own – the Spanish region of Catalan.

For those unaware, Catalan is a somewhat controversial discussion point in Spain, not least because independence as a sovereign state is heavily sought after by those based in the region.

Nevertheless, with the Catalan government hinting at their desire to integrate blockchain technology into various aspects of its regulatory framework, could the region be the next big player in the field?

Blockchain technology to spear-head e-voting

The concept of introducing an e-voting system that is fully supported by blockchain technology was first introduced by the Estonian government. This not only includes voting in local elections, but Estonians also have a chance to have their say on how governmental services are run.

This success has spurned the Catalan government to consider implementing blockchain technology into its voting systems. A draft bill was first passed by the Generalitat of Catalonia in October 2018, subsequently giving the region the green light to begin making the necessary preparations. It is hoped that the blockchain-based e-voting system will be operational by 2020.

This isn’t the first time that Catalan has expressed interest in blockchain technology, with with the government announcing in July 2018 that it plans to explore how the technology can bridge the gap between companies, citizens and the public administration.

As per the Department of Digital Policies in Catalan, it is hoped that a working group can ascertain how best to use the blockchain protocol to maximize its economic value.

It was also reported late last year that the Catalan Government were utilizing the practical benefits of cryptocurrencies with the view of funding their political aspirations. One such example of this was the President of Catalan asking for donations from its regional citizens in the form of Bitcoin to help support legal, logistical and procedural endeavors.

Barcelona and the blockchain hub

Barcelona – as both the capital of Catalan and its largest city, is also looking to spearhead the revolution in the region. Known as the ‘Tech Hub,’ Barcelona is paving the way for cryptocurrency and blockchain technology innovation. Explicitly located in Pier01, the hub hosts more than a thousand people linked to the industry, which includes a range of exciting startups.

This includes the likes of Alastria – a Spanish consortium that consists of more than 70 companies from a range of different sectors. Notable members of Alastria includes SAP, Deloitte, Grant Thornton, Banca March, Accenture, Indra, Simon, and Fujitsu.

In order to announce its intentions to the global crypto community, the Catalan city of Barcelona is also about to host an exciting crypto conference in July.

Barcelona Trading Conference

Hosted by online publication FinanceMagnates, the Barcelona Trading Conference is specifically focused on Bitcoin as a key investment vehicle. Whether you’re interested in trading Bitcoin as a retail or institutional investor, the conference aims to provide ideas and actionable insights into the direction that the market is heading.

To illustrate to preciousness of the conference, attendees of the event will be accustomed to some major speakers. Samantha Barrass – CEO of the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, is particularly interested in how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology will fit into a modern regulatory framework – something that will no doubt be crucial as the trading side of the industry continues to thrive.

Yoni Assia – Founder and CEO of leading trading platform eToro will also be speaking. The platform has expressed great interest in the digital phenomenon as it now allows investors to both long and short 15 different cryptocurrencies.

For those interested in taking their cryptocurrency trading and market making skills to the next level, Christian Gil – founder of GSR, will also be speaking at the event. The company provides liquidity and algorithmic trading strategies for digital currency space.

Will Catalan be the next blockchain hub of Europe?

Although it’s still early days, the government of Catalan has made its stance clear on the future of blockchain technology. Whether its e-voting or bridging the gap between citizens and the public administration, the Spanish region has big plans in its quest to embrace the crypto space.

If you’re interested in attending the upcoming Barcelona Trading Conference, the event is being hosted in the Barcelona International Convention Centre (CCIB) on July 10th-11th. If you’ve never been, the CCIB  is a fantastic piece of architecture situated within the heart of Barcelona’s business district.

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My Bank Account Was Frozen for Bitcoin – And It Only Made Me Love Crypto More

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Mike the HODL Guy describes his first experience buying Bitcoin and the resulting freeze on his bank account.

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NEO Price Prediction: Long-term (NEO) Value Forecast – May 19

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  • NEO/USD still in a bullish trend outlook in spite of a notable line of declines in its market valuation.
  • The two SMAs have now formed together to define the NEO/USD trade’s movements to the north direction.

NEO/USD Long-term Trend – Bullish

  • Distribution territories: $16, $18, $20
  • Accumulation territories: $8, $6, $4

In spite of a notable decline that occurred between May 16 and 18 in the NEO/USD market valuation, the crypto-pair’s trend is yet in a bullish outlook. After a slight kind of erratic price movements in the crypto-trade on May 13, the market eventually got push to test a price value at $14 mark on May 16.

Shortly, the crypto-trade began to make a retracement move to touch the two SMAs at their touching point located a bit over $10 horizontal line. Presently, the crypto has been seemingly striving once again to regain its momentum around the touching location of the 14-day SMA and the 50-day SMA indicators. The Stochastic Oscillators are now attempting to close hairs at range 60.

Most of the trading indicators still point to the north to suggest that the bulls are in control of this crypto-market. The two trading SMAs have slightly joined together at a point a bit over $10 mark to seemingly end the correction from a high value at $14 mark. Therefore, the market is now expected to surge northwards further past its aforementioned high point.

The views and opinions expressed here do not reflect that of BitcoinExchangeGuide.com and do not constitute financial advice. Always do your own research.

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Bitcoin and Blockchain: The Tangled History of Two Tech Buzzwords

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“I’m interested in blockchain, not bitcoin.”

Admit it, you’ve heard this hundreds, if not thousands, of times. (You might have even said it yourself.) And sure, people know what you’re saying, you’re talking about the “technology underlying bitcoin” and you sound smart enough.

Once it became known – or at least presumed – that you could apply cryptography in finance, in ways similar to how it’s used in bitcoin, everyone started making sure that statement fell from their lips. And that refrain – kicked off by bitcoin itself – remains powerful today.

Sounds plausible? Sure. But, interestingly, the word “blockchain” doesn’t actually appear in the original bitcoin white paper, released back in 2008. Rather, the white paper uses the words “block” and “chain” separately many times.

It describes the word “block” as the vehicle for a bundle bitcoin transactions. Then, these blocks of are linked together, forming a “chain” of “blocks.”

bitcoin, paper

Snapshot from the bitcoin whitepaper (highlighting added)

So, who created this ultimate industry buzzword?

That damn blockchain

Turns out, the origins of the word are not quite so revolutionary.

“The word blockchain was never used in the early days,” former bitcoin developer Mike Hearn told CoinDesk. Although, Hearn did acknowledge that Satoshi often referred to bitcoin’s “proof-of-work chain” in discussions on forums.

It seems the first references to the word came about on Bitcoin Talk, a bitcoin-specific forum created by Satoshi, in July 2010 – more than a year after bitcoin’s release.

And at that time, these remarks weren’t about how innovative the technology was, but instead were complaints about how long it took to download the bitcoin “blockchain” (the entire history of bitcoin transactions).

While compared to today, the download would have far faster, according to one Bitcoin Talk user: “The initial blockchain download is quite slow.”

In other words, initially, blockchain was far from the sexy word it is today.

Blockchain mania

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the word really took hold.

But interest in the term seems to have sprung out of professional organizations and individuals hesitance to align themselves with bitcoin itself because of its bad reputation as the currency for drugs and gray economies.

“I think it [became popular] around the time people started going to Washington [D.C.] and trying to make bitcoin respectable by divorcing the currency from the underlying algorithms,” Hearn said.

To many, bitcoin the currency could be decoupled from bitcoin the blockchain protocol, and so a whole new industry of so-called “private blockchains,” devoid of a cryptocurrency, emerged. Sure enough, around that time in 2015, Google Trends data show the term surged.

Graph from Google Trends.

“Initially people said ‘block chain’, and then, thanks to a great PR campaign, we were blessed with the much improved ‘blockchain,’ single-word, probably thanks to a community-wide effort near and around the Bitcoin Talk forums,” long-time cryptocurrency developer Greg Slepak said.

Not only did it become one word, but it also came in vogue to describe any blockchain that wasn’t bitcoin’s blockchain as “a blockchain.” Bitcoin got to keep the terminology “the blockchain,” giving credence to the fact that it was the first.

Yet blockchain has become so divorced from bitcoin that both words typically see a similar spike when cryptocurrency prices start mooning. For instance, the word blockchain saw a huge uptick in Google searches in late 2017.

blockchain, google trends

Graph from Google Trends.

World’s first blockchain?

Still, it’s unclear exactly where the idea itself begins. To some, blockchains existed even before bitcoin, although that term wasn’t applied to them back then.

For instance, cryptographer Stuart Haber, whose whitepapers on timestamping were cited in the bitcoin white paper, claims to have created the first blockchain called Surety.

According to Haber, that has to be the reason why Satoshi cited his work – three times out of just nine total citations. Surety was launched in 1995 for timestamping records, and it’s still running today.

Yet, Haber admits that his version doesn’t have all the same benefits of bitcoin since it’s centralized – managed by one company.

And that highlights where things get tricky when you’re talking about a blockchain. See, there isn’t necessarily agreement on a single definition of a the technology.

The Merriam Webster dictionary actually presents a much older word for blockchain – “a chain in which the alternate links are broad blocks connected by thin side links pivoted to the ends of the blocks, used with sprocket wheels to transmit power, as in a bicycle.”

While Google defines blockchain as:

Google, blockchain

But, for those seasoned veterans of the space, even this definition is problematic. Many of these new-age private blockchains don’t record their transactions publicly.

“The term has become so widespread that it’s quickly losing meaning,” as The Verge put it earlier this year.

Blind men

Haber pointed to an Indian parable to help explain the incompatible descriptions.

In the parable, a group of blind men come upon an elephant and start touching the animal to try and figure it out what it was in front of them.

Depending on what part of the elephant each man is touching, their answer changes. For instance, one of the blind men, touching the elephant’s trunk, thinks it’s a snake, while the other, touching the elephant’s leg, exclaims it’s a tree trunk.

It’s similar when people define blockchain, Haber said.

He told CoinDesk:

“Some definitions will be completely silly, showing that people don’t understand what they’re doing, but there will also be a bunch of accurate descriptions of various parts of the vast body of work.”

As such, he argues there isn’t just one meaning.

Even though, bitcoiners believe a blockchain can only be the one and only bitcoin blockchain, like words, definitions are always evolving and changing.

Blockchain shirt image via CoinDesk archives

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Bitcoin Pizza Guy featured on Anderson Cooper’s 60 Minutes

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The beloved “Bitcoin Pizza Guy,” Laszlo Hanyecz, will be featured in the next airing of 60 Minutes where he will explain how he spent almost $800 million on pizza. Set to air on Sunday, it will be the first TV interview Hanyecz has ever given and will help bring Bitcoin to a much wider audience.

Bitcoin Pizza Guy to give the first interview on the 9th anniversary of Bitcoin Pizza Day

A computer programmer from Florida has been featured on 60 Minutes and the crypto industry has gone crazy. Set to air on Sunday, May 19th at 7 pm ET, the report has left many people wondering what the fuss is all about.

The Bitcoin Pizza is Worth $83 Million Today

Related: The Bitcoin Pizza is Worth $83 Million Today

The programmer in question is no other than Laszlo Hanyecz, the Bitcoin Pizza Guy, a legendary figure in the crypto industry. Hanyecz made history as being the first person to conduct a real-world transaction involving Bitcoin. However, a few years later, he also became known for spending a total of 100,000 BTC mostly on pizza when Bitcoin was worth less than 1 cent.

At the time of the interview, one Bitcoin was worth around $8000, which means Hanyecz spent $800 million worth of BTC on pizza. In the interview snippet, Anderson Cooper, the new host of 60 Minutes, looked flabbergasted, to say the least.

“Are there nights you wake up,” Cooper asks, “where you think, ‘I could have had $800 million… if I hadn’t bought those pizzas?’”

Hanyecz says:

“I think thinking like that is… not really good for me.”

60 Minutes brings more media attention to Bitcoin…and pizza?

Tomorrow’s 60 Minutes will be focused on cryptocurrencies and the ways they have shaped the world. Hanyecz isn’t the only well-known figure in the crypto industry that will be featured in the show – Lael Brainard, the US Federal Reserve Governor, Neha Narula, director of the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, and Marco Streng, the CEO of Genesis Mining are all interviewed as well.

Charlie Shrem, BitInstant founder and the first person to become convicted for crypto fraud, also makes an appearance.

While the report has caused quite a media frenzy among the crypto community, it put cryptocurrencies under the spotlight. Having a network like CBS focus on the industry so much will definitely increase interest in Bitcoin.

As May 22nd, the 9th anniversary of Bitcoin Pizza Day is getting nearer, it seems that pizza is also getting more media attention. Charlie Bilello, a cryptocurrency writer and investor, recently pointed out an interesting fact. Domino’s Pizza, which went public in July 2004, has a return of almost 4,200 percent.

Google, one of the largest companies in the world, went public a month later, in August 2004. Its investors, however, have only seen a return of 2,228 percent so far.

Many attribute the incredible ROI Domino’s has seen to the new and improved business model implemented by its retired CEO, Patrick Doyle. Others have also pointed out that Domino’s switch from a restaurant to a tech company, alongside its implementation of crypto payments, is what created the most value for investors.

Watch the interview with Laszlo Hanyecz below:

[embedded content]

Filed Under: Adoption, Bitcoin, People of Blockchain

Priyeshu Garg

Priyeshu is a software engineer who is passionate about machine learning and blockchain technology. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science Engineering and is a passionate economist. He built his first digital marketing startup when he was a teenager, and worked with multiple Fortune 500 companies along with smaller firms. When he is not solving the transportation problems at his company, he can be found writing about the blockchain or roller skating with his friends.

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Binance Coin Price Prediction: Long-term (BNB) Value Forecast – May 19

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  • BNB/USD trade has been on a slow and steady upswing over time until now.
  • The BNB/USD market may experience a line of variant correction around $32 and $28 price points, and that could result in range market movements.

BNB/USD Long-term Trend – Bullish

  • Distribution territories: $40, $42, $46
  • Accumulation territories: $16, $12, $8

Binance Coin market has been on a slow and steady increase as paired with the US dollar price valuation. On May 9, the crypto-trade declined slightly past the trend-line of the 50-day SMA indicator to record a low point around $20 mark.

On the succeeding trading day, May 10, the crypto notably made a weak come-back, and that has now featured as its actual turning point for its current visible upswing in the market to touch a high mark at $32 over the 14-day SMA’s trend-line. The 50-day SMA is situated underneath the 14-day SMA with a small space between them. The Stochastic Oscillators are now seemingly attempting to close hairs around range 80.

Observantly, the BNB/USD trade has been swinging upward mostly at the touch of its 14-day SMA’s trend-line from the top. Equally, The BNB/USD market may experience a line of variant correction around $32 and $28 price points, and that could give in to seeing other range market movements around those trading zones.

The views and opinions expressed here do not reflect that of BitcoinExchangeGuide.com and do not constitute financial advice. Always do your own research.

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