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Nathaniel Popper Says Bitcoin’s Online Payments Fell but Dark Web Activity Rose in 2018

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Nathaniel Popper Says Bitcoin's Online Payments Fell but Dark Web Activity Rose in 2018

As bitcoin’s popularity and use has been increasing, so have questions concerning whether and when regulation will take place. At this point, the United States’ regulations are like a “patchwork” at best.

The absence of a solid regulatory system may be a driving force behind an increase in purchases on the dark web. According to an article by The Next Web, dark web bitcoin transactions doubled in 2018.

Further, Nathaniel Popper, a journalist at the New York Times, conducted and complied research on the magnitude of bitcoin dark web use. He discussed in a recent set of tweets that even though there are a number of promising use-cases for BTC, illegal transactions drive adoption.

He stated: “But there are things to worry about. While online payments using Bitcoin declined last year, Bitcoin purchases on the dark net grew steadily, according to data pulled together for us by Chainalysis. Transactions related to theft and hacking grew even faster,” Popper explained, referencing a chart that shows the significant amount of money being sent to dark net markets each month.”

The question that arises is whether regulatory scrutiny will be able to increase transactions on the dark web to a legal marketplace.

This could be the case, however the underlying assumption that must be true here is that bitcoin is generally perceived as a tool for illegal activity and that is the reason that people are concerned about adopting it.

It seems to be unlikely though, considering that bitcoin seems to have forged a place on the legal marketplace, thus showing people that it is a legitimate option for transactions.

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New Proposed ETF Would Mix Bitcoin Futures With Sovereign Debt

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A brand new proposed exchange-traded fund (ETF) would spend money on bitcoin futures – even though handiest as a part of a bigger set of extra conservative investments.

Reality Shares ETF Trust, a department of Blockforce Capital, which already introduced one ETF with blockchain products, filed a Form N1-A with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Monday in partnership with NYSE Arca, taking a look to release the Reality Shares Blockforce Global Currency Strategy ETF.

If authorized, the fund would spend money on a portfolio which incorporates “high-quality, short-term sovereign debt instruments listed for trading on U.S. exchanges and denominated in U.S. dollar, euro, British pounds sterling, Japanese yen and Swiss francs,” in addition to bitcoin futures, cash marketplace mutual price range and/or different coins equivalents, in step with the submitting.

The fund would spend money on cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts, moderately than bodily settled. In different phrases, when the contract expires, the investor would obtain the money an identical of its worth, moderately than precise bitcoins. According to the submitting, “the fund will not invest directly in bitcoin.”

The proposal explains:

“The Adviser initially constructs the Fund’s portfolio by investing approximately (i) an equal-weight of 15 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets in Fixed Income Securities denominated in each Fiat Significant Global Currency; (ii) 15 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets representing notional exposure in Bitcoin Futures and (iii) 10 [percent] of the Fund’s net assets in Money Market Instruments for margin and/or cash management purposes, each as measured at the time of purchase (the ‘Target Portfolio’).”

Reality Shares’ submitting is going on so as to add that “the Adviser seeks to reallocate the Fund’s assets approximately to the Target Portfolio on the business day following the date that one or more of the Significant Global Currencies moves by more than 20 [percent] up or down from its original 15 [percent] portfolio equal-weight, calculated as a percentage of the Fund’s net assets.”

Initially, Reality Shares plans to spend money on the bitcoin futures presented via the main Chicago futures exchanges, Cboe and CME, even though it could search for different bitcoin futures merchandise sooner or later.

Bitcoin ETFs

Reality Shares’ proposal comes at the heels of 2 bitcoin-specific ETF filings made via Bitwise Asset Management and VanEck/SolidX last month. While Bitwise’s proposal used to be additionally filed via NYSE Arca, VanEck and SolidX are running with Cboe BZX Exchange.

The VanEck/SolidX proposal is famously just like an previous proposal that many was hoping will be the first bitcoin ETF authorized. However, the firms pulled the previous version after the extended U.S. government shutdown, pronouncing on the time that they had been not able to continue discussions about the proposal with the SEC.

Both of those bitcoin ETFs range from Monday’s submitting in that they don’t come with sovereign debt tools.

The SEC has now not but revealed Reality Shares’ rule trade proposal on its web page, indicating that it has now not but begun inspecting the product. Once the proposal is revealed within the Federal Register, the SEC could have at maximum 240 days to resolve whether or not to approve or reject the rule of thumb trade proposal.

T-bill image by the use of JHerbstman / Wikimedia Commons

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Central Bank of Laos Issues Warning Against Using Cryptocurrency

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The central bank of Laos has warned the public against the use, purchase or sale of digital currencies, local news outlet Vientiane Times reported on May 21.

The Bank of the Lao PDR has issued a warning to financial market participants and the public against cryptocurrency transactions as they are considered illegal in the country. The bank previously banned financial institutions from conducting any operations with cryptocurrencies, as well as making investments in such an asset.

The bank is purportedly concerned about the anonymity of the sender and receiver in a cryptocurrency transaction, which it worries increases the risk of digital assets’ use in money laundering. A source familiar with the matter told Vientiane Times that authorities do not have a relevant security system to protect cryptocurrency owners.

While some countries like, Canada, Malta and Switzerland have embraced the new asset class to varying degrees, officials around the globe are still expressing skepticism toward crypto, while some hardliners call for outright bans.

In the United States, where the legal status of crypto can vary state-to-state, California Congressman Brad Sherman recently called for a full ban on cryptocurrencies. Sherman claimed that crypto presents a threat to the power of the U.S. dollar to affect world economic developments.

In April, Cointelegraph reported that the Indian government was considering a complete ban of cryptocurrencies under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act since it could purportedly be used for money laundering. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs reportedly stated that cryptocurrencies are used in fraudulent schemes to “defraud gullible investors”.

That same month, news broke that Pakistan — which banned cryptocurrency trading last April — is implementing new cryptocurrency regulations in an effort to improve its track record in fighting financial crime. The move was reportedly in part a reaction to demands from international monitoring body the Finance Action Task Force, which has repeatedly voiced concerns about cryptocurrencies’ role in terrorist financing.

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Founder And CEO Of China’s Blockchain-Based Uber, Kuaidi Dache, Shows Concerns Of EOS Use

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Founder-and-CEO-of-Kauidi-Dache-Shows-Concern-About-Use-of-EOS

Founder-and-CEO-of-Kauidi-Dache-Shows-Concern-About-Use-of-EOS

Founder And CEO Of Kauidi Dache Shows Concern About Use Of EOS

  • CEO of Chinese tax hailing app criticizes the lack of decentralization in EOS.
  • The EOS blockchain network focuses on scalability above decentralization, which has earned it many critics.

Everyone has an opinion of cryptocurrency, whether it is about the industry as a whole or of the market. Weixing Chen, who founded and runs a taxi-hailing app called Kauidi Dache in China, recently commented about one particular crypto asset – EOS. In a statement from Weibo, Chen stated that he was worried about EOS and assets like it in their prioritization of scalability.

The statements were translated, as Chen said that he takes no issue with the technological advancements. Instead, the issue is found in “fraudulent propaganda,” according to the translated text. Chen referred to Million TPS and Next Generation Operating System as examples. He has quite a reputation in the venture capital sector of the Chinese economy as an anti-EOS figure.

Right now, EOS has a valuation of $5.8 billion, and it holds the record as the largest initial coin offering (ICO) to ever occur within the crypto industry. With no live product, the token managed to raise up to $4 billion in May 2018. The following month, the EOS blockchain protocol launched with 21 individuals to produce the blocks on the blockchain ledger with data from the transactions and smart contracts. These individuals are known as “block producers.”

Since the launch, EOS has become increasingly popular amongst users of decentralized applications (dApps). DappRadar reports that the EOS blockchain network is the host of the top three dApps right now, but that has not stopped experts from criticizing how decentralized the network is. The network primarily focuses on offering substantial scalability, along with a high capacity for large transactions, offering plenty of benefits to dApp developers.

Nick Szabo, a pioneer for smart contracts, stated that EOS makes it possible for anyone to freeze funds that users assume belong to them. Further explaining, he said, “Under the EOS protocol you must trust a ‘constitutional’ organization comprised of people you will likely never get to know. The EOS ‘constitution’ is socially unscalable and a security hole.”

This criticism came after a controversial article came out regarding the governance system of the blockchain network. The article says that an inactive account, after three years, can be put up for auction. All of the proceeds from that auction are “distributed to all Members according to the system contract provisions then in effect for such redistribution.”

The CTO of EOS, Dan Larimer, said in October 2018 that the high transaction capacity of EOS is based on the fact that the platform doesn’t solely focus on decentralization. He pointed out that the platform wants to focus on fighting censorship and for “robustness against being shut down.”

https://twitter.com/bytemaster7/status/1120028298573164544

Only the market can decide if prioritizing scalability for EOS is the right approach, but clearly, EOS is gaining interest in the market, or developers would not use the network with such abundance to develop their dApps. The flexibility and capacity for large transactions is appealing, but Chen and investors like him don’t condone the lack of decentralization.

Bitcoin was based on decentralization and ensuring that the public could have a currency that is not ruled by any one country or other entity. Still, the dApp market is new, and it is hard to tell which of the protocols amongst Ethereum, EOS, Cardano, TRON, and others are the right one. Presently, it is impossible to compare dApps to centralized applications, as the last 24 hours alone only show 10,000 users participating.

As of 2:00pm PST, the EOS token is trading at $6.36 after increasing by 1.14% in value in the last 24 hours.

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Ontology releases design for lightweight multichain solution

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Ontology, a high-performance public blockchain project, and a distributed trust collaboration platform, recently released its design for a lightweight and safe multichain system and cross-chain solution.

The solution uses the Ontology blockchain as the main chain, and supports both side-chains whose architecture is the same as the Ontology main chain and side-chains whose architecture is different from the Ontology main chain.

The design allows for interaction between the main chain and side-chains, and also between side-chains. The main chain manages side-chains using a multichain management contract, and the cross-chain interaction between source chain and target chain is done through a cross-chain management contract.

The proof of cross-chain interaction is done through synchronizing key block headers and other state information.

Those interested to read more, can find the full Ontology multichain design paper on GitHub.

Last year, Ontology set up the research institute in order to focus more on the research and development of core blockchain technology and strengthen the ability to explore, reflect on, and apply emerging technologies, as well make contributions to the entire industry. At present, there is more than 10 R&D personnel in the Ontology Research Institute.

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Watch Out! $375,000 of Cryptopia’s Stolen Ether on the Move

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By CCN: Whale Alert, an account which automatically and manually notes large crypto transfers for Twitter followers, stated this morning that slightly more than $250,000 of stolen Cryptopia ether moved today.

$250k Parked, $125k Moved to EtherDelta

1,000 ether moved to 0x7d90b19c1022396b525c64ba70a293c3142979b7, an address which holds no other tokens. Roughly the same amount of ether previously left the wallet. The Cryptopia hacker seems unable to decide what to do with them.

Interestingly, within the past hour at press time, one of the addresses associated with this one moved 499 ether to EtherDelta. Address 0x338fDf0D792F7708d97383EB476e9418B3C16ff1
made this transaction to the exchange which was previously fined for dealing in unregistered securities.

Cryptopia lost around $15 million in a major hack earlier this year. More recently they’ve gone into liquidation and warned customers not to expect all of their funds back. Reportedly, the exchange could not meet its debt obligations as a result of the hack, which saw its user interest, trust, and volume plummet. One question is why user funds would have been available to the exchange for satisfying debts, as most eloquently stated in this tweet:

The exchange initially reported a theft of less than $3 million, but Elementus, an upstart crypto analytics firm led by Max Galka, discovered that the loss was much more damaging than that.

The exchange then announced a “rebate” plan from which it has more recently backed off.

Hacked Funds Still Moving After Cryptopia Enters Liquidation

The attackers have yet to be caught, but the timing of the recent movement of funds is interesting, to say the least. Any time that an exchange is hacked, people suspect an inside job. That being the case, it’s interesting that on the very day Cryptopia’s official liquidation begins, hundreds of thousands of dollars of its stolen funds begin moving to decentralized exchanges.

Previously, a lot of the tokens had already been sold off on decentralized exchanges.

The funds noted by Whale Alert were still parked by press time. There’s no stopping the holder from continuing to trade them unless decentralized exchanges as a whole decide to “freeze” those funds, which presents its own set of problems for the crypto ethos.

The relatively small exchange’s hacking started the year off with a negative tone and was followed up by the much larger-scale hack of Binance, which has come to be considered an institution. Binance rocked the world a little more when CEO Changpeng Zhao considered the notion of paying miners to thwart his attackers. Other exchange antics such as Bitfinex’s investigation by New York State and the subsequent $1 billion launch of its LEO token continue to cast doubt on the viability of centralized exchanges in decentralized ledger technology.

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