Bitcoin News — USA

IBM Targets Scientific Research in Latest Blockchain Patent

Posted by William Suberg on

A new patent from IBM identifies the need for a blockchain-based science research safeguarding tool.

U.S. multinational IT company IBM plans to use blockchain to aid scientific research and provide a record of its results, a new patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revealed Nov. 8.

IBM, originally filing the concept in December last year, says it foresees “integrating a blockchain and data collection and analysis for open scientific research.”

The application is the latest in a steadily increasing pile of patents sought by the corporation in the blockchain sector, the most recent award coming last week targeted at augmented reality gaming.

Now, an altogether more technical offshoot addresses what it describes as a lack of platforms offering “requisite controls and mechanisms” to safeguard scientific findings.

“Currently, there are limited platforms that allow for sharing information about scientific research and showing transparent data collection and analysis steps,” the patent application reads, adding:

“Platforms that do exist, lack the requisite controls and mechanisms to allow for trustworthy data, as there are few options for ensuring that data will be resistant to modification.”

More broadly, the science sector stands to benefit in multiple ways from the advent of the technology.

Various attempts have already targeted some aspects of the field, Cointelegraph reporting earlier this year on industry-specific blockchain tools for both pharmaceutical and genomics research data.

Read more →

Hodler’s Digest, November 5-11: Star Trek’s Captain Kirk Defends ETH Decentralization, While Fake Elon Musks Overrun Twitter

Posted by Molly Jane Zuckerman on

The central bank is China comes out against crypto air drops, while a flood of fake Elon Musks take Twitter promising crypto giveaways.

Coming every Sunday, the Hodler’s Digest will help you to track every single important news story that happened this week. The best (and worst) quotes, adoption and regulation highlights, leading coins, predictions, and much more — a week on Cointelegraph in one link.

Top Stories This Week

Elon Musk Impersonators Flood Twitter With Fake Crypto Giveaways

Although impersonators on Twitter pretending to be famous celebrities offering crypto giveaways are many, this week saw an influx of these crypto pretenders posing as Tesla CEO Elon Musk. After compromising verified accounts with the blue check mark, scammers would change the name and picture to appear to be Musk, asking in comment threads for people to send them small amounts of crypto in exchange for more crypto sent back in a fake “giveaway.” According to news reports, one fake Musk account received around $170,000.

China’s Central Bank Scrutinizes Crypto Airdrops, Questions Their Legality

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC), the country’s central bank, has begun to scrutinize crypto airdrops, which is refers to as “disguised” Initial Coin Offerings (ICO). This week’s report from the bank notes that the entity is strictly anti-ICO and crypto trading, noting the high risks of financial fraud and pyramid schemes. The report notes that “airdrops” are potentially evading the regulation concerning the public token sale model, adding that they capitalize on speculation in the market to drive their own profits.

Star Trek’s William Shatner Tweets Thumbs up in Support of Vitalik Buterin

William Shatner, the former Captain Kirk on popular American television show Star Trek, tweeted a thumbs up at Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin this week. The celebrity’s tweet led to backlash from crypto Twitter trolls that criticized the Ethereum network’s supposed centralization, leading Shatner to quote ERC standards in response. The 87-year-old Shatner then received kudos from other crypto Twitter participants for his seemingly in-depth knowledge of the network.

Apple Apparently Briefly Removes Crypto Podcast Reportedly Ranked #4 in Investing

The podcast “Off the Chain,” hosted by Morgan Creek Digital partner and crypto analyst Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano has apparently been removed from the U.S. iTunes store this week. According to a tweet from Pompliano, the podcast was ranked 4th in the “investing” category before it was “mysteriously” taken down. The episode, which contained an interview with “Bitcoin Maximalist” Murad Mahmudov about the current worldwide monetary system, is available by press time.

Joseph Lubin Thinks Blockchain Will Take “A Little Longer” to Develop Than the Internet

In an interview this week, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin said that blockchain will “probably take a little longer” to develop than the Internet, because it is “much more complicated. Lubin, who is also the creator of ConsenSys, noted that blockchain is developing similar to the web, due to its exponential growth and the “hundred of projects” to date. Lubin also said that DLT will be able to “permeate society more than the Internet” and make way for Web3.0.

Most Memorable Quotations

“His viewpoints don’t take into account the fact that the code has to be audited by an auditing firm and approved by consortium or it doesn’t get accepted. He thinks it exists in a bubble.

That’s why we have ERC-20, ERC-721... ERC-1701”William Shatner (Captain Kirk), defending the Ethereum network’s decentralization

“We are NOT tolerant. We will not capitulate. We will not surrender. We will not negotiate. We will not end,”Craig Wright, speaking about his own Bitcoin Cash (BCH) faction before the upcoming hard fork

Laws and Taxes

Thai Revenue Department Plans to Use Blockchain to Track Tax Payments

Thailand’s Revenue Department is planning to track payments using blockchain and machine learning, utilizing the tech to verify the validity of taxes paid as well as increasing the speed of the tax refund process. The machine learning use will help to expose tax fraud and support more transparency, as a digital tax collection system based on modern technologies is a stated goal of Thailand’s government.

French Parliament Finance Committee Adopts Amendments to Crypto Tax Bill

The Finance Committee of the lower house of France’s parliament has adopted regulations this week that would ease taxes on cryptocurrency sales. The Finance Committee of the National Assembly has submitted a draft of the government finance bill for 2019, specifying that the tax on crypto sales will be equal to capital income tax. If the amendments to the budget are accepted in the hearings scheduled for next week, the rate will be reduced from 36.2 percent to 30 percent starting Jan. 1, 2019.

US Judge Ends Freeze on Charlie Shrem’s Assets Amidst Winklevoss Lawsuit

A U.S. judge has ruled this week to end the freeze on Charlie Shrem’s assets in a lawsuit brought against him by the Winklevoss twins. The twins alleged in their lawsuit that Shrem took part of their $250,000 investment in his now-defunct exchange BitInstant to buy 5,000 Bitcoins (BTC). Shrem’s lawyer has said that his client is innocent, and that the claims have “no basis in fact or law.” According to the Winklevoss’ lawyers, the freeze should continue as Shrem possess $12 million in crypto, real estate holdings, and other assets. However, at present time only $10 in assets have been identified.

Thailand’s Securities Regulator Promises to Certify One ICO Portal in November

The general secretary of the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said this week that “at least one” ICO “portal” will be able to operate legally in the country in November. Rapee Sucharitakul said that they “might” starting approving ICO offerings in December, noting that five such “operators” are currently under consideration by the Finance Ministry. Thailand’s legislation requires that the Thai SEC vet crypto entities like ICOs, exchanges, and “digital asset operators” who wish to operate in Thailand.

Adoption

Wallet Provider Blockchain.Com to Airdrop $125 Mln in XLM After Adding Stellar Support

Crypto wallet provider Blockchain.com will now support altcoin Stellar (XLM), accompanied by an airdrop of $125 in XLM to its user base. The provider noted that the large airdrop is a “great way to drive decentralization and adoption for new networks,” noting that crypto airdrops allow consumers to “test, trade, and transact” newer crypto assets without need to mine or invest in them first. The choice to add support for Stellar was driven by the scalability of the token’s network, as well as its ability to create custom tokens that represent “real-world or virtual goods and services.”

Decentralized Network Bancor Partners With EOS for Cross-Blockchain Trading With ETH

Decentralized liquidity network Bancor said this week that it had partnered with EOS in order to allow for cross-blockchain swaps between Ethereum and EOS-based tokens. Bancor has now expanded to the EOS blockchain, using its DApp BancorX for the conversation. Bancor noted that the cross-blockchain DApp was built in collaboration with LiquidEOS, Bancor’s EOS “Block Producer.” According to the press release, this conversion DApp paves the way for “vastly more blockchain” to be included in cross-blockchain trading.

Trading Platform eToro Releases Crypto Wallet Supporting Bitcoin, Three Altcoins

Global crypto and fiat trading platform eToro has released its own cryptocurrency wallet this week with support for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. The platform noted that they plan to add a “whole host of additional functionality” including additional crypto and fiat tokens, crypto-to-crypto conversion, and fiat deposits. eToro currently supports 14 total cryptocurrencies on its platform and has more than 10 million registered users.

Major Crypto Wallet Coinbase Launches Support for Basic Attention Token

Crypto exchange and wallet Coinbase announced this week that it would add support for a rollout of full trading of the Basic Attention Token (BAT) for its Android and iOS apps. As per the announcement, Coinbase customers can now buy, sell, send, receive, and store BAT on the platform, except for initially those residents of New York. Last week, Coinbase had noted the addition of inbound transfers of BAT to Coinbase Pro, specifying that the token would undergo four listing stages until it reached full access.

Mergers, Acquisitions, and Partnerships

Port of Valencia Integrates Maersk and IBM’s Blockchain Shipping Platform

The Port Authority of Valencia, Spain, has joined IBM and Maersk’s blockchain ecosystem, the TradeLens platform, which aims to apply blockchain tech to global supply chains. According to the announcement, the port has integrated into the platform as “Early Adopters,” meaning that the port will be a part of the platform’s early development. There are currently more than 20 participants in the TradeLens ecosystem, which has already reportedly processed 154 million “data-sending events.”

Deloitte Partners With Identity Management Startup for Digital ID System

“Big Four” accounting firm Deloitte has partnered with identity management firm Attest Inc. in order to create a blockchain-based digital identity system. The Chicago-based Attest offers a shared identity platform that allows its clients to conduct transactions, including its governmental customers, which can provide identity services to citizens. The partnership plans to develop a digital identity offering for government-compliant identifiers to be used for existing products, including a cryptographically secured identity storage wallet.

South Korea’s Bithumb Partners With E-Commerce Giant Qoo10 for Crypto Payments

South Korea’s leading virtual currency exchange Bithumb announced a partnership this week with Asian e-commerce fim Qoo10 to create a cryptocurrency payment service. Qoo10, which covers Asian markets including Singapore, Hong Kong, China, and Indonesia, will work with the Bithumb Cache system to purchase products through Qoo10. The two companies will use both the Qoo10 settlement service and the cache system, which is a password settlement service that allows Bithumb customers to convert their funds for use in payments with their password.

Nine Major Shipper Operators Launch Blockchain-Based Global Business Network

Nine major terminal operators and shipping companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop an open digital platform based on DLT. The MoU is aimed at forming a consortium of shipping operators to develop the Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN), noting that the software solution will be provided by Hong Kong-based shipping and logistics firm CargotSmart. The new alliance includes such shipping giants as PSA International, a Singapore-based company and one of the world's largest port operators, and Shanghai International Port Group, leading operator of ports in China.

Funding Rounds

Major Mining Provider Bitfury Raises $80 Million in Closed Funding Round

Bitcoin mining infrastructure provider Bitfury raised $80 million this week in a closed funding round led by European venture capital fund Korelya Capital. Other participants in the funding round included South Korean Internet giant Naver Group, Asian institutions Macquarie Capital and Dentsu Japan, and Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Digital. The funding round comes several weeks after rumors circled that Bitfury was considering an IPO.

Winners and Losers

The crypto markets are seeing mixed signals, with Bitcoin trading for around $6,404.13 and Ethereum at $211 by press time. Total market cap is around $212 billion.

The top three altcoin gainers of the week are Traco, Pedit, and the Internet of Things. The top three altcoin losers of the week are Simmitri, empowr coin, and OBXcoin.

For more info on crypto prices, make sure to read Cointelegraph’s market analysis.

FUD of the Week

Turkish Police Arrest 11 in Reported Hack of Crypto Wallet Accounts

The Cybercrime Department of the Turkish National Police arrested 11 suspects this week while investing the alleged hack of crypto accounts, with victims reporting more than $80,000 in losses. 14 individuals so far have reported crypto wallet hacks to local prosecution authorities, noting that their Bitcoin had been transferred to other wallets. Police have since seized two fake identity cards, as well as a number of devices allegedly used in the hacks such as 18 mobile phones and SIM cards, 22 memory sticks, from the hackers. The investigation notes that it found the suspects by tracking new SIM cards registered to exchanges by the hackers.

Texas Regulator Issues Emergency Cease and Desist to Australian Cloud Mining Company

The Texas State Securities Board has issued an emergency cease and desist order this week to Australian cloud mining firm AWS Mining PTY LTD for selling unregistered securities. AWS Mining, along with many of its employees, are charged with violating the Texas Securities Acts by convincing Texas residents to purchase AWS’ unregistered cloud mining power contracts promising a “200 percent passive return on every investment.” The cease and desist notes that AWS did not follow through on its promised profits to investors, as well as failed to register as a securities broker-dealer.

Swiss Financial Regulator Recommends Banks to Set Crypto Risk Coverage at 800%

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) said in a report this week that banks and other financial institutions could calculate risk coverage for cryptocurrencies at 800 percent of their current market value. The confidential letter, seen by a local Swiss news outlet, noted that the recommendation for a flat risk weight at 800 percent are to "to cover market and credit risks, regardless of whether the positions are held in the banking or trading book.” The news outlet reports that 800 percent is at the upper end of the range, meaning that FINMA sees crypto as a volatile asset.

US SEC Charges EtherDelta Founder With Operating Unregistered Securities Exchange

Zachary Coburn, the founder of crypto token trading platform EtherDelta, has been charged by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with operating an unregistered securities exchange. EtherDelta has operated as a secondary marketplace for trading ERC20 tokens, letting users buy and sell digital assets using an order book and smart contracts on the ETH blockchain and placing a total of more than 3.6 million orders (some involving those considered securities) over an 18-month operating period. Coburn neither denied nor admitted the findings, but agreed to pay $300,00 in unlawful profits, as well as $13,000 in prejudgement interest and a $75,000 penalty.

Chinese Mining Giant Bitmain Sues Unknown Hacker for $5.5 Million Crypto Theft

China-based BTC mining firm Bitmain has sued an anonymous hacker for the reported theft of crypto work about $5.5 million from Bitmain’s account on Binance this April. As stated in the U.S. court documents, the “John Doe” hacker used stored Bitcoin after taking over Bitmain’s Binance account to manipulate the price of altcoin Decentraland (MANA) and then abscond with the profits. Bitmain notes that the hacker was able to steal $5.5 million in digital assets, including about 617 BTC. The documents also note that the hacker carried out transactions between BTC and MANA from Bitmain’s wallet and their own, completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account into a digital wallet on Bittrex.

Prediction of the Week

Tim Draper Maintains Bitcoin Prediction of $250,000 by 2020

Venture capital investor Tim Draper said this week that he still believes that Bitcoin will experience 40 times returns and reach $250,000 by 2022. Although his initial prediction was for the coin to hit this price point in April of this year, Draper said that the industry merely needs to make it so that “Bitcoin could be used to buy Starbucks coffee” and the world will “open up.” Draper also added that he didn’t trust “political currencies” that are “determined by some weird political party,” adding that he sees a future with blockchain and smart contracts taking on a more prevalent role in states.

Best Cointelegraph Features

Morgan Stanley Report Shows Strong Institutional Investment for Bitcoin

At the end of October, multinational investment bank and financial services firm Morgan Stanley released a report on how Bitcoin has been a new “institutional investment class” since 2018. The report, which shows a relatively bullish outlook for 2018, brings attention to the stablecoin phenomenon, noting that not all stablecoins active currently will survive.

The SEC Stops Accepting Public Comments on Bitcoin ETFs, Takes Time to Make Decision

Last week, the cryptoverse buzzed with misinformation that the U.S. SEC was finally going to make a decision about Bitcoin ETFs. However, last week’s deadline concerned a close to the acceptance of public comments, leaving the SEC to now make their decision on the nine BTC ETFs on their own. Cointelegraph delves into the possibilities for the SEC’s decision, as well as looks into the root of where this deadline confusion came from.

Blockchain Advocates Storm Governors’ Mansions and Retain House Seats in US Midterm Elections

The U.S. saw midterm elections that week that led to the Democratic Party taking back the House, leaving the Republicans still in control of the Senate. Amidst the party lines, the governorships in both California and Colorado were won by crypto- and blockchain-friendly candidates Gavin Newsom and Jared Polis respectively. Beyond his strong blockchain policy push in his state, Polis (also the first openly gay elected governor), co-founded and co-chaired the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, a bipartisan group of Members of Congress. Electorally, the Caucus has done exceptionally well in the midterms: both of the co-chairs and 10 out of 12 regular members who stood for reelection retained their seats.

Read more →

Blockchain Advocates Storm Governors’ Mansions and Retain House Seats in US Midterm Elections

Posted by Kirill Bryanov on

Blockchain industry might be the real winner in the US midterm elections.

Every four years in November, about halfway into each presidential term, voters in the US head to the polls to fill 36 state governor seats, all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, and about one-third of the 100 US Senate offices. Widely considered a referendum on a sitting president, midterm elections often produce power shifts in Congress, especially if the head of the executive and his party are not particularly impressive early in the term.

This time, Democrats were full of hopes to summon a ‘Blue Wave’ and break the unified Republican control of the government. While the Democratic party has succeeded in flipping the House and increasing the number of governorships they control, some commentators were still not impressed by the wave’s momentum. However, there has been another remarkable tide: a group of pro-blockchain politicians who have recorded spectacular wins that will project them to high offices.

Blockchain governors

Many crypto-savvy people, when asked to quickly name one blockchain-friendly US politician off the top of their head, will certainly recall Jared Polis’s name. Polis, who was among the trailblazers of crypto campaign finance and has later co-founded and co-chaired the Congressional Blockchain Caucus will assume the office of the Governor of Colorado in January 2019 after he defeated State Treasurer Walker Stapleton on the midterm election night. There is little doubt that Polis will actively pursue a pro-blockchain agenda, as one of his campaign’s big promises is to ‘establish Colorado as a national hub for blockchain innovation in business and government.’

His five-prong plan envisions implementation of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in improving election infrastructure and security; exempting cryptocurrencies from money transmission laws and establishing the legal status of utility tokens; exploring blockchain-based solutions for optimizing energy distribution and consumption; digitizing government records and moving them to public ledgers; creating a blockchain council to work in coordination with the state’s Office of Economic Development & International Trade. Polis is open about taking the crypto-friendly state of Wyoming as a mold for many of his policies.

On May 20, 2014, Gavin Newsom, then-lieutenant governor of California and former mayor of San Francisco, while campaigning for reelection, tweeted at then US Representative Jared Polis about following his lead and welcoming BTC contributions. This marked Newsom’s accession into the ranks of early ‘bitcoiners’ in the top tier of US politics.

That midterm season, both Newsom and Polis have won their respective races to keep the offices they occupied. Four years on, they are both victorious again, this time becoming governors of their states for the first time. Newsom overran his Republican opponent John Cox by a comfortable 57-43 margin.

While not as outspoken a blockchain advocate as Polis, the new Californian governor-elect is considered crypto-friendly not just for his embrace of Bitcoin campaign contributions, but also due to his overall pro-technology orientation. Particularly, Newsom has spoken in favor of the federal government’s digitization initiatives. According to the datasheet compiled by the advocacy group Digital Asset Trade Association, Gavin Newsom is generally in favor of policies that would attract blockchain startups to the state, supportive of recognizing the legal status of crypto transactions, and positively views the idea of creating a state-level blockchain committee or task force. Given California’s stature as an economic and technological powerhouse, even relatively modest evidence of the new governor’s potential pro-blockchain orientation is great news for the industry.

Wyoming has been banking big on blockchain lately, seeking to boost the influx of technology startups into the Cowboy State. Following a sweeping tide of pro-crypto legislation enacted by the state house this year, the Wyoming Blockchain Task Force has already unveiled proposals for the 2019 legislative session, which appear to be taking the trend even further. State Treasurer Mark Gordon, who last Tuesday night was elected to serve as the 33rd Governor of Wyoming, seems to be fully embracing Wyoming’s emerging leadership in the field. In DATA’s scorecard, all of the eleven boxes that represent various dimensions of crypto-friendliness are checked against his name.

Two more governors who are usually considered pro-blockchain secured their offices for the next term. Texas governor Greg Abbott, who first opened his coffers to crypto contributions in the 2014 campaign, has won his second term, topping the Democratic contender Lupe Valdez. In the Rhode Island election, according to the Digital Asset Trade Association’s scores, the blockchain community was set to win regardless of the outcome, since both major candidates ranked high in blockchain friendliness. Incumbent Gina Raimondo, a Democrat, sustained competition from Allan Fung to secure another two years in the office.

US Congress

The Congressional Blockchain Caucus is a bipartisan group of Members of Congress who appreciate the vast potential of blockchain technology and work to promote hands-off legislation that would enable the industry’s dynamic growth. The Caucus also aspires to be a platform for both public and private sector to come together and discuss both implications of the technology and policies around it. The group was founded in 2016 by Jared Polis and Mick Mulvaney, who has since left the House to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Granted, Jared Polis will be missed dearly by the Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Yet his departure from Congress will hardly disembowel the group. In the buildup to the midterms, the Caucus has seen two prominent members, Tom Emmer and Bill Foster, elevated to co-chair positions alongside Polis and his longtime confederate David Schweikert. Emmer has been particularly resourceful in the past months, announcing a series of bills designed to facilitate development and adoption of blockchain technology and digital currencies. The Blockchain Caucus leadership looks both willing and prepared to keep pushing the crypto agenda on the national level.

Electorally, the Caucus has done exceptionally well in the midterms: both of the co-chairs and 10 out of 12 regular members who stood for reelection retained their seats. Here is the roundup:

David Schweikert, the Congressional Blockchain Caucus co-chair, serves as the Republican representative from Arizona's 6th Congressional District since 2011. In this election he defeated his Democratic opponent Anita Malik by a 12.8 percent margin.

Tom Emmer, a Republican, has been representing Minnesota's 6th District since 2015. Last Tuesday, he beat the Democrat Ian Todd by 22.4 percent of the popular vote.

Bill Foster has been the Democratic representative from Illinois' 11th Congressional District since 2013. He defeated Republican Nick Stella by 27.2 percent of the vote.

Stephen Lynch has been the Democratic representative from Massachusetts' 8th District for 17 years, since 2001. A South Boston native, he emerged victorious in the Democratic primary in September and was unchallenged in the general election.

Michael McCaul is the Republican from Texas' 10th Congressional District. A former Texas Deputy Attorney General, he has represented the district for 13 years. In the present election, he managed to fend off the Democratic contender, Mike Siegel, by 4 percent of the vote.

Denny Heck, a Democrat from Washington’s 10th district has served in his position for the last 5 years. He defeated the Republican Joseph Brumbles by a confident 22.6 percent margin.

Tony Cardenas has been the Democratic representative from California's 29th Congressional District since 2013. In the November 6 general election, he defeated the Republican Benito Bernal by a staggering 58.4 percent of the vote.

Jerry McNerney, a Democrat from California's 9th District, has been in Congress since 2007. On the night of November 6, he narrowly defeated the Republican Maria Livengood.

Mark Meadows, a Republican member of the US House since 2013, represents North Carolina's 11th Congressional District. On the night of the midterm general election, he secured 20 percent more of the popular vote than his Democratic opponent Philip Price.

Darren Soto has served as the Democratic representative from Florida's 9th Congressional District since 2017. He won the November 6 general election against the Republican Wayne Liebnitzky by a 15.6 percent margin.

Jeff Duncan is the Republican representative from South Carolina's 3rd Congressional District, who has served in the US House since 2011. He defeated the Democrat Mary Green by 35.6 of the vote in the general election.

Tom MacArtur, the Republican representative from New Jersey’s 3rd District, ran against Democrat Andy Kim in a dramatically tight contest. Several days after the election, the results were still pending, with the race too-close-to-call. As of November 11, Kim appears to be leading by 1.1 percentage points, though no official announcement of the outcome were made.

John Larson A Democrat from Connecticut's 1st Congressional District has been in the office for 19 years. In the general midterm election, he defeated the Republican challenger Jennifer Nye by 28.4 percentage points.

Greg Gianforte, representing Montana’s At-large district since 2017, was triumphant against the Democrat Kathleen Williams by 5.1 percent of the vote.

Two of the current Congressional Blockchain Caucus members announced prior to the midterms that they would not seek reelection for the next term. Democrat John Delaney from Maryland’s 6th Congressional District revealed his plans to run for president in 2020, while Bob Goodlatte, the Republican veteran of the House who has been representing Virginia’s 6th District since 1993, cited his willingness to spend more time with his granddaughters.

The only Caucus member who had definitely lost in the present election was Keith Rothfus, the Republican representative from Pennsylvania’s 17th District. Having served in the House since 2013, he was defeated by the Democratic challenger, Conor Lamb, by 12.4 percent of the vote.

Given that all the 435 seats in the House were up for reelection, the Congressional Blockchain Caucus’ showing indeed looks impressive. While the Caucus retains its core membership in the incoming Congress, there seems to be room for expansion as well. The midterms saw many new faces joining the legislature for the first time, and chances are that at least some of them share the vision of the blockchain-powered future that inspires this diverse group of lawmakers to work together.

Election predictions go decentralized

Yet another remarkable outcome of the midterm elections is not directly related to the ballots cast and offices filled. Although the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) rules explicitly prohibit wagering on election results, there are several platforms that allow U.S. bettors to do so without breaking the law. PredictIt, a centralized prediction market that relies on its academic affiliations to secure an exemption from the CFTC regulation, has been dominating the space in recent years. However, this election cycle PredictIt suddenly faced strong competition from the decentralized side in Augur, a blockchain-powered prediction marketplace. While the CFTC is still pondering on the possible regulatory approaches to decentralized prediction protocols, Augur’s users take full advantage of its infrastructure.

Reports suggest that the overall amount of money staked on this midterms’ outcomes exceeded $2 million, compared to PredictIt’s $550,000. To be fair, the rules of the centralized prediction platform strictly limit wagers at the $850 cap per user per market, while Augur’s bettors are only restricted by the amount of ETH they are ready to risk. Therefore, there can be no implications regarding the two platforms’ relative popularity as of now. Also, there is some evidence that just two people were responsible for a huge share of the overall trading volume. All these reservations notwithstanding, Augur proved its capacity to successfully handle trading volumes comparable to those of its centralized counterparts, while the overall number of bets showed increasing usage of the platform.

Read more →

Mining Giant Bitmain Sues Unknown Hacker for Alleged Theft of $5.5 Million in Crypto

Posted by Helen Partz on

Bitman sues unknown hacker who allegedly stole $5.5 million worth of crypto by using Binance and Bittrex wallets for manipulation of MANA token.

China-based Bitcoin (BTC) mining giant Bitmain has sued an anonymous hacker for the alleged theft of cryptocurrency worth $5.5 million from Bitmain’s account on Binance in April, according to a lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington at Seattle on Nov. 7.

As stated in the court document, an unknown hacker, referred to as “John Doe” in the case, managed to take over Bitmain’s Binance account and used stored Bitcoin to manipulate the price of altcoin Decentraland (MANA) and then steal the profits.

Bitmain says in the court document that the amount of the company’s losses “exceeds” $5.5 million in “Bitcoin and other digital assets,” and specifying that the defendant was able to steal “approximately 617 BTC.” The document cites that the unauthorized action took place on April 22, when Bitcoin was trading at around $8,935.

The document also explains that as a part of the “scam,” the unknown hacker used two of their own accounts on now-second largest crypto exchange Binance, as well as on Bittrex, with around 2.3 million MANA already acquired on Bittrex. “John Doe” reportedly placed purchase orders from Bitmain’s digital wallet offering to buy MANA “and other digital assets” with Bitmain’s bitcoins at a price that was “far above the going market rate.” The defendant also allegedly further artificially inflated MANA’s price by using Bitmain’s BTC to buy Ethereum (ETH), which was then used to buy MANA.

According to the lawsuit, the hacker further carried out a number of orchestrated trades in the reverse direction between BTC and MANA from Bitmain’s wallet and their own, eventually reportedly completing the theft by transferring BTC from their Bitmain account “ultimately into a digital wallet on the Bittrex cryptocurrency trading platform.”

In Mid-October, Cointelegraph reported that losses caused by hacks of crypto exchanges in the first nine months of 2018 have exceeded the numbers for the whole year of 2017 by 250 percent, with $927 million stolen.

Read more →

Tim Draper Stands by His Bitcoin Price Prediction of $250K in 2022

Posted by Ana Alexandre on

U.S. investor Tim Draper still believes the Bitcoin price will surge to $250,000 in four years, and eventually replace “political money.”

Venture capital investor Tim Draper reaffirmed his prediction that the Bitcoin (BTC) price will reach $250,000 by 2022, during a panel discussion at the Web Summit summit conference Nov. 6

Draper initially predicted that the BTC price will surge up to $250,000 in April of this year. “Believe it, it’s going to happen – they’re going to think you’re crazy but believe it, it’s happening, it’s going to be awesome!,” Draper said then.

When asked at the recent Web Summit conference whether he still thinks the BTC price will experience a 40 times return in a span of four years and reach $250,000, Draper said:

“Yes. We are talking [...] about five percent market share to get to $250,000. That seems like a drop in a bucket and all we need to really do is make it so that Bitcoin can be used to buy Starbucks coffee, and all of a sudden the world just opens up and then they say ‘I’ve got this choice.’ [...] Do I want a currency that I can take from country to country [...] or do I want one that sticks me in one country or one geographic area and I can’t use it anywhere else?”

Draper also questioned the need for fiat currencies or “political currencies,” stating “why do we even trust currencies that are determined by some weird political party or another?” In Draper’s view, banks issue money “whenever they feel like it for whatever reason they want it,” and the emergence of a “totally apolitical,” global, and open currency would cede control of money from banks to common people, he explained.

Speaking at the GovTech Pioneers conference in May, Draper presented his vision of a future in which blockchain utilizing smart contracts in conjunction with artificial intelligence (AI) will massively change the role and responsibilities of states. "If we combine Bitcoin, blockchain with smart contracts and artificial intelligence, we could create the perfect bureaucracy," he said.

In September, Draper made another prediction, saying that the total cryptocurrency market capitalization will hit $80 trillion in the next 15 years. Draper argued that the significant slide in the cryptocurrency market in previous months is attributed to people who had not adopted digital currencies as a new asset class. Draper said then:

“Cryptocurrency will go after trillion dollar markets — these are finance, healthcare and insurance, banking and investment banking, and governments.”

Read more →