Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is to meet US lawmakers in Washington to discuss regulatory matters including customer privacy, competition stifling. The meeting is occurring after Facebook’s Libra faces intense criticism from both the United States and Europe. The social media giant has been in the spotlight since its announcement of stablecoin project known as Libra. […]
Mark Zuckerberg is to meet US lawmakers over regulatory concerns
News of Japan messaging giant Line’s September 17 launch of an app-connected crypto exchange is captivating lots of attention in the crypto and tech industries this week. Other initially non-crypto apps are also entering the market, adding native tokens, tipping functions and cryptocurrency wallets, illustrating a growing trend toward mainstream crypto acceptance and awareness.
For almost anyone living in Japan, or Asia in general, popular messaging app Line is a household name. Line was launched in Japan in 2011 by Korean search engine company Naver Corporation, in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. The tech was a byproduct of improvised communications during telecommunications infrastructure damage resulting from the disaster.
Line’s freeware app began as a rather simple service, but exploded in popularity soon after, evolving from a simple SMS for sending cute stickers and chatting, to a digital wallet, video on-demand, digital comics and games juggernaut in the Asian market and beyond. Just this month, the expansive trend has taken new ground with the launch of Bitmax, an app-connected cryptocurrency exchange featuring five digital assets: BCH, BTC, ETH, XRP, and LTC. Line is also in development of its own native crypto token, called Link (LN), currently exchangeable for Line points. According to the Link website:
LINE Token Economy is centered around a single token, our general-purpose coin LINK … A single-token economy can make the overall ecosystem more dynamic and stable, and because dApps contribute to the economy, they can grow with it.
Telegram Is Getting Tokenized
Though still cloaked in relative mystery, chat app Telegram’s upcoming Ton network (Telegram Open Network) and native token gram are nevertheless causing a buzz in the cryptosphere. The source code has already been released and testing of the network began in April. Slated for an October 31 launch, the 200 million+ monthly active users of the platform are looking forward to seeing the company put the $1.7 billion it raised via a 2018 token sale to full use. The network is set to operate utilizing a proof of stake (PoS) system, and with the rising popularity of the app in private communications and business applications / team-building functions as well, big waves will likely be made should Telegram deliver.
Tipping bots for BCH and SLP tokens have been added to Telegram as well, making the platform that much more compatible with crypto culture.
As news.Bitcoin.com reported last month, the “Amazon of Japan,” Rakuten, has now launched its own crypto wallet, featuring BTC, ETH and BCH. Like Line, the company is providing a fiat on-ramp with promise of exposing legions of neophytes to the world of cryptocurrency and crypto spot trading. Though Rakuten has many apps, the addition of Rakuten Wallet is indeed unprecedented thanks to its connection to the popular Rakuten Bank app. In an August 19 press release, the company describes how it works: “In order to provide customers with safe and secure crypto asset transaction services, Rakuten Wallet separates money deposited by customers (customer assets) from the company’s own funds, managing the assets (trust maintenance) in trust accounts provided by Rakuten Trust Co., Ltd., the trust company of Rakuten Group. Rakuten Trust manages those trust assets through Rakuten Bank, Ltd. savings accounts.”
A popular U.S. app to “go crypto” in recent years is Cash App. The mobile payments service originally launched as Square Cash in 2015, and added bitcoin functionality in January 2018. July was a record-breaking month for the app, with a reported 2.4 million downloads. Talk was rampant of the Square service eclipsing competitors like Paypal’s Venmo, and many speculate that the addition of BTC functionalities and growing crypto-interested user base had something to do with this.
Square was founded in part by CEO of Twitter and BTC maximalist Jack Dorsey, so it’s not surprising the app doesn’t support other tokens. With the current atmosphere of increasing adoption, however, the calloused maximalism may come back to bite, should Square turn a blind eye to increasing user adoption of coins like bitcoin cash, and major players in the crypto altcoin world.
Facebook’s Libra as Mainstream Coup de Gras
For those that can remember the antiquated days when Facebook was only available to college students, and there were no moms, dads, or aunt Sallys on there sharing pictures of birthday cakes, the thought of a mobile app (not even a common concept at that time) dominating the world and featuring a cryptocurrency (bitcoin didn’t even exist yet) would have been somewhat mind-boggling. Fast forward to 2019, and the world’s most downloaded app and most popular social media network is now pushing to bring a new crypto payments system to fruition, called Libra.
With significant opposition from governments like the U.S., France and Germany, the Switzerland-based initiative to enable a “more inclusive global financial system” is struggling to gain regulatory approval. Normally such potential legal embattlement would signal the end of a project before it begins, but with Facebook’s roughly 2.4 billion monthly active users, and a mega battery of state-entrenched corporate power in the Libra Association, regulators and lawmakers are being careful not to shoot themselves in the foot too fast. As the Libra currency would not be a true crypto in the sense of bitcoin, being completely centralized, and thanks to the fact that project leaders have already expressed interest bending over backwards for regulators, some speculate the current “battles” are little more than show for the media. Whatever the case, the apple cart of global finance could definitely be upset.
Crypto adoption has extended now even to the world of the mainstream app, so it’s not reckless to wager the trend will grow like wildfire in today’s attention economy. After all, folks are with their smartphones 24/7, and electronic payment systems have become an everyday reality. For those looking to maintain the original vision of peer-to-peer, permissionless and private cash, however, these apps will likely be utilized in combination with more private platforms, which afford users financial autonomy in transaction. The Twitters, Facebooks and Rakutens of the world are by nature more interested in collecting user data than they are in privacy, so this stands to reason. Still, the convenience is alluring, and the apps-gone-crypto narrative seems charged and set to expand into the future of crypto adoption.
What are your thoughts on established apps adding crypto functionality? Let us know in the comments section below.
Facebook Libra may have gotten the endorsement from the who’s who of the multinational corporations ever since its launch, but there are governments of some countries that continue to double down on strategies to curb the rise of parallel currencies. Among them is Germany! Although Libra is among the most-known stablecoins until date, as CEO […]
Germany takes hostile stance over Facebook Libra
Pi cryptocurrency becomes the first of its kind introducing the cryptocurrency mining on mobile concept. Pi Network is a recent application developed by Standford’s P.hDs that enables its users to earn the Pi cryptocurrency by use of their smartphones. When Bitcoin was first released, a handful amount of users were able to mine the cryptocurrency […]
Pi the first with cryptocurrency mining on mobile concept
Cybercriminals have launched a new malware conceived to steal data from crypto wallets. ThreatLabZ, a Zscaler team of security experts, has identified the malware as a RAT (Remote Access Trojan), which they named InnfiRAT.
Malware Continues to Rise
Malware using backdoors methods to gain unauthorized access to computers and other electronic appliances continue to pose a formidable threat. Malwarebytes Labs, a cybersecurity company, in its 2019 State of Malware report underscored that the two major malware categories included cryptominers and trojans. And the report predicted for 2019 the advent of new tricks and threats.
Now, Zscaler, another cyber security specialist team, has identified a new threat against the protection of privacy data. Written in the .NET programming language, InnfiRAT has been flagged as a new trojan virus designed to perform specific tasks such as stealing personal information from users’ crypto wallets. Zscaler researchers point out,
Among other things, InnfiRAT is written to look for cryptocurrency wallet information, such as Bitcoin and Litecoin. InnfiRAT also grabs browser cookies to steal stored usernames and passwords, as well as session data.
Moreover, innfiRAT uses its Screenshot functionality to extract information from open windows while checking other applications running on the targeted system. It even checks active antivirus programs.
Then, according to the researchers, the RAT transmits the stolen data to its command-and-control center and waits for further instructions. These instructions, for example, could direct the RAT to download additional information from the targeted computer.
Crypto Users Targeted Again
For members of the crypto community, cybersecurity threats involving backdoor methods are not new. For example, in October 2018, Thomas Reed, Director of Mac & Mobile, at Malwarebytes, reportedabout the Mac cryptocurrency “ticker” app. once launched it infected two open-source broad-spectrum backdoors: EvilOSX and EggShell.
The aim of this malware has not been identified. Nevertheless, Reed believes, most likely, the malware was designed to steal digital coins from cryptocurrency wallets.
Cybercriminals spread most computer viruses via email attachments. Thus, Zscaler’s ThreatLabZ security team reiterates best practices for email attachments, “as always, refrain from downloading programs or opening attachments that aren’t from a trusted source.”
What do you think about the threats to crypto wallets posed by InffiRAT? Let us know in the comments!
Swiss central bank official Thomas Jordan says crypto isn’t sound money but stablecoins have the potential to see widespread adoption.
Crypto Won’t See Mainstream Adoption
Speaking during a recent event at the University of Basel, Jordan — chairman of the governing board of the Swiss National Bank (SNB), argued against the value proposition of crypto as currencies.
According to Jordan:
Crypto tokens do not possess the characteristics of ‘good’ money, which is typically stable over time, is broadly accepted, and enables efficient payments. Given these parameters, it seems unlikely that crypto tokens will be widely used as money in Switzerland.
Jordan, however, highlighted the potential for stablecoins to see mainstream adoption. The Swiss central bank official stated that fiat-pegged stablecoins could become substitutes for traditional fiat currencies.
Bitcoin is already a substitute for fiat in countries like Turkey and Venezuela. When a country’s currency loses value and forex becomes difficult to obtain, people turn to bitcoin and crypto.
Transferring value via cryptocurrency is currently more efficient than with SWIFT wire transfers. Case in point, the several instances of hundred-million-dollar bitcoin transfers that occur in mere minutes for a few hundred dollars in fees.
All Stablecoins are Equal, but Some More So than Others
Jordan isn’t the first European banker to shill stablecoins over bitcoin. Back in May 2019, European Central Bank (ECB) policymaker, Francois Villeroy de Galhau, said stablecoins would ultimately beat bitcoin in the race for mainstream adoption.
However, this apparent love for stablecoins only exists within the framework of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). Jordan made this distinction clear during his speech, saying:
It is essential that we are clear about the economic function of stablecoins. Depending on how they are structured, stablecoins may have the characteristics of a bank deposit or a privately issued banknote. This would be the case for the Swiss franc stablecoin, were it to be used widely for cashless payments or as a store of value, as it would effectively become a substitute for Swiss franc bank deposits.
Libra Requires International Regulatory Cooperation
To this end, stablecoin projects like Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency will not easily obtain the all-clear in Europe. Commenting on the project, Jordan said regulators from across the globe would need to work in consonance to adequately police its operations.
Authorities in Germany and France have recently come out to oppose the Libra cryptocurrency. Meanwhile, Swiss regulators say they are going to enforce strict anti-money laundering (AML) laws on the project.
Do you think stablecoins can become more dominant than bitcoin in terms of adoption? Let us know in the comments below.
Overstock’s former CEO Patrick Byrne, who departed from the company at the end of August, raised more eyebrows with his message on selling his remaining shares in the company.
Libertarian, Bitcoin-Loving Byrne Hounded by Deep State
Byrne explained that the reason he shed all his OSTK shares was to hamper the Deep State from harming him, by harming Overstock. Calling the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) an organ of the Deep State, Byrne left the company for good.
With the post-tax proceeds of the share sale, Byrne announced investments in silver, gold, and “two flavors of crypto”, without disclosing which coins he chose.
The crypto is stored in the place where all crypto is stored: in mathematical mist, behind long keys held only in the memory of someone who is quite good at storing such things in memory (with paper backups in the hands of a priest I met 35 years ago who never sits foot in the West),
Byrne also predicts financial turmoil in the world economy, at which point he believes the stash of gold, silver, and crypto coins would be valuable enough to buy back into Overstock.
I have to wait six months for it to be legal, but anytime after March 17, 2020 I can provide a capital injection if needed by buying back into Overstock. Please remember that as you watch the global chaos,” wrote Byrne, adding that he saw the US economy “cratering
Overstock Security Tokens Lagging
Overstock was one of the retail platforms that speeded up cryptocurrency adoption, starting as far back as 2014. In the past months, Overstock launched one of the first crypto trading platforms dedicated to security tokens. The tZero market opened with Overstock’s own security token, which was also released to retail investors this August.
However, the antics of Byrne may have put off investors from buying into the token. Additionally, security tokens have proven to be immensely unpopular with both traditional investors and cryptocurrency traders.
Just before the announcement, NASDAQ:OSTK had risen to a yearly peak of $26.72 as of September 12. After the sale, OSTK slid to $16.19, following exactly one week of selling Byrne’s stock. The sale was for a total estimate of about $20 million.
What do you think about Overstock? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
In the latest, Ethereum joins Bitcoin on the BitPay list of cryptocurrency payments. BitPay has recently allowed its users to process payments using Ethereum (ETH), the queen of cryptocurrencies in the market today. Furthermore, the service has enabled its users to store Ether in their BitPay wallets. BitPay is essentially a payment service provider for […]
Ethereum joins Bitcoin: Cryptosphere welcomes BitPay move