BANKEX opens the way to get citizenship via cryptocurrency investment

30 July 2018, New York- BANKEX,  in association with the MIGRONIS KFT immigration company, the MDL Legal Services PLLC law firm, and in cooperation with the Designated Agency of Vanuatu, has launched a new service which allows persons applying for the Vanuatu citizenship-by-investment program to make the required investment for citizenship via cryptocurrency (Bitcoin or Ether). […]
Source: bitcoinwarrior
BANKEX opens the way to get citizenship via cryptocurrency investment

Survey: Crypto Exchanges Want Regulation but See Strict Policies as a Threat

Survey: Crypto Exchanges Want Regulation but See Strict Policies as a Threat

The majority of crypto exchanges want to see the industry regulated, although many consider excessive regulation to be the biggest threat, according to a new study. A third of the platforms in the poll also fear a market crash that could suddenly devalue digital assets. A fifth of the exchanges dislike anonymity.    

Also read: Huobi Informs Users on Decision to Launch P2P Trading in India

Crypto Exchanges Want Regulation

Survey: Crypto Exchanges Want Regulation but See Strict Policies as a ThreatA new study reveals that a sizable majority of crypto exchanges, 88%, would like to see regulation in place that can help the rapidly developing industry mature, and a third of the companies trading coins say the greatest threat comes from the perceived criminality of the sector. 17% of the polled platforms, however, believe overly strict regulation is the biggest threat to cryptocurrency and its wider adoption. Another 40% say lifting the barriers to funding crypto activities by banks will improve the acceptance of cryptocurrencies.

The survey has been conducted by a Lithuania-based payment company, Mistertango, which has contacted 24 exchanges across Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania, with a total daily trading volume of over $100M USD. The authors have attempted to assess the attitudes towards regulation, anonymity and the maturation of the crypto market. Gabrielius Bilkštys, Business Manager at Mistertango, commented that “The industry is crying out for regulation and the response from partners has shown this”. He also said:

Uncertainty is the biggest fear, and regulation is critical to provide the stability we need. Unfortunately, there is no regulatory consensus – worldwide or otherwise. For cryptocurrencies to move towards the scale and ubiquity possessed by fiat currency, it needs cohesive, considered and comprehensive regulation. Thus, regulation will be a catalyst, not an inhibitor to the crypto market’s development.

According to Oleksandr Lutskevych, CEO of crypto exchange CEX.IO, the assumption that crypto companies want to avoid a regulated environment is far from the truth. Quoted in a press release, he noted that “Until now, the industry has not had its say on regulation […] The industry is all too aware that regulation will lead to the maturity of the market and ensure businesses remain free from suspicion of involvement with illegitimate uses of cryptocurrency.”

Survey: Crypto Exchanges Want Regulation but See Strict Policies as a Threat

A Call for Banks to Lift Barriers

Survey: Crypto Exchanges Want Regulation but See Strict Policies as a ThreatAt the same time, a very import development that crypto companies would like to see is a change in the attitudes of the traditional financial institutions. Almost 40% of the participants in the study have suggested that this would have the biggest impact on the wider acceptance of cryptocurrency, followed by about 30% who gave priority to increased but also positive regulation.

A key finding in the poll is that trading platforms generally favor the implementation of know your customer and anti-money laundering policies, despite the fact that precisely anonymity has drawn a lot of people to the crypto space. 55% of the questioned exchanges said crypto users should be subject to KYC and AML checks, similar to those employed by the providers of traditional financial services. A fifth of the respondents said that anonymity and the lack of transparency was the biggest threat.

Another important figure in the survey shows that a third of the respondents fear a significant crypto market crash that could unexpectedly devalue cryptocurrencies. They consider the possibility of such an event to be the major threat for the industry and the space, in general.

What are your thoughts on the findings in the study? Let us know in the comments section below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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The post Survey: Crypto Exchanges Want Regulation but See Strict Policies as a Threat appeared first on Bitcoin News.

Survey: Crypto Exchanges Want Regulation but See Strict Policies as a Threat

SIM-Swapping Bitcoin Thief Charged in California Court

sim card

Investigators have arrested and charged a 20-year-old college student with multiple counts of hacking and identity theft. Prosecutors accuse him of being part of a gang which stole $5 million of cryptocurrency by hijacking mobile phone numbers. 

Caught by the Fuzz

Following his arrest at LAX airport while on his way to Europe, Joel Ortiz was apparently quick to come clean. He told investigators that he and his “co-conspirators” controlled millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.

Ortiz, originally from Boston, allegedly hijacked over 40 phone numbers using a technique known as SIM swapping. It is the first known case against a person using this kind of attack — also known as a ‘port out scam’.

The Weakest Link

Considering the scale of the potential consequences, the scam is supposedly rather easy to perform. It involves calling the service provider and convincing them that you have lost your SIM card. Once they have confirmed your identity, they will transfer the number to another SIM card (which you already own).

This potentially lays the liability for these attacks squarely at the feet of the service providers, as security procedures for confirming identity should not be bypass-able using a few pieces of personal information easily obtained online.

Breaking and Entering

Once the criminal has access to your phone number, it is very easy to start accessing accounts. Even those services with two-factor authentication often allow password reset/recovery through a mobile device.

Ortiz allegedly targeted several people at the Consensus bitcoin conference in New York in May, stealing more than $1.5 million from one cryptocurrency entrepreneur.

Prosecutors say he also called one victim’s wife from a stolen number and messaged his daughter and her friends asking for bitcoin. This was one of the mistakes which led to his undoing.

The Web Unravels

Through a series of warrants, detectives identified two IMEI numbers used with the stolen number. This allowed them to link the devices with Ortiz email accounts and show that he had moved over $1 million dollars worth of cryptocurrency through various exchanges.

The investigators were also able to show that Ortiz had hacked around 40 numbers through AT&T in the period between November 2017 and June 2018.

Who’s Next?

Ortiz “co-conspirators” have yet to be named, but his arrest has sparked panic in the SIM-swapping community.

Members of the OGUSERS message-board posted a thread asking: “Who do you think is next?” The site is often used as a marketplace for social media accounts stolen using the same scam.

What do you think about SIM swapping and cryptocurrency theft? Let us know in the comments below! 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives.

The post SIM-Swapping Bitcoin Thief Charged in California Court appeared first on

Source: bitcoinist
SIM-Swapping Bitcoin Thief Charged in California Court

ZenCash [ZEN] Co-founder Interviewed: “Morality” in cryptocurrency

An interview was held in New Orleans by The Crypto Show where the interviewer, Danny talks to Rob Viglione, Co-Founder of ZenCash and how it plans to help level the financial playing field with the assistance of their treasury and voting system. Rob explains that before he entered Blockchain, he was pursuing his Ph.D. in […]
Source: bitcoinwarrior
ZenCash [ZEN] Co-founder Interviewed: “Morality” in cryptocurrency

Op Ed: Is Green Crypto (Necessarily) an Oxymoron?

Op Ed: Is Green Crypto an Oxymoron?

Cryptocurrencies are not exactly bathed in the light of righteousness right now when it comes to the environment. Despite not having a physical form, they are ultimately responsible for a substantial amount of environmental impact. This has stemmed from news stories detailing how, in Iceland, more electricity is being used to mine Bitcoin than is used to power its homes, or that Bitcoin mining now uses as much energy as all of Ireland consumes. Sensationalist as these headlines might be, there is no denying that Bitcoin, Ethereum and the myriad of minable altcoins are responsible for significant power consumption today.

These headlines are why people are more aware of the perceived negative impacts of cryptocurrency mining than they are of the process of mining itself. To grossly oversimplify the process, every 10 minutes a bundle of transactions are encrypted in a block, which is added to the blockchain. Bitcoin miners bundle said transactions into blocks by hashing the transactions together in a Merkle tree, then solving a so-called “proof-of-work” puzzle. This puzzle takes the form of a series of mathematical equations used one after another until the “winning” equation is solved. At this point, the block is verified and added to the blockchain. In return, the miner (or consortium) receive the transaction fees and a predetermined allocation of coins for their efforts. For Bitcoin, this reward currently amounts to roughly $14 million per day.

Critically, the difficulty of the mining task adjusts automatically every two weeks in order to maintain a block creation rate of roughly one every 10 minutes. This means that increasing computing power will not result in more coins being created. Instead, the computation task just consumes more computing power to maintain the status quo of production. This system makes existing mining hardware less profitable and drives up the amount of energy consumed per bitcoin earned.

According to Digiconomist, the Bitcoin network currently consumes about 71 TWh of electricity per year, with the Ethereum network a distant second consuming about 21 TWh. Together, they account for energy consumption on par with the United Arab Emirates (~96 TWh per year). Economist Alex de Vries boldly predicted currency mining could consume 0.5 percent of the world’s energy in 2018, something that has put cryptocurrencies — and bitcoin in particular — in the firing line of multiple environmental groups.

Obviously, this would be a moot point if all mining was being powered by renewable sources like solar, wind or hydroelectric power (Iceland is powered entirely by geothermal and hydro power for example). However, an estimated 60 percent of the mining hash power originates from China. Furthermore, 70 percent of the electricity in China is generated by non-renewable sources, particularly coal. It shows that Iceland’s sustainable cryptomining is the exception rather than the rule. Put simply, cryptomining is not all powered by coal, but it mostly is.

Common environmental criticisms of cryptocurrencies often neglect to put the issue in the context of the wider financial sector’s impact. The devastating physical mining of metals to create obsolete coins is a key example. Also, the big banks are fundamentally unable to wean themselves off the massive energy consumption required to keep every headquarters, branch and ATM operating.

That said, if the crypto community really believes itself to be the future, it needs to do better than finger-pointing and petty whataboutism when it comes to environmental issues. How, therefore, do we rehabilitate crypto and blockchain technology to be greener?

The idea of “green crypto” is not a misnomer. There are initiatives out there that encourage more responsible cryptomining. The Canadian province of Québec has actively courted cryptocurrency companies to use its spare hydropower capacity. Recently, actor William Shatner threw his significant weight behind Solar Alliance, a Canadian company building a three-megawatt solar farm that can be rented out to cryptocurrency miners.

The emergence of similar projects is a positive sign for greater investment in crypto’s greener side. While most of these projects receive the bulk of their funding through the ICO route, more traditional investments and partnerships have been effective in driving mainstream visibility of the solutions they provide. Electrify Asia is one such project, raising $29 million through an ICO and going on to secure the backing of one of Ethereum’s original founding team members Wendell Davis, along with prominent Japanese VC group Global Brain.

Another example of mainstream investment in green crypto projects is Climate Coin, which has the backing of tech specialist PAL Capital. Climate Coin operates as a crypto-based carbon credit that can be purchased by anyone worldwide to offset their carbon footprint. On a macro level, energy-focused blockchain startups like this raised over $300 million between Q2 2017 and Q1 2018 alone, most of which came through ICOs. This level of investment, in what would have been a technological fantasy only a short time ago, is a sign that blockchain technology is being taken seriously by energy companies.

From an economic standpoint, increased investment from existing utility companies is inevitable. Blockchains’ penchant for decentralization blends well with existing energy-saving practices. In small scale use cases, the technology is enabling smaller companies to enter markets long monopolized by big energy companies.

Various initiatives are using a peer-to-peer exchange model to trade cheap renewable energy, circumventing the need and cost of buying energy from established suppliers. By motivating small renewable energy producers to sell directly to energy users, and using smart contracts to earn credits in the form of fungible crypto assets from any excess power produced, there is an opportunity to make the existing energy ecosystem cheaper, more efficient and consumer friendly.

While less common, there are still many crypto- and blockchain-based companies directly addressing environmental unsustainability. One blockchain-based initiative is the Plastic Bank, run with the support of partners including IBM. It is issuing tokens earned from collecting plastic waste to help impoverished communities. These tokens can then be converted into cash, exchanged for cooking fuel or education vouchers, demonstrating the good that this technology can do for the less fortunate.

Energi Mine is using a similar system, providing the cryptocurrency EnergiTokens (ETK) to consumers when they engage in energy-saving activities such as using public transport or buying energy-efficient appliances to reduce energy consumption. The ultimate goal of this is to cut global energy demand and carbon emissions by creating a system of financial incentives, which will subtlety shift positive energy decisions to become unconscious reflexes.

In this way, some blockchain and cryptocurrency companies are taking a holistic approach to tackling the established “rebound effect” — where the reduction in energy consumption created by new technologies and new efficiencies gets cancelled out by negative behavioral or other systemic responses. This is something that happens often without people realizing it. For instance, a 5 percent improvement in vehicle fuel efficiency may result in only a 3 percent drop in fuel use because 2 percent more fuel is consumed by people being able to afford to drive faster or further than before.

This is a well-documented phenomenon in the conservation space, and cryptominers are especially guilty of this. Every advancement in processor efficiency or cooling is negated by the gradual upward creep in mining power consumption needed to stay competitive.

This very phenomenon, however, could provide an opportunity for the industry to contribute to energy-saving technology in a huge way. The power/efficiency ratio demanded by cryptominers has given rise to an arms race in specialized hardware that can be used to mine cryptocurrencies more efficiently. A meaningful investment in green tech here would have an impact not only on the crypto community, but on the green hardware sector as a whole, especially if some of the breakthroughs can be extrapolated to other uses, which would go a long way toward creating a “good citizen” reputation for the crypto space.

Whether it is making sure that the energy for cryptomining comes from renewable sources, or simply investing in green-minded initiatives pioneered by the crypto and blockchain community, everyone in the sector can do something to reduce or offset its environmental impact. If crypto truly is the future of money, then the crypto community should feel obliged to do more to change the world for the better. Not just from a financial standpoint but from an environmental one as well.

This is a guest post by Omar Rahim, CEO of Energi Mine. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: bitcoinmagazine
Op Ed: Is Green Crypto (Necessarily) an Oxymoron?

75% of Millennials are More Likely to Date Someone Who is Into Bitcoin

A recently conducted study has reportedly found that 75% of millennials would be more likely to date someone who possesses knowledge about cryptocurrencies. The survey comes amid apparently increasing fascination with millenials’ views regarding cryptocurrencies.

Also Read: Kim Kardashian Receives Her First Bitcoin

Surveys Probe Millennials’ Views on Crypto

75% of Millennials are More Likely to Date Someone Into BitcoinAn increasing number of companies have published surveys probing the views held by millennials regarding virtual currencies.

A recent study claims to have found that “Over 75% of millennials [are] more likely to date someone knowledgeable about cryptocurrencies.” Despite the find, the survey also revealed that 12% of respondents would “rather date a non-violent felon” than “someone who has all their savings in cryptocurrency.”

Of the millennial participants, 40% indicated that they currently own cryptocurrencies, with 48% of males and 26% of females reporting to currently hold virtual currencies.

The survey also noted several “interesting items respondents have paid for with cryptocurrency,” including “a dog, a wedding, and 4 cases of Sriracha.”

1 in 10 Millennials Cash Out Crypto to Afford Down Payment on Home

75% of Millennials are More Likely to Date Someone Into BitcoinAt the start of the month, it was reported that a survey focusing on U.S. resident ages between 24 and 38 who indicated that they were planning to purchase a home in the next 12 months found that 10% of millennials have sold cryptocurrencies in order to finance their down payment.

A U.K. survey of millennials, crypto, and property published last month found that more than one in five (21%) of 21 to 35 year-olds see bitcoin as a better investment than real estate. “For Millennials the soaring performance of Bitcoin – followed by an almost equally profound correction – holds more intrigue than the prospect of steady growth in house prices,” the survey said.

Additionally, a recent survey of 18 to 35-year-old Canadian investors found that 40% describe cryptocurrencies as producing high returns, whilst 39% of all 18 to 34-year-old Canadians identified crypto as a high performing investment.

What is your response to the findings of the surveys being conducted into millennials’ views regarding bitcoin and cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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The post 75% of Millennials are More Likely to Date Someone Who is Into Bitcoin appeared first on Bitcoin News.

75% of Millennials are More Likely to Date Someone Who is Into Bitcoin

Ripple partners with Madonna’s Raising Malawi to match all public donations for a month

Raising Malawi, a non-profit organization run by famous artist Madonna has partnered with Ripple, towards raising funds for vulnerable children across Malawi. Ripple stated that they will be matching every public donation made towards the cause. The organization was founded by American screenwriter Michael Berg, and Madonna to help orphaned children in the African country […]
Source: bitcoinwarrior
Ripple partners with Madonna’s Raising Malawi to match all public donations for a month

More Than a Ledger: How Blockchains Will Democratize Wealth

More Than a Ledger: How Blockchains Will Democratize Wealth

To Mark Pascall, co-founder of BlockchainLabs New Zealand (NZ) and president of the Blockchain Association NZ, the blockchain space is more than just a new technology layer, it’s a “fundamentally different way for organizations and societies to operate.”

It represents a historical reversal of the movement toward an evermore centralized society.

“The major problem is that without mass decentralization, we get a bigger and bigger wealth disparity between the rich and the poor,” Pascall said in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine.

Although we were in a hunter-gatherer society and it was relatively easy to protect assets many centuries ago, as society became more complex we built more things of value and so had to build bigger things to protect those things.

Pascall explained that this has led to requiring third parties to protect our assets — like banking systems and the sovereign state — and these institutions are fundamentally rooted in a logic of violence.

The shift toward a centralized society took place over many hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until the invention of the World Wide Web in the 1980s, that the “internet accelerated that centralization to an alarming degree,” says Pascall.

“Now, the boundaries have been hit as we’ve got global monopolies. We’ve got five or six companies who own alarming amounts of data and wealth and control.”

They control how we think, they control how we vote now, and that’s a pretty scary space, and they’re very difficult to displace. We know the network effectively is very powerful and it would be incredibly hard for somebody else to displace Facebook with another decentralized model.

Globally, many people’s awareness of current events is shaped by Facebook and Google, which determine, with hidden algorithms, what information we see and consume.

But Pascall hopes blockchain technology can now enable these monopolies to be undone in order to create “a better, fairer, more equitable society.”

This is why he believes many are so passionate about the potential of the blockchain space; it carries potential to shift power away from some of the world’s most extreme monopolies.

“So the blockchain is this infrastructure that can allow that centralization to move to a decentralized world,” says Pascall.

While many people talk about the blockchain as a decentralized ledger or a database, Pascall believes that this narrow definition “in itself is missing the point.”

So what is the point? Pascall draws another lesson from history: the creators of the first internet in the 1980s didn’t actually make any money out of it.

The inventors of the so-called “fat applications” — the Googles, Facebooks and Amazons — were people who now extract massive value out of that fat layer on the thin protocol and make the money.

Now, blockchain technology enables people to build fat protocols that are open source; these are open, transparent protocols built by communities of developers.

The people who come up with these new ideas and protocols, the startups, can raise a lot of money to support them in building communities to develop these second-layer, foundational bits of the internet.

“There is a bit of a wild west money grab out there and I think that’s one of the things the ICO concept has driven.

“In the last century when we saw the dotcom craziness and then the crash — there’s a bit of that going on, so we are going to see, out of the thousands of ICOs that are being generated now, a bunch of core foundational protocols emerging which will be open, community-driven, fully decentralized, with no central organization or person. They’ll be controlled by the token holders, which could be you or anybody, so those will emerge as the winners,” says Pascall.

“It should get us to a more equitable place where it’s not just the high net worth people in Silicon Valley or in Singapore or in London who are the financial investors who are making the big money — it should democratize that space.

“We can now share in a fairer system and a tokenized economy where everything can be tokenized, from a football team to a building to a new idea, and they can be fully liquid and tradable, and individuals can become their own Swiss Bank,” he says.

So blockchain technology and tokenization will enable the purchase of more assets and remove previous barriers to trading and investing that meant that, previously, this was often reserved for the wealthy few.

“How I think about it is that the internet democratized knowledge, the blockchain will democratize wealth,” he adds.

“That’s the positive future that a lot of people in the blockchain space see, and that’s why we’re passionate about it.”

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Source: bitcoinmagazine
More Than a Ledger: How Blockchains Will Democratize Wealth