Bitfinex restarts fiat deposits via ‘improved’ system

Embattled cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex has reinstated fiat deposits, claiming its new system is much “improved” following significant user problems at the exchange in recent times.

The development follows on from the firm’s decision to suspend fiat deposits last week, which the exchange attributed to unspecified “processing complications.” At the time, the decision caused some panic amongst Bitfinex users, fearful the exchange could be the next to unexpectedly hit the rocks.

While Tuesday’s announcement will be comfort to those affected, including the more vocal complaints on social media, it remains to be seen whether Bitfinex has done enough to calm the nerves of their customers.

According to the crypto exchange, the new depositing process will be limited to customers who have been through the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process, offering deposits across several international fiat currencies: USD, GBP, EUR and JPY, respectively.

Customers can deposit fiat currency to their account by firstly initiating a deposit request, which is then reviewed before being executed by Bitfinex on a case by case basis.

In a blog post introducing the new measures, Bitfinex described its depositing system as more “resilient,” with almost conspiratorial suggestions of an organised campaign against their business over the issue.

“We believe this system to be significantly more durable in the face of sustained attacks by our competition and their supporters. Ongoing campaigns against us will only result in our company becoming stronger and better,” according to the crypto exchange.

Under the new system, deposits will be processed in 6-10 days, and must be of a minimum amount of $10,000. Bitfinex will manually approve accounts, and the service is only available to verified, KYC-compliant users. In all cases, a fee of 0.1000% applies to each deposit.

Thanking their customers for their patience, Bitfinex praised their “continued understanding throughout the entirety of this situation.”

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Aussie state considers blockchain tech for land registry

A land registration agency in Australia is considering blockchain for recording property transactions, in the latest example of the technology being deploying in public administration.

New South Wales Land Registry Services, which operates title to land and is responsible for recording property transactions in the state, said it was launching a new proof-of-concept trial, local news outlet CIO  reported. Providing the trial proves successful, the agency would then look to deploy the technology within New South Wales, as part of ongoing efforts to digitize public records at state government level.

The use case is yet another example of government and public sector agencies harnessing the power of blockchain technology to improve existing systems at a local level.

The agency announced it would partner with Swedish firm ChromaWay, which will help in running the initial trial. The results are expected early in 2019.

At present, property transactions are recorded manually by hand, in a labor-intensive process that authorities are keen to digitize. However, before a blockchain platform could be used in its place, regulators are required to give the all clear.

If the system is eventually rolled out to land transactions in NSW, it will replace paper records of property transactions as the definitive ledger of reference for land registration in the state.

A spokesperson for ChromaWay said the security and immutability of blockchain made it a perfect fit for the land registration use case, explaining: “It will provide a more complete and comprehensive view of land rights, restrictions, and responsibilities, which will streamline decision-making for government and land sector actors, provide increased information transparency, and reduce data duplication.”

Authorities in New South Wales are no strangers to experiments with blockchain, and this week’s announcement follows the launch of several similar programs in recent months.

In the last few weeks, it has been announced that New South Wales will be digitizing driving license records on a blockchain platform, replacing the current licensing process for all new and renewing drivers in the Aussie state. Now, with the addition of the land registration use case, the authorities in New South Wales are continuing to demonstrate the possibilities with blockchain technology.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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James Clapper: Blockchain has great potential for ‘disaggregated’ transactions

CoinGeek’s Stephanie Tower spoke with Lt. Gen. (Ret) James Clapper on how governments can harness blockchain technology.

Lt. Gen. (Ret) James Clapper, former director of national intelligence for the U.S. government, participated in the recent Block Seoul conference in South Korea, which he found appealing for personal reasons as well. “Anytime I get an excuse to come back to Republic of Korea, I’ll jump at it, because I was stationed here in the military in the mid-80s for two years, and it was one of the best assignments I had in the Air Force, and my family had a wonderful time. And of course, like a lot of people, I’m concerned about cybersecurity and the potential for blockchain and related technologies to enhance cybersecurity,” he said.

Even with changing technologies, each person or group should approach the matter of security the same cautious way, according to Clapper. “[I]f you’re connected to the internet, no matter how, you’re vulnerable, and you may as well just accept that fact and do all the classical things that you can do, and even then assume you’re going to get attacked. And the big thing is how to respond to an attack, and the extent to which you are resilient, and this applies to a nation-state, an institution, a company, or an individual,” he said.

Clapper also finds blockchain technology interesting due to its applicability to a wide number of fields. “[Blockchain] has great potential for anything that involves transactions that are disaggregated, so medical, to financial, and [the] defense arena, it has great potential.”

He pointed out that so far, the government has not had much use of the technology for its operations. “We don’t use it very much,” Clapper said, explaining that “the government is always a little behind industry and technology. There are potentially great applications, not so much from an intelligence exploitation standpoint, as much as protecting information.”

Clapper warned that the U.S. government should be seriously exploring the use of blockchain. Implementation of blockchain-powered systems, he said, “better progress, because both the Chinese and the Russians are very aggressively pursuing blockchain applications.”

If you’re interested in helping the growth of merchant adoption of Bitcoin BCH, join the bComm Association, an industry group that intends to be the focal point for miners, merchants, exchanges, developers and members of the BCH community. Developers and merchants of the Bitcoin BCH community will also be on hand for the CoinGeek Week Conference happening in London on Nov. 28-30.

Tickets to the three-day conference are still available via Eventbrite.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Toyota sees drop in ad fraud with blockchain-powered campaign

An initial advertising campaign for automotive manufacturer Toyota tracked by blockchain technology saw visits to the company’s website increase by 21% compared to similar campaigns.

Blockchain advertising analytics firm Lucidity, in a press release, announced its partnership with Toyota and ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi for the pilot campaign, which it said was the “final test” to show if a blockchain-powered online ad campaign could “deliver real results for real brands.”

Toyota National Marketing Communications Manager Nancy Inouye said, “Before today, there was no way to verify with confidence what’s happening behind the scenes in a programmatic buy. We’ve had our eyes on blockchain innovation for a long time, but didn’t have a workable blockchain solution until now.”

The campaign involved an analysis of data on clicks and impressions to find discrepancies, which according to online magazine Ad Age included domain spoofing and bot traffic. With this information, certain sites and apps associated with the discrepancies were blacklisted, and funding was diverted to better performing sites.

Saatchi & Saatchi Media Director Tom Scott said, “Even with high standards of anti-fraud and viewability filters already built in, Lucidity was able to deliver significant value-add by further optimizing the campaign. The ability to have access to a transparent, clean set of data from across the programmatic supply chain is game-changing. We’re empowered to take action, and this is the first time we’ve been able to use blockchain technology to eliminate waste and optimize our ad buy in this way.”

Lucidity Chief Operating Officer Nikao Yang said, “The reality is that programmatic supply chains don’t always behave as intended, and bad behavior comes into play. Our blockchain solution gives partners like Toyota deeper, log-level optics into their ad spend at every point in the supply chain to combat these challenges.”

Yang was quoted in the Ad Age article as saying that Lucidity’s technology allowed everyone in the supply chain a say as to whether an ad impression was valid. “We are not necessarily just looking for fraud. Lucidity exposes supply chain breakdowns… Lucidity allows marketers to optimize away from these breakdowns, which yields greater performance,” he said.

Inouye hinted at a continuation of campaigns with Lucidity in the future. “We are in discussions to take it to the next step and [test] further with additional campaigns for a longer period of time. We feel that if we go longer, we would see stronger results,” she said.

According to Lucidity, the automotive digital advertising industry was a $15-billion market this year in the U.S. alone.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Steve Wozniak tosses hat in blockchain VC ring

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has put his name behind EQUI Global, a blockchain-powered venture capital fund from the founders of a similarly named company that had failed to raise adequate funds earlier this year.

A blog post from EQUI Global announced the partnership, naming Wozniak as a co-founder along with entrepreneurs Doug Barrowman and Michelle Mone. The company seeks “to disrupt the venture capital industry—one that is considered to be extremely traditional.”

People can invest in the fund through the purchase of EquiTokens. Wozniak, as head of technology investments, will “help find the tech stars of tomorrow. Woz will then bring them to the table and the board of serial entrepreneurs will mentor and coach them with world class expertise and guidance,” according to the press statement.

Up to 80% of the EQUI Global fund will be placed in technology, while the remaining amount will be for assets such as real estate and collectibles such as art and vintage cars.

Wozniak said, “I get ideas pitched to me every single day in fact dozens and I always say no. Since I co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, this is about the second time in twenty years that I actually said yes, I want to be a part of this. It has to be something I really believe in and I really believe in EQUI… I know that we have something very special with EQUI. I’ve since enjoyed giving my feedback to the technical side of the initiative and will very much be an actively involved proud co-founder.”

Barrowman and Mone launched EQUI Capital last February. A March initial coin offering (ICO) was targeted to raise $75 million. After about a month, however, the company only managed to raise about 10% of its target, and its subsequent campaign that offered “bounties” to those who promoted the ICO online, failed to generate the desired funds. Reacting to complaints of so-called bounty hunters being paid only a small amount owed to them, a spokeswoman for Mone reportedly said that another company, AmaZix, was responsible for the bounty program.

Wozniak said of the new enterprise, “I am very pleased that my business partners are the respected Michelle and Doug… I greatly admire Michelle and Doug for their huge accomplishments.” He added that EQUI Global was already looking at more than 20 businesses to invest in.

Wozniak, an outspoken advocate of cryptocurrencies, is entering the blockchain business for the first time. Last February, he admitted to being robbed of cryptocurrencies worth about $75,000 at the time, through a credit card scam.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Dr. Craig Wright on smart contract registries

Dr. Craig Wright took to one of his favorite stages recently to talk about Bitcoin BCH and smart contract registries. In a Medium post, Wright set out to detail how smart contracts could be introduced successfully on the blockchain and did an incredible job breaking down the specifics of any registry platform.

Wright points out that one of the major issues with contract management is the overwhelming amount of redundancy. Copies of the same contract are kept in a number of different locations, which is a logistical nightmare when any change or addendum is needed. Since contracts are often written in natural language, they can also be open to interpretation if not properly dissected during the drafting phase.

These obstacles, among several others, are the reason smart contacts make sense. However, several steps must be followed to have them implemented properly.

Some of the main requirements include formal definition of the contract so that it “can be formally interpreted and implemented by a machine, as well as converted into natural language,” explains Wright. Additionally, it’s important to be able to publish a contract so that everyone knows it exists, while not divulging any of the details, except to those with the need to know.

It is also important to consider including mechanisms that allow the contracts to be configured based on time and/or conditions. Perhaps a contract is only valid for 18 months or expire once the contract’s target has been fulfilled. Smart contracts will need to know what actions to take based on these criteria if they are to be effective.

The Bitcoin BCH blockchain already includes a number of features that make contract creation a breeze. Once the proper controls are added to the contract and it is registered in a repository, “the associated URI and hash can be used in accordance with using metadata within a Blockchain transaction to associate the transaction on the chain with the controlling contract itself,” explains Wright.

To ensure that any machine-readable contract can also have a human-readable version, Wright points out that he and the group at nChain are already working on a tool that will generate a readable document. This version would be delivered in in pdf format, or something similar that doesn’t allow for easy editing.

To ensure that only authorized individuals have access as appropriate to the contract, it can be secured by several means. The most basic security is offered through a hash check to ensure that there haven’t been any alterations. Additionally, the repository itself can be locked down and the contract can be digitally encrypted to limit access only to those who have the corresponding decryption keys.

Says Wright, “In many cases, the Contract itself will have partial protection on it. For example, some sections within the file are protected but the overall content is public. For example, the details of how to implement a fixed rate loan are published but the knowledge of who took out the loan, for how much and at what rate is known only to the contracting parties.”

Wright provides further details on the intricacies of contract creation and manipulation using the Bitcoin BCH blockchain, but it’s evident from the insightful piece that Bitcoin BCH already has everything it needs to facilitate contract creation and storage, and doesn’t need any modifications to enhance the platform.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Debit card ATM network in the US now selling crypto

Hundreds of thousands of US residents just got access to cryptocurrencies, right at their fingertips. According to an press release by cryptocurrency company LibertyX, the firm has entered into a partnership with Genmega, a fiat ATM supplier in the US, to facilitate crypto purchases using debit cards directly through the ATMs. It’s the first time in the US that such an initiative has been undertaken.

Genmega currently has around 100,000 ATMs spread out across the country. With a simple software upgrade, the machines can now be configured with an option that allows a user to purchase Bitcoin Core (BTC) directly from the ATM and have the currency sent immediately to the user’s cryptocurrency wallet.

The move will be an important advance for cryptocurrency adoption, giving easy access to digital currency to both veterans and new enthusiasts. It will also help provide an additional revenue stream for the ATM operators. According to Wes Dunn, Genmega’s Senior VP, “ATM operators are always looking for ways to grow volume and transactions. We are excited to work with LibertyX on this new initiative that will drive additional foot-traffic to merchant locations and provide added revenue to our operators ‒ ensuring they stay ahead of the market and bring added value to consumers.”

Virtually everyone knows how to operate an ATM. The LibertyX cryptocurrency interface will make BTC purchases as simple as making a cash withdrawal. Chris Yim, LibertyX co-founder and CEO, said that this was the goal all along. He explained, “We have been working tirelessly to make it easier to buy cryptocurrencies for the last five years and now are bringing simplicity, convenience and trust to the cryptocurrency purchasing experience through the timeless ATM.”

The inclusion of cryptocurrencies in traditional cash ATMs is a huge step forward for the cryptocurrency space. Not only does it show that crypto is gaining in popularity, but it indicates the ease with which businesses can begin to interact with digital currency. Following on the success of the crypto integration into ATMs, the next logical step would be to have more point-of-sale systems and retail money outlets embrace the future, as well.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Marks Jewelers now accepts Bitcoin BCH, other cryptocurrencies

One of the most enduring jewelry retailers and designers in the US has decided to embrace cryptocurrencies. Pennsylvania-based Marks Jewelers announced in a press release yesterday that it has partnered with Shopping Cart Elite, an eCommerce payment platform, to give customers the ability to pay for their fine jewelry purchases with a variety of digital currencies.

Marks now accepts Bitcoin BCH, Bitcoin Core (BTC), Bitcoin Diamond (BCD), Bitcoin Gold (BTG), Ether (ETH), Litecoin (LTC), ZCoin (XZC) and Dash (DASH). It is the first time a major US-based retailer with a large physical presence has embraced cryptocurrency and shows how crypto is continuing to expand to fulfill its intended purpose – to be used as currency.

According to Marks Jewelers Director of Marketing Joshua Rubin, “We’re very excited to begin accepting cryptocurrency payments from our customers around the world. This will allow us to make our fine jewelry available to the global market while paying lower fees and avoiding chargebacks. Marks has long been known for our meticulous craftsmanship and curated selection, and we are thrilled to open our store to the world.”

Opening up its payment capabilities to crypto gives Marks’ customers access to its large portfolio of fine jewelry “with lightning-fast transactions that take just minutes to process.” Since cryptocurrency transaction fees are substantially lower than those associated with bank transfers and credit cards, “Marks Jewelers is able to pass on even more savings to customers buying their next dazzling piece of jewelry,” according to the announcement.

Marks has been around for over 35 years. The company doesn’t just provide resale options for jewelry; it designs jewelry, as well. The company has five gemologists that graduated from the Gemological Institute of America on its payroll to ensure that the quality of diamonds and gemstones is a cut above the rest. It is partnered with Forevermark, a company under the DeBeers umbrella of jewelers.

Shopping Cart Elite is an eCommerce platform that gives companies the ability to automate their businesses. It is gaining traction as a crypto payment facilitator and is capable of being integrated into any eCommerce platform, including those that are listed on large retail sites such as Amazon, NewEgg, Etsy and Walmart, among others.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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19 crypto exchanges secure provisional license in Philippines’ economic zone

The number of companies that have been granted provisional licenses by the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), which operates the Philippine government-owned Cagayan Special Economic Zone (CSEZ), has jumped to 19.

Last week, CEZA published a list of firms that have been issued with Financial Technology Solutions and Offshore Virtual Currency (Ftsovc) licenses and the Offshore Virtual Currency (OVC) licenses. The list also contains names of companies who have paid the applicator fees and are still being reviewed.

According to the publication, a total of 19 companies have been awarded the provisional license. Of that number, 17 were issued with provisional principal licenses while two were given provisional regular licenses. Companies holding the provisional principal license can “conduct offshore financial technology solutions business activities and offshore virtual currency exchange activities,” while those with provisional regular license can only offer offshore virtual currency exchange services.

The 17 companies with the Ftsovc provisional principal licenses include Tiger Wheel, Golden Millennial Quickpay, Hong Kong Yuen Shing Hong, Ultra-Precise Investment, Digifin Technologies, Liannet Technology, Rare Earth Asia Technologies Corp., Formosa Financial Holdings, Cr8tiv Solutions Management, Sino-Phil Economic Zone Agency Development, Tanzer Holdings, Asia Premiere International, Ipe Global, Orient Express Global, White Ranch Limited, Dragon Empire Developments, and Galaxy Plus Developments.

The two companies’ awarded with the Ovc licenses were Unicorn Venture Investment Ltd and Cezex Trading Pte. Ltd.

Companies awarded with the principal license for Ftsovc had to pay $360,000 while those awarded with the regular licenses had to pay $85,000, CEZA previously stated. The awarded licenses will be valid for the next six months. Companies that require permanent licenses will have to prove to the authority that they are in compliance with Philippine laws.

While speaking to reporters in July, CEZA Board Secretary Catherine Joy Alameda explained that the licensees must have authorized capital stock of $500,000 with paid-in capital of $200,000. In addition to this, the companies should invest at least $1 million in a period of two years in the country. They should also set up a back office in the Philippines.

In addition to the 19 companies, CEZA publication also included seight companies that are still under review. From the eight, six are being reviewed for provisional principal licenses while two are being reviewed for provisional regular licenses.

In July, CEZA granted provisional licenses to three cryptocurrency exchanges. The authority has been taking measures to create a legal framework in which crypto related business can operate.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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Gibraltar licenses first crypto exchange—Coinfloor

UK’s first cryptocurrency exchange, Coinfloor, adds another feather to its cap—it’s become the first crypto exchange to be licensed by Gibraltar’s groundbreaking blockchain legislation.

According to a report in the Financial Times, Coinfloor will be regulated as a distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider under the new license. Coinfloor CEO Obi Nwosu was quoted by the news outlet saying Coinfloor had to undergo various processes before it secured the Gibraltar license.

According to Nwosu, the crypto company was tested on nine principles aimed at determining whether the exchange has sufficient anti-money laundering (AML), and Know Your Customer (KYC) protections in place. Nwosu said Coinfloor had to prove that their security system could stand any kind of cyber attacks that have plagued the cryptocurrency exchange industry over the years.

Nwosu also stated that the licensing process under Gibraltar’s new legislation impressed him, telling FT: “What impressed us was that this [legislation] was in the works for a long time. It’s been well thought out, well considered. They are focusing on quality over quantity.”

Gibraltar has been a haven for many virtual casinos because it offers low taxes for business based in the region. Recently, the British Overseas Territory introduced new rules specifically applying to the blockchain, which it hopes, will increase the success of blockchain-based companies in the region. This legislation was the first of its kind in Europe.

With this and more changes, Gibraltar seems to be creating a crypto-friendly environment like that of Malta. However, since UK is set to leave the EU next spring, there are many uncertainties and the move might affect Gibraltar’s dream of becoming a crypto and blockchain hub.

The new license comes as good news to Coinfloor, which recently laid off around 40 employees as part of the company’s restructuring process. The exchange, which was founded in 2013, made the decision at a time when there were increased difficulties for businesses in the cryptocurrency space following the bear market conditions.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.

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