Ireland moves to limit crypto money laundering

Ireland moves to limit crypto money laundering

New AML bill given thumbs up by cabinet
will lead to stricter rules, and ease police access to bank accounts. 

The Irish Cabinet has approved a bill that purports to stiffen laws aimed at tackling money laundering, and puts the use of cryptocurrencies front-and-centre for their alleged role in financing terrorist activity. At the heart of the new legislation is the passing of the fifth EU money laundering directive, released in July of 2018, into Irish law by amending the country’s existing statutes on the matter. That new EU policy widened the purview of existing rules – unsurprisingly, the fourth EU money laundering directive of 2015 – on Anti Money Laundering (AML) to cover virtual currencies, wallet providers and exchanges. That means as of now, any such operation in the country must be fully compliant with its demands or face prosecution.

The speed at which the legislation has been updated again, of course, reflects the meteoric rise of cryptocurrencies in that time – and the threat they are now perceived as by authorities looking to track criminal activity. As well as targeting cryptocurrency related business, the laws also look at the roll of pre-paid debit cards, as well as sellers of high-value items and art. According to The Irish Times, banks and other financial institutions will also “be required to carry out stricter due diligence before taking on new clients. Credit and financial institutions will also be prevented from creating anonymous safe deposit boxes.”

It also says that the the bill provides upgraded powers to the Garda and Ireland’s Criminal Assets Bureau to access bank accounts during money laundering-related investigations.While the legislation will not be enacted in post-Brexit UK, at least not in such an obvious transposition as this, Jonas Karlberg – the boss of crypto advisory firm, Amazix – believes that such enhanced regulation will bring more parties to the market.

“The continued development of crypto-related regulations globally will mean that more traditional areas of business and financial institutions will adapt to expand their services to crypto. 2019 will also see the full implementation of the 5th AML directive in the EU – allowing the full spectrum of cryptocurrencies and possibly token offerings to operate within full compliance”, he said.

“This new trend will challenge traditional consultancies to think about adequate control measures to comply with applicable laws and regulations. All the usual integrity risk concerns and compliance burdens of a conventional financial institution will now apply to crypto businesses: money laundering, terrorist financing, tax avoidance/evasion, sanctions and cybercrime”.

Article Produced By
John Moore

https://cryptonewsreview.com/ireland-moves-to-limit-crypto-money-laundering/

 

 

 

Indian Central Bank’s Report Shows Cryptocurrencies Are Not Currently a Threat

Indian Central Bank’s Report Shows Cryptocurrencies Are Not Currently a Threat

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has published a report indicating that cryptocurrencies are not a threat currently. However, the central bank says, with rapid growth and adoption of cryptocurrencies, this assessment could change, adding that constant monitoring of cryptocurrencies is needed.

No Threat Currently

The RBI published its “Report

on Trend and Progress of Banking in India 2017-18” on Dec. 28. The report cites an analysis by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an international body which monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system. Quartz India summarized on Thursday, “A global financial body, which includes India, says cryptocurrencies aren’t a threat.” India’s central bank wrote in

its report:

The FSB has undertaken a review of the financial stability risks posed by the rapid growth of crypto-assets. Its initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability currently.

The RBI, the Securities and Exchange Board of India, and the Ministry of Finance are all members of the FSB, along with 23 other countries plus international organizations such as the European Commission, the Bank for International Settlements, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.

  

The wording in the RBI report resembles the FSB’s

own report released in October which states that “crypto-assets do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time.” The central bank’s latest report echoes its annual report which states that “Though cryptocurrency may not currently pose systemic risks, its increasing popularity leading to price bubbles raises serious concerns for consumer and investor protection, and market integrity.”

RBI Says Constant Monitoring Needed

  

The RBI reiterated in its latest report

that it has repeatedly cautioned users, holders and traders of cryptocurrencies about the various risks associated with these assets. Furthermore, the central bank issued a circular on April 6 prohibiting regulated entities from providing services to crypto businesses. The central bank gave them three months from the date of the circular to exit relationships with crypto companies. A number of industry participants have filed petitions against the ban. The supreme court is set to hear the case this month, after postponing it repeatedly last year.

The RBI continued to describe in its latest report:

The market continues to evolve rapidly, however, and this initial assessment could change if crypto-assets were to become more widely used or interconnected with the core of the regulated financial system … Cryptocurrencies need constant monitoring on overall financial stability considerations, given the rapid expansion in their usage.

No Hurry for Crypto Regulation

   Indian Central Bank's Report Says Cryptocurrencies Are Not Currently a Threat

On the same day, Dec. 28,

the Indian Ministry of Finance reportedly provided some clarification to Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s bicameral parliament, about the country’s cryptocurrency regulation. Despite the media reporting that the draft regulatory framework would be ready last September or by the end of last year, Shri Pon Radhakrishnan, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, indicated no urgency for cryptocurrency regulation. He wrote, “In absence of a globally acceptable solution and the need to devise [a] technically feasible solution, the department is pursuing the matter with due caution. It is difficult to state a specific timeline to come up with clear recommendations.” Following this report, the CEO of local cryptocurrency exchange Wazirx, Nischal Shetty, told news.Bitcoin.com, “in a way it also puts out any fear of ban in India.”

He elaborated:

Next step is to see if [the] supreme court sees this as the basis to grant [a] stay against the RBI banking restriction as this means that government of India does not see crypto as a threat or matter of immediate concern.

Article Produced By
Kevin Helms

A student of Austrian Economics, Kevin found Bitcoin in 2011 and has been an evangelist ever since. His interests lie in Bitcoin security, open-source systems, network effects and the intersection between economics and cryptography.

https://news.bitcoin.com/indian-central-banks-cryptocurrencies-not-threat/

Startup Nation’s SEC Turns To DLT To Battle Cyberterrorism

Startup Nation’s SEC Turns To DLT To Battle Cyberterrorism
 

The Israeli Securities Authority, 

the equivalent of the American SEC, is incorporating blockchain technology into its information systems, in an effort to improve the cybersecurity of its nation-level critical systems against cyberterrorism attacks.

Why It Matters

A public embrace of blockchain technology from any government agency signals a very positive move towards wide adoption, especially when coming from the innovative startup nation’s cybersecurity specialists. The ISA has already embedded the technology into their existing communication system used to deliver messages to entities supervised by the government regulator. It is also planning to use blockchain technology to develop two additional systems: one is an online voting system for investors to cast their vote on decisions taken in ISA assemblies and the other will be a system for tracking financial reports submitted by supervised entities.

BLOCKTV spoke to Eran Ovadia, the project lead from Taldor, who implemented the infrastructure for the ISA, in order to understand why they chose blockchain, and what blockchain technology does for the project that other technologies do not.

Cyberterrorists Never Sleep

The ISA’s systems are constantly being targeted by cyberterrorism attacks and hacking attempts originating from hackers backed by foreign governments and hostile actors around the globe. Specialized teams monitor incidents 24/7. But the availability of the ISA's systems is highly critical, since if any hacker could manage to take it down, it would practically paralyze the stock exchange and the entire nation's economy. That is simply something the ISA cannot afford to let happen. 

Enter Blockchain

The innate decentralized nature of blockchains make them resilient to hacker’s attempts to take them down, compared to taking down one central server. Another critical factor of the ISA’s systems is the integrity of financial reports submitted. The ISA cannot allow hackers to tamper with reports' data stored on central databases. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) helps make its systems more resilient to attempts of fraud or tampering with messages. It validates the immutability of the entire data within their system, similar to the way the Bitcoin consensus would not allow tampering with currency transactions. A hacker could not manipulate any part of the system without it being immediately detected. They even implemented smart contracts to automatically revert to the system's last valid state in any case of inconsistency.

In the vote casting system, Taldor said it’s using multi-factor authentication to verify voters’ identities, and is performing consensus validation by using a hybrid public and private ledger. They initially based their system on the Ethereum platform, but eventually chose to use a lighter validation method, since the algorithms used to validate cryptocurrency transactions were too heavy to process. The ISA’s new blockchain-based system is an attempt to keep up with the fintech industry’s global trend to apply innovative technologies, and according to Natan Hershkovitz, director of ISA’s Information Systems department, puts it ahead of the race as one of the leading government authorities in the world in implementing information

cybersecurity and authenticity.

"We are witnessing a growing trend toward incorporating of innovative and pathbreaking technologies in the financial industry. The implementation of blockchain technology in the ISA's information systems positions it as one of the leading government authorities worldwide in the security and reliability of information."

With the current step, the ISA is joining the growing trend of governments and official establishments adopting blockchain technology as a viable and useful technology. As the Israeli entity in charge of regulating the financial investment market, the equivalent of the American SEC, the ISA members are much quicker in expressing a more accepting approach towards blockchain technology, compared to their American colleagues, who are known for taking their time with the infamous Bitcoin ETFs submissions. 

Article Produced By
Ofer Sharon

Reporter

Currently, I am researching, dissecting and creating high-caliber content for BLOCKTV. I focus mainly on the new Financial Technology, Blockchain, Cybersecurity, AI and ML developments, as well as IoT. With the media and technology fields both competing for my attention, I was a software developer for the larger portion of my career, and recently decided to start investing myself full-time in a field I always kept close to my heart. I am now a researcher, tech journalist and content writer for BLOCKTV.
 

 

Crypto Startups Forked Out 878000 To White Hats In 2018

Crypto Startups Forked Out $878,000 To White Hats In 2018

  
Bitcoin may have been dubbed the
“world’s most secure transaction settlement layer”

by Anthony Pompliano, but the industry surrounding the protocol may not be all too secure. Case in point, crypto startups have forked out over $878,000 in bounty to white hat hackers in 2018, specifically for solving bugs that slipped under the radar.

Crypto Startups Awarded $878,000 To “Goody Two Shoes” Hackers

The Next Web’s Hard Fork column recently reported that over the course of 2018, blockchain firms awarded $878,504 to goody too shoes hackers for rectifying bugs. Block.one, the company behind the crypto juggernaut in EOS, forked out upwards of 60% of the aforementioned sum. Considering that the startup raked in an approximated $4 billion for its EOS token offering, one of the most hyped cryptocurrencies of all-time, it makes sense why Block.one awarded $534,500 to white hats.

Interestingly Coinbase, the seemingly unhackable $8 billion upstart, comes in behind Block.one with $290,381 in paid bounties. But, HackerOne, the cybersecurity platform that compiled the data, didn’t divulge how much of that sum was a result of 2018 bugs, as Coinbase purportedly began its disclosure program in 2014. Justin Sun-headed Tron, which recently surpassed a number of pertinent milestones, has found itself behind Coinbase, allowing white hats to score $76,200. Yet these quintuple and sextuple figures are edge cases, as a HackerOne spokesperson told Hard Fork that “the average bounty [paid] for blockchain companies in 2018 was $1,490, that is higher than the Q4 platform average of around $900.”

Still Vulnerable 

While many crypto projects talk a big game, the bottom line is that many blockchains and cryptocurrency-friendly startups remain vulnerable. As reported by NewsBTC in early-August, Altex, a lesser-known crypto asset exchange, saw its ARQ stash get looted. The platform claimed that it “lost a big amount,” specifically due to a bug that hails from the Monero codebase.

Just two months later, Pigeoncoin (PGN) fell victim to an odd inflation bug, CVE-2018-17144, that allowed a bad actor to whip up 235 million PGN within a day’s time. Interestingly, the bugged line of code comes from the Bitcoin protocol. The issue has since been patched by Bitcoin Core (the software) developers, but this event still shocked consumers en-masse.

Ground-breaking bugs aren’t limited to the small-cap cryptocurrencies. In July, SlowMist, a Chinese cybersecurity firm, claimed that an anonymous user managed to double spend 694 Tether (USDT). According to SlowMist, a transactor was able to gain credit for 694 USDT on an exchange without sending the funds. Upon digging, it was discovered that the issue was the fault of the victimized exchange. Dacoinminister, a founder of the Omni Protocol, which Tether is based on,

wrote:

“It appears that what happened here is that an exchange wasn’t checking the valid flag on transactions. They accepted a transaction with valid=false (which they should not have), and then the second “double spend” transaction had valid=true, which they also accepted.”

Regardless of where this problem originated from, the three aforementioned cases only accentuate the fact that this industry remains nascent. So, this industry’s developers still have a ways to go until crypto is spick and span, and ready for worldwide consumption.

Article Produced By
Nick Chong

https://www.newsbtc.com/2018/12/30/crypto-startups-white-hats-2018/

Nearly 1000 Cryptocurrency Projects ‘Died’ During This Year’s Bear Market

Nearly 1,000 Cryptocurrency Projects 'Died' During This Year's Bear Market

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  • Coinopsy and DeadCoins have identified nearly 1,000 crypto projects which have "died."
  • Dead projects are those that were scams, never delivered a product, or have very low trading volumes and adoption rates.

  

Approximately 1,000 different cryptocurrency-related projects failed in 2018,

according to data from DeadCoins and Coinopsy. Some of them were relatively well-known bear market victims. Many of the dead crypto projects were outright scams which were orchestrated under the guise of initial coin offerings (ICOs). Included in DeadCoins and Coinpsy’s long list of abandoned and/or fraudulent digital currency schemes is BitConnect, which is considered one of the largest crypto-related Ponzi scheme scams in history.

Coinopsy: 483 Inactive Digital Currency Projects

Deadcoins, which has compiled one of the most comprehensive information sources on inactive cryptos, revealed there are at least 934 digital currencies that are now dead. In July 2018, DeadCoins reported about 800 abandoned crypto tokens. Meanwhile, Coinopsy has found 483 digital currency projects that are no longer active.

According to Coinopsy, a crypto may be considered dead if its token or coin has been abandoned by its founders, was a scam, and/or its website is dead. A crypto project may also be considered dead if its coin has no trading volume or transaction validating nodes to support it, Coinopsy noted. If there are unresolved technical issues with software supporting the cryptocurrency such as problems with wallets used to store it, then the crypto may be considered inactive.

Notably, Coinopsy has categorized dead coins as: ICO Dead Coins, Joke Dead Coins, Abandoned Dead Coins, and Scam Dead Coins. There are currently 113 ICO Dead Coins identified by Coinopsy, meaning these projects launched an ICO but never seemed to have delivered a product or updates regarding their platform’s ongoing development. Crypto tokens may also be classified as dead ICO coins (by Coinopsy) if they were used to carry out pump-and-dump schemes or other types of market manipulation, while not seeing any real adoption.

Wall Street Journal Finds Plagiarized Whitepapers

A Joke dead coin, according to Coinopsy, is any crypto launched with the intention of just being a joke and no serious plans of becoming a useful digital asset. There are presently 17 coins listed as joke cryptos on Coinopsy. Additionally, Coinopsy found at least 40 cryptocurrency projects that were scams and 313 abandoned coins. Coinopsy explains that a token may be considered dead if it ranks below 1000 in terms of market capitalization for 3 consecutive months. A token whose trading volume is below $1,000 for 3 months is also dead, Coinopsy noted.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) looked into inactive crypto projects as well. WSJ’s latest research findings showed that more than 15% of crypto projects that raised funds via ICOs during 2017 and 2018 had plagiarized whitepapers or just copied ideas from other cryptos. There were also a fairly large number of ICO projects that had promised “improbable returns” and then failed to deliver, the WSJ revealed.

Article Produced By
Omar Faridi

I enjoy writing about all topics related to Bitcoin, Blockchain, and other cryptocurrencies. The topics that interest me most are crypto regulations, quantum resistant blockchains, Ethereum and Bitcoin Core development, and scams orchestrated under the guise of ICOs. My academic background includes an undergraduate degree in Computer Science, with a minor in Mathematics from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. I also possess a Master of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Phoenix.

While completing my coursework, I engaged in independent study programs focused on public-key cryptography and quantum computing. My professional work experience includes working as an application developer for the University of Houston, data storage specialist at Dell EMC, and as Teacher of Mathematics in the United States, China, Kuwait, and Pakistan.

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2018/12/nearly-1000-dead-cryptocurrency-projects-identified-by-coinopsy-deadcoins/

 

Survey Finds 14 of Chinese Citizens Have Invested in Cryptocurrencies

Survey Finds 14% of Chinese Citizens Have Invested in Cryptocurrencies

  

A survey conducted by Panews has found that 14% of Chinese citizens

have invested in cryptocurrencies. The survey also found that 98% of respondents indicated familiarity with the concepts of cryptocurrency and bitcoin – 3% more than those who stated that they had heard of blockchain technology.

Panews has published the findings of a survey that queried 4,200 Chinese citizens on their familiarity and opinions regarding Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. The survey found that just 75 respondents had not heard of cryptocurrency or blockchain technology, equating to roughly 2% of the survey’s sample. The survey also found that 40% of respondents expressed a willingness to invest in cryptocurrencies in the future, despite nearly 83% of the sample describing cryptocurrency investment as a new trend.

14% of the sample, or 598 respondents, stated that they have invested in cryptocurrencies, nearly 70% of whom purchased their crypto via an exchange platform. 266 respondents came to possess their crypto through airdrops, followed by mining, with 263. The sample indicated that social media is the dominant means through which Chinese citizens have become exposed to cryptocurrencies, with 38% of respondents claiming familiarity with crypto stating that they became exposed to such through social media, followed by “relatives and friends” with 26%. Panews also noted that the majority of respondents associated cryptocurrencies with investment products primarily, and not as a medium of exchange.

Cryptocurrency Moving Towards Becoming Household Concept in China

While 4,125 respondents indicated familiarity with the concepts of cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, and blockchain technology, only 372 individuals described themselves as possessing a strong understanding of pertinent topics, amounting to roughly 9% of all respondents. Only 17 respondents claimed not to have heard of cryptocurrency, while 103 stated that they were unfamiliar with Bitcoin. 60% of respondents described common perceptions regarding the complexity of exchanging and storing cryptocurrency as the primary barrier to greater crypto adoption.

Overall, the study found that bitcoin and cryptocurrency have made significant strides toward penetrating mainstream economic discourse in China, asserting that “the cryptocurrency industry has made considerable progress in the public’s cognitive level” since “the early days.”

Article Produced By
Samuel Haig

Samuel Haig is a journalist and entrepreneur who has been completely obsessed with bitcoin and cryptocurrency since 2012. Samuel lives in Tasmania, Australia, where he attended the University of Tasmania and majored in Political Science, and Journalism, Media & Communications. Samuel has written about the dialectics of decentralization, and is also a musician and kangaroo riding enthusiast.

https://news.bitcoin.com/1-7-chinese-invested-cryptocurrency/

 

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Bank of England Poll Finds Most Prefer Cryptocurrency Over Cash as a Gift

Bank of England Poll Finds Most Prefer Cryptocurrency Over Cash as a Gift

  

Respondents to a Twitter poll from the Bank of England

overwhelmingly chose cryptocurrency as their favorite way to receive money as a Christmas gift. Launched on December 17, the poll asked people to choose between digital currency, cash, bank transfer, and a gift voucher. 75% of the 16,799 voters said they prefer digital currency, while 18% responded with cash. The poll ended on December 24. The comments on the Twitter thread centralized around what type of cryptocurrency people would want.

If you receive money as a gift at Christmas, what’s your favourite way to get it? How will we use money in years to come?

18%Cash
5%Bank transfer
2%Gift voucher
75%Digital currency
 

Most said bitcoin was an obvious choice, but a few indicated they would like to receive altcoins like Litecoin or Ethereum.

Polls Suggest Long-Term Interest In Cryptocurrency

Even though markets have suffered in 2018, a couple of polls still suggest people are excited and interested in cryptocurrency for the future. CryptoGlobe reported on an AEVI poll from October that asked respondents to choose what would win the “payments race” for 2018. 68% responded with cryptocurrency. 16% said it would be “card.”

Former congressman Ron Paul posted a Twitter poll in November that asked people what store of value they would choose to receive a $10,000 gift in if they could not have access to it for a decade. Bitcoin was the choice for half of the 94,894 respondents. 37% said gold, while 11% picked U.S. 10-year Treasury Bonds.

Bank Of England Wary Of Cryptocurrency

Some people found the Twitter poll from the Bank of England interesting because of the central bank’s reservations towards crypto. In June, it released a letter to bank CEOs, insurers, and investment firms to warn about how crypto-assets “may give rise to reputational risks.”

An official noted how crypto-assets have had high volatility “in their short history” and run the risk of becoming vulnerable to fraud, manipulation, money-laundering, and terrorist financing. The letter did note the technologies underpinning cryptocurrency maintain “significant potential to benefit the efficiency and resilience of the financial system.” A spring survey from UK market research company D-CYFOR found how most Britons would not support a Bank of England-backed cryptocurrency linked to the British pound.

Article Produced By
Kevin O'Brien

Kevin has lived and worked in five countries and enjoys collecting autographs and playing musical instruments.

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2018/12/bank-of-england-poll-finds-most-prefer-cryptocurrency-over-cash-for-christmas/

Crypto Bear Market Triggers Rise in MampA Activity

 Crypto Bear Market Triggers Rise in M&A Activity
 

In 2018 there was a rapid decline in initial coin offerings,

a slowdown in blockchain business launches, and a bearish crypto market. During this period, companies with good liquidity have been scaling up and strengthening by acquiring startups. 

 M&A Deal Frenzy in 2018

In 2017 the number of cryptocurrency and blockchain companies that launched more than doubled compared to the year prior. The current bear market that has since come to characterize 2018 has proven the ideal time for institutional investors and venture capitalists to make a land grab and acquire innovative startups. 

There’s been something of a deal frenzy involving cryptocurrency and blockchain-related companies seeing mergers and acquisitions (M&A), which have increased by 200 percent in 2018. M&A is the lifeblood of Wall Street and this activity is expected to continue to accelerate within the cryptosphere as we head into 2019. 

In an interview with news.Bitcoin.com, Danish Saxo Bank founder Lars Seier Christensen revealed that he is actively searching to acquire crypto businesses, saying: “I am also looking at a couple of serious fund vehicles that do extensive research across the space. Because of course there will be some gold nuggets that have been dragged down unfairly in this bear market as happens in all bear markets.” 

According to JMP Securities’ head of blockchain and digital assets investment banking, Satya Bajpai, the industry is witnessing a “land grab” for innovative technology, access to new markets, intellectual property, and talented employees through M&A, reports CNBC.  The most recent data from JMP Securities and data from Pitchbook shows 115 deals have already been announced globally this year, with roughly 30 more expected by the end of this year. This compares with just 47 mergers and acquisitions that were completed in all of 2017. 

Rundown of Key M&A Deals From 2018

There have been a number of key crypto and blockchain acquisitions this year, with one of the most active companies being Coinbase. The California-based exchange has not allowed diminished trade volumes to keep it from actively acquiring startups. Earlier this year, there were also rumors about a potential acquisition of Coinbase by Facebook, though this appears to have been little more than speculation. Coinbase acquired decentralized ERC20 trading platform Paradex. The company also acquired Earn.com for an estimated $100 million, a platform that lets users receive cryptocurrency for answering emails and completing tasks. Another notable acquisition involved Goldman Sachs startup Circle which acquired cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex.

Coinsource, a Texas-based cryptocurrency ATM operator, became the first digital asset ATM provider to be granted a Bitlicense in the state of New York. Japanese insurance group Sompo Holdings acquired a 10 percent stake in Bitpesa, a Kenyan digital currency exchange and payments company. Trade.io acquired British brokerage firm Primus Capital Markets for an undisclosed amount to offer BTC-backed Forex trading. Consensys, the software company established by Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, acquired struggling space startup Planetary Resources.

Japanese mega ecommerce and internet company Rakuten Inc. entered the crypto space by acquiring an existing crypto exchange to fast-track its wat into the Japanese cryptocurrency market. Shapeshift completed the acquisition of Bitfract, a software firm which operates a service that allows users to swap from one cryptocurrency to many in an instant. Ernst & Young, one of the major global accounting firms, acquired technology assets and related patents from Elevated Consciousness.

Blockchain research and development firm Nchain announced the acquisition of a majority stake in the Bitcoin Cash-centric startup Handcash. Chinese bitcoin company BTCC was acquired by a Hong Kong-based investment fund. It seems the market downturn that has pervaded through 2018 has been the ideal time for large corporations to snag a good deal and secure a stake in the future of the rapidly developing crypto space.

Will M&A activity continue to accelerate as we head into 2019? Let us know in the comments section below.

Article Produced By
Tanzeel Akhtar

Tanzeel Akhtar is a British journalist covering financial markets for over a decade. She writes across all media platforms from traditional print newspapers to online media platforms such as Bitcoin.com. Tanzeel came across the concept of Bitcoin in 2012 while eavesdropping in on a conversation at a London wine bar called The Arches.

https://news.bitcoin.com/crypto-bear-market-triggers-rise-in-ma-activity/

Crypto Zooms Past Paper to Draw More Users As Checks and Money Orders Lose Steam

Crypto Zooms Past Paper to Draw More Users As Checks and Money Orders Lose Steam

  

A new study reveals that cryptocurrency has surpassed

mailed checks and money orders as a way of sending money overseas. According to Clovr, 15% of respondents say they’ve used cryptocurrency to send money, while 11.8% say they’ve mailed checks and money orders.

More than half of the 707 people surveyed identify PayPal and Western Union, among other online services and traditional money transfer companies, as the most common way to send funds for food, household items and housing for friends and family living abroad.Traditional wire transfers, prepaid cards, cash and post office wire transfers round out the top methods for sending remittances.

Top Methods for Sending Remittances Abroad
  1. Online services (i.e. PayPal) – 51.0%
  2. Money transfer services (i.e. Western Union) – 50.9%
  3. Traditional wire transfer (via bank or credit union) – 25.7%
  4. Cryptocurrency – 15.8%
  5. Prepaid card – 12.2%
  6. Check or money order (via mail) – 11.8%
  7. Check or money order (online) – 11.5%
  8. Cash (via mail) – 8.9%
  9. Traditional wire transfer (via post office) – 6.1%
  10. Other – 1.9%

The study, conducted using Amazon’s Mechanical Turks to crowdsource data, also reveals high fees for sending money through traditional means. In order to send $500 abroad, banks charge an average of $52.05. Money transfer operators charge $30.75. The post office charges $34.05, and mobile operators charge $16.

The average person sends $3,315 per year and pays $585.99 in fees. Over 15% of people who used traditional wire transfers, paying the highest fees, reported being dissatisfied, while 10.4% of those who used money transfer services, with lower fees, reported dissatisfaction. The number one reservation respondents have about using cryptocurrency is that they don’t know enough about the technology. The second most common reservation is worrying the recipient won’t be able to use the crypto to buy goods.

Mexico, China, India, the Philippines and Vietnam were the top five countries to receive remittances from the US in 2017, for an estimated $150 billion sent, according to the World Bank. According to Dilip Ratha, head of KNOMAD, a World Bank initiative for Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development,

“While remittances are growing, countries, institutions, and development agencies must continue to chip away at high costs of remitting so that families receive more of the money. Eliminating exclusivity contracts to improve market competition and introducing more efficient technology are high-priority issues.”  The World Bank estimates that almost $150 billion in remittances was sent abroad from the US in 2017.

Article Produced By
Altcoins

https://dailyhodl.com/2018/12/26/cryptocurrency-use-for-remittances-leaves-checks-and-money-orders-in-the-dust-study/

Cryptocurrency Used by Nearly 40 of FreelancersLightning Network Growing Despite Crypto Winter’ Up 300 This Month

Cryptocurrency Used by Nearly 40% of Freelancers

A survey of 1100 freelancers recently conducted by Humans.net,

found that cryptocurrency is becoming extremely popular among the self-employed. According to the study, 38% of the 1100 people surveyed said that they have used cryptocurrency before, while 41% had never used the technology, and only 24% had never heard of it. For many freelancers, cryptocurrency is appealing because there are no intermediaries for payments, even for international transactions, which are typically slow and costly.

Some of the advantages that freelancers found in crypto were illustrated  below

Freelancers are also drawn to the technology because it allows them to deal with clients who they may not know or trust. Humans.net also found that 29% of freelancers would actually prefer to be paid in crypto than through the legacy banking system. 11% of those surveyed said that they would like to receive a portion of their income in cryptocurrency, while 18% said that would prefer to receive their entire income through crypto. Earlier this month, Humans.net announced that they will be using blockchain technology for their freelancing platform. Founder and CEO of Humans.net, Vlad Dobrynin,

told Coinpedia that:

"We are using an advanced AI to drive the search process on the platform which will radically alter how we connect online with peers and businesses. People will get swift and accurate search results irrespective of geographical location. By leveraging decentralized networks, power is given back to users ensuring no one can use their data without their permission. In today’s world of data driven economies, this is a radical but far-reaching step."

Article Produced By
John Vibes

John Vibes is an author and activist who has been writing for various online publications since 2012. In his research of central banking and the financial system, John discovered cryptocurrency, and has since taken a special interest in the technology. In addition to his writing and activism, John also hosts a number of large events and helps first time authors publish their own books.

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2018/12/lightning-network-growing-despite-crypto-winter-up-a-whopping-300-this-month/

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Lightning Network Growing Despite ‘Crypto Winter’, Up 300% This Month

Bitcoin’s second-layer settlement solution, the so-called Lightening Network,

is growing by leaps and bounds, even as the preeminent cryptocurrency sinks in value versus fiat currencies to new yearly lows. The Network has grown in the last 30 days across all metrics: in terms of the amount of nodes, channels, and bitcoin living on the network, according to the 1ML statistics website dedicated to tracking the network.

The amount of bitcoin stored on the network is of particular note, growing a whopping 300%+ in just one month. Nearly $1.6 million worth of bitcoin, in current valuation, is now stored in Lightning channels. The number of channels is up over 40% versus last month, to 13,000; and the number of nodes is up 9.5%, to about 4,400 nodes. Longhash reports that the amount of Lightning channels has increased sixteen times since the start of 2018. Users store bitcoin in Lightning Network payment channels, in order to have it ready to conduct peer-to-peer transactions off-chain. Once the channel is closed, the transactions are then settled on-chain – on the Bitcoin blockchain.

All About Lightning

The news comes as a ray of sunny good news for those still watching the cryptoasset industry and its developments – except, of course, if one is in the camp that opposes off-chain solutions for Bitcoin’s scaling problems. The question of how to scale the Bitcoin network – on-chain or off-chain – is a long standing bone of contention that mostly prompted last year’s fork of Bitcoin to Bitcoin Cash. The issue prompted one of Bitcoin’s earliest developers, Mike Hearn, to quit his role in development and completely leave the space a couple of years ago. Opponents of the Lightning solution argue that all transactions should be stored on the blockchain, with their prefered solution being to increase the file size of blocks.

It is important to note that not only bitcoin can be sent using the Lightning Network. Other blockchains can transact on the Network if they support its protocol. The Lightning Network also has a mobile solution called Neutrino in development, which is operational at an alpha stage.

Article Produced By
Colin Muller

Colin studied history and political economy at some pretty good universities. He also did other things. He thinks changing the nature of money will change the nature of humanity. 

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2018/12/lightning-network-growing-despite-crypto-winter-up-a-whopping-300-this-month/