The cryptocurrency market and the rapidly growing blockchain industry have demonstrated that even established systems—such as currency—could be completely changed within a short period. There are so many peculiar things about this new sector, and one of them is that many of the blockchain companies are registered as not-for-profit foundations. To understand why the foundation status is best suited for crypto firms, we must understand how foundations are structured as opposed to other forms of legal entities.

One of the most significant concepts on which blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies are built is decentralization. The idea revolves around removing control from a centralized organization and placing it in the hands of the masses. Decentralization can be applied widely and has even been advocated by the World Bank as one of the ways of empowering communities at the local level.

When Bitcoin was first introduced into the market, its creator Satoshi Nakamoto said that it would not be controlled by a central authority in the same way that fiat currencies are controlled by central banks. This approach was made possible through blockchain technology and is one of the most appealing aspects of cryptocurrency, considering that centralization in fiat currencies leads to negatives outcomes such as inflation.

The main object of decentralization was to restore people’s faith in the power of money. Decentralized cryptocurrencies cannot exist as limited liability companies or publicly-listed companies or even as businesses owned by their founders. All of these suggest a for-profit goal, which goes against the idea of decentralization. Existing as a foundation likens the cryptocurrency to a cause. Cryptocurrency organizations are supposed to help digital currencies to reach their full potential while allowing the cryptocurrencies to exist independently. They achieve this by providing support in terms of development, research, education, and marketing without directly benefiting from the cryptocurrency but instead rely on donations.

Corporates and businesses are structured in a manner that clearly defines how they operate and make profits, and where there are profits, there are taxes. If a blockchain and cryptocurrency entity is registered as a not-for-profit foundation, it cannot be subjected to taxation.

In the U.S., non-profit organizations are also required to disclose their financials for taxation purposes, as part of the IRA’s anti-money-laundering measures. However, non-profit organizations are unique in the sense that they are exempt from some tax obligations as long as they meet various requirements.

Not-for-profit crypto foundations raise funds through crowdfunding in the form of initial coin offerings (ICOs). This has been a very sensitive area due to the lack of proper legal frameworks to regulate ICOs especially with the rising risks as fraudsters rise to the occasion to take advantage of the lack of regulations.

Globally, authorities and blockchain firms are working to rectify the situation by coming up with regulatory guidelines to streamline the market. However, many startups in the blockchain arena have chosen to register as blockchain foundations so that they can take advantage of the ICO crowdfunding method.

Companies usually work towards making sure that they maximize value for their shareholders or investors. This means that their main interest is what investors will get from the performance of the company rather than focusing on the product or service. Cryptocurrency foundations pride themselves on being able to facilitate the success of a digital currency with the people as the beneficiaries. Take for example the Ethereum Foundations. Its main agenda is to support and promote the Ethereum blockchain. It also works towards supporting education, development, and base layer research so that it can empower developers with tools and decentralized protocols. This allows developers to come up with decentralized apps and other blockchain-based solutions with the goal of creating a trustworthy internet that is free and more accessible.

Blockchain foundations have had a pivotal role on the cryptocurrency and blockchain market, first and foremost in the popularization of digital assets through education and marketing efforts. Their job has been uniquely challenging considering the opposition cryptocurrencies face from authorities and from key organizations in the fiat currency economy.

But opposition and challenges can be fuel for growth. Cryptocurrencies are criticized often for their scalability. Numerous foundations supporting different cryptocurrencies have been working on scalability solutions for their blockchain networks.

Cryptocurrencies have had a tainted reputation for instability and unreliability, with some analysts even describing them as Ponzi schemes. Blockchain and crypto foundations have been working to promote stability and increase reliability. Blockchain and cryptocurrency foundations are the driving force behind the current developments in decentralized ledger technology, which so far has proved quite useful.

The primary goal of creating digital currencies is to replace fiat currencies in the same way fiat currencies replaced gold as the standard of value and exchange. High volatility, uncertainties about digital currencies’ protection from malicious attacks, and other factors have prevented this goal from materializing. 2018 has been characterized by a rise in cyber attacks costing millions in digital currencies.

While digital currencies have a long way to go before they take the place of fiat currencies, global remittance has become significantly faster and cheaper. Globally, banks are already considering using digital currencies to refine their services and achieve faster cross-border payments.

Some analysts believe that the current generation of digital currencies won’t take over from fiat currencies, but that more stable currencies will be created in the future. We have already seen an example for this in Tether (USDT) which is pegged on the U.S. dollar.

Additional solutions include cryptocurrency wallets that are more secure and POS machines that accept cryptocurrencies as payments among other solutions. The idea is to increase real-world use cases that will make it more convenient for cryptocurrency holders to use digital currencies to pay for goods and services.

So far there are very few outlets that accept digital currency payments and some market experts believe that changing this could drastically promote adoption of cryptocurrencies.

The idea of digital currencies has also appealed to the banking sector with concepts such as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The Bank of England released a cryptocurrency research study a few months ago, through which it presented the idea of CBDCs as one of the potential directions for the future of money. Unfortunately, CBDCs would be centralized just like fiat currencies and could potentially suffer the same issues that have made paper money so ineffective. On the other hand, CBDCs will be regulated by the central banks meaning they will not suffer massive volatilities as seen in the cryptocurrency market. They might thus end up being useful in facilitating day-to-day transactions.

Numerous countries have also started embracing the idea of digital currencies and blockchain technology. The development of decentralized ledger solutions could lead to further adoption of digital currencies since most blockchain solutions involve the use of digital tokens.

Regulatory authorities are involved more than ever in an attempt to try and foster some sanity and streamline the crypto and blockchain market. This is great news because it will lead to the faster elimination of blockchain projects that are not serious and in turn leave those that have a higher chance of amounting to something great in the future.

Regulation, especially for ICOs, has been working out well by discouraging scammers, while also encouraging the legitimate startups to keep developing their ideas so that they can deliver what they promised. Such measures act to protect investors. In most cases, startups may end up becoming sluggish and less committed to their projects once they receive the funding. The presence of non-profit foundations helps to facilitate the continued development of blockchain technologies, thus bringing the world closer to effective solutions.

News Credit:Calcalistech

Walk into a Prague subway station and chances are you’ll see an ATM. But you don’t need a debit card or even a bank account to use this machine. This is a cryptocurrency ATM. It’s the physical manifestation of a set of virtual currencies that have leapt out of the shadows of the underground to the mainstream of global finance. And it’s over these ATMs that the latest race in the cryptosphere is unfolding.

From Detroit to Delhi, and Santiago to Split, cryptocurrency ATMs are popping up around the world, catering to an interest that has been tempered by a crash in Bitcoin valuations this year. The first such ATM opened in 2013 at Waves coffee shop in Vancouver, British Columbia. Now, just five years later, more than 3,000 cryptocurrency ATMs populate train stations, factories, delis, hookah bars, tattoo shops, pubs and even pet clinics. These ATMs allow users to withdraw cash or cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. And crypto kingpins are now duking it out for control of that exploding market.

Crypto ATMs are now the only way I can have a functioning economy.

Yoshi Livo, entrepreneur and crypto promoter

Czech firm General Bytes, which has set up the machines in Prague, claims it has sold more than 1,700 cryptocurrency ATMs, in 53 countries, since 2014. EasyBit, a pioneer in the field, started in 2013, and has developed four machine models, selling more than 60 ATMs on four continents. An early-mover advantage has helped both firms spread out geographically. But while scale is their biggest ally, others are trying to make their mark with more sophisticated technology. Vault Logic, which is currently in its beta launch phase, is deploying so-called smart ATMs that allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies for global cash, and uses an operating system to accept third-party apps. This allows it to both sell cryptocurrencies for cash and offer additional services such as paying bills or topping up prepaid mobiles. Vault Logic has placed 10 prototype ATMs in high-profile Bitcoin “embassies” — spaces built to introduce more people to crypto technology — and more traditional venues such as downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, and the headquarters of internet retailer Overstock.com in Salt Lake City.

A Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong.

Source Jean-Michel Clajot/Redux

For those keen to steer clear of formal banking, this fast-expanding network of cryptocurrency ATMs is a godsend — allowing them to straddle the economics of virtual currencies with the reality of a world still dependent on fiat money.

“Crypto ATMs are now the only way I can have a functioning economy,” says Yoshi Livo, an entrepreneur and crypto promoter.

The growing spread of these ATMs is rooted in the increasing recognition of both the possibilities — and challenges — that these cryptocurrencies represent. Invented in 2008, Bitcoin started out as an internet-based currency to subvert traditional monetary structures. Early adopters saw cryptocurrencies as a way to operate outside of the global banking system given that transfers of funds could be made anonymously end to end.

Then came the steep rise and equally sharp fall. According to the cryptocurrency site CoinDesk, the price for Bitcoin jumped from $997.69 on Jan. 1, 2017, to $13,860.14 by Dec. 31 of that year. Then the price crashed, and is currently $6,363. Its rise and its still-high value made many investors warm up to the idea of cryptocurrencies. But few investors like the idea of purchasing cryptocurrency and being unable to exchange it for cash. This need paved the way for the Bitcoin ATM, say experts.

Mike Dupree, CEO of EasyBit, says he is targeting a customer base that’s already a part of the crypto ecosystem. He concedes that building customers outside of the crypto community is a challenge. There’s inadequate understanding of how it all works, and some struggle with the idea of interfacing with a decentralized, nonreversible currency like Bitcoin, he says. But the biggest barrier to expanding quickly in the U.S. is a banking environment that is at best uncertain for internet-based currencies.

The Securities and Exchange Commission has released a warning against cryptocurrencies. The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has allowed public trading of crypto derivatives, but these rules could always change. Furthermore, the Financial Stability Oversight Council has articulated concerns that cryptocurrencies could be used for money laundering.

SatoshiPoint installed one of the first Bitcoin ATMs at Nincomsoup café in London.

The tumble crypto markets have taken over the past year hasn’t helped. Investors in cryptocurrency ATMs will have to successfully allay those fears to expand the crypto ecosystem, suggests Dupree.

But these risks aren’t stopping challengers from attempting innovative ways to take on the larger ATM manufacturers. Vault Logic CEO Doug Scribner says the current use of prototype ATMs at carefully selected locations is aimed at building excitement and recognition for his emerging brand.

Dupree also says he doesn’t worry too much about crypto skeptics. “The beauty of cryptocurrencies is that you don’t have to trust a financial institution to back your wealth,” he says. “Decentralization is the future, and regulation will eventually fall in line.”

Ultimately, Livo and others like him — who prefer staying off the grid of formal financial institutions — want just that: a world where they don’t need to interact with traditional currencies at all. But until the rest of the world believes that too, they will need to exchange cryptocurrencies for cold, hard, fiat cash. And for that, they’ll need the ATMs.

News Credit : Ozy

If there is one country where blockchain will succeed, it is China. Nowhere has a larger, more underdeveloped or fragmented amount of data to manage in logistics, supply chains and other areas. There are also the ever-present counterfeit scandals from fine wine to condoms filling social feeds and state media. Even on booming cross-border e-commerce platforms–promoted as the bastion for legitimate products bought directly from the source–fakes are all too common. In fact, 40% of cross-border cosmetics sold during last year’s Singles’ Day turned out to be counterfeits. There is no shortage of reasons why Chinese are the least trusting consumers on the planet.

As a result, hundreds of solutions have surfaced to provide traceability for genuine fare. Unfortunately, few of these have the scale and widespread acceptance to tempt consumers to download the app or engage other tools to legitimize a product. Many of the systems themselves can be faked, with phoney QR codes pointing to bogus websites falsely claiming a product’s authenticity.

Blockchain is the first tracking standard that is receiving widespread acceptance from consumers, businesses and government in China. Alibaba and JD are investing large sums into blockchain and President Xi Jinping calls it a “breakthrough” technology. About 41% of Chinese startups who received funding in the first quarter of 2017 were blockchain related. Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shanxi, Henan, Guiyang and Hangzhou all have policies actively encouraging blockchain development, with Hangzhou pledging investments of $1.5 billion (10 billion yuan) in the technology. It was one of the most talked about topics at the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Davos, where it was estimated 10% of global GDP will be stored on blockchain by 2027.

China’s President Xi Jinping delivers a speech during the first day of the World Economic Forum, on Jan. 17, 2017 in Davos. (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s still important to remember that blockchain is a nascent technology, and widespread adoption, profitability and expertise is yet to come. Blockchain will not replace the internet; it is a data infrastructure that sits upon it. Nevertheless, like any new technology, there are countless prospectors hoping to cash in, several unanswered questions and many misnomers related to blockchain. Here are four myths about blockchain.
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1. You can store anything you want on blockchain, cheaply

As blockchain data is held across thousands of servers, storage isn’t cheap. Ziga Drev, founder of blockchain solution provider OriginTrail notes that blockchain wasn’t designed for large amounts of data, but the ultimate aim of the technology requires it to “optimize the way business is done across multiple companies,” such as with supply chains. This does take some data. Fortunately, OriginTrail has overcome the challenge of expensive scalability, storing only “fingerprints” of data on the blockchain itself, which costs cents, or even a fraction of a cent for low cost FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) products, where fingerprinting can be done on a batch level.

2. Using blockchain in the supply chain is just about authenticity assurances

Whilst blockchain provides traceability for products that are sensitive to counterfeits and tampering, it also increases efficiencies leading to cost reduction. Currently, 10% of all freight invoices contain inaccurate data, including duplication, wrong freight mode charges and incorrect fees. This leads to disputes, as well as many other process inefficiencies in the logistics industry. By powering leaner, more automated and error-free processes, blockchain can achieve cost savings across the supply chain and provide benefits spanning as wide as healthcare to legal contracts.

The transparency, robustness and decentralized nature of blockchain will see it expand far beyond the practices seen today. One example is blockchain startup Wings, a Shanghai-based P2P flight booking service allowing travelers to buy and sell tickets to anyone, anywhere. Wings founder Stephen Yuan praises the blockchain backbone “allowing the platform to verify every ticket transaction at every point of sale, millions of times a day.”

3. I’ve heard all about blockchain but I’m not aware of any real-world success stories

China’s most innovative companies have been quick to jump on the blockchain wagon. There is no shortage of examples of implementation–such as the more than 400 brands and 11,000 SKUs on JD.com alone who have blockchain tracing–but success stories are harder to find. Fear not, they are coming, such as Cheong-Kwan-Jang red ginseng which implemented blockchain tracing on JD this year and saw sales increase more than 500% year-on-year between March to May, according to an email from a JD representative. Another JD initiative, AI-supported Running Chicken, allows consumers to scan a QR code on the bird’s foot to check raising days, feed, as well as time period for regular checks and disinfection activities, information about the production and testing companies all stored on blockchain. Every batch of the premium chickens has sold out. “We are building long-term trust, beginning with products customers really care about. They’ve never had real visibility into the supply chain before, so this is a big deal,” says Josh Gartner, VP, International Corporate Affairs at JD. “Blockchain traceability will completely change the standard for trust throughout global retail.”

JD.com is one of the biggest e-commerce and logistics company in China. (Photo by Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Yimishiji, a Shanghai-based online farmers’ market selling organic and local produce incorporated blockchain to enable customers to trace purchases from farm harvest to distribution center to the last mile delivery. “As an added benefit, by connecting the data points, blockchain also showed its potential to efficiently uncover any data discrepancy,” says Matilda Ho, founder and CEO. Yimishiji and blockchain partner OriginTrail went on to win an innovation award from the Walmart Food Safety Collaboration Center in China for the initiative.

4. My businesses and my suppliers need to replace our IT systems to integrate blockchain

We’ve heard from businesses concerned about the upheaval and expense involved replacing existing infrastructure to implement blockchain. Fortunately, as long as key touchpoints are already digitalized, blockchain is ERP-agnostic and can plug and play into existing systems. There are a host of businesses offering solutions such as OriginTrail (mentioned above) and Decent.

Blockchain has many benefits selling in China, but beyond the hype, companies considering blockchain should evaluate if there will be legitimate benefits from cost reductions and efficiencies, and/or if their brand or product will fulfil a consumer need by assuring them of the authenticity of their products. Regardless of whether it is currently the right fit for your business, blockchain is something you’ll be hearing a lot more about.

News Credit : Forbes

Cryptocurrencies are known for being incredibly volatile, with prices fluctuating dramatically even in the space of minutes. Investors also have the opportunity to take part in cryptocurrency trading around the world and at any hour of the day. Combined, these factors limit the effectiveness of human cryptocurrency trading in several ways.

First, investors in many cases are unable to react quickly enough to changes in price in order to achieve the optimal trades that are theoretically available to them. Slowdowns in exchanges and transaction times further exacerbate this problem. Second, investors can simply not dedicate as much time to the cryptocurrency markets as necessary in order to always achieve the best trades. Doing so would require round-the-clock monitoring of cryptocurrency exchanges all over the globe.

Fortunately for many investors, there are solutions to these issues. One of the primary solutions is bots, or automated tools that conduct trades and execute transactions on the behalf of human investors. Certainly, bots are a controversial component of the market, and there are justifications for using them just as there are reasons for doing away with them entirely. Below, we’ll examine the role of crypto bots in the digital currency world.
Types of Bots

There are many varieties of cryptocurrency bots. One of the most popular types is the arbitrage bot, according to bitcoin.com. Arbitrage bots are tools that examine prices across exchanges and make trades in order to take advantage of discrepancies. Because the price of a cryptocurrency like bitcoin tends to vary somewhat from exchange to exchange, bots that can move fast enough can beat exchanges that are delayed in updating their prices.

Other types of bots use historical price data to test out trading strategies, theoretically offering investors a leg up. Still other bots are programmed to execute trades at particular signals such as price or trading volume.
How Do Bots Work?

Investors can subscribe to free bot programs to aid in their cryptocurrency trading. On the other hand, many bots have user fees, some of which can be quite steep. Typically, investors seek out the bot or bots that will be most useful for them and then download the code from a developer. Each bot includes different requirements in terms of software and hardware.

Bots can be incredibly helpful, although there remains an ongoing debate about whether they should be permitted in cryptocurrency trading. In order to maximize the impact of a bot, however, an investor must know how to best utilize the tool. For instance, investors must have the proper accounts set up across digital currency exchanges. They must stock those accounts with cryptocurrency holdings. In many cases, they must still make investment decisions such as when to buy or sell; while the bot can execute those orders, there is no substitution for a solid investing strategy.

What a crypto bot tends not to be is a get-rich-quick solution for an investor not looking to put in the time and effort necessary for success. First, many bots provide marginal returns even when operating correctly. Second, many bots are simply not designed well; investors should remember that the crypto bot space is as unregulated (or more so) as the cryptocurrency world itself. Third, and most importantly, successful utilization of a bot requires a deep knowledge of the digital currency markets and an excellent supporting investment plan. For some investors, a bot can be a useful tool to aid in their cryptocurrency trading. For others, though, by the time they’ve done the work to prepare themselves to adequately use a bot, they may no longer require its services.

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual’s situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns bitcoin and ripple.

News Credit:Investopedia

Changpeng Zhao is down to earth for a crypto billionaire. The CEO of Binance, which emerged out of nowhere last year to become the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange, isn’t given to boasting or swaggering pronouncements.

Instead, the man people call “CZ” is friendly and quietly focused on building a blockchain empire that could remake swaths of the world’s financial system. In an interview with Fortune, he shared some very big ideas about the future of Binance and cryptocurrency.

According to CZ—who doesn’t mind if you pronounce it “C-Zee” or “C-Zed,” as they do in Canada where he studied—most blockchain predictions end up being wrong. Nonetheless, many people may be keenly interested to hear what he thinks will happen next.

Here are three insights I gleaned from CZ during the course of our interview. What follows is a loose paraphrasing of his comments.
The Future is Decentralized but Will Take a While to Arrive

Binance announced its first acquisition this week in the form of TrustWallet, a wallet app that also serves as a browser for decentralized applications (dApps). The move is a bet by Binance that more people will start using decentralized services, which provide more privacy since they don’t rely on servers controlled by any single organization.

While there’s been an explosion of dApps in the last two years—the most famous example is the collectibles site Crypto-Kitties—the reality is few are using them, in part because the user interfaces are so unwieldy. CZ concedes the point.

“It’s still the very early stage in dApps. Most are just proof of concept or simple games,” he says, but adds this will likely to change before long.

By 2020, CZ says we’ll see broader use of blockchain-based messaging, games, social networks and rating systems. The next stage after that will be e-commerce, he expects.

In the meantime, Binance is going full-speed with building a decentralized financial system. This is not a new idea—it was the original vision of Bitcoin—but Binance has been taking radical steps to expand on it. This includes working with the country of Malta for a global decentralized community bank. CZ also says Binance is building its own blockchain to facilitate a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange.
Popular Blockchains Are Under Threat

Right now, the Ethereum blockchain rules the roost when it comes to hosting dApps and defining standards. But deep-pocketed competitors—notably Tezos, Eos, and Dfinity—believe they can dethrone Ethereum by offering faster and more efficient protocols. So who will win?

To my surprise, CZ thinks none of the current contenders are poised for long-term success because they are too slow. While this criticism has long been leveled at Ethereum, CZ says any blockchain designed for general smart contracts (as the current competitors are) won’t be swift enough. Instead, he thinks the existing blockchains will cede the field to more specialized ones.

CZ cited newer tools like Komodo and Tendermint that make it possible to write blockchains for specific purposes, suggesting the future will consist of numerous bespoke ledgers. His comment—and this is just my interpretation—implies that blockchains will evolve in the way of chips, where customized ASIC (“application specific integrated circuit”) chips have come to dominate computing over general purpose ones.
The Cryptocurrency Market is Big Enough to Share

In our interview, CZ was unfailingly polite, and equally happy to talk about big blockchain ideas or make small talk about the restaurants in the Richmond area of Vancouver. So perhaps it’s unsurprising he only had good things to say about Coinbase, which along with Binance is the most prominent cryptocurrency company.

CZ says Binance, which claimed a profit of between $500 million and $1 billion last year, doesn’t want to challenge Coinbase in places like the United States.

“In developed markets, there’s more money to be made but more regulation and it’s saturated with competition,” he said. “We don’t want to compete with Coinbase and [Winkelvoss-owned] Gemini. The strategy there requires lots of lawyers and lobbying.”

He added that he prefers operating in places like Malta where he can work directly with a head-of-state to promote the ideals of a decentralized financial system.

As such, he doesn’t see an Uber-Lyft style fight-to-the-death for market share. Instead CZ says Coinbase appreciates the groundwork Binance is laying in Malta, while Binance is grateful for Coinbase’s work helping U.S. lawmakers to understand crypto.

“We have a very good relationship with Coinbase,” he said.

News Credit:Fortune

People are just becoming acquainted with the idea of digital money in the form of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, where transactions are recorded on a secure distributed database called a blockchain. And now along comes a new concept: the blockchain-based token, which I’ve been following as a blockchain researcher and teacher of courses about cryptocurrency and blockchain tokens.

In the last 18 months, digital developers have raised more than US$20 billion through a funding process called “initial coin offering” – many of which use tokens. There are two common categories of them: “utility” tokens and “security” tokens.
Utility tokens

Utility tokens are essentially cryptocurrencies that are used for a specific purpose, like buying a particular good or service. For example, if you want to store information online, the most common way today is to become a customer of a hosting service like Google Drive, Dropbox or Amazon Web Services. You reserve a certain amount of storage space on those companies’ servers and pay for it with dollars, euros, yen or other national currencies.

But there is another way. The Filecoin network, for instance, expects to provide similar cloud storage services without itself operating buildings full of massive servers. Instead, its users will store their data, in encrypted form, on the spare hard drive space of other regular people. This needs a different form of tracking of how much space a person uses, and a new way to pay all the people whose hard drives host the data. Enter the utility token, in this case called Filecoin.

As a customer stores more data, the network will deduct from their balance of Filecoin tokens and will send those tokens to each storage provider based on how much data they’re hosting. Customers can buy more tokens with whatever currency they wish, and hosts can exchange them for any currency they choose – or keep them to spend on storage of their own data.

In addition to automating the data use and payments, Filecoin tokens offer another advantage over regular currencies: They can be used in much smaller increments than pennies, so prices can be very accurate.

Filecoin’s goal is a cloud storage system that is as trustworthy and secure as commercial operations, but decentralized. The utility token is simply a tool that makes this approach possible.
Security tokens

A security token, sometimes called a “tokenized security” or a “crypto-security,” is more than a currency – it often represents ownership in an underlying real-world asset. Like traditional stocks or bonds, they’re regulated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Regular securities are tracked either on paper or – more likely these days – in a centralized database. Security tokens use a blockchain system – a decentralized database – to do the tracking of who owns which assets.

Using blockchain-based security tokens expands trading beyond regular bankers’ and stock-market hours, and may enable faster finalization of transactions. In addition, a marketplace based in software that allows smart contracts can automate various aspects of regulations and reporting.

Security tokens make it easy for customers to access multiple investments: Just as a single E-Trade investment account can keep records for a variety of different stocks and bonds, a blockchain-based digital wallet can do the same for a range of different security tokens, representing equity, debt and even real estate.
Connection to cryptocurrencies

Neither kind of token requires its own blockchain, the way the bitcoin and Ethereum cryptocurrencies do. Instead, tokens can outsource their ownership accounting systems, attaching them to preexisting blockchain ledgers. This in effect creates a new subledger, say of the Ethereum network’s ledger, just for that particular token. Every user who sends a token that is tracked and recorded on Ethereum pays a small transaction fee to the Ethereum network to validate the transaction.

Tokens are still at an early stage of development. I expect to see lots of innovation around how to use them for years to come.

News Credit: The Conversation

The internet has provided an unparalleled means of communicating with people all over the world. There are more than 60 billion messages sent per day on WhatsApp and Facebook messenger combined as well as 269 billion emails sent on a daily basis. However, these platforms have slowly become centralized over time allowing them to become prime targets for hackers and other actors seeking to harvest our data. Both of them have continuously threatened users’ rights to privacy.

Blockchain technology’s disruptive force innovates the way our data are stored, allowing users to fully control personal details they would like to share in public. Leveraging the potential of blockchain technology and decentralization may well be the key to protecting our privacy.

Centralized Threat

Facebook’s recent Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal exhibited just how companies have harvested users’ private data for monetization purposes. An estimated 87 million users around the world have had their personal information used by analytical firms, making it one of the worst data breaches in social media history. While this isn’t new, it highlights the inadequate data protection that exists in our current platforms.

Technological advancement has revealed another way to manage our data through blockchain technology. But this method isn’t something novel, in fact, it harkens back to some of the earliest ideas of the internet. Decentralization set the stage for the unparalleled World Wide Web we know today. It is also a central feature of blockchain technology.

Distributed Privacy

Blockchain provides an infrastructure that allows a secure platform that provides multiple innovative use cases. The immutability and transparency that blockchain provides can gain back users’ right to privacy. However, this technology is still in its infancy.

Credit: Forbes

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With Bitcoin falling to its lowest price this year, one local cryptocurrency advocate says he’s confident the price will bounce back.

Justin Capoccia has been following the cryptocurrency world for quite some time now.

“Kinda started way back, I would say probably around late 2009-2010. It was a currency that I thought was essentially play money at the time,” Capoccia said.

He says after much research a few years later, he strongly believes that this medium of exchange is the way the world is going. Everything is being done electronically, which is why he says he created the Global Exchange Medium (GEM).

“Bitcoin is, and other alternative currencies, are much more secure to transfer and a lot more secure than credit cards.”

Financial Advisor Hugh Johnson says while the world is moving to a more electronic medium, he doesn’t think cryptocurrency will be in its future.

“I think there are a lot of shortcomings of so-called cryptocurrencies, which in my judgment prevent them effectively from being becoming a currency,” Johnson said. “First of all, it’s difficult for cryptocurrencies to be listed and traded.”

“Our coin is economically driven. We use certain implementation of proof of stake that helps it fluctuate with the market correctly, and it’s also a variable proof of stake so we can fluctuate its growth by the people that hold it,” Capoccia said.

He says he hopes to one day have “gem” circulating globally, maybe even exchange them for actual dollar bills.

“The odds of that happening, of it being accepted as a legal tender are, in my judgment, extraordinarily remote,” Johnson said.

Johnson says he doesn’t believe this cryptocurrency or others are long lasting, Capoccia still has faith in this growing means of exchange.

New Credit : News10

The question that prospective crypto investors rightly ask themselves is how much to invest in the sector.

The burgeoning crypto universe is susceptible to market fluctuations, partly due to its relative infancy. As such, investors should always retain a cautious attitude toward their investments.

With this in mind, it’s important to consider several factors:

Decide which kind of cryptocurrency you’re interested in.

As important as it is to decide how much to invest in cryptocurrency, it is also necessary to be strategic in understanding the fundamentals of a digital asset, as this can play a major role in the level of risk involved.

Fundamental analyses are the best indicators for long-term investors, so you’ll need an understanding of how a coin or Initial Coin Offering (ICO) functions, its history and what it brings to the table before choosing to participate in its development.

It might be best to look at the purpose of the cryptocurrency you’re interested in, how long it has been in the market, its market capitalization and its underlying tech solutions. Cryptocurrencies that solve problems are less likely to fail than those that are essentially ICOs.

Also, the longer a cryptocurrency has been in the market, the more trusted it is.

Decide what type of investment you’re after.

Naturally, you’ll want to create a plan if you want to enter the crypto market. The question is whether your trades will be short-term or medium- to long-term endeavors. This is an important consideration that affects the amount of money you’ll place in your investments. If the plan is to trade regularly, then understanding market trends, the culture driving the markets and the mentality of investors is a step in the right direction.

If you want to go further, then studying up on market indicators, fundamental and technical analyses, incoming market-moving events, general tech news and developer announcements — among other things — is the next step to up your game.

Remember: crypto market statistics matter.

As I mentioned previously, gauging market behavior during different time periods is part of a well-ordered strategy. While this might be confusing to follow up on at times, market dynamics shouldn’t be overlooked — especially if you plan on trading in the short term. To make it simpler, streamline your cryptocurrency choice to the ones you prefer, look up their charts and try to spot trends via market indicators.

Find out whether the digital asset is widely accepted and trustworthy.

As in most markets, trust is crucial for prospective investors. In order for someone to put their money behind a cryptocurrency or ICO project, that person must, through some process of their own, conclude that they trust the idea enough to put their money behind it. In the crypto universe, one could predicate this process on three key factors about new technology billionaire philanthropist and entrepreneur Peter Thiel has discussed: a unique idea (that offers tangible solutions), incremental improvement (which requires a good development team), and the ability to coordinate complex ideas.

In reality, these three points are the best indicators a long-term investor can consider in regard to cryptocurrencies.

In a talk at the Economic Club of New York in March, Thiel analyzed the trustworthiness of cryptocurrencies by drawing parallels between Bitcoin and gold. Both are considered a store of value, are not backed by any government, have unclear inherent values and are immutable in different ways.

Take a look at the major crypto players so far.

In any field, learning from the knowledge of predecessors can never hurt, but it can help. Cryptocurrency is no exception. In fact, this move might be more important due to the market’s volatility, as a small mistake could cost a fortune or your entire holdings.

The most common saying by crypto investors and finance experts is that you should only invest money you are willing to lose. Put into perspective, this translates into a low percentage of your net worth. The question is: Do they really do as they say? Crypto millionaire Erik Finman, for instance, invested $1,000 in cryptocurrency when he was 12 years old. He had very little money, yet he went for a high-risk,-high-reward strategy and earned millions in the process.

At one point, Jeremy Gardener invested most of his stock holdings in crypto investments and has since become a millionaire.

At the end of the day, these individuals took huge leaps by investing in cryptocurrency. Even so, the important thing about their investments is that they were willing to lose the money.

Invest the right amount of money.

The rule of thumb that you should “only invest what you are willing to lose” is nigh on impeccable. Think about it this way: If you woke up one morning with your investment in a shambles, would it make you unable to pay your bills the next month? If so, you’re investing too much. Of course, losing money will always hurt. But if you invest properly, it won’t be a devastating event if the worst comes to pass.

I believe investors should always ensure that they maintain 95% of their investments in a well-diversified portfolio across different asset classes, sectors and geographical regions. This helps position investors to mitigate risks and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.

News Credit:Forbes

“From here on out, people can’t say bitcoin is not private anymore.”

That’s how veteran developer Adam Ficsor, now CTO and co-founder of the privacy tech startup zkSNACKs, described the importance of the Wasabi Wallet, set to debut on August 1.

This desktop-friendly bitcoin wallet, which can only be used with the anonymizing Tor browser, will be the first (relatively) mainstream light wallet to offer CoinJoin transactions, dispatching lots of transactions at once to obscure their sources.

First proposed by Bitcoin Core legend Gregory Maxwell in 2013, CoinJoin is one of the most prominent attempts to solve one of bitcoin’s greatest challenges: while addresses are pseudonymous, all transactions are publicly recorded on the blockchain, undermining user privacy.

While developers have been experimenting for years with improved anonymity models, Wasabi Wallet will finally make using CoinJoin as easy as flipping a switch.

Because these privacy tech projects generally avoid collecting data about their users for obvious reasons, it’s hard to determine how many people use privacy-oriented wallets. However, Samourai Wallet’s Android app, arguably the bitcoin industry’s leading privacy wallet since the project was founded in 2015, has garnered at least 27,000 downloads.

The team behind Samourai also plans to implement a type of CoinJoin feature by the end of the year, called a Whirlpool cycle. So Ficsor added another unique feature to further distinguish Wasabi Wallet.

Most bitcoin wallets actually have thousands of addresses inside, he said. But blockchain explorers like Blockchain.info can often detect that those unique addresses share a common source since the same wallet will send an explorer balance queries on all its addresses simultaneously, tipping the user’s hand that they belong to the same person.

“That’s what we want to avoid,” Ficsor said. To do so, he applied a so-called filtering solution first proposed by the bitcoin developer known as Roasbeef, which Ficsor said enables the wallet “to query how much money is in your wallet in a way that you don’t connect your addresses together.”

With the filter, instead of pinging an explorer, “you can figure out which blocks in the blockchain you are interested in and you connect to a lot of bitcoin nodes and get one block from one node,” Ficsor said. “So basically they cannot figure out which transaction you are interested in and they cannot make statistical guesses what this random guy who asks for a block from me wants to do with that block.”

Although funds are otherwise viewable on the blockchain itself, Wasabi will be the only wallet that obscures from nodes how much bitcoin the total wallet holds. “No [other] light wallet queries the balance in a private way,” he said.

Shared values

Beyond the Japanese motifs, the Samourai and Wasabi projects have a lot in common, both in terms of values and business models.

The most obvious commonality is the privacy focus. Speaking to why he’s so passionate about privacy, Ficsor said it’s critical to the success of a currency that any individual unit is as valuable any other, no matter where it’s been, telling CoinDesk:

“Fungibility is very closely related to privacy and anonymity. And we know this is a property of money, that this is a feature it needs.”

Likewise, the pseudonymous co-founder of Samourai Wallet, who goes by the initials SW, told CoinDesk his team views know-your-customer identity checks that connect bitcoin wallets to users’ government-issued IDs or bank accounts, such as those implemented by platforms like Coinbase, as a “fundamental attack on bitcoin and its users.”

These ideals have in turn shaped the two teams’ business models. They’ve both eschewed taking venture capital or raising money through an initial coin offering (ICO), two of the most popular fundraising methods for blockchain projects.

“My co-founder and I come from very well-funded, by VCs, companies in the crypto space. And that’s not something we wanted to replicate,” SW said, adding that ICOs are “a good way to distract yourself from building a good product.”

Rather, both Ficsor’s recently founded zkSNACKs startup, incorporated in Gibraltar, and the un-incorporated Samourai Wallet project were self-funded until launch then accepted bitcoin donations to expand the team to roughly five people each.

SW pays contractors only in bitcoin, while Ficsor utilized two donated bitcoin to compensate independent developers.

Ficsor said self-funding allowed him to stay independent. In fact, Ficsor is so confident users want Wasabi’s CoinJoin feature that charging 0.3 percent per mixer transaction is the startup’s sole source of revenue. He told CoinDesk:

“We’re actually expecting to have a lot of income, so we’re not selling out.”

Meanwhile, economist Bálint Harmat, co-CEO of zkSNACKs, agreed with SW about prioritizing the product instead of trying to make a quick profit or generate buzz.

“At first we want to make sure that the wallet is rock-solid,” Harmat told CoinDesk. “We are planning to release the 1.0 version on October 31, without outside investors. We are only going to accept investors’ money for further development of Wasabi if it is stable and we enjoy the acknowledgment of the bitcoin community.”
Co-opetition

Given the similarities between Wasabi and Samourai, it’s not surprising that the two have collaborated.

Both privacy wallets will implement ZeroLink, an open source tool Ficsor made to help developers find a wallet’s security vulnerabilities. By working with the Samourai Wallet team on such tools, Ficsor prioritized the open source ethos over any rivalries with a formidable competitor. Taking the idea even further, both teams plan to make almost all of their software open source.

Nevertheless, they are still competitors. Evincing the rivalry, SW critiqued Wasabi’s CoinJoin feature for requiring users to wait until 100 users pooled their bitcoin together to send out at once.

“How long is that going to take?” SW asked.

These privacy wallets share at least one more thing in common: they are out of step with the trend among VC-funded blockchain startups to become more like regulated financial institutions.

Aside from recently seeking broker-dealer or even banking licenses, the industry’s unicorns are known for tracking their users’ transactions on the blockchain in order to comply with anti-money-laundering (AML) laws and international sanctions. Indeed, platforms like Coinbase often freeze accounts that accept cryptocurrency previously used on a gambling site or dark market.

That’s why around 15 percent of Samourai users utilize the Ricochet option, which adds five additional hops to a transaction until it lands at the intended destination. Wasabi’s CoinJoin feature will offer similar, although not identical, obfuscation.

On the other hand, Samourai already has many other unique privacy features, including a stealth mode that hides the application so that anyone stealing the phone won’t know it holds a bitcoin wallet. Plus, Samourai Wallet offers remote commands to wipe a stolen phone clean and transfer the wallet to another device.

Such privacy features have proven especially useful for bitcoin users in Venezuela, where corrupt officials are known to confiscate crypto-related devices.

Venezuelan Samourai Wallet user Eduardo Gomez, head of support at the crypto startup Purse who earns his salary in bitcoin, told CoinDesk he uses features like Ricochet and CoinJoin because he fears platforms like Coinbase could freeze his account if he receives a bitcoin with a questionable transaction history.

“I have no control over which bitcoin my employers send me,” he told CoinDesk, concluding:

“I really want to emphasize how important fungibility is for bitcoin. The community needs to solve that problem ASAP.”

Credit: Coindesk