After a holiday hiatus, Ran NeuNer, the founder of OnChain Capital and the host of CNBC Africa’s “Crypto Trader” segment, brought on a number of leading crypto investors, who all did their best to forecast where Bitcoin (BTC) and this industry would be heading next.

Pomp Expects Sideways Price Action For Bitcoin 

When asked about if the worst of 2018/2019’s bear season is over, Anthony “Pomp” Pompliano, the founder of Morgan Creek Digital Assets and a former Snapchat and Facebook growth staffer, noted that Bitcoin likely doesn’t have much further to fall. This comment comes just weeks after Pompliano took to BlockTV to claim that there’s a chance BTC could re-test its $3,150 lows, before potentially falling even lower.

In the CNBC Africa segment, Pomp went on to add that while a bottom is likely inbound, there’s a low chance that BTC and other cryptocurrencies will embark on a drastic recovery during 2019. The decentralist, who has been overtly skeptical of banks, noted that instead of falling further, BTC may begin to range trade, potentially between $2,500 and $4,500 for much of 2019.

Pomp’s comments are interestingly similar to those touted by Fred Wilson, a pro-crypto venture capitalist that co-founded Union Square. Per previous reports from Ethereum World News, Wilson, who has become a respected figure in the Bitcoin, Silicon Valley, and traditional finance world alike, believes that crypto will find a long-term foothold during 2019.

Wilson didn’t stipulate where exactly cryptocurrencies would bottom but claimed that in the months to come, he expects for a fair share of “bullish runs” and influxes of “selling pressure” to push cryptocurrencies to retest their one-year lows. After Bitcoin finds some ground to stand on, the Union Square partner, who was presumably behind his firm’s investments in Coinbase and Polychain Capital, noted that he expects for this industry to enter its next bull season.

Tone Vays, a former institutional investor turned Bitcoin diehard, also recently echoed the idea that this market will find a long-term foothold during 2019, but was also vague about the precise timing and price points.

Crypto Fundamentals Still Strong

When asked about adoption, the Morgan Creek representative noted that all of Bitcoin’s underlying fundamentals are still going strong, echoing sentiment touted by Jameson Lopp of Casa. Pomp noted that this shows that “adoption has continued to increase even amid the bear market.”

Backing his comment, Pompliano explained that hashrate quadrupled (at 2018’s peak), while transaction count increased month-over-month from March until now. And, a collective $400 billion worth of value was settled on the Bitcoin network throughout 2018.

He went on to draw attention to the Lightning Network, which many believe will single-handily catalyze global adoption of cryptocurrencies, most notably Bitcoin. Pomp noted that the scaling solution is one of the fastest-growing protocols regarding scalability and usability. The in-house Morgan Creek crypto bull then noted that Lightning will be one of the big stories of 2019, along with the growth of a strong retail product and the arrival of institutional participation.

This post credited to Ethereum World News. Image souce: Flickr

Bitcoin has failed to stabilize above $3,600, which is leading the crypto markets to now face new levels of support. Today’s downwards move has led many altcoins to plunge 6% or more, and they are showing few signs of major buying support near their current price levels.

Analysts have mixed opinions regarding exactly where the markets will find support, but there is a general consensus that Bitcoin will find some buying pressure in the low-$3,000 region, which, if this level is to be touched, could result in a bounce.

Bitcoin Drops to Bottom of Trading Range

Currently, Bitcoin is trading down approximately 3% at its current price of $3,560, which is at the bottom of the trading range that Bitcoin formed earlier this week when it failed to stabilize above $4,000 for an extended period of time.

Mati Greenspan, the senior market analyst at eToro, discussed this range in a market update from last week, saying:

“It seems now, that bitcoin has opened a new mini-range within that from $3,550 to approximately $4,200.”

Bitcoin does appear to be respecting the bottom of this range as support so far, but the current lack of trading volume likely signals that further losses are imminent.

Crypto Markets Likely to Drop Further Before Finding Strong Support

In a recent tweet, Trading Room noted that Bitcoin’s next key support level exists between $3,292 and $3,396, which is approximately 5-7% lower than its current prices. If it does touch these prices, it will mark a nearly 10% drop from where Bitcoin began 2019.

They further noted that multiple altcoins are still above their support levels, meaning that they will likely drop further before stabilizing or possibly bouncing.

“ALTs market back to free fall. Waiting for majors to stabilize. Let’s see their reaction against major support before entering ALTs,” Trading Room cautioned, hinting that altcoins will face further losses in the near-future.

Josh Rager, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, echoed a similar sentiment, noting that Bitcoin will likely find significant buying pressure at, or slightly below, $3,000. He further noted that the markets will likely range sideways for a while before dropping further.

“As the volume continues to slowly descend Bitcoin could see more sideways ranging… This could last for days or weeks until a decrease in buyers, currently holding up the market, at these levels… Nice support below $3,000 with lots of buyers waiting there,” Rager explained.

It is plausible that the crypto markets will find greater direction as their trading volume increases when the new week begins.

This post credited to News BTC. Image source: News BTC

NEO appears to be losing ground in the popularity contest, at least lately. In the glory days of 2017, the “Chinese Ethereum” was a top 10 cryptocurrency with unstoppable potential. NEO was touted as being faster, better, and capable of handling way more transactions than other major networks. The hype surrounding the project was palpable.

Since its heyday in January 2018 when its market cap was over $10 billion, NEO has slipped to 18th place with a market cap around half that amount.

neo price
NEO, like other top cryptocurrency assets, had a rough 2018.

What’s happened to see it fall out of favor?

The crypto community may be losing interest in NEO, but its co-founder, Erik Zhang, isn’t losing any sleep.

In fact, ask him what NEO price is on any given day and, chances are, he hasn’t even checked.

“I don’t care about NEO’s price and market capitalization at all,” he told me.

I caught up with Zhang to find out what’s going on with NEO, why being compared to Ethereum irks him, and how his cat writes most of his code. Check it out.

Everyone’s heard of your charismatic co-founder Da Hongfei; he’s the face of NEO. Do you prefer to work behind the scenes? What is your main role at NEO?

erik zhang
Erik Zhang, NEO Co-Founder | Source: NEO.org

“Da Hongfei has done a great job in promoting NEO and made great contributions to the development of blockchain industry,” he says.

“Da had more exposure to the public whereas my contributions were more focused on the GitHub.”

Despite his reduced share of time in the spotlight, Zhang isn’t just the co-founder of NEO; he’s also a core developer. And he’s completely disinterested in the NEO price and the crypto market fluctuations in general.

His job, he reminds me, is to focus on building out NEO and strengthening the community.

“What’s the difference between the top 10 and the 18th?” he questions, “We are developing a blockchain project instead of playing a capital game. I just want to make this project even better.”

Is it accurate that NEO is often called the “Chinese Ethereum?” Do you mind that association or is this something that annoys you and the team?

Like a red rag to a bull, Zhang really begins to come into his own here. Somehow, I had the feeling that the constant comparison to Ethereum might be a sticking point.

The labeling is a hype. We never introduced NEO this way, and I’m personally against this labeling.

He goes onto explain that he has nothing against Ethereum, however; he even calls it a “great project.” But he reaffirms that the two blockchains are very different.

It’s easy to call WeChat the “Chinese WhatsApp” and Baidu the “Chinese Google,” but that’s probably where the similarities end. It’s pretty much watered down marketing for dummies in the West.

NEO may have been conceived in China, but Zhang explains that it’s a global project contributed to by developers throughout the world.

“Although it was initiated by two Chinese people, I believe that the founder’s nationality is not the nationality of the project.” And Zhang isn’t real keen on projects having a figurehead.

In my eyes, the founder is nothing but a mascot.

He then comes out with an extremely valid point on the NEO/Ethereum comparison:

Lastly, I have to say that the one that can defeat the Ethereum can never be another Ethereum.

So, what are the key differences between NEO and Ethereum at the technological level? And at a visionary level?

“NEO and Ethereum both have their own tokens. They can all run turing-complete smart contracts. But they also have a big difference. First, their consensus mechanisms are different. Ethereum uses a PoW algorithm, while NEO uses the dBFT algorithm,” he says.

“Second, their smart contract development languages are very different. Ethereum uses a domain-specific language called Solidity, while NEO uses general-purpose languages with a large number of developers, such as C#, Python, Java, Golang, JavaScript, etc.”

Even the smart contract features the two networks provide are different, Zhang explains:

The interfaces provided by Ethereum for smart contracts are relatively simple, and they are usually provided through the EVM instruction set. NEO provides a large number of powerful APIs for smart contracts, and they are provided in a way similar to virtual devices.

Beyond the technical differences, the greatest chasm lies between the vision of the two projects. Says Zhang:

Ethereum wants to be a world computer that cannot be stopped while NEO wants to serve the smart economy.

Da Hongfei said at Web Summit in Lisbon that NEO is ready for the “formal economy.” What does he mean by this and how is this the case?

NEO Team
The NEO Team | Source: Twitter

“In the past year, we have adhered to the principle of building NEO a compliance-ready blockchain. Although blockchain is treated differently in different countries, there’s no doubt that no country or region would turn away from blockchain technology,” he said.

From the perspective of social revolution, blockchain has to be well monitored for mass application and healthy development. We’ve seen the liquidity being facilitated by unhealthy development; however, it propagated a wrong way of usage.

“NEO’s vision of smart economy is composed of ‘smart contract,’ ‘digital identity,’ and ‘digital assets,’ of which ‘digital identity’ is a prerequisite for compliance and a feature of NEO,” he adds. “Digital identity is also the area NEO wishes to focus on to facilitate the development of the formal economy using blockchain technology.”

You can be forgiven for not digesting all that in one go. With so much focus on digital identity, what does that actually mean to the end user? What does all this translate to?

Regarding the importance of digital identity and privacy in blockchains for the mainstream, what applications are available to take NEO to the mainstream?

“NeoID is an important component which facilitates the development of digital identity.” He reinforces:

Blockchain has to be compliance-ready and associated with the real economy to achieve growth.

NEO has never wanted to disassociate itself with the real economy, according to its vision in the whitepaper. NEO plans to make the existing economy better. Zhang confirms:

What’s in NEO’s plan is to use blockchain to empower the real economy, and we firmly believe that NEO will build the future of smart economy.

Are you a believer in regulation despite the fact that ICOs and cryptocurrency exchanges are banned in China? Do you still think this is the right move?

“Although ICOs and exchanges are banned in China, the government still encourages the development of blockchain technology. I think it works positively. When the monitoring system is immature, it is a good idea to build compliance into blockchain technology.”

The situation is a little murky in China upon first glance. On the one hand, the government seems to be entirely hostile to crypto. It’s not an ICO incubator hub the likes of Switzerland or Malta.

However, it’s also not falling behind in the race to blockchainize its economy in any way. But does banning crypto trading and ICOs not damage Chinese-based crypto?

Just to double check, cryptocurrency is not illegal in China, however, trading is? Has this hurt NEO’s growth? How will NEO be able to get ready for a formal economy if trading cryptocurrency is banned in China?

china bitcoin cryptocurrency
Crypto traders in China and Russia are evading local restrictions on exchanges by trading OTC.

“Trading is not illegal,” Zhang corrects me, “exchanges are illegal. This won’t hurt NEO, or the damage to NEO is the same as any other projects. You cannot trade NEO or other tokens on Chinese exchanges. But you can legally trade NEO or other tokens in other countries.”

This is where he brings out a sucker punch to retail traders, the likes of which only a developer can, reiterating that the price of NEO is about as interesting to him as the latest tweet from a Kardashian.

Traders always think of ways, I don’t need to care about this at all, because I am not a trader myself.

What’s new with NEO at the moment? What’s coming up next?

“NEO’s goal is to have the ability to run large-scale commercial applications. To achieve this goal, we are doing two things. The first is to improve NEO’s infrastructure so that it has higher tps and a more reliable dBFT consensus algorithm.

“After half a year of development, the improved NEO consensus algorithm dBFT is about to be completed. dBFT will become the best consensus mechanism for blockchains.

“The second is to develop a distributed storage network, NeoFS, so that applications can store massive amounts of data. The development of the first release candidate (RC1) of NeoFS is expected to be completed in Q3 2019.

“In February, we will hold the second NEO DevCon in Seattle and will share more details about the progress.”

NEO DevCon
DevCon | Source: devcon.neo.org

What’s the importance of DevCon for NEO and for the industry? Can you tell us a bit about the event?

“The DevCon is strategically held to keep the community informed of our development progress. It also provides a chance to the people interested in blockchain to learn about the latest technological advances, interesting applications and discuss the possibilities of future changes with relevant experts and scholars.

“NEO DevCon will be held during Feb 16-17 in Seattle revolving around Layer2, consensus mechanism and distributed file storage system etc., with more topics to be decided. This time we also invited some speakers from Seattle-based tech giants to share their insights with us.

“By holding the DevCon, we hope to build more connections between blockchain and traditional large enterprises to facilitate a wider application of blockchain technology.”

Do you see this year’s event drawing as many people as your last event, given the fact that many companies like ConsenSys are laying people off?

“The NGD marketing team has been dedicated to the preparation of DevCon, and we are confident of the result. Our objective is not restricted to the blockchain industry alone; instead, we expect to incorporate blockchain technology into higher-dimensional scenarios and industries to serve large-scale business purposes,” he continues, adding:

It is worth mentioning that in the past six months, we had more than a dozen new talent join the team and witnessed a growth in technology communities. Our vision is clear and we always focused on technology development, so market volatility doesn’t have a big impact on the team’s development.

So, that being the case, would you still encourage developers to get into blockchain despite the slump?

“Of course! This is one of the things I officially do. Just as the Internet has brought people into the digital economy era, I believe that the blockchain will lead people into the era of the smart economy. The changes in the economic system will bring people a better life.

“I think this is something that deserves to be done. We need more talented developers to join in the innovation. It has nothing to do with the market situation.”

Let’s get back to NEO and your plans. Can you tell us anything about the hard fork? Can you give us some details or a timeline for that?

“NEO will have a major update next year, which is NEO 3.0. To upgrade to NEO 3.0, we need at least one hard fork.” he continues:

We might even propose to start a new blockchain network, then migrate all the old data to the new chain.

However, “These are still under discussion. As for the type of upgrade that will ultimately be chosen, it depends on the final technical implementation. But in either case, it will not be implemented until next year.”

So, no hard fork in the road ahead for NEO until 2020, but there’s still plenty to look forward to as the NEO community continues along its roadmap.

Moving back to the cryptocurrency industry in general, what’s going on? Did you anticipate the Bitcoin Cash hard fork having such an effect on the industry?

ethereum bitcoin
Erik Zhang believes Ethereum will overtake Bitcoin, sooner rather than later.

“Personally, I didn’t pay much attention to the market fluctuations nor did I notice the BCH hard fork. So it is difficult for me to answer this question,” he said. However, he added:

From what I’ve observed, an industry has to weed out underperforming projects to achieve growth.

He then goes on to drop an unexpected prediction:

In my opinion, Ethereum will sooner or later exceed Bitcoin and get the first position. But Ethereum will also face very fierce competition from other projects such as NEO.

Where do you see the future of cryptocurrency? Are traditional financial institutions right to fear it?

“As far as I know, many financial institutions are exploring the application of blockchain technology in financial scenarios,” however:

I don’t think traditional financial institutions can make any real achievements in the blockchain field. Because in my opinion, the nature of the blockchain is to reduce the cost of trust transfer through decentralization, and the nature of traditional financial institutions is to create trust through a centralized authority. These two ideas are contrary to each other and difficult to unify.

Any hard-line predictions for us?

“No, I’m not a wizard.” (He also doesn’t mince his words.)

Okay then, lastly, can you tell us something about yourself that no one knows?

“Remember, NEO’s code is written by Erik’s cat.”

This post credited to CCN. Featured Image from Shutterstock

In an earlier report about the Bezos divorce, CCN wondered if Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie had used a prenuptial agreement when they were married in 1993. Perhaps unfortunately for Jeff, they did not, TMZ reports.

Was Jeff Bezos Cheating?

Reportedly, Jeff Bezos has been officially carrying on a relationship with married Lauren Sanchez for some time. Readers may remember Lauren Sanchez from “So You Think You Can Dance?” She was a judge and host on the show.

The timing of the hook up coincides with Bezos’ initial separation from his wife MacKenzie. Jeff and MacKenzie were friends with Lauren and her husband, talent agent Patrick Whitesell. Both Lauren and Jeff officially separated from their spouses around the same time. Bezos’ lawyer and others insist that Bezos did not start seeing Lauren Sanchez until she had separated from her husband.

Texts Reveal Long-Running Relationship

According to Page Six, Bezos and Sanchez were texting each other as early as April and May last year. Bezos wrote a number of lewd texts to Sanchez while she was still in a committed relationship to Patrick Whitesell and MacKenzie was still officially his wife:

I want to smell you, want to breathe you in. I want to hold you tight.… want to kiss your lips…. […] I am in love with you.

I will show you with my body, and my lips and my eyes, very soon,

While Bezos’ lawyer claims that Jeff and MacKenzie have “long separated,” the official announcement of divorce did not come until yesterday. Just last September they were spotted celebrating their 25th anniversary. About two months before the first alleged text was sent, Bezos told CNBC how to treat a wife.

MacKenzie Bezos: Richest Woman in the World?

Mackenzie Bezos. Image Twitter.

Jeff Bezos did not become a millionaire until after the Amazon IPO in 1997. At the time of his marriage he was a good earner but far from rich. In addition to his massive trove of more than 15% of all Amazon stock, worth more than $120 billion at present, he and MacKenzie own over 400,000 acres of land.

Many expect the Bezos’ to have a very complicated divorce proceeding. Protecting his financial interests might become a nightmare, and MacKenzie Bezos stands to become the richest woman in the world. Effectively she will be able to buy Oprah Winfrey’s assets in whole every day of the week if she pleases.

No matter how it shakes out, it’s unlikely that MacKenzie Bezos will be anything less than a new addition to the Forbes top 10 list. Studies show that men are more likely to thrive financially after a divorce than women. Bezos will have to pull several rabbits out of the metaphorical hat in order to recoup what MacKenzie will get by virtue of ending the marriage.

Divorce courts often award alimony payments to minority-earning spouses. MacKenzie has a career as a writer but obviously Jeff is the earner in the relationship.

How Will The Divorce Affect Amazon?

Amazon package. Image from Shutterstock.

For Amazon investors, the question of Jeff Bezos’ holdings and what MacKenzie will do with her share is of great importance. Will MacKenzie hold her stocks or dump them immediately? Since the majority of Bezos’ wealth is in the stocks, she will have to seek them. Or could the court force Bezos to liquidate a portion of them in order to make a cash payment to MacKenzie during the proceedings?

While some analysts predict that Amazon stock will double in the mid-term future, it might be hard for the company to absorb sell pressure of over 5% of its outstanding shares. An alternative scenario might force MacKenzie to structure her sells or sell them to the company directly. The split has been characterized as “very amicable” by Jeff Bezos but even amicable divorces can get ugly once lawyers are involved.

This post credited to CCN. Featured image from Wikimedia.

In 2017, CryptoKitties made headlines as the world’s most popular blockchain game. Pushing further into the public eye, CryptoKitties has partnered with Meural to showcase the “Bringing Blockchain to Life” art exhibit.

CryptoKitties Spreads Blockchain Awareness

CryptoKitties, an Ethereum-based collectibles game, has partnered with art technology startup Meural to reveal a new blockchain-themed art exhibit, according to a press release.

The “Bringing Blockchain to Life” exhibit will launch Sept. 1 at the ZKM Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany. By incorporating crypto collectibles, the exhibit aims to “showcase the inner workings of blockchain technology in real-time.”

The exhibit will use Meural’s digital Meural Canvas, a contemporary display designed specifically for artwork, to showcase images of CryptoKitties. In the official press release, Vladimir Vukicevic, CEO and co-founder of Meural, said:

“We’re excited to be able to help CryptoKitties make their museum debut by providing them with a physical home that’s worthy of a museum setting. … By partnering with CryptoKitties for this event, we hope to help general audiences envision how cryptocollectibles might fit into their everyday lives.”

Related: CryptoKitties Keeps With Ethereum and Goes Open-Source

Founded in 2017 by Axiom Zen, CryptoKitties rapidly became known as the first “crypto collectibles” game to gain public adoption and congest the Ethereumnetwork with an overload of transactions.

According to VentureBeat, CryptoKitties gained 1.5 million users and conducted more than $40 million in transactions since March of this year. In May, a CryptoKitty sold at Christie’s Auction House in New York for approximately $140,000.

Roham Gharegozlou, CEO and co-founder of CryptoKitties, said:

“CryptoKitties’ good design and appealing aesthetics are responsible for introducing entirely new audiences to the potential of blockchain technology. Emerging technology often has its most innovative work conducted in the art world–the Kitties are artworks themselves. Our exhibit at ZKM continues our mission of demystifying the blockchain so that the people that can benefit from it most – whether they’re creators and consumers, or artists and their fans–can be a part of the technology’s future.”

Axiom Zen, creator of CryptoKitties, recently launched a new company called Dapper Labs. According to the press release, Dapper Labs raised $12.85 million earlier this year from investors Andreeson Horowitz and Union Square Ventures.

This post credited to Cryptoslate. Cover Photo by James Sutton on Unsplash

Latest Stellar Lumens News

For a project to hold on to a position in the top 10, then it means the founders have a workable vision and there is progress as the platform offers solutions. Demand must be there and although some as Stellar Lumens have been labelled as “failed currencies”, their native coin—XLM is resistant to lower lowers as depreciation is not as rapid as others.

Read: Nick Szabo and The Winklevoss are More Bullish About Bitcoin than They Are About Gold

In the last year for example, Stellar Lumens prices were mostly consolidating within a 15 cents range only breaking below 15 cents in Q4 2018. Despite this, Jed McCaleb who in a recent interview tore into ICOs, using choice words for the Tron platform admits that the Foundation has been doing a poor job as far as marketing is concerned. He admitted that most people don’t know what Lumens is and have no clue on how the Stellar platform operates even though XLM is a fluid coin and highly capitalized.

Also Read: Jihan Wu Steps Down as Bitmain CEO, Chinese Media Reports

But, considering how speculative the space is and how people care for short term gains instead of digging a level deeper to understand what they are getting into. Unfortunately, what seems to tick is destructive vitriol which does nothing other than sniping developers instead of spurring collaboration in the spirit of blockchain.

Stellar Lumens (XLM/USD) Price Analysis

Stellar Lumens

Price wise and XLM is amongst the big losers in the top 10. The coin is down 6 percent in the last day and 5.8 percent in the last week adding to yesterday’s losses. As we can see from the charts, yesterday’s volumes are above average—10 million versus 3 million and this is bearish especially when we add to the fact that bulls failed to rally past our conservative triggers at 15 cents.

Since none of our trading conditions as laid out in previous trade plans were not met, the third phase—the trend resumption phase, of the bear breakout pattern of early Dec 2018 is now valid. In light of yesterday’s losses and the fact that there is resistance off 15 cents, we suggest taking neutral stands on the coin but should XLM find support at 8 cents, then prices may recover. Otherwise, XLM is likely to print more losses in days to come.

EOS Price Analysis

EOS

Similar to XLM, EOS is trading within a clear breakout pattern when sellers crashed and close below the main support line at $4.

The breakdown triggered panic sellers and although there was recovery on late Dec 2018 following dip erosion throughout November, bulls didn’t muster enough momentum to close above the 38.2 percent Fibonacci retracement level drawn between Nov-Dec high low.

Bears are back and from the chart, any close below $2.3 will confirm the trend resumption phase. If that prints out then EOS prices may drop to $1.5—Dec 2018 lows.

This post credited to Ethereum World News.

Image source: Ethereum World News

Following new regulatory measures from the Reserve Bank of India prohibiting banks from providing services to cryptocurrency businesses, some Indian banks are taking drastic measures to discourage cryptocurrency adoption, reportedly requiring customers to sign contracts stating that they will not use cryptocurrencies of any kind as part of their new terms of service agreement.

Line in The Sand

The new measures effectively force customers to choose between banks and crypto, perhaps a difficult decision for many supporters of the fledgling cryptocurrency movement. While many hope to see cryptocurrency overtake traditional banking entirely, the infrastructure to do that simply isn’t there at the moment, and actions such as these carried out by banks on a large scale only make it more difficult to foster adoption – which, of course, is likely the point.

@DesiCryptoHodlr or “Indian Crypto Girl” on Twitter posted an image of the terms and conditions required by Kotak Mahindra Bank as an example of the new, strict measures being taken against cryptocurrency users.

Image courtesy: @DesiCryptoHodlr

The bank asks users to declare that they “will not deal with any transactions related to Crypto-currency including Bitcoins,” adding that the Bank reserves the right to close their account if they should breach the agreement.

Similar warnings are displayed on the bank’s ATM screens:

Virtual currencies (VCs) are not legal tender and do not have any regulatory permission or protection in India. We request you not to make transactions involving any VCs from any of your account/s. For any such transactions, the bank shall be acting in accordance with the regulatory guidelines which include closing your account without further intimation.

The bank claims to be acting in accordance with IRB regulations, and Crypto Girl stated on Twitter that this is just one of many banks forcing their customers to swear off crypto if they want banking services. Another Twitter user @IAmCryptoLegend commented in the thread to say that that banks are implementing similar measures in neighboring Pakistan.

Indian CryptoGirl@DesiCryptoHodlr · Jan 9, 2019

Indian Banks now forcefully taking permission from us to ‘reserve right to close our account without further intimation’ if we deal in #cryptocurrency transactions

Ability to decide what to do with our own money is the very reason we need to invest, #BUIDL, & believe in #bitcoin

View image on Twitter

TenUp National@IamCryptoLegend

🇵🇰
☹️

Same texts we received on our cells here in Pakistan 26:07 PM – Jan 9, 2019Twitter Ads info and privacySee TenUp National’s other Tweets

This was confirmed by a screenshot of a text message from Faysal Bank warning customers not to use cryptocurrencies:

IRB Vs Crypto

The Indian central bank has taken a stand against cryptocurrency, citing issues of security and volatility. The bank’s governor Raghuram Rajan does concede that bitcoin is “fascinating” to him, and states his belief that India and perhaps humanity, in general, will move towards a cashless society in time.

For us at the Reserve Bank, this may happen in 10 to 20 years from now. [I] think these virtual currencies will certainly get much better, much safer and over time will be the form of transaction, and that’s for sure.

While the IRB has not banned cryptocurrency outright and Indian citizens are still legally free to use cryptocurrencies if they wish, the growing trend of banks refusing services to crypto-users could put many citizens in a tight spot, forcing them to choose between the underdeveloped system of the future and the outdated system of the past.

This post credited to CCN. Featured image from Shutterstock.

Altcoins Ethereum Nowa (ETN) and Ethereum Classic Vision (ETCV) are reportedly appropriating the private keys of users trying to redeem their allegedly forked coins. The suspected scam was covered in a report sent to Cointelegraph by the Guarda Wallet development team on Jan. 11.

The official website of the Ethereum Nowa project — which doesn’t contain a white paper — describes the process that users are supposed to engage in to obtain ETN. According to the website, the user should first send ETH to an address, and then export the private key and redeem the cryptocurrency using the dedicated online tool.

A user on Ethereum block explorer Etherscan has commented on the aforementioned address, asserting that the address is engaging in a “scam [hard] fork/airdrop” after warning “Don’t send anything here.” The tool to claim the coins appears to be a clone of the well-known online Ethereum (ETH) wallet MyEtherWallet (MEW), featuring the original logo, website title and page under a different domain.

The main difference compared to the original MEW interface is that all the options that let the user chose how to access the wallet are greyed out, other than the one allowing the user to paste in their private key. Furthermore, some browsers flag the tool as a “Deceptive Site.”

The Guarda Wallet team wrote that, analyzing the code, they found out that the private key is not only being processed by the tool, but also being sent to a remote server. According to the Guarda report, Ethereum Nowa “is a way for the thieves to get your private information and gain access to your wallet.”

Ethereum Classic Vision’s hard fork, according to the project’s white paper, is happening today (Jan. 11) at 20:00 GMT. The website contains links to a downloadable Windows and Linux wallet alongside a web tool. Near the “Claim fork” button, the website states:

“Regardless of which authorized wallet you use to hold your ETH, your free ETCV will be initially sent to the official Ethereum Classic Vision wallet. While we are currently in negotiations with a number of popular wallets, at the moment of the fork we will not be able to send ETCV to those wallets due to certain differences in the algorithms used.”

The Guarda Wallet team noted that while this project looked more solid than ETN, after closer examination, they reportedly found that the ETCV team also appropriated the private keys of the users:

“The analysis on the code performed by our team has shown that the piece of code provided actually sends your private key data on the Ethereum Classic Vision servers, masking it as an API token.”

As Cointelegraph recently reported, a Maltese actor and two hosts of a local TV show have notified the police after a fake news piece indicated that they are involved in a Bitcoin investment scheme called Bitcoin Revolution.

Furthermore, the same day, news broke that the Twitter account of a Belgian non-profit was evidently hacked and made into a fake affiliate account of United States crypto exchange Coinbase.

This post credited to Cointelegraph.

Image source: Cointelegraph

Blockchain platform Tron has hired a former United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) supervisory attorney as its first chief compliance officer. The company has revealed this to Cointelegraph in a press release on Jan. 9.

David Labhart, who previously worked as an attorney for the U.S. regulator, will also take on the role of co-general counsel at the company.

Tron, along with its associated TRX token, has built a major presence over the past year, in part due to the continued, and at times controversial, publicity efforts centred around CEO Justin Sun.

Designed to offer an alternative platform for decentralized applications (DApps) to Ethereum, Tron celebrated its one millionth user account last month.

TRX has risen 6.4 percent in the past 24 hours according to CoinMarketCap data, making it the best daily performer in the top twenty cryptocurrencies by market cap.

Evolving regulatory compliance obligations remain an issue for cryptocurrency entities serving both the U.S. and most other major markets. As Cointelegraph reported, some businesses such as crypto exchange Bittrex have opted to split their operations in order to segregate U.S. users, who are bound by different rules.

This post credited to Cointelegraph.

Image source: Cointelegraph

Bitcoin Is Infantile, But It’s Revolutionary Nonetheless

Jeff Berwick, the so-called Dollar Vigilante (a skeptic of the U.S. fiat system), recently sat down with BlockTV, an up-and-coming crypto-centric media outlet, to discuss his optimistic outlook on Bitcoin (BTC). It should come as no surprise that Berwick was bullish on decentralized cryptocurrencies, especially considering his seeming distaste for government-issued currency, but his comments held credence nonetheless.

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BLOCKTV@BLOCKTVnews

@DollarVigilante Jeff Berwick says we have nearly reached a #crypto bottom and predicts a 2019 explosion. #bitcoinsummit #bitcoin2411:42 PM – Jan 9, 2019See BLOCKTV’s other TweetsTwitter Ads info and privacy

In a shortened version of BlockTV’s interview, Berwick first noted that once Bitcoin, long touted as a way for consumers to “be their own bank,” is well-known as a non-intermediated currency (rather than an asset for criminals), it will likely gain revolutionary-level traction. He added that the fact that you can essentially store BTC (private keys) in your head, even without governmental or bank control, may only add to this paradigm shift. Berwick explained:

Once even some people understand [Bitcoin’s potential], I couldn’t even possibly imagine where this movement could go.

However, the fiat skeptic claimed that at its core, cryptocurrencies are still in a quite infantile state, in spite of the recent ten year anniversary of Bitcoin’s first block. Keeping this in mind, Berwick noted that while many consumers have cast cryptocurrencies off, especially following the boom and bust cycle of 2017/2018, that was likely just a small blip in the grand scheme of things.

The decentralist isn’t the only industry insider to believe that BTC at $20,000 was just the start of something great. Per previous reports from Ethereum World News, Angel Versetti, the CEO of blockchain startup Ambrosus, noted that the real cryptocurrency bubble is when this asset class reaches an aggregate valuation of $15 trillion to $20 trillion.

Berwick, like Versetti, hinted at the sentiment that this technological development is game-changing, and is still undervalued from a long-term perspective. The BlockTV interviewee, who claims that he will be able to survive and thrive “during and after the Dollar collapse,” noted that “nothing can stop a good idea.” Even more so for an idea that keeps “currency out of the hands of governments and central banks.”

And this idea has already started to catch on. Per our previous reports, TIME Magazine lauded cryptocurrencies, BTC specifically, as a way to allow ‘average Joes to get out of the vises imposed by authoritarianism-centric entities.

Berwick noted that he expects for this thematic development to continue in the future, especially as governments continue to struggle to keep their jurisdictions in-check.

Institutional Money To Flow Into Crypto

Dollar Vigilante went on to touch on his short-term forecasts for this market, which has been beaten to hell and back in recent months. Berwick noted that while he cannot be 100% sure of about predicting this industry’s developments for 2019, he expects that prices have hit (or are nearing) the bottom by and large.

Yet, in spite of his bottom call, he noted that cryptocurrencies could remain in a lull until 2019’s end, echoing analysis done by other analysts, including Filb Filb and Murad Mahmudov. However, Berwick noted that with the arrival of institutional money (which he isn’t necessarily a fan of), via platforms like Bakkt, a potential Bitcoin ETF, and Nasdaq’s proposed futures, will “change the game completely.” He explained that as soon as institutional money starts flowing, cryptocurrencies prices will explode en bloc, as there are presumed trillions waiting on the sidelines.

He added that with equity markets on the verge of “the biggest collapse ever,” as predicted by a number of decentralists, cryptocurrencies will likely outperform.

This post credited to Ethereum World News.

Image source: Ethereum World News