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  •   Maria Kemenes commented on this post about 2 days ago
    Alleged Bitcoin Mining Scam Reported in Thailand


    Victims of an alleged cryptocurrency mining scam have filed claims against the suspected perpetrator with the Technology Crime Suppression Division in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports on Feb. 18.

    Per the report, 30 people have filed a complaint with police, stating that they were fooled into an alleged investment scam called “CryptoMining.Farm.” This purportedly led the loss of 42 million baht ($1.34 million). Local authorities reportedly...
    Alleged Bitcoin Mining Scam Reported in Thailand


    Victims of an alleged cryptocurrency mining scam have filed claims against the suspected perpetrator with the Technology Crime Suppression Division in Thailand, the Bangkok Post reports on Feb. 18.

    Per the report, 30 people have filed a complaint with police, stating that they were fooled into an alleged investment scam called “CryptoMining.Farm.” This purportedly led the loss of 42 million baht ($1.34 million). Local authorities reportedly suspect that a total of 140 individuals were affected by the scam.

    CryptoMining.Farm, which has offices registered in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai, supposedly promised investors an annual return of 70 percent in addition to the option to withdraw their funds at any time with no conditions. The Bitcoin (BTC) mining contracts offered by the company reportedly ranged from three months to a lifetime.

    One affected individual told the Bangkok Post “But from August the owner began imposing conditions for withdrawing the money. Then at the start of this month, the site announced it would start paying back investors in 84 instalments — which would take over seven years to complete.” The source, which reportedly preferred to remain anonymous, said that the payments would also be made in foreign currencies, which is illegal under Thai law.

    The most recent allegations follow a well-publicized case from last year, in which a former soap opera actor Jiratpisit "Boom" Jaravijit and other suspects were accused of swindling $24 million worth of Bitcoin from 21-year-old Finnish investor Aamai Otava Saarimaa.

    The suspects, who were charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, reportedly pleaded “not guilty” at a court in Bangkok in November 2018.

    Last May, a 100-section royal decree published in the Thai Royal Gazette, defined cryptocurrencies as “digital assets and digital tokens.” In November, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam called for more regulations on cryptocurrencies. Krea-ngam said that new guidelines must be introduced in order to keep up with evolving tactics and threats to consumer security.
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  • Japan: E-Commerce Giant Rakuten’s New Payment App Appears to Support Crypto


    Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten announced that a major update of its Rakuten Pay mobile app will be released on March 18, according to the firm’s 2018 earnings release, published on Feb. 12. The app’s new structure appears to indicate that it will support cryptocurrency payments in addition to fiat.

    According to the company’s presentation material for the fourth quarter and the full year of 2018, the new version...
    Japan: E-Commerce Giant Rakuten’s New Payment App Appears to Support Crypto


    Japanese e-commerce firm Rakuten announced that a major update of its Rakuten Pay mobile app will be released on March 18, according to the firm’s 2018 earnings release, published on Feb. 12. The app’s new structure appears to indicate that it will support cryptocurrency payments in addition to fiat.

    According to the company’s presentation material for the fourth quarter and the full year of 2018, the new version of the app will feature “all payment solutions embedded into one platform.”

    As Cointelegraph reported in January, and the recent materials confirm, Rakuten — known informally as “Japan’s Amazon”— revealed a revision to its corporate structure. The restructured company includes the firm’s cryptocurrency exchange “Everybody’s Bitcoin” as part of a newly established payments subsidiary, Rakuten Payment. The payment subsidiary, which was previously its loyalty subsidiary under the name “Spotlight,” will also include the corporation’s prepaid card service, Rakuten Edy.

    The firm’s earnings release specifies that Edy will be supported in the updated app and also indicates support for QR code payments. Though the app update does not explicitly note crypto support, the company’s specification that “all payment solutions” will be supported on the platform implies support for crypto payments as a part of its subsidiary, Rakuten Payment.

    Rakuten acquired Japanese crypto exchange Everybody’s Bitcoin in August 2018 in a $2.4 million deal. At the time, company representatives reported that the firm was “considering entry into the cryptocurrency exchange industry” as it believes "the role of cryptocurrency-based payments in e-commerce, offline retail and in P2P payments will grow in the future."

    In its earnings release, Rakuten reported a net income for 2018 of about 141.9 billion yen (about $1.3 billion), a 28.4 percent year-over-year increase from 2017.

    In March 2015, Rakuten also announced that it had started accepting Bitcoin (BTC) as a payment option on its American portal, Rakuten.com.

    Another Japanese internet and finance giant, SBI Holdings, has also shown major interest in the crypto sphere. The firm launched its own crypto exchange, Vctrade, in July. The exchange started accepting deposits in several major cryptocurrencies in December 2018.
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  •   TRENKA ISTVAN commented on this post about 2 days ago
    Waste Management Firm Launches Blockchain Platform in UAE City


    A blockchain-enabled waste permit portal will be launched in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country’s official news agency, Emirates News Agency (WAM), reported on Feb. 17.

    The blockchain-based waste permit portal will be jointly developed by environmental, recycling and waste management company Bee’ah and the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) — the city of Sharjah’s free trade zone. According to WAM, the...
    Waste Management Firm Launches Blockchain Platform in UAE City


    A blockchain-enabled waste permit portal will be launched in Sharjah, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the country’s official news agency, Emirates News Agency (WAM), reported on Feb. 17.

    The blockchain-based waste permit portal will be jointly developed by environmental, recycling and waste management company Bee’ah and the Hamriyah Free Zone Authority (HFZA) — the city of Sharjah’s free trade zone. According to WAM, the platform is the first in the city to employ blockchain technology to validate, process and store transactions.

    According to the report, the platform will cut costs for customers applying for permits within HFZA as well as reduce permit-issuing time from several days to only a few hours. The statement also claims that “all transactions are completely secured, essentially eliminating any human error or fraud.”

    Khaled Al Huraimel, CEO of Bee’ah, said that he expects the technology “will not only facilitate seamless operations, but also increase trust between customers and operators.”

    As Cointelegraph reported in December last year, the UAE’s central bank is collaborating with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority to issue a cryptocurrency accepted in cross-border transactions between the two countries. This month, six commercial banks from the countries reportedly joined the project.

    In December last year, news broke that, according to some experts, the UAE is looking to join the list of leading destinations for blockchain-related businesses in 2019, due to promising new crypto-related legislation.
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  • Vitalik Buterin Dismisses Rumors New Constantinople Feature Allows Attack Vector


    Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin and other core devs have dismissed allegations that a new smart contract creation feature set to be released in the forthcoming Constantinople hard fork will have negative security implications. The discussion was held during a Ethereum core developer call on Feb. 15.

    The feature in question is called “Create2” — designated as Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP)...
    Vitalik Buterin Dismisses Rumors New Constantinople Feature Allows Attack Vector


    Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin and other core devs have dismissed allegations that a new smart contract creation feature set to be released in the forthcoming Constantinople hard fork will have negative security implications. The discussion was held during a Ethereum core developer call on Feb. 15.

    The feature in question is called “Create2” — designated as Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) EIP-1014 — and is intended to allow for interactions with a contract that does not yet exist on the blockchain — specifically, “addresses that do not exist yet on-chain but can be relied on to only possibly eventually contain code.”

    Several ETH devs had voiced concerns that Create2 could introduce a potentially serious attack vector to the network, given the implication that smart contracts could purportedly be coded to change their address after being deployed. One had questioned whether the feature doesn’t “mean that any contract post-Constantinople with a self destruct [function in its code] is now more suspect than before?”

    In a discussion of this and other comments, dev Jeff Coleman underscored that “one of the things that is counter-intuitive about Create2 is that theoretically redeployments can change the contract byte code, because the address is only a commitment to the init code. People need to be aware that init codes are part of auditing, [...] that non-deterministic init codes are a problem.”

    Coleman stressed that those who are looking to audit others’ code need to look out for potentially “weird phenomena [...] especially if you combine Create2 with Create1, because the latter has a really weak assumption around address identity whatever the nonce is.” He added:

    “When we look forward to where we want to end up [...] it would be to have all addresses [...] contracted via the init code. We need content-based addressing of contracts, and not just order-based addressing, which is what Create1 is. So if we get to the place where Create2 is standard, get rid of self destruct entirely [...] we could throw out this idea of a contract nonce.”

    Like Coleman, Vitalik Buterin discussed Create2 in regard to a longer-term roadmap, saying:

    “The one thing we need to keep in mind is more for the future, when thinking about rents and deletion; that’s a way that can lead to contracts being in a state to being not in a state without a self-destruct operation [...]. It’s not something we need to figure out in the next few weeks, but it's still useful to keep in mind when getting the ETH 2.0 sharding to a VM spec very soon."

    Aside from Create2, the devs also noted they had found a prospective independent company for benchmark testing an application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC)-resistant proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm dubbed “ProgPoW.”

    Having voted to implement the algorithm as Ethereum continues to evolve toward its eventual target of Proof-of-Stake (PoS), the devs had recently decided to delay its rollout until a third party audit would be completed. An ongoing, informal online vote over the implementation of ProgPoW shows the majority in favor.
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    Ethereum News

    ALL ABOUT ETHEREUM ( ETH )
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  • ErisX to CFTC: Regulated ETH Futures Would Result in More Robust, Liquid Market


    Chicago-based crypto exchange ErisX has filed a comment letter with the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in response to the agency’s request for feedback on Ethereum (ETH)’s mechanics and market.

    The letter, submitted on Feb. 15, sets forth the exchange’s belief that “the introduction of a regulated futures contract on Ether would have a positive impact on the growth and maturation of...
    ErisX to CFTC: Regulated ETH Futures Would Result in More Robust, Liquid Market


    Chicago-based crypto exchange ErisX has filed a comment letter with the United States Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) in response to the agency’s request for feedback on Ethereum (ETH)’s mechanics and market.

    The letter, submitted on Feb. 15, sets forth the exchange’s belief that “the introduction of a regulated futures contract on Ether would have a positive impact on the growth and maturation of the market.”

    As reported, ErisX is a reboot of traditional futures market Eris Exchange, and is expected to begin support for spot trading in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum and Litecoin (LTC), as well as futures contracts, in the second half of 2019, pending regulatory’ approval.

    The letter argues that “listing and trading Ether futures compliantly on CFTC regulated markets is consistent” with the CFTC’s efforts to foster “open, transparent, competitive, and financially sound derivative trading markets [and] to prohibit fraud, manipulation, and abusive practices in connection with derivatives and other products subject to the [Commodity Exchange Act] CEA.”

    The CFTC has long determined that Bitcoin is a commodity, given that it aspires to replace sovereign currencies — rather than a security, which would bring it under the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s charge. After significant debate, Ether too was cleared of a securities classification in June 2018.

    In its letter, ErisX outlines the conceptual distinction between Ethereum and its predecessor, noting that “Ethereum built upon some of the architectural principles of Bitcoin to extend [its] functionality of [a] distributed, (crypto-economically) secured, (blockchain-based) record-keeping system to include new computational capabilities for the execution of arbitrary code.”

    In its diagnosis of the current state of the Ethereum market, the exchange affirms its view that a lack of regulatory clarity has prevented regulated enterprises from entering the sector, resulting in a preponderance of “unregulated or lightly regulated ‘exchanges’ [and] ‘brokers’ [emerging] to fill the gap, many of them off-shore.” The associated risks — including price volatility and liquidity fluctuations — are therefore:

    “Not unique to Ether, but [may be exacerbated by] the current fragmented global market structure of trading platforms and ‘exchanges’ with significantly varying degrees of regulatory oversight and operational transparency and integrity.”

    ErisX thus contends that standardized, CFTC-regulated ETH products would draw broader participation from institutional actors and commercial users, resulting in “more robust, liquid, and resilient markets,” better risk management and more efficient, accurate price discovery.

    As reported, ErisX has this month appointed three veterans from Barclays, YouYube and the Chicago Board Options Exchange to fill executive roles, having announced the appointment of ConsenSys’ Joseph Lubin to its board of directors in January.
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  • Indonesia: New Legislation Recognizes Crypto as Trading Commodity


    Indonesia has introduced new legislation that recognizes Bitcoin (BTC) as a trading commodity, Asia-oriented news outlet KrASIA reported on Feb. 15.

    Indonesia’s Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency, also known as Bappebti, initially signed a decree to make cryptocurrency a commodity future legally tradable on stock exchanges last June. The agency then stated that the Indonesian government would soon release...
    Indonesia: New Legislation Recognizes Crypto as Trading Commodity


    Indonesia has introduced new legislation that recognizes Bitcoin (BTC) as a trading commodity, Asia-oriented news outlet KrASIA reported on Feb. 15.

    Indonesia’s Commodity Futures Trading Regulatory Agency, also known as Bappebti, initially signed a decree to make cryptocurrency a commodity future legally tradable on stock exchanges last June. The agency then stated that the Indonesian government would soon release corresponding legislation regulating currency exchange companies, taxation, and other related issues.

    Today, Bappebti reportedly approved regulation No. 5/2019 that recognizes Bitcoin and other digital currencies as a trading commodity. The legislation thus gives legal certainty to cryptocurrency exchanges that have been already operating in the country.

    The new policy reportedly outlines a set of requirements in regard to any cryptocurrency circulating in Indonesia. Specifically, cryptocurrencies have to comply with risk assessment, anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) requirements. The policy also stipulates that cryptocurrency traders must keep transaction histories for at least five years and have a server located inside the country.

    Head of Bappepti Indrasari Wisnu Wardhana reportedly said that with the introduction of the new legislation, the agency wants to “give protection to people who want to invest in crypto assets so that they aren’t cheated by fraudulent sellers.”

    At the same time, Head of Bank of Indonesia (BI) Payment System Policy Department Onny Widjanarko stressed that "BI still prohibits Bitcoin or crypto as a means of payment.[...] Commodity is not an area of ​​BI, but we are concerned about the above."

    Bitcoin brokers in Indonesia have become displeased with regulators following new capital requirements that were introduced last October. The new rules oblige brokers to have at least $70 million to launch futures trading.

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  •   TRENKA ISTVAN commented on this post about 2 days ago
    Chinese Crypto Miner Predicts That Bitcoin Could Reach $740K


    Zhu Fa, co-founder of Poolin, a Chinese-based crypto mining pool, predicted that the Bitcoin (BTC) price could hit 5 million Chinese yuan ($738,000 (USD), crypto news outlet 8BTC reported on Feb.11.

    While Zhu noted that “it now feels more like a bear market,” he reportedly predicted that in the next bull run, prices will be 10–20 times higher than previous ones. Zhu also noted that massive prices spikes like the one that...
    Chinese Crypto Miner Predicts That Bitcoin Could Reach $740K


    Zhu Fa, co-founder of Poolin, a Chinese-based crypto mining pool, predicted that the Bitcoin (BTC) price could hit 5 million Chinese yuan ($738,000 (USD), crypto news outlet 8BTC reported on Feb.11.

    While Zhu noted that “it now feels more like a bear market,” he reportedly predicted that in the next bull run, prices will be 10–20 times higher than previous ones. Zhu also noted that massive prices spikes like the one that resulted in the $20,000 per BTC high in 2017, will not always exist, adding that the next bull run could be the last.

    Predictions from experts in various aspects of the crypto space have ranged from bullish to extremely bearish. During a blockchain event in April 2018, investment tycoon Tim Draper forecasted that by 2022 the price of Bitcoin could reach $250,000.

    Earlier this week, Barry Silbert, CEO and founder of Digital Currency Group and Grayscale Investments, said that the value of most digital tokens “will go to zero." He added that, "Almost every [initial coin offering] ICO was just an attempt to raise money but there was no use for the underlying token."

    Zhu’s mining pool, Poolin, has 10.45 percent of global network share, according to BTC.com. The current bear market has hit cryptocurrency miners hard. Some mining companies in China have started selling off hardware by the kilogram.

    Earlier today, United Kingdom-based cryptocurrency miner Argo Blockchain announced it was refocusing its business in order to cut costs. Argo is terminating its Mining-as-a-Service (MaaS) operations by April, which purportedly could cut costs by as much as 35 percent.
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  • Japan Economic Alliance Asks Financial Regulator FSA to Reduce Tax on Crypto


    The Japan Association of New Economy (JANE) has asked the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) to reduce the current tax rate for crypto trading income, Cointelegraph Japan reported on Feb. 14.

    Led by Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, JANE has reportedly sent a proposal request to the country’s financial regulator asking them to tax crypto in compliance with progressive taxation...
    Japan Economic Alliance Asks Financial Regulator FSA to Reduce Tax on Crypto


    The Japan Association of New Economy (JANE) has asked the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA) to reduce the current tax rate for crypto trading income, Cointelegraph Japan reported on Feb. 14.

    Led by Hiroshi Mikitani, the CEO of Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, JANE has reportedly sent a proposal request to the country’s financial regulator asking them to tax crypto in compliance with progressive taxation instead of general taxation.

    According to the article, income from trading cryptocurrencies is currently taxed at 55 percent. Imposing progressive taxation on crypto gains intends to reduce the tax to 20 percent — the same rate that is applied to stocks and forex markets in the country. The association has also asked the FSA to impose no tax on crypto-to-crypto transactions.

    In the regulation proposal, JANE asked the Japanese regulator not to harm innovation by imposing restrictive regulation on the crypto industry. Specifically, JANE’s proposals referred to the clarification of the FSA’s regulatory scope, the process of initial coin offering (ICO) settlement, crypto custody business and derivative trading.

    Rakuten, known as “Japan’s Amazon,” has recently announced a revision of its corporate structure, setting up a new payments subsidiary that includes its crypto-related business. The company noted plans to rebrand its loyalty branch, Spotlight Inc., to a new entity called Rakuten Payment, which will also operate a cryptocurrency exchange.

    Meanwhile, the FSA recently revealed that the agency’s review process of crypto-related businesses licenses will be either approved or rejected within six months, starting on Jan. 12.
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