Monthly Archive: April 2018

How Algorithms Can Assist with Bitcoin Mining 0

How Algorithms Can Assist with Bitcoin Mining

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have come a long way in a short span of time. The value of bitcoin in 2011 was just $0.06 and had virtually no takers. Fast forward to the present day and the very cryptocurrency now enjoys five-figure values as industries and governments grow accustomed to its use to pay for goods and services.

There are now 16 million bitcoin tokens in existence. The amount of bitcoin tokens allowed to exist at any one time has been hard-wired to be capped at 21 million, so time is running out if you want to get involved in mining. This cap was written into bitcoin’s source code as a means of guarding against future inflation. Cryptocurrencies are by nature decentralized and designed to be pro-libertarian and anti-quantitative easing.

Bitcoin cannot exist without mining. Mining is the process of interacting with the blockchain and completing a string of complex cryptographic calculations, comprising combinations of numbers and letters. Bitcoin miners utilize cryptographic algorithms that are extremely hard to reverse-engineer, but easy to verify the output. Miners have to ‘earn’ their bitcoin tokens. Every ten minutes or so, bitcoin blocks are released into the world. Miners use high-powered mining chips and heaps of electricity to mine overnight, underpinned by impeccable network connectivity and an effective cooling system for their machines.

Algorithms help not only to regularly mine the bitcoin, they also guarantee a single transaction history for each bitcoin, avoiding any bitcoins from being spent twice. In fact, machine learning algorithms are becoming a staple component in the finance sector. A growing number of hedge funds and even retail traders in the stock market are exploring the concept of algorithmic trading strategies. These are codes that can be written to open and close trades when specific conditions occur in the market, removing human emotion from trading based on psychological factors such as greed and fear.

In the early days of bitcoin mining, miners would perform cryptographic calculations on their own computer’s CPU. The more cryptographic hashes you can perform in a second, the greater the probability a miner has of mining a new bitcoin block. But, as time has moved on, application specific integrated circuit (ASIC) miners have made it nearly impossible to use the old-school way, which is where algorithms come in. Coral Health has authored a beginner’s guide to writing your own Proof-of-Work algorithm for mining bitcoin that takes things step-by-step.

Other Uses of Algorithms in the Financial Sector

Personalized customer experiences have become increasingly important for banks in an ever-competitive industry. Machine learning algorithms are also being used to develop online chatbots that are not only capable of assisting consumers with account-related queries, they can also help you track your income and expenses. For instance, Cleo is a chatbot that even offers tips on how to improve customers’ money management to meet their savings targets.

As industries move to keep pace, artificial intelligence can make inroads in tackling new problems within the digital world. The explosion of the e-commerce space has led to a simultaneous growth of online fraud. Debit and credit card providers have been accused in the past of being too cautious with declining suspicious transactions, which is why Mastercard recently launched a new algorithm named ‘Decision Intelligence’ technology, building up a profile of consumers by evaluating all transactions to detect ones that really are out of the ordinary.

Although some consider artificial intelligence and machine learning to be in its infancy, there’s no doubt that it has already made significant strides thanks to such algorithmic approaches. There will be further ethical and socioeconomic hurdles to overcome along the way, but automation has the potential to make the future of finance way more interesting.

Image source: Pixabay

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SEC Commissioner: We Are Focused On Protecting Investors from ICOs 0

SEC Commissioner: We Are Focused On Protecting Investors from ICOs

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) views that all Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) should be regulated as securities but when asked if they will ban or regulate the market, an SEC commissioner made it clear he was not suggesting either option. Instead, the focus is on protecting investors from fraudulent investments.

SEC Targeting ‘Fraudulent’ ICOs

SEC commissioner Robert Jackson told CNBC today that his comments were not suggesting ICOs will be banned or regulated straight away but that they will need to conform to securities regulation in the future.

Jackson said: “That space has been full of troubling developments that we’ve seen at the SEC. Investors are having a hard time telling the difference between investments and fraud.”

“I haven’t seen one of these yet that’s not a security. One of the things about ICOs that are interesting is if you want to know what our markets would look like with no securities regulation, the answer is the ICO market. We are right now focused on protecting investors who are getting hurt in this market. Down the road we will be thinking about, we should be thinking about ways to make those investments work consistent with those security laws.”

When asked whether this means the SEC will regulate or ban ICOs, he said his comments did not suggest either of the two options. However, Jay Clayton, the SEC chairman, has said that ICOs must take appropriate steps to follow securities regulation.

On February 6, speaking in the Senate, Clayton said: “But by and large, the structures of ICOs that I have seen involve the offer and sale of securities and directly implicate the securities registration requirements and other investor protection provisions of our federal securities laws.

“The Commission’s message to issuers and market professionals in this space was clear: those who would use distributed ledger technology to raise capital or engage in securities transactions must take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with the federal securities laws.”

The SEC has already taken action on ICOs, including bringing charges against an individual who fraudulently offered tokens that were claimed to be backed by real estate and diamonds. Yet, these enforcement actions have focused on fraudulent behavior and have not affected the majority of ICOs.

The Wall Street Journal reported in February that the SEC ‘issued dozens of subpoenas and information requests to technology companies and advisers’ in the cryptocurrency sphere. It was unlikely that the market was going to evade their attention as $5.6 billion was raised in ICOs in 2017.

Ripple’s cryptocurrency XRP has been touted as a security leading to speculation that this is why it has not been added by Coinbase. In response, Ripple’s chief market strategist Cory Johnson said: “We absolutely are not a security. We don’t meet the standards for what a security is based on the history of court law.”

NewsBTC reported that industry groups in the cryptocurrency market have hired lawyers to lobby for voluntary standards. These groups have also filled their advisory boards with former government regulators in a bid to understand the system.

A security is defined in the United States as a tradable financial asset of any kind. Regulation tends to focus on fraud and cases of insider trading, both of which have occurred in the cryptocurrency market.

By Tim Copeland.

Image from Shutterstock.

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Indian Exchange Postpones Repaying Stolen Bitcoins – No Permission From Authorities 0

Indian Exchange Postpones Repaying Stolen Bitcoins – No Permission From Authorities

India’s cryptocurrency exchange Coinsecure has announced that it cannot repay customers their stolen bitcoins at this time. The exchange claims that while investigations are underway, permissions are needed from the authorities to start the claims process which it has not yet received.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Repayment Delayed

Indian exchange Coinsecure has updated users regarding the disbursement of funds due to stolen bitcoins. The exchange previously confirmed that 438.31859715 BTC were stolen on April 8, worth approximately Rs 20 crore or US$3,067,220.

The exchange revealed on April 21 that it had started working on the claims process. “We are hoping that by the following weekend [April 28-29], we should get started and you should be able to submit your claims withdrawals requests.” However, that deadline has passed and the exchange is now saying “there has been a delay on that front,” elaborating:

When investigations are underway, we don’t have much of a say and do need permission from the authorities to start the compensation process, which we are yet to receive.

“There will be new contracts rolled out to all our users who held a balance on Coinsecure (INR and bitcoin),” the exchange added.

Working With Authorities

Coinsecure has been cooperating with the authorities to recover its lost BTC. The exchange suspects its Chief Security Office, Dr. Amitabh Saxena, was behind the theft. A complaint was filed with the Cyber Crime Cell of the Delhi Police on April 10. The authorities advised the exchange to “confiscate [the suspect’s] system for further investigation,” which it followed and collected Saxena’s laptop.

In a letter to the authorities, Coinsecure’s CEO Mohit Kalra wrote, “as the private keys are kept with Dr. Amitabh Saxena, we feel that he is making a false story to divert our attention and he might have a role to play in this entire incident.”

If all the stolen bitcoins are recovered, Coinsecure said that all customers’ bitcoin holdings will be repaid per balance on April 9. Otherwise, the exchange explained:

We will apply the lock in rates as of the 9th of April, 2018. 10% of the coin holding balance will be refunded in BTC and 90% will be returned in INR.

To help with the recovery of lost coins, the exchange has also appealed to the community for help and has put up a 10% bounty.

Even amid the turmoil surrounding Coinsecure, Venezuela announced last week that the Indian exchange has been certified to operate in Venezuela in hopes that it will list the country’s new currency, the Petro.

What do you think of Coinsecure needing permission from the authorities to repay customers? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Coinsecure, and Cyber Crime Cell.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

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Binance to Invest $15 Million in Bermuda as Crypto Regulations Advance 0

Binance to Invest $15 Million in Bermuda as Crypto Regulations Advance

While some governments say they see the potential future benefits of a local cryptocurrency hub, more proactive jurisdictions are already reaping the rewards. The latest example comes from Bermuda, which is rapidly advancing its receptive crypto regulations and strengthening the local economy.  

Also Read: Hong Kong Alcohol Company Buys 51% of Bitcoin Miner for $60 Million

Binance Brings Jobs, Education and Investment

The Premier of Bermuda, Edward David Burt, announced on Friday his government’s new partnership with cryptocurrency exchange Binance. Under the signed agreement, the company is to establish a Global Compliance Centre in the country creating forty jobs. Binance will also invest $10 million in education for local residents, and $5 million in Bermuda-based blockchain companies.

While far from Binance’s Asian roots, Bermuda is an ideal choice for a global compliance department. The official language is English, it is an established offshore financial hub and as a self-governing British Overseas Territory offers a legal system similar to those in other commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada. Additionally, the local government is advancing a welcoming regulatory environment for cryptocurrency firms.

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Bermuda Sets Up Legal Framework

Also on Friday, Bermuda’s Virtual Currency Business Act passed through the House of Commons in the UK. The bill is expected to pass the Senate this week, and as we reported earlier, seeks to foster the development of the local cryptocurrency industry. It covers the issuing and selling of cryptocurrencies, ICOs, exchanges, wallets and other services.

“When you look at other current jurisdictions, they have either not been banking hubs traditionally, do not have the best track record when it comes to KYC/AML, or are in developing countries that aren’t presently suitable to support rapid growth of a technology or financial system. Bermuda does,” commented Joseph Weinberg, Chairman of blockchain KYC/AML solution Shyft. “Along with that, Bermuda also has a highly skilled workforce that is experienced in regulation and compliance and securities laws. The island also has a rich entrepreneurial history and a willingness to learn and adapt quickly. This made for an incredible working relation in building out regulation for the crypto community.”

What other governments should follow the example of Bermuda next? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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NEO, Stellar Lumens, Tron, Litecoin, EOS: Technical Analysis for May 1, 2018 0

NEO, Stellar Lumens, Tron, Litecoin, EOS: Technical Analysis for May 1, 2018

The race for supremacy continues and here we have two coins out bidding each other: EOS and Tron. While we expect them to launch their mainnet in less than 40 days, their respective price spike means their valuation rank in the top 10. Because of this, ramping up buys whenever our EOS and Tron technical analysis dictates could be a nice trade plan.

Let look at these charts:

EOSUSD (EOS)

Apparently, EOS is mooning. That’s not a surprise because the platform promises investors that it shall be a go to platform as they take Ethereum head on. Technically, we shall trade a break out and because such strategies are followed by dips, we should wait until this correction is over before looking for buy entries in the 4HR chart.

Reflecting this retracement is the 18 percent dip in prices in the last 24 hours and borrowing hints from our previous EOS price forecasts, our potential support lies at $14. In my view, it shall remain that way until unless a stochastics buy signal prints or if we have strong reversal bull candlesticks around our support zone. Otherwise, our short term bull target remains at $30 in line with yesterday’s preview.

LTCUSD (Litecoin)

All in all, this Litecoin lower time frame range mode isn’t doing any good to the coin’s valuation. As far as its total cap is concerned, it’s down to seventh place after losing seats to EOS and Cardano. If we are strictly technical, then our projection is pretty constant and all we have to do is to hold on to our bullish guns until clear load signals prints.

From our previous analysis, $140 is a significant support line. So, should there be a reaction at that zone coupled with a stochastic buy signal then we can as well buy and aim for $180 and $240 in the near term. If not, then we wait until buyers push prices above $180 immediate resistance line and from there buyers can aim for $240.

XLMUSD (Stellar Lumens)

Despite a $7.97 billion market cap, Stellar Lumens is down four percent in the last 24 hours forced down by a momentum bearish divergence pattern that is in play. Then again, there is nothing much to write about from the fundamental point but regardless, we shall hold on to our bullish view as we search for undervaluation in lower time frames.

As it is, our potential support lines are at 35 cents and 40 cents on the lower and upper limits respectively. Because stochastics are bearish, we expect bears to push prices lower before buyers enter this trade once a stochastic buy signal prints anywhere within our five cent buy range.

TRXUSD (Tron)

If you want to see how fast Tron prices are oscillating then the weekly chart should be a perfect surveillance ground. In my view, it’s more of fundamentals than technicals that is behind this surge of prices. After all, Tron promises a 10,000 Tx/S once it launches on is mainnet and Bitcoin pales in comparison.

Mind you, Tron is up a whopping 80 percent in past week. Now here is the thing, it’s the Tron product that is inevitably pushing prices and considering its divorce from Ethereum and mainnet launch is in less than a month, Tron supporters don’t want to miss out.

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Technically, the expansion should continue and as Tron prints ATHs, savvy traders should buy with stops below this week’s lows at 8.25 cents. Assuming there is a reversal from current highs then ideal buy zone should be between 8.25 cents and last week’s highs at 9 cents. Either way, I expect strong support at this zone in the days to come.

NEOUSD (NEO)

Thing is NEO and NEP-5 tokens are gaining prominence and as it continues to wade off bears keen on pushing its valuation down, buyers should be pouncing at a discount. As I type this, NEO is down two percent and up 12 percent in the past week. Development wise, there is a new update for the NEON wallet from City of Zion.

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Regardless of this minor sell pressure at $90, buyers should be looking for entries anywhere between $70 and $75 or whenever a stochastic buy signal prints in line with yesterday’s NEO technical analysis. On the flip side, suppose there is a strong surge of NEO buy volumes, then bulls should enter once prices breach $90.

 

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Circle Invest Adds Zcash Trading in Bid to Compete with Coinbase 0

Circle Invest Adds Zcash Trading in Bid to Compete with Coinbase

Goldman Sachs-backed fintech startup, Circle has announced that it will be adding Zcash to its Circle Invest platform. The platform, released following beta testing in March, aims to compete with Coinbase, providing users with instant, commission-free crypto asset trading. It provides a simple service that lets users buy cryptocurrencies with ease. Circle Invest users can

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No ‘Macrocritical’ Risks From Cryptocurrency, Says IMF 0

No ‘Macrocritical’ Risks From Cryptocurrency, Says IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) isn’t terribly worried about the financial stability risks posed by cryptocurrencies. Nonetheless, the organization expressed limited concerns about leveraged trading of cryptocurrencies, the integration of crypto-assets into mainstream financial products, and the cross-border character of these digital assets.

Bermuda Passes FinTech Bill And Develops An Agreement With Binance 0

Bermuda Passes FinTech Bill And Develops An Agreement With Binance

Bermuda’s lower house of parliament has passed an act to regulate ICOs and encourage growth of the island’s FinTech industry, just after announcing the country entered a $15 million agreement with Binance.

Iran Continues to Develop State Cryptocurrency Despite Central Bank Ban 0

Iran Continues to Develop State Cryptocurrency Despite Central Bank Ban

Iran has been developing its own cryptocurrency, a project which has yielded an experimental local crypto, despite the country’s central bank banning banks from dealing with cryptocurrencies. Iran’s Information and Communications Technology Minister has shed light on the project, commented on its alleged use to evade sanctions, and clarified the central bank’s action.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Iran’s Crypto Project

Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi.

Iran’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Minister, Mohammad Javad Azari-Jahromi, revealed on Saturday that “Iran has developed an experimental local cryptocurrency,” Reuters reported him saying. “Last week, at a joint meeting to review the progress of the (local cryptocurrency) project, it was announced that the experimental model was ready.”

His statement follows the ban by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), prohibiting banks and financial institutions from dealing with cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. The minister clarified that the ban will not affect Iran’s cryptocurrency efforts. The news outlet conveyed:

Iran cryptocurrency project [is] on track despite cenbank ban.

Iran’s central bank.

Azari-Jahromi is the country’s youngest minister and is known as an innovator. He tweeted in February that Post Bank of Iran, a subsidiary of his ministry that has 400 branches and 14,500 offices across the country, had been working with local experts on an experimental cryptocurrency model that would be presented to the country’s banks for review and approval.

The research department of the ICT Ministry and the monetary and financial research institute of the central bank have been collaborating in order to examine and create the legal framework for fintech, Eranico publication reported Azari-Jahromi explaining. He further noted, “To date the results of this cooperation is good and the pilot sample is being implemented,” adding that “The virtual national currency would be backed up.”

Significant Impact

The ICT Mister was quoted by the news outlet:

I believe that cryptocurrencies can have a significant impact on the country’s financial exchange model…However, first of all, research needs to be done in order to introduce this technology to the authorities.

He also commented on foreign media’s reporting of Iran developing national cryptocurrency to circumvent sanctions. Citing “Decentralization and lack of supervision of any financial regulatory institution on virtual currencies, including the characteristics of digital currency,” he said, “All cryptocurrencies have the ability to circumvent sanctions because they are not under the supervision of the US financial regulator.”

The central bank’s ban comes at a tenuous time for the Iranian economy. Between now and May 12, both the EU and the US are expected to decide on a new round of economic sanctions targeting Tehran. This could restore the harsh international controls on Iran that were lifted in the 2015 nuclear treaty between Iran and six major powers, including the US.

Central Bank’s Ban

Referring to the ban by the central bank, Azari-Jahromi said, “the ban on trading virtual currencies and bitcoin by the central bank as the financial and currency regulator of the country is due to preventing foreign currency from exiting in the current state of the country.”

IRNA news agency further quoted him emphasizing:

The central bank’s (ban) does not mean the prohibition or restriction of the use of the digital currency in domestic development.

What do you think of Iran developing its own crypto despite the ban on banks by the central bank? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Rfe/Rl.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

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UNICEF Wants to Use Your CPU to Mine Monero to Raise Funds for Children 0

UNICEF Wants to Use Your CPU to Mine Monero to Raise Funds for Children

UNICEF Australia, an organization that is dedicated to humanitarian aid for disadvantaged children, is shining the spotlight on a good cause while simultaneously seizing an opportunity for an added revenue stream through cryptocurrency mining. The agency has launched The HopePage, which is designed to use the CPUs of local website visitors to perform cryptocurrency mining,

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