Úno 28

So Why Did Goldman Sachs-Backed Circle Really Buy Poloniex?

· February 28, 2018 · 10:00 am

Goldman Sachs-backed startup Circle made waves earlier this week when it acquired cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. A couple of experts share their thoughts on the implications for the soon-to-be first compliant US crypto exchange and its customers.


Most Crypto Exchanges ‘Over-Regulate Themselves’

As the dust settles on Circle’s acquisition of Poloniex, U.S. regulators are keeping a close eye on KYC/AML compliance of cryptocurrency exchanges.

Joseph Weinberg

Joseph Weinberg, OECD Think Tank Special Advisor and Chairman of Shyft, a blockchain protocol that will create a new standard for the KYC/AML mandates, shared his comments with Bitcoinist. He states:

Most crypto exchanges that are processing fiat to crypto transactions are very compliant and, in some cases, even more so than banks. It all really depends on jurisdictions and the compliance policies given by countries to crypto exchanges.

He continued:

For crypto exchanges, the challenge lies in how little formal guidelines there are from regulators. As a result, most of the industry has been doing self-compliance in absence of clear procedures. To err on the safe side, crypto exchanges over-regulate themselves. For example, most exchanges ask for passport verification in order to confirm users’ identities, whereas most banks only require government-issued IDs, such as drivers licenses.

Interestingly, Circle acquired the crypto exchange over a year after announcing it was shifting focus from Bitcoin to blockchain-based services. At the time, the company informed its Bitcoin customers that they can can cash out or transfer their balances to Coinbase, if they wished to continue to use the cryptocurrency.

So why did Circle decide to jump back into the crypto game?

It appears that Poloniex was struggling to keep up with the unexpected surge in new users as prices skyrocketed in the second half of 2017. Additionally, being based in the United States, the company also had to keep up with rising compliance costs as it rolled out its new KYC policies late last year.

Weinberg explains:

In the past, Poloniex had a lot of issues with onboarding new users and properly building out its KYC process, mainly due to the large amounts of time it takes to verify users. Given the level of KYC that exchanges force themselves to go through, scaling compliance is almost a separate product that the exchange has to build out.

According to him, this is where Circle comes in with their KYC/AML expertise. He says:

Through this acquisition, Circle will deploy more people to help handle compliance—more employees to build and process KYC due diligence faster. This is the same type of issue traditional banks have when it comes to scaling. Compliance costs keep multiplying, and yet, they aren’t always found to be effective.

The SEC Is Watching

Meanwhile, another takeaway has been put forth by Nathaniel Popper, author of Digital Gold: Bitcoin and the Inside Story of the Misfits and Millionaires Trying to Reinvent Money.

Popper noted on Twitter that the SEC informally suggested to Circle that no enforcement action will occur if the Boston-based startup “cleans up Poloniex and turns it into a regulated exchange.” He adds:

The SEC seems to be saying here that it’s okay if you broke the rules, as long as you get acquired by a legitimate player before we crack down on you.

The question now seems to be whether the SEC will apply this same thinking to other virtual currency exchanges if they are acquired by large players.

In addition to facilitating compliance, Circle also announced that it will add fiat bridges and expand operation to other markets. Namely, the company promised to explore “USD, EUR, and GBP connectivity that Circle already brings to its compliant Pay, Trade, and Invest products.”

This would imply that the exchange must also become compliant and answer to regulators from across the pond, who are currently scratching their heads on how to approach cryptocurrencies without stifling innovation in the process.

Therefore, regulators in the U.S. and abroad could be playing the carrot and stick strategy by providing an incentive for crypto exchanges to get acquired by the large players, such as Goldman Sachs, before a potential crackdown. Admittedly, this could also be a clever way for traditional finance to not only appear innovative through association but also assimilate would-be future competitors.

If true, the strategy may be futile and usher in the Streisand effect to boot. As technology advances, so do new methods of exchanging cryptocurrency. Therefore, assimilating centralized exchanges like Poloniex could force users to migrate en masse to decentralized exchanges and further bolster their development.

Why do you believe Circle acquired Poloniex? Share your comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter/@nathanielpopper.

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Úno 27

Crashes And Failed Payments: Peter Todd Urges Caution Over Lightning Network

· February 27, 2018 · 11:30 am

Bitcoin Core developer Peter Todd has delivered a frank appraisal of the Lightning Network, suggesting it is technically insufficient in its current form.


Lightning’s Growing Pains

Writing about his “initial impressions” of Lightning’s testnet implementation on Twitter Monday, Todd questioned aspects including operational resilience and programming language.

“Initial impressions of Lightning on testnet: c-lightning segfaults a lot, and when it’s not crashing payments fail more often than not. Writing it in C – a notoriously dangerous language – doesn’t strike me as a good idea,” he wrote.

Since its mainnet debut at the start of the year, the Lightning Network has grown rapidly, but cryptocurrency experts and developers remain divided over whether the technology is ready for use at all.

Future Vulnerability Today

The most hotly awaited of the so-called ‘Layer 2’ Bitcoin network improvements, Lightning promises near-zero transaction fees and confirmation times.

This month, Microsoft threw its weight behind the project, pledging support for it as an off-chain Bitcoin scaling solution while pouring cold water over on-chain solutions such as block size increases.

On a technical level, however, the experimental state of Lightning remains evident. Figures including Bitcoin.org creator Cobra preceded Todd in voicing doubts about a consumer rollout given the untested nature of many of its features. The result, both say, could be lost funds.

“As for the Lightning protocol, I’m willing to predict it’ll prove to be vulnerable to DoS attacks in it’s (sic) current incarnation, both at the P2P and blockchain level,” Todd meanwhile predicted.

“While bad politics, focusing on centralized hub-and-spoke payment channels first would have been much simpler.”

Lightning has also faced caution from Andreas Antonopoulos, who despite championing its technological promise saw regulatory woes forcing major cryptocurrency exchanges to avoid offering it.

This week meanwhile also saw Bitcoin Core release version 0.16.0, a major milestone incorporating full support for SegWit scaling improvements, itself a useful foundation for allowing Layer 2 solutions to spread.

What do you think about Peter Todd’s angle on the Lightning Network? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Úno 26

Goldman Sachs-backed Circle Buys Poloniex Cryptocurrency Exchange for $400M

· February 26, 2018 · 11:30 am

Circle, the notionally cryptocurrency-focused payment services startup, has reportedly bought exchange Poloniex for $400 million.


Job Done Between Circle And Polo

According to Fortune editor Robert Hackett who leaked the news in advance, an official statement will follow Monday. The takeover means a cryptocurrency exchange is now under direct ownership of a Goldman Sachs funded company.

Hackett wrote on Twitter earlier this morning:

Rumors have swirled in recent weeks that Circle has been in talks to buy the cryptocurrency exchange (Poloniex). […] I can confirm here for the first time that, yes, Circle has completed the acquisition. (A source familiar with the terms told me the price tag came to roughly $400 M.)

Circle Takes On Crypto Exchange Giants

Circle had fallen out of favor with diehard Bitcoin fans after it made the decision to divest itself of Bitcoin interaction. One of the pioneering major movers in cryptocurrency, many saw the removal of Bitcoin from the Circle Pay app as a rejection of the more innovative values cryptocurrency represents.

Commenting on Poloniex’s incorporation, however, Hackett saw Circle establishing a firm foothold in the now vastly-expanded crypto corporate arena:

This is a huge coup for Circle—putting it within striking distance of other big U.S. crypto exchanges, like Coinbase’s GDAX, Kraken, and Bittrex.

According to the report, Circle’s revenue from cryptocurrency trading would significantly increase thanks to Poloniex – up to around $1 billion per year, proportionally roughly similar to the combined revenue of the entire exchange sector of South Korea.

Poloniex itself had been facing mounting criticism in recent months. A huge influx of new users over the second half of 2017 saw technical problems and outages at key trading moments as technology struggled to cope with demand.

Also struggling was customer support, a problem repeated across many exchanges in the industry as newbie traders made rookie mistakes and relied on staff to provide a remedy.

What do you think about Circle buying Poloniex? Let us know in the comments below!


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Úno 25

NEO vs. Bitcoin – Key Similarities & Differences

· February 25, 2018 · 9:00 am

NEO and bitcoin are two cryptocurrencies which have risen to prominence since their inceptions. These coins possess some similarities, however, they also possess a number of important differences. Here is a closer look at the key similarities and differences between NEO and bitcoin.


Similarities

Popularity – Both NEO and Bitcoin are extremely popular. That is why both coins are in the top ten coins by overall market cap as of February 12th, 2018. NEO and bitcoin are joined in the top ten coins by ethereum, ripple, bitcoin cash, cardano, litecoin, stellar, eos, and iota. All of the coins in the top ten have developed strong support from cryptocurrency users.

Exponential growth – NEO and bitcoin have both seen periods of exponential growth. 2017, in particular, was a year that was tremendous growth for both cryptocurrencies. In 2017, bitcoin rose from having a price of around $1,000 per coin to having a price of almost $20,000 per coin in December 2017. NEO rose from having a price of just a few cents in 2017 to having a price of over $100 by the start of 2018. 2017 was a very strong year for both coins, and in fact, both NEO and bitcoin were some of the best investments that anyone could have made in 2017.

Limited quantity – There are only a certain amount of coins for both the NEO and bitcoin cryptocurrencies. For NEO, the limit is 100 million coins. For bitcoin, the limit is 21 million coins. So, there is a finite amount of both coins. This means that if more people become interested in cryptocurrencies, this scarcity could drive up the price for both coins significantly higher than their prices already are in early 2018.

Differences

Age – Although the entire cryptocurrency industry is new, bitcoin is significantly older than NEO, relatively speaking. Bitcoin was created in 2009, whereas NEO was created in 2014. Because of the fact that bitcoin was created five years before NEO was, it had a five-year head start over NEO and many other cryptocurrencies. This helped it benefit from the first-mover advantage, and to gain market share before many competitors even existed.

Overall market cap size – Despite the fact that both cryptocurrencies are in the top 10 for overall market cap size, bitcoin’s market cap is much larger than NEO’s. As of February 12th, 2018, the market cap for bitcoin is $149,160,858,393. The market cap for NEO on the same date is $7,318,805,000. This is a difference of more than $140 billion.

Creators – The creators of NEO are known. NEO was created by two Chinese developers: DA Hongfei and Erik Zhang. The creator of bitcoin is a complete mystery. This is because the person (or group of people) who created bitcoin used an alias. This alias is Satoshi Nakamoto. There have been many guesses as to who Satoshi Nakamoto might be. Some people speculated that it was Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, PayPal, and other major corporations. However, Musk has denied these claims, and the mystery of bitcoin’s creator lives on.

Function – Since 2009, when it was created, bitcoin has slowly become positioned as a long-term store of value, and a type of “digital gold.” It is the king of cryptocurrencies and it is the mark by which many other cryptocurrencies are judged. NEO, on the other hand, is designed to be both a cryptocurrency and as a platform for facilitating smart contracts and decentralized apps, or DApps. Technically, smart contracts can be facilitated with bitcoin, however, bitcoin is not known as the go-to platform for such contracts. NEO and ethereum have taken this role primarily.

Conclusion

NEO and bitcoin are similar in that they are both popular, have experienced exponential growth at times, and have a limited quantity. They are different in terms of age, overall market cap size, creators, and function. However, despite their differences, both NEO and bitcoin saw tremendous gains in 2017, and could potentially see them again in 2018.

If you are interested in investing in or trading NEO, bitcoin, or other cryptocurrencies, you can do so on the eToro platform. Etoro is the world’s social trading network. With eToro, you can not only invest in and trade cryptocurrencies, but you can also copy the moves of top traders. This can be extremely beneficial.

What is your outlook for NEO vs. Bitcoin? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of eToro, Shutterstock

Bitcoinist does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. Readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company.

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Úno 24

Coinbase Gives IRS More Than 10K Users’ Information

· February 24, 2018 · 9:30 am

After fighting the IRS in court, popular digital currency marketplace Coinbase has been ordered by the Northern District of California to turn over more than 10,000 users’ personal information and trade history — but it could have been much worse.


The Taxman

The Beatles once sang:

If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street,
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat,
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.

Now, you can add “If you sell on Coinbase, I’ll tax your trades.”

Coinbase

According to Coinbase support, the popular cryptocurrency marketplace notified roughly 13,000 users concerning a summons from the Internal Revenue Service — the United States’ tax collection agency and official administers of Congress’ Internal Revenue Code.

As described in the United States District Court’s decision, the IRS served up a summons to the exchange regarding records of almost every single Coinbase user over a period of several years. The exchange, however, failed to comply — leading to the IRS narrowing its request to significantly fewer individuals with larger accounts. The Northern District of California both granted and denied parts of the United States of America’s Petition to Enforce, resulting in Coinbase’s being ordered to turn over more than 10,000 users’ information, on suspicion that they failed to pay federal tax on their cryptocurrency profits.

The information provided to the IRS by the cryptocurrency exchange includes users’ “taxpayer ID, name, birth date, address, and historical transaction records for certain higher-transacting customers during the 2013-2015 period.”

Coinbase Is on Your Side

Though nobody enjoys dealing with the IRS, it’s worth noting that Coinbase sought to protect its users’ information from the federal government’s tax collectors. As explained by the exchange:

In December 2016, the Internal Revenue Service issued a summons demanding that Coinbase produce a wide range of records relating to approximately 500,000 Coinbase customers. Coinbase fought this summons in court in an effort to protect its customers, and the industry as a whole, from unwarranted intrusions from the government.

Bitcoin Taxes

Coinbase also considers the result of its initial non-compliance a victory, writing:

After a long process, the court issued an order that represents a partial, but still significant, victory for Coinbase and its customers: the order requires Coinbase to produce only certain limited categories of information from the accounts of approximately 13,000 customers.

Have you received a notification from Coinbase in regards to your information being turned over to the IRS? Do you appreciate the exchange’s initial non-compliance? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Wikipedia Commons, Coinbase, and Bitcoinist archives.

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Úno 23

Get Rid of Your Passwords – REMME Announces Alpha Release of its Distributed Public Key Infrastructure (PKId) Protocol

· February 23, 2018 · 11:00 am

Ukrainian company REMME has recently released the alpha build of its REMME Core 0.1.0 protocol, which hopes to eliminate human error in the cybersecurity domain by getting rid of passwords entirely.


Password management is no joke. Despite the ever-expanding advances made in cryptography over the years, poor password discipline remains the greatest weakness to modern computer systems. Besides phishing attacks and easily guessable passwords, users have even been shown to give up their passwords for a bar of chocolate.

Even the mightiest cybersecurity systems have been brought to their knees by a single weak password. Case in point: Equifax notoriously lost the Social Security numbers of 143 million Americans in September last year for simply using the embarrassingly default password combo of ‘admin/admin’ in one of their online employee portals.

And yet, humans are getting no better at protecting their own credentials. Considering the average person can now be expected to maintain at least dozens of accounts spread across social media, chat apps, gaming platforms, email, and even work accounts, it’s little wonder that over 80% of people reuse their passwords. The most readily-available fix is to implement a password manager, though studies show that very few people actually use them.

Making the Password Obsolete

Making the Password Obsolete

The long-term solution? Bypass the password entirely.

That is what the REMME project is hoping to achieve with the recent alpha release of their Access Management solution. A Ukrainian company started in 2015, REMME intends to make passwords obsolete by migrating the authentication process on to the blockchain, thereby eliminating human error from the equation. This is being done using their distributed REMME Public Key Infrastructure protocol (PKId) along with a set of Access Management DApps built on top of it.

REMME’s Core 0.1.0 Alpha release currently offers developers access to the core functionality of the protocol, which includes access to the architecture and high-level logic of working with SSL/TLS certificates. It comes with a command-line interface (CLI) for developer’s seeking quick access to the protocol’s central features, such as issuing and revoking certificates and transferring REM tokens between users. The basic elements of working with the company’s REM token have also been integrated.

The protocol’s release comes hard on the heels of the company’s REM token public ICO on February 13th, which raised 19,343 ETH. The token sale has already reached its hard cap of $20 million USD  and tokens are currently locked until February 25th at 14:00 UTC.  The project has already come to the attention of several companies including Ukrinmash, a part of the State Concern Ukroboronprom, a large, state enterprise tasked with managing Ukraine’s military-industrial complex.

REMME’s efforts earned it recognition at the Microsoft Blockchain Intensive held by Microsoft Ukraine in June 2017. The team won first place at the event’s blockchain-themed hackathon, where they used REMME authentication technology, IPFS protocol, and the Ethereum blockchain to build a traffic collision awareness and reporting system. As a result, they made off with a $10,000 project grant, an invitation to the VivaTechnology conference in Paris, and a business, legal, and marketing consulting contract from Ernst & Young Global Limited, a professional services company based in London.

The project began in 2015 following a series of cyber attacks which rocked several large Ukrainian companies. By early 2016, the first closed beta version of the product was released on the Emercoin blockchain. This was followed by a second version on top of the Bitcoin blockchain in 2017.

The team’s next goal is to develop inter-blockchain token migration for the protocol’s next release. This will allow the REM token, which is currently released on the Ethereum platform, to be used on their custom REMME blockchain. Public testing is slated to begin later this year, with a public release set before the end of the year.


Are we entering a new age of cybersecurity? Will REMME finally get rid of the terrible password practices that have come to define most major data breaches? Let us know in the comments below!

Bitcoinist does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. Readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company.

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Úno 22

Bitcoin Price Under $10k As Big Resistance Triggers ‘A Few Days Of Bears’

· February 22, 2018 · 10:30 am

Bitcoin price dropped below $10,000 again Thursday as analysis warns traders to prepare for “FUD” from detractors.


$11,700 The Target To Beat

Data from Bitstamp showed a sudden $500 dip over three hours, taking Bitcoin from around $10,300 to current lows of $9677.

Having traded as high as $11,762 this week, markets appeared to encounter a lack of support closer to $12,000 Wednesday, creating a rapid drop and reversing gains which began around February 17.

“We’re seeing some weakness; this is not good,” analyst Tone Vays told viewers during a Bitcoin weekly chart performance analysis Thursday.

Others mirrored the sentiment behind a temporary fresh downturn, with the altcoin trader known on Twitter as Squeeze forecasting that “bears are likely to take over for a few days.”

Bitcoin’s turbulence continues to have a more profound effect on altcoin markets. A glance at the top 50 assets tracked by Coinmarketcap shows declines in line with Bitcoin but around 30% steeper in the past 24 hours.

Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin and others in the top ten all lost around 13%.

Sore Losers Wait For Cashout

“This rebound took a lot of pressure off of BTC owners, but we will start running into overhead resistance,” Jani Ziedins of Cracked.Market meanwhile said in a research note quoted by MarketWatch.

“Many premature dip-buyers jumped in between $12k and $15k and we should expect many of those regretful owners to sell when they can get their money back. Their selling will slow the assent over the near-term.”

The lackluster performance of Bitcoin so far in 2018 has also served to temper the outlook for some of the community’s most ardent proponents.

Ronnie Moas, who led the charge of the bulls during the all-time highs in December 2017, most recently stated the likely finishing point for BTC/USD at the end of this year would now be around $28,000 – nonetheless a record high in itself.

What do you think about Bitcoin’s price dip? Let us know in the comments section below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Úno 21

Tesla’s Amazon Cloud Account Hacked to Mine Cryptocurrency

· February 21, 2018 · 10:30 am

Tesla, the automotive company, was the victim of a cryptojacking attack as their Amazon cloud account was compromised and used to mine cryptocurrency.


Even the largest and most technologically advanced companies can be vulnerable to being hacked. Case in point is the pioneering electric car company, Tesla, owned by tech billionaire Elon Musk. They were recently the target of a cryptojacking attack that saw their Amazon cloud account compromised and used to mine cryptocurrency.

Tesla car

Security Not up to Snuff

A hacker, or group of hackers, hijacked an IT administrative console belonging to Tesla that had no password protection. The cybercriminals then used sophisticated scripts to begin mining for cryptocurrency.

The hack was discovered by RedLock, a cybersecurity firm. Apparently, researchers for RedLock were tracking down which groups had left their Amazon Web Services credentials openly exposed on the internet. One of the groups that RedLock found was Tesla.

Of the hack, a Tesla spokesman says:

We maintain a bug bounty program to encourage this type of research, and we addressed this vulnerability within hours of learning about it..

The impact seems to be limited to internally used engineering test cars only, and our initial investigation found no indication that customer privacy or vehicle safety or security was compromised in any way.

Crafty Hackers

RedLock notes that the hackers exposed an Amazon “simple storage service” (S3) bucket that held telemetry, mapping, and vehicle servicing data for Tesla. It appears that individual information was not accessed, but the CEO of RedLock, Varun Badhwar, says that they “didn’t try to dig in too much” and instead alerted the car company.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

Badhwar says that the hackers were pretty crafty in hiding their tracks. They made sure to lower the CPU usage demanded by the Stratum software they were using for cryptocurrency mining. This allowed the mining to be virtually undetected. The hackers also kept their internet addresses secret by hiding behind the services of a content delivery service, CloudFlare.

Overall, it is unknown what cryptocurrency the hackers mined for. The current popular choice is Monero. The amount of cryptocurrency mined by the hackers is also unknown.

For their efforts, RedLock were given $3,133.70 by Tesla as part of the company’s bounty program to reward outside hackers who find flaws in their system. The amount is a reference to 1337, which is old hacker slang for elite.

Tesla is not alone in being the victim of cryptojacking. RedLock estimates that 58% of businesses that use public cloud services have exposed “at least one cloud storage device” to the public. Of that amount, the cybersecurity firm says a full 8% have had cryptojacking incidents.

Do you think companies like Tesla can do more to protect themselves from cryptojacking attacks? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Flickr/@Maurizio Pesce, Pixabay, and Flickr/@JD Lasica.

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Úno 20

South Korea to ‘Support’ And ‘Encourage’ Crypto Transactions – Regulator Chief

· February 20, 2018 · 9:30 am

South Korea will “encourage” banks to interact with cryptocurrency exchanges, regulators have said in a surprising development in the country’s narrative.


Choe: We Want ‘Normal’ Transactions

As local news media outlet Yonhap News Agency reports Tuesday, Choe Heung-sik, governor of the Financial Supervisory Service, has announced government organs will “support” all legitimate transactions in the cryptocurrency trading space.

The comments were delivered during a meeting which included representatives from South Korea’s exchange industry.

The emphasis appeared to be on legal versus illegal transactions, with the promise of support “if normal transactions are made.”

South Korea Issues Ban on ICOsChoe’s hinting at a more open-minded stance from Seoul going forward forms part of a recent departure from lawmakers’ harsher words which caused public outrage in recent months.

Since December, talk of an outright ban on cryptocurrency exchanges had metamorphosed into a ban on anonymous trading. This was then joined by plans to create a Japan-style exchange licensing system, constituting an about turn in the space’s legal prospects.

Turbulence As Police Investigate Official Death

Despite the rapidly-changing landscape, however, Yonhap notes the general atmosphere of confusion and hesitation on the part of exchanges themselves to embrace the current market.

“Currently, local banks have been reportedly reluctant to open virtual accounts for cryptocurrency trading amid the government’s crackdown,” it adds commenting on the teething problems witnessed following the anonymous trading ban when it became law January 30.

On Monday, the government released data showing South Korea’s exchanges generated taxable revenues amounting to almost $650 million in 2017. Taxation, hastily enacted last month and worth 24.2% of that figure, is due for payment by the end of April.

At the same time, a more solemn development this week saw Jung Ki-joon, the official working on future cryptocurrency treatment plans suddenly die of a heart attack. Police investigating the event have since announced a more in-depth review will be carried out.

What do you think about Choe Heung-sik’s plans for cryptocurrency treatment? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Úno 19

Billionaire Calvin Ayre is Building a $100m Bitcoin Cash Resort in Antigua

· February 19, 2018 · 9:45 am

Soon, wealthy tourists looking to live large in the Caribbean will be able to reserve rooms at controversial billionaire Calvin Ayre’s resort in Antigua — if you’ve got the Bitcoin Cash.


A ‘Novel and Exciting Concept’

The billionaire founder of the Ayre Group and the Bodog entertainment brand, Calvin Ayre, is reportedly building a $100 million five-star resort on Antigua’s Valley Church beach — funded entirely by profits made from investments in digital currencies.

Antigua

The prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Gaston Browne, is excited by the news, as the islands have long been supportive of cryptocurrency. Browne says of the project:

We expect the resort’s novel and exciting concept to broaden Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism product and bring a new category of tourists to our islands. We look forward to working with Mr Ayre on this resort and the many other investments he has made in Antigua.

Calvin Ayre, officially known as “his excellency” on the Caribbean islands where he holds the title of special economic envoy, says:

This resort will attract a totally new market segment of tourism on the island — successful wellness-seekers who also want to have fun. The property will not be an all-inclusive destination. Instead, its amenities will be available to residents of Antigua and Barbuda and visitors alike.

Bring Your Bcash

Unsurprisingly, Ayre’s resort will accept Bitcoin Cash at point-of-sale terminals on the property.

Unaffectionately known as Bcash, the controversial cryptocurrency forked from Bitcoin on August 1st, 2017, and has sparked debate amongst cryptocurrency enthusiasts ever since — with some calling it a get-rich-quick scheme primarily profiting from the unnecessary confusion of others by co-opting the Bitcoin brand.

MillionBitcoinCash - Updated POW & POS Technology With Low Fees with limited Coins

Ayre and Bcash bull Roger Ver are arguably the two biggest proponents of the forked cryptocurrency, claiming the Bcash blockchain is vastly superior to all other blockchains — despite little evidence to support such a claim.

Of course, Ayre himself is no stranger to controversy.

In 2012, Ayre and three other individuals were indicted by the US Attorney for Maryland on charges of illegal gambling and money laundering, leading to the billionaire evading authorities for nearly a decade.

In 2017, however, Ayre got off easy by pleading guilty to a single misdemeanor charge, while the remaining felony charges against him were dropped. According to Forbes, Ayre never came to the US to face the charges.

Would you be interested in spending cryptocurrency while on vacation in the Caribbean? Would you prefer that such cryptocurrency wasn’t Bcash? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives.

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