Weekly News 34 / 2018 : Bitcoin Surged to Two-Weeks High in Mere Minutes

Turmoil on cryptocurrency markets continues with most of the major cryptocurrencies alternating between losses and recoveries. On the other hand Bitcoin has remained sufficiently stable, suffering smaller losses than cryptomarkets in general, and even achieving some advancement in its price range.

Even though bitcoin has been decoupling itself from cryptomarkets in general, bitcoin is still affected by altcoin prices. Most of the cryptocurrency exchange of altcoins is done by using bitcoin and exchanges usually measure altcoins by comparing them to bitcoin’s value.

Nonetheless the week seems to suggest that those who argue for decoupling are at least somewhat right: During the week Bitcoin has been almost as low as 6 000 dollars, but early in Wednesday it surged over 6 percents. At the time of writing bitcoin is experiencing price levels of over 6 700 dollars. It is, of course, impossible to say how long the surge will last – or will it last.


Bitcoin price is higher than it has been in weeks, but the near-future is still somewhat uncertain. (PICTURE: Getty)

 

U.S. Exchanges to Create Cryptocoin Self-Regulation

A number of big cryptocurrency exchanges serving American customers are banding together to create self-regulatory rules and organization for the growing cryptoindustry. The working group is led by Gemini. Other founding members of the upcoming Virtual Commodity Association are Bistamp, Bittrex and bitFlyer USA.

“This is the first of many steps in policing the digital asset markets and answering the call of regulators,” said Yusuf Hussain, head of risk at Gemini.

Fields of technology are noted for the difficulties relating on their regulations. Technology advances far more quickly than political situation can answer. This is especially true for cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Self-regulation on the other hand is more dynamic and it can react to changes in environment more quickly than normative legislation. Self-regulation is also useful for keeping the industry relatively free: if the legislators deem the self-regulation operations effective enough, they usually don’t bother drafting more restrictive normative legislation. Fields such as media and advertisement usually use different forms of self-regulation.

“We believe in the value of self-regulation, which we pursued in Europe almost from our inception, and look forward to following a similar path in the U.S. Those that can’t or won’t comply with regulations put consumers – and their own operations – at risk,” Bitstamp CEO Nejc Kodrič commented.


Gemini, the cryptocurrency platform owned by the Winklevoss twins, is spearheading the self-regulation project.

 

Researcher: The Question of Bitcoin Mining is Not About Consumption But Production

The claims that the current somewhat high energy consumption would prove to be the downfall of Bitcoin seem to exaggerated, claims an energy researcher in an article published in The Conversation. The researcher, Katrina Kelly, who acts as the Strategy Manager at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Energy, believes that the real question is how the energy is produced.

“By talking specifically about the consumption of energy alone. Many fail to understand one of the most basic benefits of renewable energy systems. Electricity production can increase while still maintaining a minimal impact on the environment. Not all types of energy generation are equal in their impact on the environment, nor does the world uniformly rely on the same types of generation across states and markets,” Kelly writes.

According to Kelly the question is larger than simply Bitcoin mining. The real question isn’t in energy consumption, but the sources of energy. The more energy we can produce by renewable mining, the less of an impact Bitcoin will have on environment.

And Bitcoin mining indeed seems to be moving towards clean and green energy. For an example Iceland has become an increasingly popular base for Bitcoin mining. As the country relies almost entirely on renewable geothermal and hydropower energy, Icelandic mining doesn’t take a heavy toll on the environment. Some sources even state that Bitcoin mining could push the industries at larger towards cleaner energy.

“Because miners are so sensitive to electricity prices, they are often a driver pushing utilities to further develop renewables which are now the cheapest source of energy. If the energy use of cryptocurrency miners continues to increase, it will help decrease the costs of renewables for society at large,” a Cointelegraph analysis notes.


According to researcher Katrina Kelly, the real question of mining is not the energy consumed, but how that energy is generated. (PICTURE: Kenueone)

 

A Thailand Bitcoin Scam Claimed Millions in Euros

A Finnish Bitcoin millionaire has fallen to a victim of a cryptocurrency scam involving a claimed altcoin “Dragoncoin”. According to Thailand’s police, the 22-years old man has lost about 31 million euros worth of bitcoin in the scam. The police suspects the CEO of Dragoncoin, an actor and his brother and an investor are involved in the scam.

The alleged scam took the form of a somewhat common ICO-scam. The man and his associate were offered the possibility of buying Dragoncoin tokens and stocks with bitcoin. The inclusion of at least appararently trustworthy people, like the actor and the investor, gave the scam an aura of legitimacy. But when the man and his associate wanted to get their share, they were left empty handed.

Dragoncoin claims to be an altcoin to be used by casinos and online gaming businesses. It superficially resembles the more trusted altcoin, Dragon Chain, which was originally developed by Disney for similar purposes. As the name suggests, Dragoncoin tries to use the similar name and concept on purpose to make the people to confuse between the two different altcoins.

In many ways Dragoncoin resembles a typical ICO-scam, though most ICO-scams aren’t as successful as it. Though Initial Coin Offerings have a great potential to benefit startups and other companies, they are also often used for illegit purposes – of which the Thailand’s case is a dire reminder of.


One of the suspected scammers is a Thai actor whom the officials dramatically arrested during filming of a scene.

 

Chinese Social Media Blocks Blockchain

WeChat, one of the largest Chinese social media platform, has blocked a number of accounts related to cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. According to WeChat these accounts were suspended of advertising ICO and cryptotrading, which was in violation of WeChat’s terms of service, a local financial news outlet Lanjinger tells.

The blocked accounts include at least Deepchain, Huobi News and CoinDaily. Many of the blocked sites were among the most influential blockchain-related accounts on the whole WeChat-platform. For an example CoinDaily had over 100 000 users in June 2018.

WeChat’s blockchain and cryptocurrency ban is similar to the policies of Western social medias. For an example Google, Twitter and Facebook have all implemented rules that hinder the spread of cryptocurrency related content in severe ways, even blocking legal and legit content outright.

Nonetheless the situation seems to be getting at least somewhat better. Facebook and similar sites seem to be revising their rules and at least some Bitcoin and cryptocurrency related services have been allowed a more lax advertisement policies. In China it seems that we’d might see more censorship of social media in the coming future.

We chat has over a billion of registered users and thus it has become a major hub for Chinese online communication.

 

An U.S. Courts Accepts Bitcoin for Bail Money

At least some criminal courts in USA are now accepting cryptocurrencies for bails, reports Daily Post. A Man charged with hacking the databases and customer accounts of Electronic Arts has been ordered to pay his bail in cryptocurrencies.

The federal court ordered the man a bail of 750 000 dollars, but the Italian man was short on US cash. This resulted the court to order him to pay the bail in bitcoin or with any other cryptocurrency.

According to the U.S. Assistant District Attorney Abraham Simmons this is probably not the first time a judge has allowed bail to be paid with cryptocurrencies. Judges have a large freedom in ordering any kinds of bail they deem fit.

“The judge could order just about anything. What the objective is is to get the defendant to comply with an order to appear later. The idea is to get him to court, not necessarily to maintain the value of any particular asset,”  Simmons said.

Though perhaps not the first, the case still seems to be the first such a case that has come to the attention of cryptocurrency media. It is also a demonstration of how USA’s official system is beginning to see and respect the value of cryptocurrencies.

American legal system is growing to accept cryptocurrencies as a real form of useable asset. (PICTURE: howtostartablogonline.com)

 

Porn8 Will Pay for Users for Watching Porn

Vice Industry Token, the cryptocurrency especially designed for adult entertainment industry, will see its first use case later this year. Tube8 – a subsidiary of the World’s largest online porn video platform PornHub – revealed to Hard Fork that it has entered an agreement with Vice Industry Token (VIT) that will see its platform entirely tokenized.

The collaboration will enable users to earn VIT tokens for streaming and interacting with Tube8 videos. According to Tube8 the company sets to release the crypto-implementation later this year.

“For as long as I can remember, getting paid to watch porn was always a pipedream; one that was always dreamed about, but never fully realized. Now however, with the introduction of VIT, we are marking a paradigm shift in how people consume adult entertainment.

As opposed to having to fork over money to consume content, which some sites require, our users will get paid to consume our free content, the more they interact with our videos, the more money they earn,” Tube8 spokesperson Robin Turner told Hard Fork.

It doesn’t take a prophet to say that a service which pays people for masturbating to porn could have a large amount of demand, thus giving VAT a vast potential which only few other cryptocurrencies have. PornHub alone has about 150 million monthly visitors.

Think of it what you will: the porn industry has historically been a major driving force in technological adaptation and cryptocurrencies could be next.

Writer Jiri Keronen