Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork | Segwit Recovery & Schnorr Signatures

Bitcoin Cash Hard ForkBitcoin Cash Hard Fork

A Bitcoin Cash hard fork was implemented earlier today as of block 58268. Although the network-split initially met with a hiccup, the upgrade has now successfully completed.

Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork

The hard fork sees the Bitcoin Cash network implement two new features. They are Segwit recovery and Schnorr signatures.

The Segwit recovery means network participants can now recover funds that were sent accidentally to Segwit addresses.

Before today, this was impossible due to the “enforcement of the new CLEANSTACK rule” which was implemented in the last upgrade in November.

The second new feature is the Schnorr Signatures. This is a digital signature scheme that allows for complex signing abilities.

According to news.Bitcoin.com:

“the basics of Schnorr signatures can slash roughly 4% off current transaction storage. In the future, after another Schnorr related upgrade, the scheme could provide for public signature aggregation and more complex sign-to-contract concepts”.

Segwit Recovery & Schnorr Signatures

Invented by Claus Schnorr, the signature scheme was patented for years and that patent has only recently expired. Now Bitcoin Cash developers have added the preliminary basics of it to the main chain.

The Schnorr scheme means multiple parties can transact with simple multi-party “aggregation schemes”. At 64 bytes, Schnorr signatures are smaller than the traditional ECDSA signatures which run at 70 bytes in size. The overall scalability of the network will be enhanced when further upgrades and the
“implementation of public signature aggregation” are enabled. Predictions suggest the network’s scaling abilites could be improved by reducing blockchain storage and bandwidth by 20-25%.

NewsBitcoin.com explains further:

“When Schnorr is combined with concepts like pay-to-public-key-hash (P2PKH) addresses and the recently added opcode OP_CHECKSIG, other benefits can be added to transactions like privacy and decision-based smart contracts”. 

>HTC’s Blockchain Phone Exodus | Adds In-Wallet Crypto Swaps

Bitcoin Cash 

With a market capitalization of over $6 billion USD, Bitcoin Cash is the fourth largest cryptocurrency in the world.

Are you a Bitcoin Cash holder? Are you excited by the upgrade to the network?

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HTC’s Blockchain Phone Exodus | Adds In-Wallet Crypto Swaps

According to CoinTelegraph, HTC’s blockchain phone, Exodus 1, now allows users to trade cryptocurrency directly from the phone’s native crypto wallet. The Taiwanese technology giant made the announcement early on Tuesday.

Exodus 1 Blockchain Phone – Native Wallet Trading

HTC’s Zion Vault will now allow swaps between various cryptocurrencies. The new feature is the result of a partnership with Kyber Network—a dedicated platform for cross-token trading solutions. HTC has added Kyber’s liquidity protocol and this allows easy swaps.

The swapping pairs include Ethereum-based ERC-20 tokens, including basic attention token (BAT), Kyber network (KNC) and dai (DAI). The platform removes the need to send tokens to intermediaries such as exchanges. Swaps are performed entirely on-chain, according to HTC who added that “fast and secure” crypto trading within mobile apps will enhance the user experience in using crypto.

The phone maker also announced earlier in the week that it has a low-cost version of the Exodus 1 due for release in Q3 2019. This phone called the Exodus 1S will also have the option of running a Bitcoin network full node.

Samsung

HTC is not the only tech giant to release a cryptocurrency phone. Samsung released the Galaxy S10 in February this year. The phone includes storage for private cryptocurrency keys.

Also, Sirin Labs released it’s blockchain phone ‘Finney’ in December of 2018. The Finney was developed off the back of an initial coin offering that raised $157 million in 2018. The phone has its own cold storage wallet built in and is described by Chief Marketing Officer Nimrod May as “a second device in the same housing as the phone.

>>uBUCK Technologies Announces Strategic Partnership With U.S. Prepaid Platform PreWay

To keep a users crypto safe, the Finney has a separate processor and its own LCD screen, in which the user inputs their seed phrase.

What do you think of blockchain phones? Are you a fan and would you trust keeping your crypto on them? Let us know your thoughts!

Featured Image: deposit photos/tsiban

Is Ebay Gearing Up To Support Bitcoin? Mainstream Adoption On the Way!

Mainstream adoptionMainstream adoption

Are we on the verge of mainstream adoption for digital currencies? The list of companies accepting payment in Bitcoin is steadily growing and now one of the biggest e-commerce sites is hinting at joining that list. Global e-retailing giant, Ebay, has stirred rumors via its latest promotional adverts.

Let’s check this out.

Mainstream Adoption – Ebay to Support Digital Assets?

At the Consensus conference in New York, Ebay’s banners suggested the company is about to enter the cryptocurrency space.

In a photo leaked on Telegram channel @PatronsOfTheMoon, the two banners read the following:

“Virtual Currency. it’s happening on Ebay”.

And:

“Reach 179 million active buyers in the world’s largest marketplace”

The photos have caused a stir, because if eBay is readying support for virtual currencies then it would be a major breakthrough for mainstream adoption. Bitcoin would be opened up to a network of potentially 180 million buyers.

Captured by @PatronsOfTheMoon

But don’t get too excited just yet. The company has yet to confirm that the posters are legitimate and hasn’t made any official statement regarding its cryptocurrency plans.

Other Mainstream Adoption

Ebay isn’t the only major brand hinting at mainstream adoption. Elsewhere, a new initiative is aiming to make big name retailers such as Crate and Barrel, Nordstrom, and Amazon’s Whole Foods, accept Bitcoin and three other types of digital currency.

The initiative comes from a partnership between payments startup, Flexa, and Gemini crypto-exchange. The pair have created a cryptocurrency payments app called Spedn.

The app is already active and works by “piggy-backing on the digital scanners that many big retailers use to accept phone-based payments from their apps and from digital wallets like Apple Pay”.

>>uBUCK Technologies Announces Strategic Partnership With U.S. Prepaid Platform PreWay

The partnership has asked various major retailers to “configure their scanners to recognize payments” from the Spedn app. Then a customer simply pays with the app and the merchant will receive a real-time payment in the form of the customers choosing—either cryptocurreny of dollars.

The app holds support for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and, the Gemini Dollar stablecoin. Currently, the app is still under experiment by the retailers that are using it. As such, it remains to be seen if it will be a success.

The volatility of Bitcoin and the risk of hacking, has always been a major issue that has culled mainstream involvement. But might Spedn work? What do you think? Is mainstream adoption on the horizon?

Featured Image: Deposit Photos/hello.artmagination.com

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Facebook Coin: Catalyst for Crypto Growth, Says Spencer Bogart

Facebook CoinFacebook Coin

With the introduction of the Facebook Coin, the cryptocurrency world is facing a revolution. Spencer Bogart of Blockchain Capital, in an interview with Bloomberg, shed some light on the media giant’s venture into the cryptocurrency ecosystem.

The Trickle-Down Effect of Facebook Coin

In the interview, Bogart stated that there are several catalysts on the horizon in the cryptocurrency market despite the speculated “bottom” being reached. One good catalyst will be the anticipated Facebook Coin that will change dynamics in the cryptocurrency industry.

The Facebook Coin project will be an incredible project in electronic payments because it operates differently from current cryptocurrencies.

Bogart used the phrase “gateway drug” to assert that the adoption of the Facebook Coin will spur on the cryptocurrency market by adding billions into it. After establishing initial public confidence using the fiat-backed Facebook Coin, users can then diversify into Bitcoin and other virtual currencies. Bogart added that it is likely a given percentage of users will follow this path, which will significantly impact the industry, adoption tricking down to other cryptocurrencies.

>> Facebook Crypto Ad Ban: Platform Loosens Restriction on Crypto Ads

A Cryptocurrency Catalyst?

Besides the adoption success in the long-term, the Facebook Coin project is likely to initiate something that is more significant. The venture has ignited a fire in numerous FinTech and financial institutions across the US. This is evident in what is witnessed in ETrade, TA Ameritrade, and Fidelity’s digital assets wings, which have introduced crypto-centric services both on the retail and institutional front. The Blockchain Capital Partner indicated that the company sprang into action to introduce the service following the launch of the Facebook Coin Project.

The Facebook Coin project will be headquartered in London with another small office in Dublin. The payments project will first target India because of the popularity of WhatsApp in the country.

Featured image: Deposit Photos © ibphoto

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Facebook Crypto Ad Ban: Platform Loosens Restriction on Crypto Ads

Facebook Crypto Ad BanFacebook Crypto Ad Ban

According to CNBC, Facebook said on Wednesday that it will loosen its ban on cryptocurrency advertising on its platform. The result will allow businesses related to crypto and blockchain to promote their projects on the social network. The Facebook crypto ad ban first came into effect in January 2018.

Facebook Crypto Ad Ban

The social media giant first started blocking ads on initial coin offerings, saying it had concerns for its users’ welfare. It was afraid that many would fall for scams and fraudulent crypto products.

But earlier this year its stance began to change. In January 2019, it began allowing ads from projects that had received prior written approval.

Was it coincidental that around the same time there were murmurs that Facebook itself was going to venture into the cryptocurrency space with its own coin?

Now, the social media giant has gone another step further, making it so that crypto-related ads will no longer require prior written approval.

In a blog post released yesterday the media giant said:

“We’ve listened to feedback and assessed the policy’s effectiveness […] While we will still require people to apply to run ads promoting cryptocurrency, starting today, we will narrow this policy to no longer require pre-approval for ads related to blockchain technology, industry news, education or events related to cryptocurrency.”

The company’s initial ban was met with ire from many businesses that felt the new policy was unfair. The restriction on advertising meant several projects lost hundreds of thousands of dollars because their ad campaigns were suddenly banned.

>> Bitcoin Price to Hit $7,200 After Demonstrating Bullish Signs?

It also is a convenient time for Facebook to change its opinion of cryptocurrency advertising as it is reportedly working on its own blockchain project.

According to several sources, the company is building its own stablecoin that will allow WhatsApp users to send cryptocurrency payments to one another. Further, last week it was reported that Facebook has been in talks with financial firms and e-commerce companies to support its project.

Are you happy to see the Facebook crypto ad ban reversed?

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Joseph Stiglitz Thinks We Should Ban Cryptocurrencies

Joseph StiglitzJoseph Stiglitz

Most people know who Joesph Stiglitz is. Some know him as the 2001 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences; others know him as a vocal cryptocurrency bear. This week, Stiglitz is getting a lot of attention for the latter. In a May 6 interview with CNBC, Stiglitz said we should shut down cryptocurrencies.

Here’s everything we know.

Joseph Stiglitz on Cryptocurrencies: The Latest

This week, of course, is not the first time Joseph Stiglitz, 76, has discussed cryptocurrencies in a negative manner. Back in November 2017, Stiglitz told Bloomberg TV that digital currencies, especially Bitcoin (BTC), are dangerous. His reasoning was that the popularity of the crypto market is driven largely by its potential to maneuver around government organizations. He also said the Bitcoin market will eventually hit a wall, leaving hundreds of investors in treacherous territory.

One year later, Joseph Stiglitz spoke again on cryptocurrencies. This time, he said virtual currencies like Bitcoin exist “because of the abuses.”

And this week, Stiglitz is raising his concerns once again.

In an interview with CNBC, the Economics Professor at Columbia University said we should shut down cryptocurrencies. While he admits that digital payments systems have value, he fears that cryptocurrencies facilitate illicit activity.

“I’ve been a great advocate of moving to an electronic payments mechanism,” said Stiglitz. “There are lots of efficiencies.” And yet, he continued to explain that he thinks “we should shut down the cryptocurrencies,” as cryptocurrencies “do not have those attributes” of a good currency, unlike the US dollar.

Fair Points

Cryptocurrencies are similar to penny stocks in the way that both can be used to make a lot of money very quickly. But like penny stocks, cryptocurrencies have considerable risk, so it’s not unreasonable for Stiglitz to have taken the approach that he has to digital currencies. Some take a genuine approach to the crypto market, while others do, in fact, use it to participate in illegal activity. In fact, “crypto crime has gotten worse because regulations are still weakly enforced,” said CipherTrace CEO Dave Jevans.

>> Binance Hack: Hackers Make Off with $40 Million in BTC

Takeaway

Some people might brush off Stiglitz’s comments, and we can’t stop them. But this is something people should keep an eye on, considering the value of losses from crime in the sector hit $1.7 billion last year.

What do you think? Should we ban cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments below!

Featured image: DepositPhotos © Imaginechina-Editorial

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Facebook Partners with E-Commerce Companies to Support Crypto Payment

Crypto PaymentCrypto Payment

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Facebook is in talks with various e-commerce companies and financial firms to support its crypto payment that is under development. So far Facebook has engaged MasterCard and Visa about the project that is known as Project Libra.

Crypto Payment

Facebook is expected to commit $1 billion to the development of crypto payment. The company has approached various e-commerce companies to invest in its crypto payment feature and be a partner of the network. Paying via crypto will not be limited only to Facebook apps but will also be used by the e-commerce partners that support the feature thus enabling the cross transaction between apps. The company plans to motivate merchants by removing transaction fees for cryptocurrency-based purchases.

Facebook’s crypto payment will be pegged on the dollar and users of Facebook app WhatsApp can use it to send money across the platform. With its more than one billion users, Facebook could open the path towards the adoption of cryptocurrency. Social media has the capacity to change the cryptocurrency ecosystem that currently boasts 100 million users.  Facebook will incentivize users to pay with crypto with a percentage of the cryptocurrency for engaging with content and viewing ads.

>> LSE Interested in Blockchain and Distributed Ledgers? CEO Hints Yes

Facebook Still Dealing with Privacy Issues

Facebook has faced privacy scandals in recent times, and it is currently making a series of changes regarding privacy, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently asserted the importance of private commerce and payments to their future. With the privacy scandals that Facebook has faced it is yet to be clear how the cryptocurrency payment community will take the new development because the company is yet to gain the trust of its users.

While speaking about the payment plan, Zuckerberg indicated that in the event e-commerce gains traction on any Facebook app, then that will motivate brands to spend more on advertising.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © MichalLudwiczak

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Crypto Theft Could Hit $1.2 Billion in 2019, Says Cipher Trace

Crypto theftCrypto theft

Crypto theft has greatly reduced this year compared to last year as regulators continue to enhance their scrutiny and the enforcement of anti-money laundering controls.

Crypto Theft Could Hit $1 billion Mark

Despite being $500 million less than last year, crypto theft could still go well beyond a billion dollars by the end of this year.

A quarterly report released on May 1 by Cipher Trace indicates that investigatory specialists had found that over $356 million worth of crypto had been stolen in Q1 2019. The amount stolen includes the CoineBene and Cytopia exchange hacks and also the $195 million that was lost in December last year when Quadriga CX exchange founder Gerald Cotton died.

Projections of Cipher Trace indicate that crypto theft could hit $1.2 billion by the end of the year after a New York attorney general indicated that Bitfinex had misplaced around $850 million in crypto. The crypto market currently has a market capitalization of around $176 billion and the bulk of this is held by Bitcoin with a market cap of $94 billion, while Ethereum has a market cap of $17 billion. If the market loses $1.2 billion this year, this will be a 0.7% loss in the total value of the market.

>> Bitfinex Tether Issue Continues: CoinFlip and TRON Postpone Plans

Intensifying Anti-Money Laundering Rules

Although crypto theft could hit $1.2 billion this year, this is significantly lower than the $1.7 billion that was reported in 2018 and a 400% increase relative to 2017. Stolen crypto assets and funds are mostly taken offshore where regulators cannot reach them.

Cipher Trace has indicated that in the last two years there has been a 46% increase in cross border crypto payments going from US exchanges to offshore platforms. The firm has also indicated that the number of regulators is currently growing across the globe and they have intensified KYC and AML rules. Cipher Trace indicates that such crypto regulations could lead to bans of privacy coins.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © BrianAJackson

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Crypto Adoption: Russia Testing and Finland Regulating

crypto adoptioncrypto adoption

The crypto world has continued to grow each passing day, and the industry is closer to global crypto adoption judging from the events and developments of the last week of April.

Crypto Adoption: Russia Opens Four Regions

The Russian Federation has indicated that it is opening four regions in the country to test cryptocurrency. This is a significant milestone towards crypto adoption around the world. The Federation will test crypto innovations in regions that are not under the purview of the current regulations.

A bill drafted by the Economy Ministry of Russia indicates that the Federation will allow regulatory sandboxes to establish a base in these areas. Firms and companies will now experiment with cryptos in the four regions without violating any federal legislation even though crypto assets are yet to be regulated in the country.

An advisor to the Russian President, Kirill Kabanov, stated that for years cryptos have been circulating unregulated in most countries, including Russia. He added that the use of regulatory sandboxes will be vital as test grounds for standards that can be applied in the industry.

Crypto Adoption: Finland Joins the List

Besides Russia, the President of Finland has also approved legislation proposed by the finance ministry that aims to regulate crypto service providers. The proposal puts all crypto services, including issuers, exchanges, and custodian wallet providers, under one law. The Fin-FSA stated that all crypto service providers in the country are required to register with the Financial Supervisory Authority of Finland in line with the legal requirements of the legislation.

>> Here’s What We Know ABout the Bitfinex and Tether Issue

The proposed Act on Virtual Currency Providers is expected to be effective from May 1, 2019. In accordance with the new act, the Finnish Financial Supervisory Authority will now act as both the registration and regulatory authority for crypto service providers.

Beginning May 1, only crypto providers that comply with the statutory requirements of the Act will be allowed to continue activities in the country.

Featured image: DepositPhotos © PromesaStudio

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BnkToTheFuture app now supports Bitcoin based security tokens

BnkToTheFuture, an equity crowd-funding platform announced that it plans to issue tokenized equity through the newly released Liquid Security platform from Blockstream.

In preparation for this, the company’s BF Wallet app now supports Bitcoin, which is the first step towards supporting security tokens built on top of Bitcoin. The BF Wallet app also supports Ethereum and the native BF Token.

Users will now be able to store Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bnk To The Future Token (BFT), and all security tokens within the BF Wallet app.

Earlier this week, Blockstream released a new security token platform based on its Liquid Network technology, a Bitcoin sidechain that supports the creation of new digital assets in addition to the ability to peg-in bitcoin to the network.

The BF Wallet app is available on both Android and iOS.