At the World Digital Mining Summit in Frankfurt, Germany, Bitcoin.com’s CEO Stefan Rust sat down with Jihan Wu, cofounder of Bitmain Technologies and Matrixport. The two discussed how cryptocurrencies being used for payments is spreading and how Bitmain is doing after the bear market last year.
A Virtual Economy at Work Approaching Critical Mass
The World Digital Mining Summit (WDMS) is a two-day mining conference that hosts an assembly of industry leaders, mining rig manufacturers, cryptocurrency pool operators, and other individuals passionate about crypto. During the event, Bitcoin.com’s CEO, Stefan Rust, had the privilege of sitting down with Bitmain cofounder Jihan Wu and discussed a wide variety of subjects. At first, Wu explained how he got into Bitcoin and that while working for an investment firm, he happened to read something about Bitcoin and found it “really interesting at that time.” After looking into it for two days straight he decided that bitcoin was a good idea. Wu was actually the first person to translate Satoshi’s Bitcoin white paper into Chinese for residents living in the region.
“I was the first one to translate the [white paper]. At that time in the Chinese media said Bitcoin was either a scam or it does not work,” Wu explained to Rust. “I happened to understand economics and some high-level principles of computer science so I knew [Bitcoin] works in both economic ways and in computer science ways. So I translated the white paper and tried to get more positive feedback from Chinese social media.”
While recalling his old QT wallet, Wu emphasized that it’s been an amazing journey. “I still remember back then no one knew about bitcoin and right now there are 20 million or 40 million users around the world and almost everyone now more or less have heard about bitcoin — I believe there are actual users getting involved in the cryptocurrency economy and those [individuals] are really starting to use cryptocurrencies for payments. A way to store their cash account — I believe this kind of user base will increase more and more.” Wu continued:
This is a virtual economy at work and it’s quite difficult in the beginning but I think we are almost near critical mass.
The Bitmain cofounder remarked that he believes the 40 million crypto users globally had initially stemmed from investor types, but nowadays he sees more ordinary people joining the economy and “especially young people.” “[Individuals] are really pushing cryptocurrency into the local payment network and people start to use it,” Wu said. Rust also brought up spending bitcoin cash (BCH) in Slovenia where there are hundreds of merchants that accept digital assets for products and services. “Lots of people still today believe [Bitcoin] is undoable or it’s out of their imagination how cryptocurrency can be really adopted by real life use cases,” Wu replied. “I think it’s a miracle, I think it’s amazing and lots of miracles are happening nowadays.”
Bitmain Continues to Produce Next Generation Mining Rigs and Chips
After discussing cryptocurrency adoption, Wu also explained how Bitmain was doing this year. “After the bottom of the bearish trend last year we’ve seen a very fast recovery in the money industry and we can see the hashrate growing very fast. Bitmain’s sales volume increased a lot and we released a new generation of mining rigs and mining chips.” Wu detailed that the company also released new artificial intelligence (AI) chips. He further explained that Bitmain’s mining pools mined different cryptocurrencies and remain top-ranking mining pools. Wu stressed:
It’s a good year for Bitmain.
Additionally, Rust and Wu talked about regulations in China and how roughly 60% of the world’s hashpower is located in the country. The two executives discussed the possibility of China banning bitcoin mining and how the Chinese government is dealing with oversight. The Bitmain cofounder and Bitcoin.com CEO conversed about a slew of other subjects like the ecological impact of bitcoin mining, the reward halving, and a lot more insights from someone who’s seen the cryptocurrency mining industry grow immensely, first hand. If you want to check out our exclusive interview with Bitmain’s Jihan Wu, check out the video below.
What do you think about Jihan Wu’s perspective of the mining industry and cryptocurrency ecosystem? Let us know what you think about the interview in the comments section below.
UNICEF’s decision to accept donations and distribute humanitarian aid in Bitcoin and Ether proves that cryptocurrency is changing the world one day at a time.
When disaster strikes the swift delivery of aid often plays a massive role in preventing disease, exposure, and the pause in the delivery of essential services from exacerbating an already dire situation.
The abysmal response in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island in 2017 serves as a perfect example. In fact, data from a Harvard University study estimated that the delayed response in distributing aid contributed to an excess death count of 4,645, whereas the official death count by the government of Puerto Rico remains at 64.
First responders and organizations that deliver humanitarian aid realize that urgent action saves lives and for this reason they are always searching for ways to streamline their processes.
Cointelegraph recently reported that the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) had announced the launch of a cryptocurrency-backed fund aimed at supporting the development of open-source technology that benefits young people around the world. According to UNICEF the Cryptocurrency Fund will “hold and make transactions in cryptocurrency,” specifically Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH).
“Under the structure of the UNICEF Cryptocurrency Fund, contributions will be held in their cryptocurrency of contribution, and granted out in the same cryptocurrency.”
We’re naturally curious when any large government-backed organization openly embraces cryptocurrency, so, we reached out to Sunita Grote, Program Funding Manager for UNICEF Innovation, to learn more.
Note: This transcript has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
CoinTelegraph: Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into this space.
Sunita Grote: I’ve been with UNICEF innovation for 5 years. I co-founded and manage the fiat fund, where we make investments in startups that are working in the countries UNICEF operates in.
Prior to joining UNICEF, I worked in health programming for about 10 years and I saw the need for approaching health services and other social services that impact children in a new way. The Innovation Fund allows UNICEF to explore innovative financing and new technology solutions.
CT: Could you explain why UNICEF decided to partner with the Ethereum Foundation?
SG: We had a number of conversations with leading foundations and partners in the space. It was clear that the Ethereum Foundation is closely aligned with the objectives of our fund. They’re focused on developing solutions on public blockchains, and that was key to our partnership and finding common ground.
CT: Does UNICEF have any concerns about the potential anonymity of contributions to the Cryptocurrency Fund?
SG: At the moment, all contributions follow the standard know-your-customer (KYC) and due diligence processes that UNICEF uses for the contributions it receives in any currency. UNICEF National Committees in France, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA are currently able to accept donations. They are the primary recipients of cryptocurrency donations and they conduct the necessary screening processes.
Over time we will refine our process and hope to increase the number of national committees able to accept contributions in cryptocurrency, however we will not be accepting anonymous donations. All donations will be publicly visible as part of an ethos of transparency and accountability, to ensure all transactions are traceable from source to recipient.
CT: Will UNICEF hold cryptocurrency in the Cryptocurrency Fund, or will it just be a pipeline that immediately converts cryptocurrency back to government-issued currency?
SG: No, cryptocurrency-based donations will not be converted to government-backed currencies. The idea is to receive, hold, and disburse crypto as crypto. At no point in the process does it get converted into any other currency. This allows us to fully leverage the benefits that crypto offers.
We can track all transactions via the blockchain, and can see how recipients use the funds. Recipients have also agreed to not convert the funds into any other digital asset or government-backed currency. UNICEF appreciates that all transactions are stored in the blockchain, and this is part of the reason why we prefer to leave crypto as crypto.
CT: What are your thoughts about the inherent volatility of digital assets? Does this pose a risk to UNICEF operations?
SG: No, the volatility of cryptocurrency does not impact our operations because we are choosing to leave crypto as crypto, including in our financial statements, where cryptocurrency will be reported as crypto. Because there is no conversion, and because contributions in crypto are accounted for separately from other currencies, volatility doesn’t impede our ability to provide services.
CT: Will proceeds from the Cryptocurrency Fund go towards UNICEF’s general operations, or will it be directed to a specific project?
SG: Currently, the application of crypto-based donations is limited to our Cryptocurrency Fund and contributions are used to support companies expanding their blockchain solutions. Right now cryptocurrency donations are not used to support the services that UNICEF traditionally provides for children. UNICEF selected and funded these companies based on their ability to provide services and technologies that generate value and good for those in need across the world.
Our innovation fund has made more than 70 investments, including a handful of blockchain and crypto-oriented companies from developing and emerging markets. Three of these companies have received a grant from the crypto fund, and will use it to expand and refine their platforms.
The recipient companies are Atix Labs in Argentina, Prescrypto in Mexico, and Utopixar in Tunisia.
CT: Looking beyond cryptocurrency as a source of revenue, what potential do you see for blockchain technology itself in contributing to UNICEF’s mission?
SG: At UNICEF’s Office of Innovation we explore various technologies to see if and how various applications can benefit children. We have been exploring the use of blockchain for a few years, and there are three key benefits:
– It lets us tap into a new resource base for UNICEF and expand our network to receive contributions
– Blockchain can improve efficiency and transparency by tracking the flow of resources and transactions in a more transparent way. Blockchain makes us more accountable and has the potential to reduce the amount of resources we need to do our work. We’re a $7 billion global organization that conducts a lot of transactions between various parts of our organization, so we are looking to see how blockchain can help us manage and track these in a more efficient way.
– We are exploring how how blockchain can disrupt and improve systems that deliver programs for children. Blockchain may allow us to make payments in a new way and improve how cash transfers are made.
UNICEF is able to make these explorations and establish the Cryptocurrency Fund thanks to the collaboration across the organization of different teams, including finance, legal and other technical teams. In this way, we are exploring and leveraging the benefits of blockchain for the whole organization, and hope that the broader UN system will also benefit from these efforts.
Crypto trader and on-chain analyst Philip Swift explains how blockchain data points to a new Bitcoin all-time high and how it can be used to enhance short and long-term trading strategies.
Since dropping from its 2019 high at $13,800, Bitcoin (BTC) has been in a rut which has led to the price retracing roughly 43% to $7,800. Traders would take a more conservative approach and describe the last two months of price action as consolidation which is typical after parabolic advances. With the 2020 Bitcoin halving event approaching, the ultimate question on the minds of most investors revolves around whether or not Bitcoin will reach a new all-time high on the heels of the event and more importantly, when.
While every trader has his or her own style, most keep a vigilant eye on Bitcoin charts and attempt to exploit every long and short opportunity that Bitcoin’s market cycles provide. This practice can be time-consuming, tiresome and inefficient based on one’s proficiency at trading and the ability to weather the manipulative fiascos that frequently rock the crypto market.
As the crypto market matures, new technical analysis methods are being developed and traders are also beginning to pay more attention to the on-chain data produced by blockchains. To dig deeper into this topic, Cointelegraph spoke with equities and crypto-market analyst Philip Swift. Swift is also the creator of the Golden Ratio Tool and the Bitcoin 2-Year MA Multiplier.
Cointelegraph: Philip, thanks for taking the time to sit down to have a chat about crypto trading and technical analysis. What brought you to crypto?
Philip Swift: My route into crypto was less exciting than buying drugs on Silk Road, unfortunately! In 2016 I was looking to invest some profits from real estate investing. Traditional market investment opportunities looked awful as they were offering poor returns for reasonable amounts of risk. I also felt uncomfortable with the inevitable handing over of fees to some broker or money manager who probably wasn’t great at their job.
I then came across Bitcoin and saw it had a much more appealing risk/reward opportunity. As I learned more about it, I could see the benefits from a social perspective too, which I thought was really interesting. So I fell down the Bitcoin rabbit hole.
CT: Why is it important to view Bitcoin’s price action on a logarithmic scale? Should this always be done in your opinion?
PS: There is real value in viewing Bitcoin’s price action on a logarithmic scale because it allows you to see two things. First, you can see the adoption curve of Bitcoin over its 10-year history as more and more people begin to use it.
Second, you can see that contrary to the popular belief that Bitcoin has only had a recent price explosion that was a bubble, Bitcoin has actually gone through three full market cycles in its 10-year history. This context is useful for helping us forecast potential price action and also for managing emotions as we enter into the next market cycle.
I definitely don’t think a logarithmic scale should always be used. Thinking in absolutes is very dangerous, particularly when it comes to trading and investing. There are times where a standard scale is very useful, particularly when trading small time frames in certain market conditions.
CT: Given the unique insight on-chain data provides, do you think traders’ reliance on the investing strategies and tools used for traditional financial markets is a misapplication? Why should traders focus more on on-chain data?
PS: I think of all these different approaches like tools in my toolbox. If I want to build something brilliant, I need to have a range of tools to achieve that.
I find it strange in the world of Crypto Twitter that there are people who say they only use technical analysis (TA) or only use on-chain analysis. Why would you limit yourself when clearly these different schools of thought all have value when they are applied correctly? So I use a combination of TA, on-chain metrics, and market cycle analysis. This process has consistently worked very well for me over time.
My sense is that there are people in the space who have either learned from ‘experts’ used to operating in traditional markets like the Forex or they aspire to be the traditional type traders having watched some TV shows and movies. For these reasons, they think that Bitcoin should also be measured using traditional tools from these traditional markets.
This is way off the mark in my opinion as Bitcoin has characteristics that are very different from other asset classes, and more importantly, it is not yet an established asset class. It is going through a period of adoption. This makes it function differently to macro asset classes and established currency markets.
CT: How would you interpret the current Market Value Realized Value Z-score (MVRV-Z score) and could you explain this to a simpleton such as myself?
PS: The current MVRV Z-score is at levels we would expect at this point in the market cycle. In my opinion, there is still plenty of upside to go before we reach the cycle high.
MVRV Z-score highlights periods where the price of Bitcoin is extremely over or under-valued relative to its historical ‘fair value’. The indicator has been able to pick Bitcoin’s major cycle highs to within two weeks!
When it enters the upper red band on the chart, this indicates that price is overvalued and most likely needs to have a major pullback on big timeframes – otherwise known as entering a bear market.
CT: Your Bitcoin Golden Ratio indicator suggests that:
“If this decreasing Fibonacci sequence pattern continues to play out as it has done over the course of the past 9 years, then the next market cycle high will be when the price is in the area of the 350DMA x3.”
According to your indicator, this is around $19,971. Some traders say a bull market does not officially start until an asset breaks through the previous all-time high. At this price, your indicator would be showing overstretched conditions so barring a massive blow-off top, what can one forecast past the 350DMA x 3?
PS: Like any moving average, the Golden Ratio Multiplier moving average lines move with Bitcoin’s price. So as price increases, so do they. Therefore, by the time the price gets to the $20,000 area, the 350DMA x 3 will be much higher. In effect, the price will be trying to catch up with the 350DMA x 3, and it is unlikely to do that until they are both well above $70,000 this cycle in my opinion.
CT: What’s the likelihood that Bitcoin simply consolidates between $8,500 – $10,000 and $10,000 – $11,500 until the next halving event? How does on-chain data support this narrative?
PS: Unlikely. The halving is still 7 months away and we are seeing a lot of accumulation happening on-chain.
I do believe this upcoming halving event will create significant buying demand for Bitcoin. Markets are not efficient, and we are not rational players. I think the halving event hype coupled with global macro issues we are seeing play out as we head towards it will create hype for Bitcoin that will push the price up as people FOMO in.
CT: In your most recent tweet, you said that you believe that Bitcoin is currently in phase A of the Puell Multiple. Is this a multi-year measurement/cycle?
PS: Yes it is. I was highlighting how, just like the previous two major Bitcoin cycles, we have entered a period where the Puell Multiple became over-extended and had a sharp dropdown. Both of those periods were then followed by Bitcoin price action going sideways for 6-8 weeks. I am not saying that has to happen now, but it is certainly noteworthy.
CT: What else do you want to tell me? Are there any additional hot topics, statements or opinions of importance that you think the world should know?
PS: In the world of Bitcoin there seem to be two main groups of people. Hodl’ers and traders. HODL’ers think you should hold forever and constantly dollar cost average in. Traders try to grow their Bitcoin stack using leverage.
Both of these approaches have issues. HODL’ers have to endure multi-month bear markets with 80%+ drawdowns on their holdings. So it’s quite inefficient and actually poor from a risk management perspective. The vast majority of traders (over 90%) lose money in the long run so that approach is not ideal either..
I believe that there is a smarter approach for most people. Strategic investing, which requires just a basic understanding of Bitcoin’s market cycles and its economics. This can help you avoid buying towards the top and selling towards the bottom of Bitcoin’s cycles.
Over the course of Bitcoin’s history, people who have used this approach have significantly outperformed all HODLers and the vast majority of traders.
Here is a really simple chart from my site that brings this to life. If you bought Bitcoin whenever the price was under the green moving average and then gradually sold out in the red zones above the red moving average, then you would have achieved outsized returns relative to most other Bitcoin investors and traders.
CT: What is your approach to crypto investing? Intraday trading, swing trading, BTC accumulation, Fiat accumulation?
PS: I swing trade crypto and also make long term investments in Bitcoin. I don’t want to spend my days stuck in front of the computer screen staring at 15-minute charts so I choose to swing trade on multi-week time frames which suits my trading style.
CT: What is the ultimate purpose of Look Into Bitcoin?
PS: I want it to help regular people (not just large institutions) invest better in Bitcoin, as I believe Bitcoin is a once in a generation opportunity that is leveling the financial playing field.
By providing free-market cycle and on-chain valuation tools for regular Bitcoin investors, it helps them see more clearly and think differently about Bitcoin prices, and ultimately supports their Bitcoin investing.
In the most recent of a series of interviews, head of news, Molly Jane Zuckerman, interviews the animated “Bitcoin.”
In the most recent of a series of interviews, Cointelegraph head of news Molly Jane Zuckerman interviewed Bitcoin (BTC) himself, with the help of the animators behind the “Bitcoin and Friends” series, in a video published on YouTube on July 24.
Should Nakamoto’s identity be revealed
During the interview, Bitcoin said that he hopes the real identity of his creator — Satoshi Nakamoto — will never be revealed. He declared:
“I hope that the true identity of my dad is actually never revealed. I think considering the nature of cryptocurrencies, and it being decentralized and all… An anonymous team of creators, it’s just more poetic and fitting.”
When Zuckerman asked Bitcoin whether he appreciates the company of altcoins, Bitcoin answered that — while feels the most important one — he is of the idea that “if a project has good intentions and, you know, is truly decentralized, and is trying to bring freedom into the world” then he is on their side as well. He concluded:
“I think sometimes when people are mean to each other, they’re talking with their pocketbooks, instead of looking at the bigger picture.”
Don’t blame the tool, blame who uses it
Interestingly, when asked to comment on the correlation between BTC and illegal activities, Bitcoin pointed out that he is a tool that — as any other tool — can be used for good or bad. He also provided an example:
“You know, murderers wear shoes — for example — but that doesn’t mean we should outlaw shoes, of course.”
Facebook’s Libra: a gateway drug
He concluded that people should look at the bigger picture, instead of focusing on what a bad portion of the cryptocurrency community uses Bitcoin for. When asked for an opinion about Facebook’s Libra stablecoin, Bitcoin stated that he hopes Libra will introduce a broader audience to the concept of cryptocurrencies, bringing them to actually decentralized ones:
“So I’m kind of hoping that the Libra will be sort of like a gateway drug to getting into really, truly decentralized projects, like myself, of course.”
As Cointelegraph reported yesterday, the CEO of Chinese tech giant Huawei thinks that China can compete with Facebook for market share by issuing its own digital currency.
On June 12, the Honestnode team announced the release of a new stablecoin project built on top of the Bitcoin Cash network called Honestcoin (USDH). The new token was made using the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP) and recently launched on the cryptocurrency trading platform Coinex. This week news.Bitcoin.com spoke with the founder of Honestnode, Jian Shi, to learn more about this new stablecoin.
Over the last few years, stablecoins have become a popular vehicle within the cryptocurrency landscape and since the birth of tether (USDT), there’s been a decent number of launched stablecoins on networks like Omni Layer, Ethereum, and Tron. These stablecoins have been collateralized in different ways.
Now the Bitcoin Cash network has a stablecoin called honestcoin (USDH) which was created using the SLP platform by the Honestnode team. USDH is a regulated stablecoin backed 1:1 for U.S. dollars and the Honestnode team aims to build various forms of infrastructure to support the token’s use cases. News.Bitcoin.com spoke with Honestnode founder and CEO, Jian Shi, who discussed how the company plans to bolster the potential of cryptocurrencies and blockchain solutions.
News.Bitcoin.com (BC): Can you tell our readers a little about Honestnode?
Jian Shi: Honestnode has created a regulated and secure stablecoin called honestcoin (USDH), and is building a diverse set of value-added application scenarios and tools to support its end-users. This will provide the Honestnode users with a stablecoin that is truly valuable in both the cryptocurrency world and the real world. Honestnode’s ecosystem consists of six primary products：
Honestcoin (USDH): A regulated stablecoin backed by the U.S. dollar.
Honestpay: The USDH version of Alipay.
HonestOTC: An over-the-counter trading platform for USDH and other leading currencies including fiat currency.
Honest Financial: A financial service platform that is a fiduciary receiver for USDH.
Honestcard: A physical bank card that backs up the USDH accounts of users.
HonestAPI: Allowing third-party applications to easily implement the USDH collection.
Our mission is to unleash the true global power of currency. Honestcoin is a secure, efficient and low-cost way to transfer assets around the world. With Honestcoin, users break through external constraints, remove unnecessary restrictions, and bypass costly intermediaries to maintain total control over their global assets. Honestcoin helps bolster the freedom of money.
BC: What made you decide to use the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network to create a stablecoin?
Jian Shi: As the first regulated stablecoin on the BCH chain, USDH can fill a gap in the BCH ecosystem that lacks a regulated stablecoin. At the same time, Bitcoin Cash supports large blocks, with low transfer fees (about 1 satoshi) and 0 confirmation (instant arrival of small amounts). From the perspective of both transfer fees and speeds, it is superior to the BTC Omni Layer protocol and the ERC20 protocol built on Ethereum.
BC: Can you tell our readers how the USDH stablecoin is backed by your U.S. partner?
Jian Shi: Honestnode works with Koi Compliance, a San Francisco-based provider backed by Binance Labs, to ensure that USDH complies with all applicable legal requirements, including U.S. federal and state money transmission laws and AML/CFT rules. Among other things, USDH follows all requirements of a FinCEN-registered MSB by performing thorough identification verification, due diligence, beneficiary ownership checks, sanctions screening, transaction monitoring, and regulatory reporting. Additionally, Honestnode works with Cohen LLP to issue audited assertions from time to time to ensure that USDH is backed by USD 1:1.
USDH’s custody system is identical to that of TrueUSD. Specifically, all USD amounts used to purchase USDH are placed into a custody account controlled by Prime Trust LLC, a Nevada-chartered trust company. USDH’s operational staff and management members have no legal claim to such USD collateralization amount.
BC: Were there any regulatory hurdles you had to deal with before launching the Honestcoin (USDH) project?
Jian Shi: There were no regulatory hurdles. The USDH team proactively researched the regulatory framework for fiat-backed stablecoins and related compliance matters and decided to work with established providers such as Prime Trust LLC and Koi Compliance. The launch, therefore, was a smooth process.
BC: Will Honestnode continue dealing with regulators going forward?
Jian Shi: Yes. Honestnode will, for USDH, comply with all applicable legal requirements on an on-going basis. We will, therefore, continue to work with regulators in fulfillment of certain of these obligations (e.g. regulatory reporting and asset blocking).
BC: USDH recently launched on the exchange Coinex. Do you plan to launch on any other exchanges in the future?
Jian Shi: We will gradually enter listings on more mainstream cryptocurrency exchanges in the future. Honestnode is currently focused on building USDH applications in the real world, to solve high-cost payment and remittance issues, and gaining more non-cryptocurrency focused audiences.
After we have accumulated a comfortable number of users in the payment and remittance scenarios, we will expand the USDH’s presence in the cryptocurrency secondary market trading and enter more digital currency exchanges.
BC: You worked with the SLP developers when creating USDH. Can you tell us about this experience?
Jian Shi: It was an unforgettable experience, and we went through the gradual improvement of the Simple Ledger Protocol (SLP). While the process was challenging and arduous, SLP continued to improve and support us until USDH was released.
There is no doubt that this is a great team and we benefited a lot from their cooperation. At the same time, the development group of SLP is very enthusiastic and helpful. They always welcome new developers and are willing to share various problems encountered in the development process.
BC: Do you think a stablecoin created using Bitcoin Cash is beneficial to BCH?
Jian Shi: As the first stablecoin on BCH, USDH can fill the gap in the BCH ecosystem. We will broaden USDH in the payment and remittance scenarios, which will help increase BCH’s activity. In addition, with the development of SLP and other protocols, there should be more and more applications based on the BCH chain, and USDH can provide access to payment implementation for these applications.
BC: There are a lot of stablecoins now. Do you think it’s good to have a variety?
Jian Shi: From an early age, we learned that Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s unification of the six Chinese nations would be very beneficial at the time, while on the other hand, the super-globalization of the Euro of today reveals many problems and intricacies. So, whether monetary diversity is good or bad cannot merely be decided so quickly. The financial system is highly related to the national policy, the fiscal and tax system, and the economic system.
As Honestnode, we need to stay humble in the face of such an objectively complicated existence and system, to strive to create application scenarios while maintaining the regulation, stability, and efficiency standards. Under the same compliance framework, we are open to other stable currencies and welcome other teams to work with us to resolve the issue of currency segregation.
BC: Do you think USDH is a competitor to other stablecoins like tether (USDT) and Gemini dollar (GUSD)?
At present, the main application scenario of tether is digital currency trade, but the under-regulation of Tether is an existing risk of significance. Whereas, the Gemini dollar is backed by the Gemini exchange, which trades mainly in digital currencies. The USDH is initially positioned to be applied in the real world to solve the problems of high cost and the hindered path in the process of payment and remittance. Because the target market is different from tether and Gemini dollar, there will be no direct competition in the initial stage.
What do you think about the Honestcoin project and the stablecoin USDH? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Honestnode, Simpleledger.info, Honestcoin, and Pixabay.
Do you need to track down a Bitcoin transaction? With our Bitcoin Explorer tool, you can search by transaction ID, address, or block hash to find specific details, and for a look at the broader crypto space explore our Bitcoin Charts tool.
John McAfee speaks with Cointelegraph about Facebook’s Libra, the importance of privacy and why he hasn’t paid U.S. taxes in eight years.
When people outside of crypto think of John McAfee, they think computers, cybersecurity, anti-virus software. But in the world of crypto and blockchain, you think of a yacht in tropical waters, passionate — and sometimes, admittedly, inebriated — tweets on tech and crypto… and an enviable amount of partying.
When I called McAfee to talk on record, he was sitting at a table outside a cafe in Cuba with palm trees and patches of blue sky behind him.
We talked about McAfee’s presidential campaign in the United States, his relationship with the U.S. government, cryptocurrency mass adoption and why he’s actually a patriot in exile.
Olivia Capozzalo: You tweeted recently that Libra is a “grotesque distortion of the original intent of Cryptocurrency — economic freedom.”
John McAfee: Libra is a universal, digital identification that’s going to be rolled into the cryptocurrency, meaning that everything that you do with that currency can be monitored and traced back to you.
Now, I’m a firm believer in privacy and even anonymity when it comes to our financial transactions.
We each have the right to earn a living and to do what we wish with the money that we earn. I mean, if not, then we are still under the control of the financial system we’re trying to escape from.
That is the purpose of digital currency: to give control of currency back to the people rather than to governments and institutions that can control the currency that we use.
Watch our interview with John McAfee here:
And you need to understand how important currency is. If we don’t have freedom of currency, we don’t have freedom of anything.
To get that freedom, we have to have a decentralized system, and we have to have a system that provides a degree of privacy — because without privacy, then we still are controlled.
The reverse of privacy is a system where everything that you do is known. This is what Facebook has produced.
Please God, we cannot tolerate this. Now, they can produce it, but we do not have to use it.
Please understand that using Facebook is the abdication of everything that we have worked for for almost 10 years. So understand what it is, let them do what they want, but please, God, do not accept it as your standard of currency.
It will be the end of your freedom and the end of your privacy.
Exile in Cuba
OC: So, you’re in Cuba right now. Are you getting a sense of cryptocurrency use there or people’s relationship to crypto or blockchain.
JM: Well, keep in mind Cuba is a very unique country. It’s the only communist country in the Caribbean area — the closest communist country to America. Cryptocurrency has had very little impact on the economy here, on the people. And very few people understand it or know anything about it.
For safety reasons, I’m trying to keep my mouth shut here and talk about crypto in other parts of the world because I really have no choice of anywhere else to go.
But, I can’t go anywhere. I was run out of America; I went to the Bahamas. I went to the Bahamas because America was charging me with income tax violations.
Well, it’s true. I haven’t paid taxes in eight years, and I never intend to pay them again.
To me, they are unconstitutional in America and they’re illegal.
I went to the Bahamas because they have no income tax at all. According to international law, you cannot extradite someone from a country where the crime that you are extraditing them for is not a crime in that country. So, if you have no income tax, not paying it is not a crime.
So, the U.S. then manufactured a bunch of other things — murder, money laundering and racketeering — which every country would have to extradite me for.
Their intent was to drop those charges as soon as they collected me and delivered me to America, and then continue to prosecute me on income tax. Now, I don’t want to play those games, so I came to Cuba.
Cuba has never extradited an American citizen and if they extradite me, it would be an extraordinary exception.
OC: Can you explain your stance a little bit more about income tax? Why do you say it’s illegal in the U.S.?
Our constitution states very clearly, Congress shall pass no laws to inhibit, restrict or in any way hinder an individual’s ability to earn a living.
Now, if you’re taking 25% of my money, if you’re making me work for you — the government — for one quarter or one third of the year, I insist that is inhibiting my ability to make a living.
OC: So, you’re running your presidential campaign in exile. And the base of your campaign and your personal ideals is economic freedom, as you’ve been describing.
But on the other hand, Cuba is actually very low on the economic freedom index. I’m wondering if you see any contradiction in that.
JM: Well, not in the least. Let me ask you who creates that index? Is Cuba asked about it? Do people come to Cuba and actually study what’s happening here? Let me tell you something: This is the most entrepreneurial society I have ever been in.
Yes, the government does restrict absolutely everything in terms of your making a living. However, there is an undercurrent just below that. There is an economic, entrepreneurial system, which I have never seen before. It’s the same thing in every communist country — in Russia, it was the same.
So, you know people are making $20 a month, and yet, they’re buying cars that cost $60,000. Now, how do you do that? Ask simple questions, right? They’re doing it by being creative, by adhering to the laws of the government and at the same time, managing to make a good living.
Keep in mind, America has strangled the Cuban economy for 63 years through embargoes. They can’t get building materials, they can’t get paint to paint their frigging houses. They can’t get parts to maintain their cars.
One of the first days I was here, I bought a Bic lighter and along the bottom were seven tiny, little holes. And I asked the person: What is this? He said, “Oh it’s been refilled.” They will refill a throw away lighter seven-10 times until the flint wears out. It costs $0.10 to have them refilled, rather than $2 to buy a new one. I’ve never seen creativity like that before.
So, people all band together to figure out how they can live. Jesus, I’ve never seen anything more entrepreneurial.
So, do not buy America’s garbage propaganda, because I promise you: All those indexes, they have to pass the U.S. government’s approval.
They have the airplanes, the bombs, the battleships. They tell the world what to do. They think they are the world’s policeman. So, don’t buy all this s— about being that low on the index. How do you know? Come here and take a look. I promise you: You will be startled.
Running for U.S. president
OC: I want to ask a little bit more about your plan to run for president of the U.S. If you were president, what would the role of cryptocurrency be in the U.S.?
JM: Okay, let me start off by saying this is my second run. I ran in 2016 under the Libertarian Party. I lost to Governor Johnson for the primary nomination. I did not want to win in 2016.
In 2016, I thought the largest problem America faced was it was lagging behind in cybersecurity. So, I spoke on the national stage for a year about that and that’s all I talked about.
Now, I could not possibly be president even if I had a platform, even if I wanted to, if I dressed in a business suit and didn’t curse. No matter what I did, I can’t be president. Jesus, God — I’m John McAfee. However, I can certainly run for president.
So, let’s not talk about what I would do the first day in office. Let’s talk about what I’m going to do while running, which is to raise awareness — not just in the U.S., but around the world.
I want to educate people about how fiat currencies are their prison and the means that governments use to make a society of slaves.
This is a terrible situation. You have a prison of the mind — certainly in America. And this is what I want to educate people about. We take control first of our economy, of our currency, of our ability to survive, buy food, clothes and shelter. Without the currency, you cannot do that. That is how you’re controlled. So, this is what I’ll be talking about.
McAfee vs. the U.S. Government
OC: Last month, you tweeted about having terabytes of incriminating data on corruption in governments. Could you go into a little more detail about what kind of data we’re talking about and how you got the data? Can you share some of it or reveal some of it?
JM: Let me give you an example of the kind of data. I was in the Bahamas. The U.S. government had manufactured these charges against me to get me extradited from the Bahamas so they could try me for the IRS crimes. The people who operate illegally with the U.S. government in the Bahamas were the head of the police force and the head of the armed forces in the Bahamas.
So, I outed those people. They both had secret bank accounts. I published the name of the bank, the account numbers on the secret accounts. The deposits that came in to these accounts, the dates, the amount and from who and the withdrawals in cash totaling many times their annual salary. So, now I’m wanted in the Bahamas.
This is hard data that I have on almost everybody in the world. Why? Because people tell me everything. When someone finds out a piece of information, I’m probably the first person they gave it to. I have it on everybody, Okay? I don’t want to bring anything down. I’ve never had a problem with the CIA other than that they keep harassing me.
The CIA is as fragmented as any other element of our government, there are decent people and there are crooks.
And believe me, I could bring down the U.S. government, like I almost brought down the Bahamian government.
OC: How does the CIA harass you? Have you seen people following you?
JM: Oh, my security sees them all the time. They alert me to them: “Oh, this car is following us,” and I say, “Well, get the license number.” I have it checked out and it’s always owned by some obscure element of the U.S. government.
Of course they’re following me — God almighty, I am a rebel. I’m an outrage to the stability of the U.S. corrupt government. Not the whole government, good Lord. There are some decent people there. But unfortunately, there are many indecent people. James Comey of the FBI. Jesus, God. One of the most corrupt individuals in the world — a total scumbag.
I mean there are many people in high positions that can control what’s going on. Now, I haven’t released anything. However, if anything happens to me… absolutely. I’ve got dead man switches everywhere. Within a day of my disappearance or untimely death, there will be every newspaper in the world pouring through more documents than they could have 100 people pour through in 100 years.
So, no — it will be chaos. But right now, I just want to be able to live happily, try to make a better world for my children and grandchildren and fish from time to time.
OC: It sounds like you’re succeeding at the moment.
Promo in the crypto industry
OC: You’ve openly spoken about promoting projects, and often on your Twitter, you’ll do a video about a particular company. Can you talk a little bit about your vetting process for these companies, given our industry is known for seeing a large number of scams?
JM: Well the first thing I do is I have the company checked out.
I would say 90% of what’s happening in crypto is a scam.
The problem with that is, since it is, trolls and others can point to anything and say, “That’s a scam,” and people will believe it. It’s a very complex and subtle interchange of energies. But the first thing I do is I say, “Are you real? Are you people real?” and have the people checked out. It’s a very trivial thing: Have you ever been in jail? Have you ever run out on another company and left people hanging? It’s simple.
But before I even do that, it has to be a project that appeals to me.
Then, I do my thing. And people call them scams — or I don’t care what they call them. I’ve checked them out. They’re doing the best they can. They don’t all succeed. There is not a universal success rate for anything in life. But they all attempt it. They all try and they all have good developers and — for whatever reason — if they do not, it’s not because there was a scam or because they weren’t trying. It’s simply because it didn’t work.
OC: Do you generally invest in the companies that you promote?
JM: No, I do not. I wish I was in a position to invest. Keep in mind, especially now that the IRS has shut down all my banks, I’m living hand-to-mouth. So, no. But what I invest is my time and my advice.
I think my advice — you know, coming from a 74-year-old man who’s been in business since he was 23 — is worth something. And people generally take my advice.
People do stupid things — I don’t know why. They’re looking for the money before they build the product. It doesn’t work that way: You’re not going to sell something that doesn’t exist. Or, they won’t put the product out soon, so they can get the money now rather than making sure it doesn’t have bugs.
Listen, you have to have a solid product, because if you put something out and you promoted it and it’s got a bug, then everybody fails. You’re dead in the water after all of this work. Wait another two months. Advice like this is just invaluable to young people.
Mass adoption of crypto
OC: What needs to happen for people to use cryptocurrency on a mass scale?
JM: We have to have more friendly user interfaces. You’re not going to get the average plumber and give him a crypto wallet and say, “This 150-digit number is an address. It means something. You must copy it somehow or take a picture of this.”
No. Please, God. That scares people. We need something that has a name. Frank Smith. Okay, I want to send Frank Smith 50 Bitcoins or five or a fifth or whatever. That’s cool. By the way, I don’t think crypto trading is the end-all for crypto. I mean, that might be the entry point, but the end-all is where we f—ing buy things with the crypto that we have, for heaven’s sake, rather than trading it constantly. But that’s coming… that will come.
I think in 10 years there’ll be no fiat anywhere in the world. Everything will be electronic, everything will be cryptocurrency.
In five years, I think the majority of people will be using crypto for the majority of their purchases. I mean, already you can buy houses, cars, almost everything with crypto — some services even.
You can even buy prostitutes — both male and female — with crypto these days. I think in two years time, we’re going to see a quadrupling of both the number of businesses that accept crypto and the number of people that are using it not to trade, but to actually buy and sell.
OC: But people also need to be convinced that cryptocurrency is better for them to use than fiat currency.
JM: Here’s an example — and if this doesn’t sell you, nothing will. Let’s say I’m doing business with somebody in England or Germany — in another country — and in order to get started, I’ve got to make a down payment. All right, so I’ve got to get out of bed, get dressed, hop in my car, drive to the bank, fill out a bunch of forms, sign them, get approval from the bank and they will say, “Well, within 24 hours, it’ll be there.”
Or I can not get out of bed, grab my smartphone — even if I do have to copy and paste a 150-character string — push send and go back to sleep. I’ve got 60 seconds versus an entire hour.
Which would you rather do? This is one example. Please, God. It’s so superior to our current system that there is no way the current system can survive.
Bitcoin price predictions
OC: Recently, crypto analyst Mati Greenspan pointed out that there is an 86% chance that Bitcoin will be worth less than 50K by 2020. Are you concerned about the bet that you made?
JM: No, good Lord. Listen, anybody with common sense, and who can add and subtract and multiply, actually can count the total transactions in the world every year. And look at the number of dollars and yen and British pounds and euros and Chinese yuan. So, that’s about $2,000 trillion. There’s only 21 million Bitcoins and actually 7 million of those are lost forever.
If Bitcoin were the only currency, it would be worth a trillion dollars per Bitcoin. Now, it’s not the only currency.
Take the growth at this point, the number of users and the fact that it’s going to be three times as large by the end of 2020. If it’s not worth a million dollars, then something’s wrong with math.
I can’t lose this bet. It’s not possible mathematically. Understand, the market is an artificial thing right now. As Bitcoin gets more and more utility, it will be less artificial and more real. And it’s getting that way right now. So, to those that go “nah, that’s impossible,” please go back to school and take fourth grade math — that’s all you need. Figure it out.
OC: All right. Well, I think that’s all I have for today. Thank you so much for your time.
Last year news.Bitcoin.com spoke with the cofounder of Bitkan, Fang Yu, about the company’s K-Site project, which acts as a decentralized media outlet, micro-blog and forum with rewards. Just recently, Bitkan spoke with news.Bitcoin.com about K-Site’s growth and how the platform’s BCH community raised funds for the Bitcoin Cash Development Fund. Bitkan highlighted that the BCH community is one of the most active on the K-Site platform. Bitkan believes open source development is very important and that companies and individuals within the community should support development of innovative blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions.
Bitkan.com is a well-known company based in Asia that has millions of users utilizing its one-stop services like smart trading, which aggregates the liquidity of main exchanges, market, news, K-Site community, and wallet. K-Site offers videos, articles, a micro-blog, forums and more while rewarding users with its native token KAN, and other digital assets like BCH.
The micro-communities are designed so crypto users can focus on the ecosystem’s actual business instead of a community built on artificial demand. This week Bitkan spoke with news.Bitcoin.com and provided an update on its smart trading function and how the Bitcoin Cash community used the K-Site to donate to the Bitcoin Cash Development Fund.
Users of Bitkan’s K-Site Provide Support for the BCH Ecosystem
Bitkan (BK): This donation for BCH is not Bitkan’s official act, but an activity initiated by the BCH community within the K-Site community. K-Site is one of the most active communities, especially in China. Compared with other monotonous communities, K-Site is more comprehensive and dynamic and always remains neutral. The donation sponsored by BCH community officials attracted many users who are interested in supporting Bitcoin Cash and providing more capital support for the BCH ecosystem in general.
BC: How can funding blockchain development help bolster the BCH ecosystem?
From the perspective of the cryptocurrency and blockchain community, BCH is an important community. We are always willing to support the development of blockchain tech and cryptocurrency solutions. Since there are many different types of coins, only continuous trials can promote the positive development of the entire cryptocurrency and blockchain initiative. Otherwise, without sponsorship, it will be difficult for the community to survive, therefore, providing capital support is essential for the development of a robust community.
BC: Do you think it’s important that corporations and community members support BCH development?
They are both important. Aside from good technical support, the support from backup communities for a project is also important, because communities can have different views. What’s more, in a peer-to-peer network, each node is characterized by a high degree of autonomy. The nodes can freely connect with each other to form a new connection union and the effect between nodes can build a nonlinear causal relationship through the network.
This open, flat and equal organizational structure allows each community member to become a small but independent contributor to participate in the development of the blockchain project.
BC: How is funding developers useful to businesses providing BCH infrastructure and tools?
The positive development of the community promotes the development of coin trials and a variety of applications in different fields. The development of applications can further promote the prosperity of the entire cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem in order to benefit the enterprise. Since the development of the industry can affect the development of enterprises, the enterprise should build a mutual assistance relationship with the community. Only with mutual help can the industry bolster the positive development of blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions.
BC: Bitkan’s cofounder Fang Yu explained at the 2018 Satoshi’s Vision Conference in Japan that the company would use BCH as an option for K-Site’s payments. Does this still hold true today?
Yes, K-Site is still supporting the BCH reward payment. The K-Site has supported and rewarded coin communities like KAN, BCH, ETH, USDT, BTC, TRX, QTUM, ELF, HC, ONT, LTC, etc. With BCH being one of the reward payment options, it is also supported by an official community group chat, red packet distribution, money transfer, and other functions.
There are more than 100,000 active users in K-Site every day. K-Site has attracted numerous KOLs to express their opinions in communities, and its exclusive reward system and dividend distribution principle can help to find quality content for users.
BCH Features No Congestion, Low Fees and Other Functions That Continuously Attract More Users
BC: How can the Chinese community benefit from a permissionless electronic cash system?
As a peer to peer cash system, the most important application is still the payment application aspect. That is one of the most important reasons why Bitcoin Cash was born. The BCH network features a macroblock, no congestion, low cost, and convenient to pay solution, which is also one of the important reasons why bitcoin cash is popular among buyers. Mini-reward or micropayments have always been one of the most major applications in the cryptocurrency space, which is also widely popular in the community.
Because BCH features no congestion, low fees, and other ease-of-use functions, it is continuously attracting more users. Likewise, users from the Chinese community also benefit from it.
BC: From Bitkan’s perspective, how does the Chinese community currently feel about Bitcoin Cash?
The Chinese community is an open and inclusive community and so is the K-Site. At Bitkan, there is a very active Chinese community of BCH supporters. Bitkan always supports different opinions expressed throughout the K-Site community. For the community, BCH applies the macroblock and Schnorr digital signature scheme, making the development concept of community progressive and closer to reality.
In May 2019, Bitkan launched another important trading function called “Bitkan Smart Trade.” Different from other exchange platforms, Bitkan Smart Trade aggregates the liquidity of major exchanges including Binance, Huobi Global and Okex. The aggregation system can automatically place orders with better prices among multiple exchanges and also to make trading faster for users.
Founded in November 2012, Bitkan can be regarded as the first application to support a BCH wallet and a BCH over-the-counter (OTC) function. Bitkan has been a stable, security-centric operation with six years of experience with millions of global users. Bitkan has provided one-stop crypto asset investment services including market quotation, global information, content community wallet service and smart trading exchange for more than 5,000,000 users in around 170 countries by supporting roughly 90% of the existing cryptocurrencies in the world.
BC: What’s the most important feature Bitkan thinks is necessary for the mass adoption of bitcoin cash?
There are three features. First of all, BCH was created because of BTC’s fork. Compared to other cryptocurrencies, BCH owners are more decentralized, which avoids the problem of over-centralization. Secondly, BCH is the large capacity version of BTC, so it can be transferred faster with lower transaction fees. Last but not least, there is the payment function. BCH has also been developed with the function of smart contracts and more applications with strong scalability.
What do you think about the K-Site Bitcoin Cash community donating funds to the Bitcoin Cash Development Fund? Let us know your thoughts on this subject in the comments section below.
Image credits: Shutterstock, Bitkan, K-Site, and Pixabay.
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Following G20 meetings, where Japan led several discussions regarding crypto assets, the country’s top financial regulator told news.Bitcoin.com that 110 crypto exchanges are now interested in launching in Japan. The country recently passed a new cryptocurrency bill, and some approved crypto trading platforms have undergone changes.
Under Japanese law, companies are required to register with the country’s top financial regulator, the Financial Services Agency (FSA), to operate crypto exchanges. There are currently 19 registrants operating in the country, 16 of which were approved in 2017 while three were approved this year. However, many more crypto exchange operators have expressed interest in entering the Japanese crypto space.
The FSA revealed to news.Bitcoin.com Monday that these businesses are in various stages of registration such as “preliminary consultation” and “inquiries regarding registration,” adding:
The number of crypto asset exchange service providers which have expressed their interest is about 110 as of June.
Among applicants waiting to be approved is Line Corporation, which owns Japan’s most popular mobile messaging app, Line. The company currently operates an exchange called Bitbox worldwide except in the U.S. and Japan due to regulation. On June 20, Bloomberg reported that the company is near obtaining approval from the FSA to offer its exchange service in Japan. However, there has been no announcement from the regulator regarding the company’s registration status.
19 Registered Crypto Exchanges
The FSA maintains a list of all registered crypto exchange operators in Japan following the country’s legalization of cryptocurrency as a means of payment in April 2017. The first 11 exchange operators were registered on Sept. 29, 2017 — Money Partners Group, Quoine, Bitflyer, Bitbank, SBI Virtual Currency, GMO Coin, Huobi Japan (formerly Bittrade), Btcbox, Bitpoint Japan, Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange, and Tech Bureau. SBI Virtual Currency Co. Ltd. changed its name on July 1 to SBI VC Trade Co. Ltd.
On Dec. 1, 2017, DMM Bitcoin, Taotao (formerly Bitarg), Bitgate, and Xtheta were registered. Bitocean followed suit on Dec. 26. No operator was registered last year, largely due to the January hack of Coincheck, one of the country’s largest crypto exchanges. Since then, the FSA has tightened its oversight of the industry including conducting on-site inspections of exchanges.
This year, three exchanges have been approved so far. Coincheck successfully registered with the FSA on Jan. 11 after it was acquired by Monex Group. On March 25, Rakuten Wallet (formerly Everybody’s Bitcoin) and Decurret were also registered.
Bitflyer Resumes Account Openings
Bitflyer, one of Japan’s largest crypto exchanges by trading volume, resumed the opening of new accounts on July 3 after freezing the service for a year due to a business improvement order it received from the FSA.
The company wrote that it “voluntarily suspended new account creation in order to reconfirm the identity of our existing customers and strengthen our internal management structure,” adding that “We would like to announce that new account creation has resumed.”
Fisco Hit With Administrative Order
It had been almost a year since the FSA last issued a business improvement order to a crypto exchange. On June 21, the FSA announced an administrative order against Fisco Cryptocurrency Exchange, which acquired another registered cryptocurrency exchange, Zaif, after it was hacked in September last year. The last order prior to this latest one was issued on Sept. 25 last year to Tech Bureau, the former operator of Zaif.
The agency explained that it conducted an on-site inspection of the exchange on Feb. 13 and found that “management did not recognize the importance of legal compliance … this has led to a number of legal violations.” The FSA continued to detail: “there have been problems with the company’s business management system … [and] also problems in the risk management system for money laundering and terrorist financing, and the external management system such as outsourcing management system.”
The agency ordered the company to establish a number of additional systems including for legal compliance, risk management, outsourcing, handling new cryptocurrencies, protecting user information, and auditing. The company must submit its improvement plan by July 22 and follow up with monthly implementation progress reports.
Coincheck Now Supports 10 Cryptocurrencies
Coincheck applied for registration in 2017 but had been operating as a “deemed dealer” until its registration was finally approved in January. Deemed dealers are exchanges that had been operating in Japan since before the regulation took effect; the FSA has allowed them to continue service while their registration applications are being reviewed.
On Jan. 26, Coincheck was hacked and lost approximately 58 billion yen (~$550 million) worth of XEM held by approximately 260,000 customers. The exchange was subsequently acquired by Monex Group and underwent extensive system improvement. Coincheck halted some services following the hack and has gradually reopened them. The platform now supports the trading of BTC, ETH, ETC, LSK, FCT, XRP, XEM, LTC, BCH, and MONA. It started collaborating with Monex Securities in April to allow the exchange of Monex points for BTC, ETH, and XRP. Monex points are accumulated by purchasing and holding investments in Monex Investment Trusts.
FSA Warns of Unauthorized Exchanges
The FSA issued a warning on June 25 to Cielo EX Ltd., a crypto exchange that has been providing service to Japanese residents without authorization. This is the fourth warning the agency has issued since it started regulating the crypto industry. The platform has been providing exchange service for cryptocurrencies such as BTC and Asobi Coin (ABX).
The other three warnings went out to Gibraltar-based SB101 on Feb. 15, Binance in March last year, and Blockchain Laboratory Ltd. in February last year.
Commitment to Applying FATF Standards
Japan recently hosted the latest G20 summit and other G20 ministerial meetings such as the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meetings. At the end of the G20 summit on June 29, Japan and other G20 countries jointly declared their commitments to applying the crypto standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). The country’s finance minister also joined other G20 finance ministers and central bank governors to declare the same commitment to applying FATF’s standards.
“Technological innovations, including those underlying crypto-assets, can deliver significant benefits to the financial system and the broader economy. While crypto-assets do not pose a threat to global financial stability at this point, we remain vigilant to risks, including those related to consumer and investor protection, anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT),” the G20 leaders, finance ministers and central bank governors declared. “We reaffirm our commitment to applying the recently amended FATF Standards to virtual assets and related providers for AML and CFT.”
Japan’s New Crypto Bill Passed
A new cryptocurrency bill, published on June 7, officially passed Japan’s House of Representatives, the lower house of the National Diet, on May 21. It then passed the House of Councillors, the upper house of the Diet, on May 31.
The bill entitled “A draft bill to amend some of the fund settlement laws, etc., in response to the diversification of financial transactions accompanying the advancement of information and communication technology” was prepared by the FSA. It seeks to amend two key laws that apply to crypto assets: the Act on Fund Settlement and the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act.
The revised bill was accompanied by a resolution of 15 requests which “require the government to clarify regulatory targets, deploy appropriate personnel, implement appropriate regulations in line with the international standards, consider appropriate taxation methods, etc.,” Impress publication detailed. The FSA told news.Bitcoin.com Monday, “We are currently undergoing an extensive personnel reshuffling.”
The agency previously explained that the 15 requests are “items which we should take into consideration before introducing the bill, and we should take appropriate responses to it at the time when the bill comes into effect.”
Further, the FSA announced last month a partial revision of its operating guidelines including a business management system required for crypto exchange operators. The document also updates supervision for initial coin offerings, including when the issuers sell their own tokens and when tokens are sold on behalf of the issuers.
Do you think Japan needs more crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Japanese government.
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It’s the token that we believe will empower all parts of the MinerGate ecosystem and positively engage the community in the project’s life.
A few tokens have already been delivered to the most active users as gratitude for their contribution. As well, there have been a lot of questions regarding ‘How can one obtain more/additional tokens?’. Of course more is coming, but currently, there are two ways:
Become a voice of MinerGate, e.g., become a contributor.
The value added by eachuser is significant, whether it is feedback on social platforms or engagement of new users. But what is appreciated the most is the contribution to consistently making our services better, more prominent, and more welcoming.
To set an example, we reached out to one of our contributors: a moderator of a chat room on our website – @NMR, who implemented an informative bot in our chat rooms, and asked him to share his experience and provide some inspiration for those who would like to engage more in the MinerGate ecosystem. Below is the interview with our faithful moderator:
Q: How long have you been using MinerGate? What do you like most about it?
A: I started mining with MinerGate a long time ago when cryptocurrencies weren’t so widespread. What I like most about MinerGate is how easy it is to start mining: everything is simple and clear.
Q: What, in your opinion, should be changed or developed in MinerGate?
A: To make MinerGate more convenient, I would introduce account statistics. These statistics would show such info as how many workers are online and how many are offline at the moment, and how many coins are earned per day.
Q: How did you become a moderator in the MinerGate community? What are your responsibilities and privileges?
A: I became a moderator because I was an active user and helped other people from the community solve their problems and answered their questions. Being a moderator does not give me any privileges, but it helps me resolve conflicts and inadequate situations.
Q: How did you come up with the idea of introducing a chatbot? What is the main advantage of using a chatbot?
A: When I analyzed new MinerGate users’ questions, I realized that they are all pretty much the same. So in advance, I prepared answers to these questions that will help in such situations. That is how I came up with this idea. The main advantage of a chatbot is that it can help a user at any time of the day. It would never replace live communication between real people, but it can be an excellent assistant to moderators.
Q: What is the main feature of the MinerGate community? As a moderator, how you can influence the community and MinerGate itself?
A: For me, it was essential to find not just a pool where I can mine a coin I like, but also a reliable and stable service. If it happens that there’s an issue with MinerGate, the team is always ready to solve it quickly. The other thing I like in MinerGate is the web chat because it improves user coordination on the website.
Q: Recently, you received MG tokens for launching a chatbot as a thank-you for your contribution. Do you already have any plans about how you are going to use them?
A: MG tokens have only existed for a short time, so all I’m going to do is hold.
Q: What do you enjoy besides mining? What is your hobby?
A: In my free time, I study new technologies and enhance my programming skills.
Q: What advice would you give to other miners?
A: A lot of miners don’t want to get into the details of mining because they think it’s complicated. Thus, they lose their interest. I believe that before starting to mine, it’s better to understand the mining process. Then, you will be ready for all the risks and will be able to make profits.
Once more, we’d like to thank @NMR for taking time to be interviewed and for being such a fantastic part of the MinerGate community.
In conclusion, you can always visit our chat room if you have questions or are curious about things related to mining and the software itself. There, you’ll find like-minded people ready to help and friendly support.
Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss are portrayed as the good guys this time in Ben Mezrich’s new book.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
I don’t normally write the stories here at Cointelegraph — I edit them. But when I got an email from a publicist asking if I was interested in speaking with Ben Mezrich, author of “Bitcoin Billionaires,” and oh, did I want the Winklevoss twins to jump in on the interview? I couldn’t say no.
Ben had the lucky chance — as he calls it — to already have an in with Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, as they had been portrayed as the Men of Harvard, slightly “bad” guys in his book that ended up being adapted into the film “The Social Network.” As Ben tells it, after he saw The New York Times article about their bitcoin billionaire success, a book about their crypto escapades that picks up right as their court battle with Mark Zuckerberg ends seemed to be an obvious next step.
The timing for the publication of “Bitcoin Billionaires: A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption” couldn’t be better or more coincidental. The book spends almost 300 pages detailing the journey of how the Winklevoss twins have succeeded in crypto to the extent that it has wiped away the stain left by their battle over Facebook’s origin with Zuckerberg, only to then coincide with Facebook’s public unveiling of the Libra cryptocurrency project.
However, Ben’s latest book involving both the Winklevii and Zuckerberg — which was reviewed by Cointelegraph this week — reverses his previous narrative of Zuckerberg as the good guy and the Winklevii as his opponents. But, as Ben explained, it wasn’t the writing that got it initially wrong, but the reality that changed the perspective over time. He told me:
“I think reality flipped everything on its head, not just in the writing of it, but Facebook went from being something that everyone saw as this revolution and Zuckerberg as this revolutionary that was going to free the internet and make us all happy, into something much more nefarious, and Zuckerberg is now somewhat reviled.”
And Zuckerberg’s cryptocurrency project has not been without criticism from those that align themselves more with the cypherpunks of the 1990s than with the Winklevii of today. That is an important distinction that Ben makes in his book, shown through the twins’ highly skeptical attitudes toward the manic bitcoin passion of Charlie Shrem and the slightly dangerous libertarianism of Roger Ver. The twins, albeit very sincere bitcoin believers, could kind of care less about the sacredness of decentralization.
When asking Tyler Winklevoss about Facebook’s Libra project, I expected potential scorn, derision, maybe even thinly veiled frustration about losing some crypto limelight to a past adversary. But Tyler surprised me with his even keel:
“So, first off, I think that Facebook being in this space is huge validation for it.”
I waited for him to continue.
“I think that if you are a company in 2019, and you don’t have a crypto story or game plan, it’s kind of crazy. And if you don’t, I’m sure you’re scrambling around to get one.
“Ultimately we think it’s great validation in the space. I’ve read some of the technical papers and whatnot and it looks like it is evolving and they’re still figuring out exactly all the details. But there’s a plan to start, in some way move it to more decentralization.
“It’s still really early, and this is all one big experiment and iteration on the evolution of money. And I think it’s really healthy that people are trying different approaches. It’s not necessarily one size fits all.
“If you’re trying to be digital gold, decentralization may be the most important thing. If you’re trying to be more like a currency, then perhaps you can give on decentralization for speed. So I think it is really good. All approaches are very valid and we’ll sort of see how it plays out.”
On the straight and narrow
The main takeaway from Tyler’s comments throughout our entire conversation was regulation, regulation, regulation. Once you got past the “bitcoin does gold better than gold” standard line, he was ready to explain his somewhat unusual (what I would dub “hodler traditionalist”) views.
For starters, he was not onboard with my joking idea about selling “Bitcoin Billionaires” for actual bitcoin:
“Maybe you shouldn’t buy it with bitcoin, because if you believe in bitcoin, it is going to only appreciate in value.”
According to Tyler, there is no reason for bitcoin to even become a medium of exchange or a “good currency” because of “how regulation is allowing that to play out, at least in the U.S.”
And now that he’s started speaking about regulation, he gets on a roll that is nevertheless persuasive despite being well-practiced.
“We need to speak the same language as the largest funds and players in capital markets today,” Tyler said over the phone, in as far a cry from a cypherpunk as can be found. “I think it’s just really important to do things the right way. And that may not be the fastest way in the short term, but I think in the long term, it’s the one that ultimately will bring in the right audience and be the pay-off in the long term. Our sort of motto is: Look, we’re just trying to be the fastest tortoise in the race. And we’re playing on a game board that not everybody else is necessarily playing on.”
“We’re playing chess and, you know, there is checkers, but that’s a different game and we’re not playing that.”
What bitcoin lacks
When asked about the upcoming Bakkt physically-backed bitcoin futures testing, as well as the seemingly never-ending process of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision on a bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF), Tyler continued to play the role of the tortoise in it for the long haul:
“I think that people, traders, investors and consumers will ultimately want to see the same opportunities to express opinions through financial instruments in bitcoin as they see in gold. But because we live in the world of cryptocurrency, there may be much more, too. There may be decentralized exchanges and more decentralized finance applications that you can’t create outside of the crypto world.
“I think you’d expect to see what exists in gold but also much more in crypto.”
This attitude toward regulation, compliance and doing things the “right way” came from the twins’ negative experience with now defunct crypto exchange Mt. Gox, when they first started acquiring their bitcoin hoard. This is the main goal of the Winklevoss’ cryptocurrency exchange, the New York-based Gemini — to do everything the opposite of Mt. Gox.
And according to Tyler, doing things the right way is really the only way:
“We don’t believe in hacking our way around regulation or being too clever about it. We are transparent. We go into the front door, not the side door or in the back door. And that’s been our strategy and our DNA from day one.”
Ben Mezrich’s interest is piqued
According to Ben, Tyler’s passion for crypto and its regulation, obvious even over the phone on a group call, was one of the things that got him interested in the story and kept him interested:
“If there is a really, really smart person who gets incredibly passionate about something and everyone else is telling him that he’s wrong, that often leads to that thing that changes the world. People who are very smart get truly passionate about something, and you have to wonder why. How did they get so into this? That’s sort of rabbit hole that you go down.”
In fact, Ben — who admits that he knew almost nothing about cryptocurrency before he began this book — has become a bitcoin evangelist in a way that is abundantly clear both in the book and in our conversation. He tells me this on the phone with the conviction of a true believer:
“There’s no question that cryptocurrency is the future. That’s the way we’re going. It’s the science fiction money that we read about. And now, suddenly, it’s going to be adopted by everybody in the next couple of years.”
And Ben underlines that he was inspired specifically by the Winklevii, compliant, “right path” way:
“If you just talked to the Charlie Shrems and the Rogers of the world, it would frighten me, because it comes from this kind of crazy libertarian, anarchistic, Silk Road world, which is not something that would appeal to me, necessarily. But the way I think the twins came at it was completely different, and that perspective really won me over and it just made sense.
“The idea of digital money and the idea of digital gold — and something that you trust because it’s math and not people — just made a lot of sense to me.”
Ben’s goal in writing the book may have originally been to chase down his next interesting story, but his conversation with me sounds a lot like the Winklevoss twins in their early circuits of the crypto conferences — back when bitcoin was still in its nascency.
And according to Ben, people have seemed to take his past books to heart — as he noted that “Accidental Billionaires” and “The Social Network” actually launched many people toward Silicon Valley — which could spread the bitcoin gospel even further.
He told me confidently:
“I think this will launch all these people into this whole new world of money, and not just that, but the whole philosophy behind it.”
Tyler agreed with Ben’s assessment of the previous past influence of his books, noting that “if someone invested behind what Ben Mezrich found interesting, they’d probably have done pretty well.”
Ben concurred, joking that a hedge fund had once even wanted to rent him an office so that it could pick his brain as he searched for a new book topic. He didn’t end up taking the fund up on its offer.
Ben did add the caveat that “I foolishly never invest in anything I write about for a couple of reasons,” stating that he didn’t want to own bitcoin while also promoting his book, a highly moral stance for someone that also admitted he didn’t buy Facebook stock when writing “Accidental Billionaires” almost a decade ago.
Friend or foe?
I was curious how the characters that were portrayed in a more negative light viewed the book. After all, Ben had obviously gotten close to them in order to write a book that detailed all the various ways that BitInstant’s Charlie Shrem could be sweaty.
His answer also surprised me:
“Charlie loves it. Charlie read the book and the first thing he did was he texted me and said he cried, and thank you, thank you, thank you.
“I think Charlie’s a complicated character. So, even though you saw him warts and all, it really was his story. So, he liked it.”
Tyler chimed in to say, very seriously, that he and his brother Cameron are “cordial with everyone in the book. I’m friends with Eric [Vorhees], cordial with Roger [Ver], we’ve exchanged emails, obviously it’s no secret that we’ve had our differences with Charlie, but that’s all behind us now.” He went on, saying:
“I feel like we’re all cordial and respectful of the different viewpoints and opinions we have and paths we’ve taken.
“Everybody’s entitled to their different views and philosophies, and you know we don’t always have to agree, but we can respectfully have our differences.”
When I noted that his speech was more respectful than what goes on in crypto Twitter, he replied “someone’s got to set the example, you know?”
As for speaking with Zuckerberg for the second iteration of the Facebook-turned-crypto saga, Ben seemed doubtful, but as he said, “you never know, you never know.”
“I like to think of it like ‘The Avengers.’ You have ‘The Avengers’ as ‘The Social Network,’ and like the Marvel Universe, we go off into each character. Now, we’re talking about Wolverine, and next we’ll be talking about whatever. But it is really an incredible story that just keeps on going. And it’s definitely not finished yet.”