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This Week in Cryptos: Binance to Support Dogecoin while Cuba Looks towards Cryptos

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US Senate Confirms New CFTC Chair to Succeed ‘Crypto Dad’ Giancarlo – CoinDesk

The CFTC tapped Heath Tarbert as incoming chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), replacing current chairman and “Crypto Dad” J. Christopher Giancarlo. The announcement was made yesterday during a Senate confirmation hearing.

The CFTC is tasked with regulating derivatives, digital assets, and over-the-counter trades. The regulatory authority has taken a light-handed approach towards the cryptocurrency industry under outgoing chair Giancarlo.

“During my time of service, it has been a priority to transform the CFTC into a 21st Century regulator for today’s digital markets. With Dr. Tarbert’s confirmation, I know the agency is in safe hands to continue this transition,” said Giancarlo in a statement regarding the succession.

Prior to this designation, Tarbert served a short stint as Acting Under Secretary for International Affairs, beginning April 16, 2019. Before that Tarbert served as Assistant Secretary for International Markets for two years, to which he was confirmed by a vote of 87-8, showing a high degree of bipartisan support.

Politico previously reported Tarbert would likely succeed Giancarlo as chief derivatives regulator.

Tarbert is a member of the Financial Stability Board, the international body established after the financial crisis to monitor global markets, and serves on its steering committee, according to his Treasury Department biography.

Giancarlo has committed to stay on as chairman until July 15, 2019, as Tarbert completes his current Treasury obligations.

J. Christopher Giancarlo image via CoinDesk archives

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Source: US Senate Confirms New CFTC Chair to Succeed ‘Crypto Dad’ Giancarlo – CoinDesk

Can Bitcoin’s Lightning Network Power Payments in a Japanese Bar?

A bar in Japan is teaming up with a locally-based lightning startup to let customers pay for sparkling wine and soft drinks using the experimental payments network.

For the month of June, the Japan-based lightning startup Nayuta will be partnering with Awabar Fukouka to trial the payment system in what they’re calling a “field test.”

The Lightning Network is seen by its supporters as the best way to scale bitcoin so that more people can use the payment system at once, but the technology is still rather experimental and even risky to use. To that end, Nayuta sees this project as an way to further analyze how the technology works in the real world and to find out what still needs to be done to make it easier to use.

Though Awabar said their role is “small,” as the bar did not design the technology (Nayuta did), they’re “delighted” to participate, offering a place for the experimental technology to be tested in a brick-and-mortar context.

The company said in a statement:

“We hope it helps familiarize the community with the lightning network payment system.”

The following video shows how the point of sale app (created by Nayuta and run on the open source payment processor BTCPay) will look for customers purchasing their drinks:

Nayuta is known for helping to draw up specifications for the lightning network and recently launched its own implementation of the budding payment layer geared specifically for connected devices or the Internet of Things (IoT).

The idea is that as the tech components grow less expensive, more devices such as refrigerators and TVs will connect to the internet for data collection.

Source: Pivot – Blockchain Community

Why You Should Store Your Recovery Phrase and Private Keys With CRYPTOTAG

In 2018 alone more than $1 Billion of crypto was stolen. Most people’s funds were stolen in hacks and scams. Others could not reach their crypto, because they lost their private keys or recovery phrases.

One thing all the cases have in common is poor private key management.

What are private keys and recovery phrases? And how should you protect yourself from losing your funds? Bear with us while we try to explain it in a simple way.

What Is a Private Key?

A private key is the most important information in crypto. Without your private key, you cannot access your crypto. You can compare it with the PIN of your debit card.

If you have forgotten your PIN or if you have lost your bank card, you can call your bank. Then they will send you a new PIN or a new bank card, and you will regain access to your money.

The big difference in the crypto world is that there is no bank or other central organization that can help you recover your funds.

So if you lose your private key, there is no one that can help you to regain access to your funds. If you lose your private key, you cannot call anyone for help, and you will lose your coins forever.

What Is a Recovery Phrase or Recovery Seed?

A recovery phrase is used by crypto wallets like Ledger Nano and Trezor. These phrases or seeds usually contain between 12-24 words.

Compared to a private key a recovery phrase is easier to read for humans. But more importantly, is that the use of recovery phrases enables crypto wallets to store multiple private keys with one recovery phrase.

For example, you have a Ledger Wallet with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum on it. Each coin has its own private key. You do not have to save all those private keys because by making a backup of your Ledger Wallet, you make a backup of all private keys on the Ledger Wallet.

Ways to store your crypto:

Exchanges

This is the riskiest way to store your crypto because your funds are in the hands of a third party. The exchange or custodian is holding your crypto in their wallets. So they control your private keys or recovery phrases of these wallets.

There are countless stories about exchanges being hacked and losing funds of their clients. It is ok to have some of your funds on an exchange for trading purposes. Longtime holdings should never be stored on an exchange because you are not the owner of your keys.

Software Wallets

These wallets like Jaxx, Electrum, and Exodus can be downloaded for free. They enable their users to receive, send and store different types of cryptocurrencies.

Software wallets generate private keys. And you can easily make a backup of a software wallet by saving the recovery phrase offline. This means that with a software wallet you are the owner of your (private) keys.

A software wallet does have the risk that malware or viruses can cause your software wallet to be hacked.

Hardware Wallets

The risks associated with software wallets are solved by hardware wallets like the Trezor and Ledger. The big advantage is that these wallets are secure stand-alone devices that are not connected to the internet.

Recovery phrases are used to back up the private keys stored on the devices. Owning a hardware wallet is a great step in securing your crypto because you are storing your private keys offline. The big risk here is the loss of the recovery phase.

So you did all the right things. You went online, did your research, ordered a hardware wallet, and you are ready to set it up. After a while, you are done, and you are left with a surprise.

You realize that the device itself is not the most important thing. No! The most important thing right now is the piece of paper with your recovery phrase written on it.

All this effort and eventually your early retirement is dependent on a piece of paper? No way!

The CRYPTOTAG

CRYPTOTAG closes the last line of defense with its premium backup system that enables people around the world to truly be their own bank by immortalizing their recovery phrases in titanium.

The CRYPTOTAG handles extreme circumstances like no other. Temperatures up to 3050 °F / 1.668 °C, corrosion and extreme pressure are no problem. Extreme tests have been carried out on the product, and the 6mm thick Titanium is literally bulletproof.

The Amsterdam based team has been testing different engraving methods and have developed a full backup system. During the development, they have been influenced by goldsmiths, metal workers, the aviation industry and old engraving techniques.

These influences are visible in the components included such as the hammer, punching letters, anvil and the use of titanium.

Source: Why You Should Store Your Recovery Phrase and Private Keys With CRYPTOTAG

Only an Idiot Would Use Facebook’s Shady Cryptocurrency

In its neverending conquest to take over the world, Facebook is building a network of online merchants and financial institutions to support its secretive new cryptocurrency. The Wall Street Journal reports that Mark Zuckerberg’s war machine is looking for $1 billion to fund the secretive stablecoin project, Project Libra, and is talking with heavyweights like Visa and Mastercard to get that cash.

FACEBOOK WANTS $1 BILLION TO FUND PROJECT LIBRA

The company started Project Libra over a year ago as a simple way to transfer money between WhatsApp users. But in true Facebook fashion, it’s grown far beyond that original scope.

The project has expanded to include e-commerce payments on Facebook and other websites as well as rewards for viewing ads, shopping online, and interacting with content.

Facebook cryptocurrency daily users potential

The upcoming Facebook cryptocurrency would reach the platform’s nearly 1.6 billion daily active users. | Source: Wall Street Journal

Facebook’s 2.38 billion monthly active users mean that, at launch, Project Libra would almost immediately compete with rivals Apple Pay (383M) and PayPal (267M). However, there are several reasons why you, and everyone else, should avoid Facebook’s upcoming cryptocurrency at all costs.

WHO TRUSTS FACEBOOK ANYMORE?

Let’s take a walk down memory lane to remember the times that Facebook proved it should be nowhere near your money.

CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA

There’s no better place to start than Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal – the mac daddy of screw-ups. In 2014, the social media company sold the personal data of  87 million users to Cambridge Analytica without the users’ consent. Doing so was in direct violation of the company’s privacy policies.

Adding your financial data to the massive pile of personal information that Facebook already has on you is asking for trouble.

PLAINTEXT PASSWORDS

If Facebook’s data breaches weren’t enough to scare you, let’s examine how the company handles passwords. Hint: Not well.

In March, Facebook revealed that it had been storing hundreds of millions of account passwords in a readable, plaintext format since 2012. Although there was no evidence that outside parties had access to the passwords, employees could grab them with ease.

Don’t forget about the company’s Amazon snafu that exposed data from 500 million accounts either.

By trusting any amount of money to a company that can’t even secure passwords, you’re effectively placing a sign on your back that says, “Please come and rob me!”

FACEBOOK CENSORSHIP

The beauty of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency assets is that they’re censorship-resistant. No single party can freeze your bitcoin wallet or block a transaction. Facebook can, and will, block your financial account whenever it pleases. The company’s already begun showing this overreach of power with its recent account bans.

This week, Facebook announced the bans of several individuals including Alex Jones, Louis Farrakhan, and Milo Yiannopoulos. Representatives from the company explainedthat those they banned violated the platform’s policy on hate speech and promoting violence.

While that reasoning may hold, it sets a dangerous precedent for future action. Where do you draw the line on censorship? The banning demonstrates that Facebook has the power to freeze your crypto assets if it doesn’t share your particular views and can block transactions to causes it may not support.

FACEBOOK CRYPTO SHOULD BE DEAD ON ARRIVAL

Facebook’s cryptocurrency comes with all of the downsides of the company behind it and none of the benefits of an actual cryptocurrency. Anyone hyping it up as a step toward mass adoption simply doesn’t understand what makes crypto great.

If you’re looking for a currency with poor security and oppressive censorship, give your money to Facebook. If not, stay far, far away.

Source: Only an Idiot Would Use Facebook’s Shady Cryptocurrency

Warren Buffett: ‘Gambling Device Bitcoin Hasn’t Produced Anything’

Turns out 88-year-old Warren Buffett isn’t warming up to crypto after all. Speaking at what’s been dubbed the “Woodstock of Capitalism”, the billionaire investor told shareholders in Berkshire Hathaway how he really feels about bitcoin. His company’s annual shareholder event is being held in Omaha today, and he just couldn’t resist lamenting the digital currency that he just doesn’t understand. Buffett reportedly stated:

“It’s a gambling device… there’s been a lot of frauds connected with it. There’s been disappearances, so there’s a lot lost on it. Bitcoin hasn’t produced anything.”

At least Buffett didn’t call it “rat poison squared” like he did last year. His partner in crime, Charlie Munger, reportedly once compared crypto trading to “dementia.” Buffett’s shareholders probably come to Omaha just to hear what he’ll say next about the crypto revolution taking the economy by storm.

bitcoin

The bitcoin price is barreling for $5,700. | Source: CoinMarketCap

BITCOIN ‘ISN’T AN INVESTMENT’

Buffett didn’t stop there. He went on to insult investors who not only have benefitted from the peer-to-peer nature of bitcoin but he also suggested that it’s not an investment at all. Tell that to the 100-million strong crypto community, many of whom have seen their portfolios balloon since the bitcoin price hit a new 2019 high this week. Buffett is digging his own grave, so to speak, saying:

“It doesn’t do anything. It just sits there. It’s like a seashell or something, and that is not an investment to me.”

Bitcoin’s market cap is now $101 billion; it’s increased from $89 billion in the past two weeks or so. If that’s a seashell, then take us to the beach so we can start collecting them.

berkshire hathaway

Berkshire Hathaway shares are underperforming the S&P 500 year-to-date. | Source: Yahoo Finance

WARREN BUFFETT’S BUTTON ICO

He went on to seemingly poke fun at ICOs next because he couldn’t possibly mean bitcoin when he says:

“I’ll tear off a button here. What I’ll have here is a little token…I’ll offer it to you for $1000, and I’ll see if I can get the price up to $2000 by the end of the day… But the button has one use and it’s a very limited use.”

Hmm, let’s see. Bitcoin is a store of value that rivals gold. It is a peer-to-peer digital currency that gives migrants a way to send money to their families faster and cheaper than any money-transfer service without the blockchain can do. And it’s decentralized, so it’s not subject to the whims of any central bank or government that turns on the printing press and causes inflation.

IMF to crypto: “please be gentle with our house of cards” https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/11/cryptocurrencies-fintech-clearly-shaking-the-system-imfs-lagarde.html 

Cryptocurrencies are ‘clearly shaking the system,’ IMF’s Lagarde says

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said Wednesday that new technologies like digital assets and cryptocurrencies are having a clear impact on the banking sector.

cnbc.com

Whether he realizes it or not, Buffett is spreading FUD about bitcoin and the blockchain, saying:

“Blockchain…is very big, but it didn’t need bitcoin. J.P. Morgan, of course, came out with their own cryptocurrency.”

Blockchain pioneer Wences Casares once said that people who fail to recognize the value of bitcoin but believe in blockchain tech demonstrate an “ignorance for how the system works.” We’ll leave Warren with Wences’ words of wisdom:

“Blockchain doesn’t exist without bitcoin…If you were to remove the bitcoin, miners would disappear and so would the blockchain.”

Source: Warren Buffett: ‘Gambling Device Bitcoin Hasn’t Produced Anything’

Bank of England: Cryptoassets Still ‘Too Volatile,’ Not a Good Store of Value By Omar Faridi

David Ramsden, the Deputy Governor of Markets and Banking at the Bank of England (BoE), has argued that cryptocurrencies are “too volatile” to be considered a reliable store-of-value (SoV).

In a brief interview with CNBC on April 30th, 2019, Ramsden said that BoE’s officials have been keeping track of the “emerging developments and then thinking about what they mean” or how they’re relevant to our current economic system.

The Deputy Governor noted that “just over a year ago, the financial policy committee looked at cryptoassets in some detail” – as “supported by” and within the context of the latest developments in FinTech and modern banking services. He confirmed that England’s central bank still believes blockchain-based digital assets are highly volatile, based on their recent price movements.

Cryptoassets Not An Effective SoV Or MoE

Cryptoassets are also not a reliable medium-of-exchange (MoE) because the “cost of transactions” remains quite high, Ramsden claims. Because of these issues, the BoE’s management thinks cryptocurrencies don’t satisfy the basic “principles of being a currency.”

Ramsden also pointed out that “this is why” the BoE considers them to be cryptoassets, and not cryptocurrencies. Ramsden further noted that cryptoassets “did not pose a risk” to the overall stability of the much larger traditional financial system. This, as the current market capitalization of the crypto market, which presently stands at over $174 billion, is relatively small compared to the multi-trillion dollar global financial market.

BoE Continues To Monitor Crypto Markets

Despite not being able to negatively affect the traditional financial system, Ramsden said that the BoE continues to monitor cryptoassets. He revealed that the UK’s Treasury Department, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and the Cryptoassets Task Force carefully examined the crypto industry.

According to the regulators, cryptoassets that “fall within” the current regulatory framework must comply with the European nation’s existing financial policies. However, Ramsden said that UK’s financial regulators “also had to be very mindful of [digital] assets and exchanges that [may be operating] in or outside” the UK’s regulatory guidelines.

“Very Positive” About DLT

Ramsden added that the BoE and other regulatory bodies in the UK “remained very vigilant about cryptoassets.” He continued to note that the BoE is “very positive” about the distributed ledger technology (DLT) that “underlies” cryptoassets. He also noted that part of his role “in embracing FinTech across the BoE” involves looking closely at the potential benefits of blockchain tech.

He also mentioned:

We are looking at the potential of DLT … for example, in the payments space, we’re making sure that our real-time gross settlement system can interface and be interoperable with blockchain/DLT technology.

Source: CryptoGlobe

Crypto Markets See Green, US Stock Futures Solid Ahead of Goldman, Citi Earnings

Monday, April 15 — after yesterday’s mixed movements, all of the top twenty cryptocurrencies are seeing solid green on the day to press time, seeing growth of between one and 10%, as Coin350 data shows.

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin (BTC) is up around 1.5% on the day and is trading just under $5,200 by press time, according to CoinMarketCap. After hitting a multi-month price high of over $5,420 on April 10, the price of Bitcoin has subsequently corrected downwards — briefly dipping back below the $5,000 mark on April 12.

The top coin has since seen mild renewed growth in recent days, mostly trading sideways since mid-week. Today’s price point has brought Bitcoin’s weekly losses to a little over 1%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The largest altcoin by market cap, Ethereum (ETH), is also up about 1.5% on the day to trade near $167. The alt saw a peak on its weekly chart on April 8, breaking through $180, before faltering downward to as low as $161 on April 11-12.

Despite today’s mild growth, on the week Ethereum remains down by 6.75%.

Ethereum 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP) has reported mild growth of less than one percent on the day, and is currently trading at around $0.327. Correlating with Ethereum’s price movements, the altcoin saw bullish price points April 8-11, before seeing a subsequent correction. On its weekly chart, XRP is now down over 8%.

Ripple 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Among the uniformly green top 10 cryptocurrencies, XRP’s growth is the mildest, with Bitcoin Cash (BCH) seeing the largest uptick, rising about 7% on the day to trade at $298 by press time. Litecoin (LTC) and Binance Coin (BNB) are both reporting the second highest gains among the top 10, both up around 3.5% by press time.

Widening out to the top twenty, the highest gainer is Tezos (XTZ), which has surged close to 10% to hit $1.13 by press time. Aside from Maker (MKR) — ranked 20th and up a strong 5.2% — most other top 20 coins are seeing gentle gains between one and two percent.

The total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is currently around to $175.3 billion, down over 1.6% on the week.

Total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies. Source: CoinMarketCap

In crypto and blockchain news, the parent company of major South Korean cryptocurrency exchange Bithumb has today revealed $200 million in funding from Japan’s ST Blockchain Fund. The funding will reportedly be used to expand Bithumb’s international outreach.

Also today, Cointelegraph reported that Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings has become a shareholder in crypto startup FXCoin, which hopes to become a licensed local cryptocurrency exchange.

In traditional markets, United States stock index futures opened slightly higher, ahead of anticipated earnings reports today from Citigroup and Goldman Sachs, CNBC reports. Dow futures have this morning indicated a positive open, while futures for the S&P and Nasdaq were mixed.

Source: Crypto Markets See Green, US Stock Futures Solid Ahead of Goldman, Citi Earnings

Pay with Crypto, Payment Card to Be Launched by Banking Platform

A banking startup is about to launch a debit card which crypto enthusiasts will be able to use to pay for goods with crypto. the banking startup 2gether promises that its new prepaid Visa card will allow the firm’s customers to use either fiat currency or seven crypto coins to pay for things: BTC, XRP, EOS, XLM and a few others. The card helps people by changing digital assets into fiat (EUR) and will be accepted in almost 20 EU countries. Businesses can take advantage of the service to pay employee salaries and income taxes. Other commercial or corporate expenses can be covered as well with digital coins converted and sent to fiat-based accounts. Aave Pay has been announced as both a web-based and a mobile application. While the online platform is live at the moment, there is little information on how to download, install and use the mobile app and its features…….

Source: Pay with Crypto, Payment Card to Be Launched by Banking Platform

Is There Any Cure for IOTA’s Price Losses? (IOTA Price Analysis For March 18, 2019)

On March 16, 2019, the price of IOTA (IOTA) reached a high of nearly $0.32. It has been on a gradual downtrend since. Here is the price outlook for the period of Mar 16 through Mar 18:

Our analysis of IOTA on Mar 13 predicted that price would increase and result in a breakout above resistance. Our prediction was validated the following day. According to today’s analysis, we predict that IOTA will likely continue trading within a downward facing channel. This means gradual losses for the foreseeable future. Highs within the channel may still be experienced; however, they are expected to grow successively lower over time. In the case of a breakout or breakdown, we assess that a breakout is more likely—which means the possibility of a reversal and rapid price increases.

Source: Is There Any Cure for IOTA’s Price Losses? (IOTA Price Analysis For March 18, 2019)

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