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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

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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

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

Overstock to Retain Retail Arm, Support Blockchain and Crypto Ventures

The CEO of retail giant Overstock.com, Patrick Byrne, noted the potential profitability of the firm’s retail arm in its Q4 2018 earnings conference call on March 18. Byrne’s statements indicate that Overstock may not be divesting from its retail wing as soon as was previously indicated. Last year, Byrne reportedly told The Wall Street Journal that Overstock would sell off its retail wing sometime in early 2019. During the section of the conference call devoted to retail, Byrne said that “this is going to be a year of explosive growth,” and that the retail wing would “spit out cash…..

Source: Overstock to Retain Retail Arm, Support Blockchain and Crypto Ventures

Report: Number of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Lobbies Tripled in 2018

The number of lobbies working on blockchain technology issues in Washington D.C. tripled in 2018, politics-oriented news outlet Politico reported on March 18. The number of entities lobbying on digital currencies and blockchain reportedly grew almost thrice in the course of the past year, reaching 33 projects in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to 12 in the same period of 2017. Jerry Brito — executive director at the non-profit organization Coin Center that works with Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and Darren Soto (D-Fla.), both known for their cryptocurrency-friendly attitude — reportedly suggested that the growth is driven by securities regulation…….

Source: Report: Number of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Lobbies Tripled in 2018

VOLENTIX SUPPORTER FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY ADOPTION

In the past few years, we are facing a new phenomenon that brings significant changes to the financial transaction system. If at first we make money transfers through bank services, we can now do it personally through our own hands. The world is now in the grip. To just make a transaction, we don’t need to move one step. The new system developed in this decade provides enormous convenience for conducting digital transactions. for payment instruments now using digital tokens or coins. this fact has become a very serious conversation throughout the world both in the private life of the community and in international forums. How not, this new system does not even require more fiat money as a means of payment……

Source: VOLENTIX SUPPORTER FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY ADOPTION

Cryptocurrencies in the Spring: good times, bad times

In the world of cryptocurrencies, the Spring of 2019 is starting to resemble the best of times and the worst of times. Should holders of cyber-money such as Bitcoin or Ethereum be cheered by the modest price rally that came in with the New Year, by the announcement in early March that Samsung is to launch a cryptocurrency wallet and by the news that a gold-backed cryptocurrency will be unveiled shortly? Or should they focus on the negative publicity arising from a cyber-money fraud in Sweden and on the news that Mexico’s central bank has imposed an effective ban on financial institutions in that country offering cryptocurrency services? How can a trader put together a reliable cryptocurrencies forecast? What is the outlook for cryptocurrencies 2019…..

Source: Cryptocurrencies in the Spring: good times, bad times

Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a sign

Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a significant number of layoffs. Around 50 percent of its staff members will be part of what is referred to as “voluntary retirement”, as reported by CoinDesk Korea……

Source: Bithumb lays off 50% of its staff Leading South Korean crypto exchange Bithumb has announced a sign

SEC’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets Valerie Szczepanik: Stablecoins May Be Securities

Senior advisor for digital assets at the United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) Valerie Szczepanik reportedly noted that stablecoins could experience issues under current securities laws. Blockchain-related news website Decrypt reported her comments on March 16.

Szczepanik, also known as the Crypto Czar, was appointed to the new position of associate director of the Division of Corporation Finance and senior advisor for Digital Assets and Innovation for Division Director Bill Hinman in June of 2018.

When Szczepanik reportedly made the statement concerning securities at Austin’s SXSW conference on March 15, she also broke stablecoins into three categories.

One kind of stablecoins are the ones tied to real assets such as gold or real estate, and another type are the ones tied to fiat currency held in reserves, in Szczepanik’s classification. The third and last category uses market financial mechanisms to keep the price stable. Explaining the last kind, Szczepanik said:

“I’ve seen stablecoins that purport to control price through some kind of pricing mechanism, whether it’s tied to the issuance, creation or redemption of another type of digital asset tied to it, or whether it is controlled through supply and demand in some way to keep the price within a certain band.”

Szczepanik reportedly said that since a central party controls the price fluctuations over time, that last kind of stablecoins “might be getting into the land of securities.” According to her, if buyers are promised that somebody else will be holding or guaranteeing a profit or controlling the price, the token could be a security.

Ultimately, she explained, whether the asset is labeled as a stablecoin or anything else, the SEC will always subject projects to the same level of scrutiny. She noted:

“Not to sound cliche, but we’d much rather people come to us and ask for [permission], or come talk to us before they do something, rather than doing something and then coming in and asking for forgiveness.”

As Cointelegraph reported in December last year, the United States-based stablecoin project Basis has officially stated that it will close operations and refund investors after they confirmed that they couldn’t avoid a security classification for their secondary token.

More recently, SEC’s chairman Jay Clayton seemed to confirm that Ethereum (ETH) and cryptocurrencies like it are not securities under U.S. law.

Source: SEC’s Senior Advisor for Digital Assets Valerie Szczepanik: Stablecoins May Be Securities

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