SEC Settles Enigma’s 2017 $45M ENG Token Sale, Pay $500k Fine and Refund Investors

The ICO project Enigma has settled with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) over charges of violating the securities law.

Enigma MPC is a blockchain startup that raised $45 million in a token sale from 2017. The SEC announced on Wednesday the settlement requires Enigma to refund all the investors it harmed by using a claims process, registering its tokens with the SEC as securities, filing reports to the agency and paying a $500,000 penalty fee. Back in 2017, Enigma sold ENG tokens that the SEC deemed as securities.

No Securities Registration Requirements Exemption

As the SEC says, Enigma wasn’t qualified to be exempted from the securities registration requirements. A blog post from the Enigma official website says the company is going to set up very soon the claims process, while the firm’s CEO Guy Zyskind explained how the settlement has been reached after many discussions conducted with the SEC. Here are his words on Enigma’s plans for the future:

“[It] clears the way for our development team to return its full attention and energy to our original and continued vision: building groundbreaking privacy solutions that improve the adoption and usability of decentralized technologies, for the benefit of all.”

Enigma Mainnet Was Just Launched

Zyskind also mentioned how the settlement allows the team working at Enigma to focus on the actual protocol, the company’s mainnet that launched last week included. Ever since it opened, the Enigma mainnet gained over 20 validators, says the company. It’s Cosmos SDK-based and secured by the new coin called Secret (SCRT). At the moment, Enigma is trying to legally swap its Ethereum-built ENG token for the new SCRT token. Here’s exactly what the blog post says about this:

“We are continuing discussions with our legal counsel and regulators to identify an effective means of facilitating a swap that complies with all relevant securities regulations, but for the time being, our team is not able to proceed. We appreciate your patience and will update you as things move forward.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

5,500 BTC ($56 Million) Seized by Ireland’s Criminal Assets Bureau from Drug Dealer

The Irish High Court ruled that a drug dealer should have his 52 million Euro (more than $56 million) in Bitcoin (BTC) confiscated as being criminal proceeds.

On February 19, the Irish news outlet Independent.ie reported that Clifton Collins was accepted by the court as having been involved in drug dealing. The Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) decided to seize his assets and Collins did not contest this decision.

Investigated After Being Stopped in Traffic

The investigation into Collins started by authorities after he was stopped in traffic for a routine check and cannabis was found on him. Police then conducted searches at an address in the Galway Village after the traffic stop, where they found numerous cannabis plants that were allegedly supposed to be Clifton Collins.

The Dealer Was Investing in BTC for Some Time

It’s believed that Collins started investing in BTC early, so he received great returns for his money. His cryptocurrency has been seized by the CAB so that it can’t be moved only with approval from the court. The investment was considered as criminal proceeds, being implied that the money for the initial investment were obtained from selling drugs. The CAB’s highest rate collected amounts 62 million Euro (about $67 million) in total.

Why Do Drug Dealers Hold Cryptocurrencies?

Drug dealers hold cryptocurrencies mostly because crypto addresses are not linked to any identity. Authorities from all over the world are more and more discovering with their investigations that drug dealers use cryptocurrencies. Let’s not forget the Christopher Bania case from October 2018, when Bania was ordered to give up nearly 17 BTC ($150,000 back then) by a Wisconsin court. In August 2019, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Global Cybercrime Program’s head Neil Wals said that cryptocurrencies make things harder when it comes to anti-money laundering investigations and policies.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Northern Data Teams Up With Canaan Creative For Blockchain And AI Development

The globe’s second biggest Bitcoin mining equipment developer, Canaan Creative is joining forces with Norther Data AG, a blockchain infrastructure company, to combine their synergies in various fields related to the blockchain and crypto industry.

According to a press statement released on Feb. 19, the two dominant players within the world blockchain industry, announced that they had formally entered into a partnership to bring their technological as well as operational prowess together for different projects in the industry.

Some of the key areas where the two firms will cooperate are in regards to artificial intelligence, development of blockchain based solutions and also large scale optimization of data center operations.

Northern Data has been steadfast in developing infrastructure used in high-performance infrastructure which can be applied even beyond blockchain technologies. The firm was formed after the merger of Northern Bitcoin AG, a blockchain infrastructure company based in Germany, and Whinstone US Inc, a data center operator based in the US. As per NG Zhang, Canaan Creative’s CEO,

“Our R&D team is collaborating with Northern Data. Both sides have achieved positive results. In addition, Northern Data will provide computational resources support for our overseas R&D in the U.S. Canaan looks forward to further cooperation in product development, AI, and high-performance computing.”

According to Cointelegraph, Canaan deals with the provision of AI chips as well as high-end mining hardware comprising of ASICs. The firm claims that it has produced more than 150 ASICs dating back in 2017 up to September last year. The firm was recently registered on NASDAQ making it a public trading company. This is a crucial milestone for the firm as it became the inaugural Chinese-based AI chips developer to fruitfully float an IPO in the United States.

According to the press statement, Northern Data AG praised the new deal and stated that it looks forward to ink such deals with various blockchain as well as AI developers in the near future. The current deal with Canaan comes just a few months after Northern Data AG partnered with SBI Crypto from Japan.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Cardano Successfully Tests Ouroboros BFT on the Bryon Testnet, Ready for Deployment

  • Cardano reaches the “important” step of OBFT update as it moves towards the Shelley era
  • This protocol update is the bridge for the currently in use Ouroboros Classic to Ouroboros Genesis, which will power the Shelley era
  • Network fundamentals on a steady rise, the number of daily active addresses reaches a peak of 9.76K

On Feb. 20th, Ouroboros will be updated on the Byron mainnet to Ouroboros BFT, stated IOHK while sharing the latest developments. It’s been more than 18 months since the IOHK has been building a new architectural foundation for the Shelley era on the mainnet.

As the network moves towards the Shelley era, they have reached a “really important” step that is the OBFT update, Ouroboros Byzantine Fault Tolerance. This hard fork will basically act as a bridge between Ouroboros Classic, which is currently in use on the Byron mainnet, to Ouroboros Genesis, which will power the Shelley era.

Exciting Months Ahead

Ouroboros is the consensus protocol, “the algorithm that sits behind Cardano’s capability as a decentralized proof-of-stake platform.” Ouroboros BFT has been implemented as a bridge by the developers as a “stepping stone in compatibility (…) to enable the evolution of Cardano on the Byron era, with its federated blockchain, to the decentralized Shelley era.”

Ouroboros BFT has been successfully tested on the Byron testnet and the team has announced that it’s time to deploy on the Byron mainnet. The deployment will be on Feb. 20th which the team says is “a really positive next step in the development of the Cardano platform.”

For the ADA holders, they don’t need to do anything as the update will happen behind the scenes and there will be no change to the coin, wallet, or exchange account or even if you have been involved with a Shelley incentivized Testnet, you won’t’ be affected in any way, shared the team on Wednesday.

The next few months will be “exciting” ones for the Cardano community as the network continues to evolve.

Fundamentals on the Rise

In other news, the fundamentals of the Cardano network are also on the rise. The network activity has been seeing a rise with the number of daily active addresses reaching its all-time high (ATH) at nearly 10,000 on Feb. 12. This has been an increase of over 300% since January 1st, 2020.

The active address ratio has surged 231% from the beginning of the year, up from 0.58% on Jan.1 to 1.93% earlier this week.

Additionally, the number of transactions on the network has also seen a spike, recording an average of just above 3600 transactions daily. At the beginning of the year, the transactions were down at 1,000 but it has now jumped above 4,200.

In terms of price, ADA is currently trading at $0.0624, up 85% in 2020 so far.

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Author: AnTy

Contents Protocol Refunds $8M ICO, Shuts Down Due To Crypto’s Negative Perceptions

Content-sharing platform, Contents Protocol has announced on Wednesday that is shutting down and will refund investors the $7.5 million worth of Ether (ETH) that were raised in the initial coin offering (ICO). Here’s what the Contents Protocol announcement from the official website reads:

“We inform you that due to continued regulatory uncertainties in cryptocurrency and lack of business prospects, we have decided to end our project.”

A WATCHA Play Subsidiary

Contents Protocol became an ICO market player later, completing its crowd sale in December 2018. As a subsidiary of the Korean streaming service WATCHA Play, it was designed for incentivizing content sharing by offering its reviewers of show and films rewards in its native token, the CPT. However, it had to shut down, explaining that it had too few users because people have a negative perception when it comes to cryptocurrencies. It also said that it doesn’t expect the anti-crypto attitudes to change very soon either.

$7.5 Million Worth of Assets Converted Back into ETH

In its public and private ICOs from 2018, Contents Protocol managed to raise 29,333 ETH (worth $8.1 million). The remaining assets, valued at about $7.5 million, have been converted back into ETH after the shutdown, remaining to be redistributed to investors who made requests for refunds. The company said the collected CPTs are going to be destroyed as soon as the liquidation process begins, so the users holding the tokens will be able to exchange them at the $0.002 worth of ETH until then.

According to the asset records provided by the firm, about 3,800 ETH were exchanged into $1.45 million for funding business operations. While a part of the funds has been converted into Bitcoin (BTC), most of the assets remained in Ethereum (ETH).

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Author: Oana Ularu

Indian State Telangana Govt Launches Blockchain Accelerator With Tech Mahindra

The IT arm of Mahindra Group and the Telangana government have closed a partnership and aims to launch a blockchain accelerator that will be a model for future accelerators in India.

The T-Block accelerator will foster blockchain startups that know how to use the technology in the real world and contribute to the growth of the industry. It will be run by the innovation management company IBC Media, which is the same firm that developed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by Tech Mahindra and the Telangana government in 2018.

The MoU to Make India the World’s Blockchain Capital

The MoU aims to make Telangana the world’s blockchain capital. The state’s capital, Hyderabad, is supposed to be the center of all blockchain activities and to have everything running through the Telangana Blockchain District. The accelerator has registration open ever since the beginning of February. It’s supposed to involve a boot camp lasting 1 week and 4-week intensive training.

The Telangana Blockchain District Fosters Industry Players

The Telangana Blockchain District seems the ideal ecosystem for research institutes and blockchain startups, since it offers substantial benefits and concessions such as financial grants, cloud storage subsidies sponsored by the state and even tax relief. It also has a specialized policy for the creation of educational initiatives, a regulatory sandbox and an R&D institute. Besides, the newly launched accelerator’s way seems to be paved here. Telangana signed other MoUs with blockchain companies so that the blockchain technology is implemented in state applications.

India’s Crypto Industry Waiting on Supreme Court Hearings

Meanwhile, decentralized private cryptocurrencies have an uncertain future in India, as the local industry is waiting on hearings from the Supreme Court. The case involves the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposing a ban on banks that deal with crypto firms, ban that has been in effect since July 2018.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Ripple Co-Founder’ Claims His XRP Sell-Off Doesn’t Impact The Market Is ‘Simply Preposterous’

  • XRP Whale and former Ripple CTO argues his huge sell offs
  • Not possible to sell off over 2% of the total supply without influencing the price, counters analyst

As we reported, an analysis by Whale Alert stated that the amount of XRP Jed McCaleb, co-founder and former CTO of Ripple and an XRP Whale is selling is “insignificant” compared to the digital asset’s total trading volume per day. Whale Alert wrote,

“because he is exclusively selling XRP, he is adding to the net amount available.”

Now, McCaleb who also co-founded Stellar Lumens (XLM) and Mt. Gox exchange has taken to point just this out that “date shows there is no impact on the market, and I don’t see any reason why that will change.” While speaking with CoinTelegraph, McCaleb said,

“I have been transparent from the beginning. The market has known for years that I have been selling my XRP at a slow, steady rate.”

“My investment decisions are not based on any desire to negatively impact other companies in this industry.”

However, as analyst Mati Greenspan notes, “It’s not possible to sell off more than 2% of the total circulating supply of a token without influencing the price at least a little.”

Even if it’s by OTC (over-the-counter) desk, Greenspan says it “still creates sell pressure,” adding,

“The claim he’s making that value extracted from the market doesn’t affect market prices is simply preposterous.”

Till now, McCaleb has dumped 1.05 billion XRP on the market between 2014 and 2019. However, there’s still 4.7 billion XRP worth over a billion dollars left with McCaleb.

More importantly, the rate at which he was selling his XRP stash has been limited by his settlement agreement with Ripple which is likely to expire sometime this year. As Ripple clarified in a statement:

“In 2016, we entered into a very structured agreement with Jed with the goal of ensuring distribution of his XRP holdings in service to a healthy, growing ecosystem without market disruption, with Ripple as custodian of Jed’s XRP holdings. This agreement remains in place today.”

Currently, XRP price is enjoying the bull rally, like much of the crypto market — though a bit late to the party — and is trading at $0.296. In 2020 so far, the digital asset jumped over 52%.

As we recently reported, popular trade AngeloBTC has predicted XRP to climb to at least $1 in 2020, a level last seen in Feb. 2019.

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Author: AnTy

Ripple (XRP) Price Analysis (February 19)

Key Highlights

  • The US dollar has now forced the XRP price value into a range trading condition.
  • The XRP/USD price now hovers around $0.30 and $0.28 zones.
  • The $0.30 value, again seen as a strong-line retarding free upward ride of the XRP/USD bulls.

Major supply zones: $0.32, $0.34, $0.36
Major demand zones: $0.26, $0.24, $0.22

Ripple (XRP) Price Analysis

After a notable downward price movement in the XRP/USD trade operations, the US dollar has now forced the crypto’s value into a range trading condition. The crypto fell from a high point at $0.34 down to around $0.28 price value.

During trading sessions on February 16, the pair averaged lower towards the major demand zone at a $0.26 mark. Currently, the pair’s value is trading in a range outlook around price zones at $0.30 and $0.28 points.

Ripple Technical Indicators Reading

There has been an interception of the bigger SMA trading indicator by the smaller SMA from the top. And, the 50-day SMA is of more trending flat over the 14-day SMA trading indicator as they both point towards the east direction.

Price also trades around a small space between them. Above all, all these are happening around range price zones of the $0.30 and $0.28 marks of the XRP/USD market.

Conclusion

The XRP/USD market bulls have to make every recuperating move against the bears. But, in the course of that, they have revisited a noted pressurizing point at $0.30. Hence, the reason for the current choppy price movements of the crypto-trade. The $0.30 value has lately observed as a strong-line retarding free upward ride of the bulls in this market. And, as at now, there is no profound indication that the bulls will be sustainably breakthrough it northwardly.

Disclaimer: The presented information is subjected to market condition and may include the very own opinion of the author. Please do your ‘very own’ market research before making any investment in cryptocurrencies. Neither the writer nor the publication (bitcoinexchangeguide.com) holds any responsibility for your financial loss.

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Author: Ben Jordan

Microsoft Azure Integrates Lition’s Blockchain Tech to Scale Commercial Operations

Microsoft is one of the fast-moving IT giants in blockchain research for leverage with their existing services. The firm recently integrated Lition blockchain which is set to fulfill a commercial purpose in its cloud product, Microsoft Azure.

Lition made the announcement through a medium post published on Feb, 18. The blockchain oriented firm noted that they will operate under blockchain as a service (BaaS) for Microsoft. This milestone is quite something for Lition given that they are now among the countable blockchain services working with a reputable cloud provider.

Microsoft Cloud and the Lition Integration Pros

As one would expect, the two firms will benefit from each other in terms of convenience for cloud services and blockchain provision. Notably, Lition stands to get a larger market share once its blockchain tech gets exposure on Azure. Dr. Richard Lohwasser, the CEO of Lition, has since highlighted that they are optimistic;

“We believe that making integration as seamless as possible is vital to bridging the gap to adoption. Azure will be a tremendous asset for our customers..”

Microsoft’s cloud clients on the other hand will now be able to develop on-chains in Azure based on Lition’s blockchain technology. Big corporates recognized in the Fortune 500 like Samsung, Boeing, Coca cola and Walmart are currently among the set beneficiaries of this partnership.

Both Lition’s and Azure users can deploy and test sidechains using the integrated BaaS. In addition, they have the option to join this new cloud blockchain ecosystem as network validators. This significantly reduces the costs incurred for putting up local servers or the manual installation of nodes.

The $229 Billion Microsoft Cloud Market Share

Stats show that Microsoft Azure has attracted around $229 billion worth of market share placing it second in cloud services. The company’s history of indulging and making sense of complex tech is expected to come in handy for both its cloud operations and the BaaS offered by Lition. Furthermore, Azure’s open and scalable nature makes it a good avenue for blockchain tech application as DLT’s become more popular.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

European Space Agency to Use Blockchain-Powered Satellite Data For Mining Transparency

Blockchain tech is fast on the track of providing solutions from space despite a skeptical approach towards its major use as per now ‘cryptocurrencies’. The European Space Agency (ESA) has committed to fund a blockchain project that aims to cut costs in the mining chain processes through satellite data.

Hypervine, a Scottish startup headquartered in Glasgow, is the entity behind this idea of space data and blockchain integration. The firm set out to smoothen information storage for quality improvement in mining environments. Today, Hypervine is part of the Scottish Centre of Excellence in Satellite Applications (SoXSA) and has previously collaborated with Tontine incubator and Napier University in Edinburg.

Hypervine’s Blockchain Solution in Mining

Just like other industries, Mining has to adopt given the inevitable nature of change especially with the fourth industrial revolution (4IR). It is this niche that has seen Hypervine establish an operation suited to pace up the multi-trillion industry.

One reason for settling in the use of blockchain tech is its immutable nature. The proposed Hypervine model will allow true records to prevail in perpetuity hence very fine details that initially resulted to miscalculations can be audited for decision making. Fatal accidents that are common in quarries can be averted with the satellite stored data accessible via blockchain.

Furthermore, mining firms which opt to leverage this tech in the future stand a chance of reducing their data management costs while increasing efficiency in strategic decisions. This is mainly because a coordinated database provides comprehensive and timely information to act on compared to gathering from different sources. According to ESA’s technical officer, Beatrice Baressi, funds are flowing into the mining industry for new tech;

“The use of satellite-based data for mining work is already a sector experiencing huge investment and funding across private and nationalised space programs.”

The Environmental Prospect

ESA supported its funding towards Hypervine noting that their innovation would greatly improve the environment. Beatrice added that blockchain can be an indirect driver to reducing carbon emissions which ultimately is good for earth;

“It is a core goal of ours to make industries such as quarrying safer, cleaner and more accountable. Working with companies such as Hypervine allows us to achieve these goals whilst improving the standards across multiple industries.”

Hypervine is not the first blockchain project ESA is funding, the European intergovernmental organization allocated $66,000 to SpaceChain back in 2019. This is a blockchain start-up developing a multi sig satellite-based wallet.

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Author: Edwin Munyui