People’s Bank of China Has Filed 84 Digital Payment Patents For CBDC’s: Report

According to the Chamber of Digital Commerce, China has filed 84 patents for the digital yuan, its new upcoming digital currency.

The patents date to 2017 and are credited to the People’s Bank of China’s (PBoC) Digital Currency Institute. They were filed to the Chinese Patent Office (SIPO) and indicate some important aspects like the one where the Chinese government is able to alter the currencies supply after some specific events like interest rates going up, or the one of integration with traditional bank accounts while the connection with digital currency chips cars or digital wallets is still possible.

The Chinese Government Will Track Down Transactions

The patent applications are related to the integration of the digital currency in the already existing banking infrastructure. This is what Mark Kaufman, the patent attorneys for Rimon Law and a former employee of the Chamber of Digital Commerce said about them:

“Virtually all of these patent applications relate to integrating a system of digital currency into the existing banking infrastructure.”

Meanwhile, the Chamber’s president, Perianne Boring, mentioned how a mechanism that’s able to stop the tracking of transaction by the Chinese government doesn’t exist yet.

Will Other Governments Take China’s Example?

In November 2019, Mu Changchun, the head of PBoC’s Digital Currency Institute, spoke at a Singapore conference and said:

“We are not seeking full control of the information of the general public.”

The newly filed patents come only to prove that the Chinese government is committed to issue a digital currency, which may convince other governments to take action in the same direction. For example, the Japanese government recently talked about China’s digital yuan and Facebook’s Libra, saying these should be combated with a digital currency released by Japan. Norihiro Nakayama, the foreign affairs parliamentary vice-president of Japan said,

“China is moving toward issuing digital yuan, so we’d like to propose measures to counter such attempts.”

Will the US Release Its Own Digital Currency?

There have been signs that the US may be considering issuing its own digital currency too, as Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve Chairman, said on Tuesday that this matter needs to have an answer and that:

“We’re working hard on it.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Crypto Related Losses Skyrocket Despite Hacking Crimes Dropping Significantly

  • According to a Q4, 2019 survey by CipherTrace users have lost 4.5 billion in Ponzi scheme and fraud scams while hacking-related scams have significantly dropped
  • Banks have also fallen prey as US banks unsuspectingly facilitate illegal transactions

Losses in 2019 shot up by 160% despite hacking crimes dropping by 66%, this was according to a 2019 Q4 report by CipherTrace, a cryptocurrency intelligence firm. Amounting to $4.5 million just in the previous year.

Dave Jevans, CipherTrace CEO, stated they had seen a major bump in crimes where the unsuspecting users were duped by Ponzi schemes, mainly set up by people inside the system. This would make investors pull the plug on the cryptocurrency investments that are hurting the systems built around digital assets.

“We noticed a significant uptick in malicious insiders scamming unsuspecting victims or leaching on their users through Ponzi schemes.”

A common use case is the crypto wallet and exchange PlusToken Ponzi scheme where unsuspecting clients lost $3 billion in a single scam. There has also been the Canadian Exchange, QuadrigaCX, clients lost close to $135 million after the founder of the company passed away suddenly.

Banks are Unsuspecting perpetrators

Banks have also been victims as they have unknowingly facilitated illegal cryptocurrency transactions of up to $2 billion in US banks alone. This could be mainly attributed to the fact that it has become harder for traditional financial systems to embrace emerging technology while steering clear of crypto relations. This is as banks globally continue to face fines levied by Anti-money laundering (AML) authorities of about $6.2 billion.

Jevans further explained that banks need to come up with alternative solutions of ridding their systems of illegal dealings that would finance terrorism as they had previously underestimated the percentage of digital assets that are to be found in their accounts and systems.

“Like them or not, banks have a lot more virtual assets lurking in their accounts and payment networks than most in the industry had previously thought.

Banks need new capabilities to ferret out illicit MSBs [Money Service Businesses], terrorist financing, and other major sources of risk.”

Illegal crypto merchants have also been key in funneling funds to terrorist fronts. They are usually connected to high-risk exchanges and hide the transactions by intentionally using the wrong merchant category codes (MCC) the report further read.

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Author: Lujan Odera

5 Chinese-Based Entities Control 49.9% of Bitcoin (BTC) Hash Rate: TokenAnalyst Report

According to the latest report of TokenAnalyst, Bitcoin is more centralized than ever before.

Bitcoin a decentralized and nearly trustless system to transfer and safely store value. But in 2020, it has started to

“become a highly centralized system that places an increasing amount of trust in a small number of large entities.”

The report states that just like a few large cryptocurrency exchanges dominate the crypto landscape, the mining sector is now also dominated by a small number of entities with a power base in China.

The metric the firm uses is calculated by identifying the addresses controlled by mining entities and then identifying the block they mined.

As awareness and adoption increase, so does the competition which has many smaller participants become unprofitable and exiting the market. The individual and small miners have been replaced by large operations that created groups by forming partnerships.

One entity to rule ‘em all

Today, five mining entities viz. BTC.com, AntPool, F2Pool, BTC.top, and ViaBTC — all of which are based in China and available via BirDeer — controls 49.9% of all computing power on the network. BitDeer lets consumers rent mining power without buying or setting up mining hardware.

“On 27th January 2020 these 5 mining entities controlled 49.9% of the hashrate of the bitcoin network,” states the report.

5-miners-control

5-miners-control

It basically acts as the connective link between to pull their resources and share freshly mined bitcoin as rewards.

“Once a consumer has paid BitDeer for a plan, they can assign that hashrate to any partnership mining pool,” TokenAnalyst said in the report. “Does it really make a difference anymore? What is to stop the entities merging into a single large entity that maintains a degree of separation” only through address structure.

Eroding the trustless model of the network

Over the decade, mining has changed dramatically, earlier GPU rigs were used that shifted to FPGA and ASIC miners. Eventually, miners formed mining pools as mining a block became difficult.

And now today’s large-scale cloud mining operations have lowered the barriers to entry that allows an individual to purchase hash rate plans without the need to expand on capital, complicated set-up, or maintenance.

Although a good thing, the centralization of bitcoin network hash power is a concerning point as “it erodes the trustless model of the network.”

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Author: AnTy

Japan ‘Must Be Prepared’ To Launch A CBDC If Public Demand Increases: BoJ Official

According to a Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) deputy governor, the country needs to keep on doing research on what issuing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) would mean, even if a launch is not yet in the cards.

As reported by Reuters on January 30, Masayoshi Amamiya said at a seminar held in Tokyo that if the payments technology continues to advance so fast, the demand for a CBDC may increase, so the bank needs to know everything about the groundwork of owning a digital currency. Here are Amamiya’s exact words:

“The speed of technical innovation is very fast. Depending on how things unfold in the world of settlement systems, public demand for CBDCs could soar in Japan.”

BoJ Is Not Yet Planning to Issue a CBDC

The governor continued his speech by saying BoJ doesn’t have any plans to issue a CBDC just yet, as potential problems still need to be researched, the monetary ramifications and security for the digital yen being mentioned among such problems. Even so, BoJ must be prepared, he added. Amamiya’s comments arrived a few days after members of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party in Japan said they would make the proposition for the BoJ to issue a digital currency.

70 Japanese Lawmakers in Liberal Democratic Party Say the Digital Yen Is a Must

There are about 70 lawmakers in the Liberal Democratic Party who think that issuing a digital yen is a must, especially when it comes to competing with Facebook’s Libra and China’s own CBDC, which are both scheduled to launch this year.

In the past, Amamiya has addressed the idea that central banks, by issuing their own digital currencies, would bring more effectiveness to the negative interest rate policies. He said in July that if the digital yen is issued by BoJ and the interest rate set is to be negative, businesses and individuals would be charged if they’d hold the CBDC, which would lead to them to drop the digital currency and to hold cash instead, moment in which banks would have to make an effort to get rid of cash.

As for the time being, Amamiya thinks that BoJ issuing a CBDC would not influence the bank’s control over asset prices, bank lending, and interest rates, yet the monetary policy may turn out to be very complex as a result of “the transmission mechanism” changing.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Refundo Rolls Out Federal, State Tax Refund Payouts in BTC, BCH, ETH, and XRP

According to a press release from tax service provider Refundo, American taxpayers will be able to receive their federal tax refunds in Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH) and XRP, aside from Bitcoin (BTC).

Before these cryptocurrencies were added, 141 million Americans could receive their tax refund only in Bitcoin (BTC), so Refundo thought, it’s time to make some additions. In May 2019, it launched the CoinRT product that allows people to receive tax refunds in BTC, the product that was created in partnership with BitPay, the crypto payment processor.

CoinRT Is Very Easy to Use

Taxpayers just need to create their RefundoCoinRT account, after which they’re being given a unique account and routing number that they have to put on their tax return, together with the background details of the Know-Your-Customer (KYC) regulations and their BTC, XRP, BCH or ETH wallet address.

As soon as the IRS or the state makes a direct deposit of the tax refund into their account, Refundo takes over to process the refund and to deposit cryptocurrency in the designated crypto wallet. This service costs only $34.95 and only needs to be paid once.

Refundo Customers Will Be Allowed to Access Their Refunds Seamlessly

The CEO of Refundo, Roger Chinchilla, says customers of his company will be able to access their refunds seamlessly. These were his exact words, as outlined in the press release:

“We love new technology and we’re always looking for opportunities to help our customers get access to their tax refund in a seamless manner and however they see fit. When we launched support for Bitcoin last year, we knew we were just getting started. Cryptocurrencies are increasingly faster, lower cost, and fit the need of the underbanked. We are pleased to be able to support BCH, ETC, and XRP and look forward to adding other cryptocurrencies in the near future.”

The other great news here is that other cryptocurrencies are going to be soon added to Refundo.

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitcoin Payment Processor BTCPay Launches New ‘Vault’ App With Multi-Wallet Interoperability

BTCPay, a Bitcoin (BTC) payments processor integrated its new Vault app to its platform according to an official report by the company. The app will allow users to directly connect their desktop wallets and hardware wallets on the platform without giving up the private key. It enables communication with BTCpay using its node to increase user experience and satisfaction while still keeping users security and privacy as its top priority.

The official BTCpay blog stated that the vault wouldn’t store the users’ private keys but rather directly connect the user to multiple wallets on their desktop to allow transaction without giving up their private keys, which the users will have total control over.

The vaults main objective would be providing a cross platform that enables compatibility with more external wallets while improving the hardware wallet user experience. With all funds being verified against users Bitcoin full nodes, users can transact on the platform without having to give up their private keys.

BTCPay extends Compatibility

The initial internal wallet that was launched by BTCPay was only compatible with external wallet options such as Ledger Nano S and ColdCard. However their newly launched product extends compatibility with other external wallets such as Digital BitBox, KeepKey, Ledger Nano S, Ledger Nano X, Trezor Model T and Trezor One cited the blog.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Mind Capital Gets Issued Fraud Warning by National Securities Market Commission in Spain

According to a recent report by Behind MLM, the National Securities Market Commission announced that Mind Capital, a crypto investment firm, is committing securities fraud.

The announcement warns:

“The CNMV warns that: MIND.CAPITAL is not authorised to provide the investment services detailed in Article 140 of the Securities Markets Law; and is not authorized to perform the activities reserved for collective investment institutions.”

Further, the report indicates that Mind Capital has not registered with the National Securities Market Commission, and its founder, Gonzalo Garcia-Pelayo, is allegedly not based in Spain.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Global Uncertainties and a Weak US Dollar to Raise the Price of Bitcoin in 2020

According to a Bloomberg report from Monday, it’s very likely the price of Bitcoin (BTC) will increase in 2020, as a result of a weak US dollar and global uncertainties.

The predictions say BTC can reach its 2019’s top range of $14,000 if the geopolitical situation is still tensioned and the stock market continues to be volatile. Bitcoin has always been seen as the digital version of gold, mainly because it’s a limited asset that can’t easily increase to meet demands, just like gold. The halving that will take place later this year should reduce block rewards to 6.25 BTC, not to mention the BTC supply is expected to increase by 2.5% in 2020 as a result.

BTC Investment May Take Many Forms

The more investments in BTC are increasing, the more they can take different forms, analysts are saying. More than this, the derivatives market is continuing to expand and integration to major markets is possible. All this may have incredible effects on the BTC price and decrease volatility. Not everyone is convinced though, that the BTC has a strong connection with gold. For example, Quantum Economics founder Mati Greenspan called this relationship weak and mentioned the 2 assets may grow to be negatively correlated.

Bitcoin Had Its Moments of Volatility

There have been many volatility moments for BTC. For instance, it surged over $10,000 immediately after China’s President Xi has made a speech in which he encouraged the adoption of blockchain technology. For now, analysts think volatility doesn’t help BTC to be a stable store of value. However, this won’t stop investors to value their digital assets and keep the BTC price stable. Bloomberg thinks the Tether market cap will continue to expand in 2020, so many other cryptocurrencies will struggle to keep their investors according to how supply outstrips are demanding. Here’s exactly what the report continues to say:

“Bitcoin should again outshine most crypto assets in 2020 as the unique and appreciating digital version of gold. Bitcoin is winning the adoption race, notably as a store of value in an environment that favors independent quasi-currencies.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Libra Association Vice-Chairman Calls Bitcoin An ‘Exciting Asset’ But ‘Not For Payments’

According to Dante Disparte, the Libra Association vice-chairman, Bitcoin isn’t a means of disbursement. Disparte said this when speaking to early adopters of tech and gadget fans in Las Vegas who had attended the Digital Money Forum at CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Disparte noted that:

“The bottom rung of the ladder of economic mobility is payment access.” He went on to note that” crypto just isn’t cutting it on payments.”

He mentioned that this was the sole reason he was fascinated in what Facebook was trying to create with Libra.

The Libra Association comprises of a grouping of numerous corporations which seek to ultimately release the Libra stablecoin. The stablecoin will be a coalesced digital asset designed by the social networking giant. It’s intended for use by the millions of people around the world who currently lack access to the services provided by modern-day banking institutions.

Each corporation involved in its development would operate a node. However, the only companies that would be allowed to do so are those that would receive the formal go-ahead from the existing members.

While the cryptocurrency is expected to be more decentralized compared to existing finance, there’s a difference in that the asset is not permissionless, as is the case with ethereum and bitcoin.

Disparte added that Libra was making an attempt to try and solve complicated issues.

Pushback

Akin Sawyerr, the strategy leader on the Decred Project stated that he was not convinced that a group of corporations interested in their own interests would do finances any better compared to the devolved systems. He added that:

“The only way to really get there is to empower the individuals to have some base-level sovereignty.”

By independence, what Akin was referring to was ensuring that individuals had complete control over their finances. When you look at it in terms of bitcoin, when the crypto asset owner has control over their keys, it means that no other person can take control over that particular asset.

Sawyerr doesn’t believe a permissioned system being run by a collection of big corporations would be resistant to censorship.

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Author: Daniel W

What’s Holding Back XRP Price? Would TD Ameritrade Support Help The Third Largest Crypto?

According to TD Ameritrade’s last tweet, the online brokerage giant may add support for the low-priced XRP.

Meanwhile, the founder of Quantum Economics, Mati Greenspan, thinks the XRP’s low price has happened as a result of 2 main causes that are directly related to Ripple. He tweeted,

TD Ameritrade is Considering Additional Opportunities

When questioned if interested in adding the third of the biggest cryptocurrencies, TD Ameritrade answered it currently offers support for CME’s Bitcoin (BTC) futures and that it’s considering some other opportunities. However, it didn’t mention what cryptocurrencies is planning to bring on board, even if it has been known to tease the #XRPAmry by mentioning it may add their favorite cryptocurrency. More than this, the company said in December last year that it’s looking into what XRP has to bring.

XRP Didn’t Have a Good 2019

While occupying the third position in the largest cryptocurrencies list, XRP didn’t have a good year in 2019. It started in January with $0.37, only to reach the $0.48 price for a short period of time, on June 23. On November 6, it was priced at $0.30, which was considered one of its highs. But ever since, XRP has been going down to under $0.25 and $0.22. Starting with December 8, its price level reached the very low $0.19 and remained firm in this position.

TD Ameritrade, the First to Offer Its Clients Access to CME and Cboe Bitcoin Futures

TD Ameritrade is a $1 trillion brokerage company that was acquired in November 2019 by Charles Schwab. It became the first financial firm offering traditional services to give its customers access to CME and Cboe Bitcoin futures, thing that happened at the end of 2017. Tim Hockey, TD Ameritrade’s CEO, said the company’s clients were demanding Bitcoin futures. TD Ameritrade also invested in ErisX, the crypto derivatives platform, back in 2017. This has given its clients the opportunity to trade crypto directly on ErisX.

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Author: Oana Ularu