Bitcoin and MMT Critic Janet Yellen Picked as Treasury Secretary by Biden

President-elect Joe Biden has chosen former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury Secretary. Yellen, an economist, if confirmed by the Senate, will become the first woman to hold the position.

This holds meaning for the crypto market as Jake Chervinksy, a General Counsel at Compound Finance, said,

“This is the single most important decision for the next four years of US crypto policy. The next Treasury Secretary will have enormous influence on whether the right to financial privacy is upheld or sacrificed to mass surveillance & forced custodianship.”

For Wall Street, it could be good news as just last month she said the US needs to “continue extraordinary fiscal support.”

Yellen had been at the forefront of policy-making for three decades, which means nobody knows the Fed better than her. Not only will she be a great Treasury Secretary, but she will also help the government achieve its objective of increased coordination between monetary and fiscal policy, said crypto trader and economist Alex Kruger.

But not only Yellen is not a fan of MMT, having said that its proponents are “confused,” but she is not really a bitcoin proponent either.

Back in December 2017, at the height of the bull run, she called Bitcoin a “highly speculative asset.”

“Bitcoin, at this time, plays a very small role in the payment system. It is not a stable source of value, and it does not constitute legal tender,” she said at the time, adding that while the Fed is researching it, “I think to my mind, limited benefits from introducing it, a limited need for it and some substantial concerns.”

During Yellen’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee in July 2017, someone photobombed her with the “Buy Bitcoin” sign.

Yellen-buy-bitcoin

In Oct. 2018, while explaining why BTC is not a useful form of currency, Yellen shared that she received “a gift of bitcoins.” Raz Suprovici, the founder of the bitcoin gifting service Biterica, had sent 0.0031642 BTC, worth about $20 at that time, which has now increased to roughly $60, to Yellen to make her understand it better.

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Author: AnTy

MimbleWimble Privacy Coin, GRIN, Becomes Latest Network to Be Hit With A 51% Attack

GRIN, a mimblewimble protocol-based privacy coin, had become the latest victim of a 51% attack when a group of unknown miners got control of more than 50% of the network’s hashing power.

On November 7th, the network came under attack by an unknown mining group, which was able to gain control of 57.4% of the hashing power.

A 51% attack occurs when more than 50% of the network’s hashing input is controlled by a single entity, which increases the risk of double-spending. As per on-chain data, the unknown miner group managed to reorganize one forked block at 23:17 UTC and since then increased their control on the network to 58.1% by Sunday. Currently, at 58.5%, according to Grinscan.

A tweet from 2Miners on Nov 8th revealed the 51% attack on the GRIN network, where they revealed that currently, they only have 19.1% of the hashing power of the network. The tweet read,

“Grin Network Is Under the 51% Attack! Payouts are stopped. Please mine at your own risk only because the new blocks could be rejected.”

GRIN Token Maintains Its Position in the Market

The news of the 51% attack didn’t really impact the token’s price as it remained a study showing a minimal drop of 1.4% over the past 24 hours.

The more diverse the mining input, the more secure the network, which is proven in the current case. The diverse mining input would ensure that a 51% attack would cost the miners more money than what he would gain in return. For example, the Ethereum Classic (ETC) network has the highest share of 51% attacks where the network experienced three 51% attack in August this year itself.

The miners needed $7,000 per hour to control more than 50% of the mining power; the cost is relatively low when compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum networks; however, it’s significantly higher than the GRIN network. The unknown miner group only required $25 per hour to control more than 50% of the platform’s hash input.

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Author: Hank Klinger

Iran to Use Bitcoin for International Trade, Bypassing the Dollar Due to US Sanctions

With the latest amendment to the legislation, Iran has become the first country to use cryptocurrencies at a state level for import funding.

The Iranian Cabinet amended legislation to redirect digital currencies into the funding mechanism of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) for imports, as per the report by the official The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). The report by the CBI and the Ministry of Energy said,

“The miners are supposed to supply the original cryptocurrency directly and within the authorized limit to the channels introduced by the CBI.”

The limit on crypto for every miner will be decided by the level of the subsidized energy used for mining and the Ministry of Energy’s instructions.

This could create a war of hash rate in the Bitcoin space as China continues to lose its share while Kazakhstan, Iran, Malaysia, and Canada record an increase, as per Cbeci.org.

Iran’s share particularly has increased by over 2% in April 2020 from 1.74% in Sept. 2019.

Iran’s cryptocurrency move isn’t new and is a necessity for a country that is strapped for international currencies. In August 2019, it officially legalized crypto mining but banned trading in an attempt to take advantage of its subsidized electricity and extract taxes.

Iran’s fiat currency, the Iranian Rial, has also fallen as the country struggles with inflation, currently at 34%, for the past three years. Its economy has also been contracting since last year; this year, it did -10% a quarter. About a year back, Brian Hook, the US Special Representative for Iran had noted that,

“The regime is struggling to acquire the foreign currency they need to procure imports such as machinery, industrial inputs, and consumer goods.”

Earlier this year, the nation allowed power plants to operate large scale Bitcoin mining operations.

Given that Iran is also in the grip of US sanctions, it is bypassing the dollar and officially using Bitcoin. The country is also considering creating its own digital currency.

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Author: AnTy

First UK Public Listed Company, Mode Global Holdings, Converts 10% of Cash Reserves into Bitcoin

What started with public listed company MicroStrategy has now become a movement as more and more companies continue to join the ranks.

This month, after Square, now comes the London stock exchange-listed company Mode Global Holdings that is making an investment into Bitcoin.

In its press release, Mode announces it to be “the first publicly listed company in the UK” to make a “significant purchase of Bitcoin as part of its treasury investment strategy.”

The company allocates 10% of its cash reserves into Bitcoin and adopts the leading digital asset as a “treasury reserve asset” as part of its long-term goal to protect its investors’ assets from currency debasement.

However, the company didn’t disclose how much Bitcoin it is exactly planning to buy. While as per the company’s cash balance, by the end of June, the allocation only amounts to less than 7 BTC, the company raised £7.5 million on IPO (pre expenses), which puts it at about 75 BTC.

“As Mode Global Holdings is a PLC, the allocation should be transparent on the balance sheet, so it’s odd that specific amount is withheld at this stage,” noted Jason Deane, an analyst at Quantum Economics.

Bitcoin is the Way to Diversify

With the UK’s interest rates falling to a record low of 0.1%, the company was looking to diversify, which brought them to Bitcoin.

According to Mode, it always recognized Bitcoins’ potential as a reliable store of value and an attractive investment because of its safe-haven status and asymmetric risk/reward attributes. Jonathan Rowland, Executive Chairman at Mode said,

“This decision to allocate part of our cash reserves to Bitcoin is a further step in our mission to build a truly digital financial services business, combining the best of digital assets, payments, loyalty, and investment.”

Rowland sees Bitcoin as a vehicle for “financial empowerment,” in which his confidence only increased after facing the challenges of COVID-19. He said,

“Today’s allocation is executed through a modern, forward-looking but prudent treasury management strategy.”

The company further shared that their mission is to bring transparency and credibility to the digital asset space. It has also built a mobile app to buy, sell, and hold Bitcoin.

Also Read: BTC Price & PYPL Stocks Rejoice as PayPal Announces Support for Bitcoin, Ether, BCH & LTC

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Author: AnTy

Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) Is Now SEC Registered; ‘Bullish’ for Ether

Grayscale announced a new milestone on Monday, its product Ethereum Trust (ETHE) has now officially become an SEC reporting company.

With this latest update, accredited investors who purchase Grayscale Ethereum trust shares will have an earlier liquidity opportunity. This means the holding period of these shares is now halved, reduced from 12 months to 6 months, the same as its bitcoin product Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).

The digital currency investing company only offers its products to an accredited investor, an individual who earns income exceeding $200,000 or $300,000 together with a spouse or has a net worth of $1 million, alone or with a spouse.

Currently, ETHE shares are trading at $57, at a premium of nearly 55% to ETH price, drastically down from June’s premium of 950%.

According to trader and investor Alex Kruger, this development was what “helped ETH higher this morning,” and added, “This is bullish ETH as it reduces the lockup period for ETHE from 12 to 6 months.”

Today, Ether jumped over 3% and is currently trading at $387, pushing its YTD performance to 194%.

Around $390 is where trader Loomdart believes it is not “a bad place to punt an eth short.”

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Author: AnTy

Leading Iranian Power Stations to Supply Clean Energy to Crypto Miners

Iran has gradually become one of the leading crypto-mining hotspots in the world after China. The country turned to crypto amid growing concerns over its economy due to inflation and sanctions from the United States. The government regulated crypto mining a couple of years back, and since then, the crypto mining industry has flourished to become one of the key industries.

A few months back, the government authorized power plants in the country to mine bitcoin. It seems many power companies in the country are now willing to sell the electricity to the growing population of crypto miners in the country.

As per the latest report published in a local daily dated September 21st, Iran’s Thermal Power Plant Holding Company (TPPH) plans to sell their surplus electrical supply to crypto miners. TPPH is one of the largest power companies in Iran, and the reports suggest that the company is already in talks to hold a tender for supplying surplus electrical energy from three of its powerplants to crypto mining farms in the country.

The Iranian government’s expenditure on building an infrastructure for energy production has borne fruits, and the county has seen great progress in producing electricity. However, the government has also restricted power companies to stable price regimes, limiting these power companies from making great profits. Thus, supplying the surplus energy to crypto miners can prove a big revenue booster for these firms.

Energy Companies to Supply Only Clean Energy

The government has allowed for the distribution of surplus energy to crypto miners; however, this surplus energy needs to be clean and green. As a result, the power companies can only sell electricity produced from clean natural sources like wind and solar rather than ones generated by burning fossil fuels.

At present majority of crypto mining is done via fossil-fuel based electric power, which is available to the miners at subsidized rates. However, the move from TPPH could prove to be a big game changer and could pave the way for the use of clean and green energy for crypto mining.

In fact, Iran has single-handedly brought down the percentage of clean energy used for crypto mining due to the cheap price of fossil-fuel generated electricity. The country has also seen a significant rise in the mining operations ever since the government decided to regulate the mining industry rather than putting a blanket ban. There have been several rumors from time to time that the Iranian government is looking to launch its own central bank-backed digital currency, but nothing concrete has come out of it yet.

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Author: James W

FinTech Firm, Wirex, to Launch A Multi-Currency Mastercard Card With 2% Crypto-Back in Europe

Wirex, the inaugural crypto firm to become a Mastercard principal member, is set to roll on its new multi-currency card days after gaining principal membership.

The crypto payment platform is based in London and is licensed by Uk’s Financial Conduct Authority to offer crypto cards across Europe.

The new multi-currency Wirex Card will be backed by Mastercard and will be connected to 19 crypto as well as fiat currency accounts found in the Wirex app. The firm is however yet to issue the release date.

In efforts to boost the utilization of crypto in everyday payments, the firm is also enhancing its existing cryptoback rewards program that has so far been rewarding crypto users with upto 1.5% back in Bitcoin for every in-store transaction.

Going forward, crypto users will enjoy a 2% cryptoback for both in-store and online transactions. In addition, users will get up to 6% rewards on their native Wirex Token balance per year.

Before releasing the Mastercard backed crypto card, Wirex is also set to release various new features taking advantage of the recent partnership with LHV, a payments solution firm.

Within the European Economic Area, the new features which are now live come with support for five fresh currencies consisting of Hungarian forint, Czech Koruna, Romanian leu, Croatian kuna and Polish złoty.

Wirex has in the recent past enjoyed an increase in support with the platform revealing that it has more than three million users in the start of the year. According to the firm’s CEO, the firm has seen adoption especially among mainstream users that are not usually hardcore crypto worshippers or enthusiasts.

Wirex platform allows users from about 130 nations to use their crypto as well as fiat money via an existing dedicated Visa card as well as mobile app.

Recently, there have been positive signs of integration between plastic money and crypto as both Visa and Mastercard have enhanced their efforts to form working relationships with various established crypt-based companies.

Coinbase card was the inaugural crypto card to be issued in the United States and is backed by both Mastercard and Visa.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Tim Draper Tweeted He Bought Bitcoin Cash (BCH) & Thanks Roger Ver; Turns Out To Be A Hack

Twitter hacks targeting the crypto community have become unfortunately commonplace. American VC and serial crypto investor, Tim Draper, appears to be the latest victim of such scams. Well known for his bullish sentiments on Bitcoin, a September 4th tweet vouching for Bitcoin Cash (BCH) came as a surprise to his followers.

Tim-Draper-Bitcoin-Cash
Source: @TimDraper – Now Deleted Tweet

The Bitcoin bull had personally thanked a pseudo ‘RogerVer’ account for a ‘seamless experience in purchasing BCH through the Bitcoin.com platform.’ João Almeida, the co-founder of OpenNode, has since confirmed that a hacker was actually in control of Draper’s account at the time.

“I was in contact with his team. He deleted the tweet as soon as he was aware.”

While this is the only solid confirmation out there yet, some skeptics are of the view that Draper might have been promoting BCH, but it went wrong. A Twitter account dubbed ‘Whale Panda’ highlighted this perspective, noting that it might have been a ‘clueless or paid tweet that backfired.’ Interestingly, the serial cryptopreneur was among the investors in OpenNode’s 2018 seed round.

Like many other crypto investors and innovators, Draper has been associated with some scamming shortfalls, brushing shoulders with the crypto community at times. The Venture Capitalist’s DeFi backed project ‘DeFi Money Market,’ which launched in June, saw Telegram scammers rip off $40,000 from unsuspecting investors during its Initial DEX offering (IDO).

Crypto Scammers Swarming Twitter

As earlier reported by BEG, Twitter has become a playground for crypto-oriented scams. The Jack Dorsey-led social media platform is now a double-edged sword to the crypto community; At the same time, most stakeholders leverage its networking aspect; hackers are on the rise to capitalize on naïve market entrants as well as the unsuspecting crypto enthusiast.

Going by the latest updates, India’s PM Narendra Modi was a recent victim of a crypto giveaway scam that targeted his twitter account. Other prominent personalities that have been hacked similarly include Joe Biden, U.S Democratic presidential candidate in the upcoming elections.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Travala Adds Support for VeChain’s Cryptocurrency, VET, As A Payment Option at 2.2M Hotels

VeChain has become the latest cryptocurrency to be added to the travala.com’s cryptocurrency payment portfolio. The addition would open the gates for VeChain token holders to book their travel tickets and over 2.2 million hotels via travala.com using the native VET token.

Travala.com, over the years, has established itself as a noted travel booking platform that allows its customer to book tickets to their favorite destination using cryptocurrency. The platform has already added Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and many more cryptocurrencies to its platforms. The services of the platform are available in over 230 countries.

Juan Otero, CEO at Travala.com, shared his views on the importance of this partnership and how it would help them in achieving their goal of broader crypto adoption. He said:

“At Travala.com, we are dedicated to expanding valuable options for our users. Through this partnership, we hope to continue to push the growth of cryptocurrency adoption by enabling our user’s access to VeChain’s reputable ecosystem and fast, user-friendly payment execution.”

Given the vacation rental market size is expected to grow to $114 billion by 2027, travala.com can play a major role in expanding the adoption and use of crypto.

VeChain, on the other hand, is a popular enterprise-friendly public blockchain platform. The blockchain platform association with Travala.com promises to not only expand the use of crypto but also ensure safety and security. VeChain said that its VET token would work as smart money for the users.

Sunny Lu, the co-founder, and CEO at VeChain, commented on their recent association with one of the largest travel booking platforms and said:

“Positioned as the ecosystem enabler, VeChain has been on the path for accumulating real-world applications and client base, and we’re always on the lookout for partnerships amongst a diverse list of industries to widen the adoption of blockchain. We’re pleased to partner with Travala.com to bring users an enhanced travel experience through the utilization of blockchain technology.”

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Author: Hank Klinger

Bitcoin’s ‘Very Attractive’ as a Safe Haven, Many Wealthy Investors & Traders will Turn to it

Ex-Prudential CEO George Ball says Bitcoin could soon become sought after as a safe-haven asset, and many wealthy investors or traders will consider buying it after Labor Day.

In an interview with Reuters, the current chief executive officer of Sanders Morris Harris said he “always” has been an opponent of bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and the technology underpinning them blockchain.

But with all the monetary stimulus from the government, these digital assets make sense because “the government can’t stimulate the markets forever,” and the “liquidity flood will end,” sooner or later.

For now, thanks to government policies, stocks have been flying with S&P 500 just inches away from its all-time high.

“You’ve got a wash of liquidity, which is really what’s driving and holding the stock market up right now, the risk of an election,” said Ball.

He also clarified that Joe Biden’s win wouldn’t be a “catastrophe for the stock market,” as his tax policies are “benign.”

Precious metals have also been surging with gold hitting a new high above $2,000.

But when the money printer’s ink gets run out, which could happen around the fourth quarter, both traders and investors are going to need to “realign their portfolios substantially” in favor of the cryptocurrency.

And “if they print money, that debases the currency and probably even things like TIPS — Treasury inflation-protected securities — can be corrupted. So the very wealthy investor or the trader probably turns to Bitcoin or something like it as a staple,” said Ball.

So, it’s a win-win for bitcoin as in both cases, investors will be turning to Bitcoin and the time for that is now — “before the fuse is lit or when the fuse is lit and hasn’t expanded – exploded yet, which is probably now.”

He also points out how the largest digital asset isn’t about seeking a tax refuge, but it is something the government can’t undermine, and unlike fiat currency, bitcoin “won’t become worthless” either.

“There’s no yield today. And so Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency becomes very attractive either long term, I want to make a safe haven for my money or a short-term speculative bet… I think it’s where many people will turn after Labor Day.”

For Robinhood traders as well, when they don’t want to trade stocks down the line, as they have been doing throughout 2020, Ball believes they will be putting their money into the cryptocurrency market.

On Bitcoin skeptic Jamie Dimon, who once called it a “fraud,” talking about the digital asset, Ball thinks “Jamie’s at least a partial convert. I’m not sure that he’s a total convert.”

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Author: AnTy