Derivatives Exchange BitMEX Hit with a Civil RICO Lawsuit From Bitcoin Manipulation Abatement

Crypto derivatives exchange BitMEX is facing yet another lawsuit.

Puerto Rican company BMA LLC formerly known as Bitcoin Manipulation Abatement is accusing the exchange of “deliberately designed, from the ground up” to facilitate “a myriad of illegal activities.”

This isn’t the first time that BMA is suing a crypto company, as just two weeks ago they filed a lawsuit against Ripple and its CEO Brad Garlingouse for an alleged violation of US securities law in XRP token sale.

Before that, in November, they targeted BitMEX competitor FTX alleging them of price manipulation only to dismiss the case voluntarily a month later.

Now, BMA and Pavel Pogodin who control this little-known firm filed a suit in the US District Court for the Northern District of California alleging BitMEX’s parent company HDR Global Trading reaped billions in illegal profits via wire fraud, unlicensed money transmission, money laundering, and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act or RICO.

The plaintiff accused the company of illegally processing $3 billion each day, “which is the record volume for such unlawful activity in the entire history of the monetary regulation in the United States.”

This has been in violation of US federal law on the grounds that BitMEX failed to acquire a money transmitter license, alleges BMA.

Also, about 15% of the $138 billion trading volume recorded by BitMEX in 2019 belongs to the traders located in the US.

BMA also alleges the derivatives exchange manipulated the crypto markets by boosting the Bitcoin price artificially.

The lawsuit further notes the extremely high trading leverage, 100x offered by BitMEX and claims the exchange uses the server freezes and “system overload” to accept and reject trading orders during volatile markets to cause price fluctuations and trigger maximum liquidations.

Plaintiff also took shots at BitMEX co-founder and CEO Arthur Hayes, calling him “cryptocurrency’s P.T. Barnum” who is a “promoter for the ‘degenerate gamblers’ he solicits, and encourages speculative trading by (…) making bold predictions designed to elicit responses and move the market in a way that is profitable for BitMEX.”

HDR Global is aware of the complaint and will be defending itself against the “spurious claim.” An HDR spokesperson said,

“BMA has recently emerged as a serial filer of claims against companies operating in the cryptocurrency space, and is widely recognised for operating just like a patent troll.”

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Author: AnTy

Block.one Granted Patent To Incentivize Positive Feedback On Social Media Networks

The company behind EOS blockchain network, Block.one, has been granted a patent which will allow it to use blockchain technology to encourage the use of positive feedback within the social media networks.

On April 28, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office released the patent documents revealing that Block.one is intending to solve the absence of incentivization techniques within the social media sphere for users to offer positive feedback such as likes, comments as well as upvotes.

The patent documents were first filed in May last year. According to the files, one of the ways by which posts get to influence is by getting positive feedback from the community. The documents explain that whereas the content creator is given recognition via positive feedback, the users that offer positive feedback are hardly appreciated.

Block.one has developed a fresh methodology which provides exposure to social media users that provide positive feedback apart from the original creator. The system is designed such that it will start by authenticating a post via a blockchain in order to make sure that the content is purely done by the author. From there, users that want to be linked with the given post can then bid on it using tokens that will be issued through social media. This will allow the highest bidder have their profile displayed on a spot that can be seen within the post.

As per the documents, the successful bidders will be given exposure via other users’ posts and can then utilize the exposure to promote their own posts or interests.

The documents also state that all the post data will be kept on the blockchain while the tokens gained via the bidding procedure will then be given to the author.

Block.one seems to be focused on the social media space as it announced its own social platform Voice which is built on EOS blockchain. In January the firm hired an ex-forbes executive to be its lead CEO. Currently, Voice is in private beta.

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Author: Joseph Kibe

Blockchain Smartphone HTC Exodus Integrates DeFi, Adds Support for SegWit Protocol

HTC, the Taiwanese mobile phone company that launched Exodus, the blockchain phone, back in October 2018 has announced major upgrades on April 29th.

Some of the key updates include the integration of Compound and MakerDAO along with further support for the SegWit protocol. These new updates would be added through Firmware Over The Air (FOTA). Apart from these major upgrades, the firm also promises to improve the blockchain experience on the phone.

SegWit operates as a second-layer protocol which helps to scale bitcoin transaction and make it more secure. SegWit separates the main part of the data from the one that is required to authenticate the original transaction, which not only makes the transaction data smaller and easier to process but also more secure.

The Defi Protocol Integration With Zion

Zion operates as a private vault within the Exodus smartphone, allowing secure transactions and storage for a wide range of crypto assets, along with management of one’s private keys.

The integration of Defi protocols like MakerDAO and Compound would make Zion a highly versatile wallet, given how popular Defi ecosystem has become in recent times.

With this integration, Exodus owners can directly stake their ETH through Compound and MakerDAO and draw loans in DAI against their collateralized ETH. This integration would surely make way for better management of funds as well as staking and lending.

HTC Exodus Adds Many New Features to Make for a Complete Blockchain Experience

Apart from SegWit and Defi protocol integration, the firmware update would see many other added benefits including Stellar Memo support.

The stellar memo is a transaction identifier which is required by many exchanges to distinguish one transaction from another. The absence of the memo often results in lost funds, thus this integration would ensure each transaction made from the Exodus smartphone is distinct and secure.

The new firmware update would also improve the Initial Block Download (IBD) process which is a node synchronization process. A faster IBD would ensure that the smartphone downloads the newly mined blocks faster which in turn would help in processing new transactions faster and more efficiently, since, during the node synch process, the node does not accept any new transaction.

Apart from these significant updates, other minor, yet defining improvements include Enhance Dapp Hub search function: This feature would allow users to search for any Dapp using URL on Dapp hub.

System Enhancement

The System Enhancement saw the Addition of Google Security Page.

HTC was a prominent smartphone maker before the China-made cheaper alternatives took on the mobile market and significantly cut its share.

However, HTC dived into the decentralized space with its blockchain phone Exodus and later launched a lite version for the same. And since then it has continued to focus on bringing pure blockchain experience via smartphones.

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Author: James W

Dole to Implement Blockchain Supply Chain Tracking in All Food Departments by 2025

The Dole Food Company, one of the world’s leading fruits and vegetable distributor has decided to join the blockchain bandwagon as it announced its 5-year plan to introduce blockchain-based tagging and food tracing in all its departments by 2025. The food business is planning to launch advanced traceability solutions to ensure the highest quality of food safety across its major business departments.

The sustainability report released on Wednesday contained a blueprint on how the world’s leading fruits and vegetable distributor is going to redesign its network to incorporate blockchain-based traceability solutions. One of the major goals listed in the blueprint or redesign work was to identify the trouble spots in its supply chain and increase the speed to make amendments to it to meet its 2025 deadline.

The Dole Food Company has also been working with IBM Food Trust to help them with redesigning their supply-chain management. IBM has emerged as one of the leading players among the mainstream tech firms to research and develop various blockchain-based enterprise solutions. It is already working with Nestle, the leading food and beverage company to help them incorporate blockchain in their supply chain to improve the quality and safety of foods that reach the customers. The sustainability report said,

“Blockchain cuts the average time needed for food safety investigations from weeks to mere seconds. Produce that’s been logged via blockchain can be instantly traced back through the supply chain, giving retailers and consumers confidence in the event of a recall.”

Food Supply Chain Management is Emerging as the Top Blockchain Use Case

Blockchain technology has found many use cases in the past few years, be it in the field of healthcare data management, agriculture or education, but food supply-chain management by far has emerged as the leading use cases where numerous mainstream food businesses have increasingly utilized the decentralized technology for tracing and managing their supply-chain business.

Dole like many other food producer and distributors have decided to incorporate the technology to not only ensure better safety, higher transparency, but also to provide more information to the end customers on the products they are purchasing. The incorporation of blockchain technology would help customers know the history of their food, right from the farm, their fruits/vegetables were picked to the place where it was packed and shipped.

Dole also claimed in its report that they were already offering the data to its retail customers since last year, but they are adding protection to the data to avoid other retailers from seeing competitor’s data. The report also revealed that they have been experimenting with the DLT for quite some time now, thanks to their association with IBM, and they plan to continue their association with IBM’s blockchain consortium known as IBM food trust.

The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) department has been bullish on the use of emerging technology like blockchain in the field of food management. The FDA in its upcoming “New Era of Smarter Food Safety” is also going to advocate for the incorporation of blockchain technology to bring better food safety and quality standards.

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Author: James W

South Korean Unicorn Traveling Agency Yanolja to Offer Crypto Rewards With MiL.k Partnership

South Korean travel company Yanolja, hit Unicorn status back in mid-2019 after a $180M funding round valued at $1 billion, has integrated a blockchain platform so that their rewards tokens can be exchanged for cryptocurrency.

The blockchain rewards platform with which Yanolja closed the partnership is MiL.k. The deal is for MiL.k to enable the non-crypto rewards currency Yanolja Coin to be exchanged with the Milk Coin (MLK), which is accepted for trading on crypto exchanges.

MLK Can Also Be Redeemed at Other Vendors

The good news is that the MLK can be redeemed at other vendors having the MiL.k crypto rewards platform integrated. These vendors are South Korea’s most popular car-sharing service, Delivery Car, and Seoul’s airport bus service, Seoul Airport Limousine. This means the rewards earned while riding the airport limousine can also be redeemed at other companies, turned into crypto, and sold on exchanges.

Mutual Credibility

The head of international business at Milk Partners and Keyinside, Samuel Yun, said that mutual credibility is the rewards system’s benefit, seeing reward programs contain important information about a company, information on sales included.

He added that the MiL.k platform has all its transactions written on ledgers, also encrypted on the blockchain, which means companies don’t need to worry about their data being leaked.

Discounts to Be Offered

The rewards schemes of MiL.k tokens include all sorts of discounts too. Yun said that buying $9 worth of MLK can bring a purchasing power valued at $10, with the percentages increasing according to what MiL.k is offering at any given time. MLK’s value is pegged to the one of a fiat currency, so the won for South Korea. Buying MLK when the time is right can bring bigger rewards. Here are Yun’s exact words on this:

“If you choose to hold MLK for future value and use it later for bigger points, you can certainly do so.”

Those who bought MLK in February lost most of their discounts. When launched, MLK had a value of $1.51, but now its price went down to $0.22, says the metrics site CoinGecko.

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Author: Oana Ularu

John McAfee Launches PoS Privacy Coin, But Community Says It’s Not the Original ‘GHOST’

John McAfee, the founder of software company McAfee Associates and a tax fugitive has launched his own cryptocurrency coin called “GHOST.” McAfee took to Twitter to announce,

“It’s a proof of stake privacy coin to make you a “ghost” when transacting online! Atomic swaps on McAfeeDex will let you trade against BTC/BCH/ETH & more! With a DEX/privacy coin combo we now have full control of our finances!”

This proof of stake privacy coin’s whitepaper and further information will be released on May 15th.

As per the official website, this zero-knowledge proof token offers privacy by using an escrow pool shield and erasing the history of transactions. It also claims to process transactions in under 60 seconds for a fraction of a penny in fees.

As for how it’s different from the popular privacy cryptocurrency Monero (XMR), McAfee said, Ghost offers the “ability to be exchanged on a true decentralized, distributed exchange – making it unable to ever be shut down by governments.”

This proof-of-stake network will be controlled by GHOST token holders and users while masternodes will help secure the network. These masternodes will also earn a share of transaction fees using staking.

These GHOST tokens will be airdropped to ESH token holders on May 25th. 25% of the token supply will go to ESH token holders while the remaining 75% is allocated towards proof of stake rewards. One can buy ESH tokens on Mercatox exchange, IDEX, and McAfee DEX.

McAfee’s decentralized token exchange, McAfee DEX was released last year in October and since then its web traffic has declined nearly 90%, as per Similar web.

Now, after six months, McAfee has launched its privacy coin. But some are accusing McAfee, who is running for President, of copying another such project called NIX. His Ghost launch tweet is actually filled with the NIX enthusiasts calling out, “NIX is the original Ghost.”

The platform itself said, “There is already a Ghost.” NIX offers privacy via its privacy protocol Ghost and a multi-layered interoperability platform for anonymity-focused decentralized applications (dApps), privacy swaps and smart contracts.

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Author: AnTy

Elon Musk’s Tesla and CargoSmart Test Blockchain Tech To Speed Up Cargo Release Process

  • In collaboration with CargoSmart and China’s Shanghai Port Group, Tesla company is aiming at transforming the goods importation process in China using the new blockchain application.
  • The companies aim at making the whole clearing process both cost and time effective.

Formalities related to shipping transactions are quite chaotic. Document verification which is paramount on the other end over time has proved to be lengthy and messy. Many documents e.g the port documents and bill of lading need to go through multiple parties that consumes a lot of time. U.S. electric car manufacturer Tesla is working on a way that will make importation of goods into China easier. The pilot used blockchain to share all relevant shipping data and documentation among all concerned parties, including Tesla.

The China Shipping industry is evidently one of the sectors that has recently shown interest in blockchain-based innovations. Tesla along with Chinese ship operator COSCO are aiming at rolling out an app that will shorten the normal cargo release time. This will, in turn, allow global logistic companies to possess ownership of goods once they have been cleared.

Blockchain all but set to revolutionize the shipping industry

In a bid towards adopting a paperless, seamless and trusted process at the port of Shanghai, CargoSmart has partnered with electric car company Tesla, COSCO and the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) to lessen consignee and shipment agent authentication process. CargoSmart recently stated that the new application will accelerate the digitization of the shipping enterprise procedures and the further increment of the current international supply chains.

The blockchain-based application uses blockchain technology to exchange real-time shipment data between the terminal operator and the carrier. The shipping processes become faster since documentation is digitized which in turn reduces all the shipment verification steps .

Plans for future upgrades?

Since December 2019 when Tesla with the help of Cosco and the Shanghai International Port Group (SIPG) streamlined its processes, the application has been updated. As at now it can boast of more helpful features like “terminal release, display laden gate out and the appointment date.” This in turn ensures that those waiting for their shipments will have better visibility of their cargoes.

More tests are scheduled to be conducted at ports in Xiamen, Qingdao and Laem Chabang in Thailand. This is to widen the scope by involving more carriers and terminals on the platform. The company is planning to roll out a blockchain association for the members of the Global Shipping Business Network.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Bitfarms Forced to Lay Off Staff, Cuts Expenses, and Optimize Crypto Mining Due to COVID-19

Canada-based and publicly listed blockchain infrastructure and mining company Bitfarms is at the moment reducing staff as a result of the economic and social effects brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

In an update from April 6, Bitfarms informed that it managed to maintain the average hashrate of about 750 PH per day since March 19, all because it optimized operations for its computing power to be maximized. According to the firm, this was very helpful as far as generating a positive cash flow during the current difficult times when crypto and traditional markets are in chaos.

Being in Line with Government Guidance

Bitfarms also mentioned that it remains viable in this crisis by temporary cutting staff so that it’s in line with government guidance. It aims to fight the coronavirus’s spread, but it didn’t provide any details on what arrangements it made with the workers being let go. In the same update, the firm talks about what it intends to do in order to reduce administrative costs and save as much as 20 to 25%. Here’s how Bitfarms’ chief financial officer, John Rim, commented the situation:

“Seeking cost efficiencies is consistent with our business model and thesis that efficient miners like Bitfarms will be best positioned to be able to withstand short-term volatility in mining economics and remain profitable through the long-term, including potential challenges relating to the upcoming Bitcoin halving.”

What’s Happening with Other Firms?

Recent reports say that there some mining firms are trying hard to overcome the market volatility brought by the coronavirus until now. However, earlier in March, Argo Blockchain, the mining firm listed on the London Stock Exchange, mined the most Bitcoin (BTC) ever in its own records. It also said operations at its sites in North America haven’t in any way been affected by the pandemic.

The Bitcoin halving from May this year is also mentioned in the update published by Bitfarms. The adjustment that will reduce by 50% mining rewards is going to be very challenging in terms of profits for the mining sector all over the world. Some other mining firms that have laid off staff because of the coronavirus are Bitcoin.com and Galaxy Digital. The former let go of 15% of its workforce globally, whereas the latter of 10%.

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Author: Oana Ularu

BitMEX’s Operator HDR Global Grants $100k Towards Bitcoin Core Development

BitMEX’s parent company HDR Global Trading Limited has awarded $100k to the Bitcoin core developer Michael Ford. This will be the second grant towards Ford, last year in May the firm awarded a similar grant of $60,000 for the same 12-month period and the current grant will replace the old arrangement and support his work for another 12-month period. It is also important to note that HDR has made no conditions for the grant and is only doing so to support his work as a Bitcoin core maintainer.

Ford started contributing to the Bitcoin Core in 2012 and became a Bitcoin Core maintainer last year in June. Bitcoin Core is the only open source community which enjoys diverse support from all corners of the crypto community, both in terms of funding and development. Not so long ago, BitMEX Research released a report on the diversity of development on the different crypto communities where Bitcoin emerged as a clear winner.

The Recent Donation From HDR Suggests Their Commitment Towards Bitcoin Development

HDR Global’s continuous support for the Bitcoin core development and maintainer reflects their commitment towards keeping Bitcoin network moving and making it better with each passing year. The fact they have not put any pre-conditions towards the grant shows their confidence and their long term goals. Not only Bitcoin Core maintainer Ford, HDR also made a donation towards MIT Digital Currency Initiative in 2019 as well to assist their development work. The firm said,

“We would like to emphasize that our commitment to open source Bitcoin development is for the long term and we look many years ahead when making these funding decisions.”

Along with the grant, HDR also released a template grant contract to ensure transparency of the process and a promise to continue their support for such development work.

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Author: James W

Ripple Donates $200k to COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund; Crypto Companies Stepping Up

The San Francisco-based Ripple is the latest company to make donations to the novel coronavirus response fund.

The company took to Twitter to share that they had donated $100k donations each to the COVID response fund by Silicon Valley Community Foundation and Tipping Point Community.

“In these challenging times, Ripple is committed to being part of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We’re starting in our own backyard with $100K donations each to @tippingpoint’s COVID emergency response fund and @siliconvalleycf’s COVID Regional Response Fund,” tweeted Ripple.

Binance to Donate Millions to Worst Affected Countries

Ripple is not the first company in the crypto space to do so. A few days ago, Binance Charity, the donation arm of leading crypto exchange Binance announced a project titled ‘Crypto Against COVID’ through which it is looking to raise $5 million in cryptos (BTC, BNB, XRP, and BUSD).

Binance will make an initial donation of $1 million USD and further commits to donating up to $2 million and match $1 million USD of public donations received. The funds will be used to buy medical supplies for the countries worst affected by the virus.

“The crypto community is a growing force and we have an opportunity to strengthen this through philanthropy. We encourage the community to take part in this initiative as we unite against COVID-19, and together, we’ll drive impact,” said Binance founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao.

In January, Binance also launched “Binance for Wuhan” and donated about $1.4 million worth of medical supplies to support China in its battle against the COVID-19.

Tron Foundation also sent shipments of medical supplies to China earlier this year.

Emergency Funds to Help Startups

A few days ago, the Giving Block crypto charity was also launched where donations were made in cryptocurrency to non-profit partners.

“Today, donating cryptocurrency is not just a way to lower our taxes. It is our chance to protect the people we love, all while telling the new crypto story,” said Alex Wilson, CEO of The Giving Block.

An emergency fund by CNBC’s CryptoTrader host Ran NeuNer in collaboration with Yossi Hasson of Techstars has also been created to help the startups affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The fund has raised $10 million so far.

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Author: AnTy