ZEC Breaks Out of 3-Year Bear Market as Executive Director Bids Adieu to Zcash Foundation

The inaugural executive director of Zcash Foundation, the company behind the 24th largest cryptocurrency by market cap $845 million ZEC, has left the Foundation. Josh Cincinnati in his farewell statement said,

“It was the best team I’ve ever had the honor of working with, and I will miss them terribly.”

Cincinnati believes that after leading the Foundation for over three years, he isn’t the right person to do it anymore and that he shouldn’t do so indefinitely either. Moreover,

“whatever power that has vested to the Foundation should stay in check institutionally, and not accrue to a single leader,” he said, adding that he is “ready for a break and a change of pace.”

Another reason for his departure is that the negotiation and successful conclusion of the dev fund has taken a toll on his “relationship with ECC leadership and damaged my ability to collaborate with them effectively.” Because the Electric Coin Company is unlikely to change its leadership “ever,” “I instead chose to leave.” Before leaving, he shared his prediction that the,

“prospects for private digital cash are bright,” and “the Foundation’s technical efforts will make a big splash this year.”

On Cincinnati’s departure, Analyst Qiao Wang shared some bullish facets about ZEC. He noted how the digital asset has broken out of the 3-year bear market. Up 20% in the past 24 hours, ZEC is currently trading at $87.27.

Zcash started surging this week after bitcoin broke its key levels to make new 2020 highs. ZEC has recorded 205% returns YTD but is still 99% down from its all-time high hit during the last bull market.

Textbook W-shaped bottom, coinciding with governance crisis, usable shielded clients, imminent 1st halving, increasing awareness on privacy, and global return of socialism, Wang pointed out all the reason to be bullish on this digital currency, He said,

“if this isn’t a generational buying opportunity Iono what is.”

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Author: AnTy

Ripple Adds Over 50 Financial Institutions To Its Settlement Platform Since November

Ripple’s executive, Navin Gupta, managing director for South Asia and MENA regions, spoke in an hour-long YouTube video explaining the blockchain’s use cases and its progress so far in 2020.

In data provided by the startup executive, Ripple currently has over 350 partners in its ranks, including RakBank in the UAE and Transfer Go in the U.K.

Over the past seven months, Ripple has welcomed over 50 financial institutions using its settlement platform. Navin said:

“Ripple is one of the largest blockchain companies in the world which is in production. We have around 350 financial institutions that use our technology every day.”

Blockchain technology has been revered as the solution to accounting and trust issues on legacy financial systems such as “reconciling accounts without the need for a third party.”

A Solution to Legacy Financial Systems

According to Navin, Ripple aims at reducing the latency and speed problems that financial systems face allowing users to send money as quickly as they send emails. Ripple also minimizes the cost of each transaction to a few cents, curbing the exorbitant fees charged by international money transfer systems, which is also a big issue in hindering international remittances.

“With money, there’s a lot of friction. There is about $1.6 trillion that gets spent in fees when money is moving across international borders [annually] – the total value sent internationally is about $27 trillion”

Navin explained the problems money transfer systems face at the moment.

“We want money to move the way information moves.”

Ripple’s tech systems, as explained before, are aimed at reducing the overall transfer times from days in the legacy system to only a matter of seconds. All this, while ensuring al verification details are correct, and AML compliance regulations are met, Navin said.

Ripple’s low cost of transactions, high levels of transparency, and high liquidity to users also offer the blockchain a competitive advantage.

Ripple’s Micropayments Solution

Across the globe, there are tens, if not hundreds of payment platforms that Ripple competes with. Top of the list is global payment services like SWIFT, UBS, and PayPal. All of which the fourth-largest blockchain aims to dethrone. One of the critical features that Avin believes sets Ripple apart from its competition is micropayments.

“We believe micropayments of five cents, ten cents, and even a cent is something that will see a huge use case in the coming two or three years.”

On the future of the crypto industry in general, Navin believes the current highly “speculative crypto market” will shift its tide to a more utility-based use case. Most of the current digital currencies will die out if they do not build real-world use cases.

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Author: Lujan Odera

Intelligence Community Is Prepping For Black Swan Events That May Crush The US Dollar

It looks like the US Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) is looking to sponsor a researcher who can conduct a study on what would happen if the dollar would no longer be a global reserve currency.

The agency posted at the end of last year a job listing with the deadline on February 28, listing in which it’s saying that it’s looking for people with a background in economics. It also mentions the research is the first one of its kind for the intelligence’s post-doc program and that it’s meant to help with preparation for a black swan eventuality in which the US dollar would no longer be globally dominant.

The Research to Be Shared with the Intelligence Community

The study would fall under the National Counterproliferation Center’s purview. The National Counterproliferation Center is functioning under the ODNI and tries to combat weapons of mass destruction from being proliferated, mostly by stopping terrorist financing. The results of the research will be shared with the intelligence community.

While not attributed to any event or trend, the job listing does say it’s looking for cryptocurrency enthusiasts because there is the eventuality in which a digital currency undermines the US dollar, for example the digital yuan scheduled to be issued by China. This is exactly what the listing reads:

“If either of these scenarios or others come to pass, the U.S. would lose both its status in the world and its global authorities.”

A Researcher with Black Swan Events Knowledge

The researcher who will be involved in the post-doc program will receive sponsorship from ODNI, access to IT and advanced computing, plus funding. His or her work would be checked by the agency periodically in order to be understood. The researcher would collaborate with ODNI experts and other governmental entities.

The agency wants someone who knows how to work with statistics, artificial intelligence and who has knowledge about black swan events that happened throughout history, all while thinking all sort of scenarios of such events happening in the future.

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Author: Oana Ularu

FinCEN Chief: US Will Enforce ‘Travel Rule’ For Crypto Exchange to Combat Money Laundering

Kenneth Blanco, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) director, said on November 15th that the US government will enforce a ‘travel rule’ requiring crypto companies providing wallet services and trading digital assets to provide information on their customers.

The new rule is meant to prevent money laundering and requires crypto exchanges to verify the identity of their customers, also to identify parties involved in transfers up to $3,000 and higher. The information on the transfers needs to be transmitted to counterparties if these exist.

Kenneth Blanco Says the News Shouldn’t Come as a Shock. At a New York conference hosted by the blockchain analysis company Chainalysis, Blanco said:

“It (travel rule) applies to CVCs (convertible virtual currencies) and we expect that you will comply period. That’s what our expectation is. You will comply. I don’t know what the shock is. This is nothing new.”

The US government has decided to make a move seeing the crime in cryptocurrency is now using billions of dollars. Investigators all over the world have their eye on money laundering hubs activating in the virtual world. In August, Ciphertrace reported that fraud, scams and thefts in the cryptocurrency space have exceeded $4.3 billion, just in 2019.

The Rule Complies to Anti-Money Laundering Standards

This ‘travel rule’ was issued back in 1996 by FinCEN. It complies to the standards that apply to all financial institutions based in the US. Its coverage was extended in 2014 so that it applies to crypto exchanges too. In June 2019, the global and inter-governmental organization that fights terrorism financing and money laundering US Treasury led-Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has released some guidelines on how money laundering in the crypto environment is taking place.

FATF also informed crypto exchanges they need to comply with the ‘travel rule’ in a year from June. Blanco continued by saying:

“FinCEN…has been conducting examinations that include compliance with the funds’ travel rule since 2014,”

He also added that money laundering is the most common violation of businesses trading in virtual currencies.

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Author: Oana Ularu

WWF, ConsenSys Launches Impactio Blockchain to Bring Transparency in Philanthropy

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) director of conservation, and Joseph Lubin, co-creator of Ethereum and founder of ConsenSys, jointly unveiled the Impactio platform. Impactio is an Ethereum-based blockchain-powered impact investment platform, designed around the United Nations 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). WWF’s experience was necessary to spot the nature of the matter that must be resolved, whereas ConsenSys’ expertise helped style a system that may assemble the required moving elements.

Ethereum blockchain-based platform dubbed Impactio was designed to supervise and fund projects among non-governmental organizations and standalone firms. The main motive behind this initiative was to trace how the funds of the companies were spent.

How Impatico Works?

Individuals or companies who had practically adopted Impactio were supposed to give their projects concerning more on sustainability, inequality, emerging communities or the environment. Furthermore, the curators receive Impactio Tokens in a digital wallet, with the platform employing a system supported ConsenSys’ research on Token Curated Registry (TCR) to curate and opt for high-potential projects and afterward present them to potential funders. A token-curated register (TCR) is a means of adopting a blockchain token to assign completely different weights to different things on a listing.

The tokens act as a finite resource, letting curators place tangible weight to their words, limiting the chance of manipulation, favoritism, corruption and so on and making a framework for the Impactio platform itself to mechanically enforce the system’s rules.

So, at the core of the Impactio system there is effectively a TCR which is used to enforce the curation process, allowing the subject matter experts to collaborate in reviewing and surfacing the best projects,” Claudio Lisco, ConsenSys‘ strategic initiatives lead and one of the architects of Impactio, says.

“The way this works is that the curators and subject matter experts effectively can see the projects that have been submitted on Impactio.”

“First they review them, provide feedback and collaborate with the project owners to further improve the projects. But effectively, once the curation process starts they can use tokens to signal their endorsement for projects they think should be exposed to funding opportunities.”

The system is designed to reward successfully-argued investor viewpoints, Lisco says, that ought to facilitate keep curators in the right place. It’s quite apt, because at the end of the day, what else are the UN SDGs if not a self-reformation project?

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

FinCEN Director Asks Casinos To Follow The Agency’s Guidelines For Suspicious Crypto Activities

At an Anti-Money Laundering Conference in Las Vegas, the director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) asked the casinos to comply with the agency’s guidelines in regards to suspicious convertible virtual currency (CVC) activity.

Convertible virtual currency is an unregulated digital currency that can be used as a substitute for real and legally recognized currency. It usually has measurable value in real money, but what makes it convertible lies in its ability to be interchangeable.

In his speech, he mentioned that the two areas where CVC and Casins intersect are mostly online casinos. Even physical casinos and card clubs are increasingly becoming more vulnerable. He reminded about the gap in reporting about the suspicious activities in these areas, saying:

“I encourage casinos to closely review both documents on FinCEN’s website to see how we are addressing this industry and its interactions with others in the financial sector. Casinos should be filing SARs when they encounter suspicious CVC activity and any cyber events that affect, facilitate, or conduct transactions. We know that casinos are targets for cyber and cyber-enabled criminal activity such as ransomware attacks and business e-mail compromise schemes.”

FinCEN was founded in 1990 with the goal of fighting money-related crime. The agency analyzes financial transaction information with the goal of combating terrorism financing, money laundering, and other financial crimes. Blanco has held the position since November 2017. In May 2019, the firm issued new guidance that contains its financial regulation policies concerning Decentralized Applications.

Last year BitcoinExchangeGuide had reported about Blanco explaining the agency’s stance on crypto. He was overall positive about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. He began his speech discussing how crypto can be used to optimize businesses and conduct more efficient international transactions. Although, even then, Blanco had claimed crypto can be used for criminal activities and that his agency’s goal was to facilitate a healthy, crime-free cryptocurrency ecosystem.

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Author: Sritanshu Sinha

Tron’s Marcus Zhao Touches on New Anonymous Transactions Being Finalized on TRX Network

Trons-Marcus-Zhao-Anonymous-Transactions-Are-Almost-Finished

Marcus Zhao, the technical director of the Public Chain Division of Tron (TRX), has gone to Twitter in order to announce that the anonymous transactions are near from being complete in the Tron network.

According to him, the next step was to improve the testnet until they are able to launch the changes on the mainnet of the system. He asked for feedback from the users, too, and provided a link that could be used if they wanted to help out in testing the network. This way, the users can see the changes by themselves before they are implemented for good.

The Reaction

Most of the people on Twitter were very excited about the news. However, they were far from being the only voices who had opinions about how Tron should deal with the upgrade.

A user named @vcorem, for instance, affirmed that this was simply too much work in order to improve a feature such as this one. They first created the virtual machine, then implemented the ZK-Snarks protocol on it and then decided to emulate the UTXO model to make these transactions. So much work for something that is not really that much unique, in his opinion.

Opinions on this were divided as there were other users who had a much more positive view of the system. Some affirmed that such a system would be very useful and that other ecosystems are already doing it, so there is a trend towards anonymity

The fact is that this kind of transaction is really getting popular. There are several old-school tokens using it today such as Monero (XMR) or Zcash (ZEC), but many other projects involving anonymity are being created today. Litecoin, for instance, is also set to start an anonymous option for its users.

Unfortunately, authorities from all over the world frown upon anonymous tokens as they believe that they can be used for crimes. It seems that a battle between the believers in a world with anonymous transactions are going to have to face this problem before they are able to reach their goals and see more private tokens.

At the time of this report, Tron is trading 4.3% up today (and 7.2% up this week) and it is priced at $0.0295 USD per token with a market cap of 1.97 billion UD, being the 10th largest cryptocurrency in the world.

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Author: Gabriel Machado