China State-Owned Media Covers Crypto as 2020’s Best Performing Assets Driven by DeFi & Weak Dollar

In an unusual coordinated report on Friday, several Chinese state-owned media covered cryptocurrencies, calling them the best-performing assets of 2020.

The country’s top broadcaster, China Central Television (CCTV), ran a three-minute-long news clip, highlighting crypto assets rallying 70% this year.

“Cryptocurrency has undoubtedly become the top-performing investment” among several other global assets, said the report.

The clip also mentions DeFi and the weak dollar as the two reasons for the crypto bull market this year.

“China is just getting started on DeFi…” said a researcher at crypto fund The Spartan Group who noted the retail investors are likely to go for early DeFi projects in China like DODO and MCDex and the blue chips UNI, YFI, COMP, and MKR that also has a Chinese community.

CCTV also covered ETH being the top performer and fear of inflation driving the growth along with the central banks experimenting with CBDCs as a bull case for cryptocurrencies but government regulations being a major uncertainty.

“There is another following coverage today on CCTV2 abt PBOC encouraging accelerating DCEP adoption and enlarging beta test cases. So previously, coverage on ‘cryptoasset’s top performance’ seems to be related to this DCEP bull narrative in general,” noted Dovey Wan of Primitive Crypto.

A Bullish Affair

All of this got the Chinese crypto community’s attention, who shared the clip on WeChat as a bullish signal.

CCTV’s crypto reporting came after state-owned news agency Xinhua which also published an article titled, “Cryptocurrency is this year’s ‘No. 1 asset’” a day before. Prior to its digital version on Xinhua, the same article appeared on one of the longest-running state media, Cankaoxiaoxi, in print form.

Such a rare coordinated effort is at odds with China’s stance on crypto speculation, but trader Qiao Wage said it is a “misconception” that the Chinese government has always been “hostile” towards Bitcoin and crypto.

“If there was a parallel financial system that could rival the dollar-based system, they would love to be part of it. What they are hostile towards is fraud and speculative craze,” he said, adding, “I do agree with the view that they are against capital flight using crypto, which is pretty obvious.”

Yesterday, the South China Morning Post also reported of at least 1 trillion yuan ($145.5 billion) worth of funds moving out of China into gambling activities every year, aggravating the country’s economic and financial security risk, as per Liao Jinrong, the director-general of the International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Public Security.

“The volume and speed of cross-border capital flows are unprecedented,” Zhu Min, head of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University, was quoted by the People’s Daily mouthpiece this week.

“This will not only result in sustained fluctuations in major world currencies, but will also lead to higher volatility in global financial markets. Therefore, we must be prepared for potential risks,” he said.

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Author: AnTy

G20 Set to Accept Digital Currencies; Green Lights Policy Changes for Regulatory Framework

The G20 members are set to accept digital payments as soon as November 2020, according to the Japanese media outlet, Kyodo News. This shift in attitude towards crypto assets coincides with increasing interest by oversight bodies.

Last year, the G20 was skeptical on digital assets’ ability to impact current financial ecosystems, this now seems to have changed as the members prepare for the annual summit to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Kyodo News detailed that the change in tact towards crypto ecosystems has been influenced by Facebook’s Libra proposal and China’s digital yuan. These two projects hit the crypto scene with a bang, fueling discussions across the board.

While China’s digital yuan is at its sunrise phase, Libra is still facing regulatory challenges. Nonetheless, the G20, which comprises 20 members, including the EU, has seen it fit to lay a framework for digital assets as well.

The changes in policy are scheduled to take effect as of October, just before the G20 annual summit. Discussions will revolve around digital currency use, money-laundering risks, and the challenges of using crypto as a form of payment. With such groundwork in place, G20 is optimistic about spreading the risk attributed to stablecoins as per an October 2019 report.

Global Progress in Digital Asset Frameworks

China continues to lead the way in CBDC progress, having recently piloted a digital yuan. The Asian superpower is now looking to integrate this PBoC backed digital currency with its existing financial ecosystem. Going by China’s active use of mobile payments via Alipay and WeChat, stakeholders are optimistic about a seamless integration in a move that will enhance the CCP oversight in digital payment networks.

The EU has made some fundamental progress in this field, especially in regulation. Currently, crypto-oriented businesses operating within its jurisdiction have to comply with the 5AMLD, which came into play earlier this year.

However, this framework has not been very friendly to all crypto-based entities as some had to relocate shops in search of more accommodating digital asset laws. Finally, the U.S, which has long been skeptical, are also looking into digital assets. CFTC Chairman, Heath Tarbert, recently said that they are waiting on the SEC guidance to go ahead with listing more crypto derivatives in the U.S market.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Stock Market Madness Puts 2017 Altcoin Run to Shame

Mainstream media has time and again taken a dig at the parabolic returns experienced by the cryptocurrency market.

But the stock market is seeing something that even the crypto market hasn’t seen.

Car rental company Hertz enjoyed a 1400% increase in its share prices declaring bankruptcy.

“I’ve been trading for 7 years and I’ve never seen this stock market behave like any other market before. Even the Altcoin run of 2017, markets were over-reactive and bad news would still dump a coin,” said trader Altcoin Psycho. “This is just madness.”

This has been while the likes of Goldman Sachs compares the returns of Bitcoin and Ether with that of “Tulipmania” and equity bubbles in the Nasdaq and stating “cryptocurrencies moved beyond bubble levels in financial markets.”

As such, Goldman Sachs concluded in its client call from just a couple of weeks back, that they “do not recommend bitcoin on a strategic or tactical basis for clients’ investment portfolios even though its volatility might lend itself to momentum-oriented traders.”

They do not recommend gold either because the bullion doesn’t offer reliable downside protection and its correlation with inflation is also “very unstable.”

Retail Creates a Bubble

It wasn’t only Hertz Global Holdings Inc., that experienced such an increase, retailer J.C. Penney’s stocks have jumped 167% since May 15 and oil driller Whiting Petroleum is up 835% since April 1, are among those that have seen their shares more than double. This has been despite being in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a process allowing companies to keep operating while working on a plan to repay creditors.

Pier 1 Imports also more than doubled but is still down 97% since filing for bankruptcy on Feb. 17. Those that have begun planning or bankruptcy like Chesapeake Energy and GNC Holdings also recorded an increase of 182% and 106% respectively on Monday.

Tesla competitor Nikola Motors with zero revenue also surging over 100% is yet another indication of market exuberance.

Retail investors don’t know where to put their money and are buying big names that they recognize or have low prices. But what they aren’t realizing is that they are wagering against a court process where shareholders rarely get anything back.

Under US bankruptcy law, shareholders are the last in line, after lawyers, lenders, and vendors, to get any kind of payout.

This rally in bankrupt shares could be the result of short covering where traders who have bet against a company close their positions by re-buying shares which lifts prices and also fueled by amateur traders using platforms like Robinhood who are currently bored in lockdown and looking for quick money, reported Bloomberg.

“I’ve seen a lot of unusual micro-bubbles over the years. Cannabis. Blockchain. Fuel cells. Space. Electric cars. Etc. But I don’t think I’d have ever guessed before that *bankruptcy* itself would be an exciting investment theme,” tweeted Joe Weisenthal from BloombergTV.

Interestingly, over the last 10 weeks, not a single S&P 500 stock has been down while the economy is struggling with the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 20% unemployment rate, and riots across the US.

The Bitcoin and crypto market, on the other hand, have been holding steady for the last few weeks.

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Author: AnTy

Block.One Targets July 4th For the Launch of Voice, Its Blockchain-Based Social Media Network

EOS protocol publisher, Block.one, has pushed closer the launch of its blockchain based social media platform, Voice. According to a twitter announcement by Voice CEO, Salah Zalatimo, the platform will be open to readers as from the 4th of July.

“We pivoted, and decided to open up our platform for readers on July 4. Only registered user will be able publish or engage.”

Zalatimo who joined Voice earlier in the year noted that the team had been building towards a big reveal in the fall but could no longer wait to disrupt the big tech dominance in social media,

“we simply can’t wait any longer. We need to take social back from big tech NOW. So, we did what startups do.”

Notably, Voice has been in the works since 2019 with its beta launching as recent as February, 2020. This testnet received an overwhelming subscription and Voice is optimistic of a replica as soon as the platform goes live on U.S Independence Day. However, registration will remain on request until August 15th when the onboarded participants can start inviting friends.

Voice Fundamentals

This social media platform aims to compete with the likes of Facebook and Twitter based on its competitive edge, open-source. Basically, the network is powered by EOS built tokens which act as incentives for creatives posting content on Voice. Viewers reward content creators with the tokens which have an underlying value within crypto markets as opposed to the current approach which mostly entails ‘likes’.

The project has since invested as significant amount of funding since it kicked off. Some notable milestones include $150 million allocated towards Voice independent operations in March, 2020. Last year, the firm had spent almost a similar amount in preparation for its platform to go live. In addition, Block.one acquired the domain, Voice.com, for $30 million as it kicked off in June, 2019.

Despite the success to date, this initiative has faced some challenges with users critiquing its ‘privacy’ design. According to the naysayers, Voice is not as private as it purports; this is because the platform’s registration process asks for detailed personal data in the name of crime detection and prevention.

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Author: Edwin Munyui

Libra Would Help Usher In ‘Higher Prices’ for Facebook Ads, Says CEO Mark Zuckerberg

During Facebook’s annual shareholder meeting on May 27, 2020, the founder, Chairman, and CEO of the social media giant, Mark Zuckerberg talked about how Libra benefits the company financially. Zuckerberg said,

“Not just Libra, but all of the commerce work that we’re doing is that you should really think about it in terms of our ads business.”

He explained how the auction is an important property of the ads business which means, they don’t set a price, rather every business can just bid for themselves what an ad is worth to them.

This means they can offer the lowest possible price.

It also means those businesses will be interested in bidding more because they will get more and the idea behind offering additional tools, whether it’s around commerce like Facebook Shops or around payments like Libra or Facebook Pay, is to make commerce be more effective for businesses. Zuckerberg said,

“When they run an ad, somebody who clicks on that ad is now going to be more likely to buy something because they actually have a form of payment that works that’s on file, then it basically becomes worth it more for the businesses to bid higher in the ads than what we see are higher prices for the ads overall.

So that’s broadly the strategy around going deeper on commerce and payments.”

Updating the core infrastructure of payment

During the call, he also shared that the payment is an area where the core infrastructure hasn’t been updated in a very long time.

Transferring money or paying for things between countries is still often very difficult as such,

“there are a lot of opportunities with Libra to make the process of commerce and payments helpful — a lot easier.”

This, he believes, isn’t good for people around the world but also the economy overall. He said,

“And we will be able to participate in some amount to that value creation ourselves through higher prices in ads if businesses are succeeding using these tools.”

Just this week, Facebook renamed the wallet Calibra to Novi — a combination of two Latin words: Novus which means “new” and Via meaning “way,” to distance it from the Libra digital currency.

“People were confusing Libra and Calibra all the time,” said David Marcus, Facebook’s head of blockchain. “In hindsight, it’s hard to blame them.”

Libra digital currency was first announced in June 2019 as a global currency that would be nearly free to send across borders. However, since then the project has faced many hurdles.

The fiat-backed digital currency would be governed by the Libra Association made up of 27 companies and nonprofit organizations. Its first chief executive officer, Stuart Levey, was also named earlier this month.

The Association hopes to launch the Libra currency by the end of this year.

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Author: AnTy

Society2 to Launch IOTA Based Decentralized Social Media Platform; Exchange Privacy for MIOTA

Society2, a new decentralized social media initiative by IOTA is trying to change the way the user’s personal data is handled on the internet.

The project called DeSM aims to help consumers regain control of their data and make social media a truly private experience. Though this project, IOTA node owners would be able to run their own social media websites and applications.

Today any internet-based service or application has become a sophisticated data phishing portal where they track and collect user’s personal data on the behest of offering their service.

Social media services, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or similar other services collect every possible data of the user like their locations, their call record, their search history and then sell it to the highest bidder without any moral check. This not only puts the user’s interest and privacy at danger but if it falls in the wrong hands it can be conveniently used to harass the user as well.

While there have been many decentralized social media initiatives, they never enjoyed widespread adoption and Society2’s team is looking to change the factor.

The developer team has started to develop an IOTA-based DeSM framework that would enable new privacy standards and how the user’s data is shared between social media platforms. Ben Royce, head of development at Society2 said:

“SOCIETY2’s framework is very different from existing social networks. An owner of an IOTA node can run a social media site or app as easily as downloading an open-source template from a menu, customize it or not.”

The developer team has promised that the decentralized social media solution would come with privacy and security controls, which are not available on current, more centralised platforms.

In fact, present social media platforms make it extremely difficult for anyone to read or get notified about privacy policy changes and bury this information at the bottom which can’t be easily found by those unfamiliar with technology and the importance of privacy.

Society2 Users can Decide Who Can Access Their Private Data

The decentralized social media platform would not only give total control of user’s data in their hand, but would also give them the power to decide who can access it, and in return, they receive micropayments and rewards in IOTA.

The social media platform would be strictly based on IOTA’s framework, utilizing its peer-to-peer micropayments system in case a user is ready to offer their data to advisors.

Rayce also revealed that the decentralized social media solution would only support the IOTA token since they believe that the IOTA framework is best suited for such an initiative, having the scalability and security to assure it of being successful.

Society2 Would Work on Top of IOTA Streams

Society2 would not only use the IOTA currency as the fuel for its network, but its framework would work on top of IOTA’s distributed Ledger Technology – called IOTA Streams.

IOTA Streams is a framework for cryptographic applications which would enable social media content encryption and distribution.

The Society2 project was officially launched this week and is expected to deliver an early prototype for DeSM system by Q3 of 2020 for community feedback.

The development team behind the project also believes that the framework for the decentralized social media solution could also be utilized by modern-day social media giants like Twitter. Joseph Skewes, the project’s head of operations said:

“Twitter recently funded the independent team bluesky, which is researching the decentralized social media landscape for a standard that Twitter itself could eventually use. A framework like SOCIETY2 may develop into a suitable candidate for such a platform.”

Skews comments towards the use of their DeSM framework by Twitter could have been inspired by an announcement made by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey towards the end of 2020, where he revealed that they have funded a developer team to develop decentralized standards for social media.

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Author: James W

Steemit’s New Partnership Will Bring Steem DApps and 20 Million Users to TRON

The blockchain-based social media platform that pays its users to create content and known as Steemit has closed a partnership with TRON so that Steem users and dapps will be available to TRON.

The announcement was made on Friday and says the developers for both companies are going to oversee the migration to the TRON network while the STEEM token is going to be replaced with a version from TRON. A timeline for the migration wasn’t yet released.

Steem Has Over 1 Million Users

According to a press release, Steem, which was founded by Ned Scott and Dan Larimer, has over 1 million users. This is how Scott described Steemit, Steem’s platform:

“Steemit is the original conception of forums meeting cryptocurrency to achieve mass adoption – where cryptocurrency could be distributed as easily as ‘likes’ and ‘upvotes’ and this high powered distribution mechanism would bring adoption and appreciation to the currency and the social network.”

The partnership comes at the same time as the Larimer-backed social media network VOICE was launched in beta.

Steemit Pays Its Content Creators in STEEM Tokens

As said before, Steemit is different from other social media platforms because it rewards its users with STEEM tokens for creating content, upvoting or commenting. Here’s why the STEEM tokens have value, according to Steem:

“Steem is a game system where users compete for attention and rewards by bringing content and adding value to the platform. The rewards people earn are tokens that have market value and are readily tradable. It is similar to how someone playing a video game could obtain a limited item or currency by playing the game. If the currency or items are transferable between users, then they can sell or buy them on game item markets.”

Justin Sun Wants to Create a New Era of Decentralizes Social Networking

Talking about the new partnership with Steemit, TRON Foundation’s CEO and founder Justin Sun had this to say:

“We are very excited to welcome Steemit into the TRON ecosystem. Together we will usher in a new era of decentralized social networking.”

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Author: Oana Ularu

Bitcoin Got its Own Emoji on Twitter, Jack Dorsey Wants Unicode to Add Too

Social media giant Twitter has released a Bitcoin emoji that comes up every time you type hashtag Bitcoin.

This really isn’t surprising given that it’s CEO Jack Dorsey is a Bitcoin proponent who believes the world’s leading cryptocurrency could be one day the currency of the Internet.

In his Tweet, Dosey CC’d the latest development to Unicode, the world standard for text and emoji, whose idea is that “everyone in the world should be able to use their own language on phones and computers.”

The letter B with two vertical strokes ₿ which is used to represent Bitcoin was approved in 2017 as a Unicode character, after being rejected in 2011, but not as an emoji. The first time Bitcoin sign appeared in Unicode 10.0 in 2017 and as of June 2017, font support for the sign was released in macOS, iOS, Android O beta, Windows 10 Creators Update, and several Linux ones.

Dorsey’s new bio has also been changed to highlight this latest development “#bitcoin”

In the meantime, the #Bitcoin hashtag with the emoji has been trending on Twitter.

Bitcoin enthusiast Rhythm Trader took to Twitter to share that this new development reflects, “Bitcoin is magic internet money.”

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Author: AnTy

Facebook’s Libra Has “Failed” As Central Banks Won’t Accept It – Switzerland Finance Minister

  • In its current form, the social media giant’s cryptocurrency won’t be approved
  • No central bank will accept the basket of currencies underpinning it

Facebook’s digital currency Libra has been a big miss so far and requires a revamp in order to be supported, said the finance minister of Switzerland and outgoing president. Where regulatory consent is concerned, Ueli Maurer, the president of Switzerland said,

“I don’t think (Libra has a chance in its current form), because central banks will not accept the basket of currencies underpinning it,”

“The project, in this form, has thus failed.”

Government debt and bank deposits held by the custodians are some of the assets backing Libra, which is meant to dodge the high volatility persistent in cryptocurrencies.

The Libra Association has shared their concerns regarding Libra with politicians and regulators that range from confidentiality to its possible ability to impact current fiat policy.

The cryptocurrency Libra scheduled to be launched in June next year may get delayed according to co-creator David Marcus and other officials running the project.

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Author: AnTy

TikTok Owner ByteDance and a Chinese State Owned Media Partners on Blockchain and AI

The proprietor of renowned video sharing social media platform TikTok has inked a deal for a joint venture with a Chinese state owned media company to develop artificial intelligence as well as blockchain-based business models, Bloomberg reports. The deal will be led by TikTok’s parent company ByteDance.

ByteDance is establishing a joint venture with Dongfang Newspaper. The new joint venture will be based in the capital of Shandong province in China known as Jinan and was launched on Dec. 10. The venture was started with an initial capital of $1.43 million or 10 m Yuan. as per the agreement, ByteDance will be the minority shareholder owning 49% of the new venture while Dongfang will have a 51% stake.

Currently, TikTok has about 500 million users who are active and is ranked second among the most downloaded apps within the Apple Store but only in the US. Cointelegraph alleges that the app is likely to be funneled to the fresh joint venture as its video feed is entirely managed using an AI algorithm that predicts the user preferences and offer content that will fit the user.

Although it is not yet known how TikTok and ByteDance will initially benefit from this agreement, one probable way can be verification of digital media data. It is expected that a currency model could be introduced for the users. There are suggestions that verification of digital media data could be introduced due to the emergence of deepfakes AI-produced videos.

ByteDance has entrenched itself as one of the rapidly growing startups in China and has been in the forefront in the creation of a number of partnerships mostly with state owned media groups in efforts to get content for its recently launched news aggregator platform known as Jinri Toutiao.

ByteDance’s TikTok app has become one of the most sought after apps in the US, especially with the youths and has received endorsements from celebs like Katy Perry as well as Ariana Grande. However, the recent relations with Chinese state owned firms has raised eyebrows in the recent past with the US security agencies cautioning its users to be extra vigilant with the personal data they share within the app.

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Author: Joseph Kibe