Major Indian Crypto Exchange CEO Openly Asks Gov’t to Regulate Crypto

Nischal Shetty, the CEO of Indian crypto exchange WazirX, has reached out to a top lawmaker to look into the regulation of Bitcoin and similar digital assets.

The blockchain entrepreneur requested India’s finance minister Arun Jaitley to focus more on crypto’s potential benefits than its minimalistic misuses. Saying that every industry is prone to have its own set of problems, Shetty believed they should not become the reason to hamper innovation that could benefit the nation’s growth.

The status of Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies continue to be under wraps in India. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) this year imposed a banking ban on all the local cryptocurrency companies, disallowing them access to fiat liquidity. The decision led to a blockchain exodus, with startups and even an established crypto exchange shutting their operations and moving to crypto-friendly regions.

The government, meanwhile, maintained its negative stance against cryptocurrencies. Jaitley renounced its use in a parliament session this year, causing a massive market sell-off in the BTC-INR market.

But India yet remains to be a country with no cryptocurrency law. The ban is only psychological and does not merit any constitutional verse. Bitcoin continues to be an entity without a legal definition.

Amidst the blanket ban, a group of Indian crypto companies led by Kali Digital Ecosystem, which runs the exchange CoinRecoil filed a writ in the Supreme Court of India against the RBI’s decision. The case is still pending owing to the central bank’s delay in filing an official response.

At the same time, there are rumors that the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) will be regulating Bitcoin as a commodity. But, official confirmation has not been made yet.

Related Reading: India Update: RBI Claims Court Can’t Recognize Crypto as Currency Due to Existing Laws

Public Movement Against Crypto Ban

Shetty sought community support in his later tweets, asking people to tag Jaitley every day and demand cryptocurrency regulation.

“We need to tweet to our minister every day till we get a reply,” he wrote. “The more we tweet, the more chances of our voice being heard & crypto getting a positive regulation in India.”

The movement has reached its 18th day, but no response from the finance minister has come yet.

Earlier, the Indian crypto community voted in favor of crypto regulation, casting more than 8,000 votes via Change.org to revoke the RBI ban on crypto banking. But the appeal fell on deaf ears.

As the blanket ban continues, the local Indian cryptocurrency community self-admittedly has moved to an underground exchange market. Similar to China, the crypto trading operations have gone peer-to-peer, making the government enforce RBI’s decision in full potential.

“Even if the government decides to ban the possession, it will be just impossible to implement it,” Shetty remarked.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Swiss Crypto Exchange-Traded Product Launching Nov. 21, But It’s Not an ETF

New.Bitcoin.com has confirmed that the exchange-traded product tracking an index of five leading cryptocurrencies will start trading on Switzerland’s principal stock exchange on Nov. 21. The exchange has also confirmed that this product is not an exchange-traded fund (ETF). The country’s financial regulator, Finma, explains the differences.

Also read: Yahoo! Japan Confirms Entrance Into the Crypto Space

Differences Between ETPs and ETFs

Swiss Crypto Exchange-Traded Product Launching Nov. 21, But It’s Not an ETFThe news of the cryptocurrency exchange-traded product (ETP) by Zug-based Amun AG having been approved by Switzerland’s principal stock exchange, Six Swiss Exchange, spread throughout the crypto community over the weekend.

The product tracks an index of five major cryptocurrencies: BTC, XRP, ETH, BCH, and LTC. While Amun’s website refers to this product only as an ETP, some believe that it is an exchange-traded fund (ETF).

Swiss Crypto Exchange-Traded Product Launching Nov. 21, But It’s Not an ETFETPs and ETFs are two different products, listed under different categories on Six Swiss Exchange.

A spokesperson from Finma, Switzerland’s financial regulator, told news.Bitcoin.com:

It is important to separate ETPs from ETFs, as ETPs are not subject to the Collective Investment Schemes Act (Cisa) and are therefore not supervised by Finma.

Noting that ETFs “are funds that are traded on an exchange and normally track the performance of an index,” he emphasized that “In Switzerland, these products are subject to the Cisa.”

A spokesperson from Six Swiss Exchange also confirmed to news.Bitcoin.com that Amun Crypto is an ETP, not an ETF, adding that the product will start trading on Wednesday, Nov. 21. The exchange clarified:

ETPs are collateralized, noninterest-earning bearer debt securities which replicate an underlying [asset] (generally from the commodities sector), either on a regular or leveraged basis. Like ETFs, they trade in a multi market-making segment, but in legal terms they are not funds.

ETFs, ETPs and ETNs

On its website, Six Swiss Exchange detailed different types of “passive financial products in Switzerland.” The first two on the list are ETF and ETP.

Swiss Crypto Exchange-Traded Product Launching Nov. 21, But It’s Not an ETF

The document indicates that ETPs include exchange-traded notes (ETNs) and exchange-traded commodities (ETCs). ETNs are a type of debt security that trades on exchanges and promise a return linked to a market index or other benchmark. ETCs also trade on exchanges but provide exposure to commodities and commodity indices.

Swiss Crypto Exchange-Traded Product Launching Nov. 21, But It’s Not an ETFFurthermore, ETFs and ETPs also carry different risks. “ETFs are separate pools of assets,” Swiss Funds and Asset Management Association described in its report on ETFs and Index Funds. “In the event of the insolvency (bankruptcy) of the provider (e.g. the fund management company or custodian bank), the assets and rights of the ETF can be segregated, and there is no issuer risk in this regard.” Debt securities, however, “often entail an issuer risk that is hard to calculate,” the report author noted.

Public Misunderstanding Led to Trading Suspension

Swiss Crypto Exchange-Traded Product Launching Nov. 21, But It’s Not an ETFXBT Provider’s exchange-traded products have also been misunderstood by the public.

In September, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) temporarily suspended trading of the company’s products — Bitcoin Tracker One and Ether Tracker One — due to the inconsistencies of their descriptions.

The commission wrote:

The broker-dealer application materials submitted to enable the offer and sale of these financial products in the United States, as well as certain trading websites, characterize them as ‘exchange traded funds (ETF)’ … Other public sources characterize the instruments as ‘exchange traded notes (ETN)’.

In addition, the SEC noted that “the issuer characterizes them in its offering materials as ‘non-equity linked certificates’,” which “are not principal protected” and “do not bear interest.”

Citing “a lack of current, consistent and accurate information” of the two investment vehicles which resulted “in confusion amongst market participants regarding these financial instruments,” the SEC justified its decision to suspend their trading.

What do you think of Amun Crypto ETP trading on Six Exchange? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Six Swiss Exchange, and Finma.


Need to calculate your bitcoin holdings? Check our tools section.

Autodesk CEO: Blockchain Can Stem Corruption in Construction Industry

American software corporation Autodesk CEO Andrew Anagnost said that blockchain could fight corruption in the construction industry, finance and investment news outlet the Australian Financial Review reported Nov. 19.

Founded in 1982, Autodesk manufactures software for the construction, architecture, media, and entertainment industries. In 2018, the company’s revenue was $2.06 billion.

Speaking at the 2018 Autodesk University conference in Las Vegas, Anagnost reportedly said that blockchain technology could eliminate corruption in the construction industry, as well as deliver greater trust in the field. The Financial Review quotes Anagnost:

“What is blockchain good at? It’s a distributed, trusted ledger that cannot be altered and allows traceability and accountability. A technology like that in an environment like construction where various people involved in the process don’t trust each other is going to find some kind of application.”

While the CEO believes in blockchain’s ability to improve traceability and bring transparency to the industry, Autodesk purportedly has not yet introduced blockchain-powered products. However Anagnost asserted that the company has considered blockchain as part of their future developments, saying “we just don’t have a point of view we have stated publicly.”

Per the Financial Review, Autodesk has been working on its own non-blockchain digital “escrow” system designed to improve trust in the construction industry. Addressing the problem of corruption, Anagnost reportedly said that “it makes it very difficult to track who is responsible for what, so one of the big technological problems we’re going to have to solve is making sure it is not optional to provide traceability and accountability,” adding:

” …corruption in the construction industry is not uncommon. When people are paying hundreds of millions of dollars on large projects, something is always happening somewhere that isn’t quite right. There’s always someone bleeding off resources or money in some inappropriate way.”

Businesses and governments globally have considered deploying blockchain technology in combating corruption and tax evasion. Spain has been actively fighting corruption by amending its anti-corruption laws and by developing blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. Per Spanish regulators, blockchain can be used as a preventative measure against corruption.

In China, tax authorities of the city of Shenzhen and a state-owned aerospace firm have turned to blockchain for immutable and transparent record-keeping, in order to combat paperback corruption. The organizations introduced blockchain-backed e-invoices, which purportedly allow authenticated and “credible” invoice issuance, traceable circulation, and efficient and cost-effective oversight by tax authorities.

Blockstream Debuts “Blockstream Metal,” a Stainless Steel Private Key Protection Device

/latest/2018/11/blockstream-debuts-blockstream-metal-a-stainless-steel-private-key-protection-device/

Blockstream Debuts “Blockstream Metal,” a Stainless Steel Private Key Protection Device

blockstream-debuts-blockstream-metal-a-stainless-steel-private-key-protection-device

Blockstream has launched a steel private key protection device, called the Blockstream Metal. Modeled using the open source CryptoSteel design, and manufactured by Billfodl, this product is made to help cryptocurrency users secure their private keys or recovery seeds against damage.

It can be purchased for $79.99 from their website, and comes with custom laser-engraved Blockstream logo on the front and the infamous “Don’t Trust, Verify” phrase on the back.

Owners of cold storage hardware wallets, like the Ledger or Trezor, know that the entire device can be recovered with the use of the 24-word recovery seed. This seed is usually written down on a piece of paper, but what happens if disaster strikes? Paper can easily be ruined by water, fire, erosion, or even physical damage. Stainless steel, on the other hand, can withstand all kinds of natural disaster.

In addition, ink degrades over time, so if you’re serious about HODL’ing, it might be worth it to upgrade your recovery seed storage technique. Made from the extremely durable grade 316 stainless steel, these steel backups will last for years. If you don’t want to spend the money on this device, you can go to the hardware store and DIY, but that will take much more time and energy than simply buying a Blockstream Metal.

To prove the sturdiness of these steel devices, Bitcoin enthusiast and CTO of CASA Jameson Lopp published an extensive review where he put the steel to the test. Using fire, chemicals, and a mechanical press, Lopp showed how resilient these devices are.

Blockstream, who defines themselves as “the global leader in Bitcoin and blockchain technology,” is mainly focused on building and improving cryptocurrency technologies. Founded in 2014 by Dr. Adam Back, their products include Liquid sidechains (confidential transactions between exchanges), the Blockstream Satellite (which allows transactions to be communicated in space), and of course Lightning (the popular off-chain scaling solution). Blockstream also owns GreenAddress, a popular web wallet.

Who SODL? Bitcoin Investors Are Buying Up Cheap Coins, Says eToro

Bitcoin prices crashing lower this week have failed to dent investor confidence, businesses reporting upticks in purchases while fiat rates are lower.


A ‘Small Yet Clear Uptick’

The result of uncertainty over a contentious hard fork of altcoin Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin has led cryptocurrency markets into a new period of volatility, with some major assets shedding 15 percent November 19 alone.

Far from selling, however, traders of major platforms such as UK-based eToro have doubled down on their positions, buying more and more Bitcoin instead of divesting themselves of existing holdings.

That was according to Mati Greenspan, an analyst at the firm who uploaded data showing the habits of the platform’s roughly 10 million buyers to Twitter Monday.

The findings were originally compiled by eToro’s data commander Gil Alpert.

“(eToro) Clients […] have used this crypto price drop to increase their BTC stacks,” he summarized in comments, describing the previous week giving rise to a “small yet clear uptick” in their holdings.

Interest is also reflected in Google Trends data, searches peaking the day of the hard fork and again Monday as prices slipped.

“EOS holdings at eToro have gone up while prices were moving down but the flat market does seem to have caused some clients to abandon their positions. However, as with BTC and XRP 00, we can see clearly how clients are buying the Nov-14 dip!!!” he added.

Prices Continue Taking A Hit

BTC/USD 00 had dipped another 5 percent in the 24 hours to press time, hovering around $5250 – around $100 above the pair’s weekly low.

Altcoins have fared worse, Bitcoinist noting that Ether (ETH) had not traded so weak against USD since July 2017. The worst performer of the top twenty coins by market cap remains Tezos (TEZ) which has lost more than 16 percent.

Against a lack of clarity over how and when the BCH uncertainty would end, commentators were meanwhile redrawing their BTC outlooks to take in a pragmatic but more conservative narrative.

Uploading more data, entrepreneur Alistair Milne noted BTC’s 3-day relative strength index (RSI) was at its lowest point since January 2015, during which time prices were considered to be in a “capitulation” following local all-time highs a year earlier.

The reading could go lower, he added, while responses noted the weekly RSI was not yet challenging new lows.

What do you think about Bitcoin’s price decline? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

Microsoft Unveils Its Azure Blockchain Development Kit

Microsoft has announced the first iteration of the Azure Blockchain Development Kit. The set of tools is designed specifically for developers looking to use the resources developed by the technology giant to create their own business-focused blockchain systems.

Azure Development Kit

The announcement was made by Marc Mercuri who is the Principal Program Manager of the Blockchain Engineering team at Microsoft. In a blog post, Mercuri explained that the kit is a result of years of research and is able to seamlessly integrate with Microsoft’s as well as with other third-party developed SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) systems. Moreover, the tools are based on the serverless technology that Microsoft has been centering for use in its blockchain development tools.

Microsoft has been heavily involved in the Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) sector for a number of years. The technology giant has been developing blockchain-based products for use in a wide range of scenarios. These include identity management, authentication and provenance, enterprise blockchains, the financial market, and even mass communication.

From its past experience in working with businesses to create effective blockchain-based solutions, Microsoft was able to pinpoint the challenges involved in the process. As a result, its development kit is designed to address these problems and make blockchain development easier for enterprises and developers.

In his post, Mercuri explains:

These tools have become the first step for many organizations on their journey to re-invent the way they do business. Apps have been built for everything from democratizing supply chain financing in Nigeria to securing the food supply in the UK, but as patterns emerged across use cases, our teams identified new ways for Microsoft to help developers go farther, faster.

Microsoft identified three major capabilities that developers encountered the most significant challenges with.

The key themes that came up are the lack of effectively functioning connection interfaces as well as difficulty in integrating off-chain data and systems. The final theme that developers had challenges with was the actual deployment of smart contracts and blockchain networks.

To this end, the set of tools places a great deal of importance on providing solutions for these challenges while building further on prior work. The kit extends the capabilities of Microsoft’s blockchain developer templates as well as the Azure Blockchain Workbench.

The Azure Blockchain Workbench utilizes the server-less Azure services for the management of keys as well as off-chain identity and data. It also provides oversight capabilities, allowing for the organization of messaging APIs into a reference architecture that can be used to quickly develop and deploy blockchain-based applications.

New Developments

The development kit now includes the capability to create SMS and voice platforms through which users can interface with a blockchain network. This is an important factor for those users of enterprise blockchains who do not have access to more advanced technology but still require access to the networks. Examples include small-scale cocoa farmers in Africa who are using a blockchain-based system to manage the supply chain.

The Azure Development kit also comes with the capability to easily and effectively connect with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices as well as mobile clients, especially those that are utilized to add any necessary supportive data to a blockchain-based system.

According to the feedback Microsoft received from its past undertakings, mobile clients are an essential part of the entire operation and thus provisions need to be made to ensure the devices are able to access a network. Mercuri explains:

Mobile clients enable logistics providers to accept and transfer responsibility for products on their journey from manufacturer to retail using the compute power that already exists in the pockets of its employees. Mobile devices also have sensors such as GPS and cameras that can add complementary data that can help attest to the what, where, and when of deliveries.

Additionally, Microsoft found that for businesses to effectively utilize blockchain-based systems, they must also include a form of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP).

A blockchain-based system should be approached as a simple tool through which a business can streamline its operations, increase its productivity and possibly reduce its costs. Therefore, for a DLT solution to work well, backend ERP systems, such as the commonly used Dynamics and SAP, must also be able to easily and effectively integrate. Moreover, ERP systems should also be able to interact with smart contracts in order to add and view the data contained in the blockchain-backed agreements.  

In the context of blockchain-backed supply chain management systems, bots and assistants are essential to the network. These products help those interacting with the network, such as manufacturers and retailers, to easily interface with the supply chain. Thus developers should include the provisions for these services to easily access the data in the DLT network. Moreover, these services should be able to view the data in natural language as they are used by the human component of the network, to order or direct any relevant action.

Lastly, blockchain-based management systems should be able to accommodate the end consumers who typically utilize web clients to view the history of their products. Blockchain technology is being heavily employed to provide provenance, especially for edible products. Therefore, for blockchain solutions to effectively fulfill their duties they should be able to allow consumers to access the network and view the “farm-to-fork” journey for the product in question.

Mercuri explains that the Azure Development Kit is now able to support a vast array of scenarios and clients, especially as was determined through the received feedback.

The Azure Blockchain Development Kit includes samples for all of these scenarios, including inbound and outbound SMS, IVR, IoT Hub and IoT Central, Xamarin mobile client for iOS and Android, Dynamics integration via Common Data Service (CDS), bots and assistants (Cortana, Alexa, Google Assistant) and web UX.

Focus On Much Needed Integration

In this initial release of the developer’s kit, Microsoft is focusing on enabling the assimilation of external data to a blockchain-based system. For instance, in many business documents and media are essential types of data used to quantify and authenticate any number of processes. However, the reality is that blockchain networks cannot support the storage of these data types because they typically require a significant amount of storage space.

The usual method used by developers to add document and media to a blockchain is to generate a unique hash of the media and the metadata that describes it. These hashes are, in turn, added to a public or private chain. In the event of any required authentication, the “off chain” files can be accessed and re-hashed. If the new hash is found to be different in any way from the original hash referred to in the blockchain system, then the document is declared inauthentic. To put it another way, a document or any other data should always produce the same hash value and if the hashes do not match then tampering is obvious.

To this end, the Azure Blockchain Development Kit includes a set of Logic Apps that enable the hashing of files and file related metadata. Additionally, the kit also contains tools to create smart contracts for files as well as a file registry to store any created hashes on-chain. The Logic Apps included in the development kit support the most popular storage solutions employed by enterprises to store their documents and other data. Examples of the supported storage solutions are Azure Storage, OneDrive, One Drive for Business, SharePoint, Box, Adobe Creative Cloud, and FTP.

Connecting to Blockchain Networks

In what is being considered an important breakthrough, the Azure Blockchain Development Kit will also allow creators to connect blockchain networks to other blockchain networks. In the announcement, Mercuri stated:

Today, we are also announcing that we will release a set of Logic App and Flow Connectors to extend these samples to ledgers like Ethereum, Corda, Bitcoin, and others.

This development has attracted a significant amount of applause from portions of the BaaS sector as it will allow business to take their blockchain-based networks to a greater level of utility. The Ethereum connector is already ready for use and will allow developers to perform a number of actions on the Ethereum ledger. These include deploying contracts, calling contract actions, reading contract state as well as triggering other interdependent Logic Apps based on events from the ledger.

Mike Ward, the Head of Product Management at the R3 consortium expressed his excitement at the release of the development kit saying: “At R3, we are committed to ensuring developers can deploy CorDapps quickly, securely and easily. The Azure Blockchain Development Kit will give our enterprise customers tools to integrate with the applications, software, and devices that people use every day like Outlook, Alexa, SMS, and web UX. Blockchain is moving out of the labs and into everyday business applications.”

The ‘DevOps for Blockchain Smart Contracts’ Whitepaper

In addition to the development kit, Microsoft has also released a whitepaper called ‘DevOps for Blockchain Smart Contracts’. The paper is designed to provide illumination on the methodologies that developers should adhere to or consider during their origination procedures.

DevOps refers to techniques that combine software development with information technology operations. DevOps are essential to developing robust systems in a time-effective manner. The use of DevOps significantly truncates the systems’ development life cycle while simultaneously delivering the required features. This approach also effectively manages any required fixes or updates as it includes provisions for these types of actions.

Creating DevOps for the BaaS sector is an important step to standardizing the industry. While the concept of standardizing may seem like the antithesis to the decentralized nature of most blockchains, it is important for those networks designed for use in the context of businesses. Standardization, to a certain extent, will help to ensure that the important aspects are given the same considerations across the sector. Examples of these aspects include security, user permissions, as well as data management.

The ‘DevOps for Blockchain Smart Contracts’ whitepaper covers a wide range of topics and is suitable for use by those developers familiar with blockchain technology as well as those who are in the initial stages of acquiring themselves with the technology. The topics covered in the paper include key and secret management strategies, smart contract design and deployment, tooling and SaaS compatibility as well as effectively defining environments, policies, and pipelines, amongst others.

Microsoft has released the white paper with a number of resources all designed to ease the creation process for BaaS network developers. These include an implementation kit as well as visual examples of the DevOps strategies.

Microsft has focused on a server-less approach throughout its participation in the BaaS sector. Mercuri explains that is approach is informed by the need to reduce any overhead costs. These costs can add up to significant amounts and therefore represent a major barrier to entry to the sector. Thus Microsoft believes its serverless approach opens up the sector to any kind of software developer, from the individual enthusiasts to Independent Software Vendors (ISV’s) as well as their target market, the enterprises.

To conclude Mercuri explains that the deployment to the kit, the DevOps whitepaper, and the other guides are an important step in the greater Microsoft plan to expose the business community to the benefits and advantages of blockchain technology. He finishes: “The Azure Blockchain Development Kit is the next step in our journey to make developing end to end blockchain applications accessible, fast, and affordable to anyone with an idea. It is built atop our investments in blockchain and connects to the compute, data, messaging, and integration services available in both Azure and the broader Microsoft Cloud to provide a robust palette for a developer to realize their vision.”

Huobi, Kraken Assign BCH ‘Throne’ To ABC, Yet Bitcoin Cash Hashwar Continues

After four days of discourse, banter, and endless rivers of salt, a number of crypto exchanges have declared that Bitcoin ABC (ABC), Roger Ver and Bitmain CEO Jihan Wu’s preferred Bitcoin Cash client, will officially obtain the “BCH” crown, instead of Craig Wright and Calvin Ayre’s Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (SV).

Kraken, Huobi Crown Winner in Bitcoin Cash Fork

Since Bitcoin Cash’s long-awaited blockchain upgrade activated on Thursday, during the network’s 556,767th block, many industry insiders, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, have explained that Bitcoin ABC is undoubtedly the winner.

However, while ABC’s victory was mostly accepted on a person-by-person basis, the startups that run the crypto ecosystem were hesitant to crown a winner.

Related Reading: BCH Tussle: Bitcoin ABC May Reign Supreme over Craig Wright’s “Satoshi Vision”

But, this changed on Sunday, as Singapore-based Huobi took a surprising leap of faith, declaring that it would assign the official BCH ticker to ABC, not SV.

Although the prominent crypto exchange divulged that it would facilitate deposits, withdrawals, and trading for SV tokens, Huobi alluded to the fact that SV’s lack of two-way replay protection was a security concern for the platform and its users alike.

U.S.-based Kraken echoed this sentiment, claiming that it too would let ABC, which the exchange simply named “Bitcoin Cash,” take the throne as “BCH,” putting an end to investors’ confusion with BCHSV, BCHABC, and other tickers pertaining to the fork.

Like Huobi, Kraken explained why it took such a drastic move, which may be seen as controversial in some circles.

One-upping Huobi’s rationale, Kraken noted that no major block explorers support SV, miners are “apparently” operating at a loss, supply is “temporarily constrained,” along with a handful of other pertinent issues that could affect the viability and legitimacy of Craig Wright’s go-to client.

Keeping these red flags in mind, Kraken explained that SV should be seen as an “extremely high-risk investment,” essentially bashing and discrediting Craig Wright’s camp.

SV’s Block Height May Have Caught Up, But ABC Still Winning the Hash Race

While SV recently caught up to ABC in terms of blocks processed (block height), many are skeptical that the former’s resurgence will last for an extended period of time. This sentiment, of course, takes into account that as it stands, ABC has processed 38.6 percent more hashes than its rival, which is arguably just as important as the block height statistic.

Even before the upgrade went live, Jiang Zhuoer of BTC.Top, a key player in the Bitcoin Cash fork debacle, explained that over time, Bitmain’s allies were likely to succeed.

Zhouer noted that if it comes down to the wire, Bitmain, which has hands in the cookie jars of BTC.com, Antpool, and ViaBTC, could allocate its 20,000 petahashes to ABC entirely. This amount of computing power would absolutely decimate Craig Wright’s dream of establishing Satoshi’s Vision, as the Australian coder’s squad only has a finger over the trigger of a purported 10,000 petahashes.

However, in a surprising turn of events, Coin Dance, the de-facto hub for all things Bitcoin Cash fork, has declared that “both active chains will continue to be permanently split into the foreseeable future.” In others words, the individuals behind Coin Dance believe that the two chains will continue to operate independently, essentially indicating that the hashwar could come to a screeching halt.

But, others have pointed out that SV isn’t off the thin ice just yet, as Wu, the aforementioned chief of Bitmain, has revealed that he is looking into dumping the SV tokens that he and Bitmain own, a reported one million plus. If Wu were to liquidate Bitmain’s BCHSV holdings en-masse via public order-book exchanges, the price of the forked asset would likely capitulate to near-zero.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

Catalan Government Considers Blockchain for Public E-Voting System

The head of the Catalan government‘s citizen participation council states that the authority is considering blockchain for the community’s voting system, Spanish daily newspaper La Vanguardia reports Monday, Nov. 19.

Earlier in October, the Generalitat of Catalonia approved a preliminary bill to establish an e-voting system for residents abroad in major elections and other voting processes in the autonomous community.

Recently, Ismael Peña-López, director of Citizen Participation of the Government of Catalonia, revealed that the government hopes to introduce an external e-voting system by the year 2020, as well as to extend electronic voting to all voters.

According to Peña-López, who is a professor of Law and Political Science at the Open University of Catalonia (UOC), the use of blockchain in the state e-voting system is still being considered, although the Generalitat has still not decided on the matter:

“An interesting option is to use blockchain. […] The Generalitat has not made a clear commitment to the blockchain and is still exploring what options there are before deciding.”

The director noted that, regardless of what technology the government decides to use in the voting system, it must instill trust. La Vanguardia quotes Peña-López, “It’s an issue of awareness. The Government is more respectful than a trade. I would like to think that we are able to convince people that [it] is reliable.”

Earlier in July, the Government of Catalonia revealed a plan for blockchain tech deployment within its public administration processes in order to improve “digital services to the public.”

The Catalan community has been striving to gain independence from the Spanish government since 1922. On Oct. 27, 2017, the Catalan Parliament declared independence from Spain, following a controversial referendum.

In October 2018, Spanish news agency El Confidencial reported that former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont requested donations in crypto from the public. Puigdemont reportedly requested crypto donations in order to hide financial support to politicians of the Catalan Government.

According to major daily Spanish newspaper El Mundo, the government of Carles Puigdemont used Bitcoin (BTC) in order to fund initiatives promoting independence.

A Historically Strong Month for Crypto, November Is Off to a Brutal Start

The price of bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, now starts with the number four after falling to fresh 2018 lows on Monday.

Indeed, its price fell below $5,000 for the first time since October of 2017 and its current price – currently hovering above $4,800 at time of writing – reflects a roughly 40 percent loss year-over-year.

It’s notable that this state of affairs came to fruition during what has historically proven to be a bullish month for bitcoin.

As CoinDesk previously reported, the month of November has concluded with a monthly gain for BTC seven times since pricing data was first collected in 2010, but its current monthly performance of -24 percent is heavily stacking the odds in favor of this November proving to be an exception to the 8-year trend.

BTC’s recent plummet tells only half the story of a much larger cryptocurrency market sell-off, although its plunge below $6,200 on Nov. 14 was likely the spark to the powder keg that was the broader market. 

From Nov. 14 to today, the cryptocurrency market has shed $50 billion and a whopping 23 percent from its total capitalization to where it stands now at $162 billion – a far cry from its all-time high north of $820 billion set this past January, according to CoinMarketCap. 

What perhaps best depicts the extent of the market rout is the performance of the world’s 10 largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization over the past seven days.

(BitcoinCash (BCH) was not included due to hard fork experienced on Nov. 15)

As can be seen in the above graph, all ten cryptocurrencies are reporting negative price developments against the USD while eight of the ten are reporting 7-day losses above 24 percent.

XRP is notably outperforming BTC and the broader market, down only 5 percent in that last seven days, and just 2.3 percent today – and yet is up over 20 percent against BTC in the past 7-days.

In the past 24-hours, the world’s tenth largest cryptocurrency, monero (XMR), is the worst performer of the top 10, down over 17 percent in that span while Metaverse ETP (ETP) is the worst performer out of the top 100, down over 37 percent, according to data from CoinMarketCap.

It’s worth noting that significant drops like the one experienced today and for much of 2018 are not new to the cryptocurrency market. In 2013, the price of BTC rose to an all-time high of $1163 only to fall below $160 less than a year later. Also at that time, litecoin (LTC), the world’s seventh largest cryptocurrency today, fell from $50 to just above $1. 

Now-famously, they rose to the north of $19,000 and $320, respectively, only to quickly return much of the gains over the course of this past year.

Traders and investors alike are now likely waiting for the market to bottom out in a capitulatory fashion where market participants surrender completely and forfeit demand. At such a point in time when a bottom is formed, fear in the market is at its absolute peak, accompanied by falling sell volume that is slowly outpaced by rising buy volume.

Although its now certainly painful for market participants, it remains to be seen if a bottom will be reached any time soon.

Disclosure: The author holds BTC, AST, REQ, OMG, FUEL, 1st and AMP at the time of writing.

dominoes image via Shutterstock