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Ripple Adds ‘BitLicense’ Architect Ben Lawsky to Board of Directors

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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Bitcoin Gold Wallet Scam Nets $3 Million in Illicit Earnings

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A scammer successfully made more than $3 million after getting the private keys to bitcoin gold users' wallets during the fork's launch period.

With a New All-Time High, is Bitcoin Price Moving Closer to $9,000?

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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The Trumps are cutting ties with the five-star Trump SoHo hotel after business plummeted post-election

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Trump Soho

  • The Trump Organization is cutting ties with Trump SoHo. 
  • The upscale hotel has struggled to fill rooms and bring in guests following the election.
  • A restaurant in the hotel closed earlier this year after "the Kardashians stopped coming" post-election. 

 

Trump SoHo — the Trump Organization-run, five-star Downtown Manhattan hotel — will no longer carry the Trump name or be affiliated with the family. 

Trump hotel soho

On Wednesday, the Trump Organization reached a deal to allow the company to cut ties with the property, The New York Times reported.

According to The Times, the hotel has struggled to fill rooms and sell condominiums as President Donald Trump has risen in political prominence.

Koi, a restaurant located in the hotel, closed earlier this year after a reported drop in business following Trump's win in the 2016 election.  

"Before Trump won we were doing great. There were a lot of people we had, our regulars, who'd go to the hotel but are not affiliated with Trump," Jonathan Grullon, a busser and host at the restaurant, told New York Magazine's GrubStreet. "And they were saying if he wins, we are not coming here anymore."

Another restaurant worker told GrubStreet that, following the election, "the Kardashians stopped coming" — and business plummeted. While Suzanne Chou, Koi Group's general counsel, "declined to speculate" why business declined, she said that "obviously since the election it's gone down." 

A new restaurant called Spring & Varick recently opened in the space that formerly belonged to Koi.

Earlier this year, WNYC reported the five-star hotel was planning to lay off workers and reduce some of its services. 

The hotel will continue to be owned by CIM, an investment firm in California. Now, however, the Trump Organization will no longer manage day-to-day operations or brand the hotel under the Trump name. 

In  2010, the Major Economic Crimes Bureau of the Manhattan District Attorney's office opened an investigation into Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. for reportedly misleading buyers in the Trump SoHo project. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. dropped the case after receiving a donation from the Trump Organization's lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, as ProPublica reported in October.

SEE ALSO: Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. were once under investigation by the DA for a failed condo project

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NOW WATCH: We just got a super smart and simple explanation of what a bitcoin fork actually is

Caution ‘No Longer Warranted’: Bitcoin Price Headed to $11,500, Says Tom Lee

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Baseball Great Jose Canseco Predicts $10,000 Bitcoin By 2018

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Former Major League Baseball star Jose Canseco is apparently a big believer in blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

What you need to know on Wall Street today

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Meg Whitman

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. Sign up here to get the best of Business Insider delivered direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump told White House reporters on Tuesday that AT&T's proposed acquisition of Time Warner is "not good for the country."

His comments echo sentiments he voiced on the campaign trail in October 2016, and they come one day after the US Department of Justice sued to block AT&T's $84.5 billion takeover of Time Warner.

Elsewhere in the telecom world, the FCC just released its plan to repeal Obama's internet neutrality rules. The final draft of the closely watched plan would let internet providers block apps and create fast lanes — read the full plan.

Uber reportedly paid hackers $100,000 to cover up a cyberattack that exposed the personal data of 57 million people — here's how they hid the breach.

Meg Whitman, one of Silicon Valley's best-known execs, is stepping down from the CEO job at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. She told employees that news of her departure should come as "as no surprise."

Meanwhile on Wall Street, Tourbillon Capital, a $3.4 billion hedge fund firm led by Jason Karp, is suffering, according to a note to investors seen by Business Insider.

In other news:

Lastly, the here's how to pick the perfect wines for the holiday season

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We just got a super smart and simple explanation of what a bitcoin fork actually is

Asset Manager Launches Europe's First Bitcoin Mutual Fund

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A French asset manager has announced the launch of Europe's first mutual fund centered around bitcoin.

Video Streamers Have More Options with These New Blockchain Startups

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

videostream.jpg

Innovative technology companies are leveraging blockchain technology to build next-generation business models and Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) for video streaming, a multibillion-dollar industry that continues to grow. According to data revealed by Theta Labs, one of the companies covered below, the video content and streaming market accounts for 67 percent of current internet traffic and could reach 82 percent by 2020. The new players promise to decentralize global video streaming, while at the same time making it more efficient.

LBRY

According to Jeremy Kauffman, co-founder and CEO of the blockchain-based content distribution platform LBRY, blockchain technology could transform the monetization of online content by altering the way that creators get paid, and eventually challenge YouTube.

The LBRY protocol allows creators to publish online, making their content discoverable with a small payment in LBRY’s own cryptocurrency token. Viewers pay creators in LBRY tokens to see their work.

“[Blockchain technology] allows us to build technology that’s owned by the users rather than any one party,” Kauffman said. “That’s the problem that blockchain [technology] solves.”

Kauffman explained that under the LBRY model, creators are paid without an intermediary taking an inappropriately large cut. Since LBRY is a protocol, the company can’t control what gets discovered.

Kauffman said that LBRY recruited 4,000 YouTubers in specifically targeted demographics, several of which have 500,000 or more subscribers, which seems a good first step toward challenging YouTube in its own turf.

Theta Labs

YouTube’s co-founder Steve Chen himself, as well as Justin Kan, co-founder of Twitch, are among the advisors of Theta Labs, a subsidiary of live video streaming company SLIVER.tv, which is announcing a new blockchain-based decentralized video streaming network.

“Theta’s innovation is set to disrupt today’s online video industry much in the same way that the YouTube platform did to traditional video back in 2005,” said Chen. “One of our biggest challenges had been the high costs of delivering video to various parts of the world, and this problem is only getting bigger with HD, 4K and higher quality video streams. I’m excited to be part of the next evolution of the streaming space, helping Theta create a decentralized peer-to-peer network that can offer improved video delivery at lower costs.”

Theta is developing a new blockchain-based network, outlined in the Theta white paper, which could enable users worldwide with unutilized PC bandwidth and resources to cache and relay video streams to others in the network, while mining Theta tokens at the same time, similar to Bitcoin and Ethereum. According to the company, the new peer-to-peer decentralized network will allow for much more efficient, high-quality streaming without the need to develop expensive content delivery network infrastructure.

In December, Theta will implement its first generation of ERC20-compliant tokens on the SLIVER.tv platform. These application tokens can be used for virtual gifting and incentivizing streamers. Eventually, these ERC20 tokens will be 1:1 exchangeable for native Theta tokens when the new blockchain launches at the end of 2018.

“We’ve been on the cutting edge of live streaming technology, and by leveraging blockchain [technology] we will truly be able to transform the video and entertainment industry,” said Mitch Liu, co-founder and CEO of Theta Labs. “Theta will be uniquely built to leverage the incentive mechanisms of the blockchain, enabling end-users to contribute their excess PC bandwidth and resources to relay video streams to others and earn Theta tokens at the same time. It’s a win-win for all stakeholders in the ecosystem.

“We’re committed to solving the challenges of today’s video streaming industry,” Liu told Bitcoin Magazine. “We think there’s a huge opportunity to democratize the video delivery infrastructure, to reward end users with excess PC resources and bandwidth to help stream to their neighbors and friends.”

“I think the Theta team is going to revolutionize video delivery with its new native blockchain,” Theta advisor and G FUEL CEO Cliff Morgan told Bitcoin Magazine. “I’m thrilled to be part of this innovative, organic platform to decentralize streaming. This will impact a number of industries from esports to advertising, benefiting our esports fans as well as influencers and content creators. I can see how Theta’s peer-to-peer mesh network will empower our G FUEL community, rewarding them with Theta tokens when they help stream to others in the network.”

Stream

Another new video platform, Stream, has received $5 million to back its Ethereum-based Stream Token in an advisor round of funding led by blockchain investment firms including Pantera Capital, Fenbushi Capital and CoinFund, as well as individual participants like Jed McCaleb, David Johnston and Andrew Yashchuk.

Founded by Ben Yu, Stream wants to facilitate direct transactions between content creators and consumers with a zero-fee structure. Yu was a successful early cryptocurrency investor who became an internet celebrity with videos that received tens of millions of views. In 2011, Yu left his studies at Harvard and accepted a $100,000 Thiel Fellowship, like Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin before him, eventually launching Sprayable and Stream.

The Stream Token was designed to allow digital media creators to earn a fair living from their work, without being exploited by streaming platforms that take unreasonably large shares of their revenue. It is also designed to free content creators from the strictures of advertising models that limit creativity and freedom of expression.

“Stream Token is part of the larger Silicon Valley movement to fulfill the original intention of the internet: universal access to information. We can finally reward those who share information without curtailing freedom of expression. Content creation doesn’t have to be a zero sum game,” said Greg Kufera, CTO of Stream. “And we’re ensuring it won’t be.”

The post Video Streamers Have More Options with These New Blockchain Startups appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

As Canada Scrutinizes ICOs, Quebec’s Cheap Power is Helping Bitcoin Miners

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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Why Bitcoin Is the MySpace of Cryptocurrencies, But the Blockchain Is Here to Stay

Entrepreneur, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Why blockchain, not bitcoin, is the real treasure of cryptocurrency

This startup wants to bring the awkward family photo back to life

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

MINTED I Photo op 1

  • Online design marketplace Minted is launching a service where families can book professional photo sessions at the location of their choice.
  • Sessions start at $100 and last 30 minutes.
  • The service launched on November 22 and is available in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

 

Family photos can be a pain, especially if they're taken in a professional studio. Portrait photography sessions are often time-consuming, expensive, and involve embarrassing, matching outfits.

Minted CEO Mariam Naficy hopes to change that. Naficy founded Minted in 2007 as a digital marketplace where users vote on designs submitted by independent artists, the most popular of which are sold on clothing, stationery, framed prints, and other home decor items.

Now, the website is launching an on-demand portrait photography service where users can schedule 30-minute sessions with photographers who have been vetted and trained by the company. Sessions start at $100, and users can have the photos taken in their homes or at a location of their choice. Within three days, customers are sent 10 retouched photos from the shoot and given the option to purchase holiday cards that feature the photos.

For Naficy, the idea came from the recognition that consumers want convenience, a quality that is not common in the portrait photography industry. 

"A lot of people don't want to leave their homes, and they want both products and services to come to them. One of the hardest things to do, as a mom, is to get your kids to be willing to leave the house, get dressed up, and go somewhere for a long photo shoot," she told Business Insider.

MINTED I Photo op 4She added: "I thought of all the other parents struggling to get their kids bundled up and out the door for a picture and thought it would be way better if people could just stay in their pajamas if they wanted to and stay at home."

Naficy said she realized the service wouldn't work unless users could trust the photographers they would be letting into their homes, so she helped design an extensive vetting and training process where photographers are evaluated for their personal and technical skills.

But in order to expand the service to the level she desired, she would have to give photographers the opportunity to grow.

"One of the things we have to do as an organization is take emerging creatives and help them down their path of learning. In order to be able to develop a workforce at scale, you have to give people a chance," she said.

The service, which launched on November 22, is only available in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles at the moment. For Naficy, the decision to debut the service in big cities was motivated by logistics.

"One of the reasons we went urban was just simply for density reasons ... It's much easier for us to have photographers traveling between locations if they're traveling within a denser area," she said.

The same applies to their clients, who are more likely to live near public spaces that would photograph well.

"It's a little bit easier for an urban family to perhaps just stay at home and go for a walk on their street to get a photo at the local park. I think there is a big convenience upgrade for the urban client," she said.

Naficy hopes she will soon be able to expand the service to other cities and suburbs. If the demand is sufficient, she might be able to make life a little easier for families, and make sure they'll never have their pictures taken in a department-store photo studio again. 

awkward family photos

SEE ALSO: This online company makes buying custom holiday cards easier and more affordable than ever

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NOW WATCH: Why this New York City preschool accepts bitcoin but doesn't accept credit cards

Standard Chartered, Axis Launch Payments Service With Ripple Tech

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Standard Chartered and Axis Bank have announced a new cross-border payments platform built on top of technology developed by Ripple.

JPMorgan Might Help ‘Stupid’ Investors Trade Bitcoin Futures

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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Over half a dozen residents of this San Francisco 'castle' have become bitcoin millionaires — take a look inside

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

crypto castle san francisco 1722

The Crypto Castle is a three-story home in San Francisco where young tech workers eat, sleep, party, and plot the future of money.

A majority of the millennial tenants invest in bitcoin, a new kind of payment system that allows people to buy things and send money with anonymity. There are no banks or middlemen. Transactions are recorded on a digital ledger called a blockchain.

Cryptocurrencies (of which bitcoin is the most popular) have been on a tear. Bitcoin surged in value from about $200 per token in 2015 to above $8,200, an all-time high, on November 20. Some believe the digital payment system is headed for a bubble that's destined to pop.

"Over a half-dozen people in the time they've lived in my house have become millionaires as a result of crypto," said Jeremy Gardner, a 25-year-old entrepreneur and investor.

In 2015, Gardner, then-director of operations at Augur, a market forecasting tool that runs on the blockchain, put down a $20,000 deposit to rent the house. It's since become a landing pad for people working in the cryptocurrency space. Here's what it's like to live in the Crypto Castle.

SEE ALSO: Bitcoin just hit an all-time high — here's how you buy and sell it

SEE ALSO: This 25-year-old made a fortune in bitcoin — now he travels the world partying and plotting the future of money

The Crypto Castle is, by appearances, a fraternity-like space for young bitcoin investors.



Not everyone who lives here works in bitcoin tech, though any resident could pitch you on its merits. Some entrepreneurs moved in simply because they needed a place to crash.



In 2015, Gardner surveyed the city to find a house-slash-office for his startup, Augur. When he found a three-story home in an upscale neighborhood — located about a half-hour drive from Silicon Valley — he forked over the $20,000 rental deposit. The Crypto Castle was born.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

One Wall Street analyst just doubled his bitcoin forecast to $11,500

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Tom Lee

  • Tom Lee of Fundstrat has nearly doubled his forecast for bitcoin, calling for the cryptocurrency to hit $11,500 by mid-2018.
  • Lee says that a recent dip in bitcoin's price wiped out weak, low-conviction holdings, clearing the path for further gains.


Well that sure escalated quickly.

Tom Lee, the managing partner and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors, has almost doubled his forecast for bitcoin. He now expects the scorching-hot cryptocurrency to hit $11,500 by mid-2018, up from his previous estimate of $6,000 released in August.

The adjustment comes just a few weeks after Lee turned neutral on bitcoin, when it was hovering around the $7,400 level. At the time, he felt that there were simply too many "weak hands" holding the cryptocurrency with low conviction, leaving it susceptible to a sharp drop at the first sign of turbulence. In his mind, the appropriate level to start loading up on more bitcoin was around $5,500.

And sure enough, bitcoin fell last week to $5,600, which Lee says wiped out those fickle holdings and allowed him to resume his bullish view.

"This move to $5,600 cleaned up weak hands and we no longer feel caution is warranted," Lee wrote in a note to clients on Wednesday.

Further, two variables that, according to a statistical model developed by Lee, explain 94% of bitcoin's historical moves have rebounded sharply, further fueling Lee's optimism. Those variables are unique bitcoin network addresses and transaction volume per user, which, when regressed against the price of bitcoin, can provide signals suggesting possibilities for the future direction of the cryptocurrency.

Screen Shot 2017 11 22 at 10.58.59 AM

Lee is also optimistic about the coming launch of bitcoin futures, which many think will increase the cryptocurrency's legitimacy, thereby expanding its potential user base. Bitcoin hit a new record on the news. Lee does warn, however, that the use of futures could further concentrate mining power.

Looking beyond bitcoin, Lee is one of the most bearish analysts on Wall Street when it comes to the stock market. He sees the benchmark S&P 500 ending 2017 at 2,475, which puts him in the bottom quartile of strategists surveyed by Bloomberg. The average price target is 2,524.

Screen Shot 2017 11 22 at 10.47.54 AM

SEE ALSO: GOLDMAN SACHS: Here's how to make a killing in the market this Black Friday

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NOW WATCH: Why Amazon's new headquarters sweepstakes makes it the 'smartest company in the world'

Bitcoin Is 'Not Actually Legal,' Says Zimbabwe Central Bank Chief

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has cast doubt on the legality of bitcoin in the country.

Bitcoin Exchange Globitex Granted European Electronic Money License

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Globitex.jpg

Globitex, a new bitcoin exchange co-founded by former Bitcoin Foundation Executive Director Jon Matonis, is announcing that its parent Globitex Holding (Latvia) group company NexPay UAB has been granted an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license by the Bank of Lithuania, a regulatory authority in the European Union, to carry out payment services and e-money issuance in the EU.

The acquisition of the EMI license will allow Globitex to integrate with the Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) euro payment system directly through the central bank of Lithuania. This will enable NexPay to clear euro payments directly, without the involvement of commercial banks, and to issue IBAN accounts to Globitex clients just as banks issue accounts to their clients, which is could be an important step forward in terms of accessibility.

According to the company, this regulatory development opens the way for the institutional- grade bitcoin exchange to deal with EUR fiat payments globally and sets a new level of legitimacy for the cryptocurrency industry overall. It also represents a significant step toward widespread adoption of Bitcoin as a unit of account suitable for global trade, with no geographic, political or monetary restrictions.

Eventually, Globitex wants to allow producers to purchase exchange-listed products for bitcoin, and trading firms, and speculators to hedge their risks in bitcoin with derivatives trading.

“Globitex is looking to set new cryptocurrency trading standards not only technologically, or by commodities linked product offering, but especially in Globitex’s legal setup, ensuring safe passage to the digital age,” said Liza Aizupiete, Managing Director of Globitex, who recently participated in a panel discussion on the future of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies at e-com21 in Riga, Latvia.

While Bitcoin offers enormous advantages for international settlement due to its speed and low cost compared to legacy money transfer services, order-book depth and liquidity cannot yet support very large trades; therefore, bitcoin cannot yet serve as a currency of international trade settlement across the world’s financial markets.

Globitex wants to tackle this challenge by dramatically increasing bitcoin trading volumes and facilitating bitcoin’s use across the spectrum of money and commodity markets, thereby allowing financial instruments and commodities like crude oil, gold and coffee to be priced directly in bitcoin.

Physical-Settlement Futures Contracts as Important Enabling Factors

“I look forward to this evolution of digital currency trading platforms that ensure futures contracts with a physical delivery component,” Matonis told Bitcoin Magazine. “Strong connection to the spot markets, including contract limits and physical delivery that is linked to provisioned commodities, will serve as the market standard for price integrity."

Matonis outlined some risks associated with cash-settled bitcoin futures contracts. He pointed out that the price index is too easily gamed, for example, and that there is no physical commodity (private keys) for integrity of short positions, maintenance margins could potentially approach 100 percent so there is no real leverage during volatility, and there is a risk of limit-up, limit-down insolvency for certain smaller members.

According to Matonis, the cash-settled bitcoin futures contract is a precursor to an exchange offering a proper physical-settlement futures contract like Globitex. In fact, decentralized crypto and physical-settlement Bitcoin markets will be more robust, Matonis explained to Bitcoin Magazine, since warehousing, open-contract limits and maintenance-margin calculations all behave differently under a digital assets class with physical settlement.

Globitex is holding a token sale, to be issued on the Ethereum blockchain, for its GBX utility token to fund the scaling of its existing exchange infrastructure into a commodities spot and derivatives exchange for bitcoin.

A short video explainer outlines a future where Bitcoin is the preferred medium of exchange for everything and permits cheaply settling international trades; swapping precious metals and commodities in seconds; and opening new trading options for farmers, manufacturing companies, metal miners, oil refineries and more.

The post Bitcoin Exchange Globitex Granted European Electronic Money License appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

This Bitcoin Developer Is About to Take on the Mining Hardware Industry

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

DragonMint

BtcDrak, the most active pseudonymous Bitcoin Core contributor to date, is making a move into the mining hardware industry. The developer, who besides having contributed to the Bitcoin Core repository also maintains the bitcoincore.org website and the Bitcoin Core Community Slack channel, has helped set up ASIC chip manufacturing company Halong Mining over the past year. The startup has now produced an initial batch of mining hardware and plans to ship to consumers in early 2018.

“We started a mining project with the aim to bring much needed competition to the market,” BtcDrak told Bitcoin Magazine. “We want to ‘make SHA256 great again.’”

The Miners

Halong Mining is launching a production line that consists of one machine for now: the DragonMint 16T. The miner — its name references the Dragon’s Den, an (in)famous private chat channel on the Bitcoin Core Community Slack — is equipped with newly designed chips and can produce a total of 16 terahashes per second. Importantly, BtcDrak claims that the machines are about 30 percent more energy efficient than the most efficient ASIC miner on the market right now, Bitmain’s AntMiner S9.

“The DragonMint will be the most advanced miner to date,” he said.

The main bottleneck to entering the ASIC market is typically capital: developing specialized chips from scratch is expensive. While BtcDrak preferred not to disclose much information about Halong Mining for now, he did note that the machines have been produced by a team with “serious expertise.”

According to the developer, Halong Mining has invested $30 million in research and development so far, with over 100 people involved, including chip designers, electronics hardware specialists and software designers.

“Research and development is not cheap, and we need a lot of diverse skills,” BtcDrak explained.

Halong Mining has now produced an initial batch of DragonMint machines, though these are still just prototypes for testing and fine-tuning. They will not be sold to the public due to risk of reverse engineering, BtcDrak said, though he emphasized that the machines are working.

“Other companies that want to enter the ASIC mining industry develop everything in simulations, and then the first presale batch tries to pay for small production. But the NRE [non-recurring engineering] and making wafers is fraught with difficulty; the first run is not easy to do well.”

Halong Mining published a video of a DragonMint on YouTube today. BtcDrak thinks the first mass-produced run of DragonMint miners will happen within about four months and begin to ship in March of 2018.

Apart from the DragonMint machines, Halong Mining will also be selling mining chips separately, in bulk.

The Competition

With the introduction of DragonMint miners, Halong Mining will offer an alternative for Bitmain’s mining hardware, which has dominated the market for the past few years. An estimated 70 percent or more of the hash power on the network today is produced by Bitmain machines, and around half of all hash power is pointed to mining pools that are either owned by or closely affiliated with Bitmain, such as AntPool, BTC.com, ConnectBTC and ViaBTC.

“One manufacturer as a monopoly is not good for Bitcoin,” BtcDrak said. “Centralization in mining is a problem regardless of how benevolent you are. If there is a center, then governments and criminals can attack it. Decentralization protects the entire system and all its participants. So I wanted to bring competition.”

Bitmain in particular has also not made itself popular within segments of the Bitcoin community over the past years. The Chinese ASIC manufacturer was at the center of the AsicBoost and Antbleed controversies, and perhaps more importantly, some speculate that the company exerted its influence over the mining ecosystem by allowing or limiting hardware sales based on how hash power from the machines was used. Bitmain has always denied this is the case, however.

Halong Mining wants to distribute ASIC miners “far and wide to help decentralize mining,” BtcDrak said, adding that the company is considering open sourcing its board designs and software. This would help new manufacturers get a foothold in the industry, building on the research already done by Halong Mining over the past year.

BtcDrak concluded:

“There is a lot at stake here. A lot of time and money has been invested … and we have a huge opportunity to bring more diversity to Bitcoin mining, and in turn help secure the network more.”

The post This Bitcoin Developer Is About to Take on the Mining Hardware Industry appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

Goodbye Bugs? How Formal Verification Could Fortify Smart Contracts

Bitcoin Magazine, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

gpfromalverifi.jpg

As a way to eliminate bugs in high-risk code, a style of software programming known as formal verification is making its way into the blockchain world.

Put simply, formal verification uses math to specify and analyze a program for errors in logic. However, because of the time and cost involved, formal verification is best reserved for situations where human life or large sums of money are at stake.

Currently, formal verification is used to verify the correctness of high-risk code in transportation, the military and cryptography. Chip companies use it to fortify algorithms before embedding them in silicon. And banks use it to develop financial algorithms.

Applied to blockchain technology, formal verification could provide assurances that self-executing transactions known as smart contracts will work as intended, eliminating some of the bugs and financial losses that come as a result of coding errors.

This year alone, bugs in Ethereum’s Parity wallet accounted for $180 million in losses. Last year, a bug in a virtual organization known as The DAO enabled a hacker to siphon $50 million from the Ethereum smart contract.  

Platforms like Cardano and Tezos are already working on smart contract languages specifically designed to facilitate formal verification. Ethereum is also working on bringing formal verification to its smart contracts.

But what is formal verification? How does it work? And why is software so difficult to get right in the first place?

To Err Is Human

Software is inherently unforgiving. If you are constructing a building, you can leave out a nail or a screw, and the structure still stands. But when it comes to software, something as simple as a single typo can cause the entire program to stop working.

“Programming languages are incredibly powerful,” Gerard Holzmann, former lead scientist at NASA, explained in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “As a programmer, you have to deal with a lot of detail, and unless you get every detail right, there is some effect.”  

The traditional approach to getting software right is testing. After you write an algorithm, you input a variable and check to see if it gives back the correct output. But how do you test every single input? You can’t. There are too many to test, and there could be errors lurking in the cases that you do not test.

“There are so many possible executions that really, when you test or execute, you just scratch the surface of what is possible,” Holzmann said.

Put another way, testing only looks for the presence of bugs, not the absence of bugs, and one small mistake could have devastating results.  

“If you take any failure of a system, like Fukushima and Three Mile Island, and look at the sequence of events that led to that failure, it is always fascinating because there are so many things that nobody could have predicted that would happen in a particular accommodation,” said Holzmann. “Same as in software; so many things can happen.”

In contrast, instead of testing one situation at a time, formal verification is a way to test that a program works in every situation. What you care about is whether the logic holds true, and the best way to check that logic is with a computer.  

“A formalism for me has the purpose that you can reason about things, and the most useful way of reasoning about things is if you can program a machine to do the reasoning for you,” said Holzmann.

Making a Plan

Generally, the first step in formal verification is to create a mathematical model. The math needed is not complicated; it’s just basic logic written up in a so-called “formal language” that is machine checkable.  

Typically, the process of specifying a model begins with a stakeholder who understands what the system needs to do. In the case of a medical device, the stakeholder might be a doctor; in the case of a smart contract, it might be a lawyer or a banker, or both.

The job of a stakeholder is to convey the information in her head to a requirements engineer who collects that information and creates the model. The process begins informally with discussions and abstractions, but ends formally with a precise mathematical specification.

This is not easy. It is a time consuming, iterative process that can take months, depending on the situation, but it often brings a clarity to a situation that was not there before because it forces programmers to think deeply about the behavior of a software.

“You can think of it as laws and regulations,” said Andreas Zeller, professor of software engineering at Saarland University in Saarbruecken, Germany, who likens creating a formal specification to developing a plan for a building.

“You refine the regulations,” he told Bitcoin Magazine. “But if you do not have regulations in the first place, your building crashes, and that is when you realize, you had better make a plan.”   

Checking the Logic

Once a model is specified, the next step is to verify the model’s logic with proofs. This is a critical step in the process. “If you do not have a proof, you do not have a guarantee that the model, as it is, will work,” explained Zeller.

But because you have to make explicit every single logical step, proofs can be immensely long and complex. In the past, this made formal verification agonizingly difficult. Even the simplest statement could require dozens of theorems and lemmas.

Fortunately, these days, many formal systems use automated theorem provers, like Coq, Isabelle or Metamath, that can check or even partially construct a formal proof.

Once a model is proven to work, the next step is building your program. But you still must make sure the software you build conforms to the specification.  

This is where functional programming languages like ML, Haskell, OCaml or F# enter into the picture. Because these languages are closer to algebra in their expressiveness, they are a better match for formal verification than languages like C, Java, or JavaScript.

For this reason, Tezos is written in OCaml and Cardano is written in Haskell, so changes to the protocol are easier to formally verify. (A formal specification for Ouroboros Praos, the next generation of the consensus algorithm powering Cardano, is already in the works.) Similarly, Tezos’ smart contract language Michelson is based on OCaml; Cardano’s smart contract language Plutus is based on Haskell.

Pros and Cons

On the plus side, formal verification allows computer scientists greater assurances in developing software. On the negative side, because of the rigor involved, formal methods can be a time-consuming, costly undertaking for projects developing the code.

Because of this, formal methods are best used to guarantee smaller building blocks of code that get reused over and over. You would not use it for, say, an entire operating system, but only those parts of a system that require the highest safety or security assurances.  

Naturally, any type of security comes at a cost. The question is, how much security will blockchain and smart contract developers be willing to pay for?

If you want something that is error free, “you had better be prepared to spend tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars for people who will provide a full proof,” cautioned Zeller.  

On the other hand, for smart contracts securing tens of millions of dollars in funds, those costs may be well worth it. Looking at it another way, in a competitive environment, formal verification could make smart contracts more appealing to the consumer.

If, for instance, you had the choice of entrusting your funds to a smart contract that had been formally verified versus one that has not, which one would you choose?  

___________

Thanks to Tim Menzies, professor of computer science at North Carolina University, and Brighten Godfrey, co-founder and CTO at Veriflow, and Automated Software Engineering 2017.



The post Goodbye Bugs? How Formal Verification Could Fortify Smart Contracts appeared first on Bitcoin Magazine.

CNBC Mad Money Host Cramer Joins the Bitcoin ‘Bubble’ Brigade

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Stamp duty for all first-time buyers of homes under £300,000 has been abolished

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A row of new-build houses in England, UK

  • The government will abolish stamp duty, levied on home purchases, for all first-time homebuyers on homes under £300,000.
  • The will save home purchasers up to £5,000, and £1,660 on average.

LONDON — The government will abolish stamp duty for all first-time homebuyers on homes under £300,000 in a move that will save home purchasers up to £5,000.

The tax, which is levied on the purchase of new homes, currently has a much lower threshold of £125,000 for residential properties in the UK, and means that 80% of first-time buyers will no longer pay any no stamp duty.

The move would reduce the cost of purchasing a £300,000 first-time home by £5,000, and will save the average first-time buyer £1,660. The Office for Budget Responsibility estimated the move would cost more than £1 billion over three years, adding the forecast was uncertain.

Anthony Rushworth, founder of housebuilding investment platform Homegrown, said the news was "not as great as it seems."

"There are plenty of reasons for first-time buyers to be jumping for joy on the face of it but, in reality, they only pay stamp duty of around £1,500 on average," he said.

"Sparing them from this tax might not cause the Exchequer any loss of sleep but all this will likely do is feed into higher prices for the narrow band of properties they are fighting over," he said.

"This is the problem with strategies that boost demand without addressing the fact there are too few homes being sought by too many buyers."

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NOW WATCH: We just got a super smart and simple explanation of what a bitcoin fork actually is

Bitcoin Price Sets New All-Time High as Crypto Market Cap Nears $250 Billion

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Government budget watchdog slashes growth forecasts to 'weakest in the modern era'

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Philip Hammond

  • OBR cuts growth forecasts for every year up to 2022.
  • Average growth rate for the next five years now set to be 1.4%.


LONDON — The government's spending watchdog has slashed its growth forecasts for the UK up to 2022.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said during his 2017 budget on Wednesday that the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) had cut GDP growth forecasts:

  • from 2% to 1.5% this year;
  • from 1.6% to 1.4% in 2018;
  • from 1.7% to 1.3% in 2019;
  • from 1.9% to 1.3% in 2020;
  • and from 2% to 1.5% in 2021.

As suspected, the OBR cut productivity growth forecasts to around 1.1% for the next five years. The spending watchdog blamed the growth cuts on weak productivity.

"The persistence of weak productivity growth does not bode well for the UK’s growth potential in the years ahead," the OBR said.

The write-downs mean that the UK's long-term growth rate has now been reduced from 2.5% to 1.4% over the next five years, a crucial period when Britain will be leaving the European Union. The economy will be 2% smaller in 2022 than previously estimated.

Jeremy Cook, chief economist at FX broker WorldFirst, called to OBR's revisions "swingeing cuts to the UK’s growth forecasts."

"These represent the weakest expectations on growth over a forecast period in the modern era and probably the largest downgrades since the advent of the Global Financial Crisis," he said in an email. "In light of growth upgrades in major, key, trading partner countries, these figures are even more disappointing."

'Brexit-related uncertainty'

Hammond did not link the growth downgrade to Brexit but did say that the government was setting aside a further £3 billion to cope with Brexit-linked economic challenges.

The OBR explicitly linked the growth downgrate with Brexit, saying the slowing of growth over the next two years would be driven by "public spending cuts and Brexit-related uncertainty weigh[ing] on the economy."

Michael Metcalfe, global head of macro strategy at State Street Global Markets, said in an email: "The government has committed funds to help with the preparation for Brexit contingency planning, but the real challenge for UK markets revealed in the budget came from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) and the significant downgrades to the UK growth outlook.

"Still high inflation and an expected weakening in growth provide a potentially troubling backdrop for markets even without the political uncertainties created by Brexit."

The pound dived against the dollar and euro on the back of the cuts to GDP forecasts:gbp

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NOW WATCH: Why this New York City preschool accepts bitcoin but doesn't accept credit cards

What's Next for Bitcoin Cash? Stopping Users From Losing Funds

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoin cash may be vying for the top spot in bitcoin software, but it's still working to correct fundamental usability problems.

10 things you need to know before the opening bell

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

trump turkey thanksgiving

Here is what you need to know.

President Donald Trump said the AT&T-Time Warner deal is 'not good for the country'. He made the comments to reporters on the White House lawn, and they came one day after the US Department of Justice sued to block AT&T's $84.5 billion takeover of Time Warner.

Meg Whitman is stepping down from the CEO job at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. It was an unexpected announcement that comes several months after she was identified as interviewing for the CEO job at Uber, though she ultimately did not get it. She'll be replaced by Antonio Neri, currently the president of HPE.

Uber reportedly paid hackers $100,000 to cover up a cyberattack that exposed the personal data of 57 million people. The data breach, which occurred in October 2016, was not made public until Tuesday when Uber quietly published a blog post about the incident.

Salesforce's third quarter revenues were up 25% from last year. Earlier in November, the company announced its revenue growth plan and a timeline which includes more than doubling its annual revenues from $8.4 billion in 2017 to $20 billion by 2022.

Dash, the fifth largest cryptocurrency, hit a new all-time high. Posts on Reddit and chatrooms like 4Chan suggest that Dash could soon be highlighted as an investment opportunity in Palm Beach Confidential, a cryptocurrency investment newsletter.

Mandalay Bay is in crisis as hundreds of Las Vegas shooting victims accuse hotel of missing red flags. They're filing lawsuits against the operator of the hotel where the gunman was staying.

A $9 billion French asset manager is launching Europe's first bitcoin mutual fund. Tobam, which had $9 billion in assets under management as of September, plans to launch an unregulated alternative investment fund that will allow institutional investors to gain exposure to bitcoin.

Australia just received another worrying reading on the fragility of household finances. The National Australia Bank's Cashless Retail Sales Index, a measures of spending patterns from its customers using debit and credit cards, BPAY, and Paypal, grew by just 0.2% last month, leaving the year-over-year increase at 6.5%, the weakest level in the three-year history of the survey.

Stock markets around the world climbed. Hong Kong's Hang Seng (+0.62%) rose in Asia, while the Nikkei increased (+0.5%). The FTSE 100 (+0.60%) led gains across Europe, which saw the Euro Stoxx 50 rise (+0.42%). The S&P 500 is set to open up 0.1% near 2,599 a day after closing at a record high.

US economic data flows. Initial jobless claims will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET, as will continuing claims and durable goods orders. Bloomberg's consumer-comfort reading will cross the wires at 9:45 a.m. ET, while the University of Michigan's sentiment indicator will be released at 10 a.m. ET.

SEE ALSO: GOLDMAN SACHS: Here's how to make a killing in the market this Black Friday

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NOW WATCH: How the iPhone X could make Apple a $1 trillion company

Mike Novogratz Doubles Down on $10,000 Bitcoin Prediction

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Billionaire Mike Novogratz has restated his belief that bitcoin will end the year at $10,000, while ethereum could hit $500.

(+) Trade Recommendation: Litecoin

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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UAE’s RAK Bank Taps Ripple for Instant Blockchain Payments to India

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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Dash, the fifth largest cryptocurrency, hits a new all-time high as rumours swirl on Reddit

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

dash

  • Dash climbs 20% against the dollar to hit a high of $575.83.
  • Rumours circulating that the cryptocurrency will soon be highlighted in a popular cryptocurrency investment newsletter.

LONDON — The price of Dash, the fifth largest cryptocurrency, is surging on Wednesday, hitting a new all-time high.

Dash hit a high of $575.83 early on Wednesday morning after surging 20% against the dollar in 24 hours. The cryptocurrency is up 15% against the dollar to $562.52 at 10.35 a.m. GMT (5.35 a.m. ET):dashThe exact cause of the surge is unclear. Wider cryptocurrency markets remain subdued.

Mati Greenspan, an analyst with trading platform eToro, said the surge could be linked to a deal in Zimbabwe, where long-time ruler Robert Mugabe was yesterday forced to resign.

The Dash Foundation, which aims to promote the cryptocurrency, struck a deal in the African country with Kuvacash, a mobile wallet project that aims to help Zimbabwe combat runaway inflation by storing value in cryptocurrency.

"One thing that could be giving rise to this specific coin on this specific day is a $550,000 partnership that was announced between the Dash Foundation and Kuvacash," Greenspan said in an email. "The new project aims to bring some level of financial stability to the country of Zimbabwe through a peer to peer payment system that will be accessible to anybody with a mobile phone."

Meanwhile, traders on messaging app Telegram chat groups are pointing to rumours circulating on Reddit and chatrooms such as 4Chan. Posts on both suggest that Dash could soon be highlighted as an investment opportunity in Palm Beach Confidential, a cryptocurrency investment newsletter.

Dash, a portmanteau of Digital Cash, was created by a decentralized online group in 2014. It is very similar to bitcoin but offers additional features such as instant payments.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: We talked to the chief investment strategist at $920 billion fund giant Invesco about where you should invest right now

GOLDMAN SACHS: Here's how to make a killing in the market this Black Friday

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

black friday shopping

  • Goldman Sachs says this holiday quarter is going to account for a bigger percentage of annual sales for retailers than in years past.
  • The firm says options investors aren't adequately pricing in the potential for single-stock volatility, creating opportunities in the market.


Everyone knows the holiday season creates loads of good deals for consumers. But stock traders are also presented with money-making opportunities — they just have to know where to look.

That's where Goldman Sachs comes in. The firm sees the annual shopping holiday known as Black Friday whipping up volatility in retail stocks, and has some ideas how traders can profit from those price swings.

Before we get into those specific recommendations, let's take a minute to quantify how important Black Friday and the overall holiday season are to the bottom lines of retailers — and explain why this year is particularly compelling.

Goldman estimates that one-third of annual retail sales come in the fourth quarter. The firm says that over the past three years, November and December have been three-to-four times more important for retail stock returns than the other 10 months of the year.

Further, Goldman's analysts forecast that nearly 35% of yearly revenue for retailers will come this holiday season, the biggest share since the fourth quarter of 2007.

Screen Shot 2017 11 21 at 4.35.03 PM

"Black Friday has marked a key catalyst for the sector historically as many investors use it as a gauge for the remaining holiday demand," Katherine Fogertey and the Goldman derivatives team wrote in a client note. "While we acknowledge that Black Friday has become less important (rise of Cyber Monday, store closures, online shopping opportunities), we still see potential for turnout data to move the sector — even more than the options market is pricing in."

Without further ado, as Black Friday approaches, here are three single-stock trades put forth by Goldman that can help you make a killing:

1) Buy Ulta Beauty straddles for earnings and holiday demand

Trade: Buy monthly Ulta Beauty straddles expiring in January 2018, with a strike price of $200. (Note: A straddle involves the purchase of both call and put contracts, and is used to play a big move in either direction.)

Rationale: Option investors are pricing in the potential for shares to move +/-11% on earnings, which is above the median fourth-quarter realized move. And Goldman forecasts that the company will be even more volatile than usual, with its stock down 36% from its June 2017 highs. The firm is bullish on the stock, seeing 34% upside.

2) Buy Kohl's straddles to hedge holiday weakness

Trade: Buy monthly Kohl's straddles expiring in January, with a strike price of $42.50.

Rationale: Kohl's has great potential to be volatile this holiday season, but options traders are pricing in an "unusually low potential for volatility." The firm is bearish on the stock, seeing 24% downside.

3) Buy Macy's puts for holiday sales

Trade: Buy monthly Macy's puts expiring in January, with a strike price of $20.

Rationale: Goldman expects Macy's to earn a bigger percentage of its annual sales during this holiday season than in past years, creating the potential for volatility. Despite the company's 44% year-to-date decline, Goldman notes that options investors are not hedged for further downside risk.

SEE ALSO: The 3 best ways to trade Amazon's retail dominance

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NOW WATCH: $6 TRILLION INVESTMENT CHIEF: Bitcoin is a bubble

Philippine Regulators Eye New Rules for Bitcoin Exchanges and ICOs

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Philippine regulators are eyeing new rules for cryptocurrency exchanges and initial coin offerings (ICOs), according to officials.

South Korean Police Bust $38 Million Bitcoin Ponzi Scam

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

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This Aussie Pole Dancing Instructor Finds Success with Bitcoin, Helps Newcomers

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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REPORT: The London Stock Exchange is lining up a replacement for CEO Rolet

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Xavier Rolet London Stock Exchange

  • The London Stock Exchange Group's board is reportedly lining up its Chief Financial Officer as a temporary replacement for boss Xavier Rolet.
  • Investor Sir Christopher Hohn has called a shareholder meeting to vote on removing the current chairman, and said regulators should intervene given the governance crisis.
  • Rolet's surprise resignation is due to take effect by the end of December 2018.

LONDON — The London Stock Exchange Group's board is reportedly lining up its Chief Financial Officer as a temporary replacement for boss Xavier Rolet, in the wake of his surprise resignation.

According to people familiar with the plans, the group is considering appointing CFO David Warren as interim CEO when Rolet leaves by the end of December 2018, the Financial Times reported. Rolet has not given a reason for his departure, which was announced last month.

In response to the uncertainty, investor Sir Christopher Hohn has demanded the UK's financial regulators intervene to appoint a new chairman. He has called an unusual shareholder meeting to vote on removing the current chairman Donald Brydon, and to extend Rolet's contract until 2021.

In a letter to Brydon on Tuesday, the FT reported, Hohn said Rolet was "being improperly threatened by the board with severe reputational damage unless he immediately steps down as CEO... or publicly confirms that he does not want to remain."

He said the situation "cannot wait for several weeks until the general meeting," and that "the Bank of England and the FCA [Financial Conduct Authority] both need to immediately intervene to instruct the board to appoint a new chairman."

Hohn is the founder of activist hedge fund The Children's Investment Fund (TCI), which holds a 5% stake in the Exchange and has been critical of its governance since Rolet's planned departure was announced. Given the nature of the work, the Exchange's CEO must be regulator-approved.

The Exchange said in a statement: "In requisitioning the EGM, TCI triggered a process which we are now adhering to. As regards regulatory oversight, we have kept regulators abreast of developments throughout."

Rolet has been CEO for eight years, during which time the Exchange's share price has risen by around 500% to more than £38.

Large shareholders including BlackRock and the Qatar Investment Authority are likely to be involved in the discussions going forward. The date for the shareholder meeting is due to be published in the next two weeks.

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A new lottery game gives winners up to £10,000 a month for the rest of their lives

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

lottery britain

  • Camelot is launching an annuity-style lottery which rewards winners with a monthly income for life rather than a lump sum.
  • The reward could be worth up to £10,000 a month.

LONDON — Camelot, the UK's largest lottery operator, is launching an annuity-style game which rewards winners with up to £10,000 a month for the rest of their lives.

Rather than winning a lump sum, winners would be rewarded with a monthly income. The group said in a statement the game would appeal to "the growing numbers of players who dream of long-term financial security rather than big jackpots."

In the UK, a small number of lottery winners who became millionaires overnight blew their fortunes, but a Camelot spokesperson denied to the BBC that "binge spending" was a driving force behind the new game. There are also no plans to scrap the popular jackpot game.

It also represents a bid from Camelot's new chief executive Nigel Railton to turn around the ailing fortunes of the firm. It said ticket sales for the six months from 1 April to 23 September 2017 were £3,280.4 million, a decrease of 3.2% on last year’s first-half performance.

Railton is reportedly keen on the annuity-idea, having run Camelot Global in Chicago, where monthly pay-outs are a regular feature of lotteries.

The new game is likely to be launched in 2019.

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NOW WATCH: I spent a day trying to pay for things with bitcoin and a bar of gold

Singapore’s Central Bank Includes Bitcoin in Singular Regulation of Payments Services

CryptoCoins News, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

[…]

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A $9 billion French asset manager is launching Europe's first bitcoin mutual fund

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Bitcoins and a ten pound note are seen in this illustration picture taken September 27, 2017.

  • Paris-based asset manager Tobam plans bitcoin mutual fund.
  • Institutional interest in the cryptocurrency is rising but investing in the unregulated asset remains difficult.


LONDON — French asset management firm Tobam is planning to launch Europe's first bitcoin mutual fund as interest in the cryptocurrency continues to grow.

Tobam, which had $9 billion in assets under management as of September, plans to launch an unregulated alternative investment fund that will allow institutional investors to gain exposure to bitcoin.

Bitcoin has surged over 5,000% against the dollar so far this year to reach $8,229 on Wednesday morning. Investor interest has risen alongside the price, with over 55 dedicated cryptocurrency hedge funds now in existence and exchange giant CME Group announcing plans to launch bitcoin futures contracts.

However, bitcoin's essentially unregulated nature makes it legally difficult for many institutions to invest in the cryptocurrency.

Tobam hopes the mutual fund wrapper, which pools gains and losses from investment in bitcoin, should help to add a level of sophistication that could attract traditional investors. While unregulated at a European level, Tobam's fund is approved by France's financial regulator AMF and audited by PwC, according to the Financial Times.

Christophe Roehri, head of business development at Tobam, said in a statement: "Direct investment in Bitcoin can be operationally challenging, from dealing with the choice of the platform, to maintaining the proper security measures in terms of custody and to managing the changes made to the protocol (hard forks).

"Our goal is to take control of these operational challenges in order to facilitate access for qualified investors willing to gain exposure to Bitcoin. All of that under the format of a fund."

Tobam's fund will be open to institutional investors and qualified investors on a private placement basis. Tobam has offices in Paris, Dublin, New York, and Hong Kong.

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NOW WATCH: Why this New York City preschool accepts bitcoin but doesn't accept credit cards

Survey: CFOs Think Bitcoin Is 'Real' But Are Divided on Price

CoinDesk, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

A group of CFOs polled by CNBC are split on whether bitcoin is a bubble, according to newly published results.

10 things you need to know before European markets open

Business Insider, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

Philip Hammond budget 2017

Good morning! Here's what you need to know.

1. Some MPs and commentators aren't overly excited about the British government's upcoming budget. ITV's Robert Peston called it "possibly the most boring" budget he has ever covered.

2. The Kremlin will take action against Google if articles from Russian news websites Sputnik and Russia Today are placed lower in search results. Alexander Zharov, head of media regulator Roskomnadzor, said his agency sent a letter to Google requesting clarification about how the Russian websites would be treated in search.

3. The US warned citizens to "consider the risks" when travelling to Saudi Arabia due to militant threats and the threat of ballistic missile attacks on civilians by rebels in Yemen. The warning comes two weeks after Saudi Arabia said it had shot down a ballistic missile fired by Iran-aligned Houthis from Yemen towards the Saudi capital Riyadh. 

4. Some European Union members are resisting EU plans to raise the tax bill of tech multinationals, EU draft documents seen by Reuters show. EU finance ministers are expected to seal a preliminary deal on EU digital taxes when they meet on Dec. 6, after pressure from large states that accuse firms like Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook of slashing their tax bills by rerouting their EU profits to low-tax countries such as Luxembourg and Ireland.

5. A US congressional plan to ease banking rules for some large institutions goes too far and could endanger the financial system, a leading bank regulator said. Martin Gruenberg, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said the plan to allow banks with less than $250 billion in assets to reduce capital goes too far.

6. Senior Russian lawmaker and businessman Suleiman Kerimov was arrested by French police at Nice airport in connection with a tax evasion case. Kerimov is ranked by Forbes magazine as Russia's 21st wealthiest businessman, with a net worth of $6.3 billion.

7. Ireland expects to make progress in recovering up to €13 billion in disputed taxes from Apple in the coming weeks, following EU criticism that Dublin was moving too slowly. The European Commission ruled in August 2016 that Apple had received unfair tax incentives from Ireland and said last month it was taking Dublin to the European Court of Justice over its delays in recovering the money.

8. CME Group said it still plans to launch a futures contract for bitcoin this year, but that a notice on its website stating the contract would begin trading on Dec. 11 was posted in error. As bitcoin passed above the $8,000 level for the first time on Monday, cryptocurrency-related websites were abuzz with news of the CME notice.

9. Royal Bank of Canada has joined a list of lenders deemed important to the stability of the world's financial system, becoming the first Canadian back to join the global group of 30 required to hold extra capital. The annual list of globally systemically important banks was issued by the Financial Stability Board, which was established after the global financial crisis to protect the world from shocks.

10. A top-level Chinese government body issued an urgent notice to provincial governments urging them to suspend regulatory approval for new internet micro loan companies. The body also told local regulators to restrict granting of new approvals for micro loan companies to conduct lending across regions.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are changing the world like no other humans in history

Crunch Report | The FCC sets vote to kill net neutrality and Bitcoin hits $8,000

TechCrunch, 1/1/0001 12:00 AM PST

 Today’s stories: FCC highlights plan to kill net neutrality, Android secretly sending location data, Bitcoin just passed $8,000 and Toyota’s new robot can be controlled in VR. Read More

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