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Civil rights groups are speaking out against New York City's proposed freeze on Uber and Lyft

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

Uber car logo

  • Civil rights groups joined Uber and Lyft in opposing proposed legislation to limit the amount of ride-sharing vehicles in New York City. 
  • Some Black and Latino New Yorkers fear racial discrimination by yellow cabs and for-hire vehicles. 
  • Uber has launched a social media campaign against the proposed legislation, including the hashtag #DontStrandNYC.

Civil rights groups joined Uber and Lyft in their fight against the New York City Council's proposed plan to place a cap on the number of vehicles that ride-share services can operate in the city.

After City Council Speaker Corey Johnson revealed his proposal to place a freeze on new ride-sharing vehicles allowed in New York City, the N.A.A.C.P., the National Urban League, and the National Action Network all joined Uber and Lyft in publicly opposing the proposed legislation. 

According to an article published on Sunday by the New York Times, some Black and Latino New Yorkers feel that getting to their destinations is harder for them as yellow taxis deliberately pass them up on the street. 

Dr. Johnnie M. Green Jr., a pastor in Harlem, told the New York Times, “It’s a racial issue. The people that champion the crusade against Uber do not have a problem hailing yellow cabs.”

Neither the N.A.A.C.P. nor the National Urban League responded to Business Insider for comment. 

On Saturday, Reverend Al Sharpton spoke publicly at the Harlem headquarters of his organization, the National Action Network. Sharpton stood in-front of an audience and loudly denounced City Council's proposed cap on Uber and Lyft cars saying, "I'm trying to get to work, I'm trying to get to school. I want somebody that's gonna pick me up." 

The City Council's proposed legislation would place a one-year freeze on any new ride-sharing vehicles (driving for companies like Lyft or Uber) while studying what effect the growth of ride-sharing services has had on New York City. Mayor Bill DeBlasio voiced support for the plan in a radio interview on Friday.

City Council is motivated to limit the amount of ride-sharing vehicles on the road because of increased congestion in New York City, and the fact that multiple yellow cab and for-hire vehicle drivers have killed themselves in the past year.  

According to Curbed New York, Speaker Johnson said he understood the concerns of civil rights groups but stressed that the existing vehicles wouldn’t be taken off the streets — only the addition of new ones would be stopped for a year-long period to examine their full impact.

The City Council could vote on the measure as early as August 8.

Uber spokesperson Danielle Filson said in a statement to Business Insider: "New Yorkers have been demanding that our leaders fix the subways; instead, they have decided to break Uber. Capping Uber will strand riders in the outer boroughs where subway service is the worst." 

Uber has already mobilized a $1 million advertising campaign against the initiative, including the use of the hashtag #DontStrandNYC.

 

SEE ALSO: New York City may restrict the number of Uber and Lyft cars allowed to operate in the city

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Uber is ending its self-driving truck program

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

uber self-driving truck

  • Uber is ending its self-driving truck program, TechCrunch first reported.
  • An Uber representative confirmed the news to Business Insider and said the company had determined that developing autonomous trucks was not necessary to stay competitive in the freight logistics industry.
  • Uber Freight, which allows companies to find truck drivers to haul their cargo, will not be affected by the decision.
  • The company recently said it was taking the first steps toward resuming its self-driving car program.


Uber is ending its self-driving truck program, TechCrunch first reported.

An Uber representative confirmed the news to Business Insider and said the company had determined that developing autonomous trucks was not necessary to stay competitive in the freight logistics industry. Uber Freight, which allows companies to find truck drivers to haul their cargo, will not be affected by the decision.

"We've decided to stop development on our self-driving truck program and move forward exclusively with cars. We recently took the important step of returning to public roads in Pittsburgh, and as we look to continue that momentum, we believe having our entire team's energy and expertise focused on this effort is the best path forward," Eric Meyhofer, the head of Uber's Advanced Technologies Group, said in a statement.

Employees who were working in the self-driving truck program will be shifted to other roles related to autonomous-driving technology. In cases where a comparable role isn't available, the company will offer relocation benefits or a severance package.

Uber acquired the self-driving truck program when it bought the startup Otto in 2016. Otto was co-founded by Anthony Levandowski, the former Waymo engineer who was the subject of a lawsuit between Uber and Waymo over trade secrets Levandowski allegedly stole from Waymo before he left the company. The suit was settled in February.

Uber recently took the first steps toward resuming its self-driving car program, which was put on hold after one of its test vehicles hit and killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona, in March. The test vehicles have returned to the road in Pittsburgh, but are being controlled by human drivers rather than operating autonomously.

SEE ALSO: The CEO of Turo rents out his 5 cars, including the trifecta of Teslas, to strangers — here's why he thinks nearly everyone will be doing it in 10 years

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NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Gallup Poll: 75% of US Investors Think Bitcoin Is 'Very Risky'

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

Three-quarters of U.S. investors think bitcoin is too risky to invest in, a new poll by Gallup and Wells Fargo showed Monday.

Crypto Market Cap Down to $295 Billion, Short-Term Drop For Bitcoin Price Expected

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

Over the past 24 hours, the valuation of the crypto market has dropped slightly from $300 billion to $295 billion, as the bitcoin price declined from $8,300 to $8,150. Tokens including Aelf (ELF), Holo (HOT), Zilliqa (ZIL), Binance Coin (BNB), and 0x (ZRX), which performed well against both bitcoin and the U.S. dollar last week, … Continued

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An Australian Blockchain Experiment: Tracking Global Almond Shipments

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

An Australian Blockchain Experiment: Tracking Global Almond Shipments

Following a successful 2016 trial of blockchain technology in an interbank open account transaction, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has partnered with five international and Australian companies to ship 17 tonnes of almonds from Melbourne, Australia, to Hamburg, Germany, using a new distributed ledger platform built on the Ethereum blockchain.

The Experiment

Originating in Sunraysia, the shipment made its way to Western Europe in a pioneering experiment that combined a private blockchain, smart contracts and a geotracking Internet of Things (IoT) framework to facilitate end-to-end movement of the almonds. Using the joint solution, the entire process was seamlessly tracked and verified remotely from the point of origin to delivery in real time.

Taking part in the procedure alongside the CBA were Pacific National, Olam Richards Australia Pty Ltd, OOCL Limited, Patrick Terminals and LX Group. The primary purpose of the experiment was to establish a reliable framework for digitization of the three pillars of international commerce, namely documentation, operations/logistics and finance. This was done using a custom blockchain which hosted all information regarding container location, task completion status and shipping documents.

Using the information provided by four IoT devices inside the container, transaction partners could track cargo location in real time and view real-time cargo data, such as temperature and humidity. The information was accessed through the blockchain platform, making it impervious to manipulation.

CBA Managing Director of Industrials and Logistics in Client Coverage Chris Scougall said:

“Our blockchain-enabled global trade platform experiment brought to life the idea of a modern global supply chain that is agile, efficient and transparent. We believe that blockchain can help our partners reduce the burden of administration on their businesses and enable them to deliver best-in-class services to their customers.”

In 2016, the CBA and Wells Fargo conducted the world’s first interbank open account transaction combining the application of blockchain technology, smart contracts and IoT connectivity. The transaction, which took place in partnership with Brighann Cotton involved a cotton shipment from Texas, USA, to Qingdao, China, using a private blockchain and smart contracts enabled with IoT geolocation technology.

Implementing this framework on a larger scale in the future means that international transactions can be carried out with a high level of transparency, with all parties constantly aware of the location, authentication and condition of goods in transit.

In addition to the tracking of goods and added efficiency, the blockchain-enabled supply chain also enables transaction parties to upload and access key documents required by port authorities such as the bill of lading and certificates of origin.

The CBA’s experimental blockchain platform is being built on the Ethereum protocol because of its popularity and customizable functionality. When fully set up, it will take the form of a private blockchain made up of a closed network of trusted entities.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

The TSA has been secretly monitoring US airline passengers using air marshals

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

tsa airport security

  • The TSA has been secretly tracking airline passengers through a recently revealed domestic surveillance program called Quiet Skies, the Boston Globe reported.
  • Quiet Skies uses federal air marshals to monitor individuals that are not under investigation by another intelligence agency and not in the terrorist database.
  • According to the TSA, Quiet Skies has been around since 2010. 

The Transportation Security Administration has been secretly monitoring US airline passengers for years, the Boston Globe reported.

According to the publication, federal air marshals have been covertly surveilling individuals that "are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the Terrorist Screening Data Base."

The surveillance is part of a recently revealed domestic surveillance program, called Quiet Skies, that aims to head off threats to commercial aviation by "unknown or partially known" terrorists. However, the Boston Globe's reporting indicates that the program has called for the monitoring of 40 to 50 private citizens per day, many of whom seemingly pose no security threat, such as a businesswoman, a flight attendant, and even a federal law enforcement official. 

At the heart of Quiet Skies is the observation of individuals for certain behaviors, such as whether they were abnormally aware of their surroundings or were excessively nervous. In addition, their appearance would be scrutinized for changes in comparison to their photo identification. Other passenger behavior would also be noted, such as whether they checked bags or slept on the flight.

A TSA spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that Quiet Skies has been in existence since 2010. 

In a statement, the TSA equated the Quiet Skies to "putting a police officer on a beat" and offered assurances that the intelligence-gathering activity includes "robust oversight."

In addition, the TSA also pushed back against the publication's reporting.  

"Contrary to the article 'Welcome to the Quiet Skies' published by The Boston Globe, the program doesn't take into account race and religion, and it is not intended to surveil ordinary Americans," the agency said. 

Here is the TSA's statement in its entirety:

"The purpose of this program is to ensure passengers and flight crew are protected during air travel. Contrary to the article 'Welcome to the Quiet Skies' published by The Boston Globe, the program doesn't take into account race and religion, and it is not intended to surveil ordinary Americans. In the world of law enforcement, this program's core design is no different than putting a police officer on a beat where intelligence and other information presents the need for watch and deterrence. The program analyzes information on a passenger's travel patterns, and through a system of checks and balances, to include robust oversight, effectively adds an additional line of defense to aviation security. With routine reviews and active management via legal, privacy and civil rights and liberties offices, the program is a practical method of keeping another act of terrorism from occurring at 30,000 feet."

SEE ALSO: American Airlines just announced a major change to its basic economy tickets that passengers will love

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Newsflash: Bitcoin Price Slips to $7,861 as Market Tests Key Support Level

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

The bitcoin price slipped back below the $8,000 mark on Monday, reversing the recovery that it had made heading into the weekend. Bitcoin entered the day trading above $8,100, a mark it largely held until shortly after 17:30 UTC when — after flirting with that level for approximately 20 minutes — BTC/USD experienced a sudden

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Tesla is experimenting with a new way to deliver the Model 3 (TSLA)

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

elon musk

  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivered a Model 3 sedan directly from its Fremont, California, factory to a customer's home and indicated the company will continue to deliver vehicles in this way.
  • "We tried out a new delivery system using an enclosed trailer straight from factory to owner’s home, so super convenient & car arrives in pristine condition without wasting plastic wrap," Musk said on Twitter.
  • Traditionally, Tesla customers pick up their vehicles from the nearest Tesla service center, or, if they live more than 160 miles from their nearest service center, they can have a vehicle shipped to their home.


Tesla CEO Elon Musk delivered a Model 3 sedan directly from its Fremont, California, factory to a customer's home and indicated the company will continue to deliver vehicles in this way.

"We tried out a new delivery system using an enclosed trailer straight from factory to owner’s home, so super convenient & car arrives in pristine condition without wasting plastic wrap," Musk said on Twitter.

The delivery was made in Playa Vista, Los Angeles, according to a location tag on a tweet posted by the Model 3 customer. Playa Vista is around a 350-mile drive from Tesla's Fremont factory.

When asked if Tesla would continue delivering cars directly from its factory to customers' homes, Musk said, "Yes."

Traditionally, Tesla customers pick up their vehicles from the nearest Tesla service center, or, if they live more than 160 miles from their nearest service center, they can have a vehicle shipped to their home.

According to Jeremy Acevedo, a manager of industry analysis for Edmunds, Tesla's new delivery strategy illustrates the company's effort to speed up delivery times, but is unlikely to be scalable or cost-effective.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment when asked how many vehicles would be delivered directly from its factory, which vehicles would be eligible, which cities would be eligible, how much time a direct-from-factory delivery saved, and whether customers would be able to ask for a direct-from-factory delivery.

As Tesla has increased its rate of vehicle production, some Twitter users have described delivery problems resulting from contract issues .

On July 23, Musk said the company is attempting to eliminate contracts for its customers and simplify the return process, and said in the past year the company has increased vehicle deliveries in the US from around 1,000 per week to around 6,000 per week, which he suggested has been difficult.

"It's like hitting a square wave," he said .

The Model 3, Tesla's first mass-market vehicle, has put a strain on the company's finances, as it has posted significant losses in the quarters since it was launched. But Musk has said the company will become profitable in the second half of this year. During Tesla's first-quarter earnings call in May, Musk said the Model 3 would earn around a 20% profit margin by the end of this year and a 25% margin in 2019.

Tesla will report its second-quarter earnings on Wednesday.

If you've worked for Tesla and have a story to share, you can contact this reporter at mmatousek@businessinsider.com.

SEE ALSO: Tesla's second-quarter earnings are expected to be terrifyingly bad, but it likely won't send stock crashing — here's why

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What you need to know on Wall Street today

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

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.

A JPMorgan chief strategist reveals the one thing that will keep the market soaring

David Kelly, Chief Global Strategist of JPMorgan Asset Management, says there is only one god of the stock market and that is future earnings growth. He believes this year's strong earnings growth will push the market higher in 2018. The biggest threat he sees to equities is a substantially worse trade conflict.

Here's a transcript of his chat with BI. 

The top tech executive at Fortress is leaving to start his own data-focused fund

Hylton Socher, the chief technology and information officer of Fortress Investment Group, the $41 billion hedge fund, is leaving the fund to start his own venture, Business Insider has learned.

Socher, whose career at Fortress spans a decade, fell down the rabbit hole of big data and other new-wave technologies sweeping Wall Street, he said in an interview.

Socher's firm, which he expects to be up-and-running by the first quarter of 2019, will focus on algorithmic trading leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning. He's calling it VaraQuest, which stands for valuable relationship awareness.

Deutsche Bank is shifting business out of London 

Deutsche Bank has executed plans to shift around half of its euro clearing activities out of the UK in a move that will worry those seeking to defend the City of London's place at the heart of European finance post-Brexit.

The move, first reported by the Financial Times late on Sunday, will see Deutsche Bank repatriate euro clearing to the bank's Frankfurt operation, where it is headquartered. Deutsche Bank, Germany's biggest lender, is one of the top five clearers of interest rate derivatives.

Clearinghouses manage credit risk, acting as a middle-man in swaps and derivatives trades to guarantee the contract in the event that one of the parties involved in the trade goes bust. The acceptance of English law and widespread use of English language has made London a hub for clearing globally. It handles more than 70% of the daily euro clearing business, equivalent to around €930 billion (£792 billion, $995 billion) of trades per day, according to a House of Lords report.

In markets news

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“Eating Their Lunch:” Blockchain Upstarts Challenge Investment Banks

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

“Eating Their Lunch:” Blockchain Upstarts Challenge Investment Banks

Access to personal financial data and the emergence of blockchain technology have been the catalyst for a revolution in the banking sector. At the start of this year, banks within the European Union were ordered by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to grant customers access to their personal data.

Banks must allow customers ownership of their financial data which they can then share with other banks and regulated financial businesses to shop around for a better deal — such as getting a cheaper overdraft.

With Open Banking, anything from customer transaction history and product information to branch locations will now be owned by the customer, not the bank.

This combination of available financial data and new possibilities for blockchain-driven efficiencies have made the climate ripe for the disruption of traditional investment banks.

“Accenture has estimated that some major investment banks could make a whopping $10 billion in efficiency savings by utilizing blockchain technology,” explains Thomas Levene, founder of Best Blockchain Solutions Consultancy.

“In current systems, there needs to be careful checks and balances of huge amounts of data that can prove time consuming for investment banks and remain open to some degree of error.”

For example, blockchains carry the promise of making international money transfers cheaper and faster for all parties involved. And while it may be in fledgling stages of innovation, once the technology has proven its speed and scaling abilities, investment banks and international settlements will undoubtedly become increasingly comfortable as transaction partners.

Levene explains, “The other side of the crypto coin is that while existing investment houses need to adapt and adopt, they could very well be replaced, at least in part, by new blockchain startups that have the potential to ‘eat their lunch.’ And it’s a big lunch. In the 2017 fiscal year, Goldman Sachs amassed $32 billion."

Currently for large issuers, it’s a given that you simply have to use investment banks. But assuming regulatory compliance, it doesn’t need to be this way.

The Upstarts

“Companies like tZero, whose Chief Executive Officer is the founder of Overstock, are aimed at eating some J.P. Morgan lunch. They are creating a distributed ledger platform for capital markets. Some have called this offering, whose ICO finishes at the end of June 2018, WallStreet 2.0, as they aim to fuse traditional finance with the benefits of a token crypto economy,” says Levene.

Using blockchains, compliance for investment banks could be fully automated. Dividends and voting could also be done on the blockchain automatically and without expensive backroom office administrators.

This elimination of middlemen coupled with unlimited access to the market, day or night and even on weekends, is set to revolutionize the finance sector.

Thus, it’s no surprise that significant numbers of blockchain-based prediction market platforms and exchanges have sprung up to challenge the dominance of traditional investment banks.

Augur, Bodhi, Numerai and Artificial Intelligence Exchange are just a few of the firms that have launched with decentralized prediction market protocols and exchanges, and if these new models prove to be better than current systems, they could soon be snatched up by investment banks eager to protect their market share.

Polymath is challenging the status quo of capital markets with a network that connects token investors, KYC providers, smart contract developers, and legal experts to help firms form the basis of their securities token.

Meanwhile, Globitex is one of several platforms making it possible to buy commodities with crypto assets.

Not Going Down Without a Fight

In response to these new market entrants, the traditional sector has been hedging its bet on beating the upstarts through significant adaptation and adoption of new technologies.

Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and Santander have been making moves to couple with blockchain technology.

“It’s not surprising that investment banks, including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, are getting on board with blockchain,” Levene says. “These two apparently completed a test in the $2.8 trillion equity swaps market with a 100% success rate using blockchain technology.”

J.P. Morgan has also established a Blockchain Centre of Excellence, and Goldman Sachs has revealed plans to setup a trading operation in Bitcoin. Meanwhile, Santander has joined the blockchain with the launch of a new foreign exchange payment system, One Pay FX.

“The current system is ripe for disruption,” Levene concludes. “Time-consuming and expensive venture capital funded investment bank models cannot compete with streamlined token-based funding efforts that are already having an impact on traditional investment banks’ bottom line.”


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Kim Kardashian Publicly Accepts Her First Bitcoin

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

Will social media empress Kim Kardashian help bring more users to bitcoin? Matthew Roszak, co-founder of Bloq and other cryptocurrency initiatives, must have thought so when he presented the social media titan a physical bitcoin during the First Annual “If Only’ Texas Hold’Em Charity Poker Tournament,” an event he announced on Twitter. Big fun at

The post Kim Kardashian Publicly Accepts Her First Bitcoin appeared first on CCN

HTC Says Its Crypto-Friendly Smartphone Will Support Litecoin

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

Litecoin creator Charlie Lee revealed Monday he will serve as an advisor to HTC's Exodus, the blockchain-powered smartphone.

A cruise line is facing public fury after one of its guards shot and killed a polar bear

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

Polar Bear Shot

  • A polar bear was shot and killed on Saturday by guards from the German cruise ship MS Bremen. 
  • According to the ship's owner, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, the bear was shot after it attacked a "polar bear guard" who was looking to see if the area was safe for tourists to explore. 
  • Many on social media were not pleased that an endangered animal was killed in its natural habitat. 

German cruise operator Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is facing some heavy backlash from the public after a guard employed by the company shot and killed a polar bear on an island in the Arctic Ocean.

The incident occurred on Saturday after the MS Bremen stopped off the island of Spitsbergen, in the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard. A group of "polar bear guards" from the ship went on land ahead of the tourists to make sure none of the animals were in the area. One of the guards was "unexpectedly attacked" by a polar bear, which was shot dead by another guard in an act of self-defense, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises said in a statement on Monday.

The company claims that the animal was only shot once it became apparent the attacked guard's life was in danger and that the animal would not leave the scene.

The Joint Rescue Coordination for northern Norway confirmed in a tweet on Saturday that the animal had been shot and killed. 

"We very much regret this incident," the cruise line said. "Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is very aware of its responsibility when traveling in environmentally-sensitive areas and respects all nature and wildlife." 

According to the Hamburg-based firm, its guard suffered head injuries from his encounter with the animal and was airlifted out to receive medical attention. His condition is stable and he "remains responsive." 

In a phone call with the New York Times, Moritz Krause, spokesman for Hapag-Llyod Cruises, said that usually, if a wild bear is seen, guards “shoot into the air” to scare the animal away. But he said the injured guard did not see the polar bear before it attacked. 

There are apparently 3,500 polar bears found in the Svalbard area, which forms the Arctic Ocean cluster the Spitsbergen island resides in. With a worldwide population of no more than 31,000, polar bears are among the most endangered species in the world. Public attention has recently increased to the plight polar bears face as their living conditions have changed drastically due to climate change.

Even so, the dangers of encountering polar bears are well known to those traveling in the area. 

According to the Governor of Svalbard's website, "Due to the polar bear danger in Svalbard, any person traveling outside the settlements shall be equipped with appropriate means of frightening and chasing off polar bears. We also recommend carrying firearms outside the settlements."

On the Norwegian Polar Institute website, the Cruise Handbook for Svalbard states, "Due to the risk of meeting polar bears visitors travelling in Svalbard must always have firearms and protection devices at hand, such as a big-game rifle and ammunition for self-defence, flare gun or an emergency signal flare pen for driving off polar bears and tripwire with flares for camping." 

Despite these warnings, some people expressed anger on social media that a cruise ship company leading tourists on an exploration of an animal's natural habitat led to the death of an animal that is among the world's most endangered species. 

 

 

If the face of withering criticism appearing on public forums, Hapag-Llyod Cruises closed its statement with an apology:  

"Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has been traveling to these destinations for many years with an experienced crew. The cruise operator is respected in the destinations as a responsible partner and the experts actively inform the guests about the appropriate behavior required in these areas. We are extremely sorry that this incident has happened."

The company was founded in 1891 and the MS Bremen cruise ship has been in operation since 1990. 

SEE ALSO: Great-power competition is growing in the Arctic, but lawmakers want to cut funding for the US's next icebreaker

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Op Ed: Cryptocurrency Capital Gains Taxes — Breaking Down the Problem

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

Op Ed: Cryptocurrency Capital Gains Taxes — Breaking Down the Problem

Capital gains on crypto transactions are easy to track, one at a time. What about when there are thousands?

Cryptocurrency capital gains taxes are becoming a point of interest for governments. In 2017, which will likely come to be known as the year crypto went mainstream, the combined market cap for all cryptocurrencies rocketed up from 15 billion to over 600 billion dollars. This kind of growth is hard to ignore — not just for the day traders and blockchain evangelists but for governments as well. This article focuses on how the United States specifically approaches crypto taxation.

Don Fort, the chief of the IRS criminal investigation unit, speaking on a recent tax conference panel, discussed at length how “cryptocurrency is becoming a new area of enforcement for him.” Other events like the IRS Coinbase Summons and the IRS warning sent to tax filers show the clear intentions of the U.S. government.

Because cryptocurrency is treated as property (not as currency), it is subject to capital gains taxes — just like stocks, bonds, real estate and other forms of personal property. Boiled down, you incur capital gains whenever you sell property for more than you purchased it for. You then report this gain on your yearly taxes, and that’s the end of it. The same is true for cryptocurrency.

While the intentions of the government are clear — they want you to report your crypto gains — active crypto traders know that the sheer volume that comes with trading crypto brings about a slew of challenges and headaches for tax reporting purposes. Before diving into these challenges, we should break down capital gains.

How Do I Calculate My Cryptocurrency Capital Gains?

Fair Market Value - Cost Basis = Capital Gains

Step 1 - Determine Your Cost Basis

Cost basis is the original value of an asset or, essentially, how much money you put in to acquire that asset. For crypto assets, it includes the purchase price plus all other costs associated with purchasing the cryptocurrency. Other costs typically include things like transaction fees and brokerage commissions from the exchanges where you purchased the crypto. So to calculate your cost basis you would carry out the following:

(Purchase Price of Crypto + Other fees) / Quantity of Holding = Cost Basis

Step 2 - Determine the Fair Market Value at the Time of the Trade

The fair market value is the second data point you need to calculate your capital gains. Fair market value is the value of your cryptocurrency at the time you sold/traded it.

An example would look something like the following: You bought 0.05 Bitcoin for $100 dollars in June of 2017. You paid a $1.49 transaction fee to the exchange that you purchased from. Your cost basis is $101.49 for 0.05 Bitcoin. In November of 2017, you sold that same 0.05 Bitcoin for the fair market value which was $500 at the time. Based on this simple example, you have a capital gain of $398.51 (500 - 101.49).

Coin-to-Coin Trades

Here’s where things get much more difficult for the day traders. The IRS states that coin-to-coin trades are also taxable events. This means that when you trade BTC for any other altcoin, you incur a capital gain or capital loss that you have to file on your taxes. I want to lay out one more example to show how a coin-to-coin trading scenario would play out.

Let’s say you purchase $100 worth of bitcoin, including transaction and brokerage fees. That $100 currently buys about 0.01 BTC. Now, let’s say two months later you trade all of your 0.1 BTC for 0.16 ETH. How would you calculate your capital gains for this coin-to-coin trade?

It depends on what the fair market value of bitcoin was at the time of the trade. Let’s say at the time of the trade, 0.01 BTC was worth $160. This would put the fair market value of 0.01 BTC at $160. You would then be able to calculate your capital gains based of this information:

$160 – 100 = $60.00 capital gain

For that crypto-to-crypto trade, you would owe the government a percentage of your $60.00 gain.

The Huge Problem and the Elephant in the Room

It’s no secret that some people are trading crypto a lot. Many simply automate their trading strategies by utilizing crypto bots to trade on their behalf. Some of these folks make thousands and thousands of trades every single month. This sheer volume makes reporting and calculating every single trade for tax purposes virtually impossible. Just think: You need to retroactively look back on every trade you have made and determine what the fair market value in U.S. dollars was at that time of the trade, and then use that to calculate your gain or loss. It’s no wonder that an extremely small number of active traders paid taxes on their crypto activity in 2017.

However, with any problem comes the opportunity to provide a solution, and several companies and services are sprouting up to address this one.

How Do I Actually Report It?

In terms of how to report cryptocurrency on taxes in the United States, you need two specific forms. First, you need to fill out the IRS form 8949, which will detail each crypto trade that you made during the calendar year, as well as the date sold, date acquired, cost basis and capital gain. You then need to total up all of these items to arrive at your total gains and report that number on your 1040 Schedule D.

As always, when in doubt, consult a tax professional who is familiar and has dealt with cryptocurrency.

What Does the Future Look Like?

I think I am preaching to the choir when I say that crypto isn’t going away anytime soon. This is a technology that is going to change the world in ways that we currently cannot even fathom. On the flipside, the tax implications behind it aren’t going away either. When you come to grips with this reality, it is easy to prepare yourself for the future. Come up with a plan, do your research on all of the solutions currently on the marketplace, and prepare now. This will save you time and anxiety once next April rolls around.

Tax talk aside, I am incredibly excited about the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. These are extremely exciting times that we live in; opportunity is right around the corner.

This is a guest post by David Kemmerer; it is for information purposes only and should not be construed as tax or investment advice. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Op Ed: Cryptocurrency Capital Gains Taxes — Breaking Down the Problem

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

Op Ed: Cryptocurrency Capital Gains Taxes — Breaking Down the Problem

Capital gains on crypto transactions are easy to track, one at a time. What about when there are thousands?

Cryptocurrency capital gains taxes are becoming a point of interest for governments. In 2017, which will likely come to be known as the year crypto went mainstream, the combined market cap for all cryptocurrencies rocketed up from 15 billion to over 600 billion dollars. This kind of growth is hard to ignore — not just for the day traders and blockchain evangelists but for governments as well. This article focuses on how the United States specifically approaches crypto taxation.

Don Fort, the chief of the IRS criminal investigation unit, speaking on a recent tax conference panel, discussed at length how “cryptocurrency is becoming a new area of enforcement for him.” Other events like the IRS Coinbase Summons and the IRS warning sent to tax filers show the clear intentions of the U.S. government.

Because cryptocurrency is treated as property (not as currency), it is subject to capital gains taxes — just like stocks, bonds, real estate and other forms of personal property. Boiled down, you incur capital gains whenever you sell property for more than you purchased it for. You then report this gain on your yearly taxes, and that’s the end of it. The same is true for cryptocurrency.

While the intentions of the government are clear — they want you to report your crypto gains — active crypto traders know that the sheer volume that comes with trading crypto brings about a slew of challenges and headaches for tax reporting purposes. Before diving into these challenges, we should break down capital gains.

How Do I Calculate My Cryptocurrency Capital Gains?

Fair Market Value - Cost Basis = Capital Gains

Step 1 - Determine Your Cost Basis

Cost basis is the original value of an asset or, essentially, how much money you put in to acquire that asset. For crypto assets, it includes the purchase price plus all other costs associated with purchasing the cryptocurrency. Other costs typically include things like transaction fees and brokerage commissions from the exchanges where you purchased the crypto. So to calculate your cost basis you would carry out the following:

(Purchase Price of Crypto + Other fees) / Quantity of Holding = Cost Basis

Step 2 - Determine the Fair Market Value at the Time of the Trade

The fair market value is the second data point you need to calculate your capital gains. Fair market value is the value of your cryptocurrency at the time you sold/traded it.

An example would look something like the following: You bought 0.05 Bitcoin for $100 dollars in June of 2017. You paid a $1.49 transaction fee to the exchange that you purchased from. Your cost basis is $101.49 for 0.05 Bitcoin. In November of 2017, you sold that same 0.05 Bitcoin for the fair market value which was $500 at the time. Based on this simple example, you have a capital gain of $398.51 (500 - 101.49).

Coin-to-Coin Trades

Here’s where things get much more difficult for the day traders. The IRS states that coin-to-coin trades are also taxable events. This means that when you trade BTC for any other altcoin, you incur a capital gain or capital loss that you have to file on your taxes. I want to lay out one more example to show how a coin-to-coin trading scenario would play out.

Let’s say you purchase $100 worth of bitcoin, including transaction and brokerage fees. That $100 currently buys about 0.01 BTC. Now, let’s say two months later you trade all of your 0.1 BTC for 0.16 ETH. How would you calculate your capital gains for this coin-to-coin trade?

It depends on what the fair market value of bitcoin was at the time of the trade. Let’s say at the time of the trade, 0.01 BTC was worth $160. This would put the fair market value of 0.01 BTC at $160. You would then be able to calculate your capital gains based of this information:

$160 – 100 = $60.00 capital gain

For that crypto-to-crypto trade, you would owe the government a percentage of your $60.00 gain.

The Huge Problem and the Elephant in the Room

It’s no secret that some people are trading crypto a lot. Many simply automate their trading strategies by utilizing crypto bots to trade on their behalf. Some of these folks make thousands and thousands of trades every single month. This sheer volume makes reporting and calculating every single trade for tax purposes virtually impossible. Just think: You need to retroactively look back on every trade you have made and determine what the fair market value in U.S. dollars was at that time of the trade, and then use that to calculate your gain or loss. It’s no wonder that an extremely small number of active traders paid taxes on their crypto activity in 2017.

However, with any problem comes the opportunity to provide a solution, and several companies and services are sprouting up to address this one.

How Do I Actually Report It?

In terms of how to report cryptocurrency on taxes in the United States, you need two specific forms. First, you need to fill out the IRS form 8949, which will detail each crypto trade that you made during the calendar year, as well as the date sold, date acquired, cost basis and capital gain. You then need to total up all of these items to arrive at your total gains and report that number on your 1040 Schedule D.

As always, when in doubt, consult a tax professional who is familiar and has dealt with cryptocurrency.

What Does the Future Look Like?

I think I am preaching to the choir when I say that crypto isn’t going away anytime soon. This is a technology that is going to change the world in ways that we currently cannot even fathom. On the flipside, the tax implications behind it aren’t going away either. When you come to grips with this reality, it is easy to prepare yourself for the future. Come up with a plan, do your research on all of the solutions currently on the marketplace, and prepare now. This will save you time and anxiety once next April rolls around.

Tax talk aside, I am incredibly excited about the future of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. These are extremely exciting times that we live in; opportunity is right around the corner.

This is a guest post by David Kemmerer; it is for information purposes only and should not be construed as tax or investment advice. Views expressed are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Bitcoin Magazine or BTC Inc.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

How Blockchain Promotes International Trade, Identity and Financial Inclusion

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

Blockchain for International Trade, Identity and Financial Inclusion

International trade, people without identity and financial exclusion are global development areas that stand to be radically improved with blockchain technology, according to Michelle Chivunga, regional advisor for the British Blockchain Association.

“I’m quite keen to help people in understanding what the potential of blockchain is,” said Chivunga in an interview with Bitcoin Magazine. “And at the same time I’m also quite passionate and I’ve done quite a bit of work and involvement with women’s economic empowerment programmes, working with different groups from UN women to the World Bank and a whole range of other organizations.”

“I’m also focused on emerging markets and nations as there are a lot of opportunities for technology to help,” she added.

Chivunga highlighted the plight of the financially excluded as a major area of global development where blockchain technology could bring unprecedented improvement: “I think it’s really important that we look at how we can use blockchain to help fund financial inclusion to help with access to digital assets that people have control over, rather than having central authorities controlling this.

“We want people who have control of their money and control of their own data. It’s absolutely significant because I think in my world, data is like the new money. If you can manage it and almost control use of your data, there’s a lot more power that you hold as well, so there’s that side of things as well. I think that’s absolutely critical.”

In a world where international trade has come under fire, she sees blockchains as being a much needed antidote to the potential damaging consequences of a global trade war.

“I’m a big promoter of international trade and opportunities for countries to export and interact.”

The increased visibility throughout the supply chain promotes trust and means governments can more easily protect consumers while businesses can safely do business with more reliable trading documents.

The World Economic Forum states that “with further investment and experimentation, blockchain could potentially hide confidential information to protect the interests of trading parties — pricing information, for example.”

“Take Africa, for example, we want to encourage a lot more interregional trade,” said Chivunga. “We can try and look at doing that by tapping on blockchain again because blockchain allows that opportunity for transparency and opportunities to have a more cost effective way of trading and doing business between different markets. So there’s massive potential there.”

Adding blockchain to the trading process has proven to reduce time spent completing trade-finance deals. What can now take a week to 10 days to complete could take just a couple of hours using blockchain technology, driving efficiencies that stand to transform not only emerging markets such as Africa but global markets as well.Solving Identity Issues

“A further area I see is, of course, identity,” Chivunga added, “which is absolutely huge and very very important because we have a lot of problems with refugees, with human trafficking, modern slavery. A lot of this does boil down to a lack of identity and people almost taking advantage of that, which leads to things like human trafficking.”

An astounding 14 percent of the global population, 1.1 billion people, are without identification, according to a 2017 report by the World Bank.

“If we are able to record the births of a nation,” Chivunga said, “we know how many children are born; they’ve got their identity that’s recorded on the blockchain. They can be tracked.”

She points out that “this is not tracking as in ‘Big Brother is watching you.’ It’s completely different in the sense that we’re able to use that data, even using machine learning or AI, to analyze that data for health needs or policy, or a whole range of other areas. We could make evidence-based decisions which we can use to plan ahead and foster solutions that are a bit more tailored. And really, people who are right at the bottom are the ones that do need that social change.”

Alongside the 14 percent of the world’s population that remains unidentified, there are scores of people who are lost to modern slavery — an estimated 24.9 million victims, according to a September 2017 report from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and Walk Free Foundation.

However, Chivunga believes blockchain-based technology carries some promise for freedom and positive change with its potential for securely tracking and storing people’s identity.

So what’s the key to unravelling the potential of the blockchain to where it becomes a global solution to some of the world’s worst problems?

“We have to have more education around separating bitcoin from blockchain technology, and also education around how blockchain can actually be used and by whom,” says Chivunga. “It’s not a magic wand, and we have to be quite cautious about how we throw in the hype.

This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

This Cryptocurrency Hedge Fund Has a Lifetime Return of 10,136%

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

Midway through 2013, when the bitcoin price was trading at $104, cryptocurrency hedge fund Pantera Capital published an investor letter that made what at the time seemed to be a moonshot prediction: The bitcoin price, the firm said, will one day hit $5,000. Five years on, a $5,000 bitcoin price target is considered bearish, and

The post This Cryptocurrency Hedge Fund Has a Lifetime Return of 10,136% appeared first on CCN

Cloudbet Celebrates Bitcoin Cash Birthday by Doubling All Deposits

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

This is a paid-for submitted press release. CCN does not endorse, nor is responsible for any material included below and isn’t responsible for any damages or losses connected with any products or services mentioned in the press release. CCN urges readers to conduct their own research with due diligence into the company, product or service mentioned

The post Cloudbet Celebrates Bitcoin Cash Birthday by Doubling All Deposits appeared first on CCN

Chamber of Digital Commerce Sets Out ICO and Token Guidelines

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

Chamber of Digital Commerce Sets Out ICO and Token Guidelines

The Chamber of Digital Commerce’s Token Alliance is producing a new group of guidelines built to help the cryptocurrency and initial coin offering (ICO) markets grow responsibly. Released today as a whitepaper, the report is entitled “Understanding Digital Tokens: Market Overviews & Guidelines for Policymakers & Practitioners.”

The paper will specifically pertain to “utility tokens,” which provide users with future access to products or services. In these instances, ICOs will raise money for new blockchain products by offering investors future use of the items being developed (usually at a discounted rate).

Former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commissioner and CEO of Patomak Global Partners Paul Atkins comments, “These principles are an important tool for responsible growth and smart regulation that strikes the right balance between protecting investors while allowing for innovation in this new technological frontier. We think it is important to explain the unique attributes of blockchain-based digital assets, which are not all strictly investment based, and provide guidance to consumers, regulators and the industry.”

The whitepaper is broken up into three distinct sections. The first offers a comprehensive overview of current and future regulations to give investors a stronger understanding of securities laws in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia.

The second part showcases industry-developed principles for both trading platforms and token sponsors to better promote safe and legal business practices and lower the risks to organizers and traders.

The third and final portion of the report provides a general discussion of the growth and evolution of the digital token space thus far.

Perianne Boring is the founder and president of the Chamber of Digital Commerce. Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, she said that the lack of clear regulation in the cryptocurrency arena, particularly surrounding ICOs, has led to several unsafe practices.

“The Chamber of Digital Commerce is advocating for regulatory clarity,” she said. “Up until now, there has been an absence of clarity on the regulatory landscape for ICOs and utility tokens. Token generation events, which include initial coin offerings, can offer important opportunities for businesses and individuals to participate in token platforms. These platforms offer services that require the token to use the platform. As we have seen, some ICOs have been fraudulent or otherwise violated the law. In these circumstances, purchasers can lose the funds or the value of the token they purchased.”

On an international scale, cryptocurrency regulatory measures are a hodgepodge of disjointed approaches with varying degrees of governmental acceptance, as officials around the globe have set their own paces for regulating the cryptocurrency industry. Some countries, like Malta and Switzerland, have enacted friendly legislation in an attempt to attract industry movers to their borders, while others, such as the United States, have taken a slower and cautious approach to regulation.

Boring believes regulations could introduce legitimacy and protections into a landscape still obscured in popular opinion by skepticism and doubts that are made murkier still by persistent manipulation and fraud.

“Fraud also impacts the reputation of this growing industry. Our goal is to minimize incidences of fraudulent activity while promoting those innovators and businesses who issue tokens for use on their platforms or otherwise comply with securities laws.”

Boring explains that the report is likely to change over time as the industry changes, that researchers will add chapters and sections to the whitepaper as more countries become involved in ICOs and the crypto space, and that the report is an important first step toward ensuring the cryptocurrency market remains clean and unmarred by financial crime.

“These industry-developed principles are the first set of guidelines for the token industry,” she asserts. “They represent a compendium of laws worldwide to ensure that businesses are fully aware of the spectrum of laws that can apply. It also provides market trends to help assess the scope and breadth of this industry. This is our proactive approach to address some of the biggest issues facing the token ecosystem.”

Based in Washington, D.C., the Chamber of Digital Commerce is the world’s largest trade association representing cryptocurrencies and the blockchain. The Token Alliance is one of the organization’s many initiatives and is composed of approximately 350 participants ranging from technologists and economists, to token experts, lawyers and former regulators.


This article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTC/USD Bias Conflict Prevails

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

So now we are at the start of another week, but Bitcoin value hasn’t really managed to extend the previous week’s powerful rally towards $8,512. As far as the long-term holdings are concerned, there is nothing much happening inside the market. In the last 24 hours itself, the BTC/USD pair continued to trend sideways within

The post Bitcoin Price Intraday Analysis: BTC/USD Bias Conflict Prevails appeared first on CCN

This startup wants to make blood testing as easy as snapping a photo with an iPhone

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

iMOST Back   Copy

  • In the wake of Theranos — the buzzy blood-testing unicorn that's fallen from grace and whose founder faces criminal charges — startups are still working to make blood-testing faster and cheaper. 
  • One new startup called Essenlix uses an iPhone and an attached device to run tests like a complete blood count, used to measure red and white blood cells in the body. 
  • The device, not yet approved, could bring blood-testing technology to more people who might not have access to a full lab. 

The story might sound familiar: An entrepreneur out of a prestigious US university has developed a new blood-testing technology that can be run using only a small sample of blood. 

While that might leave visions of black turtlenecks, and Silicon Valley-level valuations in your head, Stephen Chou, a professor of electrical engineering at Princeton University, is trying to make sure his startup, Essenlix, doesn't meet the same fate as Theranos

Chou.Photo.CP.2018.07.24   Copy (1)The New Jersey-based company is developing a a system that uses an iPhone and an attachment to run lab samples on-the-go. 

"You basically have a mobile chemical biological lab in your hand," Chou said. 

To start, Chou developed a test for a complete blood count (or CBC), which measures the number of white and red blood cells in the body as well as hemoglobin, a protein responsible for transporting oxygen.

While the test is used to monitor overall health, it's also frequently used in blood cancer practices to check a person's blood count before chemotherapy. The company's raised about $20 million from investors including Quadrant Management, Carret Private Investments, and other high net worth individuals. 

Here's how it works

Essenlix's system, dubbed the iMOST (short for "Instant Mobile Self-Test"), consists of a few different components: there's an app, an attachment, a cartridge for the sample, and of course the iPhone itself. The attachment sits over the iPhone's camera and flash. 

Essenlix plug-on device

The test starts with a finger-prick. The first drop of blood gets wiped away, but the second gets put on a thin plastic cartridge. 

Essenlix FingerprickOnce that's done, the cartridge is loaded into the green attachment, and the test is run in a matter of seconds, leveraging the insides of the iPhone including the flash and camera. 

Essenlix test in action

Typically, complete blood count tests are done on machines found in the labs at doctor's offices. To vet Essenlix's system, the team ran clinical trials comparing the new technology to traditional devices. 

In two trials of 92 patients total run at Hunterdon Hematology Oncology in New Jersey, Essenlix tested patients with both the standard machine and its blood test. In the end, there was on average a 6% difference between Essenlix's white and red blood cell counts and what traditional machines found, and a 3% difference in hemoglobin measurements, all within the FDA requirements for allowable total error.

"Our error is clearly smaller than the FDA’s requirement so the data is very, very good," Chou said.

With that data, Chou said the company is working with the FDA to move toward a potential approval, and ideally hopes to publish the clinical trial results in a publication. 

Proliferating lab testing

While doctors who already have access in their offices to a lab that runs blood count tests might not need an iPhone-based version, the implications of a mobile testing platform could be significant in rural areas that may not have access to traditional, expensive equipment. And ultimately, because the test can be run rather simply, it might lead to lower lab costs.

There are others companies trying to make the blood testing process easier and cheaper. In July, a company building a tabletop machine got the European OK for its CBC tests.

The lab-testing community is optimistic for a day when tests like a CBC can be run on smaller, more portable machines, which will inevitably improve access to the technology. 

"This is necessary," Dennis Dietzen, a medical director at St. Louis Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics and pathology and immunology at Washington University School of Medicine and president of the American Association for Clinical Chemistry told Business Insider. But miniaturizing the technology needed to run these kinds of tests, Dietzen said, isn't easy. Dietzen said he's still waiting to see clinical data published in an academic journal that compares Essenlix's technology to the standard way blood tests are run. 

The dearth of clinical data and published articles about its technology was a common refrain for criticism to Theranos. For a long time, the company didn't publicly share its data, saying it'd rather go through the FDA approval process. 

In the future, the hope is to use Essenlix's iMOST technology for other blood tests to detect viruses or bacterial infections, and ideally one day on other types of body fluids beyond blood.  

See also: 

SEE ALSO: The billion-dollar healthcare unicorns you should be watching in 2018

DON'T MISS: Meet the 30 healthcare leaders under 40 who are using technology to shape the future of medicine

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Bitcoin Price Headed to $500,000 in Six Years: Hedge Fund Mgr.

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

The year is more than halfway over, but hedge fund manager Mark Yusko isn’t backing down from his prediction that the bitcoin price will reach a new all-time high in 2018, the first rumble of a moonshot that will see the flagship cryptocurrency crack the six-figure threshold in less than a decade. Writing on Twitter, … Continued

The post Bitcoin Price Headed to $500,000 in Six Years: Hedge Fund Mgr. appeared first on CCN

[promoted] WatermelonBlock Harnesses AI Brainpower to Fuel Crypto Market Analysis

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

WatermelonBlock Thumb

The world of cryptocurrency is in a constant state of flux. As a result, the process of sorting through untold amounts of background information and data can be a laborious, time-consuming endeavor. Continually subjected to emotions and opinions, investors are often unable to reliably assess the informational signals needed to make informed market decisions.

That’s where WatermelonBlock, a data analytics company featuring a suite of products that deliver cryptocurrency insights directly to the consumer, comes in. Through a mix of data points gathered from social media as well as traditional technical analysis, this emerging startup assists investors in staying abreast of critical data and information sets in real time.

WatermelonBlock seeks to deliver these insights to all levels of investors, from experienced traders seeking to stay ahead of the curve relative to their personalized portfolio to newcomers attempting to mitigate the information overload often tied to their first major investments. 

It’s here that the company recognizes a gap in the ability of ordinary algorithms to analyze the size of critical data sets. By deploying the computing power of IBM Watson, arguably the most advanced AI platform in the world, WatermelonBlock is able to scan, categorize, weigh and analyze big data sets within seconds, providing users with current market information and real-time actionable insights right at their fingertips. 

More Accurate and Better-Informed Trading Decisions

WatermelonBlock is not just a proof of concept — it’s an actual working protocol that puts user experience first, all with the goal of integrating cryptocurrency investments into any lifestyle through a 24/7 stream of market analytics.

A free insights smartphone app powered by WatermelonBlock is replete with a sleek, simple user interface and is scheduled for release in Q4 of this year. It will feature neatly packaged, real-time cryptocurrency, market and initial coin offering (ICO) analysis; personalized portfolio notifications and a digital wallet.

In phase two for the app, which will be released in Q3 of 2019, the WatermelonBot will be launched — an automated artificial intelligence (AI) bot that can execute trades according to user-set preferences. This second phase will also include a more advanced digital wallet and payments platform, allowing for more rapid trading and fulfillment. 

Driving this initiative is the WatermelonBlock token (WMB), which serves as the on-ramp for decision makers seeking to access the suite of sentiment analysis and AI trading tools, all without difficult-to-navigate fee structures. All prices are simple and transparent, allowing users to focus on markets and their investments versus costs. 

The WatermelonBlock pre-token sale will commence on July 27, with the full public sale beginning on August 27. Investors can gain exclusive access to the WatermelonBlock presale by registering on the WatermelonBlock website.

Seeding the Road Ahead

WatermelonBlock’s director and UX developer, Elliot Rothfield, has a passion for creating communities, particularly for the millennial set. With several successful startup businesses under his belt in addition to serving as the co-founder of a ten-year-old international community and arts festival, he is now putting the full force of his energy behind WatermelonBlock’s app suite.

“Through my involvement in one of Australia’s largest community and arts festivals, I began to notice that there were a lot of struggling artists that I was working with,” Rothfield said. “Many were able to support their craft and their lifestyle through cryptocurrency, as opposed to work through menial jobs. This is where my entrance into the cryptocurrency market began. Being an avid follower of the market, I noticed the volatility of the market straight away.”

Rothfield added that the name WatermelonBlock comes from the Japanese Watermelon — “It’s fun, it’s quirky and it’s memorable. We really wanted to go against a conventional blockchain name. We figured that there were enough names like Tron, Dash and Laser Gun 5000." 

With respect to the value proposition that WatermelonBlock hopes to deliver, Rothfield has got a clear vision.

“People are sick of biased information and ‘fake news,’” he said. “They are getting smarter and they are realizing that a lot of what is being fed to them via the media is heavily biased, with publishers often having a vested interest. As a result, these individuals are looking for smarter ways to trade (and that goes for any market), as well as more efficient ways to conduct market research.”

He added that WatermelonBlock’s ability to combine sentiment analysis with geolocation and indexing provides a much better system for consumers. 

“WatermelonBlock hopes to capture the pulse of both cryptocurrency and traditional markets, delivering insights and information accessible to all,” said Rothfield. “In 12 to 18 months, we see ourselves running with a full suite of applications to provide market analysis across all industries.”  

Note: Trading and investing in digital assets is speculative and can be high risk. Based on the shifting business and regulatory environment of such a new industry, this content should not be considered investment or legal advice.

This promoted article originally appeared on Bitcoin Magazine.

Litecoin Founder Charlie Lee Confirms LTC Support for HTC Blockchain Phone

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

HTC Corporation has announced that Litecoin co-founder, Charlie Lee, will serve as an advisor to HTC Exodus, the native blockchain smartphone developed by the Taiwanese consumer electronics firm. One small step for @SatoshiLite. One giant leap for blockchain. Team @HTCExodus, @philchen913 @htc are honored to have Charlie Lee to join as our advisor. cc @litecoin

The post Litecoin Founder Charlie Lee Confirms LTC Support for HTC Blockchain Phone appeared first on CCN

American Express purposefully jacked its FX prices for small businesses without telling them, according to a new report (AXP)

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

American Express logo

  • A new report by the Wall Street Journal alleges that American Express lured small companies into attractive foreign exchange deals, then later jacked the rates.
  • The logic, according to the Journal, was to increase AmEx's profits without making their clients aware.
  • Sources said the company chose smaller clients because they were less likely to watch exchange rates closely and notice a difference.
  • American Express pushed back, and said their approach to foreign exchange is "fair and transparent."

The foreign exchange business at American Express reportedly spent more than a decade deliberately hiking its exchange rates for small clients it thought wouldn't notice the difference, current and former employees have told The Wall Street Journal.

According to the Journal, the company's sales team would gain clients by offering them low rates, then later increase them without explicitly saying so. This meant more money for American Express.

Sources said the department increased conversion fees without telling its customers as part of a practice that was widespread since at least 2004 and continued until earlier this year.

According to the Journal, they stopped when allegations of similar practices at Wells Fargo became public.

American Express responded to the Journal by saying that its rates are "fair and transparent." However, they did not specifically deny increasing rates without telling people.

Spokeswoman Marina Norville told The Wall Street Journal: "We have training, control and compliance oversight and believe that our transactions are completed and reported in a fair and transparent manner at the rates which the client has authorized."

The current and former employees said that they would tell potential clients that they could beat the price they were currently paying to convert and send money abroad. They did not inform these clients that the margin was subject to increase without notice. The salespeople would later increase the margin without telling the customer.

In order to notice the increase, a customer would have to log in to their accounts and compare American Express' rate with the market exchange rate at the time.

Current and former employees and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal showed that when customers did notice a change and asked about it, salespeople sometimes would blame a glitch or other technicality and lower the margin for that customer.

Business Insider has contacted American Express for further comment.

Read the full report in The Wall Street Journal here.

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: An early investor in Uber, Airbnb, and bitcoin explains why it's actually a good sign that no one is spending their crypto

Bitcoin's Price Needs Move Above $8,350 to Regain Bull Bias

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

Bitcoin bulls could make a strong comeback if prices find acceptance above the key resistance at $8,300.

Blockstack's First Business App Wants to Help Employees Earn More Crypto

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

Misthos' new multi-signature bitcoin wallet for businesses aims to empower workers and democratize the setting of wages.

'Dunkirk spirit': UK banks are preparing billions in emergency lending to support the economy under a no-deal Brexit

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

chinook ch-47

  • Big banks are ready to lend money to UK businesses in order to prop up the economy in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The bank lobbying body, UK Finance, said it was ready to help coordinate lending as it did following the collapse of Carillion and Monarch Airlines, The Telegraph reported.
  • Ministers have drawn up contingency plans for a no-deal exit from the EU and have put the Army on standby to deliver food, medicine, and fuel.


LONDON — Major banks are preparing to support UK businesses with credit if Britain falls out of the EU next March with no deal on future relations with the bloc, highlighting just how disruptive crashing out of the EU could be to the UK economy.

The Telegraph reported on Sunday that CEOs and banking lobbying groups are ready to extend lines of credit to soften the economic blow by blockages in trade and financial flows in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Officials at the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have reportedly begun talks with lenders in recent weeks over how they can help buttress the economy.

The report came on the same day as The Sunday Times reported that the government has put the army on standby in case of a disruptive Brexit, drawing up plans for them to deliver food, medicine and fuel to keep the country moving.

Prime Minister Theresa May’s government hopes to reach a final agreement on Britain's post-Brexit relationship with the EU at a key summit in October. But Europe’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier has called into question the viability of the UK’s proposals, saying there are elements of the government's proposed deal that he doesn’t understand.

The comments raise the risk that Britain could fall out of the EU without a deal when the Brexit deadline is reached next March. This would likely cause huge disruption to everything from medicine and food supplies to car manufacturing.

One executive at a FTSE 100 bank told The Telegraph: "Extending credit to firms impacted is one thing we’re looking at. It’s a bit Dunkirk spirit type of stuff. But banks are in reasonably good shape and can cope."

Banking lobbying body, UK Finance, told the Telegraph it is ready to help coordinate lending from the banks as it did following the collapse of outsourcing firm Carillion and Monarch Airlines. The funding could be used to help firms who are incurring extra costs from supply chain delays or other effects of a no-deal Brexit.

Stephen Jones, chief executive of UK Finance, told the Telegraph: "If the industry, the Government, and the regulator want us to act as a convener of the industry we will, of course, do that."

Neil Wilson, the chief market analyst at Markets.com, told Business Insider that the Bank of England would likely step in if there is a no deal Brexit, rather than leaving it solely to the private sector.

"I think you would get the BoE making an emergency statement to that effect if we get no deal Brexit – as per the immediate aftermath of the vote when the BoE stepped in quite decisively on that front. The Bank would be critical," he said.

Wilson added that interest rate cuts and a restarting of the term funding scheme would also be likely "to maintain credit liquidity."

Banks themselves have concerns over the enforceability of billions of pounds of cross-border contracts, customer data transfers, and access to the European payments system.

The unnamed FTSE 100 banking executive told the Telegraph: "We want to make sure we don’t make a bad situation humongously worse. We’re thinking about what to do in a no deal storm… If there are huge queues of lorries at Calais and Dover, what is the banking equivalent of that?"

SEE ALSO: The British Army is reportedly on standby to deliver food, medicines, and fuel in case of a no-deal Brexit

DON'T MISS: Deutsche Bank is shifting business out of London — and it hints at a troubling post-Brexit future for a $1 trillion industry

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'If you keep working, you will die': London bankers in their 20s and 30s are having more heart attacks, doctors say

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

intern

  • Bankers in their 20s and 30s are being admitted to the hospital more frequently with cardiac conditions and heart attacks, cardiologists in the UK told Business Insider.
  • One doctor estimated he’s seen a 10% rise in bankers under 30 being admitted to the hospital in the last decade.
  • One former banker shared her experience with Business Insider in which she suffered a cardiac event in her early-20's after frequently working until 4 a.m. 
  • This all comes even as big banks are trying to reduce stress for junior employees. 

As a second-year analyst at a major European bank, Laura frequently worked until 4 a.m., suffered a cardiac event, and was hospitalized three times in two years. She said she was told by doctors "if you keep working, you will die."

Laura isn't the finance professional's real name. She asked Business Insider not to name her or the bank for fear of retribution. In describing her time at the bank, she said she worked day and night, and was stopped from taking sick days off even after getting a throat infection which eventually spread to her heart in a case of infective endocarditis.

In the early hours one Monday morning in 2015, she shot up in bed with pain in her chest. "I was having basically a heart attack," she said. She previously had good health and didn't take drugs.

She left the bank soon after. 

"My husband told me to get out [saying] ‘the money’s not worth it,'" she said.

Young bankers are facing health issues

Young bankers in their 20's and 30's are being admitted to the hospital more frequently with heart conditions and heart attacks, cardiologists in the UK told Business Insider

Dr. Arjun Ghosh, a consultant cardiologist at Barts Heart Centre in London estimated that in the last decade, he’s seen a 10% rise in heart attacks among bankers under the age of 30. Around one in ten of his patients in this age range work in finance.

This is happening even as banks have put in measures to reduce the workload and stress of their junior staff, such as requiring Saturdays be taken off, following the death of a Bank of America intern in 2013.

Despite the recent efforts of big banks to reduce the working hours of their employees, Dr. Syed Ahsan, a cardiologist with a clinic in Canary Wharf, said he hasn't seen evidence of change.

"In investment banking, I think whatever they [the banks] say… the hours and the pressure that is put on these guys is huge. So as much as they may be doing things to improve — I don’t think it’s changed at all," he said.

To be sure, the increase in heart attacks among young bankers reflects similar trends in the population at large, the cardiologists say, although there hasn't yet been formal research published to reflect this.

"It’s so common now —  young people getting a heart attack. This is common enough not to be shocking… It’s not ‘Oh my god, they’re only 25!’," Dr. Ahmed Elghamaz, a consultant cardiologist at London North West University Hospital said. "We are not shocked anymore."

The increase is perhaps a result of an unhealthy, busy lifestyle with people working longer hours then they have in the past, Dr. Elghamaz said.

Doctors say they regularly see young bankers with two types of heart conditions — cardiac arrhythmia and myocarditis, both of which can lead to a fatal heart attack and can be made more likely by excessive work, stress, and drug use.

Myocarditis is an inflammation of the heart, which can be caused by stress or a viral infection that spreads through the body eventually infecting the heart, and arrhythmia is an uneven heart rhythm that can be brought on by tension and drug use.

The most common of the two heart conditions in bankers under 30 is myocarditis, Business Insider was told, and some of the cardiologists said they see it most in people that have a weakened immune system due to fatigue and unhealthy living.

The Whitehall Study, conducted by University College London’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, followed more than 10,000 British civil servants since the mid-1980s and showed that workers under 50 who were chronically stressed were 68% more likely to suffer a heart attack or chest pain.

There's a culture of drug taking 

A culture of drug taking in corporate environments also plays a factor.

Dr. Ashan said he recently treated a banker with heart problems in his late-20s. "He was using increasing amounts of cocaine working 12 to 14 hour a day, barely sleeping and he came in with episodes of blacking out and palpitations," he said.

Trends that the three cardiologists shared with BI are anecdotal, but they called for more research to be done into cardiac conditions in young people, and their relationship to stress and the work environment.

Professor Alexandra Michel, a scholar in organizational and behavioral research at the University of Pennsylvania, has studied the health and psychology of investment bankers for over 15 years.

In one piece of research published in 2012 by Administrative Science Quarterly, she followed four groups of investment bankers at two different banks from the start of their careers and tracked their progression over 10 years. At their fourth year, every banker involved in the study had developed a mental or physical health problem.

"Not only are there are new types of illnesses, many of them having to do with burn-out, but also illness that people typically get later in life, they now get earlier in life. And so I’m observing in these young bankers a whole cluster of health issues," Michel told Business Insider.

The work practices on Wall Street, which involve a super fast-paced environment in which employees are tied to their electronic devices 24/7, are spreading to other industries as well. This may bring about a whole new set of health issues to workers outside finance, Michel said. 

The doctors called for more research to be done and action to be taken.

"There’s got to be more research into the direct impact of working conditions, working hours, work stress and how that correlates with cardiac events," Dr. Ashan said.

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10 things you need to know in markets today

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

A man steps on the portrait of Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a protest over government's decision to increase the retirement age in Moscow, Russia, July 29, 2018.

Good morning! Here's what you need to know in markets on Monday.

1. Deutsche Bank has moved almost half its euro clearing activities from London to Frankfurt, in the latest sign of European cities winning financial business from the UK ahead of Brexit. The Financial Times reports that the move has provided a significant boost to Deutsche Börse’s ambition to steal business from LCH after Britain leaves the EU next March — six months ago, Deutsche Bank’s euro clearing operation was almost entirely done in London.

2. ARM Holdings, the British computer-chip designer owned by SoftBank, has agreed to buy US-based data analytics firm Treasure Data, people familiar with the matter said. Bloomberg reports that Treasure Data may fetch about $600 million in the sale, the people said, asking not to be identified because the deal isn’t yet public.

3. Heineken, the world’s second-largest beer maker, cut its guidance for full-year margins on Monday after reporting first-half earnings below market expectations. Reuters reports that the brewer of Heineken lager, Tiger, Sol and Strongbow cider forecast that its operating margin would decline by 20 basis points, compared with a previous forecast of an increase of 25 basis points.

4. The UK owner of bookmakers Ladbrokes and Coral is likely to seal a $200 million (£153 million) tie-up with the world’s biggest casino operator this week, to catapult it into the lucrative, newly liberalised US sports betting market. The Guardian reports that FTSE-listed gambling group GVC Holdings confirmed on Sunday it was in advanced talks to form a joint venture with MGM Resorts, giving both partners a foothold in what is forecast to grow into a multibillion-dollar sector.

5. Asian share markets drifted lower on Monday while currencies kept to familiar ranges ahead of a busy week peppered with central bank meetings, corporate results, and updates on US inflation and payrolls. Japan's Nikkei share index closed down 0.75%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng is down 0.74% at the time of writing (7.20 a.m. BST/2.20 a.m. ET), and China's Shanghai Composite is down 0.48%.

6. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday that he believes the quickening pace of growth in the nation's economy in the second quarter will persist for the next few years. "I don't think this is a one- or two-year phenomenon. I think we definitely are in a period of four or five years of sustained 3 per cent growth at least," Mnuchin said in an interview with 'Fox News Sunday.'

7. London-focused estate agent Foxtons on Monday posted a pre-tax loss in the first half of the year, hurt by lower sales in the British capital and on more investments. Reuters reports that Foxtons, which was once a symbol of London’s property boom, reported a loss before tax of £2.5 million compared with a profit of £3.8 million a year earlier.

8. The Bank of Japan has intervened to support the domestic bond market for the third time in a week. The Financial Times reports that the BoJ launched another round of bond purchases on Monday, after the yield, which moves inversely to price, on 10-year Japanese government bonds moved above 0.11 per cent - marking its highest level since February 2017.

9. John Hussman, the outspoken investor and former professor who has been predicting a stock market crash, has called out a big mistake he says investors are making as valuations continue to climb. He sees this dynamic specifically playing out in the tech sector, which has been largely responsible for market gains in recent months, leaving them that much more vulnerable.

10. Tesla reports second-quarter earnings this week, and they're expected to be as bad as first-quarter earnings. Tesla is also burning cash at a furious rate, leading short-sellers to intensify their pressure on the company.

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Van Eck Responds to SEC’s Bitcoin ETF Concerns In New Letter

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

Money management firm VanEck has responded to the SEC’s concerns over bitcoin exchange-traded funds (bitcoin ETF) in a letter to the regulator made public on the agency’s website. Addressed to Dalia Blass, director of the SEC’s division of investment management, the letter tackles the five points of order from the SEC’s previous communication with the

The post Van Eck Responds to SEC’s Bitcoin ETF Concerns In New Letter appeared first on CCN

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