Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

Posted on
Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

Economy & Regulation

The government of Malta has come up with an idea that businesses dealing with cryptocurrencies may find interesting. A new policy document seeks to set up a special agency which will “certify” blockchain platforms and “verify” crypto transactions. It is supposed to “bring peace of mind” to companies using these technologies to cut out central authorities and banks. Valletta also proposes legislation that will define the roles of intermediaries and regulate initial coin offerings.

Also read: Gibraltar Launches Regulation to Protect Cryptocurrency Value and Reputation

Government Will Provide “Legal Certainty and Trust”

The new Malta Digital Innovation Authority will certify blockchain platforms used by companies in the country. It will also be responsible for “verifying” cryptocurrency transactions by checking if the logged information is genuine. The government hopes to bring some peace of mind to businesses using distributed ledgers for cross-border payments.

Authorities in Valletta are recognizing that companies utilize blockchains to cut out central authorities. However, they acknowledge that the technology allows for cheaper and more efficient money transfers. Worried that those platforms are not currently certified in any way, the government has decided to provide some “legal certainty and trust”. Officials believe companies will benefit from the work of the new authority, while also cutting out intermediaries such as banks.

Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto Companies

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy Silvio Schembri presented the new policy document at a press conference with various stakeholders, the Maltese Independent reported. He called the event a “historic moment” and provided further details on how authorities plan to implement regulations concerning the cryptocurrency sector in successive stages.

The first step will be to set up the Malta Digital Innovation Authority. A bill will set out the regime for the registration of service providers and the certification of technology arrangements, Schembri explained. On stage 2, another draft will formalize the framework for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). A third law will impose regulation on services directly related to cryptocurrencies. Intermediaries like brokers, exchanges, wallet providers, asset managers, and investment advisors will be subjected to its provisions.

Malta Strives to Be a Hub of Innovation

Silvio Schembri stressed that promoting policies which favor the development of Malta as a hub for new technologies, including in the public sector, will be among the main goals. The aim is to foster innovation by creating a successful ecosystem, he added. That will be achieved through the “utilization of cutting edge technology in useful business cases and the adherence to best practices”. The lawmaker also noted that the Digital Innovation Authority would protect Malta’s reputation taking into account its international commitments under anti-money laundering directives.

Malta to Give “Peace of Mind” to Crypto CompaniesDuring the press conference, officials mentioned several applications of distributed ledger technology. In larger companies, internal DTL platforms can be used to maintain payroll systems and record movement of goods and invoices. Businesses can also take advantage of public platforms that share consensus mechanisms such as bitcoin and ethereum. Regulated financial institutions can utilize DTLs to offer services to their clients.

The Parliamentary Secretary for the Digital Economy said the government would consult with all stakeholders before finalizing its policies, including relevant authorities like the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) and the police. Local and international representatives of the industry will also be involved in the process. Silvio Schembri added that the public is free to provide feedback in the next three weeks. After that, the bills will be introduced in the Parliament of Malta.

Do you think policies outlined by Maltese authorities will attract more crypto businesses to the island nation? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. 


Bitcoin News is growing fast. To reach our global audience, send us a news tip or submit a press release. Let’s work together to help inform the citizens of Earth (and beyond) about this new, important and amazing information network that is Bitcoin.

PR: Money Token Applies for Royalty-Free Patent on Crypto-Backed Lending Technology

Posted on
Money Token Applies for Patent on Crypto-Backed Lending Technology

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

WIPO, the World Intellectual Property Organization, has received a new patent application, owned by the MoneyToken project, as announced on the MoneyToken blog.

The application describes a blockchain-based technology process of decentralized lending, secured by cryptocurrency assets as collateral, that doesn’t require vouching agents and that uses smart contracts and multi-signature wallets within the crediting process.

The premise is straightforward: By taking a cryptocurrency-backed loan with MoneyToken, users can receive liquid funds and hold their crypto assets all at the same time.

To gain access to the MoneyToken Private Sale, all users should join the MoneyToken Whitelist.

Founders comments on the patent:
https://medium.com/@moneytoken/jerome-macgillivray-money-token-founder-applied-to-patent-cryptocurrency-backed-loans-technology-f119dd589bb1

Contact Email Address
james.hendersonmt@gmail.com
Supporting Link
https://moneytoken.com/

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

Switzerland Enacts ICO Guidelines

Posted on
Switzerland Enacts World’s First ICO Guidelines

Featured

Just days before the tiny nation of Gibraltar was said to draft their first initial coin offering (ICO) regulations, Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) of Switzerland appears to have stolen its thunder in an eleven page document published today. It could be the standard by which developed countries look to install their own versions.

Also read: Citibank India Bans Bitcoin 

Switzerland Publishes ICO Guidelines

“The guidelines also define the information FINMA requires to deal with such enquiries and the principles upon which it will base its responses,” an agency press release began, “creating clarity for market participants.”

ICOs have bedeviled regulators the globe over since their inception Summer of 2013 as a creative way to crowdfund projects. They deliberately mirror initial public offerings, IPOs, which are famously used to bring traditional companies to market. However, IPOs have taken all the trappings that come with success: barriers to entry making them a very expensive proposition, requiring gaggles of lawyers and regulatory hoop-jumping. ICOs, due to their nascency, have gotten around all that to the tune of 6 billion USD in 2017 alone.

Switzerland Enacts World’s First ICO Guidelines

“FINMA has seen a sharp increase in the number of initial coin offerings (ICOs) planned or executed in Switzerland and a corresponding increase in the number of enquiries about the applicability of regulation,” the regulator insists. Following up on their Spring of last year Guidance document, “setting out how it intends to treat enquiries from ICO organisers,” FINMA wishes to solidify “transparency at this time” as it “is important given the dynamic market and the high level of demand.”

ICOs are a participatory token economy in the literal, digital sense. They usually focus upon a specific project, and combinations and permutations on this idea are as vast as the myriad of ICOs themselves: ownership in a company, payouts, tradeable coins, some of which are expected to appreciate beyond just being a digital stock certificate. They’re an adventuresome investment, and, as these pages have well-documented, slickly written white papers and website landing pages have often amounted to little more than exit scams.

Not All ICOs are Equal

A vast majority of ICOs rely upon the Ethereum platform and its Ethereum Request for Comments (ERC20), which is used for smart contracts. Something like over twenty one thousand such contracts exist, and estimates hold that ERC20 commands a supermajority ICO marketshare.

Swiss guidelines are “not applicable to all ICOs. Depending on the manner in which ICOs are designed, they may not in all cases be subject to regulatory requirements. Circumstances must be considered on a case-by-case basis […] At present, there is no ICO-specific regulation, nor is there relevant case law or consistent legal doctrine.” As such, “FINMA will focus on the economic function and purpose of the tokens (i.e. the blockchain-based units) issued by the ICO organiser. The key factors are the underlying purpose of the tokens and whether they are already tradeable or transferable.”

Switzerland Enacts World’s First ICO Guidelines

Swiss guidelines subdivide tokens into three classes: payment, utility, and asset. Payment tokens are basically cryptocurrencies as most understand them; utility tokens are access to services; asset tokens function more like derivatives, bonds, equities, and can serve as interest or dividend payments.

FINMA’s deepest worry involves anti-money laundering (AML) law subversion. “FINMA’s analysis indicates that money laundering and securities regulation are the most relevant to ICOs,” and as such guidelines contain “requirements for financial intermediaries including, for example, the need to establish the identity of beneficial owners.” Revealingly, the agency baldly asserts, “Money laundering risks are especially high in a decentralised blockchain-based system, in which assets can be transferred anonymously and without any regulated intermediaries.”

Switzerland Enacts World’s First ICO Guidelines

Supportive of Blockchain Technology

ICOs with payment token arrangements FINMA won’t be thought of as securities, and instead be required to comply with AML regulations already in place. Additionally, utility token ICOs “do not qualify as securities only if their sole purpose is to confer digital access rights to an application or service and if the utility token can already be used in this way at the point of issue.”

Asset token ICOs, however, “FINMA regards asset tokens as securities, which means that there are securities law requirements for trading in such tokens, as well as civil law requirements.” Where there are hybrids, it appears the most regulation applies rather than a default to a less regulated token.  

The Swiss body was careful to suggest it supports blockchain development, and it quotes FINMA head Mark Branson as insisting, “The application of blockchain technology has innovative potential within and far beyond the financial markets. However, blockchain-based projects conducted analogously to regulated activities cannot simply circumvent the tried and tested regulatory framework. Our balanced approach to handling ICO projects and enquiries allows legitimate innovators to navigate the regulatory landscape and so launch their projects in a way consistent with our laws protecting investors and the integrity of the financial system.”

Do you think FINMA’s guidelines will be the world standard? Let us know in the comments section.


Images courtesy of Pixabay, FINMA


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

Polish Financial Authorities Paid Youtuber to Smear Cryptocurrency

Posted on
Polish Financial Authorities Paid Youtuber to Smear Cryptocurrency

Regulation

Polish financial authorities have spent taxpayers’ money on a smear campaign on Youtube and Facebook against investing in cryptocurrencies. While issuing warnings or trying to educate the public against what regulators fear are risky investments are not uncommon around the world, in this case they tried to sway public opinion against crypto assets by paying social media influencers to attack them.

Also Read: Half of Large British Businesses Hold Stockpiles of Cryptocurrency

Youtube Propaganda

Polish Financial Authorities Paid Youtuber to Smear CryptocurrencyThe Central Bank of Poland (Narodowy Bank Polski or NBP), in cooperation with the country’s Financial Supervision Authority (Komisja Nadzoru Finansowego or KNF), have paid over 90,000 PLN (Polish złoty) for an online smear campaign against cryptocurrency investments. The money went, among others, to a Polish Youtube content network which represents many popular young local content creators.

A rather silly video with the title “I LOST ALL MONEY?!” depicting investments in cryptocurrencies in a negative light appeared on December 8 on the Marcin Dubiel’s channel, a Polish youtube prankster who has over 900,000 subscribers. The film, which already has over half a million views, is marked with the hashtag #uważajnakryptowaluty, which is associated with a website set by NBP and the KNF to say that “Virtual currency is not money” and similar warnings.

Product Placement

Polish Financial Authorities Paid Youtuber to Smear CryptocurrencyAs the local reports pointed out, the video was not marked on Youtube as “including paid promotion”, and there is also no mention in its description that it is part of the campaign for which the NBP paid. The material paid for by NBP was also published on the Polish Planeta Faktów channel on Youtube. Furthermore, judging by the quality of the content, its distribution channels and its creators, the smear campaign appears to target young kids.

After one individual sent a question to the NBP about campaigns financed by the central bank, the NBP replied in a letter dated 9 February and admitted that it “carried out a campaign on the issue of virtual currencies in social media.” As mentioned above, the campaign cost 91,200 PLN worth about $27,000 in taxpayers’ money. In addition to Google Ireland (which owns Youtube) and Facebook Ireland, its beneficiaries were Gamellon, a Polish Youtube partner network focused on gaming channels.

Can you trust Youtubers and other influencers to voluntary disclose that they are being paid to promote or criticize things? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


Do you like to research and read about Bitcoin technology? Check out Bitcoin.com’s Wiki page for an in-depth look at Bitcoin’s innovative technology and interesting history.

Trading Tip `The Wall´ – Drop Tokens That Suffer From Overtokenization

Posted on
Trading Tip `The Wall´ - Drop Tokens That Suffer From Overtokenization

Op-Ed

It’s said that 90% of all startups fail, and that we should expect nothing more from ICOs. But 10% success rate is still overly optimistic for ICOs, perhaps not for the reason you may think. You’re probably aware of examples of ICO “founders” who turned out to be a bunch of made up Linkedin-profiles. You’re probably also aware of the risks that comes with sending money to people on the Internet you never met, in an asset or token impossible to freeze.

Also read: Disappearing Premiums Signal Bearish Mid-Term Outlook

Drop The Tokens That Suffer From Overtokenization

You’re probably also aware of the industry-specific risks, apart from straight up scams, which include:

  1. ICOs violating securities laws
  2. ICOs using complicated legal structures in order to avoid violating securities laws and having it back-fire
  3. ICO fundraisers using Ethereum smart contracts and imploding (this actually happened to the Ethereum co-founder himself)

In this post, I’m going to discuss a much more daunting problem that very few seem to grasp; overtokenization.

Let’s be clear: ICOs as a concept is not at all a bad way to fund the development of a new cryptocurrency. However, the ICO space today is overwhelmed by projects that are not even cryptocurrencies. ICOs have moved from covering cryptocurrencies, to apps that use an existing cryptocurrency as its platform, to regular companies doing something cryptocurrency related, to regular companies doing nothing related to cryptocurrency at all. What many ICO investors seem to forget to ask is: why exactly do these projects need to have a “token”? Somewhere along the way, everything suddenly having a token became normal, and no one barely questions it anymore. This is going to cause a huge problem in the future, and I’m going to explain why.

There are very few cryptocurrency projects that legitimately necessitate a coin or a token from a technological perspective. The known examples that do are the following: actual cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, Monero), and certain protocols involving some kind of game-theoretical token usage (i.e. staking).

Trading Tip `The Wall´ - Drop The Tokens That Suffer From Overtokenization

One of the few projects from the latter category I can come to think of is Augur. Augur isn’t a cryptocurrency, but a product that uses a cryptocurrency as platform. It’s a decentralized prediction market (currently in beta-stage), consisting of as a set of smart contracts on the Ethereum blockchain. In Augur, its REP token (an ERC20) is integral to the process of resolving bets. It provides Augur with a way to financially reward and punish the actions of honest and dishonest actors, and creates incentives for a specific category of users (REP holders) to be proactive on the platform.

Augur Project

Augur perhaps isn’t a project without flaws, but what we know is that it isn’t practical to try to create Augur without a token. The token is–from the ground up–integral to the functions of the platform. The token itself is also defensible as an investment: as the popularity of the platform increases, the more revenue will there be for REP holders to earn on fees from resolving bets. I would argue that these ingredients are pretty unique to Augur (and perhaps also similar projects like Gnosis). In fact, there are an extremely limited number of cases of non-cryptocurrencies where a token is both technologically necessary and useful as an investment.

But the allure of launching a project like Augur is tantalizing; you don’t have to plan to create a whole cryptocurrency to launch an ICO, you just need a product that somehow utilizes a token that in some manner economically motivates people to hold it. If you figure out that, then you can launch an ICO too.

Because of the insane amounts of money investors poured into ICOs, every entrepreneur in the industry has quickly decided that whatever project they’re working on should probably  involve some kind of token. Because not all projects are launching a new cryptocurrency, and they do not involve game-theory or staking that necessitates a token like Augur, most projects have settled with a model where a specific token is required to utilize its services.

Trading Tip `The Wall´ - Drop The Tokens That Suffer From Overtokenization

Golem plans to build a decentralized market for computing power.

A Token-Critical Perspective

This is where the industry is running into a problem. Instead of an ecosystem of services being built around cryptocurrencies, you will now have to first purchase a specific token in order to utilize those services. Whether its storage space for rent, processing power for rent or something else, you won’t be able to pay for those things directly in your favorite cryptocurrency, you’ll have to use the specific token they’ve restricted their service to accepting, in order to raise money from you in their token sale.

This restriction severely diminishes the utility of the service they are creating. In the Golem example, its participants will be forced to accept payment in GNT rather than bitcoin for instance. It’s very unlikely that GNT is going to be as liquid as bitcoin, and therefore it is much more likely that the value of GNT will fluctuate spectacularly in comparison, which isn’t very convenient for its users. Furthermore, some sort of micro-economy will have to evolve around the GNT token, that relies on GNT tokens to purchase services later resold to the market. That opens up a whole new attack surface of the service, where the entire platform could essentially be hijacked in a coordinated act of market manipulation. This is why absurd constructs such as Bancor have appeared, in order to solve this ridiculous problem.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that Golem and the likes of it will be useless; however, there’s a very real chance that something else eventually comes along and builds a platform where computer resources can be rented in the currency of its users choosing. Such a competing platform, without the friction of being restricted to a specific token, has a very big edge on its ICO-launched competitor. In the end, while it may be true that an ICO could be the thing that gets a project off the ground that wouldn’t have otherwise, it may also be the thing that kills it.

My trading tip this week is to go through your portfolio and evaluate your investments from a token-critical perspective. Get rid of those tokens that add no benefit to the product or service they are providing, and in many cases are a down-right handicap.

What are your thoughts on market manipulation? Let us know in the comment section below!


Images via Shutterstock, Twitter.


Disclaimer: Bitcoin price articles and markets updates are intended for informational purposes only and should not to be considered as trading advice. Neither Bitcoin.com nor the author is responsible for any losses or gains, as the ultimate decision to conduct a trade is made by the reader. Always remember that only those in possession of the private keys are in control of the “money.”

PR: Vadim Nareyko, CTO PlayHall – Technical Aspects of the PlayHall Platform

Posted on
PlayHall Gaming Platform

This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

PlayHall is a blockchain platform for holding regular skill-gaming tournaments and matches between users. In skill-games, your success does not depend on luck but on your skills and intelligence. In matches and tournaments held on the platform gamers will be able to win liquid cryptocurrency, which today can be quickly exchanged for fiat money. All this makes it possible to monetize your time and skills.

Because of the financial dimension of the game, the developers have covered the security issues and possible vulnerabilities in a serious way. The PlayHall team uses blockchain technology and smart contracts as well as the effective decentralization principles to ensure security and reliability of the platform.

The team is launching a demo version of the platform with a limited number of games even before the start of the token sale. Everyone will be able to test the convenience, safety and relevance of the platform.

Platform Decentralization Principles

The PlayHall team uses the principles of decentralization and smart contracts for creating an innovative gaming platform. These principles and the decentralized escrow technology will help to avoid any fraud and forgery of the results of tournaments and matches on the platform.

The full transparency of the platform, its consistency and an easily cryptographically verified software, which provides automation of all processes and transactions in the project ecosystem, guarantee the complete safety of the entire system.

The team’s goal is to eliminate the need for a trusted party or administrator. This will significantly reduce the operational costs of maintaining the system, reducing the commission and increasing the level of payments to gamers. This will also help to eliminate any fraud in the stages of payments to the winners.

Token Types and their Functions

Along with the main PHT, which is an ERC-20 token based on Ethereum Blockchain, the platform provides several types of tokens that will be used by the community members to make decisions by voting. This will provide a virtually perfect meritocratic project management system.

The voting, in which token holders can participate, will address key issues related to business processes and the future vector of project development on the platform: changing the terms of cooperation with game developers and attracting new developers, adding new games on the platform, changing the commission, allocating additional grants to developers, changing voting parameters, developing new functionality and addressing other important issues.

There are eight types of tokens for voting: a common PHT token, a weight token, a time multiplier token, a delegate token, a token committee, game score and games count score tokens and a developer token. Each type of token reflects a user’s membership in a particular community. The proportion of tokens is established depending on the type of voting. Dividing tokens into several groups is necessary in order to take into account the first place the opinion of the holders’ category that has the best knowledge of the subject matter and is directly related to the issue discussed at the current voting.

User Accounts

The user account consists of registration data, optionally including a phone number for additional safety, age verification, consent to the conditions of participation, and a safe multicurrency crypto wallet. The wallet is created and assigned to users automatically after registration. The wallet allows you to transfer PHT tokens and all the cryptocurrencies supported by the platform between PlayHall users, make purchases, sell, exchange and withdraw their assets. In addition to its own tokens, the platform will work with popular currencies: ZCash, Litecoin, Dash, Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.

To enhance the security of user accounts on the platform, there will be provided a two-factor authentication, which enables creating white and black lists of IP addresses to prevent unauthorized access to the account, as well as a disabling blocking function that prohibits the withdrawal and transfer of cryptocurrency from all IP addresses except for selected ones.

The platform will become a bridge between the stable game industry and the emerging crypto economy, which will give it an opportunity to reach to a huge target audience. PlayHall is going to become the first blockchain platform, on which users will be able to monetize their time and intellect by earning a popular and liquid cryptocurrency for every victory in a regular match or tournament. By the end of 2019, the principles of decentralization will allow 12 million users to earn cryptocurrency using their intelligence and game skills in any of the 200 exciting skill-based games.

Contact Email Address
info@playhall.com
Supporting Link
https://playhall.io

This is a paid press release. Readers should do their own due diligence before taking any actions related to the promoted company or any of its affiliates or services. Bitcoin.com is not responsible, directly or indirectly, for any damage or loss caused or alleged to be caused by or in connection with the use of or reliance on any content, goods or services mentioned in the press release.

Salon Offers Visitors In-House Cryptocurrency Mining When Blocking Ads

Posted on
Salon Offers Visitors Cryptocurrency Mining to Block Ads

Mining

Mainstream web magazine Salon has started allowing its readers an ad-free site, if readers start mining cryptocurrency for them, after sustaining a decline in income due to ad blocking technology.

Also read: Japan Cracks Down on Foreign ICO Agency Operating Without License

Salon’s Mining Initiatives

Salon Offers Visitors Cryptocurrency Mining to Block AdsSalon, a left-leaning political and lifestyle webzine started in 1995, has launched a cryptocurrency mining option for its visitors in an effort to recuperate some of its declining income. The site is run by Salon Media Group, a publicly-traded company with offices in San Francisco and New York City.

“Like most media companies, Salon pays its bills through advertising,” the site explained, adding that the increase in visitors using ad blockers has “cut deeply into our revenue.” Acknowledging technological developments, Salon wrote “your computer itself can help support our ability to pay our editors and journalists,” noting:

For our beta program, we’ll start by applying your processing power to mine cryptocurrencies to recoup lost ad revenue when you use an ad blocker.

Salon also made the disclaimer that “mining uses more of your resources which means your computer works a bit harder and uses more electricity than if you were just passively browsing the site with ads.”

Let the Ads Display or We Will Mine Crypto

The mining option is now shown to all Salon website visitors using an ad blocker. Anyone arriving on any page of the site will immediately see the message, “We noticed you’re using an ad blocker. We depend on ads to keep our content free for you. Please consider disabling your ad blocker so we can continue to create the content you come here to enjoy.” They are subsequently presented with two options: to disable their ad blocker and allowing ads to be displayed or to keep blocking ads but allow Salon to use their spare computing power.

Salon Forces Visitors to Mine Cryptocurrency if They Block Ads

Salon Forces Visitors to Mine Cryptocurrency if They Block AdsFor its beta program, Salon is mining monero, which is more profitable to mine than bitcoin on common PC processors. The cryptocurrency also has a widely used application for websites like Salon to easily deploy, called Coinhive. The program allows websites to mine monero with their visitors’ CPUs, with or without their knowledge. While often described as malware, Coinhive is nonetheless used by several well-known websites including the Pirate Bay.

Salon informs their users upfront that its mining functionality is “Powered by Coinhive,” and displays a link to let visitors read more about the process. The webzine also says that “Nothing is ever installed on your computer and Salon never has access to your personal information or files.”

How Much Processing Power Is Used

To opt-in, users are asked specifically if they would like to allow mining for the duration of the current site visit. Once the “allow for this session” link has been clicked, the users’ processors will immediately start working intensively.

In our informal testing using a modern 4-core Intel processor, all 4 cores’ usage was instantly maxed out within a couple of seconds after clicking the allow button.

Salon Forces Visitors to Mine Cryptocurrency if They Block Ads

As soon as the Salon page was closed, the processors returned to normal. Without clearing cookies, the site will remember users’ opt-in preferences for up to 24 hours, Salon noted, adding that they will be asked to opt-in again after that. Furthermore, Salon clarified:

We automatically detect your current processing usage and assign a portion of what you are not using to this process. Should you begin a process that requires more of your computer’s resources, we automatically reduce the amount we are using for calculations.

What do you think about Salon’s plan to force their users to choose between ads and mining crypto? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Salon.


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

Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia

Posted on
Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia

Featured

Communities in two countries, which share a border, history and perspectives, have expressed similar views about the future of the cryptocurrency sector. A new association in Croatia hopes to lay the foundations of self-regulation in the industry. In neighboring Slovenia, entrepreneurs and government officials have promised to work together to “educate the public” on the benefits of the blockchain technology.

Also read: Crypto Exchanges Launch P2P Platforms from Latvia and Bulgaria

Croatian Crypto Companies to Advise Regulators

Businesses and enthusiasts in Croatia have united their efforts to help authorities take informed decisions about the cryptocurrency sector. A new umbrella organization will be bringing suggestions and important matters to the attention of policy makers in Zagreb, Bitfalls reported this week. The Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Association will be advising regulators on anything from buying and selling cryptocurrencies, to crypto payments and salary payouts in bitcoin.

UBIK [“Udruga za Blockchain i Kriptovalute”] intends to create “a focused and strong community of people involved with the blockchain technology and the domain of cryptocurrency in Croatia”, but also in the region. Providing relevant information, education and knowledge about the crypto economy is among its priorities. The Croatian crypto association plans to help authorities and its members with legal, financial, and technological support in the development of the regulatory framework and realizing strategic blockchain projects.

Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia

Interest in bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies and the underlying technology has grown significantly in Croatia in the past year that saw skyrocketing prices on crypto markets. The local community has expanded with new companies working with blockchain technologies and more businesses accepting crypto payments.

A comprehensive regulatory policy is yet to be adopted by Croatian authorities. During a discussion on digital currencies back in 2013 the Croatian National Bank reportedly stated that bitcoin was not illegal in the country. More recently, in 2017, HNB noted that cryptos were neither legal means of payment, nor electronic money under current law in Croatia. The country has appealed for common EU decisions in regards to cryptocurrencies.

Government and Businesses to Educate Slovenians about Blockchain

More positive signals came this month from Croatia’s neighbor Slovenia, another former Yugoslav republic and current member of the EU. Government officials and blockchain companies promised to work together to “educate the public on the benefits and the opportunities that the innovative technology brings”. They met to set up an open dialogue between authorities and entrepreneurs, necessary to clarify and address the challenges. Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar also took part in the meeting hosted by Viberate, a startup developing a decentralized live music marketplace.

Steps towards Self-Regulation in Croatia and Slovenia“We have called for regulation that would assist blockchain projects with existing financial limitations and allow us easier recruitment processes. The government has agreed that it will provide us with more favorable conditions in due time”, Insurepal, one of the participating companies, said in a blog post. It expressed hope that similar public discussions will help Slovenia become one of the most advanced countries in the field of blockchain.

The companies, which took part in the meeting, also announced the establishment of the Blockchain Alliance CEE. It will focus their efforts on improving visibility and raising the reputation of the sector through unified communication.

The current government in Ljubljana has a positive attitude towards the crypto industry. Speaking at the Digital Slovenia 2020 conference last year Prime Minister Cerar acknowledged the progress made by local businesses and said his country could become a leader in blockchain-development in the European Union. Slovenia is also among countries that do not tax individuals on capital gains from bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Do you think positive developments in Southeast Europe in regards to crypto regulation will influence decisions in the EU? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. 


Make sure you do not miss any important Bitcoin-related news! Follow our news feed any which way you prefer; via Twitter, Facebook, Telegram, RSS or email (scroll down to the bottom of this page to subscribe). We’ve got daily, weekly and quarterly summaries in newsletter form. Bitcoin never sleeps. Neither do we.

Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity

Posted on
Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity

News

In many respects, Bitcoin is the ultimate puzzle. Armchair sleuthers have expended countless hours trying to deduce the identity of its pseudonymous creator, and miners have expended countless more trying to puzzle the nonce required to solve each block and claim the 12.5 BTC reward attached. It seems logical that a new wave of puzzle games should be developed with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as their prize.

Also read: The Solution to the World’s Toughest Bitcoin Puzzle Is as Clever as Its Creator

The Bitcoin Enigma Intensifies

Montecrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma is a new game that follows on the heels of The Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto. That latter game was conceived in 2015 but gained new attention two weeks ago after the fiendishly complex artwork-based game was finally solved. It netted its solver $50,000 worth of bitcoin, plus additional bitcoin cash and other forked coins. The Bitcoin Enigma, a new series of 24 puzzles, has ‘just’ 1 BTC as its prize, but that’s more than enough to incentivize a new wave of sleuths to attempt to fathom its mysteries.

Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity
An image from the Montecrypto puzzle game

Developed by Gem Rose Collective and launching on February 20, the game enables players to “Leave hints along the way or slow others down by leading them to dead-ends”. Screenshots give Montecrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma the air of an RPG, complete with moody depictions of grand, faded buildings and a dizzying maze of stairways and passages. The most interesting aspect of the game is not its visuals, but its theory. Players must decide whether to work together to solve the 24 puzzles or go it alone, seeking to thwart rivals by laying a trail of breadcrumbs leading them away.

Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity

Game for a Puzzle

In terms of game theory, Montecrypto bears some similarities to Neon District, developed by the same artist who created The Legend of Satoshi Nakamoto puzzle art. Its chief developer speaks of taking “shared inspiration comes from the cypherpunk ethos…playful applications of cryptography, a love of creating and solving puzzles using steganography, the hacker mentality…cyberpunk and steampunk genres, classic card and role-playing games, and our childhood pastimes of night-owl gaming and coding”.

While Neon District is an ethereum-based game, which can be played using the Metamask browser wallet, Montecrypto is more like a lotto game in that it costs $1.99 to enter. Rather than random luck, however, success comes down to skill, including degrees of cunning, strategy, and puzzle-solving. Players who believe they have what it takes to solve the challenge may wish to inspect the project’s FAQ page, and from there visit its Github, where one of the first clues is believed to lie.

Like Satoshi Nakamoto, the game’s developers have elected to keep their identities under wraps for now, but state: “As huge fans of treasure hunts we took inspiration from riddles like la chorette d’or (the golden owl), a statue of the owl was buried in 1993 at the same time a series of clues was published, and still nobody has solved the clues to find the owl and claim the 15kg (33lb) statue made of gold and silver.”

Bitcoin Puzzle Games Are Growing in Popularity
Montecrypto: The Bitcoin Enigma

It all sounds very intriguing. The only downside of course is that to find out whether the prize is genuine, contestants must stump up the $1.99 necessary to take part. Aspiring sleuths may conclude that’s a risk they’re willing to take.

What would your strategy be for trying to solve a puzzle game like this – go it alone or team up and share the spoils? Let us know in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Neon District, and Gem Rose Collective.


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

Two Russian Regions to Develop Large Scale Crypto Mining

Posted on
Russian Regions to Develop Large Scale Crypto Mining

Mining

The governors of two Russian regions have indicated their readiness to accommodate large crypto mining facilities. Two of the westernmost subjects of the Federation – Kaliningrad and Leningrad – are willing to welcome miners and want to get involved in “bitcoin production”. Local authorities have expressed intentions to take mining out of garages and scale it up to industrial level. They are now pressing Moscow for regulations.   

Also Read: Russia Ready for Migrant Bitcoin Miners Influx

One Huge Mining Farm

Many are interested in cryptocurrencies in Kaliningrad Oblast, its governor Anton Alihanov said on the sidelines of the Russian Investment Forum in Sochi. In the future, the region may become one huge mining farm, he told RIA Novosti.

“We have a lot of people that show interest [in crypto mining]. But doing everything right is pretty complicated and you don’t want to set the house on fire,” Alihanov said. “That’s why we have a ‘mining hotel’, where guys know how to set up the cooling systems, so that nothing gets burned”, the official added, demonstrating technical knowledge of the subject.

If you are a miner, you’ve come to the right place. We can become one huge mining farm.

Russian Regions to Develop Large Scale Crypto MiningAlihanov also noted that Kaliningrad Oblast has developed a booming greenhouse sector producing tons of strawberries. Greenhouses need heating during colder months and mining hardware produces a lot of heat. Mining farms can actually be built close to the strawberry fields to heat the greenhouses.

Still wary of buying cryptocurrencies, the governor admitted he had some “rich experience” with stock trading in the past. “Stocks, bonds, futures – these are very risky things. I don’t have funds that I am ready to part with at any moment. For now I keep my distance,” Anton Alihanov said. He added, however, that when crypto markets become more stable, he may have a second thought.

Miners to Use a Decommissioned NPP

Other local officials have also announced intentions to conduct mining business in their regions. Authorities in Leningrad Oblast, bordering the federal city of Saint Petersburg, plan to create a tech park for cryptocurrency miners. It will be built on the premises of the nuclear power plant in Sosnovy Bor, governor Alexandr Drozdenko revealed. The Leningrad Atomic Electro-Station (LAES, or LNPP) will be decommissioned in 2020-2021.

Russian Regions to Develop Large Scale Crypto MiningA new power plant will replace the RBMK units at LAES, which now produces about 50% of the region’s electricity. LAES-2 will be equipped with the safer, “post-Fukushima” WWER-1200 reactors. LAES is the largest electricity generating facility in Russia’s northwest.

The economic department of the Leningrad administration and Rosatom have already approved the project to mine cryptos at LAES, Drozdenko told RIA Novosti. “What we need for mining is cheap electrical energy, cooling system and reliable transmission grid. We have all that at the Leningrad NPP,” he said.

Russians are mining in their garages. We want to do it on an industrial scale.

According to the governor, two outstanding issues postpone the realization of the project. “First – we have to wait until the old equipment is removed [after the decommissioning]. Secondly, we need some regulatory framework that would allow us to mine, to produce bitcoin,” Alexandr Drozdenko explained. He added that “serious negotiations” on regulation are underway between his administration and the federal government.

With cheap energy, developed electrical infrastructure and cool climate, Russia has what it takes to accommodate local cryptocurrency miners and welcome foreign investors. Authorities in regions with great potential to develop the sector are impatient and expect new regulations from Moscow as soon as possible.

Do you think the government in Moscow will listen to regional authorities and adopt legislation with incentives for crypto miners? Tell us in the comments section below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock. 


Bitcoin News is growing fast. To reach our global audience, send us a news tip or submit a press release. Let’s work together to help inform the citizens of Earth (and beyond) about this new, important and amazing information network that is Bitcoin.