The Silk Road Balance Sheet Discrepancy: Bitcoin Worth $4.8 Billion Still MissingThe original Silk Road marketplace has been shut down for well over seven years Full list of stories by category Cryptocurrencies – 2020-10-25 THE ADVENT OF CRYPTO Cryptocurrencies took the world by storm a few years ago. The ever-rising values of these secure, decentralised currencies that transcended When cryptocurrency stocks first made their debut, many didn’t know what to make of this most niche of niche sectors. However, the few that did in those early days recognized that the underlying blockchain platform had the capacity to change the world. Through its decentralized, peer-to-peer transactional network, it was possible to conduct business outside … The authorities arrested the criminal group that laundered money via online gambling platforms. USDT is popular among Chinese gamblers, making it a Prominent comedian and actor Kevin Hart just discussed Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other crypto assets during a livestream for MDA USA. MDA is an organization that
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Crypto in Football
Cryptocurrencies took the world by storm a few years ago. The ever-rising values of these secure, decentralised currencies that transcended the international borders and their exchange rates, and the fact that they could not only be bought, but mined with adept hardware, hyped crypto into a buyer’s market.
With variants of cryptocurrencies running in thousands these days, the hype has somewhat died down as the value of these currencies have stagnated a bit (1 Bitcoin still equates to INR 9.54 lacs, though). The cat, however, is very much out of the box. The concept of a blockchain-based virtual currency that is not only safe but more transparent seems set to define how payments will be characterised soon in the future.
The football industry has been tracking crypto’s progress for a few years now and has realised its massive potential to monetise and engage a global market in ways that were unimaginable not long ago.
The craze of a footballing event is no longer restricted to the boundaries of its constituent nation. Football leagues in Europe are watched and adored by people in far Asia. Merchandise of any one club are sold out globally; if someone cannot buy the real thing, they buy a replica. The demand remains.
Many a times, international exchange rates and a lack of transparent transaction profile hinders the ability of a footballing franchise to engage people beyond the country it resides in. Crypto offers not only a way to resolve these issues, but also newer ways to generate money.
Brand sponsorships have been a keen way to introduce cryptocurrency as a veritable option to employ while dealing with transactions in football. Many online platforms that deal with cryptocurrencies, be it trading or betting platforms, have ventured into partnerships with football clubs. Many clubs are using these sponsorships as opportunities to incorporate cryptocurrencies as a veritable payment option on their online stores. Here are some breakthrough examples of crypto-based companies venturing into football-
- In 2018, crypto venture Quatocoin (QTC) famously purchased a 25% stake in Italian club Rimini FC 1912 (currently playing in Serie D, Italian fourth tier) entirely using cryptocurrency.
- Gibraltar United FC famously announced in 2018 that they’ll be paying their players using crypto (QTC).
- Online crypto trading platform StormGain served as Newcastle United’s sleeve sponsor for last season.
- Online betting platform Sportsbet.io is known for allowing bets via crypto. It serves as an official sponsor to a lot of big clubs like Arsenal, Southampton, Flamengo and Watford. Part of Sportsbet.io’s partnership with Watford also includes establishing a payment option on Watford’s online retail stores where fans could purchase merchandise using Bitcoin, with an aim to eventually expand the Bitcoin option to matchday outings as well.
- UEFA and FIFA have already started experimenting with payment for tickets for their flagship events via cryptocurrency. The safe, transparent and decentralised nature of crypto means purchases can easily be tracked and accounted for without having to worry about black-market or illegal sales with people from around the world in a position to easily purchase the tickets without having to deal with multiple currencies. The crypto experiment has so far been well received by fans and authorities alike.
- Crypto-based firms are also using these sponsorships as opportunities to provide seminars and spread awareness regarding the potential of cryptocurrencies as the money of the future and attract more people into the fold.
Another massive way crypto has opened a way for football clubs to monetise fan engagement is via Fan Tokens.
A Fan Token is not too dissimilar from an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), where a football club offers a limited number of Fan Tokens out to fans which enables them to participate in certain fan engagement activities.
The biggest example of this is the cryptocurrency-based online fan engagement platform Socios. Socios is built upon a blockchain-based crypto called Chiliz and has tied up with many big-name football clubs like Barcelona, Juventus, and PSG. These clubs can offer limited number of Fan Tokens (priced as the clubs wish) which can be bought or hunted in an augmented mini-game version across a real-world map (like Pokémon GO). The Fan Tokens facilitate fans to directly vote and affect certain outcomes of the polls the clubs put out to them and the clubs are contractually obliged to acquiesce. The more Tokens you own, the more weight your vote holds. Mind you, though, that these Tokens don’t necessarily mean that you’d own a share in the club, neither will the club deliberate the fans to make big decisions like sack a manager (although they can do that, if they wish); these Tokens are a nuanced way to make money out of fan engagement opportunities while making the fans feel like they’re instrumental in making certain decisions, like the design for the next kit, or who will feature in the next Instagram takeover; instead of just being mere spectators from afar, you become an active participant. The participation leads to further rewards (or Tokens) that you can further use to purchase merchandise or even matchday tickets.
The Socios venture also allows you to treat your Tokens as shares. Naturally, if this becomes more popular, and given the fact that the Tokens for each club will be finite, the value of an individual token will increase, so you could even sell them to make a profit.
With all the possibilities crypto brings, it’s not without its issues.
The values of different cryptocurrencies have fluctuated drastically over the years. Some currencies have gone bust even before they started out. Quite essentially, a cryptocurrency holds a value, because we deem it so. Keeping this in mind, clubs are apprehensive about making deals that involve crypto-transactions. At best, they try to put a clause in their contracts with the crypto-companies that serves as a contingency for them to save face and money in case the cryptocurrency’s value plummets. Cryptocurrencies might as well be the face of the future, but they’re currently nascent and need proper understanding and regulation.
The legal regulatory bodies are yet to properly catch up with crypto-based transactions. The laws aren’t specific regarding whether crypto is legal, it’s just that they don’t specify that it’s illegal either. This grey area also makes many companies still sceptical about crypto.
Because crypto is not omnipresent (yet), how a football club labels its nature of sponsorship with a crypto-based firm also makes a huge difference. Case in point, if you make a crypto-based financial institution your ‘Official Bank Partner’, you’re automatically ostracising companies that do not yet use cryptocurrencies as a veritable option for payments. This is why many crypto-sponsors for football clubs are specifically categorised with a ‘crypto’ tag.
The ideas promoted by cryptocurrencies are certainly going to define the money of the future, irrespective of what happens. It is safe to assume for now that the number of crypto-based sponsorship deals will increase in the football industry in the near future.
Author: by Akshata Shukla
7 Cryptocurrencies to Stand the Test of Time
When cryptocurrency stocks first made their debut, many didn’t know what to make of this most niche of niche sectors. However, the few that did in those early days recognized that the underlying blockchain platform had the capacity to change the world. Through its decentralized, peer-to-peer transactional network, it was possible to conduct business outside the realm of centralized monetary authorities.
Of course, that doesn’t appeal to government bodies, which want their cut of taxable revenue and transactions. However, once the cat is out of the bag, it’s extraordinarily difficult to stymie or suppress innovation. Eventually, the people will adopt what systems they want. Increasingly, many have found incredible value and convenience with cryptocurrencies.
Therefore, I’m more than confident that the digital reward tokens that the blockchain birthed will easily stand the test of time. However, taking a guess at which specific cryptocurrencies will outlast the others is a difficult task. In that circumstance, I don’t have the kind of confidence that computer programmer John McAfee obviously has.
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Back in the summer of 2017, McAfee put “himself” on the line, forecasting an outrageous price target for one of the most popular cryptocurrencies. So bold was he that he declared he would eat a particular part of his body. Known in polite circles as the “Richarding,” McAfee has until Dec. 31, 2020 for the blockchain market to bail him out.
Otherwise, bon appétit, I guess.
For those who were hoping for must-watch TV, the Department of Justice will have a few words to say regarding McAfee’s alleged tax evasion scheme, which in part involved the hiding of cryptocurrencies. So, more than likely, McAfee will not be singing in a higher octave anytime soon.
Nevertheless, I bring up this interesting case because in a backhanded way, it confirms the staying power of cryptocurrencies. I mean, I believe in some of my high-conviction trades, but I would never put myself on the line like McAfee did. As well, the DOJ certainly believes in the value and power of the blockchain markets. Otherwise, it wouldn’t bother chasing this crazy cat.
Still, the challenge remains: which cryptocurrencies will still be around years and decades from today? Here are my picks for which virtual currencies will stand the test of time.
Bitcoin Cash (BCH)
In the technology sphere, if you’re not innovating, you’re dying. Under this context, the king of cryptocurrencies and the one that started the entire blockchain revolution, Bitcoin, is surprisingly public enemy number one.
For one thing, it’s evident that the original founder(s) of Bitcoin didn’t anticipate the sheer volume of demand that the reward token will garner. Instead, it would appear that the virtual currency was brought to life to prove that peer-to-peer decentralized transactions could occur. Unfortunately, the infrastructure is dated relative to present standards. Because so many people use BTC, transactions take forever.
But no matter how unwieldy Bitcoin is, it has something that no other virtual currency can claim: first-to-market advantage. Although the underlying blockchain platform has proven itself, the death of any publicly traded asset is lack of interest. Fortunately, BTC doesn’t suffer from that problem. Indeed, the token is synonymous with cryptocurrencies.
True, other blockchain systems are levered to exciting innovations and applications. However, Bitcoin started it all. For that, I believe it will be relevant so long as the sector is.
Currently ranked as the second highest-valued alternative cryptocurrency or altcoin, Ethereum has obvious speculative benefits. For a while now, Ethereum has been the Robin to Bitcoin’s Batman. While it’s possible that this could change in the future, what I’m generally confident about is that ETH is in this game for the long haul.
That’s because Ethereum isn’t just a cheaper-priced alternative to BTC. Rather, some fundamental differences distinguish ETH from other cryptocurrencies. Primarily, the Ethereum blockchain’s development team focused on addressing the shortcomings of Bitco in; namely, that it mostly focused on economic transactions.
But the power of the blockchain allowed for a completely trustworthy digital escrow system. Basically, two transactional parties can get together and use the Ethereum blockchain to facilitate smart contract. In this manner, the (human) parties can eliminate the need for an intermediary as the blockchain system would play that role.
It’s not just technobabble either. According to Cointelegraph.com, the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation and four banks – Bank of America (NYSE:BAC), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) and JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) — successfully traded credit default swaps on a specially designed blockchain system utilizing smart contracts.
Clearly, the blockchain can do much more than transfer coins from one place to another. And Ethereum is leading that charge, making ETH a confident long-term proposition.
Many fans of cryptocurrencies, if not most of them, will roll their eyes whenever someone mentions Ripple. And eyerolling is the least offensive response you can get. There are quite a few folks in the virtual currency community that do not appreciate the big money interest associated with XRP.
Mainly, this is because unlike so many other cryptocurrencies, individuals cannot mine Ripple tokens. To provide a very brief background, mining involves utilizing specialized computer equipment to solve complex algorithmic problems. Whoever is the first to solve the riddle gets to add transactional blocks of data to the blockchain. In return for their participation in the target blockchain network, they receive a reward token.
Again, this is a very basic description of mining. But the bottom line is that individuals can be their own bankers; hence, the allure of the decentralization element.
However, that’s not what goes on with Ripple. Instead, the supply of the XRP tokens is centrally controlled, which goes against the spirit of the blockchain innovation. In many respects, I understand crypto advocates dislike for XRP.
Nevertheless, the Ripple blockchain also demonstrates the mainstream integration of this technology. Primarily, Ripple enables lightning quick cross-border payments that could replace the current antiquated system. In my opinion, that’s a plus no matter how you look at it.
As I mentioned above, though the Bitcoin architecture represented a paradigm shift – the Big Bank of transactional technology, if you will – it didn’t address the scale issue. Again, the founder(s) were apparently much more interested in making the system work and did not anticipate that BTC would become a global phenomenon.
To address this, Bitcoin developers proposed making administrative changes to how the blocks of data were stored on the blockchain. But competing solutions quickly turned into a debate between opposing factions. Unable to resolve their differences, Bitcoin Cash was born as an offshoot of the original Bitcoin blockchain. This process is known as a hardfork.
As with the mining concept, I’m only providing a very basic explanation. To this day, hardforks are a tough concept to understand because no comparable example exists on Wall Street. For instance, hardforks aren’t dividends as the latter represents distribution of corporate profits to shareholders. And because it’s so perplexing, you might think that Bitcoin Cash won’t last.
Indeed, when the hardfork occurred, many were skeptical about the viability of BCH. So far, Bitcoin Cash has stood the test of time and it may continue to be relevant.
Mostly, BCH earns its keep by facilitating quick peer-to-peer transactions, something that is beyond Bitcoin at this point. As well, Bitcoin Cash enjoys some of the brand appeal of the original virtual currency, making it a surprisingly robust token.
Years ago, Litecoin was the only altcoin. By default, LTC assumed the number two slot and enjoyed the myriad marketing benefits of Bitcoin to entrenched association. But Litecoin didn’t exist just for existence sake. Instead, this blockchain platform was developed to address the scalability challenge of BTC. In this manner, LTC was incredibly forward-looking.
Admittedly, that hasn’t been Litecoin’s valuation as of late. With alternative blockchains like Ethereum muscling their way into the arena with innovations that extend beyond peer-to-peer payments, LTC lost much of its luster. Nevertheless, long-term investors shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that, as of this writing, Litecoin ranks tenth in terms of market capitalization.
Frankly, it has outlasted many other altcoins that were previously in the top 10 but are now far below their peak valuations. In my view, that’s got to count for something.
In addition, LTC may enjoy a psychological effect that could help it foster the growing need for micropayments. Thanks to Litecoin’s reasonable price point, it’s more convenient for everyday transactions. Further, its original focus on scalability should make it relevant for second-layer solutions.
Easily one of the riskiest cryptocurrencies you can own, Tether is absolutely something you should not be exposed to unless you know exactly what you’re doing. I mean it. Despite its high market cap – currently ranked as the third-most valuable blockchain token – USDT is something that you don’t want to mess with.
Which is funny because USDT is known as a stablecoin, or stable-value cryptocurrency. In this case, USDT mirrors the price of the U.S. dollar, and the coins are issued by a Hong Kong-based company called Tether. On the surface, that doesn’t sound too awful because virtual currencies are notoriously volatile. The many double-digit swings make them unreliable as a store of value.
However, USDT, because it’s tethered to the greenback, eliminates such volatility concerns. Still, Tether the company has never faced an audit and still hasn’t to my understanding. Therefore, it’s unknown whether the organization has the dollar reserves it claims it has.
I like what others have to say, that USDT is a “confidence game.” If confidence is lost, Tether becomes a hitcoin with an “s” in front.
But the concept of stablecoins is an intriguing one. And so far, no other stablecoin has managed to garner the volume and engagement that USDT has. Therefore, it’s probably going to be around for a while, but it’s still crazy risky.
For most folks, cryptocurrencies represent a convenient, exciting alternative to boring old stocks. As I mentioned years ago, anybody with internet access can trade cryptos 24/7. Simply put, you don’t have that kind of access with traditional investment vehicles.
But as with any technology, a dark underbelly forms to take advantage of the innovation for nefarious purposes. In the world of cryptocurrencies, this underbelly is Monero.
On the surface, you wouldn’t think anything of it. Like other cryptocurrencies, XMR offers convenience and confidentiality. But where Monero separates itself from other blockchain tokens is that this system adds multiple layers of privacy; hence, XMR is known as a privacy coin.
While standard cryptocurrencies facilitate private transfers, they often feature public ledgers. Theoretically, then, with enough effort, it’s possible to glean information from the gobbledygook of transactional code.
But with Monero, there are no public ledgers as the entire information infrastructure is kept private. As well, randomization algorithms can make financial investigations a nightmare. Thus, it’s not surprising that the IRS offered a $625,000 reward for anyone who can crack Monero’s code.
As you can imagine, XMR is a perfect vehicle for illicit activities, essentially making it the bad boy among virtual currencies. Unfortunately, there will always be demand for criminality, making Monero possibly the most cynical investment ever.
On the date of publication, Josh Enomoto held a long position in BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH and LTC.
A former senior business analyst for Sony Electronics, Josh Enomoto has helped broker major contracts with Fortune Global 500 companies. Over the past several years, he has delivered unique, critical insights for the investment markets, as well as various other industries including legal, construction management, and healthcare.
The post 7 Cryptocurrencies to Stand the Test of Time appeared first on InvestorPlace.
Author: News Bureau
China cracks down on the first case of using USDT to launder money
Chinese police cracked the criminal group that provided money-laundering services for overseas online gambling websites via the USDT platform. The local media outlet reports that Guangdong’s police cracked the first money laundering case that involved the popular stablecoin USDT.
The police arrested 77 suspects and blocked three gambling websites and five money-laundering studios to provide online gambling payment clearing services. Apart from that, authorities seized mobile phones, credit cards, computers, vehicles, bank accounts, and numerous criminal business documents.
The investigation revealed that over 3,000 employees were involved in the scheme operating for over 15 months. The platform serviced over 120 foreign online gambling websites and 70 online investment frauds to the tune of 120 billion yuan ($17.9 billion).
The Chinese are fond of gambling. According to Statista, the gaming market’s sales revenue in China experienced a ten-fold growth and exceeded 230 billion yuan, while the number of gamers exceeded 640 million in 2019. Many platforms allow users to pay with USDT, which is often used in a country as a US dollar substitute.
The whole process of laundering ill-gotten RMB is as easy as that: the criminals purchase USDT with RMB on the platform and provide recharge QR-codes. The platform gathers the codes and provides them to the players who need to scan them with their mobile devices to recharge their gambling funds, purchasing USDT with RMB.
The scheme allowed laundering a large amount of money via online gambling platforms.
As the FXStreet previously reported, the People’s Bank of China proposed to directly prohibit companies and individuals from creating and selling tokens as a yuan substitute.
The draft proposal is published for public consultations. If it is approved, the authorities will be entitled to forfeit any proceeds from creating and selling yuan-backed digital tokens and impose a fine up to five times the involved proceeds.
At the same time, the country is moving towards the launch of digital yuan.
Author: FX Street
Kevin Hart Jokes Bitcoin and Ethereum Are “Voodoo Money”
Prominent comedian and actor Kevin Hart just discussed Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other crypto assets during a livestream for MDA USA. MDA is an organization that aims to help those affected by muscular dystrophy, ALS, and other diseases related to neuronuscular mehavior. Hart is honored to host this event:
“To have the opportunity to revive it, change it and still, of course, fulfill the cause at hand as well as bring some awareness to other things that are going on, I just felt it was a great moment,” he said to CNN on the matter.
As first noted by the crypto charity/non-profit organization The Giving Block, comedian Kevin Hart just briefly mentioned Bitcoin in the MDA Kids Telethon.
When he was asked by one of his celebity friends, Jay Ellis, if MDA accepts “Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any of those cryptocurrencies,” Hart responded with confusion. He joked these cryptocurrencies are “voodoo money”:
“We don’t take the voodoo. So if you’re out here trying to give us the voodoo money, we don’t, what? We do take the voodoo. Oh wait, this is actually take cryptocurrencies — I’m told it’s a legit investment worth almost $250 billion. Okay yeah, we do take it. Ok, we take it.”
🚨BREAKING🚨 – @KevinHart4real just shouted out #Bitcoin, #Ethereum and other #Crypto LIVE while hosting the @MDAorg telethon.
He called it “voodoo money” at first before announcing they accept it 😂🤣https://t.co/2OkgpCjKq5
— The Giving Block (@TheGivingBlock) October 25, 2020
This comes shortly after Kanye West, the world-famous artist and designer, discussed Bitcoin with Joe Rorgan. He said yesterday in a recent episode of the podcast:
“A lot of the tech guys can use these new highways, these new information highways, to create the next frontier of humanity.”
West has talked about Bitcoin in the past.
Real Vision Group CEO Raoul Pal says gold is “breaking down” against Bitcoin, a signal …