Bitcoin Raise 7% to $8,460 Overnight as Cryptocurrency Market Rebounds

After dipping below $7,300 on most major cryptocurrency exchanges, the price of bitcoin has raised 7 percent overnight, increasing from $7,240 to $8,467, triggered by a variety of factors.


Many analysts have attributed the recent increase in the price of bitcoin to the result of the 2018 G20 Buenos Aires summit, during which the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the global watchdog that oversees banks and financial networks as a representative of 20 major economies, stated that existing regulations on cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will be held and no additional restriction or regulation shall be issued.

FSB’s official report referencing FSB Chair and Governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney’s letter read:

“The FSB’s initial assessment is that crypto-assets do not pose risks to global financial stability at this time. The market continues to evolve rapidly, however, and this initial assessment could change if crypto-assets were to become significantly more widely used or interconnected with the core of the regulated financial system.”

Previously, up until this week, several analysts noted that the upcoming G20 meetup has contributed to the decline in the value of cryptocurrencies, as investors anticipated the G20 financial watchdog FSB to crackdown on cryptocurrencies and issue stricter regulations. Investors expected major economies to come together to regulate the global cryptocurrency market with harsher policies.

However, governments have decided to accommodate existing regulations on the global cryptocurrency market, which are already strict in regions like the US and Japan, and follow the regulatory roadmap of leading cryptocurrency markets to facilitate the rapidly growing demand for the emerging asset class.

It is highly unlikely that the G20 meetup was the sole factor behind the recent price surge of bitcoin and the entire cryptocurrency market. But, the cryptocurrency market was in need of an optimistic and positive development to secure an upward trend again, after being in a slump for over a week.

Consequently, the valuation of the cryptocurrency market recovered beyond $310 billion, subsequent to falling below $280 billion, and is eyeing to initiate a short-term rally.

In previous reports, CCN emphasized that the January correction would require several months to recover because many investors were hurt by the decline in the price of cryptocurrencies. In 2017, the cryptocurrency market was considered the path for short-term profits. In early 2018, investors have stated to view the market differently, and speculators or weak hands have left the market.

2018 saw significantly developments in bitcoin, Ethereum, and other major cryptocurrencies along with emerging blockchain technologies. Yet, the price has not represented the magnitude of developments that have happened in the space, most likely because speculators and weak hands were not interested in the technology, but rather in short-term profits.


In the short-term, given the continuous increase in the dominance index of bitcoin, it is highly likely that bitcoin will maintain its dominance over the market in a volatile period like this. Bitcoin’s dominance index is already at 44 percent, and has been increasing since February, as more investors have started to eye bitcoin as a safe investment over other cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrency news: Will Litecoin ever overtake Bitcoin?

LITECOIN is currently ranked as the fifth cryptocurrency on the market, it has grown more than 3855.16 percent over the past year and has shot from $4.26 this time last year to a price of $168.49. So why has it experienced this remarkable growth and could it overtake the number one cryptocurrency bitcoin?

Litecoin was founded in 2011, two years after bitcoin was born.

The token is often referred to as the ‘silver to bitcoin’s gold’, as it was launched using the same code as bitcoin and its aim was to improve on the transaction speed of bitcoin.

Instead of using bitcoin’s SHA256 network, Litecoin used scrypt functions which helped to improve transaction speeds.

Bitcoin creates a block of information with data encrypted in 10 minutes, whereas Litecoin does it in two and half minutes per block.

As a cryptocurrency, it is favoured by traders as it is considered to be not as congested as bitcoin and is a lot cheaper as a result.

And experts claim Litecoin has asserted itself as a cryptocurrency which deserves to be in the top five, but does it have the potential to ever overtake bitcoin?

Will Litecoin ever overtake Bitcoin?

Litecoin has experienced remarkable growth this year, increasing in price by 3855.16 percent, compared to bitcoin’s 593.39 percent.

Bitcoin has been plagued by extended transaction speeds as users flood the network – many have said it has become a victim of its own success and has become too congested.

Despite this, experts do not predict Litecoin overtaking bitcoin any time soon.

Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency on the market so has first advantage and is recognised as a well-know cryptocurrency name, Nicholas Cawley, analyst at Daily FX explained to

The number one cryptocurrency managed to garner a critical mass and drew in investors and traders, and Mr Crawley said he does not envisage Litecoin ever outshining bitcoin.

However the analyst also predicts Litecoin will overtake another cryptocurrency this year, which is currently fourth on

“I think Litecoin will overtake Bitcoin cash but in market capitalisation terms will struggle to overtake Bitcoin,” Mr Cawley said.

Bitcoin Cash has just under 17 million tokens in circulation against a maximum of 21 million, while Litecoin has 55.5 million of a maximum 84 million in supply, so if prices remain the same litecoin’s market cap will grow faster than Bitcoin Cash.

“I also like the Litepal payment system and when we eventually see the launch of the Litepay debit card, then I can see Litecoin overtaking Bitcoin Cash.”

Kristjan Dekleva, head of product development at Blocktrade was in agreement and did not forsee Litecoin taking the number one spot on the cryptocurrency market.

Mr Tekleva said: “I don’t believe that Litecoin will overtake bitcoin. Litecoin does its intended job well for certain intents and purposes and has somewhat wide market penetration.

“But one it lacks the name recognition that Bitcoin has, which helps it stay where it is despite its flaws, and two there are numerous other altcoins that do Litecoin’s intended job, quick and cheap transactions, much better.

“Ultimately, it functions ok, but not well enough to break out of mid-market in the long run.”

While Andrei Barysevich, Director of Advanced Collection at Record Future, believes Litecoin has the capability to overtake bitcoin at some point, but not in the current climate.

“Bitcoin is not going anyway, everybody knows about bitcoin, in my view, it is going to remain as a gold standard. People will continue to use and continue to store money in bitcoin,” he said.

“However in day to day operations, I think Litecoin is to become more dominant currency, as soon as we start to see established e-commerce websites accepting Litecoin, that’s the time when i think Litecoin is going to dominate bitcoin cash.”

Mr Barysevich added to say he believes Litecoin will continue to experience growth in 2018 and will add on the success it is already experienced.


Israel: Steps Toward Cryptocurrency Support

In terms of technological innovation, Israel has been labeled by some as “The Startup Nation”with Israeli ventures raising over $5 billion in capital in 2017. This is almost 10% of China’s yearly fundraising total. While there’s a number of popular applications, platforms, and products including USB flash drives, the Waze navigation app, SodaStream carbonation machines, the country has set its foot in the crypto industry as well.

Back in 2017, Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, partnered with Microsoft to create a Blockchain-powered platform to “make the process of signing up guarantors simple and quicker.” And in February 2018, the Israeli Tax Authority (ITA) stated that cryptocurrencies will be taxed by the capital gains as properties.

On February 26, 2018, the country took it even further, when the Israeli Supreme Court handed down a decision that would temporarily block Leumi Bank, limiting a local broker, Bits of Gold, from facilitating the sale of cryptocurrency.

Though many were quick to laud the temporary ruling as ‘precedent-setting,’ it still leaves ample room for further developments. The judge ruling the case, Anat Baron, said that her decision was “not intended to harm the bank’s rights to analyze with specificity every transaction that takes place with the bank account or to take any actions that are related to minimizing risks.” This likely means cryptocurrency brokers and exchanges putting transparency first will be regarded as lawful—for now

Founder and CEO of Bits of Gold Yuval Roash sees this decision as justified, saying,

“Regulation is one of the things that has been important to us since the beginning. From the very beginning, we saw the problem with Bitcoin in terms of its anonymous characteristics, and we wanted to receive a currency service certificate—and we received it in August 2013.”

This is significant progress from December of last year, when a Tel Aviv district court ruled in favor of Leumi Bank, who had refused service to Bits of Gold because of Bitcoin’s inability to meet anti-money laundering standards. Bank Leumi had also been piggybacking on the Bank of Israel’s June labeling of exchanges as “websites that facilitate gambling transactions”, which is a sore spot for Israel especially. The country proved to be careful about upsetting the balance within its borders, and even blocked popular ride-sharing application Uber from an Israeli debut.

After examining the last five years of Bits of Golds’ operations, Judge Baron determined Leumi’s previous assumption that violations of the law would occur if Bitcoin were left unchecked were false.

In relation to the ruling, Yair Geva, head of the Hi-Tech Department of Israeli law firm Herzog, Fox & Ne’eman, remarked:

“It should be emphasized that the Court did not rule on the fundamental question—which has not yet been decided—whether Bank Leumi is entitled to refuse banking services for cryptocurrency trading. Although the final decision is still pending, it seems that this recent verdict of the Supreme Court will continue to give tailwinds to the tremendous growth of the crypto industry in Israel particularly, and to hi-tech as well as the financial industry in general. One of the reasons for this is that the Supreme Court clarified that Bits of Gold operated transparently and did not violate any statutory provision. In other words, the Supreme Court determined that currently there is no direct legal prohibition on cryptocurrency trading in Israel. It remains to be seen how regulators in Israel will respond to this landmark decision.”

Regardless of how regulators will respond, it’s already clear that progress on Israeli blockchain innovations hasn’t slowed.

“As with any new and promising technology, jurisdictions that instate well-balanced policies to promote innovation and adoption, will find themselves attracting talent and business to their ecosystems on grand scales. The best frameworks will be the ones that take a learning approach, allowing entrepreneurs and institutions to deeply understand how these technologies affect all stakeholders and develop the policies which are beneficial to most while educating the public on tradeoffs and accountability. Israel has always seen the advancement of technology as a strength and opportunity, and is well positioned to lead in Blockchain development and applications,” said Galia Benartzi, Co-founder of Bancor.

Itay Nagler, Israeli citizen and CEO of blockchain-driven travel startup Cool Cousin, says that Israelis, as a default, undercut the perception that things can’t or shouldn’t change.

“We are almost raised to believe that there is always a better, more efficient way to do things. That is one of the main reasons such a small country is home to many great innovative companies and individuals. This is also an explanation to why Israelis were among the firsts to adopt blockchain technology and crypto. A lot of us see it as a wonderful solution to many problems and our mentality of “no fear” to change, and relatively easy access to quality human resources and funding allows us to act on it. This, I believe, helped us during the past decades to position ourselves as pioneers and experts in many industries.”

Even though there were no concrete regulations of the industry before, it didn’t stop entrepreneurs from launching blockchain projects of their own. Bancor was one of the first major ICOs, raising over $150 million in mere minutes, and has its origins in Israel. IOTA , an IoT-focused Blockchain solution, recently opened an office in Tel Aviv, noting that the city is “a well-established tech hub, always ranking in the top 10 of start-up reports.”

These positive changes, however, go contrary to the recent decision by the Israeli regulators of not including companies involved in the crypto industry in the TASE, Tel Aviv Stock Exchange indices, due to its ‘trading volatility.’

Israel appears to be setting itself in the Blockchain ecosystem, along with the rest of the world, but tries first guarantee that the market’s grey areas be limited while its most useful attributes allowed to flourish

Traditional Liechtenstein Bank Launches Cryptocurrency Investment Platform

Citizens of Liechtenstein, a country that has become rather famous for its cryptocurrency acceptance, will soon be able to purchase digital currencies directly from a bank. Given the royal family’s demonstrated interest in the asset class and the general willingness to embrace cryptocurrency development, the move is perhaps not too surprising.

According to a press release issued by Bank Frick on February 28, 2018, it will be offering a wide variety of cryptocurrencies on its trading platform effective immediately. The initial set of digital currencies available for purchase will include BitcoinEthereumLitecoin, Ripple and Bitcoin Cash.

The target audience of the bank likely comprises of high net worth individuals and institutional investors, or rather, the type of individuals that already have a sizeable amount of funds in various banking instruments.

For any cryptocurrency exchange or broker, especially those, security is an important consideration. As is traditional for any cryptocurrency exchange, Bank Frick has stated that it will store all of its customers’ cryptocurrency assets in cold wallets, or rather, on computers air-gapped from the internet for the most part. Other security features, however, were not detailed in the press release.

The financial institution in question is already a fully-regulated bank that complies with all know-your-customer related laws at the country and EU level. Thus, it is safe to conclude that the same identification requirements will be carried over for any investor looking to purchase any amount of cryptocurrency from Bank Frick.

The bank also confirms regulatory compliance in its statement,

“At Bank Frick, cryptocurrency investments are subject to the same strict statutory measures as traditional financial transactions,” and “Clients can only invest in cryptocurrencies once they have been fully identified and verified. The verification and identification process also involves checking the origin of the money used to invest in them.”

Even though Bank Frick is a financial institution that primarily caters to Liechtenstein citizens, it has announced that the platform will be available to any European entity interested in it. The Chief Client Officer, Huber Büchel, said,

“Our services are in demand from companies across the whole of Europe. This is because they know that we can offer them reliable support in implementing their business models with cryptocurrencies and blockchains in line with the existing regulatory framework.”

Furthermore, the bank has announced that it will be accepting foreign currencies in exchange for cryptocurrency assets. At this time, investors can transact in US Dollars, Euros or Swiss Francs.

Bank Frick joins a rather exclusive list of banks willing to not only adopt, but also facilitate the buying and selling of cryptocurrencies. With most financial institutions around the world heading in the exact opposite direction, it is clear that Liechtenstein’s banks have other intentions.

Bittrex Will Remove 82 Tokens Due to Lack of Liquidity in Small Cryptocurrencies

Bittrex, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges which also powers UpBit, South Korea’s second biggest exchange operated by Kakao subsidiary Dunamoo, has stated that it will remove 82 tokens from its trading platform.

Token Removal

“Occasionally, there are circumstances that lead Bittrex to remove a coin’s wallet or market from the Bittrex Exchange,” said the Bittrex team. “We will be removing the wallets included in the list below on March 30, 2018. Once these wallets are removed, we will no longer be able to recover these coins. Users must withdrawal their coins before March 30, 2018, in order to keep them.”

The Bittrex team also stated that several cryptocurrencies have broken blockchains that have disabled users from withdrawing their balances.

“The coins marked with an asterisk (*) have broken blockchains or wallets that will not allow withdrawals,” said Bittrex, referring to cryptocurrencies like CRYPT.

On leading trading platforms, it is difficult for exchanges to sustain a stable order book if a cryptocurrencies does not have enough liquidity and demand from users of the platform. Lack of liquidity leads to price manipulation, which can be initiated with funds as little as $50,000, as shown in the recent study done by cryptocurrency trader Sylvain Ribes.

By using a method called slippage–a process of selling $50,000 worth of a particular cryptocurrency on a trading platform to measure its impact on the price–, Ribes evaluated the liquidity of digital assets on major exchanges like OKEx and GDAX. While GDAX had a slippage of less than 1 percent, on OKEx and other cryptocurrency-only exchanges with low market cap or volume cryptocurrencies, each sale of $50,000 led to a 2 to 10 percent drop in the market value of cryptocurrencies.

“A bit of wash trading and artificial volume inflation is to be expected in a thoroughly unregulated market. What I did not expect was the magnitude of the fraud,” said Ribes. “Many pairs, albeit boasting up to $5 million volumes, would cost you more than 10% in slippage, should you want to liquidate a mere $50k in assets,” he added.

Wash trading and price manipulation is common on major trading platforms with small cryptocurrencies or low-volume cryptocurrency pairs. The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recently warned investors against pump and dump schemes that are often seen in the cryptocurrency market.

“Fraudsters often try to use the lure of new and emerging technologies to convince potential victims to invest their money in scams. These frauds include ‘pump-and-dump’ and market manipulation schemes involving publicly traded companies that claim to provide exposure to these new technologies,” SEC’s statement read.

SEC’s Involvement

Earlier this month, the SEC requested cryptocurrency exchanges to either de-list ICO tokens or register with the agency in order to continue providing support for tokens. For US-based cryptocurrency exchanges like Bittrex, it is mandatory to register with the SEC before processing trades involving tokens.

Throughout next few months, many major exchanges will likely de-list or remove small cryptocurrencies that are prone to pump and dump schemes, and market manipulation.

Could Ripple, Bitcoin and Ethereum return to previous high?

CRYPTOCURRENCIES such as Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum are all in the green today after a turbulent start to the year. But could all three top tokens return to their previous record highs? Here are the latest price predictions.

Bitcoin had a good weekend after a poor start to 2018, dropping to under $6,000 at the start of February.

As of Marsh 17, CryptoCoinHubs  highlights a peak up to $8,150  at the time of writing.

Ethereum is up at $600  with Ripple  at $0,66. While LiteCoin , a Litecoin is currently worth $160

The rises come after a damaging month for cryptocurrencies as a whole. After peaking at about $834billion on January 7, the market plunged an eye-watering 66 percent, wiping out some $553billion, according to CoinMarketCap.

But with Bitcoin, Ripple and Ethereum all back in the green today, many crypto experts are confident that the market can reach new heights this year.

Could Ripple, Bitcoin and Ethereum return to previous high?

Thomas Glucksmann of GateCoin told CNBC: “Increasing regulatory recognition of cryptocurrency exchanges, the entrance of institutional capital and major technology developments will contribute to the market’s rebound and push cryptocurrency prices to all new highs this year.”

He added bitcoin, the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency, could be “pushing $50,000 by December”.

Jamie Burke, CEO at Outlier Ventures, is bullish about the cryptocurrency market, insisting it has the potential to reach $1trillion.

He told CNBC: “We believe after February the market will likely go on a bull run comparative if not greater than last year potentially reaching the trillion-dollar mark before a proper crypto winter sets in where the market becomes more focused on proper market fundamentals.”

And Panos Mourdoukoutas, writing for Forbes, suggested that after “ being in a deep correction for a few weeks, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin have been coming back nicely over the last week, gaining 19.87%, 10.48%, 30.57%, and 53.90% respectively”.

He added the crypto turnaround after the recent crash comes as equity markets rebounded from the sell-off early in the month.

And he also wrote the cryptocurrency “technicals” remain strong, saying “83 cryptocurrencies [are] advancing and only 17 declining among the top 100 listed currencies.”

Dennis de Jong, managing director of UFX, says he believes cryptocurrencies remain strong and will not plummet for good in 2018.

He told “It may not capture the headlines like the volatility of bitcoin has in recent months, but there have been considerable advances in the underlying technology of the blockchain.

“Many industries are already live with, or in the process of testing, blockchain use cases that have potentially huge knock-ons for data management and security advancements.

“The relationship between crypto usage and investment in the space underpins bitcoin’s value to an extent, and for this reason I can’t see it going anywhere soon.”

But as central banks attempt to kickstart regulation – Citibank India being the latest financial authority this week to ban cryptocurrency payments on debit or credit card – some investors believe the market slump could be an indicator of an overall crash in all financial markets.

Bleakley Financial Group CIO Peter Boockvar said: “If bitcoin resumes its decline here, I think that equity investors should pay attention.”

Ripple Could Be The Next Bitcoin

Bitcoin has made some investors very rich. Those who purchased the digital currency back in the old days when it was trading for a few dollars. And it could make more investors rich provided that it continues to rise to new highs.

But that’s unlikely, as large percentage gains are hard to come by at these price levels—north of $10,000.

Coin Price* Market Cap
Bitcoin (BTC) $10,751.90 $181,767,449,663
Ethereum (ETH) $788.19 77,266,069,902
Ripple (XRP) $0.91 35,513,987,185
*As of Wednesday, 11 a.m.

Still, there’s Ripple, trading below a $1. And there are experts who believe that it could be the next Bitcoin, one day.

Craig Cole of CryptoMaps is one of those experts.”Ripple just might be the catalyst in making cryptocurrency more mainstream,” says Cole.

Its faster transaction speeds and lower fees make it easier for financial systems to embrace the virtual currency, which is partly why Ripple’s value has increased dramatically just this year. Ripple is helping financial institutions save money and it is only expected to become even more prevalent in payment flows. The virtual currency is certainly on the rise and has the potential to be the first token to truly disrupt an industry, and if it does, expect XRP to reach Bitcoin-like levels of ubiquity in the near future.

John-Paul McCaffrey, Associate Director ITRC, Long Island University, agrees. “Although currently there isn’t a platform to exchange fiat currency for Ripple (XRP) this may change sooner than you think,” says McCaffrey. “There is speculation that Coinbase will be adding this to their list of cryptocurrencies they have available for fiat exchange. Providing easy liquidity through Coinbase alone will attract new interest in XRP.”

That will take some time says Roman Guelfi-GibbsCEO, Lead Systems Designer for Pinnacle Brilliance Systems Inc.

Ripple certainly has the potential to move up a notch in 2018, but I think it will be more likely in 2019. As the market observes more projects being coded in other algorithms such as XRP, ETH will likely take a backseat to the next big coin/token. It will take some time for the markets to digest this, so I am projecting 2019 to be the likely time for it to take place. Of course, with crypto, anything can happen, so watch closely.

Not everyone is that enthusiastic about the prospects of Ripple catching up with Bitcoin. Like Shidan Gouran, president of Global Block Chain Technologies.

Ripple is unlikely to go up by one or two notches in the cryptocurrency world in 2018, and this is the case for three reasons. The first reason is the sheer dollar volume that separates each of the three currencies in the top positions, in terms of their market cap. Bitcoin is at over $191 billion, Ethereum is at over $84 billion, and Ripple is at over $35 billion. To displace Ethereum would require a deficit of about $49 billion to be closed (which is more than double Iceland’s entire national GDP). The second reason is that the use cases for Ripple are mostly for the trade of assets, not for day-to-day spending. As consumer awareness of cryptocurrencies will rise significantly in 2018 and beyond, the interest of the masses will be on cryptocurrencies that can be used as currencies, not just for investment transactions. Finally, the third reason is that because Ripple cannot be bought with fiat currencies, one must purchase existing cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum to purchase XRP. This goes on to feed demand for Bitcoin and Ethereum, and will only solidify their positions as the top two cryptocurrencies on the market.

Actually, the last point is no longer true. Recently, the French exchange added Ripple and Litecoin to its coin offerings. This means that Ripple can now be purchased directly. At least that’s what the site claims, though I couldn’t verify how easy the process is and what are the relevant fees.

Still, Ripple investors have to wait for quite some time before they replicate the success of early Bitcoin investors, provided that it gains traction by users—and that big governments, big banks or hackers do not crush cryptocurrencies across the board.

[Ed. note: Investing in cryptocoins or tokens is highly speculative and the market is largely unregulated. Anyone considering it should be prepared to lose their entire investment. Disclosure: I don’t own any Bitcoin.]

Vladivostok as Russia’s New ”Crypto Hub”

Bankers and government officials have discussed the possible creation of a crypto valley on Russia’s Pacific coast. Representatives of the Central Bank and the executive power in Moscow have taken part in the consultations initiated by the Fund for Development of the Far East. The city of Vladivostok, where local authorities want to allow cryptocurrency trade, may become a crypto hub.  

Test Site for Crypto Regulations

The Fund for Development of the Far East has proposed the creation of a crypto valley, centered on the Russian city of Vladivostok, its general director Alexei Chekunov told RNS. The FDFE, along with the digital platform “Voshod” [sunrise], are currently discussing the idea with representatives of the Central Bank of Russia and government officials. The necessary regulatory framework and the risks associated with the project are under examination, as well.

“From around $2 billion dollars raised though crypto assets offerings, Russian projects account for about 5%, or approximately $100 million. It is obvious that the potential of our country in this new and perspective field has not been fully realized”, Chekunov said. He noted that the FDFE had been tasked by President Putin to explore the possibility of setting up a financial center in Vladivostok. “We have proposed to combine these two initiatives”, he added.

Chekunov called the experiment a “Russian Crypto Valley” and described it as a “test site for technical and regulatory approaches”. This week a local representative of the Russian Association of Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain told lawmakers in the Duma that Crimea’s jurisdiction can also be used to test the crypto “phenomenon”. A couple of days ago the head of the Russian republic of Udmurtia urged deputies to quickly adopt regulations and offered its territory for pilot projects. Other regions want to set up large mining facilities.

FDFE has also announced intentions to turn Vladivostok into Russia’s first crypto hub, taking advantage of the special economic ecosphere in its Free Port. The Deputy Finance Minister of Russia recently said that authorities in the administrative center of Primorsky Krai were interested in hosting cryptocurrency trade. The nearby Russky Island has been mentioned as a zone of free crypto interactions.

“At the moment we are focused on finalizing the regulatory rules and analyzing the possible risks. The Voshod platform is ready to start operations with crypto assets. We are working with all interested parties to begin trading after the adoption of the legal framework in mid-2018”, FDFE director Alexei Chekunov said. The Fund for Development of the Far East was created by Vnesheconombank, the government owned Russian development bank.

Do you think Moscow authorities will create a crypto valley in the Far East to experiment with crypto technologies and regulations? Tell us in the comments section below.

Belarus Wants to Run a Global Crypto Hub

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, who’s labored for years under the title of Europe’s last dictator, is making a bid for a shiny new image as the continent’s freewheeling cryptocurrency king.

 Lukashenko, who’s ruled the former communist republic that’s wedged between Poland and Russia since 1994, signed a decree on Friday offering tax breaks and legal incentives for dealing in digital currencies in an effort to turn Belarus into an international tech haven.
 “Belarus will become the first government in the world that opens wide opportunities for the use of blockchain technology,” Lukashenko said in a statement in his website. “We have every chance of becoming a regional center in this area.”
 The decree legalizes business based on blockchain — the technology underlying cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin — and all digital “tokens,” as Belarus seeks to become a global crypto coin hub for raising funds via so-called initial coin offerings, or ICOs. Revenue and profit from all operations using digital tokens will be exempt from taxes until 2023, while there’ll be measures to simplify the flow of venture capital between Belarus and other countries, according to a summary of the decree published by Viktor Prokopenya, one of the businessmen lobbying for the legislation

Belarus is seeking to capitalize on a thriving tech industry that’s grown up there in recent years as young programmers have created products that appeal far beyond the borders of the former Soviet republic. The phone messaging application Viber was developed in Belarus as were the NYSE-listed offshore programming company EPAM Systems Inc. and the popular online gaming service World of Tanks, which made founder Victor Kislyi the country’s first billionaire.

Sandbox Haven

Even as Alphabet Inc., owner of Google, and Facebook Inc. snapped up Belarus-made startups, the country’s restrictive business environment made it all but impossible for venture capital to flow freely into promising ideas. Lukashenko’s new law may change that.

Belarus plans to cloak its repressive reputation with a “sandbox” — the creation of a legal tech enclave where companies working with digital currencies will pay no taxes and rely on some elements of English law in commercial matters, a radical innovation for a country whose security service is still called the KGB.

The sandbox would be set up within the so-called Hi-Tech Park, which the authorities opened in 2005 near the capital, Minsk, to try to spur innovation. Today, most of the park’s  residents are offshore software companies taking advantage of cheap and skilled local programmers as well as reduced taxes to serve foreign clients.

’Tech Nation’

Lukashenko said this month that his goal in signing the decree is to make Belarus a “tech nation.” The country’s major technology companies lobbied for the legal changes, which also gained support among government officials and in the central bank.

The novelty of the proposed law is that Belarus would provide legal clarity for dealing in digital currencies which is yet unseen in other countries, said Denis Aleinikov, whose law firm Aleinikov and Partners helped to draft the decree. It also establishes a direct legal link between issuers of tokens and their obligations toward the holders.

To protect against fraudsters, the regulation would set capital requirements for operators of cryptocurrency exchanges. It would also introduce “smart contracts” in Belarus — self-executable computer-coded applications that serve as an alternative to traditional paper agreements.

“The decree has been written exactly the way our tech community wanted it,” Vsevolod Yanchevsky, head of Hi-Tech Park, said in an interview in Minsk. “Belarus will be one of the best jurisdictions in the world for cryptocurrencies and blockchain.”

CRYPTOCURRENCY : From Centralization to Decentralization


From Centralization to Decentralization

The major drawback of the traditional fiat currency payment system is high transaction fees with a long settlement period, which has led people to alternative currencies that allow for shorter peer-to-peer (P2P) processing time without intermediaries, resulting in a thriving market for digital currencies that have lower settlement risk. Prior to the creation of cryptocurrencies, there were many other types of digital currencies. The most common example is a digital currency created by an institution and transacted on a platform. Such currencies can be loyalty points created by companies or digital coins created by Internet-based platforms. The institutions or legal entities control the creation, transaction, bookkeeping, and verification of the digital currencies. In other words, these platform-based digital currencies are centralized. A notable example is the loyalty points of e-commerce companies like Rakuten and iHerb, which function like cash on the platform. Q-coin, introduced by the Chinese social platform Tencent, can be bought using the Renminbi and can be used to buy services at Tencent. World of Warcraft Gold is a game token that can only be earned through completing in-game activities and cannot be bought or exchanged into fiat currencies .

These centralized digital currencies are transacted within a specific platform and are designed to support the business of the issuing institutions. It is difficult to use them as a substitute for fiat money because these centralized digital currencies are not legal tender. Therefore, decentralized digital currencies seem a potential replacement for fiat money as no central authority is needed to verify the transactions. However, there are still many obstacles to overcome without the use of an intermediary or central authority. One main obstacle is the double-spending problem: It is possible to spend the same digital coin more than once. This problem has remained unsolved for a long time, discouraging the prevalence of decentralized coins. To ensure every transaction is accurately reflected in the account balance for digital currencies to prevent double spending, there is a need for a trusted ledger without a central authority.

The first cryptocurrency, eCash, was a centralized system owned by DigiCash, Inc. and later eCash Technologies. Although it was phased out in the late 1990s, the cryptographic protocols it employed avoided double spending. A blind signature was used to protect the privacy of users and served as a good inspiration for subsequent development. Shortly after the discovery of cryptography protocols, digital gold currency became popular, among which the most used was e-Gold. It was the first successful online micropayment system and led to many innovations, making transactions more accessible and more secure. However, the failure to address compliance issues finally resulted in its liquidation in 2008, despite an annual transaction volume of over US$2 billion .

The global financial crisis in 2008, coupled with a lack of confidence in the financial system, provoked considerable interest in cryptocurrency. A ground-breaking white paper by Satoshi Nakamoto was circulated online in 2008. In the paper, this pseudonymous person, or persons, introduced a digital currency that is now widely known as bitcoin. Bitcoin uses blockchain as the public ledger for all transactions and a scheme called PoW to avoid the need for a trusted authority or central server to timestamp transactions . Because blockchain is an open and distributed ledger that records all transactions in a verifiable and permanent way, it solves the double-spending problem.

Bitcoin and “bitcoin”

The cryptocurrency, denoted by bitcoin or BTC, can be accepted as a payment for goods and services or bought either from other people or directly from exchanges/vending machines. These bitcoins can be transacted via software, apps, or various online platforms that provide wallets. Another way to obtain bitcoin is through mining.

The Bitcoin system runs on a P2P network, and transactions happen directly between users with no intermediary. Bitcoin decentralizes the responsibilities of verifying the validity of transactions to the entire network. Transactions are recorded in the public ledger called blockchain and are verified by network nodes, which could be any individual using a computer system with Bitcoin software installed. Once users have made a transfer, the transaction will be broadcast between users and confirmed by the network. Upon verification, it will be recorded in the blockchain, and then the transfer is completed. This record-keeping process is referred to as mining, and people offering the computing power to do so are called miners. Bitcoins are created as an incentive for solving the cryptography puzzle using transaction data; thus, successful miners are rewarded with the newly created bitcoins, on top of transaction fees.

Each transaction contains inputs and outputs. An input has the reference to the output from the previous transaction, and the output of a transaction holds the receiving address and the corresponding amount . In general, in a transaction, a certain number of bitcoins is sent from a bitcoin wallet to a specific address, if there is a sufficient bitcoin balance in the wallet from previous transactions. Transactions are not encrypted and can be viewed in the blockchain with corresponding bitcoin addresses, but the identity of the sender or receiver remains anonymous. Typically, bitcoin wallets have a private key or seed that is used to sign transactions. This secured piece of data provides a mathematical proof that the coins in the transaction come from the owner of the wallet. With the private key and the signature, the account can only be accessed by the owner, and transactions cannot be altered by someone else.

Mining is also the process of adding newly verified transaction records to Bitcoin’s public ledger. The records are grouped and stored in blocks. Each block contains a timestamp and a link to a previous block so that the blocks are chained together, thus the name blockchain. The blocks are mined in sequence, and once recorded, the data cannot be altered retroactively. A complete record of transactions can be found on the main chain. Each block on the chain is linked to the previous one and can be traced all the way back to the very first block, which is called the genesis block. However, there are also blocks that are not part of the main chain, called detached or orphanedblocks. They can occur when more than one miner produces blocks at similar times, or they can be caused by attackers’ attempt to reverse transactions. When separate blocks are validated concurrently, the algorithm will help maintain the main chain by selecting the block with the highest value.

There are several systems by which miners can earn rewards through the mining process. Bitcoin uses the Hashcash PoW system and the SHA-256 hashing algorithm. Under the PoW system, rewards are given according to the number of blocks that are mined successfully. Therefore, mining is quite competitive; the miner who first solves a given puzzle or gets the highest value will take all the newly created bitcoins, and the other miners will receive nothing. Rewards thus encourage miners to take an active part in mining data blocks. In addition, mining usually involves a large amount of computation and can be quite energy consuming.

Another commonly seen system is proof-of-stake (PoS). Unlike PoW, no additional work is required under the PoS scheme because investors are rewarded based on the number of coins they hold. For example, a user holding 1% of the currency has a probability of mining 1% of that currency’s PoS blocks . In general, this system does not require a large amount of work for the computation. It provides for higher currency security and is usually used in combination with other systems, as in the case of Peercoin, the first cryptocurrency launched using PoS.

Because the supply of bitcoins is limited to 21 million, the bitcoins awarded to a miner for successfully adding a block will be halved every 210,000 blocks (approximately every four years), according to the Bitcoin protocol. When Bitcoin was first run in 2009, the reward amounted to 50 newly created bitcoins per block added to the blockchain, but the reward has been halved twice to 12.5 as of July 9, 2016. The supply of bitcoins on the network is 16.907 million as of March 6, 2018, with a total circulating supply market capitalization of US$ 159.1 billion.3

Features of Bitcoin

Decentralized. Similar to conventional currencies that are traded digitally, bitcoin can also be used to buy things electronically. Unlike any fiat money or platform-based digital currencies, however, bitcoin is decentralized. In other words, there is no single group or institution that controls the Bitcoin network. Its supply is governed by an algorithm, and anyone can have access to it via the Internet.

Flexible. Bitcoin wallets or addresses can be easily set up online without any fees or regulations. Furthermore, transactions are not location specific, so bitcoins can be transferred among different countries seamlessly.

Transparent. Every transaction will be broadcast to the entire network. Mining nodes or miners will validate the transactions, record them in the block they are creating, and broadcast the completed block to other nodes. Records of all transactions are stored in the blockchain, which is open and distributed, so every miner has a copy and can verify them.

Fast. Transactions are broadcast within a few seconds, and it takes about 10 minutes for the transaction to be verified by miners. Thus, one can transfer bitcoins anywhere in the world, and the transactions will usually be completed minutes later.

Low transaction fees. No transaction fee is required to make a transfer historically, but the owner can opt to pay extra to facilitate a faster transaction. Currently, low priority for mining transactions (a function of input age and size) is mostly used as an indicator for spam transactions, and almost all miners expect every transaction to include a fee. Miners historically have been incentivized mainly by newly created coins, but that is changing. As the number of bitcoins in circulation nears its limit, transaction fees will eventually be the incentive for miners to carry out the costly verification process.

Altcoin Market

Bitcoin is open source and the source code is available on GitHub.4 Therefore, coders around the world have been enlightened by the invention of Bitcoin and have created hundreds of cryptocurrencies, which are referred to as alternative cryptocurrencies, or altcoins. Bitcoin is not perfect. Every new purpose or pain point is an incentive to invent new coins. Coins are invented to address specific issues such as high computation cost of PoW, to increase the number of transactions per second, to increase the block size, to ensure that the ledger is not as transparent, to accommodate more efficient use of smart contracts, and so on. Moreover, to pay for development and launch expenses, developers can raise funds for the project even before the cryptocurrency is launched. In particular, initial coin offerings (ICOs), initial crypto-token offerings, and initial token sales are similar approaches to raising funding to develop new crypto-tokens and cryptocurrencies. ICOs allow people to invest in a project by buying part of its cryptocurrency tokens or prelaunched ERC20-compliant tokens residing on the Ethereum network in advance, typically based on a white paper or other documents on the project for investors to evaluate.

As of October 6, 2017, 869 cryptocurrencies and 269 crypto-tokens were launched and traded,5with a total market capitalization of over US$148.4 billion. Different from fiat money, cryptocurrencies have a circulating supply, total supply, and maximum supply. Maximum supply refers to the best approximation of the maximum amount of coins that will ever be created in the lifetime of the cryptocurrency, and total supply is the total number of coins existing at the present moment. However, some coins will have been burned, locked, or reserved or cannot be traded on the public market, so the circulating supply is computed by deducting those coins from the total supply. When determining the market capitalization, circulating supply is used because it denotes the amount of coins circulating in the market and accessible to the public.

Based on cryptocurrency market value as of June 27, 2017, Bitcoin dominated the market with more than half of the total market value and the highest price. Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin also have large market capitalizations of more than US$1 billion. In addition, the supply of different coins varies substantially due to the unique characteristics of each coin, and some coins are not mined, suggesting a fixed amount of supply. The price of the coins ranges from US$0.002 to well over US$1,000.

In general, some altcoins are very similar to bitcoins, whereas others are created by adopting very different methods or ideas. Market capitalization, different categories of altcoins, .

Appcoins, such as MaidSafeCoin, function like digital shares in a decentralized autonomous organization and are sold in token sales for a portion of future profits. Most altcoins are direct copies of Bitcoin, with some minor changes in parameters such as block-generating time and the maximum limit of coin supply. However, many altcoins have adopted other innovative changes. Among the widely accepted altcoins, Ethereum is the one with the most innovative ideas and widely followed besides Bitcoin. The value token of the Ethereum blockchain is called ether and denoted by XRP. It provides a decentralized Turing-complete virtual machine that features smart contract functionality, as do four other altcoins that have launched based on Ethereum: Ethereum Classic, Golem, Augur, and Gnosis. NEM falls under the third category in  (i.e., coins coded in a different programing language): It is operated using JAVA programming, as is Nxt. Stellar Lumens and Factom are excluded because they are based on Ripple and Bitcoin protocols, respectively.

To conclude, many cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin are traded actively with a wide assortment of features for investors to invest in. The complet coins list with over 1300 cryptocurrency , tokens and altcoins on