Chinese Crypto Giant Huobi Launches Billion-Dollar Blockchain Fund

Huobi Labs, a blockchain incubator that is part of the Huobi exchange, has signed an agreement with Tianya Community to build a “Global Cultural and Creative Blockchain Lab” in Hainan Province, China, alongside the launch of a billion-dollar industry fund that aims to back the blockchain industry globally.

Under the background of the “new era of Chinese socialism characteristics,” the government has given Hainan Special Economic Zone a new mission of economic reformation. President Xi Jiping, personally planned, deployed and promoted the national strategy.

Huobi To Support National Strategy

Huobi China will support the national-level strategy and will use its technology, resources, talents and capital in the global blockchain industry to contribute to Hainan Special Economic Zone development and explore the construction of an international free trade port, the company announced on its website.

This year, the Huobi Group will:

1. Move Huobi China headquarters (Not Huobi Global, Nor Huobi Pro) to Hainan in the Hainan Ecological Software Park.
2. Build 10 global blockchain labs in collaboration with top global industry companies.
3. Build a global blockchain research institute with the world’s top universities.
4. Build a 40,000-square-meter blockchain incubator.
5. Create a billion-dollar global blockchain industry fund.

Huobi Seeks Government Partnership

Huobi was among China’s biggest cryptocurrency trading platforms prior to crippling domestic regulations that effectively curtailed the industry. After closing its Chinese trading platform in October, Huobi founder Leon Li summed up China’s curtain call as a “watershed moment” for the industry before launching Huobi Pro, its international trading platform headquartered in Singapore.

Huobi’s recent announcement to offer its own token, dubbed “Huobi Token” (HT), is another step in the former Chinese exchange giant’s diversification strategy, which includes an expansion into major cryptocurrency markets in South Korea and Japan.

The utility token is based on the Ethereum blockchain’s ERC-20 standard and will be capped at 500 million tokens. ‘Huobi Token, short for “HT”, is a token system based on Blockchain launching and management,’ the firm explained in a post on its website.

Philippines Legalizes Cryptocurrency in Economic Zone of CEZA

The Philippine government is welcoming nearly a dozen cryptocurrency companies to operate in a special tax-friendly economic zone situated in close proximity to a number of neighboring countries.

According to a Reuters report, the Philippines will legalize the entry of  top 10 blockchain and cryptocurrency companies to operate in the Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA), a government-controlled economic zone that is within an hour’s flight away from the likes of Hong Kong, China, and Taiwan.

The government aims to woo cryptocurrency companies to operate out of the economic zone with tax benefits to help generate employment opportunities locally, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority chief Raul Lambino told Reuters.

Notably, the official confirmed that the government will also license – in effect legalize – the cryptocurrency firms in the special zone.

The companies will also be allowed to operate exchanges, offer initial coin offerings (ICOs) and engage in cryptocurrency mining within the zone, he added, stating:

We are about to license 10 platforms for cryptocurrency exchange. They are Japanese, Hong Kong, Malaysians, Koreans…They can go into cryptocurrency mining, initial coin offerings, or they can go into exchange.

There is a caveat, however. Any exchange of fiat money into cryptocurrencies or vice-versa should be conducted beyond Philippines’ borders to avoid infringing the country’s laws.

To aid in bringing jobs to those companies, the economic zone’s regulator is also considering establishing a new financial technology university in the economic zone with a specific focus on blockchain technology, Lambino added.

The embracive stance follows newly introduced rules by the CEZA in February which allowed cryptocurrency companies to legally establish offices and facilities in the special zone. To gain a license, companies must invest at least $ 1 million in the zone over two years and pay up to $100,000 in licensing fees.

Meanwhile, in the mainland, the Philippines’ central bank was previously known to be reviewing the applications of a dozen operators vying to register and launch cryptocurrency exchanges in the country as recently as December. It remains to be seen if these operators have since switched tact to register in the economic zone instead.

The Philippines became one of the earliest nations in the world to publish regulations for cryptocurrency exchanges in early 2017. The deputy director of the central bank, appearing in a televised interview in October 2017, lauded the ‘pioneering regulation’ and said bitcoin, as a monetary instrument, is “fast, near real-time and convenient”.

Telegram ICO Hits $1.7 Billion After 2nd Funding Round

The Telegram ICO has now raised a total of at least $1.7 billion, public documents show.

According to offering documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and dated March 29, the second round of Telegram’s much-hyped initial coin offering (ICO) raised $850 million in a sale that began on March 14.

The filing reports that 94 investors contributed to the funding round, placing the average individual investment at approximately $9 million. The previous funding round, which occurred in January and also raised $850 million, attracted 81 investors for an average individual investment of $10.5 million.

Both rounds of the Telegram ICO have been reported to the SEC under Rule 506(c) of Securities Act Regulation D, which allows unregistered securities issuers to raise an unlimited amount of money as long as they restrict contributions to accredited (i.e. wealthy) investors, file a simple report with the SEC, and require investors to submit to a predefined vesting period before selling their stakes.

The $1.7 billion Telegram has currently raised exceeds the $1.6 billion the firm was reportedly targeting in February.

However, Telegram has been notoriously opaque in both the development of its new blockchain protocol and the handling of the ICO, so it is unclear whether this marks the conclusion of the firm’s token sale or founder Pavel Durov will seek to raise more cash for the project in the near future.

This opacity has scared many big-name investors away, including renowned cryptocurrency hedge fund Pantera Capital.

The company claims that the Telegram Open Network (TON) — whose native token is called “Gram” — will be a revolutionary “third-generation blockchain” that has the network capacity to process 1 million transactions per second at virtually no cost. However, many blockchain developers have raised serious questions about the practicality of TON’s proposed system.

As CCN reported, quantitative analyst Aaron Brown estimated that the TON could reach a $200 billion market cap in five years — a best case scenario — but that current investors are likely overpaying for the Gram tokens.

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.

G20

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.

Short-Term

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.

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.

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

CRYPTOCURRENCY

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 https://cryptocoinhubs.com

Cryptocurrency Regulation in 2018

If 2017 was the year of the ICO, it seems as if 2018 is destined to become the year of regulatory reckoning. Things have already begun to heat up as countries around the world grapple with cryptocurrencies and try to determine how they are going to treat them. Some are welcoming, others are cautious. And some countries are downright antagonistic. Here is a brief overview of how 15 countries/unions from various regions are treating cryptocurrency regulations.

United States

The United States, at the time of this writing, has no coherent direction on its cryptocurrency regulation other than that there will be some soon. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has warned investors of cryptocurrency investing risks, halted several ICOs and hintedat the need for greater cryptocurrency regulation.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) became the first U.S. regulator to allowfor cryptocurrency derivatives to trade publicly, then organized meetings to talk about possibly changing the rules for cryptocurrency derivatives clearing (one of the meetings was postponed due to the federal government shutdown).

Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin has indicated a preference for minted fiat currency over cryptocurrency. Speaking on January 12, 2018, at the Economic Club in Washington, D.C., Secretary Mnuchin warned those in attendance that he and other regulators were looking into the possibility that cryptocurrency could be used in money-laundering activities. The secretary then announced to the group that the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) had formed a working group to explore the cryptocurrency marketplace and that he hoped to work with the G20 to prevent bitcoin from becoming a digital equivalent of a “Swiss bank account.”

Defending his stance to World Economic Forum attendees on January 25, 2018, Mnuchin explained that his number one focus on cryptocurrency was “to make sure that they’re not used for illicit activities.”

On January 26, 2018, U.S. Treasury Deputy Director Sigal Mandelker echoed the secretary’s sentiments after a visit to China, South Korea and Japan. At a press conference in Tokyo, she applauded the three Asian countries for keeping tabs on cryptocurrency trading, stating, “We feel very strongly that we need to have this kind of regulation all over the world.”

It should be noted that non-U.S. investors may have concerns over clearing licensing hurdles put up individually by the states. If the U.S. treats cryptocurrencies as currency, it seems more likely that the actions by the federal government and federal regulatory agencies would preempt states’ licensing. However, if treated as “securities” (the SEC has not completely cleared the issue up), cryptocurrencies, especially ICOs, would have to clear “blue sky laws” on a state-by-state basis.

Canada

The Financial Consumer Agency in Canada does not consider cryptocurrencies to be “legal tender,” excluding all but Canadian bank notes and coins from that definition. The True North, however, is not all harsh on its cryptocurrency regulatory stances. In fact, it appears to be the most transparent country in this list when it comes to understanding laws surrounding the digital currency industry (aside from Switzerland, which wants to be “THE crypto-nation”).

After weeks of hearings, which included testimony from experts like Andreas Antonopoulos, the Canadian Parliament approved Bill C-31 on June 19, 2014, the world’s first national law on digital currencies. The Canadian government has been communicative in its regulatory stances on cryptocurrency ever since: the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) sent out a regulatory notice on August 24, 2017, confirming “the potential applicability of Canadian securities laws to cryptocurrencies and related trading and marketplace operations and to provide market participants with guidance on analyzing these requirements.” If you want a clear and concise interpretation of this notice, check out this article.

More recently, the head of the Central Bank of Canada, Stephen Poloz, was quoted as saying on January 25, 2018, that  “I object to the term cryptocurrencies because they are crypto but they aren’t currencies … they aren’t assets for the most part … I suppose they are securities technically … There is no intrinsic value for something like bitcoin so it’s not really an asset one can analyze. It’s just essentially speculative or gambling.” It should be noted that as part of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA), Canada joined an association-wide “cautionary directive” on the risks of cryptocurrencies, with all representatives from every province in the country believing there is a “high risk of fraud.”

Venezuela

Venezuela is not a major world economy or a large portion of the cryptocurrency investing community. The country’s regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies, however,  is noteworthy because the government, under the restrictive regime of Nicolás Maduro, is seeking to skirt economic sanctions imposed on Venezuela by announcing its own oil-backed “petro” cryptocurrency.

Under Maduro, the country has been divided for years by protests and clashes between opposition parties and the government. Venezuela started off 2017 seemingly seeking to crack down on cryptocurrencies as the Venezuelan Bolivar remained relatively unusable. And even as recently as December 13, 2017, the Maduro government sought to regulate cryptocurrency mining as the newly minted superintendent of cryptocurrencies, Carlos Vargas, announced the compilation of a detailed registry of cryptocurrency miners in the country.

In a country where the fiat currency is worth little and sanctions from the U.S. continue to mount, a state-sanctioned cryptocurrency may cause Venezuela — a typically restrictive regime — to become one of the most progressive countries on cryptocurrency regulations (even if only to further sales of petro).

Japan

Japan isn’t particularly liberal toward digital currency regulation; it’s merely winning the race to attract the best from Asia’s cryptocurrency industry, as China and South Korea have been creating hostile/uncertain environments. Whether or not Japan will allow for a cryptocurrency-themed J-pop band, the Japanese government has certainly been more welcoming of cryptocurrencies than its Asian neighbors.

Recent events may have tempered Japanese enthusiasm for cryptocurrencies, however. The hack of a Japanese exchange on January 26, 2018, resulting in the loss of $530 million worth of NEM coins, has prompted backlash from the community and closer oversight from the Financial Services Agency (FSA).

China

China has been taking ever-increasing actions to clamp down on all things cryptocurrency. Starting off by banning ICOs, China ordered a bank account freeze associated with exchanges, kicked out bitcoin miners, and instituted a nationwide ban on internet and mobile access to all things related to cryptocurrency trading. The People’s Republic of China appears to be the most stringent cryptocurrency regulator of the major economies regarding cryptocurrencies. This is an odd about-face given that, in 2017, Chinese bitcoin miners made up over 50 percent of the worldwide mining population and that cryptocurrency adoption in China increased at a rate higher than any other country.

Though strict, the regulatory actions of the People’s Republic of China, under the stewardship of Xi Jinping, makes contextual sense as the country has recently been focused on stemming capital outflows and stomping out corruption.

South Korea

Where to begin with South Korean regulation? The country boasted a significant cryptocurrency presence in the past and was initially thought of as the country of refuge from the crackdowns occurring in China late last year. However, discord surfaced in January 2018 amongst top Korean officials on future regulatory actions for the digital currency industry, with declarations, clarifications, misinformation and ultimately some limited implementation. The uncertainty and potential negative regulatory impacts have now been cited as the cause for marketwide sell-offs on Red Tuesday as well as on January 30, 2018, when Korean officials began enforcing a January 23, 2018, rule disallowing anonymous accounts from trading cryptocurrencies.

To add external regulatory drama to the political dissonance demonstrated by a government less than a year out from ousting their former president, regulatory prospects for South Koreans have also been hindered by New York State’s Department of Financial Services (DFS), as they reportedly requested customer information on accounts associated with cryptocurrency trading among six commercial Korean banks with branches in New York on January 26, 2018.

Singapore

Until recently, the finance and banking center of Asia has been relatively lax compared to many of its Asian counterparts on cryptocurrency regulation. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), like many financial regulators, warned of risks of speculating in the cryptocurrency markets during the December 2017 peak in bitcoin prices. And Singapore’s International Commercial Court heard a trial that same month over a bitcoin trading dispute, seeming to legitimize the economic stakes in dispute.

On January 9, 2018, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said that “the country’s laws do not make any distinction between transactions conducted using fiat currency, cryptocurrency or other novel ways of transmitting value.”

MAS fintech chief Sopnendu Mohanty on January 24, 2018 did state that he does not foresee a Lehman Brothers-like financial meltdown with Bitcoin at this point in time, adding that there is “a great indication that regulators are getting serious about this whole cryptocurrency market.”

Mohanty also stated regulators would need to apply consumer protections for digital currencies like bitcoin for it to continue to grow. While there has been no statement yet from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the $530 million hack that attacked Japanese exchange Coincheck on January 26, 2018, targeted Singaporean-based NEM coins.

India

India, once viewed as a burgeoning, friendly environment for cryptocurrencies, has been clamping down on cryptocurrencies in 2018. India’s tough stance stems from similar concerns that other, more stringent regulatory regimes have cited: money laundering, illegal activity proliferation, sponsorship of terrorism, tax evasion, etc. While the cash-reliant country is facing stern regulations, participants of the local cryptocurrency industry do not believe India can “ban” cryptocurrencies through regulations in the same way China has.

Australia

In the wake of the August 2017 financial scandal surrounding the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the Australian government sought to follow in Japan’s footsteps by strengthening its anti-money laundering laws and regulating digital currencies. This differed slightly from the view in 2015 that the Aussie government would seek a “hands-off” approach to cryptocurrencies. Still, the lack of more concise regulation has purportedly had a negative impact on the country as the end of 2017 saw Australian cryptocurrency brokers halt Australian dollar deposits. December 2017 also saw an issuance from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) which hinted at the way potential future regulation could go. The ATO guidance stated:

Transacting with bitcoin is akin to a barter arrangement, with similar tax consequences. Our view is that bitcoin is neither money nor a foreign currency, and the supply of bitcoin is not a financial supply for goods and services tax (GST) purposes. Bitcoin is, however, an asset for capital gains tax (CGT) purposes.

Australia, however, has supporters of digital currencies in government, as August 2017 sawsenators from both major parties (Labor and Coalition) stepping forward to call on the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to accept cryptocurrencies as an official form of currency. Therefore, the future of further cryptocurrency regulation remains uncertain but potentially industry-friendly in the land down under.

United Kingdom/European Union

While Brexit is scheduled to force the U.K. and the European Union to part ways in March 2019, the United Kingdom and the EU remain united in their plans to regulate cryptocurrencies. On December 4, 2017, The Guardian and The Telegraph reported that the U.K. Treasury and the EU both had made plans aimed at ending anonymity for cryptocurrency traders, citing anti-money laundering and tax evasion crackdowns.

The European Union plan would require cryptocurrency platforms to conduct proper due diligence on customers and report any suspicious transactions. Likewise, the Treasury of the United Kingdom stated that they are “working to address concerns about the use of cryptocurrencies by negotiating to bring virtual currency exchange platforms and some wallet providers within anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulation.” The Treasury did, however, add that “there is little current evidence of [cryptocurrencies] being used to launder money, though this risk is expected to grow.”

While one European Union commissioner, Pierre Moscovici, stated in an interview with Bloomberg on December 18, 2017, that the EU was not looking to regulate bitcoin, the commissioner’s statements seemed out of sync with prior and consequential messaging. Two days later, Moscovici’s message was seemingly countermanded by Valdis Dombrovskis, vice president of the European Commission (the Executive for the European Union), when he toldreporters in Brussels that:

There are clear risks for investors and consumers associated to price volatility, including the risk of complete loss of investment, operational and security failures, market manipulation and liability gaps.

Calls for greater cryptocurrency regulations echoed across Europe in January 2018. On January 15, 2018, French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire announced the creation of a working group with the purpose of regulating cryptocurrencies. Similarly, Joachim Wuermeling, a board member of the German Bundesbank, called for effective regulation of virtual currencies on a global scale.

On January 22, 2018, Dombrovskis furthered his regulatory agenda for cryptocurrencies by writing three of the EU’s watch dogs warning them of a bubble in bitcoin. On January 25, 2018, embattled U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May joined the fray, echoing the sentiments of International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde and U.S. President Donald Trump. When speaking to Bloomberg during the World Economic Forum at Davos, the prime minister stated, “We should be looking at these very seriously — precisely because of the way they can be used, particularly by criminals.”

While the U.K. and EU have not announced finalized regulations of cryptocurrencies, an expected announcement is likely due in the spring.

Switzerland

Switzerland, known for its progressive attitudes toward individual rights in banking, has kept a similar attitude toward cryptocurrency regulation. The Western European country is conspicuously absent from the European Union and appears to have an open attitude toward the cryptocurrency industry.

Johann Schneider-Ammann, economics minister, told reporters on January 18, 2018, that he wants Switzerland to be “the crypto-nation.” According to an article by the Financial Times, Jörg Gasser, state secretary at the Swiss finance ministry, stated, “We want it [the ICO market] to prosper but without compromising standards or the integrity of our financial markets.”

To that end, on January 18, 2018, the Swiss set up an ICO working group with an aim to “increase legal certainty, maintain the integrity of the financial center and ensure technology-neutral regulation.” The working group will report to the Swiss Federal Council by the end of 2018.

Russia

Russia, like South Korea, can’t seem to decide how it wants to handle cryptocurrency regulations. In September 2017, Russian Federation Central Bank chief Elvira Nabiullina saidthe central bank was against regulating cryptocurrencies as currency (as a payment for goods and services) and against equating them with a foreign currency. This statement seemed toindicate a progressive hands-off approach was in store for the cryptocurrency industry in Russia.

However, on September 8, 2017, the deputy finance minister for the Russian Federation, Alexei Moiseev, told reporters at a Moscow financial forum that settlements of payments in cryptocurrencies “are not legal now.” The deputy minister continued, stating, “Obviously, now there is a legal vacuum, and accordingly it’s hard for me to say if these actions are legal or not.”

Until these statements, the position proposed by the Russian federation was to allow only “qualified investors” to deal with cryptocurrencies. Russian President Vladimir Putin sided with the position of the Finance Ministry on October 11, 2017, when the president said that the use of cryptocurrencies carries serious risks, being an opportunity for laundering criminal capitals, evading taxes, financing terrorism and spreading fraudulent schemes that would victimize Russian citizens.

The Finance Ministry continued its strict regulatory posturing by suggesting a taxation on cryptocurrency mining ventures on December 28, 2017. The new year began with even more hints at a Russian crackdown on cryptocurrencies, as Putin again sided with the Ministry of Finance on January 11, 2018, when he remarked that legislative regulation of the cryptocurrency market may be needed in the future.

President Putin stated, “This is the prerogative of the Central Bank at present and the Central Bank has sufficient authority so far. However, in broad terms, legislative regulation will be definitely required in the future.” (translation by TASS)

Two weeks later, on January 25, 2018, the Finance Ministry published a draft law “On Digital Financial Assets.” The law, if finalized, would define tokens, establish ICO procedures and determine the legal regime for cryptocurrencies and mining.

Presidential candidate Boris Titov decried the proposed legislation on January 26, 2018, stating that the draft law was excessively strict. According to Titov’s press service, “The Finance Ministry’s proposals present a much tougher regulation than in Japan, Switzerland, Belarus [and] Armenia; that is, in all countries that have adopted some form of legislation. It would be better not to adopt anything than to adopt such legislation.”

Further muddying the waters was a concession by Deputy Minister Moiseev that the December 2017 Belarusian adoption of the “Digital Economy Development Ordinance” could cause capital outflows from Russia to neighboring Belarus if heavy crypto-regulation occurred in the Russian Federation.

Nigeria

Last year saw Africa’s largest economy struggle through a recession that caused a “crunch” to its fiat currency. Bitcoin trading boomed as Nigerians used cryptocurrencies to end-run currency controls restricting access to the dollar put in place to curtail the recession. January 2017 started off with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) seeming to ban cryptocurrencies, only to have CBN Deputy Director Musa Itopa Jimoh walk back the position by stating, the “Central bank cannot control or regulate bitcoin. [the] Central bank cannot control or regulate blockchain. Just the same way no one is going to control or regulate the internet. We don’t own it.” Bitcoin trading boomed by 1500 percent during 2017.

Though the IMF report from December 2017 said the country has exited its recession, tepid GDP growth forecasts and reliance on crude oil exports make calls on January 25, 2018, from CBN Governor Edwin Emefiele to regulate cryptocurrencies seem tenuous. The CBN governor stated, “Cryptocurrency or bitcoin is like a gamble … We cannot, as a central bank, give support to situations where people risk their savings to ‘gamble.’”

Ghana

The governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Ernest Addison, stated on January 22, 2018, that “Bitcoin is not yet legal tender” at a media briefing. While there is a bill before Ghanaian parliament which will allow for the use of cryptocurrencies (seemingly with companies registered as “Electronic Money Issuers” by the government), the current stance of bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) is, according to Graphic Online, one of “six countries that have outlawed [bitcoin].” Addison’s statements come weeks after a recommendation from the Ghanaian investment bank, Group Ndoum, suggested that the Bank of Ghana invest 1 percent of its reserves in bitcoin.

South Africa

South Africa is relatively progressive on the subject of cryptocurrencies compared to others on the list. While the 2014 position paper on virtual currencies issued by the South African Reserve Bank seemed promising for the industry, the South African government began in July of 2017 to work with Bankymoon, a blockchain-based solutions provider, on creating a “balanced” approach to bitcoin regulation.

The country has had valuation issues with its fiat currency, the South African Rand, being devalued several times over the past decade. The 2015 devaluation saw the rand drop 26 percent in response to the Chinese yuan devaluing by a mere 2 percent. Most recently, the country faced devaluation prospects again in March of 2017 as the president fired South Africa’s finance minister. The country has remained relatively mum on cryptocurrency regulation in January 2018, but it will be interesting to see if the reliance South Africa’s fiat currency has on China translates at all to its regulatory stance on cryptocurrencies.

One crypto strategy that work: A basket of low market cap coins

I’ve been investing some energy attempting to thoroughly consider where the famous hockey puck will go in cryptocurrency money, and here’s one thought I think may work.

At the present time, in the event that you place $100 in an investment account, you’d be fortunate to get even $2 every year. However, with this move in cryptographic forms of money to Proof of Stake, the correct pick could net you $50 to $80 every year for that underlying $100 speculation.

Moving from Proof of Work to Proof of Stake is one major investigation happening now

The predominant digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum work on verification of work. Diggers need to do genuinely confounded math issues to make sense of what the subsequent stage in the blockchain will be. Consequently, they get a mining reward, which is the essential type of swelling for generally monetary standards.

Verification of stake is unique. Rather than costly GPU-based or ASIC-based mining rigs, you simply run an ordinary, non-computationally-serious bit of programming on any sort of PC, and connect your “stake” — some measure of the digital currency that you are setting up as evidence that you are running the correct programming and won’t attempt to cheat the framework. In the event that you are found tricking, you lose the sum you set up for stake. This is essential in that now ordinary individuals who simply hold the cash can really get a loan fee on holding it.

Creating yield is a major ordeal

This diverts crypto from a negative convey resource (like gold, or placing cash in your sleeping pad) into one that really produces yield.

The world’s capital is frantic for yield nowadays, which is the reason money markets is so overheated, why pessimistic or close to zero financing cost loaning now exists, and why individuals are so stressed over resource value bubbles extensively. Individuals need to develop their capital and it has never been harder to discover reliable approaches to get it.

For example, take a gander at the eye-popping 11% rate of profit you would get for’s return in 1984!

The times of hazard less return were our folks’ age, and not our own. In any case, digital forms of money that utilization evidence of stake for accord have the guarantee of a steady 3% to 8% yearly yield, in light of the fact that as opposed to offer that to diggers to run the system, they can simply impart them to holders who will stake.

One system with unbalanced upside: A crate of low market top Proof-of-Stake coins

Evidence of Stake hasn’t been demonstrated to work at the sort of scale that Bitcoin or Ethereum have had yet. Crypto specialists have quite disparate suppositions on whether it will work at scale after some time, which is a hazard that is forestalling selection now.

In any case, as with anything new, it needs to begin some place, and that is the place coins like Decred and Navcoin are driving the route in the endeavor. Navcoin (at the season of composing) is around $100M showcase top, and Decred is around $220M. On the off chance that both of them can get the chance to top 10 cryptographic forms of money, that is a 10X in esteem from here. Clearly these things are dependably a ridiculously enormous if, however I like it as a wager with exceedingly topsy-turvy upside.

Navcoin yields around 5% every year, except Decred yields up to 31% exacerbated every year. That is entirely astounding. Yet, in the event that the coin itself can 10X in esteem, you’re taking a gander at half to 80% yearly yield on the underlying fiat you may use to purchase in. I like a one-time half increment in esteem, yet what’s far and away superior to that is an a half to 310% yield each year into what’s to come. Those yields stack as you increment your possessions in every digital currency also, which is another pleasant intensifying impact like naturally re-putting profits into a stock.

The rundown of PoS coins is entirely long, and a comprehensive survey of them is left as an activity to the peruser. A fragmented rundown of more well known ones notwithstanding the ones above incorporate Peercoin (one of the first to do it), Lisk coin (biggest by advertise top), Nxt coin , and numerous others. I’ve additionally observed perusing coin subreddits to be quite important—these coins have a tendency to live beyond words designer and group intrigue, and you can get an awesome measure on these things through their gatherings and subreddits.

Verification of Stake isn’t the main way you can get yield from these coins. NEO is another coin (named the Ethereum of China) that gives NEO wallet holders another coin called GAS, which at current time yields around 4.8%.

The considerable thing is whether you are an early holder of Ethereum, you’ll as of now get this impact hugely, if/when the Casper move up to Proof of Stake enters the photo one year from now.

At long last, I would suggest little sums (maybe with a dollar cost normal system) that you wouldn’t be disturbed about losing, and as a piece of a portfolio to such an extent that in the event that one Proof of Stake cryptographic money doesn’t work out (and be set up for most to stagnate or fall flat) you have a not too bad shot at owning the possible victor. The best thing about hilter kilter upside is that you can at most lose 1X, yet have the potential for significantly more on the flipside.