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On Tuesday, during the Senate hearing on the potential cryptocurrency regulations, the chairmen of USA’s top two market regulatory agencies largely stuck to their script. The hearing was held by the Senate Committee on Urban Affairs, Housing, and Banking which affected a wide range of regulatory concerns that are linked to the blockchain and cryptocurrencies technology, including trading platforms, ICOs (initial coin offerings), derivatives and ETFs (exchange-traded funds).

Both Giancarlo and Clayton expressed concern in their statements that at this time, the cryptocurrency exchanges are delimited at the state level and not on the federal one. They both repeated that in the future at some undefined point, there’s a chance that the Congress may try to improve the ability of federal regulators to manage the spot markets.

The chairman of SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission), Jay Clayton, tried to shift the conversation back to the ICOs constantly and noted that he hasn’t seen an ICO that shouldn’t be catalogued as a security under federal regulations. The same statement he has been repeated on several past occasions as well.

CFTC Chairman

He likewise gave a perception on why the SEC has struggled against the fund sponsors attempts to list Bitcoin ETFs and explained that because retail investors are largely targeted by the ETFs and are primarily one-sided markets, rules presiding their creation need to be strict than those for futures indentures, which are supervised by the CFTC. He added that the SEC will be open for revising its stance on Bitcoin ETFs if these rules are gratified later.

Meanwhile, Chairman Giancarlo grabbed the attention of many Bitcoin fanatics with some comments that seemed to be hat tips to the community.

The very first word that he used during the Congressional hearing was “hodl” and till the end of the hearing, he continued to contradict the common misconception that the coattails of blockchain technology are purged by Bitcoin.

He told the committee that it’s really important to reminisce that there’d be no blockchain if there was no Bitcoin. Overall, the whole hearing didn’t end up as a thunderclap, however, it proved what has been already made ostensible ‘that new cryptocurrency regulations are expected to be coming to the US markets soon.’

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Darknet Market Exit Scams – How Can You Avoid Them As A User?

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Darknet marketplaces are known to have accepted cryptocurrencies since quite some time now. With the majority of platforms accepting Bitcoin while others experimenting with Ethereum and Monero. However, the darknet markets are in for a bit of trouble as many portals are disappearing overnight in what’s being referred to as “exit scam.”

Here we’ve outlined three most recent incidents of to clear this point.

EVOLUTION:

The Evolution marketplace is one that made several headlines on the media, as it was one of the largest darknet marketplaces worldwide. In March 2015, over 40k bitcoins kept in escrow were stolen and they’ve never been retrieved ever since. The coins were worth around $12 million but no one is certain if they were stolen by the administrator or someone who hacked into the platform. Nonetheless, it is still one of the biggest exit scams since 2015.

OASIS:

Oasis is one of the first darknet markets to support payments made with Monero. Although, this portal went totally dark in 2016 when many users were scammed right before the platform vanished. The result was loss of at least 150 bitcoins while the amount of XMR was never disclosed. While everyone believed that Oasis could’ve been one of the main black markets on the deep web today.  Unfortunately, that was not the case which gives everyone on the darknet a warning when it comes to trusting such marketplaces.

EAST INDIA COMPANY:

With a reputation that was usually fluctuating, East India Company was known to be one infamous darknet market before it disappeared in early 2016. To start off with, it was hacked back in August 2015 and lost around 30 bitcoins. It did take them a while to get back on feet as the users gradually made their way back. It was in January 2016, when the platform became inaccessible for a few days, which lead to users having their wallets drained and no response from the admins. No one knows as to how much funds were stolen from the market but it was one of the biggest exit scams over the last couple of years.

Now, if you’re hesitant towards trusting a darknet market but are still curious to know more of the deep web then we’ve got a safer option for you.

A Solution Against Exit Scams – BERMUDA:

Opposite to all the aforementioned markets, Bermuda is there to stay. Despite of being relatively new in the darknet world, Bermuda has got all the attributes to provide the darknet users with a platform where everything – from kids’ toys to adults’ stuff, and prescriptions medications – is available.  Moreover, Bermuda is firmly against the sale of stuff such as:

  • Assassinations or any other services which may be intended to cause harm to others.
  • Live action stuff/hurt/murder audio/video/images
  • Weapons of mass destruction: chemical, biological, explosives, etc.
  • Child pornography
  • Weapons
  • Poisons

Trading a potion/all of the above-mentioned stuff is what primarily causes the law and enforcement to ban most the darknet markets. On the other hand, Bermuda has it stated in its market policy to never become part of any activity that promotes the prohibited stuff.

Now, one might think: “If Bermuda only deals in regular stuff, why go on the deep web? Why not just your normal browsers/search engines?”

Well, the majority of online buyers prefer to stay anonymous and buy the desired stuff without revealing their identity. But sadly, this is not possible on surface web marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay, etc. So, to achieve that anonymity, they head to dark marketplaces.

However, most the dark markets are involved in illegal trades in addition to selling the routine stuff and most of the time end up getting axed by the government. This ultimately leaves the clients with very limited and often inconsistent options.

Bermuda’s goal is to address this issue and provide dark-web users with a platform that won’t ever go down or get axed by the government so they have a marketplace on their fingertips every time they need to buy some stuff. Some of the key features of Bermuda are:

  • Payments through both Bitcoin and Fiat are available
  • Incredibly fast support
  • Disabled JavaScript and easy html5 design for an easy on-site navigation
  • Free vendor ships;

And much more! Visit the site at  http://bermudagslgcoamz.onion/ and get registered right now for an amazing dark market experience.

You can also put forward your queries to Bermuda through Reddit’s DM feature at /r/Bermudator.

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Gates on Bitcoin Shorting Spree

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In a recent interview, the estimated $90 Billion worth, second richest man on earth tried to knock Bitcoin again. Bill Gates was later met with great criticism by the early Bitcoin investor, Tyler Winklevoss. In a recent tweet after listening to the Gates interview, Winklevoss dared him to short Bitcoin as he claims.

Bill gates bitcoin

Its almost a decade Bitcoins have been around, but the Bitcoin came widely under the mainstream not before until late 2017. After a steep rise of Bitcoins’ value from $5,800 to nearly $20,000 within four weeks, it showed people around that this is the ‘new wave of future’.

Despite the huge interest in this digital, electronic alternative to government-issued money, their acceptance in the system has been slower. They are still not used as consistently and reliably for buying services and goods as frequently. People are more prone to hold this cryptocurrency as a digital asset than as means of a transaction. High volatility, minimal adoption, and high transaction fees have slowed down the Bitcoin’s embracement and adoption as a regular form of money.

‘Greater Fool Theory’ Investment

Bill Gates has always come up with strong criticism and disapproval regarding this Bitcoin. On several occasions, he opted for the opportunity and bashed the cryptocurrency. Bill Gates accuses Bitcoins to be worthless and ‘greater fool theory’ type of investment. He further there is nothing being produced or generated here so, you shouldn’t expect anything to rise high in the regard.

Gates has come up with very strict and naïve views about the currency lately. Regarding the misuse of the digital currency in illegal and unlawful dealings in drugs and other things, he directly alleges the Bitcoin to be responsible for the deaths and menace.

Joining the hatred league, other big names of the wall street has also some serious and grave remarks for Bitcoin. Names like Warren Buffet called Bitcoin ‘rat-poison squared’, while his partner Charlie Munger associates trading Bitcoins as trading ‘feces’.

Despite saying the cryptocurrencies, ‘crazier, speculative things’, Gates acknowledges the importance and worth of the Blockchains. After a continuously lambasting Bitcoin, it is very much clear that Bill Gates is not on the Bitcoin bandwagon, nor is he becoming one any time sooner.

Gates also states that he at some time back received Bitcoins on his birthday, and later sold them understanding and realizing they were of no such use and credibility.

Crypto ‘Twin Guard’

The early Bitcoin holder twin and the founder of cryptocurrency exchange– Gemini, sour heartedly took the whole incident. After the harsh statement, Tyler Winklevoss bashed Bill Gates in a direct tweet. Winklevoss pointed out the claim that it is easy to short Bitcoin and he should put his money where his mouth is.

It is not the first time Tyler has bashed and dared someone to short Bitcoins. The CEO of JPMorgan Chase, Jamie Dimon was dared before too, to short Bitcoins before after he claimed Bitcoin to be a fraud. Jamie Dimon later expressed his regret for making that statement.

Being very critical about the Bitcoins and the whole scenario, Winklevoss twins hold strong statements against these wall street titans spilling negating about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The twins see this whole scenario as the failure of imagination by these wall street personals. They believe they are too old to understand the whole Bitcoin phenomena and their emergence. According to the twins, these Bitcoin opponents are very small ‘privileged minority’ who have an easy access to their resources, money and bank accounts.

Last year, respective Bitcoin futures market was launched by Chicago based CBOE and CME. This enabled a short selling for Bitcoin. This process may be a little less straightforward than a more traditional asset, but technically there are others ways too. Maybe Gates understood it.

According to another assumption, maybe Bill Gates wasn’t really clear on the way to short Bitcoins and he finds it too naïve and awkward to follow. Or maybe he just doesn’t really follow the whole protocol behind this cryptocurrency and Bitcoin gig.

Still, that doesn’t seem to stop and refrain the noted Bitcoin bull twins for striking and daring back these wall street personalities, which are all bashing cryptocurrencies and all these gaudy vocal detractors of Bitcoin happen to consist of the richest names in the world.

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Bitcoin Spurs a Shortage of Graphic Card

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The increasing popularity of Bitcoin is causing a prominent shortage in the supply of graphic cards. It is considered a key component of the digital currency system over the last few years.

The chief executive of JIB group of computers, known as a leading IT retail and computer gaming chain said that the price of graphic cards is also increasing since mid of May 2017.

Graphics cards are the main part of computer systems which used for mining the cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. People who invest in Bitcoin can get revenues on their investment from Bitcoin much faster than other investments. They can get returns of their investment within only 5 to 15 months.

A mining rig is a computer system which miners use for mining cryptocurrency. According to Mr. Somyot, people think investing in a mining rig is not very risky. They use minimum six graphic cards. At a price of almost 2940 USD, for a mining rig.

In gaming markets, the margin on graphic cards has also been increasing since the 2nd quarter this year, and it is about 2-3% to 8-10%. The graphic card companies need to reserve the cards to dodge a negative impact on gamers. In the markets, the demand for the graphics cards is also at a high point.

 

 

The most commonly used graphic card for Bitcoin are NVIDIA 1060 and 1070, and AMD 570 and 580. These were in short supply and causing a 20% price hike.

According to predictions, the higher prices will remain until October.

Don Sambandaraksa is a long time Bitcoin enthusiast associated with cryptocurrency since 2013 when the price of Bitcoin was at 40 USD, he said, these days Bitcoin may no longer be efficiently mined with CPUs or even GPUs (Graphics Processing Units).

He said people have made chips that could only do Bitcoin hashes, nothing else.

Mr. Don said, 1080Ti card’s price is about 700 USD and it can get a return on investment in almost 108 days. Over a year can make 2300 USD, an annual return on investment of about 300%. He said, as more people come to buy graphic cards then the less profitable they will be. Mr. Don also said it is a sign of the crazy levels of the profitability that mining offers.

Story Credits: www.bangkokpost.com

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Crypto Regulations – South Korea’s Impact on the Crypto-world

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One of the largest markets for cryptocurrencies after Japan and U.S. is South Korea, as it’s believed by many. South Korea’s population is equivalent to Arizona and California if they’re put together. The cryptocurrency speculation looks like it has been overhyped unreasonably and South Korea’s government wants to take some fundamental steps now, to control this cryptocurrency trend in the crypto world.

South Korean’s Crypto-Market – Current Situation

At this time, you can clearly see a lot of chaos in South Korea. It all started when the government of South Korean officially legalized Bitcoin service back in July 2017, which caused a momentous progress in the demand for cryptocurrency trading all around the country.

North Korean hackers targeted South Korean Bitcoin exchanges in August 2017, and by the end of September, there were many rumours that South Korea was planning to execute stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies. These rumours turned out to be more serious by December and based on speculations, it changed into an absolute ban on cryptocurrency exchanges and had a bad impact on the crypto world.

crypto world

South Korea Influence on the Cryptocurrency Prices

According to an estimation by The Blockchain Industry Association, South Korea has many cryptocurrency exchanges, including;

  • Coinone
  • Bithumb
  • Korbit

This tells us that even with 50 million people in a country, the demand for cryptocurrencies is so high that it has traded at more than a 30 % higher price than other countries.

80% of the investors in South Korea have earned from investments in cryptocurrency and almost one-third of salaried Koreans have an average of $5,000 in cryptocurrency, which is a huge acceptance of an unapproved investment based only on speculation.

How are cryptocurrency traders operating in South Korea?

Many banks including the second largest one in the country, Shinhan Bank, offer local cryptocurrency exchanges with computer-generated bank accounts. Each investor/user can use these virtual bank accounts for depositing or withdrawing huge amounts of Korean Won without using their real bank accounts, which takes a lot of time and is costly at the same time.

The industry is currently under the government’s radar, amid other fears, that illegal funds will be entering the market and management of price of cryptocurrencies will be based on speculative investments.

How’s 2018 been so far for Cryptocurrencies in South Korea?

More regulatory plans have been announced by the government to ban this anonymous cryptocurrency, in order to control cryptocurrency speculation. Meanwhile, after this announcement, several South Korean exchanges were removed by the CoinMarketCap from its website, stating that extreme price divergence is the main reason for this. Around $20 billion was wiped off Ripple’s market cap as a result. After a statement by the Ministry of Justice, news of a whole cryptocurrency ban arose once again.

Is there going to be any ban on the cryptocurrencies?

The government started to notice huge speculation that drove instabilities in the cryptocurrency market since September 2017 and in order to evade money laundering and other crimes related to it, strategies to prohibit anonymous trading on local exchanges were testified in December 2017.

The Prime minister of South Korea, Lee Nak-Yeon, warned about the hazard of cryptocurrencies being an easy way for the younger generation especially students, to get involved with such illegal activities.

Regardless of the media misrepresentation of more stricter rules for cryptocurrencies, at the beginning of 2018, Kim Dong-yeon (the Finance Minister) ensured that there’d be no ban of cryptocurrencies in South Korea. The government also proclaimed that there’ll be tax on cryptocurrency exchanges around 24%. Apart from banning anonymous trading, they’ll be banning foreigners and minors from opening any other new cryptocurrency accounts as well.

How South Korean government will enforce bans?

The south Korean government has restricted the opening of new virtual accounts and cryptocurrency traders won’t be permitted to make any deposits into their virtual currency exchange wallets. They’ll be only able to deposit it only if they’ve the name of their cryptocurrency exchange and it matches that of their bank accounts.

It’s been demanded by financial authorities to the cryptocurrency exchanges to revamp their AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and KYC (Know-Your-Customer).

Are These planned regulations of South Korean affecting the crypto-industry?

Because South Korea has such a huge cryptocurrency market, this means that these regulatory decisions of government will have a huge impact on the crypto market worldwide.

During all these rumoured reports of the government banning cryptocurrency, the total market cap of all coins was declined by 40% in just one day. But shortly afterwards, the market cap started to rise once again.

All the rumours have played a big role in the cryptocurrencies’ price, and any change in the economic decisions or law made in the hubs of major crypto, will always result in such instabilities.

However, there’s always a possibility that it will climb back to the pre-crash levels.

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How Bitcoin Works in 5 Minutes (Technical)

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Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency. There is no physical existence of Bitcoin, just the verification and value it has been given by a global peer-to-peer network. All these transactions are recorded in Blockchains.

The blockchain is very much like a public shared ledger. All the confirmed transactions performed ever using Bitcoins are recorded in this ledger. These blocks are an ultra-secure data, treated like cash. All the transactions are received and sent through wallets which are digitally signed. To ensure security, bitcoin wallets come with a private key or seed. These signatures ensure that the transaction is performed by the current owner of the wallet and provides with the mathematical proof. In reality, there is no transfer of Bitcoins but the change of ownership and quantities of Bitcoins.

How Does a Transaction Work?

If person A needs to transfer Bitcoins to person B, the transaction carries three parts.

  • An Input- record of wallet of person A
  • An Amount- the number of bitcoins person A sends to person B
  • An output- person B’s wallet

How Can You send Bitcoins?

To send the Bitcoins to anybody you require two things.

  • Bitcoin address
  • Private key

A bitcoin address is generated by an individual randomly. It mainly consists of a sequence of numbers and letters.

A private is a secret key with a unique sequence of numbers and letters.

When person A wants to send coins to person B, she signs a message with her private key to authorize the transaction. The transaction will include,

  • Input (source wallet)
  • Number of Bitcoins to sent
  • Output (person B’s address)

Person A then sends the number of Bitcoins to the Bitcoin network from her wallet. Once entered in the network, miners will then verify the transaction included in the blockchain. The miners will then solve the mathematical puzzle and in the end, it will verify that person B is the new owner of the specified number of coins.

Blockchains

Just like account ledgers containing amount and names, blockchains function almost the same. People exchange money by changing this file.

For instance, if person A sells a product to person B for $5, person A’s balance goes up by $5 and person B will have a reduced balance of $5.

There are no third parties involved in the system, like banks or other financial institutions. So, who takes control and responsibility of controlling and maintain this ledger? Every coin holder maintains their own copy of the ledger. All the participants can see each other’s ledger and their balances. In Bitcoin ledgers, these names are exchanged with specific numbers to ensure anonymity.

To keep every ledger synced and harmonized, there is a protocol that needs to be followed. To do a transaction you tell everyone by broadcasting a message with your account number, the receiver’s account number and the amount to be transferred. Every coin holder around in the world will update their ledger.

There are people who help in maintaining the system. You can simply use the system to perform the transaction without maintaining the ledger.

To ensure sender is the real owner of the account, Bitcoin requires a signature to verify it, but a mathematical signature.

System

When an account is created, a private key is generated mathematically linked to that account number. The private key and the text from the transaction are processed through a special cryptographic function to generate a signature. To make sure the signature is done by the wallet owner and to the specific transaction, another function allows the other people to verify the signature. These signatures cannot be copied as they are unique to each transaction.

The main problem with the system is that this cannot verify when a transaction was performed.

For example, if a person falsely has to withdraw 2 cheques out of an account but it has enough money to cover one account. the bank will refuse the second cheque due to an inadequate amount of cash after the with drawl of the first cheque. It is much harder to determine the order in Bitcoin. Due to the scattered individuals all over the world taking part in the transaction, there may be a delay in different orders in different places. Fraudsters could lie about these time lapses.

Two recipients might both think their transaction is first and ship a product allowing the fraudster two spent the money twice.

New transactions go into a pool of pending transactions. These transactions then get into the giant chain that locks in their order. A lottery is then held, enabling participants to choose a transaction of their choice to solve a special problem to link them to the end of the chain. The person to find the solution first wins and gets their transaction next in the chain.

That’s how pretty much all the transactions in the Bitcoin system are performed.

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