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A Russian court has overturned a previous court decision to block a bitcoin-related website because it contains information about cryptocurrencies. The Supreme Court ordered the city court to hear the appeal.


Russian Court Overturned Previous Decision


Russian Court Overturns Decision to Block Bitcoin Website
St. Petersburg City Court.

The St. Petersburg City Court has overturned the ruling of the Vyborgsky District Court of St. Petersburg to block the Bitcoininfo.ru website in Russia.
“The St. Petersburg City Court quashed the decision of the district court to recognize the information posted on the Bitcoininfo.ru website,” Tass reported the city court explaining on Monday, June 4.

“Vyborg District Court of St. Petersburg will again consider the case of the blocking of the site on cryptocurrencies, www.bitcoininfo.ru,” Rapsi learned from the city court, adding:
The city court canceled the decision to block the site and sent the case [back] to the Vyborgsky District Court for a new hearing.

Problem With Spreading Crypto Information

This case began in July 2016 when the St. Petersburg Vyborgsky District Court made the ruling to block the Bitcoininfo.ru website in absence of the site owner. The court “considered the statement of the prosecutor’s office that the site contains information about cryptocurrencies” and decided to block the site, the publication detailed.

Russian Court Overturns Decision to Block Bitcoin Website  

According to the case file, Tass explained that the prosecutor’s office demanded the site be blocked based on its content about cryptocurrencies that “do not lend themselves to state control,” “promote the growth of the shadow economy,” and “do not have certain consumer properties.”
The representative of the website’s owner, Sarkis Darbinyan, told the publication that the prosecutor’s actions “takes place without the involvement of site owners,” adding that none of them received “requests for the removal of prohibited information, and the city court refuses to accept appeals after the actual blocking of websites.”
He further detailed:
According to the statements of the prosecutor’s office of St. Petersburg, about 100 sites devoted to cryptocurrencies have been blocked.
The domain administrator appealed against the court’s decision, believing it to be illegal. However, the city court did not consider his appeal so he appealed to the Supreme Court of the Russian Federation, which subsequently ordered the city court to consider his complaint.

In March, the St. Petersburg City Court struck down a ban on 40 bitcoin-related websites offering information about cryptocurrencies and exchange services in Russia, as news.Bitcoin.com previously reported.

Do you think bitcoin websites will finally be unblocked in Russia? Let us know in the comments section 




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This month the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a report on global monetary policy in the digital age which explains that “crypto assets may one day reduce demand for central bank money.” The IMF study was written after an IMF staff discussion that details that cryptocurrencies could someday lower the demand for fiat currencies by creating a shift from “credit money to commodity money.”


Crypto Assets Will Eventually Be More Widely Adopted

One thing is for sure the IMF has a lot to say these days about Bitcoin technology and other cryptocurrency solutions. More recently the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde, has had a lot of positive words to say about digital currencies. Moreover, the IMF also showcased a picture of money evolving featuring a picture of a bitcoin which was displayed on the front page of the  IMF website. Now the IMF has released a report written by a variety of IMF researchers who state:
We cannot rule out the possibility that some crypto assets will eventually be more widely adopted and fulfill more of the functions of money in some regions or private e-commerce networks.
IMF Report Details Cryptocurrencies Could Create Less Demand for Fiat
This picture is displayed on one of the articles featured on the IMF website’s front page.

A Payment Shift


The study notes that the global financial crisis and bank bailouts have “renewed skepticism in some quarters” of the world and there’s a possibility that digital assets can affect the traditional global monetary policies. There’s also talk of a “payment shift” within the study where cryptocurrencies could replace fiat in some regions.

“Such a shift could also portend a change in the way money is created in the digital age: from credit money to commodity money, we may move full circle back to where we were in the Renaissance,” explains the IMF report.
Economists continue to debate the origins of money, and why monetary systems seem to have alternated between commodity and credit money throughout history. If crypto assets indeed lead to a more prominent role for commodity money in the digital age, the demand for central bank money is likely to decline.

         
“Not so long ago, some experts argued that personal computers would never be adopted, and that tablets would only be used as expensive coffee trays, so I think it may not be wise to dismiss virtual currencies,” said the Managing Director of the IMF, Christine Lagarde in September of 2017.

Competitive Pressure and the Allure of the Central Bank Coin

The IMF paper also details how banks should respond with competitive pressure and they should continue to solidify fiat currencies as a “unit of account.” Cryptocurrencies, however, have a hard time becoming a standard unit of account the IMF notes and this is because “valuation is largely based on beliefs that are not well anchored” which has made the majority of digital currencies quite volatile.

The researcher’s paper mentions that central banks could counteract with their own digital currencies. It goes on to say that the banks have many challenges and opportunities in this digital age but they must regain the public’s trust to remain relevant. “They can remain relevant by providing more stable units of account than crypto assets and by making central bank money attractive as a medium of exchange in the digital economy,” the IMF paper concludes.

What do you think about the IMF’s report and how positive this organization is towards cryptocurrencies? Let us know your thoughts in the comments




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For investors who lack the time, knowledge, or patience to sift through hundreds of cryptocurrencies, there’s an easier way. Crypto baskets allow traders to snap up a horde of digital assets in one go, without the need to independently manage them. The number of platforms offering token baskets has grown significantly this year. But are they a smart investment for the savvy trader or a niche product best left to newbs?

A Bountiful Basket of Crypto Assets

2018 was meant to be the year of security tokens, or at least that’s what we were promised in 2017. There’s still time for that prediction to be proven correct, but in the meantime 2018’s big token trend is crypto baskets. These comprise curated suites of digital assets, often based around a specific theme, that can be purchased via a single token or on a crypto exchange with a single click.

So far, crypto baskets have been largely geared around “entry level” tokens such as LTC and ETH.Coinbase Index Fund gives investors exposure to all assets listed on GDAX, but since these comprise various weightings of BTC, BCH, ETH, and LTC only, there’s little imagination on display. Nor is there an entry route for retail investors; you’ll need at least $250,000 to buy in. Not all basket-based services are as exclusive though.

One Basket, Many Tokens

On Tuesday June 5, a service called Flipside Crypto released a basket that was created in conjunction with Coinmetrics.io. Its smart contracts basket of the day contained eight Proof of Work coins. At the start of each new day, a new basket is created, with each one rated according to its volatility, developer activity, and other metrics.Dailycryptobasket.com is a novel take on crypto baskets to date, and one which shows there’s scope for originality and innovation in this field.

Cryptocurrency Baskets Are Growing in Popularity
Daily Crypto Basket’s selection of themed tokens

Set Protocol is a project that’s taking a different approach to serving up collateralized baskets of tokens. Sets of ERC20 tokens can be grouped together using smart contracts and exchanged via a single token. Then there are projects like  FCTF (First Crypto Traded Fund), which aims to peg the price of 10 digital assets to a single token. It even enables token holders to profit from fees paid to a Dash masternode in theory.

As a relatively new trading option, crypto baskets have yet to prove themselves or to gain mass adoption. They also face competition from tokenized projects that enable traders to follow the profile of experienced traders and to have their trades automatically emulated, with all profits paid back in the form of yet more tokens. For now, crypto baskets are still viewed as “starter packs” best suited to new traders. With China’s Okex having just launched its OK06 Exchange-Traded Tracker, days after Huobi issued its own basket of 10 tokens, crypto investors will soon be in need of baskets to hold their baskets of tokens.

Do you think token baskets will take off, or are they a niche product best left to novice traders? Let us know in the comments section 




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A collection of recent funding news from the cryptocurrency ecosystem shows that despite record amounts of money raised by ICOs, the traditional route of raising funds from venture capital firms is still going strong. And cryptocurrency exchanges are involved both as investment targets and investors. 

Chinese Crypto Wallet Imtoken Raises $10 Million to Expand Internationally

 
Venture firm IDG Capital has invested $10 million in the Series A funding round by Imtoken, a Chinese startup behind a cryptocurrency wallet app reportedly used by 4 million people. The two sides have yet to disclose any details of the company’s financials or its valuation following the round.

The founder of the wallet company, Ben He, told Bloomberg that IDG’s investment will be used to fund an expansion beyond its home market of China, where 70% of users still come from. The plans include opening a new office in Singapore and hiring more staff, after it already tripled to 30 people over the last ago. Further according to the report, Imtoken also plans to expand its services for institutional investors following the development of new security features.

Itbit (Paxos) Raises $65 Million

Paxos, the New York-based company behind institutional bitcoin exchange Itbit, has announced on Thursday it has raised $65 million from investors including venture capital firms RRE Ventures and Liberty City Ventures. In May 2015, the company obtained a trust company charter and opened the first regulated bitcoin exchange in the US. Itbit offers bitcoin traders access to both a global exchange and OTC trading desk.

Paxos plans to use the new $65 million in funding to expand its operations. “We will use the capital to help grow the business which is broadly our settlement business on the Paxos side and the crypto asset exchange and custodian on the itBit side,” Chief Executive Charles Cascarilla said.

$1 Billion Binance Fund


Besides established VC funds, elements from within the crypto  ecosystem are also choosing to support the
 development of other startups. Exchanges for example, who made an absolute killing in 2017, have gotten into the action. The most notable of these is Binance, which recently announced a $1 billion Community Influence Fund and another Binance Ecosystem Fund with 20 future partners.

And yesterday we reported that, Huobi has joined forces with Chinese VC New Margin Capital and Korean online brokerage Kiwoom Securities to jointly launch a 100 billion won ($93 million) investment fund.

What do these developments mean for crypto startup companies? Share your thoughts in the comments section 




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Businesses and investors alike went on record this week to pan Google for its cryptocurrencyadvertisement ban which began June 1, The Independent reports Monday, June 4.

The controversial policy, which the internet giant originally announced in March, failed to significantly impact either Bitcoin or altcoin markets Monday, with BTC/USD sustaining new support around $7500.

Prices had increased markedly over the weekend, jumping almost $400 to reach highs over $7750.

As a correction gets underway, Google has come under fire in increasingly explicit terms for its decision to block cryptocurrency ad content while it pursues blockchain technology.

“I understand that Facebook and Google are under a lot of pressure to regulate what their users are reading, but they are still advertising gambling websites and other unethical practices,” Phillip Nunn, CEO of UK investment firm Blackmore Group with £70 mln under management, said to The Independent Monday.

Both Facebook and Twitter have moved to implement similar bans this year, despite the latter’s CEO forecasting that Bitcoin would become a “single world currency” as soon as 2028.

Suspecting a targeted move, Nunn suggested that like Facebook, Google was moving to prepare the way for its own, centralized virtual asset.

“I suspect the ban has been implemented to fit in with potential plans to introduce their own cryptocurrency to the market in the near future and therefore removing other crypto adverts allows them to do it on their own terms,” he added.

Meanwhile, UK disruptor bank Revolut, which in April completed a $250 mln funding round to achieve a $1.7 bln valuation, warned the policy failed to distinguish legitimate companies from bad actors.

“Unfortunately, the fact that this ban is a blanket ban will mean that legitimate cryptocurrency businesses which provide valuable services to users will be unfairly caught in the crossfire,” head of mobile at digital banking Ed Cooper commented.




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All parties represented in the Spanish Congress have voiced support for a new draft legislation introducing favorable crypto regulations in the country. We’ve covered the details in today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief. Also, Slovenia adopts a crypto action plan, Estonia drops plans to issue a national cryptocurrency, and Hungary claims it’s ready to join the global blockchain market.  


Spanish Parties Call for Favorable Crypto Regulations

Lawmakers in Spain, who have earlier this year reviewed proposals to introduce incentives for crypto companies, have now issued a unanimous call for adopting regulations that favor the implementation of crypto and blockchain technologies. These should be introduced to the market “through controlled testing environments.” A draft legislation aimed at achieving the goal, proposed again by the ruling People’s Party, has just won support from all parliamentary groups in the Finance and Public Function Committee of the Spanish Congress.

The legislative initiative calls for promoting the advantages of the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, including cost savings through the elimination of intermediaries in payments and transfers and the benefits it offers when it comes to raising capital, especially for startups. Its sponsors urge support for projects to build authorized blockchain technology networks, Europa Press reported.

The draft approved by Spain’s leading parties also turns attention to the perils associated with crypto-related operations, calling for “adequate dissemination of information about the risks” assumed by investors, as well as their rights and the guarantees they can rely on. According to Spanish deputies, the approach will help to avoid “economic damages that are impossible to repair”, such as those linked to high-risk financial products.

Lawmakers call on the government in Madrid to support the initiative and join the efforts of the National Securities Market Commission and the Bank of Spain in that direction. They also insist on reaching a common position in regards to the use and the regulation of cryptocurrencies on European level and ask the executive branch of power to work with other EU countries and institutions to achieve that.

Slovenia Adopts Crypto and Blockchain Action Plan

 The government in Ljubljana has adopted an action plan to underpin the implementation of blockchain technology in Slovenia and create a regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. According to the Economy Ministry, the plan entails a series of measures designed to also regulate Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). Slovenian authorities hope to establish a safe and stable legal environment to help the creation, growth and development of blockchain technology-based projects and startups.

Another goal is to transpose in the national legislation the legal provisions adopted by European and other relevant institutions, STA reported. Local officials believe that the application of blockchain technologies can improve the competitiveness of the Slovenian economy. The government also backed the creation of a European Blockchain Hub as a link between public and private stakeholders in the field, both in Slovenia and within the EU. On Thursday, the Slovenian Ministry of Economy was tasked to get actively involved in the hub.

Estonia Backpedals on Plans for National Crypto

Estonian officials have scaled down plans to issue a national cryptocurrency, which were criticized some time ago by both the European Central Bank and local banking authorities. According to Siim Sikkut, who is in charge of the country’s IT strategy, Estonia has dropped its intentions to peg the Estcoin to the common European currency and offer it to all citizens. The digital tokens will instead be distributed as an incentive to e-residents of the Baltic country, Sikkut said in an interview, Bloombergreported. These are foreign nationals who use Estonia’s electronic identification system to remotely sign documents and set up companies.

The tech-savvy former Soviet republic was one of the first European nations to come up with plans for a national cryptocurrency. Similar initiatives have been discussed in Sweden, Switzerland, Poland, the UK, and other countries. The idea, however, was not appreciated by the ECB management. In September, the bank’s president, Mario Draghi, criticized the proposal declaring that “No member state can introduce its own currency. The currency of the Eurozone is the euro.”

“We agreed in discussions with politicians that Estcoin will proceed as a means for transactions inside the e-resident community. Other options aren’t on the table. We’re not building a new currency,” Siim Sikkut said. This was confirmed by the author of the Estcoin plan, Kaspar Korjus, who also noted that the details are still being analyzed for potential benefits. Estcoin “would definitely not be a national ‘cryptocurrency’,” he emphad. Estonia’s e-residency program has so far issued ID cards to more than 35,000 foreigners. The majority of the participants are from Finland, the Russian Federation and Ukraine.

Hungary Prepared to Join the Global Blockchain Market

Blockchaineum 2.0, arguably the largest blockchain summit in Central and Eastern Europe, recently gathered major stakeholders in Budapest to discuss blockchain-based solutions and other hot topics related to the implementation of the technology around the world. While many in Europe are just starting to take blockchain seriously, Hungary has been preparing for some time and now claims it’s ready to join the global blockchain market.
“Many regulatory rules have been laid down recently on European level, and it is in Hungary’s best interest to make use of them in order to become a regional center. Although, this won’t happen because of regulation, but rather on purely market basis,” said Tamás Czeglédi, quoted by the Budapest Business Journal. He is one of the organizers of the event and is working to put his country on the European blockchain map.

Hungarian business wants to jump on the blockchain bandwagon ahead of regional competitors and it has created a Blockchain Competence Center (BCC) earlier this year to prove its intentions. “Whereas the EU had been focusing on regulation until around a year ago, the past few months saw a shift towards a more practical approach,” said Péter Benedek, the CEO of BCC. “The newly established Ministry for Innovation and Technology, along with the enhanced national digital wellbeing strategy, can help local blockchain players embrace innovative solutions and improve their fundraising potential,” he added.

What are your thoughts on today’s Bitcoin in Brief topics? Let us know in the comments section.




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Last January news.Bitcoin.com reported on the Brisbane Airport in Australia preparing to accept cryptocurrencies. Now today all the merchants and airport terminals accept various digital assets such as bitcoin core, dash, ethereum, and steem making it one of the friendliest cryptocurrency airports in the world.

Merchants at Brisbane International Airport Now Accept Various Cryptocurrencies  


Individuals traveling to Brisbane or the South East Queensland area in Australia can now spend various cryptocurrencies at the Brisbane International Airport. The airport is the third busiest airstrip in the country and every merchant there now accepts digital currencies. The cryptocurrency acceptance is due to Brisbane Airport Corporations’ (BAC) partnership with the Australian payment provider  Travelbybit. On May 29, the Youtube channel, Nugget’s News Australia, visited the Brisbane airport when the new system was implemented. The host of  the video Alex talked detailed that Brisbane is the first international airport that’s entirely “crypto-friendly.”

The Youtube channel Nugget’s News Australia visits Brisbane International Airport the day cryptocurrencies were implemented.

Caleb Yeoh, CEO of Travelbybit explains that people can visit the company’s website to see live transactions.
“We’ve got travelers from all over the world testing it out and I think the merchants are really excited — They have been telling us they have been getting a lot of interaction from all the different visitors and that’s created a bit of a buzz,” Yeoh explained during the video.
Blockchain technology has the ability to make transactions and global commerce a lot more efficient and a lot more transparent.  

Helping Retailers Maintain Relevance and Resilience

The representative from BAC explained that it is important for the company to give passengers choice when traveling to the airport. The BAC executive detailed that the partnership with Travelbybit helps their retailers maintain “relevance and resilience against the threat of online shopping.” Additionally, he stated that BAC would learn about cryptocurrency and blockchain solutions so it could possibly help further operations within the international airport.

“We’re happy to partner with Caleb and help our retailers explore this brave new world of cryptocurrency,” the BAC executive further noted.

What do you think about Brisbane International Airport accepting cryptocurrencies? Let us know in the comments below.




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Averaging more than a million onboardings per year, Philippines’ Coins.ph announced it reached a whopping five million users this week for its mobile payments application (app) and hot crypto wallet. Not content with merely adding numbers for their own sake, the company also revealed it would add two new popular coins: bitcoin cash (BCH) and ether (ETH).

Philippines’ Coins.ph Hits 5mil User Milestone


Founder Ron Hose enthusiastically explained, “We are excited and proud to provide 5 million customers with access to financial services. Our focus on creating financial inclusion to all Filipinos has propelled our growth to date.”

Many of the southeast Asian archipelago’s inhabitants struggle with inadequate economic opportunities and poor financial services. Nearly half of the Philippines is living on close to $2 a day, and its central bank, Bagko Sentral ng Pilipinas, estimated early last year that 86% of Philippines’ citizens are unbanked – bereft of basic banking services used by folks in the West every day.

 
Those factors just might be features rather than bugs when it comes to cryptocurrency adoption. Indeed, for relatively smooth economies in the West, money is already digitized for all intents and purposes. Crypto adoption, as a result, in the West has been a bit of struggle: the immediate argument gets lost in money that ‘works,’ and works well.

For Filipinos to become one’s own bank, in effect, relying less on financial legacy permission and trust, a peer-to-peer currency out of view of its notoriously corrupt government seems to be proving very attractive if Coins.ph numbers are any indication.

Coins.ph Adds Bitcoin Cash (BCH)


“Millions of our customers have already used Coins.ph’s web and mobile apps to access a wide array of financial services,” CEO Ron Hosecontinued, “including buying load, paying bills, topping up their beep™ card, and purchasing digital currencies, all without needing a bank account.”

Five million users has come in only four years for the company. It was founded by Runar Petursson and Mr. Hose, both Silicon Valley veterans. Their services are a way for Filipinos to become banked, a potential market of over 300,000 people. In the past two years, it has raised a total of $10mil in venture capital funding, indicating investors believe the company to be “on” to something.

Users of the company’s platform can take advantage of ever-important remittance services, card top-ups, wallet transfers, paying bills, and even online shopping. Just the mere notion of a friction-filled economy (as is the case within the Philippines), flattening and becoming more streamline would seem to forecast wonderful economic advancements for the nation, at least theoretically.  

“Responding to consumer demand for additional blockchain-based services,” the company notes it has already rolled out ether (ETH) acceptance in addition to its existing bitcoin core (BTC) offering, “with an eye for future smart contract based financial services, and will also begin supporting Bitcoin Cash (BCH) next month, in an effort to support lower cost blockchain based payments.”

Do you think more emerging economies will embrace crypto? Let us know in the comments. 




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Hostile or just overly cautions countries keep losing cryptocurrency-related businesses to more attractive jurisdictions, along with the jobs and tax money that go along with them. The latest example comes from Poland, which Bitbay has been forced to leave for Malta.


Farewell Poland


Poland-based international cryptocurrency exchange, Bitbay, has announced its decision to suspend the activity of the trading platform in Poland. Founded in 2014 in Katowice, the company is said to have over 200 employees and 800,000 users. The reason for the exit from its home market is that Bitbay can no longer receive banking services in the country.

“The activity of the Bitbay exchange in Poland requires cooperation with Polish bank. Unfortunately the last Polish bank ready to provide bank services undertook unilateral decision to finish the cooperation with Bitbay with the effect at the end of May. In those circumstances the continuation of providing high quality services by Bitbay exchange in Poland is no longer possible,” the company stated.

The move will occur in a couple of phases. After May 31st, access to PLN accounts will not be possible, but all other functions of the exchange in Poland will still be active. After the expiry of the notice period, September 18th, users will only be able to withdraw funds, and trading on the Bitbay exchange in Poland will be completely suspended. The exchange operations will be conducted by a new supplier in Malta with the same software that was used by the exchange in Poland, based on the domain bitbay.net under the Bitbay trademark.

Welcome to Malta

In explaining the specific location it is moving the exchange operations to, the company’s team say they have been conducting analysis for many months in order to find the most cryptocurrency-friendly place in the European Union. “Productive discussions with the government of Republic of Malta and friendly business environment provide Bitbay assurance that the choice of Maltese jurisdiction is the best solution.”

As we previously reported, the Maltese government’s has successfully focused on bringing in more international cryptocurrency business to booster the local economy this year. Back in March, Binance revealed that it would be moving its operations and starting to recruit 200 people to work on the island. In April,  Okex announced it is also establishing its own entity in Malta.

Should exchanges move to friendlier locations or try and fight in the local courts? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

 




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Sygnia Asset Management, a major South African investment firm with 180 bln rand ($14.5 bln) under management, has revealed that it will launch a cryptocurrency exchange later this year, BusinessTech reported May 25.

Sygnia CEO Magda Wierzycka said the company would launch its cryptocurrency exchange, dubbed ‘SygniaCoin,’ in the third quarter of 2018:

“The cryptocurrency market is evolving at a rapid pace internationally and domestically and is attracting both domestic and international flows. With its fintech focus, Sygnia is well-positioned to become the first major financial services institution to embrace cryptocurrencies and to offer investors a secure trading and execution platform backed by an international infrastructure, well-designed custody and integration with standard savings products.”

Wierzycka placed an emphasis on security and regulatory compliance, which she considers “will evolve” in the South African context. She noted that the South African Revenue Service (SARS) has already stipulated that crypto trading is liable to tax and that she expects further domestic crypto regulatory frameworks to follow.

Meanwhile, SygniaCoin will base its policies on the existing regulatory framework currently adopted by crypto exchanges registered in New York State, namely the stringent NY BitLicense, which was introduced in August of 2015.

In addition to trading, Sygnia will create a dedicated fund that will invest in a range of cryptocurrencies on behalf of its retail and institutional clients. Sygnia investors will also be able to hold cryptocurrencies in their Sygnia accounts alongside their other assets.

Just this week, South Africa’s central bank (SARB) declared that cryptocurrencies are “cyber-tokens” because they “don’t meet the requirements of money.” The announcement followed upon SARB’s establishment of a fintech task force earlier this year that will be dedicated to addressing crypto regulatory issues.

In April, the central bank further established a self-regulatory organization to oversee developments in the crypto and fintech industries aimed at preventing ‘systemic risk,’ although the bank stressed it was cautious not to “throttle growth” in the burgeoning crypto sphere.




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Twenty nine percent of Germans are interested in cryptocurrencies as a form of investment, Cointelegraph auf Deutsch reported Tuesday, May 29. German bank Postbank came to this conclusion after a survey of 3,100 Germans, which was conducted from the end of February to the end of March 2018.

When asked about why are they interested in crypto, 60 percent of women and 51 percent of men cited "independence from established financial systems" as an important factor. The possibility of high returns, on the other hand, especially attracts men: 56 percent against 36 percent of women. For every third potential cryptocurrency investor, anonymity is also important.

In terms of age, cryptocurrencies are particularly popular among 18-34 year olds. In this age group almost every second - 46 percent - are interested in crypto investing. Six percent of Germans between the ages of 18 and 34 have already invested, with another 14 percent planning to do so over the next twelve months.

Dr. Thomas Mangel, Head of Postbank's Digital Department, has said in a press release that the sharp price declines in recent months had apparently not impacted the popularity of cryptocurrencies. He believes that the reason for this is a lack of knowledge about opportunities and risks of cryptocurrencies as an investment. Dr. Thomas Mangel warns:
"Despite all the fascination, young investors should not lose sight of offers from the established banking system. Anyone who already makes an investment in securities as an investment should certainly not invest in cryptocurrencies because of the high risks involved. Because this type of investment is highly speculative."
Many bankers have repeatedly warned against price fluctuations in recent months. For example, ECB Board Member Yves Mersch sees digital currencies as a threat to financial stability and calls for strict banking supervision. Also the wealth management head of the Deutsche Bank Markus Mueller criticized the high volatility of cryptocurrencies.




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London has enjoyed a status of a global financial hub for centuries and served as a pioneer for brand new trading options for decades. However, some fear it is now in danger of getting left behind by the hottest emerging asset class – cryptocurrency. One of the main reasons for this appears to be the dominance of the big banks over the UK economy.

Banks Hindering Progress


Despite having a thriving fintech startups scene, an established trading ecosystem and a leading role in the traditional fiat currencies market, London appears to be missing the boat with regards to the rush of institutional money flowing into crypto finance. Locations such as Tokyo, Chicago, New York and even San Francisco are taking the lead with regards to regulated platforms, OTC and hedge funds, as well as exchange-traded derivatives such as futures. And many people in the industry believe this is mainly due to the out influence that the banks have in the City.

“Banks have been unusually strict in dealings with crypto,” Max Boonen, a former Goldman Sachs trader and current CEO of B2C2, a London cryptocurrency market maker, told FT. “It’s nearly impossible to open an account for crypto in the UK. The problem is that in the UK there is a perception that banks have issues with anti-money laundering and decided to be a lot more conservative.” And David Mercer, CEO of LMAX, an FCA regulated FX trading venue which recently announced a physical cryptocurrency exchange dedicated to serving just institutional clients, expects UK banks would only join the market next year. “London is very bank-driven and we see it as being a late adopter,” he explained.

Not Too Late?


Dominance of Big Banks in UK Means London Might Miss the Boat on Bitcoin 

There are also factors that support London’s position in the crypto market, such as CFD brokers like IG Group and  Plus500 achieving success with retail traders as well as Barclays agreeing to open an account for Coinbase. Additionally, there are those that think that the matter is overstated.

“The City of London, taken as a whole, has the collective experience to make considered and forward-thinking decisions. This experience manifests itself in many ways, from the efficiency of trade execution to KYC & AML regulations and from the strength of our legal system to our culture of effective corporate governance. These reasons are why London dominates the international foreign exchange markets, and it is unthinkable that the City will not continue to be a dominant player in crypto markets,” commented to news.Bitcoin.com Nauman Anees, Co-founder of Think Coin, a multi-asset financial & cryptocurrency trading exchange.

Anees added: “London is the dominant player in global financial markets thanks to the strength of its regulatory infrastructure and position as a gateway & conduit between every key global market – and while the crypto markets are novel in many ways, these key contextual advantages still apply. Moreover, events in recent years show the crypto space is one where ‘first mover advantage’ does not apply. Repeated hacks of key exchanges along with the slow pace of international regulation has meant that many ‘early adopters’ have not been positioned to fully develop and grow with the market, meaning that a more cautious approach will likely prove to pay the biggest dividends later. That said, the idea that there is a corporate resistance to crypto adoption in London is misguided. Most of the major investment banks have opened crypto desks, and the ones which haven’t already announced are undoubtedly experimenting behind the scenes.”

How should London ensure that the crypto revolution does not pass it by? Share your thoughts in the comments section.




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South Korea’s national legislature has officially proposed to allow domestic initial coin offerings, effectively lifting the ban imposed by the government in September last year. With the lack of proper guidelines, South Korean companies have been migrating abroad to launch their token sales.

National Assembly’s Proposal

The National Assembly, the 300-member unicameral national legislature of South Korea, has officially proposed for the government to lift the ban on initial coin offerings imposed last September, Business Korea reported on Tuesday. The news outlet elaborated:
The National Assembly has officially made a proposal to allow domestic initial coin offerings (ICOs). As the administration is sitting on its hands after imposing a total ban on ICOs in September last year, the National Assembly has come forward with an official recommendatio

Citing the Assembly’s proposed “legislative and policy proposal of recommendation to allow ICOs under the conditions of investor protection provisions,” the publication explained that the next step is for the administration to discuss the proposal with the Assembly.

Earlier this month, news.Bitcoin.com reported a group of lawmakers working on a bill to legalize ICOs that meet certain conditions under the government’s supervision. ICOs that are approved will be subject to tight supervision by the Financial Services Commission (FSC) and the Ministry of Science and ICT.

Special Committee’s Recommendations


South Korea's National Assembly Officially Proposes Lifting ICO Ban
         

The special committee on the fourth industrial revolution under the National Assembly held their last general meeting on May 28. “Through the legislative and policy proposal of recommendation finalized on the same day, the committee accused the administration of neglecting its duty in responding to blockchain application expansion,” the news outlet detailed.

“We need to form a task force including private experts in order to improve transparency of cryptocurrency trading and establish a healthy trade order,” the committee described. Among other recommendations, the committee outlined, “we will also establish a legal basis for cryptocurrency trading, including permission for ICOs, through the National Assembly Standing Committee.”

ICOs Moving Out of Korea


The news outlet pointed out that:
With the government failing to present any guidelines for ICOs, domestic blockchain companies are going to Singapore and Switzerland to do an ICO and pay unnecessary expenses.
Singapore and Hong Kong have recently emerged as meccas for token sales. According to Anson Zeall, chairman of the Association of Cryptocurrency Enterprises and Startups Singapore, “there has been a lot of [ICO] activity since September last year.”

Naver and Kakao Corp, the parent companies of popular chat apps Line and Kakaotalk, recently set up subsidiaries abroad with the possibility of launching ICOs. One of the country’s largest crypto exchanges, Bithumb, has also partnered with a Singaporean company to launch its own cryptocurrency.




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Bitcoin remains a strong buy despite recent losses, blockchain venture capitalist Spencer Bogart told CNBC yesterday, May 26. The cryptocurrency will trade “at least” above $10,000 by the year’s end, he added.

Bogart is a partner at major VC firm Blockchain Capital, and was reportedly the first Wall Street analyst to cover Bitcoin and blockchain, authoring a highly regarded blockchain industry report.

Bitcoin has now seen three weeks in the negative, its “longest running streak of losses since September 2017,” as CNBC’s interview intro noted. Despite this, Bogart outlined a bullish forecast for the long term, saying that:
“The long-term thesis is very much intact... The institutionalization of Bitcoin is absolutely occuring...Every major bank is trying to do something in the space. Either they're going to be offering Bitcoin to their clients, they're working on a cust ody platform or they're opening up a trading desk.”
Bogart suggested however that many altcoins are likely “overvalued” and “have significant headwind,” emphasizing the dangers of relative valuation. He drew a parallel between the ICO boom in late 2017 - early 2018 and the dot-com boom of the early 2000s, warning that many crypto tokens are “over-promising and under-delivering.”

Bogart said he would sell alts such as CardanoTRONIOTA and NEO, but was “neutral” and would hold EthereumRippleBitcoin Cash and  EOS.

“I’m very constructive as regards Ethereum on a long-term basis,” he said. Nonetheless, he considered that Ethereum currently has “a lot of overhang” because of the many “overvalued” tokens that are built on its platform, and suggested that Ethereum’s future will be closely correlated to the future development of the ICO space.

Bogart also noted that this has been the first sustained bear market where nobody has suggested the “end of Bitcoin.” He suggested that the reality of a deeper institutionalization of the crypto space is securing the long term “story,” and is “overall positive” for Bitcoin’s future.  

He also said that ongoing turbulence in the traditional financial sector, such as recent national fiat currency crises, is reinforcing Bitcoin’s use cases.
"Could Bitcoin trade lower? Certainly. But do I think it will be higher a year from now? Absolutely… I would bet Bitcoin ends at least above $10,000 in the year.”
Negative performance in the crypto markets for now seems to be continuing, with Bitcoin trading below $7,400 to press time, down a further 2 and half percent over the 24 hour period.

This despite increasing provisions to facilitate mainstream investment in the crypto space, notably with a recent trend to provide custodian solutions for institutional holders. The ubiquity of the ‘institutional investment will lead to a major market uptick’ narrative moved one prominent crypto commentator to protest this weekend:




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In today’s edition of Bitcoin in Brief we feature stories that show the increased focus regulators have placed on companies operating in the cryptocurrency scene and how it can adversely affect clients. FCA revels it is investigating dozens of ventures, and Poloniex tries to reassure legacy clients that their frozen funds are safe.

Poloniex Responds to Complaints

Poloniex, the cryptocurrency trading platform which was taken over by Circle earlier this year, has finally responded to complaints by its clients about frozen accounts. Stories of legacy accounts getting locked have flooded social media and cryptocurrency forums over the last week. The company now tries to reassure these clients their funds are safe and explain the matter is required by law.

“As soon as you submit this information, we will take steps to verify it and re-enable trading and transactions for your account. Please rest assured that your funds remain safe and accounted for while you complete this process – you can verify your holdings on the Balances page of your account throughout. Like all registered money services businesses, Poloniex is committed to compliance with all applicable law requiring identification and verification of its customers.”

The company also claims to have taken steps to increase the speed of the process. “We are happy to report that in the past 3 months we’ve seen a 33% increase in customers who are instantly verified, a 77% increase in customers who successfully pass our verification process, and an 85% decrease in customer waiting time for verification.”

24 Crypto Ventures Under FCA Investigation


 
Traders that are used to how things were before regulators started focusing on crypto platforms are understandably angry about the new hoops they have to jump to, but there is no doubt that the companies are under scrutiny and pressure to do so from regulators.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has revealed it is currently investigating two dozen unauthorized cryptocurrency-related ventures and has also opened seven whistle-blower reports in 2018 alone related to companies operating in this field, according to  FT. Responding to a freedom of information request from accountancy and consulting firm Moore Stephens, the FCA said on Friday that the purpose of the investigation is to determine whether these crypto companies might “be carrying on regulated activities that require FCA authorization”.

ICO Marketing Tragedy


Ask.fm, an Irish company with its base of operations in Latvia and Ukraine, has sponsored four cryptocurrency enthusiasts to climb Mount Everest and place a wallet at the summit as part of its ICO marketing campaign. Lama Babu Sherpa, one of the Nepalese natives who helped the climbers, has reportedly been missing since May 14th and is now presumed dead, according to AFP.

The team responded on Saturday: “We are now aware that one of the Sherpas who assisted our group amongst others, went missing during the descent. We wish to clarify conflicting media reports by stating that at the time of this statement being made we have not had any response from the relevant officials confirming the status of the missing Sherpa, and we are not therefore in a position to confirm if he is safe or otherwise. It would be insensitive to make such assumptions and we await, and urge the media to await, confirmation from the relevant authorities. There is no doubt that climbing Everest is challenging and dangerous…The last official update we received was that the condition and location of the missing Sherpa was unknown and it was not our place to make public statements which could have resulted in false information being circulated.”

What do you think about today’s news updates? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 




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One of the largest Bitcoin ATM manufacturers in the world, General Bytes, has recently installed ten new cryptocurrency ATMs throughout the Prague subway in the Czech Republic. Now commuters riding the Prague Metro can purchase digital assets at various locations spread out across the fifth busiest metro system in Europe.

General Bytes Installs Ten Bitcoin ATMs Across the Prague Metro


The Czech Republic-based firm General Bytes has revealed the installation of ten new cryptocurrency ATMs spread out across the Prague Metro. The subway gets more than 1.6 million people in daily foot traffic and is one of the busiest metro systems in Europe. The General Bytes machines are located at Můstek, Nádraží Veleslavín, Dejvická, Florenc, Černý Most, Zličín, Pankrác, Flora, Skalka, and Hlavní Nádraží. Moreover, General Bytes provides a detailed map and description of each location on the website.

The new machines will likely get some use in the region as Prague is considered a booming cryptocurrency hub,  as the area is filled with quite a lot of crypto-enthusiasts. For instance, the area is home to the Crypto Anarchy Institute,  Paralelní Polis, and a few cryptocurrency businesses including the ATM manufacturer General Bytes.

General Bytes Has Manufactured 27% of the World’s Bitcoin ATMs


The Czech government is relatively friendly towards cryptocurrencies and politicians haven’t regulated virtual currencies or defined them as a currency or commodity like other nation states. However, the subject is being discussed among tax officials and the Czech National Bank  wrote a paper last year called “Don’t be Afraid of Bitcoin.” Last year the well known online retailer, Alza, added  cryptocurrency payments and installed two Bitcoin ATMs in the company’s showroom. Just three days ago one of the largest energy suppliers in the Czech Republic, Pražská Plynárenská, announced it was accepting BTC for payments.

   
With the ten new machines, the Czech Republic will now have a total of 46 Cryptocurrency ATMs and 27 of those devices are located in Prague. A large majority of the cryptocurrency automated tellers in the region are manufactured by General Bytes. On the General Bytes site where they announce the newly added Prague Metro machines there’s also a video explaining how to use the BATM 2 automated tellers.According to Coinatmradar out of the 3,122 cryptocurrency ATMs, General Bytes now has 858 worldwide.

What do you think about General Bytes installing ten cryptocurrency ATMs throughout the Prague Metro? Let us know in the comments below. 




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Mathematics questions pertaining to bitcoin have been included in recent high school matriculation examinations in the Netherlands. Approximately 200,000 Dutch students are estimated to have taken the OVW exam, a mandatory test for students seeking tertiary education in the Netherlands, which included five bitcoin-themed questions.

 Dutch High School Examinations Feature Bitcoin-Themed Maths Questions
Dutch
        High School Exam Features Bitcoin-Themed Questions  

According to a rough translation of the examination paper circulating on Reddit, students were given the following question introduction:
“Bitcoin is a digital currency that only exists online. It has existed since January 1st, 2009, and can be used as payment method in web stores and for other online services".

Bitcoin is not, like standard money, made by a central bank. Instead, all bitcoin that exist are created by having computers participate in solving specific mathematical problems. This works as follows: everyone can run special software on his or her computer that participates in solving such a mathematical problem. The owner of the computer that solves the problem receives 25 (newly created) bitcoin as a reward. Because it was the case that in 2014 such a problem is solved every 10 minutes, 25 new bitcoins were created every 10 minutes. On January 1st, there were (approximately) 12.2 million bitcoin.”

Following from the preceding introduction, students were asked to solve five different mathematical problems. The questions asked that students “calculate in what year the amount of bitcoin exceeded 18 million,” “calculate from which year on the reward will be less than one bitcoin,” “determine the maximal amount of bitcoin that can be in circulation,” in addition to posing addition problems based on the formula used to employed to solve the aforementioned questions.

Netherlands Warming to Cryptocurrency


 The test has been offered to students following increasing recognition of cryptocurrency on the part of Holland’s institutions.

During March, the Court of Amsterdam determined that bitcoin possesses “properties of wealth” whilst adjudicating a civil rights case between an individual seeking repayment from an unfulfilled contract pertaining to bitcoin mining. The court concluded that “bitcoin represents a value and is transferable” and “thus shows characteristics of a property right. A claim for payment in Bitcoin is, therefore, to be regarded as a claim that qualifies for verification.”
Earlier this month, the ambassador of the Dutch Blockchain Coalition, Rob van Gijzel, presented a national blockchain research agenda, which had been commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. The ministry had created a designated committee, TopTeam ICT, tasked with analyzing the potential legal, economic, and ethical implications of distributed ledger technology in the Netherlands.

Do you think that more schools across the world will seek to integrate themes pertinent to bitcoin into examinations as cryptocurrency adoption grows? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!




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Leading US banking group and financial services firm JPMorgan Chase has recently created and filled the new position of head of crypto-assets strategy, Business Insider reported today, May 17.

London-based Oliver Harris, 29, will take the new role, reporting to the head of blockchaindevelopment, Umar Farooq. Harris will also lead JPMorgan’s internal blockchain project Quorum, which began testing by JP Morgan Chase and the National Bank of Canada last month.

According to Business Insider, Harris will be identifying and leading new crypto projects for the bank, rather than actively trading in cryptocurrencies. He will reportedly investigate crypto custody services and how blockchain could work in JPMorgan’s payments business.  

For the last two years, Harris has been leading JPMorgan’s In Residence program, which identifies and partners with fintech startups that the bank finds promising.

Daniel Pinto, co-president of JPMorgan, has recently taken a positive stance on cryptocurrencies in an interview with CNBC, claiming that the “tokenization” of the financial system is “real”, with “many central banks looking into” it. However, Pinto stressed that crypto adoption is not possible in its “current form”.

In general, the investment banking giant has been skeptical of cryptocurrencies. JPMorgan banned its customers from crypto purchases with credit cards back in February, in addition to including cryptocurrencies to the “Risk Factor” section of its 2017 annual report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Last year, JPMorgan’s Chairman & CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin (BTC) a “fraud” and claimed that he would fire any employee  trading BTC on the company's accounts. Dimon soon reversedhis position in January, admitting that he regretted his earlier statements and adopting a lukewarm stance toward crypto. Dimon said he is, “not interested that much in [crypto] at all.”




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On May 15, 2018, the Bitcoin Cash (BCH) network upgraded the chain’s base block from 8MB to 32MB. The software advancement makes blocks big enough to process lots of transactions over time — which gives developers plenty of breathing room to adjust the if it starts getting closer to its limit. Unfortunately, many misdirected individuals assume the BCH chain will start processing 32MB blocks right away, which could lead to a blockchain that’s much larger in gigabyte and takes longer to download. However, this is not the case right now at all, because BCH miners process blocks that are often still under 1MB, as the 32MB code is only set to ensure the network is capable in the future.

The Successful 32MB Block Size Increase Paves a Path for Mass Adoption

After the Bitcoin Cash network upgraded yesterday and even before the fork, a few misguided individuals asked why there was a need to raise the block fourfold when 8MB blocks were not filling just yet. The reason developers raised the limit to 32MB is likely because the software is perfectly capable of handling such a task in the future.

Right now block limits are set by the miner, and developers are there to help set the capacity so blocks cannot get full in the immediate future, and fees will remain low for quite some time. Unfortunately for the Bitcoin Core (BTC) network, Core developers let the block fill beyond capacity, and fees became unreliableduring the last quarter of 2017. The 32MB BCH block adjustment ensures this will not happen to the BCH network down the road, even when transaction usage becomes as extreme as 2017’s last quarter.

32MB Blocks Means Bitcoin Cash is Prepared for Mass Adoption
The Bitcoin Cash (BCH) community and developers are not afraid of forks and protocol upgrades. The May 15th upgrade is the second successful hard fork on the BCH network.

Looking at BCH blocks on Coin Dance — a website which records BCH chain data currently shows that mining limits are being set by the mining pool. Over the past nine months, there have been a few 2,4, and 8MB blocks processed, but typically blocks have been a megabyte or less. So in essence, once miners decide its necessary to increase the blocks they process, they will do so based on transactions and adoption increasing over time. In fact, current data also shows the Bitcoin Core (BTC) chain is still 34.4GB larger than the Bitcoin Cash chain.

 Transaction Data Shows Daily BCH Transactions Has Increased by 186% in Nine Months  

At the moment Bitcoin Cash transactions per day are less than BTC as there are roughly 20-25,000 daily BCH transactions. But there’s also been a misdirected notion that the BCH chain isn’t getting much use, but this is simply untrue as data shows over the past nine months that BCH daily transaction percentage rates have increased.

The decentralized currency BCH has seen a steady incline (186%) of use since the August 1 fork and the expansion of BCH transactions are now only5-10,000 transactions less per day than the Litecoin (LTC) network — a cryptocurrency that has been around for 7 years. This is due in part to many Bitcoin Cash-based on-chain platforms like the tipping bot Tippr, the social media apps Memo and Blockpress, and other applications that help increase BCH usage.

In just nine months Bitcoin Cash has more than doubled its transaction count, and the BCH daily transaction rate is just below LTC’s daily transactions per day.

32X the Capacity is Merely Preparation for the Future of Bitcoin Cash Adoption

Essentially the bottom line is the software is now capable of processing 32MB blocks as it was previously capable of 8MB blocks. So far BCH miners had proven the capability of mining much larger blocks than 1MB multiple times, clearing thousands of transactions from the mempool. After the successful fork on May 15, some BCH supporters are already asking developers to remove the block limit entirely.

Moreover, we know from testing that the Bitcoin software is capable of processing gigabyte blocks, and research studies further suggest the network could handle terabyte blocks as well. Unlike other digital asset developers, BCH programmers have set the bar high for capacity based on the known advancements in scaling a cryptocurrency network. Instead of saying “we don’t need to scale now,” the 32MB increase establishes a base block that can efficiently handle 32X more transactions than the BTC network’s highest daily transaction rate recorded this past December.

What do you think about the 32MB block upgrade? Do you think that the developers should remove the capacity limit entirely? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.




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With HTC entering the race, a second cryptocurrency supporting smartphone created by a major electronics manufacturer is now on its way to the market. Could this be the start of a trend by all device makers to embed features such as hardware wallets into phones to help increase sales among more tech savvy consumers?  

Exodus From Fiat to Crypto
 

Taiwanese consumer electronics manufacturer High Tech Computer Corporation or HTC (TWSE: 2498), will release its own cryptocurrency-focused smartphone. The company has announced it is developing a “blockchain-powered” device that will be based on Google’s Android operating system which will be named Exodus.

The phone is expected to contain a universal wallet and a “built-in secure hardware enclave” supporting cryptocurrencies and dapps (decentralized applications). HTC reportedly also wants to create its own network with each phone serving as a node to facilitate trading within it. Finally, the company is examining the possibility of selling the device for cryptocurrency as well. “Through Exodus, we are excited to be supporting underlying protocols such as Bitcoin, Lightning Networks, Ethereum, Dfinity, and more,” Phil Chen who is responsible for the development told Thenextweb. “We would like to support the entire blockchain ecosystem, and in the next few months we’ll be announcing many more exciting partnerships together.”

Cryptocurrency Support as Killer App


HTC to Launch Its Own Cryptocurrency-Focused Smartphone, Exodus  

If you follow the electronics market carefully, you must know that HTC has not been doing so well in recent years despite creating some great devices. In that context it is possible to imagine that the company is betting on a cryptophone to give it a more edgy brand to attract privacy-minded young people and the more tech savvy crowd.

However, other companies have explored the field before HTC and it is thus possible that many more will soon feature built-in cryptocurrency support in their devices.

Earlier this month we reported on the technical details that have emerged about Sirin Finney, an ultra secure mobile device promising to keep your cryptocurrency transactions private. The phone will feature an embedded cold storage wallet, and will be built by the same company that builds the iPhone, Foxconn. And back in March of this year, the Chinese smartphone maker Huawei was rumored to be in serious talks with Sirin Labs about the device too.

How long until all new phones will support crypto as default? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 




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