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Dutch Drivers can now charge their electric cars without cash or card payments courtesy of a new digitalized charging station recently announced by ElaadNL.

The company, ElaadNL, is a “knowledge and innovation center” in the field of Smart Charging infrastructure in the Netherlands and is an initiative of Dutch grid operators. The new site will be located at Arnhem’s Buiten Business Park in northern Holland.

The technology behind the charging park is Tangle, the data structure at the heart of IOTA which uses a DAG instead of a blockchain to store its ledger, with the main motivation being scalability. IOTA’s Tangle is a distributed ledger protocol that is designed to facilitate machine-to-machine interactions including feeless payments in real time and the secure transfer of data through an internal protocol that does without blocks and miners and delivers “secure data transfers” as well as zero-fee micropayments.

ElaadNL claims that no admin office or communication protocol is required to operate the new system and transactions are paid for without the use of card or subscription. The meter values are stored every five minutes in the Tangle allowing for faultless and accurate payment.

The charger sets up a TCP/IP connection with the car through pre-installed hardware allowing machine-to-machine payment and data exchange. The charger is available to the public, and cars without the hardware will be given the option to send IOTA tokens using the normal IOTA wallet.

ElaadNL also has plans to develop a car wallet which will hold IOTA for use allowing clients to pre-fund their car for future charging periods.

The proposed themes will be familiar to electric car owners, including color indicators, such as: yellow/idle; green/connected; light blue/offering; dark blue/charging; and red/error

The company director, Onoph Caron, feels that DLT will increase in popularity and become more widespread with the announcement of more such schemes in the future.




alfwesh22

The first C3 Crypto Conference was held this month at prime exhibition location STATION Berlin over two days attracting over 2,500 crypto enthusiasts, 50 speakers and 70 exhibitors.

The C3 conference and expo was conceived to attract blockchain professionals and beginners to experience panel discussions and keynote presentations covering a range of topics surrounding the future of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

Speakers included Alena Vranova, a consultant for Bitcoin, blockchain and fintech and Dr Ulrich Keunecke from professional service law company KPMG and organizer of the conference, Dennis Weidner. The panel outlined how startups can launch successful projects and discussed regulatory frameworks for ICOs. The panel also confirmed the sentiment that Germany is currently one of the EU’s most active cryptocurrency member.

Fabien Spielberger from Cetana Capital outlined the importance of Berlin as a location illustrating to members of his panel that this was the first time in history that Europe, “can compete with the USA for fundraising.” Miko Matsumura from Evercoin is impressed with what the Berlin conference has to offer:

“The Berlin crypto conference is the gathering point for European blockchain insiders and features world-class thought leaders and an incredible setting. Berlin has an incredible vibe and it’s no wonder that it’s become a global hub for advanced technology ventures.

On the second day of the conference, participants were able to pitch their ICO ideas in a competition offering euro prizes from 5,000 to 25,000 euros as starting capital for their pitched ventures.

The winner of this year’s competition for new ICO venture was TV-TWO, a decentralized TV ecosystem promoted as an application for Smart TVs, used as the new gateway to linear broadcast combined with a personalized video stream as an additional channel.

Organizer, Dennis Weidner, was pleased with the public response to the C3 commenting:
“The response of the participants to the conference and the fair shows us how important such a platform for exchange is for the Blockchain ecosystem. Events like these are important to highlight the innovative power and socio-political significance of Blockchain and cryptocurrencies for the future”.




alfwesh22

In the beginning of his career Eric held technical positions at prominent companies such as Steve Job’s NeXT, IBM or General Magic, before co-founding LinkedIn with his Stanford classmate and other colleagues in 2002. There, among other things, Eric was responsible for developing software integrations with software such as web browsers and Microsoft Outlook. Eric left LinkedIn in 2006 to develop his own projects.

Now Eric is launching a reputation system around the initial coin offering (ICO) ecosystem that aims to help people make trustful decisions while buying and selling something.

We talked about Eric’s new project, the role of reputation for everyday communications, social media, and cryptocurrency development.

On the recent crypto ads bans by social networks and Internet giants like Facebook, Google, Twitter
I believe that these kind of platforms are conservative protective approach for themselves. Recently, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has been asking a lot of questions and subpoenas for information from people and companies. I believe that is a protective measure from a lot of these companies to not engage in new form of not advertising, but activities by ICOs, they probably want to avoid potentially uncertain interactions with SEC.
But I do believe that this is a temporary period because like many domains, advertising has an incentive to support as many domains as possible. So when regulatory clears itself up, I believe there will come a time again when advertising of this nature around token sales will be re-permitted on these platforms.

On protective measures against scams and other motivations behind these bans
This is the only one that I can think of because back in the early 2000s there was this Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which allowed all of the online platforms to disassociate themselves from the responsibility of the content that their users would put onto their platforms. So that is very key act made it possible for web 2.0 to really flourish. Advertising really should be covered under that regardless of whatever domain is advertising.
But I do believe that the ban is fundamentally around just kind of a conservative protective measure that these platforms have to not have to be entangled with the answering the SEC’s potentially interesting questions, which they don't have to deal with.
On cryptocurrency related ads on LinkedIn
I don't believe LinkedIn has yet made a decision, you know, like the other social platforms, and it remains to be seen whether they will go in that direction. I wouldn't be surprised if they made a similar decision based on similar reasons. But at this point we're just conjecturing what the reason might be.
Eric Ly left LinkedIn in 2006, founded an event app platform in 2007, and now is developing a sophisticated project for the crypto community. He is CEO and founder of a Blockchain based trust protocol Hub.
Hub protocol in a glance
I have many simplified versions – I am trying to pick the best one. Hub is trying to put reputation on the Blockchain. What we believe is that trust and reputation are really valuable to people and right now they're all locked up in centralized databases. What we're trying to do is basically put that information onto a Blockchain so that people can control that information, so they can bring it from one marketplace or a community to another and really derive the economic benefits from it. We believe that in the coming years, billions of people around the world are going to be creating trustworthy relationships with each other using a Blockchain.

It's sort of like a meta social network if you will. Our project is building a protocol. It’s underlying many different kinds of applications, both new and existing. So we're not necessarily building one social network. We're trying to enable a trust layer that can work across many different social networks and many different marketplaces, so that people can use their reputation across multiple of these networks or communities.

We have the initial protocol implemented and nearly ready for release - and we're working on finishing the first proof-of-concept on the protocol, which will be a reputation system around the ICO ecosystem. We figured that was a great place to start and, you know, it provides a really great opportunity for us to kind of showcase the value of the protocol itself.

On sharing information in everyday interactions
We definitely see a lot of use cases around buying and selling and that exists across many different industries and different domains. We believe that transactions actually start with just interactions: people interacting with each other and basically sharing information and engaging with each other in conversations. There also needs to be an element of trust and reputation as well.
How do you know that the information that you are reading or somebody that you're interacting with is a trustworthy source? We want to solve that problem as well. Because that is really the basis on which people make sometimes very important decisions about what they're going to buy, what they're going to sell.
So the whole process starts much sooner than just a transaction itself. So that's what we want to cover the interaction part of it.

On tokens in a trust establishment
Tokens are really designed to incentivize trustworthy interactions and the building of reputation data on the Blockchain, which hopefully further creates trustworthy interactions. One of the design goals that we had for our token was that it is impossible to buy trust. We really wanted to design that in - you cannot buy the tokens and have more trust.

So what the tokens allow you to do is staking mechanism for various kinds of interactions that people might have - we define interactions very broadly. But you can imagine a buyer-seller scenario or a people sharing information with each other. Across all of this - the idea is that people can stake tokens on the interaction. It's almost like a bond that says I'm going to act in a trustworthy way in this interaction. If I do that and the other parties agree, I'm going to get those tokens back, I'm going to get my bond back and I'm going to get rewarded with some additional tokens that I can take for some future interactions. But if things don't go well, then the tokens that I have staked, might be at risk and might be given to somebody else who sort of lost out on a certain transaction, for example. So, that's how the token works.

How to measure reputation
The important point is that you cannot buy your reputation. Otherwise, the whole purpose of the reputation system is defeated. So the way that we measure reputation is really on all of those granular interactions that are happening with the staking going on. So we remember, on the Blockchain, all the different interactions and transaction builds up a reputation history. That could be scored by different kinds of scoring systems.
So imagine a FICO score in the US that is designed for credit worthiness. Now we can have scores across multiple domains, even beyond credits and worthiness, where reputation and trustworthiness make a difference.

How this whole idea should work
One of our favorite scenarios is a kind of a service marketplace, where maybe somebody is a designer and they're offering website design services, and then there's a client who wants to find the right designer to build up their website. So, we can capture this transaction in a smart contract that records the participants and most importantly - it records the outcome. At the beginning of this transaction, both sides stake their tokens and say: we're going to act in a trustworthy way. For the consultant, this means: “I'm going to do a good job, I'm going to successfully deliver the design”. For the client, this means: “I'm going to pay for that once I believe that this is a good outcome”.
So the participants will go through the process and the project, and they'll come up with the results of the design. If everything goes well - both participants act in a trustworthy way. Somebody delivered, somebody paid - and they both get their tokens back, and a little bit more from the reward function that's built into the protocol. When things do not go well - there's a dispute and in this case it's maybe not clear which side was correct: maybe the design was delivered correctly but the client just wasn't happy for some reason. 

On disputes
So we have a mechanism where disputes can be handled by an arbitrator which can basically decide and is a trusted source for both parties to figure out who was right. In the arbitrator might, actually, have reputation himself or herself in the protocol. So however it gets decided: whether it's the vendor, the consultant or the client - they get the tokens that have been staked on this transaction. There's one party that basically loses out on that token.
There is basically an incentive that's built into the overall process to incentivize people to act in a trustworthy way. Again, the reputation comes out of the history of that interaction and the outcome, and that it actually goes on to both the consultant and the client in terms of how they interacted. So, in the case of the consultant, if they do a lot of great projects then they build up a really great reputation for themselves - that maybe can reflect very effectively for them and get them new projects in a marketplace.

On losing tokens in a dispute
Maybe people might not always be able to perform perfectly, and that's fine. The scoring algorithms and so forth will consider those situations and make sure that people have a fair chance to improve the reputation over time if in some cases they did not do it perfectly. So, we believe in designing a fair system that works in a fair and maybe even slightly generous way for people.
It is a professional network but it is falls into the broad category of a social network.




alfwesh22

The government of Belgium is making a contribution of €2 mln to promote a Blockchain project by the World Food Programme (WFP), the WFP announced April 19.

The contribution will reportedly allow the United Nations (UN) to use Blockchain technology to fight against hunger in impoverished areas. The “Building Blocks” project is piloted with other agencies in the UN and has been implemented to make WFP cash transfers to refugees more efficient and transparent. Over 100,000 Syrian refugees in camps in Jordan have benefited from the project, using donations provided by donors to get food and other crucial resources.

The project was presented at the Leveraging Innovation for Humanitarian Action in New York. Commenting on Belgium’s contribution to the initiative, the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation, Alexander De Croo, said:
“Innovation saves lives. This year, more than 128 mln people across the world will need humanitarian assistance and protection. This is triple the number of three years ago. Only by finding better ways to deliver aid more efficiently will we close the gap between requirements and aid delivery on the ground. Belgium lauds the efforts of WFP to come up with innovative solutions to save more lives and help more people in need.”
In May last year, the UN announced its plans to use Ethereum Blockchain technology to ensure refugees in Jordan have access to food rations by distributing coupons which would be used in place of the local currency. The technology had already been tested by the WFP in Pakistan with more than 10,000 people having benefited.




alfwesh22

Taiwanese Minister of Justice, Chiu Tai-san, said that the country will roll out new regulations for virtual currencies later this year, Taiwan Central News Agency reported April 20.

Today, at a conference dedicated to anti-money laundering (AML) in the financial industry held by the Taiwan Financial Services Coalition, Chiu Tai-san said that the country will develop and launch new regulations on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. The regulations will aim to prevent cryptocurrencies from becoming instruments for money laundering and reportedly will take effect in November.

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC), with the consultation of the Ministry of Interior, the Central Bank, and the Investigation Bureau, will determine the relevant control mechanism, laws, and regulations for cryptocurrency.

As part of the AML program, the FSC reportedly has asked banks to list Bitcoin trading platforms’ accounts as “high-risk accounts.” In 2017 financial institutions were asked to warn customers about investment risks and not to accept Bitcoin.

This week, members of the European Parliament voted in favor of EU AML reforms, which will include stricter regulation for digital currencies. The new reforms are focused on ensuring transparency in order to prevent the large-scale concealment of funds, and compels trusts and trading companies to reveal cryptocurrency holders.




alfwesh22

The Monetary Authority of Macau has issued a warning to the public regarding the possibility “fraud and criminal activities” in cryptocurrencies, the South China Morning Post reports April 20.

The warning comes on the heels of revelations that Macua Dragon Group, a firm associated with Chinese gangster Wan Kuokoi, employed Cambridge Analytica to promote Dragon Coin, a new virtual currency for gamblers to transfer money to Macau casinos. Wan has reportedly spent more than ten years in prison for various crimes, including leading the “14K” triad group in Macau. The statement reads:
“The media has reported that a Macau company was involved in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) recently. The Monetary Authority of Macau reminds all Macau residents that cryptocurrencies are virtual products, but not legal currencies or financial tools. Residents should be aware of fraud and criminal activities associated with cryptocurrencies.”
Banks and payment institutions are forbidden from direct or indirect involvement in providing services for cryptocurrency exchanges under Macau monetary regulations, but there are no rules restricting ICOs in the private casino industry. The Monetary Authority impressed the illegality of digital assets upon the public in its statement:
“[The] Monetary Authority of Macau reiterates that any institution providing regulated financial services such as currency exchange, cross-border fund transfer, and financial exchange platforms without permission violates relevant provisions of the Financial System Act.”
Cambridge Analytica was reportedly planning to release its own digital currency prior to becoming involved in a scandal regarding the misuse of data from Facebook. Sources say that the data analytics agency sought advice from a firm that conusults on how to structure ICOs.




alfwesh22

BithumbSouth Korea’s leading cryptocurrency exchange, has recently revealed plans to issue its own token, Bithumb Coin, in an Initial Coin Offering (ICO), local news outlet TokenPost reports Thursday, April 19.

According to the report, the Bithumb token sale will be conducted in Singapore since ICOs are banned in South Korea. Bithumb is reportedly focusing on large-scale investors rather than individual investors. Bithumb did not confirm when the coin is expected to be launched, or the of the venture, according to TokenPost.

Bithumb is not the first crypto exchange to launch its own token. In January, Chinese crypto exchange Huobi announced its plans to issue Huobi Token (HT) that would be capped at 500 mln tokens. Huobi noted that the token would not be an ICO, claiming that only active users of the trading platform would be able to receive HT.

South Korea’s Financial Services Commission (FSC) announced a ban on ICOs in late September 2017, citing increased risks of financial scams as a motivator. In March, Cointelegraph reported that the South Korean government revealed plans to local financial authorities to legalize ICOs.  While the FSC remains skeptical toward ICOs, local financial authorities are attempting to authorize them by enabling strict Know Your Customer and Anti-Money Laundering systems.

Some South Korean crypto exchanges are already seeking to open branches abroad. Earlier this week, Coinone, the number three crypto exchange in South Korea, announced its plans to launch an exchange in Indonesia in June.




alfwesh22

Major Brazilian university Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) in São Paulo is offering the country’s first Master’s degree in crypto-finance, Finance Magnates reported April 12.

The program offers specialized education for the crypto industry. Ricardo Rochman, the program’s coordinator, explained:
“It is a market with a profound lack of people with expertise. Cryptofinance has economic and financial fundamentals that are worth discussing, researching, and [being] taught.”
The FGV Master’s aligns with a wider movement in the Brazilian higher education system to embrace digital currencies and Blockchain as part of their study programs. Neighboring University of São Paolo incorporated cryptocurrency studies into the Derivatives unit of its Faculty of Economics and Administration last year. Professor Alan de Genaro, who initiated the move, explained:
“Some issues have to be presented even though the [student] does not go to work in the finance market. People have to understand which factors are beneficial and which are not suitable [regarding cryptocurrencies].”
Seven months ago, two Brazilian economics students in their twenties, Juan Perpetuo and Felipe Santos, founded Blockchain Insper, a part study group and part junior company, which offers classes and workshops on cryptocurrencies. Soon they they will be offering consultancy services to clients, focused on emerging technologies and business models within the crypto space.

Institutions such as Cambridge University have conducted substantial research into the crypto-finance field, and Swiss university Lucerne even accepts Bitcoin payments for tuition fees.

survey from March 2018 found that 21.2 percent of U.S. college students have used their student loan money to fund investments in cryptocurrencies.




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Adrian Lai, founding partner of Hong Kong-based crypto investment firm Orichal Partners, has forecast that in 2018 the crypto market will “mature” and increase its trading volume, particularly among institutional investors, the South China Morning Post reported April 9.

Lai characterized both last year’s eye-popping market cap growth — reaching an all-time high of over $800 bln by early Jan. 2018 — and its subsequent first quarter spiral to $256 mln, as of today, April 9, as “irrational.” He attributed this staggering volatility to a lack of regulatory oversight and institutional investment, but struck a decisively optimistic tone about the future, saying that:
“Regulators are not banning the development of cryptocurrencies, but are trying to better regulate the market, which should help the industry mature (…) If the regulatory stance gets clearer, large funds will be more assured and willing to commit significant capital.”
2018 has already seen considerable regulatory momentum pertaining to the crypto sphere, lending credence to Lai’s position. The US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) hearings in Feb. 2018 were devoted to crypto regulation.

The USJapan, and South Korea are all currently debating and issuing regulation for virtual currenciesBlockchaincrypto exchanges and ICOs, as well as considering taxation frameworks, with some admitting that regulatory measures are not fully developed.

In January, Cointelegraph reported that venture capital (VC) Blockchain investment in 2018 is already on track to exceed 2017’s numbers, with notable investments including $140 mln VC already raised from Goldman SachsBaidu, and CICC for Circle’s recent acquisition of the Poloniex crypto exchange, as well as VC Firm Digital Currency Group’s investment in crypto-friendly Silvergate Bank.




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The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of Cointelegraph.com
Decentralized cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have strong advantages over centralized financial systems, primarily because of their ability to function and operate without a single point of failure, which hackers and bad actors can target.

Transaction processing


On Feb. 19, Jameson Lopp, the lead engineer at multi-signature Blockchain security firm BitGo, noted that during a holiday in the US, local banks closed down, failing to provide financial services to individuals and businesses that could be in urgent need of financial settlement services to process payments.

Meanwhile, Bitcoin, as a peer-to-peer (P2P) settlement system, was able to process over $1 bln worth of transactions, and more than $7 bln worth of Bitcoin was traded on a single day. Regardless of holidays and weekends, users of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies like Ether can freely transact on a peer-to-peer basis, through the utilization of wallets.

Non-custodial cryptocurrency wallets enable users to remain in full control over their funds, by only allowing users to gain access to their private keys and no other centralized entity or platform. As such, Bitcoin wallets like Blockchain, Trezor and Ledger cannot refund transactions or recover user accounts once the private key is lost, encouraging users to be more financially aware and responsible.

As emphad by Bitcoin analyst and RT’s Keiser Report host Max Keiser on several occasions, financial freedom and independence provided by Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in the market are largely beneficial and crucial for individuals and businesses operating in regions wherein government entities control banks and financial institutions.

Importance of financial freedom

Last year, Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince al-Waleed Bin Talal was arrested by the government of Mohammed Bin Salman, who is expected to take control over Saudi Arabia and become its ruler, as the most powerful figure in the Middle East. The government of Salman initiated an anti-corruption purge, arresting 11 Saudi princes and 200 businessmen.

At the time, The Wall Street Journal reported that the government of Saudi Arabia had asked $6 bln for the freedom of Bin Talal, who has garnered a net worth of over $25 bln from his investments in Twitter ($300 mln), CitiGroup ($550 mln), AOL, Apple, MCI, Motorola, Fox Broadcasting and many more.

On the Keiser Report, Keiser criticized the previous remarks of Bin Talal, who had called Bitcoin “Enron in the making.”

"It just doesn't make sense. This thing is not regulated, it's not under control, it's not under the supervision of any central bank. I just don't believe in this Bitcoin thing. I think it's just going to implode one day. I think this is Enron in the making,” said Bin Talal on CNBC’s Squawk Box.

Criticizing Bin Talal, Keiser stated:
“He said Bitcoin was no good because there is no central government and no central bank. And then a week later, the central bank and the central government rips out all of his net worth. If he had them in Bitcoin, he wouldn’t have that problem. He is like a poster child for why you should buy Bitcoin. Anyone who is thinking about should I buy Bitcoin, look at [Talal] sleeping on a mattress of a rich hotel under house arrest. Furthermore, he is overrated as a money manager.”

In November 2017, the Saudi government cracked down on private bank accounts and froze the accounts of prices and businessmen. Keiser noted that could have been avoided if the wealth of these individuals were stored in a decentralized store of value, like Bitcoin.

Potential of cryptocurrency in offshore banking

The offshore banking industry, which is dominated by influential financial institutions like JPMorgan, is structured around large banks that are able to clear big sums of money in an efficient and secure manner. But, the transfer of millions to billions of dollars require significant manual labor including transaction verification, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) checks and payment clearing.

Cryptocurrency-focused hedge fund Blocktower executive Ari Paul stated that cryptocurrencies have the ability to address the offshore banking industry that supersedes that of major banks:
“Cryptocurrency is trying to be the offshore banking system, I think. At least some of the cryptocurrencies. Most of the financial luminaries, I think genuinely, don’t understand what it’s trying to be. Jamie Dimon is an exception. By all accounts, I know people who spoke to him about cryptocurrency four years ago before I was really in the space.

He understands it. I think he sees it as a competitor against JPMorgan,” said Paul during an interview with Business Insider.

Regarding transaction settlement, offshore banking, and financial freedom, centralized systems of banks fall significantly behind major cryptocurrencies, which can offer all three services with low costs and a robust infrastructure.

Conclusively, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have significant advantages over banks in a number of areas, including security, borderless transaction settlement, efficient payment clearance, and lack of dependence on centralized service providers or entities.  Although the offshore banking industry is valued at $32 tln and the valuation of the cryptocurrency market remains below half a trillion, the above-mentioned advantages could allow cryptocurrencies to compete against banks across many sectors.




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