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Cryptocurrency and Blockchain News 2nd Sept 2019

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US – China Currency Issues Turn Digital
The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, has announced that it is planning to launch a central bank digital currency, inspired in part by Facebook’s Libra project. David Marcus, the head of Facebook cryptocurrency wallet Calibra had this to say:
“Like I said: if we don’t lead (and by ‘we’ I mean the Free World, *not FB*) others will. It wasn’t a figure of speech, an exaggeration, or a spin of the reality we face. It was the truth.”
With the continued trade war with China, we are witnessing battle lines drawn in a war for global monetary dominance, with China’s offering representing centralized control and including the suppression of foreign influences. Marcus’s tweet is referring to the clash of East vs. West — but, notably, he is aiming U.S. regulators and Congress. How will this all pan out in the months and years to come?

Bitcoin Lightning Network May Have Issues
Australian software programmer and Bitcoin’s (BTC) Lightning Network coder Rusty Russell recently said that security issues have been found in various Lightning projects which could cause loss of funds. He went on to say that LN nodes operators need to update their software as soon as possible. If the lightning network has many problems, how will this affect the project moving forward?

Brazil’s Biggest Payments Processor Accepting Bitcoin
Cielo, the largest payment processing provider in Brazil, is showing support for Bitcoin (BTC) and cryptocurrency purchases on its point-of-sale (PoS) devices. Users can make crypto payments through Cielo PoS devices via QR codes. The PoS machines generate QR codes for payment, and the customer can then use a smartphone to scan a code and make a payment. The customer also reportedly needs to hold either an account with Uzzo or Criptohub — Cielo’s network partners — to complete payment. How will this affect crypto in brazil?

Cars + Blockchain – How Will They Work Together
Distributed ledger technology company Iota partners with auto manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover for a proof-of-concept demonstration for tracing car energy with DLT. Iota announced the news in an official blog post in recent days, as Per the announcement, Iota is partnering with Jaguar Land Rover and French energy research and development center Engie Lab Crigen for the demonstration. The demonstration aims to show the public both the source and use of a Jaguar I-Pace’s energy at the Trondheim Powerhouse, the building whose inauguration forms the background for the proof-of-concept. Is the future of all car companies to have some distributed ledger technology component.

Kyrgyzstan Tax Bill To Include Crypto Mining
The Ministry of Economy of Kyrgyzstan has submitted the draft law “On Amending the Tax Code” to introduce cryptocurrency mining taxation. the draft law was specifically developed to allow for the possible taxation of crypto mining. The taxation on cryptocurrency mining is expected to increase budget revenues and to contribute to the principle of fair taxation in the Kyrgyz Republic. How will this help the country of Kyrgyzstan?

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Crypto Expert Says There Is 60 Percent Chance of Bitcoin Miner Capitulation

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Crypto Expert Says There Is 60 Percent Chance of Bitcoin Miner Capitulation

Cryptocurrency analyst Charles Edwards has estimated that there is a 60 percent chance that another miner capitulation, the dramatic drop of Bitcoin’s hash rate, will take place soon. Miners have to decide whether they want to call it quits or run their operations at a loss in order not to miss out on a potential bull run.

In his Medium article, Edwards opined that there was an intrinsic link between hash rate and price. The new price bottom tends to coincide with miners leaving the Bitcoin network en masse. Hence, buying new coins when the hash rate reaches a local low could be an excellent opportunity to generate big returns (as the table below shows).

Potential returns

Hash rate is not as volatile as price. The biggest drop that has been recorded since 2010 is only 53 percent (a world of difference compared to Bitcoin’s record-holding 93 percent drop).

Bitcoin’s mining difficulty, which gauges the amount of computational power that is required for solving one BTC block, declined by seven percent on Nov. 7. However, Dutch permabull “Plan B” predicted that the next adjustment would be positive for Bitcoin based on its growing hash rate.

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Bitcoin ATMs Top 6,000 Worldwide

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Bitcoin ATMs Top 6,000 Worldwide

There are now more than 6,000 bitcoin and crypto ATMs available to users worldwide.

According to data compiled by CoinATMRadar, there have been 6,003 crypto-based ATMs installed worldwide as of Nov. 17.

The United States continues to lead the rest of the world in bitcoin ATMs, with more than 3,900 machines installed. Canada has the second most 653, followed by the United Kingdom with 272 crypto ATM installations.

As previously reported, bitcoin ATMs have experienced a resurgence in growth throughout 2019, alongside the rising price of crypto-assets. In September, the total number of crypto ATMs worldwide topped 5,500, marking a 500 percent increase in installations since 2016.

Compared to traditional exchanges, ATMs charge higher fees on transactions that can reach as much as 15%. However, they also provide a convenient, physical kiosk for the transfer of bitcoin to fiat, and vice-versa, in addition to buying and selling crypto-assets.

Many members of the crypto community have looked at the rise in ATMs as a positive indicator of growing demand.

 

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Russian Intelligence Agency FSB Linked to $450 Million in Missing Bitcoin

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Russian Intelligence Agency FSB Linked to $450 Million in Missing Bitcoin

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) has been linked to the disappearance of $450 million in bitcoin from the controversial crypto exchange World Exchange Services (WEX).

Controversial Exchange WEX/BTC-e

In late 2018, Russian-based crypto exchange WEX collapsed amidst accusations of money-laundering the disappearance of hundreds of millions of dollars in bitcoin and other crypto assets. According to a BBC report published Nov. 15, the Russian FSB intelligence agency may have played a role in misappropriating the lost funds.

WEX was previously known as BTC-e before being shut down in 2017 by international authorities for its alleged involvement in money-laundering activities. Alexander Vinnik, the exchange’s alleged operator, was arrested at the time and accused of laundering more than $4 billion in cryptocurrency since the exchange’s launch in 2011.

A PwC report earlier in the year said,

WEX is most notably known for its alleged involvement in the laundering of some $4 billion, transferring of funds to facilitate operations of the threat actor tracked by PwC as Blue Athena, and being responsible for cashing out 95% of all ransomware payments made since 2014.

FSB Crypto Fund

According to the BBC report, WEX/BTC-e co-founder Alexey Bilyuchenko says he was forced to hand over information about customer’s digital wallets to members of the FSB in 2018, which the intelligence agency allegedly used to obtain more than $450 million in user funds.

The BBC claims to have obtained audio recordings from individuals discussing the importance of bringing WEX under FSB control, including one man the BBC identifies as Konstantin Malofeev, a pro-Kremlin Russian billionaire currently under U.S. sanctions.

Bilyuchenko reportedly received multiple calls threatening to close the WEX exchange if he did not comply. According to the report, the WEX co-founder was taken to FSB offices in Moscow over the course of three days in April 2018, where he handed over flash drives containing details on accessing exchange user funds.

Bilyuchenko says he was told that WEX client money would be transferred to the “FSB Russia Fund.” Several months after handing over the data, WEX froze customer funds and withdrawals, before completely shutting down in late 2018.

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