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Patent Stockpiling: Bank of America Holds 45 Crypto-Related Patents

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A patent grants its holder exclusive rights to an invention, such as a piece of technology, for a certain period of time. While designed as a means of protecting the intellectual property of inventors, the system is not without its critics who believe that patenting deters innovation and wastes resources.

Consider crypto founding fathers like Satoshi Nakamoto, individuals and groups who place ideas ahead of profit and are more aligned with open source principles than filing patents and closely guarding their secrets — the only secret Satoshi guarded was his/its identity. It may come as a surprise, then, to learn that in the last decade the company that has amassed more cryptocurrency patents than any other  — and who, to some, seems to be the antithesis of everything decentralized currency stands for — is Bank of America.

According to Bitcoin Patent Report, in the nine years since Bitcoin’s first block was mined, over 2,000 related patents have been filed. In the cryptocurrency’s first few years the number of patents was low — averaging under 50 a year. By 2015 that number began to increase, and by 2016 was growing exponentially. In 2017, 1,250 cryptocurrency-related patents were filed.

Some of the companies who feature in the top ten are to be expected, such as Bitflyer and IBM, whose interest in blockchain is well documented. The computing giant has filed a total of 34 cryptocurrency related patents, but is outpaced by South Korean brokerage Coinplug, which is third on the list with 39.

Others on the list are more unexpected, either because they have publicly expressed little interest in cryptocurrency, or are not commonly associated with such cutting-edge technology. It makes sense that MasterCard would have an interest in digital payment systems, for example, but it is surprising to see them ranked ninth for cryptocurrency related patents, with 21 filings. The greatest surprise of all is reserved for the top spot, which as noted above is claimed by Bank of America, having at least 45 patents filed.

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US Regulator Warns Against Pump-and-Dumps and Advises How to Buy Crypto

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The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has issued its first warning against pump-and-dump schemes involving cryptocurrencies while giving advice on how to buy crypto. This warning follows previous warnings by two other U.S. regulators.

CFTC’s Warning

The CFTC issued a Customer Protection Advisory on Thursday to warn the public to “beware of and avoid pump-and-dump schemes that can occur in thinly traded or new ‘alternative’ virtual currencies, digital coins or tokens.”

CFTC Director of Public Affairs Erica Elliott Richardson explained, “As with many online frauds, this type of scam is not new – it simply deploys an emerging technology to capitalize on public interest in digital assets,” adding that:

Pump-and-dump schemes long pre-date the invention of virtual currencies…The CFTC encourages all customers to thoroughly research potential investments, stay informed about tactics commonly used in investment fraud, and avoid investment opportunities they don’t fully understand.

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Bitcoin Isn’t the Currency for Money Laundering, US Bank Pays $613m Fine

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Money laundering has always been a big problem in the financial sector. Turning “dirty” money into “clean” money makes it nearly impossible to trace criminal activity. One could argue money laundering is a sold as the banks themselves. US Bancorp is fined $613m to settle “willful” violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. It is once again evident financial institutions are the go-to solution to launder money. Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, on the other hand, are very small fish in this cesspool.

Addressing money laundering problems is not easy by any means. With so many people involved in these processes, it’s only natural some transactions go by unnoticed. Banks staffers often fail to recognize or report suspicious transactions. In the case of US Bancorp, it will cost them a hefty penny. With $613m in fines to be paid, some bank members will be to blame. It also shows how relatively easy it is to launder funds through the banking system. There are quite a few institutions who either don’t flag transactions or do not bother to deal with the reporting side of things.

Most of the fines will be paid to the US Treasury. The remainder will go to FinCEN, The Federal Reserve, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. While such a fine is steep, it’s usually a drop in the bucket. Entities such as US Bancorp can make a lot more money from processing these illicit transactions like normal. They collect fees for every transaction, after all. This fine will not necessarily make any big dent in their earnings. More worryingly, people will probably forget US Bancorp was even involved in this scandal in a few months from now.

It is uncanny how these are the same banks who tell people Bitcoin is a tool for criminals and terrorist. Unlike the systems used by US Bancorp and consorts, Bitcoin is as transparent as it can get. There is a degree of pseudonymity, but people can flag transactions in real-time. All information other than users’ identities is public and traceable. Converting Bitcoin to real money needs to be done through brokers or exchanges. These companies perform checks to prevent money laundering as well. It is very cumbersome to cash out crime proceeds with Bitcoin as of right now.

Even then, the converted money is still processed by banks. If they do not perform proper AML checks, bitcoin isn’t to blame for their shortcomings. US Bancorp and consorts need to be punished far more severely for failing to adhere to regulatory guidelines. They have all of the information on hand to flag, track, and identify suspicious behavior in a few minutes. Why they aren’t doing so is anybody’s guess right now. Money laundering will always be facilitated by the banking system.

Original linkOriginal author: JP Buntinx
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Japanese Crypto Associations Merging to Restore Trust Across the Industry

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Japan’s two cryptocurrency associations have reportedly decided to merge in order to restore trust in the industry and accelerate self-imposed rules. Once approved by the Japanese financial regulator, the new organization will have the power to set penalties for breaches of self-regulation.

Two Crypto Associations Merging

Japan currently has two cryptocurrency industry associations: the Japan Blockchain Association (JBA) and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association (JCBA). The former is headed by Bitflyer CEO, Yuzo Kano, and has a total of 88 members, while the latter has a total of 154 members, according to Minkabu publication.

The two organizations have reportedly been in talks to merge after the hack of one of the country’s largest exchanges, Coincheck, where 58 billion yen worth on the cryptocurrency NEM were stolen. They “are hurried to restore trust in the industry,” Forbes Japan reported.

They “will be integrated to establish a new self-regulating organization,” to focus on areas such as safety management system and compensation of customer assets, the news outlet added. In addition, the new entity will also focus on the reliability of crypto exchanges that have already been approved by the Japanese Financial Services Agency (FSA). Currently, there are 16 approved exchanges and 16 under review, including Coincheck.

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Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD Correcting Lower

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Litecoin price formed a short-term high near the $236 level against the US Dollar. LTC/USD is currently correcting lower towards the $205-200 support area.

Key Talking Points

Litecoin price failed to move further above the $235 level and corrected lower (Data feed of Kraken) against the US Dollar. There is a declining channel forming with resistance at $220 on the hourly chart of the LTC/USD pair. The pair may correct a few more points, but the $200 support is likely to prevent declines.

Yesterday, we saw a decent upside move in litecoin price above the $200 level against the US dollar. The LTC/USD pair traded as high as $236 before it faced sellers and started a short-term downside correction.

The pair moved down and traded below the $220 support and the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $179 low to $236 high. The downside move was substantial as the price almost tested the $200-205 support area.

At the moment, it seems like there is a declining channel forming with resistance at $220 on the hourly chart of the LTC/USD pair. The current downside move seems to be corrective in structure as long as the price is above the $200 level.

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As Bitcoin Goes Over $10,000, Analyst Makes Big Predictions For 2018

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Unrepentant cryptocurrency bull Tom Lee predicts Bitcoin will reach $25,000 in 2018 and $125,000 by 2022.

Aggressive Predictions For Bitcoin’s Future

Tom Lee was the first major Wall Street analyst to cover Bitcoin and has remained bullish about the cryptocurrency market since. In his latest report, Fundstrat Global advisor’s head of research called for some high numbers in the coming years.

Having analyzed 22 bitcoin depreciations of more than 20% he found that recoveries take 1.7 times the duration of a decline in a bull market, to which he added that this is still a bull market. Given that trend, Bitcoin would make a complete recovery by July.

“We expect bitcoin’s major low to be $9,000, and we would be aggressive buyers around that level. We view this $9,000 as the biggest buying opportunity in 2018.”

Lee said in his report on Thursday

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Cardano Price Technical Analysis – ADA/USD Just Broke Crucial Support?

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Key HighlightsADA price struggled to gain momentum above the $0.40 level and moved down against the US Dollar (tethered). There was a break below a major ascending channel with support at $0.3800 on the hourly chart of the ADA/USD pair (data feed via Bittrex). The pair has to stay above the $0.3700 support to avoid further declines in the near term.

Cardano price is slightly bearish against the US Dollar and Bitcoin. ADA/USD may decline a few points, but it may later bounce back to retest the $0.40 resistance.

Cardano Price Resistance

There was a steady price action in ADA price recently above the $0.3500 level against the US Dollar. The price even traded above the $0.4000 resistance, but it was not able to gain upside momentum. A high was formed at $0.4044 from where the price started a downside correction. It moved below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $0.3420 low to $0.4044 high.

More importantly, there was a break below a major ascending channel with support at $0.3800 on the hourly chart of the ADA/USD pair. The pair is now trading below the $0.3900 level. However, the downside move was protected by the 50% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $0.3420 low to $0.4044 high. The pair is currently holding the $0.3700 support and it must stay above the mentioned levels. If it fails to stay above the $0.3700 level, it could even test the 76.4% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $0.3420 low to $0.4044 high at $0.3553.

On the upside, the price may continue to struggle near $0.4000. A successful break above the $0.4000 level could ignite more gains toward $0.5000 in the near term.

Hourly MACD – The MACD for ADA/USD is currently in the bearish zone.

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Japanese Crypto Associations Merge for Self-Regulation

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The crypto industry in Japan is still reeling from the half million dollar Coincheck heist last month. The fallout from one of the largest digital currency hacks in history was wide reaching. Further calls for safeguards and regulation have been made in what is currently the world’s most crypto friendly nation. Rather than a heavy handed approach from the government, two of Japan’s leading cryptocurrency associations are about to merge to self-regulate the ecosystem.

Self-regulation over government restriction

It was reported today that, according to sources, Japan’s two cryptocurrency industry groups are in talks to form a self-regulating body. The Japan Blockchain Association and the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association are expected to merge as early as April with the intention of implementing further safeguards to protect traders and investors.

The move comes in the wake of the Coincheck hack which resulted in over $530 million in XEM tokens being stolen from the Tokyo exchange. The amalgamation would reassign the heads of both organizations into one self-regulatory body however no definite decisions have been made yet.

Neither association would release any details to the media however the move is a positive one and would bring about a safer environment for crypto users, merchants and exchanges. The Coincheck hack revealed a number of flaws in Japan’s crypto ecosystem but instead of the government taking a heavy handed approach, as in neighboring China, more proactive and constructive solutions are being sought.

Japan leads the way

The Southeast Asian nation is currently one of the world leaders in cryptocurrencies with reports that over 50% of the global trade last month was made in Yen. According to analytics website Coinhills Japanese exchange bitFlyer is the top exchange for daily Bitcoin trade, with over 314,000 BTC traded in the past 24 hours. Like South Korea, the country has some huge exchanges and its citizens are free to trade providing they remain lawful and do not use cryptocurrencies for any shady purposes.

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Ripple Price Technical Analysis – XRP/USD’s Downsides Remain Supported

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Key HighlightsRipple price traded as high as $1.1024 before starting a downside correction against the US dollar. Yesterday’s highlighted ascending channel with current support at $1.0080 is intact on the hourly chart of the XRP/USD pair (data source from SimpleFx). The pair may extend the current decline, but it is likely to find support near $1.0000 and $1.0080.

Ripple price is currently correcting lower against the US Dollar and Bitcoin. XRP/USD remains well supported on the downside above the $1.00 handle.

Ripple Price Support

Recently, we saw a nice upside move in Ripple price above the $1.00 level against the US Dollar. The price traded above the $1.10 level and formed a high at $1.1024. Later, a downside wave was initiated and the price moved below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $0.9136 low to $1.1024 high. However, there are many supports on the downside such as $1.0000 and $1.0080.

More importantly, yesterday’s highlighted ascending channel with current support at $1.0080 is intact on the hourly chart of the XRP/USD pair. The pair extend the current correction pattern, but the channel support and $1.00 are major buy zones. Furthermore, the channel support is near the 50% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $0.9136 low to $1.1024 high. The last but not the least, the 100 hourly simple moving average is also positioned around the channel support and $1.00 to prevent declines.

Therefore, the $1.00 handle is a major buy zone. A break below $1.00 could push the price back in the bearish zone. On the upside, an initial resistance is at $1.10. Above $1.10, the price has to surpass $1.15 for more gains.

Looking at the technical indicators:

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Bitcoin Comes Out On Ellen DeGeneres Show, Mainstream Exposure

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Ellen DeGeneres has presented a ‘hilarious’ send-up of it on her highly popular talk show, taking bitcoin and cryptocurrencies to a different level of mainstream exposure.

The fact that Ellen stood in front of her audience and did a partial breakdown on how cryptocurrency works using the image of an adorable baby goat shows how far out of the shadows bitcoin has come.

Bitcoin has Moved into Mainstream Media

Not long ago Bitcoin was talked about in the same hushed tones as the dark web and was only mentioned in the media as the currency of cybercriminals. It was how international drug dealers and human traffickers funded their criminal empires.

Today though references to Bitcoin have become commonplace in the news cycle and as fodder for comedy shows.

The general premise of which is that cryptocurrency is a little-understood, nerd based system of trading pseudo-money. Good for a laugh but in the end just another fad that will surely pass along like Zumba or the pet rock.

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