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    Austria Wants to Regulate Bitcoin like Gold and Derivatives

    Austria Wants to Regulate Bitcoin like Gold and Derivatives

    Austria Finance Minister Hartwig Löger is urging both his country and the broader European Union to treat cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin in a regulatory fashion as they do now with regard to gold and derivatives.

    Also read: How To Regain Control From Nanny Zuck

    Austria Floats Ideas About Bitcoin Regulation

    “The cryptocurrencies are in the process of massively damaging the reputation of the financial market,” Mr. Löger insisted, “and jeopardizing the reputation of a young but very important sector for the financial market of the future,” arguing it will be a challenge to both regulate and allow for the nascent industries to grow.

    He went on to suggest financial experts and even the financial technology sector have both warned Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Austria’s central bank, and the country’s Financial Market Authority (FMA) about cryptocurrency’s danger, asking for regulation. The local press even used the verb “demanded.”

    Austria Wants to Regulate Bitcoin like Gold and Derivatives
    Hartwig Löger

    Mr. Löger continued, “Cryptocurrencies are significantly gaining importance in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing. That’s an important aspect for the changes we support. We need more trust and more security.” Among his recommendations is to treat bitcoin “similar to the trade in gold and derivatives,” including mandatory anti-money laundering (AML) reporting crypto transactions of more than €10,000.

    Mr. Löger, 52, and his statements were openly welcomed by the Austrian FMA in a parallel statement released the same day, 23 February. “The Board of the Austrian Financial Market Authority (FMA), Helmut Ettl and Klaus Kumpfmüller, welcome the move by Finance Minister Hartwig Löger to subject cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin to regulation and supervision.” Worriedly, the Board of Management stressed, “Since digital currencies are essentially a phenomenon of the Internet and are offered there without limits, regulation and oversight of cross-border cooperation are also of great importance.”

    Austria Wants to Regulate Bitcoin like Gold and Derivatives

    ICOs, Prospectus, and a New Council

    His proposals would further empower the country’s Money Laundering Registration Office of the Federal Criminal Police Office in identifying holders of crypto, placing exchanges under the auspices of the FMA. Mr. Löger’s comments were not fixated solely on bitcoin, however, as he also addressed initial coin offerings (ICOs). All ICOs would be subject to registration requirements and would be required to offer something like a “digital prospectus.”

    The borderless aspects so befuddling regulators when it comes to bitcoin are to be considered this March with the advent of a Fintech Regulatory Council. Reports suggest it will be comprised of experts who “consider regulatory approaches and coordinate the positions of various institutions” in an effort to reconcile wider “European initiatives…with national policies.”

    Austria Wants to Regulate Bitcoin like Gold and Derivatives

    Experts expect Mr. Löger’s will bring his case to Portugal’s Mario Centeno when the two meet as part of Eurogroup this weekend. EU Commission meetings on Monday will consider cryptocurrencies in relation to the European Money Laundering Directive.

    What do you think about Austria’s plans? Let us know in the comments section.


    Images courtesy of Pixabay.


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    Finance Ministry Employees Caught Mining Cryptos in Kazakhstan

    Finance Ministry Employees Caught Mining Cryptos in Kazakhstan

    The Ministry of Finance in Kazakhstan has announced measures to improve security and oversight in its IT department after catching four employees mining cryptocurrencies on its servers. Joking that the miners have taken over the central bank’s main duty – money emission, a deputy called for crypto regulations. The National Bank is actually working on proposals to regulate the crypto sector.   

    Also read: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan on the Crypto Radar

    State Computers Used to Mint Digital Coins

    IT specialists working for the Finance Ministry in four different regions of Kazakhstan have been implicated in using government hardware to mine cryptocurrencies. They were employed by local offices of the ministry’s Department of State Revenue, investigators said, quoted by Tengrinews. The miners have been exploiting the servers of the tax authority and the most powerful personal computers available to employees.

    Finance Ministry Employees Caught Mining Cryptos in Kazakhstan“They have secretly installed mining software, which significantly decreased the speed of information processing and slowed down government computers”, Kazakhstan’s National Security Committee (KNB) said in a press release. “These programs have been added to the exceptions lists of antivirus applications”, the agency explained.

    “Criminal investigations have been launched against four employees of different regional divisions. KNB is in charge but we have started an internal inquiry, as well”, said Ardak Tangebaev, head of the Department of State Revenue. “We are going to tighten control over our IT departments”, he added.

    The employees have been charged with “impeding the work of information systems and telecommunications networks” and “creation, use or distribution of malicious computer programs and software products”. It is quite obvious that the current articles of the penal code do not specifically cover crypto-related crime.

    “Mining Under Your Nose”

    Kazakhstan’s financial authorities have been criticized for slowing down the introduction of regulations in the cryptocurrency sector. A deputy joked that the IT workers at the Finance Ministry have taken over one of the main responsibilities of the National Bank – emitting money. “They are mining under your nose and prosecutors have no idea about what charges to raise”, Gleb Shchegelskiy said, calling for crypto regulations in Kazakhstan.

    The central bank is actually working on a set of legislative proposals. New restrictions on operations with cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, and their exchange with the local fiat tenge are to be imposed soon, according to NBK’s chairman Daniyar Akishev. “The situation indicates a necessity to toughen the requirements for the use of cryptocurrencies. We believe it is expedient to introduce legal restrictions”, he said, quoted by Kaztag.

    The measures are expected to affect cryptocurrency transactions and payments. Akishev added that the “appropriate amendments” are currently being prepared. Like many of his colleagues around the world, he warned Kazakhs about the risks of investing in cryptocurrencies.

    A Look on the Bright Sight

    Despite all that, Kazakhstan remains a country with long-standing ambitions to become a crypto hub in the region. Last year Astana announced intentions to create “the most favorable business climate” for fintech companies with a “highly progressive regulatory framework”. In 2018 the country’s leadership called for the launch of a “democratic, transparent and global cryptocurrency… backed by assets”. Kazakhstan’s financial authorities, however, are still struggling to grasp the realities of a rapidly developing crypto industry, justifying the latest criticism.

    Finance Ministry Employees Caught Mining Cryptos in Kazakhstan

    More than 1,000 investors, miners, startups and representatives of the blockchain industry took part in Cryptoconference-2018 in Almaty last week and shared their expectations for the near future. “If 2017 was the year of ICOs, 2018 will be the year of regulation”, Streamity’s representative Sergey Kolomiets told Tengrinews. The president of the Kazakhstani Association of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, Eset Butin, confirmed his prediction: “I think China is never doing anything just like that. In 2018 the PRC will decide about the crypto sector”. Participants in a panel discussion on the regulatory challenges in the Commonwealth of Independent States agreed that the industry needs regulations, not restrictions.

    Do you think government institutions will one day use the excess capacity of their servers to mine cryptocurrencies? Tell us in the comments section below.


    Images courtesy of Shutterstock. 


    Express yourself freely at Bitcoin.com’s user forums. We don’t censor on political grounds. Check forum.Bitcoin.com.

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    Montana Scores $250 Million Bitcoin Mining Campus

    $250Mil Bitcoin Mining Campus Calls Butte, Montana Home

    The Big Sky Country state of Montana keeps raking them in. For the second time this month, a mining operation is announcing its moving to the Butte area. Power Block Coin LLC is reportedly plunking down a quarter of a billion dollars to upgrade existing facilities to mine the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin.

    Also read: How To Regain Control From Nanny Zuck

    $250 Million Bitcoin Mining Campus Calls Butte, Montana Home

    The Montana Standard reports, “A company called Power Block Coin, LLC, plans to invest $251 million in capital improvements over 36 months in Montana Connections, a special tax district west of Butte.”

    “Earlier this year, we started receiving inquiries from blockchain miners interested in low cost electrical capacity,” explained Aaron Tilton, CEO of Blue Castle Holdings, the parent company of Power Block Coin, LLC. “Not just any electrical capacity, all electricity is not created equal. Blockchain mining power has to be globally cost competitive, readily available and quickly scalable. It also has to have the right power load profile, accompanied with dependable existing infrastructure, at the appropriate locations,” Mr. Tilton said at the end of last year.

    $250Mil Bitcoin Mining Campus Calls Butte, Montana Home

    Blue Castle is a Utah-based holding company best known for its work in nuclear power plant energy development. Moving into the cryptocurrency mining space “was a great fit for us, we are already doing this type of development. We are currently selling the right kind of low cost installed capacity to miners via bilateral contracts. Therefore, a good portion of the power can be put to use before our peer-to-peer, spot market Power Block Exchange platform goes live in the 2nd quarter of 2018. 500MWe is roughly enough power to supply the global Ethereum network or about one fifth of the global Bitcoin network,” Mr. Tilton insisted.

    That Q2 forecast appears to be on track, as Butte-Silver commissioners voted to develop data centers in what’s known as Montana Connections, described as “a special tax finance district west of Butte.” Over two years and two phases, the hope is online 135 megawatts of power through infrastructure such as a substation and up to “200 separate units that would use large amounts of power, which would be transmitted through the new substation. Those units could be anything from larger warehouse buildings to small shipping containers,” according to The Montana Standard.

    Montana’s Quiet Bitcoin Mining Revolution

    Not all locals are exactly excited about bitcoin mining centers growing in their city. Worries about officials getting carried away with a fad, handing over valuable land to an industry where the product can jump wildly in price – not to mention nearly every financial expert has accused crypto of being a scam of one kind or another.

    For his part Mr. Tilton responded, “Bitcoin is the fastest growing segment of cryptocurrency. If it tanks, the same processors can be used for medical research or AI (artificial intelligence).” He also suggested nearly 50 people will eventually be employed at the campus, with salaries averaging roughly $40,000.

    $250Mil Bitcoin Mining Campus Calls Butte, Montana Home
    Aaron Tilton

    Mr. Tilton also said whatever extra energy generated could be sold to local businesses, and that the first data center, all things considered, should be up and running by Fall of this year. A county administrator doubled down on Mr. Tilton’s optimism: “Power Block Coin has to invest their money, build a substation, they’ll be a big power user. It’s not just a bitcoin facility. We’re not buying into bitcoin. They’re an aggregator, a campus to allow additional users to come in and use power.”

    Whatever the eventual outcome, Montana is quietly growing a crypto mining empire of sorts. As reported in these pages mere weeks ago, a nearby Montana community sealed a $75 million mining deal with Crypto Watt, LLC to resurrect 53 acres. That followed “Project Spokane, LLC launched its site near Missoula. It’s already one of the largest energy consumers in the region, housing a 20 megawatt facility, employing at least 25 locals.” This will be the third such operation, each one larger than the next, in two years.

    What do you think of more mining data centers opening? Let us know in the comments section below.


    Images courtesy of Pixabay, Power Block.


    Not up to date on the news? Listen to This Week in Bitcoina podcast updated each Friday.

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    Report Claims 34,000 Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Vulnerable to Bugs

    Report Claims 34,000 Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Vulnerable to Bugs

    Over 34,000 ethereum smart contracts containing $4.4 million in ETH may be vulnerable to exploitation. That’s the conclusion reached by a quintet of researchers hailing from Singapore and the UK. Their technical report, which is currently undergoing peer review, suggests that millions of dollars in ether may be at risk from poorly coded smart contracts that contain a variety of bugs.

    Also read: Bad Code Has Lost $500 Million of Cryptocurrency in Under a Year

    Smart Contracts Are Only as Smart as Their Creator

    Report Claims 34,000 Ethereum Smart Contracts Are Vulnerable to Bugs“Finding The Greedy, Prodigal, and Suicidal Contracts at Scale” is the provocative title of a research paper submitted by British and Singaporean students last week. Its authors have dived deep into ethereum smart contracts, “finding contracts that either lock funds indefinitely, leak them carelessly to arbitrary users, or can be killed by anyone”. This latter flaw is precisely what happened to Parity last November.

    The dangers of relying on smart contracts that have not been independently audited are well-documented. In the past year, $500 million has been lost due to bad code, and around half of that figure involved ethereum. The most notorious case was the Parity bug which led to $168 million of ether being rendered permanently inaccessible, though there have been plenty of smaller incidents where inexperienced or inattentive developers have been caught out.

    A Small Drop in a Big Ocean

    The authors of the report claim to have used a tool to analyze almost one million smart contracts, of which 34,200 were found to be vulnerable, with 2,365 of these stemming from distinct projects. That means that around 3.4% of all smart contracts are potentially vulnerable to being hacked, broken, or otherwise exploited. Of the contracts that the research team flagged as being exploitable, “the maximal amount of Ether that could have been withdrawn…is nearly 4,905 Ether” worth $4.4 million.

    The report continues: “In addition, 6,239 Ether (7.5 million US dollars) is locked inside posthumous contracts currently on the blockchain, of which 313 Ether (379,940 US dollars) have been sent to dead contracts after they have been killed.” One thing the report deliberately omits is the identity of the smart contracts flagged as being at risk. But with almost 1 in 20 contracts vulnerable, and a jackpot of over $4.5 million in ether up for grabs, determined attackers have every incentive to put this research to the test.

    What do you think can be done to make smart contracts safer? Let us know in the comments section below.


    Images courtesy of Shutterstock.


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    Turkish Minister Proposes National Cryptocurrency

    Turkish Minister Proposes National Cryptocurrency

    The deputy chair of Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu, has written a 22-page report seeking to highlight the regulatory vacuum that presently exists in Turkey pertaining to cryptocurrencies. The report also makes a number of policy recommendations for the development of a regulatory framework for virtual currencies, including advocating that Turkey develop a national cryptocurrency.

    Also Read: Centralized Cryptoruble Not Possible, Minister Tells Putin

    MHP Chair Authors Cryptocurrency Report

    Turkish Minister Proposes National Cryptocurrency
    Minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu

    The MHP deputy chair and former Industry Minister, Mr. Tanrikulu, has written a detailed report seeking to encourage Turkish lawmakers to develop a regulatory apparatus for cryptocurrencies.

    In recent history, the Turkish government has struck a dismissive regarding cryptocurrencies, describing such as akin to a Ponzi scheme and warning prospective investors against seeking exposure to the virtual currency markets. Mr. Tanrikulu is concerned that Turkey is failing to embrace the revolutionary technology, telling media outlet Al-Monitor that “The world is advancing toward a new digital system. Turkey should create its own digital system and currency before it’s too late.”

    The minister asserted that cryptocurrency adoption is growing among Turkish citizens despite the country’s current legal vacuum regarding virtual currencies. “The need for regulation is obvious,” Mr. Tanrikulu stated, adding that “the use of those currencies in illegal activities must be prevented.”

    Minister Advocates Development of National Currency “Turkcoin”

    Turkish Minister Proposes National CryptocurrencyMr. Tanrikulu makes a number of policy recommendations aimed at strengthening both the competitiveness of Turkey’s distributed ledger technology sector and the government’s regulatory capabilities regarding cryptocurrencies. “We need to create the infrastructure for the blockchain database. There are nearly 1,400 digital currencies in the world today and many countries are using them […] Opposing those currencies is meaningless. This is a national issue which requires a national consensus,” Mr. Tanrikulu said.

    The minister also advocated that Turkey develop a state-administered virtual currency. Mr. Tanrikulu stated “We, too, can create a digital currency, based on companies in the Wealth Fund. Since the demand exists, we should create and release our own digital currency.”

    Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister, Mehmet Simsek, also recently indicated that the country may be making preparations for the development of a national cryptocurrency. In an interview with CNN earlier this month, Mr. Simske stated “We are planning to start our own work on digital currencies. We place high importance on digitalization.”

    What is your response to the increasing number of governments seeking to develop national cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!


    Images courtesy of Shutterstock


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    Sneak Peek: Mexico’s Regulations for Crypto Exchanges Expected in ‘Weeks’

    Sneak Peek: Mexico's Regulations for Crypto Exchanges Expected in 'Weeks'

    Mexico’s bill to regulate fintech institutions including cryptocurrency exchanges is expected to become law within “weeks,” according to local crypto exchange ISBIT. Daniel Luévano, the exchange’s director of operations, shared with news.Bitcoin.com what to expect from the new law, citing a leaked document he obtained from the recent meeting of regulators.

    Also read: Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

    Changing Mexico’s Crypto Landscape

    Sneak Peek: Mexico's Regulations for Crypto Exchanges Expected in 'Weeks'Mexico’s Chamber of Deputies will soon vote on the bill to regulate the country’s fintech institutions including cryptocurrency exchanges, which the Senate has already approved.

    The bill “establishes a regulatory framework that regulates the platforms (called Financial Technology Institutions or ITFs)” which includes crypto exchanges, the document states. “The bill recognizes two types of ITFs: collective financing institutions and electronic payment fund institutions.”

    Sneak Peek: Mexico's Regulations for Crypto Exchanges Expected in 'Weeks'News.Bitcoin.com (BC): Does the bill legalize bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies?
    Daniel Luévano (DL): Bitcoin and other cryptos will not be legal tender. However, ITFs that the Bank of Mexico gives consent [to] will be allowed to operate with them.

    BC: Can people legally use cryptocurrencies to pay for goods and services?
    DL: Yes, they can!

    BC: What are the most important changes brought about by the bill?
    DL: Financial institutions will be able to operate with virtual assets, but also, they are allowed to invest in ITFs. ITFs will be constantly audited; everything must be transparent to regulators and consumers. AML/CFT [anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism] practices will be a really important requirement for exchanges.

    BC: What major changes to the existing Mexican crypto ecosystem will result from the bill?
    DL: Changes in the Mexican financial ecosystem? Huge ones.

    ITFs will be considered just as important as banks. All trade finance companies will be operating with them.

    Only 44% of people in Mexico have a bank account, while the rest only use cash. The amount of money and transactions that can migrate to crypto and its technology is huge.

    Licensing & Approved Crypto

    Sneak Peek: Mexico's Regulations for Crypto Exchanges Expected in 'Weeks'BC: What is the role of the Bank of Mexico with respect to the crypto market going forward?
    DL: They are more than open to keep new technologies [and] strengthen the Mexican financial ecosystem. They don’t want to lose control of things they still don’t understand widely, that’s why the Bank of Mexico will decide which virtual assets can be operated in the Mexican territory.

    BC: Are crypto exchanges now required to get a license from the Bank of Mexico? What kind of authorization do they need?
    DL:

    Yes, now we will have an authorization as an ITF. But this is positive, because now all the financial institutions have permission to work with the now-called ITFs. Mainly, the authorization depends on how strong your security is, and several KYC [know your customer] and AML/CFT practices an exchange should have.

    BC: Are there restrictions on what cryptocurrencies are approved in the bill?
    DL: The Bank of Mexico will decide which ones [cryptocurrencies] are allowed to be listed on the exchanges.

    They will decide according to Article 30 [which states that] “Bank of Mexico will take into account, among other characteristics, the public acceptance (its use, the trade of it, the storage, and the volume of transaction), other jurisdictions’ acceptance, other agreements, mechanisms, rules or protocols that allow to create, identify, partition, and control the replication of these assets.”

    Penalties

    BC: What are the penalties for non-compliance?
    DL: The penalties are applicable only for the ITFs in case they don’t comply or they don’t follow the law. If you don’t have the authorization, the penalty is from 30k UMA to 150k UMA, according to Article 104 I. 1 UMA (Unit of Measurement and Update) = 80.6 MXN = 4.27 USD.

    BC: When will this bill become law? And how long do exchanges have to comply?
    DL: The bill will become law in the following weeks, as soon as the Chamber of Deputies votes for it.

    Exchanges will have one year to comply.

    What do you think of Mexico’s regulations for crypto exchanges? Let us know in the comments section below.


    Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Isbit.


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    Oregon’s Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners

    Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners

    Over the past few months, quite a few bitcoin miners have been flocking to regions in North America in places such as Vancouver, and multiple states in the U.S. throughout the Midwest. Now, according to the state of Oregon’s regional press, miners are starting operations in the area because of concentrations of cheap hydropower.

    Also read: Ross Ulbricht Denied Post-Conviction Relief Extension

    Oregon’s Burgeoning Surplus of Energy Attracts Bitcoin Miners

    Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin MinersAccording to local reports, cryptocurrency miners are finding themselves traveling the ‘Oregon Trail’ for cheap and reliable electricity. Terrence Thurber operates the biggest mining operation in the state called Oregonmines in a small town called Dalles. There are roughly 12 more mining operations in the Oregon, and Robert McCullough of Portland General Electric (PGE) says more facilities are on the way. However, McCullough is not too impressed by the mining movement staking claim in Oregon.

    “We may well become the center of crypto-mining in the world,” the PGE consultant McCullough told the local press.

    We may find our burgeoning surplus of energy will make us quite a capital for useless servers solving useless puzzles. It’s not as if we have a huge amount of employment attached. It’s not as if you’re going to have a big staff and a lot of smart people working on it.

    Hard to Put a Quantity Value on Freedom

    Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners
    Oregonmines monthly power bill is roughly $75,000. 

    Thurber’s bitcoin mine is an industrial-sized operation with over 2,750 mining rigs humming away in a warehouse with no windows. The 33-year-old college dropout moved to Oregon three years ago from Costa Rica to start the mining facility. One of the biggest reasons miners like Thurber are attracted to Oregon is because of the Columbia River hydropower system. The hydro-powered electricity costs 3 to 4 cents per kilowatt-hour, a price significantly cheaper than most of the states in the U.S. Thurber believes the area is great for mining and thinks cryptocurrency mining operations will continue to have good fortune.

    “This is the future,” Thurber explains. “The sooner people get on board, the better off they’ll be. It’s a ‘shoulda, coulda, woulda’ situation.”

    It’s hard to put a quantity value on freedom — Cryptocurrencies will liberate your personal money flow.

    New Money Coming In

    Thurber says the location is also helpful because the facility is close to a major metro, and weather patterns are favorable. The Oregonmines founder says his operation is also providing new jobs in the area as well. The operation has fifteen employees right now, and roughly eleven of them are working full time.

    “Dalles was not exactly popping with activity when I got there,” Thurber details.

    My jobs are all new jobs with new money that’s come in.                    

    Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners
    Cascade Divide.

    Another miner in the region is Jeffrey Henry who operates a facility 130 miles away in a town called Bend. Henry started his mining facility Cascade Divide in 2014 and also offers space in the warehouse for other miners. The former Time Warner cable engineer says he rents space to both traditional miners and government agencies.

    Additionally, Henry’s mine is strengthened by 18-inch thick concrete walls and a generator with over 2,200 gallons worth of diesel fuel. Henry believes other miners should be cautious of earthquakes and tsunamis as they could lead to significant downtime.

    “Some of these cryptocurrency miners just bought old warehouses, and that’s what we’d call a ‘retrofit,’” Henry explains.

    Literally, the whole world outside could shut down, and we could keep running for four days like nothing happened — That’s what’s important for state and local governments and companies.

    Oregon's Cheap Hydropower Attracts a Swarm of Bitcoin Miners
    Cascade Divide.

    Not Everyone Is Pleased With Miners Flocking to Oregon

    However, not everyone in Oregon is pleased with the miners flocking to the state. The PGE consultant McCullough says these mines offer “little benefit” to Oregon. McCullough thinks cryptocurrencies do not provide the same value other traditional data centers provide like Google’s data servers.   

    “It will get bigger as our energy prices continue to decline, until it all crashes — Building a server farm uses the same equipment and the same electricity, but produces something of use to society,” McCullough concludes.

    What do you think about mining operations setting up in the Oregon region for cheaper electricity? Let us know in the comments below.


    Images via Shutterstock, Oregonmines, and Cascade Divide. 


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    Maduro Asks Venezuela’s Banks to Mine and Use Cryptocurrency – Unions Outraged

    Maduro Asks Venezuela's Banks to Mine and Use Cryptocurrency - Unions Outraged

    Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro has authorized all savings banks in the country to mine and use the recently launched national cryptocurrency, the petro. Union leaders are outraged by the suggestion, calling the petro a scam, accusing Maduro of abusing his power, and declaring the idea unconstitutional.

    Also read: Indians Look to Buy Bitcoin Overseas as Regulations Tighten

    Savings Banks Asked to Mine & Use Petro

    Maduro has “authorized all savings banks in the country to join the cryptocurrency production system and acquire the petro to contribute the benefits to their workers,” according to the government’s website. He explained that:

    The proposal came after several meetings held by the superintendent of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency, Carlos Vargas, with more than 1,400 savings banks in the country.

    Maduro Asks Venezuela's Banks to Mine and Use Petro Cryptocurrency - Unions OutragedHis announcement, which was broadcasted nationwide, proposes that “savings banks could develop mining farms throughout the national territory to increase the benefits for more than six million workers,” the website states.

    According to Maduro, savings banks can mine the cryptocurrency using the state-provided petro container.

    Union Leaders Outraged

    Maduro Asks Venezuela's Banks to Mine and Use Petro Cryptocurrency - Unions OutragedFollowing the president’s announcement that savings banks could “develop mining farms” and “acquire petros for [their] workers”, El Nacional reported on Thursday that “Union leaders rejected the use of the petro in savings banks.”

    Ana Yanez, the national coordinator of the National Union of Workers (Unete), told the publication that “there is a total disagreement within the union regarding the use of cryptocurrencies in savings banks.” Citing that everything “imposed by the Executive to the workers is null and void for the unions,” he detailed:

    That seems to us an abuse of power and a totalitarianism. In addition, it [the petro] is a virtual currency that violates the Constitution. As workers, we disagree that this cryptocurrency is imposed on us.

    Maduro Asks Venezuela's Banks to Mine and Use Petro Cryptocurrency - Unions OutragedServando Carbone, the national coordinator of the National Federation of Public Sector Workers (Fntsp), told the news outlet that “the petro is a scam,” and they “strongly reject the use of cryptocurrencies in savings banks.”

    He added that “the petro is an invention of the government to launder drug money” and warned that “if they are forced to use the petro, they will go out to the streets to protest,” the news outlet conveyed.

    Furthermore, the secretary general of the union representing oil workers in Falcon state, Iván Freites, showed his disapproval for the petro, “mainly for the use of oil reserves to sustain it,” the publication noted and quoted him explaining:

    We who are oil workers know what the cost of bringing a barrel of oil means. That [Marudo’s action] is a dictatorial measure that is taken against the Venezuelan workers.

    Do you think savings banks should mine and use the petro? Do you think Maduro will force them to? Let us know in the comments section below.


    Images courtesy of Shutterstock and the Venezuelan government.


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    PR: US Fintech Expert From Prudential Financial Launches Cryptocurrency – Backed Lending Startup Money Token

    Money Token - Cryptocurrency Backed Lending

    This is a paid press release, which contains forward looking statements, and should be treated as advertising or promotional material. Bitcoin.com does not endorse nor support this product/service. Bitcoin.com is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy or quality within the press release.

    Alex Rass, blockchain expert and enthusiast with a history of Fintech experience gained at Prudential Financial, Bloomberg and Goldman Sachs has launched a blockchain based financial services ecosystem called MoneyToken.

    MoneyToken focused on cryptocurrency-backed lending, stablecoins development and crypto assets leveraging.

    Its innovative economic model allows you to hold onto your cryptocurrency assets and spend cash at the same time.

    The MoneyToken Private Sale has begun and more than $600,000 has already been raised to support the project.

    To gain access to this ‘early birds’ Private Sale, interested contributors should apply to join the
    Money Token Whitelist http://moneytoken.com/#whitelist

    If you are a cryptocurrency holder, or interested in finding out more about the project you can join MoneyToken telegram chat https://t.me/moneytoken.

    Note: Given the volatility in the current cryptocurrency market, the token balance of all Private Sale participators will be reassessed upwards should the value of ethereum increase by the end of the general Token Sale in May. This provides all early contributors in MoneyToken insurance of their purchase in a volatile market.

    MoneyToken consists of:
    – MoneyToken lending platform that provides loans in fiat currencies or stablecoin, secured by collateral in BTC and ETH;
    – MTC – MoneyToken’s own stablecoin;
    – MoneyToken decentralized exchange service.

    What is the purpose of MoneyToken??
    The MoneyToken platform seeks to resolve one of the key issues plaguing the crypto market – making these assets effective liquid instruments.

    How do you persuade cryptocurrency owners to trade or sell instead of holding their assets?
    How can you benefit from the value of your cryptocurrency when the only sensible strategy is to hodl for the long term?

    What if you could use your crypto-assets as collateral to take out a loan in fiat money?
    In this way, you don’t need to sell your appreciating Bitcoin but, at the same time, you have the opportunity to spend traditional money on essentials in the here and now.

    MoneyToken is about creating a secure place for lenders and borrowers to meet, provide appropriate and proper risk management to clients, and reducing the risk lenders face due to the volatile nature of crypto assets.

    MoneyToken aims to resolve these issues, managing clients’ risks and creating a stable lending model using cryptocurrencies as a security deposit. Our model aims to facilitate access to credit while building a new credit market – loans backed by crypto collateral, based on the security and transparency of blockchain technology,” comments Alex Rass, co-founder and CTO of the project.

    Contact Email Address
    james.hendersonmt@gmail.com
    Supporting Link
    https://moneytoken.com/

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    An Ethereum Classic Fork Snapshot Is Coming Next Week

    An Ethereum Classic Fork Snapshot Is Coming Next Week

    Next week the ethereum classic (ETC) community is expecting to receive coins from a ‘snapshot’ fork called ‘callisto’ (CLO). The clone will be an exact copy of the ETC chain up until block 5,500,000 and ETC holders will receive a 1:1 ratio of CLO coins.

    Also Read: China Censors Cryptocurrency Ads on Search Engines and Social Media

    The First High Profile Hard Fork Is About to Get Forked

    An Ethereum Classic Fork Snapshot Is Coming Next WeekThe funny thing about ethereum classic is that it was one of the first high profile blockchain splits and ethereum (ETH) holders received a 1:1 ratio of ETC after the hard fork at block 1,920,000. The fork was caused by members of the Ethereum community because they rejected the idea to ‘bail out’ the DAO, an ETH application that lost $150Mn that year. Some individuals firmly believe that ETC is the ‘one true’ Ethereum network. Callisto, however, is not quite like the ETC hard fork as it’s a snapshot much like bitcoin gold, bitcoin diamond, and the other clones that appeared over the past year.

    Callisto Developers Believe CLO Will Have Better Smart Contract Security

    Essentially CLO coins will share the same history as the existing ETC chain but from block 5,500,000 and forward the network will be its own. The cloning is expected to happen next week sometime on or after March 2. The reason behind the snapshot is because CLO developers believe there are issues regarding ETC’s smart contract design. According to the CLO white paper ETC is susceptible to smart contract hacks much like the DAO platform. The CLO developers plan to create a “Official Smart-contract Auditing Department of CLO & ETC,” so one could assume the snapshot may be considered an extension of the ETC community.    

    “The main goal of callisto is to research and develop a reference implementation of self-sustaining, self-governed, self-funded blockchain ecosystem and development environment,” explains the CLO white paper.  

    Callisto aims to establish a secure and contribution-friendly environment for further protocol development and improvements. It will rely on a built-in system of smart-contracts to achieve this goal.

    An Ethereum Classic Snapshot Is Coming Next Week
    ETC holders will receive a 1:1 ratio of CLO coins after ETC reaches block 5500000.

    Cold Staking and a Developer Called Dexaran

    There’s little information on the creators of the ETC clone other than the Github page that describes the callisto network project in more detail. The developer working on the project goes by the name Dexaran, and he also has worked on an ICO called ‘DEX.’ Another aspect of the project is the introduction of ‘Cold Staking’ which acts similarly to the Proof of Stake consensus system that rewards currency holders.   

    “It should be noted that the ETC does not have any incentives for coin holders — The whole emission is completely controlled by miners, and their influence grows with the growth of the network. Callisto introduces a Cold staking protocol that rewards coin holders for being network participants,” explains the callisto team. 

    Cold staking is a smart-contract based process that allows CLO holders to earn interest in a total CLO emission when they hold CLO coins at their balances for long enough period of staking time (1 month by default). Cold stakers are not required to run a node to participate in cold staking process. Cold stakers are not validating transactions and the whole system can remain fully PoW (Proof of Work) which is important since ETC adheres to POW consensys.

    The ETC Snapshot Follows the Recent Birth of the Litecoin Cash Network

    The upcoming ethereum classic snapshot has boosted the price of ETC quite a bit, and the currency had reached a high of $45 two days ago. It also follows the recent litecoin (LTC) snapshot called litecoin cash (LCC) which came to life on February 20. Before the LCC fork, the price of LTC spiked considerably as well but has since lost those gains. The clone has minimal infrastructure and is only worth 2 percent of LTC’s price at $4-5 per LCC.

    What do you think about the upcoming ETC snapshot called callisto? Let us know what you think in the comments below.  


    Images via Shutterstock, and Pixabay.


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    The post An Ethereum Classic Fork Snapshot Is Coming Next Week appeared first on Bitcoin News.

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