Lightning Network Without Invoices Brings Us Closer to Streaming Money

lightning network bitcoin streaming money liquid

A new feature for Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (LN) implementation allows users to send funds instantly without needing to first create an invoice.


Sphinx Enables ‘New Use Cases’

The latest upgrade, ‘Sphinx,’ which developers describe as being a “work in progress,” is nonetheless already available to anyone.

“The coolest part about this new feature is that it can be used today in the wild as long as both nodes are updated to this branch!” author Olaoluwa Osuntokun wrote in a Github repository dedicated to the project.

The Lightning Network is a protocol currently active for Bitcoin and Litecoin which allows users to send tokens instantly and for a fee averaging less than 1 US cent.

The technology debuted on the Bitcoin network a year ago, and has grown rapidly, but remains in an experimental state as developers iron out stability and reliability issues.

At present, sending or receiving a transaction still requires some technical understanding, which has made Lightning an unattractive option for entry-level users despite its time and cost benefits.

Lightning’s ‘Best’ Feature Yet?

Sphinx, which Osuntokun says “allows users to start exploring a new set of use cases,” aims to solve that predicament.

It removes the need to create a payment invoice for a transaction, allowing more “spontaneous” activity and sidelining a major technical element potentially off-putting for novices.

“This is only a draft implementation and while it works today on mainnet out of the box (if both sides are upgraded) much this will likely change,” he added.

Sphinx caps a frenetic development period for LN which continued throughout 2018. Despite fluctuations, capacity, node and channel numbers have all reached new highs in recent weeks.

According to data from monitoring resource 1ML, Bitcoin Lightning’s capacity is now 571 BTC ($2,076,000) among 5234 nodes and 19,500 channels.

Sphinx meanwhile has already begun to see a warm reception, commentators variously saying it had attracted them to start using Lightning and that it was now the network’s “best” feature.

What do you think about the Lightning Network’s Sphinx? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Banks in India: Don’t Touch Bitcoin Or Your Accounts Will Be Closed

India Bank

Reports on social media indicate that banks in India are threatening customers that deal in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies with the closure of their accounts. This move is the latest salvo from the banking industry in a country where cryptos seem all but banned.


Upping the Ante

On Friday (Jan. 11, 2019), Morgan Creek founder and partner, Anthony Pompliano published a tweet culled from sources in India about the latest move by banks in India to prevent Bitcoin trading. According to the tweet, banks sent out warnings telling their customers not to deal in cryptos or risk the closure of their account.

The notice even declared that banks need not send any further correspondence before closing customer accounts. Pomp’s tweet came directly from another Twitter user; Indian CryptoGirl, who commented on the situation saying:

Indian Banks now forcefully taking permission from us to ‘reserve right to close our account without further intimation’ if we deal in #cryptocurrency transactions Ability to decide what to do with our own money is the very reason we need to invest, #BUIDL, & believe in #bitcoin.

There are also reports of similar messages on ATM screens belonging to Kotak Mahindra Bank. According to Indian CryptoGirl, the bank has even made good on its threat. In an update of the situation posted on Saturday (Jan. 12, 2019), the bank issued a notice of account closure for doing transactions involving cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin all but Banned

Unsurprisingly, the reaction on social media has been one of outrage with many saying Bitcoin is all but banned in India. In 2018, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI); the country’s apex bank, prohibited banks from facilitating cryptocurrency transactions.

India's Supreme Court to Issue Final Ruling on RBI Cryptocurrency Ban in September

A coalition of stakeholders challenged the decision, and the matter remains unresolved. The government failed to respond to a Supreme Court deadline back in October 2018. Reports are indicating a plan to establish regulatory clarity for the market.

However, before such regulations emerge, the legacy banking system in India continues to stifle avenues for cryptocurrency trading. With the government failing to provide a definite stance on cryptos, the RBI ban remains the de facto regulation in the country.

What do you think about this latest move by Indian banks; legitimate concerns or fear of being usurped by decentralized currency systems? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Twitter (@APompliano and @DesiCryptoHodlr), Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Quantum Threat

quantum computers

IBM has just come out with the world’s very first commercially available quantum computer known as the Q System One


For those of you who aren’t familiar, quantum computers think a bit differently than the PCs and smartphones we have now and are much better at solving complex mathematical problems.

The release of this new computer instantly piqued the interest of some members in crypto who asked: “does this new quantum computer threaten bitcoin?”

The answer as usual, can be found in the video archives of the great Andreas Antonopoulos who said explains…

The threat of quantum computing is only real if it’s available to one actor and not to others. Even still, if a person did manage to develop their own supercomputer, bitcoin would probably be too small a target to waste it on.

Meaning, if quantum computers are readily available to everyone, then the entire bitcoin network will upgrade together and there is no threat.

When I tweeted this answer out yesterday, I was delighted to receive further clarification from legendary cypherpunk and cryptographer Adam Back, who I had the pleasure of meeting at a bitcoin birthday party last week.

In these three tweets, Adam explains that the Q System One is “super weak” even compared to a 1972-era computer. Furthermore, there are quantum resistance solutions currently in bitcoin’s development roadmap, although we may be decades away from it even being relevant.

“#bitcoin can calmly & slowly watch QC…”

@MatiGreenspan
eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

Patience Policy

Shutdown: Day 21

Bitcoin’s new Range

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of January 11th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the US Federal Reserve Bank, answered questions at an event yesterday and clarified the Fed’s position on monetary policy, just as the markets were hoping.

The Fed is currently the biggest player in the market, so this is a pretty big deal. Jay, as his family calls him, stressed caution and patience above all when dealing with interest rate hikes. The markets were previously expecting two or three hikes this year and it seems like Jay is trying to bring them down to one or less.

There was, however, a noticeable drop down in the Dow Jones when they discussed the Fed’s balance sheet. Not that anything critical was really discussed but it seems to have become a trigger word for the markets.

The truth is that according to the explanations given last night, it doesn’t seem like they have any plans at the moment and rather will act according to the situation when the time comes. It’s a bit disappointing on one hand because “forward guidance” was a theme stressed by Powell’s predecessors, Bernanke and Yellen. On the other hand, perhaps now we can quite Fed watching and let the markets be a bit more independent.

Still Shut

By tomorrow, this will have been the longest government shutdown in US history.

Jay Powell also gave a rare comment on this last night saying that usually, shutdowns don’t have a great impact on the economy because they don’t last very long. However, if we were to see a prolonged shutdown the implications could be very big indeed.

For example, one of the wings currently closed is the Consensus Bureau, who is responsible for putting out critical economic data like retail sales and GDP. If those stats aren’t published, investors, economists, and even the Fed will essentially be flying blind.

Bitcoin’s new Range

You’ve probably already noticed that Bitcoin and the other cryptos took a sharp plunge yesterday. Actually, two sharp plunges.

As we discussed in yesterday’s update, there appear to be no specific reasons for this drop and it’s more likely due to the lack of liquidity inherent in the crypto markets, possibly mixed with some large orders being placed on exchanges.

If yesterday’s explanation of no specific explanation annoyed you in any way, you’re really gonna love this next one.

The total movement of 12% from peak to trough was actually insignificant. All we’re seeing is a movement from the top to the bottom of the range. Check it out. Here we can see bitcoin’s price since it first fell below $6,000.

As we’ve been discussing since mid-November, the current range is from $3,000 to $5,000 (dotted blue lines). It seems now, that bitcoin has opened a new mini-range within that from $5,550 to approximately $4,200 (yellow lines).

Movements within a range can sometimes be sudden like we saw yesterday, but unless there’s a breakout of the key levels there really isn’t much to write home about.

Wishing you a relaxing weekend.


This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptocurrencies, as well as trading CFD assets. 

Please note that CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies are not supervised by any EU regulatory framework. 

The post Quantum Threat appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Mongolia Will See At Least 1000 New Bitcoin Miners In 2019

Participants in Mongolia’s Bitcoin mining industry plan to significantly expand the scope of their operations, local media report January 11.


Japan’s Ginco Doubles Down On Mongolia

The East Asian country, known for its cheap electricity and being home to the world’s northernmost desert, will see one of its miners almost treble in size this year alone, despite the ongoing Bitcoin bear market.

“The business environment is increasingly harsh, but we can still produce a profit,” Yuma Furubayashi, CEO of Ginco  Mongol told Nikkei Asian Review.

Ginco is originally from Japan, where is offers cryptocurrency wallets, but operates two mining facilities in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar.

As Bitcoin 00 dropped in value over 2018, miners have felt the pinch, with a lower price impacting on the profitability of minting new coins, though mining difficulty has adjusted since.

As Bitcoinist reported, China bore the brunt of the downturn, images appearing on social media of vast numbers of mining rigs being dumped due to being too expensive to keep running.

Bitmain, the Chinese giant which has traditionally held a monopoly over the market, has sparked multiple rumors about its debts, senior management reshuffles and plans to fire up to half its 2500 workers.

A Washington County is Taking Steps to Halt Illegal Cryptocurrency Mining

Bear Market Bulls

When raw materials need to be as cheap as possible, it is thus countries like Mongolia that are set to profit.

Although it only started in October, Ginco Mongol plans to increase the number of units it has dedicated to Bitcoin mining from 600 to 1600 by the end of the year. In an interview prior to the launch, Yuma also revealed ideas for spin-off projects, including miner repair services.

With the legal situation regarding mining also a gray area in China, it is little surprise that the Bitcoin industry is spreading more evenly across multiple countries worldwide. Increasingly, it is eco-friendly schemes in places as varied as Spain and Canada which plan to contribute to the market.

However, in future, the world’s Bitcoin mining crown will likely belong to Paraguay, the country’s government signing off on plans to build the largest mining farm on the planet under a project dubbed the ‘Golden Goose.’

What do you think about Mongolia’s Bitcoin mining expansion? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

Shapeshift Admits ‘Imposition of KYC’d Accounts’ Hurt Company Financially

shapeshift fox

The instant digital asset exchange platform ShapeShift has laid off one-third of its team because of the “dramatic and severe” crypto recession as well as being cautious in “a challenging regulatory environment.”


Crypto Winter Cold Bites Shapeshift

In a detailed announcement, the company’s CEO, Erik Voorhees, revealed “with a heavy heart” that the company has let 37 of its employees go or one-third of its team. Voorhees:

Today, we let 37 employees go, reducing the size of our team by a third. It’s a deep and painful reduction, mirrored across many crypto companies in this latest bear market cycle.

According to the CEO, the issues within the company which led to firing people were structural, legal, financial, and customer-related.

Shapeshift is not the first company to feel the negative effects of 2018’s prolonged bear market. Bitcoinist reported that industry giant Bitmain has laid off its entire Bitcoin Cash development team last month.

KYC Stung Financially and Psychologically

One of the reasons for which ShapeShift has reached a point where it had to lay people off according to its CEO is introducing know-your-customer (KYC) accounts.

Vorhees noted:

Business was declining from both aggregate market recession and increased competition. Our imposition of KYC’d accounts, themselves the result of trying to be cautious in a challenging regulatory environment, caused many of our most valuable API partners to leave us for competitors who have not perceived regulatory risks in the same way. We expected it, but still, it stung both financially and psychologically.

The instant online exchange introduced mandatory KYC requirements back in September 2018, resulting in a backlash from some users.

Immediately after that, self-hosted payment processor BTCPay announced that it intends to ditch the platform and use an interim solution as quickly as it’s possible.

“The shapeshift button does not work anymore, and they will probably require KYC soon. Instead, I am thinking about open sourcing (ShapeShift.io) by making it easy for anyone to be liquidity provider like shapeshift,” BTCPay Server tweeted in September 2018.

Were regulations the biggest factor in ShapeShift downsizing? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

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Source: Blockchain

State of Emergency

emergency helicopter

The year has started with a bang! 


Stocks and cryptos are rallying strongly so far yet volatility is still really high.

This afternoon, we’ll have a special webcast at 3:00 PM GMT to discuss some of the main themes going into 2019 and how to position your portfolio.

This session is open to everyone and we’ll be honored if you can join us.

Feel free to register now at this link.

@MatiGreenspan

eToro, Senior Market Analyst

Today’s Highlights

Shutdown: Day 18

Volatility Still Elevated

Ethereum Classic Hacked!!

Please note: All data, figures & graphs are valid as of January 8th. All trading carries risk. Only risk capital you can afford to lose.

Traditional Markets

Stocks have managed to rally off the lows and are now firmly in green for the year. Here we can see the Dow Jones’ all-time high in early October and the recent low from December.

There does seem to be some progress being made in the US trade war with China. The Fed also seems to be signaling that they’re less likely to be hiking rates this year. In contrast, the US government shutdown only seems to be heating up.

Today marks the 18th day of the partial shutdown and according to rhetoric from the White House, it seems that the President is willing to let it last an entire year if necessary.

President Trump has announced that he will address the nation tonight at 9:00 PM EST. Many expect him to declare a state of emergency in order to circumvent Congress in getting funding for the border wall.

Market volatility has come down a bit from the extreme highs of December but is still quite elevated.

Ethereum Fork!

So, there’s been a lot of confusion here and I’m very glad to cut right through this one for you and clarify.

First, some background… We’ve discussed already that the Ethereum blockchain is about to see a major upgrade. The name of this upgrade is Constantinople and it is scheduled for on or around January 16th.

Constantinople will be implemented as a hard fork on Ethereum. If you’re not 100% sure how forks work, please review this short explanation now.

In this upcoming case, the Ethereum upgrade has been widely embraced by the community and until now there have been no major players protesting Constantinople. So most likely it will be a smooth upgrade. This means that the entire network will probably implement the upgrade together and there will be no action required from the end users.

It’s important that we emphasize this because there are several projects out there piggybacking on the upgrade and taking advantage of people. One of which, called Ethereum Nowa appears to be an outright scam.

Ethereum Classic Hacked!!!

Not to be confused with Ethereum, Ethereum Classic is a legitimate fork of Ethereum. A disagreement among the community back in 2016 led to a chain split. Since then Ethereum Classic (ETC) has not done too well, especially when compared to her sister Ethereum (ETH).

Last night Coinbase put out the following alert on Ethereum Classic.

TL;DR: Etherum classic has been hacked!!

Explanation: The most common type of attack in crypto is known as a 51% attack. Basically, if a foul player manages to control more than half of the network’s mining power (hashrate), they can basically rewrite history.

Lingo: Rewriting history is also known as a reorganization or “reorg” and the most common reason to do this would be to create a double spend. Or, erase a previous transaction so you can get your coins back and spend them again.

Coinbase’s blog identified no less than 15 reorgs, several of which contained suspicion of double spend activity amounting to an approximated $1.1 million, which has been siphoned from the network.

Again, it’s important to understand that ETC is not the same as ETH. In the initial moments after the blog was released, both coins sold off in the confusion but ETH did manage to regain composure fairly quickly.

The reason is that Ethereum has a hashrate of about 20 times that of Ethereum Classic. So while it might be possible to temporarily get enough hashrate to control 51% of ETC’s network, it would be practically implausible to affect ETH in this way.

Putting things into perspective, if someone is dreaming about trying to 51% attack Bitcoin, they would need about 4,500 times the amount of hash than they do to attack ETC.

So, anyone claiming crypto is in a state of emergency is dead wrong on this one. Simply put, this is yet another great example of how negative news is nothing more than a learning opportunity. All the newcomers that joined crypto in 2017 should be much more comfortable now with how blockchain and crypto works and that is ultimately a good thing.

Have an amazing day ahead. Hope to see you at the webcast.


This content is provided for information and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or recommendation.

Past performance is not an indication of future results. All trading involves risk; only risk capital you are prepared to lose.

The outlook presented is a personal opinion of the analyst and does not represent an official position of eToro.

eToro is a multi-asset platform which offers both investing in stocks and cryptocurrencies, as well as trading CFD assets. 

Please note that CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 65% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Cryptocurrencies can widely fluctuate in prices and are not appropriate for all investors. Trading cryptocurrencies is not supervised by any EU regulatory framework. 

The post State of Emergency appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Yellow Vests in France Planning a Bank Run to Collapse the Euro

yellow vest Paris Protests euro bitcoin

If ever anyone wished they could turn back the clock it would be wildly unpopular and “elitist” French President Macron. His decision to raise fuel tariffs in November has mushroomed and his country has succumbed to a wave of protests and violence the likes not seen since the 1960s. The yellow vests are everywhere and beyond causing chaos on the streets, it seems they’re now turning against the banks.


What’s Going On in France?

So far in Paris, demonstrators have fist-fought with riot police, cars have been set alight, and monuments damaged. While the number of protestors has fallen slightly, their proliferation has not.

According to this Facebook page, Yellow Vest protesters are now planning another demonstration outside the Rothschild Bank of Lyon on January 9.

Rothschild de Lyon

Rothschild de Lyon Yellow Vest Protest

Reports are also starting to abound that the infamous protestors are now planning a “bank run.” They are calling on all French citizens to withdraw their euros from the banks.

French banks hold an estimated one-quarter or less of all the funds that would be required should French citizens take such an action. A bank run like this has the potential to paralyze the country and even collapse the euro.

How Did the Yellow Vests Start?

It started back in November after an unpopular decision by the French government to raise fuel prices. This is something that historically doesn’t go down well with the French.

Thousands of protestors took to the streets, many donning yellow vests (gilets jaunes). They set out to demonstrate their discontent by smashing windows, buildings, monuments, and disrupting traffic.

While President Macron did make some economic concessions in December to try to appease protestors, the measures failed to placate an increasingly angry mob. They’ve come to realize that it’s not simply fuel prices that are upsetting them, forming one of the largest anti-government movements since 1968.

Their grievances go way beyond a hike in fuel prices to inflation rates in general, untapped money printing eroding their wealth, and the elitist policies of Macron.

These protests have been some of the most violent in recent times with fires even starting on the prestigious Boulevard Saint Germain in Paris last Saturday.

Images of French boxer punching down a riot policeman have also been rife on social media. And the spokesman for the ministry of the government was even rammed with a forklift.

You really don’t want to piss off the French.

What’s Happened Since?

The government’s reaction has been swift and severe. It will do little to warm the people further to the right-wing regime they feel they are up against.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced plans to punish people who hold unsanctioned protests. He said that the government will create new legislation to ban protestors from wearing masks at rallies and support:

new law punishing those who do not respect the requirement to declare [protests], those who take part in unauthorized demonstrations and those who arrive at demonstrations wearing face masks.

Known troublemakers will also be prevented from attending the events, just as football hooligans are denied entry to a stadium. The problem with this, however, is that unlike a planned event at a football stadium, the French authorities can’t stop people who aren’t buying tickets or events organized on social media.

And this hasn’t served to stop the riots.

In fact, the movement has gathered momentum, with some seven weeks of protests held every weekend of some kind in different cities across France. As many as 80,000 security forces will be deployed on the streets for the next expected wave of protests that are not limited to Paris.

Other key cities, such as Lyon, Rouen, and Caen, are seeing protests on the weekends causing further disruption. More than 1,400 people have been injured with six people dead so far.

What Does this Have to do with Bitcoin?

Bitcoin fanatics have rallied behind the yellow vests after some of them were seen with signs on their backs saying “Buy Bitcoin.”

paris protests buy bitcoin

The truth is that of the thousands of yellow vests, probably only a handful of them support, understand, or are even aware of Bitcoin. However, this handful is a potentially powerful and growing army.

The French protestors may not be armed with guns and guillotines. But they have a more powerful weapon at hand: knowledge.

Yesterday, Bitcoinist reported that street art in Paris depicting yellow vests in protest and a woman raising the French flag high had a hidden bitcoin prize inside it.

Spreading the word about bitcoin through art, protests, and private meetings are working. It’s attracting the eyes of millions of people in France and around the world.

Protest Outside the Rothschild Bank of Lyon

The yellow vests have so far organized their protests largely on social media. According to the Facebook event mentioned above, some 300 have confirmed and more than 3,000 are interested in attending the protest at the Rothschild Bank of Lyon tomorrow.

The significance of this runs way back to the country’s 40-year-old grievance with France’s private banking system. The French government borrows from them and is forced to repay with high-interest, plunging the country into further debt.

A Possible Run on Banks

The word is spreading throughout social media about a possible run on banks. French boxer Nicolle Maxime has taken to YouTube incentivizing supporters to withdraw their funds from the banks.

Other news sites such as the Daily Crusader are also talking about the significance of this move. This could paralyze the country, collapse the banking system in France, and even cause a collapse in the euro. The ambitious publication notes:

This is potentially exciting news for the bitcoin and cryptocurrency community as a sudden surge of fresh cash could be about to hit the markets…

It may be too soon to celebrate an upswing in bitcoin price 00 just yet. After all, just because the French withdraw their euros does not mean that they will invest them in bitcoin.

However, with the word spreading and the French being somewhat an incubator for innovative bitcoin startups, selling bitcoins from tobacco shops and the increasing yellow vest movement–perhaps what’s bad for the euro could be good for bitcoin.

Max Keiser also said:

If every French person converted 20% of their bank deposits into Bitcoin… French banks and the government would collapse and a lot of bloodshed could be avoided.

It will be interesting to see what–if anything–emerges from this for Bitcoin. Can the Yellow Vests spread awareness for a currency not controlled by central authorities and governments? Let’s hope so, and also for an imminent end to the violence.

Will the yellow vest protest pose a threat to the Euro? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post Yellow Vests in France Planning a Bank Run to Collapse the Euro appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

BIS Reports 70% of Central Banks Are Studying Cryptocurrencies

BIS

A new report published by the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) shows that the majority of central banks are studying central bank digital currencies (CBDC). However, most of them are unlikely to issue any type of digital currency in the near future. 


CBDC ‘Unlikely’ in The Short Term

BIS published the results of a new survey on central banks studying the technology behind Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. A total of 63 banks have responded. They represent jurisdictions, which cover about 80 percent of the population of the world and more than 90 percent of its entire economic output.

The intention of the survey was to find out whether central banks currently are developing their own central bank digital currencies (CBDC) and how likely they are to issue them.

Of the 63 banks, 70 percent said that they are either currently working or will soon be engaged in work on CBDC.

However, this includes conducting conceptual research on the matter, sharing studies and views of developing a “common understanding of this new field of study.” According to the report, half of the respondents have moved to a more “hands-on” proof-of-concept activities in order to test new technologies.

The report reveals that 85 percent of the central banks are unlikely or very unlikely to issue any type of CBDC in the short term (1-3 years).

Back and Forth

In September, Bitcoinist reported that the European Central Bank (ECB) has no intentions of issuing a central bank digital currency.

ECB

It’s also arguable whether a central bank issued digital currency will even fit the mold of decentralized cryptocurrencies. In December, a couple of researches at the St. Louis Fed, outlined that:

Once you add a central bank and remove the “permissionless” network—with nodes that can leave and join as they wish, there isn’t much left to the cryptocurrency you started with.

Nevertheless, some central banks remain open to the idea of CBDC. The BIS report outlines that the Central Bank of Uruguay has completed a pilot programme on a general purpose CBDC.

At the same time, the governor of UK’s central bank Mark Carney has previously said that the Bank of England is open to the idea of a central bank issued digital currency.

What do you think of CBDCs? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock

The post BIS Reports 70% of Central Banks Are Studying Cryptocurrencies appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Russia Plans to Ditch US Dollar for Bitcoin, Says University Professor

Russia Putin

A Russian university lecturer with ties to the government says the Kremlin will soon begin investing massively in Bitcoin as a way of avoiding new U.S. sanctions, a move that could happen “in a matter of weeks.”


Russia to Buy Some ‘Digital Gold’?

Speaking exclusively to Micky, Vladislav Ginko of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration believes new U.S. sanctions will push the Kremlin into diversifying its cash reserves into Bitcoin.

Ginko who has ties with the government going back more than 20 years says the move will happen in a matter of weeks. Ginko has in recent times appeared on various Russian media platforms clamoring for the adoption of Bitcoin as a haven asset.

Commenting on the issue, Ginko said:

US sanctions may be mitigated only through Bitcoin use. Because of US sanctions, Russia’s elite is forced to dump US assets and US dollars and invest hugely into Bitcoins. The central bank of Russia sits on $466 billion of reserves and has to diversify in case there are limited opportunities to do it (in the future).

Cutting Dollar Dependence Amid New U.S. Sanctions

Along with China, Iran, and Venezuela, Russia is exploring ways to reduce its US Dollar dependence. Back in November 2018, Russian President; Vladimir Putin, declared that in the wake of new sanctions, the country had no choice but to cut down on its use of the Dollar in international trade.

At the time, President Putin said:

We have no goal of moving away from the Dollar. It’s the dollar that’s moving away from us. Those making such decisions are not shooting themselves in the foot, but somewhere more delicate, further up the body.

According to Ginko, the Kremlin will, beginning in February 2018, look for ways to diversify its reserves. Ginko has in recent times appeared on various Russian media platforms clamoring for the adoption of Bitcoin as a haven asset.

Russian Efforts

If the Russian government and the elite class invest massively in Bitcoin, the price of the asset could experience a sudden upward surge. Such a situation occurred in 2018 when wealthy Chinese citizens reportedly moved money into BTC in the wake of an accelerated currency devaluation by Beijing.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin has been stocking up on non-digital gold as a shield against economic sanctions. Reports indicate the government is selling U.S. government debt in exchange for the precious metal. By August 2018, Russia had already tripled its gold reserve as it gears up for renewed economic tussles with the U.S.

Such is the extent of Russia’s gold-gobbling that global gold purchasing figures reached a three-year high in November 2018. The Kremlin is also pursuing closer economic ties with China to create a new payment system independent of the Dollar.

Will massive Bitcoin investment by the Kremlin lead to any surge in the price of Bitcoin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The post Russia Plans to Ditch US Dollar for Bitcoin, Says University Professor appeared first on Bitcoinist.com.

Source: Blockchain

Grandma-Friendly Bitcoin Lightning Network Wallet Launches in Australia

Australia Sydney Lightning

A partnership to roll out Bitcoin payments using the Lightning Network across Australia went live January 4 with the beta launch of Wallet of Satoshi.


1000 Beta Wallets Launch

The product of payment gateway Living Room of Satoshi (LRS) and TravelbyBit, billed as “Australia’s first cryptocurrency travel agency,” the wallet aims to bring Lightning payments to entry-level Bitcoin users.

As Bitcoinist often reported, LN has made significant progress over the past year, breaking records for both capacity and adoption.

The technology nonetheless remains in an experimental state, and only technically-proficient users could previously navigate it efficiently.

Wallet of Satoshi’s developers wanted to change this, issuing a Lightning wallet with a user interface, which could make it simple to send and receive payments.

“We want everyone and their Mum to be able to participate in the new international economy, so it is focused on ease of use, and is available on iOS and Android,” LRS CEO Daniel Alexiuc told local cryptocurrency magazine Nugget’s News.

Lightning Emerges From The Tech Shadows

While uptake of Bitcoin for small-scale payments remains modest, LN has undertaken preparations to dramatically scale the number of transactions the Bitcoin network can handle.

Interest is tangible; Lightning now has over 5000 nodes, almost 18,000 channels and a total capacity of 543 BTC ($2,050,000) according to data from online monitoring resource 1ML.

“Lightning is the real world retail payment system we’ve been anticipating for years, and it is finally here!” Alexiuc continued.

Wallet of Satoshi is currently only available to 1000 beta users, prior to a full release “in the coming weeks.”

TravelbyBit meanwhile announced it had brought LN payments to all its Point of Sale merchants in Australia, which include Brisbane Airport. In October, exchange Binance invested $2.5 million in the company.

At the same time, other development teams are seeking to corner the ease-of-use market in Lightning, with BlueWallet last week releasing its own offering to which it is still adding features such as the ability to issue invoices (receive LN payments) and make withdrawals to on-chain BTC wallets.

What do you think about Wallet of Satoshi? Let us know in the comments below!


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Source: Blockchain