Cryptic Labs appoints Nobel Prize Laureates to their Economics Advisory board

When it comes to blockchain innovations, you can never have enough great ideas. According to a press release from Cryptic Labs, a research lab focused on blockchain technology, they got new and experienced additions to their team. The lab has appointed two Noble Prize economics laureates to its Economics Advisory board on Monday, September 10th. Dr. Eric S. Maskin and Sir Christopher Pissarides are joining the Cryptic Labs team.
Cryptic Labs are expanding their Economics Advisory board
Without a doubt, these two exciting additions to Cryptic Labs will provide great economic insight and experience. Cryptic Labs say their mission is to solve fundamental security problems and advance the growth of blockchain technology. According to the press release, the two new additions will add valuable expertise in micro and macroeconomics. That along with some added knowledge in other fields will help with blockchain development potential and the inner state of knowledge in the Economics Advisory board.
The release also states that the recruits will offer a deep insight in incentive mechanisms, macro-economic policy, game theory and will bolster the institute’s mission to fill the gap of blockchain industry expertise. The lack of both experience and expertise is currently a huge issue in the field.
Dr. Whitfield Diffie, who is already active on the Cryptic Labs team, became famous in the cryptography circles after winning the Turing Award back in 2015. When he was appointed, he remained neutral on blockchain’s future outlook and noted:
“Blockchain is the easily the most exciting development in the financial markets. However, we still don’t know enough to recommend a full transition of all our transaction records to it”
This year the discussion about the gap between blockchain expertise and interest has grown. Deloitte’s blockchain survey from earlier this year, revealed very interesting statistics. Over 70% of executives think they are either “experts” or “excellent” in the blockchain field.
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Digifinex Crypto Exchange Gets Rid of Tether Adopting TrustToken’s TrueUSD Instead

Volatility has always been one of the most serious issues related to cryptocurrencies. Volatile prices have prevented a number of potential investors from entering the crypto space and bringing their money and innovative ideas. To be widely adopted, cryptocurrency needs to be accepted by both and institutional investors but a lot of them are afraid to face with lack of stability in their investments.
With a view to address this problem and to exclude this important barrier, some startups decided to offer their price-stable cryptocurrencies, so-called stablecoins that are cryptocurrencies pegged to another stable assets.
The most well-known stablecoin is Tether (USDT) that is pegged to the price of the U.S. dollar. Given the general crypto market conditions, Tether is considered to be an incredibly stable currency. It has managed to become the most commonly used stablecoin listed on the majority of top platforms. But now the situation has changed.
The Singapore-based exchange Digifinex that has daily trading volume of nearly $120 million and occupies its position in top 20 exchanges list according to CoinMarketCap has announced its decision to replace USDT with its rival, TrueUSD.
Commenting this decision, Kiana Shek, Digifinex’s co-founder, said that she had been considering different variants to delist USDT for months, explaining that she didn’t believe in Tether but had to list it as there was no another choice.
When asked about the platform’s plans to list TrueUSD, Shek answered:
“Through my research, due diligence, and my communications with the TrustToken team, I have come to appreciate their commitment to industry-leading best practices.”
Though thanks to its ease of use and current position among the top ten cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, USDT is widely used by traders, no independent audits have been carried out to confirm that each USDT in circulation is backed by the equivalent amount in dollar reserves.
At the press time, USDT is the eighth-most valuable cryptocurrency by market capitalization, according to the data provided by CoinMarketCap.
As for TrueUSD (TUSD) developed by the platform TrustToken, that has raised $20 million in its ICO this summer with the help of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and other venture corporations, it , just like USDT, can be redeemed 1-for-1 for US dollars.
Partially, namely due to the controversy surrounding the leading stablecoin, TrueUSD has managed to win such attention just at the very beginning of its way on the market.
TrueUSD is claimed to be 100% collateralized with the U.S. dollar and TrustToken as well as TrueUSD are regulated under U.S. federal law by FINCEN which makes this stablecoin look much more reliable than its predecessor.
Let us also mention that in July Coinspeaker reported about the newly established partnership between cryptocurrency trading and education platform HybridBlock and TrustToken. HybridBlock entered into collaboration with the TrustToken with a view to use TrueUSD on its HybridExchange.
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Coinbase Conquers Wall Street Further Targeting Institutional Investors

In February, representatives of the largest crypto exchange Coinbase announced their plans to double the staff count from 250 to 500. The goal has been already reached, as Coinbase has over 500 employees on payroll. This growth will be continued, as the exchange has recently opened a new office in New York, currently operating with 20 employees.

Coinbase New York is now officially open.
— Michael del Castillo (@DelRayMan) September 13, 2018

The new office has been opened to accommodate and appeal to institutional investors seeking exposure to crypto assets and blockchain technologies. The ribbon cutting ceremony was completed on Thursday, and a series of events and talks were held to introduce institutions to new offers of Coinbase.
Adam White, Vice President and General Manager of Coinbase Institutional, took the lead on the opening day and released a series of presentations. He drew attention to Coinbase’s extensive history, described company’s current state, and shared firm’s future plans:
“When we saw the market begin to correct, which we all expected, institutions didn’t lose interest. It was exactly the opposite. They look at it as an opportunity to enter when things are not too frothy.”
According to Coinbase’s head of institutional sales, Christine Sandler, the office has a security staff comparable to the NYSE’s. Sandler said that Coinbase’s institutional custody, asset management, and trading services shouldn’t be seen as conflicting with its previous focus on retail investors. To the contrary, she believes that institutional distribution is the key to mainstream adoption.
“We want to partner with appropriate institutions to help the whole ecosystem grow. It’s not ‘institutional or retail,’ because a lot of these institutions will be distributors.”
A majority of the current team were recruited from the New York Stock Exchange, Barclays, and Citigroup. According to White, Coinbase will hire additional 150 employees over the course of 2019. Once the New York office is properly staffed, the firm will continue expansion seeking out new horizons. According to the internal sources, Latin America and Asia are next on the list, as both regions are interested in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.
Adam White pointed out that the crypto industry is expanding rapidly and gaining traction even in legacy markets. He said:
“New York has an incredibly deep pool of talent… We have to create a bridge between financial services and technology. In order to do that, we need to pull from some of the best and brightest minds that have worked their whole careers in other kinds of traditional financial firms.”
As Coinbase is going to expand its operations globally “pretty quickly”, it has already begun establishing an office in Tokyo this summer, hiring a small team and applying for a Financial Services Agency certification in Japan. In August, Coinbase further strengthened its focus toward institutional investors presenting its ‘institutional core principles’.
Furthermore, the exchange has reportedly begun to consider a crypto-backed ETF, with the aim to establish an exchange-traded fund that will track the price of a variety of assets, likely the five assets already widely available in Coinbase’s ecosystem.
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Litecoin Price Analysis: LTC/USD Reversal In Sight?

Litecoin is finding support at the previous lows, suggesting that bulls are defending the $48 area strongly. Price could retest the area of interest around $70 once more and complete the formation of a double bottom pattern.

This would also be a former support zone, so it would take a strong bullish catalyst to sustain a move past this area of interest. From there, Litecoin could climb to the next resistance around $90 next.
The 100 SMA is above the longer-term 200 SMA for now but seems to be attempting to cross lower. In that case, selling pressure might still pick up and lead to another dip to the lows or even a break lower.
RSI appears to be heading up to signal the presence of buying pressure. However, the oscillator is near the overbought zone to signal exhaustion. Turning back down could bring selling pressure in and lead to a continuation of the slide. Similarly, Stochastic is moving south, so Litecoin could follow suit.

Litecoin drew a boost from news that Gemini is set to introduce LTC support on October 13. According to a tweet by the company, the New York-based startup founded by the Winklevoss twins is including Litecoin in the platform on its seventh anniversary. The platform will also have support for Bitcoin Cash and ZCash.
Recall that the Winklevoss twins also scored a victory in getting approval from the New York Department of Financial Services in introducing a stablecoin or one that is backed by a fiat currency. The Gemini dollar combines the price stability of the US dollar with Ethereum blockchain technology and the oversight of regulators.
This has kept the mood positive in the industry as the focus is returning to institutional interest and positive developments that could bring more products to the mainstream market.

Images courtesy of TradingView
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Ethereum Developer Vlad Zamfir Claims to Create a Sharding Prototype

Ethereum developers achieve yet another major milestone in the development of Ethereum’s scalability solution ‘Sharding.’ At the Ethereum hackathon EthBerlin last week, blockchain researcher Vlad Zamfir unveiled a proof-of-concept for Sharding along with developers Tim Beiko, Steve Marx, and others.
The new code for Proof-of-concept presented by Zamfir shows how differently Ethereum shards would communicate seamlessly on the blockchain. In his interview with CoinDesk, the code is in the preliminary stage of development and not production-ready. However, Zamfir added that it forms the foundation for future deployment on the Ethereum blockchain network.
In the technical terms, Zamfir explained:
“It’s really a proof-of-concept of the most core component in my sharding roadmap. It prevents the cross-shard atomicity failure, or more specifically, it prevents finalization of cross-shard atomicity failure, so it will never be that a ‘send’ is finalized and a ‘not received’ is finalized.”
Zamfir’s code highlights the future possibility of seamlessly moving ETH tokens and other messages across a shared blockchain. The proof-of-concept code is available on Github. Zamfir said:
“We’re still working on the integration but check back in a week and it should be something where we have instructions and you can follow the instructions and get it running on your computer.”
Understanding Sharding and Work Done So Far
Just like Bitcoin’s Lightning Network, Sharding is the second-layer scalability solution for the Ethereum network. The primary purpose of Sharding is to lessen the burden on Ethereum blockchain by breaking the network into smaller units, called shards. It helps to optimize the process of verifying information on the blockchain network.
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin along with his entire developers’ team is working on integrating Sharding to Ethereum blockchain. In addition to Sharding, Ethereum developers are also working on another scalability solution called Plasma. According to the scheduled roadmap, it will take another two-to-five years to scale Ethereum to its full capacity.
Zamfir said that the motivation behind this Proof-of-Concept (PoC) unveiling was to educate developers about Sharding, giving a further push to its development ahead. However, Zamfir noted that one of the critical challenges of the scalability solutions in solving the cross-shard message and cross-shard consistency problem. He said:
“I consider the core of sharding to be a cross-shard message or a cross-shard consistency problem. Vitalik thinks of it as sharding of availability, validity and execution of the state. I have a different perspective than Vitalik does of consensus protocols and therefore also sharding. I’m just focusing on what I think are the hardest problems first.”
Progress Made in Sharding So Far
Last month on August 1, Ethereum’s Status team announced the development of Nimbus sharding client. Status is a decentralized mobile application developed on the Ethereum network. The Nimbus sharding client-code is written using the Nim programming language to address scalability concerns of the Ethereum blockchain.
Nim deals after handling complex computations on less computational and powerful devices like smartphones. While commenting on the launch of Nimbus, the Sharding team said:
“A client designed to work well on mobile and embedded systems, that is modular enough to allow for rapid iteration and implementation of the research being done in terms of scaling will, we feel, advance greatly the goals of Ethereum as a decentralized ecosystem.”
Zilliqa is another Sharding-based project that presents an alternative approach to the scalability solutions. Several analysts have backed Zilliqa saying that it can be adopted by a wide range of decentralized applications (DApps).
Ethereum has been going through a rough phase recently as the price of ETH tokens dropped to a new 2018-low last week. The news about further development will certainly provide a ray of hope to ETH enthusiasts.
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Bitcoin Price Analysis: BTC/USD Aiming for Triangle Top

Bitcoin has formed lower highs and higher lows to create a symmetrical triangle on its 4-hour chart. Price is just bouncing off the bottom of the triangle and may be due for a test of the resistance at $7,200.

However, the 100 SMA looks prime for a bearish crossover from the 200 SMA to indicate a pickup in selling pressure. Then again, these moving averages could simply be oscillating to reflect range-bound conditions. In any case, the indicators are also holding as dynamic resistance at the moment so sellers might have the upper hand.
Besides, RSI is turning south from the overbought zone to signal a return in selling pressure. This could lead to a break below the triangle support and a sustained slide, possibly the same height as the triangle pattern. Stochastic is also heading lower to signal the presence of selling pressure.

Bitcoin has been on weak footing over the past week but bulls don’t seem to be letting up either. The SEC temporary suspension on Bitcoin Tracker One has dashed hopes of seeing the bitcoin ETF applications approved later this month, but positive updates later on in the week managed to stem losses.
For one, it was reported that blockchain industries could add $1 trillion to global trade over the next ten years, so the focus has been on institutional interest and industry developments again. In addition, Morgan Stanley is reportedly considering offering Bitcoin swaps for its clients, also overshadowing rumors that Goldman Sachs is ditching plans to open a bitcoin trading desk. Earlier on, it was also reported that Citigroup is looking into crypto-based products for its customers.
If the spotlight stays on these kinds of updates in the week ahead, Bitcoin could see further upside. It might even break past the triangle top on any indication that the SEC might be giving the thumbs-up to the pending bitcoin ETF applications.

Images courtesy of TradingView
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Hacker Hoodwinks House, Uses EOS Smart Contract Exploit to Steal More Than $240k from EOSBet Dice

Just days after mocking EOS-based gambling platform DEOSGames for being hacked, EOSBet Casino’s dice gaming dApp – EOSBet Dice – was itself hacked. By exploiting vulnerabilities in the platform’s smart contracts, the hacker was able to siphon off roughly 44,400 EOS – worth more than $240,000 at current market prices.

EOSBet Left with Egg on Its Face – and a $240k Lighter Wallet
EOSBet is learning firsthand that karma is a right b*tch. Just days after taking to Twitter to mock competitor DEOSGames for being hacked, EOSBet found themselves in similar straits.

On September 14, at approximately 3:00 am UTC, a hacker going by the pseudonym aabbccddeefg exploited a vulnerability in EOSBet Dice’s smart contracts and managed to steal a reported 44,427.4302 EOS from EOSBet’s operating wallet. At current market prices, the theft is valued at over $240,000.
An EOSBet spokesperson confirmed the hack, stating:
A few hours ago, we were attacked, and about 40,000 EOS was taken from our bankroll. […] This bug was not minor as was stated previously, and we are still doing forensics and piecing together what happened.
Following the hack, EOSBet took its dice dApp offline while they attempted to ascertain exactly what happened.
According to Hard Fork, Redditor u/thbourlove was the first to share the discovery of the vulnerability, which allowed the hacker to call EOSBet’s ‘transfer’ function externally, using a fake hash. In a detailed explanation of the hack on Reddit, EOSBet explained that the exploit essentially allowed the hacker to place bets on the platform without having to transfer EOS to the contract. The hacker incurred no losses on a losing bet but a winning bet paid out real EOS from the contract, which he or she then withdrew.
In this particular instance, 23 transactions sent varying amounts to the hacker’s account in the span of less than five minutes:

After patching the vulnerability, EOSBet was able to get the dice game back online that same day.
What are your thoughts on the EOSBet hack? Is it something that could have been avoided and if so, how? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter,
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Coinsbank’s Euro Cruise: Big Names in Bitcoin Fight Over a Hard Fork

Without the fortune of having eyes and ears on the boat – and I presume what happens off the coast of Ibiza, stays firmly in Spanish waters – we can’t reveal that anything big came out of the event.
But as with most events it is a hotspot for developers to share ideas and network. Perhaps some budding partnerships will have come out of it.
That aside, we can still recap who was there and some of what went on. Plenty went up on social media which certainly tells a story on its own.
Jimmy Song versus Roger Ver
Anyone hoping for a sensible debate on the merits of Bitcoin against Bitcoin cash would be sorely disappointed, though for better or worse this was the highlight of the cruise.
“If you don’t wanna debate me get off the stage,” said Song, and goes on to state: “Bitcoin cash is not a network where users are sovereign, it’s controlled by the central authorities.”
If you do watch the whole thing they get round to talking about the advantages of both, until the cowboy-hatted Song eventually quits the stage after a series of interruptions from Bitcoin Cash evangelist Roger Ver, who, as it was previously reported by Coinspeaker, believes that the institutional investors should invest in Bitcoin Cash, as this currency has fundamentals which are no longer present in Bitcoin.
Though a spectacle, perhaps this was not the finest moment in crypto.
John McAfee Said Bitcoin Will Reach $1 Million by 2020
AmbCrypto spoke to John McAfee who was predictably bold on the future of Bitcoin.
“Why don’t we look at the last Bitcoin? We have thousands of people to mine one coin. What is that coin going to be worth? Maybe billions. Mathematics doesn’t lie. Say what you want, mathematics doesn’t lie,” he said.
“If it’s not a million dollars in 2020, it has to be. The end of 2020, December. That’s my prediction, I’m going to stand by it…it is the number 1 coin for processing transactions. Run the numbers.”
While his somewhat strong optimism could be overstated, it is slightly related to current news. Soon the number of Bitcoins put into circulation for each new block mined is going to be halved, meaning there will now be 6.25 BTC per block.
Poker in the Mediterranean
On a lighter note, Qlear Protocol hosted a night of poker – their CEO, Steven Weusten, was a professional poker player in a former life – and sponsored four tables.
Some big names turned up to play which begs the question: how much would you pay to watch Brock Pierce, Tone Vays, and Charlie Lee duke it out in a fiery game of Texas Hold‘Em?
Well we scraped some photos off social, unfortunately none showing them locked in battle.
Probably the Most Luxurious Blockchain Event There Is
Blockchain in the sea is an attractive notion; this is even more so when set in the mediterranean. A booze cruise may not be the best setting for sensible debate – see Jimmy Song vs Roger Ver – but networking and discussion off the stage can be invaluable at these events.
It surely was a great event for most attendees, anyway – they probably eagerly await an announcement for the next one.
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Coinbase Intensifies Hiring Spree to Cater to Institutional Clients

Various companies aim to bring cryptocurrency to institutional investors and Coinbase has shown a lot of initiative recently in this regard. The company now plans to hire additional employees for its newly opened institutional-focused New York office.

Coinbase Continues to Grow
Service providers acting as a cryptocurrency gateway need to keep evolving and innovating. Bridging the gap between traditional finance and cryptocurrency remains one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. Especially now that institutional parties show an interest in Bitcoin, a first-mover advantage has become apparent. For Coinbase, this can create a lot of new market opportunities in the years to come.
Setting up a New York-based office was the first step in this regard. New York state is home to NYDFS, the governing body issuing the BitLicense in the United States. It is also considered to be a major hub for institutional investors with an interest in blockchain and cryptocurrency. Establishing a local foothold makes it easier to cater to this new group of potential customers.
To ensure this venture is successful, Coinbase will hire additional employees. Sources close to the matter indicate over 100 positions are vacant as of right now. Finding the right people for the job may be a challenge. As such, the firm is turning to Wall Street in an effort to acquire the necessary talent and expertise. It is not the first time Wall Street staffers venture into cryptocurrency either. This has become an emerging trend for several months now.
Hire, Expand, Repeat
Speaking of expansion, Coinbase has been on a streak as of late. The company is hiring talent left, right, and center, and its payroll now counts several hundred employees. This is all part of Coinbase’s bigger plan to attract institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals.
Once the New York office is properly staffed, the firm will continue to seek out new horizons. Sources close to the matter indicate Latin America and Asia are next on the list. Both regions have shown a keen interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Domestic exchanges are thriving, yet the markets also seem to welcome international competition. At this time, Coinbase has not announced their vision to expand into specific countries.
Outside of hiring, Coinbase is also beefing up its list of supported currencies. Ethereum Classic was added to the exchange just last month. This has been a development of great interest to the overall cryptocurrency community. It also paves the way for future additions in the coming months and years. There is a lot more to cryptocurrency than just Bitcoin or Ethereum.
What do you think of Coinbase’s expansion efforts? Where will they go next? Let us know in the comments below.

Image courtesy of ShutterStock
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Stellar Foundation Purchases Blockchain Startup “Chain”

A Stellar Development Foundation subsidiary unit has finally purchased Chain, the San Francisco venture backed blockchain firm, after months of rumours of the startup being purchased.

The blockchain focused startup is the creator of the Sequence software. Rumours started hitting the media from about two months ago that Stellar Development Foundation was planning to buy the venture backed blockchain. There was not timeline given for the acquisition however.
The deal is an all-cash one, however the exact amount is still undisclosed – for now. The purchase also makes provision for all current Chain investors – Citi Ventures, Nasdaq, Visa – will all receive returns for their investments in the company. These details were given by co-founder of the Chain startup, Ludwin Adam. Mr. Ludwin will now be CEO of newly formed Interstellar shared the following with regards to the acquisition by Stellar

“All of the clients that we have now have effectively shifted from using a traditional database model to using a tokens model, issuing assets on a local environment…By partnering with Stellar you can fire an asset to another institution.”

Lightyear, the profit-oriented arm of Stellar Development Foundation is directly responsible for the purchase of Chain. Afterwards, both Lightyear are going to be dissolved for the emergence of some merger of sorts by name Interstellar (state earlier to be headed by Adam Ludwin as CEO). The new arm will begin work with a force of 60 workers with its HQ in San Francisco.
This acquisition is also proof that gradually the lines between public blockchain service providers as well as private ones and cryptocurrencies are gradually becoming blurry, as we see them beginning to back digital tokens.
Ludwin Adams also mentioned that the acquisition was well over $40 million, even though he wouldn’t mention the exact figure. He further explained that Chain was not obliged in anyway to sell the company – not for reasons of bankruptcy, as they

“… had millions in revenue and millions of dollars in the bank. Chain did not need to sell the company. This needed to be a great strategic move and a great return and it was both.”

More Technical Restructuring In The Stellar Management
Creator and co-founder of Stellar and Ripple respectively, Jed McCaleb, will be taking over as the chief technical officer (CTO) of the firm along with Adam Ludwin who will be CEO of Interstellar. Also founder of Mt Gox crypto exchange, Jed will still maintain his roles that will see him continue to help in the progression of the Stellar source codes.
The acquisition will now make Interstellar the blockchain service provider for all people who used the Core software by Chain. These customers include Cloudwalk and LPS, who will be moved to Interstellar’s service now.
Stellar’s StellarX which is to be introduced later in this year per plans will also be incorporated into the Interstellar group of products.
Chain offered a lot of cross-border payment solution services to companies including Visa who used “B2B”, and Nasdaq who used another cross-border solution provided by Chain.
Nonetheless, one of Chain’s major problems it faced was the inability to link all customers on one public network. Ludwin mentioned that they had plans of launching their own public network. However, after the launch of Lightyear in 2017 by Stellar, the startup found an avenue to partner with someone who had “equal and opposite problems” and also solve them with.
Jed McCaleb also shared some thoughts on the new developments

“Chain’s team has led the market for enterprise adoption of blockchain technology. Which is a critical component of building a future where money and digital assets move over open protocols.”

The price of Stellar sits at $0.2 and with a market cap of about $3.9 billion.
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