Exclusive Interview with MinerGate CEO, Claude Lecomte: Complete Guide to Mining

Today’s growing need for more sophisticated and advanced technologies triggers steady surge in innovations and inventions. Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have proved to be ones of the most promising and competitive industries today, providing a wealth of opportunities for literally all the spheres.
Both are walking hand in hand with mining, which attracts ever growing number of cryptoethusiasts and newcomers hoping to ride the wave and make some money. Coinspeaker reached Claude  Lecomte, CEO at MinerGate multicurrency mining pool, to find out more about sphere’s pitfalls and discover his expert insights into the mining activity.
Coinspeaker: “Please tell us a few words about your business. What is your core service?”
Claude Lecomte: “You will be surprised – the core service of MinerGate is cryptocurrency mining. We support 4 major mining algorithms, including Ethash, Equihash, CryptoNight & Scrypt. Currently we host 11 mining pools for every supported coin and a merged mining pool designed especially for CryptoNight ASICs.”
Coinspeaker: “How did you come up with the idea to provide this service? How quickly did you manage to deliver on that idea?”
Claude Lecomte: “Let me start from the very beginning. I was born in a penurious family in a small French town. Since my childhood, I have been interested in engineering and technologies. Not like the young Sheldon, but I’ve always had a reputation of a geek. My schoolmates were nothing like me, and it wasn’t always easy to get on with them. That’s why now I’m a bit crazy about privacy and anonymity.
I had a best friend, Nicolas. Nicolas and I spent all the time after school in his dad’s garage, where we were continually inventing and constructing something. Once we built a rocket, but we didn’t have anything to fuel it, so we stole kerosene from the neighbor. Finally, we almost burnt the garage but launched this goddamn thing.
I was 15 when I’d got my first computer. The first thing I did – I took it to pieces to understand how does it work. Since then, I steadily improved it, adding different hardware pieces and remastering circuit boards to increase the computer’s capacities.
I think I found out about crypto in the middle of 2010. I was impressed by perspectives of blockchain technology and even spent a buck or two to buy several dozens of Bitcoins. I started mining solo, just because I wanted to feel that I’m helping the blockchain movement.
An idea to run a mining pool came to me in 2013 after I bought my first ASIC. I understood that many enthusiasts are interested in mining but don’t want to bother with technical issues. Nicolas and I started a pool for these crypto neophytes. As you can see, a simple idea developed into a big business with over 3,5M miners, 24/7 customer support and a wonderful community.”
Coinspeaker: “What is your market share and how much time did it take you to achieve such results?”
Claude Lecomte: “By many criteria, MinerGate ranks among the top 10 worldwide. The answer about the share is too complicated since the percentages differ for different currencies. It is enough for us to know that we have more coverage than most of the competitors. That’s all I can say about that.”
Coinspeaker: “How strong is your investment support? Is there any fear among investors when it comes to entering the sphere?”
Claude Lecomte: “We are a private company and do not attract third-party investments. We had always relied only on ourselves, from the day when Nicolas and I were sitting in our garage and thinking over the idea of our own pool. For all investors who are afraid to invest in the crypto, I can only say: it is okay to be cautious.
I’m sure that deep inside, even Neil Armstrong was scared to death to fly to the moon. He succeeded (I’m almost certain)! Crypto business is also for the braves, guys.”
Coinspeaker: “Let’s turn to mining. Is it profitable?”
Claude Lecomte: “It depends on many factors. Let’s be honest – if you are mining solo somewhere in Western Europe, then probably mining is not the kind of business that you would do. However, take a look at Georgia, for example. Small private hydroelectric station plus a developed IT sector, and you are on your way to success. Now in Georgia, mining hotels are opening up one after another, because it is profitable. So yes, mining is profitable, you just have to know the ins and outs.”
Coinspeaker: “Are you personally engaged in mining? If so, what currencies do you prefer to mine?”
Claude Lecomte: “I started my miner’s journey with Bitcoin mining, but then turned to XMR and continue to mine it until now. I personally participate in all testing of our pools. I want to be sure of the quality of the services that MinerGate provides to its users.
I have a relatively small private rig at home, I’ve put it together by myself. It doesn’t seriously profit me, but, just as five years ago, I’m proud to contribute to the development of the industry. I will keep on mining till the end just to be sure that if St. Peter at the heaven gates asks me: “What have you done for the development of the blockchain?”, I would answer – everything I could!”
Coinspeaker: “Some people believe that PoW (Proof-of-Work) mining has certain advantages over PoS (Proof-of-Stake) one. Do you share this point of view?”
Claude Lecomte: “Well, ask me about Batman and Superman. Each of PoW and PoS has advantages over the other. PoW requires more power and your equipment can be burnt but is way more democratic. PoS can be more effective but calls for major investments first. As a person with left-wing leanings, I personally prefer PoW.”
Coinspeaker: “Let’s move to 51% attack. How the community should feel about the fact that several mining pools can co-exercise such an attack?”
Claude Lecomte: “In my opinion, there is no sense in speaking about a 51% attack per se. It really depends on coin and blockchain. However, even if there is such hypothetical possibility, I don’t think that there is a real danger at the moment. It requires just too much money and communication efforts.
The problem with a possibility of several greedy majors ganging up on everyone else is much more hypothetical than the problem of bugs in the blockchains. We all saw what recently happened with Bitcoin Core and XMR.”
Coinspeaker: “Let’s imagine: a crypto newcomer wants to start mining. How would he start? What would he read?”
Claude Lecomte: “That newbie miner can start with signing up at MinerGate. Ok, jokes aside, at least reading our blog is an excellent idea. There is much basic info about mining, new technologies, and updates, coins, perspectives of the cryptomarket. I think that reading CoinSpeaker on regular base will also help newcomers to stay tuned. I read you in Telegram. It is very handy.
Also, there are plenty of online forums and discussions about practically every segment of crypto knowledge, and you’d better learn from the mistakes of others, right?
Everything else depends only on financial capacity. I know a millionaire, who bought Bitcoin in the early days, didn’t spend it on pizza, forgot about it and then found out that it had a surged in value over these years. So I was invited to his mansion to the dinner, and we talked about commercial possibilities of mining and crypto. Next day he called me to say that he had already ordered 50 or 60 ASICs, emptied the swimming pool at the backyard and was ready to start mining as if there was no tomorrow. Newbies, eh…”
Coinspeaker: “In your opinion, what mistakes should the novice miners avoid?”
Claude Lecomte: “I think the most common mistake is taking loans for buying expensive equipment. Mining technology is developing so fast that sometimes the equipment turns out of date not even leaving the factory. A sudden fork, a slump of mined coins’ value – no one is immune against such things. So, don’t loan money. I can say that we started MinerGate having only 1000 Euro for a budget. Who dares, wins.”
Coinspeaker: “In your opinion, what devices are best used for mining today?”
Claude Lecomte: “I believe that the best equipment for mining isn’t yet invented, it is waiting for us somewhere there, in the future. From what you can find at the market now I like CryptoNight ASICs. In my opinion, they are seriously underestimated, but we put considerable efforts to make this technology in-demand. For example, we launched MinerGate Pro, that allows merged mining for these ASICs.”
Coinspeaker: “Let’s speak a little bit about cryptocurrency market. What do you think is happening to it? Do you think the market stabilizes or stagnates instead?”
Claude Lecomte: “The best way to make a complete idiot of yourself is to predict the Bitcoin’s rate. Sometimes, the things you consider pure fiction get real the next day and affect cryptomarket in the most unpredictable way. Sure enough, the market will grow and develop, but we never know what will happen to Bitcoin and main altcoins in the future.”
Coinspeaker: “What cryptos would you prefer to hold on the long-term basis?”
Claude Lecomte: “It is hard to choose, really. I think my favorite is Monero. However, to be honest, I don’t keep all my savings in one currency. A few BTC here, a few ETH there, bits of this and that.”
Coinspeaker: “What do you think about Bitmain’s filing for an IPO?”
Claude Lecomte: “Good for them, I sincerely wish them the best of luck. Bitmain is a product company with a significant number of hard assets. They have the product to show to non-crypto investors. I hope that one day, we will also grow to catch up with them, but now we congratulate the colleagues.”
Coinspeaker: “Anything else you would like to add for our readers?”
Claude Lecomte: “I’m convinced that crypto is a synonym for future. When I was a child, I used to dream about our destiny filled with skyscrapers, flying machines, expeditions to Mars. In my dreams, such future was in the people’s hands, not under anybody’s control.
In my opinion, developing blockchain technologies is what lets you build the future. And mining is the glue that makes it stick together. Satoshi is a genius who created the first decentralized financial system and look – it works, and it works because of the ones like us. If we keep doing our job, we will build something unique and valuable, essential for everyone, and I believe in it!
So – follow the dreams and never give up – you are not alone!”
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Crypto EXPO Asia Promises to Gather the Whole Financial World Together in Malaysia

Crypto EXPO Asia venue will be filled with exhibitor booths and conference halls where everyone will get an opportunity to not only broaden business contacts, but also explore the phenomenon of crypto world itself and get more concrete and detailed information. Meetings with the best crypto experts and leading ICO/BTC companies are the unique opportunity available for every attendee.
Crypto EXPO Asia will be held alongside another huge event at the same place and the same time.
Crypto EXPO Asia promises to cover the most important industry topics and not only “show” but educate as well. Meetings with the best crypto experts and leading Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and ICO companies are the unique opportunity available for every visitor.
The diversity of topics in seminar halls is quite impressive and includes ICO and White Paper projects, digital AD, PR and marketing, ICO due diligence, global capital markets, Mining as actual business, blockchain and crypto-currency future, etc.
Organizer of this show is FINEXPO – first and most influential financial event and fair producing company in the world since 2002 and its history of the organized events counts over 30 000 traders, investors and financial advisors with more than 3 000 financial companies and brokers on Stock, Option, Forex, Bond and Forward markets.
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Ex-Bitmain Chip Designer Goes Head to Head with the Cryptocurrency Mining Giant

Yang Zuoxing, a former chip designer for Bitmain, is taking the leading manufacturer of ASIC chips head-on with his company’s own line of mining chips.

Watch out for MicroBT
An ex-employee of the mining equipment giant Bitmain, Yang Zuoxing, is toiling hard to give his ex-employer a tough fight. Yang claims to have developed the much in demand ASIC chip for Bitmain.
After spending 15 months at Bitmain, Yang quit in June 2016 to establish his start-up MicroBT. The firm manufactures microchips for cryptocurrency mining. Yang had completed his Ph.D. in mechatronics from Tsinghua in 2001. He worked with various firms on hardware and low-wattage chip designs before he started working on crypto mining chips.
Claiming that his mining gear is just as good as Bitmain’s, Yang says, “We compete in every area.”

Fallout over Demand for a Stake
What led to 45-year old Yang’s exit was his demand for a stake in the company. According to him, Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan, the co-founders of Bitmain, turned down his request.  A month later he started MicroBT.
Yang managed to raise $22 Million in funding from individual investors and is in negotiations with venture capital firms in China to raise additional funds. He is also considering filing for an IPO (Initial Public Offering) next year.
The MicroBT team is putting in a lot of effort to compete in a market which is expected to grow fivefold to $17 billion by 2022, according to estimates by Frost & Sullivan, a growth consulting firm.
In 2017, Bitmain controlled 75% market share, but with new competitors like MicroBT jumping into the market with their own products, the company will find it hard to maintain dominance.
MicroBT’s Edge
Yang argues that unlike Bitmain, which is a vocal proponent of Bitcoin Cash and reportedly a major holder, his company has no involvement with the cryptocurrency, whose price has tumbled by 88% from its all-time high. Bitmain filed a preliminary listing application for its IPO in Hong Kong earlier last month, disclosing a $103 million impairment of its digital assets in the first half of 2018. The firm did not provide a break up of its crypto holdings.
According to Mark Li, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein, a sign that Bitmain’s lead may not last long and that competitors are catching up is the fact that Bitmain took a $253 million write-down on unsold inventory during the same time period.
“MicroBT’s flagship Whatsminer M10 can deliver better power efficiency than Bitmain’s S9i,” Yang said, adding that “MicroBT is working on upgrades to stay competitive as Bitmain rolls out new products.”
“Their technology is great,’’ Yang concluded, “But ours is too.”
As the cryptocurrency mining industry grows over the next few years, new start-ups are emerging with better technologies. Bitmain will find it hard to maintain its monopoly and the dominant position unless it keeps innovating consistently.
Do you think firms like MicroBT will be able to challenge Bitmain in the next few years? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of MyBroadband.co.za, Shutterstock
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Crypto Philanthropy Takes Roots As WeTrust Launches Spring

Buy crypto, sell it three days later, make millions, buy a Lamborghini. This was the cryptocurrency industry in a nutshell a year ago. Many got into the industry purely to make a quick profit as the prices of most cryptocurrencies skyrocketed. However, a lot has changed since then and the industry is slowly transforming into much more than just ‘Bros in Lambos’. The crypto community has become increasingly involved in charity as those who made millions seek to give back to the community.
Giving Back To The Community
Several initiatives have sprung up especially in the past one year that have sought to give crypto owners an opportunity to donate to their favorite causes. They include the Pineapple Fund, a philanthropic project by an anonymous individual which donated $55 million to over 60 charities; GiveCrypto, a project by Coinbase founder Brian Armstrong which aims to collect $250 million for charitable causes and Fidelity Charitable, the philanthropic arm of Fidelity Bank which raised $69 million worth of cryptocurrencies.

However, some of these initiatives have faced challenges that have alienated the crypto donor community. WeTrust Spring is the latest initiative which seeks to revolutionize this fast-growing phenomenon. The platform aims to create a platform through which those in need can raise funds from the crypto community, all while fully engaging with the donors.
Cryptocurrencies have introduced a new era of an open financial services system which is free from control by a few entities. They have given the power back to the most important stakeholders, the users. However, despite the great overhaul of the financial system, the philanthropic system is still regarded as one which is a reserve of a few high-net-worth individuals.
WeTrust Spring aims to bring this to an end and do to philanthropy what Bitcoin did for finance. The platform gives its users the opportunity to nominate the causes closest to their hearts for consideration and the most deserving causes are picked in a free, fair and transparent process.

WeTrust Spring is decentralized and is curated by the community, making it immune from the centralized bias that’s present in many charity platforms. The platform also works with partner organizations that accept Ethereum, giving the over 40 million cryptocurrency holders the opportunity to donate to their favorite causes. The cryptocurrency community is always seeking to lend a hand to the needy, with a research conducted in June revealing that 75 percent of crypto holders are interested in making donations in cryptocurrencies, but only 21 percent have had the opportunity to do so.
As with any other financial platform, transparency and accountability are key principles. WeTrust Spring supports the tracking and automation of the reporting process for donations, giving the donors the opportunity to monitor their donations and ensure they are used for their intended purpose.
WeTrust Spring will give the donors the opportunity to directly interact with the leaders of the causes they wish to support through the organization’s Discord channels. This will give the donors a first-hand feel of the impact their donation makes as well as the opportunity to learn more about the cause.
Finally, every donation of 0.1 ETH on the WeTrust Spring platform earns you a unique digital collectible, Shiba, as a token of appreciation. The puppy can grow into an adult as your donation is updated. And who doesn’t love a cute puppy!
 
 
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Andreessen Horowitz-Owned ‘a16z crypto’ Leads Investment in Blockchain Startup

Oasis Labs recently secured partnerships with a16z crypto and other notable VC investors to launch the Oasis Startup Hub. The firm plans to use the Oasis Startup Hub as an incubator for developing privacy-first computing on the blockchain.

Oasis Labs: Pursuing Privacy-First Computing on the Blockchain
The company announced the partnership deal at the SF Blockchain Week Epicenter on Monday (October 8th, 2018). According to a press release published by PR Newswire, the other partners joining a16z crypto are Polychain Capital, Pantera Capital, Accel, and Binance Labs.
Together, the partnership will strive to create a robust ecosystem that allows for fast-paced capacity building efforts in privacy-computing. Thus, emphasis will be on both the technical and commercial aspects of the initiative in the form of expert guidance from experienced investors and access to innovative technological advancements.

 
Several Partners Jumping on the Oasis Startup Hub Train
Commenting on the value proposition of the Oasis Startup Hub, Oasis Labs CEO Dr. Dawn Song said:
We’ve seen strong interest in our private testnet from companies and developers who want to build scalable applications that protect user data and put privacy first, and are constrained by existing platforms.
According to Paul Veradittakit of Pantera Capital, Oasis possesses the requisite technical and commercial expertise to achieve their set goals. Commenting further, Veradittakit said that the partnership would create an enabling environment for the development of scalable, privacy-first, blockchain-based solutions.
Already, there are several companies signed up to the Oasis Startup Hub project. Many of these companies are reportedly working on applications such as blockchain-based credit scoring platforms and decentralized data hubs for AI.

Andreessen Horowitz Betting Big on Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Technology
For Andreessen Horowitz, its partnership with Oasis Labs is yet another pointer to the VC firm’s commitment to expanding the utility potential of the emerging blockchain technology industry. Back in mid-2018, the company raised $300 million for its dedicated cryptocurrency fund – a16z crypto.
The cryptocurrency fund focuses on non-speculative use cases for blockchain technology. Recently, Live Bitcoin News reported that Yale University was one of the investors in a16z crypto.
What do you think about Oasis Labs’ drive to create robust privacy-first computing protocols that run on blockchain technology? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

Images courtesy of Oasis Labs and Shutterstock.
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Bitwala Joins Forces with SolarisBank to Launch Germany’s First Blockchain Bank Account

 
Bitwala, a blockchain technology company, has teamed up with SolarisBank to create a cryptobank.  The two companies, both based in Berlin, would make history, as this would be the first German cryptocurrency bank accounts ever created.  The bank also incorporates a built-in bitcoin wallet, and the venture has already received $4 million in funding.
A New Frontier
The company has already made impressive strides, in that it already has over 30,000 customers signed on for the service.  The Bitwala bank account would be operated by SolarisBank.  The Deposit Protection Fund of the Association of German Banks would protect these accounts, up to 100,000 euros, as well.  The venture would utilize the Solarisbank banking license.
SolarisBank has been open about exploring blockchain technology as a way to maintain a competitive edge in the financial world, as it announced the Blockchain Factory in July of this year.  Specifically, the bank has been focused on bridging the fiat and crypto world.  SolarisBank is interesting because it is not an actual bank, but a fintech company that offers banking as a platform.
True Synergy
The partnership makes a lot of sense, and could be a lucrative synergistic relationship, considering that Bitwala has a lot of experience in the banking sector.  Bitwala has been a worldwide money transfer service until 2017 and had boasted over 50,000 users in 200 countries.
However, the company ran into various issues, as it began issuing prepaid cards in the EUR denomination.  Obviously, this was a huge step for the company, but Visa Europe apparently directed the card issuer, WaveCrest Holdings, to suspend the Bitwala cards.  There were other companies that were affected by this, as Wavecrest also had previously issued cards for Cryptopay, Wirex, and Tenx.
Bitwala was gaining market share, as it had processed over 100 million in euros, until the sudden license removal.  This partnership is also a strong way for the company to recover from this debacle, while also offering valuable experience from their time in the sector.
Overall, this is great news for cryptocurrency in Germany in general.  The country has taken a much friendlier stance towards cryptocurrency than many other European countries, as it actually treats bitcoin as legal tender already. It also doesn’t even tax small purchases made with bitcoin, either.
There is also recent news that the German government might make more moves towards becoming more cryptocurrency-friendly than ever.  Germany as a country also seems to be extremely interested in cryptocurrency investing in general, according to a survey conducted by German bank Postbank earlier this year.
This certainly is historic, and has immense potential, considering the immense amount of interest that the German population has in terms of cryptocurrency, and the fact that the German government and regulators seem to be encouraging the integration of blockchain technology with its financial institutions.
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CNBC Analyst: Bitcoin Price is ‘About to Explode’

The host of CNBC’s Cryptotrader show, Ran Neu-Ner, has projected that the price of Bitcoin is “about to explode” in a tweet to his nearly 90,000 followers.

ETF to Boost Price?
Taking to Twitter, Ran Neu-Ner, who is also the CEO of Onchain Capital, a crypto investment and advisory business, portrayed his confidence. In the tweet, he said:

I just bought Bitcoin for my parents. It’s too obvious that it’s about to explode…
— Ran NeuNer (@cryptomanran) October 7, 2018

In another tweet the following day, Neu-Ner added that:
BTC went from $6691 (Nov 11) to $20000 (Dec 17) in 5 weeks. This on the back of the expectation and launch of a cash settlement BTC futures contract. An ETF is a way bigger deal & requires actual purchase of BTC. 2 looming SEC decision deadlines ahead.
His remark comes at a time when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has set a November 5th deadline to receive additional comments on nine Bitcoin ETF applications.
The SEC had previously rejected nine applications. Two had been submitted by ProShares along with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for a listing on the NYSE Arca. Five ETFs were proposed by Direxion, which was hoping to be listed on the NYSE Arca exchange as well. The remaining two were submitted by GraniteShares for a listing on CBOE.

The second decision that the SEC needs to reach is its decision on the VanEck/Solid X Bitcoin ETF. It was initially thought that a decision would be announced by the end of September. However, that date has been pushed back. It’s now expected that a decision will be reached later this year. Many within the community have said that they believe this will be the first to receive approval.
Until then, though, the market remains much the same as it has for the last several months. At the time of writing, the price of Bitcoin is trading around $6,635, according to CoinMarketCap. It continues to remain within the $6,200 and $6,800 price range.
Too Cheap to Buy?
In a separate tweet, Neu-Ner said:
Before people didn’t buy Crypto because it was too expensive , now they not buying it because it’s too cheap…
This follows remarks from an analyst earlier this month. According to Jani Ziedins of Cracked.Market, there is a “chronic lack of demand” for Bitcoin. In his opinion, he said that if people wanted to buy when its price is low, they would have “jumped in already.”
Yet, that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Did you buy Bitcoin when its price dropped this year? Do you think it will rise or fall on an SEC decision? Let us know in the comments below.

Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Twitter/@cryptomanran.
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TRON Price & Technical Analysis: TRX to Take Its Chance to Go Up?

On Tue Oct 9, Tron is going somewhat down, trading at around $0.0256, says Dmitriy Gurkovskiy, Chief Analyst at RoboForex.
On H3, there’s an uptrend inside the correctional phase, where the MACD is diverging, which could mean a descending move. This is also confirmed with a black cross formed by the Stochastic. The nearest downmove target may live at the current short term channel support at $0.0226. Then, the price is likely to break out the short term support and head to the major one at $0.0184. Conversely, although less likely, the price may bounce off $0.0226 and head to the major resistance at $0.0300.
According to Justin Sun, TRON’s CEO, TRON is going to become much more speedy (around 200 times) compared to Ethereum thanks to the Odyssey 3.1 update, while the transactions should get around 100 times cheaper than with EOS.
Odyssey 3.1 was released the day before. Among major features, it introduced TRON virtual machine (VM) that can be used to test smart contracts before they enter the production network (this is convenient for the devs).
In fact, Odyssey 3.1 is majorly designed to optimize and speed up the work the developers are doing with the decentralized apps. As for the users, apart from TRON VM, they will also be able to work with TARON Committee, also to test the apps.
TRON is focusing on the entertainment content and has some advantages over its competition, although the competition here is not that harsh. TRON has a 10-year strategy plan, its goal being creating a global independent information pool that would enable access to the content. The users, meanwhile, will convert tokens, get new ones, and thus help in the development of TRON.
Curiously, TRON coins cannot be mined.
In Q2, Sun bought BitTorrent at around $126M, which gave TRON a long term fundamental support. The torrent users have large computing capacity which TRON managers are willing to get in exchange for financial stimuli.
Some say a new kind of network – peer to peer – may appear in this area thanks to TRON applyig its technologies to BitTorrent.
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Venezuela Makes Its Mandatory to Pay for Passport Using the Petro Cryptocurrency

There has been a lot of news around Venezuela’s controversial cryptocurrency Petro ever since it was first announced by President Nicolas Maduro in December 2017. The basic motive behind launching Petro was to circumvent the U.S. sanctions and prevent Venezuela’s economic collapse. However, nothing seems to have worked so far as the country’s economic condition is already on a tailspin.
Last week itself, President Maduro announced that the commercial sale of Petro will start next month from November, 5. Petro can be purchased against popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum as well as against fiat Bolivar, said Maduro.
“If you have bitcoins you can buy Petros, if you have Ethereum you can buy Petros, if you have dollars or euros you can buy Petros. And from November 5, the Petro … will go on sale to the Venezuelan public in sovereign bolivars.”
Now in a further push for the Petro cryptocurrency, Venezuela has made mandatory for its citizens to pay the passport fees in Petro. Venezuela’s vice-president Delcy Rodriguez made the official announcement in a press conference on Friday, October 5.
This new rule will come into effect from November 1, just a few days before the commercial launch of Petro. The Venezuelan vice-president said that the cost of issuing new passports is 2 Petros while that for the extension will be 1 Petro. A leading Latin American newspaper El Universal quoted the vice-president saying: “In the case of Venezuelans who are abroad, until the first day of November the cost will be $ 200 for the issue and $ 100 for the extension.” 
A Bloomberg report shows that the average monthly minimum wage in Venezuela is four times less the cost of the raised Petro fees.
Additionally, the vice-president has also ordered the activation of the “immigration administrative police” in the country. “The migratory police have been born to preserve citizen security and migratory control,” said Rodriguez.
Suspicion Surrounding the Actual Existence of Petro
President Nicolas Maduro launched the Petro pre-sale in February 2018 claiming that the cryptocurrency was backed by country’s natural resources like oil, diamonds, and other commodities. Soon after the launch of Petro, it has been continuously embroiled in one or the other controversy. On the very first day of the Petro token sale,  President Maduro claimed it to be a big hit claiming to have raised $735 million. However, there have been no concrete details provided by his government so far to support those claims.
Moreover, just within a month of launch, the Venezuelan Congress denounced the cryptocurrency calling it to be illegal. Much latest in August 2018, Reuters did an actual survey of the oil reserves of Atapirire, a Venezuelan town and found that there is absolutely no trade of Petro against those oil reserve which Maduro earlier claimed.
Atapirire residents claim that there are no efforts, so far, by the government to tap those reserves. A four-months thorough study by the Reuters team comes to a conclusion that there is no trade of the Petro cryptocurrency in the country. Additionally, it is also found that neither anyone, inside or outside Venezuela has got their hands on Petro, neither it is being seen trading on any of the digital currency exchanges.
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Banco Santander Will Use Ripple (XRP) For Settling All Payments

Banco Santander, the multinational commercial bank and financial services company headquartered in Santander, Spain, will be using Ripple (XRP) to settle payments and improve customer experience through its OnePay FX platform.

XRP and Banco Santander
At this year’s Swell conference in San Francisco, Ripple announced the launch of its xRapid product. It’s a solution which is going to be used by payment providers, including Cuallix, Mercury FX, as well as the cooperative financial company called Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union.
Another notable highlight of the event was the speech of Ed Metzger – the Head of Innovation at one of Ripple’s well-known partners – Banco Santander.
Metzger said that the bank will happily use XRP in order to settle all of the payments with its OnePay FX payment platform. The solution is used to make quick international transfers on the same day.
According to Metzger, the addition of RippleNet into OnePay FX is likely to streamline the process of other banks beginning to use XRP-related products in countries like South Korea and Japan. He said:
Too many companies have a peanut butter problem. They’ve spread themselves very thin, working on lots of different initiatives. By contrast, Ripple has gone deep in understanding.

XRP Moving Forward
Apart from Banco Santander and the three companies mentioned above which have already begun using XRP to settle payments, the company managed to accomplish a serious win in late September. As Live Bitcoin News reported, PNC Bank became the very first major U.S. banking institution which is going to join RippleNet.
Speaking on the matter was Ripple’s Senior VP, Marcus Treacher, who noted:
For far too long, the technology underlying cross-border payments has been opaque, slow and costly. […] Quite a few payment providers have joined RippleNet recently, so it’s great to see one of the major U.S. banks come on board as well.
In another sign of Ripple’s growing popularity, almost 10,000 people signed a petition to make XRP the official cryptocurrency of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
What do you think of Ripple’s usage? Will more organizations start taking advantage? Let us know in the comments below!

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