Andrew Yang for president? Meet Andrew Yang, the 2020 US Bitcoin-friendly presidential candidate

Andrew Yang for president? Meet Andrew Yang, the 2020 US Bitcoin-friendly presidential candidate

Andrew Yang for president? Andrew Yang, a Democrat candidate for the 2020 US presidential elections, brought more attention upon himself after he announced that he would be accepting Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency donations for his presidential campaign.

Who is Andrew Yang?

With cryptocurrency being an increasingly more interesting subject to the world, Andrew Yang took advantage of the momentum of Bitcoin and the topic of blockchain in the US and announce it to be a possible source for his campaign.

While some see this in a not so favourable light, considering to be a strategic move to gain popularity, other Bitcoin enthusiasts took a look at his social media channels, to observe that Yang has been talking about Bitcoin since 2013. So, who is Andrew Yang?

Yang is an entrepreneur. Andrew Yang is the founder of a non-profit organisation, VFA (Venture for America, which has as its primary goal to “Mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs.”

It is worth mentioning that all this attention Yang received after announcing he will accept crypto as donations for his presidential campaign came in a rather hostile environment. You see, the regulation for blockchain companies and cryptocurrencies in the US are not what the crypto enthusiasts have hoped for. But have his statements for far made anyone want Andrew Yang for president?

Is Andrew Yang a real Bitcoin supporter?

We all saw the recent tweets and campaign messages Yang posted on his Twitter. They are all basically a variation of “Let’s build the future together”. Some of his advocates applauded him, and added: “Nothing stops crypto, even Presidential candidates are jumping on!”. But, as some followers rushed to ask in the comments, is Yang, a faithful cryptocurrency supporter? And aren’t cryptocurrency donation harder to trace and hence, could be from illicit funds and could come from foreign lands?

Even so, the 44-year-old Asian promises to bring the wind of change in American politics. In his defence, there are tweets from 2013, about the price of Bitcoin:

This is proof he knows and talked about Bitcoin before most of us did, but just because he is talking about cryptocurrency, does it mean that his policies are sensible? The topic of Andrew Yang’s candidacy is controversial, and winning the electoral race against Trump might need a bit more help from the minorities. And usually, minorities are too busy with their day to day struggles to know enough world-changing technologies.

But for now, the only thing clear is that Yang hopes to fund his presidential campaign with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

Consensus 2019 NYC Blockchain Week reveals the new blockchain trends

Consensus 2019 NYC Blockchain Week reveals the new blockchain trends

The cryptosphere got another burst of energy last week as programmers, entrepreneurs, venture vets, policymakers, artists, and fans descended on NYC at the yearly Blockchain Week. ConsenSys’ two-day Ethereal Summit kicked the week off at Pioneer Works, a renovated railroad trail factory in Red Hook, a fitting venue for the leaders of Web3 to design and deliberate the future of the world wide web.

This type of gathering is a rare occasion for a motion that’s so internationally dispersed.

Open source devs will build Web3

78% of businesses utilize open source applications, however, the OpenSSL Software Foundation, whose transportation protocols secure the link between clients and servers and place that reassuring padlock on your browser pub, functions on a budget of less than $2,000 in contributions and beneath a million dollars contract earnings annually.

The absence of incentives in open source growth makes developers stay away from them and leads to serious vulnerability problems in apps (such as the notorious Heartbleed insect which has been inadvertently introduced to the OpenSSL source code repo a couple of years back).

The Gitcoin Founder Kevin Owocki stated that “65% of open source projects have a truck factor of less than two”, which is a serious threat to the future of such projects.

There were serious attempts in the blockchain area — that was based on the principle of available protocols — to create open-source growth economically sustainable for coders. MolochDAO, a crowdsourced financing initiative to encourage Ethereum infrastructure jobs, obtained a 4,000 ETH contribution last week by Joe Lubin, Vitalik Buterin, many associates from ConsenSys, along with the Ethereum Foundation. From its own ethical promotion platform Codefund to its Patreon-like Grants Program, Gitcoin is among the very notable and multi-pronged campaigns encouraging open source maintainers from the blockchain area.

The systems of the future will be antifragile

Bitcoin was created as a way to modify the present financial system that’s ineffective, politically irresponsible, and badly misaligned in regard to incentivizing great behaviour. Over ten decades after, Bitcoin still proceeds to offset the bad ideas of our political and monetary systems.

The grand majority attending NY Blockchain Week shared the idea of antifragility. This notion was expressed at a publication written by the prestigious Nassim Taleb, in which he describes “Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty.”

Travis Kling also discussed the fragility of both bitcoin along with other crypto assets, saying “This is a hedge against irresponsibility from governments and central bankers…the world is waking up to the value of a hedge against quantitative easing.”

More importantly, she expressed her views about electronic resources, saying, “There is not any fault tolerance at the electronic assets and that is a feature, not a bug. It’d be a pity if the growth of bitcoin would stick to the growth of the incumbent markets”

Zero-knowledge systems are the magic wand for solving Ethereum’s privacy paradox

Hard math is exactly what it is taking to resolve Ethereum’s solitude paradox, the struggle of reconciling the blockchain’s transparency (for validating transactions) with the demand for information privacy and confidential transactions.

While Ethereum does not support names such as Penn and Teller or even Houdini, it will have Aztec, Ernst & Young, PegaSys, along with other cutting-edge startups focusing on zero-knowledge proof technologies and construction native solitude.

PegaSys provides an extensive package of production-grade offerings which streamlines the process of conducting an Ethereum customer for enterprises. Pantheon implements Orion as a personal transaction manager and may also utilize AZTEC’s effective zero-knowledge privacy protocol for information independently on a permissioned network.

At Ethereal, Tom Pocock, CEO of Aztec discussed how ZK will be available within another fortnight. His demonstration included slides using a thermometer which got hotter when the math got harder. It was a cue for individuals to take out their phones whenever they had been uninterested in mathematics. It got hot around Boneh Boyen Signatures and Elliptic Curve pairings.

It is apparent the ZK tech will be quite beneficial in finance and banking for personal payments and other private transactions. Many ZK business help make “Lego kits” for people and companies to construct customized assets for their own choosing without understanding about the mathematically intricate cryptography which makes the machine function.

Ten or twenty years ago, Tom Pockock even predicted utilizing ZK technologies to acquire a “proof of income” to use in the lender to acquire a mortgage.

There has been steady progress on zero-knowledge evidence methods, which are assisting protocol engineers to take care of the issue of assessing a piece of evidence without studying it. Olivier Bégassat, Applied Researcher in PegaSys, believes the PCP Theorem that underpins ZK systems is “mindbendingly magnificent.”

Decentralized finance is the leading narrative

#Defi has removed among the most resounding narratives inside the crypto ecosystem also has been mostly driven by Ethereum.

Ethereal even showcased defi software with Austin Griffith’s hot wallet, that was utilized to buy a meal.

The Internet 3.0 headline still exists in several people vision for the future of crypto, nevertheless, the open fund has taken the lead as brand new derivatives markets and financing procedures have emerged Ethereum. For many people, accomplishing such a goal is sufficient. Ryan Selkis, more known as TwoBitIdiot and Creator of the research company Messari, clarified his thesis to get Ethereum:

“Ethereum is settlement layer for decentralized finance where bitcoin is settlement layer for a store of value. Ethereum will become the decentralized finance chain. That’s the winning outcome and everything else will be on its own chain or be interoperable.”

Regulators continue to join the conversation

At Consensus, U.S.Representative Tom Emmer intends to reintroduce the Safe Harbor for Taxpayers using Forked Assets that could help taxpayers who maintain cryptocurrency caused by blockchain network breaks, or challenging forks. Especially, the bill will stop the IRS from penalizing unreported crypto resources gained through tough drives until the IRS issues clear advice about their regulatory remedy.

Caitlin Long was current on several panels during the whole week sharing a lot of her ideas regarding crypto regulation. She pointed out just how many double standards exist when analyzing regulators handle non-crypto institutions when compared with crypto associations.

The Former Congressman and presidential candidate think that the telephone by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) to prohibit cryptocurrency buys at the U.S. is a bad idea. 2020 Presidential Candidate, Andrew Yang made an appearance revealing his perspectives about crypto asset regulation, presuming that authorities will need to explain their guidelines.

The enterprise blockchain marketplace is open for business

Business blockchain offerings are moving full-stack and supplying robust marketplaces that employ solutions for businesses in different industries. As an example, ConsenSys-backed Kaleido established a brand new business-to-business (B2B) tech heap throughout blockchain week which includes different plug and play characteristics, such as advantage registry, record shop and app-to-app messenger, token issuance, and much more. The Kaleido market has over 40 service or product offerings for businesses to match their customized business requirements.

Especially, Microsoft has been leading the charge in the heritage world. Before blockchain week, Microsoft published a blockchain programmer kit to its people Ethereum blockchain and Quorum. The programmer kit also empowers users to utilize Solidity and Truffle. Microsoft clients will now have the choice to utilize Microsoft Azure along with the package of blockchain software to expedite blockchain installation, lower prices, and include enhanced governance characteristics.

Throughout blockchain week Microsoft announced a partnership with GE Aviation to follow engine components in addition to the launch of a decentralized identity to the internet 3.0 world. As more companies are starting to accept the transformative power of blockchain technologies, they will look towards the present players to grab them up to speed and utilize their present solutions.

Exchange your assets in minutes with InstaSwap

Exchange your assets in minutes with InstaSwap

It was about time for cryptocurrency exchanges to pick up the pace and here we have InstaSwap ready to use, making crypto and assets trading easier than ever.

According to the InstaSwap website:

InstaSwap is a Non-Custodial Exchange Platform that allows users to exchange directly at a market price within minutes. As a privacy-focused platform, your personal data are safe and never shared. Keeping your anonymity intact.

InstaSwap claims to have a transparent fee and according to their diagram, a crypto swap goes through the following steps:

  1. You have to transfer funds to your InstaSwap wallet
  2. InstaSwap finds the best rate on the market for your desired swap
  3. InstaSwap does the exchange – hence the name Swap
  4. InstaSwap charges a 0.4% fee from the final amount
  5. Fund are transferred to the desired wallet.

The process is easy to understand because it reminds the old process of physical exchange of fiat currencies.

Some of the businesses with which the aforementioned website has already associated with include Magnum Wallet, ZCore Cash, Creamcoin “Crypto News”, ZelCore Wallet.

While the service currently allows exclusively the swap between various pairs of cryptocurrencies, the Instaswap website mentions plans to introduce solutions to use Mastercard and Visa cards in the near future.

At the moment, InstaSwap support 38 cryptocurrencies, starting with the most famous, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple and Litecoin, but trying to pave the way into lesser-known projects, that promise a great future, such as FootballCoin, the first fully based blockchain football manager browser game.

Crypto World September 2019: More countries want to use crypto and blockchain

Crypto World September 2019: More countries want to use crypto and blockchain

North Korea wants its own cryptocurrency

An analyst from Center for Financial Crime and Security concluded that the nation has the essential expertise and tools to establish its cryptocurrency. In terms of the motives behind the initiative, the specialists often largely produce negative situations — by bypassing the global sanctions and money laundering to speculation and funding the weapons of mass destruction.

Bypassing U.S. sanctions?

Pyongyang wants a digital currency to bypass international sanctions. Using its cryptocurrency, the DPRK might have the ability to access the global financial system.

Critics consider that an electronic currency would be a mean to bypass sanctions since they are more difficult to follow. North Korea would be able to trade with several countries around the world and evade the US sanctions.

As most analysts assert North Korea might be endorsed by other nations, including Iran, Russia or even Venezuela, that are already researching federal electronic assets to skip the U.S. sanctions.

Libra is “sensitive for society” and has no launch date

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg seemed to demonstrate a rare display of dread as regulatory scrutiny enclosing the Libra stable coin intensifies.

He confessed that the job was “very sensitive for society” and said his business was decided to work through problems before launch. The billionaire also confessed this is a really different approach to that Facebook could have done five years ago.

The Calibra wallet mind David Marcus – that has faced a grilling facing Congress – claimed in a blog article that blockchain-based payment systems can tackle inefficiencies in existing payment methods.

New Balance will use the Cardano blockchain to allow its customers to verify the origins of an range of products

Cardano CEO Charles Hoskinson announced that New Balance will be using the Cardano blockchain to help authenticate its products.

Cardano and New Balance intend to roll out the program internationally. But, current plans don’t entail employing the ADA token in this pilot.

Hoskinson allegedly produced the partnership announcement throughout Cardano’s 2nd-anniversary event in the Cardano Summit at Bulgaria’s second-largest city, Plovdiv.

Blockchain, global supply chain and health insurance

Many organizations have already begun to implement blockchain technologies. Walmart is utilizing blockchain technologies to make a food traceability system based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric.

In August, public venture blockchain stage VeChain partnered with Australian winemaker Penfolds to launch an instance of blockchain-encrypted wine bottles available, within its own Wine Traceability Platform initiative.

In March, Carrefour introduced its blockchain-powered solution for monitoring milk, which can be reported to ensure customers entire product traceability across the full distribution chain, from farmers’ fields to the shop shelves.

Government of Uzbekistan Triples Tax on Electricity for Crypto Miners

The authorities of the Republic of Uzbekistan have ordered a 300% increase in power tariffs for cryptocurrency miners.

The Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Uzbekistan has decreed that cryptocurrency miners have to pay three times more the present power tariffs.

This comes after the Aug. 22, 2019 decree from President Shavkat Mirziyoyev qualified “On Accelerated Measures to Improve Energy Efficiency of Economic Sectors and the Social Sphere, Implement Energy Saving Technologies and Develop Renewable Energy Sources” and also to further inspire the logical use of electric energy by customers.

Uzbekistan’s approach to crypto and blockchain

Last September, Mirziyoyev ordered the establishment of a state blockchain development fund called the “Digital Trust.” The fund’s objective is to incorporate blockchain into different government jobs, including health care, education and ethnic locations. The organization is defined to be accountable for global investment from the Uzbek digital market.

Earlier the exact same month, a decree legalizing crypto trading, which became tax-free, and mining at the nation came to force. As stated by the legislation, foreign nationals can simply exchange cryptocurrencies from Uzbekistan by creating a subsidiary in the nation.

The legislation additionally specifies a minimum funding requirement of about $710,000 to create a crypto exchange. What’s more, crypto dealers won’t fall beneath Uzbek stock exchange regulations and will probably be relieved of the duty to pay taxes on trading earnings.

Bakkt, the first federally regulated platform for Bitcoin (BTC) futures trading, was launched

In August 2018, Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) declared its strategies to make a Bitcoin cryptocurrency exchange fully compliant with CFTC regulations.

Created by the worldwide trading giant Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and counting a good portfolio of investors from Microsoft’s venture fund M12 to Starbucks, Bakkt delivers institutional traders something brand-new. The system’s value proposition is physically-settled BTC futures contracts, along with a solid custodial service accepted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).

Assuming it is digital assets’ volatility and lack of regulatory defences that deter otherwise exceptionally interested institutional investors by moving large on BTC, Bakkt’s introduction is a major landmark on the deadline of crypto adoption, and several in the distance expected its introduction with fantastic excitement.

Unfortunately, Bakkt’s launch coincided with a massive recession in Bitcoin’s market price, causing some analysts to suspect a causal link between the two.

China needs more time for research before announcing a launching date for its digital currency

China does not have any particular launch date in mind for its digital currency. Its own central bank has stated comments contradicting previous statements.

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) has denied Beijing is prepared to launch its fresh financial currency. According to Global Times, the PBoC “needs to research, test, evaluate and prevent risks.”

“China’s research and development of digital currency has achieved positive progress, but the country has no timetable to launch a digital currency so far,”

German government adopts the blockchain strategy

On Sept. 18, the German Federal Government released its finalized blockchain plan, pointing out 10 big principles to create concrete steps for unlocking the advantages made available by blockchain technologies by the end of 2021. The authority voiced its favourable stance towards blockchain, saying that the plan intends to encourage the nascent ecosystem in Germany.

At precisely the exact same time, the authorities explained it won’t be encouraging blockchain-powered stable coins from getting alternative currencies because of its danger to the German’s sovereignty. Included in the dangers posed by the coming Facebook’s cryptocurrency Libra, the record reads that the German authorities won’t depart the issuance of monies to private businesses.

On Sept. 17, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz contended that lawmakers can’t accept parallel currencies like Libra, expressing optimism that Libra will be definitely rejected.

7-Eleven Stores Across the Philippines Now Sell Bitcoin

Cryptocurrency investment program Abra begins selling crypt in most 7-Eleven shops across the Philippines using a brand new partnership with payment chip ECPay.

Abra declared on Sept. 18 that the venture will bring crypto into 6,000 retail outlets across the Philippines, including all 7-Eleven shops. The aim of the venture is to make facilitate obtaining cryptocurrency simpler:

“Using new digital tools that open up financial access shouldn’t be hard. And they shouldn’t be complicated. Moving cash to crypto and other digital assets should be simple and fast. That’s why we are really excited to announce our new partnership.”

Turkey Announces Plans for National Blockchain Infrastructure

The Turkish government has announced plans to set a federal blockchain infrastructure to use distributed ledger technologies (DLT) in general public management.

The Ministry of Industry and Technology set out its own vision through its Strategy 2023 demonstration on Sept. 18 at Ankara.

Turkish institutions have been embracing blockchain technology in various spheres. In August, the Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center (BlockchainIST Center) was inaugurated at Bahçeşehir University. The centre’s director, Bora Erdamar, said BlockchainIST will be “the most important centre of research and development and innovation in Turkey in which scientific studies and publications are made in blockchain technologies.”

Earlier this month, Turkey’s Istanbul Clearing, Settlement and Custody Bank (Takasbank) announced a blockchain-based platform for trading physical gold. Takasbank’s new project aims to enable users to transfer physical gold stored at the Borsa Istanbul Stock Exchange.

Narvesen Stores and Lithuanian Press Kiosks to Sell BTC

According to the local news outlet, Delfi, Lithuanian convenience shops Narvesen and Lithuanian Press kiosks will begin selling Bitcoin (BTC). The stores will begin selling coupons which may be exchanged for BTC online. Narvesen and Lithuanian Press were picked due to their extensive network and positive attitude towards cryptocurrencies, which will grant access to this target market and offer the capacity to purchase vouchers fast.

Narvesen CEO Vigintas Bartaševičius stated:

“We currently have a network of nearly 60 Narvesen stores, where we are constantly looking to expand our selection of products and services. We recently offered a cash withdrawal service to our busy city customers, and now we are starting to sell Bitcoin vouchers, both cash and card. Bitcoin coupon sales are geared to meet the needs of a younger audience.”

No ID or other files will be asked to convert euros to Bitcoin obtained with the voucher. All a user needs is an email address and a Bitcoin wallet address.

Blockchain Being Used to Turn Ocean Plastic Waste Into Eco-Fabrics

Dutch firm Waste2Wear has set to create the world’s very first selection of recycled materials, made from sea plastics, that may be tracked via blockchain.

First disclosed on Aug. 20, the group has been specially developed by Waste2Wear in reaction to client demand for recycled materials used in cloths to be traceable. The business declared the initiation of the beta version of its own proprietary blockchain system for its new set on Aug. 22.

Waste2Wear stated plastic waste needs to adhere to a long journey from the sea to getting a finished textile product, which demands quite a few incremental data documents.

By applying blockchain technologies, the organization plans to produce the supply chain of sea plastic materials completely traceable.

The plastic used for Waste2Wear Ocean Fabrics was sourced out of the coastal and water regions of a little island near Shanghai. In collaboration with the regional government, Waste2Wear constructed a business model permitting local fishermen to make money by recovering plastics in the sea. In accordance with Waste2Wear, fishermen are collected over three tons of waste from the sea weekly.

Waste2Wear is not the first thing to explore applying blockchain technology for environmental purposes. On Sept. 4, Germany’s Free Democratic Party suggested paying crypto to anybody who removes carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the air.

Cryptocurrency and illegal drugs market: Will Bitcoin take the place of cash?

Cryptocurrency and illegal drugs market: Will Bitcoin take the place of cash?

U.S. government clamps down

The critical moment when the U.S. had to take decisive action against illegal drugs being bought with cryptocurrency occurred in 2013 when FBI agents hurried to the San Francisco Public Library to detain Ross Ulbricht, a guy who played a fundamental part in the digitalization of the global drug trade.

Running under the pseudonym “Dread Pirate Roberts,” Ulbricht was the mastermind behind the Silk Road — an anonymous, Amazon-like marketplace located on the darknet — that allow users buy and sell anything, irrespective of legality.  Even though the website recorded weapons, stolen credit card information in addition to legal goods, illegal drugs were undoubtedly the most frequently encountered listing. The Silk Road initiated using Tor, the system software used to get the darknet, and Bitcoin (BTC) escrow to hide customer and vendor identities and their action.

Though U.S. representatives had expected that the seizure of the Silk Road would suppress darknet action, the news website DeepDotWeb stated the bust has been “the best advertising the darknet markets could have hoped for,” using quite a few copycat websites popping up in following decades.

In 2014, the FBI captured 27 darknet websites during Operation Onymous, a concerted effort between the FBI and the European Union Intelligence Agency Europol to stamp out illegal markets.

In 2019, darknet markets are still promoting illegal drugs which could be bought with cryptocurrency, but U.S. law enforcement proceeds to have a hardline strategy, arresting a few in California on Aug. 6 to selling medications on the darknet in exchange for Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

Recent events appear to verify the company policy of U.S. government officials.

Over two weeks ago, the Department of the Treasury added multiple crypto addresses to its Specially Designated Nationals, or SDN, list under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act.

The addresses are supposedly connected with three Chinese taxpayers, all of whom are busy Bitcoin users. 1 Litecoin (LTC) speech was also contained in the listing.

The Kingpin Act functions to clamp down on trades between global drug traffickers trying to inject medication in the U.S. and prohibit transactions between these traffickers and U.S. entities. The action also gives the authorities the capacity to organize and explore foreign traffickers, the names of whom have been attracted to the attention of the president, who finally decides whether to impose sanctions.

Such legislative measures are established in reaction to the condition of illegal drug consumption in the U.S.: The nation is presently in the throes of a severe opioid outbreak, as an American dies every 16 minutes from an opioid overdose.

The White House issued 2 advisories representing its concern that fentanyl, alongside other synthetic opioids, are being bought using cryptocurrencies.

The advisories names the cryptocurrencies most used by those selling illegal drugs:

“Individuals located in the United States search for fentanyl and identify potential websites that may provide the opportunity to purchase illicit drugs online. Foreign representatives will instruct the U.S.-based individual to send payments through CVC, such as Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, or Monero.”

Within a way to slow down on the Internet drug commerce, the advisories encouraged financial institutions to come forward with any questionable user information, including:

“Virtual currency wallet addresses, account information, transaction details (including […] hash), relevant transaction history, available login information (including IP addresses), information obtained from the analysis of the customer’s public online profile and communications, mobile device information.”

Where are drugs bought with crypto?

For the most part, “medication sales on the darknet” is a term which is now synonymous with “drugs bought with cryptocurrencies.” The darknet is part of the net that’s available via technical network applications which permit users to navigate anonymously while their action is mostly untraceable.

Given the greater surveillance powers of authorities — many especially from the U.S. after 9/11 — that the darknet offers an environment that’s attractive, rewarding and, for the most part, secure for prohibited drug traffickers.

Professor Talis Putnins, co-author of an influential University of Technology Sydney report about cryptocurrency and prohibited drugs:

“Cryptocurrencies have fundamentally transformed the way illegal drugs are bought and sold, shifting much of the activity from a cash-based, physical ‘on the street’ market to an online marketplace.The online illegal drugs trade needed two fundamental things to take off. One is an anonymous communications platform, which was provided by the darknet and underpinned by TOR (an anonymous communications protocol). And the second important piece was an anonymous or private way of making digital payments that was difficult to trace by authorities. That is the role that cryptocurrencies have played. Thus, they are an integral part of the online drugs trade.”

On the other hand, Europol spokesperson Jan Op Gen Oorth voiced the opinion that the translucent nature of cryptocurrency renders transactions easier to follow compared to those involving cash:

“Payment for drugs using cryptocurrencies naturally makes more sense when compared to, for example, bank transfers. On the other hand, most cryptocurrency transactions are far better traceable due to their inherently transparent nature than cash.”

How widespread is cryptocurrency in illegal drug sales?

Because cryptocurrency is harder to trace, it’s not easy to gauge the precise market share of cryptocurrencies in illegal commerce.

The University of Technology Sydney report estimates that around 46% of prohibited activity annually is associated with Bitcoin.

Although it’s reasonable to remember that this figure doesn’t represent illegal drug sales alone, the researchers discovered that Bitcoin is the most widely used cryptocurrency for buying drugs on the darknet. Professor Talis Putnins, warned that even though using bitcoin for prohibited purposes has improved, lawful trades using the cryptocurrency will also be rising:

“What our research shows is that the dollar value of illegal activity in Bitcoin has continued to rise, as has the number of Bitcoin users involved in illegal activity, those growth rates have recently been outpaced by the strong growth in legal users, largely speculators. As a result, the percentages or shares of Bitcoin activity that is involved in illegal activity have fallen in recent years. Therefore, while the online black market has continued to grow, cryptocurrencies are increasingly being used for legitimate reasons.”

The 2019 Global Medicine Survey notes an all-time high 27.1p% of surveyed medication users got prohibited chemicals for the first time through the darknet in the previous 12 months, up from 19.9% the preceding year, which highlights that the tendency of the increasing digitalization of drug commerce.

The report says that within the previous six decades, there’s been a year-on-year gain in the proportion of surveyed participants getting drugs on the darknet. Additionally, 30% of respondents asserted that the selection of medications they use has improved, and a further 5% reported they had never tried drugs prior to obtaining them through the darknet.

The gain in both darknet earnings and broader medication use among respondents suggests that the digitalization of the drug trade is earning narcotics more reachable — due to anonymous purchasing and selling in addition to untraceable payments with cryptocurrency.

Moreover, according to the Global Drugs Survey, the ready availability of drugs on the darknet that are purchasable using cryptocurrency has increased their use and made them more attractive to people contemplating first-time use:

“Over one quarter of participants reporting darknet market use in the last 12 months began their use in the year 2018: that is, they were new recruits to the darknet. These data confirm that darknet markets continue to attract new participants and that they are an increasingly significant players in the sale of distribution of illicit and prescription medication.”

How does cryptocurrency compare to other payment methods for drugs?

Before cryptocurrencies, fiat cash was mostly thought of as the most anonymous way of carrying out illegal transactions, because of the fact it is largely untraceable. But even as Bitcoin’s popularity grows, cash still appears to keep its central role in facilitating offender profits.

Europol’s report notes that this occurs for a number of reasons. The first one is that hard cash is a tried-and-tested payment system that’s been utilized for centuries. Consequently, well-established procedures for laundering funds exist. Another benefit that traditional cash has over its electronic counterparts is the fact it is equally as untraceable (with the exclusion of consecutive numbers) and anonymous while being simpler to swap.

Most cryptocurrency exchanges and online wallet providers need at least some fundamental Know Your Client, or KYC, information to be able to validate the identities of the clients.

The Europol report says that exchanges are normally very cooperative in regards to identifying poor actors. Cash, on the other hand, can be exchanged between strangers and laundered in numerous ways without advice about these involved being forced public.

A Ciphertrace report discovered that, despite the fact that there are many different cryptocurrencies utilized on the black markets, Bitcoin is still the coin of selection at 76% of trades.

That is unsurprising, considering Bitcoin is the very well-known and broadly approved cryptocurrency: Litecoin is reported to be used in only 7% of cases, whilst solitude coins like Monero (XMR) are just cited as being used in 4 % of trades, in spite of popular belief.

How have cryptocurrencies changed the purchase of illegal drugs?

Why use cryptocurrency to buy illegal drugs?

Cryptocurrencies can provide fast and anonymous digital payment.

Before cryptocurrency existed, such transactions were carried offline, and the payment involved a physical transport of cash.

Of course, these previous payment methods limited the availability of illegal drugs because there always was a risk to be intercepted by governments.

The co-founder and principal scientist in blockchain analytics company Elliptic, Tom Robinson, said that the advantages of anonymity for both drug traders can be restricted by the capability to cash out their crypto gains:

“The challenge for drugs traffickers is how to cash-out the proceeds of their sales. Most cryptocurrency exchanges make use of cryptocurrency transaction monitoring tools such as Elliptic’s, which use blockchain analysis to determine whether funds are coming from sources such as dark markets.”

“One trend we are seeing is the increased acceptance of privacy coins such as Monero on dark markets where narcotics are available to purchase. Most new markets now accept Monero payments, typically alongside Bitcoin. This represents a threat to law enforcement’s ability to trace this kind of activity and bring those involved to justice.”

Robinson stated that the usage of Monero is rising:

“First, what has become apparent and is slightly unexpected is that the emergence of privacy coins has not overly impacted the widespread use of the less anonymous Bitcoin in illegal trade. The privacy coins offer many advantages to criminals, but it seems the ‘first mover advantage’ of Bitcoin makes it difficult to replace now that its adoption in dark markets has become widespread. Put simply, it is not the best cryptocurrency to use for crime, but nevertheless remains the most popular.”

Are cryptocurrencies the best payment option for drug dealers?

Anonymity is a basic characteristic of cryptocurrencies which has been both criticized and celebrated in equivalent amount ever since their creation. But people buying and selling medication using cryptocurrency are not as straightforward as they may wish.

The blockchain records are public and are accessible by anyone who wishes to do so. Blockchains record all transactions made between all addresses. Until the consumer launders the trade by means of a set of intermediary accounts, the destination and origin of the trade can readily be discovered.

According to professor Robinson, the addresses can be traced back to public documents.

“Cryptocurrencies are far less anonymous and less private than many people in the drug trade might hope. The analytical methods that we have developed for the Bitcoin blockchain allow a lot of the illegal activity to be identified and monitored. Continued raids and crackdowns by law enforcement agencies also speak to the ability of authorities to track at least some of the illegal activity in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.”

Even though it might enable trades to have a higher degree of anonymity than traditional wire transfers, cashing out crypto which has been formerly used for prohibited purposes remains a complex and dangerous process.

For all these reasons, cryptocurrency is not likely to fully replace fiat as the choice of cash for prohibited trades anytime soon.

While the opinion that cryptocurrency is only a payment method like any other can be somehow correct, its anonymity making it increasingly appealing to folks seeking to purchase or sell illegal drugs.

However, as technology improvements and anonymous cryptocurrencies become more broadly accepted, cryptocurrencies have the capability to influence the structure and growth of black markets along with the illegal drug trade.

Everyone talks about crypto, while regulations fall behind

Everyone talks about crypto, while regulations fall behind

Crypto-specific jobs and standard finance businesses likewise have been ramping up their respective offerings to cater to the requirements of the particular client base.

Though a great deal of effort was put into building protected infrastructure and solutions to financial institutions to go into the cryptocurrency area, cloudy regulations remain a substantial barrier to institutional adoption.

Rising Interest in Institutional Cryptocurrency Investment

Last year has been marked by the entry of professional associations and traders to cryptocurrency, driven by the potential for value appreciation and portfolio diversification.

Boris Bohrer-Bilowitzki, the head of sales of digital assets custody and portfolio management firm Copper Technologies, sees institutional investors going into the cryptocurrency area: “From very public entrances like U.S. pensions and university endowments to European pension funds, family offices from all over the world, and sophisticated fund structures and strategies. There is also an increasing number of U.S. high-frequency trading getting into this space.

“If you’re technologically minded, there has never been a better time to be in finance. All the rules are being re-written as people begin to understand the potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) for any asset class, traditional or digital.”

For Scott Freeman, co-founder and spouse of JST Capital, an electronic assets financial services company serving institutional investors, demand has accelerated over the last months:

“Whereas in the past many investors did not want to be the first to enter this space, we’ve now seen first movers enter the space, and now others are willing to invest in crypto as a diversified, uncorrelated investment. The market continues to evolve quickly. Clients are more comfortable than they were three months ago and will be more comfortable with investing in digital assets three months from now.”

JST Capital was set in January 2018 to deliver conventional and sophisticated financial instruments and options for banks, brokers and institutional investors coping with this fast-growing asset class.

Asian Markets: A Increase in Institutional Cryptocurrency Interest

According to Freeman, JST Capital has witnessed traction in both the U.S. and Asia, just two markets the company has operations inside. He explained the trend has been driven with these markets’ respective dynamic blockchain startup ecosystems and overall greater awareness of their technology.

“The Asian market tends to be more driven by retail investors, though we have seen an increase in institutional interest from Hong Kong in particular. We see a lot of blockchain innovation still coming out of Silicon Valley but more recently we’ve seen a lot of projects out of Asia gaining traction.”

Alongside JST Capital, Switzerland’s fintech startup Crypto Finance continues to be trying to serve Asian institutional investors attempting to acquire exposure to cryptocurrency.

On September 10, 2019, the business declared the growth of its professional electronic assets services offering into the Asia-Pacific area “a dynamic, vital region that plays a big role in both the traditional financial sector and the emerging digital assets markets.”

Crypto Finance provides controlled asset management, brokerage and storage options in electronic assets for top European and Korean banks and financial institutions, the business claims.

Need for Institutional Cryptocurrency Custodial and Trading Services

Until recently, one of the primary hurdles to institutional adoption of cryptocurrency has been custody, or the capability of financial institutions to maintain and secure cryptocurrencies on behalf of trading clients.

Without doubt, there are great reasons to worry, given the cyber threat connected with crypto-assets and their history of hacks and fraud.

Copper Technologies was founded in January 2018 to address only that. At the moment, services accessible only failed to fulfil customers’ safety criteria.

Copper’s standalone cryptocurrency custody program, Copper Unlimited, has many built-in safeguards and utilizes techniques like key sharding to guarantee maximum safety. Essential sharding is a procedure where a private key is divided into different bits, or shards, then dispersed between reputable third parties.

Copper also employs an Optical Air-Gap because of its cold storage, which offers an extra layer of security which prevents offline machines from becoming infected with malware.

Though safety is paramount for crypto resources, there is also a demand for rapid access. For this end, Copper Platform, a settlement and trade infrastructure firm, has been launched in June 2019. It joins custody with numerous exchanges such as Bitfinex, BitMEX and Binance, in addition to OTC desks.

Bohrer-Bilowitzki from Copper Technologies said:

“Having your private key locked in a mountain vault is all well and good, but it doesn’t help you execute a variety of trading strategies,” Bohrer-Bilowitzki said. “The safeguarding and trading infrastructure was developed specifically to marry the worlds of ‘hodlers’ and those that need constant, quick and secure access for trading purposes.”

As the business evolves, better alternatives will emerge.

Scott Freeman, co-founder and partner of JST Capital:

“The market is more advanced than it was six months ago and we expect to see better and more robust solutions to solve this issue over the next three to six months,” Freeman said. “There is a tremendous amount of energy going into improving custody solutions to match the needs of institutional investors, as well as the accountants and auditors who need to make sure the solutions are compliant with current standards of financial reporting.”

A Booming Institutional Cryptocurrency Industry

JST Capital, Copper and Crypto Finance are a portion of this expanding list of businesses targeting institutional gamers.

In reality, because 2018, the institutional-grade trading of cryptocurrencies and tailored custody solutions have escalated in number, together with recognized crypto startups such as the trades Coinbase, Gemini and itBit, in addition to blockchain security firm BitGo, all launch services.

Coinbase introduced its own suite of institutional products in May 2018, which it has since enlarged through tactical moves such as getting Xapo’s institutional companies in August 2019. That’s how it became the world’s biggest crypto custodian, with more than $7 billion in assets under custody. It claims to serve over 120 customers in 14 distinct nations.

BitGo obtained the green light out of South Dakota labs in September 2018 to produce and run a cryptocurrency custody support. In May 2019, the business expanded its institutional offering together with the launching of a new clearing and settlement system running off-chain.

However, this booming sector is going to get much more crowded, as conventional players have started entering the distance.

In October 2018, American multinational financial services company Fidelity Investments established an electronic advantage arm to manage crypto custody services in house and execute transactions for investors like hedge funds and family offices.

Legacy Trust, a conventional retirement and household citizenship founded in 1992, lately pivoted to function the cryptocurrency community, starting exactly what it claims is the world’s first voluntary retirement plan encouraging electronic resources on September 4, 2019.

Regulatory Landscape Requires Improvement

Institutionalization is a crucial next step for cryptocurrency to attain mainstream worldwide approval, and while startups and conventional financial institutions alike are building out the infrastructure and resources required for professional dealers and institutional customers to engage, an integral challenge hampering institutional adoption stays: regulation.

JST Capital’s Freeman said:

“Institutional Investors are eager for more regulatory clarity, particularly in the U.S. Crypto has not been around for very long and there are also some investors who simply want to see crypto-assets continue to be adopted and traded.”

Copper’s Bohrer-Bilowitzki noted that progress was made concerning cryptocurrency regulation within the last year. Undeniably, Facebook’s contentious Libra project has included a feeling of urgency into the job, but there is still a very long way to go.

“I think the technology is there, but what is still lacking is an understanding at a regulatory/industry level about what custody means for digital assets,” Bohrer-Bilowitzki said. “The regulatory landscape still needs to improve. The lack of agreement among national/regional bodies is still discouraging to some. But this too is changing rapidly for the better.”