Blockchain4Humanity Awards for Social Applications to be Unveiled at Labitconf Conference 2018

Blockchain4Humanity Awards for Social Applications to be Unveiled at Labitconf Conference 2018

               

Blockchain4Humanity, Blockchain4Goodrocks,

Bitcoin ONG Argentina, and RSK are teaming up to create a safe environment for projects to innovate and bring solutions that contribute to a positive change in the world. Social Impact projects restore trust in the Blockchain technology’s potential to significantly change the way we interact with each other and the world around us.

Blockchain4Humanity (B4H) strives for a world where the inequality gap is minimized, where business models bring positive change in people’s lives, and where an inclusive economy flourishes. Unfortunately, looking at the world as it is now, social impact projects are few and sporadic. Last year, the Blockchain4Humanity Awards were born at the renowned South-American Bitcoin Conference: Labitconf. Initially conceptualized by RSK and Bitcoin Argentina, it was decided to support the teams using Blockchain technology to shape a better world. b4H gives them the opportunity to accelerate their ideas and concepts, and bring us closer to this ideal world.

B4H seeks strong teams that can make good use of blockchain for social good, certain that the results could be groundbreaking. For example, the 2017 Blockchain4Humanity Awards unveiled the awesome work of EthicHub platform, which makes lending accessible to thousands of coffee producers while increasing returns to the lender. Modeling high social impact while offering an attractive return to the platform participants, EthicHub is an example of projects that b4H wishes to accelerate and support the mainstream adoption.

The whole b4H family is excited to receive applications and continuous to encourage great projects to come forward for the Blockchain4Humanity Awards, that will be presented by NGO Bitcoin Argentina and RSK in December 2018 at Labitconf Conference in Santiago de Chile.  After last year’s awards were released, the Blockchain4Humanity team, collaborators and partners made 2018 the year of defining and exploring all possibilities to create a decentralized accelerator that propels promising projects. Now with a strong network of partners, and the joining of Temco Labs as sponsors, the awards and the acceleration programs have enough fuel to start for this second edition.

Next wave of promising projects is coming as applications are now open via a simple online form at b4h.world until the 15th of November. Selected projects will be onboarded on the b4H Decentralized Altruistic Community (DAC) on the Giveth platform. The b4H DAC will ensure projects will be coached and mentored on all aspects that lead to the healthy delivery of a product.

Article Produced By
Bob Keith

Chronic crypto nut and freelance writer/editor for longer than I care to remember. Have finally found a home here at Crypto Disrupt.

https://cryptodisrupt.com/blockchain4humanity-awards-for-social-applications-to-be-unveiled-at-labitconf-conference-2018/

IBM Launches Blockchain Platform on Cloud Service in Melbourne

IBM Launches Blockchain Platform on Cloud Service in Melbourne

                

IBM has released its blockchain main net

out of its data center located in Melbourne, Australia. This will purportedly allow their customers to run their applications on the company's cloud, according to an article published on news outlet ZDNet on Feb 11. The IBM platform was built on Hyperledger Fabric. Hyperledger is a project that aims to improve cross-industry blockchain technologies that is hosted by the Linux Foundation.

A Sydney-based IBM data center is reportedly set to open at the end of March, joining the other centers in Tokyo, London, Dallas, São Paulo, and Toronto. The head of blockchain for IBM in Australia and New Zealand, Rupert Colchester, told ZDNet that a second center would make the technology more widely available and provide a redundancy. Additionally, with the establishment of physical infrastructure, customer data will not have to cross borders, and would provide security for regulated applications in government and financial services. Colchester said, “Customers who are deploying blockchain applications have reached a maturity of projects that requires the data to be stored in Australia."

Colchester added that blockchain technology is widely applied and is “pretty much active” across all industries in Australia. He said, “I do very few education sessions nowadays, but there is a lot of discussion whereby clients are trying to understand how best they can apply it to the business problems they have." In September of last year, Australian real estate major Vicinity announced it will trial a blockchain solution for its energy network. Through a partnership with Australian energy tech company Power Ledger, the trial became a part of Vicinity’s $75 million solar energy program in Castle Plaza — a mall located in Adelaide, South Australia.

IBM has been actively expanding its use of blockchain technology. On Jan 31, IBM completed a blockchain-based trial in which it shipped 108,000 mandarin oranges from China to Singapore. The technology purportedly reduced paperwork handling and costs for the shipment, On Feb. 8, IBM announced that a project using blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) to combat drought in the United States state of California is underway. IBM Research and sensor tech provider SweetSense partnered with the University of Colorado Boulder and the non-profit Freshwater Trust to use blockchain and IoT to manage the use of groundwater.

Article Produced By
Miranda Karanfili

Miranda is a journalist based out of New York City. She is a dedicated writer, passionate about storyelling and making voices heard through her writing. She has joined Cointelegraph as a News Editor.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/bitcoin-hovers-near-3-630-as-top-cryptos-see-minor-losses

Hyundai Commercial Partners With IBM to Accelerate Blockchain Development

Hyundai Commercial Partners With IBM to Accelerate Blockchain Development

            

Hyundai Commercial — a financial services subsidiary

of leading South Korean automobile manufacturer Hyundai — has announced a partnership with American tech giant IBM to modernize its business model using blockchain. The news was announced on Feb. 13 at IBM’s annual tech and business conference “IBM Think 2019” in San Francisco, California. Hyundai Commercial is reportedly “a corporate finance company that provides leasing and financial services for commercial vehicles and construction equipment.” The partnership with IBM will focus on using open source Hyperledger Fabric blockchain technology to create a new supply chain financing ecosystem for the Hyundai Commercial network.

Network participants — which include automobile dealers, distributors and manufacturers —  will have access to a real-time, shared view of all transactions on the blockchain, allowing for this data to be securely managed and efficiently distributed. The technology will also offer efficiency gains by automating hitherto manual processes. The announcement also reveals that a separate Hyundai financial services subsidiary, Hyundai Card, will be partnering with IBM to implement its machine learning technology to create an artificial intelligence-based chatbot for customer services.

As previously reported, IBM is fast developing its blockchain-based offerings — across financial services, supply chain, government, retail, digital rights management, healthcare and insurance. Recent projects include the use of blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) to combat drought in the state of California, as well as a $700 million deal with one of Europe’s largest banks, Banco Santander, to accelerate the Spanish bank’s use of blockchain technology.

As reported, Chung Dae-sun — the nephew of the CEOs of Hyundai Group and Hyundai Motors — founded HDAC, a Korean blockchain-based IoT platform and issuer of the Hyundai-DAC token (DAC), alongside a fintech and blockchain subsidiary HyundaiPay. Earlier this week, HyundaiPay signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote the growth of fintech startups in Busan, South Korea’s second most populous city.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/hyundai-commercial-partners-with-ibm-to-accelerate-blockchain-development

 

Top 10 Messenger App Telegram Plans Blockchain Platform Launch in March: Sources

Top 10 Messenger App Telegram Plans Blockchain Platform Launch in March: Sources

  

Global messaging app Telegram plans

to release the mainnet and token for its blockchain-based Telegram Open Network (TON) platform as early as March 2019. The news was revealed to Cointelegraph by a source close to Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov today, Jan. 23. Telegram — which reportedly counts 200+ million active users per month, placing it among the top ten most popular messaging apps worldwide — raised almost $1.7 billion in two private initial coin offering (ICO) rounds last year for both Telegram and its forthcoming platform TON.

Cointelegraph’s source has emphasized that Durov was reluctant to confirm a concrete date for TON's release and that the March estimate remains subject to change. According to a separate report from Russian business media outlet The Bell, Durov’s team has told investors that TON is 90 percent ready, but that delays are possible, due to the “innovative nature of the development.” As reported, details released so far have suggested that TON will aim to function as “new way of exchanging data,” and will be powered by the platform’s native cryptocurrency, dubbed “Gram.”

As reported in May, 2018, the staggering success of Telegram’s pre-sales prompted the company to subsequently decide to cancel a public ICO that had been slated for later in 2018. Despite rumors that the Russian billionaire and former owner of Chelsea FC Roman Abramovich backed the project, only two entrepreneurs — co-founder of payment service Qiwi, Sergei Solonin, and co-founder of dairy giant Wimm-Bill-Dann, David Yakobashvili — have publicly confirmed their investments to date.

Following news that TON was “70 percent ready” last October, the government of Iran stepped up its restrictions on the messaging app, declaring that any cooperation with the app to launch its Gram token would be considered an act against national security and a disruption to the national economy. Iran has enforced a spate of bans against Telegram since April 2018. The app has also notably been blocked in Russia — Durov’s birthplace — since April 2018, officially due to Durov’s refusal to share the app’s encryption keys with authorities in compliance with a local telecoms law. According to data at the time of the block, around 10 million of Telegram’s users are based in Russia.

Article Produced By
Marie Huillet

Marie Huillet is an independent filmmaker, with a background in journalism and publishing. Nomadic by nature, she’s lived in five different countries this decade. She’s fascinated by Blockchain technologies’ potential to reshape all aspects of our lives.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/top-10-messenger-app-telegram-plans-blockchain-platform-launch-in-march-sources

Facebook agrees to do more to tackle scam ads after celebrity defamation lawsuit

Facebook agrees to do more to tackle scam ads after celebrity defamation lawsuit

Facebook has agreed to plough more resource

into combating the use of its advertising platform by scammers, saying it will do more to tackle scam ads that use well-known public figures to try to trick consumers. It plans to launch a dedicated scam ad report button in the UK, slated to go live in around three months’ time, as well as set up a specialist, locally-based team to monitor ad reports, keep an eye on scammer trends and generally work on getting celebrity-exploiting scam ads taken down more quickly than its current AI-aided ad review systems have been doing.

The new measures were announced in a joint press conference with UK consumer advice personality, Martin Lewis, who launched a defamation lawsuit against Facebook in April, saying the social network giant had failed to stop scammers using his image on scores of ads that aimed to swindle consumers, thereby damaging his reputation.

Lewis filed suit after becoming frustrated by the scale of scam ads bearing his image and Facebook’s tepid response to the problem its platform has created — telling the Guardian last year: “What is particularly pernicious about Facebook is that it says the onus is on me, so I have spent time and effort and stress repeatedly to have them taken down.” He confirmed today that he’s dropped the lawsuit after Facebook agreed to make changes.

“There were over 1,000 on Facebook in a year. And the way that the company acted then wasn’t good enough, so I had to resort to [taking legal action],” he said during the press conference, adding that he had wanted to see “tangible real change to the number of scam ads on the platform”, so was happy to drop the lawsuit because he believes the new report button will do that. Facebook has also agreed to provide funding to help get a citizens scam advice service up and running in partnership with UK consumer advice charity, Citizens Advice. Lewis said he was delighted with that outcome.

The social network giant, which took in $13.73BN in revenue last quarter, said it will donate cash and Facebook ad credits to the value of £3 million over the next three years to help set up the new scam advice bureau within the charity. This will be called ‘Citizens Advice scams action project’ (aka Casa), and the pair said it will aim to provide information and support to consumers who are concerned they are being targeted by or have fallen victim to a scam.

Facebook’s support for Casa breaks down into £2.5M in cash over the next two years, and £500,000’s worth of ad credit coupons for ads on its own platform, which it said will be distributed in tranches over the next three years. There was little detail on exactly how Casa will operate at this nascent stage but given the ad credit donation its work will presumably include running scam awareness ads on Facebook — funded (initially) by Facebook itself. Ergo, part of the company’s donation will be ploughed straight back into its own ad business.

Pressed on whether its approach with an ad report button still puts too much onus on consumers to have to protect themselves from scams being spread on Facebook’s platform, its regional director for Northern Europe, Steve Hatch, claimed it does already take down “huge amounts of these ads” but admitted its ad review systems are “not perfect” — hence the company seeing value in introducing a button for direct user reports of dodgy ads.

For his part Lewis said he had never wanted to have to go to court but said his intention had rather been to draw attention to the problem and pressure Facebook to do more. He said he was therefore pleased it had agreed to do more to tackle scam ads. “This button is only in the UK. This is not Facebook worldwide. This is unique to the United Kingdom that has not been done anywhere else and it is a direct result of this scam ads campaign. And I’m actually very grateful to Steve and his team here in the UK for pushing this on what is normally a global organization that works in a global way,” he said.

Albeit, to be clear, Facebook is not accepting legal liability for scam ads. And there’s no suggestion that any existing victims of the scam ads which bore Lewis’ image are going to be in line for any direct compensation from Facebook for their losses. Asked directly about the compensation point, Hatch sidestepped the question, saying Facebook is focusing on what more it can do to stop scammers from defrauding people in the first place.

Also pressed on why it had taken a lawsuit by a celebrity consumer champion to get it to do more, he said: “This is an area we’ve focused on for a very, very long time. But what [Lewis] has really pushed us towards is this specific focus about the use of public images and celebrity.” While the new measures are UK only for now, Hatch suggested Facebook might look to expand the approach elsewhere if it proves successful.

“We’ve started in the UK,” he said in response to another question. “Like any system if we find it works — and we sincerely hope that it does, we think we’ve got the right amount of focus, we think we’ve got the right amount of investment behind it — it’s very imaginable that we would take this out to other markets. But what we want to make sure is we’re getting this right.”

He also said it would be important for Facebook to find the right partner to work with in other markets, as it’s doing with Citizens Advice in the UK. While Lewis sounded happy to end his publicity focused legal battle against Facebook, having won some tangible concessions from the company, he warned that unchecked scam ads persist on other platforms, and said he is “not ruling out another lawsuit if things don’t improve”– namechecking Google and Yahoo as two of the other platforms now in his sights.

“Over the last few weeks I have again been plagued by scam adverts. A few of them have been on Facebook and when we’ve told Facebook they’ve taken them down very quickly. I can’t expect more. I accept that the technology isn’t perfect. What I want is proactive response, good team set up and them being taken down quickly. But that’s not the case with Google,” he said, adding that the problem is even more difficult to combat where Google is concerned given it’s more difficult to know where the ads are being served, as they can be served across even more touchpoints.

“I believe they’re not even giving us a direct contact at the moment,” he added, discussing Google’s response to complaints his team has filed about scam ads bearing his image. “We’re just having to go through the normal reporting channels, that everything goes through, even though I’m a major target of scam ads. By the nature of what I do, by both being on television and the subjects that I talk about — and being relatively trusted on that subject — means that my click through rate, apparently, for scam ads is really good!” We reached out to Google and Yahoo for a response to Lewis’ comments. (Disclosure: TechCrunch’s parent, Verizon Media Group/Oath, is also the parent company of Yahoo.)

A Google spokesperson told us:

Because we want the ads people see on Google to be useful and relevant, we take immediate action to prevent fake and inappropriate ads. We have a tool where anyone can report these ads and these complaints are reviewed manually by our team. In 2017, we removed 3.2 billion bad ads and we’re constantly updating our policies as we see new threats emerge.

A Verizon Media spokesperson also sent us the following statement:

Deceptive and misleading ads are not acceptable, and we expect our partners to comply with all laws, regulations and our policies, which prohibit this activity. We block ads in violation of our policies, as well as bad actors who work to circumvent our human and automated controls. The landscape of bad actors is continually evolving and we are committed to evolve with it to help keep our platforms and users protected.

“The big problem that we face is that [online advertising] is a Wild West,” Lewis continued, saying the problems he’s faced extend to “many other online advertising tools”. “This is an absolute Wild West with people sitting all over the world, and with very little regulation, no criminal enforcement — because frankly the Met Police are not going to go to whatever these country these people are in and arrest them, and that’s the problem with online advertising. Hence why I’ve targeted the platform to say the only thing we can do… is deny them the oxygen of publicity and deny them access to the individuals.”

“I want online advertisers to see this as a warning shot across their bows,” he also said, calling on Google and the online advertising industry as a whole “to start to take responsibility”, adding: “Real people are seeing their livelihood taken away, their life savings taken away. People are losing money that they need to live on by irresponsible advertising protocols. It’s about time other firms stood up, took responsibility, improved their reporting protocols and started to give money to Citizens Advice scam action.

“Scam adverts make people distrust advertising. So this isn’t just an issue for the people who put the adverts out there but any company who does advertising in the UK legitimately, trying to get their message across, this is diluting what you are doing. So the advertising industry as a whole — not just the platforms — need to try and make sure this stops. Otherwise you’ll get close to the point where someone like me says never trust an advert online.” The issue of direct compensation for consumers scammed via online platforms is a matter for policy makers and regulators to work on, he added.

Article Produced By
Natasha Lomas

Writer

Natasha is a senior reporter for TechCrunch, joining September 2012, based in Europe. She joined TC after a stint reviewing smartphones for CNET UK and, prior to that, more than five years covering business technology for silicon.com (now folded into TechRepublic), where she focused on mobile and wireless, telecoms & networking, and IT skills issues. She has also freelanced for organisations including The Guardian and the BBC. Natasha holds a First Class degree in English from Cambridge University, and an MA in journalism from Goldsmiths College, University of London.

https://techcrunch.com/2019/01/23/facebook-agrees-to-do-more-to-tackle-scam-ads-after-celebrity-defamation-lawsuit/

From Tim Cook to Yuval Harari – Disrupting Data, Protecting Privacy, Building Blockchains and Hacking Humans

From Tim Cook to Yuval Harari – Disrupting Data, Protecting Privacy, Building Blockchains and Hacking Humans

In a recent Time article,

Apple CEO Tim Cook calls for legislation to prevent data breaches and irresponsible collection of user profiles. “I and others are calling on the U.S. Congress to pass comprehensive federal privacy legislation—a landmark package of reforms that protect and empower the consumer.”

In 2018, Cook laid out four principles to guide legislation. The principles presented to a global body of regulators included the right to have data minimized, the right to knowledge of data collected, the right to access data, and the right to collect and delete personal data.Still, he believes that laws alone will not ensure privacy rights are observed. He wants tools that can help protect consumers from the shadow economy where data is sold to data brokers without users’ consent.

Cook explains,

“Meaningful, comprehensive federal privacy legislation should not only aim to put consumers in control of their data, it should also shine a light on actors trafficking in your data behind the scenes. Some state laws are looking to accomplish just that, but right now there is no federal standard protecting Americans from these practices.”

“That’s why we believe the Federal Trade Commission should establish a data-broker clearinghouse, requiring all data brokers to register, enabling consumers to track the transactions that have bundled and sold their data from place to place, and giving users the power to delete their data on demand, freely, easily and online, once and for all.”  In 2018 Cook championed the same principles blockchain developers are prioritizing: efforts to build transparent, decentralized systems that give users greater control over their digital identities.

While Cook proposes the creation of a centralized body to tackle privacy issues on the internet, blockchain developers are working on decentralized projects to solve many of the same issues. But the approach is fundamentally different. Cook trusts that a new group of people can sort out privacy issues; blockchain developers put more faith in math and machines. They’re building automated systems that can operate in cryptographically secure environments to monitor and enforce agreements and data-access privileges.

Different blockchain technologies, both public and private, offer different solutions for various privacy issues.

You can check "Have I Been Pwned" to see if your data has ever been breached.

Privacy focused internet browser Brave, for example, is designed to protect consumer data. Brave works closely with blockchain identity startup Civic, using its verification services to protect users’ identities. Brave reports that it currently has 5.5 million monthly users that avoid data-harvesting intermediaries.

Projects such as Enigma, Dfinity, Ethereum and Tron are building scalable blockchain solutions to create a decentralized internet. The idea is to rethink how data is moving in and out of vast silos that are controlled by corporations and governments. By giving users control of their data, and not clearinghouses, blockchain developers are potentially averting what author and historian Yuval Harari believes is the most challenging dilemma of our lifetime.

Says Harari,

“There is a lot of talk about hacking computers and emails and bank accounts, but actually we are entering into the era of hacking humans. And I would say, the most important fact anybody who is alive today needs to know about in the 21st century, is that we are becoming hackable animals. This is the most important thing….

“It starts on the surface. And this is what we already see today. It starts by having corporations and governments amass enormous amounts of data about where we go and what we search online and what we buy, and things like that. But this is all surface, and outside: how I behave in the world. The big watershed, the big change will come once it starts penetrating inside, inside your body. Once you can start monitoring and surveilling what’s happening inside your body, inside your brain, then you can really hack human beings. And this – we’re very close to it.”

Harari says an external system can eventually learn to know people better than they know themselves. “It will never know you perfectly. There is nothing perfect in the world. There is no such thing as perfect knowledge. Amazon or the government will never know you 100%. But it doesn’t need to. It just needs to know you better than you know yourself. And this is not very difficult, because most people don’t know themselves very well.”

It could take decades before the first human being is potentially hacked. Until then, the focus remains on securing data and eliminating abuses by profit-driven business models. As people try different methods to solve a common problem, from the creation of more centralized bodies or clearing houses, to the proliferation of decentralized blockchains that are both public and private, several outcomes could emerge. And there is no certain way to predict the future. But one question is becoming strikingly clear and increasingly critical as engineers and entrepreneurs move forward to advance various technologies. Which one should we trust more – man or machine?

Article Produced By
The Daily Hodl Staff

https://dailyhodl.com/2019/01/19/from-tim-cook-to-yuval-harari-disrupting-data-protecting-privacy-building-blockchains-and-hacking-humans/

WordPress Partners with Google News to Launch Open Source Platform for Newsrooms

WordPress Partners with Google News to Launch Open Source Platform for Newsrooms

On January 14, 2019, WordPress announced the launch of Newspack by WordPress,

an Open Source Platform for Newsrooms which will begin operations in mid-2019 with backing from ConsenSys, Civil media and others.

Financial Backing

This new solution is in partnership with Google and the Google News Initiative who contributed $1.2 million to the cause. It is also being backed with financial contributions from The Lenfest Institute for Journalism ($400,000), ConsenSys, the venture studio backing Civil Media ($350,000), and The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation ($250,000). According to the statement, another $200,000 from an unnamed fifth source is expected to be given by the end of the month.

Economic Models

The main goal of Newspack is to create source publishing and revenue-platform for news publications. It is widely known in the publishing industry that maintaining an economically viable financial structure for newsrooms isn’t always easy and this new platform helps to bypass that problem. The new platform will also incorporate the best editorial practices from the industry. When Civil first launched their own platform, they spoke about how journalistic integrity is better preserved when the newsrooms are not at a loss for how to sustain themselves financially, and this comes into play here as well.

This sentiment was echoed by Kinsey Wilson, the president of WordPress.com, who said, “Local news organizations are struggling to find sustainable models for journalism — a crisis that has very real implications for democracy. We’re joining with industry leaders to bring technology, publishing and business expertise together in a single platform that can be shared by news organizations across the globe.” The platform will be launched formally in the middle of 2019 and will accept about a dozen news organizations, though there are plans to accept more by 2020.

More Details

Applications from potential charter newsrooms have already opened and close by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. For the developmental period, which will last till 2020, Automattic will fund the project, after which there will be “operating fee’s” of between $1,000 to $2,000 charged per month to participating newsrooms. Requirements for potential participants include a demonstration of either editorial and financial success in the past or a strong business plan, original content being produced and the meeting of the needs of a distinct geographic region or distinct subject area.

Article Produced By
Tokoni Uti

Tokoni Uti is a writer with several years of experience whose work has appeared in the Huffington Post, The Los Angele Free Press, The San Diego Free Press, Genvieve magazine and Blockchain Reporter. She holds a degree in accounting from Bowen University and lives in Lagos, Nigeria.

https://btcmanager.com/wordpress-partners-with-google-news-to-launch-open-source-platform-for-newsrooms/?

Why Employers Can’t Pay You in Cryptocurrency

Why Employers Can't Pay You in Cryptocurrency

With the help from recent news headlines

chronicling the substantial increase of some cryptocurrencies, more members of the public are discovering what people who’ve dealt with digital currencies like Bitcoin already knew. Although volatility is constant, it is possible to become wealthy with Bitcoin and similar non-physical forms of money. So you might be wondering, why isn’t it possible for your workplace to pay your wages in cryptocurrency? Some employers actually do – we’ll cover those later. But first, let’s discuss four barriers that make widespread adoption of that payment method difficult.

Some laws specify cash or check payments only

One of the main federal regulations that cover employee wages in the US is the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It stipulates that employers must meet at least some of their minimum-wage requirements by paying workers with cash or checks – as of now, Bitcoin payments don’t apply and the same is true for overtime compensation.

However, outside those federal requirements for minimum wage and overtime, employers and workers can agree on other forms of payment if desired. Employers could theoretically pay employees partially with cash or checks, then give them supplementary amounts made up of cryptocurrencies. The system isn’t so straightforward in certain states, though. For example, Delaware and Texas are two of several states where wages can only be comprised of US currency.

Cryptocurrencies may be deemed securities

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a statement about cryptocurrencies to remind people that investments associated with them can quickly cross into other geographical boundaries without owners’ knowledge, which increases the possible risk. Also, the SEC may ultimately decide some cryptocurrencies are designated as securities. In that case, employers would have to comply with additional laws for securities in addition to the wage-related rules mentioned above.

 Employers could feel wary

The rapid fluctuations in value associated with Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies may make employers balk at the idea of paying their workers through these non-traditional means. Similarly, they might feel that not enough merchants accept cryptocurrencies as payment yet,  even as the number grows.

However, a BitPay debit card allows people to convert amounts from their cryptocurrency wallets into dollars in minutes. People can then use the more widely accepted currency anywhere that accepts Visa. This capability takes care of the potential issue of someone having cryptocurrency but not being able to spend it. The card also offers a safeguard if cryptocurrency holders learn about market conditions that signal a likely, sudden drop in value. In such a scenario, people could quickly make conversions using the card to avoid holding onto large amounts of cryptocurrency that could lose substantial worth in a few days or less.

The tax implications vary by country

If an employer regularly hires remote workers who are legal residents in one country and pay taxes in other, the different ways countries view cryptocurrencies for tax purposes could also be a barrier to adoption. In Canada, for instance, the country views cryptocurrency earnings as barter transactions. Companies based in the US have to convert cryptocurrency values to dollar amounts for the IRS on the dates payments occur. Similarly, employees must report all earnings in dollars, even when earned as Bitcoins or another currency.

Depending on the respective countries, reporting cryptocurrency earnings for tax purposes could be a straightforward process. However, companies with large percentages of international workers may decide that figuring out the logistics requires too much time-consuming research. If that happens, workers who strongly desire cryptocurrency payments could offer to find out the details and report back to their employers.

Some companies do pay employees with cryptocurrency

Despite the challenges we’ve presented, pioneer companies do exist that pay their employees in cryptocurrencies. Notably, none of the businesses are within the US, so some of the issues you learned about above may not apply to them. Geographical differences aside, if a growing number of companies around the world conclude that cryptocurrency payments for employees make sense, it could encourage other entities to follow suit.

Starting in February, GMO Internet, a Japanese company, will give portions of employee salaries in Bitcoin.  Employees will be able to receive the equivalent of $890 per month in Bitcoins. A representative of the company said the move to offer Bitcoins as salary was intended to make the company at large more literate about how cryptocurrencies work. Another business to consider is Buffer, a company associated with social-media tools that save time and grow traffic. It pays one of its developers, who reside in South Africa, a portion of his salary in Bitcoins. In this case, the employee is a big believer in the potential of Bitcoins. As such, he wanted to receive five percent of his wages in the currency.

The man approached a payment associate that works with Buffer and began a dialogue, later completing research to find a company that specializes in payroll services related to cryptocurrencies. He’s a good example of an employee who was proactive and got positive results even though the company was not offering widespread cryptocurrency payments. If a business is already in the cryptocurrency market, they might even ask employees during the hiring process whether they’ll accept non-physical payments. That situation happened at Bitedge, a sports betting establishment based in Australia. The company’s web developers receive 100 percent of their income in Bitcoins.

The future is bright

If you’re eager to explore the possibility of getting paid in cryptocurrency, it’s crucial to be aware of the volatility associated with cryptocurrency values, as well as the possibility that employers may not be up to speed about digital forms of payment. They might require you to research the specifics and provide guidance. As cryptocurrencies become more prominent, finding ways to overcome these and other challenges get easier. You can strengthen your stance as an early, in-the-know adopter and get involved in what could eventually revolutionize the way employers give compensation.

Chuck Reynolds


Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

General Manager of BIS Wants To Prevent Crypto From Joining ‘Main Financial System’/More

General Manager of BIS Wants To Prevent Crypto From Joining ‘Main Financial System’

Augustín Carstens, the general manager of the Bank for International Settlements

(BIS), called Bitcoin a “combination of a bubble, a Ponzi scheme and an environmental disaster”  and asked central banks to more closely regulate cryptocurrencies during a speech at Goethe University on Feb. 6. BIS is known as the “bank for central banks,” for it only provides banking services to central banks and other international organizations. In August 2017, when Carstens was the head of the central Bank of Mexico, he argued that Bitcoin is not a currency but a commodity and warned against its potential use for cybercrime.

Carsten’s recent comments Tuesday morning come after both the traditional and crypto markets have been experiencing a large drop since Monday, Feb. 5. Also this week, several large banks, including Lloyds Banking Group and J.P. Morgan Chase, banned credit card purchases of cryptocurrencies. In Carsten’s opinion, the global interest in cryptocurrencies is just a “speculative mania” and thus strict regulation by

central banks is needed:

“If authorities do not act pre-emptively, cryptocurrencies could become more interconnected with the main financial system and become a threat to financial stability.”

Carsten considers it “alarming” that some banks are releasing Bitcoin ATMs, for he considers Bitcoin’s potential use for illegal transactions too high to allow the currency to be associated with mainstream

financial institutions:

“If the only ‘business case’ is use for illicit or illegal transactions, central banks cannot allow such tokens to rely on much of the same institutional infrastructure that serves the overall financial system and freeload on the trust that it provides.”

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Elliptic, a Bitcoin forensics company, released a report in late January that showed that less than one percent of all Bitcoin transactions represented money laundering.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

UAE Issues Warning On ICOs, Says Investors Should Assume Full Risk

A new document issued by the UAE Securities and Commodities

Authority (SCA) on Sunday, Feb. 4 warns investors about the risks of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs). In the document, the SCA emphasizes that investors involved in ICO fundraising campaigns have to assume all associated risks, given that digital token-based fundraising activities are not regulated by the UAE, and no legal protection can be provided in cases of fraud.

The major risks, as pointed out by the SCA, include high volatility of ICO tokens on secondary markets, misleading or unaudited details in ICO offerings, as well as common unawareness of potential costs and gains shared by most retail investors. Moreover, the SCA mentioned the risks of investing in foreign ICOs, commenting that it may be difficult to verify the proper regulatory compliance of such fundraisers and track the invested money as it leaves the UAE.

This is the second time that the country’s government warns its citizens about the risks of ICOs as back in Oct. 2017, Abu Dhabi's Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA) issued its guidelines on both ICOs and cryptocurrencies.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614

Bitcoin Not Giving a Big Enough Hit as ‘Gateway Drug’

Bitcoin Not Giving a Big Enough
Hit as ‘Gateway Drug’

Interest in Bitcoin hit its high point leading up to its own high of $20,000

in the middle of December last year. Interest peaked, not only in investing circles, but also in the mainstream as Bitcoin became the buzzword on everyone's lips. This adoption was championed by Bitcoin as it welcomed millions of users to the cryptocurrency community, as expressed in Coinbase’s figures alone. However, in this fast paced ecosystem, Bitcoin is not enough to hold the attention of this vastly diverse community. So, while it may be the ideal coin to get people hooked on cryptocurrencies, once they are in and settled, there is time to seek out a multitude of other coins that are better suited to their needs or beliefs.

The draw of big growth

Bitcoin’s biggest draw was the incredible returns it was offering as it rallied from 2,000 percent in 12 months. This phenomenal growth continued to increase interest in the currency, and that sparked even further growth in this massive hype cycle. It has been correlated before that searches for on Google for Bitcoin are closely related to its growth – a phenomenon known as the ‘Satoshi Cycle’. In the lead up to December’s high, the Satoshi Cycle was in full effect as Google trends showed some interesting figures.

Nicholas Colas, a pioneering Bitcoin analyst in the world of traditional investments, has taken this correlation very seriously and states that it plays a big part in his predictions. "Going into December, [searches] skyrocketed," Colas said on CNBC’s Fast Money. He added that the total number of Bitcoin Google searches worldwide

tripled that month:

"You saw that correlates to the total increased number of wallet growth, which doubled in December from approximately 5 percent to 10 percent as Bitcoin rallied.”

Already hooked

However, taking this metric into consideration, it could be argued that the new wave of adopters are now starting to disperse and find their way to other coins that are more suited to their individual needs. It makes sense that as people become educated and learn more about options in the crypto community that they begin to diversify and pick out their favourite coins to invest in. This often leads to money moving away from Bitcoin and into Altcoins. Bitcoin, being the dominant, most adopted and scene-leading coin, will continue to be the ‘gateway drug’ of the community, but it is finding it harder to hang on to total support and dominance. These sentiments are expressed by Colas,

who adds:

"Bitcoin is considered the gateway drug to all cryptos and it has acted exactly that way. Right now [the Google search data] is telling me there's not really that next leg up in Bitcoin because there's not that interest that leads to wallet growth that leads to price appreciation."

Proof?

Colas tries to justify this position by explaining how Ethereum has been the only coin that has fared relatively well in the top echelons of

the CoinMarket Cap:

“Some of the movement in Ethereum, which has traded much better [in January], is just money which is being pulled out of Bitcoin."

However, it is important to note that Bitcoin’s price fluctuations and movements are still heavily linked to all other coins. The saying that: ‘the tide moves all boats’ is still true in the cryptocurrency market with Bitcoin essentially being the tide. When Bitcoin is up, most coins follow, and when it is down, the same red graphs appear to follow suit across the board.

Chuck Reynolds

Marketing Dept
Contributor

Please click either Link to learn more about Bitcoin.
Interested or have Questions, Call Me, 559-474-4614