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Bitcoin Slide Continues, Falls Below $7000

February 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Digital currency bitcoin BTC=BTSP dropped more than 15 percent on Monday to a nearly three-month low amid a slew of concerns ranging from a global regulatory clampdown to a ban on using credit cards to buy bitcoin by British and U.S. banks.

On the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, Bitcoin fell as low as $6,853.53 in early afternoon trading in New York. That marked a fall of more than half from a peak of almost $20,000 hit in December.

Bitcoin has fallen in six of the last eight trading session.

The currency, which surged more than 1,300 percent last year, has lost about half its value so far in 2018, as more governments and banks signal their intention for a regulatory crackdown. Last week bitcoin suffered its worst weekly performance since 2013.

“We envisage this decline will continue, setting the next technical level at $5,000 a coin,” said Miles Eakers, chief market analyst at Centtrip, which specializes in foreign exchange, worldwide payments and treasury management.

Other cryptocurrencies also suffered double-digit declines on Monday, according to industry tracker Coinmarketcap.com.

Ethereum, the second largest virtual currency, was last down nearly 19 percent at $703.40, while Ripple, the third largest, last traded at 71 cents, down 14.1 percent.

British bank Lloyds Banking Group said on Sunday it was banning customers from using credit cards to buy bitcoin. It joined U.S. banking giants JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup, which announced similar bans on concerns the lenders could be held liable when the volatile currencies plunge in value.

On Monday, India said it was planning steps to make virtual currencies illegal within its payments system and to regulate the trading of crypto assets.

“Cryptocurrencies have seriously fallen out of favor since the middle of December, and constant negative news flow and speculation of increased regulation has exacerbated the move lower,” Craig Erlam, an analyst at currency broker Oanda, said.

The cryptocurrency sector has also attracted the spotlight after news of hacks and scams, including the roughly 58 billion yen ($532.9 million) stolen in digital money from Tokyo-based cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck two weeks ago.

‘Jackpotting’ ATM Cash Theft Hits America

January 30, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

ATM makers are sounding the alarm that a scheme in which cyberthieves force machines to spit out cash like a winning slot machine has arrived in the United States.

It’s not the first time we’ve heard of hackers making ATMs spew out cash like a casino slot machine. We actually saw so-called “jackpotting” demonstrated last summer at the Black Hat security conference and it’s reportedly been a real threat for banks in Europe and Asia for a couple years now.

But a Saturday report from security expert Brian Krebs marks the stateside arrival of the crime, in which thieves install malicious software and/or hardware at ATMs that forces the release of the cash. Up until now, such attacks “have somehow eluded US ATM operators,” Krebs said.

“But all that changed this week after the U.S. Secret Service quietly began warning financial institutions that jackpotting attacks have now been spotted targeting cash machines here in the United States,” Krebs wrote.

On his website, Krebs on Security, he reported that the US Secret Service has warned financial institutions about the attacks in the past few days and notes that ATM maker NCR sent an alert about the threat to its customers.

Reuters later confirmed alerts were sent out to customers of both NCR and ATM maker Diebold Nixdorf, noting that neither company identified any victims or how much money has been lost. Both companies confirmed to CNET that those alerts went out offering customers guidance on how to protect their machines. The Diebold alert sent to its customers on Friday notes that the attacks were first reported in Mexico and target one of its out-of-production models.

The Secret Service notice, according to Krebs, said hackers have targeted stand-alone ATMs “routinely located in pharmacies, big-box retailers, and drive-thru ATMs.”

The Department of Justice didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment about the Secret Service’s warnings.

 

IBM And Maersk Joing Forces For Blockchain Venture

January 26, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

IBM and Danish transport and logistics company Maersk are teaming up to create an as-yet-unnamed Blockchain-based shipping and supply chain company.

The move will commercialize Blockchain for all aspects of the global supply chain system, from shipping to ports, and banks to customs offices. Blockchain technology a provide control for the logistics industry since it can replace tedious and insecure paperwork with secure digital records that are also transparent.

Maersk’s chief commercial officer Vincent Clerc, who will serve as chairman of the newly formed board for the joint venture, said: “The potential from offering a neutral, open digital platform for safe and easy ways of exchanging information is huge, and all players across the supply chain stand to benefit.”

The company had promised to make delivery of the new project by the end of last year. The offering is the fulfilment of a year’s worth of planning by both companies, each of whom have invested in Blockchain in various other ways. The joint venture is hoping to start offering their software solutions by Q3 2018.

The global shipping industry has seen little innovation since the container was invented in the 1950s, and cross-border trade still leaves an enormous trail of paperwork and bureaucracy.

The success of the platform, which will be made available to the ocean shipping industry around mid-2018, depends on whether Maersk and IBM can convince shippers, freight forwarders, ocean carriers, ports and customs authorities to sign up.

It will help manage and track tens of millions of shipping containers globally by digitizing the supply chain process from end to end, the companies said.

A shipment of refrigerated goods from East Africa to Europe can go through nearly 30 people and organizations and involve more than 200 different communications, according to Maersk. Documentation and bureaucracy can be as much as a fifth of the total cost of moving a container.

Customs and port authorities in the United States, Singapore, the Netherlands and China’s Guangdong province have shown interest in using the platform, and some other shipping companies are also interested, he said.

The move could also improve distribution security. A cyber-attack last year caused some of the biggest-ever disruptions to global shipping, displaying the vulnerability of outdated communication systems. Maersk’s container and port operations were hit for weeks, as it struggled to bring its IT systems including some 1500 applications back online.

Courtesy-Fud

Could Cyber Attacks On Nuclear Facilities Lead To Disasters

January 22, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nuclear weapons systems are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks, a report has warned, which could lead to the ‘inadvertent’ nuclear launches.

The ‘Cybersecurity of Nuclear Weapons Systems: Threats, Vulnerabilities and Consequences’ report, put together by think-tank Chatham House, warns that the likelihood of attempted cyber attacks on nuclear weapons systems is “relatively high and increasing”, but notes that the potentially-devastating problem has so-far received “scant attention”.

The think-tank this partly on the failure to keep up with fast-moving advances, lack of skilled staff and the slowness of institutional change. 

“Nuclear weapons systems were developed before the advancement of computer technology and little consideration was given to potential cyber vulnerabilities. As a result, the current nuclear strategy often overlooks the widespread use of digital technology in nuclear systems,” the study reads.

“The likelihood of attempted cyber-attacks on nuclear weapons systems is relatively high and increasing from advanced persistent threats from states and non-state groups.”

As an example of what is possible, Chatham House points to a Washington Post report published in March 2017 that said the US had infiltrated parts of North Korea’s missile systems and caused test failures. 

“Recent cases of cyber attacks indicate that nuclear weapons systems could also be subject to interference, hacking and sabotage through the use of malware or viruses, which could infect digital components of a system at any time,” the research paper said.

“At times of heightened tension, cyber attacks on nuclear weapons systems could cause an escalation, which results in their use. Inadvertent nuclear launches could stem from an unwitting reliance on false information and data.”

Commenting on the report, Javvad Malik, security advocate at AlienVault, said: “There are many risks with connecting legacy systems, we’ve seen in the past years an increase in the attempts to attack critical national infrastructure such as electricity. Going after connected weaponry is the next step, be it for espionage purposes, or something more sinister.

“Owing to the legacy infrastructure, rapid patches, or constant monitoring is not always feasible, therefore, it is in the best interests to keep such systems as segregated as possible to minimise the risk of external actors being able to access.”

Courtesy-TheInq

Does CryptoCurrency Have Staying Power

January 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Cryptocurrency bitcoin has seen its value fall by 26 percent from in December 2017.

That comes as regulators in South Korea are threatening sanctions against cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.

The value of bitcoin fell below $14,000 today. That, according to Bloomberg, is compared to the $19,000 plus figure on December the 18th.

Many financial analysts see bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as bubbles which are ready to pop, leaving traders with a hole in their pocket. The South Korean moves follow concerns from other countries around the world, which wonder where the adoption of cryptocurrencies is going to end.

Meanwhile, according to CNBC, the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth described bitcoin as wild, uncontrollable and dangerous.

William Galvin said that investors in cryptocurrencies are playing with fire because of the way they can be manipulated. He said that the “wild” values showed how bitcoin is “entirely speculation”.

Courtesy-Fud

Bitcoin Hits Another Record High

December 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin sailed past another record of almost $18,000 on the Bitstamp exchange on Friday, up 9 percent on the day, as warnings grew over the risks of investing in the highly volatile and speculative instrument.

The cryptocurrency’s staggering recent price rises — more than 1,700 percent since the start of the year — have driven worries that the market is a bubble that could burst in spectacular fashion.

Bitcoin has climbed almost 80 percent so far in December alone, putting it on track for its best month in percentage terms since December 2013.

On Friday it reached as high as $17,900 BTC=BTSP on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange.

While bitcoin has added another fifth to its value since Monday, trading has been slightly calmer than the wild price swings the market has seen in recent weeks, with volatility lower since the launch of bitcoin futures from Cboe Global Markets on Sunday.

Market-watchers said bitcoin’s price was being lifted by the launch of rival CME Group’s bitcoin futures contracts on Sunday.

“The hope (is) that futures signal the unlocking of institutional money into the digital arena and (that there will be) a rapid demand increase and ratification of the technology and its principles,” said Charles Hayter, founder of industry website Cryptocompare.

But outside of the crypto market, worries continue to grow about the amount of money piling into the space.

A study by Anglia Ruskin University, Trinity College Dublin and Dublin City University released on Friday said bitcoin could pose a threat to the financial stability of traditional currencies and markets.

“Our evidence finds that the price of Bitcoin has been artificially inflated by speculative investment, putting it in a bubble,” said Larisa Yarovaya, one of the report’s authors and a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University.

“Although bitcoin is not regulated by governments, it could still have a knock-on effect on traditional markets due to the interconnectedness of cryptocurrency markets with other financial assets.”

Others, however, say bitcoin’s total market size — around $300 billion — mean the impact of any future price collapse would not be large enough to have a knock-on effect on financial stability.

The BBC reported late on Thursday that the head of Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority, Andrew Bailey, had warned that bitcoin buyers should be prepared for the possibility that they could “lose all their money”.

Outages on some of the world’s biggest exchanges this week, which left millions of investors unable to access their funds during periods when trading volumes are high, have also fueled concerns about the fragility of the market’s infrastructure.

EU Possibly To Regulate Bitcoin

December 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The European Union needs to consider regulating bitcoin, European Central Bank rate-setter Ewald Nowotny announced, citing the risk of money laundering.

The cryptocurrency has surged from $1,000 at the start of the year to above $16,000, and its futures jumped more than 20 percent to a high of $18,700 in their U.S. debut on Sunday night.

 The steep gains have prompted many to question its real value and ask whether a bubble has emerged, and central bankers are worried they will be blamed if the as yet unregulated market crashes.

“A particular aspect that needs to be discussed …is the question of how far the regulations on money laundering …are relevant here,” he told a news conference.

While even small lenders were subject to strict controls on money laundering, it made no sense that even large bitcoin transactions could proceed without similar checks, he said, though this was a matter for the European Union rather than the ECB.

The still relatively small scale of the market in relation to traditional currencies also meant the problem was not that it threatened the current monetary system, he said.

Although there was no solid data, Austria appeared to be attracting companies selling bitcoin because it was perceived to be relatively easy to get a license to operate there, Nowotny told reporters.

 “We now have indications that we here in Austria have a more lax, a simpler regulation than in Germany… and we therefore also see a trend that such granting (of licenses) is increasingly shifting to Austria. And we have absolutely no interest in that,” he said.

Austria should at least match German regulations, he said, adding: “Ultimately we must settle this at the European level.”

Is The Andromeda Botnet Network On The Ropes

December 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A Botnet -busting joint task force has taken down the two million device-strong malware-spreading Andromeda network.

Cybersecurity agents from a combination of the Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, the FBI, EuroJust and the Joint Cybercrime Action Task force, alongside help from a clutch of companies like Microsoft, moved to scupper what is thought to be the biggest botnet ever.

Using a technique called ‘sinkholing’, whereby domains carrying malware distributed by Andromeda were redirected to servers used to investigate the botnet, some 1,500 command and control domains were destabilised and traffic from two million infected devices worldwide were prevented from making contact with the control domains.

All this effort cut off the cyber criminals’ access to the infected devices that formed the botnet and resulted in knocking Andromeda offline.

The taskforce discovered Andromeda had a massive reach having spread across 223 countries including the UK, Belgium, Italy, Singapore and Australia.

The investigation led to the arrest of a person in Belarus and the effective end of the Andromeda botnet.

Andromeda is thought to have spawned out of the now out-of-operation Avalanche trojan speading malware network, and was used to distribute 80 different kinds of malware at a global scale.

Steven Wilson, the head of Europol’s European Cybercrime Centre, noted the Andromeda takedown is a good example of how law enforcement organisations and the private sector can work together to combat the ever growing presence of cyber threats.

“This is another example of international law enforcement working together with industry partners to tackle the most significant cyber criminals and the dedicated infrastructure they use to distribute malware on a global scale. The clear message is that public-private partnerships can impact these criminals and make the internet safer for all of us,” he said.

That’s all very well but if Brexit does indeed go ahead, such partnerships between the UK and European law enforcement could be stymied, despite Britain being keen to share intelligence after it leaves the EU.

Courtesy-TheInq

Kaspersky Issues New DDoS Warning

November 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Kaspersky has returned to its map of malware and reported that DDoS attacks are forever increasing and becoming more inventive.

The firm published its latest quarterly report into such attacks explaining that they are keeping it busy. It says that threats are maturing and spreading.

“In addition to the development of trends observed in previous reporting periods, such as botnets shifting from computers to other form factors, the preference for complex DDoS attacks instead of large-scale onslaughts, the increasing role of Linux botnets and so on, Q3 also saw an increase in the number of countries where resources are targeted, as well as a growing number of attacks on gaming and new financial services (such as ICOs),” explained the firm.

Kaspersky found that 98 countries were targeted by DDoS attacks in the last three months, an increase of 12 against the previous period. The UK proved to be a popular spot in which to keep a command server, as does Italy, while the UK is also the 5th most attacked geography.

What has really taken Kaspersky’s eye, however, is attacks on the entertainment business and gaming services.

“Entertainment and financial services – businesses that are critically dependent on their continuous availability to users – have always been a favorite target for DDoS attacks,” said Kirill Ilganaev, head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection at Kaspersky Lab.

“For them, the downtime caused by an attack can result not only in significant financial losses but also reputational risks that could result in an exodus of customers to competitors. It’s not surprising that gaming services with multi-million turnovers attract the attention of criminals and that new types of financial sites have come under attack.

“What is surprising, however, is that many companies still don’t pay enough attention to professional protection against DDoS attacks. The recommended approach for these companies is to delegate protection from DDoS attacks to a reliable supplier with deep knowledge of cyberthreats and the methods of combating them, and to reassign the IT resources that are freed up to the development of the business.”

Victims in the last quarter include The UK National Lottery and games out of Blizzard Entertainment. 

Courtesy-TheInq

Is Bitcoin’s Rising Value Finally Over?

November 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin fell below $7,000 on Friday to trade more than $1,000 down from an all-time high hit earlier in the week, as some traders dumped it for a clone called Bitcoin Cash, sending its value up around a third.

Bitcoin has been on a tear in recent months, with a vertiginous sevenfold increase in value since the start of the year that has led to many warnings the bitcoin market – now worth well over $100 billion – has become a bubble that is about to burst.

 It reached a record high of $7,888 around 1800 GMT on Wednesday after a software upgrade planned for next week that could have split the cryptocurrency in a so-called “fork” was suspended.

But it has quickly retreated from that peak, falling to as low as $6,718 around 1330 GMT on Friday. It later recovered a touch to trade around $6,880 by 1645 GMT, but that was still down almost 4 percent on the day.

“The market realized that the price rise was an over-reaching, so people started selling… (and) there are many long and short positions that amplify price movements.”

As bitcoin tumbled, Bitcoin Cash, which was generated from another software split on Aug.1, surged, trading up as much as 35 percent on the day to around $850, according to industry website Coinmarketcap.

Will Ransomware Reach Epidemic Levels In 2018

November 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Sophos expects that ransomware will become a fully fledged epidemic in 2018.

While 2017 has already seen some major outbreaks, Sophos believes that ransomware will continue to grow in 2018, affecting more companies and platforms. Cybercrooks, it said, are becoming more sophisticated.

Throughout 2017, there have been a string of global IT security crises, from WannaCry to NotPetya. According to Sophos, attackers have been able to perfect their ransomware delivery techniques to cause such outbreaks.

While most ransomware hits Windows users, the report found that other platforms aren’t immune. Attackers have also been targeting mobile devices, particularly Android.

Ransomware, the firm says, is a “vexing problem” for businesses. Generated in May 2017, WannaCry was the biggest ransomware to affect customers – beating previous leader Cerber, which appeared in early 2016.

WannaCry made up 45.3 per cent of the ransomware tracked by Sophas, with Cerber accounting for 44.2 per cent.

Dorka Palotay, a researcher at the firm, said cybercriminals will likely launch more complex ransomware attacks in the future.

“For the first time, we saw ransomware with worm-like characteristics, which contributed to the rapid expansion of WannaCry,” he said.

“This ransomware took advantage of an old Windows vulnerability to infect and spread to computers, making it hard to control,” he added.

“Even though WannaCry has tapered off and Sophos has defenses for it, we still see the threat because of its inherent nature to keep scanning and attacking computers.

“We’re expecting cyber criminals to build upon WannaCry and NotPetya and their ability to replicate, and this is already evident with Bad Rabbit ransomware, which shows many similarities to NotPetya.”

The report also explored the rise and fall of NotPetya, which made headlines in June 2017. Sophos said this attack was far less damaging than WannaCry, and it suspects cybercriminals were merely “experimenting”.

“NotPetya spiked fast and furiously before taking a nose dive, but did ultimately hurt businesses. This is because NotPetya permanently destroyed data on the computers it hit. Luckily, NotPetya stopped almost as fast as it started,” said Palotay. “

“We suspect the cybercriminals were experimenting or their goal was not ransomware, but something more destructive like a data wiper.

“Regardless of intention, Sophos strongly advises against paying for ransomware and recommends best practices instead, including backing up data.

Android ransomware is also on the rise, according to the research. The report has revealed that the number of attacks on users using Google’s mobile platform grew month-on-month during 2017.

The firm said that by the end of the year, its systems will have identified an estimated 10 million suspicious Android apps. In comparison, 8.5 million were processed in 2016.

Rowland Yu, a SophosLabs security researcher focusing on mobile malware, said: “In September alone, 30.37 per cent of malicious Android malware processed by SophosLabs was ransomware.

“One reason we believe ransomware on Android is taking off is because it’s an easy way for cybercriminals to make money instead of stealing contacts and SMS, popping ups ads or even bank phishing which requires sophisticated hacking techniques.

It’s important to note that Android ransomware is mainly discovered in non-Google Play markets – another reason for users to be very cautious about where and what kinds of apps they download.” 

Courtesy-TheInq

BP, Shell Promote Blockchain For Energy Trading

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A consortium including energy giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell will develop a blockchain-based digital platform for energy commodities trading expected to start by end-2018, the group said on Monday.

Other members of the consortium include Norwegian oil firm Statoil, trading houses Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria, and banks ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale.

Blockchain technology, which first emerged as the architecture underpinning cryptocurrency bitcoin, uses a shared database that updates itself in real-time and can process and settle transactions in minutes using computer algorithms, with no need for third-party verification.

Mercuria has been a vocal advocate of implementing blockchain technology to significantly cut costs in oil trading.

“Ideally, it would help to eliminate any confusion over ownership of a cargo and potentially help to make managing risk more exact if there are accurate timestamps to each part of the trade,” said Edward Bell, commodities analyst at Dubai-based lender Emirates NBD PJSC.

Similar efforts for an energy trading platform have failed to take off, Bell said, but added this latest bid with backing from BP and Shell and the banks, “may have more success than if it were an independent party trying to convince oil and gas companies to make use of it.”

The new venture is seeking regulatory approvals and would be run as an independent entity, the consortium said in a statement.

“The platform aims to reduce administrative operational risks and costs of physical energy trading, and improve the reliability and efficiency of back-end trading operations…,” the statement said.

JPMorgan Launches New Accounts Mobile App

October 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

In its first offering of online bank accounts, JPMorgan Chase & Co on Monday officially debuted a new smartphone app that it hopes will attract new depositors, many of whom are young and may live far from any of its branch offices.

The app, named Finn by Chase, allows people to use a phone to open a bank account, make deposits, issue checks, track spending and set up savings plans, bank officials told Reuters last week. Finn debit cards will come by mail for access to cash from 29,000 ATMs.

The bank is starting with an initial test of the app account for Apple phone users with ZIP codes in St. Louis, where Chase has no branches, which might influence the trial.

 The bank, the biggest in the United States, with $2.56 trillion in assets, plans to market Finn in other U.S. cities and for Android phones next year. Later this year it will offer mobile enrollment nationwide for its standard checking and savings accounts.

“Finn lets us reach new customers and new markets,” Thasunda Duckett, chief executive of Chase Consumer Banking, said in an interview. The app account, she said, “was built by millennials for millennials.”

Catering to them is seen as way to keep from losing business to big Internet and computer companies and financial rivals, such as Facebook Inc, Apple Inc and PayPal Holdings Inc.

At JPMorgan, the app could also show Chief Executive Jamie Dimon how he can take the bank’s consumer deposit business well beyond the 23 states where it has branches.

Dimon has repeatedly postponed his years-long dream to expand into new states by opening a cluster of branches to gather more customers. That would be expensive, would require approval of regulators and could be especially risky when people use branches less often.

JPMorgan is too big to win government approval to buy another bank to reach more depositors, Dimon has acknowledged.

Duckett’s team developed the Finn app after interviews with about 250 potential millennial customers since July 2016. It found that many yearn for a lower-stress way to control their spending than trying to set budgets that they often fail to obey.

The interviews led Chase to build the app with simple ways for people to sort their spending with emojis tagging what made them feel good or bad, as well as what was necessary or just desired.

For example, the bank found millennials generally do not want the app to display on the same screen as spending account balances that show how much money they have in their savings accounts, lest they spend that, too.

About two-thirds of Chase customers continue to visit branches at least once every three months. “This is for a different set of customers,” said Melissa Feldsher, head of Finn.

 Some of the features are similar to those that have been produced by fintech companies, such as Moven, which has supplied money management software for TD Bank to offer its depositors. But such efforts have not resulted in strictly online accounts of the scale that JPMorgan imagines.

Duckett said JPMorgan designed Finn from scratch, without relying on what fintech companies have created. “We always look at what is going on, but we lead with what customers were telling us,” Duckett said.

Bitcoin Breaks Another Record, Hits $6000

October 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin surged to a record high of more than $6,000 on Friday, breaking past its market capitalization to $100 billion at one point, as investors continued to bet on an asset that has a limited supply and has paved the way for a whole slew of crypto-currencies.

The original virtual currency has gained over 500 percent this year, more than any other tradable asset class. Bitcoin though is very volatile – posting gains and losses as high as 26 percent and 16 percent respectively on any given day.

 On Friday, bitcoin hit a record peak $6,000.10 on the BitStamp platform, and was last at $5,964.24, up 4.7 percent on the day.

Bitcoin is a digital currency that can either be held as an investment, or used as a foundation for future applications through the blockchain, its underlying technology. The blockchain is a digital ledger of transactions.

It is more scarce though than most people realize. The number of bitcoins in existence is not expected to exceed 21 million.

Analysts said it was a combination of factors that drove Friday’s surge in price.

Charles Hayter, co-founder of data analysis website Cryptocompare in London said hopes that China will soften its regulatory stance on crypto-currencies helped bitcoin’s cause.

“As China … fears fade, the price is unlocked and driven by demand and buyers entering the markets,” said Hayter.

Over the summer, China has banned the practice of raising capital through the sale of tokens to the public in what is known as initial coin offerings. It has also ordered the shutdown of digital currency exchanges.

But many in the market believe the Chinese ban is temporary.

“China would not want to be left out of the digital currency market nor the development of blockchain applications in general,” said Jason English, vice president of Protocol Marketing, at Sweetbridge, a global alliance in Zug, Switzerland that aims to use blockchain to create a liquid supply chain.

 “As much as 60 percent of the world’s bitcoin mining is happening in China, and therefore, many of the large … investments in ICO projects have also been coming from crypto-currency holders in China, whether directly or indirectly,” English added.

Sean Walsh, a partner at venture capital firm Redwood City, Ventures in Redwood City, California, also believes investors have been going back into bitcoin given the still uncertain global regulatory environment on crypto-currencies.

A big part of bitcoin’s recent surge was the ICO craze, which exploded this year. Bitcoins and ether, another digital currency, are used to purchase tokens for ICOs.

Venmo Payments Comes To Retailers This Week

October 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

PayPal Holdings Inc announced that more than two million U.S. retailers will be able to accept payments through its mobile app Venmo starting this week, seeking to broaden its reach with a brand that has been a hit with young people.

Venmo, which has been part of PayPal since 2013, is one of the most popular mobile applications to make person-to-person payments in the United States. It processed $8 billion (£6 billion) in payments in the second quarter of this year.

Venmo users will be able to use their app balance or linked cards and bank account to shop on the mobile sites of almost all merchants that accept payments with PayPal, including retailers such as Foot Locker, Lululemon Athletica Inc and Forever 21.

Paypal started slowly introducing the ability to pay select businesses with Venmo early last year.

“At Venmo from the very early days our vision was to always let you use it for whatever you want to buy,” Ben Mills, head of product, at Venmo, said in an interview.

The company will be charging merchants fees for processing Venmo payments, Mills said, adding that the service’s ease of use could help increase their sales, he added.

Over the coming months Venmo users will also be able to transfer money instantly from Venmo to their bank accounts for a $0.25 fee per transfer.

At the moment Venmo immediately alerts users that a money transfer is in progress, but takes time to shift funds between bank accounts.

San Jose, California-based PayPal has been expanding its services to gain advantage over rivals in the digital payments market, particularly in P2P payments, where competition has intensified.

This year a consortium of some of the largest banks in the United States launched Zelle, a network that allows their customers to send money to each other instantly on their smartphones.

PayPal also said that retail purchases using Venmo will be covered by its purchase protection scheme, where customers may get refunds if they do not receive a product or it is different than described.

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