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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.

Cybercriminals Increasingly Focusing On Crytocurrencies

February 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin’s burgeoning popularity and the emergence of about 1,500 other digital coins or tokens have drawn more hackers into the red-hot cryptocurrency space, expanding opportunities for crime and fraud, cybersecurity firm Digital Shadows warned in a report on Thursday.

“Cybercriminals follow the money and right now they see in the unregulated and largely unsecure world of digital currencies a huge opportunity to target people, businesses and exchanges and make money quickly and easily,” said Rick Holland, vice president of strategy at Digital Shadows.

Digital currencies have quickly grown into a more mainstream asset class over the last two years as corporations and financial institutions have expanded use of the underlying blockchain technology.

With weekly launches of new alternative coins, or “altcoins,” cybercriminals have developed several schemes to defraud cryptocurrency holders. “Crypto jacking”, account takeovers, mining fraud, and scams against initial coin offerings (ICOs) have all grown more common, the report said.

In crypto jacking, cybercriminals secretly take over another computer user’s browser and use it to fraudulently mine or create cryptocurrencies, according to Digital Shadows’ report. Miners use special software to solve math problems and are issued a certain number of bitcoins or cryptocurrenices in exchange.

Crypto Jacker software allows users to clone popular websites and initiate spam campaigns.

The cybersecurity company said criminals also perpetrate mining fraud using botnets, collections of internet-connected devices, which may include PCs, servers, and mobile devices that are infected and controlled by a common type of malware. Users are often unaware a botnet has infected their system.

Botnets were first used to mine bitcoin in 2014. The process was too complex to be financially viable, but botnets have made a comeback because newer cryptocurrencies like Monero are easier to “mine”, Digital Shadows said.

The company said botnets could be rented for $40. It said one such offering had “flown off the shelves” with almost 2,000 rentals so far.

 Cybercriminals have also been drawn to the surging initial coin offering market, the report said. ICOs have raised roughly $5 billion for various startups and projects in 2017, according to data from Crunchbase. That is up exponentially from just $100 million in 2016.

Rather than selling scam tokens, criminals target legitimate currencies, either by stealing funds from ICOs or by manipulating prices through the type of “pump and dump” schemes often used with penny stocks and other less-liquid assets, the report said.

‘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.

 

Blockchain Spending Set To Double in 2018

January 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Spending by big businesses and other entities on blockchain networks is expected to increase to $2.1 billion this year, more than double what was spent on the distributed electronic ledger technology in 2017.

The U.S. will lead the world in blockchain investments, accounting for 40% of spending, followed by Western Europe, China and the Asia Pacific region (not including Japan), according to a new report from IDC.

By 2021, spending on blockchain is expected to reach $9.2 billion, the report said.

Last year was considered a year of experimentations for the still-evolving technology, when businesses came to see both its benefits and the challenges it still must overcome, according to IDC.

The industries expected to see the fastest growth in blockchain spending will be professional services, discrete manufacturing, and the resource industries. All are likely to show a better than 83% combined annual growth rate.

riven by banking industry adoption, financial services is expected to lead spending in the U.S. with $754 million this year.

Other industries, such as distribution and the services market, are expected to spend $510 million, with manufacturing and the resources sector spending as much as $410 million this year.

IT services and business services will account for about 75% of all blockchain spending throughout the year fairly. Blockchain platform software will be the largest category of spending outside of the services category and one of the fastest growing categories overall, along with security software.

“The U.S. will look to improve efficiencies in existing operations while promoting new applications in others, creating new streams of revenue and areas of spend,” Soohoo said in a statement. “With increased investments driven by pressures to keep up with the accelerating pace in innovation, the world will continue to look to the U.S. for guidance as other regions forge ahead in their own blockchain projects and initiatives.”

Blockchain lends itself to a number of common use cases in the financial services market, including regulatory compliance, cross-border payments & settlements, custody and asset tracking, and trade finance and post-trade/transaction settlements, according to IDC.

In the distribution and services sector and the manufacturing and resources sectors, the leading use cases include asset and goods management and lot lineage and provenance.

Cross-border payments & settlements will see the largest spending in 2018 ($242 million), followed by lot/lineage provenance ($202 million) and trade finance & post-trade/transaction settlements ($199 million). These three use cases will remain the largest in terms of overall spending in 2021 as well, according to the report.

“There are a multitude of potential new use cases for blockchain, as transactions and records are the lifeblood of just about every organization,” said Jessica Goepfert, IDC’s program director for Customer Insights and Analysis. “However, we are seeing initial blockchain spending [designed] to transform existing highly manual and inefficient processes such as cross-border payments, provenance and post transaction settlements. These are areas of existing pain for many firms, and thus blockchain presents an attractive value proposition.”

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

Brave Browser To Give Out $1M In Crytocurrency

January 19, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Browser maker Brave is doling out about $1 million worth of cryptocurrency-backed tokens it hopes will help develop a better online advertising system.

Brave developed a technology called the Basic Attention Token (BAT) designed to pay publishers, YouTube contributors and others who today rely on advertising revenue or subscription payments. For now, you can set up Brave to send BATs to websites you visit, but in the future, Brave plans to make BATs a currency for online ads.

To get the tokens, you have to be one of the 200,000 or so people who install or run the latest personal computer version of the browser and accept the grant of BAT. With more than a million Brave users each month (a tiny fraction of better-established browsers), you aren’t guaranteed one of the $5 freebies, but Brave plans more promotional grants.

Brave, led by Mozilla and Firefox co-founder Brendan Eich, is part of a movement to make browsers more assertive on our behalf. Brave blocks ads and ad trackers by default, which can make websites load faster, save your battery, cut your data usage, keep your online behavior out of advertisers’ hands and even protect against malware. Chrome, Safari and Firefox are all taking various measures to rein in ads, though none go as far as Brave.

Nuking ads is gratifying if you find them intrusive, but of course, ads also pay the bills at websites large and small. Would you pay $10 a month to use an ad-free Facebook?

Brave isn’t out to destroy online advertising, though — only to replace today’s system, in which the browser itself targets the ads toward your interests without sharing private details with anyone else. It hasn’t begun showing ads yet.

To distribute BATs to publishers you might want to help fund, you can buy them online — or accept a promotional grant like Wednesday’s from Brave. The company set aside 300 million of them in a “user growth pool” to lure individuals, advertisers and publishers into the BAT ad economy. But unusually for online ad tech, Brave will give you a cut of the online ad revenue, too.

You can’t convert BATs into bucks unless you’re a publisher, though. So don’t expect to cash in directly from Brave’s BAT promotion.

Its system is powered by the technology of cryptocurrency — specifically by the Ethereum Project’s ether. Casual users don’t need to know the inner workings. Brave can take the BAT you’ve earned from online ads and distribute it to websites and publishers automatically depending on how often you visit various sites. More than 2,500 websites so far have signed up to receive BAT payments.

YouTube stars also can sign up to receive BAT payments — something could be of interest given YouTube’s tightening rules for who can get ad revenue — and Brave plans to expand to those who post videos on the Twitch game-watching site, too. So far more than 1,400 YouTube publishers have signed up to receive BAT. It’s not yet clear how much revenue they’ll receive from the 310,000 or so people who use the PC version of the browser, but as ad blocking spreads, BAT payments could help offset lost ad revenue.

Bitcoin Continues Slide Over Banning Fears

January 17, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Bitcoin fell 18 percent on Tuesday to a four-week trough close to $11,000, after reports that a ban on trading of cryptocurrencies in South Korea was still an option drove fears grew of a wider regulatory crackdown.

Bitcoin’s slide triggered a massive selloff across the broader cryptocurrency market, with biggest rival Ethereum down 23 percent on the day, according to trade website Coinmarketcap, and the next-biggest, Ripple, plunging 33 percent.

South Korean news website Yonhap reported that Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon had told a local radio station that the government would be coming up with a set of measures to clamp down on the “irrational” cryptocurrency investment craze.

South Korea had said on Monday that its plans to ban virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized, as government agencies were still in talks to decide how to regulate the market.

 Bitcoin slid on the latest news, trading as low as $11,191.59 on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange, down 18 percent on the day, for a short period putting the digital currency on track for its biggest one-day fall in three years.

“It’s mainly been regulatory issues which are haunting the cryptocurrency, with news around South Korea’s further crackdown on trading the driver today,” said Think Markets chief strategist Naeem Aslam, who holds what he described as “substantial” amounts of bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple.

“But we maintain our stance. We do not think that the complete banning of cryptocurrencies is possible,” he said.

Cryptocurrencies enjoyed a bumper year in 2017 as mainstream investors entered the market and as an explosion in so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs) – digital token-based fundraising rounds – drove demand for bitcoin and Ethereum, the second-biggest digital unit.

The latest tumble leaves bitcoin down more than 40 percent from the record high around $20,000 it hit in mid-December, wiping about $130 billion off its “market cap” – the unit price multiplied by the total number of bitcoins that have been released into the market.

The news from South Korea came as it emerged a senior Chinese central banker had said authorities should ban centralised trading of virtual currencies as well as individuals and businesses that provide related services, according to an internal memo from a government meeting seen by Reuters.

Bloomberg reported on Monday that Chinese authorities plan to block domestic access to Chinese and offshore cryptocurrency platforms that allow centralised trading.

 “(It) seems like it’s uncertainty spooking the markets,…with regulations unclear,” said Charles Hayter, founder of data analysis website Cryptocompare. “(Traders) are taking profits on the increased risk scenarios going forward.”

A director at Germany’s central bank said on Monday that any attempt to regulate cryptocurrencies must be on a global scale as national or regional rules would be hard to enforce on a virtual, borderless community.

South Korea To Ban Crytocurrency Trading

January 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

South Korea’s government has announced it will ban cryptocurrency trading, sending bitcoin prices plummeting and throwing the virtual coin market into turmoil as the nation’s police and tax authorities raided local exchanges on alleged tax evasion.

The clampdown in South Korea, a crucial source of global demand for cryptocurrency, came as policymakers around the world struggled to regulate an asset whose value has skyrocketed over the last year.

Justice minister Park Sang-ki said the government was preparing a bill to ban trading of the virtual currency on domestic exchanges.

“There are great concerns regarding virtual currencies and the justice ministry is basically preparing a bill to ban cryptocurrency trading through exchanges,” Park told a news conference, according to the ministry’s press office.

After the market’s sharp reaction to the announcement, the nation’s Presidential office hours later said a ban on the country’s virtual coin exchanges had not yet been finalized while it was one of the measures being considered.

A press official at the justice ministry said the proposed ban on cryptocurrency trading was announced after “enough discussion” with other government agencies, including the nation’s finance ministry and financial regulators.

Once a bill is drafted, legislation for an outright ban of virtual coin trading will require a majority vote of the total 297 members of the National Assembly, a process that could take months or even years.

The government’s tough stance triggered a selloff of the cryptocurrency on both local and offshore exchanges.

The local price of bitcoin plunged as much as 21 percent in midday trade to 18.3 million won (12,730.35 pounds) after the minister’s comments. It still trades at around a 30 percent premium compared to other countries.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP was down more than 10 percent on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp at $13,199, after earlier dropping as low as $13,120, its weakest since Jan. 2.

 South Korea’s cryptocurrency-related shares were also hammered. Vidente and Omnitel, which are stakeholders of Bithumb, skidded by the daily trading limit of 30 percent each.

Once enforced, South Korea’s ban “will make trading difficult here, but not impossible,” said Mun Chong-hyun, chief analyst at EST Security.

“Keen traders, especially hackers, will find it tough to cash out their gains from virtual coin investments in Korea but they can go overseas, for example Japan,” Mun said.

Park Nok-sun, a cryptocurrency analyst at NH Investment & Securities, said the herd behaviour in South Korea’s virtual coin market has raised concerns.

Indeed, bitcoin’s BTC=BTSP 1,500 percent surge last year has stoked huge demand for cryptocurency in South Korea, drawing college students to housewives and sparking worries of a gambling addiction.

“Some officials are pushing for stronger and stronger regulations because they only see more (investors) jumping in, not out,” Park said.

By Thursday afternoon, the Justice Ministry’s announcement had prompted more than 55,000 South Koreans to join a petition asking the presidential Blue House to halt the crackdown on the virtual currency, making the Blue House website intermittently unavailable due to heavy traffic, the website showed.

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 EU Setting The Stage To Tame Bitcoin

December 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

European Union and United Kingdom regulators will take action to prevent trading in the Bitcoin cryptocurrency being conducted under conditions of anonymity, amid claims that people are hopping on the bandwagon to finance drug dealing, terrorism and money laundering.

The plans aim to make traders reveal who they are and impose rules consistent with other financial trading.

The United Kingdom has already signaled its intention to regulate cryptocurrencies amidst fears that trading in cryptocurrencies – as well as being used for criminal purposes – also destabilizes the financial markets.

Meanwhile, the popular UK tabloid, The Sun, reports that a Brit dumped a laptop with over 7,000 “coins”, worth an estimated £74 million now. 

James Howells kept the hard drive that contained his hoard of “coins” but it was accidently thrown away and is now deep in a landfill that is hard to “mine”.

As readers of Fudzilla well know, the effect of “mining” has been to boost profits for firms like Nvidia and AMD, with “miners” forcing the price of add in cards through the roof.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook Ends Transaction Fees For Online Donations

December 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc canceled transaction fees on donations made to non-profit organizations on its platform, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday, a change that could help the world’s largest social media network expand its presence in online fundraising.

Facebook had been charging a 5 percent transaction fee on donations made to non-profits via its website or app. However, it will continue to impose fees on fundraisers established by individuals, including a payment processing fee of 6.9 percent, plus 30 cents per donation.

 Other online fund-raising sites charge transaction fees on donations of about 6-8 percent.

“When I started Facebook, I wasn’t thinking about it as a way to raise money to fight diseases, but a few years in, we noticed many people were using it to raise money for different causes,” Zuckerberg said at a Facebook event in New York.

The new initiative by Facebook comes at a time when the company has faced rising criticism over Russian propaganda and fake news stories spreading on its platform during last year’s U.S. presidential election.

Zuckerberg in September, in a Facebook post, said he regretted saying after the presidential election that it was “crazy” to think that misinformation on Facebook changed the election’s outcome.

Last week, Facebook said it would build a web page to allow users to see which Russian propaganda accounts they have liked or followed, after U.S. lawmakers demanded that the social network be more open about the reach of the accounts.

In February, a petition signed by 42,000 people demanded that Facebook waive the fees it charges a charity for raising $1.5 million on its website.

 Zuckerberg on Wednesday also said that Facebook is launching a software program, called Fundraisers API, that will allow users to sync their Facebook fund raisers with other fund-raising pages.

The charges by other online fund-raising include Gofundme, at 7.9 percent, plus 30 cents per donation, in the United States; Kickstarter at 8 percent, plus 20 cents per donation; Indiegogo at 8 percent, plus 30 cents per donation.

Retailers Lure Shoppers, But Buying Continues Online

November 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. stores offered huge discounts, entertainment and free gifts to attract bargain hunters on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday retail season, but some shoppers said they were just browsing the merchandise, reserving their cash for internet purchases.

Still, a sharp rise in online sales brightened the overall outlook for those traditional retailers that have expanded beyond brick-and-mortar outlets, sending their shares higher in day-after-Thanksgiving trading. Stores also had carefully managed inventory, seeking to ward off any post-holiday liquidation that would weigh on profits.

There was little evidence of the delirious shopper frenzy customary of Black Fridays from past years, even as some stores appeared to be getting creative with gimmicks besides heavy discounts to draw in customers.

No actual data for Friday’s brick-and-mortar business was immediately available.

 Despite anecdotal signs of muted in-store sales – fewer cars in mall parking lots, shoppers leaving stores without purchases in hand – consumers are still expected to spend more overall this holiday season than last, analysts and industry executives said.

Black Friday online sales totaled at least $3.54 billion by 8 p.m. EST (0100 Saturday GMT), up 15.6 percent from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics, which measures transactions at the largest 100 U.S. web retailers. On Thanksgiving Day, U.S. shoppers spent more than $2.87 billion online.

Adobe projected internet sales would still reach a record $5 billion by the end of the night, with online retailers forecast to rake in an additional $6.6 billion on Cyber Monday.

Indeed, some chains struggled to keep up, with brief online outages experienced by Lowe‘s, H&M and the Gap, among others, according to website performance monitors.

Macy’s Inc customers in several states, including Texas, Arizona and Illinois, took to social media to complain about the retailer’s credit card processing system. The company acknowledged that processing was taking longer than usual in its stores and said it was working on the problem.

The hiccups dragged Macy’s shares 0.6 percent lower in extended trading. They had ended the regular session up 2.1 percent, boosted by comments from Chief Executive Jeff Gennette, who told CNBC that Macy’s was better off this year than last, had robust online demand and was in a good place for holiday promotions.

Macy’s and J.C. Penney Co Inc did a better job of ordering and controlling inventory this time, according to Burt Flickinger, managing director of Strategic Resources Group, a consultancy with seven researchers out in the field.

Fair weather across much of the nation also was factor, said National Retail Federation President Matthew Shay.

Some shoppers were enticed by the promise of spectacle, while others felt the pull of nostalgia.

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