Community

Craig Wright Ordered to Personally Appear at Bitcoin Theft Mediation

Craig Wright has been ordered to appear personally at mediation to address allegations that he stole 1.1 million bitcoin (BTC) from Dave Kleiman, court documents filed on June 10 show.

The Australian entrepreneur had requested permission to appear by videoconference, arguing that physically attending the courtroom would have caused him “unjustifiable hardship.”

However, his motion was opposed by the plaintiffs, who argued that the discovery already performed so far in the case delivered “sufficient information to fairly evaluate the claims at issue.” The court sided with the plaintiffs, with Judge Beth Bloom ruling:

“Personal appearance by the parties will promote meaningful participation at mediation.”

As a result, Wright has now been ordered to attend the next mediation session on June 18.

He is accused of stealing bitcoin from the estate of Kleiman, a crypto developer who passed away in 2013. Kleiman’s family allege that up to 1.1 million BTC was taken, which would be worth just shy of $9 billion at press time.

Wright has made repeated requests to have the lawsuit dismissed, but back in December, Judge Bloom ordered that the case should proceed.

Last month, Wright filed United States copyright registrations for the Bitcoin white paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto, attracting controversy from commentators.

Although the computer scientist has long claimed to be Nakamoto, a subsequent report by the Financial Times suggested that Wright’s registrations do not mean his claims are recognized by the U.S. government.

Less Than 5% of Crypto Code Commits on Github Made By Women: Report

Less than 5% of the code committed to the top 100 cryptocurrency projects on Github were contributed by women, according to a Medium article posted by journalist Corin Faife on June 10.

The author gathered more than 1,026,804 code commits for his research. While 691,134 were made by developers with a male name, just 47,678 were made by a female name. A further 287,992 were pseudonymous or produced by someone with a name that could be of either gender.

Faife found that Github users with a male name contributed two-thirds of all commits to these projects, and the remaining 28 percent were offered by developers where their gender could not be established.

The gender divide did not end here. On average, developers with male names made 13 times more code commits than their female counterparts. While acknowledging his data was “fuzzy,” Faife concluded:

“It paints a clear picture of a field that is dominated by male developers across almost every major project. It’s worth examining what the broader causes of such a gender imbalance are, and what steps the industry could take to encourage more women to take up blockchain programming.”

Back in January, a report revealed that 79% of attendees at crypto events are male.

Last September, a study by the finance company Circle warned that women are underrepresented when it comes to cryptocurrencies, investing at half the rate men do.

Bitcoin Generates More Carbon Emissions Than Some Countries, Study Warns

The carbon emissions generated by bitcoin (BTC) are comparable to the whole of Kansas City, and even a small country, according to a study published in the Joule journal on June 12.

Christian Stoll, one of the researchers involved in the project, said the large energy consumption generated through mining translates into a significant carbon footprint. And, as the computing power needed to solve a bitcoin puzzle has more than quadrupled since last year, it is a problem that is getting worse, the study notes. It adds:

“The magnitude of these carbon emissions, combined with the risk of collusion and concerns about control over the monetary system, might justify regulatory intervention to protect individuals from themselves and others from their actions.”

Researchers used data from IPO filings and IP addresses in order to generate their findings. With annual emissions of CO2 estimated at between 22 and 22.9 megatons, bitcoin is placed somewhere between Jordan and Sri Lanka in international terms. The study suggests that this level would double if every other cryptocurrency was also taken into account.

Stoll, a researcher for the University of Munich and MIT, warned:

“We do not question the efficiency gains that blockchain technology could, in certain cases, provide. However, the current debate is focused on anticipated benefits, and more attention needs to be given to costs.”

Last November, a study reviewing the period from January 2016 to June 2018 found that it took four times more energy to mine $1 of BTC than $1 of copper — and twice as much as it takes to mine $1 of gold or platinum.

A PwC report in March warned that renewable energy would not be enough to solve bitcoin’s sustainability problem. In the same month, a county in the United States state of Montana discussed plans that would nonetheless require crypto miners to use renewable energy.

Brazil Central Bank Debuts IBM Blockchain Interbank ID System on Hyperledger

The central bank of Brazil has officially launched its blockchain ID platform via a partnership with IBM using Hyperledger Fabric, Cointelegraph Brazil reported on June 12.

The identity solution, dubbed “Device ID,” will see participation from nine banks, and is reportedly integrated into Brazil’s domestic clearing system, the Brazilian Payment System (SPB).

Its aim is to authenticate and verify digital signatures using mobile devices, ostensibly to guard against financial crime and unauthorized use of the financial system.

“Brazilian banks have been studying blockchain technology applications for a long time, but they weren’t all together. So we decided to create a group and unify all actions, which is very important to achieve standardization to all banks,” Joaquim Kiyoshi Kavakama, director of Febraban, Brazil’s national banking association, commented. He added:

“We are now in the forefront when it comes to blockchain.”

The platform had already come to light during its development phase, with Brazil’s biggest bank, Bradesco, confirming it would receive an official launch this week at the CIAB Febraban conference.

The move comes as Brazil sees attention from within the cryptocurrency industry itself, Ripple opening a dedicated office this week ahead of plans to expand further into Latin America.

At the same time, authorities remain vigilant about malpractice within the space, taking down a notorious fraud scheme involving 55,000 investors last month.

IBM, Hyperledger Blockchain ID System for Banks Launches in Brazil

CIP, a facilitator of Brazilian banking and financial infrastructure, has officially launched its blockchain ID platform via a partnership with IBM using Hyperledger Fabric, Cointelegraph Brazil reported on June 12.

The identity solution, dubbed “Device ID,” will see participation from nine banks, and is reportedly integrated into Brazil’s domestic clearing system, the Brazilian Payment System (SPB).

Its aim is to authenticate and verify digital signatures using mobile devices, ostensibly to guard against financial crime and unauthorized use of the financial system.

“Brazilian banks have been studying blockchain technology applications for a long time, but they weren’t all together. So we decided to create a group and unify all actions, which is very important to achieve standardization to all banks,” Joaquim Kiyoshi Kavakama, director of Febraban, Brazil’s national banking association, commented. He added:

“We are now in the forefront when it comes to blockchain.”

The platform had already come to light during its development phase, with Brazil’s biggest bank, Bradesco, confirming it would receive an official launch this week at the CIAB Febraban conference.

The move comes as Brazil sees attention from within the cryptocurrency industry itself, Ripple opening a dedicated office this week ahead of plans to expand further into Latin America.

At the same time, authorities remain vigilant about malpractice within the space, taking down a notorious fraud scheme involving 55,000 investors last month.

Gov’t of Brazil to Consider Bill Requiring Public Administration to Promote Blockchain

The Brazilian government will consider a draft bill that requires all units of local public administrations to promote new technologies such as blockchain, Cointelegraph Brazil reports on June 11.

The new bill, PL 3443/2019, was filed by a group of ten federal officials from different political parties and states with the lower house of the National Congress of Brazil, Chamber of Deputies, on June 11.

As specified in the title of the document, the proposed draft bill provides the “Digital Provision of Public Services in Public Administration — Digital Government.” If approved, the draft bill will require both federal and state government divisions to apply emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and blockchain in order to improve public services, the report notes.

The bill was signed by Federal Deputy Tiago Mitraud, who is a member of classical-liberal and libertarian Brazilian political party called The New Party (Partido Novo, NOVO), as well as officials from other parties including The Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), among others.

On May 31, Cointelegraph Brazil reported that the President of the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil ordered a commission to be set up in order to consider cryptocurrency regulation in the country. The commission will be tasked with regulating local activities around bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets, and is reportedly expected to be composed of 34 members in accordance with the House Rules of Procedure.

Yesterday, the vice president of Brazil’s biggest bank, Bradesco, revealed that major local banks will introduce a unique blockchain platform on June 12.

Russian Authorities Sign MoU With Maersk to Officially Launch TradeLens in Russia

Russian authorities have signed an agreement with Danish logistics giant Maersk to officially launch blockchain shipping platform TradeLens, according to a press release on June 6.

As a part of the agreement, the port at Russia’s second-biggest city, St. Petersburg, will pilot the blockchain-powered logistics tool co-developed by Maersk’s tech subsidiary Maersk GTD and global tech giant IBM.

The agreement was signed in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Maersk CEO Søren Skou and Yuriy Tsvetkov, Deputy Minister of Transport of the Russian Federation and Head of the Federal Marine and River Transport Agency, the press release notes.

Signed on June 5, the MoU enables the launch of TradeLens across all of Russia in order to adopt blockchain-powered digital documentation to replace the currently mostly paper-based transportation operations. The plans for the agreement were first revealed in February 2019.

By deploying TradeLens, the port of St. Petersburg, Russia’s second-largest port and the main container gateway, is expected to maximize transparency for multiple processes including contracting procedures by distributing data about supply and demand, Tsvetkov said at the signing ceremony.

According to the press release, the TradeLens platform now includes over 100 participants and processes 10 million global shipping events to date.

In late May, two major global shipping firms, Mediterranean Shipping Co. and CMA CGM, joined the TradeLens platform, which reportedly meant that 50% of all global marine cargo was then tracked with blockchain technology.

Yesterday, Cointelegraph reported on Swiss forwarding and logistics services company Panalpina launching blockchain pilots to improve multiple processes on the supply chain.

Report: French Gaming Giant Ubisoft Considering Potential Blockchain Applications

French video gaming giant Ubisoft is allegedly exploring potential blockchain applications in gaming as a strategy to gain a more competitive edge in the industry. The news was reported by daily French financial newspaper Les Échos on June 11.

Per Les Échos, Ubisoft has been quietly exploring blockchain applications for several months, and has allegedly already identified one in particular for implementation. The paper write that Ubisoft reportedly plans to put intra-game virtual objects or accessories onto the blockchain and monetize them.

As the report notes, the model bears some similarity to that of the overwhelmingly successful video game Fortnite — published by Epic Games — which is free in itself to purchase, but allows gamers to buy virtual content that equips their game character.

The virtues of a blockchain-powered ecosystem for virtual accessories would be that it preserves gamers’ digital property rights. Citing an unnamed industry specialist, Les Échos notes:

“When you buy a costume on Fortnite, your investment is lost, the accessory is locked in the game. If we use the blockchain, we give a physical existence to a digital element.”

An anonymous source allegedly close to Ubisoft’s blockchain explorations told Les Échos that the firm would consider using the Ethereum blockchain for its application, and claimed that work on the initiative was already at an advanced stage.

It has not been disclosed whether Ubisoft would launch blockchain-based virtual content within one of its existing franchises or a brand new game, although Les Échos notes that the second option could ostensibly carry lower risks.

For the time being, no timetable is reported to have been set and the firm ostensibly continues to explore possibilities — meanwhile anticipating that French legislation on blockchain will be further clarified.

Ubisoft is a publicly traded company, as Les Échos notes, and claims that the markets could react in an unpredictable manner to the launch of a project using such an uncharted and innovative technology.

As reported this spring, blockchain startup Animoca Brands announced it had signed a global licensing agreement with Formula 1 to publish a blockchain game based on the world-renowned racing series. Animoca had also previously entered a licensing agreement with Atari — famous for being the developer of iconic video games such as Tetris and Pac Man.

In February 2018, Atari saw its share price skyrocket by over 60 percent after announcing that it would be investing in cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin Briefly Breaks $8,000 as US Stock Market Sees Slight losses

Wednesday, June 12 — most of the top 20 cryptocurrencies are reporting moderate gains on the day by press time, as bitcoin (BTC) approaches the $8,000 mark again after breaching it earlier today.

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Market visualization courtesy of Coin360

Bitcoin is currently up over 2% on the day, trading around $7,987 at press time, according to Coin360. Looking at its weekly chart, the coin is up nearly 4%.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Ether (ETH) is holding onto its position as the largest altcoin by market cap, which currently stands at just under $26.4 billion. The second-largest altcoin, Ripple’s XRP, has a market cap of $16.6 billion at press time.

Coin360 data shows that ETH has seen its value increase by about 3.15% over the last 24 hours. At press time, ETH is trading around $248. On the week, the coin has also gained over 2.8% of value.

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Ether 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

The testnet of private smart contract network Enigma has been launched, the developers announced yesterday, which is based on the Ethereum network.

XRP is up by just over 1.8% over the last 24 hours and is currently trading at around $0.396. On the week, the coin is down about 0.25%.

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Among the top 20 cryptocurrencies, the ones reporting the most notable gains are cardano (ADA), which is almost 10% up, litecoin (LTC) and tron (TRX), both over 7% up.

At press time, the total market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies is $256.8 billion, nearly 3% lower than the value it reported a week ago.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier today, the crypto winter is likely to be ending, a senior executive at major American blockchain venture capital firm Digital Currency Group said in an interview.

In traditional markets, the United States stock market is seeing slight losses so far today, with the S&P 500 down 0.01% and the Nasdaq down 0.2% at press time. The CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), on the other hand, has gained 0.75% on the day at press time.

Major oil futures and indexes are seeing mixed movements today, with WTI Crude down 2.08%, Brent Crude down 1.73% and Mars US up 0.02% at press time. The OPEC Basket is up 3.5% and the Canadian Crude Index has seen its value decrease by 3.03% in the 24 hours by press time, according to OilPrice.

Enigma’s Ethereum-Based Private Smart Contract Testnet Goes Live

The testnet of private smart contract network Enigma has been launched, the developers announced in a Medium post published on June 11.

Per the announcement, the test network, dubbed Discovery, allows developers to start developing their decentralized applications (DApps). Furthermore, contracts hosted on the Discovery testnet will reportedly be immediately deployed on the Ethereum (ETH) network once Enigma has been implemented on the mainnet.

The newly launched network reportedly enables privacy for general computations, which enables DApp developers to create secure applications, according to the post.

The author of the post further notes that the developers have been using and modifying the network for three months and are now releasing it as open source software. The Enigma network relies on the Ethereum blockchain for consensus, but it hosts independent smart contracts written in a different smart contract (Rust, instead of Solidity.) As well, Enigma smart contracts are reportedly capable of calling any function of any Ethereum smart contract.

As Cointelegraph reported at the time, Enigma announced its partnership with chip manufacturing behemoth Intel on privacy research in June last year. Cointelegraph has also previously spoken with Enigma founder and CEO Guy Zyskind about the partnership, with Zyskind noting that they planned on making blockchains even more trusted and permissionless.

At the end of May, big four auditing firm EY open sourced the code of its Nightfall Ethereum private transactions solution and released it on GitHub.

CCN Casts Doubt on Shutdown Plans as Google Appears to Correct Visibility

Cryptocurrency news outlet CCN.com (formerly CryptoCoinsNews) has U-turned on its abrupt decision to shut down, staff confirmed in an article on June 12.

CCN, which on Monday published a warning that it would cease operations immediately over an ongoing Google indexing debacle, says it is still working to understand changes in its online visibility.

As Cointelegraph reported, an update to Google’s algorithm allegedly produced an instantaneous 70% drop in traffic for CCN, with executives subsequently saying they had no choice but to abandon the project.

Now, support from Google has apparently changed the plans for a total shutdown, thanks to further unanticipated behavior from algorithms, which are reportedly flagging articles under CCN’s old CryptoCoinsNews identity.

“While we’ve been working in the dark, trying to get to the bottom of our massive visibility drop on Google, a friendly helper in Google’s forum mentioned that ‘CryptoCoinsNews.com’ — our previous domain — is reappearing in Google searches,” Wednesday’s update, written by CCN Markets director Jonas Borchgrevink, states.

Borchgrevink adds:

“That was a massive surprise for us as I personally requested a domain name change in 2017 from CryptoCoinsNews.com to CCN.com. Since that change, ‘Cryptocoinsnews.com’ was effectively absent on Google. Now it’s back and is inexplicably using recent 2019 articles from CCN.com. This is abrupt and confusing.”

Commentators had also claimed that all cryptocurrency media sites except one — Bitcoinist — had suffered as a result of Google’s update. However, Cointelegraph’s traffic was not actually affected by the Google Core Updated as previously reported.

The latest events do not guarantee a full return, the publication added, and attempts to correct the initial drop continue. CCN’s initial announcement of their closure had also noted that they would be moving the CCN team to HVY.com, a news platform for journalists.

CryptoCompare Launches Exchange Benchmark in Response to Concerns Over False Volume Reporting

London-based crypto data provider CryptoCompare has launched an Exchange Benchmark product that ranks over 100 crypto spot exchanges worldwide. The news was revealed in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on June 12.

According to CryptoCompare, the new product has been launched in response to growing industry concern sparked by research indicating that a significant number of crypto exchanges globally have been using wash trading and other strategies — including spoofing and incentivized trading schemes — to artificially inflate trade volumes.

The press release outlines:

“The problem has been getting worse with lower quality exchanges (ranked C-F) increasing market share by 30% in the last 12 months, demonstrating the need for a ranking methodology that does not rely on aggregate volumes.”

In order to tackle this problem and provide a more reliable insight into exchange trading volumes, CryptoCompare has designed its Exchange Benchmark deploying both a qualitative (due diligence) and quantitative (“market quality based on order book and trade data”) approach, the press release notes.

Rather than relying on aggregate volume data, the benchmark reportedly uses “correlation-of-volume-to-volatility and standard-deviation-of-volume” as inputs to over thirty metrics.

Using the benchmark’s metrics to analyze data for the month of May 2019, CryptoCompare reveals that it deems the most top ten trusted exchanges globally to be (listed in order): Coinbase, Poloniex, Bitstamp, bitFlyer, Liquid, itBit, Kraken, Binance, Gemini and Bithumb.

The press release notes that the benchmark will feed into CryptoCompare’s aggregate indices to establish reference rates for top tier exchanges in a bid to provide investors and traders with a high-integrity dataset. Together with the product, a more detailed insight into the firm’s exchange benchmarking methodology has been released by CryptoCompare’s research unit.

As reported, an analysis from crypto index fund provider Bitwise Asset Management — submitted to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission this March — claimed that 95% of volume on unregulated exchanges appears to be fake or non-economic in nature.

Bitswise’s analysis echoed a host of prior analyses which appeared to corroborate the prevalence of misleading trade volume reporting in the industry.

Just yesterday, CryptoCompare revealed a partnership with Nasdaq to release a new cryptocurrency pricing product targeted at institutional investors, following the recent announcement of a joint venture with BitMEX to jointly build a real-time crypto futures dataset.