White Label Crypto Exchange Platform EXPREAD Announces Partnership with FuzeX

EXPREAD (expread.io) and payment solutions provider FuzeX (fuzex.co) announced their partnership May 11, 2018. According to the announcement, the projects aim to leverage experience and technology behind both teams in order to offer their communities the best-suited trading and payment solutions. Speaking about the partnership, EXPREAD CEO Leo Liu stated: We are very excited about our partnership with FuzeX, a project that we see to have great potential to develop new payment solution that successfully combines

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Startup Aims to Bring Blockchain To 200,000 Developers And 1 Bln Gadgets

A Singapore-based company is trying to combine blockchain with HTML5 technology to create the world’s first HTML5 blockchain engine.

A Singapore-based company Egretia is aiming to combine HTML5 – a technology to structure and present content online – with blockchain to create the world’s first HTML5 blockchain engine and platform. The new technology could increase blockchain apps popularity, Egretia team believes.

New hardware upgrades and rapid development of the Internet were needed to prepare HTML5 for a mass adoption. Now, when roadblocks as performance and traffic have been eliminated, the technology is widely used in games, marketing, video, media, and other industries.

Using the power of mobile social networking, HTML5 content has been applied in mobile apps and created entirely new business models. According to Egretia, click-and-play, viral transmission, user engagement, and other characteristics of an HTML5 game make it a perfect fit for current market demands.

“Currently, users of HTML5 games already account for 47 percent of all mobile game users,” the company said in the white paper. “In terms of the business model, in-game payments, instead of advertising, has become the main source of revenue accounting for 68 percent. Combined, HTML5 games already have an independent commercial profitability.”

Is the HTML5 market set for growth?

In 2017, the market size of HTML5 games in China exclusively exceeded 10 bln yuan – more than $157 mln – and continues to grow. Peter Huang, Egretia’s founder, believes that by combining blockchain technology with HTML5, developers will be able to rapidly come up with new blockchain applications.   

“Creating a blockchain gaming technology service provider seems relatively early, but we feel that this is a promising direction to take,” Peter Huang, said in an interview published on the company’s blog. “Four years ago, our opinion regarding the development of HTML5 games was that HTML5 gaming certainly could have better performance on the mobile platform. Now Tencent, Facebook, and other internet giants all have a HTML5 game line.”

For example, Google launched Progressive Web Apps (PWA), the Chinese search giant Baidu came up with the concept of “light apps”. Facebook released HTML5-based Instant Games with more than 1 bln daily active users. In January 2018, Tencent WeChat released a series of mini-games, some of which gained over 100 mln daily active users.

It seems that, after all, HTML5 is becoming one of the global Internet technology trends, the company says.

What are the benefits?

HTML5 technology works across platforms so users do not have to download HTML5 games or apps. They can simply click on the link and start playing. A link can be easily shared, providing other users an access to games.

According to Egretia, that is one of the reasons why HTML5 games go viral on social media platforms.  Because of those characteristics, HTML5 games and apps can attract millions of users. By using this new emerging technology, blockchain apps could gain more popularity, Egretia founders believe.

Egret Technology, the startup’s strategic partner in China, has been focusing on developing HTML5 powered solutions for over the past four years. The company has already developed 14 products, such as the engine, a visual editor, animation tools, and cross-platform packaging tools. All tools can be used across different platforms and support both Windows and Mac devices.

In 2014, Egret Technology became the first company to develop Catch the Crazy Cat, the world’s first HTML5 game on Wechat that gained more than 100 mln users in three days.

Worldwide community

The startup already has a huge community worldwide, the founders say. Egret Technology has been focusing on HTML5 for more than four years and currently has 200,000 developers across the globe. The content powered by Egret’s solutions is used on 1 bln mobile devices so the startup has a lot to add to the existing global blockchain ecosystem.

“There are a lot of instant games on Facebook powered by our solutions” company representatives claim. “We are bringing blockchain to the existing 200,000 developers and 1 bln mobile devices.”

In the future, developers would be able to use the system’s digital token, Egreten, in their own games. The platform is also planning to assist with games distribution, advertising, trading, storage, and communication.

Egretia’s team consists of passionate game industry veterans, professional developers, investors, blockchain technology advocates, and entrepreneurs. The startup’s founder Peter Huang, a former technical manager of Adobe Flash Platform, has 18 years of development and management experience in internet applications and game projects.

 

Disclaimer. Cointelegraph does not endorse any content or product on this page. While we aim at providing you all important information that we could obtain, readers should do their own research before taking any actions related to the company and carry full responsibility for their decisions, nor this article can be considered as an investment advice.

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Bitfinex Requires Customer Tax Info which it ‘May Exchange’ with Gov’t, Tax Authorities

Bitfinex has required tax information from its users, which it “may then exchange” with the government and tax authorities of the customer’s country of residence.

Cryptocurrency trading platform Bitfinex has recently distributed a letter to certain users,  saying that they are required to disclose their tax information, which the exchange may share with the government, according to a statement from the exchange on Twitter May 17.

The exchange, which is registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), noted that under BVI law it is obliged to report specific information to the BVI government. According to the letter, Bitfinex “may then exchange” the information with tax authorities in concordance with the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Common Reporting Standard (CRS).

With the deadline to submit the information set for May 24, customers, according to the notice, must complete self-certification forms depending on whether they’re individuals or entities, and whether they’re residents or citizens of the US:

“If you are a US person (i.e. a US resident, a US citizen, or an entity organized in the United States), or an entity with at least one 25%+ owner who is a US person, please complete the appropriate FATCA form. Otherwise complete the appropriate CRS form.”

The message was confirmed by the Bitfinex Twitter account after the exchange’s new policy was brought to light by cryptocurrency commentator Whalepool:

“We have not sent this message to all users. We have deliberately targeted users that we believe have an obligation to self-disclose. If a user has _not_ received a message from us, she need _not_ self-certify anything to us at this time.”

Bitfinex was founded in 2012 and is headquartered in Hong Kong. At a market capitalization of $686 mln, it is the fourth-largest cryptocurrency exchange globally, trading 77 different digital assets.

Last month, Bitfinex fell under the “Virtual Markets Integrity Initiative”, an “inquiry into the policies and practices” of crypto trading platforms launched by then-New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. As part of the program, the exchange was sent a letter, asking them to provide information on operations, internal controls, and other key issues in order to protect cryptocurrency investors and users.

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Chinese ASIC Manufacturer To Turn To AI In Case Of Stricter Gov’t Regulation

Bitmain is looking to artificial intelligence as the natural option to turn to in case of an increase in China’s already stringent crypto regulations.

Due to the recent crypto crackdown in China, Chinese ASIC chip manufacturer Bitmain is turning to artificial intelligence (AI) as an alternate revenue source, Bloomberg reports today, May 17.

China’s crypto regulations have included an initial coin offering (ICO) ban in the fall of last year, this January’s ban on “exchange-like services,” and the February ban on foreign crypto exchanges.

Bitmain manufactures the processing chips and miners that mine for a variety of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and altcoin Monero; although the release of the Monero-mining Antminer at the end of March led Monero to upgrade in order to preserve its ASIC-resistant nature.

Jihan Wu, Bitmain’s co-chief executive, told Bloomberg in one of his infrequent interviews that because “artificial intelligence requires lots of computations,” it is the natural alternative option for the ASIC manufacturer:

“As a China company, we have to be prepared.”

Bitmain’s Sophon BM1680 chip, which they began selling in October, can more cheaply speed up machine learning as compared to those made by Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices Inc, although it is not as powerful.

Wu — who predicts that AI chips could account for up to 40 percent of Bitmain’s revenue in five years — told Bloomberg that Bitmain is “just trying to do something that they cannot take care of well enough.”

At the end of February this year, a report showed that Bitmain, a four-year-old company, made between $3 and $4 bln in operating profits in 2017, as compared to twenty-seven-year-old competitor Nvidia, who made about $3 bln during the same period.

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JPMorgan Creates and Fills New Position of Head of Crypto Assets Strategy

JPMorgan creates and fills new position of head of crypto assets strategy, post will identify and lead new crypto projects at bank.

Leading US banking group and financial services firm JPMorgan Chase has recently created and filled the new position of head of crypto-assets strategy, Business Insider reported today, May 17.

London-based Oliver Harris, 29, will take the new role, reporting to the head of blockchain development, Umar Farooq. Harris will also lead JPMorgan’s internal blockchain project Quorum, which began testing by JP Morgan Chase and the National Bank of Canada last month.

According to Business Insider, Harris will be identifying and leading new crypto projects for the bank, rather than actively trading in cryptocurrencies. He will reportedly investigate crypto custody services and how blockchain could work in JPMorgan’s payments business.  

For the last two years, Harris has been leading JPMorgan’s In Residence program, which identifies and partners with fintech startups that the bank finds promising.

Daniel Pinto, co-president of JPMorgan, has recently taken a positive stance on cryptocurrencies in an interview with CNBC, claiming that the “tokenization” of the financial system is “real”, with “many central banks looking into” it. However, Pinto stressed that crypto adoption is not possible in its “current form”.

In general, the investment banking giant has been skeptical of cryptocurrencies. JPMorgan banned its customers from crypto purchases with credit cards back in February, in addition to including cryptocurrencies to the “Risk Factor” section of its 2017 annual report to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Last year, JPMorgan’s Chairman & CEO Jamie Dimon called Bitcoin (BTC) a “fraud” and claimed that he would fire any employee trading BTC on the company’s accounts. Dimon soon reversed his position in January, admitting that he regretted his earlier statements and adopting a lukewarm stance toward crypto. Dimon said he is, “not interested that much in [crypto] at all.”

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Cases Of Illegal Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency Mining: Chicken Farms And New York

Cryptocurrency miners in the US and South Korea disguised as protected businesses to mine bitcoin with unfairly cheap electricity rates.

In the US, China, and South Korea, many individual cryptocurrency miners and large-scale mining centers were cracked down for conducting illicit operations. For example, in April 2018, cryptocurrency miners in South Korea were arrested for illicitly utilizing cheap electricity to produce cryptos.

Chicken farm in South Korea

In South Korea, places such as chicken farms and factories in development restricted areas are provided with electricity at cheaper rates by the government to help struggling industries and support innovative technology-focused initiatives. The government is stricter with the usage of electricity in these areas and consistently monitors the inflow of energy into buildings, factories, farms, and houses near these specially approved districts.

On April 19, police in the Gyeong-ki province of South Korea, the second largest region behind Seoul, arrested operators of a mining center in Nam Yang city. An in-depth police investigation disclosed that five cryptocurrency miners, whose identities remain confidential as they are still in police custody, purposely rented out factories and chicken farms in the protected part of the city to receive electricity for substantially lower rates.

By disguising buildings as semi-conductor factories and several properties as chicken farms, the five individuals were able to mine cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum with virtually no cost apart from the ASIC miners they acquired and installed.

Image source: Northern Gyeonggi Provincial Police Agency via Hani

In the Paju restricted development area, the five individuals rented out a 859 square meter building and applied to the government as a semi-conductor factory. For 8 months, the group utilized the space to mine cryptocurrencies with more than 1580 ASIC miners. In the later months of their illegal venture, the group recruited more than 40 individuals and rented out their ASIC miners to produce even more cryptocurrencies.

The group generated more than $300,000 by accepting ASIC miners from individuals within months but the actual sum of cryptocurrencies the group was able to produce throughout the 8-month period remains unclear.

Preliminary investigations undertaken by the Gyeong-ki and Paju police has shown that the group produced at least 760 Ethereum, which is worth more than $500,000, and a large sum of Bitcoin. The local police is still investigating into the final sum of money the group generated throughout the past year. The police has also discovered that the group only paid 50 percent of the normal electricity rate and received significant discounts for renting out the farms and factories.

Currently South Korea has no laws or policies approved that can punish cryptocurrency miners in development restricted areas. Minor charges could be applied to the five individuals, for using the space intended to carry out other initiatives, but no major penalties can be imposed as of now. To prevent similar situations from occurring in the future, the local police has requested the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs to draft and approve laws that prohibit cryptocurrency miners from taking advantage of districts and areas with cheaper electricity rates.

First mining ban in New York

In the US on March 18, local authorities in the state of New York requested a cryptocurrency mining facility to halt their mining initiative after residents of Plattsburg, a small lakeside town in upstate New York, filed an official complaint to the police for the excessive usage of low-cost electricity by local miners.

The city of Plattsburg did not impose a permanent ban on Bitcoin mining however. Instead, local authorities and residents released a moratorium which states that the city will not consider applications for commercial cryptocurrency mining for at least a year and a half. Bloomberg reported that the city can charge more than $1,000 per day if miners decide to use low-cost electricity of the city to mine. The authorities of Plattsburg said:

“It is the purpose of this Local Law to facilitate the adoption of land use and zoning and/or municipal lighting department regulations to protect and enhance the City’s natural, historic, cultural and electrical resources.”

Another cryptocurrency mining facility was confronted by local authorities and a telecommunication powerhouse T-Mobile on Feb. 15 after it was revealed that ASIC miners from a mining facility based in Brooklyn interfered with the 700 MHz band of T-Mobile. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said:

“On November 30, 2017, in response to the complaint agents from the Enforcement Bureau’s New York Office confirmed by direction finding techniques that radio emissions in the 700 MHz band were emanating from your residence in Brooklyn, New York. When the interfering device was turned off the interference ceased. You identified the device as an Antminer s5 Bitcoin Miner. The device was generating spurious emissions on frequencies assigned to T-Mobile’s broadband network and causing harmful interference.”

At the time, the FCC gave the mining facility a 20-day notice to halt their operations and move elsewhere as the radio emissions released by the ASIC miners within the facility were negatively impacting local telecommunication networks.

Not illegal

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining is legal in most countries, even in China which banned the trading of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum in Sep. 2017.

Cryptocurrency mining is legal in most regions because it is beneficial for electricity grid operators to provide excess energy that they can no longer supply to households and businesses. As such, although local governments have tried to ban cryptocurrency mining in the past as demonstrated in CNLedger’s report below, cryptocurrency mining remains unbanned in most countries.

It is also not illegal to mine Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency using electricity that is low cost. However, it is illegal to disguise cryptocurrency mining initiatives as a protected business in a development restricted area to take advantage of cheap electricity that is only provided to approved organizations and institutions. This is why South Korean authorities are currently drafting regulations to prevent mining facilities from taking advantage of cities with cheaper electricity.

THE COST TO MINE 1 BITCOIN

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First New-York Based Crypto Trading Company Receives BitLicense

A subsidiary of the Digital Currency Group has become the first New York-based crypto trading company to receive the BitLicense.

Genesis Global Trading, a subsidiary of the Digital Currency Group, has been granted a BitLicense from the New York Department of Financial Services (DFS), according to a press release published on PR Newswire today, May 17.

After the BitLicense became required for all New York crypto trading firms in August of 2015, a wave of crypto companies left the state, either unable or unwilling to comply with the stringent new regulatory requirements.

Genesis, which is the first New York-based trading firm to now operate with a BitLicense and the fifth firm overall to receive one, will be able to trade in Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Litecoin (LTC), and Zcash (ZEC). The press release notes that Genesis has traded in billions of dollars worth of crypto since 2013.

Before receiving the BitLicense, Genesis had operated under a special DFS provision that still let them trade in crypto in New York state. CEO of Genesis Global Trading, Michael Moro said in the press release that “although we have operated under a safe harbor provision in recent years, today’s decision is an important step forward and reaffirms the robust compliance measures we have enacted as an established trading partner.”    

The Square Cash app, which has included a Bitcoin option since this January,  is currently working on getting a BitLicense in order to operate in New York. The app added Wyoming to its list of states allowing the crypto option in mid-March, with New York, Georgia, and Hawaii still excluded.

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Voting For Blockchain Industry Leaders Now Open on BlockShow’s Blockchain-Based Polling App

BlockShow Europe 2018 has launched a poll for the leading women and companies in the EU blockchain space, using a blockchain-based online voting tool.

Voting is now open on BlockShow’s poll for the leading women and companies in the blockchain space, ahead of the BlockShow Europe 2018 conference, which takes place in Berlin on May 28-29. The polls will be conducted using blockchain-based app Polys, an online voting tool that leverages the security, anonymity and transparency of the technology.

BlockShow supporters worldwide can vote for those women and companies they feel are making the biggest impact on the European blockchain sphere, whether in terms of new ideas, infrastructure and tool creation, or business acumen.

BlockShow has shortlisted influential women in the EU blockchain space who have been proactive in propelling the technology forward, whether independently or in collaboration with other industry leaders. Voters can extend the nomination list with their own candidates.

The short list for EU-registered blockchain companies has been selected based on their market capitalization, expert reviews, and social media activity, but voters can nominate their their own EU-based company, as above.

Voting is open to everybody and winners will be announced during the conference. To see the complete list of nominees and place your vote, visit BlockShow’s rating page.

BlockShow 2018 will gather more than 3,000 attendees and over 150 projects, as well as over 80 internationally recognized speakers and experts from banks, institutions and diverse global industries.

The conference will offer insights into the major disruptive potential of new blockchain ventures in areas such as IoT, AI, Cybersecurity, and many others. Central Bank and EU government representatives will also be attending to share their experiences of implementing the technology in their fields.

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Wall Street Journal Research Finds ‘Red Flags’ In 19% Of ICOs

271 out of 1450 ICOs found by the Wall Street Journal use “deceptive or even fraudulent tactics,” it says.

The Wall Street Journal released findings from its analysis of almost 1500 initial coin offerings (ICOs) May 17, concluding 18.6% of them raised “red flags.”

The latest source to investigate the still-booming ICO market, the WSJ warned that of the 1450 offerings it found, 271 of them were using what it described as “deceptive or even fraudulent tactics.”

Those tactics ranged from hiding or providing fake information about the issuing company’s location and leadership to secrecy about finances and even plagiarized whitepapers.

Of the 271 suspicious actors, some have already shut down, with lawsuits and regulators resulting in investors attempting to recoup an estimated $273 mln in lost funds.

Authorities continue to grapple with the rate of expansion of ICOs throughout the world in 2018, with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) resolving to closely monitor the domestic arena for bad actors.

The fundraising tool further divides opinion both inside and outside the cryptocurrency industry.

Cointelegraph today reported on how UK platform CoinShares’ CEO Danny Masters said improvements to the ICO arena were an essential step in allowing Bitcoin markets to grow.

Earlier this month meanwhile, Zhao Changpeng, CEO of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Binance, released a dedicated blog post praising ICOs, investing in which he described as “100 times easier than through traditional VCs.”

“Scams exist everywhere, in every industry,” he wrote on the topic of illegal offerings.

“I still receive phone calls and SMS telling me I won a grand prize, but I need to make a bank transfer to someone first. Does that mean we should stop using phones, SMS, and banks?”

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JP Morgan Announces Prototype Blockchain Platform to Streamline Capital Markets Infrastructure

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co demonstrated a prototype of its blockchain platform for capital markets at the NY Consensus conference yesterday.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co presented a prototype of its blockchain platform for capital markets, which aims to cut costs and enable smoother securities transactions. The announcement took place at NY’s Consensus conference Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported May 16.

Christine Moy, executive director of J.P. Morgan’s Blockchain Center of Excellence, told WSJ that blockchain “has the potential to be transformative” for the capital markets infrastructure.

She explained that capital markets – in which vast amounts of capital are transacted – involve multiple systems and information flows between many different stakeholders, “from issuers and asset managers to clearing houses and fund administrators.” “The promise of natively issuing financial instruments on blockchain is that you can share that infrastructure,” she said.  

Moy told the WSJ that a blockchain could offer a single, streamlined application, which each of the multiple entities could share and participate in. This could bring significant cost savings, she suggested, as well as overcoming issues of trust between parties.

J.P. Morgan – alongside Santander and other major banks and tech industry players – is part of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, a nonprofit that focuses on enabling interoperability between Ethereum blockchain applications, as well as improving their privacy, scalability, and security.

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, JPMorgan is working on blockchain integration to rehaul its payment, clearing and settlement systems, recently filing a patent for real-time p2p intra- and interbank transfers based on the technology.

Just yesterday, JPMorgan co-president Daniel Pinto confirmed that the bank is “looking into” the crypto space, saying he had “no doubt” the technology would “play a role” in the bank’s future. He suggested the “tokenization” of the traditional financial sector would, however, likely see new iterations, saying that, for him:

“Cryptocurrencies are real but not in the[ir] current form.”

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