Thai Ministry of Finance Gives Digital Asset Business Licenses to Four Firms

Thailand’s financial regulator has granted operating licenses to four digital asset entities, while two others were rejected.

The Thai Ministry of Finance has issued digital asset business licenses to four crypto-related firms, according to a notice published by the country’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Jan. 8.

According to the announcement, the licenses were issued by the finance ministry “under the recommendation of the SEC Board.” The four companies that received a license are digital asset exchanges Bitcoin Exchange Co., Ltd., Bitkub Online Co., Ltd., and Satang Corporation, and cryptocurrency brokerage firm Coins TH Co., Ltd.

Another application to operate a digital assets exchange — filed by Coin Asset Co., Ltd — is reportedly under consideration, due to a change in the company’s executives. The company is authorized to continue operations while the Ministry of Finance is considering the change.

In addition to the above-mentioned firm, two other applicants — Cash2coin and Southeast Asia Digital Exchange Co. (SEADEX) — were rejected from receiving a license, allegedly on the grounds of failure to comply with required SEC criteria.

According to the notice, as a result of their applications’ rejection, Cash2coin and SEADEX have also been ordered to cease operations. The Ministry of Finance, however, will reportedly allow the companies to continue operations until Jan. 14.

In August, the Thai SEC approved seven other business entities to conduct cryptocurrency operations as part of the formalization of the country’s domestic crypto market. The financial regulator also actively urges the public to avoid unlicensed crypto exchanges in order to protect against the threat of malicious actors using cryptocurrency.

Previously, the Thai SEC also revealed that it has seen increased interest in licenses to operate initial coin offerings (ICOs) following the finance ministry’s announcement introducing ICO regulations in March. Specifically, almost 50 ICO projects expressed interest in becoming certified.

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Crypto Exchange Gate.io Confirms 51% Attack on Ethereum Classic, Promises Refunds

Researchers from crypto exchange Gate.io report they have confirmed that a 51 percent attack did in fact occur on the Ethereum Classic blockchain.

Researchers from crypto exchange Gate.io report they have confirmed that a 51 percent attack successfully occurred on the Ethereum Classic (ETC) blockchain. The company published an analysis of their findings Jan. 8.

Gate.io Research has published its analysis of ETC transactions on its platform during the alleged attack, claiming it has detected seven rollback transactions — four of which were reportedly conducted by the attacker, transferring a total of 54,200 ETC in total (worth $271,500 at press time).

Gate.io reports that the incident occurred over a period of 4 hours between 0:40 and 4:20 Jan.7, 2019 UTC, during which the transactions were normally confirmed on the blockchain and then subsequently invalidated after the malign network rollback. After providing details of three ETC addresses purportedly used by the attacker, Gate.io continues to explain:

“Gate.io’s censor successfully blocked [the] attacker’s transactions at the beginning and submitted them to [a] manual exam. Unfortunately, during the 51% attack, all the transactions looked valid and confirmed well on the blockchain. The examiner passed the transactions. It caused about 40k ETC loss due to this attack.”

Gate.io states it will compensate its users’ losses, stating “Gate.io will take all the loss for the users.” The exchange also advises other crypto trading platforms to block transactions stemming from the identified suspect addresses. The exchange also states it has raised its ETC transaction confirmation number to 500 and launched a more robust 51 percent detection security mechanism.

Today, Jan. 9, Chinese blockchain security firm Slow Mist also published a report also confirming a 51 percent attack and containing and the same rollback transactions reported by Gate.io.

As previously reported, several major crypto exchanges — United States-based Coinbase and Japanese exchanges bitFlyer and Coincheck — have have all temporarily suspended withdrawals and deposits of ETC as early as Jan. 5. The exchanges all reportedly moved to respond to unusual hashpower activity indicating a potential 51 percent attack, as well as Coinbase’s own findings of double spending and “chain reorganizations.”

The ETC dev team initially responded by refuting that a 51 percent attack had taken place, stating that double spends had not been detected. At the time, they claimed that majority control over the network’s hashrate was “most likely selfish mining,” attributable to the testing of new 1,400/Mh ethash machines by application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) manufacturer Linzhi.

As reported, a 51 percent attack can occur on blockchains that use a proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm, and essentially entails a user or group seizing control of the majority of mining power to monopolize control over the network. This, in particular, can allow the threat actor to reverse transactions with the view to double spend — by transacting crypto for fiat currency, and then rolling back the deed to recuperate the spent crypto, while pocketing the fiat.

While the theoretical risk of majority attacks exists, practically seizing control of a large hashrate blockchain is widely considered to be prohibitively expensive at present. The PoW-based Bitcoin blockchain has not to date been compromised by a hijack of the network’s hashrate, but some developers have nonetheless made the case for investigating potential PoW change.

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US Dept. of Energy Grants $4.8 Million to Fund Research of Tech Including Blockchain

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $4.8 million in funding for university research that includes blockchain.

The Department of Energy (DOE) of the United States has announced $4.8 million in funding for university research of technologies including blockchain, according to an announcement published Jan. 7.

The funding has been announced by the department’s office of fossil energy. Projects eligible for funding include those researching emerging technologies, “such as blockchain and decentralized, peer-to-peer [P2P] internet protocols” to secure data from fossil power generation sensors.

The developed systems would be used to securely process data from the sensors and other unspecified information flows within distributed sensor networks for fossil-based power generation systems.

The DOE said it “anticipates selecting up to 12 projects” to receive the funding allocation.

As Cointelegraph reported in December, Spanish renewable energy company Acciona Energía  — recognized as one of the largest renewable energy operators globally — is set to deploy blockchain tech to trace electricity generation.

Also in December, news broke that South Korea’s government will spend about $3.5 million to set up a blockchain enabled virtual power plant in the country’s second most populous city, Bausan. The plant is meant to integrate the idle capacities of multiple energy sources to optimize power generation.

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Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Bitcoin Cash, EOS, Litecoin, Stellar, Tron, Bitcoin SV, Cardano: Price Analysis, Jan. 9

While some prominent investors are still on the fence about crypto, others see the current market as an opportunity to double down on it.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

Some of the most prominent investors continue to back cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology. Hong Kong billionaire Li Ka-shing has invested in the latest funding round of Intercontinental Exchange’s (ICE) crypto trading platform Bakkt through his venture capital firm Horizon Ventures.

Similarly, Wall Street investor Bill Miller, who had invested in Bitcoin previously, expects the leading cryptocurrency to be worth either a lot more or zero.

According to Miller, he likes to keep cryptocurrencies in his portfolio because their performance is decoupled from the traditional asset classes. Though an active investor, he considers himself a “Bitcoin observer,” but not a “believer” yet.

On the other hand, the Winklevoss brothers are big believers in cryptocurrencies. They expect the market capitalization of Bitcoin to cross that of gold in the future. Because of that, they continue to support the idea of a Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF).

The recent Ethereum Classic (ETC) 51 percent attack has many worried whether the same can be happen to Bitcoin (BTC) in the future. The opinions are divided, but such challenges are to be expected in a new asset class. This will only encourage the participants to find solutions to avoid such attacks in the future.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin has been trading near the neckline for the past two days. The bulls have been unable to complete the inverse head and shoulders pattern, but they have not given up much ground either. This is a positive sign.

BTC/USD

Both moving averages are flattening out, which suggests a change in trend. If the BTC/USD pair climbs above $4,255, it will signal the formation of a short-term bottom. Hence, we have recommended a buy in one of our earlier analyses. The pattern target on a break out of the inverse head and shoulders pattern is $5,500.

If the bears sink the digital currency below the right shoulder, the sentiment will turn bearish and can result in a retest of the low of $3,236.09. If this support breaks, the downtrend will resume.

ETH/USD

The bears have been defending the $167.32 mark for the past seven days. If Ethereum breaks down of the uptrend line and the 20-day EMA, it can dip to the 50-day SMA at $120.

ETH/USD

On the other hand, if the bulls break out of $167.32, the ETH/USD pair can rally to the next level of $225 and above it to $249.93. Hence, traders can buy on a close above $167.32 and keep a stop loss of $130.

The 20-day EMA is trending up and 50-day SMA is flat, which shows that the downtrend is over. Therefore, traders should look to buy on dips, as long as the price remains above the 50-day SMA. A break of this moving average can result in a drop to $100 and below that to $83.

XRP/USD

Ripple has been trading in a tight range for the past few days. Both moving averages are flat and the RSI is close to the neutral zone, which suggests a balance between demand and supply.

XRP/USD

The balance will shift in favor of the bulls when the XRP/USD pair rises above $0.4. Though the pattern target is $0.52205, the resistance line of the descending channel can act as a roadblock.

The digital currency will turn negative if it breaks below the support at $0.32615. Traders can initiate long positions on a close (UTC time frame) above $0.4 with a stop loss at $0.32.

BCH/USD

After a strong run from the lows, Bitcoin Cash has been consolidating in a tight range for the past few days. Both moving averages have flattened out, which shows a balance between the buyers and sellers.

BCH/USD

A break out of the range can resume the recovery and propel the BCH/USD pair to the next target of $307.01, with a minor resistance at $239.

Therefore, we suggest traders wait for a breakout and close (UTC time frame) above $181 to enter long positions. The stop loss can be kept at $138. A break below $141 will be a negative development that can result in a drop to $100 and below that to $73.5.

EOS/USD

EOS has been stuck in a range for the past few days. Both moving averages are flat, and the RSI is just above the neutral territory. This suggests that the consolidation might extend for a few more days.

EOS/USD

The longer the consolidation, the stronger will be the breakout or breakdown from it. Therefore, we recommend long positions on a breakout and close (UTC time frame) above $3.2081. The targets to watch on the upside are $3.8723, $4.1069 and $4.493.

If, however, the EOS/USD pair plunges below the range, it can decline to the low of $1.55. Therefore, the stop loss on the proposed long positions can be kept at $2.29.

LTC/USD

Litecoin has stayed above the neckline for the past three days but hasn’t been able to move higher. This shows a lack of buying at higher levels.

However, if the bears fail to break below the neckline and the 20-day EMA within the next couple of days, buyers will likely step in. The targets to watch on the upside are $47.246 and $56.910. The stop loss can be kept at $27.5, which can be trailed higher as the price moves up.

LTC/USD

We are bullish because the LTC/USD pair has formed a reversal pattern and the moving averages have completed a bullish crossover. All these point to a probable bottom at $23.1.

Our view will be negated if the cryptocurrency slips below the moving averages and the $27.701 mark. The downtrend will resume on a fall below $23.1.

XLM/USD

Stellar has not shown a meaningful recovery in the recent pullback. It continues to face resistance at $0.13427050. The pair is currently trading inside a symmetrical triangle.

XLM/USD

The resistance line of the triangle, the 50-day SMA and the horizontal resistance at $0.13427050 are all located close to each other. Therefore, once the XLM/USD pair rises above this cluster of resistances, it can move up to $0.184, which might act as a stiff resistance.

On the other hand, a break below the triangle can result in a retest of the lows. A break below $0.09285498 can resume the downtrend. We might propose a trade after the break out of the resistance sustains for a day. Until then, we suggest traders remain on the sidelines.

TRX/USD

Tron has continued its strong run and has reached the critical resistance of $0.02815521. This is a major hurdle as the bulls could not scale it in the past five months. Therefore, the traders who went long at lower levels based on our suggestion, can book 50 percent of profits at the current levels, if they have not done so already. The stops on the remaining position can be trailed higher.

TRX/USD

If the virtual currency breaks out and closes (UTC time frame) above $0.02815521, a new uptrend is probable. Following the breakout, the next level to watch on the upside is $0.03801042. Therefore, we are not advising to close the entire position.

If the TRX/USD pair turns down from the current levels, it is likely to remain range bound for a few more days.

BSV/USD

The range in Bitcoin SV has shrunk in the past few days. A period of low volatility is usually followed by an increase in volatility.

BSV/USD

If the bulls break out of the immediate resistance of $102.58, a rally to $123.98 is possible. Upon scaling this hurdle, the BSV/USD pair can rally to the pattern target of $167.608.

Conversely, if the bears sink the price below $80.352, the cryptocurrency can decline to $65.031 and below that to $38.528. Due to the uncertainty and a lack of clear direction, we are not proposing any trades in it.

ADA/USD

Cardano has completed a retest of the neckline in the past two days and is attempting to resume the uptrend. The 20-day EMA is gradually rising, and the 50-day SMA has flattened out. This shows that the selling has subsided and a trend change is likely.

ADA/USD

The critical level to watch on the upside is $0.060105. If this resistance is crossed, the ADA/USD pair can reach the pattern target of $0.066.

Our bullish view will be invalidated if the coin breaks down of both moving averages, as well as the $0.036 mark. Therefore, traders who bought on our recommendation can keep an initial stop loss at $0.036, and raise it later if the bulls struggle to scale $0.060105.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

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US: Financial Data Co. FactSet Sues Blockchain Terminal Affiliate

CG Blockchain, a company affiliated with trading service Blockchain Terminal, is being sued by U.S. financial research company FactSet for a breach of contract.

United States financial research company FactSet has filed a lawsuit against a company affiliated with professional trading service Blockchain Terminal (BCT), according to documents published by the Supreme Court for the State of New York County, Jan. 3.

As stated in the lawsuit, in January, 2018, FactSet and the defendant — CG Blockchain — entered into an agreement to develop an interfacing application between the two firms’ products. FactSet also granted a license to CG to use its products.

According to the documents, CG had agreed to pay a minimum licensing fee of about $3.8 million, payable in three increments.

However, FactSet claims that the amount was not payed, and insists the contract between the two companies has thus been breached. Moreover, the plaintiff states that CG retained the benefit of using the licenses provided, also filing a second part of the complaint covering CG’s “unjust enrichment.”

FactSet insists that CG owes the company $2.8 million in damages, plus interest and attorney’s fees.

According to crypto news outlet The Block — which recently published an investigation into Blockchain Terminal — this is not the first lawsuit filed against CG. As per the documents filed in the same court, New York staffing company Clarity LLC sued CG and, in particular, its managing director Edith Pardo, for about $150,000 in October, 2018. The plaintiff claims CG failed to pay for recruiting services.

In December, The Block published its investigation claiming that the person behind BCT, allegedly named Shaun MacDonald, was reportedly a convicted fraudster, whose real name is Boaz Manor.

According to Toronto news outlet The Star, Manor received a four-year prison sentence in Canada in 2012 for misappropriating $106 million from the Toronto-based hedge fund he co-founded. In April, The Globe and Mail reported that Manor agreed to repay nearly $8.8 million as compensation and agreed to a lifetime ban from the securities industry.

Later in December, the official BCT twitter account posted an interview with MacDonald, in which he admitted his real name is Boaz Manor.

BCT is alleged to have raised most of its funds via a $31 million ICO for its native BCT token in September 2017, The Block wrote in December.

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Blockchain is Boosting the Health Sector by Unifying Patient Data and Increasing Funding for Medical Research

Blockchain will boost the health industry by integrating patient data and widening medical research.

People are living longer in the 21st Century, but what’s less recognized is that, despite our increasing longevity, we’re also getting sicker. According to research, the number of people over 65 afflicted with at least four medical conditions is on course to rise by 100 percent by 2035. As can be imagined, such a jump in illness is going to place an increasingly heavy burden on medical institutions and services, with the implication being that we — as a global community — need to find new, innovative ways of dealing with disease.

Fortunately, crypto is on hand to help with this emerging crisis. It won’t be a panacea for the ills of our struggling health systems, but in a number of important ways, blockchains and cryptocurrencies could help the health sector meet its growing workload in the years and decades to come. By increasing the security and transparency of medical data, they could give patients greater assurance that their personal info is being protected, which in turn could increase trust in medical institutions and make people likelier to put their lives in the hands of health professionals. And by providing medical research companies with greater access to funding, they would accelerate progress in the area of drug treatment discovery, thereby saving lives and reducing sickness.

However, the application of blockchain tech in the health industry won’t be an entirely seamless process, given the need for effective crypto regulation to be established first, and given the fact that most blockchains still need to overcome various technical challenges before they can serve thousands — if not millions — of patients. But once it has met such challenges, those working in the space believe it will make a radical difference.

Data efficiency

The first and most important thing to observe about the growing use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in health care is that it’s not mainly concerned with the actual process of treatment but rather with how data arising from treatment is processed and stored.

In early November 2018, Myongji Hospital in South Korea became one of the latest institutions globally to look to DLT, after it announced that it would be working in concert with Korean IT company BICube to develop a blockchain-based data exchange system. As the press release explained, this system would be part-private and part-public, enabling patients to approve the transfer of their medical data from one health institution to another.

Other recently announced systems are set to work in much the same way, although with minor differences in each specific case. In Austria, the national government offered its financial support to Lancor Scientific, which is building a cancer-screening tool that harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) that has a 90 percent accuracy rate of detection (human pathologists achieve only 60-70 percent accuracy for cervical cancer). In addition to using AI, Lancor will also be using its own proprietary blockchain to store the data obtained from its screening tool. And as its white paper makes clear, a patient can access this data by using the platform’s Medici Token, which activates the smart contracts that then release the relevant data to him or her (or to an approved third party).

According to Lancor CEO Aamir Butt, blockchain technology will be applied mostly to medical data, but this will still enable health professionals and institutions to target treatment more effectively. He told Cointelegraph:

“Blockchain technology allows for better targeting of at-risk groups for cancer screening, because the data available is better. Patients own their own healthcare data when blockchain technology is used so the data has greatly more integrity than can be achieved in other models of data handling. For example, between 5% and 20% of NHS data is not tied specifically to a patient, and in the US, healthcare data is tied to a patient-event rather than a patient.”

In fact, other platforms have been launched that aim to harness blockchain’s power to integrate masses of data and make information quickly accessible, doing so in a way that improves the actual process of treatment — and often more cheaply. One such platform is Skychain, which is combining DLT and AI to build a distributed network of artificial neural networks (i.e., artificial brains) that will potentially diagnose medical conditions with greater success than human practitioners. Similarly, Doc.com (also known as Docademic) provides users of its mobile app with access to doctors and medical professionals from around the world. Its CEO, Charles Nader, told Cointelegraph that its use of cryptocurrency will incentivize more potential users (patients and professionals) to engage with the platform, which will ultimately create more useful data.

“[Blockchain] certainly adds value since you have economic incentives to add more data as well as having access to information in one place. This incentive to add the data would be the cryptocurrency that interacts with the blockchain. And as more data is inputted into the blockchain, the information will be much more useful.”

Not only does blockchain provide incentives to add more data to health care systems, but it will actually incentivize people to show up to their appointments. Healthereum is another company building a blockchain-based platform that will enable patients to be treated by doctors from around the world, yet in contrast to many of its rivals, it will actually reward patients with its token for showing up to appointments — and punish them for not showing up. And as its CEO and founder, Steve Y. Chung, explains to Cointelegraph, this will go a long way in solving one of the health care industry’s biggest problems.

“No-shows afflict healthcare providers in every country. No-shows interrupt the relationship which then disrupts downstream health care. Utilizing blockchain, [we] address this very issue of no-shows via gamification of the appointment. Healthereum incentivizes adherence to appointments which then leads to better health.”

Security?

Of course, in an era when concerns over privacy and personal data are becoming increasingly prominent, the ability to generate masses of personal data might be worrying. However, Aamir Butt affirms that the cryptographic and distributed aspects of blockchain tech provide a reliable way of minimizing threats to data security:

“The use of cryptographic handshakes before data is transferred ensures that the right information is allocated to the right patient, and the right tests are performed so that the right future care can be planned and delivered. Indeed, that provides for devices to be authenticated as well. The practice of medical fraud – use of fake devices, charging patients for tests not done and more – is relevant across the world, but especially in developing countries. By authenticating devices on the blockchain, using these cryptographic handshakes, the opportunity for that fraud is shrunk dramatically.”

Not only does DLT promise to improve data security and reduce the chances of medical fraud, but it could also allow for more connected national systems of medical data. As Butt explains, systems prevalent in the United Kingdom, the United States and other developed countries currently create “fragmented silos of data, which means benefits of aggregated data are hard to access, made worse through a lack of data integrity.”

Fortunately, blockchain enables a new model for handling patient data. “In a distributed ledger, the database is distributed across the network, with transaction integrity maintained through cryptography,” Butt says.

Research and funding

Because data is becoming so integral to the world’s health systems, and because more and more of it is being created, health care is now providing one of the clearest use cases for DLT. That said, the role of blockchains in medicine isn’t restricted to the better management of data, but also to funding — something that can improve outcomes in drug discovery and medical research.

In September, the California-based pharmaceutical company Verseon launched its own securities exchange, which will enable decentralized, blockchain-based trading in tokenized securities. This might seem like an odd thing for a pharma company to do, but as CEO Adityo Prakash tells Cointelegraph, it will open new possibilities for the health industry:

“Securing funding is also very important for the development of new medicines as well as other healthcare technologies. Needless to say, improvements in healthcare critically depends on new medical innovations. By using blockchain technology to conduct regulations compliant sale and trading of tokenized securities Verseon is attempting to change how life science innovations are funded, who gets to participate and to enjoy the potential returns.”

Verseon isn’t the only platform to have launched with the promise of improving the quality of medical research. In March, California-based Medable announced its Insight platform, which enables medical researchers to share data and other info-based resources. Not only does this cut down on the cost of research, but Insight will also reward those who share new data with the blockchain-based platform, with rewards coming in the form of funding and medical technology.

Obstacles

The fact that blockchain has a potentially bright future in the health industry is also indicated by the increasing role it’s having in medical insurance and medical licenses, where the likes of MetLife and the Illinois state government have been testing DLT-based systems that will secure the corresponding data. However, as promising as this all seems, there are a number of familiar challenges that need to be surmounted before blockchain tech will enjoy widespread adoption.

For one, blockchain-based health platforms will need to be able to scale and handle multiple transactions at speed. However, as Luxcore’s head of marketing, Brian Dors, explains to Cointelegraph, they’ll also need to be interoperable with each other, which will require the completion of such upcoming multi-chain platforms as Polkadot, Cosmos, Icon and others.

“Currently, it is difficult for different blockchains to communicate with each other, particularly if they are built on different platforms and utilize different consensus rules. This poses a significant barrier to implementation in a multi-stakeholder health care environment.”

There’s also the perennial issue of regulation. “For blockchains to truly fulfil their potential of democratizing access to investment opportunities, the issuance and trading of security tokens need to comply with regulations,” says Adityo Prakash.

And aside from regulation, there’s the obvious challenge of spreading awareness of blockchain, so that professionals and the public alike will be inclined to adopt DLT-based health platforms. But as Doc.com’s Charles Nader informs Cointelegraph, the financial incentives provided by cryptocurrencies may provide an effective way around this:

“One of the main challenges is getting the general population aware of what blockchain is and the benefits they get from using this technology. Besides this, the incentives must be in place so that people are willing to share their healthcare information with third parties over blockchain. This is something that only blockchain can facilitate, because it can reward its users with cryptocurrency for inputting data into the blockchain.”

Together, this all indicates that blockchain still has some ways to go before it will deliver on its promise in the medical sector. But because this sector has become increasingly “datafied” in recent years, it’s ripe to benefit from blockchain’s decentralized, cryptographically secure power over data.

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