The Venezuela-Russia Cryptocurrency buzz.

The Venezuela-Russia Cryptocurrency buzz.

The news in the spotlight stated that if crisis-hit, Venezuela was hoping to pay off its US$3.15 billion debt to Russia with its new cryptocurrency, Petro. However, this rumor has been shut and slammed by the Russian Finance Ministry.

The head of the Russian Finance Ministry’s debt department, Konstantin Vyshkovsky, has said that: “Venezuela will not be paying any part of its debt to Russia with its cryptocurrency.”

Russia and Venezuela last year signed a debt restructuring deal allowing Caracas to make “minimal” payments to Moscow over the next six years. Under the deal, Venezuela will pay Russia back a total of $3.15 billion over a 10-year period.

The Petro was launched in February as the world’s first-ever official state cryptocurrency. Backed by Venezuela’s oil reserves wherein the value of a barrel of oil is directly pegged to the value of a single Petro token, the cryptocurrency was launched as a means to evade sanctions enforced by the United States.

Another news in the same context states that it was created with the help of senior Kremlin advisors, as part of a Russia-Venezuela joint venture. However, Artyom Kozhin, Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry, said that his country was not involved in creating Venezuela’s controversial Petro cryptocurrency, calling any speculation on this issue lies.

As reported previously, the Petro was first announced by Venezuelan president Maduro in December as a payment instrument to evade international economic sanctions and a blockade led by the United States. Maduro officially launched the pre-sale of the 82.4 million Petro tokens on February 20. Specifically, a recent report points to two key Russians involved as Maduro’s advisers on the Petro, with ties to major Russian banks and billionaires close to the Kremlin. Denis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky were reportedly seated in the front row in the presidential palace during the much-publicized launch of the Petro last month.

“During the course of the meeting held on February 21, 2018 in Moscow, Venezuela’s Minister of Economy and Finance Mr. [Simon] Zerpa indeed handed over a booklet on the cryptocurrency to the Russian Finance Minister exclusively for the purpose of informing Russian partners about this project”, the Russian official stated over the weekend. “None of the parties mentioned discussed, or reviewed the topic of cryptocurrency use in Russian-Venezuelan cooperation.”


Uber Co-Founder to launch a cryptocurrency(Eco)

Garrett Camp, best known for being the co-founder of Uber and founder of the venture fund Expa, is all set to launch his own cryptocurrency(Eco).

The cryptocurrency is called Eco, referring to the multiple facets of a monetary system like economics, ecosystem, and e-commerce.

The project is currently in the design stage with limited programming complete, and Uber Co-Founder Camp is looking for more field experts, scientists, and researchers to get involved in his initiative. He expects to initiate the test-net later this year.

The virtual currency system will be developed and operated by a new non-profit organization, the Eco Foundation. Camp, along with his partners at his startup accelerator Expa, plans to fund the Eco project with $10 million during the initial phase. So, Camp is planning to issue 1 trillion tokens in the initial stage. And from that sum, 50% will go to first billion people with verified accounts and 20% will be given to the universities running trusted nodes. Remaining 30% will be equally divided into advisors, strategic partners, and network’s creators and maintainers.

He believes that cryptocurrencies must serve their true purpose and that is “an instant, affordable, and borderless means of payment for the masses”, what other cryptos have failed to deliver.

Camp has said that ECO will become a truly digital currency that will be used as means of payment around the world and it will be utilized for routine transactions. According to Camp, “The more research I did, the more I was not really wanting to buy a large amount of any one of them. I realized it might be better to release a new project from a different philosophical standpoint with cooperation from a lot of universities, scientists, and research institutes—like the Internet.”

Eco also aims to be far more user-friendly than other cryptocurrencies. Another big roadblock to adoption of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is that the process isn’t very easy. Eco plans to have simple apps, making the currency a viable option for people who aren’t tech-savvy.

Scalability is another major cryptocurrency roadblock, particularly for bitcoin. The bitcoin network can process just a handful of transactions per second, which can lead to major network delays. Eco plans to have an initial capacity of more than 1,000 transactions per second and to increase this to more than 100,000 per second within a few years.

Camp is one of a number of entrepreneurs who have thrown their hats into the cryptocurrency ring in recent months. Pavel Durav, the CEO, and founder of chat app Telegram, has been building buzz around a billion dollar initial coin offering. Other businesses like Overstock, Kodak, and chat app Kik have either held or intend to hold ICOs. Even Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, said that he planned to focus this year on fixing Facebook, a goal that included exploring “encryption and cryptocurrency.”

Read all the latest crypto-news right here:



Free Bitcoins? Error in Japanese Cryptocurrency Exchange.

Japan is seen having a tough and rough time with these Bitcoins, and company. Yet another glitch occurs at Zaif, a Japanese cryptocurrency exchange. It happened on 16th February 2018, where for 20 straight minutes, Bitcoins were available for zero yen. I repeat, zero yen. For free. Yes, for free.

Features as listed below:

  • A glitch at Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Zaif allowed some users to buy Bitcoins and other digital currencies for free.
  • Seven people bought some digital currencies for zero yen but six of those transactions were voided.
  • Zaif is one of the exchanges registered with the government. Japan’s cryptocurrency exchanges are looking to create a self-regulating body.

Hence, it was possible to buy cryptocurrencies for free on the Zaif exchange for about 20 minutes on February 16th.

Learn more about it here:

Later, the exchange reportedly revealed the problem to reporters on Tuesday.

The report stated as under:

“Zaif, a government-registered exchange run by Osaka-based Tech Bureau Corp, said on Tuesday that a system glitch had let seven customers buy bitcoin with no yen value during a 20-minute window last week.

The exchange voided the trades after discovering the error, which happened on Feb. 16 – though it was still trying to resolve the issue with one customer who tried to transfer the knock-down bitcoins from the exchange.”

That doesn’t sound so bad and could’ve been much worse. Everything mostly worked out, but there’s still one customer that’s putting up a fight over their heavily-discounted purchase. How much did they try to pull out?

According to a source, one customer apparently purchased  2,200 trillion yen worth of bitcoin and proceeded to try to cash it out. That’s about $20 trillion.

If we consider the fact that Bitcoins has a market cap of just over $183 billion, that sell order really must have confused some traders for a bit. Isn’t it?

Zaif notified the public that this glitch had occurred four days later on Feb. 20. It told users that transactions had returned to normal. Zaif also took the opportunity to apologize to its customers and tell them that this would have no impact on other purchases.

The registered exchanges will form a self-regulatory body from April. They had originally planned to merge two existing industry bodies representing both registered and unregistered exchanges.

The body will set out rules on issues like exchange security and advertising, and will lay out penalties for members who don’t follow the policies, the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday.

Can Japan get over crypto-mess?


Bangladesh police hunts for Bitcoin users in the country!

What an average cryptocurrency investor worries, in the countries of Europe and North America, is about exchange rates, whether to sell off or hold and the prevailing ups and downs in the prices of these virtual currencies. Such is not the case in Bangladesh where the police are hunting Bitcoin users. At least, in the rest of the countries, we do not have to worry about the police coming down and knocking on our door, why? Because we have engaged in cryptocurrencies.

The officials of the central bank have warned all other commercial banks in the country to be wary of bitcoin users.

The Foreign Exchange Police Department and some other departments are being considered to be monitors of the currency, and a report will soon be sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs regarding cryptocurrencies, said a high-ranking official of Bangladesh Bank.

Investigators from Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) have already begun to look for bitcoin traders, and even the BTRC are involved. Officials from the aforementioned three organizations have already held four meetings on the matter.

Since Bitcoin is traded through an open source cryptographic protocol, negating the need for any financial organization or ban, there is no governing body for the currency anywhere in the world.

Previously, the government has warned people not to make any transactions with bitcoin. According to Bangladesh Bank, bitcoin is neither accepted nor considered legal tender anywhere in the world, and it is risky to use this currency. The trading of this currency might cause infringements of laws regarding money laundering or funding terrorism.

Amongst the statements we have:

An official of BFIU said: “Banks and other financial organizations of the country have been ordered to maintain a strict vigil on cryptocurrency trading. A circular will soon be sent out detailing the matter. There is no way to purchase these currencies legally through banking channels. Cybercrime investigators are working on the matter.”

At a recent seminar called “Digital World 2017” conference, advisor to the Bangladesh Bank S K Sur Chowdhury said, “A combined committee will be formed with officials from the central bank as well as government and non-government financial organizations. It will figure out how to create and implement Bangladesh’s digital currency.”

Catch the circular and related news here:

Even though it hasn’t been accepted as a currency yet, the popularity of bitcoin continues to rise meteorically. As a result, the central banks of many countries are beginning to implement policies to control it.

But the bottom line is simple: Law enforcement must prioritize better. Before we start worrying about digital currency and its merely suggested potential for crime, let us fix the actual crimes which continue to plague our nation.


Game maker Atari join hands with crypto-world!

Atari remains one of the legendary game maker with Pac-man and Pong being some of the games in their makings. So what’s its next plan? Cryptocurrency. Entering the crypto-street. Launching its own cryptocurrency. Yes, you heard that correctly, Atari is launching its own cryptocurrency called the “Atari Token.”

It is taking a stake in a company that’s building a blockchain-based digital entertainment platform and, as part of that agreement, it will create its own digital currency called Atari Token. The company is also expanding its online casino-gaming partnership with Pariplay Ltd. to allow gambling with digital currencies.

Here’s its CEO Fred Chesnais speaking about this idea: “Blockchain technology is poised to take a very important place in our environment and to transform, if not revolutionize, the current economic ecosystem, especially in the areas of the video game industry and online transactions. Given our technological strengths with the development studios and the global reputation of the  brand, we have the opportunity to position ourselves attractively in this sector. Our objective is to take strategic positions with a limited cash risk, in order to optimize the assets and the brand.”

He also says, “The second project in progress is the strengthening of the partnership with Pariplay, Ltd in the launch in 2018 of casino platforms allowing players to bet either in real money or with most crypto-currencies currently outstanding. These casino sites will offer many Atari games. To broaden the appeal of these new casinos, and once the Token available, Atari has the project to launch Pong Token, a second Token dedicated to crypto-casinos and usable on these gaming sites. The details of this launch of crypto-casinos will be announced soon.”

We also note that it isn’t the only company benefiting from the crypto boom. Two days after announcing it would partner with a blockchain company, Eastman Kodak Co.’s stock jumped 245-percent too.

Few things to note are:

  • Despite the lack of details, shares in Atari SA are up around 60 percent since the announcement.
  • The same happened in the market for similarly vague crypto-related announcements from Kodak, the Long Island Iced Tea Company, and a Hooters franchise.
  • This excitement seems undamped by the recent plunge in the prices of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
  • If the name “Atari Token” sounds familiar, it might be because previously the firm used that name for its own cross-platform reward points system. This system could be used to fuel in-game microtransactions.
  • The company will actually launch two separate currencies: The Token, to be used on digital gaming platforms, and the Pong Token, for online casinos.

Read more about this news here:


Bitcoin at the USA Olympics this winter.

The USA Luge team is making history for they are the first US Olympic team to accept Bitcoin donations.

Historically, Luge team has not been one of the more popular Olympic sports for American viewers. But for a different reason, it’s now under the spotlight.

However, what his move means is?

It means that the USA Luge team is often in need of funds. While the team does have some sponsors, every little bit counts quite a bit, which is why the team is turning to it for help.

Gordy Sheer, the USA Luge marketing director and silver medalist in the 1998 Olympic doubles, sees some parallels between crypto users and lugers.

His words are just as follows, “You know, we hear a lot of jokes about lugers being crazy, and people don’t know why we do it. But luge is something that gets into your blood and transforms your life…and the bitcoin users we’ve met know exactly what it’s like to be all in on something that the world doesn’t appreciate yet. We’ve looked at it hard, and it is definitely a risk-reward we understand and are eager to take.”

Another statement by former Olympian Ty Danco and crypto investor, “It’s such a natural and good fit for the team. The luge team is not thinking short term, but long.”

There are some current tax benefits for donating it to Team USA. Donors will not have to pay the taxes on any appreciation gained, which will help keep the IRS off their backs. Also, donations made this year will fall under the current tax code. Overall, it’s great for a financially-strapped team to look to independent donation sources, and cryptocurrency is just the thing.

The team has put up a rewards schedule depending on how much Bitcoin they raise in the future.

  • 5 BTC – Bitcoin’s logo will appear on team hats and memorabilia hats.
  • 10 BTC – Above, including Bitcoin logo sewn onto all luge team outerwear for the 2018 season (excluding the Winter Olympics).
  • 25 BTC – All of the above, including Bitcoin logo of sleds for the next two seasons.
  • 50 BTC – All of the above, with Bitcoin logo on sleds for next four seasons.
  • 100 BTC – All the above including Bitcoin logo on team skin suits for four years (excluding Olympics).

For 21 million the team promised to find ‘Satoshi and get him on a sled’ – 21 million is the finite number of Bitcoins.

Read this for more:


BitGrail Cryptocurrency Exchange turns insolvent!

On 9th February 2018, the BitGrail cryptocurrency exchange from Italy released a public statement that it was rendered insolvent after an alleged hack of $170 million.

Read the public statement here:

The BitGrail Cryptocurrency Exchange was one of the main portals for trading Nano (formerly RaiBlocks), the cryptocurrency of which 17 million units seem to have been stolen, according to BitGrail founder Francesco Firano. This prompted skepticism after the recent BitGrail activity.

The exchange blocked all withdrawals and deposits of the aforementioned digital coin in early January, as well as the Lisk and CryptoForecast tokens. Then, it announced that users’ identity would have to be verified according to AML protocols, with a potential ban on non-European users – in spite of its independence from the bank of governments.

Following these hacks, Firano asked the developers of the Nano currency to “fork” their records to restore the funds supposedly stolen from the exchange – which came as a surprise, due to the fact that many believe that cryptocurrency transaction records are and must be kept unchanged.

The devs turned down the request publicly, sharing a copy of such conversation with Firano. They said, “We now have sufficient reason to believe that Firano has been misleading the NanoCore Team and the community regarding the solvency of the BitGrail exchange for a significant period of time.”

This hack seems to be a bit more complicated. One day after the company’s announcement, the team behind Nano posted an announcement of its own, in which they claim that Francesco “The Bomber” Firano has contacted them and asked them to modify Nano’s ledger in order to cover the losses. But the Nano team claims there have been no technical issues with Nano’s underlying ledger. “The problems appear to be related to BitGrail’s software,” the announcement said.

The Nano team did not provide further specific evidence of this claim, however, and would have obvious motives for drawing attention away from any security flaws in their own technology. Firano, 31, told the Italian news site Sole24ORE that he has received multiple death threats since announcing the hack and filing a police report, which he said is now being investigated. Users on Twitter and Reddit are circulating photos of Firano, accompanied by implicit and explicit threats.