A Taiwanese man suspected of stealing electricity worth over $3 million to mine Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) has been arrested, according to a report from local news channel EBC Dongsen News Dec. 26.

The suspect, whose surname has been given as Yang, has been accused of allegedly stealing the electricity to successfully mine cryptocurrencies worth over 100 million yuan (around $14.5 million). Yang is purported to have used a minimum of 17 various business premises to open toy shops or internet cafes there as a facade for his alleged crypto mining activities.

The report claims Yang hired electricians to rewire the premises in such a way as to evade electricity metering and detection of the stolen power. State-owned utility provider the Taiwan Power Company is reported to have first noticed irregularities in the power supply, prompting a police investigation. In addition to Yang, a suspected accomplice has also been reportedly identified.

Wang Zhicheng, deputy head of the fourth brigade of Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau, is quoted by EBC Dongsen News as saying that:

“The [suspects] recruited electricians who managed to break into the sealed meters in order to add in private lines to use electricity for free before that usage reaches the meters.”

Suspected power theft to fuel crypto mining operations is not unprecedented; this October, a man in China’s northern Shanxi province  was sentenced to three and a half years in jail for allegedly stealing power from a train station to fuel his Bitcoin mining operations.

Also in China — this time in the country’s Anhui province — a separate suspect was arrested for attempting to steal electricity to fund his reportedly “unprofitable” mining operations.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) has launched a cross-border remittance product based on RippleNet’s blockchain technology, according to an announcement published Dec. 27.

Established in 1952, the NBK is the largest financial institution in terms of assets in Kuwait. Per the bank’s 2017 annual report, the NBK has over $86.3 billion in total assets.

The NBK has reportedly become the first financial establishment in Kuwait to implement a remittance product — “NBK Direct Remit” — for international live payments based on RippleNet’s blockchain technology. The product will purportedly speed up cross-border money transfers.

Dimitrios Kokosioulis, the deputy CEO of group operations and technology, said that the blockchain-based solution allows the bank’s customers to “make money transfers within seconds” and “anytime of the day.” Kokosioulis added that the service will also be available in Jordan, and will subsequently expand to other countries.

In November, Malaysian lending giant CIMB Group Holdings Bhd joined RippleNet. CIMB will integrate Ripple’s XCurrent product, a software solution for expediting cross-border payments, for its “SpeedSend” remittance product.

Also that month, Japanese bank and financial services firm Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. said it will use Ripple to create a new cross-border payments service to Brazil through partnership with Banco Bradesco. The product aims to “assist the banks as they work toward commercializing a high-speed, transparent and traceable cross-border payments solution between Japan and Brazil.”

In October, Ripple launched its real-time settlement platform xRapid for commercial use. xRapid is a platform designed to speed up international payments, while eliminating the need for a pre-funded nostro account.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Could India potentially put an end to its present crypto ban? According to the New India Express, the answer might be “yes.”

The publication recently stated that an interdisciplinary committee created by the Indian government has had several meetings regarding cryptocurrency activity in the country and is allegedly in favor of both regulating and legalizing cryptocurrencies rather than fully banning them.

Will Crypto Come Back to India?

An anonymous senior official explained to the publication:

“We have already had two meetings. There is a consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders. Deliberations are on.”

India first sought to ban the sale and trades of cryptocurrencies in April of 2018. The nation’s central bank – the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) – made the announcement in its first policy statement for the fiscal year, citing volatility and cyber theft as the primary reasons as to why banks would no longer be permitted to work with firms or agencies that dealt in cryptocurrencies.

The bank stated:

“In view of the associated risk, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or selling [virtual currencies].”

Many blockchain and crypto-based businesses took offense to the notion of a potential crypto ban throughout the country. Sathvik Vishwanath – co-founder of Unocoin – explained:

“No other player in India was foreseeing this, and it comes as a shock. People are trying to exit as they feel they won’t be able to cash out after three months. Selling volumes in bitcoin are as high as 1.5 times in a single day and the price has gone down by ten percent of what it should ideally be.”

This presents something of a two-sided coin in the sense that while the ban was set in motion roughly eight months ago, the interdisciplinary committee was created just a year earlier. Why would India design a body to manage cryptocurrencies if it was planning to shun them?

The organization is composed of representatives from other government associations, banking platforms and “relevant agencies.” Allegedly, the committee’s original goal to was to ban private currencies circulating regularly in India, though this stance appears to be softening.

Another meeting is already scheduled for January. The Committee has also been ordered by the country’s supreme court to provide clear legislation regarding cryptocurrency exchange operations by February of 2019.

Moving Forward in the Crypto Space

The anonymous official explains:

“We have also taken inputs from cryptocurrency exchanges and experts and we will be examining legal issues with the law ministry. It’s a complicated issue. Once all aspects are decided, then we will have more clarity.”

Will India move forward with allowing crypto trades? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Blockchain Cuties, one of the most popular crypto collectible games today, is officially launching on Tron Arcade on December 28, making it the first full-features gaming dApp to launch on the platform, BlockTribune reported on December 25, 2018.

Blockchain Cuties Collectibles Game Launches on Tron Arcade

Blockchain Cuties, a crypto collectible game that rose to popularity for being the first Gaming Dapp to achieve interoperability and simultaneous gameplay across multiple blockchains, is officially launching on Tron Arcade.

According to the company, the official launch of Blockchain Cuties on TRON is scheduled for December 28, 2018, making it the first full-featured gaming dapp to launch on the platform.

When Cuties launches on TRON, they will again become the first gaming Dapp to build cross-chain functionality for three different networks, Tron explained in a Medium post. The company noted that this type of operability could help blockchain games realize their potential in delivering a new gaming experience.

Despite being a crypto collectible game at its core, Blockchain Cuties aims to provide a unique experience to its users. There are many strategic elements to the game itself, as each Cutie has a has a unique genome that serves as an analog for human DNA. Arguably the most exciting part of the metagame is to decode the breeding system to create the most valuable and appealing Cutie.

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Tron Arcade has started a pre-sale to prepare for the official launch of the game, where users can buy the Cuties version of the company’s mascot Tronbeary. The pre-sale also features a Cutie version of Justin Sun, Tron’s CEO, with his patented pineapple sneakers.

Tron Actively Trying to Break into Gaming

While blockchain gaming isn’t a new phenomenon, the industry has had a tough time penetrating the lucrative gaming industry for quite some time.

With many of the most popular blockchain networks being too slow to support thousands of users that these games would bring, some industry leaders have focused on building stand-alone systems that would be used only for games.

Tron’s Mainnet managed to solve the issues networks such as Bitcoin and Ethereum had when faced with a large scale gaming operation – scalability. To do that, the Tron Foundation launched the Tron Arcade earlier in November and dedicated a $100 million fund that would be used to improve the company’s gaming blockchain.

Tron’s founder and CEO, Justin Sun, commented on the matter in a November press release, saying:

“Tron strives to tackle existing issues faced by the gaming industry by leveraging the open, transparent, and immutability of blockchain technology. Tron Arcade will play a crucial role in encouraging developers to join in our mission and provide the best blockchain gaming experience to users around the world.”

This post is credited to btcmanager

Blockchain technology is primed to take over the automotive industry in the next three years. if senior executives in the sector are to be believed, reported Times of India on December 24, 2018.

Blockchain to Augment Business Processes

In a joint study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics, researchers concluded 64 percent of surveyed executives working in the automotive sector believe blockchain and distributed computing systems will become a dominant force in the industry by 2021. The belief is centered on the technology’s potential to “strengthen trust and collaboration” between consumers, businesses, and IoT-enabled vehicles.

In addition, 54 percent of all executives think newer business models will be formulated to influence institutional investing in blockchain-focused companies, while over 50 percent of existing players implementing the technology within production frameworks would deploy their first commercial blockchain product by 2021.

Overall, the researchers interviewed 1,314 executives across ten functional areas in ten emerging and developed markets. The study added that maturation of blockchain networks, with existing and developing business frameworks, will ultimately provide companies with new revenue streams and customers with sophisticated services.

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The study added:

“By overcoming constraints of technical challenges of storing, processing, sharing and analyzing data, blockchain can shift information [paradigms] from error-prone to value-add. [Shared] information becomes a lifetime history of an asset (such as a vehicle) or transaction and is transparent to all.”

Information Friction and the Lack of Blockchain Awareness

As per opinion, executives note blockchain can provide deep insights into “information friction” faced by the automotive industry, with 55 percent of equipment manufacturers and 40 percent of suppliers feeling such risks can be vastly improved. Furthermore, 43 percent and 29 percent of both groups respectively believe a distributed ledger would increase the ability of participants to access information needed for crucial transactions.

Areas most affected by information friction include finance, supply chain, and mobility services; which all form vital functional areas in a business. Most surveyed individuals see blockchain technology as the answer to reducing the fallacy.

Meanwhile, collated data showed after sales services and quality tracking was the most in Germany, China, and Mexico; three highly-rated areas for original equipment manufacturing.

However, only a small number of executives displayed stated that their organization was “ready” for the commercial usage of blockchain technology. Lack of education and awareness of blockchain technology among executives was determined as the foremost reason for the slow development in deploying a distributed ledger-based product, while regulatory constraints formed the other major aspect.

This post is credited to btcmanager

Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group plans to introduce a digital currency to be used for remittances and payments in March, English-language Asian media Nikkei reports Dec. 26.

According to the article, the fees that the retail shops will be required to pay for accepting the currency will be significantly lower than the fees charged for credit card usage. The transfer of funds back and forth between the digital wallet and the bank account will reportedly be free, as will be sending funds to other users.

Furthermore, according to Nikkei, the bank brought “about 60 regional banks on board” to promote cashless payments. Moreover, regional banks will reportedly be able to provide the service under a common name, which hasn’t been established yet.

The currency will reportedly be managed by a dedicated smartphone app, and the payments will be made using QR codes. The token will be a stablecoin fixed at a price of 1 yen per unit, Nikkei writes.

Mizuho Financial Group is a public banking holding company that reported 1.45 trillion yen of revenue in 2017, equivalent to over $13 billion. The virtual currency is the result of the development of J-Coin, announced in September 2017 by Mizuho.

As Cointelegraph reported in January, Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), the world’s fifth-largest bank, will also launch its own digital currency: MUFG coin.

In regard to crypto legislation within Japan, the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) is considering placing cryptocurrencies into a dedicated legal category called “crypto-assets” to prevent confusion with legal tender.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Crypto education is growing by the day, and now Seoul, South Korea has become the latest center for a degree in bitcoin.

The Seoul School of Integrated Sciences and Technologies – known as Assist – has announced that it will be offering a new master’s degree program devoted to both blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The degree will offer students educational courses in blockchain technology, crypto-economics, and token sourcing. The school is also claiming this degree program as the first MBA blockchain certification for any business graduate school.

Crypto Graduates Exit with Pride

An official announcement reads:

“The mission of Assist business school’s crypto MBA program is to remedy the lack of academic research and systematic education currently available in the industry, despite a high level of social interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency.”

Assist has also stated that students interested in the degree program will be required to take specific courses dealing with bitcoin, Ethereum and EOS – three of the top five cryptocurrencies in existence today. Students will also be tested on general cryptology, deep learning, smart contracts capabilities and system dynamics mechanisms.

The crypto-economics division of the degree program will consist primarily of microeconomics, macroeconomics, theories on current financial trends, behavioral economics (to cover bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ price movements), game theory and mechanism designs.

Courses in management mechanisms, strategic statistics, digital marketing strategies, digital financial accounting, dApp planning, crypto funds and whitepaper composition (for students interested in creating their own altcoins or blockchain projects) must also be completed.

If anything, the degree sounds relatively demanding, though this isn’t the first university-accredited training offered on blockchain and crypto. New York University (NYU), for example, has been offering a course entitled “Law and Business of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies” since the fall of 2014. Students who take the course are expected to compose a 15 to 20-page term paper on a crypto-based subject of their choosing to pass the class.

Other schools are taking things even further. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is currently in the process of developing its own cryptocurrency. It also offers two separate blockchain courses entitled “Blockchain Fundamentals” and “Cryptocurrencies, Blockchains and Applications.”

South Korea’s Crypto History

South Korea has had something of a mixed relationship with cryptocurrencies throughout 2018. South Korea was (and still is) a major crypto and blockchain hub, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the world’s crypto transactions at one point.

Unfortunately, fundraising methods such as initial coin offerings (ICOs) are banned within the country thanks, in part, to ongoing fraudulent activity and the thieving of investor funds. The nation has also been criticized in the past for its overall lack of digital asset regulation as of late.

Is this a degree program you’d want to be a part of? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Bank of America (BoA) wants to patent a system using blockchain technology to improve cash handling, a new application published Dec. 25 confirms.

Originally submitted in June 2017, the patent references “banking systems controlled by data bearing records.”

“Aspects of the disclosure relate to deploying, configuring, and utilizing cash handling devices to provide dynamic and adaptable operating functions,” its abstract reads.

BoA explains there remain communication difficulties in aspects of cash handling duties across banks’ huge operations, and suggests blockchain could help ease these.

“Cash handling devices may be used in operating centers and other locations to provide various functions, such as facilitating cash withdrawals and deposits,” the patent document continues.

“In many instances, however, it may be difficult to integrate such cash handling devices with technical infrastructure that supports banking operations and other operations while also optimizing the efficient and effective technical operations of the cash handling devices and various related computer systems.”

BoA has sought to step up its efforts to snag intellectual property in the blockchain sphere over the past two years.

In November, the bank was revealed to have the most such blockchain patents at more than 50, amid curiosity as to whether it would put all to use in the near term.

While keen on blockchain, BoA has adopted a highly risk-averse stance on cryptocurrency, becoming one of the few institutions to enact bans on associated fiat purchases by clients earlier this year.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

In a bid to raise awareness about the crypto industry’s energy consumption, the Institute of Human Obsolescence, a Dutch organization focused on data ownership, explored the energy usage of Bitcoin and found that 44,000 would need to provide their body energy for a month in order to mine a single Bitcoin, Motherboard reported on January 3, 2017.

Bitcoin’s Troubling Ecological Footprint Yields Impressive Experiments

The most popular cryptocurrency on the market today, both by market cap and trading volume, has frequently been dubbed the future of finance and is often regarded as the most revolutionary invention of the century. However, Bitcoin does come with its own set of shortcomings, with the least mentioned being its energy consumption.

Back in 2017, before the sudden spike in popularity, a single Bitcoin transaction required as much energy as ten households use in a week. According to a Motherboard report, the Bitcoin network used more energy than the entire country of Bulgaria during 2016.

The troubling ecological footprint Bitcoin has already left on the environment has prompted companies to search for alternative means of energy to stay profitable. One company, however, went to the extreme and tested out whether it would be viable to harvest energy from the human body to power mining.

A Dutch organization called the Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO) decided to take advantage of the human body heat and transform it into pure energy.

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(Source: NewsRescue)

The Human Body Is a Battery, Just Not an Efficient One

According to Motherboard, an adult human body generates approximately 100 watts of power while at rest, with around 80 percent of it being wasted as excess body heat. IoHO’s experiment tried to capture some of that energy by using wearable thermoelectric generators, which were used to power the computers mining cryptocurrency.

The experiment started back in 2015 when 37 volunteers contributed 212 hours of mining time to generate a total of 127.2 watts of power. On average, each of the volunteers contributed about 0.6 watts/hour of energy, which means that IoHO collected less than 1 percent of the body heat generated by its volunteers.

Manuel Beltrán, an artist and founder of IoHO, told the publication that the energy generated in the experiment wasn’t used to mine Bitcoin.

“We exclusively mined altcoins, and some of them have risen over 46,000 percent in value. What in the beginning was just small cents now became substantial amounts of money,” Beltrán said. It would take nearly 4,600 people lying still during an entire year to produce 1.2 Bitcoin, with each person earning less than $1 or their year-long endeavor at current Bitcoin prices.

However, Motherboard decided to explore a much different scenario – one where the thermoelectric generators would be much more efficient and able to collect almost all of the heat generated by the human body. In this scenario, there would have to be 44,000 people providing their body energy every second of every day for an entire month to mine a single Bitcoin.

This post is credited to btcmanager

A 20-year-old Hong Kong University student is looking to revolutionize the crypto space.

Kenta Iwasaki says the cryptocurrency arena has stagnated in recent months, and he’s looking to do something about it. Among the projects he’s currently leading is a $50 million fundraising effort for a cryptocurrency-driven marketplace known as Perlin, based on his own unique blockchain design.

The Crypto Space Needs to Change

He comments:

“There really needs to be something new, a new flavor to what you can do with cryptocurrency. Otherwise, the technology will be wasted on basic coin exchange.”

Iwasaki has been building software since he was eight years old. He’s already established himself as an entrepreneur, selling the software he designs for thousands of dollars online each month. His latest focus, Perlin, he says will provide a new way of valuing cryptocurrencies and how companies source Cloud-based computing power.

The company is also looking to make users a little money in the process. Smartphone owners have an opportunity to lend out their computing power to developers starting crypto businesses. Users provide their phones’ power in exchange for the company’s digital asset “Perl.” Customers who lend out their power can earn anywhere between $1 to $3 in crypto every six hours. Iwasaki is looking to have roughly 50,000 phones connected to the Perlin network by the end of 2019.

Iwasaki says the advantage to Perl is that it is tied to something that never loses its value. Like stable coins, which are tied to fiat currencies like the yen, USD and the euro, Perl is hooked to computing power, which people and businesses will always need. This makes it less vulnerable to pump-and-dump schemes and volatility.

A study released by Tel Aviv University, the University of Tulsa and the University of New Mexico on December 18 suggests that nearly 5,000 individual pump-and-dump schemes took place between January and July of this year, though most of them involved relatively obscure or smaller altcoins.

But he believers Perl has its benefits:

“Even if suddenly people stopped trading, stopped using the exchange to buy and sell, it would still have a fixed value. It wouldn’t just die off as a cryptocurrency.”

Building the Business Even Further

Iwasaki is adamant that bad actors and volatility give cryptocurrencies a “bad name,” and prevent people from exhibiting trust in blockchain technology like they should.

In the future, he mentions he’d like to boost Perlin enough that it’s able to provide free internet service to residents of third-world or developing nations.

Do you see Perlin as a revolutionary venture in the crypto marketplace? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews