Japan Urges G20 Officials to Introduce Unified Crypto Regulation

Regulating cryptocurrencies can be done in many different ways. Japan’s government has paved the way for a positive approach in this regard. The same country is now urging the G20 to maintain a positive approach as well. However, they do want the G20 to address potential money laundering issues.

The G20 and Crypto Regulation

It is not the first time the G20 and cryptocurrency regulation is mentioned in the same breath. French and German officials urge this governing body to take a harsh stance against this new form of money. The lack of official regulation and accountability is considered to be a big threat to financial stability. Cryptocurrency allows everyone to be their own bank, which poses challenges and risks.

At the same time, cryptocurrency introduces a lot of new opportunities. Making the most of those potential changes is equally as important. Finding the middle ground between over-regulation and allowing for innovation is not all that easy. In fact, it is a regulatory puzzle the G20 will have to address a lot sooner than they might like.

Japanese officials want to have some form of crypto regulation by the G20 as well. However, their focus is more on preventing money laundering efforts altogether. Protecting consumers is of great importance as well. None of this indicates the organization wants to ban cryptocurrencies and limit the trading possibilities. Instead, they will focus on the actual matters at hand, while still allowing these new currencies to thrive accordingly.

Determining the Fate of Cryptocurrency

Building a proper regulatory system for cryptocurrency is very difficult. It isn’t easy to do in one country, let alone for the G20. As powerful as this entity may be, every country tends to approach these matters differently. Finding common ground has proven to be a hassle more often than not, regardless of the topic at hand. One common feeling among the member states is how too strict regulation for cryptocurrency would have an adverse effect first and foremost.

For now, a report will be drafted on how this money laundering threat can be assessed. The Financial Action Task Force is currently putting together their finds. This report will be presented to the G20 during their next meeting this year. The Japanese officials simply want a unified course of action across all nations. Right now, certain regions are prone to “loose regulation”, which makes the fight against money laundering a lot harder.

Whether or not we will see any major developments soon, remains to be seen. Protecting consumers while allowing Bitcoin and altcoins to thrive is not straightforward. With the support of Japan in favor of positive regulatory measures, things will get rather interesting in the coming months. It is evident Japan is very keen on this new form of money.  They are also one of the few countries worldwide to effectively legalize cryptocurrency as a payment vehicle.

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There is a lot of excitement in the world of cryptocurrencies today. So many projects are available on the market right now, all of which generate a varying degree of attention. In the case of EOS, the opinions are somewhat divided. More specifically, some people – including John Oliver – are not too sure where the value of this project comes from exactly.

The Story of EOS so Far

Even though there is a lot of potential where EOS is concerned, most of the work is unfinished. As of right now, the project is still in the early stages of development. Despite that drawback, the project’s valuation has skyrocketed. At the time of writing, the EOS project is valued at over $4.4 billion. A steep amount for a project that has no working product at his point in time.

HBO’s John Oliver recently talked about this project during his Last Week Tonight show. The company has attracted his attention due to their skyrocketing valuation. The parent company has been referred to as a software company not selling any software. That alone should make more people cautious first and foremost, but so far, it has the opposite effect.

Additionally, the EOS token has been described as a digital token having no purpose. All of this should more than warrant a very low price for EOS in the current stage of development. Yet for some reason, its price is only rising even though the project developers still have a ton of work to do in the coming months and years.

What Comes Next for EOS?

The ambition associated with EOS should not be taken lightly. This team of developers wants to address a lot of current problems in the world of decentralized applications. Building a new powerful platform from scratch will not be easy whatsoever. So far, there is a lack of decentralized applications on the EOS protocol to revolutionize many industries. At the same time, building such a platform will not be done overnight by any means.

Justifying the project’s value can be done in many different ways.  Having powerful partners on board helps legitimize the project as a whole. The expectations for EOS are sky high, but delivering on that promise will be another thing altogether. With two initial versions of this platform released already, investors are in good spirits. 

It will be quite interesting to see how the EOS project unfolds. A lot more questions can be raised when looking closely at how things are evolving. That doesn’t mean this is not a legitimate venture, mind you. They raised $1.5bn during their ICO several months ago. That valuation has now tripled without much working code. Whether or not hat is the “new normal” we should all adhere to, is subject to interpretation.

The future value of Bitcoin has always been an intriguing topic of debate. Any prediction associated with this notoriously volatile cryptocurrency will always generate a backlash. John Oliver, the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, is a bit on the fence in this regard. More specifically, he claims Bitcoin can be either worthless or billions very soon.

John Oliver and Cryptocurrency

It is always refreshing to see a new talk show regarding cryptocurrency. Although this is just one episode of Last Week Tonight, it does raise a lot of interesting questions. More specifically, John Oliver touched upon some very intriguing topics during that episode. One of his topics revolves around the Bitcoin price, which is of great interest to many people around the world.

More specifically, John Oliver states the obvious truth about Bitcoin. Its price will either be zero or billions in the next few years. This is the most logical assumption when it comes to the future Bitcoin price right now. It is a big gamble to invest in cryptocurrrency. That also applies to any other investment people make in other industries.

John Oliver wants to warn people about the risks. Markets are volatile and tend to swing either way. It may not necessarily be a global currency anytime soon either. However, Oliver acknowledges it may happen, for all we know. We see more efforts towards regulating Bitcoin, which also gives it more legitimacy in the long run.Until that is in place, however, Bitcoin will always remain a niche market, for obvious reasons.

Can Bitcoin be Worth Billions?

If John Oliver is to be believed, a billion-dollar value for Bitcoin is not impossible. Achieving that high value will not be easy whatsoever, though. The way things look right now, breaking the $12,000 resistance will be very difficult. Reaching a billion per BTC means the current value needs to increase by quite a margin. It is not impossible, but it is highly unlikely from a short-term perspective.

That being said, the John Oliver show also warns people not to invest money they cannot afford to lose. Unfortunately, most cryptocurrency enthusiasts won’t heed that warning. More specifically, the FOMO in this industry has never been higher than right now. People are seemingly concerned about missing out on the next financial revolution.Throwing caution to the wind is never a good idea, that much is rather evident.

For the time being, it will be interesting to see how well the prediction by John Oliver holds up. It seems we are in for a lengthy period of status-quo as of right now. That doesn’t mean things won’t improve or deteriorate in the future. Anything is possible in the world of cryptocurrency, especially right now. With the futures market gaining popularity and cryptocurrency hedge funds increasing in number, things will get very interesting. For now, the Bitcoin price will remain a topic of substantial debate for quite some time to come.

In the cryptocurrency world, negative trends tend to skew people’s perception. More specifically, everyone is focused on the current Bitcoin price dip. It makes them lose track of the bigger picture, which still paints a very promising future for the world’s leading cryptocurrency. A lot of positive things will happen in the next few years, regardless of the current Bitcoin or future Bitcoin price.

The Bitcoin Price Dip is Temporary

If history has taught us one thing, it is how the Bitcoin price tends to bounce back strongly. We see big dips every single year and often end the year with an all-time high. This cycle has been present for some time and seems destined to repeat itself. Speculators may feel differently about that outlook right now, though. This recent Bitcoin price dip has a lot of people concerned, even though things will be just fine.

More specifically, every Bitcoin price dip is a new buying opportunity. Lower prices will attract new speculators and investors alike. This is the way it has always been in the financial sector. Cryptocurrencies are no exception in this regard. Everyone knows Bitcoin hit $19,000 last year. There is no reason to think we won’t see that price again in the future. It may not happen in 2018, but it will eventually happen again. Some people even predict a BTC value of $29,000 by the end of this year.

Fueling the future Bitcoin price growth will be some major technical developments. Most people already know SegWit adoption is increasing as we speak. This leads to lower fees, normal confirmation times, and transaction batching. All of these trends are incredibly positive for the world’s leading cryptocurrency when looking at it from a long-term perspective.

Other Major Developments on the Horizon

SegWit alone will not make Bitcoin great again, though. It does pave the way for the Lightning Network. This scaling solution seems to be closer to a main net release every single day. When it goes live, it will certainly shake things up for all Bitcoin users around the world. Even so, other technical developments are needed to improve the overall ecosystem.

In the near future, we will see more sidechains such as Rootstock. There’s also the likes of drivechain, Liquid, and a few other sidechain projects to keep in mind. All of these new features will unlock new possibilities for Bitcoin in the future. In time, they will also impact the Bitcoin price in a positive manner.

For those looking for more privacy, Bitcoin will have you covered as well. Tumeblebit and ZeroLink are two projects definitely worth keeping an eye on. Their integration may not necessarily happen in 2018, but the overall improvements will attract fresh capital regardless. The future is looking extremely bright for Bitcoin, assuming people are willing to see it. Looking past the current Bitcoin price dip is difficult, but this is only a temporary setback.

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts will have noticed all markets are getting battered. Volatility is an integral part of this industry, but the reason for the current sell-off is triggered by something else entirely. The Mt. Gox trustee is liquidating assets on behalf of the exchange’s victims. Unfortunately, he appears to be selling these coins across regular exchanges and crashing the price.

The Mt Gox Trustee

It is good to see the Mt. Gox debacle finally come to a close. More specifically, the trustee has allocated the funds necessary to repay all victims of this exchange. Thanks to the current Bitcoin price, fewer coins are needed to make this happen. At the same time, selling Bitcoin at the current prices is also problematic. As everyone can see, the price is tanking hard exactly because of this major sell-off.

It appears a total of 40,000 BTC need to be liquidated quickly. That represents a hefty chunk of money, which needs to be bought up by individuals and investors. Selling this amount of Bitcoin on the open market in large batches is not the correct approach. In fact, it is one of the biggest mistakes the Mt. Gox trustee can make. In doing so, this one person is effectively crashing the entire cryptocurrency market.

For anyone holding Bitcoin or altcoins, this is not good news. While everyone wants to put Mt. Gox behind them, this sell-off is not the right way to go. There are plenty of other options to sell this money without disrupting overall prices. Several service providers are even willing to help in this regard. So far, their advice is falling on deaf ears, as the Mt. Gox trustee just does what he thinks is best.

Purposefully Crashing the Bitcoin Price

Even though Kraken offered to aid in the sale, their request has been blatantly ignored. The company runs a dark pool where people can buy and sell large quantities which do not disrupt open market trading prices. Additionally, the funds could easily be sold through an auction and net even more money. For some reason, the Mt. Gox trustee isn’t even entertaining that idea either. It is a very disturbing approach and shows a lack of respect for the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a whole.

Crashing the Bitcoin price like this is completely unacceptable. It is unclear why this approach was taken, although it has all the traits of malicious intent. This is the fastest way to repay Mt. Gox victims.  However, these people have waited years to see their money back, thus a few days or weeks extra won’t make any difference. A proper approach is warranted in this regard, but so far, the damage has been done already.

It will be interesting to see how all of this play out. For now, the Mt. Gox trustee is quickly becoming one of the most disliked individuals in cryptocurrency. His approach leaves a lot to be desired and it appears things are not improving whatsoever. Rumors are flying around how this is a move orchestrated by governments looking to scoop up cheap bitcoins. An interesting thought, but fake news until proven otherwise

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts will have noticed the Bitcoin price has taken another stumble. This latest downtrend comes at a rather surprising time. Worrisome news originating from Japan and the Binance rumors are not helping matters much. As is usually the case, this market will bounce back eventually.

Japanese Exchange Concerns

Perhaps the biggest Bitcoin price ‘scare’ originates from Japan. More specifically, the local Financial Services Authority has continued to scrutinize cryptocurrency companies. The results are relatively worrisome, although there is no reason to be overly concerned from a long-term perspective. FSHO and Bitstation are temporarily shut down by the FSA. Neither of these exchanges are “major trading platforms”, but the decision sets a rather worrisome precedent.

A total of four exchanges have been penalized, including Zaif. That exchange allowed users to buy Bitcoin for $0 due to a system glitch. GMO, Bicrements, and Mr. Exchange are also penalized. BitExpress and one unidentified exchange have their license withdrawn due to “irregularities”. Coincheck, which lost over $450m in customer funds, can’t reimburse users until further audits are completed. It is unclear how long this process will take exactly.

None of these developments are negative for cryptocurrency as a whole. Companies not adhering to guidelines need to be punished in one way or another. Japan is not banning cryptocurrency but rather creating an optimal ecosystem for all parties involved. In the long run, these developments will create a more robust ecosystem, which is a positive development.  All of these companies will come out stronger because of the “intervention” by the FSA in this regard.

Binance and the Bitcoin Price

As one would expect, all of this news has crippled the Bitcoin price a bit. With the value dropping quite quickly, the Bitcoin price even dropped below $10,000 at one point. This trend is compounded further by rumors regarding Binance being hacked. So far, the company stated all customer funds are safe. They did experience some “irregular trading” but it seems those problems have been rectified already.

With all of this news, the Bitcoin price is between a rock and a hard place. All of this news can be interpreted in many different ways. Right now, it affects the Bitcoin price in a negative manner, even though there is no issue in any regard. Binance funds are safe and the Japanese exchanges have time to sort out their internal issues and shortcomings. Nothing warrants a further Bitcoin price drop as of right now, yet markets hardly ever respond in a logical manner.

Once all of the FUD and uncertainty clears up, the market will resume its previous uptrend again. For the Bitcoin price, this can result in a price jump to $11,000 pretty quickly. As of right now, the industry is in a far better place than it was several years ago. Looking at the long-term play, the bullish trend is still in place without any issues. Binance is still operational and safe. The Japanese exchanges will come out stronger. Things are looking pretty good for the Bitcoin price moving forward.

The Ethereum Foundation is always looking to make a positive impact. They are actively looking into supporting applications, smart contracts, and other innovative projects. Earlier this week, the Ethereum Foundation announced their first grants to help bolster this ecosystem.

The Ethereum Foundation Grants

With a grant issued by the foundation, developers can keep working on their projects. There is a lot of research and development that goes into every single project. Empowering these innovative developers in any way possible is what the Ethereum Foundation aims to achieve first and foremost. Collaboration is critical in the way of blockchain technology and any feature derived from it.

For the community, these grants also play a big role. The “decisions” made by the Ethereum Foundation highlight projects worth keeping an eye on. No ecosystem is complete without looking at the technological implications from all different sides.Several key aspects of the Ethereum network need more support. With these grants, it becomes a bit easier to address those areas and support the people who attempt to improve the network as a result.

Especially in terms of scalability, usability, and security, there is still room for improvements. The Ethereum Foundation will continue to issue grants to solidify all of these different aspects moving forward. It is important to note support projects have no ICOs, token sales, or anything along those lines. These are all projects designed to make Ethereum better and stronger.

The “Lucky Winners” of the First Grants

Quite a few projects successfully received a grant. We see multiple projects focus on hackternship, which tackle Geth, Solidity, and Deterministic WebAssembly. Scalability is also a major area of work right now. L4 Research, Prysmatic Labs, Barcelona Supercomputing Center,  Turbo Geth, and Plasma Taiwan Dev all received grants of various sizes. These projects focus on sharding, state channels, Plasma, and so forth. All of these improvements will be quite positive for Ethereum once they go live on the network.

It is evident there are still a lot of improvements to come to Ethereum. The Ethereum Foundation helps all winners with technical advisory, a platform to share their work, and the non-dilutive funding. With L4 Research pocketing $1.5m, it seems state channels research is of the most interest as of right now. The Casper contract formal verification by Runtime Verification also netted a $500,000 grant. Casper is Ethereum proof-of-stake implementation, which should come to market relatively soon.

Blockchain technology is a great technological innovation. Any features built on top of blockchain are also of great interest. More specifically, smart contracts are quite popular as of right now. Fujitsu has come up with a new technology to assess any issues or risks associated with smart contracts in their current form.

Smart Contracts are Great but Risky

No one will deny the potential of smart contracts is certainly there. They allow for automating many different aspects of business models being used today. However, there are also some risks associated with this new technology. As we have seen in the past, these contracts can be manipulated by hackers if the code is not secure.

Unfortunately, most of these contracts are not audited in the slightest. That causes a big problem and concern for anyone working with this technology. Addressing such problems at an early stage is of the utmost importance. Surprisingly, it seems Fujitsu has a viable solution in this regard. The Japanese ICT company wants to address risks associated with smart contracts at an early stage.

This is a pretty positive development for the blockchain industry as a whole. With these contracts automating transactions and data sharing on blockchain platforms the potential is virtually unlimited. At the same time, addressing reliability concerns with smart contracts is not easy by any means. The new in-house developed algorithms by Fujitsu will identify risks on the Ethereum blockchain. It is unclear if other blockchain systems will be supported in the future.

A Foolproof Solution is Born?

According to Fujitsu, their new algorithms can detect 100% of the risks associated with Ethereum-based contracts. There are a few exceptions though, but those will be ironed out eventually. So far the solution’s overall accuracy is close to 88%, which is more than respectable. Improving this percentile will be a challenge, but Fujitsu is confident they can keep refining this solution. The company explained their train of thought as follows:

“Because over-identification of risk is rare, this technology will enable more efficient smart contract development, and combined with the risk location identification technology, it is also expected to reduce the workload involved in tasks such as specification comprehension, code evaluation, and fixing the code. This technology will contribute to the efficient application of blockchain technology to a wide variety of fields.”

For now, the plan is to further develop these verification technologies. Fujitsu will continue to focus on Ethereum, but Hyperledger Fabric is also of great interest. It is possible the detection algorithm will be commercialized at some point. Building a more secure blockchain and smart contract environment is a positive development for everyone. Doing so will take a lot of time and effort, though.

Index Funds have always been pretty popular in the financial sector. They offer a lot of advantages, especially for unaccredited investors. Coinbase, one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, is looking to launch such an Index Fund soon. This is a positive development for the cryptocurrency industry as a whole.

Why Index Funds Are a Good Thing

For those unaware, Index Funds have been around for quite some time now. Their main benefit is how they offer investment opportunities for less wealthy investors around the world. This does mean such a vehicle will be accessible to more people than just the traditional wealthy individuals. In the case of cryptocurrency, allowing more people to be exposed to these markets is only a good thing.

Another benefit of Index Funds is how they offer lower transactions costs, which is always a good thing. Regardless of which amount you are investing, lower costs are always a benefit. Especially when venturing into multiple assets or markets, any way of lowering costs is a positive thing. One needs to keep in mind there is always a commission cut to contend with as well. Higher costs mean you need to make more profit before actually increasing your portfolio’s net wealth.

Moreover, most Index Funds use a minimal turnover structure. This means it is a great tool to benefit long-term investors. In the world of cryptocurrencies, going the long-term route is always the best course of action. It will be interesting to see how Coinbase decides to tackle this business model exactly.

Coinbase Has Big Plans

It became evident Coinbase wants to get involved in the Index Funds market very soon. As such, the company may bring a lot more positive interest to the cryptocurrency space. Opening up this market to a lot of smaller investors will undoubtedly result in positive market traction. Right now, all cryptocurrencies are stuck in the dirt a bit as not enough fresh capital is entering the market.

Making the cryptocurrency ecosystem more appealing to investors has been a challenge. The launch of Bitcoin futures has not generated the buzz most people expected. Things are still heading in the right direction in this regard, though. Overall, the uptake of this new investment vehicle has been a lot slower than people would like it to be. With these volatile markets, it is only normal bigger investors will remain wary first and foremost.

These new Coinbase Index Funds can mean positive things for the industry as a whole. Exposing more people to this innovative form of digital money is always a double-edged sword. More investors will undoubtedly lead to more speculation as well. For now, we have to wait and see how Coinbase will move forward in this regard. The company has yet to unveil the specific details of their new venture.

The world of cryptocurrency has seen many intriguing changes. Currencies are created out of thin air, whereas some of them are effective “forks” of others. In the case of Bitcoin Private, it is safe to say this is a fork of a forked currency that was also forked from Bitcoin. Not necessarily something that makes a lot of sense to people.

Too Much Forking Action

On paper, there is nothing wrong with forking existing cryptocurrencies. In most cases, this is done due to technical disagreements or a completely different vision. Bitcoin has seen its fair share of forks, although only one of them has effectively succeeded so far. Bitcoin Cash is, by far, the most stable forked off Bitcoin on the market. However, this trend of forking Bitcoin goes back for quite some time.

People who keep a close eye on privacy-oriented currencies will know about ZCash. This privacy-oriented coin has made some great headlines over the past 18 months. It is not an anonymous currency, though, as it lacks all necessary traits to achieve that goal. Few people are aware of how ZCash was effectively created. It is a Bitcoin fork at its core, with different features added on top of it. As such, it derives from the original Bitcoin “path” right away.

ZCash has seen its own forked currency, known as ZClassic. It removes some aspects of ZCash and replaces them with other solutions. As such, ZClassic is – in theory – based on Bitcoin, but it is even further removed from the original currency than its own predecessor ZCash. Hence, a fork of a fork is created, which is already confusing to most novice cryptocurrency enthusiasts.

What About Bitcoin Private?

Here is where things get really interesting. Bitcoin Private is a so-called Bitcoin fork, yet it does not derive from that code base directly. Instead, it is a fork of ZClassic. This means we are now dealing with a fork of a forked currency, which also forked from Bitcoin. It is quite confusing, as it seems Bitcoin Private has even less to do with Bitcoin than either ZCash or ZClassic do right now. Even so, the developers choose to use the term “Bitcoin” as part of their brand.

Moreover, it seems Bitcoin Private caused some big market spikes for ZClassic. Its value has skyrocketed and then crashed once Bitcoin Private went live. The free airdropped tokens to ZCL holders are probably the main reason for this development. Once people got the currency they actually wanted, they sold ZCL back on the open market to crash its price altogether.  As such, ZCL is now back to its pre-fork prices.

The main question is whether or not Bitcoin Private is a threat to BTC itself. Right now, that does not appear to be the case, but things can change quickly. It also means we have another currency with “Bitcoin” in the name to deal with. For novice users, Bitcoin Private will only add more confusion and unnecessary friction. For now, we will have to wait and see how things play out in this regard. A fork of a fork of a fork is not necessarily a positive development.