Senate Candidate Accepts Largest Contribution in BTC
The Largest Cryptocurrency Campaign Donation
The Republican Austin Petersen is looking for a Senate seat in Missouri and is accepting bitcoin donations to get there. Petersen was the runner-up back in 2016 for the Libertarian Party’s nomination for President of the United States. The Missouri candidate is well known throughout the younger crowd of voters for loving bitcoin and giving away an AR-15 riflein a raffle. This past December, the 36-year old stated in an interview: “I am a big fan of the digital currency community because of what it represents, which is ultimately decentralization.”
This week the Federal Election Commission’s records reveal Petersen has received the largest digital currency donation in U.S. history — 0.284 BTC or $4,500 USD at the time of donation. Petersen has also garnered 24 total election contributions in BTC, and his campaign uses the Atlanta based processor Bitpay to facilitate donations.
When asked about the recent BTC donation, Jeff Carson, the campaign manager stated:
I think it goes without saying we’re going to see a lot more of this in terms of campaign contributions and campaign financing — Austin is personally a fan of competition in the marketplace, even when it comes to our currency — With the rise of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it was a no-brainer.
Gold, Silver, Cryptocurrencies and Ending the Fed
Petersen detailed last September that he would like to see “deregulation on monetary policy.” Further, the candidate added he would like to see the abolition of the private banking system the U.S. Federal Reserve.
“But barring that, at a minimum, I would like to introduce legislation that would decentralize the monetary unit, the dollar, in such a way as to legalize competition: Gold, silver, and cryptocurrencies, so that they can compete — That would cause a spike in the prices,” Petersen explains.
The contender follows other U.S. bureaucrats who’ve accepted bitcoin donations in the past. Back in 2014, the Coloradan Democrat Jared Polis received BTC for his campaign. The libertarian-leaning Republican Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul, accepted crypto for his presidential run in 2016.
Written by Bitcoin.com
Ripple inks deal with major Middle East currency giant
A foreign exchange giant owned by Travelex billionaire Bavaguthu Shetty has adopted cryptocurrency Ripple for its international payments, the latest major financial player to lend its backing to blockchain technology.
UAE Exchange, one of the largest in the Middle East, has signed up to the San Francisco Bitcoin rival’s RippleNet network for cross-border payments.
“Incorporating Ripple’s blockchain technology into our payments systems will bring customers an enhanced, new payments experience,” said Promoth Manghat, CEO of UAE Exchange Group.
“The early adoption of this game-changing technology allows us to offer a competitive service, as it will have an impact on the speed and cost of cross-border transactions. We are proud to deliver the future of payments with Ripple.”
UAE Exchange, whose billionaire owner bought Travelex in 2014, said it has a 6.75pc share of the $575 billion global remittance market, with ambitions to take on 10pc by 2020. It has 800 branches in more than 30 countries, making it the largest UAE-based exchange to incorporate blockchain into its daily operations.
Ripple, which has its own unit of payment called XRP, saw its popularity rise at the end of 2017 thanks to backing from 100 banks including Japanese and Korean credit card companies.
Ripple has increasingly been adopted by payment networks and banks, including UBS and Santander for its settlement technology.
When XRP hit an all-time high of $3.84 (£2.80), earlier this year, the net worth of founder Chris Larsen – understood to own 5.19 billion XRP and a 17pc stake in the company – jumped to $59.9bn, a fortune larger than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s. However a dip last week saw him slump back down the Forbes’ rich list.
The Ripple network, which launched in 2012, acts as a system for verifying and recording transactions of various assets including its own XRP. Rather than being used as a form of payment, Ripple’s aim is to sign up customers to use its system for verifying and recording transactions of all kinds of assets.
“We chose to focus on solving inefficiencies in key corridors where payment flows are significant and growing, “said Dilip Rao, Ripple’s global head of infrastructure.
“Adding a market leader like UAE Exchange to RippleNet will bring instant, certain, low-cost payments to the millions of retail customers in the UAE who send money abroad”.
Written by the Telegraph
New Jersey Sends Cease & Desist to Crypto-Investment Pool
New Jersey Officials Stop a Cryptocurrency Investment Firm from Operating In the State
New Jersey lawmakers have sent a cease and desist letter to a firm called Bitstrade which claims to be a registered U.S. financial startup and offers digital asset banking services. Officials from New Jersey say Bitstrade unlawfully provided investors unregistered securities in the form of a pool that claims to guarantee up to 10 percent returns which accrue daily. Authorities from the Bureau of Securities and Attorney General’s office have found that “Bitstrade provides no basis to guarantee investment profit,” and “Bitstrade is not registered to sell securities in New Jersey.”
“The Bureau’s action today reinforces our commitment to protecting investors as they navigate the uncharted and largely unregulated domain of cryptocurrency-related investments,” said New Jersey’s Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
We want to make sure that investors tempted to cash in on the cryptocurrency rage aren’t being lured into sending funds to an anonymous internet entity without knowing where the funds are going or how they’ll be used.
Lawmakers Remind Retail Investors to be Extra Vigilant About Cryptocurrency Investments
Sharon Joyce, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) says Bitstrade’s fraudulent offer is more harmful because “cryptocurrency is virtually anonymous, so there is no recourse for investors to recoup their losses.” Joyce continues, “We’re reminding investors to be extra vigilant about fully vetting what is being sold before investing with cryptocurrency.”
The news also follows the recent cease and desist notice sent to a cryptocurrency startup in Texas last month. The Bitstrade investigation was handled by Deputy Bureau Chief Amy Kopleton and Investigator Raymond Marelick of the Bureau of Securities, within the DCA. New Jersey’s regulators believe there is a “high risk of fraud” when it comes to cryptocurrencies, and they plan to regulate the digital asset industry more.
“Bitstrade is a prime example of a company seeking to capitalize on the cryptocurrency craze — Regulators, including the Bureau, are actively responding to fraudulent crypto-cloaked securities offerings.” Christopher W. Gerold, Chief of the Bureau of Securities concludes.
Written by Bitcoin.com
DJ Gareth Emery Wants to Be Crypto Rich (For a Cause)
Strobes pulsed through fog as a tightly packed audience sought to get a shot of the DJ.
Revered for his contributions to electronic dance music, Gareth Emery was in the box at London’s Ministry of Sound last weekend, there to show off the synths that have helped him win the prestigious “A State Of Trance Tune Of The Year” award three times over.
Fans were quickly sent into delirium, almost as delirious as crypto enthusiasts can sometimes seem – an interesting link since Emery, with his new startup Choon, wants to replace the antiquated digital music industry with ethereum tech.
Like many gigs that Emery has played in the past months, the night is a sell out.
“I’m one of the lucky ones,” Emery told CoinDesk backstage. “I get paid really well because I have a lot of fans that will come and see me do gigs.”
However, many musicians are less privileged as their audiences have turned to recorded music, Emery said. In that market, musicians are paid ridiculously low royalties on notoriously unreliable payment rails with long wait times.
“It’s fucking horrendous,” Emery said. “Basically we have this system that was designed in the days of sheet music and jukeboxes 60 years ago and it’s never been changed.”
According to Emery, while the music industry is anything but short on cash, it has failed to adapt to technological advancements.
But Choon looks to fix that. A streaming service that “mines” via a smart contract, Choon gives 80 percent of profits directly to musicians – a step up from similar services like Spotify – which pay out disturbingly low fees (some musicians have estimated it’s as low as $0.004891 per stream).
Emery told CoinDesk:
“We took a different path and said, ‘If you were to design the music industry today, how would you do it?'”
Musician as miner
And according to Emery, using blockchain “for what it’s really good at – money and contracts” is exactly how to create a more equitable music industry.
He’s not alone there, the music industry has been one of blockchain entrepreneurs’ favorites to disrupt. For instance, Slovenia-based Viberate is trying to eliminate the fee-taking middleman in the music industry, and several high profile people in the music industry have begun their own blockchain projects in this area as well.
But for Choon, Emery is working alongside the developers of CryptoPunks, a digital collectable precursor to CryptoKitties, with the hope of launching in the next six months.
The technology is based on a customizable “Smart Record Contract” that stores copyright credentials on the ethereum blockchain, and splits the funds gained from the track fairly between the creator and producer, in the form of an ERC-20 token called NOTES.
These NOTES will be sold in an initial coin offering (ICO) in the coming months. According to Emery, more than 500 artists are already signed up to use the platform, including several big names in the music industry like Daruge, creator of the infamous trance track “Sandstorm,” and leading dubstep DJ Datsik.
The tokens are programmed to distribute according to how many times a track has been streamed, directly into an artist’s wallet. (A breakdown of the distribution can be witnessed live on Choon’s functioning testnet).
Artists can cash out NOTES on participating exchanges, but to keep the price of the token high, artists are urged to keep their money inside the Choon system, with Emery hoping the token becomes widely accepted throughout the music industry.
And it has a chance, since artists that use the platform keep full copyright ownership of their work – a change from labels that buy up full copyright as part of the deal.
In the wrong pockets
The global music industry tops something like $130 billion annually.
In spite of this, funds get lost in the machinery – taking elaborate, unnecessary detours to end up in pockets that aren’t the musicians.
“It’s just going to the wrong people – copyrighters, publishers, recording labels, streaming companies,” Emery said. “I don’t see for the most part that we have a need for record labels and publishers.”
Because of the availability and cheapness of production now, artists don’t need to be sponsored for studio rent, Emery explained, and social media allows artists to take control of their own marketing. Plus, the manufacturing and distribution of music has become easier for individuals to do themselves.
Yet, regardless, the monopolies still exist, and musicians are struggling to make ends meet.
And because it’s so difficult to make money off recorded music, more musicians are pushed into relying on live gigs.
“I make 99.5 percent of my income from touring and 0.5 percent max from streaming and recording music,” Emery said.
And that’s upsetting since some great musicians cannot or would prefer not to tour due to health conditions and family, he continued, adding that he wants to bring those people back into the lucrative music industry.
The solution, according to Emery, is to wipe out the third party and replace it with a system where artists and their audience are connected directly.
Emery told CoinDesk:
“We don’t really need them anymore, yet they have more power than they ever had before, and the only reason is they just have this iron grip on the flow of money, on the flow of payment.”
Gibraltar’s Government Is Moving to Regulate ICOs
Officials in Gibraltar are reportedly weighing rules for initial coin offerings (ICOs), a move that follows a bid to develop a licensure framework for companies working with the tech.
The discussions will include input from members of the British overseas territory’s legislature as well as the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC). Like many other countries entertaining ICO regulation, the government there has framed the move as one aimed at protecting investors and consumers.
“One of the key aspects of the token regulations is that we will be introducing the concept of regulating authorized sponsors who will be responsible for assuring compliance with disclosure and financial crime rules,” said Sian Jones, a senior advisor to the GFSC, according to Reuters.
The GFSC previously hinted that it would pursue regulations around ICOs when it published an advisory on the blockchain funding model. At the time, the regulator said that it was “considering a complementary regulatory framework covering the promotion and sale of tokens, aligned with the DLT framework.”
Late last year, the territory put in place a regulatory framework for blockchain businesses that shored up legal status of the technology as a means of transmitting payments. The proposal was first introduced in October, with passage by lawmakers in December.
Government officials said the move would facilitate an environment of certainty attractive to businesses. Gibraltar is also reportedly considering regulation relating to investment funds associated with cryptocurrencies and tokens.
Gibraltar image via Shutterstock
Written by CoinDesk.com