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Top Crypto News – 21/02/2018


Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Has Raised $735 Million


Petro Pre-Sale Starts

The private pre-sale of Venezuela’s oil-backed cryptocurrency, the petro, was scheduled for February 20 at 8:30 am (Venezuela time 04:00 UTC), according to the petro’s whitepaper. However, at midnight local time on February 20, the government announced that the petro pre-sale had started and published a buyer’s manual as well as an anti-money laundering (AML) compliance manual.

Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Now Available
Petro’s pre-sale launch event.

A total of 82.4 million petro tokens are offered for the pre-sale phase, the whitepaper details. The country’s vice president, Tareck El Aissami, confirmed from Miraflores Palace on Monday, “The petro cryptocurrency tokens can be purchased by Venezuelan nationals as well as other foreign nationals.”

The Superintendent of Cryptocurrencies, Carlos Vargas, was quoted by Telesur TV:

The presale and initial offer will be made in hard currencies and cryptocurrencies, but not bolivars…Our responsibility is to put (the petro) in the best hands and then a secondary market will appear.

Interested buyers can visit the Etherdelta platform to place private orders to the Ethereum address given by the Superintendent. However, at the time of this writing, no orders have been matched and no prices are displayed on the price chart. This could be due to technical glitches in the buying process such as a Javascript error which prevents users from completing their purchases.

Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Now Available

According to the Minister for University Education, Science and Technology, Hugbel Roa, the traffic to the petro website “quintupled with the global announcement of the pre-sale of the Venezuelan cryptocurrency,” shortly after midnight local time.

Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Now Available
Hugbel Roa’s traffic chart for the petro’s website.

Despite technical challenges, Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, claimed:

Venezuela had received $735 million in the first day of a pre-sale of the country’s “petro.”

Instructions to Buy the Petro

Venezuela Says Pre-Sale of Oil-Backed Petro Cryptocurrency Now Available
Maduro announcing petro’s pre-sale.

“The only thing needed for the petro is to open a digital petro wallet,” according to the petro’s website. “Once opened, your wallet will generate an email address that you can share with anyone who wants to transfer PTR to your wallet. You will be able to receive and deposit your PTRs in this email address.”

The buyer’s manual details a step-by-step process of how to register and gain access to a petro wallet, which requires prospective buyers to download a zipped, self-deleting installation file. “The data package for the creation of the digital wallet is configured to self-destruct once the installation is complete,” the instructions warn.

Alongside the steps to register and install the petro wallet, the manual goes over protecting users’ private keys but stopped short of asking users to generate a public key, which would be needed for any kind of cryptocurrency deposit. More curiously, however, was the vague announcement regarding the use of the NEM blockchain:

The Blockchain launched by the Venezuelan State has robust security mechanisms since its programming elements are related to a technological platform called: NEM blockchain.

The cryptocurrency NEM, which uses centralized servers running closed-source code, has recently been in the news frequently following the hack of one of the largest Japanese crypto exchanges, Coincheck, which lost 58 billion yen (~USD$539 million) worth of the cryptocurrency.

ICOs Have Raised $2 Billion This Year – Mostly from Private Sales


Private Sales Are Helping the Rich Get Richer

When crowdsales first emerged, they were presented as a democratic means of raising funds and creating a diverse, engaged community. For a while, that’s more or less how it played out, but in 2018 the ICO landscape has changed. Last year, private investors still got first dibs on the best crowdsales – BAT was notorious for selling out in minutes after a handful of whales took their fill of tokens – but this year, the public sale is almost an afterthought. All the action is taking place at the pre- and private stage, leaving slim pickings for the crowds.

ICOs Have Raised $2 Billion This Year – Mostly from Private Sales

Recent figures released by Tokendata show that of the $1.97 billion invested in ICOs this year, $1.63 billion – or 84% – went to private investors. Moreover, this data doesn’t take into account the reported $850 million being raised in the Telegram private sale, an event so exclusive that only the biggest of the big shots are invited. Telegram’s $600 million pre-sale finishes at the end of February, but already investors are supposedly flipping their token allocation for as much as 2x. Projects such as this are good for helping the rich get richer, but they fail to give the platform’s users a stake in the project.

ICOs Dispense Modest Gains

Of the 94 ICOs Tokendata has been tracking this year, 28 now have tokens available for trading on exchanges. At this stage, the average ROI for tokens purchased via ICO and sold on an exchange is a mere 2.17x, and the return on ETH is just 0.75x. In other words, it would have been more profitable in many cases to hold onto ether since the start of the year than it would have been to swap it for tokens. It’s still early days of course, and there’s plenty of time for the crop of 2018 to come good.

ICOs Have Raised $2 Billion This Year – Mostly from Private Sales

Thanks to the generous discounts applied during pre-sales, it’s a lot easier for private investors to turn a profit than it is for public sale participants. Moreover, with pre-sale tokens often ending up on decentralized exchanges immediately, the role of the public sale has been relegated to a footnote. On paper, crowdsales are more popular than ever. But in reality, their biggest benefactors are the 1% with the connections and the capital to profit.

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Antminer S5 Disrupts T-Mobile Broadband Network


FCC Finds Antminer S5 to be Interfering with T-Mobile Broadband Network

Antminer S5 Disrupts T-Mobile Broadband NetworkThe FCC states that it has received a complaint from T-Mobile with regards to “interference to its 700 MHz LTE network in Brooklyn, New York” during last year. The commission dispatched agents from the Enforcement Bureau’s New York office who were able to confirm on the 30th of November that the “radio emissions in the 700 MHz band were emanating from…an antminer s5 bitcoin miner.”

The FCC concluded that “The device was generating spurious emissions on frequencies assigned to T-Mobile’s broadband network and causing harmful interference,” and issued a warning to the owner of the Antminer S5, Victor Rosario. Mr. Rosario was informed that “Operation shall not resume until the condition causing the harmful interference has been corrected.”

The agency also warned that “Continued operation of this device that causes harmful interference after your receipt of this warning constitutes a violation of the Federal laws cited above and could subject the operator to severe penalties, including, but not limited to, substantial monetary fines, in rem arrest action to seize the offending radio equipment, and criminal sanctions including imprisonment.”

Warning Specific to Mr. Rosario’s Device Rosario has been given twenty days to respond to the FCC’s notice and will be required to submit information regarding the Antminer including manufacturer, model, and serial number.

The FCC currently has not made a determination as to whether or not other Antminer S5s produce disruptive emissions in the 700 MHz band, stating that the “Notification of Harmful Interference” refers to the specific unit owned by Mr. Rosario, and “not its brand or model.”

The FCC emphasized that it does not wish to “suggest or find that all Antminer S5 devices are noncompliant,” adding “although we are aware that even compliant devices can be modified in a manner that creates harmful interference, we make no finding as to whether this particular device conforms to its original manufacturer’s specifications.”

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Tim Draper on Bitcoin: “Why Would I Sell the Future for the Past?”


Hodling the Future in Place of the Past

“I think bitcoin is the future currency,” opined Tim Draper on Thursday. In a typically upbeat interview, the entrepreneur, whose net worth has been placed at $1 billion, had a lot of nice things to say about bitcoin. In the most quoted segment of his Bloomberg interview, Draper reasoned, ““People ask me, ‘Are you going to sell your bitcoin [for fiat]?’ and I say, ‘Why would I sell the future for the past?’” This augments previous remarks when Draper was quoted as saying: “I don’t know why anyone would want to go back to fiat when crypto is distributed, secure and global, while fiat is subject to the whims of political forces”.

Tim Draper on Bitcoin: “Why Would I Sell the Future for the Past?”While bitcoin’s status as a pure currency is a matter of some debate, it and the crypto assets it shares a space with are forming a new class of wealth storage and money transfer that offers a viable alternative to the status quo. Like most business moguls who are heavily invested in crypto – Michael Novogratz; the Winklevoss twins – Draper is very bullish about where bitcoin is going. The 59-year-old made his money at Draper Fisher Jurvetson, the venture capital firm famed for its investment in billion-dollar startups.

Fortune Favors the Brave

More than 30 years since Draper founded his company, which oversees assets of $5 billion, he’s reinvented himself as a crypto entrepreneur willing to put his money where his mouth is. An entrant in Forbes’ recent Crypto Rich List, Draper made much of his crypto wealth through having the perspicacity to snap up the Silk Road bitcoins auctioned by U.S. Marshals in 2014. He was fortunate, of course, to have the capital and the accreditation required to acquire those 32,000 bitcoins, which now look like a snip at $18 million.

Tim Draper on Bitcoin: “Why Would I Sell the Future for the Past?”For all the success that foray brought him, Draper’s immersement in all things crypto hasn’t been without its controversies. A high profile backer of Tezos, he’s been forced on the defensive as delays have dragged on and the lawsuits have piled up. One of the biggest bones of contention with the Tezos affair is the extent to which bitcoin has since grown in value. This has benefited Tezos but has done nothing for the investors who parted with their BTC last year on the promise of XTZ tokens.

When questioned about bitcoin’s volatility on Bloomberg, Draper brushed aside suggestions that this was a turn-off for “regular people”. Instead, he chose to focus on the confidence he has in bitcoin, averring: “My bitcoin is more secure than my dollars in the banks…my bitcoin is very secure”. While some entrepreneurs, most notably Steve Wozniak, have conceded that the rough and tumble of the cryptocurrency markets is not for them, Tim Draper seems to be enjoying the ride, and has no intention of selling “the future for the past”.

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