SVK CRYPTO PODCAST 126 – 20/04/2018 – Switcheo the DEX you’ve never heard of!

Welcome to the SVK Crypto, 15 Minutes of Crypto Fame, brought to you by your host, Charles Storry. We provide daily cryptocurrency content and analysis on topics such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Altcoins and ICO’s.

We not only produce our daily content we feature CEO’s of all exciting ICO’s! Stay tuned to find out more!

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Top Crypto News – 20/04/2018

Square Cash Stock Spikes Due to Analyst’s Bitcoin Trading Optimism


Square Inc (NYSE:SQ), the developer of the mobile payment app Square Cash, has seen its stock price jump up by about 5% on Wednesday. The spike was largely credited to a note by Nomura Instinet analyst Dan Dolev, who offered clients a very optimistic prediction for the effect of adding bitcoin trading by the company ahead of its May 2nd first quarter earnings report.

The ability to buy and sell bitcoin directly on the mobile payments platform has been added to the Square app earlier this year. The analyst said that the additional revenue per user from this could amount to $125 every year. He raised his SQ’s price target to $65, implying a 30% upswing, after the company already saw its stock raise almost 50% year to date.

“Either way, SQ’s fundamentals should keep improving,” Dolev said. “We expect fundamentals to continue to improve helped by SQ’s accelerating share gains and mix shift to large sellers. We continue to expect net yield to expand (from 1.05% in 1Q17 to 1.09%) helped by growing penetration of higher priced products more than offsetting mix shift to larger sellers.”

Bullish CEO

Square Cash Stock Spikes Due to Analyst’s Bitcoin Trading OptimismSquare is headed by Jack Dorsey, who is CEO of both Twitter and the payments platform. Last month he took a very bullish long term stand on bitcoin, predicting it can the world’s single currency in the next ten years.

Explaining how bitcoin could drive Square earnings, Dolev commented: “Will Bitcoin reshape the future of payments as CEO Dorsey often argues, or is it a passing fad? In reality, SQ’s correlation with Bitcoin has been on a downward trend. Plus, the stock is now less correlated with Bitcoin than PYPL, the payment networks or GOOG. Regardless, we estimate that opening Square Cash for Bitcoin trading earlier this year could drive a sizable boost to revenue and profits, driving up to 10% potential upside to adj. EBITDA guidance. This can help offset rising investment costs required to broaden Square’s international presence.”

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Bad Checks: Twitter’s Identity Crisis Is Costing Users More Than Bitcoin


Trust, but verify.

Borrowed from a Russian writer, it’s one of crypto’s most widely embraced slogans, though one that’s becoming even more relevant on social media, where battling factions bent on promoting the next great high-tech investment are now turning the very symbols meant to protect users against them.

Whether it’s an account impersonating the world’s largest exchange or its most widely known tech visionaries, no company or individual is too sacred for a simple takedown that’s spreading like wildfire, propelled by lax verification practices at name-brand social media giants.

Still, it’s perhaps “crypto Twitter” that’s bearing the brunt of the criticism.

Armed with a photo ID, scammers are successfully duping Twitter into giving them a “blue check mark” of authenticity so they can impersonate real individuals and entities, all in an effort to bilk users out of money.

Take “seifsbei,” a verified account associated with freelance film producer and director Seif Elsbei, which was hacked and then posed as the official account of the verge cryptocurrency. The hacker didn’t stop there, later posting messages as crypto exchange Bitfinex and ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin.

The verified account “Protafield” displayed similar bad behavior in early April, briefly changing its name and account details to impersonate crypto exchanges to specifically stage fake ether giveaways.

And these incidents display how crypto Twitter’s current mess isn’t likely to be saved merely by the blue check mark, or any other simple verification process.

“People at home see this as a stamp that Twitter sees this as a good account, which can be very subjective,” said Tim Pastoor, founder of the Netherlands-based digital identity startup

By vetting merely the identity behind the account, and not the intent, when issuing blue check marks, Twitter inadvertently makes scams even more dangerous, he continued.

Speaking to the overall cat-and-mouse game many crypto companies are having to play on Twitter, a Bitfinex representative described curbing such efforts as almost a full-time job.

A spokesperson told CoinDesk:

“We dedicate a lot of resources towards combating illegitimate Twitter accounts and educating our users on how to spot them. However, our impact on certain sites is limited.”

Fickle reputations

There are several patterns that complicate the trouble with crypto Twitter.

For one, scammers have quickly learned to use highly technical language to cloak misinformation in trusted terminology, said Nick Lucas, founder of the Los Angeles-based social media analysis startup CoinTrend. This means simple vocabulary lists and language analysis, processes Twitter and other social media sites use, won’t be enough to weed out scams, he said.

Yet, Pastoor pointed out that bots and spam accounts often promote tokens in packs, swarming to give each other good reputations and boost visibility, which could make it easier to spot systematic scams.

However, it remains a tricky endeavour, and so Pastoor recommends that Twitter take a page from traditional psychology to help combat the problem.

Most people trust their close friends more than acquaintances, so a layered approach to trust could offer some tools for filtering the noise. For example, a user may trust a coworker’s friend more than a complete stranger, but less than a family member. Just as Facebook lets people control which people they see posts from – friends only, select groups or the public – Twitter could give users more control over who shows up in their feeds.

“There are definitely going to have to be iterations,” Pastoor said. “I would probably recommend starting with allowing people to filter based on people that they already trust, and to maybe make more use of your second or third-degree networks.”

Twitter declined to comment on any topic related to these events or policy changes in general, but Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey recently admitted that the platform’s verification system is broken.

Changing hands

The issue is made even more confusing by the fact that accounts can change hands among owners, not only through hacks, but also simple handovers, and those new owners may have different motives.

For instance, what started much of the debates around Twitter’s policies was the suspension of the “@bitcoin” Twitter handle.

Before the bitcoin scaling debate came to a head last fall, with a significant contingent of enthusiasts splitting off the core bitcoin network to create bitcoin cash, the @bitcoin Twitter handle tweeted information in support of bitcoin. The account has been operated by many owners over the years, and the latest is an anonymous bitcoin cash fan.

As such, the account became highly controversial, tweeting out incendiary comments aimed at Bitcoin Core developers and several other leading figures in the cryptocurrency community who were on their side. Many Core developers saw this as misleading, since the handle was tweeting out things Bitcoin Core, which a majority of users and businesses still see as the “true” bitcoin, didn’t stand behind.

Because of the outrage, Twitter briefly suspended the account and then stripped it of its blue check mark (the account is active again but no longer verified).

Speaking to the debates that have plagued the leaderless tech community for some time, Sterlin Lujan, a bitcoin cash supporter and communications ambassador for, told CoinDesk:

“These social media networks should not allow handles to be censored or shut down arbitrarily, just because a bunch of people do not like it.”

And while Twitter has said the blue check mark does not imply its approval or endorsement, Lujan contends, “A person with a check mark has a stronger likelihood of appearing at the top of searches and feeds. What it boils down to is that Twitter verification processes need to be made more clear.”

Market influencers

While Twitter’s verification process is still uncertain, what remains clear is Twitter’s impact on the cryptocurrency markets.

Not only can scammers have a dire impact on user’s crypto holdings, but even those earnestly voicing their interest in a certain crypto project can cause price swings. For instance, Lucas has seen a clear correlation between tweets from influential Twitter accounts and market volatility.

“There’s basically a lot of influence on Twitter when John McAfee or someone mentions a specific coin,” Lucas said.

As an example, when McAfee tweeted about “burst,” a crypto token project focused on creating a “greener” mining process, on December 22, the price of the cryptocurrency quickly doubled.

A similar, albeit temporary, spike happened the previous week when McAfee tweeted about another crypto token project, Safe Exchange Coins. The day before McAfee’s tweet, the cryptocurrency was selling for roughly a penny each, but within 24 hours of the tweet, the price doubled and by the following week, the coin briefly sold for more than $0.06.

Some argue that when McAfee charges $105,000 per tweet, he’s basically advertising for companies for a fee. However, he told CoinDesk it’s not really advertising because he only promotes projects he truly believes in.

Twitter chatter doesn’t only drive prices up for new cryptocurrencies and crypto tokens, though. It can also have negative impacts as well.

For example, Lucas has noticed that a lot of Twitter feuds about bitcoin code changes and technical updates correlate to price dips.

“If everyone is talking negatively about something that is getting pushed into a core repo coin, that can also have an impact. If someone with a big following tweets something, it can cause a scare,” Lucas said, adding:

“There’s a lot more influence coming from specific accounts, unlike, say, Reddit, which pushes more topics to be talked about rather than creating influence.”

Twitter account on computer screen image via Shutterstock
Written by CoinDesk

Insurance Giant Allianz Is Testing a Token to Move Money Internally


Insurance giant Allianz has been testing an internal token to move money around between its global affiliates without having to deal with currency conversions and other costs and inefficiencies.

Development of the so-called “Allianz token” is being helped along by blockchain startup Adjoint, which created a proprietary blockchain for the project, CoinDesk has learned. Adjoint declined to comment on the project.

But Oliver Volk, a blockchain expert at Allianz’s reinsurance unit and representative to the B3i insurance blockchain consortium, confirmed that the token was in the works.

“Yes, we are thinking about a kind of Allianz token whereby money coming in will be converted to a token,” he told CoinDesk, adding:

“But it’s a very big animal and we don’t know what kind of regulatory constraints there are.”

Volk said an Allianz token would be “very helpful to get rid of FX constraints and other stuff we have to optimize, especially if you talk to certain currencies which we do not accept at our headquarters and have to be reconverted.”

He said it would make sense to rely less on the banking system, as this would result in numerous savings on commissions and could be used by Allianz all over the world (the Fortune 500 company has operations in 100 countries).

The internal digital token is a project of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (ACGS), the business-to-business part of the insurer. It grew out of an Allianz captive insurance blockchain project to disburse payments using Citigroup’s CitiConnect API.

Alan Cabello, the innovation program manager for central and eastern Europe at Allianz AGCS, said the token idea cropped up from his previous prototype built for captives and retrocessions, the practice of one reinsurance company providing services to another.

“It’s essentially about the legal way of moving money from one side of the world to the other,” Cabello said. “Because of regulation and governance, etc., you need to move it from one entity to the next to the next – and that takes time.”

And that goes beyond the two or three days for a bank transfer to go through, he said. “It takes time to get every entity to book it, bind it; everybody at their own desk; it takes a lot of effort.”

The problem is widespread, Cabello added. “Every single major industry and every major company has issues getting money from one side of the world to the other.”

According to Volk, the corporate team at Allianz counted the emails one entity fielded regarding the transfer of a certain amount of money and it came to over 2,000.

Clients regularly ask where their money is, which is another reason Allianz thought of an internal token, Cabello said. “It’s what we have been playing with for the past few months.”

Cabello stressed that the token, while running on a blockchain, was nothing to do with cryptocurrency.

“It’s pegged to the dollar,” he said.

Allianz image via Shutterstock.
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Wall Street Veteran Likens Cryptocurrencies to Candy Crush Game Currency


Richard Bernstein isn’t building any bridges with the cryptocurrency community.

The head of the Wall Street research firm that bears his name said in a note to clients today that there’s little difference between cryptocurrencies and the virtual currencies you earn with internet games like Candy Crush, according to a report on Bloomberg. CryptoKitties might not be the smash hit it was cracked up to be, but it might have been a more viable comparison considering it’s built on the Ethereum network.

As Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin recently explained to CNBC, the value, at least for ETH, can be compared to commodities like oil, which trades for a price and “is a fuel that powers the global commerce platform. He said: “The ether token is used to pay for computational steps and storage operations on the decentralized application platform that is Ethereum.”

Meanwhile, according to Bernstein, the difference between Candy Crush’s in-game currency and the cryptocurrencies that bitcoin miners create and earn in exchange for solving complicated puzzles comes down to the fact that digital currencies can be traded. The speculative nature of trading cryptocurrencies qualifies the market for a bubble, says Bernstein, pointing to the following features of digital currencies as proof –

  • rising liquidity
  • rising leverage
  • new coins
  • high turnover
  • “democratization”

Bubble Economics

Bernstein wouldn’t be the first person to call cryptocurrencies a bubble, with some cryptocurrency market veterans having said in the past that not all of them will survive. And according to Bernstein’s note, trading in a bubble doesn’t discredit the economic and business case of cryptocurrencies, though it “suggests that the return-on-investment could be considerably lower than investors currently expect.”

Bernstein is a Wall Street veteran, having previously served as Merrill Lynch’s chief investment strategist, and he’s weighed in on bitcoin before. He can analyze equity market analysts under the table, but when it comes to cryptocurrencies, he’s skeptical. Bernstein said in a note to clients in December:

“It is ironic that [investors] fear traditional equities, but they do not fear cryptocurrencies. One must remember that risk typically lies in what you’re invested in, and not in what you fearfully avoid.”

Bitcoin’s worth is derived from the value that people place on it, as it’s not backed by any asset. But bitcoin is moving more into the mainstream for payments with the Lightning Network and altcoins like Bitcoin Cash have accelerated transaction times. As for bitcoin’s other use case as a store of value, cryptocurrency trader Brian Kelly recently suggested that losing 25% from cryptocurrencies is “better than losing 100% … by a “rogue government.” Kelly is also of the opinion that the bitcoin price will attain a new high in 2018.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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SVK CRYPTO PODCAST 125 – 19/04/2018 – NASA to use Ethereum?

Welcome to the SVK Crypto, 15 Minutes of Crypto Fame, brought to you by your host, Charles Storry. We provide daily cryptocurrency content and analysis on topics such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Altcoins and ICO’s.

We not only produce our daily content we feature CEO’s of all exciting ICO’s! Stay tuned to find out more!

If you’d like to stay in touch or get more info from me, please SUBSCRIBE to the channel and spread the good word!

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Top Crypto News – 19/04/2018

NASA Researches Ethereum Blockchain Tech for Deep Space Exploration


A research project funded and co-run by NASA is looking to leverage the Ethereum blockchain’s smart contracts technology to automate spacecraft maneuvering while avoiding space debris.

In developments that could potentially have significant implications for deep space probes, NASA is putting resources behind a research project that fundamentally envisions the use of blockchain technology to enhance and make space communications and navigation more efficient and safer.

The research project, named the ‘Resilient Networking and Computing Paradigm’, will be lead by Dr. Jin Wei Kocsis, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Akron (UA).

The recipient of a three-year $330,000 grant, Kocsis will look to develop a cognitive architecture wherein spacecraft will no longer need to rely on crucial information from scientists on earth.

Instead, Ethereum-based smart contracts will help spacecraft ‘think on their own’ to detect and evade floating space debris that could prove significantly damaging in the event of a collision, an announcement from UA explains.

Dr. Kocsis added:

In this project, the Ethereum blockchain technology will be exploited to develop a decentralized, secure, and cognitive networking and computing infrastructure for deep space exploration. The blockchain consensus protocols will be further explored to improve the resilience of the infrastructure.

Kocsis hopes to see the decentralized architecture help the spacecraft also automate data gathering alongside other tasks, freeing up scientists back on earth to analyze the data rather than spending time poring over calculations of flight paths of deep space probes to anticipate environmental hazards.

“I hope to develop technology that can recognize environmental threats and avoid them, as well as complete a number of tasks automatically,” she added.

Details remain slim on the kind of Ethereum blockchain – public or private- being considered for the research project.

Still, the application of decentralized technology could lead to “next generation space networks”, according to NASA’s advanced communications program manager Thomas Kacpura at the Glenn Research Center. The research project could lead to “decentralized processing among NASA’s space network nodes in a secure fashion”, meaning a more responsive and resilient network that’s scalable which can also integrate today’s networks, the NASA official added.

Featured image from Shutterstock.
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Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Another ICO Ghosts with $50 Million – Sends Thanx from Beer Beachs.jpg

Savedroid Ghosts With Investors’ Money

This can’t be real, right? This must be a publicity gimmick. Well, in any event, German online news source Wirtschafts Woche documents how Savedroid has apparently taken the money and run. The company website was replaced with a meme picture, “Aannnd it’s gone.” Founder and CEO Yassin Hankir tweeted a picture of himself on a beach, long gone. All this after having raised $50 million in an ICO.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Another ICO Ghosts with $50 Million - Sends Thanx from Beer Beach
Savedroid webpage

Promises of artificial intelligence, curated portfolios, and a native credit card proved too much for investors, and they poured in money. Stranger than fiction.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Savedroid Scams Investors for $50 Million

Reads Like a Movie Script

A suspect involved in an Icelandic heist involving a dozen perpetrators, 600 missing bitcoin mining rigs, was able to evade authorities after they’d managed to arrest him. “Sindri Thor Stefansson” the BBC reported, “escaped the low-security prison through a window and fled to Sweden on a passenger plane that was also carrying Iceland’s prime minister, local media report. The ticket had another man’s name and he was identified through CCTV video. The stolen computers, which are still missing, are worth $2m (£1.45m).” It appears Mrs. Stefansson was also arrested, but he didn’t have time to circle back evidently.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Savedroid Scams Investors for $50 Million
Sindri Thor Stefansson

Hell Hath No Fury

Speaking of angry women, the broader ecosystem has been accused as being too male. Well, here’s Tina Jones breaking through the digital glass ceiling. According to WGN, Ms. Jones was  “charged after allegedly paying thousands of dollars via bitcoin to a company on the dark web to murder the wife of a man she had an affair with, according to officials. Tina Jones, 31, appeared at bond court Wednesday morning where a judge set bond at $250,000. She was charged with one felony count of solicitation of murder-for-hire.”

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Savedroid Scams Investors for $50 Million
Tina Jones

Bearly Escaped with Bitcoin ATM

The Irving Patch, a Texas local online news source, are attempting to help police find two men. Police claim they “entered a store […]  and sprayed a clerk with bear spray before making off with cash from a Bitcoin machine …. They can be seen in security footage spraying the store clerk with bear spray, a powerful form of pepper spray, before heading to the back of the store where the Bitcoin machine was located ….The clerk was taken to a hospital for treatment after being sprayed but was later released.”

Well, He Warned Him

Government crackdown on legitimate cryptocurrency exchanges usually receive very positive media coverage. What both government and mainstream media often miss is how less online exchanges necessarily means more face-to-face encounters, which can be dangerous for reasons bitcoin traders are well familiar. Case in point: a Miami man wished to turn $30,000 cash into more than that in bitcoin. He met supposed crypto dealers at a public place, a local Whole Foods parking lot. The fellow with the cash brought a gun just in case something went wrong. Turned out to be a pretty good idea. He was jumped for the money, and as he was attacked, yelled to his attacker, “Back off, I have a weapon,” the Miami Herald details. The attacker didn’t listen, and was shot. He was later arrested after being taken to a local hospital.

Bitcoin in Brief Thursday: Savedroid Scams Investors for $50 Million

Bitcoiners Wanted at Citi

A recent now hiring Linkedin post detailed how Citi is looking for a  “Senior Vice President, Senior AML Compliance Officer —Emerging Risk,” in Tampa, Florida. “Knowledge of cryptocurrency and bitcoin monitoring” and “Certified Bitcoin Professional Certification a plus,” are among the job qualifications and requirements.

More Spring Cleaning

Clearing off some smaller stories, Riot Blockchain has been subpoenaed.  The Securities and Exchange Commission of the Philippines issued a rather blunt warning about what it terms bitcoin “schemes” to defraud investors. It lists more than a dozen companies by name, and proceeds to go through steps to identify future scams. Josh Ellithorpe tweeted how he “Just released my first open source project at Coinbase. If you need Cashaddr support for your Ruby app then you should check it out!”

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Kraken CEO: Crypto Exchange Won’t Answer New York AG’s Inquiry


San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Kraken isn’t planning to respond to the New York Attorney General’s newly unveiled inquiry into the ecosystem.

Kraken was one of 13 exchanges that received a letter from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman on Tuesday as part of his new inquiry into cryptocurrency exchanges, as previously reported. While most exchanges generally welcomed the inquiry and said they would fill out the attached questionnaire, Kraken took a different tack when reached for comment.

“Kraken’s BitLicense-prompted exit from New York in 2015 pays another dividend today,” CEO Jesse Powell said via email early Wednesday morning.

Powell made it clear that Kraken does not intend to answer the questionnaire, saying:

“I realized that we made the wise decision to get the hell out of New York three years ago and that we can dodge this bullet.”

Kraken announced that it would leave the state in 2015 due to the BitLicense, New York’s cryptocurrency regulatory framework. In a blog post at the time, the exchange called the law “a creature so foul, so cruel that not even Kraken possesses the courage or strength to face its nasty, big, pointy teeth.”

Powell wrote Wednesday that Kraken is generally happy to engage with government bodies but criticized the AG’s approach, adding: “Why don’t you try extracting this information from those businesses actually operating in your state?”

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office, who saw Powell’s remarks, told CoinDesk via email:

“Legitimate entities generally like to demonstrate to their investors that their money will be protected. This is basic information that credible platforms should all have on hand.”

While Kraken is not alone in having left New York due to the BitLicense, some state authorities continue to praise the regulations.

“The regulatory structure that we created for virtual currency has helped our licensed companies attract greater interest from customers, investors, and potential financial services partners,” New York Department of Financial Services superintendent Maria Vullo said last week.

Yet lawmakers in the state are looking at the question of revising the framework – or doing away with it entirely. Indeed, during a roundtable discussion in February, industry stakeholders blasted the BitLicense, prompting a pledge from the state senators that hosted it to look at how it may be reworked in light of those concerns.

Image Credit: lev radin /
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Brazil’s Biggest Investment Firm XP Investimentos to Launch Cryptocurrency Exchange


Brazilian investment giant XP Investimentos, a financial services firm managing over $35 billion for over 500,000 clients, is reportedly going to launch a cryptocurrency exchange. According to the country’s Department of Federal Revenue, XP Investimentos has recently registered XDEX INTERMEDIACAO LTDA, whose registered capital is of about $7.3 million.

Available data shows the new company was initially registered as XP COIN INTERMEDIACAO in August 2017. In November, when most cryptocurrencies started surging, the exchange received capital and turned to XDEX. Earlier this year, it received about 80 percent of its $7.3 million.

According to local news outlet Portal do Bitcoin, data from the Department of Federal Revenue shows the company is related to XP Investimentos. Its website,, is at press time unavailable.

While not much is known about the new cryptocurrency exchange, the local news outlet claims an unnamed source revealed it’ll focus on over-the-counter trading. Its report reads (roughly translated):

“It is not yet known what services the new exchange will provide. A source, who did not want to be identified, said that the action will be in the so-called over-the-counter market. That is: focused on movements of large volumes of capital and BTC.”

XP Investimentos has seemingly been researching the crypto space for a while, as back in October 2017 it was revealed it registered the “XP Bitcoin” brand. At the time, a local news outlet queried the company, which then revealed it was studying cryptocurrency markets. One month later, the investment giant hired Fernando Ulrich, a Brazilian cryptocurrency expert

This comes at a time in which Brazil’s cryptocurrency exchanges and businesses created “rival” cryptocurrency associations. The two “rival” associations aren’t yet certain on how cryptocurrencies should be regulated in the country. Fernando Furlan, president of one of these associations, stated:

“There is legal uncertainty. Depending on the purpose, it may be considered a means of payment or a financial asset. “ .

The investment giant’s move may come at the right time. As covered by CCN, Brazil’s largest cryptocurrency exchange Foxbit recently went down for over 72 hours, as some users were able to take advantage of the company’s withdrawal system to duplicate 130 withdrawals. Foxbit later recovered and started processing withdrawals during its downtime, before coming back online.

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SVK CRYPTO PODCAST 124 – 18/04/2018 – Cambridge Analytica to ICO?

Welcome to the SVK Crypto, 15 Minutes of Crypto Fame, brought to you by your host, Charles Storry. We provide daily cryptocurrency content and analysis on topics such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Altcoins and ICO’s.

We not only produce our daily content we feature CEO’s of all exciting ICO’s! Stay tuned to find out more!

If you’d like to stay in touch or get more info from me, please SUBSCRIBE to the channel and spread the good word!

Follow us on Twitter:

Visit our website:

Email us:


Top Crypto News – 18/04/2018

The New Last-Ditch Effort to Unfreeze a $260 Million Ethereum Fortune


“The least evil.”

That’s how one ethereum user described the latest effort to recover $264 million in cryptocurrency lost due to a code fault in a popular ethereum wallet. But while the recovery efforts that have proliferated since the November incident have been so far shunned, a new effort, now documented in code, aims for a simpler and less invasive way to implement the fix.

Stepping back, in November, the code library associated with U.K. startup Parity’s multi-sig wallet was deleted by a pseudonymous hacker who “accidentally” exploited a function called “self-destruct.” In the fallout, Parity proposed a modification to the ethereum software whereby the self-destruct mechanism would lose its functionality, but the proposal was found to contain significant security risks.

This new proposal, published on April 15 by Parity Technologies communications officer Afri Schoeden, suggests simply restoring the lost wallet library with a version of the code that does not contain a self-destruct function.

Users would be able to regain access to their funds, and on top of that, the new code would protect Parity from similar exploits going forward. As such, the new proposal sends a clear message – when it comes to fund recovery, some developers have no intention of giving up the fight.

“I think simply recovering funds is both more technically sound and more honest than the original proposal to modify the self-destruct opcode,” ethereum core developer Nick Johnson told CoinDesk.

And a number of others agree.

Co-founder of ethereum prediction protocol Augur, Joey Krug, told CoinDesk:

“I do believe it doesn’t make sense to just have all this capital senselessly locked up.”

Case-specific recovery

What seems to be different about this proposal is its limited reach.

Not only is it focused on the Parity software client only, but it’s also targeted specifically at only the 513,774.16 ether lost in the November hack. (This provides a contrast to past proposals, which have aimed at fund recovery broadly).

“Speaking personally, I’m in favor of helping people recover lost funds if the cost to do so is low relative to the funds being recovered, the owner is unambiguous, and the funds are definitively locked up,” Johnson said. “I think the case with the Parity multi-sig bug fits all three criteria.”

The other thing EIP-999 seems to have going for it is that it’s simple to execute. Instead of trying to rework the whole ethereum virtual machine, the proposal would be released to Parity software clients only by way of hard fork upgrade.

Schoeden emphasized this ease to implement, pointing to the pull-request he already submitted to Parity’s code base.

And Krug, like others, believe this request might actually see enough community support to finally put an end to the Parity fund recovery debate.

Although for some, including Krug, the balance between protecting ethereum users and encouraging good security practices should be taken into account when deciding whether recoveries should happen.

“In my opinion, proposals like these should be accepted provided the code was actually audited,” Krug said, adding:

“If it wasn’t, the community should be less forgiving.”

Debate continues

But with the broader debate over the recovery of funds due to code vulnerabilities splitting the community for years, some aren’t so sure even EIP-999 will settle the mess.

“Allowing case-by-case proposals for mistake reversals is a terrible idea and opens up all kinds of concerns. This would set a terrible and dangerous precedent,” one user wrote on an ethereum forum.

This sentiment seems to be the current majority on social media and GitHub, where many are worried about future corruption and bribery.

Indeed, a Reddit user warned, “Some unknown amount of developer mindshare will leave ethereum if this happens.”

Wrapping up what he sees as the sentiment among the community, Johnson told CoinDesk, “It seems plain to me based on an informal survey that a large proportion of the community is opposed to the idea. I think it’s unlikely this proposal will be implemented.”

Yet, the debates have brought about some sort of silver lining.

After EIP editor Yoichi Hirai stepped down from his role as a result of an eruption of criticism over the frozen fund recovery efforts, the EIP process was streamlined.

Still, Schoeden is aggravated by the opposition, telling CoinDesk:

“Even though I hear the feedback and apply changes to the new proposal, I get the feeling we’re running in circles here.”

Frozen ether coin image via Shutterstock
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Data Firm at Center of Facebook Controversy Planned $30 Million ICO: Report


Cambridge Analytica, a British data analytics firm, was planning to raise as much as $30 million by issuing a new cryptocurrency through an ICO before it got swept up in a scandal surrounding the misuse of Facebook Inc. personal data, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

Cambridge Analytica had approached a company that advises companies on how structuring ICOs, the sources said.

Current Plans Uncertain

Cambridge Analytica’s current plans are unknown. An unnamed spokesman said the company is considering using blockchain to help secure its online data, but did not comment on the ICO.

The company was creating technologies to allow people to reclaim personal data and gain complete transparency over how their data is used before the Facebook controversy erupted, the spokesperson said in an email to Reuters.

Cambridge Analytica worked for U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign and has faced scrutiny over the past month after the Observer and the New York Times reported that the firm improperly gained access to personal data on millions of Facebook users. Facebook earlier this month acknowledged data from more than 87 million users could have been compromised.

Cambridge Analytica has said it properly licensed data on a much smaller number of users from a research firm.

Chief Executive Left Company

The company’s effort to provide personal data protection was overseen by its chief executive, Alexander Nix, who left in March after being tape recorded boasting about the company’s use of shell companies and strategies to help politicians entrap opponents, The New York Times reported.

The New York Times also reported Cambridge Analytica attempted to promote the Dragon Coin, a coin associated with a Macau gangster known as Broken Tooth. Dragon coin was to be used by gamblers and make it easier for people to get money to Macau casinos.

Facebook, meanwhile, is curtailing misleading and deceptive ad practices, including ICOs, cryptocurrencies and binary options, banning ads that “promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices.”

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Significant Trade Volume Triggers Localbitcoins KYC Requirement


Localbitcoins ‘Error’ Involves Know-Your-Customer Verification

Significant Trade Volume Triggers Localbitcoins KYC RequirementBitcoin users are frantically searching other exchanges today that don’t require Know-Your-Customer (KYC) verification. A post on the Reddit forum /r/bitcoin on April 17 showed a picture that stated a Localbitcoins user’s trade volume was “significant” this past year, and the trader had to verify their identity in order to keep trading. The picture reads:

Error! Your trade volume has been significant in the last twelve months. Please verify your identity to continue trading.

Localbitcoins does use a verification process but it’s never really been enforced, although some believe more traders will trade with you if you are verified. Much like the rest of the exchanges out there that do require immediate verification, Localbitcoins uses an ID service called ‘Netverify,’ created by a company called Jumio. Basically, the user uploads a picture of both sides of their license or state ID and in a few minutes, the platform reveals if the identification is a legitimate or not.

Significant Trade Volume Triggers Localbitcoins KYC RequirementThe Long-Lasting Bastion of Freedom Fell

The post on Reddit submitted on Tuesday is not the first time this news has spread among the cryptocurrency campfire. Back in January of 2018, there are posts on Reddit and Bitcointalk that show another trader required to use their ID to trade on Localbitcoins. Immediately the discussion among bitcoiners turned to decentralized exchanges like Bisq, Hodl Hodl, and Barterdex. The Reddit user /u/yellowcuda who created the post has an account that is three years old, and further down the thread he states:

To clarify: me and many of my peers who use Localbitcoins started getting this notification upon signing in, requiring them to submit their ID. Without it, you cannot continue trading. This is it, folks — The long-lasting bastion of freedom fell.

Many of the decentralized exchanges (DEX) today do have operational platforms, but liquidity on exchanges like Hodl Hodl, Bisq, Openledger, Bartdex, Idex, and Waves is not that much compared to centralized exchanges (CEX). Further, some of the platforms are in the very early stages and don’t have the functionality and features found on large VC-funded trading platforms.

Significant Trade Volume Triggers Localbitcoins KYC Requirement

Lastly, a few decentralized exchanges do offer fiat pairs, but a lot of them don’t have access to fiat and most platforms offer cryptocurrency-to-cryptocurrency swaps. It’s safe to say that much of the issues tethered to Localbitcoins users being arrested and the company itself requiring verification is likely because people are swapping for fiat and nation-states like the U.S. don’t appreciate that kind of business without permission. There have been no statements made by the owners of Localbitcoins yet about this issue and there are no official updates on the main page.

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IMF Chief Envisages Large-Scale Shift Towards Cryptocurrencies


2 Blog Posts Dedicated to Crypto

IMF Chief Envisages Large-Scale Shift Away From Government Fiat Towards CryptocurrencyThe managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde, dedicated a blog post on the IMF website to the benefits of cryptocurrencies on Tuesday. This positive post follows her other post last month which she outlined the drawbacks from her viewpoint. Citing that she previously “looked at the dark side of crypto-assets, including their potential use for money laundering and the financing of terrorism,” Lagarde proceeded to say:

Here, I want to examine the promise they [cryptocurrencies] offer. A judicious look at crypto-assets should lead us to neither crypto-condemnation nor crypto-euphoria.

IMF Chief Envisages Large-Scale Shift Away From Government Fiat Towards CryptocurrencyShe acknowledged the many cryptocurrencies in circulation and said, “it seems inevitable that many will not survive the process of creative destruction.” According to Coinmarketcap, there are currently 1,568 cryptocurrencies.

“The crypto-assets that survive could have a significant impact on how we save, invest and pay our bills,” the IMF chief believes. “That is why policymakers should keep an open mind and work toward ­­an even-handed regulatory framework that minimizes risks while allowing the creative process to bear fruit.”

Lagarde Explores Benefits of Crypto

The first benefit Lagarde pointed out was:

Crypto-assets enable fast and inexpensive financial transactions, while offering some of the convenience of cash.

IMF Chief Envisages Large-Scale Shift Away From Government Fiat Towards CryptocurrencyShe emphasized that “Some payment services now make overseas transfers in a matter of hours, not days,” adding that “If privately issued crypto-assets remain risky and unstable, there may be demand for central banks to provide digital forms of money.”

The next point Lagarde discussed was a potential balance in the financial landscape brought about by cryptocurrencies. While emphasizing her belief that “the fintech revolution will not eliminate the need for trusted intermediaries, such as brokers and bankers,” she detailed:

There is hope, however, that decentralized applications spurred by crypto-assets will lead to a diversification of the financial landscape, a better balance between centralized and decentralized service providers, and a financial ecosystem that is more efficient and potentially more robust in resisting threats.

No Immediate Danger

Regarding financial stability, Lagarde revealed, “Our preliminary assessment is that, given their still-small footprint and limited links to the rest of the financial system, crypto-assets do not pose an immediate danger.” Nonetheless, the IMF chief calls for regulators to remain vigilant of the potential of cryptocurrencies “to magnify the risks of highly leveraged trading, and to increase the transmission of economic shocks should they become more integrated into mainstream financial products.” She further described:

Moreover, banks and other financial institutions will face challenges to their business models, should there be a large-scale shift away from government-issued currencies toward crypto-assets. Regulators might find it harder to ensure the stability of a more diffuse and decentralized financial system. Central banks might have more trouble acting as the lender of last resort in case of a crisis.

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SVK CRYPTO PODCAST 123 – 17/04/2018 – Pornhub now accepts Verge!

Welcome to the SVK Crypto, 15 Minutes of Crypto Fame, brought to you by your host, Charles Storry. We provide daily cryptocurrency content and analysis on topics such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, Altcoins and ICO’s.

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