DOJ Crypto Investigation Tanks Prices, Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision

Investigations are all about the crypto ecosystem, but a recent report regarding a US Department of Justice price manipulation crackdown was widely said to be the cause of market caps falling, and by a lot. Fundstrat, the ecosystem’s favorite financial professional crypto bull, is on record as welcoming government regulation, what it calls “adult supervision.”

Also read: Bitcoin Use Case: Limiting Government Growth

Fundstrat Welcomes Adult Supervision of Crypto

Legacy media, thanks to a Bloomberg article, ran wild with fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) this week, regarding a supposed US Department of Justice investigation of price manipulation. Weaker hands in response effectively sent bitcoin core (BTC) well below $8K, heading for 7, and the entire crypto market cap slid accordingly.

Debate about regulation in the US and around the world has raged the entirety of cryptocurrency’s near decade-long life. Bitcoin licensing in New York, senate hearings, G20 central bankers urging global crypto laws, the requisite jockeying and lobbying for exclusive access to regulators, taken together, seems to be slouching toward something major coming down from financial minders. And well-publicized recent hacks haven’t helped confidence. There seems to be a new initial coin offering scam daily. 

Rumors the DOJ is teaming with US bitcoin futures regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and possibly patching-in the US Securities and Exchange Commission can spook animal spirits, of course. Anecdotal evidence abounds. Add to that six rather frightening words, when strung together by regulators, that make speculators’ ears perk, “neither confirm nor deny an investigation” becomes all the evidence anyone needs to dump positions. Even large exchange Bitfinex has been subpoenaed by the CFTC.

The ecosystem’s favorite bull, Thomas Lee of Fundstrat, in a client letter, put a finer point on happenings: “These stories have pressured the crypto market, as regulatory action (and related headline risk) reduces risk appetite and also is a further deterrent for near-term inflows from new investors. However, these actions signal that adult supervision is coming to crypto and adding such oversight incrementally improves the structural integrity and legitimacy for crypto-currency investor. In other words, in order for institutional investors to be more actively engaged in crypto markets, such adult supervision is a necessary precondition.”

Regulation is an Anathema to Bitcoin

Prior to welcoming crypto regulation, Mr. Lee ate a giant, warm slice of humble pie following his Consensus conference bump prediction of many thousands in BTC price increase. Just the reverse, of course, happened, and Mr. Lee, to his credit, reappeared on as many shows to take his medicine. He acknowledged getting it badly wrong, but ultimately attributed the decline due to unforeseen regulatory rumors and, ironically, saturation at the conference of hype.

In a slide presentation graphic, Fundstrat continued to use “welcome,” as in crackdowns being “welcome and also widely anticipated.” On price specific manipulation investigations, they urged “this probe is again, a very welcome development.”

To crypto enthusiasts, they are decidedly torn. On the one hand, nearly everyone will agree bitcoin was developed to essentially leave government regulatory environments. Government regulations are not issued out of benevolence toward the hoi polloi. No, rather they’re instead an effort to pick winners and losers in terms of which sector of businesses lobbied the hardest, greasing wheels of states in their direction. Regulations enforce burdens often on startups, insulating more established and connected businesses from too much competition. Corruption, then, can and does become institutional. Present day banking is proof enough. Bitcoin, in Satoshi’s vision, releases adopters from financial cartels, at least in theory. To invite regulators goes against everything crypto stands for.

On

Blockchain Skills? Hired! $120,000+ Plus Bonus!

Blockchain this and blockchain that might be so much hype, but no one can deny hundreds of millions of dollars, some say billions, sloshing around the ecosystem in search of advancing technology undergirding cryptocurrencies. There’s a battle in even the broader employment market as Facebook, Amazon, IBM and others search for blockchain development talent, pushing salaries and bonuses into the stratosphere.

Also read: CNBC Shows Bitcoin Cash (BCH) Love, Predicts Mooning

Blockchain Jobs Need Talent with Know-How

The Wall Street Journal recently profiled the booming blockchain industry, honing-in on the demand from employers for a seemingly small pool of qualified candidates. And basic economic theory holds when the supply is at a premium and being chased by more and more dollars, the relative price will inevitably increase.

Katheryn Griffith Hill of Blockchain Developers, a headhunter, confirmed, “We are seeing people who are making half a million dollars,” she’s quoted, adding those with as little as three years experience are fetching “definitely well over $120,000” to start. The Journal continues, “Some 4,500 job openings with the terms ‘blockchain,’ ‘bitcoin’ or ‘cryptocurrency’ in the title were posted on LinkedIn this year through mid-May, according to the company. That is up 151% over the total in all of 2017. Just 645 such job openings were posted in 2016.”

Blockchains are simply a spin on database technology, and really aren’t all that new or even novel. That they’re used as accountancy in distributed ledger form, and decentralized in the cryptocurrency context, makes them valuable when attached to a currency such as bitcoin cash (BCH). Within the crypto world, such ledgers act as payment settlement systems, and, in the case of BCH, have solved the notorious bugaboo of creating a digital currency: double spending. For years, inventors were foiled by this problem. Satoshi Nakamoto’s insight, then, was to make coins like bitcoin cash become not only a medium of exchange and store of value but also contain a payment system, allowing for relatively trustless transactions between private parties to occur all over the globe.

Still other wags within the financial technology industry have seized on the neologism “blockchain,” a descriptive term to help explain how miners connect it all together, and stress the tech can solve virtually any problem. Animal spirits being what they are, the corporate world has dutifully swallowed the hype whole, and so nearly any company attaching itself to the mere mention of the word can sit back and watch their valuations climb.

Too Rich for Traditional Employment

Yuliya Chernova writes of a paradox as employers seek blockchain devs, describing how “many of the more experienced crypto developers already have made money trading bitcoin and Ethereum.” Indeed, hammering home the point Daniele Sileri, CEO of Blockchain Studios, insisted most “of the developers are millionaires already, so they don’t really care about money.”

Initial coin offerings (ICOs) and venture capital have combined to lure many an accomplished dev away from traditional employment. Ripple’s David Schwartz underscores the fact “ICOs dumped a bunch of money on the industry,” to the degree that even money is “devalued” in the blockchain employment market, according to the Journal. Mr. Schwartz remarked how compensation has become “insane,” as he’s witnessed blockchain devs, at least two, receive “$1 million signing bonus offers,” the Journal notes.

Dearth of top dev talent is a global problem, and companies are struggling to distinguish themselves from the pack. Remote working arrangements, along with killer remuneration schedules, reveal work that “might have been free, there’s now a market for that work,” a dev at Augur said. Even “Augur itself

Roger Ver and Ryan X. Charles Reveal the Future of Cash

The Four Seasons Hotel Hong Kong (香港四季酒店) in the city’s financial center is this week’s spot for Roger Ver’s weekly video update, a project started just about a month ago. He’s joined at the five-star retreat for the episode by Ryan X. Charles, CEO of Yours.org. The two men discussed their participation in an international conference and revealed an exciting future for decentralized, censorship resistant, cash.  

Also read: Alec Baldwin’s Lambo Movie Backed by Crypto Tech

Ver and Charles Make an Entertaining, Informative Pair

“Everybody’s been excited about ‘bcash’ for quite a while,” Roger Ver (CEO of Bitcoin.com) smiled and giggled with joy at the delicious irony. “So, it’s finally here everybody!” A very relaxed Mr. Ver has taken to making weekly videos, highlighting his work within the bitcoin cash community. He was prompted to laughter by Yours.org co-founder and CEO Ryan X. Charles, joining Mr. Ver for a one-off video recently. Both men were in the glow of Antiguan entrepreneur and Coin Geek owner Calvin Ayre’s latest Hong Kong conference. Overlooking Victoria Harbour, viewers soon notice there’s a third presence in the background. Turns out, the famous International Commerce Centre building in West Kowloon, all 1,587.9 feet of it, can be seen during its LED light show.

They were laughing at the name Purse.io chose for its latest product, bcash. When trolls wish to hector bitcoin cash supporters they often employ the name. Well, the two CEOs remarked gleefully, now the association has a real use case. It’s a fork of bcoin, a full node implementation, and both agreed they’d be employing the innovation. The Purse.io adventure parallels the ecosystem’s, as viewers come to find out. Mr. Charles prompts Mr. Ver into expanding on just why Mr. Ver was such a heavy proponent and user of the tech.

Mr. Ver explained how he used Purse.io for a great many business transactions, for nearly everything. When bitcoin core (BTC) fees became untenable for transactions, he left the service altogether, cashing out his remaining BTC for bitcoin cash (BCH). With Purse.io continuing to innovate and adapt, accepting BCH and offering a handy 15% discount on Amazon purchases, Mr. Ver happily encouraged viewers to return to the service. And indeed there does seem to be a resurgence in so-called micropayment tech, as more and more businesses transition to BCH.

Fast and Furious

Mr. Charles then raves about Openbazaar’s move into decentralized cryptocurrency exchange, a very big deal in the community. Traditional exchanges ask quite a lot of potential users, with frictions in onboarding and withdrawal, not to mention invasive personal questions. They’ve long gone against a basic aspect of crypto philosophy. Mr. Ver explained the store at Bitcoin.com will also sell its goods and services on Openbazzar.

Continuing on the micropayment innovations, both praised Mr. Charles’ latest project, the Money Button. The days-old tech is a spin on Yours.org’s BCH micropayment social media concept. Mr. Charles’ content providers asked for an API usable on their own proprietary websites; a money button, if you will, for the internet. The Yours.org CEO describes the Money Button as similar to pressing Like on Facebook. The prototype looks to be pretty amazing and transformative if the tech holds up: imagine every site surfed, readers and viewers had the ability to tip in fractions of BCH as a show of appreciation. Mr. Charles is careful to stress it is still not ready for large scale deployment, but he does want folks to give it a try over the next two months in the hopes of gaining feedback and working out bugs.

These are just

China Ranks Cryptos: Bitcoin (BTC) Dismal 13 of 28

People’s Republic of China (PRC) 中华人民共和国 was one of the first governments to ban bitcoin, cryptocurrency. Now, the PRC is the first country to come out with official government crypto rankings. Its China Center for Information Industry Development (CCID) used three filters through which coins would be judged: innovation, technology, application. Rather surprisingly to some enthusiasts, bitcoin core (BTC) didn’t even crack the top ten, while bitcoin cash (BCH) almost didn’t make the list at all.

Also read: Alec Baldwin’s Lambo Movie Backed by Crypto Tech

China Lists Ethereum as Best in Crypto Class

In what is either widely being referred to as a case of communist schizophrenia or a passive nod to the inevitable financial future, the PRC’s CCID released its first set of cryptocurrency rankings. China, of course, outright banned crypto in all its various forms, and the broader market was thought to have plummeted for a time as a result. That it is now publishing coin rankings is confusing to many observers.

CN Ledger, a popular Twitter handle, was the first to expose the rankings to the outside world. Its author, Eric Zhao, explained how “most old-school experts haven’t followed the crypto space long enough to grasp some of the traits of tech and community that can’t be found elsewhere.”

Indeed, this year found Weiss Ratings’ inaugural list of their rankings, as these pages reported. It too was very controversial. “The eagerly-anticipated report rates 74 of the most popular cryptocurrencies on the market, scoring them from A to D,” we wrote. “Such was the level of interest in the report, the company’s website was knocked offline as interest peaked on Wednesday morning. Weiss Ratings include some controversial scores for currencies such as bitcoin and ethereum that are sure to spark debate.” Then, as now, BTC ranked lower than Ethereum. Weiss spent a great deal of time defending their decision.

Mr. Zhao hoped the CCID effort signals a kind of new opening. “I believe at least it’s a sign that the officials are starting to treat crypto projects more like a neutral endeavour towards better technology and innovations, rather than just challenging the power and authority of banks and government,” he stressed.

BTC Listed 13 of 28

Just a week ago, the PRC ministry surprised enthusiasts with a press release announcing its Global Public Chain Assessment Index. “This independent analysis of cryptocurrencies and global public blockchain technology demonstrates the confidence of the Chinese Government in the technology, and will act as a guide for government, enterprise and research institute,” news.Bitcoin.com quoted the government notice as stating.

The Center for Information Industry Development used three main criteria in scoring cryptocurrencies, though scant information exists about methodology. Application, innovation, technology were used to place 28 total cryptos and their respective blockchains (which the rankings, at least at first glance, weigh heavily).

Of the top four coins by market capitalization, Ethereum ranked first, followed by bitcoin core (BTC) at number 13, ripple in the 17th spot, and bitcoin cash (BCH) lagging well behind them all at the lowly number 25 of 28. For the CCID, however, the top five cryptos to their liking include ether, steem, lisk, neo, komodo.

For those who worry about such rankings, PRC appears to, again, value blockchains over currencies – a common refrain heard in the Western corporate world. If, alternatively, one were to assess various cryptocurrencies according to their efficacy as mediums of exchange, BCH and BTC would likely rank quite high, and could be considered a most obvious threat to a regime bent on control. Whatever the case,

Crypto Floating Island Project Closer to Realization

Blue Frontiers has signed a much-publicized memorandum of understanding with French Polynesia. The Floating Island Project is exactly as it reads, only it’s to be an independent government complete with its own cryptocurrency. An idea long thought to be a crazy dream of libertarians is now incredibly close to realization.

Also read: Alec Baldwin’s Lambo Movie Backed by Crypto Tech

Crypto Floating Island Project Nearer to a Reality

“A core structural feature of current models of government is centralization,” begins the pitch for an initial coin offering (ICO) pre-sale of Varyon from Blue Frontiers. “Too much centralized authority leads to inefficient bureaucracies and representatives disconnected from the people they are meant to serve. Given a suitable technological solution, governments are ripe for decentralization. That technological solution is seasteading.”

The book Seasteading: How Floating Nations Will Restore the Environment, Enrich the Poor, Cure the Sick, and Liberate Humanity from Politicians (Free Press, 2017) caused an immediate media sensation. Written by Joe Quirk and Patri Friedman, it’s the nonfiction account of what seems at the outset to be a sci-fi idea. Dutifully, legacy outlets treated it that way, at times dismissing seasteading as impractical, the stuff of fantasy.

“Varyon (VAR),” via the Ethereum chain (1 ETH = 14,750 VAR), ERC-20 token, “is a general purpose payment token for the exchange of goods and services in the Blue Frontiers ecosystem, other ecosystems, and between token holders. Blue Frontiers is planning to use the proceeds of the sale to expand its ecosystem and create Seazones and seasteads, and will only accept Varyon (VAR) for its products and services,” Blue Frontiers claims.

A completely unrelated business proposition put seasteading into perspective. Anglo-Dutch oil and gas concern Shell launched its quarter-century at sea project, Prelude. Assembled in Samsung’s Heavy Industries Geoje shipyard, South Korea, Prelude is Shell’s gamble at taking a refinery to natural gas deposits previously imagined out of reach. Longer than the Empire State Building is tall, Prelude’s hull is among the largest ever built. The enormous project is an inspiring construct, stretching four continents and thousands of people.

No Longer Just a Dream

Prelude is a floating city, and not in the literary license sense. It doesn’t take long to sympathize with Mr. Quirk’s and Mr. Friedman’s vision, even if it’s covered in petroleum-seeking profits at the moment. A floating island, then, isn’t the wacky concept one might be forgiven for at first highly doubting. Combine that real-world use case with modern cruise ships, perhaps linking them together, and it also isn’t terribly hard to consider a country at sea.

That’s the idea. Members of the Seasteading Institute, which can count among its members luminaries such as Peter Thiel, created a company bent on making all that theory turn real, Blue Frontiers. Early last year, in fact, the group inked a deal with French Polynesia to effectively use wet territory under its dominion in an attempt to bring to life the Floating Island Project.

“Blue Frontiers plans to prototype the first seastead with funds raised from the Varyon (VAR) Crowdsale, and to fund additional seasteads through sales,” the project continues. “The Varyon (VAR) Blue Frontiers holds for seastead and Seazone Construction, Development, and Administration will be used only as needed, in order to create seasteads and Seazones and to strengthen the ecosystem of products and services available to Varyon (VAR) holders.”

The distribution of VAR follows pretty standard ICO procedures: “The amount of Varyon (VAR) allotted to seastead/Seazone Construction, Development, Administration is inversely correlated with the amount purchased in the public sale. That is, the

Switzerland Formally Considers State Backed Cryptocurrency

Reuters reported Switzerland is formally considering the possibility of a state-backed cryptocurrency. Its government has asked legislators commission a study on the pros and cons of a Swiss “e-franc.”

Also read: Alec Baldwin’s Lambo Movie Backed by Crypto Tech

Switzerland Considers State Backed E-Franc

Switzerland’s Federal Council explained why it was asking for a formal study of state backed cryptocurrency. “The Federal Council is aware of the major challenges, both legal and monetary, which would be accompanied by the use of an e-franc. It asks that the proposal be adopted to examine the risks and opportunities of an e-franc and to clarify the legal, economic and financial aspects of the e-franc.”

Andréa Maechler

That appears to be quite a turnaround for the Swiss. As little as just over a month ago, its central bank was making statements about crypto’s inherent instability. “Digital central bank money for the general public is not necessary to ensure an efficient system for cashless retail payments. It would deliver scarcely any advantages, but would give rise to incalculable risks with regard to financial stability,” warned Andréa Maechler of the country’s national bank.

Nevertheless, the next step in the process involves parliament’s lower house. It will ultimately decide whether the request moves forward. Most countries considering the idea openly have sought state backed crypto as a means to run afoul of economic sanctions or as a way to deaden domestic enthusiasm for a currency beyond government control. Sanctions are not an issue for Switzerland, and the government has been rather open to the crypto revolution, comparatively.

Not the First, Not the Last

Venezuela is the most recent and notorious example of state backed crypto, and the only country to have implemented the idea. It launched the petro as a clear poke at US policy made against its present administration. The Maduro government used an ERC-20 token platform to launch the state backed crypto, which Mr. Maduro insists will be ultimately backed by barrels of oil. In addition, the government has announced special initiatives and incentives to encourage Venezuelans to adopt its usage. In the tightly controlled media of the country, figures and facts on the ground are hard to substantiate in terms of petro’s success. For its part, the Trump administration was unnerved enough to issue an Executive Order formally forbidding US citizens from holding the petro.

Cédric Wermuth

Regionally closer, Sweden has taken similar steps to that of Switzerland. Riksbank seems to be in an overt process of encouraging a completely cashless society, and Swedes appear eager to follow. A natural evolution of that idea, and to keep its citizens under the careful eye of government minders, a state backed crypto might just be the answer.

Again, a Swiss crypto is by no means a foregone conclusion. Though influential politicians like Cédric Wermuth, Social Democratic Party vice president, have encouraged the study, the idea faces legislative obstacles. As Reuters notes, “In Switzerland, if the proposal is approved, a study will be produced by the Swiss finance ministry. No timing has been given on when it would be published should the go-ahead be given.”

What do you think about state backed cryptocurrencies? Let us know what you think about this subject in the comments below.

Images via Shutterstock. 

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Alec Baldwin’s Lambo Movie Backed by Crypto Tech

This year it appears crypto is ready for its close up. Hollywood has come knocking in significant ways. Alec Baldwin (The Boss Baby, SNL, Mission Impossible), Antonio Banderas (Shrek, Zorro, Spy Kids), and Oscar-winning filmmaker Bobby Moresco (Crash, Million Dollar Baby) are presently filming Lamborghini. It’s a biographical movie about Ferruccio Lamborghini, namesake behind the ecosystem’s favorite icon for crypto wealth. Fittingly, it’s also co-produced by Tatatu, a social entertainment company run on blockchain tech.

Also read: Ver’s Sci-Fi Novel Life, Voorhees Buys Tucker’s Tie for $27k

Alec Baldwin’s New Lambo Movie Is Fittingly Crypto Backed

Hollywood heavy producer Andrea Iervolino explained, “Social networks and entertainment platforms are making huge profits by gathering data from their users and selling it to other corporations without rewarding their users. There is a need for a platform that provides higher levels of transparency to their users, brands, and rights holders about the revenues generated and monetization of users. Audiences need free, legal and quality content with a simple user experience.”

Antonio Banderas

Mr. Iervolino, a dashing 30 year-old Italian, was speaking of his latest venture, Tatatu, a social media company which he implies will run on a variation on the technology currently causing fainting spells in the corporate world, blockchain. Though these pages have given voice to severe skepticism about distributed ledgers’ real-world use cases, Tatatu claims it can use an immutable ledger to record transactions in an open setting, which could allow for fairer remuneration for content providers. They insist this will mitigate against piracy, a lingering concern for mainstream media.

Ferruccio Lamborghini

The nascent project has landed a co-producer credit, however, backing the major motion picture tentatively titled Lamborghini. Antonio Banderas stars as Ferruccio Lamborghini, while co-star Alec Baldwin plays antagonist and professional rival Ezno Ferrari. It was written by Oscar-winner Bobby Moresco, and is currently being filmed as of this writing. It will tell the story of Mr. Lamborghini from World War II through his creation of what the crypto community widely considers the ultimate sign of success, the vaunted Lambo. Should it eventually come to market, it will be the first major release to have a direct connection to crypto tech.

Beyond Bitcoin

Slate Entertainment Group (SEG) purchased the forthcoming (Spring 2019) documentary Beyond Bitcoin (Fulwell 73). SEG plans to run the doc on Binge, its blockchain-based, video on demand platform.

Leo Pearlman of Fulwell 73 explains, “As a company, we are always looking for new and innovative distribution platforms, new ways to reach and engage with our audience and for the ideal partners for our content. Binge is the perfect fit for our film and is the natural place for viewers to find and engage with this content. The excitement for us as content creators is that they offer unprecedented transparency, cutting-edge analytics, and guaranteed payment terms, all of which empower producers like ourselves and offer a very different distribution option than those currently on the market.”

Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver in Beyond Bitcoin

Jake Witzenfeld directs, and the doc’s focus is on three principals: Bitcoin.com CEO Roger Ver, blockchainer Perianne Boring, and investor Ryan Radloff. For a calendar year, viewers follow the three as they attempt to foment financial revolution: scaling debate wars, ICOs, regulation, and whether blockchain or bitcoin is the real innovation.

“We are thrilled to have Beyond Bitcoin on the Binge platform,” Michael Moyal of SEG detailed. “The film provides an objective look at the potential for blockchain to disrupt numerous industries including entertainment. We at SEG share the filmmakers’ conviction that blockchain technology will help to facilitate our goal of adding fairness

US Government Launches Scam Crypto Site

In an effort to get ahead of the next round of scams, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) created and published its own version of an initial coin offering (ICO) scam website. It’s a rather innovative way at approaching investor education in the brave new world of cryptocurrency.

Also read: Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto

SEC Posts ICO Scam Site

“Combining the two most growth-oriented segments of the digital economy,” the mock SEC website reads, “blockchain technology and travel, Howeycoin is the newest and only coin offering that captures the magic of coin trading profits AND the excitement and guaranteed returns of the travel industry. Howeycoins will partner with all segments of the travel industry (air, hotel, car rental, and luxury segments), earning coins you can trade for profit instead of points.”

It really is a novel idea. SEC Chairman Jay Clayton explained, “The rapid growth of the ‘ICO’ market, and its widespread promotion as a new investment opportunity, has provided fertile ground for bad actors to take advantage of our Main Street investors. We embrace new technologies, but we also want investors to see what fraud looks like, so we built this educational site with many of the classic warning signs of fraud. Distributed ledger technology can add efficiency to the capital raising process, but promoters and issuers need to make sure they follow the securities laws. I encourage investors to do their diligence and ask questions.”

And it is also more than ironic how “on it” the SEC has been when it comes to crypto and all things ICO. Enforcement subpoenas are flying all around the United States in search of the next conviction. Ironic, because, of course, so little, comparatively, has been done similarly with regard to mainstream financial scams: The Great Recession is probably a perfect example. Crypto, while often ‘poo-poo’d’ as largely irrelevant and no threat, does appear to occupy more and more time and space in SEC moves.

Nevertheless, SEC Chief Counsel, Owen Donley, detailed how fraudsters “can quickly build an attractive website and load it up with convoluted jargon to lure investors into a phony deal. But fraudulent sites also often have red flags that can be dead giveaways if you know what to look for.” The webpage www.howeycoins.com is an in-house SEC project they were able to construct in relatively little time. Howey is derived from the landmark 1946 U.S. Supreme Court decision, SEC v. W.J. Howey Co.  Its decision guides the definition the regulator uses to this day in determining what constitutes a security: “a person invests his money in a common enterprise and is led to expect profits solely from the efforts of the promoter or a third party.”

Pretty Much Spot On

Some of the better lines are eerily spot on. “We anticipate OVER 1% daily returns, with DOUBLE 2% returns on Tier 1 investors in pre-ICO stage secured purchases,” Howeycoin promises. “The average registered coin return over a two month period in 2017 was an amazing 72%. Based on market conditions, including record-setting prospects in both the digital asset and travel industries, we expect to surpass that BEFORE the Tier 2 offering closes. HODL! We also forecast a minimum growth rate of between 7% to 15% annualized, making Howeycoins attractive for long-term investment. In addition, Howeycoins can serve as a GUARANTEED hedge against inflation and market loss.”

Clicking on the live links brings surfers to a reveal landing page: “If You Responded To An Investment Offer Like This, You Could Have Been Scammed – Howeycoins Are Completely Fake!” the banner blares.

World’s Second Largest Search Engine Bans Crypto Ads

Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, announced its advertising arm is banning all cryptocurrency advertisements. This follows market leaders such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter either severely restricting crypto ads or banning them altogether.

Also read: Ethereum Futures in US One Step Closer as CME Deal is Struck

Microsoft’s Bing Search Engine Bans Crypto Ads

Advertiser Policy Manager, Melissa Alsoszatai-Petheo, posted an update to Microsoft’s Bing search engine ad policy. Bing Ads to Disallow Cryptocurrency Advertising is the title of the company’s rather obvious move. “We are always evaluating our policies to ensure a safe and engaging experience for our Bing users and the digital advertising ecosystem,” Ms. Alsoszatai-Petheo began. “Because cryptocurrency and related products are not regulated, we have found them to present a possible elevated risk to our users with the potential for bad actors to participate in predatory behaviors, or otherwise scam consumers.”

Bing has consistently ranked a very distant second behind the Google juggernaut, which gobbles up better than 60% of search traffic on the internet. Google at the beginning of 2018 announced a far more specific series of cryptocurrency related prohibitions, down to defining contract for difference (CFDs) products.

It wasn’t too much later when Facebook followed, as we reported at the end of January, with “a new ruling issued on January 30, ‘ads must not promote financial products and services that are frequently associated with misleading or deceptive promotional practices, such as binary options, initial coin offerings, or cryptocurrency.’” Twitter too, a mere two months later, presented its new advertising policy, severely restricting initial coin offering (ICOs) and token sales.

Protection is the Pretext

“To help protect our users from this risk,” the notice from Bing continued, “we have made the decision to disallow advertising for cryptocurrency, cryptocurrency related products, and un-regulated binary options. Bing Ads will implement this change to our financial product and services policy globally in June, with enforcement rolling out in late June to early July.”

Other than seeking a press cycle of promotion, it does appear “scams” were a bit of a problem during 2017, according to Bing’s annual report. “Tech scams are widely used by bad actors and we rejected 25 million ads in this category in 2017,” they insisted. And under the banner of misleading ads, Bing noted how last “year, we took down 30 million such ads, 20,000 such websites and 43,500 bad actors.”

Do you think crypto ad bans will have a negative impact? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

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Federal Reserve Pres: People Want Dollar, Not Volatile Crypto

St. Louis Federal Reserve President, James Bullard, was recently interviewed at this year’s Consensus conference in New York City. That a top US economic policy maker was in attendance is victory enough; however, he was asked his opinions on cryptocurrency going forward by CNBC Global Markets Reporter Seema Mody. He explained he found the phenomenon “interesting,” and how more cryptos being issued all time necessitates keeping an “eye” on them. Mr. Bullard also compared the use case for cryptocurrencies with that of the dollar, and whether the former posed a threat to the latter.  

Also read: Bitpay Enables Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Bitcoin Core (BTC) for Tax Payments

Federal Reserve President Attends Crypto Conference

Federal Reserve President, James Bullard, gave a presentation at this year’s giant Consensus conference in New York City. Reread that sentence. A sitting Fed policy maker thought it important enough to attend a crypto soiree. That’s news enough. But more importantly, President Bullard gave a presentation on the government’s current thinking about cryptocurrency.

In his talk, he acknowledged crypto is facilitating trade that might otherwise not occur. He couldn’t help himself by mentioning illegal activity (and we all know fiat currencies are never used in illegal activity), but he did describe decentralized money’s lean toward frictionless transactions (especially with regard to costs/fees) as being an advancement.

Mr. Bullard and Ms. Mody

The Fed policy maker reserved the bulk of his comments, both in the presentation and during a post-game interview with CNBC, to talk about the problems in crypto as he sees them. One issue is simply the number of currencies being offered. The 12th St. Louis Fed President feels this over complicates matters, especially with regard to exchange rates and volatility.

Asked if cryptocurrencies pose a threat to the dollar, Mr. Bullard, 56, answered he didn’t think so. Global Markets Reporter Seema Mody, who is covering Consensus for CNBC this year, quickly followed up with a “but it could be?” The Fed President was noncommittal, choosing instead to shrug and give the pat answer about no one really knowing what the future holds. He emphasized how since its creation the US dollar has vanquished nearly all currency competition due to its being backed by the world’s strongest economy. It’s abundantly clear, Mr. Bullard suggested, people want the dollar and not crypto … at least at the moment.

Fed Coin on the Horizon?

Ms. Mody pressed Mr. Bullard about his presence at the conference, asking if this was a hint of things to come with regard to a future coin birthed by the Fed, a Fed Coin? Interestingly he didn’t dismiss the idea outwardly, and instead said they’d for sure look at the possibility, as the Fed does with many different types of financial innovations. He also assured there wasn’t any plan being hatched at the moment, no imminent Fed Coin coming. Mr. Bullard also wondered aloud what the gains would be by creating such a coin. He smiled subtly, assuring he’s keeping an “open mind.”

His comments seem to be less strident than statements issued by the St. Louis Fed on the very subject not even one month ago. “The St. Louis Federal Reserve has published an essay critically evaluating the notion of cryptocurrencies that are issued by central banks,” we detailed. “The article is highly dismissive in presenting what it describes as ‘the non-case for central bank cryptocurrencies,’ concluding that ‘a central bank will not issue cryptocurrencies in the sense of a truly decentralized and permissionless asset that allows users to remain anonymous.’”

A rather curious fact about the