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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Dubai Goes Blockchain to Become Fintech Hub for The East

Dubai Goes Blockchain to Become Fintech Hub for The East


Having discovered and bought Bitcoin in the early 2010s, I initially had a hard time convincing my peers in the Middle East about the benefits of the underlying technology. Even harder was finding a way to buy Bitcoin if you lived in a region where people at the time were predominantly underbanked and dealt almost strictly with cash transactions.

Any discussion with those who worked in the financial industry ended up with hyperbolic accusations of Bitcoin being a currency for sex-trafficking on the deep web, and Blockchain being nothing more than a vaporware hype.

Today, I ironically see that the Middle Eastern Blockchain ecosystem is a completely different story. The same people working in the financial sector that joked about Blockchain being a fad are now propping it as the future of finance.

For example, Dubai’s endeavor to become the world’s first Blockchain city has picked up serious momentum halfway through 2017, and as with everything else “Dubai,” the UAE city-state is doing it in the flashiest way possible.


Full story at http://bit.ly/2gm6irR


Source: CoinTelegraph


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Major Banks Join USC Project for Blockchain-based Cryptocurrency Banking

Major Banks Join USC Project for Blockchain-based Cryptocurrency Banking


Several major banks have joined a project called Utility Settlement Coin (USC) that is intended to facilitate the issuance by central banks around the world of currencies using Blockchain technology.

The USC platform will also make it easier for international banks to settle various transactions with each other, through the use of collateralized assets on a custom-built Blockchain. The new member banks as of late August 2017 are Barclays, Credit Suisse, HSBC, State Street, MUFG, and CIBC.

The USC platform is already undergoing its final test before its live implementation. The new member banks are participating in the project’s final test.

According to project co-founder and UBS Head of Strategic Investment and Fintech, Hyder Jaffrey, the project will serve as a stepping stone to a future in which central banks around the world are already utilizing their own virtual currencies.

"It may well inform the way central banks choose to move things forward. We see it as a stepping stone to a future where central banks issue their own [cryptocurrency] at some point."


Full story at http://bit.ly/2gm6ffF


Source: CoinTelegraph


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Chinese poachers caught off Galapagos Islands with thousands of endangered sharks sentenced to prison

Chinese poachers caught off Galapagos Islands with thousands of endangered sharks sentenced to prison


Twenty Chinese crewmembers have been sentenced to jail and handed a $5.9m (£4.6m) fine for illegally fishing off the Galapagos Islands, where they were caught by Ecuadorean officials with 6,600 sharks aboard.

The Chinese-flagged ship Fu Yuan Yu Leng 999 was apprehended with 300 tonnes of of near-extinct or endangered species, including hammerhead sharks.

Pictures from the Environment Ministry of Ecuador show the sharks with their fins removed. Shark fin soup is considered a delicacy in China.

Judge Alexandra Arroyo announced the captain of the ship will serve four years in jail.


Full story at http://ind.pn/2es3PiE


Source: Independent


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To catch a (wildlife) criminal 

To catch a (wildlife) criminal 


A small round sample of smuggled ivory is put in a zip-locked plastic bag. Although the piece is the size of a bead, it is hard and must be hammered many times before being broken into little pieces. The... 

The test is conducted at the Wildlife Forensic Science Unit of the Wildlife Conservation Office, operated under the auspices of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP). 

The lab is known as the first DNA forensics unit for wildlife animals in Thailand. 

The person who has driven the project since 2009 is Kanita Ouitavon, 47, chief of the Wildlife Forensic Science Unit. She saw the need of the DNP to have its own forensic lab in order to complete the department's... 


Full story at http://bit.ly/2glffSz


Source: https://www.bangkokpost.com


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Under pressure: the story behind China's ivory ban

Under pressure: the story behind Chinas ivory ban


For years Chinese government officials were followed around the world, at every meeting, by a single issue: the scores of dead elephants across Africa, and the international community that blamed China for this “ivory “holocaust”. 

Even the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, could not escape lectures on poached elephants and the evils of China’s legal domestic ivory trade from foreign leaders. For years, China deflected the criticism with claims of a long cultural heritage and incremental policies, such as a ban on ivory carving imports two years ago.

And then in June 2016, then president Barack Obama fulfilled a promise made during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart, and imposed a near total ban on domestic ivory sales. China followed suit, and officials shut 67 carving workshops and retail stores in March 2017, with another 105 set to close by the end of the year. It was an astonishing U-turn – a far bigger step than campaigners had dared to hope for.

So how did this come about? In many ways, the country’s swiftly implemented ivory ban is a textbook case of international pressure effectively extractingconcessions for a country that often bucks global norms.


Full story at http://bit.ly/2gleJUk


Source: The Guardian


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Kenya to increase number of wildlife crime prosecutors to win the battle against poaching

Kenya to increase number of wildlife crime prosecutors to win the battle against poaching


Kenya has announced plans significantly to increase the number of specialist prosecutors its wildlife service can call on to go after poachers in court. 

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) currently has two prosecutors covering the whole country, where poaching and trafficking of elephant ivory and rhino horn has increased with rising Asian demand. 

That number could jump to as many as 14, after conservation organisation Space for Giants worked with Kenya’s national prosecution service to identify potential new recruits, and train them up. Space for Giants’ patron is Evgeny Lebedev, the owner of The Independent. 

KWS’s acting director general, Julius Kimani, and Max Graham, CEO of Space for Giants, have signed an agreement in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital, to widen cooperation including further training and mentoring of these new prosecutors. 


Full story at http://ind.pn/2gl2WFw


Source: Independent


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Now, a policy to involve farmers in wildlife conservation

Now, a policy to involve farmers in wildlife conservation


In an effort to avoid man-animal conflicts in areas/lands adjacent to protected forests and tiger reserves/elephant corridors, the State government has proposed to bring out the Karnataka Forest Policy on Private Conservancies in which land owners/institutions can voluntarily donate their land for enlarging wildlife habitat.

The policy, which was cleared by the Department of Forest and Environment headed by B. Ramanath Rai, encourages land owners living close to the protected areas and corridors for establishing private conservancies by changing the land use from the present practice of agriculture/plantation crops to “silvi-pasture system”, which can be termed as private forests.

The State has 35 sanctuaries/national park/reserve/corridors spreading over 9,58,6.107 sq km. Reserve forest forms 15.48 % of the total geographical area of the State and over a dozen of animals and human beings are killed in the State owing to man-animal conflicts.

As a replacement for income from agriculture/plantation/horticulture practices, the landowners opting for declaring their lands under private conservancies will be allowed to take up eco-tourism activities.


Full story at http://bit.ly/2gl4QpV


Source: http://www.thehindu.com


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Endangered species of turtle captured on camera laying eggs in a national park

Endangered species of turtle captured on camera laying eggs in a national park


This video shows the incredible moment an endangered turtle was seen laying eggs in a national park.

The Hawksbill turtle was seen laying her offspring near to a sandy beach at East Coast Park in the city state of Singapore.

The situation was monitored by staff to ensure the conditions were perfect.

Hawksbill turtles usually lay at night and can produce up to 200 eggs at any one time.


Full story at http://bit.ly/2gl4Rdt


Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk


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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Russian Energy Corporations Discuss Partnerships With Bitcoin Miners

Russian Energy Corporations Discuss Partnerships With Bitcoin Miners


Russian media outlets have reported that two major energy corporations have been in discussions with Russian bitcoin miners. The news comes just weeks after Russian state officials announced plans to launch an ICO for a public-private partnership seeking to rival China’s dominance over the bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining industries

According to RT, EvroSibEnergo has received “dozens of requests“ from Russian bitcoin miners seeking to reduce the power costs associated with mining. EvroSibEnergo has stated that “there are over 70 manufacturing facilities with ready-made infrastructure, including quick access to electrical grids and substations, provided with cheap electric power”, which are located throughout Siberia, the Urals, and European parts of Russia.


Full story at http://bit.ly/2wJyOy6


Source: Bitcoin News


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Messaging app Kik is launching its own cryptocurrency to raise $125 million

Messaging app Kik is launching its own cryptocurrency to raise $125 million


Kik, the $1 billion Canadian messaging app operator, is planning to raise $125 million through an initial coin offering on September 12.

Kik, which was founded by a group of college students in 2009, is actively used by 15 million people per month and reaches 40% of American teenagers, according to the company.

ICOs, a red-hot way to raise money using the technology behind bitcoin, have exploded this year with over $1.8 billion raised year-to-date, according to data from financial technology analytics provider Autonomous NEXT. They've allowed some companies to circumvent traditional fundraising methods, such as from venture capital and via the capital markets, to raise millions of dollars in a matter of seconds.

The massive growth of the ICO market is viewed by many people in financial services as a bubble, with some firms using the method as a way to raise vasts amount of money without offering an actual product. To raise money through an ICO, a company issues a new digital currency that can either be spent within its ecosystem, a bit like Disneyland dollars, or used to power part of the business.


Full story at http://read.bi/2wJQM3s


Source: Business Insider Nordic


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Top stocks, companies, and cryptocurrencies to invest in for the blockchain boom

Top stocks, companies, and cryptocurrencies to invest in for the blockchain boom


Blockchain technology has been heating up in the past several months, thanks in large part to the surge in Bitcoin's price since early May. The cryptocurrency skyrocketed from less than $1,000 in March to an all-time high of $4,440 on August 14.

Given this meteoric rise, it's no surprise that investors are clamoring to figure out how to break into the Bitcoin marketplace. But there are many other cryptocurrencies (such as Ethereum) and blockchain companies on the stock exchange where investors can funnel their money.

However, investing in a cryptocurrency is different than investing in a regular stock. When you invest in a company, you're buying shares of that company and essentially own an extremely small percentage of it. When you invest in Bitcoin or Ethereum, you receive digital tokens that serve different purposes. With Bitcoin, you get decentralized currency that also happens to be partially anonymous. With Ethereum, you get a piece of the power that runs decentralized apps and smart contracts.

Trading cryptocurrencies occurs on dedicated exchanges. Larger exchanges like GDAX, Kraken, Bitfinex, and Gemini typically offer solid volume to trade cryptocurrencies through bank transfers or credit cards. Coinbase is also an option that is growing in popularity thanks to its ease of use and a built-in wallet. But the trade off here is comparatively higher fees.


Full story at http://read.bi/2wINM7o


Source: Business Insider


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Bitmain's Mining Monopoly Compromises Bitcoin's Decentralized Nature

Bitmains Mining Monopoly Compromises Bitcoins Decentralized Nature


Bitmain must be regarded as the most influential company in the Bitcoin ecosystem based on their processing power, but does than mean they have the power to manipulate the market?

Allegations have been levied that the recent hard fork into Bitcoin Cash was a move by Bitmain’s leader Jihan Wu to undermine Bitcoin, although he has denied this. Mining centralization seems to be a real thing, and this could be hurting Bitcoin’s claim of being governed by no one.

There was a time when mining Bitcoin was anyone’s game, and people using their home computers would truly spread the wealth, and thus the power across a large user base.

However, as the difficulty has risen, professional mining groups with specialized computer chips emerged and formed these groups - or pools - mostly in China, to dominate the creation of the digital coin.


Full story at http://bit.ly/2wJYDhd


Source: CoinTelegraph


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Suddenly, Bitcoin GPU Hard Fork Could Give Bitcoiners ‘More Free Money’

Suddenly, Bitcoin GPU Hard Fork Could Give Bitcoiners ‘More Free Money’


Another new Bitcoin ‘hard fork’ could result in more duplicate balances as regulators only begin to get to grips with Bitcoin Cash.

Bitcoin GPU, also known as Bitcoin GOLD and BGOLD with the symbol BTG, is planning to fork off the main chain and use an ICO to “help BTG chain the longest Bitcoin Blockchain.”

“Bitcoin GPU is a full node implementation of the Bitcoin protocol,” its website, which curiously features the Bitcoin Cash logo, states.

“GPU mining can protect Bitcoin Key value: Decentralize.”


Full story at http://bit.ly/2wJTNAF


Source: CoinTelegraph


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Bitcoin So High Above The Bubbles They Can't Be Seen

Bitcoin So High Above The Bubbles They Cant Be Seen


Since its first big spike in growth and subsequent plummet with the Mt. Gox hack, Bitcoin has been labeled a bubble waiting to burst. People have likened its growth to many different bubbles, most notably the dotcom boom in the 1990s.

However, the truth of the matter is that Bitcoin keeps breaking barriers as it reached another all time high this week. In fact, a closer inspection of the growth, and the eventual burst of the associated bubbles shows that Bitcoin is so far off the charts that it looks like an absolute outlier.

This year alone, Bitcoin has surged over 350 percent as it reached $4,650 coin. However, it is not the only one driving the market for digital currencies.

"The entire market cap for digital currencies is up near 800 percent this year as other cryptocurrencies experience huge gains, some even more than Bitcoin."


Full story at http://bit.ly/2wJGGQb


Source: CoinTelegraph


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Dark web finds bitcoin increasingly more of a problem than a help, tries other digital currencies

Dark web finds bitcoin increasingly more of a problem than a help, tries other digital currencies


Criminals are dropping bitcoin in favor of other digital currencies that are harder for law enforcement to use in tracking activities in an anonymous corner of the internet known as the dark web, analysts said.

Although hard numbers on criminal activity in digital currencies are difficult to pin down, Shone Anstey, co-founder and president of Blockchain Intelligence Group, estimates that illegal transactions in bitcoin have fallen from about half of total volume to about 20 percent last year.

"Now it's significantly less than that," he told CNBC earlier this month, noting that overall transaction volume has grown globally.

A U.S. Homeland Security official confirmed to CNBC in a phone interview on Thursday that criminals are "looking more closely at other currencies like monero and ethereum."


Full story at http://cnb.cx/2wJKKjp


Source: CNBC


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Bitcoin jumps nearly 70% for August to record high, offshoot 'bitcoin cash' falls to more than one-week low

Bitcoin jumps nearly 70% for August to record high, offshoot bitcoin cash falls to more than one-week low


Exactly four weeks since bitcoin split into bitcoin and bitcoin cash, the original digital currency hit a record high Tuesday while the offshoot fell to its lowest in more than a week.

Bitcoin rose more than 6.5 percent, to a record high of $4,703.42, up nearly 70 percent for the month, according to CoinDesk. Bitcoin edged off that high in afternoon trade, hovering around $4,603, still more than quadruple in value for the year and up about 60 percent for August.

Bitcoin cash hit a low of $559.61, its lowest since Aug. 18, before recovering to around $575, according to CoinMarketCap. The alternative version of bitcoin, supported by a minority of developers, is still up about 170 percent from a low of $210 hit on Aug. 1, the day of the split.

While digital currency "miners" temporarily found bitcoin cash more profitable than the original version to mine, by Tuesday it was 32 percent more profitable to mine bitcoin, according to data from the Coin Dance website.


Full story at http://cnb.cx/2wK1FSM


Source: CNBC


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Why Bitcoin Terrifies Big Banks - Interview with Andreas Antonopoulos


Published on 9 Aug 2017


Co-Host of Talk Bitcoin Abby Martin Interviews Andreas Antonopolous talks about bitcoin and how decentralized system of money is important

 

 

 

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Bitcoin Q&A: Why developers are leaving banks


Published on 17 Aug 2017


Banks are investing hundreds of millions of dollars in the blockchain ecosystem, training tens of thousands of developers to build things that won't work. The future role of banks in the economy. Horse carriages in Central Park did not completely disappear because of cars. They will be used for legacy applications. "Centralised blockchains" are a contradiction in terms because the purpose of a blockchain is to allow for/ increase decentralisation. Banking as an institution is obsolete; it may take 20-30 years before you see that ripple through the world, but it will. I'm hoping the best of the best of these developers take a couple of years getting bored doing proof-of-concept on reinventing spreadsheets, and then use their Christmas bonus to fund a start-up that will compete against their former employer who taught them how to do this. I've talked to people from these banks who've done this. Competition will determine the outcome in the market, and if you continue to build horse buggies in the age of the automobile, you go out of business. The dinosaurs will survive but they will change and lose enough power until they become chickens. That's what happened to the dinosaurs, and we have their children for breakfast every morning.

 

 

 

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