Category: Bitcoin

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Virtual Currencies are increasing in value

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, ICOs, Smart Contracts, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Payments, Bitcoin, Regulation, Ethereum, Ripple, Market, Market Cap

Virtual Currencies are increasing in value

For the first time in two months, the value of Bitcoin has exceeded $8200 and it seems that slowly but surely the value of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency is regaining some of the strength that it had before the spectacular crash of January 2018.

In July, the value spiked rather suddenly and it value started to creep towards the price it reached two months ago at $7502. But what is causing its price to grow? Here are five reasons why?

Facebook and Google relax their rules

When news broke that both Google and Facebook had relaxed their rules around advertising cryptocurrencies and related products on their platforms. Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges in the world is now allowed to advertise its services on Facebook and Google has now listed the top cryptocurrencies in its exchange rate converted. This newly founded web visibility and a significant vote of confidence from the world’s largest tech giants has undoubtedly had a positive effect on the value of BTC.

The possibility of a BTC ETF

Another big vote of confidence for BTC was the announcement from the Chicago Board Options Exchange that they had sought approval for a Bitcoin ETF. This request from one of the most well-known exchanges comes at the same time as a number of similar requests from other leading big names. Whether or not the application will be approved, remains to be seen but in the meantime, this news is believed to have helped create the surge in value that we are seeing today.

Approval from big institutions

Some of the world’s leading banks such as JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs have started showing more and more interest in cryptocurrencies. At one time, leading figures in the industry were quick to criticise and dismiss the technology, but it appears that the tides have turned. The fact that such prominent names have shown interest in investing in and utilising the technology has been a big boost for the industry as a whole.

Regulatory changes

Following in the footsteps of Malta that recently introduced three new Acts that would support the growth and development of cryptocurrencies, ICOs and blockchain technology, more and more jurisdictions are considering changing their approach. The market has suffered from a lack of regulation or unclear laws which has lead to confusion, abuse, and crippling of cryptocurrencies value. Now the US Chamber of Commerce along with the SEC and CFTC are working on creating a better regulatory environment, crypto is set to thrive.

It’s summer!

The price of BTC seems to surge every summer and 2018 is no exception. Whilst the leap of 2017 was the largest so far, before that we saw considerable upswings during the summer season. So far, the level of growth in 2018 pales in comparison to previous years, we still have August to go and considering points 1-4, we could be in for a pleasant surprise.

If you have invested in Bitcoin or are considering doing so, contact one of our team today to ensure that you are making the best out of your investment and that you are in compliance with all applicable fiscal regulations.

 

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Is Amazon about to launch virtual payments?

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology, Payments, Bitcoin, Tokens, Wallet, Utility Tokens, Security Tokens, Ethereum, Ripple

Is Amazon about to launch virtual payments?

Rumours have been swirling for months that e-commerce giant, Amazon is set to launch its cryptocurrency payments. Earlier in the year they purchased a range of crypto-themed domain names such as amazoncryptocurrency.com and amazonbitcoin.com which just fuelled the reports further.

Now reports from an anonymous software engineer have been circulating on Reddit stating that Amazon has been talking about accepting Bitcoin payments and that the only reason they haven’t done it yet is due to issues surrounding refunds and volatility.

There have also been talks of them offering blockchain solutions through their AWS Blockchain Templates which can be used to launch an Ethereum of Hyperledger Fabric network in a matter of moments. It has also been speculated that they are creating their own cryptocurrency. In fact, they created one back in 2013 called Amazon Coin but it never took off due to the fact it was not based on any blockchain technology and could only be used on the Amazon platform.

Whilst the tech and e-commerce giants have not revealed anything about accepting crypto or developing blockchain tech over the previous months, they have made some interesting moves during the last few weeks. An Amazon subsidiary “Amazon Technologies Inc” recently issued a patent for a data streaming marketplace which allows clients to view crypto transaction data as it happens. It is designed to function like a crypto stock trading portal with real-time updates.

The patent states:

“A group of electronic or internet retailers who accept Bitcoin transactions may have a shipping address that may correlate with the Bitcoin address. The electronic retailers may combine the shipping address with the Bitcoin transaction data to create correlated data and republish the combined data as a combined data stream.”

Whether they will do something more concrete to move forward in the space remains to be seen but what we do know is that they are interested in dallying with the technology and its implications. The fact that crypto and bitcoin has even been recognised by Amazon is a big step forward and a vote of confidence for the sector.

 

E&S Group is a leading law firm offering various services with regards to ICOs. Feel free to contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected] to find out how E&S can help you in ‘making things happen’.

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Three Generations of DLT Platforms

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Smart Contracts, Technology, Bitcoin

Three Generations of DLT Platforms

When we think back to the time that the internet first arrived, we can note its progress through several distinct stages. These included the launch of the first wide-area computer networks back in the 1960s, the first emails in the 1970s, the invention of the Ethernet cable a bit later on, and then the rollout of the world wide web in the 1990s. As we intrepidly followed each of these developments, the internet as we knew it changed dramatically. Each and every step was crucial to creating the pieces that would be fused together to create the internet that we use today.

Whilst blockchain technology is only a decade or so old, we can look back at its recent past and divide it into some distinct and pivotal stages. Of course, we are still in the infancy of the blockchain world and it is likely that as the years go by, it will evolve into something completely unrecognisable in terms of capacity, from what we know now. That said, we are still able to pinpoint three so-called “generations” of blockchain and they are as follows:

Bitcoin and Virtual Currencies

Whilst several individuals had come up with some of the ideas that would later develop into the blockchain, it was Satoshi Nakamoto that wrote them all down in the whitepaper for Bitcoin. Because of this, we can safely say that the true concept of blockchain began with BTC.

In the beginning, the blockchain laid the foundations for a shared public ledger that would support a digital currency network. Satoshi’s blockchain comprised of 1MB blocks of information attached to each BTC transaction and these blocks would all be linked together through a cryptographic verification process, creating a totally immutable chain. Even in its early stages, blockchain technologies basic premises are still in place today and Bitcoins blockchain is pretty much unchanged from when it was launched almost 10 years ago.

Smart Contracts

Over time, developers working on blockchains began to realise that this technology had so much more potential than just carrying out basic transactions. The founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin had the novel idea that things such as assets and trust agreements could be transferred onto the blockchain and managed automatically.

In “normal life” a contract is managed between two independent entities, often with the input or supervision of other entities as a part of the process. Smart contracts, on the other hand, are self-managing and self-executing which means they require no third party supervision at any time. Each step of the smart contract process is triggered by an event such as an expiration date or the achievement of a particular goal with no need for any human interference whatsoever.

Many analysts believe that we have not even begun to scratch the surface when it comes to the potential of smart contracts, but one thing is for sure; they are an important evolution in the blockchain world.

The Future

One of the big obstacles standing in the way of blockchain domination is scalability. Bitcoin is struggling big time with issues around transaction processing times and bottlenecking. Whilst many newer cryptocurrencies have tried to revise their own blockchains to avoid or anticipate these issues, there has not been a huge amount of success thus far. Going forward, one of the most important developments that we need to see is going to centre around scalability.

Asides from this crucial improvement, new applications and uses for blockchain are being discovered on a daily basis. It is hard to know exactly where these developments will take us but supporters of the tech are on the edge of their seats, anticipating the next move of the sector.

 

E&S Group is a leading law firm offering various services with regards to ICOs. Feel free to contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected] to find out how E&S can help you in ‘making things happen’.

For more information click the link.

 

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Digital Currency prices go through the roof following announcement from IBM

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology, Cryptocurrency Exchange, Bitcoin, Tokens, Wallet, Ethereum, Market, Market Cap

Digital Currency prices go through the roof following announcement from IBM

IBM has just announced a new partnership with a fintech start-up called Stronghold in an aim to become more involved in the world of cryptocurrency.

Whilst the tech giant actively involves itself in blockchain technology, until now they have not shown a particular interest in cryptocurrency. In conjunction with Stronghold, they aim to explore the possibility of using Stablecoin which would be pegged to the US Dollar so it would be able to mitigate volatility.

According to the official press release, the cryptocurrency will be called Stronghold USD and will be backed by the US Dollar. The reserves will be held by a blockchain focussed asset manager, Prime Trust.

IBM will then experiment with virtual currencies to explore the potential of the technology as well as seeing how it could be used to help banks and other financial entities, without taking too much of a risk.

Whilst Stablecoin is supposed to be immutable to the volatility that other cryptocurrencies experience, there is a bit of controversy around the way that it is tethered. There are some that believe it was used to manipulate the price of Bitcoin during its bull run towards the end of 2017.

The news of IBM’s foray into the crypto world may have been responsible for an enormous spike in the value of BTC- as much as $20 billion in 24 hours. A single BTC skyrocketed to over $7000 with around 9% gains on a day to day basis. At the time of writing, Ethereum, the world’s second largest coin had reached an important hurdle of $500 per Ether. Ripple has also seen increases of around 6.5% and is trading at $0.5100.

 

To learn more about ICO Legal Services in Malta please follow this link.

Contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected] to find out more.

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London mosque is accepting other currencies as donations

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology, Bitcoin, Ethereum

London mosque is accepting other currencies as donations

It is not just international conglomerates that are finding various uses for the cryptocurrency. Two months ago, a mosque in East London announced that it would be accepting donations in cryptocurrency as well as fiat currency. In a statement made yesterday, the mosque announced that they have received far more donations in cryptocurrency than in GBP.

The Shackwell Lane Mosque in Dalston said that it has received the equivalent of GBP 13,983 in crypt donations, around four times as much as the value of donations that were received in cash. During Ramadan 24 crypto contributions were received by the mosque in total with one individual giving GBP5,200 in cryptocurrency. As per the website of the Mosque, the accepted cryptocurrencies are Ethereum and Bitcoin.

Chairman of the mosque, Erkin Guney said in a statement:

“When the donations started to flow in, we were blown away. We received four times more in cryptocurrency donations than in cash from our local worshippers during Ramadan, and we are still receiving cryptocurrency Sadaqah [voluntary donations]. It is amazing!” 

The mosque first announced that they would be experimenting with crypto contributions back on May 21st, a few days after Ramadan had started. Under Islam, Zakat, or donating a percentage of their income is mandatory to those that are able and many were using crypto so accepting the coins seemed a logical step.

Accepting cryptocurrency also meant that the mosque was able to receive overseas donations instantly and without costly transfer reed.

All donated funds will go towards feeding and providing shelter for homeless people in the area (regardless of their religion) as well as carrying out much-needed repairs on the mosque.

 

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Interest from Blackrock makes the price of BTC jump

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology, Trading, Bitcoin, Tokens, Wallet

Interest from Blackrock makes the price of BTC jump

Blackrock Inc. is the world’s largest asset manager and ETF provider. When news broke that it was exploring the possibility to legally partake in the cryptocurrency market, the price of a single BTC jumped by $270. Blackrock controls a portfolio worth an incredible $6 trillion, and their interest in taking advantage of the growing market is making quite a stir.

But Blackrock has not always been so open to the concept of cryptocurrency, having previously doubted its potential and reliability. Then, this morning an insider leaked information to the media stating that the largest ETF provider in the world has created a working group comprising of members from a range of different divisions. The source also stated that the team will be investigating cryptocurrencies in detail with the idea of determining whether Blackrock should be involved.

Back in October 2017, the Global Head of iShares and Index Investments at Blackrock said:

“I don’t quite get the point of a bitcoin ETF in any case, because we’re talking about…trading products that are difficult to access. If bitcoin is ever successful – and again not my thing but – I wouldn’t recommend it. But if it were [successful], why would you need an ETF to access it?”

This was followed by comments earlier this year by Isabelle Mateos y Lago, the Chief Multi-Asset Strategist and Managing director who said she believes that “Bitcoin is not an investable asset”.

A reason for their change of heart could be due in part to the fact that they have lost several of their key team members to the cryptocurrency market for the last 12 months. Senior Portfolio manager, Vishal Karir who oversaw $1.5 billion of assets left Blackrock for a cryptocurrency platform earlier this year. This was followed by the exodus of Adam Grimsley and Michael Wong- two fixed income managers- who quit to launch their own crypto-fund.

 

To learn more about ICO Legal Services in Malta please follow this link.

Contact us directly on +356 20103020 or by email at [email protected] to find out more.

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First two-way decentralised currency ATM installed in Malta

Categories Blockchain, Malta, The Blockchain Island, Bitcoin, Tokens, Wallet, Utility Tokens, Security Tokens

First two-way decentralised currency ATM installed in Malta

Each day, a new development seems to just further cement Malta’s position as the ‘Blockchain Island’.

In an announcement by, Moon Zebra, an ATM firm that allows its users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using fiat currency, installed the new machine at their Malta office. Through moon Zebra’s collaboration with local Bitcoin maximalist and the co-founder for Bitcoin Club Malta, Leon Siegmund the purpose of the ATM is to promote a greater public interest in crypto amongst the general public.

Siegmund stated:

“When I moved to Malta two years ago, there was not much happening regarding Bitcoin and decentralised ledger technology. But within just 2 years, and thanks to the collaborative effort of many individuals, something very special has happened…and after much blood, sweat and tears, we are happy to launch.”

The new cryptocurrency ATM will give users the ability to buy, sell, deposit, and withdraw cryptocurrency in the same way that a traditional ATM works. Customers can deposit fiat currency into the ATM, enter their wallets public key and have the cryptocurrency of their choice sent instantly.

“Users can also convert crypto back into fiat with the two-way ATM. It also gives people the ability to bypass exchanges and – on some levels- crypto ATMs could solve the issue of exchanges being centralised.”

At first, the ATM will only support Bitcoin and fiat currencies, but in the future, other cryptocurrencies will become available.

The concept of cryptocurrency ATMs is not exclusive to Malta as other sites have been popping up over the USA and Europe during the last few months. It is, however, the first of its type in Malta and it is hoped it is a sign of greater public acceptance and adoption of cryptocurrencies.

If you are looking to set up a cryptocurrency business in Malta, our team of professionals at E&S are on hand to assist you. Visit our ICO Legal Services we offer, or contact us by sending us an email  at [email protected]

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Wall Street Trader believes that BTC is the best for investors

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology, Trading, Bitcoin

Wall Street Trader believes that BTC is the best for investors

Bart Smith, head of digital asset trading at Susquehanna International Group believes Bitcoin is the best bet for cryptocurrency investors as it is being functionally used.

“If you want to own the asset that you can actually use today and that people are functionally using, it’s bitcoin,” said Smith adding that “the use case for bitcoin is valid today, which is the currency of the internet.” 

Bitcoins by far the largest cryptocurrency by market cap yet has found itself under increased regulatory scrutiny over the last few months as authorities attempt to determine how it should be used. The fact that it has amassed many proven and successful use cases mean that it holds a distinct competitive advantage over other cryptocurrencies.

Running before it can walk

Towards the end of 2017 when bitcoin futures were announced, many investors got very excited about it as well as other tokens and use cases. This lead to a dramatic increase in the value of many tokens which Smith believes led to a situation where the industry got massively ahead of itself.

“If you’re looking at these other use cases, smart contracts, or lightning network or these different technological advancements, I think people are coming to realize, those things are very difficult and aren’t coming anytime soon,” Smith said.

He also highlighted the fact that people may work in a particular country and then send money back to another country- a scenario that is extremely BTC friendly.

“They use Western Union, traditional banks; It is slow and it is expensive,” he said. “And there are people that can stop you from sending that money, whether that’s good or bad. With bitcoin, I can send money. It’s fast. It’s cheap. And frankly, no one can stop me.”

Potential to hit $60k

At the time of writing, BTC was priced at approximately $6300 after hitting an all-time low of $6000 in June. Despite these figures, Julian Hosp the co-founder of TenX stands by his prediction that Bitcoin has the potential to hit $60,000 by the end of 2018.

Speaking in an interview at the RISE tech conference in Hong Kong, Hosp said:

“I think we are going to see BTC hit the $60,000 mark but I also think we will see it hit the $5000 mark as well. The question is, which one is it going to hit first?”

Many analysts and market experts believe that the currency has a long way to go before it reaches maturity and acquires the stability that it so desperately needs in order to present itself as a viable alternative to fiat currency.

 

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Can BTC be considered as a feasible investment for institutions?

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Technology, Bitcoin

Can BTC be considered as a feasible investment for institutions?

To many stakeholders, institutional investment is considered as the “holy grail” of the market, but is this a reality?

When Bitcoins, codebase and whitepaper were first announced when the first Bitcoin block was mined back in 2009, there wasn’t much of a fanfare. No one really cared and at the time only a few individuals had an interest in the project with many dubbing it a “useless failure” before it had even begun.

But after the 2016-2017 bull run, the attitude towards BTC and cryptocurrencies drastically changed, dragging them kicking and screaming into the limelight. Today Bitcoin is no longer a niche asset designed for techy-types, and its price has exploded. Its popularity has reached such an extreme that it has inspired the creation of literally hundreds of other crypto and virtual currencies.

A retail investors market

The increase of the value of Bitcoin from $1000 to $6000 in around 18 months was largely down to the actions of retail investors. These investors made a number of largely speculative investments and this was, and is what drives the industry forward.

Whilst there is nothing wrong with interest from people like you or I, at the end of the day, it is the institutions that hold the majority of the cards. From the incredible amounts of capital that they have access to or the connections that they have within the industry, institutional investors have the key to the core of the market.

When we consider this on the scale of the global economy, the crypto market is nothing more than a little peak, a needle in a haystack, or a grain of sand on a vast, sandy beach. Although the market has a collective value of around $250 billion, its success so far is largely attributed to small-time investors.

It remains that institutions such as hedge funds and banks hold the sought-after key to trillions of dollars in assets and they are fast becoming a big target for the crypto industry.

Volatility and lack of infrastructure

At the moment, the industry is extremely speculative and very volatile with most investors are in it to make a quick profit. This is not enticing to institutional investors as most are looking for long-term returns through securing their clients’ trust over time, rather than just making a quick buck and running.

It is also worth noting that traditional economic sense and theory cannot be applied to the cryptocurrency industry due to the variance and unpredictable nature of the market. There is also a problem with the lack of infrastructure that would support investors that have next to no cryptocurrency knowledge or experience.

A lot of work needs to be done to create an environment where institutional investors are not just enticed, but are encouraged and rewarded for taking the plunge into this previously unknown sphere. It is only then that the market can truly hope to reach its maturity.

 

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Companies can save stress by integrating Bitcoin Cash payments

Categories Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, Bank, Technology, Bitcoin

Companies can save stress by integrating Bitcoin Cash payments

The founder of Lokad, Joannes Vermorel addressed delegates at last month’s CoinGeek Conference in Hong Kong to talk about how Bitcoin Cash has the ability to solve several usability and experience flaws that plague the current banking system.

Vermorel stated that he believes that the current solutions that are offered by the banking systems are cumbersome and expensive. Those that are less costly, tend to be harder to integrate, he added. In addition to this, the regulations and protocol on chargebacks and other services mean that credit cards are actually a very convoluted and stressful part of operations. Bitcoin Cash, however, is not.

“With Bitcoin Cash…it’s just a protocol. It was designed for the Internet age from day one so it’s globally unified. It’s the same thing wherever—it doesn’t depend on the countries. There is nothing that is country-specific about Bitcoin. And that means that in terms of IT integration, it’s way superior.” He adds that it is “native to the Internet.”

“Integrating Bitcoin is just about dropping an open-source piece of software into your IT landscape if you’re a large e-commerce.”

For those that are not familiar with Vermorel’s company, Lokad is a development enterprise that uses big data and machine learning for supply chain disruption, as well as spearheading the Terab Project. The Terab Project is an initiative which works rigorously to bring terabyte blocks to Bitcoin Cash.

 

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