Could India potentially put an end to its present crypto ban? According to the New India Express, the answer might be “yes.”

The publication recently stated that an interdisciplinary committee created by the Indian government has had several meetings regarding cryptocurrency activity in the country and is allegedly in favor of both regulating and legalizing cryptocurrencies rather than fully banning them.

Will Crypto Come Back to India?

An anonymous senior official explained to the publication:

“We have already had two meetings. There is a consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders. Deliberations are on.”

India first sought to ban the sale and trades of cryptocurrencies in April of 2018. The nation’s central bank – the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) – made the announcement in its first policy statement for the fiscal year, citing volatility and cyber theft as the primary reasons as to why banks would no longer be permitted to work with firms or agencies that dealt in cryptocurrencies.

The bank stated:

“In view of the associated risk, it has been decided that, with immediate effect, entities regulated by RBI shall not deal with or provide services to any individual or business entities dealing with or selling [virtual currencies].”

Many blockchain and crypto-based businesses took offense to the notion of a potential crypto ban throughout the country. Sathvik Vishwanath – co-founder of Unocoin – explained:

“No other player in India was foreseeing this, and it comes as a shock. People are trying to exit as they feel they won’t be able to cash out after three months. Selling volumes in bitcoin are as high as 1.5 times in a single day and the price has gone down by ten percent of what it should ideally be.”

This presents something of a two-sided coin in the sense that while the ban was set in motion roughly eight months ago, the interdisciplinary committee was created just a year earlier. Why would India design a body to manage cryptocurrencies if it was planning to shun them?

The organization is composed of representatives from other government associations, banking platforms and “relevant agencies.” Allegedly, the committee’s original goal to was to ban private currencies circulating regularly in India, though this stance appears to be softening.

Another meeting is already scheduled for January. The Committee has also been ordered by the country’s supreme court to provide clear legislation regarding cryptocurrency exchange operations by February of 2019.

Moving Forward in the Crypto Space

The anonymous official explains:

“We have also taken inputs from cryptocurrency exchanges and experts and we will be examining legal issues with the law ministry. It’s a complicated issue. Once all aspects are decided, then we will have more clarity.”

Will India move forward with allowing crypto trades? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Blockchain technology is primed to take over the automotive industry in the next three years. if senior executives in the sector are to be believed, reported Times of India on December 24, 2018.

Blockchain to Augment Business Processes

In a joint study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value and Oxford Economics, researchers concluded 64 percent of surveyed executives working in the automotive sector believe blockchain and distributed computing systems will become a dominant force in the industry by 2021. The belief is centered on the technology’s potential to “strengthen trust and collaboration” between consumers, businesses, and IoT-enabled vehicles.

In addition, 54 percent of all executives think newer business models will be formulated to influence institutional investing in blockchain-focused companies, while over 50 percent of existing players implementing the technology within production frameworks would deploy their first commercial blockchain product by 2021.

Overall, the researchers interviewed 1,314 executives across ten functional areas in ten emerging and developed markets. The study added that maturation of blockchain networks, with existing and developing business frameworks, will ultimately provide companies with new revenue streams and customers with sophisticated services.

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The study added:

“By overcoming constraints of technical challenges of storing, processing, sharing and analyzing data, blockchain can shift information [paradigms] from error-prone to value-add. [Shared] information becomes a lifetime history of an asset (such as a vehicle) or transaction and is transparent to all.”

Information Friction and the Lack of Blockchain Awareness

As per opinion, executives note blockchain can provide deep insights into “information friction” faced by the automotive industry, with 55 percent of equipment manufacturers and 40 percent of suppliers feeling such risks can be vastly improved. Furthermore, 43 percent and 29 percent of both groups respectively believe a distributed ledger would increase the ability of participants to access information needed for crucial transactions.

Areas most affected by information friction include finance, supply chain, and mobility services; which all form vital functional areas in a business. Most surveyed individuals see blockchain technology as the answer to reducing the fallacy.

Meanwhile, collated data showed after sales services and quality tracking was the most in Germany, China, and Mexico; three highly-rated areas for original equipment manufacturing.

However, only a small number of executives displayed stated that their organization was “ready” for the commercial usage of blockchain technology. Lack of education and awareness of blockchain technology among executives was determined as the foremost reason for the slow development in deploying a distributed ledger-based product, while regulatory constraints formed the other major aspect.

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Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group plans to introduce a digital currency to be used for remittances and payments in March, English-language Asian media Nikkei reports Dec. 26.

According to the article, the fees that the retail shops will be required to pay for accepting the currency will be significantly lower than the fees charged for credit card usage. The transfer of funds back and forth between the digital wallet and the bank account will reportedly be free, as will be sending funds to other users.

Furthermore, according to Nikkei, the bank brought “about 60 regional banks on board” to promote cashless payments. Moreover, regional banks will reportedly be able to provide the service under a common name, which hasn’t been established yet.

The currency will reportedly be managed by a dedicated smartphone app, and the payments will be made using QR codes. The token will be a stablecoin fixed at a price of 1 yen per unit, Nikkei writes.

Mizuho Financial Group is a public banking holding company that reported 1.45 trillion yen of revenue in 2017, equivalent to over $13 billion. The virtual currency is the result of the development of J-Coin, announced in September 2017 by Mizuho.

As Cointelegraph reported in January, Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group (MUFG), the world’s fifth-largest bank, will also launch its own digital currency: MUFG coin.

In regard to crypto legislation within Japan, the country’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) is considering placing cryptocurrencies into a dedicated legal category called “crypto-assets” to prevent confusion with legal tender.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Crypto education is growing by the day, and now Seoul, South Korea has become the latest center for a degree in bitcoin.

The Seoul School of Integrated Sciences and Technologies – known as Assist – has announced that it will be offering a new master’s degree program devoted to both blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The degree will offer students educational courses in blockchain technology, crypto-economics, and token sourcing. The school is also claiming this degree program as the first MBA blockchain certification for any business graduate school.

Crypto Graduates Exit with Pride

An official announcement reads:

“The mission of Assist business school’s crypto MBA program is to remedy the lack of academic research and systematic education currently available in the industry, despite a high level of social interested in the blockchain and cryptocurrency.”

Assist has also stated that students interested in the degree program will be required to take specific courses dealing with bitcoin, Ethereum and EOS – three of the top five cryptocurrencies in existence today. Students will also be tested on general cryptology, deep learning, smart contracts capabilities and system dynamics mechanisms.

The crypto-economics division of the degree program will consist primarily of microeconomics, macroeconomics, theories on current financial trends, behavioral economics (to cover bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies’ price movements), game theory and mechanism designs.

Courses in management mechanisms, strategic statistics, digital marketing strategies, digital financial accounting, dApp planning, crypto funds and whitepaper composition (for students interested in creating their own altcoins or blockchain projects) must also be completed.

If anything, the degree sounds relatively demanding, though this isn’t the first university-accredited training offered on blockchain and crypto. New York University (NYU), for example, has been offering a course entitled “Law and Business of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies” since the fall of 2014. Students who take the course are expected to compose a 15 to 20-page term paper on a crypto-based subject of their choosing to pass the class.

Other schools are taking things even further. Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is currently in the process of developing its own cryptocurrency. It also offers two separate blockchain courses entitled “Blockchain Fundamentals” and “Cryptocurrencies, Blockchains and Applications.”

South Korea’s Crypto History

South Korea has had something of a mixed relationship with cryptocurrencies throughout 2018. South Korea was (and still is) a major crypto and blockchain hub, accounting for nearly 25 percent of the world’s crypto transactions at one point.

Unfortunately, fundraising methods such as initial coin offerings (ICOs) are banned within the country thanks, in part, to ongoing fraudulent activity and the thieving of investor funds. The nation has also been criticized in the past for its overall lack of digital asset regulation as of late.

Is this a degree program you’d want to be a part of? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

Bank of America (BoA) wants to patent a system using blockchain technology to improve cash handling, a new application published Dec. 25 confirms.

Originally submitted in June 2017, the patent references “banking systems controlled by data bearing records.”

“Aspects of the disclosure relate to deploying, configuring, and utilizing cash handling devices to provide dynamic and adaptable operating functions,” its abstract reads.

BoA explains there remain communication difficulties in aspects of cash handling duties across banks’ huge operations, and suggests blockchain could help ease these.

“Cash handling devices may be used in operating centers and other locations to provide various functions, such as facilitating cash withdrawals and deposits,” the patent document continues.

“In many instances, however, it may be difficult to integrate such cash handling devices with technical infrastructure that supports banking operations and other operations while also optimizing the efficient and effective technical operations of the cash handling devices and various related computer systems.”

BoA has sought to step up its efforts to snag intellectual property in the blockchain sphere over the past two years.

In November, the bank was revealed to have the most such blockchain patents at more than 50, amid curiosity as to whether it would put all to use in the near term.

While keen on blockchain, BoA has adopted a highly risk-averse stance on cryptocurrency, becoming one of the few institutions to enact bans on associated fiat purchases by clients earlier this year.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

In a bid to raise awareness about the crypto industry’s energy consumption, the Institute of Human Obsolescence, a Dutch organization focused on data ownership, explored the energy usage of Bitcoin and found that 44,000 would need to provide their body energy for a month in order to mine a single Bitcoin, Motherboard reported on January 3, 2017.

Bitcoin’s Troubling Ecological Footprint Yields Impressive Experiments

The most popular cryptocurrency on the market today, both by market cap and trading volume, has frequently been dubbed the future of finance and is often regarded as the most revolutionary invention of the century. However, Bitcoin does come with its own set of shortcomings, with the least mentioned being its energy consumption.

Back in 2017, before the sudden spike in popularity, a single Bitcoin transaction required as much energy as ten households use in a week. According to a Motherboard report, the Bitcoin network used more energy than the entire country of Bulgaria during 2016.

The troubling ecological footprint Bitcoin has already left on the environment has prompted companies to search for alternative means of energy to stay profitable. One company, however, went to the extreme and tested out whether it would be viable to harvest energy from the human body to power mining.

A Dutch organization called the Institute of Human Obsolescence (IoHO) decided to take advantage of the human body heat and transform it into pure energy.

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(Source: NewsRescue)

The Human Body Is a Battery, Just Not an Efficient One

According to Motherboard, an adult human body generates approximately 100 watts of power while at rest, with around 80 percent of it being wasted as excess body heat. IoHO’s experiment tried to capture some of that energy by using wearable thermoelectric generators, which were used to power the computers mining cryptocurrency.

The experiment started back in 2015 when 37 volunteers contributed 212 hours of mining time to generate a total of 127.2 watts of power. On average, each of the volunteers contributed about 0.6 watts/hour of energy, which means that IoHO collected less than 1 percent of the body heat generated by its volunteers.

Manuel Beltrán, an artist and founder of IoHO, told the publication that the energy generated in the experiment wasn’t used to mine Bitcoin.

“We exclusively mined altcoins, and some of them have risen over 46,000 percent in value. What in the beginning was just small cents now became substantial amounts of money,” Beltrán said. It would take nearly 4,600 people lying still during an entire year to produce 1.2 Bitcoin, with each person earning less than $1 or their year-long endeavor at current Bitcoin prices.

However, Motherboard decided to explore a much different scenario – one where the thermoelectric generators would be much more efficient and able to collect almost all of the heat generated by the human body. In this scenario, there would have to be 44,000 people providing their body energy every second of every day for an entire month to mine a single Bitcoin.

This post is credited to btcmanager

A 20-year-old Hong Kong University student is looking to revolutionize the crypto space.

Kenta Iwasaki says the cryptocurrency arena has stagnated in recent months, and he’s looking to do something about it. Among the projects he’s currently leading is a $50 million fundraising effort for a cryptocurrency-driven marketplace known as Perlin, based on his own unique blockchain design.

The Crypto Space Needs to Change

He comments:

“There really needs to be something new, a new flavor to what you can do with cryptocurrency. Otherwise, the technology will be wasted on basic coin exchange.”

Iwasaki has been building software since he was eight years old. He’s already established himself as an entrepreneur, selling the software he designs for thousands of dollars online each month. His latest focus, Perlin, he says will provide a new way of valuing cryptocurrencies and how companies source Cloud-based computing power.

The company is also looking to make users a little money in the process. Smartphone owners have an opportunity to lend out their computing power to developers starting crypto businesses. Users provide their phones’ power in exchange for the company’s digital asset “Perl.” Customers who lend out their power can earn anywhere between $1 to $3 in crypto every six hours. Iwasaki is looking to have roughly 50,000 phones connected to the Perlin network by the end of 2019.

Iwasaki says the advantage to Perl is that it is tied to something that never loses its value. Like stable coins, which are tied to fiat currencies like the yen, USD and the euro, Perl is hooked to computing power, which people and businesses will always need. This makes it less vulnerable to pump-and-dump schemes and volatility.

A study released by Tel Aviv University, the University of Tulsa and the University of New Mexico on December 18 suggests that nearly 5,000 individual pump-and-dump schemes took place between January and July of this year, though most of them involved relatively obscure or smaller altcoins.

But he believers Perl has its benefits:

“Even if suddenly people stopped trading, stopped using the exchange to buy and sell, it would still have a fixed value. It wouldn’t just die off as a cryptocurrency.”

Building the Business Even Further

Iwasaki is adamant that bad actors and volatility give cryptocurrencies a “bad name,” and prevent people from exhibiting trust in blockchain technology like they should.

In the future, he mentions he’d like to boost Perlin enough that it’s able to provide free internet service to residents of third-world or developing nations.

Do you see Perlin as a revolutionary venture in the crypto marketplace? Post your comments below.

This post is credited to livebitcoinnews

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) will reportedly partner with blockchain-based telemedicine and telepsychology firm doc.com to expand free basic healthcare services across Eastern Africa. News of the partnership was shared with Cointelegraph in an email on Dec. 26.

In an officially sealed letter signed on Dec. 20 by Amado Philip de Andres, Regional Representative for UNODC’s Regional Office for Eastern Africa (ROEA), de Andres wrote that the organization is “willing to cooperate […] in a new partnership.” Doc.com is a tech firm that offers blockchain-based 24/7 telemedicine and telepsychology platforms, allowing users to tokenize their personal data and sell it in return for access to the services.

Via the UN partnership, the company now reportedly plans to roll out both its platforms to the African market by the second quarter of 2019.

Up until now, the company has reportedly operated in 20 countries, most recently opening an office in the United States. Its data and healthcare service ecosystem uses an ERC20-compatible token dubbed “MTC,” which is currently tradable on several crypto exchanges, such as Singapore-based Coinbene and Kucoin.

According to statistics on the company website, over 130,000 users have to date used its telemedicine services and almost 70,000 have used its doc.com, “Emotions,” telepsychology platform.

Doc.com also reportedly plans this year to expand its services across a wider range of U.S. states, to launch its tokenized telemedicine service in the United Kingdom by March 2019, and to branch out to the Asian market, starting with India, by the end of 2019.

Aside from these expansion plans, the company states it plans to launch its in-house mainnet by Q1 2019 to replace its existing Ethereum-based ERC20 token system. It will also launch a subsidiary blockchain-based veterinary services system, dubbed “doc Pets,” in the U.S. by Q2 2019.

As previously reported, blockchain has been gaining increasing traction across healthcare and related sectors that involve highly sensitive data. In the field of genomics, several initiatives are harnessing the technology’s potential to provide a secure and equitable means of not only monetizing and managing the circulation of existing data, but of incentivizing its generation.

Earlier this month, a group of major U.S. healthcare companies formed an alliance to trial blockchain solutions that would improve data integrity and security and reduce costs — the latest of a series of similar approaches being developed globally.

For its part, the UN has long been exploring multiple –– largely humanitarian –– use cases for blockchain, beginning with its use of the Ethereum blockchain to transfer coupons based on cryptocurrencies to refugees in Syria, followed by a blockchain-based digital identity system designed to combat child trafficking globally.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

A governmental committee in India has reportedly suggested that cryptocurrencies be legalized in the country, English-language local media TheNewIndianExpress (TNIE) reported on Dec. 26.

According to the article, an unnamed senior official who reportedly attended the panel’s meetings on cryptocurrencies stated:

“There is a general consensus that cryptocurrency cannot be dismissed as completely illegal. It needs to be legalized with strong riders.”

Previous Indian government panel meetings had reportedly suggested a complete ban on cryptocurrencies in the country earlier in December, stating that “any kind of dealing in such currencies should be treated as ‘illegal.’”

India’s government reportedly set up this most recent second inter-ministerial committee, which is led by Subhash Chandra Garg, the Department of Economic Affairs secretary, after the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) ban on banks dealing with crypto businesses and persons in April of this year.

While a previous committee had recommended a total crypto ban in March 2017, the new committee, TNIE writes, was set up to deal with the conflicting opinions on the RBI ban.

According to the TNIE, the committee has already had two meetings, and the next one is expected to take place in January.

This committee includes members of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, RBI, Securities and Exchange Board of India and the revenue secretary.

The official also noted that the members of the committee “have also taken inputs from cryptocurrency exchanges and experts,” concluding by stating that they will work on the legal aspects with India’s law ministry.

As Cointelegraph reported at the beginning of the current month, G20 countries have called for the taxation of cryptocurrencies and regulation preventing their use for money laundering, according to a document stipulated during a Buenos Aires summit.

Some of the members of the second Indian governmental committee, such as the RBI executive director Ganesh Kumar and Ministry of Finance officials, participated in those G20 meetings. Because of this, according to the article, “they are expected to include insights they gained from the global deliberations in their report.”

In October, news broke that the developers of India’s first Bitcoin (BTC) “ATM” were arrested on criminal charges. According to local mainstream media, the two — who are also founders of India’s first crypto exchange Unocoin — were booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery.

A press statement from India’s Central Crime Branch noted that since the ATM had not been approved by the government, it should not have been called an ATM. Prashant Mali, a cyber lawyer, explained that if “kiosk” had been written instead of “ATM,” the installation would have fallen into a grey area of the law.

This post is credited to cointelegraph

Having launched GiveCrypto.org earlier this year to make direct cryptocurrency transfers to people living in poverty, Brian Armstrong — CEO of US crypto exchange giant Coinbase — has now promised to give a huge chunk of his fortune away to charitable causes.

“This year, I started my first philanthropic effort, GiveCrypto.org, which makes direct cash transfers to people living in poverty. I’m excited about the potential for this organization to help people, but I’m still early on my journey of discovering how to have the most impact via philanthropy.”

Per a report on CNBC, Armstrong signed the Giving Pledge, becoming the first cryptocurrency entrepreneur to pledge to donate the majority of his wealth for the greater good.

The Giving Pledge is a campaign started in 2010 by billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, which seeks to encourage the world’s wealthiest to use their fortune to help make the world a better place. According to a Wealth-X report published on Business Insider, the total value of pledges made to the charity could be worth as much as $600 billion by 2022.

He joins other billionaires including Tesla’s Elon Musk, businessman Michael Bloomberg, and Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, all of whom have dedicated the majority of their wealth to giving back. Zuckerberg, who joined the pledge when it was launched, promised to give away 99% of his Facebook shares during his lifetime.

Armstrong runs Coinbase, one of the largest cryptocurrency exchange whose valuation was recently placed at $8 billion after the completion of its last investment round. According to Forbes, Armstrong is worth $1.3 billion as a co-founder. The recent downturn in the market, which saw trading volumes drop on most trading platforms, will see Armstrong’s net worth dip, but he still can’t be far off the $900 million to the $1 billion range.

“Once a certain level of wealth is reached, there is little additional utility from spending more on yourself. One’s ambition begins to move outwards. I’ve always admired founders and leaders whose ambition to improve the world supersedes any goal related to personal wealth,” Armstrong explained on the Giving Pledge website.

This post is credited to ccn