Waves Transitions to Self-Regulating Monetary System

Open source blockchain platform Waves is transitioning to a self-regulating monetary system, allowing thus the community to determine the block generation reward size and coin supply.

Waves announced the development in a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Sept. 19. The company detailed an update to protocol version Node 1.1, which considers a mechanism of block generation rewards in addition to the existing transaction fees:

“Every generated block will add another 6 WAVES to the overall circulating supply, which was previously limited to 100,000,000 WAVES. The reward for block generation is to be agreed by network participants via a voting process that concludes every 100,000 blocks, or around 70 days. Block rewards can be increased or decreased by 0.5 WAVES each period or left unchanged.”

More profit to miners

The new model will purportedly benefit miners as it will enable them to express their preference in monetary policy and increase their revenues by up to 5% annually. Sasha Ivanov, Waves Founder and CEO, commented on the development:

“Cases of sustainable, self-regulating monetary systems like ours serve as an example of how traditional monetary models may evolve in the future on a global scale. In this context, blockchain can provide mechanisms for decentralized economic governance by a greater number and breadth of financial agents than simply a country’s central committee.”

Also today, the Waves team presented new blockchain, dubbed “stagenet,” with the testnet stabilized. The Waves testnet and mainnet will thus have the same versions and will update simultaneously. Waves stated that it will award generators with additional WAVES tokens with each generated block, for which the value of the reward will be determined by miners’ voting.

Waves’ other recent developments

Earlier in September, Waves and blockchain game distribution platform The Abyss partnered to jointly launch a blockchain-based marketplace of digital goods and in-game items. The integration of Abyss Tokens with Waves blockchain will allow game developers to incorporate Abyss Token operations directly into their Waves-based games.

In late August, Waves added support for Ethereum (ETH)-based ERC-20 compliant tokens to its decentralized exchange. Recently, the Waves team also launched a new gateway with support for Vostok and Ergo tokens.

According to data from Coin360, the price for the WAVES token is down over 7% over the past 24 hours to trade at around $1.06 at press time.

Source Cointelegraph

Tech Startup Nebula Genomics Launches Blockchain-Based DNA Sequencing

Tech startup Nebula Genomics is launching DNA sequencing using blockchain, which eliminates the need for customers to reveal personal information.

Per a blog post published on Sept. 19, Nebula has rolled out anonymous genetic testing, enabling clients to purchase whole-genome sequencing and provide their saliva samples without the need to share their personal data such as name, address or credit card number.

Eliminating the dependence on data de-identification

To achieve this, Nebula developed and implemented a blockchain-based product that enables transparent and controllable data sharing, and offers an option to conduct pseudo-anonymous payments using cryptocurrencies. For those customers who do not use digital currency, the company recommends using a prepaid credit card to protect their privacy.

“Most importantly, enabling individuals to remain anonymous would eliminate the dependence on data de-identification by personal genomics companies prior to data sharing with researchers,” the post reads. As such, Nebula offers anonymous sample collection by delivering saliva collection kits to USPS PO boxes.

This June, Nebula partnered with EMD Serono, the North American biopharmaceutical business of Merck KGaA — the world’s oldest operating pharmaceutical firm. In its collaboration with EMD Serono, Nebula provides the firm with access to its network of anonymized genomic data in order to support the research and development of new medicines.

At the time, Nebula also outlined that its agreement with EMD Serono represented its first attempt to realize a model of sponsored genome sequencing.

Increasing blockchain adoption by health industry

Earlier in September, blockchain network Harmony teamed up with a Lithuanian blockchain-powered health app firm Lympo to enable fast and secure health data sharing. Lympo is developing an incentivizing platform for healthy lifestyle activities like walking or running in order to boost the platform’s scalability.

According to global market research and consulting firm Global Market Insights, the value of the blockchain technology in healthcare market is expected to surpass $1.6 billion by 2025 due to a number of factors such as the implementation of government initiatives and increasing investment in the field.

Source Cointelegraph

Indian Car Manufacturer Tata Motors Calls for Automotive Blockchain Tech

Indian automobile manufacturer Tata Motors wants to integrate blockchain solutions into its internal processes as part of a newly launched program for startups.

As Business Insider India reported on Sept. 18, Tata Motors has rolled out a program for startups dubbed “Tata Motors AutoMobility Collaboration Network 2.0,” through which it intends to develop a range of industry-related products, including artificial intelligence and blockchain-enabled solutions.

The firm wants to apply blockchain-based solutions in various aspects of the automotive industry, including parking marketplace, demand prediction algorithm and real-time monitoring of fuel quality.

Commenting on the initiative, Shailesh Chandra, president of electric mobility business and corporate strategy at Tata Motors, said:

“Today, almost every segment of the automotive value-chain is required to drive its own innovation story. […] In the current age of uncertainty and speed of change, the above effort of sourcing solutions will need to be driven both through in-house initiatives as well as collaborating with external partners.”

Blockchain recognition by car industry leaders

Blockchain has seen wide adoption in the automotive industry, with some of the world’s leading car manufacturers having already embraced it. In late August, blockchain solutions company PlatOn created a platform for storing data and calculating the price of used business cars at Beijing Mercedes-Benz Sales Service.

That same month, Volvo Cars, owned by Chinese automotive group Geely, produced electric cars with cobalt mapped on a blockchain, purportedly aiming to prove that their electric vehicles do not rely on conflict minerals or child labor.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, the blockchain devices market will purportedly see a 42.5% compound annual growth rate in coming years, to reach a valuation of $1.285 billion in 2024. In comparison, the value of the market in 2019 has reportedly amounted to $218 million to date.

Source Cointelegraph

Retail Giant Overstock Seeks to Restructure Cryptocurrency Dividend

American e-commerce giant Overstock hopes to liberalize its planned digital dividend shares trading.

According to a Sept. 18 news release, Overstock is working with regulatory authorities on making its digital asset-based dividend freely tradable by non-affiliates following distribution.

As such, the company will not have to put its dividend shares on the six-month holding period as required under Rule 144 enforced by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Commenting on the development, interim CEO of Overstock Jonathan Johnson said:

“We have received a great deal of interest surrounding our Series A-1 dividend from shareholders, broker-dealers, regulators, and the general market. […] It also introduces blockchain technology to enhance the investor experience. It is an important step on the journey to demonstrate that blockchain technology has enormous potential to transform society for the better.”

Postponing the record date

The record date for the dividend was initially set for Sept. 23, while the distribution date for the dividend was scheduled for Nov. 15. In light of the latest developments, these plans are being postponed.

As previously reported, Overstock’s digital dividend will be payable at a ratio of 1:10, which means that one share of Series A-1 will be issued for every 10 shares of common stock. Existing Series A-1 shares can now be traded on the Pro Securities alternative trading system, powered by technology owned by Overstock’s blockchain subsidiary tZERO.

Short sellers

A recent report by the New York Post claims that Overstock’s former CEO, Patrick Byrne, designed the digital asset-based dividend in an effort to thwart short sellers. The newspaper reported that short sellers did not want to get stuck with blockchain-based dividends and began to unwind their short positions ahead of the previously planned dividend date, driving up Overstock’s stock price.

tZERO security tokens trading

In August, tZERO announced plans to allow the public to trade its security tokens. At the time, CEO Saum Noursalehi said the company was expecting as many as 50,000 new investors, who had already bought Overstock shares, to begin trading their digital security tokens.

Source Cointelegraph

US FDA to Hold Meeting on Blockchain and AI in Food Traceability

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is holding a public meeting to discuss a new initative called “A New Era of Smarter Food Safety.”

In an announcement on Sept. 17, the FDA said the consultation with international stakeholders — designed to debate public health challenges and the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act — will take place on Oct. 21.

Specifically, the FDA intends to establish “a more digital, traceable, and safer system” to protect consumers from contaminated food.

Efficient tracking 

The initiative proposes to deploy technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and sensors to develop a digital system so users can trace the source of food products and assess associated risks.

The new approach was initially announced in late April by Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless and Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response Frank Yiannas. According to the announcement, emerging technologies could greatly reduce the time needed to trace the origin of contaminated food and respond to public health risks.

Industry players focusing on blockchain

Blockchain technology has the potential to transform and improve the food industry as many retailers and producers are beginning to apply it. Just recently, Nestlé said it had to adopt a “startup mindset” in order to push ahead with its challenging blockchain venture.

This summer, tech giant Oracle and the World Bee Project revealed the development of a blockchain-based sustainability assurance system for the honey supply chain. In addition to blockchain technology, BeeMark also plans to make use of data science to monitor environmental factors related to bees’ surroundings.

Recent research conducted by University College London suggested that the grocery sector is currently responsible for nearly half of all distributed ledger technology-based supply chain projects.

Source Cointelegraph

Turkey Announces Plans for National Blockchain Infrastructure

The Turkish government has announced plans to establish a national blockchain infrastructure to utilize distributed ledger technology (DLT) in public administration.

The Ministry of Industry and Technology set out its vision during its Strategy 2023 presentation on Sept. 18 in Ankara.

Strategy 2023 emphasizes blockchain and DLT as priorities for the coming year. The document refers to a Startup Genome survey that marks blockchain as one of the fastest-growing tech trends, with a 101.5% increase in early stage startup funding globally.

Regulatory sandbox for blockchain is coming

The Strategy 2023 document says a new open-source platform for blockchain will be established in Turkey. This initiative will analyze different use cases such as land registration, academic certificates and customs to determine potential public sector applications.

The Ministry of Industry and Technology is also planning to work with Turkish regulators to create a regulatory sandbox for blockchain applications.

Turkish government uses the B-word

As Cointelegraph Turkish reported today, Strategy 2023 is the first ministry-level document in Turkey to include the word “Bitcoin” (BTC) as a reference. Turkey released an economic roadmap in July that describes a central bank-issued digital currency, but did not mention Bitcoin or any other cryptocurrency. Strategy 2023 also provides this definition of blockchain technology:

“Blockchain, which became popular with virtual currencies like Bitcoin, delivers a distributed communication infrastructure to provide trust between parties on transactions without the need for a central authority. This feature enables many different use cases that address transparency and reliability issues, from smart contracts to supply chains. Because it removes any intermediaries, blockchain technology builds new business models that will shape the future.”

Turkish institutions have been embracing blockchain technology in various spheres. In August, the Istanbul Blockchain and Innovation Center (BlockchainIST Center) was inaugurated at Bahçeşehir University. The center’s director, Bora Erdamar, said BlockchainIST will be “the most important center of research and development and innovation in Turkey in which scientific studies and publications are made in blockchain technologies.”

Earlier this month, Turkey’s Istanbul Clearing, Settlement and Custody Bank (Takasbank) announced a blockchain-based platform for trading physical gold. Takasbank’s new project aims to enable users to transfer physical gold stored at the Borsa Istanbul Stock Exchange.

Source Cointelegraph

Luxembourg Regulator Red-Flags Activities of BitPay Clone Website

Luxembourg’s financial regulator, the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), has red-flagged the activities of a fraudulent clone website that is impersonating cryptocurrency payment services provider BitPay.

On Sept. 18, the CSSF issued a warning about a company going by the name Bitbay Europe S.A. The website alludes to being the European branch of BitPay, stating: “The world’s smartest Bitcoin exchange service has landed in Europe.”

The firm claims to be authorized to operate in Luxembourg and work under the regulator’s supervision, but the CSSF refuted this, saying:

“The CSSF informs the public that an entity named bit-bay EUROPE S.A. is unknown to it and that it has not been granted any authorisation to provide payment services in or from Luxembourg.”

The real BitPay adds support for Ether 

While Luxembourg‘s regulator is making sure its citizens do not fall victim to the BitPay clone, Cointelegraph reported that the real BitPay is adding support for the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, Ether (ETH).

The major cryptocurrency payment services provider has stepped up security measures in recent months.

In late August, the company introduced new identity verification measures for certain high-value payments, refunds and payouts.

The firm now requires that users undergo a one-time verification process that requires the input of data such as their Social Security or passport number, as well as photo ID.

Source Cointelegraph

Two Arrested for ‘Old-Fashioned Shakedown’ of Cryptocurrency Startup

Authorities in the United States have arrested two individuals who allegedly threatened to destroy a startup crypto company if they were not paid millions of dollars in cryptocurrency.

Extortion of crypto startup

On Sept. 18, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, together with the FBI, announced the arrest of Steven Nerayoff and Michael Hlady. Both individuals were charged with extortion of a cryptocurrency startup and have already made their initial appearance in federal court.

Nerayoff, a lawyer himself, was purportedly hired to assist in a Seattle-based company’s initial coin offering (ICO) and brought in the second defendant as his “operations guy.”

Soon after, both defendants allegedly started showing signs of extortion when they demanded millions of dollars in raised capital and company tokens, despite not offering any additional services. Both men purportedly threatened the company’s executive with sabotage of the ICO and total destruction of the startup. U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said:

“As alleged, Nerayoff and Hlady carried out an old-fashioned shakedown, to be paid off with 21st century cryptocurrency. This Office and our partners at the FBI are committed to protecting businesses from extortion, whether the demands are for U.S. dollars or cryptocurrency.”

FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge William Sweeney said that this is a classic, age-old extortion scheme with a modern day twist, adding:

“Imposing forceful demands on a company for personal gain is risky business, whether one’s preference is to be paid off with cryptocurrency or cold hard cash. The FBI will continue to seek justice for victims who businesses have been targeted by these types of scams.”

$1.2 million earned through Bitcoin sextortion and bomb threat scams

Cointelegraph reported in August that, according to a report by Symantec, cybercriminals managed to earn $1.2 million in Bitcoin (BTC) through sextortion and bomb threat scams in 12 months.

Per the report, in May 2019, 63 wallets associated with such scams received a total of 12.8 BTC, worth $106,240 at the time. Symantec estimated the yearly income of $1.2 million by taking the example of May as a likely monthly average.

Source Cointelegraph

SEC Charges Token Sale Platform For Illegal $14M Securities Offering

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sued ICOBox and its founder Nikolay Evdokimov for conducting an illegal securities offering and for acting as unregistered brokers.

SEC says ICOBox’s digital tokens are worthless

In a press release on Sept. 18, the SEC claimed that ICOBox and Evdokimov sold the firm’s ICO tokens to more than 2,000 investors in an unregistered coin offering in 2017.

The SEC goes on to say that the defendants claimed that the tokens would increase in value upon trading and that ICO token holders would be able to swap them at a discount for other tokens promoted on the ICOBox platform. The SEC claims that the ICO tokens are now virtually worthless, adding:

“By ignoring the registration requirements of the federal securities laws, ICOBox and Evdokimov exposed investors to investments, which are now virtually worthless, without providing information that is critical to making informed investment decisions.”

The SEC’s complaint further stated that ICOBox acted as an unregistered broker by facilitating ICO’s that raised another $650 million for dozens of clients.

The commission has charged ICOBox and Evdokimov with violating federal securities laws and is seeking injunctive relief, disgorgement with prejudgment interest and civil money penalties.

First-ever SEC-qualified token offering in U.S. raises $23 million

Cointelegraph recently reported that Blockstack PBC, a decentralized computing network, announced that it managed to raise more than $23 million in the first SEC-approved token offering.

The SEC gave Blockstack the go-ahead to run a multi-million public token offering under regulation A+. Muneeb Ali, co-founder and CEO of Blockstack PBC, alongside co-founder Ryan Shea, reportedly spent 10 months and approximately $2 million to gain approval from the SEC in advance of their token offering.

Source Cointelegraph

CBDCs Are a Flexible Tool for Zero-Interest Rate World

Chile’s central bank governor, Mario Marcel, says central bank digital currencies (CBDC) can provide additional flexibility at a time of “unconventional monetary policies.” 

Marcel made the comments in a speech titled “High-level Policy Panel Discussion on Central Bank Digital Currencies” at the OECD Global Blockchain Policy Forum held in Paris on Sept. 12.

Disruptive FinTech addressing “some gaps” in traditional finance 

Marcel’s opening remarks acknowledged that cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are already showing disruptive potential and provide some benefits over the legacy system. He said: 

“Disruptive technologies in Finance or ‘FinTech’ are transforming the financial industry landscape, challenging traditional business models. These technologies have been able to address some gaps in the traditional financial industry that can be grouped into five categories: Access, Speed, Cost, Transparency and Security.”

However, Marcel argues that this new technology can also be adopted by the banking system itself to mitigate its disruptive potential. Moreover, distributed ledger technology (DLT) can provide some benefits that conventional money technology cannot, according to Marcel.

CBDCs can “improve the Central Banks’ toolkit”

DLT and CBDC could “enhance market efficiency” based on some research, says Marcel, who also notes these digital currencies can be more flexible in an “unconventional” monetary policy environment.

Specifically, one of the main benefits would be: 

“Crisis management around the Zero Lower Bound. In a world of low real interest rates, the impact of unconventional monetary policies, such as QE, nominal GDP targeting and forward guidance, appears to be limited. […] Fixing negative nominal interest rates in a flexible way could improve the Central Banks’ toolkit.”

Marcel, however, does acknowledge some possible drawbacks and that more research is needed to fully understand the technology’s potential. Moreover, the general public could interpret negative interest rates as “a new tax” and would likely see pushback from lawmakers.

Marcel adds that CBDCs can give central banks more intervention tools and reduce the risk of bank runs. Also, balance sheets on a transparent ledger can make it easier to “unwind troublesome financial institutions and divest their assets.” 

But while Marcel notes that CBDCs do not necessarily need a blockchain, he concludes: 

“Monetary policy channels in a world with CBDCs may be faster and more powerful.”

As Cointelegraph reported earlier this month, China is reportedly at the forefront of central bank-issued digital currencies and could launch its own as early as Nov. 11. 

In March, Bank of International Settlements chief Agustin Carstens warned that banks should not stop innovation, but should still approach cryptocurrencies with caution.

Meanwhile, Morgan Creek Digital Assets co-founder Anthony Pompliano said in July that low-interest rates and money printing by central banks provide “rocket fuel” for Bitcoin’s value.

Source Cointelegraph