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It was in 2014 when Moscow’s Mayor, Sergei Sobyanin launched an innovative Active Citizen app. This app was actually an e-voting platform designed solely for the residents of Moscow to vote on municipal projects pertaining to non-political city decisions, e.g.; naming of subway stations, setting up speed limits, plotting of bus routes, replacing the building’s entrance door or even hiring a new management company etc.

The Active Citizen app was a huge success since its launch, more than 2,800 polls were being administered and over 2 million users participated via the app. But according to some critics this app grew vulnerable to manipulation with the passage of time.

That’s why, Moscow officials announced that they have piloted the Active Citizen onto the blockchain technology in order to minimize the vulnerability issue.

Usually, the term of blockchain is referred to the cryptocurrency transactions. It is a sort of a digitalized and decentralized online database pertaining to public ledger of crypto transactions and interactions. Though specific for tracking secure financial transactions of cryptocurrency, it will now also be used in the e-voting platform of Moscow.

What makes it a safest choice?

Russia’s National Settlement Depository (NSD) has successfully tested this blockchain based e-proxy voting system. This voting system is comprised of the following steps:

  • In the first step a Bondholder will pass vote to a nominal bondholder (NB)
  • The Nominal bondholder will in turn submit that vote to the blockchain
  • The designated Counting commission will count the votes and submit their results to the blockchain
  • Bondholder can latter verify whether the votes were counted correctly or not.

Hence it can be easily concluded that the process of blockchain based e-voting will resemble the secure crypto transactions to a great extent. Once the vote will be placed, it will be listed in a ledger consisting all the votes taken place across a node-to-node fully secure network. So, there will be no chance of data loss, fraud or third-party alteration once the vote has been casted.

In other words, blockchain is becoming a hallmark of digital accountability and security. It comprises of such a complicated mechanism of digitized security that it is almost impossible for the general public to ‘’hack’’ it in their traditional way.

According to some experts the use of blockchain technology will improve the transparency of e-voting system in Moscow and it should also be tried in the general elections as well.

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Crypto Regulations – South Korea’s Impact on the Crypto-world

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One of the largest markets for cryptocurrencies after Japan and U.S. is South Korea, as it’s believed by many. South Korea’s population is equivalent to Arizona and California if they’re put together. The cryptocurrency speculation looks like it has been overhyped unreasonably and South Korea’s government wants to take some fundamental steps now, to control this cryptocurrency trend in the crypto world.

South Korean’s Crypto-Market – Current Situation

At this time, you can clearly see a lot of chaos in South Korea. It all started when the government of South Korean officially legalized Bitcoin service back in July 2017, which caused a momentous progress in the demand for cryptocurrency trading all around the country.

North Korean hackers targeted South Korean Bitcoin exchanges in August 2017, and by the end of September, there were many rumours that South Korea was planning to execute stricter regulations on cryptocurrencies. These rumours turned out to be more serious by December and based on speculations, it changed into an absolute ban on cryptocurrency exchanges and had a bad impact on the crypto world.

South Korea Influence on the Cryptocurrency Prices

According to an estimation by The Blockchain Industry Association, South Korea has many cryptocurrency exchanges, including;

  • Coinone
  • Bithumb
  • Korbit

This tells us that even with 50 million people in a country, the demand for cryptocurrencies is so high that it has traded at more than a 30 % higher price than other countries.

80% of the investors in South Korea have earned from investments in cryptocurrency and almost one-third of salaried Koreans have an average of $5,000 in cryptocurrency, which is a huge acceptance of an unapproved investment based only on speculation.

How are cryptocurrency traders operating in South Korea?

Many banks including the second largest one in the country, Shinhan Bank, offer local cryptocurrency exchanges with computer-generated bank accounts. Each investor/user can use these virtual bank accounts for depositing or withdrawing huge amounts of Korean Won without using their real bank accounts, which takes a lot of time and is costly at the same time.

The industry is currently under the government’s radar, amid other fears, that illegal funds will be entering the market and management of price of cryptocurrencies will be based on speculative investments.

How’s 2018 been so far for Cryptocurrencies in South Korea?

More regulatory plans have been announced by the government to ban this anonymous cryptocurrency, in order to control cryptocurrency speculation. Meanwhile, after this announcement, several South Korean exchanges were removed by the CoinMarketCap from its website, stating that extreme price divergence is the main reason for this. Around $20 billion was wiped off Ripple’s market cap as a result. After a statement by the Ministry of Justice, news of a whole cryptocurrency ban arose once again.

Is there going to be any ban on the cryptocurrencies?

The government started to notice huge speculation that drove instabilities in the cryptocurrency market since September 2017 and in order to evade money laundering and other crimes related to it, strategies to prohibit anonymous trading on local exchanges were testified in December 2017.

The Prime minister of South Korea, Lee Nak-Yeon, warned about the hazard of cryptocurrencies being an easy way for the younger generation especially students, to get involved with such illegal activities.

Regardless of the media misrepresentation of more stricter rules for cryptocurrencies, at the beginning of 2018, Kim Dong-yeon (the Finance Minister) ensured that there’d be no ban of cryptocurrencies in South Korea. The government also proclaimed that there’ll be tax on cryptocurrency exchanges around 24%. Apart from banning anonymous trading, they’ll be banning foreigners and minors from opening any other new cryptocurrency accounts as well.

How South Korean government will enforce bans?

The south Korean government has restricted the opening of new virtual accounts and cryptocurrency traders won’t be permitted to make any deposits into their virtual currency exchange wallets. They’ll be only able to deposit it only if they’ve the name of their cryptocurrency exchange and it matches that of their bank accounts.

It’s been demanded by financial authorities to the cryptocurrency exchanges to revamp their AML (Anti-Money Laundering) and KYC (Know-Your-Customer).

Are These planned regulations of South Korean affecting the crypto-industry?

Because South Korea has such a huge cryptocurrency market, this means that these regulatory decisions of government will have a huge impact on the crypto market worldwide.

During all these rumoured reports of the government banning cryptocurrency, the total market cap of all coins was declined by 40% in just one day. But shortly afterwards, the market cap started to rise once again.

All the rumours have played a big role in the cryptocurrencies’ price, and any change in the economic decisions or law made in the hubs of major crypto, will always result in such instabilities.

However, there’s always a possibility that it will climb back to the pre-crash levels.

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ICOs – A Remarkable Figure Despite Challenges, but how?

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2018 has been a very dramatic period for blockchain and cryptocurrencies from the start. The crypto world has seen a nonstop slump in the price of Bitcoin and other altcoins, as most of the tokens traded below their ICO price, still there’s been no relent in the amount of money that was raised during this time.

Even with the institutional and political struggles that the cryptocurrency ecosystem faced, specifically paying attention to ICOs (Initial Coin Offerings), this steady rising trend raises curiosity.

Quality of ICOs As A Whole

LKI Consulting is a PR firm that has conducted few ICOs especially, in the last couple of months. The founder of LKI Consulting, Laura Kornelija Inamedinova believes that this ICO trend is linked to the upsurge in the quality of ICOs as a whole. Furthermore, Inamedinova explained how time has shown that these features are essential in order to have a successful ICO.

Even though the ICO market has rocketed and noted remarkable facts, still there is a number of projects that haven’t accomplished in attaining there “set out” goal, that makes them unsuccessful.

Why ICOs attract investors from outside the industry?

Founder of Cashaa, Kumar Gaurav believes that the industry must look ahead of the crowdfunding exercise which has been carried out by many projects at this time in terms of ICO. Gaurav’s company dismissed around $14 million of the $33 million that was raised in an ICO due to acquiescence reasons.

Gaurav identified a problem that ICOs attract investors from outside the industry who only take interest in their own profit and not in the technology. Similarly, there are plenty of beginners who are really interested; however, they just started to learn and might be frightened of the market’s volatility.

Gaurav identified another trend, that is the salvaging of investments inside the ecosystem which appears to expand the industry beyond its actual capability. He noted that most of the investors just try to sell older tokens and buy new ones.

Complicated System

Apparently, most of the ICO investors are just speculators for the short-term and this is something that makes it a little bit difficult for project developers and builders in executing their objectives, efficiently. It’s quite common these days to categorize an ICO as successful, depending just on the amount it raised through the crowdfunding process. To avoid being seen as a failure, companies began to set lower goals deliberately. Gaurav further explained that to find out what successful ICO is, we may also need to have a look at what will happen to the company after a year.

 

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Cryptocurrency hardware wallets – Ledger grab $7 million

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A huge number of things are going incredibly good for ledger these days. Bitcoin, ether and other cryptocurrencies stirring the people’s attention again. Accordingly, French startup raised $7 million series around the world to make hardware security devices universal.

Devices:

MAIF Avenir, XAnge, Wicklow Capital, GDTRE, Libertus Capital, cryptocurrency Group. The Whittemore Collection, Kima Ventures, BHB Network and Nicolas Pinto contributed to today’s subsidy round.

Ledger:

Well, you have knowledge about cryptocurrencies, you definitely have the idea that digital currencies’ start-ups centralize everything. A large number of scams are there. In addition, no need to trust any startup’s security team, do it to your own.

You have the ability to run your own Bitcoin wallet on your computer. But, hackers are still there to snatch your money from the computer or from a wallet, so be aware of scams.

Ledger makes a number of hardware wallets for several currencies. Actually, these tiny devices are the secure element. Furthermore, you also have a smart phone as Apple Pay or Android Pay with the same performance.

Ledger runs few tasks in a straight line on the secure element. It makes it more secure and then runs an app on your devices entirely. In this way, you will have the power to protect your bitcoins. Nobody can reach to the private keys on devices. In addition, devices repetitively check the honor of the firmware.

The company makes it sure that nobody has the ability to compromise the devices during production procedure. Co-founder Eric Larchevêque said, “When we manufacture the devices, all chips receive a Ledger certificate.” And, “When the device boots up, the computer sends a security challenge and the device answers.”

Smart devices & cost:

Ledger Nano S with tiny display and size of USB key is a well-known device in the digital market. Before the transactions take place from your computer, you need to confirm that a transaction on the device by entering your PIN code first. In this way,  if your computer gets compromised, transaction order will not over on device and you will not able to confirm that transaction.

The Company also making the ledger-blue. The Ledger Nano S’s cost is about €70 although blue cost is €275.

Crypto-wallets still newbie in the digital market. Accordingly, ledger sells more than 50,000 wallets and meet the company’s expectation by an inclusive margin.

By running a protected operating system on the secure element, there are other possible applications. For example, ledger might sell chips so that companies working in complex industries by making sure that server wasn’t compromised. Companies rising there money by introducing new hardware devices.

 

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What’s The Future Of Ethereum And How  It’s Going To Perform In 2018?

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What’s the future of ethereum: At a Blockchain conference facilitated in Taipei, Ethereum Co-founder Vitalik Buterin sketched out the long-term guide of Ethereum development.

As indicated by Buterin, a large portion of the basic issues of the Ethereum Blockchain network fall under the following classes: adaptability, contract security, and privacy. A few system updates including the latest Byzantium hard fork provided solutions in the three major areas. However, as Buterin noted during a meeting with South Korean mainstream press outlet Joong Ang, it might take no less than two to five years to really understand adaptability inside the Ethereum network. Buterin stated:

 

“I would state two to five, with early models in one year. The different scaling solutions, including plasma, sharding, and different state channel frameworks, for example, Raiden and Perun, are already thoroughly thought out, and advancement has just begun.”

 

Concerning adaptability, the Ethereum Foundation and the open-source advancement group of Ethereum gained critical ground with the upcoming launch of the Casper Testnet.

Casper is a long-term scaling solution that utilizes a crossbreed proof-of-work (PoW) and proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol onto the Ethereum. At present, like Bitcoin, the Ethereum exclusively depends on the PoW to maintain the network and to confirm transactions.

As Christian Reitwiessner, the team lead for Ethereum’s Solidity and Ethereum C++ usage, clarified in a current paper, arrangements like PoS are important to dispose of the workload of clients, hubs, and reliance on miners. Reitwiessner composed:

 

“scalability does not originate from the fact that Blockchains are relieved from their workload by making a big number of smaller chains and moving the exchanges there. It is only accomplished once a client does not need to confirm each and every transaction that is sent to the system.”

 

Structurally, Ethereum currency is different from Bitcoin because it works as a platform for decentralized applications. Ethereum critically needs an adaptable system which can deal with decentralized applications.

To enhance the privacy of the Ethereum network, designers of Ethereum coordinated Zcash’s usage of zk-SNARKs, to possibly settle anonymous and private transactions.

Ethereum Future – Price Trends In 2018:

JP Vergne, a teacher at Ivey Business School, noted in a study that developer activity is the best predictor of the cost of a digital currency. Vergne stated:

 

“We found that the best predictor of a cryptographic money’s exchange rate is the measure of developer activity around it.”

 

Ethereum is the only Blockchain system and cryptographic money in the market which approaches Bitcoin in terms of developer activity, and subsequently, given the presentation of innovative solutions, such as Casper, Sharding, Plasma, and zk-SNARKs on Ethereum, its cost will probably surge all through 2018.

Story credits: CoinTelegraph

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Bitcoin Price Once Again Struggles to Sustain Momentum

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Bitcoin price has rebounded from $6,500 to $7,034 with the market cap of $125 billion, at this very moment. Other smaller cryptocurrencies including VeChain and Steem have somehow surpassed bitcoin with a 50% and 25% surge in value, respectively, while other major cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, EOS, Bitcoin Cash, Ripple, and Litecoin have also performed quite well over the past few days.

Bitcoin Price Surge

Since 30th March, bitcoin couldn’t surpass the $7,000 mark, due to its low volume.  However, on 25th March, Bitcoin price achieved $9,000, with comparatively strong volumes on the cryptocurrency exchanges. But since then, the price of bitcoin has seen a constant decline. Even though the price of Bitcoin went to $8,800 but then again, it failed to sustain momentum and its price fell to $6,400.

For surpassing the $7,500-mark, Bitcoin will have to sustain its volume for the next few days, then it will be able to move back to the $8,000 mark.  At this time, the RSI (Relative Strength Index) of bitcoin is at 39.2 however, earlier, it was at 30, indicating oversold situations. Bitcoin is currently being traded in a neutral zone, also the top-cryptocurrency hasn’t shown any overwhelming sell volumes.

Therefore, the next few days are going to be really important for bitcoin, as its value has increased over the past 48 hours, and according to bitcoin’s MACD (Moving Average Convergence Divergence), it has started to gain a little bit momentum.

Jon Matonis’s Views About Bitcoin

A well-known investor, an executive at VISA and the co-founder of Bitcoin Foundation, Jon Matonis, has stated that the entrance of financial institutions such as Goldman Sachs could lead to an increase in the demand towards bitcoin (in the mid-term). Different Bitcoin analysis are being done, but if the leading cryptocurrency can recuperate from its present bear cycle, then experts like Matonis are predicting a bull run for the top-cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

Matonis said:

“I think it’s fabulous that they’re getting into it because it brings in new liquidity. They’re going to develop futures markets, options markets, I even think you’re going to start to see interest rate markets around bitcoin. We’re used to hearing things about Libor, the index for bitcoin interest rates is Bibor”

SEC Against ICOs

Also, according to the New York Times report, the ICO founders, called Centra, were arrested for defying US SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) as they were distributing securities without getting any approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission. If the SEC still keeps on curbing ICOs, it could lead to a wane in motion within the ICO ecosystem, globally.

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