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Ethereum Dev Arrested After Speaking at North Korea Crypto Conference

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Ethereum

Ethereum

Virgil Griffith, a developer who currently works with the Ethereum Foundation, has been arrested upon arrival in the US after speaking at the Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference in North Korea in April.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced on Friday that Griffith had been arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on Thanksgiving Day. The complaint against the Ethereum developer, which was made by FBI Special Agent Brandon M. Cavanaugh, alleges that he was in violation of the International Emergency Economic Powers Act for traveling to North Korea without authorization and providing knowledge on how the country can utilize blockchain technology to launder money and evade sanctions.

“Despite receiving warnings not to go, Griffith allegedly traveled to one of the United States’ foremost adversaries, North Korea, where he taught his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions,” John Demers, an assistant attorney general for national security, said in a statement.

Cavanaugh’s complaint alleges, “At the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference, GRIFFITH and other attendees discussed how blockchain and cryptocurrency technology could be used by the DPRK to launder money and evade sanctions, and how the DPRK could use these technologies to achieve independence from the global banking system.” The Ethereum Association has said that it was not represented in any capacity at the events cited in the complaint against Griffith.

Taking to Twitter, Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin defended his colleague, saying it was “admirable” that he traveled to a country that has been demonized in the US and added that he didn’t believe that Griffith had provided North Korea with “any kind of real help in doing anything bad.”

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According to Griffith’s LinkedIn page, he has been employed by the Ethereum Foundation since October 2016 as a research scientist. Currently, in residence in Singapore, his most recent work has been focused on assessing whether Etehreum is compliant with Islamic Law.

Meanwhile, Ethereum’s own digital coin has seen its value drop significantly with altcoins in a sea of red in recent weeks.

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Ethereum Futures Already Gaining Significant Support in the Industry

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Ethereum futures

Ethereum futures

Ethereum (ETH) is the second largest virtual currency in terms of market cap, and for quite some time investors have been expecting Ethereum futures that seem to, at last, be happening. However, these expectations have faced interest concerns and regulatory uncertainty regarding the crypto asset.
Ethereum Futures Realized

The expectations for Ethereum futures appear to have been realized with The Block reporting that one of the largest global exchanges, CME Group, was preparing to release a futures product for Ethereum. The Chicago-based CME Group was the institution that launched Bitcoin futures during the cryptocurrency boom in 2017.

What this means according to The Block is that CME is changing Ethereum’s reference rate and Index, which is an indication that Ethereum futures are imminent. According to an industry source, the alterations that are being made are for the “preparation of an Ether” vehicle. However, the source indicates that the cash-settled futures such as the CME’s crypto contracts can be altered and thus need a strong index to help in risk mitigation. The latest changes are seen as a way of boosting the confidence of regulators to accept Ethereum products.
Ethereum Futures Gaining Support

The development comes at a time when Ethereum futures are gaining support from a number of cryptocurrency users in the industry. For instance, Thomas Chippas, the CEO of ErisX, has emphasized the need of having an Ethereum vehicle since ETH has a very vibrant and real community, appropriate institutional involvement, and precise use cases, as well as other good tenets in the industry.

>> Stablecoin Market is Showing Signs of Solid Growth

Early in the year, a CFTC official claimed that government officials at the CFTC were friendly to Ethereum after they claimed that the body was content with the crypto asset. He added that when a derivative exchange wants to launch a derivative that meets the CFTC requirement, they will be certified.

The news of the Ethereum futures comes at a time when various crypto exchange startups have received licenses to begin listing physically-delivered Bitcoin vehicles.

What do you think of the news?

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Ethereum Gets Solid Support from Ernst & Young

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Ethereum

Ethereum

The past few days have been quite difficult for the crypto space due to the continuing poor performance by some of the leading tokens; however, major cryptocurrency Ethereum received some boost today. In a new development, consultancy giant Ernst & Young announced a new source code that could make the ETH blockchain far more efficient and secure.

How Important is This?

The development comes at an interesting time since ETH is all set to upgrade its network in order to control costs significantly and promote efficiency. This is a development that could have a far-reaching effect on the project and eventually on the crypto token.

It needs to be mentioned, though, that despite the significant technical improvements that have been made to the network, Ethereum has not seen positive price movements so far. That is something that should be at the back of the mind of most ETH traders and supporters. However, at the same time, it cannot be denied that the ETH network has slowly but surely made great strides in the real world.

Some of the biggest names in the world, including Ernst & Young use the network for a variety of purposes. The ultimate aim is to make life easier for the biggest companies, and E&Y is also looking at the way to introduce the usage of ETH for big businesses.

Earlier on this year, E&Y had released a minor update in Ethereum technology that was supposed to enable ETH transactions in privacy. The firm made a small update to the technology that is known as Nightfall. However, according to the latest development, the consultancy firm has upgraded the scope of the tweak and now allows as many as 20 transactions at one go with zero knowledge.

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The announcement stated, “This includes both batching and a new tool for reducing Merkle tree updates called (appropriately) Timber developed by the EY Blockchain research team.”

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Ethereum (ETH) Soars 35% in a Month

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Ethereum

Ethereum

Ethereum (ETH) continues to gather pace after an impressive start to the year. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap has already risen to a two-month high of $165 after a 13% rally this week. Over the past month, the cryptocurrency has rallied by more than 35% and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Ethereum Price Gain

Price gains have coincided with an uptick in trading volume, affirming renewed investor interest in crypto after a roller coaster 2019. Trading volumes have more than doubled to highs of $17.9 million over the past month.  Ethereum is not the only one experiencing gains in the market. Many other altcoins have also rallied by an average of 5% as bullish sentiments continue to boost the sector.

When it comes to ETH price action, the $155 area is its immediate support level. The bulls, on the other hand, will have to break the $165 resistance zone, if the cryptocurrency is to continue powering high. Above $165, the next hurdle is at the $170–$172 level.

Ethereum Price Catalysts

Gains in trading volume and price stem from a number of factors that continue to work in favor of Ethereum. Growing economic uncertainty in Venezuela has once again continued to fuel demand for cryptocurrencies. Likewise, reports that a cryptocurrency bull run is on the horizon has seen investors start jostling for positions.

>> Bitwise Withdraws Bitcoin ETF Application with SEC

The launch of Ethereum 2.0, often referred to as Serenity, is another development likely to shape Ethereum sentiments and prospects in the market this year. Set to be rolled out in phases, Ethereum 2.0 should bring about Shading, proof of stake, and a new virtual machine, among other things.

Ethereum 2.0 will trigger the proof of work consensus algorithm, which Bitcoin has already integrated. Likewise, the upgrade will bring about Beacon Chain, shard Chains, and State Execution. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin has already released a block explorer that will support Beacon Chain and track a testnet version.

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Ethereum (ETH) Almost Doubled This Year

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Ethereum

Ethereum

When Bitcoin was in the middle of its stunning rally last year, Ethereum failed to catch any of this, but things have been quite different this year. It is the second-biggest cryptocurrency in the world by market cap, and over the last few weeks, it has left most of the wider market in the dust.

While the rally must come as a welcome boost for ETH holders, it is perhaps also important to figure out the reasons behind the near 100% rise since January. Here is a closer look at some of the factors that were responsible for the surge.

Key Bullish News

One of the important factors behind the growth of Ethereum this year has been the rise in popularity of decentralized finance or DeFi. It is a movement that seeks to use the power of crypto platforms to replace traditional solutions that are currently in vogue in finance.

Recently, the entire value of DeFi applications reached as much as $1 billion, and traders believe that it could eventually lead to further use of the ETH blockchain. On the other hand, the pure dynamics of the market could also be in play in this case.

Demand is now clearly high for ETH, but the supply in the market is going down progressively. This is primarily due to the fact that the majority of fickle investors have already sold off their holdings, meaning the token is not as easily available anymore. In such a situation, ETH could indeed prove to be a long-term investment, and at the end of the day, scarcity can often drive such a rally of an in-demand asset.

>> Ripple Signs Major Agreement with Major National Bank

Last but not the least, many traders are currently covering their risky short positions after having been burned, and that could be another major reason behind the continuing Ethereum rally. Investors could keep an eye on the price action in the coming hours.

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Microsoft Partners with Ethereum to Create New Digital Assets

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Ethereum

Ethereum

The world of cryptocurrencies has developed at a breakneck pace over the past few years, and now it has emerged that tech behemoth Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is going to work with Ethereum to create new digital assets. Until a few years ago, it was almost unthinkable that one of the biggest companies in the world was going to enter the crypto space—but now, things have certainly changed.

Major Details

Microsoft is apparently working with ETH in order to find a way to audit newly created crypto tokens accurately.

In addition to that, the company also noted that the Azure Blockchain Tokens are going to be put into use in this particular project. Azure is the company’s very own cloud service, and over the years it has grown into a multibillion-dollar business. Azure Blockchain Tokens are operated through the Ethereum blockchain, and this is where the world’s second-biggest cryptocurrency comes into the picture. Now that the two have come together for this project, great things are sure to come to the crypto space—legitimacy, standard procedures, and who knows what else.

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The founder of Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin, has stated that the arrival of new tokens has been particularly disruptive for the blockchain space and has created extreme congestions. By extension, it should be a problem for Azure as well, due to its presence on the network.

The principal architect at Microsoft stated what exactly Azure is going to bring to the table. He said, “We’re bringing the kind of efficiency you see in Amazon Fresh and Amazon Now everywhere… because you’re closing the gap between parties collaborating together and working through business processes.”

What do you think about Microsoft’s plans with Ethereum? Do you think this will bring good things to the crypto market?

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Ethereum-Built Soccer Game Pens Deal With Italian Giants Juventus

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Ethereum

Ethereum

Sorare, a global fantasy football platform built on the Ethereum blockchain, has inked an exclusive licensing agreement with Italian soccer giants Juventus to launch a digital collectibles range of its star players.

Ethereum-Based Fantasy Football

Paris-based Sorare provides a soccer management game with digital cards representing players that fans can collect and trade. The cards represent non-fungible tokens (NFTs) based on Ethereum’s ERC-721 standard. For each player, Sorare issues 1 “Unique” card, 10 “Super Rare” cards, and 100 “Rare” cards in a manner similar to FIFA’s Ultimate Team game mode. The Juventus cards, which will feature five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo, will go live on February 11, with some cards expected to fetch fees in excess of US$2,000.

“We are very proud to have signed this agreement with such an Italian heavyweight,” said Sorare CEO Nicolas Julia. “We see this as a new key step in our vision to onboard the best soccer clubs from around the world and bring blockchain-gaming to football fans around the world.” Juventus is not the first European giant to reach a deal with the Ethereum-based platform; Atletico Madrid, Porto, and AS Roma also signed similar agreements.

Top Clubs Embracing Crypto

Crypto promotion is becoming an increasingly popular trend in the soccer world. Several Premier League teams have signed sponsorship agreements with crypto firms, including Wolves’ shirt sponsor CoinDeal, while eToro also has deals in place with six teams, including Tottenham Hotspur, Crystal Palace, Leicester City, and Southampton. Further afield, Portuguese champions Benfica announced last year that its merchandise would be available for purchase with cryptocurrency. Benfica accepts Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH), as well as UTRUST token (UTK).

>> Bitcoin Suddenly Crashes 8% as Momentum Fades After the Recent Rally

However, Juventus has arguably the biggest fan base out of all the clubs mentioned, thanks to an overflowing trophy cabinet and several high-profile players, including Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala, and Matthijs De Ligt. The 35-time Italian champions currently sit one point clear of Lazio in Serie A.

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Ethereum (ETH) Eyes Further Gains as Liquidity Increases

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Ethereum

Ethereum

Ethereum (ETH) resurgence continues to gather pace after a rollercoaster 2018. The second largest cryptocurrency by trading volume has crossed the $300 barrier, after moving up by more than 300% since the start of the year.

Ethereum Resurgence

In recent trading sessions, ETH has traded in unison with Bitcoin (BTC), which is also flying high after imploding in 2018. The broader cryptocurrency market turning bullish in 2019 comes as renewed investor interest grows with mainstream adoption.

For ETH, 2019 has turned out to be an inflection year after bottoming out from lows of $92 as of December. One of the riggers fueling ETH’s upward momentum has to be the high levels of liquidity associated with the cryptocurrency.

Ethereum continues to see the biggest inflows of funds from Tether (USDT) and Bitcoin, underscoring the love it continues to receive from cryptocurrency enthusiasts. From the BTC market, ETH has attracted more than $1 billion in inflows as $1.14 billion has come in from Tether market.

ETH Price Catalysts

Concerns that Ethereum is undervalued, relative to Bitcoin, is another development that is fuelling the cryptocurrency price. ETH is currently at the lower range of its cycle against BTC at 0.028 BTC compared to peak levels of 0.15 BTC.

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BTC stagnating on another leg high after the recent spike to the $11,000 level could work in favor of ETH. While BTC has recouped a substantial amount of losses accrued over the past year, ETH is still a shadow of its record highs of $1,400. For that reason, any stagnation in BTC could result in a shift of attention to ETH.

ETH price could receive a significant boost on the arrival of the staking in 2020. Staking of 3–5 ETH could pose significant supply challenges for the ETH coin, something that could result in a price spike.

Ethereum price could also inch higher on the increase in the number of transactions carried out on the Ethereum network. Currently, more than 800,000 transactions are carried out on the Ethereum network, further ramping up ETH’s credibility and support.

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Ethereum (ETH) Drops 2% in Broader Crypto Market Sell-Off

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Ethereum

Ethereum

The cryptocurrency market is currently in a free fall with Ethereum (ETH) being the biggest casualty. In the last 24 hours, the coin has lost almost 20%.

Ethereum Drops on the Launch of Bakkt Futures Contracts

Ethereum dropped to lows of $153.79 from $190 before it rebounded slightly to the present price of $168. This is the lowest the price ETH has been for three months, and it seems the fall is not yet over. There is uncertainty in the market, and most investors are currently heading to Tether, which has the backing of the US dollar for safety purposes.

It is still unclear what might have startled the market, but there is a possibility that the launch of Bakkt had something to do with it. Investors had banked on Bakkt to deliver real volume in its Bitcoin futures contracts, but that didn’t happen. On the day of the launch, Bakkt only managed to pull less than a million surprisingly low dollars.

Expanding the Ethereum Network to Accommodate More Tethers

The Ethereum network has, as of late, witnessed more traffic, which is largely due to the activity around Tether. Following the increased capacity, the network is expanding to accommodate more transactions.

Last week Ethereum cofounder Vitalik Buterin indicated that block producers were raising gas limits to deal with growing congestion. Gas is the crypto used for paying transactions, and it essentially limits the transactions you can include in a block.

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With the expansion, miners can now drive the gas limit up above 10 million per block, which is a 25% increase. Each Ethereum block can now include 25% more transactions, which allows the network to process extra transactions per second, thus lowering the fees.

Tether is behind the increasing transaction count on Ethereum. In recent months the stablecoin has been substituting Tethers distributed on the Bitcoin network with those issued on Ethereum. With more transactions happening daily, this has put pressure on the Ethereum network.

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Ethereum Dev Indicted By Grand Jury Over North Korea Appearance

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Ethereum

Ethereum

Ethereum developer Virgil Griffith has been indicted by a grand jury for conspiracy to violate the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA) after speaking at a cryptocurrency conference hosted by the North Korean government last April.

Griffith was initially arrested on Thanksgiving at Los Angeles Internation Airport after FBI Special Agent Brandon M. Cavanaugh alleged that the Ethereum dev had breached the IEEPA in traveling to North Korea without authorization and providing knowledge on how the country can utilize blockchain technology to launder money and evade sanctions. The case was then brought before a court in the Southern District of New York, which heard that Griffith had sought and been denied approval to travel to North Korea.

“Despite receiving warnings not to go, Griffith allegedly traveled to one of the United States’ foremost adversaries, North Korea, where he taught his audience how to use blockchain technology to evade sanctions,” John Demers, an assistant attorney general for national security, said during a court hearing in November. The court also heard that Griffith attempted to evade US legal requirements during the course of his actions.

Griffith has been employed by The Ethereum Foundation since 2016 as a research scientist, with his work particularly focusing on whether Etherteum is compliant with Sharia Law. His decision to travel to North Korea has been defended by Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin, who said it was an “admirable” move and that he didn’t believe Griffith had provided the authoritarian regime with “any kind of real help in doing anything bad.”

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After initially being denied, Griffith was subsequently granted bail on a bond of $1 million USD, which, as of yet, has not been posted. Griffith’s lawyer also stated that he has been suspended by The Ethereum Foundation, despite Buterin’s support. If found guilty, Griffith faces up to 20 years in jail, with the US Attorney’s Office also demanding that he hand over any property or money obtained as payment for his appearance in North Korea.

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