Stellar Lumens (XLM) Forum with for newcomers and contributor's rewarded Check here

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A lot of things are happening in the world of malware and ransomware. Cryptocurrency remains a very prominent target for criminals in this regard. A new malware, which goes by the name of Xbash, seems to combine all of the worst aspects of different malware types into one. A worrisome development, especially if this becomes a growing trend.

XBash is a Very Serious Threat

Cryptocurrency enthusiasts have seen their fair share of experiences with malware in different forms. Wallet-stealers, clipboard-information altering software, ransomware, and Trojans are just some of the examples. As if that is not enough, it now seems cryptojacking is becoming incredibly popular, with hundreds of thousands of devices infected by this type of malware over the past few months.

It now seems some criminals are looking to bring out the worst in malware in a new campaign. The Xbash malware strain is the first example of what the future may hold in this regard. It is designed to target both Windows and Linux systems, and uses cryptomining, ransomware, botnet, and self-propagation tools all in one.

Multi-functional malware has been a growing industry for quite some time now. Although a combination of data destruction and ransomware is nothing new, adding botnet and cryptojacking features to this particular package show criminals will continue to explore new methods in this regard. The fact XBash can spread itself through an entire network in quick succession raises a lot of concerns as well.

Early reports indicate several dozen people and institutions have fallen victim to XBash at this stage. It is expected some victims made an associated ransom payment, as $6,000 has been sent over to the criminals in the process. That figure is a big surprise, as Xbash’s ransomware capability offers no way of recovering data once the payment has been completed.

Under the hood, XBash appears to make use of three different vulnerabilities which can be leveraged against Linux and Windows. The choice to include Linux targets is rather telling, considering Windows is the most commonly used operating system among consumers. In the business world, however, things are very different. Linux reigns supreme in that department, further confirming XBash is not necessarily designed to target regular users.

Security researchers are concerned XBash shows some eerie similarities with WannaCry and NotPetya. It is possible this new malware borrows a lot of code from those two particular malware strains, as both of them have been incredibly successful over the years. It is evident cryptojacking will play an increasing role of importance in the malware industry.

by JP Buntinx

Read More Read More, Posted by: crytocure
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A new skin-care start-up wants to analyze your skin and pay you in Bitcoin for the privilege.

As a beauty writer, I had hoped never to have to write the words "blockchain" and "skin care" in the same sentence. But as more and more stories come out about cryptocurrency millionaires and their yachts, the crypto economy is getting harder to ignore. Enter Opu Labs, a skin-care start-up that wants to analyze your skin and pay you in Bitcoin for the privilege.

Opu's mission reads like a platform of stitched-together buzzwords. In a press release, the company describes itself as "a mobile application that bridges skin care, artificial intelligence and blockchain technology into one ecosystem." I've always wanted to get rich by way of blabbing about skin care, at which point I could afford all the La Mer and facials I've ever wanted and would never have to talk about skin care again. Naturally, I created an Opu account.

In practice, Opu plans to use facial recognition technology to connect beauty consumers with dermatologists and, more notably, with beauty brands. Users will upload a photo of themselves to be analyzed by Opu's AI for concerns like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. In exchange for actions like uploading your selfie or connecting your Instagram profile, users are rewarded with Opucoin. The brand then wants you to use your Opucoin to buy… more advice.

Founder and CEO Marc Bookman first conceived of Opu in 2014, when he was working in search analysis and mobile advertising. But it's no surprise that the company pushed this year, when facial recognition and blockchain are becoming less confusing tech jargon and more regular words in plenty of people's vocabularies. Facial recognition technology may already be quite familiar to mobile-optimized beauty lovers (read: the youths). The industry is piling up with smart mirrors and virtual-try-on tech from apps like Sephora Visual Artist and Perfect365, and even Walgreens launched an online skin-care advisor this year. 

The cryptocurrency market is expected to hit $1 trillion this year, and beauty companies are angling for a piece of the action. Hair-care brand R+Co recently announced that it will even begin accepting payments for dry shampoo in bitcoin. Out of this jumble of economics explainers and advanced AI algorithms comes Opu. The company may have be founded a few years back, but a spokesperson told me that things have been "progressing heavily" over the past few months. In fact, in the time between my conversation with the spokesperson and another with Bookman, Opu claims that its user base almost doubled — from 60,000 users to 103,000. The site has seen visitors from 189 countries, says Bookman. (For perspective, there are 193 countries in the UN.)
The company has recruited dermatologists, like New York-based professor Dr. Anna Karp, to help train its algorithm to recognize skin concerns like wrinkles and redness. Dr. Karp spends "a few hours" a week helping Opu's designers perfect the technology.

There are moments in 2018 when it feels like we'll all soon be replaced by self-driving cars and robot bartenders. But judging by the results of my own facial scan, dermatologists will remain human for at least a few years longer. My own "analysis summary" informed me that my skin was in the 95th percentile for acne, meaning only 5 percent of people have worse skin than I do, to which I say thank you, and you've never been more wrong. I also supposedly had 0 percent hyperpigmentation (ha!) and 55 percent wrinkles (deeply offensive). I've always assumed that I'll be worrying about acne until I enter the retirement home, at which point I'll start to think about wrinkles. And much as I wish this report were accurate, the reality of my skin concerns is unfortunately harsher than my analysis would imply.

As Bookman will tell you, the technology is still a work in progress, and it's fair to assume that eventually the algorithm will sharpen and become a bit more accurate. But Opu is also working on additional tech offerings, like the ability to track a product's efficacy through as you update facial scans over time. Soon, you'll also be able to set skin goals like "I want reduced acne in 30 days." 

Finally, the company will roll out the functionality that allows doctor-to-user communication. "We want to bridge the doctors to the consumer," says Bookman. He sees Opu as a resource for people who want to talk skin outside the doctor's office or don't have access to dermatologists in their home countries, not as a replacement for your regular dermatologist visit.

By his own admission, Bookman knows "nothing about skin care," but in his product testing analysis work, he says he's noticed a widening gap between the price consumers are willing to pay for beauty products and the minimal knowledge they have about skin health. "The women don't trust the ads, the bloggers are all paid off, and there' misinformation out there," he says. So he did what any self-respecting start-up founder would do: He came up with a solution to the problem, then started on a plan to monetize it. First, the platform would have to offer a value-add to users in the form of advice and information from certified dermatologists. Then, Opu plans to take that bank of facial scans and data and sell it to the beauty brands that want to analyze your exact skin tone before they commit to a 40-shade foundation range.

To put it plainly, Opu will sell your data to third-party companies who want a deeper understanding of the beauty consumer. (The "data," please remember, is your face.) Opu plans to offer "standard data" as well as "the ability to do custom research programs" for brands, Bookman says. He notes that all users will be able to opt out of data collection, even going so far as to shield their facial scans from the certified dermatologists on the platform if they prefer. Still, "any consumer who opts in to the rewards program will make their data available," says Bookman. So if you want that sweet, sweet coin, you'll be paying for it with your face.

An Opu representative confirms that "your face is private and secure within the ecosystem [of Opu] itself." I was worried that my own data privacy concerns were too crotchety, and then I spoke to Dr. Ann Cavoukian, expert-in-residence at Ryerson University's Privacy by Design Centre. The first words she said to me were "this makes me really nervous."

"A facial image is such a sensitive biometric," explains Dr. Cavoukian. Like a fingerprint, it identifies that individual, and once it's retained in a database somewhere, your facial image can be all over the place." She runs through a quick list of worst-case scenarios: Someone can impersonate you and steal your identity, but instead of just using it to buy more skin-care products or unlock your iPhone, they could use it, for example, to cross an international border. "Once someone assumes your biometric, try getting it back," says Dr. Cavoukian. "You want to keep your face on a short leash. That data is worth a lot to beauty companies. You might be getting the raw end of the deal."

Denise DeRosa, founder of Cyber Sensible, is more compromising in her warnings. As long as Opu itself and any third-party company is secure, she's not entirely against using the platform. "Since we are accustomed to sharing so much of ourselves online, [I think] that this would not be a concern for many," she says. "Some prefer to get a lot of opinions and advice — whether from strangers or friends, who have experience tackling the same issues as you. If skin care is not a particularly sensitive issue for you, then I suppose it is okay to give the site a try."

And if Opu is taking a lot of data, at least you can't say the platform didn't warn you. "Our mission is to improve how the global skin-care industry exchanges data, information and rewards in a way that benefits patients, dermatologists, treatment centers, brand specialists and product manufacturers," the company's own site reads. Note that the word "data" appears long before the words "benefits patients."

But for users who want skin-care analyses without spilling their exact skin tone or number of blemishes to the researchers, Bookman sees you: "We have consumers who are really concerned about 'I'm going to put a photo up of me in the morning with no makeup on a new platform, is it going to be safe?' We have another type which is more 'Look at my before-and-after photos, everybody!' And a third type who wants to be very social, to share with their friends and to put photos on their social media." Ultimately, it's up to consumers to decide if good skin is worth the privacy of their face.

by Leah Prinzivalli

Read More Read More, Posted by: crytocure
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Though both have performed well in recent days, Stellar Lumens XLM is outperforming Ripple XRP for the past seven-day period. XLM ended the cycle +1.87 while Ripple fell 6.34% in the same period. Stellar’s performance was…stellar, especially considering the sea of red seen in the crypto markets through the middle of September, which is good news for those who have been buying XLM.

It’s usually unwise to draw overly specific conclusions based on daily crypto price activity. These markets are turbulent, after all. Nonetheless, Stellar’s stand-out performance is based on verifiable news, which could indicate better times ahead for the price of XLM.

Stellar’s Real World Achievements

Amidst the ongoing bear market, one of the biggest complaints made by crypto investors is that poor prices represent poor quality among blockchain projects. It is thought that the industry simply didn’t deserve the sky-high prices of late 2017. And while this criticism can certainly be levelled against most cryptocurrencies, the same cannot be said of Stellar Lumens.

Stellar Lumens is the brainchild of Ripple co-founded Jed McCaleb. Even as Ripple entered its ascendency, McCaleb took the core of what made its technology great and used it to create Stellar Lumens. Stellar Lumens was to make international financial transfers frictionless, fast, and (practically) free – just like Ripple. But where Ripple had gotten itself entrenched in the banking sector, Stellar Lumens was intended to be more useful for the everyday person.

Indeed, Stellar Lumens has become integrated into the international remittances industry, providing better and more affordable service than traditional channels like Western Union. But Stellar has also gained perhaps the most visible partnership of any competitor cryptocurrency, acting as the official blockchain of IBM.

The Stellar/IBM Partnership

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One of the biggest arguments against cryptocurrency is that the industry’s achievements seem to occur inside a bubble. Stellar’s IBM partnership proves that blockchain can break into conventional industry. The Stellar Lumens blockchain is the basis of IBM’s new cross-border payments technology. IBM has been quick to tout the power of this new tech, creating a series of high budget ads that have appeared on TV and the internet.

Stellar also recently announced that it had acquired Chain – a ledger-based payment network solution already employed by VISA, NASDAQ, and CitiGroup. This is the kind of news that would have sent XLM to the moon a year ago, but today has resulted in only a modest price bump.

What Does This Mean For the XLM Price?

The price of XLM is likely to continue its mercurial activity. The crypto markets are still dominated by Bitcoin. While BTC is suffering, it’s extremely difficult for any other cryptocurrency to truly distinguish itself. Nonetheless, we think that real-world accomplishments like this indicate that someday soon, first class coins like Stellar Lumens will wake up soon – and then likely in a big way!
Stellar’s partnerships don’t necessarily mean that buying Stellar is better than buying Ripple XRP, or that one will necessarily perform better than the other over any time period. We’re simply excited to let you know that industry adoption is real, and that Stellar is at the forefront of this necessary industry achievement.

by Nathaniel Fletcher

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The beginning of the month saw the total market capitalization of the cryptocurrency market hovering around the $230 billion mark. By the end of the first week of September, the value has fallen down to $200 billion, following which it gradually moved to the lower end. At the time of writing, the total market cap is at $198 million with the market showing a green signal.

During the last week, the cryptocurrency market was less volatile, with Ethereum [ETH] and XRP being the top gainers with 10.88% and 17% hike in the past 7 days.

Stellar Lumens [XLM], which is at the 6th position has shown an 8% hike over the week. During the first week of the month, XLM was trading at a high of $0.22, however, the coin has moved along with the slightly bearish market and has dropped to $0.18 by mid-September.

At 1:30 PM UTC, XLM is trading at $0.20 with a market cap of $3.9 billion. The coin has seen an insignificant hike of 1% in the past 24 hours. With a 31% trading volume, the coin is currently being traded the most on Bitbox against Ethereum [ETH] and Bitcoin [BTC], followed by Binance.

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XLM’s 45 mins price chart | Source: TradingView

The 45-minute candlesticks on TradingView is currently showing a bullish movement at present, with the MACD line crossing over the signal depicting that the bull run will continue.

A Crypto enthusiast named Bulletproof Crypto says:

“From my first week in crypto, all the way back in April 2017 (100 years in crypto), Stellar got me believing! I trade and sell, but Stellar is heavy and locked in for the long run. My no-worries coin! Only coin on my Ledger Nano S! Confident af! This tech is going places!”

Another Stellar proponent says:

“Stellar Lumens, truly a global currency.”

According to the recent reports, a subsidiary of Stellar Development Foundation, Lightyear joined hands with a blockchain startup named Chain. Following this, the joint firms have been rebranded as Interstellar. The newly formed Interstellar has appointed Jed McCaleb, the Founder of Stellar as its CTO.

A cryptocurrency trader named AFH, on Twitter, says:

“Congratulations! Did you need Christopher Nolan’s blessing? #Interstellar

by Laira Rebecca

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San Francisco-based distributed ledger technology company Chain has been acquired by Lightyear, an entity powered by the Stellar network in an undisclosed agreement.

Announced last week, Lightyear will be re-named to Interstellar concurrent with the merger, a company release states. Chain, that builds enterprise-grade blockchain products backed by financial giants Visa, Nasdaq, and Citigroup, will offer its cloud product, Sequence, to Interstellar’s portfolio, allowing organizations to track assets while moving between private ledgers and the Stellar network, it added.

Jed McCaleb, co-founded of the Stellar Development Foundation and Lightyear, will be CTO of Interstellar. According to him, the merger will “help organizations build on Stellar.” He further said:

Quote:“Chain’s team has led the market for enterprise adoption of blockchain technology, which is a critical component of building a future where money and digital assets move over open protocols.”

At present, Stellar (XLM) ranks as the world’s sixth-largest cryptocurrency with a market cap of $3.6 billion. With the acquisition, Interstellar will receive Chain’s enterprise products and customer base, enabling organizations to issue, exchange, and manage assets on a public network.

Chain had previously raised more than $43 million from a variety of financial institutions including Capital One, Citigroup, as well as tech-focused funds such as Khosla Ventures, Blockchain Capital, and Pantera Capital.

Interstellar will ease enterprises to create financial services and products with the help of the Stellar open network. Chain’s CEO Adam Ludwin will serve as the CEO of new Interstellar. He stated,

Quote:“Chain has worked from inside the enterprise while Stellar has focused on the network between organizations. As a single team we will have a complete view and set of capabilities to make value-over-IP a reality.”

With the launch, Interstellar will have its headquarters in San Francisco, with office operations from New York City and Singapore. Initially, the startup aims to employ 60 employees, the report concluded.

by Shuja Sundararajan

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The U.K. Treasury Committee is calling for cryptocurrency regulations in order to protect investors, the BBC reported September 18.

The committee of Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons has reportedly called for a resolution to certain issues surrounding digital currency such as listing price volatility, poor consumer protection, the risk of hacker attacks, and money laundering.

As the BBC reports, the Committee also urged the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to supervise cryptocurrencies, though presently the FCA is not legally enabled to regulate either issuers of digital assets, or cryptocurrency exchanges.

Nicky Morgan, the chair of the Treasury Committee, is quoted saying that “it's unsustainable for the government and regulators to bumble along issuing feeble warnings to potential investors, yet refrain from acting.” Morgan added that regulation should at least address the problem of consumer protection and anti-money laundering (AML). The Treasury Committee said:

"As the government and regulators decide whether the current Wild West situation is allowed to continue, or whether they are going to introduce regulation, consumers remain unprotected."

CryptoUK, a self-regulatory trade association for the U.K. cryptocurrency industry, noted the Committee’s recommendations. Iqbal Gandham, the association’s chairman, said that "regulatory oversight is essential to ensuring consumer safety, guarding against malpractice and providing much needed clarity to an industry that is fast maturing.”

In May, CryptoUK addressed the Treasury Committee to advocate for favorable regulations, citing its intention to examine the role of digital currencies in the U.K., including risks connected to their usage by consumers, businesses, and the government.

CryptoUK then said that HM Treasury should impart new competencies upon the FCA, which would allow it to control cryptocurrency investment. The organization argued that regulations should focus on trading platforms and brokers, rather than the assets themselves.

by Ana Alexandre

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Hackers Start Using Reverse Proxy Technique in Cryptocurrency Mining

Lately, there has been an increased proliferation of botnets in the crypto space, most of which resemble each other.

 However, this trend seems to have changed after researchers from a Chinese cybersecurity company identified a new type of botnet. According to employees of Qihoo 360 Net6lab, this botnet uses a reverse proxy service known as ngrok for its payload server. Precisely, this botnet obscures both its reporter and downloader servers using the ngrok reverse proxy service to periodically generate a large number of randomized subdomain names. 

Due to the aforementioned randomization, the botnet master does not have control over the generated subdomains, a factor that works to the botnet's favor.

Fundamentally, the ngrok service establishes a subdomain for the hacker, who then transmits the subdomain to target nodes. Afterwards, the infected nodes connect to the server through the subdomain, from where they are used to mine digital currencies. The complexity of this method makes it difficult to pinpoint the exact location of the payload server.

When the location of the payload server is unknown, investors are often left stranded because they do not who to blame and what authorities to contact. Regarding this, the Netlab researchers discovered that this domain switching activity stared in June 2018. Also, the subdomain names are replaced collectively after a maximum of 12 hours.

Another Reverse Proxy Hacking Incident

Although the ngrok botnet is efficient, it is not the first instance where malicious individuals have leveraged reverse proxy techniques to mine virtual currencies. Previously, craftier hackers hijacked an Amazon Web Services account belonging to Tesla, an established tech company. The cybercriminals altered the entire hosting server into a mining rig. Besides, they constructed their own mining pool and hid its IP address using the CloudFlare reveres proxy service. By doing this, the hackers avoided a potential shutdown which would have been implemented if they opted for a public mining pool.

As the days go by, hackers in the crypto space are advancing their methods by integrating the latest technologies.

 Soon, these cybercriminals might resort to employing techniques such as onion routing and I2P for reverse proxies. As opposed to ngrok and CloudFlare, which are public services, onion routing 12P are far much sophisticated and would require increased time and resources to take down.


Read More Read More, Posted by: crytocure
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Ripple’s XRP Rises on YouTube Usage News, Stellar (XLM) Follows Suit

Both assets compete for one of the most popular use cases - being coins for social media use.

Ripple’s XRP and Stellar (XLM) again rose in unison on positive news for an XPR use case. What triggered the latest price hike is the possibility for usage on YouTube as a tipping crypto coin. With new Ripple technologies unrolled, XRP may develop use cases to rival other coins and tokens in that area.

As a social media coin, XRP would compete with ReddCoin (RDD) and possibly DogeCoin (DOGE). The integration with video entertainment also competes with one of the use cases for TRON (TRX).
The integration with YouTube comes courtesy of Coil, a company that aims to bring crypto solutions to content creators.
Quote:[url=]I checked my @xrptipbot deposit history to see just what happened during a website visit and how @Coil did its thing. Note no tips received. An 8 minute period of visits (unknown if one or many) and the drops trickle in. This is the future. @WietseWind
— Steven Jonsson (@jonsson_steven) September 14, 2018

In effect, XRP has been taken as a suitable digital asset for tipbots, which strays from the general idea of it being a coin held by banks and used in the financial sector. However, the news led to another price bounce.

XRP rose by more than 20.5% in the past 24 hours, adding to the big spike recorded on Tuesday around noontime. As of 7:30 UTC, XRP traded at $0.33, with volumes increasing to around $688 million in 24 hours.

Stellar, which has been called the “open source version” of Ripple, joined in the ascent as the two projects are both strong in marketing and seeking out mainstream partners. XLM added around 5.73% in the past day, regaining the $0.20 level and briefly trading above $0.21. It managed to rebound from recent lows of about $0.18 around September 12. Stellar is the project where Jed McCaleb is channeling his energy now after moving on from Ripple.

The Ripple project keeps attracting attention with its xRapid banking solution, but there is no clear indication whether the solution would lift real-world demand for the XRP asset. The news of an official launch coming by the end of 2018 saw XRP start its recent pump.

by Christine masters

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Stellar Lumens in one of the better performers in the last few months. This has mainly been driven by its partnerships in the finance industry, the interstellar news, and its huge potential in asset tokenization. On the strength of these factors, different predictions have placed its end of year prices at anything between $0.30 and even highs of $6.  However, one wild card that is not factored in most analysis with regards to Stellar (XLM) is Coinbase.

A few months ago, Coinbase announced that Stellar was one of the coins they were considering for listing. Though there are no dates on when it will happen, a listing of Stellar (XLM) on Coinbase could be the catalyst it needs to push it above a dollar towards the year’s end.  Coinbase is one of the largest and most trusted exchanges in the world. That’s why anytime they list a coin, it tends to pump.
The Coinbase effect is quite visible in Ethereum Classic (ETC) which pumped after Coinbase announced its listing. It pumped hard in spite of the fact that the market was overall bearish at the time. In essence, for a coin as fundamentally strong as Stellar, Coinbase listing it before the end of the year would see it pump possibly way above a dollar.  Stellar pumped to over $0.30 when the Coinbase news hit the headlines, and it was in a bear market.   Confirmation of the same would have a way bigger impact on the market, now that the market is slowly getting bullish again.

From the long-term charts, $1 is very much possible if there is real catalyst giving Stellar a push. That’s because the last announcement of ‘consideration’ by Coinbase pushed Stellar to $0.35 an area where it had faced a significant level of resistance in the past, before it fell back to long-term support at $0.19. If Coinbase confirms listing, buying pressure would most likely push it above $0.35, which is now resistance with the next major resistance at $0.46, a price level it has lagged at in the past. If Q4 starts bullish driven by the positive sentiment in the market right now, then the possibility of Stellar pushing past its all-time highs on the strength of Coinbase would be a reality.

Back to today, Stellar is one of the biggest beneficiaries to yesterday’s massive price pump. Today, it is up by over 7%, and is back above $0.21. That’s an indicator that there strong buying momentum in Stellar at this point, relative to most other cryptos.  For day traders, buying into Stellar (XLM) at current price levels is a logical move. That’s because its retracement after yesterday’s massive pump, still saw it hold above $0.20, and it’s currently pushing higher while outpacing the major historical averages mainly the 100, and the 200 MA. That’s an indicator that Stellar is bullish at the moment, and could test a high of $0.219 in the day. That’s the next key resistance level on the 200-day moving average.

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 However, for an intra-day trade, it would best to wait it out until the price pushes above $0.211 on the 6 hour 100-day moving average, which is also a key resistance. If it breaks above that level, then chances are that $0.219 will be possible in the day. In short, Stellar (XLM) is a good investment both for short-term traders and long-term investors. If Coinbase adds Stellar (XLM) then Q4 of 2018 without a doubt belongs to stellar.  It has the fundamentals and the sentiment on its side for some huge gains by EOY. A dollar is pretty much within reach. It traded close to a  dollar last year, when it didn’t have the fundamental strengths and market recognition that it has in the market today.

Read More Read More, Posted by: crytocure
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As with the introduction of the Internet, cryptocurrency is creating disruptive changes. The digital financial instrument has grown in significance to a point where it can’t be ignored. The currency has grown so relevant that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) has intervened to protect the public’s interests. Furthermore, every mainstream publication has touched on the subject of the new currency in some way. For the foreseeable future, it’s here to stay. However, what the market will look like soon is unpredictable.

The cryptocurrency market has endured many obstacles, such as the compromise of major exchanges as well as erratic and irregular trading limitations mandated by government agencies around the world. This is in addition to a ban on cryptocurrency advertising on popular social media networks such as Google, Facebook and Twitter.

These myriad influences have sparked a massive market correction. Bitcoin, for example, recently plummeted from an all-time high of $850 to $260 billion. Some financial experts have declared that the currency will soon face a fatal demise, citing relatively recently launched Stablecoin -- a form of cryptocurrency that’s backed by real currency to maintain its stability -- as the death knell of crypto coins.

Despite the looming threat of Stablecoins, many financial experts predict that currencies such as the now dominate Bitcoin are here for the long-haul. In fact, advocates for digital coins forecast a huge surge in the currency’s value soon.

According to the BlackRock Investment Institute, Bitcoin is the most stable cryptocurrency on the market. In general, experts are predicting that it will soon join the ranks of other mainstream financial instruments. Supporting this notion is the fact that Goldman Sachs has plans in the works to start their own cryptocurrency futures trading platform. While advocates for decentralized currency warn that futures products might devalue today’s cryptocurrencies, researchers believe that the move will aid in the mainstream adoption of the digital financial instruments.

For more information about the rapidly evolving world of cryptocurrencies, view the informative infographic developed by the New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Online Master of Business Administration degree program.

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by Jacob Wolinsky

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As advocates of blockchain put forward theses for revolutionizing a plethora of industries around the world, European football — one of the most ubiquitous industries — is not an exception.

French soccer club Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) revealed in a Sept. 11 press release shared with Cointelegraph that it is partnering with blockchain platform The main outcome of the partnership is to launch a Fan Token Offering (FTO) that will give fans access to Saint-German club tokens, which come with voting rights and can also be representative of VIP status for their holders.

The Socios platform is powered by chiliZ, a Malta-based sports blockchain venture that has already secured the support of major industry players, such as Binance and OKEx. In a previous correspondence with Cointelegraph, chiliZ CEO Alexandre Dreyfus said that the venture has raised $66 million in funding to date.

One of the features that Socios hopes will prove popular is the ability for token holders to vote on club matters. Unfortunately for fans, the tokens will not come with the kind of authority to weigh in on transfers or to give insight on the goings-on of the corporate hierarchy. Fans will, however, be entitled to decide on “cosmetics” (choosing the club’s jersey color, the stadium anthem and logo), selected sporting aspects, such as Man of the Match, summer tours and friendlies matches.

Fans who wish to use their new powers on executive decisions may be disappointed to find their authority remains decidedly tokenistic. Dreyfus notes that the purpose of the strategy is not to shake up football clubs’ corporate hierarchy but rather to maximize monetizing fan engagement via crypto.

Token holders will be able to trade them on the marketplace, although only against the chiliZ native token ($CHZ). The FTO is reportedly due to take place before the start of the next football season.

The platform aims to hit the ground running — and once it does, it doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Dreyfus wants to have hundreds of clubs on the platform, starting with the biggest first. Socios is already making exclusive, five-year deals with all the clubs they are signing in order to ensure they have time to develop their product to perfection. Dreyfus also stated that the interest they have raised since partnering up with PSG stands to benefit others in the crypto community:

“Since we have announced our partnership with PSG, we have had a lot of people asking where they can buy the token. This will be very valuable for the crypto ecosystem, as we will have to partner with exchanges and fiat platforms to onboard these new users.”

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PSG’s move is just the latest step in football’s modernization

Although the most recent to do so, PSG is not the first club to dabble with blockchain and FCOs. The technology is gaining traction with major players in the industry, with Michael Owen launching his own cryptocurrency and Lionel Messi endorsing a blockchain smartphone. In January 2018, English Premier League football club Arsenal FC partnered with CashBet to launch its new cryptocurrency, CashBet Coin. This crypto initiative differs from that of PSG in the sense that CashBet Coin is specifically designed for iGaming. As has been revealed by the CEO of the project, Mike Reaves, the token “will improve the online experience for real money, casino, social, skill-based, esports and sports betting players through increased trust and transparency, faster payouts, reduced fees and dedicated player protection.”

The two FCOs are part of a growing crypto movement taking hold in British football. One organization at the forefront of implementing both blockchain technology and cryptocurrency is the London Football Exchange. The organization is looking to reinvigorate the football sector by creating a system of “inter-related components,” comprising of sports, media, finance and foundations.

Charles Pittar, Corporate CEO of the London Football Exchange, shed light on the organization’s aims:

“Our vision is to allow football clubs to take advantage of the token funding economy for their financing needs by providing them with a tokenized financing infrastructure, which involves token-design and issuance services.”

Pittar further explained:

“The LFE aims to become a ‘one-stop shop’ for clubs of all sizes to raise capital via equity sales and also offer LFE contributors a wealth of fan experiences and social interaction.”

The token will provide incentivizing investment opportunities for a global fan base that can be used both in the local market but also in participating partner venues and businesses. The more LFE token holders use their coins, the more LFE points they will receive. Token holders would also benefit from discounts and exclusive offers, though specific details of what these may be have not yet been disclosed.

How clubs and fans could rekindle an affair

Blockchain, the technology upon which cryptocurrency relies, is designed to ensure absolute transparency. If properly implemented, this could bring a fresh and honest approach to the valuation of football clubs, which became a sensitive topic from the early 2000s when oligarchs from all over the world developed an interest in acquiring the football clubs and running them as the enterprises. While this model sounds like a norm in United States, European sports fans had no such experience before the 21st century.

After the Glazer family completed a controversial takeover bid for Manchester United Football Club in 2005, a fan campaign called “Love United Hate Glazer” began. The group of Manchester United fans were angry that the finances behind the Glazer family’s controlling share takeover came largely from loans, meaning that the previously financially stable club would now be laden with debt, incurring interest payments of over £60 million per year. In August 2010, the Glazer family was unable to repay bondholders, resulting in the overall interest rising from 14.25 percent to 16.25 percent. The club’s overall debt exceeded its earnings by more than five times. Campaign activists began organizing nonviolent protests and distributing posters with their anti-Glazer slogans emblazoned across them.

Soon after this, a group of wealthy fans dubbed the “Red Knights” met with Manchester United Supporters’ Trust and a number of investment banks with the view of buying back the Glazer family’s controlling interest. The group raised the Supporters’ Trust membership to over 100,000 to demonstrate the popular support for a fan takeover of the club. In spite of its noble intentions and the efforts of a core of dedicated activists, the bid essentially failed due to overinflated pricing and a lack of transparency in the sale process.

The very nature of blockchain technology means that all information is publicly available and all entries can be traced back to those who made them. This kind of dynamic could stand fans in better stead to resist disastrous takeovers or to even launch bids to buy the club for themselves. All information would be readily accessible in the instance of a takeover bid and inflated pricing could become a thing of the past.

The LFE argues that blockchain will prove beneficial for clubs and fans alike, thanks to the related brand association and exposure, helping less prestigious clubs more successfully float their shares on the stock market. Due to the truly international nature of football fandom, even small, obscure clubs can enjoy support from passionate groups around the world. The LFE hopes to use blockchain and cryptocurrency to bring together clubs and fans, while monetizing the process in the meantime.

CEO Charles Pittar describes the model:

“This global exposure will encourage fans from farther afield to build a portfolio of clubs in the same way we may buy stocks in London, New York and Tokyo.”

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Crypto as a payment method

Blockchain has already made its first notable impact on football club ownership. Italian Serie C club Rimini FC 1912 became the first club in the history of the game to be acquired through cryptocurrency. Gibraltar-based firm Quantocoin made the payment in a cryptocurrency of the same name for ownership of 25 percent of the team.

The small British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar has already made a name for itself in the crypto world with an increasing number of businesses setting up shop there. The favorable tax rates on Gibraltar — affectionately known as The Rock — have allowed for the creation of an enviable business environment. However, due to United Kingdom’s stringent immigration laws, some players had difficulty setting up bank accounts once they had signed for local clubs. Premier Division Gibraltar United owner Pablo Dana saw an opportunity where others were put off by the maze of red tape. His solution: pay all the players in cryptocurrency. As of next season, all player contracts will stipulate that payment will be made exclusively in cryptocurrency.

Dana says that crypto has allowed him to run his football club transparently while also providing him with a method of paying his players uniformly. The Italian-born owner also said that such a small club would not normally have been able to attract and keep foreign players under normal circumstances.

Dana told Forbes about the island’s unique approach to regulation and fintech:

“It was the first [place that] regulated betting companies 20 years back, when everyone was seeing them as horrible. They put compliance and Anti-Money Laundering regulations and created a platform — they have the intelligence to do the same with cryptocurrencies.”

It's clear that cryptocurrency is set to make a big impact on the way that big business and club ownership transactions are carried out in football. However, the technology isn’t only providing solutions to the matter of club ownership. The transparent qualities of cryptocurrencies and blockchain have the potential to revolutionize the purchase of the most valuable and commonly traded aspect across the football industry: the players themselves.

Sales made simple

In 2006, two Argentine football players — Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez — arrived on the British Premier League side, joining West Ham, under dubious circumstances. Ostensibly, the two players had simply transferred from the Brazilian side, Corinthians. However, it turned out that the club had not actually owned the two players in the first place. Upon investigation, the footballers were actually owned by a group of companies. This wreaked havoc with the contracts that West Ham had drawn up and resulted in the club being fined an eye-watering £5.5 million. The fallout of the botched sale resulted in the abolition of third-party ownership in the Premier League.

The implementation of blockchain in drawing up smart contracts for the purchase of football players could stop this kind of debacle from repeating itself. Given that the two players were owned by a consortium of companies, the ledger entry for the sale could be clearly and transparently tracked. Lu Zurawski, practice lead for retail banking at ACI Worldwide told The Independent:

“The ledger entry for a single player could be divided into multiple shares, each capable of being sold individually to create a fractional ownership scheme. Depending on the type of ledger technology used, these shares would be tradable and could be bought and sold via exchanges — teal folding money being used in exchange for player tokens.”

A blockchain-based ledger could do away with the days of murky corporate ownership of football players and could usher in a new era of transparency. In addition to dispelling the malingering presence of corruption that has besmirched the reputation of the game and the industry as a whole, blockchain technology would be able to create a clear, immutable record of ownership. This would create trust among players, fans and owners alike while giving all parties involved equal standing for future transactions. Ross Peet, managing partner at Yes&Pepper told The Independent:

“If you follow that chain of thought to its ultimate conclusion, we could be entering Star Trek territory where the Tokenisation of Everything (TOE) will mean money becomes obsolete and we can exchange anything for anything. Next stop the stars. Proper, big, world changing, future thinking, awesome stuff."

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Beating the scalpers: Crytpo makes ticket ownership less cryptic

The London Football Exchange has also started to explore other ways in which blockchain can help improve the current, antiquated systems that exist throughout the sport. When asked to think about football, many supporters and casual enthusiasts alike will be immediately transported to the uniquely tantalizing atmosphere of the stadium. This is the true heartland of many dedicated fans. However, getting there without a serious blow to the bank balance can be easier said than done.

For the LFE’s token holders, however, paying extortionate prices through illegal resellers may soon become a thing of the past. Token holders will have access to tickets at a cheaper price and directly from the club itself.

Football business expert Michael Broughton of the advising firm Sport Investment Partners spoke to the BBC about how this could also help clubs clamp down on misuse of season tickets:

"At present, most sports venues do not know exactly who is coming into the stadium. At Premier League football clubs, it is not unknown for people to let friends use their season tickets when they cannot get to games.

"The football clubs may know a ticket was used, but not always by whom. So they will never be able to target any further club marketing toward these spectators. You will have less fan engagement. Most clubs and stadiums have this issue.

"If you put your ticketing system onto the blockchain, you can verify if people attended or who they gave their tickets to. If people want to transfer these tickets to friends or others, then it has to be recorded on the blockchain."

The appeal of this idea is not contained to British clubs alone. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) successfully trialed a mobile-based blockchain ticketing system, according to an Aug. 16 press release.

The “successful implementation” of the ticketing system took place for a limited 50 percent share of tickets available for the 2018 UEFA Europa League final in May. The test ran smoothly, leading the UEFA to increase the second trial to include all available tickets for a match between the Spanish giants Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid, one of the football world’s most hotly anticipated fixtures. The UEFA is set to roll out more blockchain ticketing distribution in the near future.

by Henry Linver

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LG Uplus, the mobile wing of LG, is joining the likes of Ripple (XRP), Stellar (XLM), and Swift, among others in providing the state of the art cross-border payment solution.

The firm announced it joined with global partners in Japan, Taiwan and the United States to give subscribers the opportunity to use a blockchain-based overseas payment service.

In a declaration by the Korea-based mobile carrier on Sunday, the trial service is expected to start next year, and would employ the expertise of a cross-carrier blockchain platform referred to as CCPS (cross-carrier payment system).

Subscribers from other telecommunication carriers can also make cross-border purchase with the platform once available.

The idea, according to the Korea Times will be the first time a Korean mobile carrier has offered such an advanced service to subscribers.

LG U Plus signed an agreement with Taiwan-based Far EasTone Telecommunications and Japan-based SoftBank to adopt the innovation.

Meanwhile, the blockchain idea is to be provided by U.S.-based TBCASoft. When available, LG Uplus subscribers are entitled to use their mobile phones to buy when they travel to Taiwan and Japan, the same applies to Far EasTone subscribers when they visit Korea.

Joo Young-joon, director of the mobile service unit at LG Uplus, who spoke about the development said: “Customers will have the benefit of an overseas payment system based on convenient, economical and secure blockchain technology.”

“And in addition to the overseas payment solution, LG Uplus will continue to develop new business opportunities with CBSG blockchain and global telecom leaders.”

Also, Ling Wu, founder and CEO of TBCASoft, and co-chairman of the CBSG Consortium, said: “As the CBSG Consortium grows faster than expected, we are entering a new stage of launching real world trials that demonstrate the commercial readiness of the TBCASoft blockchain platform.”

Several platforms are seeking ways to solve the problems emanating from delayed cross-border remittance. Ripple, especially, has been doing great in this arena.

As more firms come into the section, there is hope that delayed payment, expensive transaction cost, and poor communication during transaction processes will become a thing of the past.

by Yusuff Olayode Supoto

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Binance, the largest global crypto exchange, will soon start private beta testing a crypto-fiat exchange in Singapore, as Binance co-founder and CEO Changpeng Zhao (CZtweeted on September 15.

As Changpeng Zhao revealed, the testing will be launched on September 18:

“I just slipped that we will begin #Binance Singapore fiat exchange live money closed beta testing on Sept 18th, in 3 days. Invitation only first. Exciting!”

According to Finance Magnates, prior to posting the news on Twitter, CZ first revealed the plans to launch the fiat exchange while speaking at a recent blockchain event led by crypto assets-specializing firm Cumberland. The conference also featured another disruptor of the industry — Tyler Winklevoss, co-founder and CEO of crypto exchange Gemini.

While no further details have been specified, the crypto-fiat Singapore-based exchange will presumably support the local Singapore dollar, Finance Magnates notes.

In mid-July, Singapore was ranked the third most favorable country for Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in terms of the number of top global ICO projects.

Earlier this week, Binance signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Malta Stock Exchange’s fintech and digital asset subsidiary, MSX PLC, to launch a new security token digital exchange.

And earlier in August, Binance LCX, a joint venture between Binance and Liechtenstein Cryptoassets Exchange (LCX), announced the launch of crypto-fiat exchange in Liechtenstein to enable trading between Swiss Francs (CHF) and euros (EUR) against major digital currencies pairs.

by Helen Partz

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A new stablecoin is entering the cryptocurrency market. In order to do so, The White Company and FinTech Ltd. signed a partnership to include a stablecoin to FinTech’s Interstellar decentralized exchange (DEX). The cryptocurrency is known as White Standard Stablecoin (WSD) and has already been integrated to the exchange. In the future, new stablecoins pegged to other fiat currencies will be incorporated.

Stablecoins Enter the Crypto Market

The Cryptocurrency market continues its expansion with new stablecoins being developed. A new firm, The White Company, has entered the cryptocurrency world with very interesting products. This firm accepts virtual currencies in exchange for luxury goods. Some of the products it sells include luxury cars, rare artwork, and more.

Since it started its operations, the company registered 25,000 transactions and $100 million dollars worth of BTC exchanged. Until now, the largest sale was a Ferrari sold for $4 million dollars.

In order to keep its expansion in the market, the company decided to launch a stablecoin known as WSD. This virtual currency is audited by a third party every single month and is backed by fiat currency.

Users can buy as many WSD coins as desired. However, investors need to pass KYC and AML controls to have unlimited access to transactions. So as to run this cryptocurrency, the company decided to use the Stellar network. In this way, it works as the protocol to host WSD tokens. The Stellar network is very powerful since it can process transactions faster. Moreover, The Stellar network easily scales in case it’s needed.

It is very important for the Stellar network to continue its positive path with new companies working on top of it. Stellar is growing as a solution for global financial firms and platforms. WSD is the second stablecoin that joins the network after NGNT, backed by the Nigerian Naira. Additionally, with the addition of the Euro-backed WSE and GBP-backed WSP, the network expands its capabilities.

Elizabeth White, CEO of The White Company said:

Quote:[i]“Our goal is to unleash crypto’s real-world potential, and this partnership with Interstellar is the first of many steps in not just bringing the White Standard stable coins to the masses while increasing the ease for consumers to purchase Stellar lumens (XLM) with USD, GBP and the Euro.”[/i]

The White Company is also offering a payment processing service known as White Wallet and White Pay. The service can be used as C2C, B2C and B2B (consumer-to.consumer, business-to-consumer, business-to-business).

by Carlos Terenzi

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As you already know, 2018 has not been a good year for cryptocurrencies. In fact, some have gone as far as to call it a bloodbath. While the constant bear market is definitely not good for the crypto industry, many have learned the hard way that making quick profits with cryptos is neither easy nor advisable.

Those who decided to make long-term investments are now taking the center stage. Still, while the year has been pretty bad, and a lot of coins have lost a lot of their value (some as much as 90%), there are still several coins that are better off today than they were a year ago. Let's list them up, and check which cryptos have been the most resilient to this prolonged bear attack.

6 Cryptocurrencies Doing Better Than A Year Ago

1) Bitcoin
Of course, we will start off with Bitcoin. Bitcoin has lost a lot of its value since January 2018. At the beginning of the year, the coin was valued at $20,000 per piece. These days, it's struggling to reach $6,500 again. However, if we look further back, this time last year, BTC was much lower than it is today. Even after 9 months of a bear market, BTC is still as much as 40% higher than it was 365 days ago. While the coin remains subjected to high volatility, this should still give you hope for its future.

2) Dogecoin
Dogecoin has surprised a lot of people in the last few weeks, as it remains one of the rare few coins that have started growing, and just continued doing so. Currently, the coin is 210% higher than it was a year ago, which would be amazing even if we weren't talking about the meme-coin.

3) Walton
WaltconChain's native currency has expressed some interesting behavior over the course of 2018. While it is not looking too hot at the moment, it is still almost 200% higher than it was a year ago. Like Dogecoin, Walton is proof that crypto is not dead until it's dead, and that anything is possible given proper conditions.

4) Bytom
Bytom has somehow managed to remain strangely discreet and unnoticeable. A lot of investors aren't even aware of its position as per market cap. However, this doesn't mean that Bytom has given up. Instead, the coin has been working hard to make a name for itself, and it is currently 220% stronger than it was a year ago. While there is no certainty regarding the longevity of its success, the coin seems to be doing fine for now.

5) EOS
While a lot of coins have lost their value throughout the year. EOS seems to have lost even more. Despite some pretty significant feats, including a MainNet launch, EOS still has a lot of people giving it suspicious looks. However, even with all that has happened to it, EOS is currently over 430% stronger than it was last September. While the coin is currently having a tough time, its community and supporters should remember that EOS has made a big difference in the last 365 days.

6) Stellar
Finally, we have our sixth coin, which is Stellar Lumens. While Stellar is quite different from regular cryptos in numerous aspects, today we are only interested in one — its 920% growth in the previous 365 days. While this may change at any time, it is still a very impressive achievement.


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