Tech Startup Nebula Genomics Launches Blockchain-Based DNA Sequencing

Tech Startup Nebula Genomics Launches Blockchain-Based DNA Sequencing

Tech startup Nebula Genomics is launching DNA sequencing using blockchain without the need for customers to reveal their personal information.

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

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

Eliminating the dependence on data de-identification

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

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

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

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

Increasing blockchain adoption by health industry

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

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

After Dip of $500, Bitcoin Price Back to Trading Sideways at $10,200

After Dip of $500, Bitcoin Price Back to Trading Sideways at $10,200

After suffering a sudden $500 dip earlier today, Bitcoin price is back to trading sideways near the $10,200 price mark.

Thursday, Sept. 19 — Bitcoin (BTC) price is back up and seems to be stabilizing just above the $10,200 price mark after experiencing a sudden drop of $500 in minutes earlier today.

Market visualization. Source: Coin360

Bitcoin is trading sideways again

Bitcoin’s sideways trading behavior has become standard operating procedure in recent months, with long periods of sideways action giving way to sudden drops in prices, only to shoot back up to previous price levels.

Bitcoin price has started to trade sideways once again, currently at around $10,290 per coin, according to data from Coin360.

Bitcoin 24-hour price chart. Source: Coin36

Some have tried to explain why BTC/USD began gaining and losing several hundred dollars within minutes at irregular intervals. One theory revolved around margin trading — an increasingly popular tool offered by major exchanges such as Binance and, most notably, BitMEX.

Twitter account Squeeze noted: “The effect of cascading margin calls and stop loss triggers causing $300 slippage between XBT perpetual swaps on Bitmex vs Spot BTC,”

While Bitcoin is back to showing sideways price movement, Ether (ETH) is continuing its bullish move to just above the $220 price mark. The most popular altcoin is currently trading at $221.39, showing impressive gains of more than 5% on the day.

Ether 24-hour price chart. Source: Coin360

After weeks of sideways trading, Ripple’s XRP token took the lead in the top-20 altcoins with impressive gains just a few days ago. XRP was able to hold on to most of its gains and is currently trading at $0.30, although it is showing a loss of almost 1% on the day.

XRP 7-day price chart. Source: Coin360

Top-20 altcoins mostly in the red

Most of the top-20 altcoins are seeing red today, with the exception of Ether.

The biggest top-20 losers of the day are Monero (XMR) and NEO, with both coins showing losses close to 3%. Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Bitcoin SV (BSV) aren’t faring much better, which are showing losses of around 2% each.

The overall cryptocurrency market cap sits at $272.9 billion, with Bitcoin making up 67.6% of the total.

Keep track of top crypto markets in real time here

US Congress Schedules Sept. 24 Hearing With SEC With Crypto on Agenda

US Congress Schedules Sept. 24 Hearing With SEC With Crypto on Agenda

The United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services to hold hearing with SEC chairman Jay Clayton to discuss cryptocurrencies.

The United States House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services has scheduled a hearing with Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton and four other SEC commissioners to discuss, among other topics, crypto.

In a memorandum from Sept. 19, the Committee on Financial Services stated that it will hold a hearing on Sept. 24 entitled, “Oversight of the Securities and Exchange Commission: Wall Street’s Cop on the Beat.”

This one-panel hearing will include the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman Jay Clayton, commissioner Hester Pierce (AKA Crypto Mom) and another three commissioners.

Libra coin could amount to a security

The Committee on Financial Services has included cryptocurrencies on its list of topics for discussion and points out that the federal securities laws apply to securities — including stocks, bonds, and investment contracts — regardless of whether they are digital. 

The hearing will touch upon Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), whether or not digital assets are a security or exempt from securities law, and of course Facebook’s planned launch of its stablecoin Libra in 2020. The document adds:

“The Libra Investment Token could amount to a security since it is intended to be sold to investors to fund startup costs and would provide them with dividends. The Libra token itself may also be a security, but Facebook does not intend to pay dividends and it is unclear if investors would have a “reasonable expectation of profits.” 

Zuckerberg continues tour of Washington DC

Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 19 that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is making the rounds with policymakers in Washington, D.C. to discuss “future internet regulations,” most recently with Senator Josh Hawley.

Earlier on Sept. 19, Cointelegraph reported that Zuckerberg had dinner with a handful of U.S. lawmakers, where he faced intense scrutiny over the Libra project.

Brazilian Crypto Exchange Snubs Court Deadline to Fix Withdrawals

Brazilian Crypto Exchange Snubs Court Deadline to Fix Withdrawals

Brazilian crypto exchange branded as a financial pyramid Atlas Quantum rejects court deadline to resolve its late Bitcoin withdrawal situation.

Brazilian cryptocurrency exchange and alleged pyramid scheme Atlas Quantum rejected court deadlines to resolve its delayed Bitcoin (BTC) withdrawals.

Atlas Quantum may constitute a financial pyramid

As Cointelegraph Brasil reported previously, on Sept. 17, the Federal Court of Brazil ruled that the current activities of the cryptocurrency exchange Atlas Quantum may constitute a financial pyramid, and therefore decided to immediately freeze the company’s assets and bank accounts and give the company 48 hours to resolve outstanding accounts. 

In a Sept. 18 response to the court’s ruling and deadline, Atlas Quantum stated that there is no actual deadline that requires them to resolve the problem of late withdrawals by any given date.

The crypto exchange further stated that they do not agree with the federal court’s ruling that claims it is a financial pyramid scheme. “We are fully focused on resolving the issues at hand,” the exchange said.

The company’s CEO, Rodrigo Marques, who launched the exchange in Brazil in 2015, reportedly recorded a video in an attempt to contain the withdrawal crisis that the company is currently facing.

Brazilian courts pursue alleged pyramid schemes

Cointelegraph previously reported that a court in Rio de Janeiro ordered alleged investment scheme Unick Forex to pay $28,500 to a client who filed a lawsuit against the company for a delay in platform withdrawals and moral damages. As reported, the presiding judge granted a default judgment, which means Unick Forex did not show up in court to defend its case.

The State Court of Justice in Sao Paulo is also going after crypto companies and has made a block request to several Bitcoin trading companies — Atlas Quantum included. The courts are in search of virtual assets that belong to Miner, which is considered to be another financial pyramid scheme.

Waves Transitions to Self-Regulating Monetary System

Waves Transitions to Self-Regulating Monetary System

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

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

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

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

More profit to miners

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

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

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

Waves’ other recent developments

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

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

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

Bank of America Joins R3’s Marco Polo Blockchain Global Trade Network

Bank of America Joins R3’s Marco Polo Blockchain Global Trade Network

International investment bank Bank of America follows in the footsteps of Mastercard to join the Marco Polo blockchain network.

Bank of America has joined R3’s Corda-powered Marco Polo Network “to tackle trade finance challenges.”

“Tackle trade finance challenges”

On Sept. 19, Marco Polo announced the multinational investment bank was joining its network to improve international trade inefficiencies and deliver a better service for its customers. Geoff Brady, head of global trade at Bank of America, said:

“Joining the Marco Polo Network supports our strategic objective of turning technology advances into trade solutions that address client needs. We look forward to exploring how the new technology can generate greater transparency for our clients throughout the transaction lifecycle, making traditionally paper-based, opaque processes easier and more efficient.”

Daniel Cotti, managing director for the Marco Polo Network, said he is looking forward to working with Bank of America to address critical market challenges.

Following in the footsteps of Mastercard

Cointelegraph reported in the beginning of September that American financial services giant Mastercard had also revealed its participation in the project, a collaboration between R3 and Irish tech company TradeIX. The initiative provides a multi-asset class platform that offers broker-dealer services and multicurrency transactions.

Cointelegraph also wrote that Marco Polo onboarded three new members for piloting and evaluation purposes, namely financial services firm BayernLB, Frankfurt-based bank Helaba and back office service provider S-Servicepartner.

Coinbase Looks to Add Support for Telegram and 16 Other Digital Assets

Coinbase Looks to Add Support for Telegram and 16 Other Digital Assets

San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is looking to add support for Telegram and 16 additional digital assets.

San Francisco-based crypto exchange and wallet provider Coinbase has announced the support for Telegram and 16 additional digital assets.

Coinbase adds support for 17 digital assets

On Sept. 19, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced that it is considering the addition of a range of new assets; namely, Avalanche, Celo, Chia, Coda, Dfinity, Filecoin, Handshake, Kadena, Mobilecoin, NEAR, Nervos, Oasis, Orchid, Polkadot, Solana, Spacemesh, and Telegram.

Coinbase added that it intends to explore assets that have not yet launched and which Coinbase may choose to support in the future. 

Telegram, for example, recently released its Telegram Open Network (TON) testnet explorer and node software on its website. However, it has yet to distribute its network’s native token, GRAM, which is planned to happen two months from now.

Moreover, Coinbase emphasized that new tokens may not come online everywhere at the same time, given differing legal requirements. The blog post explained:

“We will add new assets on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis, subject to applicable review and authorizations.” 

Coinbase Pro adds support for DASH trading

As Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 14, Coinbase announced that its professional trading platform Coinbase Pro had plans to launch support for DASH token. The launch of DASH trading started at 9 AM Pacific Standard Time on Sept. 17.

According to the announcement, DASH will be available in Coinbase’s supported jurisdictions, with the exception of New York State and the United Kingdom. Additional regions “may be added at a later date.”

Zuckerberg Continues Tour of DC With Unproductive Meeting With Senator

Zuckerberg Continues Tour of DC With Unproductive Meeting With Senator

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is continuing his tour of Washington, meeting with U.S. Senator Josh Hawley to further discuss “future internet regulations.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is continuing to meet policymakers in Washington, D.C. to discuss “future internet regulations” — most recently with Senator Josh Hawley.

“A frank conversation”

On the afternoon of Sept. 19, Sen. Hawley wrote on Twitter:

“Just finished meeting with CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Had a frank conversation. Challenged him to do two things to show FB is serious about bias, privacy & competition.”

Hawley has asked Zuckerberg to consider selling WhatsApp and Instagram, and to submit to an independent, third-party audit on censorship.

According to Sen. Hawley, the executive had a clear and short answer to both requests: no.

Zuckerberg questioned by Democratic lawmakers

Earlier on Sept. 19, Cointelegraph reported that Zuckerberg had dinner with a handful of U.S. lawmakers, where he faced intense scrutiny over Libra.

Democratic Senator Mark R. Warner said Zuckerberg heard “consistent concerns about privacy, concerns around vile content and how it came to be dealt with.”

Stripe Worth $35 Billion After Raising $250 Million in New Funding Round

Stripe Worth $35 Billion After Raising $250 Million in New Funding Round

Online payments processor Stripe has raised another $250 million in funding round that saw its valuation rise to a whopping $35 billion.

Online payments processor Stripe has raised another $250 million in a new funding round, which pushes its pre-money valuation to a whopping $35 billion.

Total funding in the billions

On Sept. 19, Stripe announced the additional funding was sourced from investors including venture capital firms General Catalyst, Sequoia and Andreessen Horowitz.

Coming from a $9.2 billion valuation in 2016, San Francisco-based Stripe was valued at $22.5 billion after raising $245 million in the beginning of 2019. Overall, the U.S. fintech startup has raised roughly $1.2 billion since its inception.

The company, also an official partner of Facebook’s cryptocurrency project Libra, said it will use the new funds to accelerate global reach, grow product offerings, and extend enterprise capabilities. Stripe added:

“With 5 out of 6 new internet users coming online from areas outside of North America and Western Europe, Stripe has invested heavily in expanding to new markets. Stripe recently launched in eight additional countries and will be expanding to more in the coming months; this will bring the total to 40 countries covering 70% of the global economy, with many more launches planned for 2020.”

John Collison, Stripe’s president and co-founder, said that — even in 2019 — less than 8% of commerce happens online, adding:

“We’re investing now to build the infrastructure that’ll power internet commerce in 2030 and beyond. If we get it right, we can help the internet fulfill its potential as an engine for global economic progress.”

Stripe’s lending service

As Cointelegraph reported on Sept. 8, Stripe announced the launch of its lending service Stripe Capital for internet businesses in the United States. The news release stated:

“Stripe Capital’s full integration with Stripe means there’s no lengthy application, eligibility is determined quickly, funds hit a user’s Stripe account the next business day, and businesses can repay as they earn. […] In addition to serving Stripe users directly, Stripe will also extend Stripe Capital to its platform partners (such as online store builders and B2B SaaS companies), enabling them to offer their own business users access to smart financing.”

Iota Launches Decentralized and Autonomous Industrial Marketplace

Iota Launches Decentralized and Autonomous Industrial Marketplace

German non-profit DLT organization Iota Foundation launched decentralized and autonomous industrial marketplace.

Non-profit blockchain organization Iota Foundation has released a platform enabling a decentralized and autonomous industrial marketplace.

World’s first autonomous and decentralized virtual marketplace 

Dubbed the Industry Marketplace, Iota’s new product is a joint initiative that aims to accelerate industrial automation and commercial machine interaction, the organization announced in a blog post on Sept. 19.

Serving as a vendor and industry-neutral platform that automates the trade of physical and digital goods and services, the blog claims the Industry Marketplace to be the world’s first autonomous and decentralized virtual marketplace. 

The initiative is a collaboration between a number of firms, including German IoT startup Neoception and WeWash, the first innovation arm by the largest European manufacturer of home appliances, BSH Hausgeräte, and many others.

Not limited to manufacturing

Specifically, the Industry Marketplace, which is now available in demo version, intends to facilitate a secure interaction and payment platform for the full industrial ecosystem while ensuring the authenticity of all participants and enabling decentralized exchange.

The platform complies with specifications developed by Germany’s central network for digital manufacturing transformation Plattform Industrie 4.0 and deploys basic components such as blockchain, immutable logs, machine-readable contracts and an integrated decentralized identity system, the blog post notes.

According to the project’s website, the use cases of the Industry Marketplace are not limited to the manufacturing industry, as its concept can be used in all industries that require automation. This includes smart cities, energy, mobility and connected vehicles, among others.

New IMF Blog Considers Pros and Cons of Adoption of Stablecoins

New IMF Blog Considers Pros and Cons of Adoption of Stablecoins

The IMF has published a blog post in which it outlines both potential benefits and risks associated with the adoption of new digital payment methods, including stablecoins.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has released a blog in which it outlines the potential benefits and downsides associated with the adoption of new digital payment methods, including stablecoins.

In its recently published blog entitled “The Rise of Digital Money,” the IMF said stablecoins — digital currencies pegged to a physical asset or fiat currency and designed to minimize price volatility — could bring significant benefits to customers and society but are not without risks.

The benefits, risks and regulatory issues

The IMF said banks could lose their role as intermediaries, as the public would switch to stablecoin providers. However, it predicted banks would not disappear because they will likely try to compete by developing their own innovations.

The blog further states that new monopolies represented by tech giants could evolve. As such, tech companies could use their networks to sidestep rivals and monetize data.

Among other implications, the IMF said policymakers need to reinforce consumer protection and financial stability and the confront the risk of losing “seigniorage.” In countries subject to inflationary changes, stablecoins in foreign currency could replace local currencies, the blog noted, which could subsequently undermine monetary policy and financial development.

According to the IMF, stablecoins could also boost illicit activities, including money laundering and terrorist financing.

“New technologies offer opportunities to improve monitoring, however supervisors will need to adapt to the more fragmented and geographically diverse value chain of stablecoins,” the blog says.

At the same time, the IMF suggested stablecoins could enable seamless payments of blockchain-based assets, reduce costs and increase transaction speeds, adding:

“But the strongest attraction comes from the networks that promise to make transacting as easy as using social media. […] Stablecoins offer the potential for better integration into our digital lives and are designed by firms that thrive on user-centric design.”

The IMF’s plans regarding digital money

In July, the IMF argued that network effects could spark the blaze for the mass adoption of new digital money. The IMF then revealed that it aims to create a conceptual framework for categorizing new digital money such as Facebook’s Libra and stablecoins and to think through implications for central bank policy.

Earlier in September, head of the IMF Christine Lagarde said central banks and financial bodies should protect consumers but be open to innovations such as cryptocurrencies.

Bitcoin Owners Are Giving Away Altcoins to Support TOR Project

Bitcoin Owners Are Giving Away Altcoins to Support TOR Project

Bitcoin owners say it is better to donate altcoins to charities and other nonprofit organizations while “stacking sats.”

On the lighter side of things in the cryptosphere, some Bitcoin (BTC) owners have been donating altcoins to the TOR Project — a nonprofit organization primarily responsible for running “The Onion Router.”

For some Bitcoiners, the trend is a way of killing two birds with one stone — supporting the TOR Project and getting rid of “shitcoins.” As for the latter half of the equation, Bitcoiners appear keen to extend the running gag of altcoins being worthless.

“Donate shitcoins, stack sats”

Earlier in September, Bitcoin maximalist and co-host of the “Tales from the Crypt” podcast Matt Odell posted a tweet urging people to support the TOR Project by way of donation. In a cheeky addendum, Odell added, “donate shitcoins. stack sats.”

Sarah Stevenson, fundraising director at the TOR Project, initially thought the donations were coming from members of the Stellar community, likely because of the influx of XLM tokens.

Bitcoiners swiftly corrected her conclusion, seemingly opposed to letting their attempted ribbing go unnoticed. They soon piled onto the thread, dropping Twitter soundbites like the “perfect destination for my airdropped shitcoins” and “sounds like a good place to dump my shitcoins.”

Some of the donations reportedly came from recipients of the Keybase XLM airdrop. As previously reported by Cointelegraph, encrypted messaging platform Keybase partnered with the Stellar Development Foundation to launch a $120 million airdrop.

The Bitcoiners did, however, advise Stevenson and the team to quickly convert the donations into fiat. Data from CoinMarketCap shows a 45% decline in the XLM price since the start of the year. Stellar tokens are also down more than 93% from their all-time high of $0.8755 in 2018.

XLM price chart, 2019

On Wednesday, the XLM spot price saw a 52% rise in a little under two hours, leading to speculation about the arrival of another altseason. The upward surge was followed by a steep retrace, reducing the initial 24-hour trading gains by more than half.

For Stevenson, the TOR Project appreciates the donations regardless of the subtext. In a private correspondence with Cointelegraph, the TOR Project’s fundraising director offered her thoughts on the matter, stating:

“I am generally a peace, not war kind of person but I welcome any activity that draws attention to the importance of financially supporting the Tor Project. Everyone benefits from the privacy and anonymity technologies we develop and maintain. As for the tangible value proposition for altcoins, I’ll plead the fifth because I prefer to be friends with everyone.”

At the time of publication, the TOR Project has received more than 21,300 XLM tokens, valued at over $1,200.

The crypto-philanthropy angle

Apart from the TOR Project, other nonprofit organizations are also asking holders of spare altcoins to consider donating in support of worthy causes around the world. Via its Twitter account, Bitcoin Venezuela called on people to send their unwanted XLM to support its Bitcoin for Venezuela Initiative.

According to another Twitter account, “The Giving Block,” there are other nonprofit organizations that accept XLM donations. Recently, cryptocurrency has seemingly taken on increased prominence in philanthropic work across the globe.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, Fidelity Charitable — an independent public charity organization — has received more than $100 million in cryptocurrency donations since 2015.

Global aid organizations such as the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund — or UNICEF — have encouraged PC gamers in the past to mine cryptocurrencies with their computers and donate the earnings to support humanitarian aid efforts for children in Syria. There is also the Pineapple Fund from 2018, which donated more than $55 million in Bitcoin to numerous nonprofit organizations around the world.

Related: From Clean Water Supply to Rebuilding Notre Dame: Crypto and Blockchain in Charity

Apart from using cryptocurrencies as an avenue for donating to charities, there is also talk of leveraging blockchain technology to improve the transparency of these organizations. An excerpt from Binance Academy’s post on the benefits of adopting crypto-philanthropy reads:

“Each cryptocurrency transaction is unique, which means that it is also easily tracked through the blockchain. The higher level of transparency and public accountability can ease donors’ minds and encourage them to give while also reinforcing the charity’s reputation for integrity. […] Funds can move directly from donors to charities, and the decentralized nature of blockchain makes it uniquely suitable for international transactions.”

Bitcoin maximalism

According to Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, there are observable elements of tribalism within the crypto space. Mati Greenspan, senior market analyst at eToro, quoted Lubin as saying:

“Ultimately we’re all on the same team. Yes, there’s a lot of tribalism but we’re all working towards similar goals.”

Lubin’s comments came during a session at the Ethereal Summit in Tel Aviv on Sunday. On the panel with Lubin were fellow Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin and eToro CEO Yoni Assia.

The struggle for relevance among the major cryptocurrency projects formed a large part of the discussions at the event. The debate over whether any altcoin project can challenge Bitcoin’s dominance is one that often seems to draw myriad opinions.

As with any debate among groups holding strong opinions, the emergence of category-specific rhetoric — or, as Lubin puts it, “tribalism” — is likely. There are the Bitcoin maximalists whose position is that “Bitcoin is king” and all other altcoins are “shitcoins.”

To be fair, such a position might not seem extreme considering the many instances of exit scams among altcoin projects coupled with the poor price performance of the altcoin market.

This seemingly never-ending decline in altcoin prices becomes even more apparent when considered alongside Bitcoin. Bitcoiner and self-professed “toxic maximalist” Udi Wertheimer recently called out the leaders of altcoin projects like Bancor (BNT), writing:

“Shitcoin founders […] deserve all the fiery hate they receive from the community, and more. When you choose to sell your reputation for tens of millions, you don’t get to keep your reputation. Reputation can’t be double spent… not at scale.”

Another brand of Bitcoin maximalism, while agreeing that “Bitcoin is king,” says there is no harm in catching the frequent bounces in the altcoin scene and making money. Posting on Twitter earlier in September 2019, crypto analyst Josh Rager wrote:

“Bitcoin is king, I’m still Bitcoin maximalist, I like to make money though so I’ll invest in any tech that likely presents to give a solid ROI.”

If commentators like Matt Hougan of Bitwise Asset Management are correct, then 95% of all altcoins will die. Probable mass altcoin extinction aside, donating cryptos to charities while they still hold significant U.S. dollar value doesn’t seem like a bad idea.

Related: As Coordinated Sell-Offs Strike Altcoins, How Do Exchanges Respond?

Iran Considers New System of Annual Registration for Crypto Miners

Iran Considers New System of Annual Registration for Crypto Miners

Following a summer full of news on the local industry, the Cabinet of Iran is considering a new system of annual registration for crypto miners.

Iran’s cabinet is looking into a proposal to register cryptocurrency miners on a year-to-year basis.

According to documents reported by Coindesk on Sept. 19, a draft proposal to register crypto mining operations is currently on its way to official approval in Tehran. The proposed licenses would require information on employment, rent agreements and other business activities. 

The requirements seem designed to allow the Iranian government to curtail unsavory activities related to crypto while continuing to profit from an industry thriving in a country facing international sanctions and inflation — economic factors that have resulted in a rise in national misery.

Status of crypto in Iran

Recent months have seen a great deal of hubbub surrounding the Iranian government’s attitude towards cryptocurrency within its borders. 

In June, Iran’s Ministry of Energy said that they would be cutting off power to mining operations using the country’s subsidized energy grid until special pricing went into effect. A month later, that special pricing was finalized, with miners expected to pay $0.07 per kilowatt-hour, compared to $0.05 for most citizens. 

Subsequently, at the end of July, Iran authorized mining as an industrial activity. And while the Iranian cabinet rejected the use of cryptocurrencies in transactions at the beginning of August, Iran’s National Tax Administration did agree to exempt repatriated crypto mining earnings from taxation last week.

Zuckerberg Dines With US Democrats Concerned Over Facebook’s Libra

Zuckerberg Dines With US Democrats Concerned Over Facebook’s Libra

Facebook Mark Zuckerberg is grilled with questions and concerns about its planned Libra stablecoin project by Democratic lawmakers during a private dinner.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had dinner with a handful of United States lawmakers, where he was met with intense scrutiny of Facebook’s proposed Libra stablecoin project.

Zuckerberg grilled by Democratic lawmakers

According to an article by the Washington Post on Sept. 19, Democratic Senator Mark R. Warner said Zuckerberg heard “consistent concerns about privacy, concerns around vile content and how it came to be dealt with.” 

The U.S. senator said specific questions were asked about Facebook’s plans to launch Libra, a cryptocurrency that has seen plenty of scrutiny in recent months from policymakers around the world. Warner added:

“One of the things I’m very worried about is, when the Facebook representative testified before the Senate, before my committee, he said, ‘You know, if we can’t get American regulatory approval, we won’t launch,’ […] We hear lots of indication Facebook may choose to launch in other nations first. … So somebody is not telling the truth.”

Warner seemed convinced that Zuckerberg acknowledged the concerns from the US policymakers, but added:

“I still don’t have 100 percent clarity on whether they feel like they can launch short of U.S. regulatory approval.”

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who was also present during the dinner on Sept. 18, said that he welcomed “the strong, constructive interest shown by Mr. Zuckerberg,” adding:

“We talked about some of the most pressing challenges facing the tech industry, including its repeated failures to [protect] election security and consumer privacy. I focused on the challenges of privacy safeguards.”

Zuckerberg aims to win over policymakers

Cointelegraph reported earlier that Zuckerberg is in Washington for meetings with policymakers to discuss privacy, competition and Facebook’s handling of political content. 

Facebook facing resistance from European lawmakers

This month, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said that France will not authorize the development of Libra on European soil, while German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz warned that policymakers cannot accept parallel currencies.

Square Crypto Completes Inaugural Developer Team With Three New Hires

Square Crypto Completes Inaugural Developer Team With Three New Hires

Square Crypto has hired former devs from Google, Facebook’s Libra and Lightning Labs onto its inaugural developer team.

Square Crypto has hired Valentine Wallace, Jeffrey Czyz and Arik Sosman to its inaugural developer team.

The crypto-focused branch of Jack Dorsey’s payment company announced the appointments in a series of tweets on Sept. 19.

Wallace joined the company from Lightning Labs, Czyz came from Google and Sosman from Facebook’s Libra. With the latest hires, Square Crypto said it has completed its inaugural developer team.

The next step: public opinion

The public is now being urged to participate in the decision-making process for its first project.

“There’s no project we won’t consider, as long as it improves or proliferates bitcoin,” Square Crypto wrote.

Square Crypto recently made a series of appointments, with Blockstream co-founder and Bitcoin (BTC) developer Matt Corallo and former Google product director Steve Lee becoming project managers. Lee subsequently made a number of remarks that solidify the company’s emphasis on Bitcoin.

Making Bitcoin stronger

Lee described Square Crypto as “an open-source initiative designed to strengthen the bitcoin ecosystem,” adding:

“Our goal is Bitcoin for all. We are focusing on improving the Bitcoin experience for mainstream users. The user journey will always be central to our thinking.”

Earlier in September, Square Crypto announced a grant to BTCPay Foundation — described as the first of many to support open-source Bitcoin projects. The startup provided BTCPay Foundation with $100,000 to support BTCPay Server, an open-source cryptocurrency payment processor.

Square Crypto went on to explain why they are giving a “bunch of money” to BTCPay Server, saying: “This isn’t an investment in a competitor, it’s an investment in the future of money — something that Square obviously has a stake in.”