As agencies experiment with blockchain to speed procurement, secure employee records and bring interoperability to health records, they are learning how the technology can transform how government does business. However, most work at federal and state levels is still in the pilot or proof-of-concept phase.
Lawmakers at a Feb. 14 hearing of two subcommittees of the House Science, Space and Technology Committees voiced concerns about moving such efforts into production. Committee members were particularly concerned about whether blockchain applications in government could be hacked the way some cryptocurrency exchanges and wallets have been in recent weeks.
Blockchain allows networks to continue to operate “even in the presence of bad actors or carelessness” through “fault-tolerant algorithms.” Jerry Cuomo, IBM’s vice president of blockchain technologies, said.
Because users validate others’ transactions on the blockchain, the distributed ledger technology has elements of cryptographic trust when it comes to identity of users, according to Chris Jaikaran, a cybersecurity policy analyst in the Congressional Research Service’s Government and Finance Division. It also creates an auditable and immutable record of transactions on the blockchain.
Jaikaran said that several agencies, including the National Institute of Standards and Technology, General Services Administration and Department of Homeland Security, were researching blockchain technology, but described their work as “still in the test-bed” stage of understanding how the technology works.
NIST released its first draft report on blockchain in January that offered a high-level explanation of how the technology works, the various platforms and common misconceptions. Charles Romine, director of the Information Technology Laboratory at NIST, said his agency’s priority with the guide was to create a common vocabulary.
Addressing questions about vulnerabilities in the technology, Romine said he believes it would be “extremely difficult” in “most cases” to alter blockchain records. Subverting and changing records would require “the collusion of a majority of the participants,” and it would “still likely be visible” to the entire community that changes were made.
NIST’s work with quantum computing also will play a role in the agency’s investigation of the security of blockchain technology. Romine said it could be 15 to 30 years before quantum computers can break blockchain algorithms, but warned that timeline could change “if there are dramatic improvements of the technology that we can’t predict.”
Aaron Wright, co-director of the Cardozo Blockchain Project at Yeshiva University, urged legislators to consider creating a National Blockchain Commission to foster the technology’s growth in the United States. Wright said in written testimony that he sees a commission as the best place to “devise common principles to guide the federal approach for regulating blockchain technology” and a convening body to hold hearings, conduct research and make recommendations for industry, agencies and lawmakers.
The Congressional Blockchain Caucus, meanwhile, is planning a series of meetings this year to educate lawmakers on the technology’s use in digital identity, payments and supply chain mechanisms. GSA’s Emerging Citizen Technology Program also holds monthly interagency meetings to discuss ongoing projects that incorporate blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual reality.
Cryptocurrency Mining Farms In China Shut Down For ‘Strict’ Tax Inspections
Cryptocurrency mining operations in the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang and Guizhou were suspended so the government could conduct “very strict” tax inspections and real-name registration checks.
Power to the mining farms was shut off on November 5, sources told local daily Cong News. As a result, the mines lost about 1 million yuan (or roughly $143,700) a day during the period of “rectification.”
“Joint enforcement actions examined the mine’s tax information, funds, and customer information,” Cong News reported. “It is understood that the tax inspection of the mine is very strict.”
Mining Farms Required To Sign Pledge
The tax inspection is now complete, but it’s unclear if power to the mining farms has been restored yet.
“It is understood that the mines, including business licenses, state-of-the-art power supply procedures, and employee Social Security, are officially complete,” Cong News noted.
The mining farms were required to sign an agreement promising that their mining data centers will implement “higher standards for the company’s business real-name system,” as mandated by China’s Public Security Department.
The farms also agreed to not provide services to any customers that do not comply with these rules.
Did the Shutdown Affect Bitmain?
It’s unclear how this shutdown affected Bitmain, which recently deployed 90,000 S9 Antminer rigs to the coal-rich region of Xinjiang ahead of the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which is scheduled for November 15.
Bitmain — the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency company — is making moves to maintain its market dominance amid reports that its smaller rival Bitfury is considering an initial public offering in Amsterdam or London as early as 2019.
The move would make Bitfury the first major crypto IPO listed in Europe, as CCN has reported. The Amsterdam-based blockchain startup could seek a valuation of $3 billion to $5 billion.
In September 2018, Bitmain filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong, with a potential valuation of up to $3 billion. Bitmain — which is valued at $10 billion — is on track to post $10 billion in revenue by the end of 2018.
$700 Million Bitcoin Mining Farm Being Built
Meanwhile, crypto mining firm Coinmint plans to invest up to $700 million to build the world’s largest bitcoin mining center in Upstate New York, with a 435-megawatt capacity.
Coinmint has already invested $50 million so far to convert a 1,300-acre Alcoa aluminum smelting plant in Massena, New York.
— VTOS FOUNDATION (@VTOSFOUNDATION) June 7, 2018
The new crypto mining farm is projected to create an estimated 150 new jobs, and is expected to be fully operational by June 2019.
The old Alcoa plant shuttered in 2014, but Coinmint signed a 10-year lease on the property, signaling its confidence that despite bitcoin’s recent slump, it believes cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
“As long as bitcoin networks exist, we anticipate mining to be profitable,” said Coinmint CTO Prieur Leary.
Exit Scam? Crypto Exchange Delists High-Profile Tokens & Users Allege Sell-Off
Between September and October, Liqui.io delisted 25 token pairs. A shrill Reddit user believes that signs point to an exit scam in progress.
Liqui.io has been delisting alot of their coins lately. Including some of their top 10 volume coins like BAT. Meanwhile they give customers just 15 days to withdraw after delisting (approx a month after announcement) to withdraw the coins. People that are on vacation / hodling / sick are likely to miss their announcements. It seems like this short announcement time has a reason: Liqui already started to liquidate 300k USD++ assets!
BAT was in the first batch of 13 tokens delisted. The post gives an address of 0xcc5570e7d39BA1738333782Fb0C5623fb6a6b1f2 and alleges that this address belongs to Liqui and that they are therefore laundering pilfered balances from clients who did not withdraw or liquidate their positions.
If this address is actually associated with Liqui, then it would seem that at least the assertion that they are liquidating the tokens would is correct. The move to eliminate Basic Attention Token came just weeks before news that Coinbase was listing the token and trading picked up, driving the price. At the time of the announcement, the BAT price was around 16 cents, whereas by the time Liqui saw fit to move over 1.4 million of the tokens, the price had risen all the way to more than 24 cents.
As noted by the Reddit post, Liqui’s 290,000+ users were only given 29 days total to withdraw their funds. If 1.4 million of the tokens remained on the exchange, it would seem prudent to extend that time. A possibility is that the exchange itself was participating in trading of BAT and the resulting balance is a result of their trading.
Liqui never mentions that they are trading against clients anywhere in their literature, so this would seem to be amoral at best. If they had been taking fees denominated in the tokens being traded, rather than the markets being used, then it would be also possible that these were leftover exchange fees. CCN has reached out to Liqui for comment regarding this matter and we hope to gain some insight.
Liqui’s blog on the subject of the BAT delisting tells users that it will be “unable” to process withdrawals. The trouble is, we see clearly on the blockchain that they in fact had many tens of thousands of BAT sitting around.Once the withdrawal deadline has been reached (October 13, 2018 at 12: 00 UCT), withdrawals will be disabled and the asset will be fully decommissioned. From this point forward, we will be unable to process withdrawals of impacted assets. It is imperative that customers withdraw delisted tokens by the withdrawal deadline. Please note that this deadline also applies to previously delisted assets, such as VET, EOS.
A similar situation occurs with SONM, which was put on the chopping block on October 20th and fully eliminated on November 11th. Again, we see a strong market upward pressure in SNM, meaning that Liqui was able to sell the tokens left on its exchange for more than they were worth at the time of the delisting announcement.
In the case of SNM, over 2.3 million tokens were sent to Binance. The Ethereum blockchain notes that as a result of these deposits, Liqui subsequently brought back a total of more than 34,000 Bancor Network Tokens, worth over $1 each. Also acquired were around 4.1 million DNT tokens worth $0.024 each, for a sum asset acquisition of around $120,000 between the two tokens. Other delisted tokens were treated in a similar way, probably accounting for the Reddit user’s math adding up to over “300k USD.”
Bitcoin Analysis: Falling Wedge Indicates Interim Breakout Scenario
Bitcoin on Tuesday extended its downward momentum, dropping 0.67-percent against the US Dollar.
The BTC/USD trading pair opened the Asian trading session at 6288-fiat and attempted an upside correction to as high as 6309-fiat. The selling pressure around the 6309-level resumed the downtrend. As a result, the pair kept forming red candles for the rest of the Asian and European trading session. It is now trading at 6294-fiat.
The macroeconomic view of the US Dollar posted bullish sentiment for the currency. But it is not looking the same today. The greenback is poised to post losses before the market closes as European currencies rebound. The ICE dollar index was noted to be down 0.1 percent as the market opened today.
A weaker dollar on an intraday basis can reinject the BTC/USD market with some upside sentiments. The pair is already forming a falling wedge pattern, indicated by the two unparallel black lines in the chart above. The consecutive swing highs and lows coupled with decreasing volume traditionally mark preparation of a breakout action. That said, BTC/USD should attempt to knock out the upper trendline of the falling wedge pattern and rally towards 6500-fiat as its primary upside target.
The RSI and the Stoch are also signaling an upside movement in BTC/USD price action. Both the indicators are inside their respective selling regions and are eyeing a pullback. In the chart above, a rising red trendline is capping the downside action for now.
BTC/USD Intraday Analysis
Our intraday strategy is keeping our eyes glued on the range, anyway. Today, we have 6374-fiat acting as our interim resistance and 6271-fiat as interim support. It is a pretty broad range to apply the intrarange strategy. That means entering a long on a bounce back from support and a short on a pullback from resistance while maintaining a stop loss order in the opposite direction of the price action.
Looking from the breakout perspective, the price should break above 6374-fiat to enable our long position towards 6406-fiat. If we go ahead with this trade, then we’ll put our stop-loss order just 3-pips below the entry position. Similarly, in the event of a breakdown action, a break below 6271-fiat will have us go short towards 6203-fiat.