PwC Partners With BitFury to Create Blockchain Accelerator in Russia

Big four consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has partnered with mining and blockchain software company Bitfury Group to create a blockchain accelerator for businesses in Russia, according to a PwC press release today, Dec. 13.

The release explains that PwC has already used Exonum — Bitfury’s open source framework for building blockchain applications — for educational courses and seminars.

According to the release, the main goal of the new accelerator is to meet the “current needs” of the consulting giant’s enterprise clients in Russia. Victor Nelin, an IT consulting manager at PwC’s Russian branch, claimed that BitFury and PwC will provide “fundamentally new” products to companies in different industries within the next few years.

The release also cites a recent PwC study on blockchain implementation in the energy sector. The company believes that blockchain can “drastically” change the modern economy and cut personnel and infrastructure costs with the automation of business processes.

With a revenue totalling over $41 billion for the 2018 fiscal year, PwC is currently the second largest among the Big Four professional services firms.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, in November Bitfury’s Russian branch launched another blockchain accelerator with the Moscow-based Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. As part of the partnership, the university committed to offering blockchain-related courses and additional educational programs.

PwC will also launch its own accelerator to bolster its employees’ knowledge of blockchain via a two-year program starting January 2019. The United Kingdom-based company expects to train as many as 1000 employees.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Number of Crypto Users Nearly Doubled in 2018, Study Says

Cryptocurrency gained 17 million “verified users” this year, according to a study published by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Dec. 12.

According to the study, data show that in the first three quarters of 2018 the number of ID-verified cryptocurrency users nearly doubled, climbing from 18 million to 35 million.

Total crypto users, number of account and verified individuals

Total crypto users, number of account and verified individuals. Source: Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

According to a Bloomberg analysis of the study, the growth of the user base this year while crypto markets decline “could signal that an eventual recovery could be coming.” The analysis further notes that “most users are likely still speculators and long-term investors.”

In terms of breaking down who is investing in crypto, the Cambridge research team also claims that the data “indicates that the majority of users — both established as well as new entrants — are individuals and not business clients.” Those individuals, the document explains, could be “hobbyist retail investors, consumers, or users seeking a better investment or payment alternative.”

As Cointelegraph reported last week, despite dismal market conditions bringing down the dollar-value of its assets under management, Grayscale’s Bitcoin Investment Trust has seen a record number of Bitcoin (BTC) deposits this year, bringing its BTC holdings to over 1 percent of the coin’s entire circulating supply.

A November analysis of the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) market in Q3 of this year has defined the funding method’s performance an “overall disappointment.”

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Opera Releases ‘Web 3-Ready’ Android Browser With Ethereum, DApp Support

Opera has launched its “Web 3-ready” browser for Android, with crypto wallet integration, support for Ethereum (ETH) and interactions with decentralized applications (DApps). The launch was announced at the Hard Fork Decentralized event in London Dec. 13, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph.

Charles Hamel, product manager of Opera Crypto, has outlined that the new product aims to remove the “friction” involved in “using cryptocurrencies online and accessing Web 3 via special apps or extensions,” in a bid to make the emerging technologies more “mainstream.”  

Hamel explained Opera’s choice to support Ethereum and the Ethereum Web3 API as being based on the perception that the protocol “has the largest community of developers building Dapps” and significant “momentum behind it.”

Krystian Kolondra, executive vice president for Browsers at Opera, has said the move is a bid to “accelerate the transition of cryptocurrencies from speculation and investment to being used for actual payments and transactions in our users’ daily lives,” with Hamel adding that:

“[Opera] believe[s] all browsers will eventually integrate some kind of wallet, which will enable new business models to emerge on the web.”

Opera first announced it would be integrating a built-in crypto wallet for its desktop browser in early August, after launching a mobile crypto wallet as part of its beta Opera for Android in July. In September, the firm released an interoperable “Labs” beta version for Android with integrated wallet, Web 3.0 and DApp functionality.

“Web 3.0” is a term that was initially coined to refer to the ambition for the development of a semantic internet, and is increasingly used to refer to the evolution of a more intelligent, open and distributed internet, which could involve the use of blockchain, decentralized computing and cryptocurrencies.

As previously reported, Opera partnered with blockchain advisory and financial services firm Ledger Capital this September to explore possible blockchain applications across its products and ecosystem.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

UAE Exchange, Ripple to Launch Blockchain Remittances to Asia by Q1 2019

United Arab Emirates-based UAE Exchange has partnered with Ripple to launch blockchain-based cross-border remittances to Asia by Q1 2019, Reuters reports Dec. 13.

According to the report, UAE Exchange, a part of payments and foreign exchange company Finablr, is among the key players in the Middle East region, which sees high levels of remittance inflows from expatriate workers. As Reuters notes, Asia was one of the largest recipients of the $613 billion in remittances estimated to have been sent globally in 2017.

While remittances are at present largely sent via foreign exchange branches, CEO of Finablr Promoth Manghat has said that blockchain-based alternatives hold “tremendous promise for the industry.” Aiming to bring the technology to the mainstream via UAE Exchange’s joint venture with Ripple, Manghat has said:

“We expect to go live with Ripple by Q1, 2019 with one or two Asian banks. This is for remittances to start with, from across the globe into Asia.”

UAE Exchange’s partnership with Ripple for cross-border payments dates back to February of this year, making the firm, according to Reuters, the “largest payments firm in the Middle East” to use RippleNet. Lenders in the region who have reportedly joined RippleNet include the National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah RAKB.AD and Kuwait Finance House.

As reported just yesterday, the UAE’s central bank is currently collaborating with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to issue a cryptocurrency that will be accepted in cross-border inter-bank transactions between the two countries.

In early October, it was revealed that a digital currency pegged to the UAE’s fiat currency, the dirham, would soon have its own retail payment system open for Dubai consumers.

As of press time, Ripple’s native token XRP is trading at roughly $0.30, down just over one percent on the day, and over 12 percent on the week, according to Cointelegraph’s XRP Price Index.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, Stellar, EOS, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin SV, Litecoin, TRON, Cardano: Price Analysis, Dec. 12

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange.

When markets were rising, the novice traders believed they can never go down, and one must only have the courage and patience to HODL. However, after this year’s nerve-racking correction, most of those same traders now believe that the cryptocurrencies are going to zero. They were wrong on the way up, and they are wrong again on the way down. The fundamentals are getting better and are pointing to a better future.

Mike Novogratz, former hedge fund manager and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner said that the markets are sober now, as the speculative mania is gone. He remains bullish and believes that Bitcoin is not going to zero, it is just in a “methadone clinic.”

The most popular twins in the crypto space, Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss, are also undeterred by the current bear market. They have launched a new mobile crypto trading app with various investment features. Their crypto exchange, Gemini plans to enter the Asian crypto space in 2019.

But not everyone is bullish about the future. Harvard University Professor of Economics and Public Policy Kenneth Rogoff believes that the long-term value of Bitcoin is “more likely to be $100 than $100,000,” as reported by The Guardian.

We, however, believe that the current fall is a good buying opportunity, but the traders should not expect a vertical rally. The markets are likely to form a large base before starting a new uptrend.

BTC/USD

Bitcoin is currently trading inside a descending channel. The bulls have been attempting to defend the $3,500 mark for the past three days. A break of this first support will result in a retest of the Dec. 7 low of $3,329.05.

BTC/USD

If the bulls hold $3,500, the BTC/USD pair might pull back to the resistance line of the channel, just below the 20-day EMA. We expect this level to act as a stiff resistance.

Though the moving averages continue to fall, the RSI has been forming a positive divergence for the past few days. This is a bullish sign. If the price climbs above the 20-day EMA, we can expect the pullback to reach the next overhead resistance of $5,000.

A failure to break out of the 20-day EMA, and a plunge below $3,329.05 will test the $3,000 threshold. If this support also breaks, the next support is way lower at $2416.52. However, we expect the leading digital currency to hold the $3,000–$3,500 zone, so we had recommended a buy in our previous analysis.

XRP/USD

Since breaking down of the support at $0.33108, the bulls have been attempting to keep Ripple above the Dec. 7 low of $0.28600.

XRP/USD

A break below $0.286 and the support line of the channel can result in a fall to the Aug. 14 low of $0.24508. If this support breaks, the next support is at $0.15.

If the bulls hold the support and break out of the 20-day EMA, we expect the XRP/USD pair to rally to the 50-day SMA. A sustained move above $0.4 will increase the probability of a rally to the top of the channel at $0.5. Therefore, we suggest traders hold on to their existing long positions.

ETH/USD

Ethereum has been trading in a tight range of $83–$102.5 since breaking down of the previous support of $102.2.

ETH/USD

The RSI has been forming a positive divergence, which increases the possibility of a pullback. On the upside, any recovery attempt will face resistance at $102.5, the 20-day EMA and at $130.5.

If the ETH/USD pair plummets below $83, the downtrend will resume. Its next lower target is $66. The traders can wait for a bullish pattern to develop before entering any positions.

XLM/USD

Stellar is trying to pull back from the lows. It has broken out of the downtrend line, which shows some respite from the incessant selling. The recovery will gain strength if the price breaks out of $0.13427050. On the upside, the 20-day EMA and $0.184 will act as major hurdles.

XLM/USD

On the other hand, if the XLM/USD pair turns down from the overhead resistance and breaks $0.10488320, the downtrend can extend to $0.08. The down sloping moving averages and the RSI in the oversold territory suggest that the downtrend remains. We shall wait for a new buy setup to form before proposing any trades in the pair.

EOS/USD

EOS has broken out of the downtrend line, which suggests that the intensity of the selling has reduced. But the trend remains headed downward, as both moving averages are still falling, and the RSI is in the oversold zone.

EOS/USD

If the bulls break out of the immediate resistance of $2.1733, the pullback can extend to the 20-day EMA, which is likely to act as a stiff resistance. A break above this can carry the EOS/USD pair to $3.8723.

If the next dip doesn’t break the low of $1.55, we can confirm that a bottom is in place. However, if the next dip breaks the Dec. 7 low, the digital currency can fall to $1.2. We suggest traders wait for a reversal pattern to form before entering any long positions.

BCH/USD

Bitcoin Cash dipped below the Dec. 7 low of $94 and made a new year-to-date low on Dec. 11 at $92.13. This indicates a lack of buying even at the current levels.

BCH/USD

Currently, the bulls are attempting to push the price back above $94. If successful, the BCH/USD pair will continue to trade in the range of $92.13–$115.61. Both moving averages are falling, and the RSI is deep in the oversold territory. This confirms that the trend is down with no signs of a reversal yet.

The first sign of buying will be when the bulls break out and close (UTC time frame) above $116. In such a case, the pullback can extend to the 20-day EMA. Though the digital currency has a history of vertical rallies, we suggest traders wait for buying to resume before attempting a trade in it.

BSV/USD

While the other cryptocurrencies are showing signs of bottoming out, Bitcoin SV is facing selling at higher levels.

BSV/USD

For the past five days, the BSV/USD pair has been falling gradually and has reached the bottom of the range. A break below the range can result in a retest of $38.528.

On the other hand, if the bulls bounce from the bottom of the range, we can expect the digital currency to reach the top of the range at $123.98. Trading inside a price range can be volatile, so we shall wait for a break out of the range before recommending a trade in it.

LTC/USD

Litecoin has been consolidating close to the lows for the past five days. Though the price has stayed above the low of $23.1, it has not been able to move up. This shows a lack of buying at higher levels. The trend remains in favor of the bears as long as the price is below the downtrend line.

LTC/USD

A return of buyers will be signaled when the LTC/USD pair sustains above the 20-day EMA. The RSI has formed a bullish divergence, which is a positive sign.

Aggressive traders can wait for the price to close above the 20-day EMA and establish long positions with a short-term target of $40. The stop loss can be placed at $23. The traders should keep the position size at only about 30 percent of usual because it is a countertrend move. If the digital currency slides below $23.1, it can reach $20.

TRX/USD

TRON has formed a symmetrical triangle, which is usually a continuation pattern. However, in some cases it acts as a reversal pattern as well.

TRX/USD

If the bears break below the triangle, the downtrend might resume. The pattern target of such a breakdown is $0.00554133. It has a minor support at $0.00844479, which can attract some buying.

Conversely, if the TRX/USD pair breaks out and closes (UTC time frame) above the triangle, it has a pattern target of $0.02055867. However, we believe $0.0183 will offer a stiff resistance. If the digital currency doesn’t break down or break out of the triangle within the next few days, the pattern will be invalidated.

ADA/USD

Cardano has been consolidating close to the lows. It is currently facing resistance at $0.35. Any recovery is likely to face resistance at the 20-day EMA. If the bulls break out of this resistance, a rally to $0.456 and thereafter to the 50-day SMA is probable.

The RSI is developing a positive divergence, which is a bullish sign. But still, in a downtrend, traders should wait for the price to show an uptick before jumping in to buy because positive divergences turn out to be bear traps.

ADA/USD

If the ADA/USD pair turns down from one of the overhead resistances and slides below $0.027237, the downtrend will resume. The next stop on the downside might be $0.025954. We can’t find any reliable buy setups yet, so we are not recommending a trade in it.

The market data is provided by the HitBTC exchange. The charts for the analysis are provided by TradingView.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Russian Deputy Prime Minister: Draft Crypto Legislation Won’t Be ‘Significantly’ Edited

Maxim Akimov, the deputy prime minister of Russia, announced that the authors of Russia’s draft cryptocurrency legislation were not planning on making any changes to the bill. His statement was reported by Russian information agency Finmarket, which specializing on the financial and commodity markets, on Dec. 11.

The bill “On Digital Financial Assets” — approved by Russia’s parliament, the State Duma, back in May — has given rise to a lot of discussion within the Russian legal discourse since its first reading. Back in the fall, all crypto- and token-related terminology had been replaced with the term “digital rights,” and the definition of crypto mining had also been cut from the bill.

However, at the beginning of this month, Pavel Krasheninnikov, the head of the council and chairman of the State Duma committee on state building, said that the bill had been pushed back to the first reading stage as it needed to be “significantly” changed, as Cointelegraph reported Dec. 1.

Meanwhile, the deputy prime minister underlined this week that there would not be “significant amendments” to the draft bill, according to Finmarket. Akimov also noted:

“We are having a big conversation with any interested parties, we are in a dialogue and discuss it at various venues […] [But] We adhere to the position that has been worked out at the site of the two committees [the Finance Committee and the Civil Law Committee of the State Duma].”

Speaking about the possibility of creating stablecoin-related regulation, Akimov noted that this form of legislation would possibly “duplicate the standard mechanisms for fundraising,” adding:

“This is not the case for which all civil law must be turned upside down. These tools must be entered into [existing] civil legislation very carefully, what we are trying to do.”

Last month, Anatoly Aksakov, the chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Financial Markets, said that the “crypto ruble,” a proposed state-backed stablecoin, would be “the same ruble, just in encrypted form,” Cointelegraph wrote Nov. 8.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Dutch Central Bank Proposes License Requirement for Cryptocurrency Service Providers

Cryptocurrency service providers will soon be required to obtain a license from the central bank of the Netherlands, major Dutch news outlet DeTelegraaf reports Dec. 11.

The article explains that the measure has been undertaken hoping that it will “prevent such cryptocurrencies being used to launder money obtained through crime or to fund terrorism.”

To qualify for a license, providers will reportedly need to know who their customers are and report unusual transactions. All of this data will be monitored by De Nederlandsche Bank, the Dutch central bank.

After the implementation in April of similar laws in Japan obliging cryptocurrency exchanges to report dubious cryptocurrency transactions, a notable increase in the number of such reports was noted this winter.

In August, an executive at the Dutch central bank stated that cryptocurrencies aren’t recognized as “real money,” but that the bank has no plans to ban them. Also in August, an advisor of the central bank claimed that Bitcoin’s (BTC) price changes coincide with Google searches for the cryptocurrency.

As Cointelegraph reported in October, the Port of Rotterdam has partnered with both a major Dutch bank and Samsung to test blockchain use for shipping in Europe’s largest port. Also in Holland, the country’s largest supermarket chain, Albert Heijn, revealed in September that it is using blockchain to make the production of its orange juice more transparent.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

IBM Research Teams up With Agritech Firm to Boost African Agribusiness with Blockchain

IBM Research has teamed up with United States-based agriculture tech firm Hello Tractor to boost the African agriculture industry with blockchain. The partnership was described in a Dec. 11 blog post on IBM’s official website.

According to the post, the IBM Research division in Kenya is working with Hello Tractor’s developers in order to apply various tools and technologies, including blockchain, to the Hello Tractor mobile platform that enables farmers to access tractor services on demand.

Specifically, IBM Research scientists will incorporate blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to Hello Tractor’s tool platform. IBM Research also intends to integrate the platform with its own cloud solution IBM Cloud, as well as Watson Decision Platform for Agriculture, a jointly developed agribusiness tool based on artificial intelligence (AI).

The new jointly developed platform will reportedly represent an “agriculture digital wallet” featuring a blockchain-based AI platform that will provide a high level of transparency of  instantly shared data between all parties involved in a certain agribusiness value chain.

In particular, the pilot is expected to address to a wide range of processes in the agriculture industry, such as crop yield prediction by farmers, fleet utilization management and predictive maintenance, and compilation of credit portfolio for farmers and tractor owners by banks, as well as investment and regulation processes by governments.

According to IBM, less than 20 percent of crops are managed by tractors and other machinery in sub-Saharan Africa to date, while food demand is constantly increasing due to population growth averaging 11 million per year. Moreover, around 50 percent of farmers face significant harvest losses each year, which is caused by poor planting practices.

Last week, Overstock.com’s blockchain venture wing Medici Ventures bought $2.5 million in equity in agricultural blockchain project GrainChain, which enables supply chain parties to track the distribution process of harvests.

Earlier this year, the Ethiopian government signed a MOU with crypto startup Cardano (ADA) in order to apply blockchain technology to the country’s agritech industry.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Canadian City of Calgary Launches Local Digital Currency for Intracity Transactions

Calgary, a city in the Canadian province of Alberta, has launched its own digital currency. The Calgary Dollar will allow holders to pay for services and goods at local shops, major Canadian media outlet Global News reports Friday, Dec. 7.

According to HuffPost Canada, the Calgary Dollar was initially launched in 1996, with citizens and businesses offering goods and services in exchange for the local currency alongside the Canadian dollar. This new move in 2018 allows citizens to download an app and store the digital currency on their devices.

Calgary is reportedly the first city in Canada to launch its own coin. According to Global News, Alberta’s government supports the initiative. The officials expect that the Calgary Dollar could support small businesses and nonprofits by keeping funds within the city.

Calgary Dollars work through a smartphone app that lists shops and restaurants that participate in the program. Citizens can spend their Canadian Dollars to pay for lunch, make a donation to some of Calgary’s nonprofits or buy inner transport tickets.

One way to obtain the currency is by posting ads for goods and services that users want to sell in the app or on project’s website for Calgary Dollars, receiving a small amount of the digital currency in exchange for posting the ad.

Recommending Calgary Dollars to a friend also brings profit. Moreover, Victoria Park, an events and culture district of Calgary, is reportedly offering cash back to shoppers who use the local digital currency.

Local entrepreneurs, in their turn, can pay up to half of their business licenses with Calgary Dollars.

As Cointelegraph has often reported, many countries are considering launching local digital currencies.

In Mongolia, the country’s largest mobile telecoms operator plans to issue an e-currency, dubbed “Candy.” Meanwhile, in Dubai, consumers will soon be able to use digital currency to pay for goods, services and utilities following, a new government partnership with a blockchain payment provider.

As well, the Bank of Thailand has plans to develop a wholesale central bank digital currency that will use blockchain consortium R3’s Corda platform.

News source CoinTelegraph.com

Bitcoin Dips Below $3,400 as Market Volatility Continues

Tuesday, Dec. 11: crypto markets have continued moving in a downward trend after challenging a recovery attempt on Sunday, Dec. 9. Almost all of the top 20 coins have seen losses over the 24-hour period, with Bitcoin SV (BSV) down the most, seeing just over 6 percent losses.

Market visualization from Coin360

Having failed to hold $3,500 support yesterday, Bitcoin (BTC) has briefly dropped below the $3,400 threshold earlier today. However, the intraday low $3,397 is still not the lowest point over the week, with the coin’s intraweek low around $3,280 on Dec. 7.

As of press time, Bitcoin is trading just above $3,400, down around 2 percent over the past 24 hours.

Recently, Cointelegraph reported on Bitcoin’s increased volatility, which has risen threefold on the month.

Bitcoin 7-day price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin’s share of the crypto market, or dominance, currently amounts to 55.1 percent, seeing a considerably steady increase over the past six months.

Bitcoin Market Dominance 1-year chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Ripple (XRP), the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, is down about 1 percent today, and trading at $0.29, having dropped below $0.30 for the first time since Sept. 17.

Ripple three-month price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

The third largest crypto Ethereum (ETH) is down just over 3 percent over the 24-hour period, its price dipping below the $90 threshold for the first time since May 2017. At press time, the altcoin is trading around $88.

Ethereum all-time price chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

Bitcoin SV, recently formed after a hard fork of Bitcoin Cash (BCH), is seeing the most losses among the top 20 crypto markets, with its price having declined over 6 percent as of press time. The coin is trading at $89.91 and ranks eighth in terms of market cap, while Bitcoin Cash is ranked sixth and trading at around $101.

Total market capitalization has dipped below $110 billion again, currently at $107.8 billion at press time. Daily trade volume accounts for $12.7 billion, with 2,068 cryptocurrencies listed on CoinMarketCap.

Total market capitalization 7-day chart. Source: CoinMarketCap

While crypto markets have continued seeing a decline since Sunday, Dec. 9, the former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recently argued that Bitcoin should be considered a “lottery ticket.” Kenneth Rogoff, who is currently a Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Harvard University, predicted that Bitcoin’s price in the long-term is “more likely to be $100 than $100,000.”

Following multiple reports about the collapse of the crypto mining sector caused by the recent market crash, Cointelegraph has reported today that to date, only two miners that use Application-Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC) chips and are geared to mine coins that are based on cryptographic hash function “SHA-256” –– such as Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash ––  are still profitable for mining.

Yesterday, Dec. 10, South Korea’s National Assembly held a debate devoted to crypto regulation. Organized by key local crypto exchanges, the meeting was preceded by the financial regulator’s previous decision to allow banks to service crypto exchanges as soon as they provide proper Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know-Your-Customer (KYC) policies.

Earlier today, U.S.-based crypto exchange Gemini, created by the Winklevoss brothers, has launched a mobile crypto trading app. Yesterday, Cameron Winklevoss tweeted on the current state of crypto market, noting that in 2018 “everyone wanted to be in crypto,” while who wants to be in crypto in 2019 remains to be seen.

News source CoinTelegraph.com