Stop using Chrome Install Brave Browser Wikipedia Co-founder Tells You Why

Stop using Chrome, Install Brave Browser! Wikipedia Co-founder Tells You Why

User privacy and the risks associated with data leaks should be a priority for today’s globalized society, and Larry Sander, co-founder of Wikipedia, is fully aware of this. In early 2019, Sanders said his new year’s resolution was to protect his cyber-life “(along with getting into shape, of course).”

Sanger explains that security threats from criminals (such as ISIS) and tech giants (such as Facebook and the Cambridge Analytica scandal) are becoming more frequent. However, the second reason that made him opted for “locking his cyber life” is the manipulation of the content that “Silicon Valley behemoths” exert on what users consume in the end:

“The Silicon Valley behemoths have decided to move beyond mere moderation for objectively abusive behavior and shutting down (really obvious) terrorist organizations, to start engaging in viewpoint censorship of conservatives and libertarians. As a free speech libertarian who has lived online for much of my life since 1994, these developments are deeply concerning. The culprits include the so-called FAANG companies (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google), but to that list we must add YouTube, Twitter, and Microsoft.”

To fight this problem, he devised a “plan” which he updated on March 17 and shared on his personal blog, He explained each of the steps he hopes to take during 2019 to have a safer life:

Goodbye Chrome… Hello Brave Browser

The first step of his “plan” (avoid using Google Chrome) has already been completed. He explains that Brave Browser has had a favorable evolution and that now not only is easier to use but it represents a much better option than Google Chrome:

"Stop using Chrome. (Done.) Google collects massive amounts of information from us via their browser. The good news is that you don’t have to use it, if you’re among the 62% of people who do … I’ve switched to Eich’s newer, privacy-focused browser, Brave. I’ve had a much better experience using it lately than I had when I first tried it a year or two ago and when it was still on the bleeding edge."


Brave: The team behind Brave Browser and Basic Attention Token (BAT)

 

Good News For The Privacy Freaks!

Another of Sanger’s steps was subscribing to a VPN service. In this way, the possibility of IP tracking and information manipulation is avoided. However, for those who do not want to spend money on this service, or configure a VPN in more complex cases, Brave Browser can be of great help:

"VPNs solve those problems by making your connection to the Internet anonymous. The big problem with VPNs, and the reason I probably won’t do this, is that they slow down your Internet connection … A nice fallback is the built-in private windows in Brave that are run on the Tor network, which operates on a similar principle to VPNs"

Basic Attention Token (BAT) Makes it Possible To Get Paid While Surfing The Web

Mr. Sander explains that in addition to being privacy oriented (which is Sander’s primary motivation) Brave offers the option of paying users for consuming content. The BAT token is the browser’s native cryptocurrency and aims to change the way content distribution industry works, providing a more favorable and comfortable alternative for users and providers:

It also pays you in crypto for using it… There’s absolutely no need to use Chrome for anything but testing, and that’s only if you’re in Web development. By the way, the Brave iOS app is really nice, too.

Brave Browser has been considered one of the safest web browsers available. Basic Attention Token (BAT) is ranked 30th in the global marketcap with a total capitalization of $237,320,762 according to data provided by Coinpricewatch.

Original article written by Jose Antonio Lanz and posted on the EthereumWorldNews.com site.

Article posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Ethereum ETH Co-Founder Predicts Blockchain Will Dominate Economy in 10 Years

Ethereum (ETH) Co-Founder Predicts Blockchain Will Dominate Economy in 10 Years

Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin made the prediction that blockchain will be a primary catalyst for the growth of the global economy over the next 10 to 20 years.

Speaking in a keynote at the SXSW conference in Austin on Mar. 14., Lubin claimed that he expected the global economy to grow ten times larger over the next decade or two, and fully expected blockchain to be involved in the majority of enterprise and market growth.

Lubin explained his prediction by comparing the current of blockchain and cryptocurrency to that of the internet and email in the years before it became a mainstream sensation. Speaking on the issue of mainstream adoption and the room left for blockchain to grow, Lubin said

“There weren’t a lot of ‘normal’ people firing email around in 1983.”

Ethereum’s co-founder also took the opportunity to address the advantages he sees in the development of Ethereum 2.0 over cryptocurrency market leader Bitcoin. In particular, Lubin explained that the Ethereum development team is specifically targeting the inefficiencies of Bitcoin as areas of advantage for Ethereum 2.0, presenting what he believes will be a cryptocurrency capable of overcoming the current industry hurdles,

“In Bitcoin and currently in Ethereum, you need to have specialized hardware, burn lots of electricity, waste lots of computation, to basically keep everybody in sync. [With Ethereum 2.0, in 18 months] we’ll have a blockchain system much more powerful and scalable that uses orders of magnitude less energy.”

While Ethereum is still a year and a half away from launching its anticipated major update, one that will witness a monumental switch from a Proof of Work system to Proof of Stake, the developer is already looking to how Ethereum can revolutionize the industry and improve upon its current framework.

Lubin made headlines earlier in the week for similar comments related to the benefits of blockchain, when he claimed that the decentralized technology could be of substantial benefit to content creators. Lubin singled out artists as a subgroup that would “benefit quite dramatically” from the adoption of blockchain, allowing them greater control over the distribution of their content while dictating the parameters of its consumption.

During that talk, Lubin went on to state that blockchain removed the need for middlemen in content creation and distribution, a factor that would greatly benefit the bottom line for musicians and other creative performers,

“I think artists in the music industry on average capture about 11 or 12 percent of the value in the industry and those big record companies are sucking up 70 or so percent. We can replace those record companies with smart contracts on the Ethereum platform.”

Cryptocurrency, as a whole, has seen positive price traction in 2019 after an abysmal year for coin prices in 2018. While there have been periods of price oscillation, Bitcoin reached its lowest 30-day price volatility earlier in the week since November 2018. In addition, the majority of top cryptos have experienced double digit price gains since the start of the year, with altcoins leading the market. Ethereum has managed a nice rebound in price after falling in valuation with the rest of the industry from it’s all time high established in early 2018.

Last week, analytic firm Electric Capital reported that Ethereum had the most robust monthly developer contribution, generating twice that of second-place Bitcoin.

Original article posted on Ethereum World News and written by Michael Lavere

Posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Will Cryptocurrencies Replace Gold?

Will Cryptocurrencies Replace Gold?

By Sunshine Profits (Arkadiusz Sieron) Mar 12, 2019 01:44PM ET


Image Copyright© by American Bullion

The World Gold Council has issued quite a few interesting papers recently. In this edition of the Gold News Monitor, we discuss the most provocative ones. Such as the money worthiness of gold compared to Bitcoin. Or the ongoing gold repatriation trend as Romania recently joined the fray. What can the precious-metals investors learn from here?

Cryptocurrencies Are No Substitute For Gold

In January, the World Gold Council (WGC) published an investment update about cryptocurrencies. The main aim of the report is to refute the claim that cryptocurrencies could replace gold. The authors do not agree, pointing out that gold differs substantially from cryptocurrencies. In particular, the yellow metal:

  • is less volatile – the dollar-denominated gold price is about 10 times less volatile than Bitcoin price;
  • has a more liquid market – Bitcoin turnover is $2 billion a day on average, which is roughly less than 1 percent of the total gold market that has turnover of around approximately $250 billion a day;
  • trades in an established regulatory framework;
  • has a well understood role in an investment portfolio;
  • has little overlap with cryptocurrencies on many sources of demand and supply;
  • has broad appeal outside the tech-savvy demographics.

All these differences explain why Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are not a substitute for gold. In particular, the former should not be considered a safe haven. The best example is Q4 2018, when global stock markets experienced their worst quarter since 2009 – cryptocurrencies then performed as risky assets and fell, while gold rallied. Although you can also find periods when gold did not behave like a safe-haven asset, we generally agree that cryptocurrencies are not a substitute for precious metals. Bitcoin was designed to mimic gold, but it still has to prove its moneyness, while gold has a proven few-thousand year history as a monetary asset.

Gold Demand Trends In 2018

On the last day of January, the WGC published its summary of the gold market for 2018. From the market's perspective, the developments of last year belong to the days of yore, so we will not analyze the whole market. However, we would like to point your attention to one important trend: central banks added 651.5 tons to their gold reserves in 2018, the second highest yearly total on record. And net purchases jumped to their highest level since the end of gold standard in 1971, as more central banks turned to gold as a portfolio diversifier.

Importantly, the rise in official purchases was accompanied by the increasing repatriation of gold. Many analysts interpreted this as a signal of intensifying nationalism, but there is also another narrative. The repatriation of gold signals that the central banks stopped lending gold for any significant volumes. You see, when you want to lend out your gold, you keep it in the Bank of England, the Fed or other systematically important, third-party locations, not in your own vaults. It means that – despite much speculation – the central banks intervene less in the precious metals market. That’s good news for all investors who desire greater transparency and a fairer price discovery process.

WGC’s 2018 Annual Review

In February, the WGC published a review of its activity in 2018. Although most of the review is of little interest to gold investors, the WGC also included its outlook for 2019. In short, the organization believes that increased market uncertainty and protectionist economic policies should make gold increasingly attractive as a hedge. Moreover, the slowdown in the US economy could curtail rising interest rates and limit dollar strength, which would support gold prices.

And in 2019, we should see increasing concerns about a global growth slowdown or even outright recession fears with resulting elevated stock-market volatility and political and economic instability in Europe. We recently discussed the ECB's major policy reversal following the EZ's slashed economic growth forecast and its implications for the gold market.

Disclaimer: Please note that the aim of the above analysis is to discuss the likely long-term impact of the featured phenomenon on the price of gold and this analysis does not indicate (nor does it aim to do so) whether gold is likely to move higher or lower in the short- or medium term. In order to determine the latter, many additional factors need to be considered (i.e. sentiment, chart patterns, cycles, indicators, ratios, self-similar patterns and more) and we are taking them into account (and discussing the short- and medium-term outlook) in our trading alerts.

Thank you.

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Do Brains Shrink as Bellies Grow?

Do Brains Shrink as Bellies Grow?

Emerging evidence may provide another reason to fight midriff fat

02/25/2019  :   By Craig Weatherby

Brain shrinkage is linked to alcoholism, aging, dementia, and chronic stress.

And the brain effects of chronic stress degrade mental performance and emotional health alike.

Stress stimulates release of the hormone cortisol, chronically high levels of which shrink key brain areas, while severe, chronic stress can even kill brain cells.

One of the key brain areas effected most by stress and accompanying cortisol elevation is the hippocampus, which is critical to memory functions.

Chronic stress also affects the structure of the amygdala — an area of the brain that’s key to emotions — in ways that tend to promote anxiety.

In addition to aging, alcohol consumption, and stress, diet, exercise, and the composition of your gut microbiome can influence brain volume and performance.

Examples of foods and experiences that can help normalize cortisol levels include black tea, fish, seafood-source omega-3 fatty acids, music, massage, meditation, sex, crying, and laughing.

For more about the effects of fish and their omega-3s on cortisol levels and brain volume, see Fish Changes Brains for the Better, Omega-3s May Slow Brain Shrinkage, Omega-3s May Expand, Sharpen Brains, Fish Oil Aided Size and Health of Aging Brains, and Brain Benefits of Fish Bolstered by MRI Study.

Previous research linked excess belly fat to brain shrinkage — and the results of a recent British study reinforce those concerns.

This is just an excerpt from the article. To read the complete article click on Do Brains Shrink as Bellies Grow?

Interested in purchasing, or learning more about, Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, click on this link.

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This is Why Colorado Signed the Pro-Blockchain Digital Token Act

This is Why Colorado Signed the Pro-Blockchain Digital Token Act

That the crypto wave is sweeping across the US is true. From presidential candidates from both sides of the divide supporting cryptocurrencies and accepting Bitcoin or ETH donations, tthe once demonized coin now stands to be in held in the same breath as the USD. Well, after a disastrous Non-Farm Payment Roll came in at just 20,000 crashing expectations of 180,000, something has to be done—quickly. A slowdown in job creation points to a weakness in the overall economy but there is an open window where blockchain and crypto provide endless opportunities.

To that end, Colorado is following the Wyoming route and with the ever vibrant, pro-blockchain Governor Jared Polis signing the Digital Token Act on the Friday of Mar 8, he heralded a new era where blockchains are free to roll their products aware that they are except from the state’s security laws unless otherwise.

Similarly, liquidity creators as crypto broker dealers and salespersons need not to be licensed under limited circumstances. The question now is, why is the state taking such a drastic and news grabbing decision? Is Jared seeing an unexploited opportunity that places his state ahead of the pack? From what we can glean, the decision was taken after the state’s general assembly determination.

Reason for Signing the Digital Token Act

After extensive commenting and deliberation, the state find that:

  • Crypto-economic systems operating off decentralized platforms form an important component of the blockchain technology. In turn, blockchain as a technology has the potential to create the web 3.0 which obviously has several advantages over existing internet systems.
  • Because of the advantages of blockchain and crypto-economic systems, Colorado is increasingly becoming a hub for blockchain companies. As a result, there is need to open up funding channels for these projects and the fastest way of doing that is to reduce consumptive regulatory requirement under Article 51.

Since the advantages of restricted market investment are many and outweighs the “costs and complexities of state securities registration”, there is need to eliminate regulatory uncertainty especially for Colorado businesses keen on utilizing blockchain and issue utility tokens.

“hereby promoting the formation and growth of local companies and the accompanying job creation and helping make Colorado a hub for companies that are building new forms of decentralized “web 3.0″platforms and applications.”

Applicable Rules for Exemption

However, there are rules for exemption, clear for token issuers. They include:

  1. The issuer must file a notice of intent with the SEC
  2. Token must be a utility, used for consumptive purposes
  3. The token must not be marketed in any way or used for speculation
  4. The token must be rolled out and find use within six months after initial sale or transfer
  5. Buyers must provide proof that they are buying the tokens for use and not for speculation
  6. Initial buyers must not transfer the token until after 180 days have elapsed

The act will be enforceable beginning August 2 and it is clear that not only is the Governor keen on creating new jobs but wants to create a blockchain hub out of Colorado where investors can legally invest in crypto projects. It also came as a surprise because not long ago, the SEC filed 12 cases against blockchain projects after the ICO Task Force determined that they fraudulently raised funds.

Original article written by Dalmas Ngetich and posted on the EthereumWorldNews.com site.

Article posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse Questions JPM Coin Usability

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse Questions JPM Coin Usability

Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of blockchain-based startup Ripple, has once again called into question the purpose of the JPM Coin.

In mid-February, Wall Street giant J.P. Morgan Chase announced plans to create the JPM Coin, a pseudo-stablecoin that would function to improve its internal payment network. Following the announcement, some analysts were quick to say that the JPM Coin would be a death sentence for payment protocol competitor Ripple. However, Garlinghouse fired back at his detractors, making the claim that banking coins “still aren’t the answer,” and that JPM Coin “misses the point.” Garlinghouse went on to compare the announcement by J.P. Morgan as similar to that of AOL and Netscape, with the bank predictably reneging its stance on cryptocurrency, albeit in a clumsy way.

On Mar. 6, speaking in an interview at the 4th Annual Washington D.C. Blockchain Summit, Ripple’s CEO continued to share more of his thoughts on J.P. Morgan’s stablecoin project. Specifically, Garlinghouse honed in on the lack of interoperability in a JPM Coin, i.e. that a rival bank such as Morgan Stanley or Citigroup would be unable to benefit from the internal payment network created by J.P. Morgan, thereby limiting its appeal,

“This guy from Morgan Stanley was interviewing me last week, and I asked him, so is Morgan Stanley going to use the JPM Coin? Probably not. Will Citi use it? […] Will PNC? And the answer is no. So we’re going to have all these different coins, and we’re back to where we are: there’s a lack of interoperability.”

Given the lack of reach that an internal payment stablecoin would have beyond J.P. Morgan clients, Garlinghouse questioned the purpose of developing the project at all. According to Garlinghouse, the bank would be better of just using the U.S. Dollar, and implied that JPM Coin fails to provide any real-world solution,

“Let’s think about this. [JPM] announced the JPM Coin for institutional customers. If you give them a dollar as deposit, they’ll give you a JPM Coin, that you then can move in the JPM ledger. Wait a minute, just use the dollar! I really don’t understand […] what problem that solves.”

Last week, Binance Research published a new report contending that J.P. Morgan’s stablecoin would be unlikely to compete with Ripple or XRP, and cited the lack of interoperability between institutions as a serious drawback to the coin’s adoption. While Garlinghouse’s comments echoed much of the same as Binance’s researchers, the CEO did concede that JPM Coin could boost the popularity of cryptocurrency. Despite J.P. Morgan’s Chief Executive Jamie Dimon having a negative stance towards Bitcoin and cryptocurrency over the years, Garlinghouse pointed out that JPM Coin represents a shifting landscape for banks,

”for the blockchain and crypto industry to have players such as JPM leaning in…That’s the one good thing I’ll say about this.”

As previously reported by EWN, the last two weeks have been a roller coaster ride for both Ripple and the XRP coin. While XRP was able to make its way onto popular U.S.-based exchange Coinbase, the price movement aftermath left investors disappointed. In addition, the parent company Ripple was accused by some community members of paying for the coin listing. However, on Monday, the San Francisco-based blockchain company was named a Top 20 place to work in the Bay Area, and represented the only blockchain or crypto-based company to make the cut.

Original article written by Michael Lavere and posted on the EthereumWorldNews.com site.

Article posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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Facebook is Working to Launch Its Own Crypto This Semester NYT Reports

Facebook is Working to Launch Its Own Crypto This Semester, NYT Reports

Facebook is not satisfied with becoming a web 2.0 empire. After consolidating in the world of social networks, and buying the most important instant messaging appli on the planet (WhatsApp), now Mark Zuckerberg’s company has its eyes on crypto as its new goose of the golden eggs.

According to an article published by the New York Times, the Facebook project seems to point more towards the development of a stablecoin than a cryptocurrency of fluctuating value. Thus, while it would not be particularly attractive to speculators, it would allow users to make payments and have a virtual wallet without worrying about sudden falls or rises in the value of the token.

If so, Facebook’s cryptocurrency would have a similar use as that of the Chinese messaging service Wechat. Likewise, Facebook’s blockchain would not necessarily be a direct competitor of TON (Telegram Open Network) a blockchain project developed by the Russian messaging company Telegram, which raised more than 1.7 billion dollars in its ICO.

If so, Facebook’s cryptocurrency would have a similar use as that of the Chinese messaging service Wechat. Likewise, Facebook’s blockchain would not necessarily be a direct competitor of TON (Telegram Open Network) a blockchain project developed by the Russian messaging company Telegram, which raised more than 1.7 billion dollars in its ICO.

The interest of these large companies to provide their own proposals to improve payments with fintechs and blockchain technologies has excited several investors who evaluate as positive the influence of these companies in a world dominated by a select group of important financial actors.

“It’s pretty much the most fascinating thing happening in crypto right now,” said Eric Meltzer, a co-founder of a cryptocurrency-focused venture capital firm, Primitive Ventures. “They each have their own advantage in this battle, and it will be insane to watch it go down.”

According to the NYT, Facebook expects to have its stablecoin ready before the end of this semester. Although Facebook has treated the project with the strictest confidentiality, anonymous sources told NYT that those working on the blockchain division do so on an exclusive basis and in isolation from the rest of the Facebook staff.

Likewise, the stablecoin would not be pegged only to the dollar but to a basket of fiat currencies according to the funds that Facebook has deposited in several countries. It is hoped that in this way, Facebook users, and especially those using Whatsapp can send money instantly.

“Facebook is looking at pegging the value of its coin to a basket of different foreign currencies, rather than just the dollar, three people briefed on the plans said. Facebook could guarantee the value of the coin by backing every coin with a set number of dollars, euros and other national currencies held in Facebook bank accounts.

Also, Ethereum World News previously reported that Telegram, Whatsapp’s main competitor (which is also owned by Facebook) sent a letter to its investors assuring that the TON project would be 90% complete and will be initially traded in Asian exchanges.

Original article written by Jose Antonio Lanz and posted on the EthereumWorldNews.com site.

Article posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

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JPMorgan Chase’s Cryptocurrency: Is It A Gimmick Or The Real Deal?

JPMorgan Chase's Cryptocurrency: Is It A Gimmick Or The Real Deal?

By Investing.com (Tanzeel Akhtar/Investing.com)

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JP Morgan logo is seen on an android mobile phone. Photo credit: LightRocket via Getty Images GETTY

The announcement last week by JPMorgan Chase & Co (NYSE:JPM), that it plans to launch its own digital token, JPM Coin, caused ripples throughout the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. It's an unexpected development from an unlikely issuer. It's also the first cryptocurrency to be launched by a major global bank.

The bank is characterizing the introduction of this alt-currency as a pilot project aimed at institutional clients. According to JPMorgan, it will enable "instant" fund transfers and will allow both clients and the lender to settle payments over a blockchain network.

What makes this particularly startling are previous statements by JPM's CEO Jamie Dimon who famously bashed Bitcoin more than once. In late 2017 he referred to the most popular cryptocurrency by market cap as a "fraud," and compared the drivers of its then-rapidly-rising price to the mania that in the 1630s drove Dutch tulip bulb speculation.

In late 2018, even after the speculative Bitcoin bubble had burst, he denigrated the asset, saying, "blockchain is real, it's technology, but Bitcoin is not the same as a fiat currency." By those measures, JPM Coin appears to be something of a hybrid: it's based on blockchain technology and will be pegged 1:1 to a fiat currency, the U.S. dollar, which makes it a stablecoin, similar to Tether or TrueUSD.

JPM Coin is a very positive development for the asset class and the industry says En Hui Ong, head of business development at blockchain technology platform, Zilliqa. It demonstrates how blockchain can improve the way legacy payments are handled.

Don't Call It Cryptocurrency

However, he adds, it shouldn't be viewed as a cryptocurrency. Rather, it can best be described as a “digital asset.”

“JPM Coin will be built on Quorum, a distributed ledger platform described as an “enterprise-focused,” private version of Ethereum. As Quorum was developed by JP Morgan and some of its partners, the network will be controlled by the bank itself, rendering it both centralized and permissioned, therefore implying that any participants have to be vetted in order to join the system.

Contrast this with other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum where anyone located anywhere can spin up a node and join the system without permission.”

These restrictions mean only a small number of participants will likely able to join the network. Information from the bank, says Ong, indicates that JPM Coin is a prototype being tested by a restricted number of institutional clients. Though JPMorgan plans to expand the pilot program later this year, there are no plans to offer the cryptocurrency service to retail clients.

In contrast, true cryptocurrencies are available to anyone, notes Ong. All one has to do is to set up a wallet in which to store it. Nevertheless says Ong:

“Despite its differences from cryptocurrencies, the launch of JPM Coin and the participation of a major financial institution lends greater legitimacy to the wider blockchain industry as a whole."

Angelo Laub EOS lead at private data computation and data marketplace Slant agrees with Ong:

“The only users of JP Morgan coin are likely to be JP Morgan and their clients. I can’t even see other banks wanting to use it as it will make them reliant on JP Morgan Bank for processing transactions. Still, it’s a big step for a bank to go ahead and do something like that. This concept would have been unthinkable one or two years ago.“

Others don't see this development as particularly notable. Marcel Vaschauner, Chairman of Slant's board,argues that JPM Coin—which is issued by the bank and linked to the funds of the customer using it—most closely resembles a European digital payment instrument called e-money. He says it's a concept that's already widely used by Fintechs.

Still, because of Dimon's past criticism of cryptocurrencies, some within the industry can't help but appreciate the irony even if he's not convinced about the coin itself. Pedro Anderson, COO and co-founder of Winding Tree says:

“JPM Coin is great validation [of the asset class]. We'll take it. However, the entire case for the coin is built on trusting JPM—that they'll make everything right if they are in control because…they have a lot of money.”

Crossing the Chasm?

Ned Myers, senior vice president of Product Management at AlphaPoint, believes JP Morgan’s entrance into the digital asset space is another clear sign that the security token industry is rapidly “crossing the chasm,” to cite Jeffrey Moore, moving from early adoption to mainstream acceptance.

“Combined with other announcements from Fidelity and ICE’s BAKKT’s announced entry into the digital asset exchange space…we see JPM’s move as a clear harbinger that the use of digital assets by traditional financial institutions has arrived. I am looking forward to the tipping point, in which tokenized securities become the de facto standard for unlocking market liquidity.”

Others, however, would argue this nothing more than an advertising stunt. Vaibhav Kadikar, founder and CEO of, CloseCross believes JPM Coin, though billed as a cryptocurrency, is seen by critics as a self-promotional gimmick with little in the way of real value.

“The pioneering bank is relying on both its dominant market share, with 80% of Fortune 500 companies as clients, and other banks imitating this strategy, to drive increased adoption."

Original article posted on Investing.com.

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Crypto Mixed Elon Musk Endorses Bitcoin

Crypto Mixed; Elon Musk Endorses Bitcoin

Investing.com Feb 19, 2019 11:24PM ET


Image © Reuters

Investing.com – Prices of major digital coins were mixed in Asia on Wednesday without a directional mover, but Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO Elon Musk saying Bitcoin is “brilliant” and “paper money is going away” created some buzz in the crypto space.

On Tuesday in an interview on advisory services firm ARK Invest’s podcast, Musk said “Bitcoin’s structure is quite brilliant” and digital currency is “a far better way to transfer value than pieces of paper.”

But he also noted that “one of the downsides of crypto is that computationally it is quite energy intensive.”

Musk tweeted about Bitcoin last year, prompting many to wonder if his electric car company would have crypto-related plans. But Musk clarified that it would not be a good use of the resources of his company to get into this area.

The crypto space remained fairly quiet on Wednesday morning. Bitcoin was only up 0.79% to $3,916.9 by 11:02 PM ET (04:02?GMT).

Ethereum slid 2.47% to $142.85, while XRP slightly added 0.82% to $0.32542 and Litecoin gained 0.38% to $47.525.

The market capitalization of all cryptocurrencies rose further to $133.4 billion from $120 billion last Friday.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan’s launch of its own digital token JPM coin could change the banks’ approach to blockchain and crypto, according to CNN. Param Vir Singh, a professor of business technologies at Carnegie Mellon University, told CNN that “more banks will take [crypto] seriously” as JPMorgan’s move could force other banks to follow suit.

Last week, the news of JPM coin shook the crypto industry as the investment bank’s CEO Jamie Dimon once called Bitcoin a “fraud”. The move signified a shift in the U.K. bank’s approach to crypto.

Article written by and posted on the Investing.com website.

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Is JPM Coin A Serious Threat To Ripple?

Is JPM Coin A Serious Threat To Ripple?

Frances Coppola, Senior Contributor
Banking & Insurance
I write about banking, finance and economics.

On February 14, the giant bank J.P. Morgan announced plans to issue its own digital “coin," to run on its in-house Quorum blockchain. The coin will be pegged 1:1 to the U.S. dollar, with J.P. Morgan using the considerable heft of its balance sheet to guarantee the peg, so will not suffer the wild fluctuations in value that can make cryptocurrencies unreliable for payments. It is thus what in the crypto world is known as a “stablecoin”, not a cryptocurrency – a digital token that represents a fiat currency.

Exactly what impact “JPMCoin” will have on the cryptocurrency landscape is unclear. Opinion is divided between those who think that JPMCoin is a serious threat to Ripple and, to a lesser extent, Bitcoin and Ethereum, and those who think it is a non-event. Who is right?

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JP Morgan logo is seen on an android mobile phone. Photo credit: LightRocket via Getty Images GETTY

Well, it all depends how the coin is used, and who uses it. In a useful Q&A, Umar Farooq, J.P. Morgan’s head of Digital Treasury Services and Blockchain, explains how J.P. Morgan’s customers would use the coin:

"When one client sends money to another over the blockchain, JPM Coins are transferred and instantaneously redeemed for the equivalent amount of U.S. dollars, reducing the typical settlement time."

This sounds much like Ripple’s xRapid, which uses the cryptocurrency XRP as a bridging currency. To send money using xRapid, a customer exchanges fiat currency for XRP, the XRP is transferred, then the recipient redeems the XRP for fiat currency. The difference is, of course, that XRP is not a stablecoin. It is a traded instrument whose price can – and does – fluctuate widely. In today’s fast FX markets, the price can change even in the 3-4 seconds that it takes to execute the payment. J.P. Morgan is clearly promoting its coin as having exchange rate stability that XRP, like other traded coins such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, does not have. So is J.P.Morgan trying to kill xRapid?

It’s not immediately apparent that this is its goal. Firstly, JPMCoin will – at least to start with – only be used for payments entirely in U.S. dollars, unlike xRapid which can handle multiple currencies and cross-currency payments. Secondly, JPMCoin is – again to start with – only available to J.P. Morgan’s institutional clients. They can use the coin to send money between themselves, but not to retail customers or to non-customers. It’s thus a very limited enhancement to J.P. Morgan’s in-house payment rails.

This tends to support the argument that JPMCoin is merely marketing hype. After all, payments between J.P. Morgan’s customers are really only transfers across its own books. It seems a bit sad that cash-strapped IT departments have to say "look, it's blockchain" to persuade board directors to throw some money at settlement plumbing, always a pariah compared to fancy front-office systems. But from the point of view of J.P. Morgan’s customers, this is simply a long overdue improvement to the bank’s extremely expensive and very clunky cross-border payments systems. As Farooq observes (quoted in CoinTelegraph), this could be particularly beneficial for a large institutional client with overseas subsidiaries, which at present can only move money around its organization using external payment rails:

"Money sloshes back and forth all over the world in a large enterprise. Is there a way to ensure that a subsidiary can represent cash on the balance sheet without having to actually wire it to the unit? That way, they can consolidate their money and probably get better rates for it."

It's completely ridiculous that customers of J.P. Morgan have to use SWIFT and Fedwire to move money around within their own organizations. J.P.Morgan should have sorted this out long ago. As should other major banks.

Nevertheless, JPMCoin is a slap in the face for Ripple. Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s CEO, is on record as saying he expects “major banks” to adopt xRapid, along with the XRP token, in 2019. Now, J.P. Morgan – unquestionably a major bank – has told Ripple “no way are we using xRapid or XRP.” And it doesn’t mean only for internal transfers. The bank’s Q&A says it intends its coin eventually to be used for payments in multiple currencies and across other blockchains. That would make it a solution for cross-currency payments to non-customers – exactly the market that Ripple is aiming for.

Even if the coin remained limited to J.P. Morgan’s institutional clients, JPMCoin would still threaten Ripple’s plans. According to J.P. Morgan’s Farooq, “pretty much every big corporation is our client, and most of the major banks in the world are too.” The U.S. dollar is used for the majority of global transactions. If JPMCoin can corner the market in U.S. dollar transactions between most of the world’s large corporations and major banks, where does that leave Ripple?

Even before JPMCoin hit the news media, Ripple's plans to recruit major banks looked over-optimistic to the point of incredulity. Major banks currently control international payments. Why would they hand that privilege over to a third party, when they could develop their own blockchain-based payments network? And the need for such a network to facilitate payments between customers of different banks is no obstacle. Banks will cooperate when it is in their interests to do so. Indeed, that is how SWIFT came to be, and the FX bank CLS, and in the UK, the LINK network of ATMs. So it's entirely possible that banks might cooperate to create their own blockchain-based international payments network. In a particularly nasty twist of the knife, the major banks could even use Ripple's own innovation.

Ending Ripple’s dreams of world domination, and those of other digital coin issuers, might therefore be exactly what J.P. Morgan has in mind. It will be interesting to see how this little stand-off develops.

Original article written by Frances Coppola and posted on the Forbes.com site.

Article posted on Markethive by Jeffrey Sloe

Visit MarketHive to learn more: http://markethive.com/jeffreysloe

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