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Ethereum Creator Vitalik Buterin Donates $763,000 to Machine Intelligence Institute

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Artificial intelligence is both a blessing and a curse rolled into one. Some people are convinced AI will improve our society, whereas others remain fearful. Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin donated $763,000 to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. With this money, the organization can further study potential hazards or artificial intelligence, among other things.

MIRI is Popular Among Cryptocurrency Users

Cryptocurrency can be used for many different purposes. Using it to fund other projects or even scientific research is one example. Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin is doing exactly that. Last year, he contributed nearly 764,000 in Ethereum to the Machine Intelligence Research Institute. This nonprofit wants to address hazards associated with artificial intelligence now and in the future.

It is not uncommon for cryptocurrency users to contribute to scientific research. MIRI received nearly two-thirds of all donations in cryptocurrency. That shows people are more than willing to spread the wealth around and help improve our society. The donation by Vitalik Buterin is the largest of 2017. It’s also the third-largest donation in history.

Scientific research initiatives can benefit from cryptocurrencies. Although these markets are very volatile, it’s also a new source of donations for research. In the case of Bitcoin and Ethereum, there’s a good chance their value will go up in the future. For now, MIRI hasn’t confirmed if they converted the donation to fiat currency already. The nonprofit received twice the expected amount in donations during December 2017. This shows there are some real concerns associated with artificial intelligence.

Vitalik Buterin and AI

To some people, it may seem odd Vitalik Buterin is funding this research. Ethereum is known for its smart contract technology, among other things. These contracts are, according to some individuals, somewhat similar to AI. They automate processes and require no real maintenance by its creator once created. That is, assuming the contract is built properly and its code has been audited at some point.

Additionally, Ethereum supported the concept of a decentralized autonomous organization. This is another solution which is not all that different from how most people perceive artificial intelligence. At the same time, Ethereum is not using a coding language which “learns” automatically either. Developers make some vast improvements over time, but automation and AI are not the same by default.

For now, Vitalik Buterin is doing his good deed by donating to MIRI. It would be interesting to see who else donated to this particular nonprofit in December of 2017. Given the interest in what this group is doing, their research appears to be quite valuable. Whether or not Vitalik Buterin will make other similar donations, remains to be seen. Initiatives like these bring some positive momentum to the cryptocurrency industry as well.

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Ethereum Classic Price Technical Analysis – Can ETC/USD Reclaim $36?

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Key Highlights

  • Ethereum classic price declined sharply after trading above the $42.00 level against the US dollar.
  • There is a major bearish trend line forming with resistance at $35.20 on the hourly chart of the ETC/USD pair (Data feed via SimpleFX).
  • The pair is currently correcting higher, but it has to move above $36.00 to gain upside momentum.

Ethereum classic price declined this week from highs against the US Dollar and Bitcoin. ETC/USD could correct higher, but it must break the $36.00 resistance.

Ethereum Classic Price Resistance

In the last analysis, we saw a nice upside move in ETC price above the $40.00 level against the US dollar. The price even traded above the $42.00 level before it faced sellers. A high was formed near $42.36 before the price started a downside correction. It declined sharply and moved below the $38.00 and $35.00 support levels. A low was formed at $32.40 from where the price started an upside correction.

At the moment, the price is trading near the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $52.36 high to $32.40 low. There is also a major bearish trend line forming with resistance at $35.20 on the hourly chart of the ETC/USD pair. Above the trend line resistance, the 100 hourly simple moving average is positioned at $36.00. Moreover, the 38.2% Fib retracement level of the last decline from the $52.36 high to $32.40 low is near $36.00. Therefore, it seems like the $36.00 level and the 100 hourly SMA are important barriers for more recoveries in ETC.

Ethereum Classic Price Technical Analysis ETC USD

Buyers must push the price above the $36.00 level. If they fail, there are chances that the pair may decline once again back towards the $32.00 level in the near term.

Hourly MACD – The MACD for ETC/USD is currently reducing its bearish slope.

Hourly RSI – The RSI for ETC/USD is currently moving higher towards the 50 level.

Major Support Level – $32.00

Major Resistance Level – $36.00

 

Charts courtesy – SimpleFX

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Ethereum Classic Price Technical Analysis – ETC/USD Surges above $40

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Key Highlights

  • Ethereum classic price surged higher this week and moved above the $40.00 resistance against the US dollar.
  • There is a connecting bullish trend line forming with support at $40.10 on the hourly chart of the ETC/USD pair (Data feed via SimpleFX).
  • The pair may decline a few points in the short term, but it remains supported above $38.00.

Ethereum classic price is super bullish against the US Dollar and Bitcoin. ETC/USD climbed higher recently and broke the $38.00 and $40.00 resistance levels.

Ethereum Classic Price Upside Move

There were solid gains in ETC price during the past few days from the $30.00 swing low against the US dollar. The price traded higher and moved above the $35.00 and $40.00 resistance levels. It even moved above the $41.00 resistance and traded as high as $42.36. At the moment, the price is correcting lower and is trading below the 23.6% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $37.76 low to $42.36 high.

On the downside, there are many supports around the $40.00 level. There is also a connecting bullish trend line forming with support at $40.10 on the hourly chart of the ETC/USD pair. The trend line support near $40.00 is a significant support. Moreover, the 50% Fib retracement level of the last wave from the $37.76 low to $42.36 high is also near $40.05. Therefore, if the price continues to move down, it could find support near $40.00. Any further declines below the $40.00 level could push the price towards the $38.00 support.

Ethereum Classic Price Technical Analysis ETC USD

On the upside, an initial resistance is around the $42.00 level. Above the mentioned $42.00 level, the price may break the last high at $42.36. The next major resistance above $42.36 is near the $44.00 level.

Hourly MACD – The MACD for ETC/USD is placed heavily in the bullish zone.

Hourly RSI – The RSI for ETC/USD is currently near the overbought levels.

Major Support Level – $40.00

Major Resistance Level – $42.00

 

Charts courtesy – SimpleFX

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Liberland: A Newly Formed “Nation” Running On Cryptocurrency

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Economist Vit Jedlicka has created a virtual state, called Liberland, that runs on cryptocurrency donations and will launch its own token in the coming months. Half a million people have applied for citizenship to the “nation” – which sits on a sandbank stretching 7km next to the Danube River (between Croatia and Serbia), 10km south of the Hungarian border.

“The situation on the mainland in Liberland is still difficult as Croatian police illegally persecute all visitors and settlers,” Jedlicka told the Telegraph in an interview. “We are waiting for exoneration from the Croatian constitutional court but for now, our settlement has essentially moved to the river, where we host visitors almost on a daily basis.”

Liberland state-business is conducted over email, WhatsApp, and Skype, permitting the 100 like-minded Liberland representatives across the globe to stay in communication. The country is in the process of launching its own legal system on blockchain technology, and will begin distributing its own coin, Merit, on April 13th — which coincides with Liberland’s third anniversary. All those who pay taxes will, in turn, receive Merit, effectively granting donors a stake in the country.

“For many years, I worked for lowering taxes and regulations in the Czech Republic, but I suddenly realized that it would be easier to start a new country than to fix an existing one. We suffered 40 years of serious damage to our society under a communist regime and, unfortunately, many of the same people are in power again,” he says. “It seems that Czechs do not learn from their history. We see some of the same damage happening in other European countries, where taxation and regulation is strangling prosperity.”

The nation accepts Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash, and Ethereum donations to run its financial operations, and the state budget is distributed among almost a dozen cryptocurrencies. Putting yourself at the mercy of a potentially volatile asset might sound like a strange idea, but Jedlicka does not let this phase him: “For a few years of my life I worked as a financial markets analyst,” he says. “That gave me a fairly good understanding of the system we are living in.”

Liberland’s motto is “live and let live,” but right now it’s not that simple for Jedlicka, who jokes that his current home is “on a plane.” Jedlicka is constantly traveling the globe promoting his venture and meeting with representatives as well as other parties interested in creating similar libertarian-minded living spaces in Africa and Central America.

Croatian police are currently engaged in a game of cat and mouse with early Liberland “citizens,” who are regularly arrested and forcibly removed: Around 100 people have been arrested since the proclamation of Liberland in 2015. “We were charged with leaving Croatia and the Schengen zone illegally,” he says. But that’s not all bad, as, according to Jedlicka, “That is matter-of-fact confirmation that Liberland is not part of Croatia.”

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Cryptocurrencies Surging in Africa as Alternatives to Traditional Banking

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Africa is rarely considered to be one of the larger markets for cryptocurrencies, but with the right factors in place — such as an increasingly tech-savvy populous and inflation triggered by central banks — that might be set to change.

Case in point: The surge in popularity of cryptocurrencies has contributed to the opening of at least 15 new trading venues in South Africa within the past year alone. And peer-to-peer marketplaces also recorded a surge in trading volumes as Bitcoin’s price reached historic highs at the end of last year.

Global wallet and exchange Luno reported 2000 BTC worth of transactions in November 2017, when the coin’s price was hovering in the $10,000 range, and approximately 37% of those transactions occurred in South Africa. Luno began operations in 2013 and boasts 1.5 million users spread across 40 countries — including Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa, and the U.K. The company has big plans: By 2025, it plans to reach 1 billion customers. To put that in context, North America’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, had 11.7 million users last year. 

The South African government is also making moves. The country’s central bank has launched a program that will trial JPMorgan’s Quorum blockchain in interbank clearing and settlement. According to an official statement dated February 13th, the South African Reserve Bank (SARB) revealed it has established a fintech program that will prioritize, among other things, a project dubbed Khokha to explore a proof-of-concept (PoC) using the tech.

Why is Africa Becoming Such a Big Market?

First, conditions in the continent are conducive to the adoption of cryptocurrencies — with many countries in the continent such as Zimbabwe, South Sudan, and Nigeria, suffering from rampant inflation. What makes cryptocurrencies so appealing is their decentralized method of operation, permitting them to become alternatives to fiat currencies that have been de-railed thanks to disastrous central banking policies.

Second, the increasing use of mobiles and other computing technology within the continent has helped its population become comfortable with cryptocurrency technology. New businesses that use blockchain are emerging all the time: Kenya-based BitPesa, for example, is a payment platform and money transfer service that works with 60 banks around Africa and has seven mobile wallets on its platform.

Third, the threat of government regulation, which has roiled cryptocurrency markets recently, is (presently) fairly low in Africa. While governments and agencies have warned about the dangers of investing in cryptocurrencies, regulators in African countries have taken a hands-off approach to trading at exchanges.  

But Africa is susceptible to the same pressures as cryptocurrency markets in other parts of the globe: Cryptocurrency traders in Africa were paying a premium of as much as 40% in 2017. According to reports, the premium occurred due to a shortage of liquidity, meaning sellers were able to command unrealistically high prices due to high demand from buyers.

Outside the continent, other countries are also looking to cryptocurrencies to help solve their financial woes. Earlier this year Venezuela, which has been crushed by quadruple-digit inflation, announced plans to develop its own token, the Petro, in attempts to turn things around.

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Telegram Raised $850 Million, But Was it an ICO?

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The business model most people attribute to initial coin offering doesn’t always hold up. The recent Telegram “ICO” shows how some of these offerings are no longer accessible to the public.

Changing the ICO Business Model

If Telegram’s recent funding is an example, the concept of an ICO is no longer public. While the company raised $850m, their way of doing so raises a lot of questions. An initial coin offering is usually open to non-accredited and accredited investors alike. Everyone can contribute money and receive something in return for doing so.

Telegram initially decided to use the ICO model to develop their TON blockchain. Additionally, some funds will be used to maintain the popular messenger service itself. Given the global popularity of this messaging service, a lot of people hoped to invest in this company with the money they could spare.

Unfortunately, these plans can never be executed. The company targeted venture capital firms and accredited investors first and foremost. By offering discounts for Telegram’s Gram token, the pre-sale resulted in raising $850m. This is well beyond the initial $600m target projected by the company itself. However, it is this odd approach which leaves a lot of people confused.

ICO vs VC Funding vs IPO

By targeting venture capital firms and accredited investors, the Telegram ICO is not all that different from traditional VC funding. Instead of receiving company stock, investors now received a Gram token. With this token, users can enjoy Telegram’s own independent payment system. It can be sued to bypass remittance fees, moving funds privately, or issue micropayments.

Moreover, by not allowing the public to participate, Telegram’s venture also resembles an IPO. Most of the total token supply and associated discounts are reserved for private rounds, the pre-ICO, and the eventual “public” ICO. Assuming the general public gets access to this Gram token, it remains to be seen if any bonuses will remain by that time. Additionally, with the pre-ICO raising more money, there are fewer tokens left to distribute during future rounds of funding.

These bonuses will also give accredited investors and VC firms a better chance of making a profit. Lower-priced tokens will increase in value based on demand. In the case of Telegram, that demand for Gram is overwhelming during these early stages.  Later investors will be left to proverbially “hold the bag”, so to speak. It is evident this change in ICO business model will not be to everyone’s liking. Mainstream fundraising will not change anytime soon, regardless of what “term” they use to designate this effort.

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