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Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:51:54 AM
Republican Leader Claims Blockchain Can Make US Government More Efficient -  Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the current Republican Minority Leader in the United States House of Representatives, said on Tuesday, >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:51:34 AM
SEC Chairman Highlights Investor Protection in Regard to Bitcoin ETF -  United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton is still concerned about investor protection >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:51:19 AM
Report Shows Cryptojacking Is Prime Example of Shift Towards Discreet Cyberattacks -  Cybercriminals are reportedly favoring unhurried approaches in attacks made for financial gains, with cryptojacking as >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:50:57 AM
Launch a Crypto Exchange in 30 Days: German Firm Offers White-Label Products for Startups -  A company says it is combining the power of IT and marketing to deliver high-security, functional and profitable pieces >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:50:43 AM
Cross-Platform Blockchain Project Cosmos Launches First Hub After $17 Million ICO -  Blockchain platform Cosmos, which is set to work as a mediator between different blockchains, has officially launched the >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:50:26 AM
Enterprise Blockchain on the Rise Despite Criticisms -  In the announcement for the launch of its blockchain security testing service, IBM X-Force Red highlighted the rise of enterprise >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:50:09 AM
Spain: Stock Exchange Operator Pilots Collateral Pledges Digitization on Blockchain -  Major Spanish stock market operator Bolsas y Mercados Espańoles (BME) has completed its first blockchain pilot for electronic >> full details
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:49:50 AM
Token 2049: Vitalik Buterin Says Non-Financial Blockchain Use Cases Are a 'Harder Pitch' -  Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin says that blockchain applications outside of finance face more difficulty gaining >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 11:06:06 PM
New Survey Indicates Businesses Unprepared to Deploy Blockchain Technology -  A new study has revealed that, while businesses are considering blockchain adoption, overall they do not feel ready to >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 09:14:37 AM
New Survey Indicates Businesses Unprepared to Deploy Blockchain Technology -  A new study has revealed that, while businesses are considering blockchain adoption, overall they do not feel ready to >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:29:05 AM
Crypto Winter Survivor: Inside Nvidia’s Difficult Relationship With Mining -  On Feb. 14, California-headquartered gaming and computer hardware manufacturer Nvidia reported full-year revenue gains >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:19:16 AM
Major Crypto Exchange OKEx Adds Four New Margin Trading Pairs -  Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has added four new crypto derivative pairs to its platform, according to a press >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:54 AM
Fintech Company TrueDigital Appoints Former Bridgewater Associates Executive as CEO -  New York-based fintech company TrueDigital Holdings (TDH) announced the appointment of former Bridgewater Associates >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:29 AM
CEO of Japanese Finance Giant SBI Vests His Crypto Industry Hopes in Ripple and R3 -  Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO and representative director of Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings, has singled out Ripple (XRP) >> full details
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:02 AM
MIT Technology Review: Although Touted for Security, Blockchain Is Still Hackable -  MIT Technology Review magazine has published an article today, Feb. 19, arguing that security-touted blockchain tech is >> full details
Updates: Feb-19-2019 07:41:13 PM
Japan’s Number Two Bank by Assets Completes R3 Blockchain-Based Trade Finance Trial -  Japan’s second-largest bank by assets, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), has completed a proof-of-concept (PoC) >> full details
Updates: Feb-19-2019 07:40:46 PM
Blockchain Startup Takes on Mainstream Crowdfunding Sites to Cut Number of Failed Projects -  A startup says crowdfunding sites have a trust problem, with projects failing and contributors refusing to invest again. >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:47 PM
Crypto Assets to Be Regulated Differently in the US, Potential Impact on Industry -  The United States government could regulate crypto assets and tokens differently than stocks and traditional assets by altering the >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:32 PM
Russian Finance Ministry Considers EAEU Digital Currency ‘Inevitable’ Due to US Sanctions -  Russia's Ministry of Finance (MinFin) believes that the creation of a Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)-backed digital currency is inevitable >> full details
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:02 PM
Chinese Fintech Incubation Zone Officially Begins Operations in Guangdong Province -  The Chinese fintech incubation zone located in the Guangdong province has officially started its operations, Chinese news outlet Chinese >> full details
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latest updates from Republican Leader Claims Blockchain Can Make US Government More Efficient
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:51:54 AM
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the current Republican Minority Leader in the United States House of Representatives, said on Tuesday, March 12, that blockchain can make the U.S. Congress a more efficient and transparent place.

Speaking to the Select Committee for Modernization of Congress, McCarthy said that blockchain technology has changed the paradigm of security in the financial world:

“Blockchain is changing and revolutionizing the security of the financial industry. Why would we wait around and why wouldn’t we institute blockchain on our own, to be able to check the technology but also the transparency of our own legislative process?”

The lawmaker also suggested that Congress use “21st century technology” to make the government more friendly, but at the same time more accountable. “We have an opportunity to take this window to make this place more effective, more efficient, and most importantly, more accountable," he concluded.

McCarthy became a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2007, serving as House Majority Leader from 2014 to 2019, and as House Minority Leader since January 2019.

The Select Committee for Modernization of Congress was established during the 116th Congress in early 2019. Democratic congressman Derek Kilmer chairs the committee, which forms recommendations for modernizing the legislative branch.

As Cointelegraph reported in October, U.S. Representatives Doris Matsui and Brett Guthrie proposed a new bill, dubbed the "Blockchain Promotional Act 2018," to the House of Representatives. The bill aimed to create a working group to study the potential impact of blockchain across the policy spectrum, and to establish a common definition of the technology.

More recently, the state of Wyoming passed two blockchain-related bills. The first laid groundwork for storing so-called certificate tokens representing stocks on a blockchain “or other secure, auditable database,” and permitted their digital transfer. Another acknowledged the establishment of special purpose depository institutions to serve blockchain-related businesses, as they are often unable to receive services from federally-insured banks.
 
latest updates from SEC Chairman Highlights Investor Protection in Regard to Bitcoin ETF
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:51:34 AM
United States Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton is still concerned about investor protection when it comes to the commission approving a Bitcoin (BTC) Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF). The SEC chairman spoke about crypto in an interview with FOX Business on March 14.

In the interview, Clayton claimed to be neutral toward digital currencies, saying that he is not a spokesperson against the asset. The SEC chairman explained that he is concerned with the potential for manipulation associated with the space, and wants to guarantee investor protection:

“What I’m concerned about at the moment is if it can be reasonably demonstrated that the underlying trading is generally not manipulated, it’s happening on reliable venues with good rules and that custody is something we can feel comfortable about.”

While Clayton declined to comment on any specific Bitcoin ETF application, he still noted that there “may be a case where a Bitcoin ETF could satisfy our rules.” The chairman elaborated:

“I think this technology has and is already demonstrating pretty significant promise, but it’s demonstrating significant promise in the places where it’s consistent with our approach to capital raising in the past.”

Recently, the SEC announced it will soon start the countdown period to approve or disapprove the VanEck/SolidX Bitcoin ETF. After withdrawing the ETF application due to the U.S. government shutdown in late January, the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) re-submitted the application a week later.

Earlier this week, Jay Clayton confirmed his previous statement that Ethereum (ETH) and similar cryptocurrencies are not securities under U.S. law. However, Clayton stipulated that he meant that a digital asset’s definition as a security can change over time.
 
latest updates from Report Shows Cryptojacking Is Prime Example of Shift Towards Discreet Cyberattacks
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:51:19 AM
Cybercriminals are reportedly favoring unhurried approaches in attacks made for financial gains, with cryptojacking as a prime example of this shift. IT news website ComputerWorld reported on this development on March 14.

Data released by cybersecurity company Darktrace reveals that cryptojacking attempts increased by 78 percent in 2018, and, according to ComputerWorld, the company also said that this trend continued in 2019.

The ComputerWorld article cites Max Heinemeyer, director of threat hunting at Darktrace, commenting on the findings. He reportedly said that since many ransomware victims may be unable to pay a ransom in Bitcoin (BTC) due to technical ineptitude, cryptojacking might be a better approach.

He added that “it [cryptojacking] is low and slow and guarantees a profit,” while ransomware does not. ComputerWorld also quotes Heinemeyer as stating that the barriers to entry to creating cryptojacking malware are low.

Heinemeyer also said that other methods, such as stealing credit card credentials, are cumbersome since criminals need to establish money laundering networks in order to avoid law enforcement. Lastly, he also noted:

“We've seen so many different variants of how these pieces of malware are spreading or being loaded.”

Per the report, he cited a company based out of the United Kingdom that saw over 400 devices very quickly infected by a cryptojacking malware after an initial infection via a phishing email. Also, according to Heinemeyer, one system admin installed a mining device underneath the floorboards of the data center where he worked at a major European bank in a creative cryptojacking move.

The article also suggests that such attacks mine the Monero (XMR) blockchain, since unlike Bitcoin, it is more suitable for mining on non-specialized, even consumer-grade, hardware. However, Cointelegraph recently wrote that a Monero upgrade has made the coin more resistant to ASIC mining.

As Cointelegraph has reported, of about 400 servers running virtualization software Docker that were found to be vulnerable to outside exploitation, most were seemingly running Monero mining software.

Also, United States-based software corporation Microsoft has removed eight Windows 10 applications from its official app store after cybersecurity firm Symantec identified the presence of surreptitious Monero coin mining code in February.
 
latest updates from Launch a Crypto Exchange in 30 Days: German Firm Offers White-Label Products for Startups
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:50:57 AM
A company says it is combining the power of IT and marketing to deliver high-security, functional and profitable pieces of software that not only work flawlessly, but also sell.

CPI emphasizes its software is scalable and geared toward the finance and blockchain industries. The firm offers white-label products that allow businesses to achieve their financial goals by converting casual visitors into paying customers. Among its suite of products is a crypto exchange that is available on the web and through mobile apps.

The platform delivers high-frequency trading for virtual currencies and fiat, along with assets such as real estate that have been tokenized on the blockchain.

According to CPI, it can help fledgling crypto businesses get their own exchange up and running in less than 30 days — complete with promotions across a plethora of channels to help generate traffic and revenue.

The German company describes this platform as its masterpiece because it supports a range of major crypto and fiat currencies. It can handle up to 10,000 orders per second (per market) and also comes complete with social trading — which means an exchange’s users can follow successful traders and emulate their strategies.

CPI has also become a payment service provider, enabling merchants to easily complete transactions in fiat and cryptocurrencies, both online and offline. This software can be easily integrated into any company’s existing infrastructure and is offered as a white-label product, meaning it can be adapted to incorporate their branding.

Additionally, the firm helps startups secure the financing they need to get off the ground. It offers an intuitive dashboard for initial coin offerings and security token offerings, enabling them to collect the money pledged to them by contributors. According to CPI, this service helped new businesses collect more than $250 million in 2018 alone.
 
latest updates from Cross-Platform Blockchain Project Cosmos Launches First Hub After $17 Million ICO
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:50:43 AM
Blockchain platform Cosmos, which is set to work as a mediator between different blockchains, has officially launched the first hub of its ecosystem on Wednesday, Mar. 13. The Cosmos initial coin offering (ICO), held in April 2017, raised a little more than $17 million.

The Cosmos Network, which describes itself as “The Internet of Blockchains,” was developed by California-based startup Tendermint Inc — a software development company that was appointed by Swiss non-profit Interchain Foundation to develop the cross-blockchain ecosystem.

The mainnet launch, which was announced on Cosmos Twitter, was also streamed live on Youtube, mimicking the launch of a rocket with Christine C., the community architect at Tendermint, dressed as an astronaut. The first block was mined at 11 p.m. UTC (7 p.m. EST) on March 13.

According to the Cosmos Network website, the company developed the scalable ecosystem, which allows different decentralized applications to interoperate on a single platform, for three years. The developers believe that Cosmos may contribute to solving some of the main problems in blockchain, such as scalability and interoperability.

The recent launch is reportedly the first in a series of proof-of-stake chains developed by Tendermint. As per a recent blog post, Cosmos Hub will further pass two more phases.

As Cointelegraph previously reported, a group of developers at crypto startup TenX in late 2018 successfully tested the use of its cross-blockchain interoperability protocol to transfer ERC20 tokens for Bitcoin (BTC) using the Lightning Network.

More recently, a report to the European Union made recommendations on how to better develop blockchain technology, including the introduction of interoperability and scalability standards. The paper, dubbed “Scalability, Interoperability And Sustainability of Blockchains,” was prepared by blockchain tech firm ConsenSys.
 
latest updates from Enterprise Blockchain on the Rise Despite Criticisms
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:50:26 AM
In the announcement for the launch of its blockchain security testing service, IBM X-Force Red highlighted the rise of enterprise blockchains and said that “organizations are seeing real efficiencies and cost savings from its use.”

IBM also highlighted the IDC’s 2018 Spending Guide, which forecasts worldwide blockchain spending to grow to $9.7 billion in 2021.

This arrived on the back of a Forbes article in February that explored the reasons “Why 2019 May Become The Year Of Enterprise Blockchain,” which also highlighted Deloitte’s 2018 global blockchain survey that found 95 percent of companies across different industries were investing in blockchain tech projects.

All of that indicates a rosy outlook for blockchain growth. But some critics contend there’s no need for enterprise blockchains and question whether such investments are warranted. It’s that pushback that has placed many companies in a difficult position — fearful of falling behind competitors, but wary of investing in a technology that may not require proprietary solutions.

The dilemma is reflected in the mix of comments in the enterprise vs. public chain debate.

Sky Guo, CEO of Cypherium, a startup offering enterprise-ready blockchain solutions, said to Forbes that enterprises no longer question whether blockchain is worth the attention but that, on the contrary, they are now proactively seeking new ways of incorporating this technology in their legacy systems.

This is something Leanne Kemp, CEO and founder of Everledger, a global digital registry for diamonds powered by the IBM enterprise blockchain platform, would agree with. Kemp, who won the 2018 Advance Award for technology, indicated that the introduction of enterprise blockchain solutions has the potential to completely revolutionize traditional supply chains, not just for the diamond trade:
 
latest updates from Spain: Stock Exchange Operator Pilots Collateral Pledges Digitization on Blockchain
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:50:09 AM
Major Spanish stock market operator Bolsas y Mercados Espańoles (BME) has completed its first blockchain pilot for electronic certificates of collateral pledges, according to an official press release published on March 15.

Implemented along with Renta 4 Banco, which is the only investment services firm listed on the BME, the new pilot intends to eliminate the use of physical certifications by digitizing all processes and providing network participants with real-time access to data.

The pilot’s proof-of-concept (PoC) consisted of the release of collateral pledged by Renta 4 Banco to cover customer’s positions at BME Clearing, BME’s central counterparty.

According to the announcement, the implementation of the blockchain-powered pilot enabled the parties to reduce total processing time by more than 80 percent.

The PoC was developed by BME’s division DLT-Lab, which researches the use of blockchain for improving existing financial procedures in collaboration with regulators and various financial institutions. To develop the pilot, BME’s DLT-Lab worked with infrastructures involved in the process and the BME subsidiaries BME Clearing, the Spanish central securities depository Iberclear and Renta 4 Banco.

According to the press release, BME and Renta 4 Banco will keep working on the initiative in order to launch the new system officially by the end of 2019.

Berta Ares, Head of Digital Transformation at BME, emphasized that distributed ledger tech (DLT) allows the parties involved in the process to both reduce operating times and provide legal certainty for electronic certificates, while maintaining privacy and compliance.

Previously, BME participated in a joint blockchain tech project to record the issuance of financial warrants. The initiative involved eight major European financial institutions, including Spanish securities regulator the National Securities Market Commission, BBVA, BNP Paribas, CaixaBank and others.

In early February, Cointelegraph reported on Switzerland's principal stock exchange SIX Swiss Exchange plans to test blockchain integration for its upcoming parallel digital trading platform SDX in the second half of 2019. The blockchain-powered platform intends to minimize trading risks, as well as to expand the scope of tradable titles.
 
latest updates from Token 2049: Vitalik Buterin Says Non-Financial Blockchain Use Cases Are a 'Harder Pitch'
Updates: Mar-15-2019 01:49:50 AM
Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Vitalik Buterin says that blockchain applications outside of finance face more difficulty gaining traction, as the primary added value they offer is decentralization. Buterin made his remarks during a speech at crypto event Token 2049 in Hong Kong on March 13.

Buterin began by noting that finance is “realistically the first blockchain [application] that will probably achieve wide scale adoption,” and that even though he is a self-declared huge fan of other applications:

“The problem is that decentralization is basically their value add. With finance you’re competing with banks that take five days to do something interesting. With anything that’s not financial, chances are there is some internet thing that does what you want, that’s just centralized. So it’s a bit of a harder pitch.”

As examples of areas where blockchain can catch on beyond finance, Vitalik isolated digital identity, reputation and digital certificates in particular — all of which have use cases that are not necessarily confined to the use of cryptocurrencies or financial markets.

In his further discussion on the current state of blockchain adoption, Buterin appealed to event attendees to identify real-world applications that are developing “not just in theory, but on the ground.” Audience examples included micro-insurance, non-fungible tokens and gaming.

On the latter, Buterin said that while many people are committed to blockchain innovation from their conviction that it can tackle real-world problems with positive social impact, entertainment use cases such as gaming are valuable areas where the technology can draw high numbers of early adopters.

Speaking of his personal commitments, Buterin highlighted decentralized applications (DApps), which allow multiple actors to share and cooperate on applications that are based on an underlying, decentralized blockchain protocol.

He proposed that the DApps use case can potentially redraw the existing technology and power landscape by leveraging a decentralized ecosystem to allow smaller players to compete with tech giants’ monopolies.

In a recent interview, Buterin stated he was trying to solve Bitcoin’s (BTC) limited functionality with the creation of Ethereum. He compared Bitcoin’s ability to do one thing and do it well, with the aspiration to make Ethereum more like a canopy for apps that can do almost anything.
 
latest updates from New Survey Indicates Businesses Unprepared to Deploy Blockchain Technology
Updates: Feb-20-2019 11:06:06 PM
A new study has revealed that, while businesses are considering blockchain adoption, overall they do not feel ready to implement the technology. The survey was conducted by software development firm Globant and published on Feb. 19.

The report says that 64 percent of organizations are intent on investing in blockchain solutions to improve their internal operations, while only 46 percent of respondents feel ready to deploy the technology.

Out of 61 percent of organizations that are already researching blockchain, only 28 percent have chosen a blockchain provider. According to the survey, the majority of decision-makers are still investigating the technology and comparing vendors, and have not yet defined their stance on blockchain tech.

Diego Tartara, CTO Latin America at Globant, said, "Blockchain implementation is different for every organization, so it's imperative for business leaders to have a unified idea of what their integration will look like. The technology as such usually requires a shift in paradigm to adopt it, thus sharing core objectives for the technology is key for a successful blockchain integration."

To prepare the study, the researchers reportedly surveyed 679 senior-level decision makers employed in the fields of marketing, IT and operations in the United States during first quarter of 2018.

Earlier this month, a TD Bank survey revealed that 90 percent of treasury and finance professionals think that blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) will positively affect the payments industry. Per the survey, only 14 percent of the respondents said that their organization has training strategies for blockchain.

A survey by the Global Blockchain Business Council published last January revealed that 63 percent of respondents believe that senior business executives have a poor understanding of blockchain technology. 30 percent consider their knowledge of the emerging technology as “average.” The remaining 7 percent described senior executive understanding of blockchain as “good.”
 
latest updates from New Survey Indicates Businesses Unprepared to Deploy Blockchain Technology
Updates: Feb-20-2019 09:14:37 AM
A new study has revealed that, while businesses are considering blockchain adoption, overall they do not feel ready to implement the technology. The survey was conducted by software development firm Globant and published on Feb. 19.

The report says that 64 percent of organizations are intent on investing in blockchain solutions to improve their internal operations, while only 46 percent of respondents feel ready to deploy the technology.

Out of 61 percent of organizations that are already researching blockchain, only 28 percent have chosen a blockchain provider. According to the survey, the majority of decision-makers are still investigating the technology and comparing vendors, and have not yet defined their stance on blockchain tech.

Diego Tartara, CTO Latin America at Globant, said, "Blockchain implementation is different for every organization, so it's imperative for business leaders to have a unified idea of what their integration will look like. The technology as such usually requires a shift in paradigm to adopt it, thus sharing core objectives for the technology is key for a successful blockchain integration."

To prepare the study, the researchers reportedly surveyed 679 senior-level decision makers employed in the fields of marketing, IT and operations in the United States during first quarter of 2018.

Earlier this month, a TD Bank survey revealed that 90 percent of treasury and finance professionals think that blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) will positively affect the payments industry. Per the survey, only 14 percent of the respondents said that their organization has training strategies for blockchain.

A survey by the Global Blockchain Business Council published last January revealed that 63 percent of respondents believe that senior business executives have a poor understanding of blockchain technology. 30 percent consider their knowledge of the emerging technology as “average.” The remaining 7 percent described senior executive understanding of blockchain as “good.”
 
latest updates from Crypto Winter Survivor: Inside Nvidia’s Difficult Relationship With Mining
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:29:05 AM
On Feb. 14, California-headquartered gaming and computer hardware manufacturer Nvidia reported full-year revenue gains in 2018, despite being one of the companies worst hit by the cryptocurrency market dip and subsequent lack of demand for mining components.

The firm’s main products include graphics processing units (GPU), among others, which became widely purchased by miners during the crypto boom of 2017 — as a result, the firm’s revenue started to correlate with the crypto market condition (at least to some extent), which resulted in a few shake-ups.
 
latest updates from Major Crypto Exchange OKEx Adds Four New Margin Trading Pairs
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:19:16 AM
Malta-based cryptocurrency exchange OKEx has added four new crypto derivative pairs to its platform, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on Feb. 19.

OKEx, the third-largest crypto exchange by trade volume, has announced the listing of Bitcoin SV (BSV), QTUM, DASH and NEO against Bitcoin (BTC) or Tether (USDT) on margin with a 3x leverage option.

Last month, OKEx added seven new crypto derivative pairs to its platform, including Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Bitcoin SV (BSV), EOS (EOS), Ethereum Classic (ETC), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP), as Cointelegraph reported on Jan. 3.

As Cointelegraph wrote on Dec. 4, the digital asset exchange OKEx had earlier launched a derivative product, dubbed a “perpetual swap,” that supports BTC/USD with up to 100x leverage. In January, the exchange noted that the newly added contracts would only support up to 40x leverage, as opposed to today’s press release noting a 3x leverage option.

Also in December of last year, Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Bitfinex launched margin trading for stablecoin Tether (USDT) against USD, as Cointelegraph reported on Dec. 22.

Earlier today, Cointelegraph wrote that major United States exchange and wallet Coinbase has acquired a blockchain intelligence startup, dubbed Neutrino, underlining that the new deal is aimed at helping add more cryptocurrencies and features to Coinbase services.
 
latest updates from Fintech Company TrueDigital Appoints Former Bridgewater Associates Executive as CEO
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:54 AM
New York-based fintech company TrueDigital Holdings (TDH) announced the appointment of former Bridgewater Associates chief operating officer Thomas Kim as its new CEO through a post on its website on Feb. 19.

Before his time at Bridgewater Associates, which had almost $125 billion assets under management in 2018, Kim worked at now-defunct global financial services firm Lehman Brothers in charge of the Townsend Analytics Electronic Trading franchise.

According to today’s post, Kim will manage TrueDigital’s existing initiatives, such as the launch of Bitcoin (BTC) swaps planned for this year. In January of this year, blockchain platform Qtum also announced that it was introducing Bitcoin atomic swaps to its mainnet infrastructure.

TrueDigital’s announcement states that TrueDigital launched Signature Bank’s blockchain-based payment infrastructure earlier this year, which was approved by the Department of Financial Services of New York (NYDFS) in December 2018.

The aforementioned payment platform also attracted a “significant number of institutions within the first 30 days of operation,” according to the announcement.

As Cointelegraph reported in March of last year, TrueEX — whose affiliate is TDH — partnered with a blockchain tech company led by Ethereum (ETH) co-founder Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys, to create a benchmark rate for the price of Ethereum.

In early December 2017, CBOE had launched the first Bitcoin futures contracts, with CME Group launching the second around a week later.
 
latest updates from CEO of Japanese Finance Giant SBI Vests His Crypto Industry Hopes in Ripple and R3
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:29 AM
Yoshitaka Kitao, CEO and representative director of Japanese financial services giant SBI Holdings, has singled out Ripple (XRP) and blockchain consortium R3 as reasons to remain optimistic about the future of the crypto industry — bear market notwithstanding. Kitao made his remarks during an interview with Japanese crypto news outlet Coin Post on Feb. 18.

SBI Holdings is an active partner of Ripple via their joint venture, “SBI Ripple Asia,” established to promote the use of XRP in Asian financial markets back in 2016.

In his interview with Coin Post, Kitao underscored that the protracted crypto market slump is not to be thought of as an end to the industry, and that SBI has been working intensively to foster the adoption of XRP among financial institutions.

He affirmed that the real demand for the asset’s use in cross-border remittances and settlement is already underway and will continue to burgeon— pointing to Santander’s use of Ripple’s blockchain-powered xCurrent and RippleNet platforms for international payments as an exemplary, high-profile case.

Aside from predicting that Ripple’s still-fledgling market capitalization would eventually grow to be a global standard, Kitao also made positive remarks in relation to enterprise blockchain consortium R3 — of which SBI is a member, as well as reportedly being the largest outside shareholder — as well as the R3 Corda settlement platform.

Alluding to the now-resolved legal disputes between R3 and Ripple, Kitao said he had encouraged the two former ostensible rivals”to cooperate on a joint venture, and was bullish on the potential impact of “Corda Settler” — R3’s universal payment settlement platform, which unveiled XRP as its first supported crypto in December.

Among the rest of his wide-ranging remarks, Kitao said he judged the “temperature of institutional investors [in regard to crypto] to be extremely hot,” noting that surveillance and real-time data on the crypto markets are improving, as well as clearing services.

Kitao said he hoped that Japan would spearhead cryptocurrency regulation and act proactively ahead of other global markets, such as the United States. He noted that SBI was awaiting more legislative clarity from the Japan’s watchdog, the Financial Services Agency, before launching its own crypto fund for institutional investors.

As previously reported, the past couple of years have seen SBI pursue multiple ventures in the crypto sector, including its own exchange — VCTRADE — alongside a series of investments in businesses developing crypto infrastructure and services. It also has its own blockchain initiative S coin platform, which it trialed for retail payments in September 2018, integrating R3 Corda technology.

In January, SBI published its nine-month financial report, which identified the implementation of R3 and Ripple technologies as a major part of its strategy.

In October 2018, SBI and Ripple’s XRP-powered payments app, MoneyTap, went live for account holders at selected Japanese banks — with the eventual ambition of including a consortium of 61 institutions (representing over 80 percent of all of Japan’s banking assets) in the service.
 
latest updates from MIT Technology Review: Although Touted for Security, Blockchain Is Still Hackable
Updates: Feb-20-2019 08:18:02 AM
MIT Technology Review magazine has published an article today, Feb. 19, arguing that security-touted blockchain tech is still vulnerable to hacks. The magazine is fully owned by the United States Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In the recent article, the MIT Technology Review stressed that blockchain technology represents a complex economic system that depends on unpredictable human behavior.

As such, the Review pointed out multiple security breaches that have been increasingly emerging in cryptocurrency and smart contract platforms since the inception of crypto, citing a number of incidents including the recent double spending vulnerability that was found on a major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase on Jan. 7.

The Review has further enumerated a number of conditions that make blockchain technology vulnerable, including both unintentional bugs in the system and the human factor. The magazine wrote:

“In short, while blockchain technology has been long touted for its security, under certain conditions it can be quite vulnerable. Sometimes shoddy execution can be blamed, or unintentional software bugs. Other times it’s more of a gray area — the complicated result of interactions between the code, the economics of the blockchain and human greed.”

The Review has further cited numerous bounties — programs provided by blockchain and crypto companies that allow white hat hackers get rewards by reporting a certain blockchain flaw on a given platform.

According to TheNextWeb, white hat hackers earned $878,000 in total by reporting crypto bugs in 2018.

Recently, Coinbase handed out a $30,000 reward for reporting a critical bug on its system, which is the largest crypto bounty ever given out by the exchange on HackerOne.

Previously, the MIT Technology Review had argued that blockchain technology will finally become common in 2019, considering the technology a disappointment of 2018.
 
latest updates from Japan’s Number Two Bank by Assets Completes R3 Blockchain-Based Trade Finance Trial
Updates: Feb-19-2019 07:41:13 PM
Japan’s second-largest bank by assets, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), has completed a proof-of-concept (PoC) using blockchain consortium R3’s Marco Polo trade finance platform. A press release confirmed the PoC completion on Feb. 18.

SMBC, which is the only Japanese bank participating in Marco Polo, said it had partnered with Japanese multinational Mitsui & Co. to enhance efficiency in trade processes.

“[The] PoC was conducted between SMBC and Mitsui & Co. which aims to improve productivity in its trade operations, by testing modules such as Receivable Finance and Payment Commitment (Payment Undertaking),” the release explained, adding:

“SMBC expects to commercialize Marco Polo in the first half of (the financial year 2019) after verification of the PoC.”

Launched in 2017, Marco Polo is a joint venture between R3 and Irish tech firm TradeIX targeting trade finance utility using distributed ledger technology.

Leveraging R3’s Corda technology, a total of 15 consortium member banks are currently participating in the Marco Polo consortium, including ING, NatWest and BNP Paribas.

In May last year, Thailand’s biggest bank, Bangkok Bank, also joined the initiative with an eye to streamlining trade finance.

R3 is a New York-based group of businesses, banks and other entities founded in 2014 as a distributed technology company. At its launch in September 2015, it had a total of nine members. This January, R3 announced the launch of its Corda Network, with the consortium now made up of over 300 members.
 
latest updates from Blockchain Startup Takes on Mainstream Crowdfunding Sites to Cut Number of Failed Projects
Updates: Feb-19-2019 07:40:46 PM
A new blockchain platform is vowing to take on established crowdfunding sites — and argues that their lack of accountability means greater numbers of projects fail to deliver what they promised.

Pledgecamp says its approach involves offering transparency through the form of smart contracts — and ensuring that entrepreneurs and the platform they host their projects on are equally invested in a campaign’s success.

One of the startup’s features is known as Backer Insurance. Instead of funds being released in full as soon as a target is met, project creators must propose “clear development milestones” before contributions are made. An escrow wallet then ensures that funds are unlocked gradually — with supporters given the sole right to monitor how their investments are spent, vote on whether a milestone’s objectives have been fulfilled satisfactorily, and decide if the next phase of the project should begin.

According to Pledgecamp, blockchain is the only way to deliver this concept, as it removes centralization and gives power to those who have put their funds at stake. The company’s white paper explains: “Instead of requiring teams of lawyers, creating smart contracts is essentially free, judgment is automated, and enforcement is guaranteed.”

The level of Backer Insurance associated with a project can be decided upon by the campaign creator — and those who volunteer more of the funds to be protected in Backer Insurance subsequently benefit from lower listing fees.

Tackling a trust problem
Pledgecamp maintains that its solution is necessary because of flaws that exist in the services offered by current mainstream players — Kickstarter and Indiegogo among them.

PLEDGECAMP IS AVAILABLE HERE
The startup cites research that suggests as many as 85 percent of campaigns end up delaying delivery, while up to 14 percent fail altogether. Pledgecamp also highlights statistics released by Kickstarter itself that show that only a third of those who contribute to a crowdfunding campaign on the website end up doing so again. According to the blockchain platform, this amounts to a “trust problem” that needs to be addressed if the industry is going to thrive — enabling businesses to secure funding away from financial institutions and validate their product ideas.

The startup argues many crowdfunding sites have failed to innovate and offer technical features that benefit entrepreneurs and contributors alike. Pledgecamp says its ecosystem will offer resources for project creators in a “secure and decentralized way” — and give them the chance to hire skilled workers who can help them achieve their goals on a temporary basis in their “gig economy.”

Moderation is also going to be a major factor in Pledgecamp’s offering — and in the spirit of decentralization, this vital role will lie with users. Those who contribute by curating campaigns and removing those that violate the platform’s Terms of Service will be eligible to receive a proportion of the listing fees generated by each successful project. While Pledge Tokens are the platform’s main cryptocurrency, moderators who stake their Pledge Tokens into Camp Shares are eligible to participate in this moderation role, as part of the ecosystem’s two-token economy.

A-list advisers
Pledgecamp’s advisers include Randi Zuckerberg — who formerly led marketing at Facebook, the social media giant founded by her brother Mark. She is joined in this capacity by Matt Curcio, the vice president of data at Ripple.

A limited token sale begins on Feb. 18 and runs for 30 days. The startup is designing the platform in partnership with MetaLab, which has helped well-known products such as Slack and Coinbase. The launch is scheduled in full toward Q3 of 2019. In the run-up to this launch date, it plans to create a Knowledge Center for project creators, implement the website’s user interface, and complete work on the platform’s back-end and smart contract functionality.
 
latest updates from Crypto Assets to Be Regulated Differently in the US, Potential Impact on Industry
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:47 PM
The United States government could regulate crypto assets and tokens differently than stocks and traditional assets by altering the existing regulatory framework on securities.

On Dec. 22, CNBC reported that two congressmen — Warren Davidson and Darren Solo — have introduced a bipartisan bill entitled “Token Taxonomy Act,” in an effort to prevent over-regulation in the cryptocurrency space.

"In the early days of the internet, Congress passed legislation that provided certainty and resisted the temptation to over-regulate the market. Our intent is to achieve a similar win for America's economy and for American leadership in this innovative space," said Davidson.

When passed, what sort of impact could the bipartisan Token Taxonomy Act have on the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector?

More clarity, exactly what the industry needs
In a statement, the Blockchain Association — a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit trade association that represents many of the biggest companies in the cryptocurrency industry such as Coinbase, Circle and Digital Currency Group — said that the bill provides a definition to crypto assets and digital tokens that exclude them from being recognized as a security.

Throughout the past two years, many blockchain projects have left the U.S. market to pursue token sales in regions like Switzerland and Singapore, which have lenient and flexible policies regarding initial coin offerings (ICOs).

By providing a clear guideline on the regulatory nature of tokens and digital assets, the bill encourages blockchain projects to remain within the U.S. market and contribute to the growth of the local cryptocurrency and blockchain sector.

The vast majority of token sales and ICO projects — apart from a select few like Telegram that have reportedly conducted a private token sale with the approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) — have disallowed investors in the U.S. to participate in token sales due to the ambiguity in existing securities laws.

Even projects such as 0x (ZRX) that have been listed by a U.S.-based strictly regulated cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which clears the project from being considered a security, did not allow investors in the country to contribute to the ICO.

“With these terms clarified, we can police bad actors while encouraging the good ones, giving US-based innovators the framework they need to build next-generation technologies and services here rather than doing that valuable work overseas,” the Blockchain Association said.

The bill also offers clarity on the taxation policy surrounding cryptocurrencies for the first time in the market’s history, eliminating the friction between blockchain networks and users.

Currently, users in the U.S. are required to declare capital gains taxes on all cryptocurrency transactions — small or big — because the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) of the United States federal government has recognized cryptocurrencies as a form of property.

Although the bill does not aim to alter the recognition of cryptocurrencies as a property, it imposes an exemption for capital gains taxes on transactions that do not exceed $600, deeming them as tax-exempt exchanges.
 
latest updates from Russian Finance Ministry Considers EAEU Digital Currency ‘Inevitable’ Due to US Sanctions
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:32 PM
Russia's Ministry of Finance (MinFin) believes that the creation of a Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU)-backed digital currency is inevitable due to the United States’ sanctions. Major Russian media agency Rambler reported MinFin’s comments on Friday, Dec. 21.

MinFin reportedly sees an opportunity for launching a digital currency backed by countries in the EAEU by 2020 or 2021, as deputy finance minister Alexei Moiseev revealed. The Eurasian Union was established in 2014 and includes five member countries: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

The announced digital currency project will be most likely implemented without using blockchain technology, Moiseev stated, as reported by major Russia’s news agency TASS.

According to Moiseev, the EAEU-backed single currency will be developed analogous with the European Currency Unit (ECU), the unit of account used by the European community before it was replaced by the euro (EUR) back in January 1999.

Launched in 1979, the ECU represented a combination of the currencies of the European Community states, with its rate depending on a weighted average of the participating currencies.

As the article notes, the idea of a common EAEU digital currency is supported not only by the participants of the economic union, but also some other, unnamed countries that are major trading partners of EAEU countries.

MinFin’s deputy finance minister has noted that turning to the creation of Eurasian currency is “inevitable” due to an increasing number of sanctioned companies. Moiseev continued:

“We hear promises of new upcoming sanctions. Accordingly, we have to react by building secure international payment system that are not based on the U.S. dollar.”

In November 2018, the chairman of Russia’s State Duma Committee on Financial Markets revealed that a tentatively planned state-backed stablecoin would be an encrypted equivalent to the Russian fiat ruble.

Recently, Russia’s deputy prime minister, Maxim Akimov, announced that the existing draft on crypto regulation would not be changed, despite having been sent back to its first reading at the beginning of December.

The crypto bill entitled, “On Digital Financial Assets,” has raised some questions by some local legal entities about its effective in the space, as key terms such as “cryptocurrencies” and “mining” were removed from the text.
 
latest updates from Chinese Fintech Incubation Zone Officially Begins Operations in Guangdong Province
Updates: Dec-23-2018 12:30:02 PM
The Chinese fintech incubation zone located in the Guangdong province has officially started its operations, Chinese news outlet Chinese Software Developer Network (CSDN) reports Dec. 21.

According to the article, the zone — which officially opened Dec. 20 — has a total area of 120 square kilometers and already hosts the headquarters of over 20 companies. The zone and its administration will reportedly offer the companies project financing, office space and policy guidelines, and will overall “promote the transformation and application of technological achievements.”

CSDN notes that the Guangdong financial high-tech zone will “focus on the major needs and major pain points of the financial [industries] encouraging blockchain and other technologies in finance, manufacturing, trade.” The zone will begin with fostering pilot projects, and then will move forward in order to “culvative a group of blockchain financial technology enterprises and innovation teams.”

In November, the “Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao Dawan District Blockchain Alliance” had been established to promote innovation and sustain the development of blockchain tech. CSDN mentions the three districts as areas for expanding the use of the technology.

China, which has long been cracking down on cryptocurrency by banning both domestic and foreign exchanges, and even crypto-related social accounts, seems to be heavily investing in blockchain technology. As Cointelegraph reported this week, a media copyright protection alliance has been created in Beijing to provide copyright protection employing blockchain technology.

Also in December, Shenzhen, a major city in the Guangdong Province and home to the first economic special zone in China, announced that it will use blockchain technology for electronic tax invoices.
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